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Tag: donald trump

Trump’s Pick for ICE Director Criticized Admin As ‘Heartless,’ ‘Devoid of Any Decency’

President Trump’s choice for ICE director, Mark Morgan

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s choice for ICE director had harsh words for his ouster as head of Border Patrol in 2017.

Then-U.S. Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan wrote in a 2017 email to then-acting Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Kevin McAleenan that the administration’s call for “me to leave immediately is heartless and void of any decency and compassion,” Axios reports.

McAleenan, who is now the acting Homeland Security secretary, received another email from Morgan, who wrote “I am being removed in the name of politics – and politics at its worst. … I will not have them believe I willingly left under these circumstances.”

Morgan wrote in another email, “This is wrong on many levels. I have questions but I need to process through a bit more.”

The emails didn’t make clear why Morgan was removed, and no reason was offered when he resigned.
But the National Border Patrol Council, the union for Border Patrol agents, said Morgan was inexperienced. According to an Axios source, Trump made the call after privately talking to NBPC President Brandon Judd.

In a strange turnabout, Judd told Politico that Morgan was the right person to head the agency, in no small part due to his experience at the FBI.

Jeffrey Rosen Confirmed As DOJ’s Second-in-Command Despite No Experience As Prosecutor

Jeffrey Rosen at the Senate confirmation hearing.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former Deputy Secretary of Transportation Jeffrey Rosen, who has no experience as a prosecutor, is now the second-in-command at the Justice Department.

The Senate voted along party lines Thursday to confirm confirm Rosen to replace former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the embattled official who initiated Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation.

Rosen has never served in the Justice Department. He previously served as general counsel at the Department of Transportation and at the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush.

Democrats said they opposed Rosen because he lacks DOJ experience and refused during congressional testimony to pledge to release the full, unredacted Mueller report.

“We need a Deputy Attorney General who knows the Justice Department,,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in a statement after Rosen’s confirmation. “Mr. Rosen simply does not have the qualifications for this critical assignment.”

Republicans praised Rosen for his “rock-solid reputation,” as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put it.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said Rosen has “the experience, skills and the temperament we want in a deputy attorney general.”

Rosen was nominated by President Trump in February.

Trump Jr. Reaches Deal to Testify Before Senate Intelligence Committee Again

Donald Trump Jr., via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump Jr. has reached an agreement with the Senate Intelligence Committee to testify before the panel in mid-June.

As part of the deal, Trump Jr.’s interview will be limited to four hours and will take place behind closed doors.

Trump Jr. is expected to be questioned about a proposed Trump Tower Moscow project and his involvement in a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer who promised “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

Some Democrats suspect Trump Jr. may have lied to congressional investigators when he said he never told his father about the June 2016 meeting. According to Robert Mueller’s report, Michael Cohen recalled Trump Jr. telling his father over the phone about a meeting to collect “adverse information” on Clinton.

It will be Trump Jr.’s second closed-door interview.

Report: Steve Bannon Urged FBI Officials in 2017 to Put ‘Differences’ with Trump Behind Them

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s decision to ask then-FBI Director James Comey to pledge loyalty to his presidency was one of the primary reasons special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed.

But it turns out, Trump wasn’t the only White House official to engage with the FBI as it investigated Russia’s role in the presidential election.

A day after Trump asked for Comey’s loyalty in April 2017, then-White House strategist Steve Bannon asked two top FBI officials to put their “differences” with Trump’s administration behind them, according to The Guardian, which cited “people familiar with the matter.”

Bannon’s discussion was with then-Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe and Bill Priestap, who was then serving as the bureau’s assistant director of counter-intelligence.

According to The Guardian, McCabe documented Bannon’s remarks in a memo obtained by Mueller’s team. Bannon also was questioned about the discussions.

But for reasons that remain unclear, Mueller’s final report never mentioned Bannon’s meetings with the top FBI officials.

Legal analysts said it “was highly unusual for a senior White House official to make such remarks to the FBI officials, especially at a time when the White House was facing scrutiny,” The Guardian reported.

Richard Painter, former White House ethics lawyer for George W. Bush, said the remarks were “reckless” because it could appear that Bannon was pressuring the FBI officials.

“This is the type of conduct that risks obstruction charges. You do not make public comments, you do not contact the FBI or anyone at the DoJ about a pending investigation, and the reason is that those types of contacts can be seen as obstruction of justice,” Painter said. “When you say ‘we are all on the same team’, well, what does that mean?”

