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Tag: Chuck Grassley

FBI Signals Possible Investigation of Planned Parenthood, Other Abortion Providers

Planned Parenthood protester in Detroit. Photo by Steve Neavling.

Planned Parenthood protester in Detroit. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI appears poised to investigate allegations that Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers violated the law by selling fetal tissue and body parts.

The FBI recently requested unreacted documents from the Senate Judiciary Committee after its chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, urged the FBI in December to investigate the abortion providers following a lengthy probe into the sale of fetal tissue, The Hill reports

At the time, Grassley told the committee he had enough evidence to prove abortion providers profited in the transfer of tissue and body parts from aborted fetuses. Grassley contends the providers violated a 1993 law that bars selling fetal tissue at a profit.

Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department would comment.

Planned Parenthood, which insists it never violated the law, said it provided more than 3,000 pages of documents and several witnesses to the committee.

“Planned Parenthood strongly disagrees with the recommendations of the Senate Republican staff to refer this matter to the Justice Department, especially in light of the fact that investigations by three other Congressional committees, and investigations in 13 states including a Grand Jury in Texas, have all shown that Planned Parenthood did nothing wrong,” said Dana Singiser, Vice President of Government Affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

“These accusations are baseless, and a part of a widely discredited attempt to end access to reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has never, and would never, profit while facilitating its patients’ choice to donate fetal tissue for use in important medical research,” she added.

Sen. Grassley: Was Trump Warned That Manafort Was Investigated by FBI for Years?

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If the FBI has been investigating Paul Manafort’s connections to Russia for years before he became Donald Trump’s campaign chairman in 2016, did anyone warn the billionaire reality TV star?

That’s what Sen. Chuck Grassley wants to know. And if there was no warning, why not?

Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that is investigating Russia’s interference in the election, wrote a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday for an explanation, CNN reports

The FBI has refused to comment so far.

“I write to inquire about whether the FBI ever provided the Trump campaign with a defensive briefing or other warning regarding attempts to infiltrate the campaign by people connected with, or compromised by, Russian intelligence,” Grassley wrote.

Senate Judiciary Committee to Subpoena 2 FBI Officials Over Comey’s Firing

Sen. Chuck Grassley

Sen. Chuck Grassley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Senate Judiciary Committee is preparing for a showdown with the Justice Department after it prevented two senior FBI officials from testifying on Capitol Hill about President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

The Senate legal counsel plans to subpoena the senior FBI officials – Carl Ghattas and James Rybicki – to force their testimony about Comey’s firing, CNN reports

The Justice Department last week said it was preventing the FBI officials from appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee because of the DOJ’s “long-standing policy regarding the confidentiality and sensitivity of information relating to pending matters.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., aren’t backing down.

“We’ve got subpoenas at the Senate counsel office,” Grassley told CNN Wednesday, referring to the Senate office that would draft the subpoenas. “When we get done there, I’m gonna have to consult with Sen. Feinstein.”

GOP Senator Calls for Vote on Trump’s FBI Director Nominee by July

Christopher A. Wray

Christopher A. Wray

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is calling for the Senate to vote on President Trump’s nominee to replace ousted FBI Director James Comey by July.

Trump officially nominated Christopher Wray for the position earlier this week, but Democrats have expressed numerous concerns about the nominee.

“It’s been my intention of having the nominee before the committee during the month of July and hopefully get it done in time so that he can be confirmed before our summer break,” Grassley told reporters on Thursday. 

The Senate’s recess begins in August. 

Grassley met with Wray on Thursday to begin the process of pushing the nominee through the Senate during an already packed schedule.

Among the concerns expressed by Democrats are Wray’s involvement with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Trump ally who has declined to say whether he played a role in Wray’s nomination.

U.S. Sen. Grassley Urges Feds to Investigate Planned Parenthood Tissue Sales

Planned ParenthoodBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley is urging the FBI and Justice Department to investigate Planned Parenthood and three tissue-specimen companies over allegations of improperly selling tissues from aborted fetuses.

The call for an investigation came as the Senate Judiciary Committee discovered that three companies charged unlawfully high prices for fetal tissues, the Des Moines Register reports.

“I don’t take lightly making a criminal referral but the seeming disregard for the law by these entities has been fueled by decades of utter failure by the Justice Department to enforce it,” the Iowa Republican said in a statement. “And, unless there is a renewed commitment by everyone involved against commercializing the trade in aborted fetal body parts for profit, then the problem is likely to continue.”

The Des Moines Register wrote:

At issue in the Judiciary Committee report is a 1993 law governing human fetal tissue research that bans buying or selling such tissue — with the narrow exception that suppliers can charge for the cost of transportation, processing, preservation, storage and other costs associated with a transfer.

The law means, in short, that fetal tissues may be transferred for research purposes so long as no one profits from that transfer.

In reviewing transfers from four Planned Parenthood organizations to three specimen companies, however, Grassley’s committee says it has uncovered evidence of profit-making.

