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FBI Agent Would Like to Meet With Denver Bar Customer He Accidentally Shot

FBI agent Chase Bishop.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI agent who accidentally shot and wounded a customer at a Denver bar while dancing, wants to meet the victim, Fox News reports.

Agent Chase Bishop, who faces a charge of  second-degree assault charge, wants to sit down with the victim when appropriate, his attorney David Goddard says.

Goddard called the shooting “an incredibly tragic event” and hopes the man makes a full and speedy recovery. The man, who was shot in the leg, was treated an released from the hospital.

The Denver County judge is allowing Bishop to travel since he lives and works in D.C.

 


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Jonathan Turley: Fired FBI Director James Comey Can’t Hide the Damage He Caused the FBI

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University

Jonathan Turley (GWU photo)

By Jonathan Turley
For The Hill

James Comey once described his position in the Clinton investigation as being the victim of a “500-year flood.” The point of the analogy was that he was unwittingly carried away by events rather than directly causing much of the damage to the FBI. His “500-year flood” just collided with the 500-page report of the Justice Department inspector general (IG) Michael Horowitz. The IG sinks Comey’s narrative with a finding that he “deviated” from Justice Department rules and acted in open insubordination.

Rather than portraying Comey as carried away by his biblical flood, the report finds that he was the destructive force behind the controversy. The import of the report can be summed up in Comeyesque terms as the distinction between flotsam and jetsam. Comey portrayed the broken rules as mere flotsam, or debris that floats away after a shipwreck. The IG report suggests that this was really a case of jetsam, or rules intentionally tossed over the side by Comey to lighten his load. Comey’s jetsam included rules protecting the integrity and professionalism of his agency, as represented by his public comments on the Clinton investigation.

The report will leave many unsatisfied and undeterred. Comey went from a persona non grata to a patron saint for many Clinton supporters. Comey, who has made millions of dollars with a tell-all book portraying himself as the paragon of “ethical leadership,” continues to maintain that he would take precisely the same actions again.

To read the full column click here.


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FBI Director Christopher Wray Writes: ‘IG’s Report Makes Clear That We Have Some Work To Do’

Christopher Wray has been the director of the FBI since August 2017.

Christopher Wray (File photo)

By Christopher Wray
For USA Today

There has been no shortage of commentary and debate about the FBI lately, and the new report from the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General is a welcome contribution from an independent voice on events of the 2016 election season. The Bureau is entrusted with a lot of authority to carry out our mission, and with that power comes close scrutiny. That’s as it should be. Fair and independent oversight makes the FBI a stronger organization — and that, in turn, makes our country safer.

While the Inspector General didn’t find any evidence of political bias or improper consideration impacting the investigation under review, all of us at the FBI take this report seriously, and we accept its findings and recommendations. We’ve already taken steps to address many of the concerns it raises. We’ll change what we need to change and improve what can be made better and stronger, and we’ll move forward with renewed focus and determination. Because that is the essence of the FBI — we learn from the past, we get better at what we need to do, and we continually strive to be the very best we can be.

The IG’s report makes clear that we have some work to do, but I also want our fellow citizens to realize something important about the scope of this report. It’s focused on a specific set of events in 2016, and on a narrow set of employees connected to those events. Nothing in the IG’s report impugns the integrity of our workforce as a whole, or the FBI as an institution.

Read full column


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Lengel: The FBI Will Survive IG Horowitz’s Report

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Dramatic headlines in the media may suggest otherwise, but truth be told, the long-awaited report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz contains few surprises.

Yes, we already knew ex-FBI Director James Comey stepped over the line at his press conference about not charging Hillary Clinton, and yes, we already knew he violated Department of Justice protocol by sending the infamous letter to Congress about reopening the email probe shortly before the election. And we already knew Comey thought his Boy Scout image trumped (no pun intended) the bigger picture: The presidential election. And we  knew that FBI agent Peter Strzok, a key investigator in the Clinton and Russian probes,  exchanged emails that were anti-Trump.

The 500-page report, an exhaustive one at that, includes damaging emails from Strzok that will give Trump plenty fodder for his late night twitter rants. Perhaps most damning is an email from Strzok in August 2016, shortly before the election. He wrote to an FBI lawyer, saying  “we’ll stop” Trump from making it to the White House.

Trump’s “not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” the lawyer, Lisa Page, wrote to Strzok, who was romantically involved with.

“No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” Strzok wrote.

Ok, there was some little surprises. The report found that Comey had used his personal email for such things as sending himself a draft of a speech. The report found the practice was inconsistent with with DOJ policy, and certainly, it’s ironic considering he blasted Hillary Clinton for using personal email at the State Department. Still, it should be noted that it doesn’t appear he used personal email for classified info.

The report found that there was no evidence of bias inside the FBI to rig the Clinton investigation, which should come as a disappointment to the president and his allies, who figured that was a certainty.

Institutions like the FBI survive these things. The FBI has had its share of troubles over the decades. Ditto for agencies like ATF. That agency   has survived such messes as Waco and Operation Fast and Furious.

To show resolve shortly after the report was released, FBI agent Thomas O’Connor, president of the FBI Agents Association, issued a statement:

“FBI Special Agents put their lives on the line each and every day to protect the American public from national security and criminal threats.  The Inspector General’s (IG) report found no bias in the investigation.  It shows that Agents perform their duties with a focus on complying with the law and the Constitution.

“We support, as always, the Bureau reviewing and utilizing its policies and disciplinary processes to help ensure that we remain the world’s premier law enforcement organization.  We also reiterate that attacks on our character and demeaning comments about the FBI will not deter Agents from continuing to do what we have always done––dedicate our lives to protecting the American people.”

