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Tag: christopher wray

Trump Wanted to Know Why Two FBI Officials Still Had Their Jobs

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray speaking at a previous congressional committee hearing.

President Trump pressed Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray to explain why two FBI officials still have their jobs after it was revealed they made disparaging remarks about him in text messages to each other.

During the same meeting at the White House on Jan. 22, Trump urged his attorney general and FBI director to dig up dirt on the senior officials, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, to discredit them as part of a broader campaign to delegitimize Robert Mueller’s investigation, which has cast a dark shadow over the White House, Vox reports. 

In a private meeting with Sessions the next day, the president was more blunt: Fire Strzok and Page, who were removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation months before the text messages were disclosed. The texts also poked fun at Hillary Clinton.

Some legal scholars cautioned that Trump is treading on dangerous territory because he’s already under investigation for obstruction of justice for firing then-FBI Director James Comey in May promoted.

Last summer, Trump’s attorney advised him that Page was likely to be a witness against him in the special counsel probe.

Democrats and some Republicans fear Trump is trying to justify firing Mueller by discrediting those involved in the 11-month-old investigation, which so far has netted indictments against more than 20 people and entities.

 

FBI Director Wray Pledges to Run Bureau ‘By the Book’ After Latest Trump Administration Firing

Christopher Wray testifies during his confirmation hearing to become the next FBI director.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray, whose bureau has come under relentless attacks by President Trump, pledged to his staff that he’s committed to leading the agency “objectively and independently, and by the book.”

Wray’s email to staff, first reported by CNN, follows the controversial firing of former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a frequent Trump target accused of a “lack of candor” during a Justice Department inquiry.  

“And while I still cannot comment on specifics of that, or any, personnel matter, I wanted the public to know — and I want you to know — that I remain committed to doing things objectively and independently, and by the book,” Wray wrote to his roughly 35,000 employees.

“That commitment applies not just to our investigations and our intelligence analysis, but to personnel and disciplinary decisions as well,” he continued.

Wray insisted earlier this week that McCabe’s firing was not influenced by politics.

The FBI has been subjected to a brutal campaign by the president to discredit the bureau, which is overseeing the special counsel investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice and whether his campaign colluded with Russia to tip the scale on the election.

To help restore the bureau’s battered image, McCabe said he has “started to engage with the media” in an effort to “reintroduce  the American public to who and what we are.”

Other Stories of Interest

Lawmakers: FBI Lacks Strategy to Handle Tips After Blunder over Fla. School Shooter

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Acting FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich acknowledged to members of Congress on Tuesday that the bureau failed to properly follow up on two warning calls about the former student who gunned down 17 students and teachers at a Florida school on Valentine’s Day.

Lawmakers left the private briefing feeling frustrated and disappointed, saying the bureau’s response offered little to no new information, and the FBI still has no strategy or plan to correct future mistakes.

Nikolas Cruz via instagram

The meeting “raised more questions than it answered,” U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., tweeted after the closed-door briefing in Washington. “We should have more answers 20 days after the shooting. This was clearly a major failure and Americans deserve swift accountability and reform.”

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., said the lack 0f new information makes it difficult for lawmakers to understand what went wrong and how the bureau could avoid similar blunders.

“A very specific lead was given to the FBI, and they just botched it,” Krishnamoorthi said upon leaving the meeting, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. “Right now we have to find out why that happened. Most important for me is: How do we prevent this from happening again, and how do we actively figure out who is on the verge of committing a similar school shooting or any other act of terror like this?”

The first tip came in September from a Mississippi man, who alerted the FBI to a YouTube user named “nikolas cruz” – the same name as the school shooter. The tipster boasted, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”

In early January, a caller who said he was close to Cruz warned that “He’s going to explode” and appeared on the verge of violence.

The FBI never forwarded the information to the FBI’s Miami field office, so the tip was never investigated.

Some Republicans are calling for the resignation of FBI Director Christopher Wray, while some Democrats say such a move would be premature.

John Brosnan Named Special Agent in Charge of N.Y. Field Offices’ Criminal Division

Special Agent John Brosnan appointed to lead the Criminal Division for the New York Field Office.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

John Brosnan, who most recently served as the section chief of the Violent Crimes Against Children Section of the Criminal Investigative Division, has been named special agent in charge of the Criminal Division for the New York Field Office.

That’s where Brosnan began his career as a special agent in 1995, investigating  white-collar crime. He’ll return to the office in March. 

During his 22-year career with the bureau, Brosnan has held leadership positions in the Philadelphia Division and the Counterterrorism Division

Brosnan, who is a certified public accountant and certified fraud examiner, was appointed by FBI Director Christopher Wray.

FBI Faces Mounting Pressure over Failure to Act on Tip about School Shooter

FBI Director Christopher Wray speaking at a previous congressional committee hearing.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s admission that it failed to properly follow up on a tip about the Florida school shooter has drawn mounting criticism, including calls for the bureau’s boss to step down.

Among those demanding the resignation of FBI Director Christopher Wray is Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who on Monday also called on the bureau to release “all details” on why it never acted on an anonymous caller’s tip on Jan. 5 that Nikolas Cruz “had a desire to kill people” and had “the potential” of “conducting a school shooting.”

