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Tag: donald trump

Trump Calls for Full Investigation into U.S. Leaks of Probe into Manchester Attack

President Trump, via White House

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump is requesting a full investigation into whether U.S. officials leaked information about England’s probe of the Manchester terrorist bombing earlier this week.

Denouncing the leaks as “deeply troubling,” Trump pledged to “get to the bottom of this.”

He added: “The leaks of sensitive information pose a grave threat to our national security. I am asking the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to launch a complete review of this matter, and if appropriate, the culprit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. There is no relationship we cherish more than the Special Relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.”

British intelligence officials were incensed about the leaks, which included prematurely naming the suspects and crime-scene photos published in the New York Times.

Among the chief concerns is that the breach may undermine historically close intelligence sharing tie.s

Guardian: Trump Seems Primed to Return the FBI to the Hoover Era

Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover

Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover

By Editorial Board
The Guardian

The country is still reeling after the bombshell report that Donald Trump asked the former FBI director James Comey to shut down the bureau’s investigation into Michael Flynn. Did the president fire Comey to slow down the FBI Russia investigation? Did Trump obstruct justice?

These questions are getting the attention that they deserve. But the focus on Comey’s firing is obscuring the issue of who Trump will hire to replace him – and the threat that this appointment poses to Americans’ civil liberties and civil rights.

Recently, the journalist Ashley Feinberg uncovered Comey’s personal Twitter account; he had used the pseudonym “Reinhold Niebuhr”. Tellingly, the real Niebuhr was a theologian, public intellectual, and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient targeted for FBI surveillance because of his lawful opposition to the Vietnam war.

Niebuhr wasn’t alone. The FBI has a long history of abusing its power to serve political ends. In the early 20th century, J Edgar Hoover created his Radical Alien Division to conduct dragnet surveillance of American immigrants. It surveilled Marcus Garvey to collect evidence used in his deportation to Jamaica. It wiretapped Dr Martin Luther King Jr during the civil rights era. At President Dwight Eisenhower’s direction, Hoover compiled a “list of homosexuals” to root out gay people working for the government.

Comey had serious flaws. But he understood the past misdeeds of the FBI. He kept a copy of the original order to wiretap King on his desk and required new FBI agents and analysts to visit King’s memorial on the National Mall. As Comey put it in 2015, he tried to “to ensure that we remember our mistakes and that we learn from them”.

Trump, on the other hand, seems anxious to return to the Hoover era.

Justice Department Tries to Force Sanctuary Cities to Cooperate Under Budget Proposal

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump is not giving up on his plan to strip federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities.

A month after a judge in San Francisco temporarily blocked Trump’s  efforts to starve municipalities of federal money for failing to fully cooperate with immigration enforcement, the Justice Department is trying to change the law to give the federal government more leverage over localities when it comes to immigration enforcement, the Washington Post reports.

Local law enforcement agencies have expressed numerous reason for refusing to fully cooperate. Some police departments and sheriff’s offices are opposed because it’s an unfunded mandate, has legal implications and makes the community more unsafe because undocumented immigrants are afraid to report crimes.

The Post wrote:

Justice Department officials have said that under current law, holding illegal immigrants upon request is voluntary. And in a memo Tuesday, Sessions seemed to concede that his power in the matter was limited.

He declared that sanctuary cities, even under Trump’s executive order, were only those places that violated the particular federal law that stops local officials from putting any restrictions on information sharing with ICE. Only such jurisdictions, he said, were at risk of losing federal funding.

If the Justice Department’s proposal were to become law, though, all jurisdictions that do not honor detainer requests will be at risk. The law would block cities from enacting policies that stop compliance with legal Department of Homeland Security requests, including “any request to maintain custody of the alien for a period not to exceed 48 hours.”

Trump Considers Appointing First Woman to Lead 82-Year-Old FBI

Fran Townsend, via Twitter

Fran Townsend, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump is reportedly considering appointing the first woman to head the FBI after firing Director James Comey earlier this month under suspicious circumstances.

Politico confirmed that Fran Townsend, the former homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush, was approached by the Trump administration about the coveted job. 

“I’ve talked to folks in the administration about it,” she said.

