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Tag: donald trump

Pittsburgh Orders Police to Prepare for Riot If Trump Fires Mueller

Pittsburgh police

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Pittsburgh Police Department has ordered its officers to bring riot gear to work over fears that President Trump will soon fire special counsel Robert Mueller, sparking civil unrest.

Pittsburgh police sent an email to officers on Wednesday, warning that the department has “received information of a potential large protest in the Central Business District” and police should prepare for a riot “until further notice,” according to an internal email first obtained by WTAE-TV, the ABC station in Pittsburgh. 

“We have received information of a potential large scale protest in the Central Business District,” read the internal email from Victor Joseph, commander of major crimes.

“There is a belief that President Trump will soon move to fire Special Prosecutor Mueller,” the email continued. “This would result in a large protest within 24 hours of the firing. The protest would be semi-spontaneous and more than likely happen on short notice.”

He added, “We may be needed to assist in the event that there is a large scale protest.”

Trump has ramped up his criticism of Mueller, who is investigating the president and his campaign, prompting fears that he could soon fire the special counsel.

On Wednesday, Trump wouldn’t confirm reports that he planned to soon fire Mueller, but said his administration has been transparent and cooperative with the probe.

McConnell Shut Down Bi-Partisan Bill to Protect Mueller from Trump

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged to shoot down any legislation aimed at protecting special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by President Trump.

McDonnell says the bill is a waste of time because he’s confident Trump won’t fire Mueller, whose investigation so far has landed indictments against 22 individuals and entities.

“I’m the one who decides what we take to the floor. That’s my responsibility as the Majority Leader, and we will not be having this on the floor of the U.S. Senate,” the defiant Republican said in an interview Tuesday on Fox News

A small band of Republicans has emerged to support a bill that would give a fired special counsel 10 days to request an expedited judicial review on whether the termination was for “good cause.” In fact, the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to have enough votes next week to pass the bill.

But McConnell emphatically said he would not hold a floor vote on the legislation. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Trump’s intentions are irrelevant because the protections are good policy to have on the books.

“I don’t think he’s going to fire Mueller, but I think institutionally it would be nice to have some protections,” Graham said Tuesday.

Trump has stepped up his attacks on the FBI, Justice Department and special counsel probe said the federal raid on his personal lawyer’s various properties, phones and computers. He also has hinted at firing Deputy Attorney General Andrew McCabe, who hired Mueller and oversees the special counsel investigation. 

The legislation would give any special counsel a 10-day window to seek expedited judicial review of a firing, and would put into law existing Justice Department regulations that require a firing to be for “good cause.”

As Trump Attacks, More Americans Are Losing Confidence in Mueller Probe

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The public’s confidence in special counsel Robert Mueller is dropping as President Trump and his allies step up their attacks against the probe, the FBI and the Justice Department.

Mueller’s favorability ratings fell 11 points over the past month, with 32% of Americans viewing the special counsel favorably, 30% holding an unfavorable view and 38% without an opinion, according to an NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist Poll

The poll shows Democrats and Republicans are deeply divided over the former FBI director appointed to investigate Russia and President Trump’s campaign. Mueller’s favorability among Democrats is at 56%, with 19% viewing him favorably and a quarter uncertain.

Nearly half of surveyed Republicans expressed an unfavorable view of Mueller favorability, a dramatic increase from 30% last month. About 16% of Republicans view Mueller favorably, and another 35% are undecided.

Independents are almost evenly divided, with 35% viewing Mueller favorably, 30% unfavorably and 34% are unsure.

Fox News’ Sean Hannity Revealed As Mysterious Client of Trump’s Personal Attorney

President Trump and Fox News personality Sean Hannity.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was ordered Monday to disclose the identity of a mysterious client whom he had tried to keep secret – and it’s none other than Fox News personality Sean Hannity.

Cohen’s lawyers tried to prevent Hannity’s name from being disclosed earlier in the day, but District Judge Kimba Wood demanded it, according to numerous news reports

The lawyers said Cohen had only three clients – Trump, Hannity and Elliot Broidy, a prominent Los Angeles-based Republican fundraiser who, it was revealed last week, helped Cohen negotiate a $1.6 million settlement with a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Trump.

