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Justice Department Vows to Crackdown on Leakers

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the Trump campaign.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the Trump campaign.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some critics have said President Donald Trump has often been more obsessed with leaks than the substance involving possible improprieties.

Now, the  the Justice Department is responding, vowing to aggressively prosecute government officials who leak classified information, the Daily Beast reports.

 

“As the Attorney General has said, the Department of Justice takes unlawful leaks very seriously and those that engage in such activity should be held accountable,” an official told The Daily Beast.

 


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Trump Transition Team Knew Flynn Was Under Investigation Before Trump Appointed Him National Security Advisor

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Here’s a pretty good reason why President Donald Trump should have known better than to appoint Michael T. Flynn national security adviser under the circumstances.

The New York Times reports that Flynn told President Trump’s transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign. The paper cites “two people familiar with the case.”

Despite that Trump proceeded to appoint him to the important position.

Flynn first made the disclosure about the investigation on Jan. 4 to the transition team’s chief lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, the Times reports.


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Let The Seriousness Begin: The Stoic Ex-FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III Appointed Special Counsel in Russian Mess

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, the stoic leader of the bureau from 2001 to 2013, has been appointed special counsel to investigate whether the Russians influenced the 2016 campaign and the administration of President Donald Trump.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the appointment on Wednesday, saying in a statement:

“In my capacity as acting Attorney General, I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a Special Counsel to assume responsibility for this matter. My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command.”

“Each year, the career professionals of the U.S. Department of Justice conduct tens of thousands of criminal investigations and handle countless other matters without regard to partisan political considerations. I have great confidence in the independence and integrity of our people and our processes. Considering the unique circumstances of this matter, however, I determined that a Special Counsel is necessary in order for the American people to have full confidence in the outcome. Our nation is grounded on the rule of law, and the public must be assured that government officials administer the law fairly. Special Counsel Mueller will have all appropriate resources to conduct a thorough and complete investigation, and I am confident that he will follow the facts, apply the law and reach a just result.”

Rosenstein’s appointment of Mueller isn’t likely to make Trump very happy. In fact, sources tell ticklethewire.com that Trump was very unhappy when Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself of the investigation, giving Trump less control of the matter.

Appointments of special counsels have usually not ended very well for different presidential administrations.

Mueller, a former federal prosecutor, is known as a no-nonsense guy. He became director days before Sept. 11, 2001, and was subsequently tasked with shifting resources to deal address terrorism. After a while, some complained too many resources were being taken away from some of the basic duties like addressing white collar crimes and violence.

He was replaced in 2013 by James Comey, who was appointed by President Barack Obama.

He played to mixed reviews within the bureau. He had his loyal folks within, but he also had agents who were glad to see him go.

That being said, no one expects him to pull punches in the probe.

Mueller has resigned from his private law firm to avoid any conflicts of interest.

 


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Judicial Watch Suing to Get Info on Relationship Between FBI and Ex-British Spy Who Compiled Trump Dossier

spy graphic

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group, wants information about the relationship between the FBI and former British spy Christopher Steele, who helped compiled a dossier alleging that Trump advisers colluded with the Russian government and that Trump met up with Russian prostitutes, according to the Daily Caller.

A lawsuit seeks all records of communications between FBI officials and Steele, who runs the London-based consulting firm, Orbis Business Intelligence.

The organization also wants records of any discussions of payments from the FBI to Steele for his work compiling the dossier, which consists of 17 memos.


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Two High-Profile Prospects for FBI Director Express Disinterest

Judge Merrick Garland (White House photo)

Judge Merrick Garland (White House photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two high-profile prospects for the FBI director job have signaled they don’t want it, reports Reuters.

Advisers to Judge Merrick Garland and Sen. John Cornyn said they discouraged them from seeking the post, cautioning that they would be leaving important, secure jobs for one fraught with politics and controversy, reports Reuters.

Nominating Garland, who failed to get confirmed as a justice for the U.S. Supreme Court under the Obama administration, may have been a way for the White House and the GOP to extend an olive branch to the Democrats. Cornyn, because of his clear partisanship, might have had a difficult time getting confirmed by his fellow senators.

In any event, it’s perceived that any new director will come into a politically charged and potentially unstable environment. Not the most ideal of circumstances considering the job is already inherently stressful.

The White House has indicated that it would like to have a nominee by Friday.

 


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Trump Should Be Very Afraid of James Comey’s Notes, Post Writes

President Trump

President Trump

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In a tweet the other day, President Donald Trump suggested fired FBI Director James Comey be careful about leaking information to the press because  he just might have tape recordings.

Well, Comey has appeared to do one better: He apparently has notes of conversations with the president, and Aaron Blake of the Washington Post writes  “that should make Trump very worried.”

The Post that Comey has notes indicating that Trump had asked him to close the investigation into Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.  The White House is denying the account.

Blake writes:

But the possible existence of a trove of Comey memos may be the real story here. Comey is known to be a pretty meticulous keeper of notes, and CNN’s Jake Tapper just reported that Comey kept extensive notes of his conversations with Trump for the precise reason that they made him uneasy — presumably because of Trump making requests such as the Flynn one that crossed a line for Comey.

And the reason Trump tweeted what he did about Comey four days ago is because the New York Times had just reported Trump sought a loyalty pledge from Comey at a dinner shortly after Trump’s inauguration. It’s difficult not to presume that Comey has notes about this meeting, too.

 


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Former FBI Official Kevin Kendrick: Too Much Drama in Our Capital, and Too Much Silence From Our GOP Congressional Members

Kevin Kendrick was an FBI agent for 25 years. He retired from the FBI in 2006 as special agent in charge of the Charlotte Division. He currently works in private industry in Michigan. This column first appeared on Facebook and is being reprinted with permission.

By Kevin Kendrick

Theatrical masks

I love theatre as much as the next person. All types and forms. But too much of one type, like say, umm, drama, can be taxing.

Our nation’s capital has provided lots of theatre over the years in every form. Some comedic, some tragic, some musical, and lots of the dramatic variety. And in a way, we citizens are the audience to these productions. Our elected representatives are the season-ticket holders and have a front row seat to these shows.

And like any theatre, it’s best to experience it in a measured format. Too much of anything simply isn’t good for you.

Lately, it seems the only theatre we see out of Washington, besides the absurd, is drama.

Lots and lots of drama which by the way, has been horribly scripted.

As spectators, some of us have booed these performances and others have applauded. What has been interesting in the more recent shows has been the silence of some those in the front rows, our GOP Congress folks.

We need for them to stop being quiet spectators during some of these dramas and start being critics. For the sake of theatre. For the sake of our country.


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Ex-Justice Official Blasts Attorney General Session for Tougher Drug Sentence Policy

Vanita Gupta

Vanita Gupta

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Vanita Gupta, the former head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, has joined in the chorus of people critical of Attorney General Jeff Sessions new call for a harsher sentencing policy for drugs, Yahoo! News reports.

Gupta calls the policy “incredibly disappointing.”

Gupta, who also served as principal deputy assistant attorney general in the Obama administration, told Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric that the new policy marked a “resounding step backwards into the 1980s of failed policies in our criminal justice system that resulted in us having the highest incarceration rate of industrialized nations in the world.”

“It’s a real throwback in a lot of ways, and very troubling,” Gupta said, adding that mass incarceration is ineffective as a means of promoting public safety.


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