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Archive for October 1st, 2018

James Comey: ‘The FBI is Back in The Middle of It’

The author is the former director of the FBI.

Former FBI Director James Comey on A?BC’s 20/20. (File photo) 

By James Comey
New York Times Op-Ed

The F.B.I. is back in the middle of it. When we were handed the Hillary Clinton email investigation in 2015, the bureau’s deputy director said to me, “You know you are totally screwed, right?” He meant that, in a viciously polarized political environment, one side was sure to be furious with the outcome. Sure enough, I saw a tweet declaring me “a political hack,” although the author added, tongue in cheek: “I just can’t figure out which side.”

And those were the good old days. President Trump’s decision to order a one-week investigation into sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, his Supreme Court nominee, comes in a time of almost indescribable pain and anger, lies and attacks.

We live in a world where the president routinely attacks the F.B.I. because he fears its work. He calls for his enemies to be prosecuted and his friends freed. We also live in a world where a sitting federal judge channels the president by shouting attacks at the Senate committee considering his nomination and demanding to know if a respected senator has ever passed out from drinking. We live in a world where the president is an accused serial abuser of women, who was caught on tape bragging about his ability to assault women and now likens the accusations against his nominee to the many “false” accusations against him.

To read the full column click here.

What to Expect from Weeklong FBI Probe into Supreme Court Nominee Kavanaugh

Christine Blasey Ford testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Friday.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Whether Judge Brett Kavanaugh makes it to the nation’s highest court may come down to a one-week FBI investigation.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., called for an FBI investigation on Friday following an intense and emotional nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I think that we ought to do what we can to make sure that we do all due diligence with a nomination this important,” Flake said just hours after he said he would vote to confirm Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

So what would a week-long FBI investigation entail?

The Republican-led committee called for the probe to be “limited to current credible allegations against the nominee.”

Three women have come forward to claim Kavanaugh sexually assaulted them.

But one of those women’s accusations aren’t being treated seriously, said Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for Julie Swetnick, who said Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her and that she was gang-raped at a party decades ago.

“This investigation is only as good as the scope,” Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for Swetnick, told USA TODAY. “If the scope doesn’t include my client and the others who have accused Mr. Kavanaugh, how can it be a credible investigation?” 

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweeted that the “FBI’s hands must not be tied in this investigation.”

“We need the facts,” she wrote.

But on Friday, President Trump said the investigation “must be limited in scope.”

Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said the FBI must determine what “limited scope” means but indicated the probe cannot “be a fishing expedition.”

Following a rally in West Virginia on Saturday, Trump said the FBI has “free rein.”

“Whatever it is they do, they’ll be doing things that we’ve never even thought of,” the president said.

The FBI declined to comment.

Most likely, FBI agents will try to determine the veracity of the claims by Christine Blasey Ford, who said Kavanaugh pulled her into a room, held her down, fondled her and cupped his hand over her mouth to prevent her from screaming. That means interviewing everyone who attended the party, including Mark Judge, whom Ford said stood watch outside the locked room while Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her.

According to the USA Today, the FBI has contacted Deborah Ramirez, a former Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s, who said he exposed himself during a drunken party.

The FBI has the resources to handle special investigations, former bureau officials said.

“They could knock this thing out in a couple of days,” said Jim Davis, a former agent who participated in at least 50 such background inquiries.

The investigation’s findings will be turned over to the White House, which then must share them with the Senate committee.

A full Senate vote could happen later this week or next week.

With a 51-seat majority, all but one Republican must approve the nomination if every Democrat opposes it, as long as Vice President Mike Pence casts the tie-breaking vote in Kavanaugh’s favor.

Former FBI Agent Hired by Buffalo Diocese to Investigative Abusive Priests

Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A former FBI agent has been hired by the Diocese of Buffalo to investigate allegations against clergy.

Steven Halter, who served as a special FBI agent for nearly 30 years, will be the director of the diocese’s newly created office of Professional Responsibility, the Associated Press reports.

The western New York diocese has commander fire for Bishop Richard Malone’s handling of allegations of sexual abuse by priests.

Malone, under pressure to resign, acknowledged “past inadequacies” of handling complaints, but said he will not step down.

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