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Tag: DOJ

FBI Investigates Epstein’s ‘Apparent Suicide’ Amid Mounting Conspiracy Theories

Jeffrey Epstein.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating the death of billionaire and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein after he was found unresponsive due to an “apparent suicide” in a Manhattan jail.

The Justice Department’s Federal Bureau of Prisons indicated in a letter Saturday that the FBI was investigating.

Prison employees found Epstein unresponsive in his cell early Saturday morning and began “life-saving measures.” He was taken to a hospital “for treatment of life-threatening injuries, and subsequently pronounced dead by hospital staff,” the letter states.

Many questions have been raised about how Epstein could have committed suicide in a federal jail after he had been placed on “suicide watch” in late July, leading to mounting conspiracy theories. Jail officials told the New York Times that Epstein was taken off suicide watch a few days before his death.

When an inmate is taken off suicide watch, prison officials told several news outlets that the detainee is often placed in a cell with another inmate. Epstein was alone in his cell early Saturday morning.

Democrats immediately called for a congressional investigation.

“With the obvious end to criminal proceedings against Epstein, it is important that the House U.S. Committee on Oversight and Reform begin its investigation,” Rep. Louis Frankel tweeted.

Epstein was in jail awaiting trial after he had pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges. Dozens of girls had accused him of sexually abusing them.

On the day of his death, additional court documents revealed allegations that he sent an underage girl to meet and have sex with two former politicians as part of an alleged sex ring.

DEA Supervisor Busted in ‘Improper Personal Relationship’ with Confidential Source

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A DEA supervisor was involved in an “improper personal relationship” with a confidential source, taking the source on dates and making unjustified payments to the source, according to a report by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General.

The internal watchdog investigation was prompted by a tip from the DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which said the unnamed supervisor “caused false statements to be made to justify” payments to the source, The Hill first reported.

The report also states the supervisor took the source on dates using a government vehicle, which is a violation of DEA policy. The supervisor also shared nonpublic information about personnel issues.

“The OIG concluded that the GS violated DEA policy and federal law when the GS approved payments to the CS without proper justification and when the GS approved a form relating to the CS knowing that it included false statements,” the report states.

Prosecutors declined to charge the supervisor, who the report says violated DEA policy and federal law.

Trump Rips Into Justice Department/FBI for Not Warning Him About Manafort

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

President Donald Trump, continuing on his Twitter tear, on Sunday questioned why the Justice Department or FBI did not notify him during the campaign that Paul Manafort was under investigation, insisting that Manafort would have never been hired if he had known, CNN reports.

“As only one of two people left who could become President, why wouldn’t the FBI or Department of ‘Justice’ have told me that they were secretly investigating Paul Manafort (on charges that were 10 years old and had been previously dropped) during my campaign?” Trump wrote on Twitter Sunday morning. “Should have told me!”

In a second tweet, CNN reports, Trump downplayed Manafort’s role on his campaign, saying the Republican strategist “came into the campaign very late and was with us for a short period of time,” but “we should have been told that Comey and the boys were doing a number on him, and he wouldn’t have been hired!”

Bradley Moss: Does An FBI Agent’s Anti-Trump Texts Discredit Russia Probe? Hardly

Bradley P. Moss is a partner at the Washington, D.C. Law Office of Mark S. Zaid, P.C., where he has represented countless individuals (including whistleblowers) serving within the intelligence community, and is also the deputy executive director of the James Madison Project, through which he has represented media outlets such as Politico, Gawker, Daily Caller, and the Daily Beast in FOIA lawsuits against the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations.

President Trump

By Bradley Moss
For Politico

What are we to make of the revelation that a senior FBI counterintelligence official, Peter Strzok, was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team this past summer, allegedly for sending anti-Trump text messages during the 2016 campaign?…

If all Strzok did, however, was privately express his personal political views, and he otherwise properly conducted himself in the context of his official duties, has he done anything wrong? The short answer is no. Not only are civil servants permitted to retain their personal political views while employed by the U.S. government, but they are even permitted by law to express those personal political views. The Hatch Act, passed in 1939, governs concerns about politics permeating the civil servant workplace. The statute only prohibits civil servants from engaging in political activity, which is directed at the promotion of or advocacy against a political party, group or candidate. Strzok allegedly sent text messages to a colleague mocking President Trump when he was still a candidate, something comparable to what countless of millions of Americans—including, no doubt, many GOP members of Congress—did with respect to both major candidates throughout the 2016 election.

To read the full column click here.

DOJ Official Leading Trump-Russia Investigation Unexpectedly Leaving

The DOJ's Mary McCord is stepping down during Trump probe.

