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Tag: donald trump

FBI Fires Strzok over Anti-Trump Texts During 2016 Election

Peter Strzok testifying on The Hill.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI has fired Peter Strzok for sending anti-Trump text messages to his lover during the presidential campaign.

Strzok attorney Aitan Goelman confirmed FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowditch ordered the termination Friday, overruling an internal disciplinary review that had recommended Strzok be demoted and suspended for 60 days.

“The decision to fire Special Agent Strzok is not only a departure from typical Bureau practice, but also contradicts Director Wray’s testimony to Congress and his assurances that the FBI intended to follow its regular process in this and all personnel matters,” Goelman said, according to Politico.

The FBI declined numerous news agencies’ requests for a comment.

Strzok, a 22-year veteran of the bureau, was among the lead investigators of Russian interference during the 2016 election until the anti-Trump text messages were discovered by a Justice Department inspector general.

Special counsel Robert Mueller immediately removed Strzok from the team investigating Russia.

The politically charged texts were amplified by the president and his supporters as evidence that the investigation into Trump and his campaign was biased.

The texts were sent to an FBI lawyer, Lisa Page, who also was part of Mueller’s team.

Page and Strzok were having an affair, and Trump called the pair “FBI lovers.”

Trump Threatens to ‘Take Action’ Against FBI, Heightens Campaign to Discredit Russia Probe

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump lashed out at the FBI, Justice Department and Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a series of tweets over the weekend.

As the showdown continues between the president and Robert Mueller over an interview, Trump is pumping up his rhetoric and threats against the groups that are overseeing the investigation of Russia’s meddling.

“Our A.G. is scared stiff and Missing in Action. It is all starting to be revealed – not pretty. IG Report soon? Witch Hunt!” Trump tweeted from his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey. 

Trump has been furious with Sessions since he recused himself from the Russia investigation, which continues to pick up steam.

In another tweet, Trump threatened “to get involved” with a public records request involving his former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe.

“Why isn’t the FBI giving Andrew McCabe text messages to Judicial Watch or appropriate governmental authorities. FBI said they won’t give up even one (I may have to get involved, DO NOT DESTROY). What are they hiding?”

The tweets are part of a heightened campaign to sow doubts about the credibility of federal authorities involved in the investigation, which is looking into whether the president obstructed justice or his campaign colluded with Russia.

Giuliani Backtracks, Says Trump Never Discussed Flynn with Ex-FBI Director Comey

Rudy Giuliani on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

One of the key obstruction of justice allegations against President Trump is that he urged then-FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation into one-time National Security Director Michael Flynn.

The president’s attorney Rudy Giuliani is now saying that Trump will deny he ever encouraged Comey to fire Flynn, contradicting past statements he made to the media.

“There was no conversation about Michael Flynn,” Trump’s personal attorney said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “That is what he will testify to if he’s asked that question.”

Giuliani denied that he told ABC’s “This Week” last month that Trump had asked Comey to give Flynn “a break.”

Giuliana backtracked, maintaining that he “said that is what Comey is saying.”

Confused yet? 

In the ABC interview in early July, Giuliani denied that Trump asked Comey to drop the investigation, saying, “He didn’t direct him to do that. What he said to him was, ‘Can you give him a break?’”

Comey testified that Trump told him, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.”

Trump reluctantly fired Flynn when news surfaced that the retired Army general had misled Vice President Mike Pence about conversations he had with a Russian ambassador during the presidential transition.

In December 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the Russian contacts.

During Sunday’s interview, Giuliani said that if Trump is forced to testify before Robert Mueller’s investigators, the president will deny he told Comey to “let this go.”

Mueller was appointed to investigate Russia after Trump fired Comey in May 2017.

So far, the president’s lawyers are refusing an interview between Trump and Mueller’s team. The fear is that Trump will perjure himself. 

Judge in Manafort Trial Grants Request by Special Counsel to Not Disclose Conversation about Trump Case

Ex-Trump campaign leader Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The special counsel’s team that is prosecuting Paul Manafort on fraud charges successfully urged a judge to keep secret details that could shed light on the ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign and whether it colluded with Russia to meddle in the election.

Rick Gates, the former business partner of Paul Manafort, revealed on the stand Tuesday that he was cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors on Trump’s campaign.

Gates and Manafort played integral roles in the campaign.

The judge overseeing the case granted the prosecutors’ request to keep details of the conversations about Trump from becoming public.

