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Archive for October 22nd, 2018

Emails Disclose Angst, Handwringing at ATF After Vegas Shooting and Bump Stock Controversy

Acting head of ATF Thomas Brandon.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Emails show the controversial rapid-fire bump stock device used in the Las Vegas massacre last year caused a lot of angst and handwringing inside ATF, a report in USA Today shows. It also shows why the devices are still legal in many states.

Nick Penzenstadler of USA Today reports:

Within hours of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history a year ago in Las Vegas, the federal agency in charge of regulating guns found itself under pressure to ban a rapid-fire device and penned in by legal boundaries that officials said prevented them from acting quickly, according to newly disclosed emails from inside the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Blame rained down on the ATF after gunfire showered concertgoers from a 32nd-floor room at the Mandalay Bay hotel Oct. 1, leaving 58 dead and more than 800 injured. Critics popped up everywhere – cable news anchors and politicians on both sides of the aisle, the National Rifle Association and Gabrielle Giffords’ anti-gun-violence group, and even from the ATF’s own ranks of current and former agents.

The focus was Slide Fire, a plastic add-on known as a “bump stock” that allowed Stephen Paddock to run through more than 1,100 rounds of ammunition in 10 minutes. Bump stocks were affixed to half of Paddock’s guns. Since 2010, up to 520,000 of the devices have been purchased in the USA, the Department of Justice reported.

Thomas Brandon, the acting head of ATF, writes in on email after the shooting to technology chief Earl Griffith:

“Are these ‘ATF approved’ as advertised?”

Griffith responds by saying they are.

Later, Brandon testified to Congress that in the interest of public safety, a law should ban them.

Mueller’s Investigation Appears to Be Winding Down, But Experts Say Maybe Not

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Is special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation nearing an end?

After six guilty pleas, a jury conviction and the indictment of 26 individuals and three Russians, Mueller has reduced the size of his staff from 17 prosecutors to 13.

After the midterms, Mueller’s team plans to issue a report on the main findings of an investigation that began in April 2017.

But does that mean the end is near?

“Who the heck knows? My guess is he is getting close to done, but that is only a guess,” Peter Zeidenberg, a former Justice Department prosecutor, told the Washington Examiner

“I think anyone who tells you the answer to this question [of winding down] with a high degree of confidence is mistaken,” Zeidenberg explained.

Paul Rosenzweig, a former senior counsel on the Whitewater investigation, said it’s reasonable to believe the investigation will pick up steam after the midterm elections.

“A seasoned investigator urged caution. “Anyone who is sure he is wrapping up is projecting their own thinking,” Rosenzweig said. “Anyone who is sure he is just laying low is, likewise, projecting. Mueller has been quiet of late because of the midterm elections. Expect a resumption after the new year.”

President Trump’s legal team has been claiming the investigation is wrapping up for more than a year. But so far, Mueller has been unable to get Trump to sit down for an interview.

Only time will tell when the investigation is over.