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Tag: donald trump

Coronavirus Fears Don’t Stop Construction of the Border Wall in Arizona

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

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Construction on the wall on the Arizona border with Mexico has not stopped as the coronavirus outbreak spreads rapidly across the U.S.

Work crews are filling up motels, Airbnbs and mobile home camps in the town of Ajo, while nonessential construction has stopped in most of the country, The New York Times reports.

The theory is that the wall will prevent the spread of the virus from Mexico to the U.S., even though health experts are skeptical.

In the meantime, residents in Ajo are worried that the influx of workers make them more susceptive to the coronavirus.

“This administration’s priority is to get the wall done. The rest of us might as well be damned,” Ajo resident Maria Singleton told the Times.

According to an Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Raini Brunson, the agency is following “government and CDC guidelines” as construction increases.

“As the guidance changes, decisions will be made as to how contractor employees will be affected,” Brunson added.

Trump Says He’s ‘Strongly Considering’ Full Pardon for Michael Flynn, Citing ‘Lost’ Records

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump announced Sunday he’s “strongly considering” a “Full Pardon” for his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, saying the FBI and Justice Department lost some of his records.

“So now it is reported that, after destroying his life & the life of his wonderful family (and many others also), the FBI, working in conjunction with the Justice Department, has ‘lost’ the records of General Michael Flynn. How convenient,”Trump tweeted. “I am strongly considering a Full Pardon!”

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about interactions with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. but has since tried to withdraw his plea. In January, federal prosecutors reversed course, calling for up to six months in prison for Flynn, saying he shows no signs of remorse after embracing a combative defense strategy.

The Justice Department initially suggested it was open to probation for Flynn, the only member of the Trump administration to plead guilty in the Robert Mueller investigation. At the time Flynn was cooperating with investigators. But after that, Flynn took a different course and tried in vein to get the case dismissed.

In September, Flynn’s lawyers claimed prosecutors were unable to produce an internal Justice Department memo that cleared Flynn of being a Russian agent. Prosecutors countered that the allegations were irrelevant because Flynn was not accused of being a Russian agent.

Trump offered no explanation of his claims that the FBI and Justice Department lost records.

Appeals Court: DOJ Must Disclose Grand Jury Material to Democrats on House Committee

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A federal appeals court on Tuesday ordered the Justice Department to give House lawmakers secret grand jury testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, The Washington Post reported.

The 2-1 decision is a partial victory for House Democrats who have been trying to obtain the grand jury material. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals, which upheld a district court ruling a year ago, can be appealed to the full court or the Supreme Court.

That means the secret material from the investigation does not yet have to be disclosed.

Trump’s Administration Imposes Temporary Ban on TSA Hiring and OT After Budget Cuts

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s administration has imposed a temporary ban on hiring at the TSA for the second time in recent months.

The moratorium on TSA hires is expected to be lifted in late April in time for the busy travel season this summer, KUER Radio in Utah reports.

The administration also placed a temporary hold on overtime.

“In anticipation of another record-breaking summer travel season, the Transportation Security Administration is managing resources by prioritizing overtime to the busiest of travel periods,” the TSA said in a statement. “Additionally, TSA will continue to assess applicants for entry into TSA, and will conduct two extended hiring windows to coincide with the busy summer travel season.”

The Trump administration reduced the agency’s $8.2 billion budget by $10.5 million in 2021.

Hydrick Thomas, who heads the union that represents TSA employees, said the hiring and overtime freeze is going to cause a headache.

“You always have overtime — no matter how much staff you hire. This agency has large turnover every month,” he said. “What are you going to do when you have no staff to process passengers?”

Comey Acknowledges His Decisions During 2016 Presidential Election ‘Hurt the FBI’

James Comey via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey acknowledged his handling of investigations into presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016 “hurt the FBI,” but defended his tenure.

Speaking at a Harvard Institute of Politics forum Monday night, Comey spoke frankly about the dilemma he faced, saying he tried to make the best decisions in a difficult time.

“Decisions that I made hurt the FBI — and that’s important,” Comey said, The Harvard Crimson wrote. “I still believe if I had chosen the other door, I would’ve hurt the FBI worse. But there’s no doubt, I knew we were spending the FBI’s credibility.”

Many political observers criticized Comey for publicly announcing the FBI had reopened an investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server less than two weeks before the election. Clinton also said Comey’s announcement contributed to her loss.

When asked by an audience member if he would apologize to Clinton, Comey said he wouldn’t.

“If you really understand the position we were in — that I was in — on October 28, you walk away saying, ‘Oh my god, that was a very hard decision,’” Comey said. “So I’d want her to understand that.”

Trump Hires Julia Nesheiwat as White House Homeland Security Adviser

White House Homeland Security Adviser Julia Nesheiwat.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump has hired Florida’s chief resilience officer to be his White House homeland security adviser.

Julia Nesheiwat, a former U.S. Army captain with an extensive military background, will be the fourth person to fill the position since Trump was elected, Politico first reported. She replaces Rear Adm. Peter Brown, who lasted about six months on the job.

Dough Fears and Tom Bossert also held the position.

Neishewat had served as deputy special presidential envoy for hostage affairs for four years.

In Florida, Neishewat prepared for natural disasters.

Neishewat’s military background includes tours in Afghanistan Iraq. She is fluent in Arabic, Japanese and Spanish.

Trump split up the Homeland Security Council and National Security Council soon after he became president. The national security adviser is Robert O’Brien, who worked with Neishewat at the State Department.

Trump Defies AG Barr, Continues Tweeting about Justice Department

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

In brazen defiance of Attorney General William Barr, President Trump continued to tweet about the Justice Department.

On Wednesday, Trump retweeted allegations that he is “the victim” of a DOJ conspiracy theory, just hours after reports suggested Barr told his staff that he’s considering resigning over the president’s comments about Justice Department criminal cases.

Trump fired off more than a dozen tweets and retweets that seemed to make a case that Barr should “clean house” at the Justice Department.

“There must be JUSTICE. This can never happen to a President, or our Country, again!,” Trump wrote, retweeting a post from Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin, who insisted there are “high expectations that the Justice Dept will very soon deliver transparency & ACCOUNTABILITY regarding DOJ/FBI officials who weaponized the awesome powers at their disposal in order to target the Trump campaign.”

Last week, Barr told ABC News that Trump’s tweets about Justice Department cases “make it impossible for me to do my job.”

“I think it’s time to stop the tweeting about Department of Justice criminal cases,” Barr said.

Trump continued tweeting anyway.

According to The Washington Post, Barr’s motive for threatening to quit may have been to send a message to Trump to stop tweeting.

“He has his limits,” a source said.

1,100+ Former DOJ Officials Call for Attorney General Barr’s Resignation

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

More than 1,100 former Justice Department officials are calling for the resignation of Attorney General William Barr after injecting himself into the case of President Trump’s friend and confidant Roger Stone.

“Each of us strongly condemns President Trump’s and Attorney General Barr’s interference in the fair administration of justice,” the letter, released Sunday, states.

The former federal prosecutors and DOJ officials said it was unethical for Barr to intervene in the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for Stone, a GOP dirty trickster who was found guilty in November of seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering. Four prosecutors originally recommended a prison sentence of seven to nine years.

After Trump publicly criticized the recommendation, Barr ordered the Justice Department to file an updated sentencing memo calling for less prison time for Stone.

The four career prosecutors who wrote the original sentencing recommendation resigned from the case.

“Mr. Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words,” the Justice Department alumni wrote in the letter posted online. “Those actions, and the damage they have done to the Department of Justice’s reputation for integrity and the rule of law, require Mr. Barr to resign.”