Hannity, an outspoken Trump supporter who has repeatedly slammed the FBI’s raid on Cohen’s office, hotel and computers, first responded on Twitter, saying Cohen had “never represented me in any matter,” but the two had “occasionally brief discussions” on unidentified legal issues.

Later on his radio show, Hannity said he believed the conversations with Cohen were confidential.

“I’ve known Michael a long, long time,” Hannity said. “Let me be very clear to the media. Michael never represented me in any matter. I never retained him in the traditional sense as retaining a lawyer. I never received an invoice from Michael. I never paid legal fees to Michael.”

FBI agents seized Cohen’s computers, phones, office and hotel room in a raid that sought, among other records, all communications between Cohen and Trump and his campaign aides.

Cohen, who is under investigation for possible bank fraud and campaign finance violations, has caught the attention of federal prosecutors for his role in combating negative stories about Trump. In 2016, Cohen paid adult-film attorney Stormy Daniels $130,000 to stay quiet about an affair she said she had with Trump shortly after his wife had a baby in 2006.

It’s unclear whether Hannity also is under investigation.

Trump Swings Back at Comey After ex-FBI Boss Slammed President on National TV

President Trump answering media questions on Air Force One. Photo via the White House.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump fired back at James Comey on Monday after the fired FBI director slammed Trump on national television, comparing him to a mob boss who is “morally unfit to be president.”

On Twitter, Trump’s favorite platform for hyperbole, the president suggested Comey and fired FBI Deputy Director  Andrew McCabe “committed many crimes,” a claim

“Comey drafted the Crooked Hillary exoneration long before he talked to her (lied in Congress to Senator G), then based his decisions on her poll numbers. Disgruntled, he, McCabe, and the others, committed many crimes!” Trump tweeted Monday morning, a day after Comey appeared on ABC’s 20/20 with a litany of accusations against the president.

On Friday morning, a day after details of Comey’s memoir, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership,” were reported by the media, Trump called the former FBI boss “a weak and untruthful slime ball who was, as time has proven, a terrible Director of the FBI.”

“James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR,” Trump tweeted. “Virtually everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did-until he was, in fact, fired. He leaked CLASSIFIED information, for which he should be prosecuted. He lied to Congress under OATH. He is a weak and untruthful slime ball who was, as time has proven, a terrible Director of the FBI. His handling of the Crooked Hillary Clinton case, and the events surrounding it, will go down as one of the worst ‘botch jobs’ of history. It was my great honor to fire James Comey!”

Republicans have been preparing an attack on Comey’s credibility as he embarks on a book tour about a memoir that portrays Trump as a “forest fire” that threatens to undermine the nation’s values and norms.

Trump fired Comey in May, prompting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint special counsel Robert Mueller, in part, to determine if the FBI director’s termination amounted to obstruction of justice.

In the book, Comey described Trump’s presidency as a “forest fire” that threatens to undermine the nation’s values and norms.

400+ DOJ Officials Urge Congress to Respond ‘Swiftly’ If Trump Fires Mueller

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Hundreds of former Justice Department employees are calling on Congress to “swiftly and forcefully respond” if President Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the probe.

“It is up to the rest of us, and especially our elected representatives, to come to their defense and oppose any attempt by the President or others to improperly interfere in the Department’s work,” read a statement signed by more than 400 former officials who worked under current and previous administrations.

The statement adds, “We served out of a commitment to the founding American principles that our democratic republic depends upon the rule of law, that the law must be applied equally, and no one is above the law. … Those of us who served with these men know them to be dedicated public servants committed to these principles.”

Trump has stepped up his attack on the FBI and Justice Department, accusing top law enforcement officials of engaging in a politically driven “witch hunt.” He recently called the Justice Department “an embarassment to our country!” in a tweet.

Former and current Justice Department officials said in the statement that they are “deeply  disturbed by the attacks that have been levied against the good men and women of the Department.”

“Not only is it an insult to their public service, but any attempt to corrupt or undermine the evenhanded application of the rule of law threatens the foundation of our Republic,” the statement read.

