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House Dems Ask DOJ to Reveal Records That Show Anti-Clinton Bias

    U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Top Congressional Democrats are urging the Justice Department to disclose documents that would reveal evidence that the FBI is engaged in “political bias or personal animus.”

The move comes as Republicans try to discredit the special counsel investigation into possible collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia during the presidential election.

In a letter to the Justice Department, senior Democrats on the Judiciary and Oversight committees are urging the DOJ to provide records about possible FBI leaks during the bureau’s probe of Clinton’s private email server.

“Our committees are now engaged in an investigation of allegations of politically-motivated misconduct at the FBI,” the letter reads. “We have had similar concerns for some time.”

The Democrats continued: “The facts point to a coordinated effort by some in the FBI to change the course of the Clinton investigation by leaking sensitive information to the public, and by threatening to leak additional information after the investigation was closed.”

The committee members also are requesting documents that would reveal whether the feds shared any information about the Clinton probe with Trump’s campaign.

Did Trump Instruct Flynn to Lie about Contacts with Russia?

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The special counsel team investigating possible collusion between Donald Trump and Russia appears to be focusing on whether the president instructed National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to lie to the FBI.

The bombshell revelation, tucked in the middle of an NBC News report, could spell serious trouble for the president if, in fact, he encouraged Flynn to lie to the FBI. Flynn has been charged with lying to the FBI about meeting with a Russian ambassador in December and is cooperating with the special counsel’s team.

Since it’s illegal to lie to the FBI, Trump could find himself in serious legal trouble for directing Flynn to be untruthful to the bureau.

Homeland Security Warned of Possible Terror Attack Days Before NYC Bombing

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just five days before a bungled New York City subway bombing, Homeland Security warned of the potential for an ISIS terrorist attack, possibly by a lone wolf.

“We assess there is currently an elevated threat of [homegrown] lone offender attacks by ISIS sympathizers, which is especially concerning because mobilized lone offenders present law enforcement with limited opportunities to detect and disrupt their plots,” according to Robin Taylor, acting deputy under secretary for intelligence operations at Homeland Security, the Washington Examiner reports

The warning, issued during a Senate hearing last week, followed evidence that ISIS and al Qaeda continue to have a strong presence on social media, where so-called lone wolfs are recruited in the U.S.

“We continue to monitor the evolving threat posed by ISIS. ISIS fighters’ battlefield experience in Syria and Iraq have armed it with advanced capabilities that most terrorist groups do not have,” Taylor told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chaired by Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson. “Even as the so-called ‘caliphate’ collapses, ISIS fighters retain their toxic ideology and a will to fight. We remain concerned that foreign fighters from the U.S. or elsewhere who have traveled to Syria and Iraq and radicalized to violence will ultimately return to the U.S. or their home country to conduct attacks.”

FBI Mulls Criminal Probe over Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research

Anti-Planned Parenthood rally. File photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is considering criminal investigations over the use of aborted fetus tissue in medical research at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and the Southwestern Women’s Options abortion clinic in Albuquerque.

The FBI is looking into a request by the Republican-led House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives to investigate Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, including the Southwestern Women’s Options in Albuquerque, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

“We can confirm that the Criminal Investigative Division of the FBI Headquarters has received this information, including the two referrals made to the New Mexico Attorney General regarding practices of the UNM HSC and SWO, and sent the materials to the relevant FBI field offices for review and any action deemed appropriate,” Steven E. Boyd, assistant attorney general for legislative affairs in Washington, wrote in a letter on Friday to Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M.

Pearce, who raised concerns about the use of fetal tissue research, said he was encouraged by the letter.

“I applaud today’s action by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to take up the criminal referrals in New Mexico regarding violations made by the University of New Mexico and the Southwestern Women’s Options,” Pearce wrote on his Facebook page. “Even more, DOJ will be investigating all fifteen criminal referrals that were sent out but not acted upon at the conclusion of the Select Panel’s investigation.”

Health Sciences Center spokeswoman Alex Sanchez said the organization is aware of the letter.