 It’s seldom good news when a federal law enforcement agency comes under such scrutiny. But ultimately it sends a positive message to the American people that no person or agency is beyond reproach.

In any event, this too shall pass.

Read the Full Report.


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Eric Starkman: Reporters’ Conflicts of Interest, Romance And All

Eric Starkman is free-lance writer living in Los Angeles.

By Eric Starkman

Reading about Ali Watkins, the New York Times reporter romantically involved with the former Senate aide arrested for lying to the FBI about his contacts with reporters, I wasn’t alone recalling the immortal words of the newspaper’s legendary editor Abe Rosenthal: “I don’t care if you f…k an elephant, just so long as you don’t cover the circus.” Rosenthal, whose tombstone says, “He kept the paper straight,” made the comment when he was asked why he fired a Times reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer after discovering she slept with one of her sources while working there.

But those who believe that sleeping with sources violates a cardinal journalism rule are clinging to an era when newsrooms were littered with Olivetti typewriters and pneumatic tubes. The practice is widespread and known and countenanced by editors for decades.  In the more than four decades I worked in media and public relations, comprised reporters and other journalistic wrongdoing was commonplace. One example is the Times editor romantically involved with a PR executive whose clients the newspaper was always magically interested in.

But don’t take my word on this.

In 2009, Gawker published this story about Times reporters involved with their sources, including former White House correspondent Todd Purdum, who married Clinton spokesperson Dee Dee Myers, and reporter Bernard Weinraub, who covered Hollywood while dating then Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal. Four years later, the Washington Post published a headlined story, “Media, administration deal with conflicts (emphasis mine),” and chronicled the pervasiveness of the Beltway’s incestuous relationships. Breitbart has published a more current list of possibly conflicted Washington reporters.

Rosenthal declared his edict when the Times reigned supreme and competition was considerably more limited. In his day, being right was a bigger priority than being first, and the Times was careful to print only information that it had independently verified. The Times rarely exceled on the first day of a breaking story, but its second-day reporting ran circles around the competition. Hence the moniker, “The newspaper of record.”

Read more »


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Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: FBI Is Redacting Documents Without Credible Justification

FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray

By the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray want Congress to trust them about the FBI’s actions in 2016. That would be easier if not for daily proof that they continue to play games when redacting documents.

Senate oversight Chairman Ron Johnson exposed the latest unjustified blackouts in a June 8 letter to Mr. Wray. The Wisconsin Republican is one of several Chairmen objecting to the FBI’s excessive redactions and its refusal to even supply the standard “log” with justifications for each redaction. Under pressure, Justice grudgingly invited Johnson staffers to review some documents in late May.

Those sessions revealed that the bureau is redacting in a way that stymies Congress’s ability to run down leads in its oversight of the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump investigations. Notably, Justice and the FBI have been redacting names or initials of employees involved in handling those cases. This frustrates Congress’s ability to seek more information or interviews with those individuals.

Read complete editorial.


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Washington Post Editorial: Reputation of Justice Department ‘Is Now More In Danger Than It Has Been Since Watergate’

President Donald Trump

By The Washington Post Editorial Board

THURSDAY BROUGHT a sad moment for the Justice Department. The department filed a brief in a frivolous legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. But instead of following nearly all past practice, the department sided with the challengers. Defending major, duly passed federal statutes is a core Justice Department responsibility. If it defended only laws the president liked, uncertainty about the permanence of many laws would reign, particularly as the presidency changed hands.

There is some precedent for the Justice Department’s move. During the Obama presidency, the department declined to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that, though noxious, Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed. Government lawyers should have defended it up to the point at which the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. By declining to do so, they inadvertently gave the department’s current leadership some cover to refuse to defend Obamacare.

Yet there are big differences. The Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal benefits to legally united same-sex couples, was so obviously rooted in prejudice that it posed a major threat to important constitutional principles. The challengers to that law had by leaps and bounds the better side of the argument. The latest challenge to Obamacare, by contrast, is harebrained.

The editorial concludes:

The nation’s premier law enforcement agency built a reputation for evenhandedness and independence over the course of decades. That reputation is now more in danger than it has been since Watergate. The threat derives not from self-serving accusations that Justice officials conspired against Mr. Trump but from Mr. Trump and his enablers politicizing the department.

To read the full editorial click here.


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Attorney For Ex-Hill Staffer Accuses Trump, DOJ of Making Inappropriate Comments About Criminal Case

Attorney Preston Burton

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The lawyer for a former top staff member of the Senate Intelligence Committee charged with lying to the FBI about his contacts with reporters, alleged Wednesday that the Justice Department and President Donald Trump have made inappropriate comments about the case that could poison the jury pool, the New York Times reports.

Attorney Preston Burton made the remarks on Wednesday as his client, James A. Wolfe, pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Washington.

Burton alleged that government officials, including President Trump, made statements that impugned his client’s character by implying that Wolf  had illegally leaked national security secrets.

The Times reports:

Two of the three charges against Mr. Wolfe related to allegations that he told reporters nonpublic information that he had learned as a result of his role as a staff member of the Intelligence Committee. But none of the false statement charges accuse Mr. Wolfe of leaking classified information.

Mr. Burton pointed to a Justice Department news release about the case, which framed Mr. Wolfe’s purported false statements as arising in “the course of an investigation into the unlawful disclosure of classified information.” He also criticized as “glib” comments made by Mr. Trump on Friday when the president spoke to reporters about the case.

 

 


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