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Archive for June, 2019

Weekend Series on Crime History: Nixon Finds out FBI’s Mark Felt is Deep Throat

Trump Profits from Secret Service Agents Who Protect Him

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump is profiting from the Secret Service agents who protect him.

In his first year as president, the Secret Service was charged more than $200,000 for using the Trump International Hotel, which is just five blocks from the White House, according to documents obtained by NBC.

One of the bills exceeded $30,000 for just two days of use by the Secret Service.

The Secret Service declined to discuss the bills.

Some critics have claimed Trump has violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which makes it illegal for federal officials to accept benefits from foreign or state governments without congressional approval.

Trump’s financial disclosure forms show his hotel generated more than $40.8 million in revenue in 2018, compared to $40.4 million in 2017.

Mark Morgan Promoted to Replace Sanders as CBP Head

Mark Morgan will head CBP.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Acting ICE Director Mark Morgan will replace John Sanders as head of Customs and Border Protection.

Sanders resigned from ICE earlier this week following growing criticism of the deplorable conditions reported at border facilities.

Morgan had previously served as chief of Border Patrol before taking over as head of ICE in May.

“I am confident he will bring the same commitment to the agency as it continues to navigate the current humanitarian and operational crisis,” Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said in a statement.

ICE will promote Matthew Albence , deputy director of the agency’s deportation operations, to replace Morgan.

“Assuming the role of Acting Director of ICE is Matthew T. Albence, who has been performing the duties of the agency’s Deputy Director since August 2018. Mr. Albence brings years of experience, as he’s held a number of key positions within the ICE domain,” McAleenan said in a statement.

Albence faced criticism last year when he told a congressional committee that family detention centers are “more like summer camp” than jail.

Since Albence and Morgan will appointed, rather than nominated, they will not have to be confirmed by the Senate.

FBI Training Academy Under Fire over ‘Disturbing’ Claims of Gender Discrimination

FBI academy, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

House Judiciary Committee leaders are requesting the Justice Department’s internal watchdog investigate the FBI’s training academy after 16 women accused the bureau of gender discrimination.

The women claimed in a lawsuit filed last month that they were disproportionately disciplined and were subjected to a male-biased review process and overt sexual discrimination at the academy in Quantico, Va.

Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and ranking Republican Douglas Collins, R-Ga., sent a letter to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, saying the allegations were “disturbing” and “require an investigation into the FBI’s training and selection practices for new agents,” The Washington Post reports.

“If true, such conduct cannot be tolerated,” the lawmakers wrote. “The selection process employed by the FBI must be free from discrimination on the basis of factors such as gender and race, and individuals hired to these important positions should reflect the diversity of our country.”

Horowitz’s office declined to comment.

According to the lawsuit, the women were discharged, but seven still work at the FBI in other capacities.

“Because of the FBI’s history of tolerating the Good Old Boy Network, the subjective evaluations by these male instructors result in female trainees being written up and subsequently dismissed at a rate significantly and disproportionately higher than their male counterparts,” the lawsuit alleges.

FBI’s Ex-Top Lawyer Blasts Trump for Claiming Mueller Broke the Law without Evidence

President Trump

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s former top lawyer blasted President Trump for claiming without evidence that Robert Mueller committed a crime by deleting text messages between two FBI employees.

James Baker, who was the FBI’s general counsel during the Russia investigation, said Trump’s accusations were “unacceptable.”

“Accusing Americans of crimes without a factual basis and having him just pronounce this is just unacceptable,” Baker said on CNN. “If the president thinks that Robert Mueller committed a crime, then he should direct the attorney general to conduct an investigation and then not talk about it.”

The accusations come less than 24 hours after Mueller agreed to testify before two House committees. Mueller was reluctant but said he would after receiving subpoenas.

“Mueller terminated them illegally. He terminated all of the emails,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business. “Robert Mueller terminated their text messages together. He terminated them. They’re gone. And that’s illegal. That’s a crime.”

Trump was referring to text messages between former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who were involved in a romantic relationship and swapped disparaging remarks about the president.

Insider points out that thousands of those text messages were released last year by the Justice Department’s Inspector General. A technical glitch resulted in an additional 19,000 text messages being erased.

Secret Service Detained Cocktail Employee Accused of Spitting on Eric Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service briefly detained a Chicago cocktail bar employee accused of spitting on the face of President Trump’s son, Eric Trump, on Tuesday evening.

Trump’s middle son told the far-right publication Breitbart News that a female employee at The Aviary spat on him because “we’re winning.”

