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FBI Agents Raid LA City Hall, LADWP Amid Corruption Probe

Los Angeles City Hall by Michael J Fromholtz.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents raided Los Angeles’ city hall and a public utility agency Monday amid a sweeping federal investigation into public corruption.

Agents served search warrants at city hall and the Department of Water and Power (LADWP) on Monday morning, The Los Angeles Times reports.

The search warrants were under a sealed affidavit, and federal authorities declined to comment on the nature of the investigation.

No one was arrested as of Monday night.

The raid comes amid a sweep FBI investigation into city hall that involved foreign investments in Los Aneles real estate. Two councilmen and other high-level officials have been named in that investigation.

“We were notified earlier this morning that federal search warrants were being executed today,” a spokesman for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. “The mayor’s expectation is that any city employee who is asked to cooperate will do so fully and immediately.”

Eli Miranda Named Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Honolulu Field Office

FBI Special Agent Eli Miranda

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Eli S. Miranda, an 18-year veteran of the FBI, has been named as special agent in charge of the FBI’s Honolulu Field Office.

Miranda, who most recently served as the director of the High-Value Detainee Group, joined the FBI as a special agent in 2001, getting assigned to the San Juan Field Office in Puerto Rico.

In 2013, Miranda received the FBI Director’s Award for Distinguished Service to the Law Enforcement Community.

After moving to the Tampa Field Office in Florida, Miranda investigated organized crime, drugs, money laundering, terrorism and counterintelligence.

Miranda was promoted to director of the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group at FBI headquarters in 2016.

Before joining the FBI, Miranda served in the U.S. Army and then in law enforcement in Florida.
Miranda attended Troy State University in Alabama, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in management and a master’s degree in public administration.

Schiff Says DOJ Should Reopen Hush-Money Case After Trump Leaves Office

Rep. Adam Schiff on “Face the Nation”

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump has dodged potential charges in at least two cases because of the Justice Department’s position that a sitting president can’t be indicted.

But what happens after Trump leaves office is an open question.

On Sunday, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said on “Face the Nation” that he believes the 2016 hush-money case to silence two women “will be reopened when he leaves office provided that the statute of imitations has not run, and the Justice Department will have to weigh whether to indict a former president.”

The case involves payments made to women who said they had affairs with Trump.

“From my point of view, if the evidence supports that, he should be indicted,” Schiff said. “And it’s certainly the view of the Justice Department, that’s reflected in that indictment, that Donald Trump was the one who coordinated and directed that illegal scheme.”

What to Expect from Mueller’s Testimony Before Congress This Week

Special counsel Robert Mueller Mueller.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Robert Mueller, the special counsel who investigated Russian election interference, will testify before two U.S. House committees on Wednesday.

Mueller reluctantly agreed to testify after Democrats issued a subpoena.

So what should Americans expect?

Democrats are hoping Mueller’s testimony will provide new and compelling evidence against Trump. Republicans plan to excoriate Mueller over what they consider FBI bias against the president.

If history is any indication, Mueller will be factual, dispassionate and nonpartisan.

Mueller has already said that everything he knows about the investigation is inside his 448-page report. So it’s unlikely Democrats will get dramatic, new testimony.

Mueller has repeatedly said he found no evidence that Trump colluded with Russia. But Mueller’s report makes clear that Trump may have obstructed justice and that the special counsel did not pursue charges against the president because of the Justice Department’s position that sitting presidents cannot be indicted.

On Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said on Face the Nation that he plans make clear to Americans that there’s “a pretty damning set of facts that involve a presidential campaign in a close race welcoming help from a hostile foreign power.”

“Who better to bring them to life than the man who did the investigation himself?” Schiff asked.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The FBI Agent Who Turned Out to Be A Spy

DOJ’s Opinion That Presidents Cannot Be Indicted Factored into Hush-Money Probe

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s opinion that a sitting president cannot be charged played a role in federal prosecutors’ decision to end the hush-money investigation, the USA Today reports, citing a person familiar with the situation.

It had previously been unclear why the Justice Department closed its investigation into hush money to women who had accused Trump of having sex with them.

Prosecutors have alleged the hush money violated campaign-finance law.

The DOJ’s opinion also factored into special counsel Robert Mueller’s decision to not pursue charges against the president.

Border Patrol Agent Accused of Sexually Harassing Woman Whose Son Was in Custody

Via CBP

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

An undocumented Guatemalan woman in California alleges that a Border Patrol agent sexually harassed her while she was awaiting news about her 12-year-old son being held in custody at a detention center, The Washington Post reports.

In a complaint against CBP, the 48-year-old woman says the agent exploited her vulnerability and began conversing with her on Facebook. But instead of learning more about her son’s situation, she said the agent forced her to watch him masturbate.

Her 12-year-old son was captured trying to cross the border in April, hoping to reunite with his mother, who was working as a housekeeper and sending money back to her family. The boy was placed in custody at a Border Patrol station in Clinton, Texas, where agents contacted the mother to tell her about her son.

That’s when the mother came into contact with the Border Patrol agent.
Here’s how the Post described a 25-minute Facebook Messenger chat:

The man appeared to be lying on a bed, with the camera aimed at the lower half of his body. She could see his dark brown shorts, legs and bare feet.

She thought it strange and asked to see his face. He flashed the camera upward for a moment before settling it again on his shorts.

He told her about his family life, a failed relationship, how he attended church. Then he asked whether she was single.

She demurred … He asked her whether there were people nearby.

When she said there were not, he slipped his hand inside his shorts and appeared to start masturbating, she said.

“‘Look at me. Look at me,’ ” she remembered him pleading when she looked away. “ ‘Do you like it?’ ”

At that point, she said her phone died. Afraid the agent would retaliate against her son, she reached out to an immigration legal-aid group, which filed her complaint with CBP.

The boy said the agent was cruel and threatening. He said the agent told children they would “regret coming to this country.” He described unsanitary, overcrowded and inhumane conditions.

Sen. Schumer Calls on FBI to Investigate FaceApp over National Security ‘Concerns’

FaceApp

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urged the FBI to investigate the popular, Russian-developed FaceApp over “concerns” that it “could pose national security and privacy risks for millions of US citizens.”

“FaceApp’s location in Russia raises questions regarding how and when the company provides access to the data of US citizens to third parties, including potentially foreign government,” Schumer wrote in a letter to the FBI and Federal Trade Commission.

He added, “Russia remains a significant counterintelligence threat.”

The app, which was the most popular free app in the Apple Store this week, provides a photo filter that transforms features of any face, like making users look younger or older.

Schumer called on the FBI to assess whether the data and images used by the app could find “its way into the hands of the Russian government.”

“It would be deeply troubling if the sensitive personal information of U.S. citizens was provided to a hostile foreign power actively engaged in cyber hostilities against the United States,” Schumer wrote.

The FaceApp’s terms of service grants the company permission to use people’s voice, name and photos for commercial purposes, even after it’s deleted.