Lengel: Comey Gets Kudos For Speaking Out, But Still No Free Pass For Doing Wrong Thing in Some Instances

Former FBI Director James Comey on A?BC’s 20/20.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-FBI Director James Comey delivered some damaging blows to the Donald Trump presidency during his Sunday night interview on ABC, calling Trump unfit for office and suggesting Trump obstructed justice when he asked that the Michael Flynn probe be dropped.

It was a welcome interview, and a candid one, that was needed under the circumstances with a president who has so little respect for boundaries, the truth and the rule of law.

But I still don’t buy Comey’s defense for saying far too much when he issued a statement in 2016 that there would be no charges in the Hillary Clinton case. Ditto for his explanation for sending the letter to Congress that he was re-opening the Clinton investigation. I don’t buy it.

Comey was a popular director beloved by many inside the FBI. He was a modern-day G-man, articulate and smart. But he did have an ego, as many in official Washington have,  and sometimes he was a little too concerned about his boy scout image above all else.

First off, let’s get to the statement he made about the Clinton investigation in 2016. In Sunday’s interview he says:

“My view was– and this is a longstanding practice of the Department of Justice, that in rare cases, you should offer transparency so the American people can take a look at what you did and know that it was done in an honest, competent, independent way.”

There were certainly people inside the FBI, particularly in New York, who assumed the agency had enough to criminally charge Clinton. So, yes it’s understandable that Comey wanted to be transparent, defend himself and explain why he wasn’t charging. But right is right. Any federal prosecutor or agent knows you can’t announce that you’re not charging someone, then go on and trash them as if you just had.

It’s improper.

Then there’s the letter to Congress days before the election. The Justice Department policy is not to influence an election when at all possible.

Comey is asked by George Stephanopoulos: “If you knew that letter would elect Donald Trump, you’d still send it?”

Comey responds: “I would. I would. In fact, that was a question asked by one of my best people– a deputy general counsel in the FBI who is a very thoughtful and quiet person, who didn’t speak a lot. And that– that morning we were making that decision, she asked, ‘Should you consider that what you’re about do to may help elect Donald Trump president?’

“And I paused, and then I said, ‘Thank you for asking that question. That’s a great question. But the answer is not for a moment because down that path lies the death of the FBI as an independent force in American life. If I ever start considering whose political fortunes will be affected by a decision, we’re done. We’re no longer that group in America that is apart from the partisans, and that can be trusted. We’re just another player in the– in the tribal battle.”

Comey indicates his honor and the FBI’s honor was on the line and he had to tell Congress that there was a new development in the Clinton probe.

That being said, so too, on the line, was the integrity of the election.

He decided his image was more important than the election.

Plus, truth be told,  he had a cover. The Justice Department told him not to send the letter, and technically, the Justice Department is his boss.

If he had gotten grief from members of Congress about not notifying them of the new development before the election, he could have said he wanted to but the Justice Department told him not to.

All that being said,  Comey gets kudos for helping bring more transparency to a troubled presidency.

White House Hatches Risky Plan to Oust Rosenstein Amid Escalating Federal Probes

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifying before a House committee in December 2017.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI raid on the law office and hotel room of Donald Trump’s personal attorney has spurred the White House to build a case for firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is the biggest obstacle standing in the way of president pulling the plug on the special counsel investigation.

The plan involves Trump’s allies attacking Rosenstein, who appointed Robert Mueller in May and is overseeing the probe, to avoid the appearance that Trump is obstructing the investigation, the Wall Street Journal reports

Rosenstein’s firing is “a matter of when, not if,” one person who spoke with Trump said.

The plan to discredit Rosenstein comes after the deputy attorney general signed off on the FBI’s seizure of records between Trump and his longtime attorney Micahel Cohen on Monday.

Removing Rosenstein would allow Trump to replace his deputy attorney general with an ally willing to fire Mueller, a move reminiscent of President Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre” in which he fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox in 1973. The bold decision prompted Congress to begin talking about impeachment.

In private conversations, Rosenstein said he’s aware his firing may be imminent and that he’s at peace with it because he chose integrity over blind loyalty to the president, NBC News reported