The DOJ’s Mary McCord is stepping down during Trump probe.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The high-ranking Justice Department official who is heading the government’s investigation into potential ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign announced unexpectedly that she is leaving the DOJ in May.

Mary McCord, acting assistant attorney general for national security, told staff that she is leaving in mid-May, according to NPR. 

“The time is now right for me to pursue new career opportunities,” May told NPR.

The departure leaves an important position unfilled and raises questions about what’s next for the investigation.

NPR writes:

Her exit leaves a huge vacancy at one of the Justice Department’s most important divisions, at a time when the Trump administration is struggling to fill the ranks. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the only leader so far in the building to have secured Senate confirmation. His picks for deputy and associate attorney general await votes by the full Senate. The administration has not yet announced political appointees for other top posts.

Protecting national security is the top Justice Department priority no matter which political party is in power. The National Security Division, created after the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, has filed criminal charges against Chinese and Russian hackers, sent Americans inspired by the Islamic State and al-Qaida to serve decades in prison and launched counterintelligence probes involving suspected spies.

The investigation into Russian election meddling is one of the highest profile matters in the division’s short history. It’s not clear whether the probe will result in criminal charges against anyone. But both the Justice Department and the FBI are taking it seriously.

Other Stories of Interest

IG: Justice Department Repeatedly Failed to Train Employees on Proper Off-Duty Conduct

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The problems with Justice Department employees getting drunk and acting out 20 years ago have not been sufficiently addressed and are failing to curtail boisterous off-duty conduct, the Inspector General found.

The Washington Times reports that the department never followed through on recommendations from as far back as 1996 to adequately train employees on the responsibilities and consequence of off-duty conduct.

“We found no indication that DOJ had revisited its off-duty conduct policies or training in any comprehensive manner since then, and no indication that DOJ, despite its significant international presence, had established a department-wide policy or training directed at off-duty conduct abroad,” investigators said.

The IG said part of the problem is that many employees don’t know what is unacceptable behavior when off the clock.

Attorney General Eric Holder Expresses Sympathy for Black Americans Who Distrust Law Enforcement

Attorney General/DOJ file photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric Holder understands why many black Americans distrust police , he said in Ferguson where protesters have been rallying since an officer shot an unarmed black teen, Fox News reports.

Holder met with about 50 community members to talk about law enforcement issues.

Holder said his trip was meant to reinforce that the federal government is concerned about civil rights issues.

“I understand that mistrust,” Holder said. “I am the attorney general of the United States. But I am also a black man.”

Holder relayed a story of being stopped twice and having his car searched.

“I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me,” Holder said.

 

Justice Department: More than 40 FBI Agents Conducting Investigation in Ferguson

Attorney General/DOJ file photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday that more than 40 FBI agent are investigating the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed white teen who was shot by an officer in Ferguson.

Holder issued the following statement Monday after President Obama held a briefing.

“As I informed the President this afternoon, the full resources of the Department of Justice are being committed to our federal civil rights investigation into the death of Michael Brown.

“During the day today, more than 40 FBI agents continued their canvassing of the neighborhood where Michael Brown was shot. As a result of this investigative work, several new interviews have already been conducted.

“Moreover, at my direction, an additional medical examination is being performed on the body of Michael Brown. This autopsy is being performed today by one of the most experienced medical examiners in the United States military. I am confident this additional autopsy will be thorough and aid in our investigation.

“In addition to updating the President on these developments, I informed him of my plan to personally travel to Ferguson Wednesday. I intend to meet with FBI investigators, and prosecutors on the ground from the Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney’s Office officials about the ongoing investigation.

“I realize there is tremendous interest in the facts of the incident that led to Michael Brown’s death, but I ask for the public’s patience as we conduct this investigation. The selective release of sensitive information that we have seen in this case so far is troubling to me. No matter how others pursue their own separate inquiries, the Justice Department is resolved to preserve the integrity of its investigation. This is a critical step in restoring trust between law enforcement and the community, not just in Ferguson, but beyond.

“In order to truly begin the process of healing, we must also see an end to the acts of violence in the streets of Ferguson. Those who have been peacefully demonstrating should join with law enforcement in condemning the actions of looters and others seeking to enflame tensions.

“To assist on this front, the Department will be dispatching additional representatives from the Community Relations Service, including Director Grande Lum, to Ferguson. These officials will continue to convene stakeholders whose cooperation is critical to keeping the peace. Furthermore, as the President has announced, Ron Davis, our Director of the COPS office, will arrive on the ground in Ferguson Tuesday. Ron has been in touch with local and state officials since last week, providing technical assistance on crowd control techniques and facilitating communications between Missouri officials and other law enforcement officials whose communities have faced similar challenges in the past.”