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Tag: FBI director

Former FBI Director Returns to WilmerHale After Serving as Special Counsel in Russia Probe

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Robert Mueller, the former special counsel who investigated Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign, is rejoining the law firm WilmerHale.

Mueller was a partner at the firm since 2014, but stepped down in May 2017 while he began investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 special election.

Mueller will return to focusing on high-profile investigations and crisis management.

“We couldn’t be happier to have Bob, our extraordinary friend and colleague, return to WilmerHale,” Robert Novick, the firm’s co-managing partner, said in a news release. “Few lawyers have been entrusted with as many matters of national significance as Bob, in both his public service and in private practice. Bob embodies the highest values of our firm and profession. We’re privileged to work alongside him once again.”

Mueller said he’s happy to be back.

“I’m glad to be at WilmerHale once again, a firm with a tradition of honoring public service,” Mueller said. “It was an honor to serve as special counsel. Now, I look forward to resuming my private practice alongside the talented lawyers at the firm.”

Mueller served as FBI director for 12 years under two presidents. He began leading the fBI just one week before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Trump Won’t Say If He Has Confidence in FBI Director Wray

FBI Director Christopher Wray in Atlanta. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump would not say whether he has confidence in his FBI Director Christopher Wray during an interview with The Hill.

The president also emphasized that he disagrees with Wray’s opinion that FBI agents didn’t spy on his 2016 campaign.

Wray told Congress in May he would not describe FBI investigations as “spying” when asked about Attorney General Bill Bar’s assertion that federal law enforcement officials “spied” on the Trump campaign.

“I mean, I disagree with him on that and I think a lot of people are disagreeing,” Trump told The Hill. “You may even disagree with him on that.”

When asked about his level of confidence in his FBI director, Trump said, “Well, we’ll see how it turns out.”

Trump’s response raised eyebrows because he fired then-FBI Director James Comey in April 2017, a decision that led to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel.

Later, Trump’s first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, fired then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

Comey Blasts Trump for ‘Dumb Lies’ about FBI, Defends Bureau’s Handling of Case

Former FBI Director James Comey.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey slammed President Trump as “a liar” for “ranting about treason and corruption at the FBI” and defended the bureau’s decision to investigate the Trump campaign.

In an op-ed published by the Washington Post, Comey denounced Trump’s claims as empty rhetoric and “dumb lies.”

“There was no corruption. There was no treason. There was no attempted coup,” Comey wrote. “Those are lies, and dumb lies at that.”

Comey said the “stubborn facts” are that seven weeks before the FBI discovered Russia was interfering in the presidential election in mid-June 2016, one of Trump’s key advisers told “an allied ambassador” that Russians had “dirt” on Clinton “in the form of thousands of emails.” In addition, the bureau learned “that the Russians could assist the Trump campaign through the animus release of information damaging to Clinton.”

“When we finally learned of it in late July, what should the FBI have done? Let it go? Go tell the Trump campaign? Tell the press? No. Investigate, to see what the facts were,” Comey wrote. “We didn’t know what was true. Maybe there was nothing to it, or maybe Americans were actively conspiring with the Russians. To find out, the FBI would live up to its name and investigate.”

And so the FBI did to investigate, “carefully, professionally and discreetly,” Comey wrote.

“If there was nothing to it, we didn’t want to smear Americans. If there was something to it, we didn’t want to let corrupt Americans know we were onto them. So, we kept it secret. That’s how the FBI approaches all counterintelligence cases.”

Comey said the FBI investigated “to see whether it was true that Americans associated with the campaign had taken the Russians up on any offer of help.”

“We didn’t gather information about the campaign’s strategy,” Comey wrote. “We didn’t ‘spy’ on anyone’s campaign.”

Comey denounced Trump’s campaign of illegal spying as a “conspiracy theory that makes no sense.”

But Comey didn’t make a case for not investigating the FBI’s role in the campaign because he said he’s confident “the work was done appropriately and focused only on discovering the truth of very serious allegations.”

Trump Suggests Former FBI Directors Guilty of Treason, Punishable by Death

President Trump, via the White House.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump made the bold claim that former FBI Director James Comey and former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe were guilty of treason during a wild press conference Thursday.

The assertion came after NBC reporter Peter Alexander pointed out that the “Constitution says treason is punishable by death,” and then said, “You’ve accused your adversaries of treason. Who specifically are you accusing of treason?”

Trump responded, “Well I think a number of people. And I think what you look is that they have unsuccessfully tried to take down the wrong person.”

So who’s he talking about?

“If you look at Comey, if you look at McCabe, if you look at people probably higher than that.”

It’s unclear who is higher than the director of the FBI. Former President Obama, whom Trump has accused of playing a role in the investigation into Trump’s campaign?

