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Tag: FBI

Constitutional Law Expert: Enough Is Enough. Time to Subpoena President Trump

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump and his lawyers have stalled long enough, and the time has come to subpoena the president.

So says Harry Litman, a constructional law professor at the University of California at San Diego.

“Enough is enough. It’s time to subpoena the president,” Litman argued in a column for the Washington Post

Litman said special counsel Robert Mueller has been “patient while Trump and his representative engaged in scarcely credible gamesmanship.”

Trump continues to call the special counsel investigation “a witch hunt” as he tries to chip away at the credibility of the FBI and Justice Department, an effort that appears to be paying off as most of the president’s most ardent supporters agree with his calculated remarks about federal law enforcement.

“It has become increasingly apparent that neither Trump nor anyone in his orbit has any interest in his answering Mueller’s questions,” Litman wrote. “In a word, they are playing Mueller, and in the process, playing the country.”

Jury Deliberating in Case of FBI Agent Accused of Firing Weapon During Takeover of Oregon Wildlife Refuge

Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was shot and killed by police during the armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The fate of FBI Agent Joseph Astarita is now in the hands of a jury.

Astarita is accused of obstruction and making false statements after denying to federal authorities that he fired two shots at a militia elder involved in the armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge. The 41-year-old defendant also is accused of removing the shell casings from the scene to hide evidence that he was the shooter.

During the trial, he repeated his denials, saying he did not fire his weapon at Robert “LaVoy” Finicum because he was worried about crossfire.

The FBI was told to hold fire while local and state law enforcement handled Finicum, who led police on a chase in his pickup and was then shot by state police after he appeared to reach for his gun.

The jury is focused on who fired the two errant shots, not who killed Finicum because the deadly force was deemed justified.

“It is with a heavy heart that the United States government asks you to look at one of its own,” Paul T. Maloney, an assistant United States attorney, said Thursday in his final statement to the jury, the New York Times reports. “This case is about integrity; this case is about honesty; this case is about accountability and owning your shots.”

Astarita’s lawyers argued that alleged evidence against the agent was the result of lies from the “reckless” actions of one Oregon State Police trooper who fired most of the shots and later changed his story

Astarita is 13-year veteran of the FBI and is a firearms instructor.

Check back for updates.

FBI Agent Denies Firing 2 Mysterious Shots at Leader of Oregon Wildlife Refuge Takeover

Robert “LeVoy” Tinicum, who was shot dead by police during the armed Oregon wildlife refuge takeover.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent accused of obstruction and making false statements denied Wednesday that he shot at a militia leader involved in the armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge.

W. Joseph Astarita is accused of firing his weapon twice in the line of duty and removing the shell casings from the scene.

But Astarita testified during his trial this week that he did neither.

Astarita is charged with allegedly lying that the fired two errant shots that missed Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, who was fatally shot by Oregon State Police.

Investigators were able to identify who fired six of the eight shots. After an investigation, prosecutors became convinced that Astarita fired the other two shots. 

He was indicted in June 2017.

Astarita testified Wednesday that he did not fire his weapon at Finicum because he was worried about cross-fire.

Prosecutors rested their case earlier this week, saying Astarita was the only person who could have fired the mysterious shots.

FBI Agent Wounded, Suspect Killed, in Exchange of Gunfire in L.A.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

An exchange of gunfire wounded an FBI agent and left the suspect in a slaying dead during an attempted arresting Los Angeles on Tuesday morning.

LAPD officers fatally show the suspect, a man in his 70s, in the parking lot of a hotel about 11 a.m., the Los Angeles Times reports.

Police said the suspect opened fire on law enforcement with a handgun when they tried to garret him. Det. Meghan Aguilar, a spokeswoman for the LAPD, said police immediately returned fire.

The FBI agent was struck in the hand by shrapnel from a bullet and was taken to a hospital for treatment.

“He is undergoing surgery. He is in good spirits,” said FBI Special Agent Scott Garriola, who oversees the FBI’s hunt for dangerous fugitives in the L.A. region. “It was a gun battle.”

Police Recover Van Stolen by Pennsylvania Fugitive Who Threatened to Kill Trump And Law Enforcement

Shawn Christy

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Police in West Virginia have recovered a van believed to have been stolen by a Pennsylvania fugitive who has been on the run for more than a month after threatening on social media to assassinate President Trump and use “full lethal force on any law enforcement officer” who tries to detain him. 

The FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and local and state police have been trying to track down 26-year-old Shawn R. Christy, who threatened on Facebook in June to shoot Trump and the Northampton County district attorney in the head.

A federal arrest warrant was issued on June 19, and authorities believe he is armed with at least three stolen handguns.

The FBI’s Pittsburgh office said on Twitter that the stolen van was recovered near Nitro, W.V., on Tuesday and has been impounded.

The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Christy has a history of threatening elected officials.

According to the Morning Call

In 2010, Christy, then 18 years old, was served with a protection-from-abuse order from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for allegedly bombarding her with unwelcome emails. The next year, Christy and his father, Craig, were arrested by federal authorities in Allentown on charges of harassing Palin’s lawyers in phone calls.

