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Archive for April 3rd, 2019

Three Democratic Senators Want FBI to Evaluate National Security Risks at Mar-a-Lago

Mar-a-Lago (Facebook photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Three Democratic senators want the FBI to evaluate the national security risks at Mar-a-Lago in wake of the recent arrest there of a Chinese national,  Mother Jones reports.

Yujing Zhang had allegedly gained entry to Donald Trump’s private resort while carrying electronics that included a thumb drive containing malware.

“This latest incident raises very serious questions regarding security vulnerabilities at Mar-a-Lago, which foreign intelligence services have reportedly targeted,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote in a letter Wednesday to FBI Director Christopher Wray. “The apparent ease with which Ms. Zhang gained access to the facility during the President’s weekend visit raises concerns about the system for screening visitors, including the reliance on determinations made by Mar-a-Lago employees.”

Mueller’s Investigators Tell Associates Report More Troubling Than Barr Portrayed

AG William Barr

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

And so the plot thickens.

Some of Robert S. Mueller III’s investigators have told associates that the findings in the Mueller report were more troubling than Attorney General William P. Barr let on in his summary, the New York Times reports.

That revelation will only emboldened Democrats in Congress to push Barr to provide them with an unredacted version of the report.

The Times goes on to write:

At stake in the dispute — the first evidence of tension between Mr. Barr and the special counsel’s office — is who shapes the public’s initial understanding of one of the most consequential government investigations in American history. Some members of Mr. Mueller’s team are concerned that, because Mr. Barr created the first narrative of the special counsel’s findings, Americans’ views will have hardened before the investigation’s conclusions become public.

 

Thomas Brandon, ATF’s Top Official, Retiring

Acting head of ATF Thomas Brandon.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Thomas Brandon, who led ATF since 2015, is retiring, the website The Trace reports.  Brandon will step down on April 30.

“Deputy Director Brandon has faithfully served ATF for 30 years, starting as a Special Agent in 1989,” ATF spokesperson Bradley Engelbert said in an emailed statement to the new site. “He has earned his retirement.”

Brandon, a career agent,  filled the top spot but never nominated as director. So, at some point, even though he remained the top official, he was given the title of deputy director.

No replacement has been named. Last November, Politico reported that Chuck Canterbury, the head of the Fraternal Order of Police, was being considered for the position.

Who Was the Mysterious Chinese Woman at Mar-a-Lago?

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service says a Chinese woman carrying four cell phones, a laptop computer, an external hard drive, and a thumb drive containing malware tried to get into President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort Saturday while the president was golfing nearby, NBC reports.

The Secret Service issued a statement Tuesday night:

“The Secret Service does not determine who is invited or welcome at Mar-a-Lago; this is the responsibility of the host entity,” the agency said in a statement. “The Mar-a-Lago club management determines which members and guests are granted access to the property. This access does not afford an individual proximity to the President or other Secret Service protectees.”

Comey Says To Give Barr Benefit of the Doubt, But Questions His Call on Obstruction

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey said Tuesday that Attorney General William Barr deserves “the benefit of the doubt,” but questioned Barr’s decision on whether President Donald Trump had committed obstruction of justice.

“Bill Barr, our attorney general, deserves the benefit of the doubt,” Comey told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

“Give him a chance to show us what he feels like he can’t show us. I have to imagine that former (FBI Director Robert) Mueller wrote the report with an eye towards it being public some day, so I can’t imagine a lot needs to be cut out of it. But let’s wait and see. The attorney general deserves that chance.”

But on the obstruction issue, he said:

“The attorney general’s letter doesn’t make sense in light of my experience,” Comey said. “Thousands of people are prosecuted in this country every year for trying to obstruct an investigation where the underlying thing that was being investigated doesn’t end up proven.”