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Tag: DOJ

Ex-FBI Agent Strzok Argues FBI, DOJ Violated his Free Speech Rights

Peter Strzok, via EPA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Agent Peter Strzok, who was at the center of the bureau’s Russia investigation in 2016, argues in a new court filing that the FBI and Justice Department violated his privacy and free speech rights.

The claims on Monday were a response to the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit in which he alleged he was wrongfully terminated, The Hill reports.

Strzok’s legal team argues that he, like other rank-and-file government employees, have a right to share personal political opinions. He claims he was fired for exercising his First Amendment right to free speech.

“The government’s argument would leave thousands of career federal government employees without protections from discipline over the content of their political speech,” the filing said.

“Nearly every aspect of a modern workplace, and for that matter nearly every non-workplace aspect of employees’ lives, can be monitored,” it added. “The fact that a workplace conversation can be discovered does not render it unprotected.”

The DOJ counters that his high-profile role in the investigation held him to a higher standard.

The FBI declined to comment on the court filing, citing ongoing litigation.

AG William Barr Contradicts Past Statements about FBI by Defending the Bureau

AG William Barr in Detroit, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr is sending mixed messages about the FBI.

After Barr blasted the bureau’s handling of the Russia and Trump campaign investigation, he fully endorsed the FBI at a news conference in Detroit.

“There is no finer law enforcement agency in the world than the FBI,” Barr said in Detroit, standing next to FBI Director Christopher Wray. “I am very grateful to the leadership being provided by Chris Wray.”

Barr’s comments about the bureau are in stark contrast to his and Trump’s recent rhetoric following the DOJ’s inspector general’s report that concluded the FBI acted appropriately in investigating Trump’s campaign.

Here’s what Barr said about the FBI last week: “I think there were gross abuses …and inexplicable behavior that is intolerable in the FBI,” Barr said. “I think that leaves open the possibility that there was bad faith.”

Former FBI Lawyer Lisa Page Sues DOJ, FBI for Publicly Releasing E-Mails

Lisa Page, via social media.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI attorney Lisa Page filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the bureau and Justice Department for publicly disclosing text messages between her and another FBI employee with whom she was having an affair.

Page argues the release of the text messages violates the Privacy Act, which prohibits the disclosure of individuals’ information without their consent, CBS News reports.

The messages between Page and Strzok, who were having an affair, were used by President Trump and Republicans to argue the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election was politically driven. The pair had worked on the investigation and exchanged disparaging messages about Trump during the election.

The messages were released to the media in December 2017.

In the lawsuit, Page says she was subjected to harassment by Trump and the White House “in more than 40 tweets and dozens of interviews, press conferences, and statements.”

Page broke her silence in a wide-ranging interview published by the Daily Beast on Dec. 1.

“I sued the Department of Justice and FBI today,” Page tweeted Tuesday. “I take little joy in having done so. But what they did in leaking my messages to the press was not only wrong, it was illegal.”

DOJ Watchdog Report Set for Release Today, Dismisses Trump’s Claims of FBI Spying

IG Michael Horowitz, via DoJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s internal watchdog is set to announce today that top FBI and DOJ officials did not illegally spy on Trump’s campaign in 2016, delivering a blow to one of the president’s most repeated and unfounded conspiracy theories.

The report examined the investigation into possible coordination between Trump’s campaign and Russia and found that the FBI had sufficient evidence to open the probe ahead of the 2016 election, according to several media accounts.

Michael Horowitz, the DOJ’s inspector general, concluded that the FBI did not improperly launch the investigation, dismissing Trump’s wild claims that the bureau turned rogue in an effort to smear his campaign.

The report, however, is expected to document mistakes by some FBI and DOJ officials. But none of the missteps changed the course of the investigation, the report is to conclude.

Nevertheless, Trump likely will seize on the missteps to bolster his unproven claims.

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.