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Archive for October 25th, 2019

Jeh Johnson: Trump’s Obsession with Immigration Is Undermining Homeland Security’s Focus

Former Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Few people understand the threats facing the U.S. better than Jeh Johnson, who served as secretary of Homeland Security from December 2013 to January 2017.

After his departure, President Trump has been unable to hold onto a Homeland Security secretary. His fourth secretary, Kevin McAleenan, is resigning at the end of the month.

In op-ed in the Washington Post, Johnson says there are two threats that “would keep him up at night:” The resurgence of ISIS is Syria, and Russia’s ongoing campaign to meddle in U.S. elections.

“Particularly in the current threat environment, our nation cannot afford a continued string of temporary, acting secretaries promoted from within the ranks of DHS to, as some would have it, simply receive and transmit orders from the White House,” Johnson wrote. “The job is one of the most complex and critical in the U.S. government.”

In Johnson’s view, Trump’s Homeland Security secretaries have been an “instrument for hammering the administration’s hard-line views on immigration,” while losing focus on “counterterrorism, cybersecurity, aviation security, maritime security, port security, the physical protection of our national leaders and U.S. government buildings, the detection of chemical, biological and nuclear threats to the homeland and the response to natural disasters.”

On Tuesday, former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen complained that Trump wanted things his way – and he could not take no for an answer.

Immigration hardliners were hoping Trump would appoint Mark Morgan, acting CBP commissioner, or Ken Cuccinelli, acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Turns out, they are ineligible by a federal law governing agency succession.

“The president should resist the temptation to nominate a pronounced hard-liner on immigration who will be a lightning rod to lead a Cabinet department already in the thick of political storms,” Johnson wrote.

His advice: “Fill the job with someone well qualified, and fill it soon, Mr. President. A president who leaves the job vacant for too long is neglecting his own duty to defend the homeland and keep the American people safe.”

DOJ’s Review of the Origins of the Trump Investigation Evolves into Criminal Probe

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump has long claimed, with no evidence, that the Russia investigation was a hoax and a “witch hunt.”

Now, two years later, the Justice Department’s inquiry into the origins of the probe has evolved into a criminal investigation.

Attorney General William Barr has turned over the investigation to John H. Durham, who will serve as the prosecutor with subpoena power over testimony and documents and the power to convene a grand jury, The New York Times reports.

In other words, the Justice Department is investigating itself over what Democrats say is unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

Durham, a longtime prosecutor known for investigating CIA torture, will determine whether intelligence and law enforcement agencies acted within the law when they investigated possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Barr’s review of the Russia investigation began in May, when Barr said he had discussions with intelligence and law enforcement officials that led him to question the legitimacy of the investigation. At one point, Barr even described law enforcement’s actions as “spying” on the Trump campaign.

In an interview with Fox News in May, Barr said he had been pursuing questions about whether “government officials abused their power and put their thumb on the scale” to investigate the Russia link.

Since then, no credible evidence has been made public to suggest law enforcement acted inappropriately in investigating Trump’s campaign.