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Happy MLK Day from ticklethewire.com

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”  Martin Luther King Jr.

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“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King Jr.

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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” –Martin Luther King, Jr


Weekend Series on Crime History: The Watergate Hearings

Government Shutdown Is Stymying Investigations by Federal Agents And Lowering Morale

Border Patrol agent makes an arrest. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, DEA, ATF and Customs and Border Protection are finding that the government shutdown is stymying ongoing investigations.

Many law enforcement officials are being denied travel and money to pay informants involving investigations because there is a lack of available cash, The Washington Post reports.

“The lack of funding is impacting agents’ ability to travel to forward their cases,” said Thomas O’Connor, president of the FBI Agents Association. “As we go forward, those funds are not going to be available and in some cases are not available now.”

Low morale also is a factor. Federal law enforcement employees are considered essential and must work without a paycheck. The stress of financial problems at home can affect their work performance, law enforcement officials said.

“My biggest concern is there’s going to be an agent who is not going to be focused on his job,” Nathan Catura, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said. “He’s going to be out on the street doing some enforcement of something, and he’s going to get hurt. Heaven forbid there’s an agent who gets killed because his mind isn’t on the job.”

Catura added: “Other law enforcement people I continue to speak to, they share the same concerns. The longer this drags out, the more I’m concerned that something’s going to happen.”

Updated: Trump Directed Cohen to Obstruct Probe by Lying to Congress about Trump Tower in Russia

Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Trump.

Update: 1:11 p.m. Saturday — The Office of the Special Counsel disputed the BuzzFeed report, and issued the following statement:

“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony are not accurate,” said Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller.

BuzzFeed responded by saying that it stands by its story and asked the Office of Special Counsel to clarify what in its report is inaccurate.

_________________________

Report from Friday.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump told his long-time attorney and fixer Michael Cohen lie to Congress about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to a bombshell report by BuzzFeed.

If true, Trump and his attorneys would have a hard time arguing the president didn’t attempt to obstruct justice.

But it gets worse for Trump. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has learned that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress “through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents,” BuzzFeed reports, citing two federal law enforcement sources involved in the investigation of what happened during and after the 2016 presidential election.    

It’s likely the most damning public finding yet against the president, who continues to insist the Mueller investigation is a “witch hunt.”

While Trump repeatedly told the public he had no business projects in Russia, he supported a plan for Cohen to visit the country during the presidential campaign and even personally meet with President Putin to get the Trump Tower moving, according to the sources.

“Make it happen,” Trump allegedly told Cohen.

According to BuzzFeed sources, Cohen received help preparing his testimony from attorneys close to the administration. Whether the attorneys knew Cohen planned to lie wasn’t not immediately clear.

After his testimony, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress.

Seven Years of FBI Records Exposed in Massive Government Data Leak

FBI cyber crime agents, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A massive data leak exposed millions of sensitive files, including records of FBI investigations, emails and bank transaction histories.

Three terabytes of unprotected data from the Oklahoma Securities Commission was available to anyone with the internet because they contained no passwords, Forbes reports.

“It represents a compromise of the entire integrity of the Oklahoma department of securities’ network,” said Chris Vickery, head of research at UpGuard, which discovered the leak. “It affects an entire state level agency. … It’s massively noteworthy.”

Vickery said “all sorts of archive enforcement actions” from the FBI were exposed.

Included was detailed information on subjects and witnesses of FBI investigations over the past seven years.

Trump Attorney Rudy Giuliani Flip-Flops on Question about Collusion with Russia

Rudy Giuliani previously on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is now claiming he “never said” the Trump campaign didn’t collude with Russia.

In an extraordinary interview on CNN on Wednesday night, Giuliani acknowledged there may have been “collusion” between the campaign and Russia, but Trump was not involved.

“I never said there was no collusion between the campaign. Or between people in the campaign,” Giuliani told CNN host Chris Cuomo on live television. “I have no idea.”

Truth is, Giuliani and Trump have both denied collusion.

“I have not,” Giuliani insisted. “I said the president of the United States. There is not a single bit of evidence the president of the United States committed the only crime you could commit here, conspired with the Russians to hack the DNC.”

In previous interviews, Giuliani denied anyone in the campaign colluded with Russia. He told Fox News in July that there was “no collusion” and then maintained that “collusion is not a crime.”

Trump has repeatedly insisted no one in his campaign colluded with Russia.

“There was nobody to collude with,” Trump said at a press conference with Vladimir Putin at his side last summer. “There was no collusion with the campaign.”

In previous tweets, including one as recent as December, Trump exclaimed, “No collusion!”

Giuliani’s latest rhetoric comes as Robert Mueller begins collecting more evidence of links between Trump, his campaign and Russia.

Last week, a court filing error by Paul Manafort’s attorneys showed that Manafort, Trump’s former champaign boss, met with Russian-linked operative named Konstantin Kilmnik and shared polling data with him. At one point, Manafort urged Kilimnik to pass the data to Russian oligarch Oleg V. Deripaska, according to the court filing.

Right-Wing Media Gets Whackier, Calling for Abolishment of FBI

Fox News’ Sean Hannity interviews President Trump, via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s most stubborn defenders in the right-wing media have taken their attacks on the FBI to another whacky level.

Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett called for scrapping the FBI because, he insisted, it’s part of a deep state conspiracy to bring down the president.

“This is an all-powerful, out of control agency,” Jarrett said on Sean Hannity’s show Monday. “Rogue agency. And frankly, it’s time that it be halted in its tracks and reorganized and replaced with a new organization that has legal restraints imposed upon it and accountable to somebody. When the boss of the FBI Rod Rosenstein is in bed with his subordinates, inventing a counter-intelligence case against the President with no probable cause, no reasonable suspicion, no credible evidence. It is time that the FBI be halted.”

Fox legal analyst Gregg Jarrett just called for the FBI to be disbanded over reports that they are investigating Trump

“Frankly, it’s time that it be halted in its tracks, reorganized and replaced” pic.twitter.com/szhaOSLOve

— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) January 15, 2019

A day earlier, Joel Pollak from the far right-wing site Breitbart, wrote that it’s “time to scrap the FBI and start over fresh with a reorganized agency under a new name and with an improved commitment to neutrality and accountability.”

Never mind that most of the top FBI officials who have been accused of a running a rogue bureau are lifelong Republicans. Or that fired FBI Director James Comey may have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency by suggesting he was reopening the investigation into her email server just days before the election.

The accusations and suggestions have gotten so bizarre and devoid of evidence that some Republicans are speaking out against the feverish right-wing media.

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, of Tennessee, recently said Trump has ushered in the “tyranny of the right-wing media” and must be stopped before propaganda replaces facts.

Not So Fast! Mueller Signals Investigation of Russian Meddling Is Far from Over

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

It appears special counsel Robert Mueller is not ready to close his 20-month investigation into Russia’s election interference.

A judge Tuesday agreed to delay the sentencing of former Trump campaign official Rick Gates because he “continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations,” according to a joint statement by his defense attorneys and Mueller’s team.

Gates, whose attorneys asked for a two-month delay, is a key witness in investigations involving the Trump campaign and inauguration.

In another development reported by ABC News, Mueller’s team has subpoenaed three new witnesses connected to Jerome Corsi, a Roger Stone associate and the former Washington D.C. bureau chief for the far right-wing internet site Infowars. They will be required to testify before a grand jury about Russian election meddling.

Mueller was said to be preparing a final report to the Justice Department about his findings in the investigation. But the latest developments indicate Mueller’s team is far from done and is aggressively pursuing several different cases related to Russian interference.