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Secret Service Agents Who Sacrifice Their Lives to Protect the President Are Working without Pay

Photo via Secret Service.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The men and women who have sworn to sacrifice their own lives to protect the president are not receiving paychecks under the government shutdown.

The 7,000 Secret Service employees, including those on protective details and uniformed officers, missed their first paycheck of the new year.

“These are the people who are closest to him and clearly put their lives on the line for him every single day,” Rick Tyler, a Republican political consultant, told Huffington Post. “He has demonstrated no empathy for them over this situation.” 

Trump has been virtually mum on the tens of thousands of federal law enforcement officials who have been forced to work without pay. They include TSA screeners and FBI, DEA, ATF and Border Patrol agents who are considered “essential” employees.

Thousands of TSA screeners have been calling in sick in protest, causing snarls and security concerns at airports.

The irony is that the shutdown over border protection could make the country more unsafe.

Carl Bernstein: Mueller’s Report Will Allege Trump helped Kremlin ‘destabilize’ the U.S.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference will allege that President Trump helped the Kremlin “destabilize the United States,” according to famed journalist Carl Bernstein.

Bernstein, known for his coverage of Watergate, told CNN on Sunday that Mueller will reveal that Trump played a significant role in Russia’s propaganda campaign during the presidential election.

“This is about the most serious counterintelligence people we have in the U.S. government saying, ‘Oh, my God, the president’s words and actions lead us to conclude that somehow he has become a witting, unwitting, or half-witting pawn, certainly in some regards, to Vladimir Putin,’” Bernstein said CNN’s Reliable Sources.

“From a point of view of strength… rather, he has done what appears to be Putin’s goals. He has helped Putin destabilize the United States and interfere in the election, no matter whether it was purposeful or not,” the journalist added. He then explained that he knew from his own high-level sources that Mueller’s report would discuss this assessment.

“And that is part of what the draft of Mueller’s report, I’m told, is to be about,” he said. “We know there has been collusion by [former national security adviser Michael] Flynn. We know there has been collusion of some sort by [Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul] Manafort. The question is, yes, what did the president know and when did he know it?”

Mueller is expected to soon wrap up his investigation that began in May 2017 following the president’s termination of then-FBI Director James Comey. Mueller will then reveal what he has found in a report to the Justice Department.

Trump denied the allegations and suggested he has been “maybe tougher (on Russia) than any other President,” a claim widely disputed by historians and political analysts.

“I have been FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President. At the same time, & as I have often said, getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. I fully expect that someday we will have good relations with Russia again!” Trump tweeted.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Mafia Crime Boss

Airports Brace for Safety Issues As TSA Employees React to Government Shutdown

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A government shutdown over border safety could soon cause serious security problems at airports, where more than 51,000 TSA employees began working without pay Friday.

The TSA reported a 55% increase in employees calling in sick Thursday, and some airport screeners have already quit, the agency’s spokesman Michael Bilello told Bloomberg.

The TSA is responding to staff shortages by planning to close some security checkpoints at airports nationwide beginning this weekend.

Airport authorities are expressing fear that the shutdown could soon worsen security screening.

“We’re very concerned that the current situation with government employees going without pay is unsustainable in the long term,” Christopher Bidwell, a senior vice president at the Airports Council International-North America in Washington, told Bloomberg. “We certainly have to be mindful of the potential for cascading operational impacts.”

Airports also are bracing for flight delays.

The group that represents more than 10,000 air-traffic controllers, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, filed a lawsuit Friday, alleging it’s against the law to force employees to work without pay.

FBI Group Calls for End to Shutdown, Saying National Security Is at Stake

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A group representing thousands of FBI agents is calling for an end to the government shutdown, saying national security is at stake.

The FBI Agents Association on Thursday released a petition demanding leaders reopen the government.

“On Friday, January 11, 2019, FBI Agents will not be paid due to the partial government shutdown, but we will continue our work protecting our nation,” the petition states. “We urge our elected representatives to fund the Department of Justice and the FBI because financial security is a matter of national security.”

