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Weekend Series on Law Enforcement History: Nixon, Watergate Firings and Elliot Richardson

FBI Recreated Decoy Heads Used in Notorious Prison Escape from Alcatraz Island

The original decoy heads.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI has refashioned decoy heads used by inmates in a notorious prison escape from Alcatraz Island more than a half century ago.

The fake heads, which took months for three convicts to make, were placed in their beds before they climbed to the roof and escaped from the island prison in the San Francisco Bay.

Inmates Frank Morris and John and Clarence Anglin slipped into the frigid water and were never seen again.

The daring escape inspired a movie starring Clint Eastwood.

The FBI on Thursday unveiled the near-exact replicas, which were made using a 3D printer at the bureau’s laboratory in Quantico, Va.

The idea was to preserve valuable pieces of American history as the original dummy heads deteriorated.

Acting AG Tells Sen. Graham He Won’t Interfere with Mueller Probe

Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said he’s been assured by Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker that he won’t interfere with the special counsel investigation.

In a private meeting in Graham’s office, Whitaker said he would “honor regular order” and allow the probe to continue.

Graham told reporters he doesn’t believe Whitaker will do “anything unsavory” with the 18-month investigation into Russia’s meddling in the presidential election, ABC News reports

“I’ve a lot of confidence that Mr. Mueller will be allowed to do his job and that the legal process that was in place before Mr. Whitaker arrived will be followed,” Graham said.

Graham added, “And I have every confidence he’ll make reasoned decisions when his time comes and that the investigation is not in jeopardy.”

Despite previous comments questioning the legality of the probe, Whitaker told Graham he has no qualms with the investigation.

“He’s seen nothing out of bounds,” Graham said. “No concerns at all about Mr. Mueller.”

A day after the midterm elections, President Trump forced AG Sessions to resign and replaced him with Whitaker, a loyalist and critic of the probe.

How Democrats Could Save the Mueller Probe if Trump’s Administration Tries to End It

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into Russian meddling is at risk of being sabotaged by President Trump’s administration.

A day after the midterm elections, Trump forced Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign and replaced him with a loyalist, Matthew Whitaker, who could try to end the investigation.

Republicans in the Senate blocked a bill to protect the special counsel probe on Wednesday, and this morning Trump unleashed a series of tweets calling the probe “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LINK TO NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY.”

But Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives, still have recourse. Slate reports that Democrats could protect the investigation by creating a “Special Select Committee on Russian Election Interference” and appointing Mueller and his prosecutors as the lead investigators. 

Or Democrats could subpoena details of the investigation and hire him to complete the probe.

Trump Accuses Mueller of ‘Threatening’ People, Providing No Evidence

President Trump answering media questions on Air Force One. Photo via the White House.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Without offering evidence, President Trump accused special counsel Robert Mueller of “horribly threatening” witnesses in the investigation into Russian interference.

“The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess. They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts,” Trump tweeted Thursday. “They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want.”

Trump criticized the probe, calling special counsel prosecutors “a disgrace to our Nation” and accusing Mueller by name of being “highly conflicted.”

“A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!” Trump tweeted.

The tweets come one day after the Republican-controlled Senate blocked an initiative to protect the special counsel’s investigation.

Trump to Submit Written Answers to Mueller’s Questions about Russian Interference

President Trump at Indiana rally.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s legal team may submit written answers to special counsel Robert Mueller as early as this week.

The answers are limited to Russian meddling in the 2016 election and do not involve obstruction of justice allegations, a source familiar with the investigation told NBC News

Trump’s legal team has insisted the obstruction of justice questions are off limits because they involve the firing of then-FBI Director James Comey. Trump’s lawyers argue the president has the authority to hire and fire under Article 2 of the Constitution.

Trump has met at least once this week with his legal team to discuss Mueller’s request for written answers.

Mueller Expected to Issue New Indictments As New AG Weighs His Options

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue indictments as early this week as acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker weighs whether he should recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

It has been widely speculated that the next two months will be busy for Mueller after going silent during the midterm elections.

But the fate of Mueller’s investigation hangs in the balance after President Trump replaced Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Whitaker, a loyalist who has contended that the special counsel probe is illegal.

Whitaker plans to meet with Justice Department ethics officials this week about whether he should take over the investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The state of Maryland took legal action Tuesday, arguing that Trump may not “bypass the constitutional and statutory requirements for appointing someone to that office.” Maryland officials believe Rosenstein should have been appointed to replace Sessions as a matter of law. 

Meanwhile, it’s unclear who could be indicted by Mueller’s team after CBS reported that new inducements are expected soon. 

Among those facing potential indictments are GOP strategist and longtime Trump supporter Roger Stone and far-right commentator Jerome Corsi, who said earlier this week that Mueller’s team told him he would be indicted.

So far, Mueller’s team has indicted four people once connected to Trump’s campaign or administration, 12 Russian intelligence officers, 13 Russian nationals, three Russian companies and three other people.

Border Patrol Agents in South Texas Murdered, Raped & Assaulted At Least 10 People

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents have murdered, raped, kidnapped or viciously attacked at least 10 people in South Texas over the past four years.

In September, an agent in the Laredo sector, told investigators he had fatally shot four prostitutes during a 12-day killing rampage. Another Laredo agent, Ronald Anthony Burgos Aviles, 29, has been charged with fatally stabbing his girlfriend and their 1-year-old son.

In March 2014, Agent Esteban Manzanares sexually assaulted a teenager and viciously attacked her friend and mother while they tried to seek asylum. Manzanares never stood trial because he killed himself.

The cases have prompted serious questions about the hiring practices of agents and whether the federal agency missed red flags.