Trump didn’t say whether any of them should be executed, but his response was cringe-worthy. He also does not appear to understand what treason is.

Treason refers to conspiring to overthrow the government or aiding international groups that are enemies of the U.S.

The irony is that Trump has been accused of working on behalf of Russia, a persistent threat to the U.S.

Silly Conspiracy Theory Woven from Comey Tweet Prompts School to Cancel Event

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An innocuous tweet from former FBI Director James Comey turned into a bizarre conspiracy theory that prompted a California school to cancel its upcoming fundraiser.

The Grass Valley Charter School Foundation wasn’t taking any chances after an online conspiracy theory targeted the school.

The conspiracy began after Comey took part in a popular Twitter game, “Five Jobs I’ve Had,” in late April. A conspiracy theorist “isolated random letters and threaded them together to suggest ‘Five Jihad(s)’ involving ‘Grass Valley Charter School Foundation,’” KCRA 3 reports.

“It was everything from Comey and his people were going to come and kidnap our children to there was going to be a mass shooting,” foundation President Wendy Willoughby said.

Kathy Dotson, parent and co-producer of the fundraiser, said “you can’t help but take it seriously.”

In a letter to parents, school Principal Scott Maddock explained why the festival was canceled.

“I want to stress the fact that there was no threat made against our school,” the letter reads. “Law enforcement agencies are completely certain that this conspiracy theory poses no danger to our school or community. We are canceling the Blue Marble Jubilee because of the negative attention placed on our festival.”

Law enforcement did not consider the threat to be credible, but school officials and event organizers said they were worried about copycats.

“These theories, although they hold no basis in reality or fact, what they can do and have the power to do through social media is embolden unstable people to take action and potentially do dangerous things,” Willoughby said.

School officials moved the fundraiser online.

Comey Says Trump Would’ve Been Charged if Not President; Trump responds with Predictable Insults

Former FBI Director James Comey.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Hours after former FBI Director James Comey said on CNN that President Trump would have been charged with obstruction if he weren’t the president, Trump fired back in predictable fashion.

“James Comey is a disgrace to the FBI & will go down as the worst Director in its long and once proud history,” Trump tweeted Thursday night. “He brought the FBI down, almost all Republicans & Democrats thought he should be FIRED, but the FBI will regain greatness because of the great men & women who work there!”

Many historians would disagree with the hyperbole, especially since J. Edgar Hoover illegally spied on African Americans, suspected communists and others who disagreed with him. In fact, there has been a movement to remove Hoover’s name from the FBI’s headquarters because Hoover is almost universally despised.

The comments came exactly two years after Trump fired Comey, a move that triggered the special counsel investigation into Russian interference.

During a CNN town hall, Comey, who called Trump “a chronic liar,” said he had “no doubt” Trump would have been charged with obstruction if he weren’t the president, an opinion shard by more than 100 former federal prosecutors. Comey also said the GOP’s handling of the case is “why I’m no longer a Republican.”

Comey added the Justice Department would have to take a “serious look” at whether Trump should be charged after he leaves office.

“Whether it’s a wise thing to do to a former president, I don’t know that’s a harder question – a much bigger question – than the facts of the case,” Comey said.

FBI Director Wray Defends Bureau, Says No Evidence ‘Spying’ Occurred

FBI Director Christopher Wray

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray distanced himself from Attorney General William Barr, saying Tuesday he’s unaware of any illegal surveillance and that he doesn’t use the politically charged term “spying.”

“That’s not the term I would use,” Wray told senators at a budget hearing when asked about Barr’s allegations that the bureau may have abused their powers in investigating Trump’s campaign.

The question came from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., who said he “was very concerned by” Barr’s “use of the word spying, which I think is a loaded word.”

Wray also was asked if he had “any evidence that any illegal surveillance” of Trump’s campaign occurred.

“I don’t think I personally have any evidence of that sort,” Wray said.

The FBI director also offered to help explain to Barr how the Russia investigation began.

AG Nominee Barr Was Influential in Removing Former FBI Director William Sessions

Trump’s attorney general pick, William Barr.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s nominee for attorney general, William Barr, knows a thing or two about firing an FBI director.

As attorney general during the final years of George W.H. Bush’s presidency, Barr laid out a case for removing William Sessions as FBI director, The Wall Street Journal reports.  

His report detailed Sessions’ lapses in judgment and ethics in hopes that Sessions would resign. But Sessions refused, so Barr’s  successor, Janet Reno, affirmed the report’s findings, prompting President Clinton to fire Sessions in July 1993.

After some lawmakers alleged Trump’s May 201y termination of Comey amounted to obstruction of justice, Barr responded in a memo in June 2018 that the argument was “fatally misconceived.”