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Archive for February, 2019

Column: Signs of a Deep State or Just The FBI Doing Its Job?

Timothy L. O’Brien is the executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion.

Andrew McCabe

By Timothy O’Brien
Bloomberg

Andrew McCabe, who briefly served as acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the tumultuous months in 2017 after President Donald Trump fired James Comey, is making the rounds to promote his new book, “The Threat.”

Senior law enforcement officials putting their names to sensitive details of ongoing investigations – particularly ones as consequential and fraught as the current examination of the president’s intersection with Russia – is problematic. Going on tour is doubly ticklish. If G-Men are really dedicated to ensuring that justice is served and investigations are sacrosanct, then the public might expect them to remain behind the scenes until a probe runs its course.

To read the full column click here.

FBI Had Backup Plan to Protect Evidence in Russia Probe After Comey Firing

Former FBI Director James Comey on ABC’s 20/20.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Distrust.

The FBI had a backup plan to protect evidence in its Russia investigation shortly after FBI Director James Comey was fired, the Associated Press reports, citing “a person with knowledge of the discussions.”

The idea was to preserve evidence in case other FBI officials were fired as well.

The AP reports:

The plan was crafted in the chaotic days after Comey was fired, when the FBI began investigating whether President Donald Trump had obstructed justice and whether he might be, wittingly or not, in league with the Russians.

 

FBI Dismantling Unit that Investigates International War Crimes

Torture man with tide hands. Vertical. Warm light.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Human rights groups are concerned about this latest move by the FBI.

The agency  is dismantling a special unit that investigates international war crimes and hunts down war criminals, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting has learned.

Reveal goes on to report:

The unit, which was created a decade ago and has its roots in federal efforts to hunt down Nazis living in the United States after World War II, has had a hand in many high-profile prosecutions…

In a statement, the FBI confirmed the shuttering of the war crimes unit but argued its dissolution “in no way reflects a reduced commitment by the FBI” to enforce human rights law. The agents previously dedicated to human rights work will continue that work as members of the FBI’s civil rights program, the agency said.

But the move could run afoul of Congress, which mandated the unit’s establishment and funds its work every year as part of the FBI’s budget. Sources tell Reveal that most of the agents previously dedicated to human rights likely will now be assigned to other jobs and worry that perpetrators of torture and genocide will be free to act with impunity.

Rod Rosenstein Plans to Step Down From Justice Next Month

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifying before a House committee in December 2017.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has weathered some pretty rocky times at the Justice Department,  is expected to step down in mid-March, CNN reports, citing a Justice Department official.

The official disputed any suggestion that the timing has something to do with the latest revelations from former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who claims that Rosenstein volunteered to wear a wire when meeting with President Trump.

CNN has reported that Attorney General Bill Barr has selected Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rosenstein.

The Weiner is Released From Prison

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner, whose misbehavior on social media landed him behind bars,  has been been released from federal prison and is serving out the rest of his sentence in a halfway house, CNN reports.

Weiner was sentenced in 2017 to 21 months in federal prison for sexting with a minor. He served about 15 months before he was transferred to a residential re-entry center in Brooklyn, New York.
In October, Weiner got three months sliced off his time for good behavior, making him eligible for release from the system on May 14.

Ex-FBI Official Andrew McCabe: Crime May Have Been Committed When Trump Fired Comey; Sen. Graham Talks Of Investigation

Andrew McCabe

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s interview on 60 Minutes on Sunday has stirred up dust inside the Beltway and beyond including talk of a Senate investigation.

McCabe, who was fired by the Trump administration, said that a “crime may have been committed” when President Donald Trump fired the head of the FBI and tried to publicly undermine an investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia, the Associated Press reports.

McCabe also said  the FBI had good reason to open a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was in cahoots with Russia and posed a security threat after he fired FBI Director James Comey.

“And the idea is, if the president committed obstruction of justice, fired the director of the of the FBI to negatively impact or to shut down our investigation of Russia’s malign activity and possibly in support of his campaign, as a counterintelligence investigator you have to ask yourself, “Why would a president of the United States do that?” McCabe said.

“So all those same sorts of facts cause us to wonder is there an inappropriate relationship, a connection between this president and our most fearsome enemy, the government of Russia?”

Meanwhile,  Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, vowed on Sunday to investigate whether the top officials at the Justice Department and the F.B.I. plotted an “attempted bureaucratic coup” to remove President Trump from office. He said he would subpoena the former F.B.I. director and the deputy attorney general if necessary, the New York Times reports.

Graham was responding to the  interview in which  McCabe, confirmed an earlier New York Times report that the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, had suggested wearing a wire in meetings with Mr. Trump and that Justice Department officials had discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendmentto remove Mr. Trump from office, the Times reports.

Mr. Rosenstein has disputed the account.

Weekend Series on Crime: Most Violent Motorcycle Gang in America

Poll Shows More Find Robert Mueller Credible Than President Trump

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Americans see Robert S. Mueller III as  being far more credible than President Trump, but the public has scattered and partisan perceptions of Mueller’s motives and findings so far, a new Washington Post-Schar School poll reveals.

The Post reports that by a 56 to 33 percent margin, more say they trust Mueller’s version of the facts than Trump’s.

Nearly two years into his investigation, Mueller has charged 34 people and secured guilty pleas from some of Trump’s closest advisers, including his former campaign chairman, deputy campaign chairman, national security adviser and personal lawyer, the Post notes.