The FBI is among several federal agencies that must continue to operate without paying its employees as the shutdown reached its 21st day Friday.

The petition said the shutdown will cause a signifiant financial burden on many agents and could make it more difficult for the bureau to recruit future employees.

“The men and women of the FBI proudly serve this nation and are honored to protect our country and Constitution from all threats, foreign and domestic,” the petition reads. “We are confident that our leaders share this commitment to protecting our country and will find a path forward to fund the DOJ and the FBI.” 

It continues, “As those on the frontlines in the fight against criminals and terrorists, we urge expediency before financial insecurity compromises national security.”

Mueller is Close ‘Personal Friends’ with His Likely New Boss, William Barr

Trump’s attorney general pick, William Barr.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump has long complained that special counsel Robert Mueller and his former FBI director, James Comey, were “Best friends, just one of many Mueller Conflicts of Interest.” 

Turns out, Trump’s nominee for attorney general, William Barr, has “been personal friends for over 20 years,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said, Newsday reports.

“I didn’t know that they were that close personally,” Graham said after meeting privately with Barr on Wednesday.

Not only did Barr and Mueller work together at the Justice Department, Mueller attended the weddings of two of Barr’s daughters, and both men’s wives attend a Bible school together.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Trump knows about the relationship.

New Legislation Will Help Prosecutors Bring Justice to Civil Rights-Era Killings

Martin Luther King Jr.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Prosecutors have struggled for decades to bring justice to victims of civil rights-era killings because the decades-old FBI records are often redacted.

That could soon change after President Trump signed a bill Tuesday to allow the FBI to release unredacted documents related to the unsolved cases.

The legislation was set in motion by dozens of students at Highstown High School in New Jersey.

One of the students, who is now at the University of Pennsylvania, told the Clarion Ledger the bill is a reminder “that even if justice is long delayed, it does not have to mean that justice is denied.”

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, a co-sponsor of the bill, said the records are important for the victims’ families and the communities.

“An incredible level of healing and reconciliation can accompany knowledge,” he said. “Given the age of these cases and the fact it is highly unlikely that these cases could be resurrected, this is the way to get that healing and reconciliation.”

The students used the JFK Records Collection Act of 1992 as a model for what they called the “Cold Case Records Collection Act of 2017,” which would create an independent review board to coordinate the release of classified records on civil rights killings.

Many of the killings are detailed in FBI files that remain largely redacted. They include the KKK’s 1964 killing of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner and the 1959 lynching of Mack Charles Parker.

FBI records on the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. also contain redactions.

Activists also were calling on redacted files relating to the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X.

Civil rights lawyers said the largely secret files make it difficult to solve cold cases.

Accidental Reveal of Manafort’s Interactions with Russians Raises Prospect of Collusion

Paul Manafort’s mugshot

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

One of the most revealing details of Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia was made public this week by accident.

In a court filing, lawyers for Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign boss, made a redaction error that revealed their client’s relationship with a Russian-linked operative named Konstantin Kilimnik.

During the campaign, Manafort met with Kilimnik and discussed “a Ukraine peace plan” and shared inside polling data.   

So what’s the big deal?

It’s the first strong indication that Mueller’s team has evidence of possible collision between Russia and Trump’s campaign. As the head of Trump’s campaign, Manafort was communicating with Kilimnik, a suspected Russian intelligence agent who was indicted by Mueller’s team on obstruction of justice charges.

Manafort also urged Kilimnik to pass the data to Russian oligarch Oleg V. Deripaska, who has claimed Manafort was in debt to him over a failed business, The New York Times reported

Just this month, the Department of Treasury lifted sanctions against Deripaska’s aluminum company.

The poorly redacted documents also contradict Trump’s repeated claims that Mueller has no proof of possible collusion.

Only time will tell whether Mueller has enough evidence of collusion.