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Archive for December, 2018

Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller Named ticklethewire.com Feds of the Year for 2018

Rod Rosenstein and Robert S. Mueller III

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III have been named ticklethewire.com’s Feds of the Year for 2018.

It’s the first time since 2008 when the award was first established, that ticklethewire.com has named two people the recipients of the award.

These are extraordinary times. Not since the White House was occupied by Richard Nixon have we seen the integrity of the justice system challenged in this way.

We’ve seen two Attorney Generals fired along with an FBI director and deputy FBI director. And that’s only in two years.

We’ve seen a president belittle, via twitter and speeches, the Justice Department and FBI.

Under intense pressure, and extremely challenging circumstances, Rosenstein has stood for integrity and undertaken the herculean task of dealing with the White House and maintaining justice at the Justice Department.

It’s been no easy mission, and frankly, something few could pull off and survive.

All that said, it made Rosenstein an obvious choice for this award.

At the same time, Robert Mueller has carried out his duties as special counsel with nothing but class and integrity.

Once again, he too has come under repeated attacks by the White House while carrying out this important mission.

It is his presence in this ongoing investigation as a watchdog of government that has given many Americans renewed faith in our justice system.

It’s an honor to have two public servants as dedicated as these two.

Previous recipients of the ticklethewire.com Fed of the Year award include: Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (2008):   Warren Bamford, who headed the Boston FBI (2009), Joseph Evans, regional director for the DEA’s North and Central Americas Region in Mexico City (2010);  Thomas Brandon, deputy Director of ATF (2011); John G. Perren, who was assistant director of WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) Directorate (2012); David Bowdich, special agent in charge of counterterrorism in Los Angeles (2013);  Loretta Lynch, who was U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn at the time (2014); John “Jack” Riley,  the DEA’s acting deputy administrator (2015); D.C.  U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips (2016) and Joe Rannazzisi, a retired DEA deputy assistant administrator (2017) .

 

Supreme Court Intervenes in Mueller investigation of mysterious foreign firm

U.S. Supreme Court

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Supreme Court has intervened for the first time in Robert Mueller’s 19-month special counsel investigation into Russian election interference and President Trump’s former and current aides.

Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative appointed by President George W. Bush, on Sunday issued an order to temporarily put the breaks on a contempt citation against an undisclosed foreign-owned firm.

Roberts granted the request a day after the company petitioned the Supreme Court to intervene arguing it is immune from grand jury subpoenas because it’s an extension of a foreign government. Roberts also temporarily halted a financial penalty imposed by a judge for failing to comply with the subpoena.

The federal government has until Dec. 31 to respond to the firm’s petition.

The circumstances surrounding the case remain a mystery because the case has not been made public.

What is certain that the case involves Mueller, who since he was appointed in May 2017 has charged 133 people and convicted three senior Trump associates.

Weekend Series on Law Enforcement History: The Watergate Story

Mueller to Detail Historic Investigation in Report to DOJ As Early As February

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The 19-month, historic special counsel investigation of Russia and President Trump’s former campaign aides is wrapping up and will be topped off with a confidential report to the attorney general as early as mid-February.

“They clearly are tying up loose ends,” a lawyer who has been in contact with Robert Mueller’s team told NBC News on Thursday.

What remains unclear is whether Mueller found evidence that Trump’s campaign team conspired with Russia to help his presidential campaign in 2016.

Another big question is whether Mueller’s team found evidence that Trump obstructed justice.

Since Mueller was appointed to investigate Russian interference in May 2017, he has charged 133 people and convicted three senior Trump associates.

It appears Trump may successfully dodge an in-person interview with Mueller, who so far has not subpoenaed the president.

Once Justice Department officials receive the report, they have the discretion to publicly release at least a portion of the investigative findings.

House Democrats are pledging to use their subpoena power to make as much of the report public as possible.

Ex-Senate Aide Who Leaked Information to Reporters Sentenced to 2 Months in Prison

James Wolfe (Linkedin photo)

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A former Senate Intelligence Committee aide was sentenced to two months in prison Thursday for lying to the FBI about leaking information to reporters covering the panel’s investigation into Russian election meddling.

