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Archive for January 8th, 2019

Russian in Trump Tower Meeting Charged in Case That Reveals Close Ties to Kremlin

Trump Tower

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Russian lawyer who met with top Trump campaign aides at Trump Tower in 2016 was charged Tuesday in a money-laundering case that reveals her close ties to the Kremlin.

Federal prosecutors in New York charged Natalia V. Veselnitskaya with obstruction of justice in a U.S. money-laundering case involving Yury Chaika, a wealthy Russian businessman connected to the Trump Tower meeting, The New York Times and Guardian report.

The June 2016 meeting was prompted by a representative close to the Kremlin who told Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., that Chaika could provide incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.

The meeting has become a focus of Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into possible collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election. Attending the meeting were top campaign aides, Trump Jr., Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, who has been convicted of crimes in unrelated cases.

Although the case against Veselnitskaya is unrelated to the Trump Tower meeting, the indictment reveals how closely she is connected to the Russian government.

DEA Agent Accused of Helping Drug Cartel Was Denied Bond Because of ‘Double Life’

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A former police officer accused of joining the DEA so he could protect a Puerto Rican drug cartel was ordered to stay behind bars Monday until his September trial.

DEA Agent Fernando Gomez, who worked in the Chicago field office, was arrested in December and charged with racketeering conspiracy for his alleged decade-long affiliation with the Organizacion de Narcotraficantes Unidos. The gang, which imported vast shipments of cocaine into the U.S., was accused in the indictment of participating in at least eight drug-related killings in New York and Puerto Rico.

Manhattan federal Judge Jesse Furman denied bail to Gomez, saying he was a flight risk because he lived double lives for decades, New York Post reports.

“It raises in my mind an extraordinary level of deviousness,” Furman said.

Gomez is accused of helping the gang beginning in 2006 when he was a detective with the city of Evanston.

Trump’s Shutdown Endangers Airport Safety As Unpaid TSA Screeners Call in Sick, Quit

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump said the government shutdown could last months or even years because border protection is so important.

But what about airline safety?

In the first weeks of the shutdown, protection at U.S. airport has been compromised because TSA screeners are calling in sick – and some are quitting – because they can’t afford to work without a paycheck.

The agency’s 51,739 screeners are required to work during the shutdown because their services – screening bags and passengers for weapons – are considered essential.

But with no assurances of getting paid until the shutdown is over, a growing number of screeners have called in sick.

Airports are increasingly concerned about airport safety and disruptions.

“We’re concerned that a prolonged government shutdown could potentially impact security and wait times at airports,” Christopher Bidwell, a senior vice president for security at the Airports Council International-North America in Washington, told Time.

During previous government shutdowns, Congress made sure that federal employees who are forced to work are paid. That has happened yet.

Under normal circumstances, screeners would get paid this Friday. If they don’t, airports are bracing for long wait times, disturbances and potential threats to airlines and passengers.