Barr Appoints U.S. Attorney to Investigate Origins of Russia Probe

U.S. Attorney John Durham.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr has assigned a U.S. prosecutor to examine what prompted the Russia probe and whether federal authorities overstepped their authority in investigating the Trump campaign, the AP and New York Times report.

The appointment of John Durham, a Republican and U.S. attorney in Connecticut, comes a month after Barr told members of Congress that he believed “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign.

FBI Director Christopher Wray has defended the bureau’s involvement, saying he was unaware of anyone overstepping their authority to investigate the Trump campaign in 2016.

Trump has long claimed the investigation was a “witch hunt” by “angry Democrats.”

A person familiar with the appointment told the AP that Barr wants to determine whether the investigation into Trump’s campaign was “lawful and appropriate.”

The Justice Department’s inspector general is conducting a similar investigation, which is expected to be completed in May or June.

Durham’s long career includes investigating national security officials and whether they act appropriately during their inquiries.

How Democrats Plan to Continue Fight over Mueller Report And Defiant Trump Officials

Former special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The fight over the Robert Mueller report is far from over.

After Democrats threatened to impose fines on Attorney General William Barr for refusing to turn over the full, unredacted report, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., expressed optimism that Mueller would testify before Congress.

“The American people have a right to hear what the man who did the investigation has to say and we now know we certainly can’t rely on the attorney general who misrepresented his conclusions,” the House Intelligence Committee chairman said on “This Week” Sunday. “So he is going to testify.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

Schiff also said Democrats are not backing down from imposing fines and holding contempt hearings against Trump officials who refuse to comply with congressional subpeonas.

“We’re are going have to use that device if necessary, we’re going to have to use the power of the purse if necessary,” he said. “We’re going to have to enforce our ability to do oversight.”

Also on Sunday, Schiff said he fears the country cannot “survive another four years” of Trump.

“I don’t think this country could survive another four years of a president like this, who gets up every day trying to find new and inventive ways to divide us,” the congressman cautioned. “He doesn’t seem to understand that a fundamental aspect of his job is to try to make us a more perfect union. But that’s not at all where he’s coming from.”

FBI Investigates Whether GOP Donor Funneled Chinese Donations into Trump’s Campaign

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating whether a Republican donor and Florida massage parlor entrepreneur illegally funneled money into the President Trump’s re-election campaign from China.

The bureau also is investigator whether Li “Cindy” Yang committed other possible campaign finance violations, The Miami Herald first reported.

A source familiar with the probe said investigators have obtained a federal grand jury subpoena seeking records from Yang’s associate, Bing Bing Peranio, an employee of Yang’s family’s spa business who donated a maximum $5,400 to Trump’s reelection campaign.

The subpoena is targeting records related to the March 5, 2018, donation.

Peranio confirmed to The Miami Herald that she had received a subpoena and that she was interviewed at home by FBI agents Thursday.

FBI agents are investigating whether Yang reimbursed Peranio for the donation.

Yang’s business offered Chinese executives access to Trump and his family at the president’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach. Yang is no stranger there, having promoted events at the club and selling tickets on social media in China.

Comey Says Trump Would’ve Been Charged if Not President; Trump responds with Predictable Insults

Former FBI Director James Comey.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Hours after former FBI Director James Comey said on CNN that President Trump would have been charged with obstruction if he weren’t the president, Trump fired back in predictable fashion.

“James Comey is a disgrace to the FBI & will go down as the worst Director in its long and once proud history,” Trump tweeted Thursday night. “He brought the FBI down, almost all Republicans & Democrats thought he should be FIRED, but the FBI will regain greatness because of the great men & women who work there!”

Many historians would disagree with the hyperbole, especially since J. Edgar Hoover illegally spied on African Americans, suspected communists and others who disagreed with him. In fact, there has been a movement to remove Hoover’s name from the FBI’s headquarters because Hoover is almost universally despised.

The comments came exactly two years after Trump fired Comey, a move that triggered the special counsel investigation into Russian interference.

During a CNN town hall, Comey, who called Trump “a chronic liar,” said he had “no doubt” Trump would have been charged with obstruction if he weren’t the president, an opinion shard by more than 100 former federal prosecutors. Comey also said the GOP’s handling of the case is “why I’m no longer a Republican.”

Comey added the Justice Department would have to take a “serious look” at whether Trump should be charged after he leaves office.

“Whether it’s a wise thing to do to a former president, I don’t know that’s a harder question – a much bigger question – than the facts of the case,” Comey said.