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Tag: donald trump

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.

Trump to Comey: Jail Journalists Who Refuse to Identify Anonymous Sources


typewriter-reporterBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump continued his attack on the free press by asking then-FBI Director James Comey to jail journalists who refuse to disclose the names of anonymous government sources responsible for leaking embarassing information about his administration.

It was the same Feb. 14 meeting in the Oval Office in which Trump is accused of asking Comey to drop the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Saying he was tired of news leaks detailing his private conversations with several leaders worldwide, Trump asked Comey to aggressively pursue the leakers.

When Comey advised the president that it would be difficult to identify the leaks without the cooperation of journalists, Trump told the FBI director to send reporters to jail if they refused to help provide information.

The unusual request was written in a memo by Comey, who kept meticulous notes on his meetings with Trump.

A press freedom advocacy group came to the defense of journalists, saying Trump’s comments “cross a dangerous line.”

“The comments attributed to President Trump cross a dangerous line. But no president gets to jail journalists,” Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said in a statement.

“Reporters are protected by judges and juries, by a congress that relies on them to stay informed, and by a Justice Department that for decades has honored the role of a free press by spurning prosecutions of journalists for publishing leaks of classified information.”

Chaffetz to Meet with Comey Today, Pledges to Obtain Documents about Trump Conversations

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he plans to meet with former FBI Director James Comey today and will pursue any records of meetings between President Trump and Comey.

The meeting would be the first between the pair since Comey was fired on May 9 under suspicious circumstances, Bloomberg reports. 

The deposed former FBI director is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee sometime after Memorial Day on May 29.

Chaffetz is looking for documents about meetings between Comey and the president, especially after the former FBI director said he kept meticulous memos on the conversations.

“It’s important to remember nobody’s actually seen these documents,” Chaffetz said on Sunday. “There’s been an awful lot written and said about it, but I don’t even know that the Department of Justice has them. Maybe Director Comey has them. I don’t know where they reside. I don’t know if there are documents. But we’re certainly pursuing them.”

Other Stories of Interest

Commentary: Trump’s Firing of Comey Was ‘Legally Proper And Politically Necessary’

James Comey testifies about President Trump before a Senate committee.

James Comey testifies about President Trump before a Senate committee.

By Donald Brand
Fortune

As FBI director, James Comey proved himself a competent administrator capable of inspiring the loyalty of agents and staff. Yet President Donald Trump still should have fired him.

Despite the controversy that has ensued over the manner in which Trump fired Comey and the overblown comparisons to President Richard Nixon’s firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox during the Watergate scandal, the simple reality is that Comey’s firing was both legally proper and politically necessary. None of this is to justify the inept way in which it was handled by a politically incompetent Trump administration. Nevertheless, Comey had politicized the FBI during the 2016 presidential campaign and he lacked the political skills to restore public confidence in the non-partisan character of the agency he headed.

Comey is widely regarded as a man of personal integrity. He first became known to the public when he threatened to resign rather than reauthorize a post-9/11 surveillance program that he viewed as legally suspect, even though it had the support of President George W. Bush and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales. Attorney General John Ashcroft had been hospitalized for gall bladder surgery, and while he recuperated, Comey was filling in as acting attorney general. Comey not only refused to renew the program when authorization for it was imminently expiring, but he headed off an attempt by Andrew Card, Bush’s chief of staff, and Gonzales to circumvent Comey by making a bedside appeal to the ailing Ashcroft.

Comey’s willingness to challenge presidential authority thus made him a seemingly ideal candidate for FBI director when he was appointed in 2013. The FBI has historically cultivated a reputation for non-partisan independence from both presidential and congressional interference.

Yet during the 2016 presidential election, Comey decided not to prosecute Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her actions regarding the handling of classified material on a private email server. In a May 9 memo, Rod Rosenstein, Trump’s deputy attorney general, argued that the former FBI director had improperly usurped the authority of the Justice Department in making that decision. That led Rosenstein to the conclusion that Comey should be terminated.

To read more click here.

Yet Another Candidate for FBI Director Withdrawals Name from Consideration

Former FBI official Richard McFeely, via FBI.

Former FBI official Richard McFeely, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Yet another candidate to replace FBI Director James Comey has withdrawn his name from consideration.

Former FBI official Richard McFeely alerted President Trump’s administration that he’s not interested in the top FBI job, citing family considerations, WJLA reports

That leaves three remaining candidates after an additional two – Sen. Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. – took their name out of the running.

Some of the remaining candidates include former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, acting FBI director Andrew McCabe and former Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Democrat turned Independent.

Political observers predicated Trump would have problems finding a replacement because of the way he treated Comey, who was fired on May 9, prompting the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russians.