Sen. Chuck Grassley Blasts FBI for Rebuffing Judge’s Request for Clinton E-Mails

Sen. Grassley

Sen. Grassley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s decision to reject a judge’s request for information on the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail system has prompted outrage from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley.

Politico reports that Grassley didn’t mince words after the FBI refused to provide information on whether the bureau retrieved e-mail records.

“The FBI is behaving like it’s above the law,” said Grassley, whose committee oversees the bureau. “Simply refusing to cooperate with a court-ordered request is not an appropriate course of action.”

Grassley hasn’t said yet what actions his committee will take.

Ranking Senator Questions Quickness of Confirming New ATF Head B. Todd Jones Gets

Todd Jones

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Ranking Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said “very troubling allegations” have surfaced that suggest B. Todd Jones, who is President Obama’s choice to head the ATF, retaliated against a whistleblower, The Washington Times reports.

The Iowa senator questioned why the confirmation hearings last week weren’t delayed while an investigation of Jones continues. 

When asked about the whistle-blowing complaints, Jones said he wasn’t familiar with the “substance of the complaints” and declined to comment.

“I must say that the allegations in the complaint are extremely troubling,” Grassley said.

NCAA Shouldn’t Ignore Steroid Problem

The author (right) Greg Stejksal and late Michigan coach Bo Schembechler

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

In the summer of 2004, a Senate sub-committee, chaired by Senators Charles Grassley and Joseph Biden held a hearing regarding the prevalence of steroids in sports. I had helped arrange for two of the witnesses who testified at this hearing.

One was Curtis Wenzlaff, a convicted steroid dealer, who had supplied steroids to Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. Wenzlaff had been prosecuted as part of an FBI undercover operation (UCO) targeting illegal distribution of steroids, codenamed Equine.

It was the late Michigan football coaching legend, Bo Schembechler, that urged our FBI office in Michigan to initiate our steroid UCO in 1989. Schembechler was concerned not only about the prevalence of steroids in college football, but indications that performance-enhancing drugs were being used by high school players as well.

During the ’04 hearing, Wenzlaff testified that the short-term incentives for using steroids were perceived by young competitive athletes to be far greater than the potential health risks later in life – the classic Faustian bargain. Wenzlaff testified that among other incentives, athletes would readily use PEDs if the end result were securing a multi-million dollar playing contract.

The other witness I arranged to appear was the “Mystery Man,” which the Daily News dubbed in their coverage of the hearing. The mystery witness was never identified, wore a hood as he entered the hearing room, and had his voice modified electronically. He was a 4-year football player from a prominent Division-I program, whose last season was 2003. The mystery witness testified that “it became evident that many players on my team were using steroids at some time during their career.” One player was supplying seven to eight other players, according to the witness. He also testified that he knew of players on other Div-I teams using steroids.

The NCAA had already begun to recognize there was a problem; in 1996 the NCAA instituted random, year-round testing with relatively stringent penalties for positive tests – a one-season suspension for a first positive test and permanent ineligibility for a second. The tests are, in theory, unannounced, but athletes can often know up to two days’ in advance. (Steroids are generally clear of a individual’s system within 24-72 hrs. Anabolic steroids are a specific type of steroid that promotes muscle growth, and not all steroids are anabolic. Steroids referred to in this column are anabolic.) The NCAA’s current position is that steroid use is no longer a problem with college athletes. In support of their conclusion they point to less than 1% failure rate on their tests.

In a recent Associated Press article about the continued use of anabolic steroids in college football, the report relied on research that catalogued weight gain of different football players. Extraordinary weight gain by athletes can be an indication of steroid use. Citing training experts, the report said, “Adding more than 20 or 25 lbs. of lean muscle in a year is nearly impossible through diet and exercise alone.” The report also relied on interviews of players who admitted to steroid use or knew of other players using steroids.

Steroid use by college football players affects the integrity of the game. It gives those players and their teams a competitive advantage, and it also puts pressure on other players and their teams to use steroids. This “arms war” mentality filters down to high school players thinking they have to use steroids to play at the next level.

Some football programs, while not explicitly, encourage steroid use. Some schools do testing in addition to the NCAA testing. But it is not required to report positive drug test results and penalties vary and are not nearly as stringent as those imposed by the NCAA. This leads to a patchwork of testing with some schools trying to eliminate steroid use and others just making a show of addressing its use.

I think the resolution should be that NCAA institute a much more rigorous testing regimen. That would mean more random testing, and testing for just cause (based on extraordinary weight gain and/or symptoms of steroid use).The NCAA can afford the increased costs associated with these measures. With the NCAA conducting all the testing, it will insure the testing and penalties are uniformly applied.

I saw firsthand what happened when MLB ignored warnings about prevalence of steroid use in baseball in the mid-‘90s. I hope the NCAA doesn’t repeat their mistake.