“It was purely a disgusting act by somebody who clearly has emotional problems,” Trump, executive vice president of his family’s real estate firm, The Trump Organization, told Breitbart.

The 35-year-old who often echos his dad’s rhetoric then blamed the Democratic Party.

“For a party that preaches tolerance, this once again demonstrates they have very little civility. When somebody is sick enough to resort to spitting on someone, it just emphasizes a sickness and desperation and the fact that we’re winning.”

The Secret Service declined to comment to news agencies Tuesday night.

Bretibart reported that the Secret Service questioned the employee before releasing her because Eric Trump had declined to press charges.

Reluctant Mueller to Testify Before House Committees; Trump Declares ‘Presidential Harassment’

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former special counsel Robert Mueller has reluctantly agreed to testify in open session before Congress on July 17.

Mueller will appear before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees after being issued a subpoena to discuss the Russia investigation.

Mueller undoubtedly will be questioned about evidence that President Trump obstructed justice. In his final report, Mueller documented 10 instances of Trump trying to thwart the investigation. But Mueller did not conclude whether the president’s actions amounted to a crime, citing a Justice Department policy preventing the indictment of a sitting president.

The decision to press forward belongs to Congress.

Last month, Mueller insisted he would not testify.

“Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report,” Mueller said on May 29. “It contains our findings and analysis, and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself. The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.”

In a letter to Mueller on Tuesday, Reps. Jarrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chairman of the committees, addressed the special counsel’s reluctance to testify.

“The American public deserves to hear directly from you about your investigation and conclusions,” the chairmen wrote. “We will work with you to address legitimate concerns about preserving the integrity of your work, but we expect that you will appear before our committees as scheduled.”

After the announcement of Mueller’s plans to testify, Trump tweeted, “Presidential Harassment.”

The hearings could accelerate impeachment proceedings in the House.

Controversy Surfaces in Wake of FBI Officials Attending Dodgers’ Playoff Game

Dodger Stadium (deposit photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some FBI agents in the Los Angeles division have been bothered by allegations that top brass attended a Dodgers playoff game last Fall for free while the team was under federal investigation, the website, True Pundit reports.

A source confirms to ticklethewire.com that some agents were concerned about the appearance of a conflict, and said the top brass in question included three special agents in charge in the LA division– Matthew Moon, Voviette Morgan and Stephen Woolery. Other members of the FBI LA office were also there.

The matter has been the subject of a probe by the Office of Inspector General, which on Wednesday morning declined comment. The Los Angeles FBI also declined comment on Tuesday.

Top management was supposedly at the game to get briefed by law enforcement and security personal at Dodger Stadium.  One question is whether they stayed afterwards to watch the game and enjoy complimentary food, one person said.

“There were agents who were assigned to the game for special events, so the SACs (special agents in charge) had no business being there — or maybe one,” said the source who talked about agents’ concerns. “They just took advantage of the situation.”

The source went on to say that FBI management has been quick to go after agents for “unsubstantiated allegations, but they seem to be immune to the rules they’re enforcing. ”

Last October, Sports Illustrated reported that the U.S. Department of Justice had launched “a sweeping probe” into possible corruption tied to the recruitment of international players, centered on potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The Dodgers figured prominently in the probe, which is not being overseen by the LA FBI office.

The magazine also reported that multiple alleged victims of smuggling and human trafficking operations have already  given evidence to law enforcement agents or testified before a federal grand jury.

In its report, the publication, True Pundit, erroneously reported that the game in question was during the World Series. It was a post-season game, but not the World Series. Some other facts in the story were also suspect including allegations that the officials “racked up” a massive tab in freebies running into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Lawrence Berger, a New York Attorney representing the top brass in the Los Angeles FBI, tells ticklethewire.com “there’s no truth to any of the allegations in the publication. I understand the Office of Inspector General has reviewed the story and agrees that there’s nothing factual in that. But they haven’t yet issued a report.”

Sports Illustrated cited a “thick dossier of documentation”  that was provided to the FBI at the beginning of the probe and that the “Los Angeles Dodgers, a franchise with extensive scouting and development operations in the Caribbean, figure most prominently in the dossier.”

Sports Illustrated went on to report:

 Internal communications by the Dodgers show concerns about what team officials called a “mafia” entrenched in their operations in the Caribbean and Venezuela, including a key employee who dealt “with the agents and buscones” and was “unbelievably corrupt.” Other personnel were suspected of being tied to “altered books” or “shady dealings,” according to the documents.