“Last week, our state and nation was shocked to learn of the FBI’s inexcusable inaction after receiving a tip informing them of Cruz’s desire to carry out a school shooting,” Scott said in a statement. “The FBI’s failure to initiate an investigation raises many questions, and the victims’ families deserve answers now.”

Scott last week called for Wray to step down after acknowledging that FBI “protocols were not followed” following the tip.

“Under established protocols, the information provided by the caller should have been assessed as a potential threat to life,” the FBI said in a statement Friday.

The bureau also is facing heat from some prominent Republicans in the U.S. House.

Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., sent a letter Friday to Wray indicating the FBI failed to act on “warning signs that (Cruz) was capable of such monstrous actions,” Homeland Security Today wrote

“The Committees are seeking to understand these protocols and why they were not followed in this case,” Gowdy and Goodlatte wrote. “Accordingly, the Committees request the FBI brief the Committees on the tip, protocols, and FBI’s actions before and after the incident as soon as possible, but no later than March 2.”

President Trump, who has waged a campaign to undermine confidence in the FBI amid the special counsel investigation into Russian interference, suggested over the weekend that the bureau missed “many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter” because of the resources spent on the Robert Mueller probe.

“This is not acceptable,” Trump tweeted Saturday. “They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!”

Trump’s response drew heavy criticism, including from current and former FBI officials who pointed out that the bureau employs more than 30,000 people and is capable of conducting numerous investigations at one time.

Some prominent Democrats, including Rep. Adam Schiff, said Scott should not be forced to resign.

“I don’t think the director should resign, no, but there clearly is a serious problem here when you have threat information of that detail and it didn’t get triggered in terms of an investigation and action,” Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“There are only so many cases where you do have good input where people see something and say something, and to not follow up is inexcusable,” Schiff continued. “There needs to be a full internal investigation by the Justice Department and t

FBI’s Wray Contradicts White House Account of Alleged Abuser Rob Porter

FBI Director Christopher Wray speaking at a previous congressional committee hearing.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The head of the FBI contradicted the White House version of events surrounding the handling of physical abuse allegations against former top aide Rob Porter, who resigned a week ago after denying the claims made publicly by two ex-wives.

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the bureau finished a background report on Porter in July and closed the file in January, which means the White House would have known about the allegations weeks before he resigned. 

White House aides have claimed the FBI and other intelligence agencies had not completed the background checks, which included the domestic violence allegations.

Wray said the FBI did everything right.

“I’m quite confident that in this particular instance, the FBI followed established protocols,” Wray told the committee.

FBI Agents Association Issues Statement in Support of Director Christopher Wray

Christopher Wray (File photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI Agents Association issued a statement Thursday showing support for FBI Director Christopher Wray who has expressed concerns about Congress releasing a classified memo written by Republican staffers for Rep. Devin Nunes.

“The FBI Agents Association appreciates FBI Director Chris Wray standing shoulder to shoulder with the men and women of the FBI as we work together to protect our country from criminal and national security threats,” said the associations president, FBI agent Thomas O’Connor. “As Director Wray noted, FBI Special Agents have remained steadfast in their dedication to professionalism, and we remain focused on our important work to protect the country from terrorists and criminals—both domestic and international. Special Agents take a solemn oath to our country and to the Constitution, and the American public continues to be well-served by the world’s preeminent law enforcement agency.”

Senior White House officials and advisers say that President Trump wants the document published because he sees it as key to making changes at the Justice Department, particularly pushing out Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, the Washington Post reports.

 

FBI Clashes with Trump over ‘Grave Concerns’ about Secret GOP Memo

FBI Director Christopher Wray speaking at a congressional committee hearing.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In a rare move, the FBI on Wednesday released a public statement expressing “grave concerns” about the release of a secret, Republican-drafted memo that purports to show the Justice Department and FBI improperly surveilled the Trump campaign during the 2016 election campaign.

The sharply worded statement marks the first public clash between the president and his FBI director, Christopher Wray, as tensions flare over a much-disputed memo that Democrats say is a shameless ploy by Trump allies to undermine the special counsel investigation.

The “F.B.I. was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it,” the bureau said in the statement today. “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.

Trump supports the release of the memo because he believes it will undermine confidence in an investigation that ultimately could determine the fate of his presidency.

The Justice Department previously warned it would be “extraordinarily reckless” for the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee to approve the release of the document because it draws from highly sensitive material.

The committee ignored the warnings Monday, voting along party lines to publicly release the four-page document, which claims the Justice Department and FBI – the two agencies overseeing the special counsel probe – abused their authority by extending surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser and suspected Russian agent Carter Page. Trump, who has indicated he wants to publicly release the memo, has three days to sign off on the document’s disclosure.

Some Republicans want to use the document to suggest the special counsel investigation was tainted from the start by an anti-Trump bias.

Democrats dismissed the memo as propaganda in the escalating campaign by the president and his allies to undermine the two agencies tasked with overseeing the ongoing investigation of the president, his campaign and Russia. The probe has produced indictments of four former Trump aides so far, and Mueller plans to soon interview the president to determine whether he obstructed justice by trying to tamper with the investigation.

Thousands of Russian-linked social media accounts have cropped up in the past month to spread support for releasing the document. Many of them have joined a viral hashtag campaign on Twitter – #ReleaseTheMemo – to press for the public disclosure of the memo.

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