“The UNM Health Sciences Center has not been contacted by the FBI and only today became aware of the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs’ letter to Rep. Pearce,” Sanchez said. “As is our practice, if we are contacted, we will cooperate fully.”

Other Stories of Interest

What We Know about NYC Bombing Suspect Akayed Ullah

Bombing suspect Akayed Ullah.

The 27-year-old Bangladeshi immigrant accused of trying to detonate a crude pipe bomb in a New York City subway station Monday morning was inspired by ISIS to avenge the deaths of Muslims worldwide.

Authorities say Akayed Ullah, a former cab driver who lived in Brooklyn, used Velcro and zip ties to strap the bomb to his body during rush hour, NBC reports

The bomb, which was made from a pipe, 9-volt battery and Christmas tree lights, detonated at 7:20 a.m. in a pedestrian walkway, injuring the suspect and four commuters. On late Monday afternoon, Ullah was in serious condition. The commuters were not seriously injured.

FBI agents and NYPD cops raided three Brooklyn apartments connected to the suspect. The Joint Terrorism Task Force is searching for evidence, including phones, computers and bomb-making equipment, the New York Post reports.

According to numerous reports, Ullah arrived in the U.S. seven years ago from his native Bangladesh on an F4 Visa, which is for siblings of American citizens.

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said the bomb was “low-tech.”

Authorities believe Ullah acted alone, and so far there’s no evidence that he was in direct contact with ISIS.

“Apparently he went to the internet and downloaded information as to how to make a homemade bomb,” Cuomo said on CNN, adding that the suspect was “not really part of a sophisticated network.”

“They’re not people who come from overseas. They live here, they’re disgruntled, they go to the internet,” Cuomo said. “They find out how to download a device that can hurt and maim. And they implement it themselves on a low-tech basis. It’s very troubling.”

As expected, President Trump seized on the attack to ramp up his calls for an end to “chain migration” that enables immigrants to enter the country more easily if they have family living in the U.S.

“The President is certainly concerned that Congress, particularly Democrats, have failed to take action in some places where we feel we could have prevented this,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “Specifically, the President’s policy has called for an end to chain migration and if that had been in place, that would have prevented this individual from coming to the United States.”

Former FBI Agents Defend Mueller Probe As Trump Escalates Attacks

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI agents are defending the special counsel investigation amid escalating attacks by President Trump and other Republicans.

During a rally in Florida on Friday, Trump claimed the criminal justice system is “rigged” against him. Republicans echoed the conspiracy theories.

But former FBI agents told Business Insider that the attacks are “nonsense” designed to discredit a wide-ranging investigation that already has resulted in charges and convictions.

“There is a lot of anger in the FBI (the entire intelligence community, for that matter) over how this president will say nary a negative word about the Russians, but will insult us every chance he gets,” said Frank Montoya, Jr., a former FBI special agent who served as the Director of the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive.

Bombing Suspect in Custody After Explosion Near N.Y. Port Authority

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An explosion from an apparent pipe bomb detonated near the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City during rush hour Monday morning, and a suspect has been taken into custody.

The suspect is believed to be the only person injured when the blast occurred in an underground subway passage just 200 feet from the terminal at West 42nd and Eighth Ave., the New York Times reports

Authorities, who cautioned the information was preliminary, said the suspect appears to have acted alone. Investigators believe the device detonated prematurely.

The suspect was taken to Bellevue Hospital in serious condition.

Commuters were asked to avoid the area.

Check back for updates.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Notified Sessions He Wasn’t Required to Disclose Foreign Contacts While Senator

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before Congress about contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI informed an aide to Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he was not required to disclose foreign contacts while he was performing government duties when he was a senator, according to a newly released document first reported by CNN

The document bolsters the Justice Department’s explanation for why Sessions did not disclose his contacts with a Russian ambassador on security clearance forms. 

An unidentified FBI agent informed Sessions’ aide in an email that “he was not required to list foreign government contacts while in official government business unless he developed personal relationships from such contacts.”

Sessions failed to disclose his meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on his security clearance application form.