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Tag: confirmation hearing

Justice Department to Retry Woman Charged for Laughing During Sessions’ Confirmation Hearing

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department plans to retry a woman who was arrested and charged for laughing during the conformation hearing of Jeff Sessions.

A judge dismissed the original charges against Desiree Fairooz in July, saying “laughter alone was legally insufficient to convict someone of disorderly or disruptive behavior on Capitol grounds, or disrupting Congress.”

Fairooz laughed when Sen. Richard Shelby said Sessions had a “clear and well-documented” record of “treating all Americans equally under the law.” Noting Sessions’ history on civil rights, Fairooz said she laughed because the claims were so ridiculously false.

Fairooz has rejected a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty, so the 61-year-old is headed back to trial, the Advocate reports. 

The judge in the case vacated the conviction but granted a motion for a new trial, which is scheduled to begin Nov. 13.

Other Stories of Interest

Democratic Groups Urge Delay on FBI Director Vote Until Trump Comes Clean on Mueller

Christopher Wray at confirmation hearing.

Christopher Wray at confirmation hearing.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A group of Democratic groups is urging the Senate to oppose the confirmation of Christopher Wray as FBI director until President Trump can assure lawmakers that he won’t fire special counsel Robert Mueller.

A letter addressed to key members of the Senate suggests President Trump “seems intent on thwarting special counsel’s investigation” into Russia’s interference with the 2016 presidential campaign.

“Before moving to confirm a new Trump-selected FBI Director, the Senate should be assured that President Trump and his White House will respect the independence of the FBI’s law enforcement function from White House interference,” according to the letter, signed by nine groups, including Citizens of Responsibility and Ethics, Common Cause and MoveOn.org.

It’s unclear whether the letter will have any impact. Wray has bi-partisan support after pledging independence during his confirmation hearing, and lawmakers are expected to approve the confirmation within a month.

Trump’s Pick for FBI Director to Face Tough Questions During Confirmation Hearing Today

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s nominee for FBI director, Christopher A. Wray, will face a host of challenging questions Wednesday morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing.

Christopher A. Wray

Christopher A. Wray

And the timing couldn’t be worst.

Wray’s testimony comes in the thick of an increasingly evolving investigation by the Justice Department and congressional members into whether Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia in an attempt to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning.

Adding pressure to that investigation is the recent revelation that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer who the president’s son was told wanted to hurt Clinton’s chances of winning.

Senators are expected to grill Wray, a former federal prosecutor in President George Bush’s administration, about his opinions of the investigation.

Since Trump admitted in a TV interview that he fired then-FBI Director James Comey over what the president called a “witch hunt” to destroy his political career, senators also are expected to question how Wray plans to deal with Trump’s interference in federal investigations.

The 50-year-old nominee, who spent years as a high-powered defense lawyer who represented Trump loyalist and New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie.

Veterans law enforcement officials who have worked with Wray described him as an objective, fair legal mind who isn’t easily influenced by political pressure.

Trump’s Nominee for FBI Director to Face Questions about Loyalty Vs. Independence

FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray

FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s nominee for FBI director, Christopher Wray, will face difficult questions Wednesday during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Perhaps most central is whether Wray can assure Democrats and some Republicans that he will stay independent of Trump, who urged then-FBI Director James Comey to pledge his loyalty to the president.

“Christopher Wray would inherit an FBI that lost its popular leader in an unceremonious firing in May and that has spent the last year investigating whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to win the presidency,” The Washington Post wrote. “During this most consequential probe in decades, he’d be serving under a president who is said to have demanded loyalty from Comey and has appeared insensitive to the traditionally bright boundary between the White House and the FBI.” 

FBI agents and lawyers who know Wray said they don’t believe the former high-ranking Justice Department official under President George W. Bush will have trouble maintaining his independence.   

“The people in the bureau are particularly concerned about what’s going to walk through that door,” said Monique Roth, who worked under Wray in the criminal division. “He is a very steady hand at the helm.”