Acknowledging that her candidacy is “history-making,” Townsend would be the first woman to take the helm of the FBI since the bureau was founded in 1935. “The fact that women are in that mix says a lot about how far we’ve come. That hasn’t been true before,” she said. “Regardless of whatever decision is made, we have begun to shatter a glass ceiling about what is the population of people who are qualified and competitive to hold such a position.”

Asked whether she’d take the job if its was offered, Townsend dodged the question.

As for whether she’d take the job if offered, the former Bush official demurred: “You know what? I learned in the White House I don’t do hypotheticals,” she said, “but I will say I was quite honored and quite flattered to be approached.”

Trump’s Search for New FBI Director Starts from Scratch Again

President Trump, via White House

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just a week after President Trump said he was “very close” to choosing a new FBI director, his administration is now starting from scratch, a senior administration official told CNN.

That means former Sen. Joe Lieberman is no longer the leading candidates.

Trump, who sources said had narrowed down his choices to just a handful of finalists, now wants more candidates from which to pick.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a big role in the process, interviewing candidates, including acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former congressman and FBI special agent Mike Rogers, and Fran Townsend, former Homeland Security adviser to President George W. Bush. If appointed, Townsend would be the first woman to lead the FBI in the bureau’s history.

What’s unclear is whether Trump’s often combative relationship with the intelligence community and his treatment of former FBI Director James Comey would make the job less appealing to qualified candidates.

Among the candidates who have already bailed out are former Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher, Associate Judge Michael Garcia of the New York Court of Appeals, career FBI official Richard McFeely, Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn and South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy.

Trump’s Budget Calls for Tightening Border Security with a Wall, New Agents

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s new 2018 budget asks for $2.6 billion to begin building a wall along the border of Mexico.

To follow through on his pledge to combat illegal immigration, Trump also is requesting money for 500 new Border Patrol agents and 1,000 new ICE agents and officers.

In his new budget, revealed today, Trump said he’s exploring ways to calculate “net budgetary effects of immigration programs and policy” before implementing big changes.

“Once the net effect of immigration on the federal budget is more clearly illustrated, the American public can be better informed about options for improving policy outcomes and saving taxpayer resources,” the president said in the new blueprint. “In that regard, the budget supports reforming the U.S. immigration system to encourage: merit-based admissions for legal immigrants, ending the entry of illegal immigrants, and a substantial reduction in refugees slotted for domestic resettlement.”

Ex-CIA Director: Russia May Have Recruited Trump Aides to Influence Election

Former CIA Director John Brennan testifies during Tuesday's congressional hearing. Photo via U.S. Capitol.

Former CIA Director John Brennan testifies during Tuesday’s congressional hearing. Photo via U.S. Capitol.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former CIA Director John Brennan said publicly for the first time that he suspected the Russian government may have successfully recruited aides from Donald Trump’s campaign to help influence the presidential election.  

“I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals,” Brennan told members of the House Intelligence Committee. “It raised questions in my mind about whether Russia was able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.”

But Brennan said he left office in January before having enough evidence to determine “whether such collusion existed.”

Members of the House Intelligence Committee during the Brennan testimony. Photo via U.S. Capitol.

Members of the House Intelligence Committee during the Brennan testimony. Photo via U.S. Capitol.

Brennan, who served as CIA chief during the Obama administration from 2013-2017, said he briefed congressional leaders in August about the “full details” of his suspicions that Russia was trying to influence the presidential election.

“They were very aggressive,” Brennan told lawmakers.

Brennan also criticized Trump for recently sharing classified information with Russian officials, describing the leaks as “very, very damaging … and I find them appalling and they need to be tracked down.”

The hearing, which was ongoing when this story was published, is intended to dig up information about the investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s team and Russia.

After the hearing, Brennan will meet with lawmakers behind closed doors to provide information he couldn’t in the open session.

Watch the testimony here.

President Trump Asked Top Intelligence Officials to Help End FBI Investigation of His Campaign

President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After President Trump repeatedly asked then-FBI Director James Comey to swear loyalty to the president during a one-on-one meeting in the White House in February, the Republican is accused of trying to get two top intelligence officials to intervene.

The Washington Post reports that Trump asked the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency to help him stop a FBI investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russia. 

Trump wanted the top intelligence officials to public deny the existence of evidence of collusion during the 2016 presidential election.

The requests, which were denied by both men, happened during two separate meetings that could be used to help build the case that Trump was obstructing justice.