James A. Wolfe, 58, pleaded guilty in October to one count of making a false statement to FBI agents in a December interview. He falsely told investigators that he did not provide unclassified but protected information about a witness who had been subpoenaed to testify before the committee.

Prosecutors urged the judge to sentence Wolfe to two years in prison, saying he routinely shared sensitive information with “multiple young, female reporters.”

Wolfe, who admitted to providing the information to four reporters, said he lied to the FBI because he didn’t want his wife to find out about an affair.

When Wolfe is released from jail, he will have four months of supervised release and must complete 20 hours of community service for each of those months.

Judge Blasts Plea Deal with Michael Flynn, Setting Sentencing in Limbo

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, went to court thinking he’d receive leniency for cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors Tuesday.

After all, Flynn struck a deal with prosecutors, who argued this month that he should not get prison time for his help with the Russia investigation.

But U.S. District judge Emmet Sullivan disagreed, causing a delay in sentencing on a charge of lying to the FBI.

“I’m not hiding my disgust, my disdain for this criminal offense,  Sullivan said, adding he is deviating from Mueller’s recommendation, The Washington Post reports.

The judge also was unhappy when Flynn’s attorneys suggested he was duped into lying to the FBI.

“All along you were an unregistered agent of a foreign country, while serving as the national security adviser to the president of the United States!” he said. “Arguably, that undermines everything this flag over here stands for. Arguably, you sold your country out!”

This means Flynn could serve substantial time in prison. ‘The judge requested a status report in 90 days before sentencing is scheduled.

Inspector General Clears DEA Official of Anonymous Allegations in South America

Richard Dobrich (DEA photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Office of Inspector General has officially cleared DEA official Richard Dobrich of wrongdoing. He retired in October as the Senior Executive Service Regional Director of DEA’s Andean Region (Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela).

The ordeal began when the DEA received an anonymous complaint in August alleging Dobrich directed Colombian drivers working for the U.S. Embassy in Bogota “to procure sex workers.” The Associated Press subsequently reported on the allegation.

A Dec. 7 letter obtained by ticklethewire.com from the DEA’s Principal Deputy Administrator Preston L. Grubbs to Dobrich stated:

On August 28, 2018, OIG initiated this investigation in response to an anonymous letter received on August 22, 2018. The anonymous author alleged that you have violated DOJ policy. The OIG investigation revealed no evidence to support this allegation.

Because you have retired from federal service, I have returned the investigative file to OPR administrative closure. If you were still employed by DEA, I would have issued a Letter of Clearance.

Dobrich wrote a column in ticklethewire.com in October titled: “Cowardly Anonymity, False Accusations, Betrayal, Lost Leadership and Tabloid News.”

The column in part read:

Don’t confuse my situation with the current upheaval in D.C. Mine is not a battle between Red versus Blue, nor He Said versus She Said, nor Accuser versus Accused.

Mine is a story of absurd and unfounded allegations, official leaks, a leadership vacuum, and tabloid press from a supposedly responsible news organization.

I find myself as the subject of a now-debunked anonymous and maliciously false letter which was sent to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

I was accused of engaging in the Colombian sex trade, i.e., soliciting prostitutes while serving as the DEA Regional Director. More specifically, the allegation stated that I directed my local staff to assist me in this despicable conduct.

I was not accused of this phantom behavior by anyone involved in the sex trade – no victims have accused me of any such abhorrent behavior – and let me be clear here, I fully recognize that the sex industry in Colombia has nothing but victims – usually young women with severe economic hardships or deplorable histories of sexual abuse at home during their adolescence.

 

Michael Flynn Faces Potential Prison Time Today When He Is Sentenced

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former national security director, Michael Flynn, will learn today whether he will be sent to prison for lying to the FBI.

The sentencing of Flynn comes just one day after unsealed court records showed two of his former associates have been charged with conspiracy to violate federal lobbying rules.

On Monday, prosecutors provided new details of how Flynn lied to federal investigator about conversations in December 2016  with Russian ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak. According to the documents, Flynn admitted he lied when he told the FBI that he had not urged Kislyak to restrain from escalating tension with the U.S. after the outgoing Obama administration imposed sanctions against Russia.

Flynn, who faces up to six months in prison, has urged for leniency, saying he cooperated with special counsel prosecutors who are investigating Russia and Trump’s campaign.