Muslim Group: FBI Nominee Wray Has Troubling History with Immigrant Detainees

    FBI Director nominee Christopher WrayFBI Director nominee Christopher Wray

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI nominee Christoper Wray has a troubling history with mistreating immigrant detainees in the aftermath of 9/11, a Muslim civil rights group warned senators.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR is urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to grill Christopher Wray during his confirmation hearing next week, the AJC.com reports

At issue is Wray’s reported communication blackouts between hundreds of immigrant detainees and the outside world while he was serving in a high-ranking position in the Justice Department for former President George W. Bush.

According to a story in the Daily Beast, Wray directed his employee to curtail communication between the detainees and the outside world while serving as principal deputy attorney general. 

“Many of the leads that resulted in the detention of these immigrants were based on discriminatory religious and ethnic profiling and were meritless suspicion,” the group said.

Although CAIR didn’t take a public position on the nomination, the group claimed Wray’s communication blackouts were “unconstitutional.”

Other Stories of Interest

Confirmation Hearing Set for July 12 for Trump’s FBI Director Nominee

Christopher A. Wray

Christopher A. Wray

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s nominee for FBI director will testify during a confirmation hearing on July 12.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, made the announcement Wednesday, setting the stage for what could be a contentious hearing.

Wray, who led the Justice Department’s Criminal Division under former President George W. Bush, is seeking confirmation for a 10-year term.

Democrats plan to grill Wray about his representation of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie involving the Bridgegate scandal.

If confirmed, Wray will take over the bureau after Trump’s controversial – and some say illegal – firing of Director James Comey.

Trump’s Nominee for FBI Director to Face Tough Questions about His Past

Christopher A. Wray

Christopher A. Wray

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It’s safe to say President Trump’s nominee for FBI director, Christoper Wray, will face tough rounds of questions during his confirmation hearing before the Senate.

After all, some senators and legal experts have accused the president of obstructing justice by firing former director James Comey in retaliation for investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. Special counsel Robert Mueller and his high-powered team of lawyers is investigating those very allegations.

Wray, whom Trump called “a man of impeccable credentials,” is likely to be hammered about why he removed from his law firm’s website in January the fact that he represented an undisclosed American energy executive who was under criminal investigation by the Russian government. 

Wray’s law firm, King & Spalding, represents the Russian energy firm Rosneft, which has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the International Business Times reports

Wray also is likely to be grilled about his representation of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a longtime Trump supporter, in the Bridgegate scandal. Christie has declined to say whether he recommended Wray to Trump.

And several civil liberties advocates are expressing concerns about Wray.

“Christopher Wray’s firm’s legal work for the Trump family, his history of partisan activity, as well as his history of defending Trump’s transition director during a criminal scandal makes us question his ability to lead the FBI with the independence, even-handed judgment, and commitment to the rule of law that the agency deserves,” American Civil Liberties Union National Political Director Faiz Shakir said in a statement.

Sen. Booker Blasts Trump’s Choice for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions

Sen. Cory Booker

Sen. Cory Booker

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Sen. Cory Booker delivered passionate testimony Wednesday that claimed Sen. Jeff Sessions would not seek justice for everyone if he was the next U.S. attorney general.

“If confirmed, Senator Sessions will be required to pursue justice for women, but his record indicates that he won’t,” the New Jersey Democrat said. “He will be expected to defend the equal rights of gay and lesbian and transgender Americans, but his record indicates that he won’t. He will be expected to defend voting rights, but his record indicates that he won’t. He will be expected to defend the rights of immigrants and affirm their human dignity, but the record indicates that he won’t.”

Despite complaints from opponents of Sessions, it appeared unlikely that Democrats could stop the Republican-controlled Senate from confirming him.

Civil Rights and immigration advocates have opposed Sessions’ appointment.

Former attorney general Michael Mukasey disagreed, saying Sessions is “thoroughly dedicated to the rule of law and the mission of the department.”