“Disclosing the identified transcript portions would reveal substantive evidence pertaining to an ongoing investigation,” the special counsel’s office wrote. “The government’s interest in protecting the confidentiality of its ongoing investigations is compelling and justifies sealing the limited portion of the sidebar conference at issue here. In addition, sealing will minimize any risk of prejudice from the disclosure of new information relating to that ongoing investigation.”

Judge T.S. Ellis III wrote that he granted the request because the conversation would “reveal substantive evidence pertaining to an ongoing government investigation.”

White-Collar Attorney: It’s a Myth that Mueller Must Interview Trump Before Seeking Indictments

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The constant media coverage about President Trump refusing an interview with  special counsel Robert Mueller has created the false perception that prosecutors need to talk with the president before completing the investigation.

It’s not true, says Jon Sale, an opinion contributor for The Hill and a lawyer who has represented people accused of white-collar crimes.

Sale wrote:

Government prosecutors conduct white-collar investigations every day. Usually, prosecutors complete their investigations without the benefit of interviewing the person under investigation. 

Like all white-collar investigations, Mueller’s investigation requires an analysis of the president’s knowledge and intent. The allegations involving obstruction and foreign meddling in our election are no exception.

Knowledge and intent determinations are necessary in most white-collar investigations. Typically, prosecutors determine whether they can prove criminal intent based on the facts uncovered in their investigation, including relevant witness testimony and documentary evidence such as emails.

Truth is, Mueller can seek an indictment of the president without an interview by using evidence culled from witnesses and records.

Sure enough, Trump’s team of lawyers is urging him not to agree to an interview, which is not unusual in cases like these.

“Here, the president and his legal team have apparently concluded, rightly or wrongly, that Mueller’s probe is a “witch-hunt” conducted by partisans who have pre-determined the president’s guilt,” Sale writes. “Given the president’s view about the unfair mindset of Mueller’s team, submitting to a voluntary interview would be tantamount to walking into the lion’s den.”

Gates Told Feds about Manafort’s Foreign Bank Accounts Long Before Mueller’s Probe

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates with Trump.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Before longtime business partners Paul Manafort and Rick Gates began running Donald Trump’s campaign for president, Gates revealed to the FBI that their consulting firm had foreign bank accounts.

The disclosure by Gates, made public during the Manafort trial this week, is a big deal because the foreign bank accounts became the impetus for investigating and eventually charging the pair with bank and tax fraud.

Gates told the jury that federal law enforcement in was investigating money the pair made working for Russian-friendly Ukrainian officials. He said Manafort told him to be truthful before Gates made the disclosure in 2014.

At the time, federal authorities didn’t have enough evidence to force the pair to disclose their financial records, which eventually were obtained by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and used as key evidence in charging both men.

Earlier this year, Gates struck a plea deal with prosecutors to cooperate with them as they took their case to trial. The government is expected to rest its case in the Manafort trial by Friday.

Prosecutors allege millions of dollars were deposited into the accounts so Manafort wouldn’t be taxed on money he was making from consulting work in Ukraine.

Michael Cohen Under Investigation for Potential Tax- And Bank-Fraud

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors aren’t just investigating Michael Cohen over his working and personal relationship with President Trump.

Trump’s former lawyer also is facing scrutiny over potential tax fraud from his taxi-medallion business, the Wall Street Journal reports

Prosecutors in New York are trying to determine whether the company underreported federal tax returns over the past five years and whether Cohen obtained loans by inflating the values of his assets.

Bank employees also are under investigation for possibly allowing Cohen to obtain the loans for he which didn’t qualify or didn’t have the proper paperwork.

If charged with tax- and bank-fraud, Cohen could face a signifiant time behind bars, which has the potential to scare the lawyer into cooperating with prosecutors.

The charges would be similar to those filed against Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who’s on trial now.

Significant Cuts to TSA Would Reduce Security at Time of Heightened Concerns about Terrorism

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s administration says it wants to make Americans safer from terrorism, but the TSA is cutting about $300 million from its budget in 2020, according to internal documents obtained by CNN.

To save the money, the TSA would eliminate screenings at more than 150 small- to medium-sized airports, reduce the number of full-time air marshals, cut the workforce at TSA headquarters and eliminate 50% in reimbursements to state and local law enforcement agencies for use of their K-9 units.

The TSA did not comment for the story.

Congress would still need to approve the cuts, and some congressional members have already spoken out about the reductions.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, of New Jersey and the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, said the proposed reductions “could put at risk the safety of passengers and the security of our transportation systems.” 

“The intelligence is very clear that the threat to our transportation systems remains real, so I am baffled by this administration’s endless efforts to cut funding in this area,” Watson Coleman said in a statement.

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