Christy pleaded guilty to harassment in that case and was sentenced to probation. He served some time in federal prison when he violated terms of the probation.

He was later sentenced to probation and anger management classes for threatening to shoot a Bangor tax collection clerk, and was then arrested in Schuylkill County on an aggravated assault charge for allegedly swinging a large stick at McAdoo Mayor Stephan Holly.

Anyone with information on Christy’s location is asked to call the FBI at 610-433-6488 or 215-418-4000, or the U.S. Marshals Service at 877-926-8332.

 

Why Trump’s Intervention in New FBI Headquarters Could Be about Personal Gain

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C., named after J. Edgar Hoover.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Some Democratic lawmakers are accusing President Trump of intervening in the project to building a new FBI headquarters because the current building is a stone’s throw from his Washington hotel.

In February, Trump’s administration abruptly ended long-standing plans to build a new headquarters in the suburbs in Maryland or Virginia.

Some lawmakers say Trump has a personal stake in keeping the headquarters in Washington D.C. so a new competing hotel doesn’t take its place.

Trump recently became intimately involved in the project to build a new headquarters at the current site, ranting that the current building is “terrible.”

“Honestly, I think it’s one of the ugliest buildings in the city,” Axios reported Trump saying. 

“It’s no surprise Trump is fixated on the FBI HQ,” Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., tweeted. “Yet another example of his conflicts of interest. It’s prime real estate down the street from Trump International. He has business ties w/ one of the bidders. It’s why I asked the IG to investigate.”

General Services Administration watchdog Carol Ochoa is investigating

Sen. Ben Cardin

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., urged the president to let the GSA resume its original plans of relocating the building to a new site.

“The men and women of the @FBI have long needed a new headquarters, as the Hoover Building is crumbling around them,” Cardin tweeted. “@POTUS needs to let @USGSA return to the nearly-complete process of selecting a new suburban site for the #FBI and step out of the details.”

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., minced no words, suggesting Trump was choosing personal profit over sound policy.

“Trump has an obsession with renovating the FBI HQ at its current location—despite recommendations to find a more secure location,” Van Hollen tweeted . Could it be a new hotel there would eat into the profits of the nearby Trump Hotel? We should put the security of FBI before Trump’s pocketbook!”

Virginia’s Democratic senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner and Tim Kaine said in a joint statement Monday the Trump’s micromanagement of the project is delaying a much-needed new headquarters. 

Sen. Mark Warner

“That’s one reason why it is important that we see the results of the IG investigation into this decision,” the statement reads. “Our hardworking law enforcement and intelligence professionals deserve a state-of-the-art and secure facility. Having President Trump micromanage this complex procurement—with so many other issues on his plate and so many questions about apparent conflicts of interest here—just isn’t helpful to these public servants or to the region.”

The White House responded that Trump’s involvement is intended to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent appropriately.

“The president is interested in making sure taxpayer dollars spent on new buildings are being spent wisely and appropriately,” Sarah Huckabee said in a statement. “He has been a builder all of his life and it should come as no surprise he wants to take the skills and great success he had in the private sector and apply it here.”

The FBI declined to comment.

Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., recently unveiled an infrastructure plan that could provide the funding required to allow the Trump administration to replace the crumbing, four-decade-old headquarters with a new one at the current site. 

Congressional Infrastructure Plan Would Help Trump Replace ‘Terrible’ FBI Headquarters

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A recently unveiled infrastructure plan could provide the funding required to replace what President Trump called the FBI’s “terrible” headquarters in downtown Washington D.C. with a new building.

Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., introduced a capital revolving fund last week to help agencies replace or revamp troubled federal buildings, the Washington Business Journal reports

The Trump administration’s first project using the fund would be a new FBI headquarters to replace the current one, which bureau officials said is archaic and can’t meet the demands of today’s technology.

The fund would provide the GSA with $10 billion and allow federal agencies to borrow and repay money for infrastructure projects.

The GSA said in February that the fund is “designed to enable a more effective capital planning process that is similar to capital budgets used by private companies and State and local governments.”

According to the news site Axios, Trump told a source that the “building is terrible.”

Some members of Congress oppose building a new headquarters at the site of the new one, saying the support the original plan to construct the new building in the suburbs in Maryland or Virginia.

Trump ‘Obsessed’ with Renovating FBI Building, Treating It Like Trump Tower Project

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C., named after J. Edgar Hoover.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump has become obsessed with revamping the FBI headquarters because he can’t stand looking at the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington D.C.

“The building is terrible” a source cited Trump as saying, Axios reported. “It’s one of the brutalist-type buildings, you know, brutalist architecture.”

Brutalist architecture generally refers to buildings with exposed concrete.

“Honestly, I think it’s one of the ugliest buildings in the city,” Trump reportedly said.

The source said Trump, who is known for micro-managing building projects in the private sector, reportedly wants to do the same with the FBI building, treating it like a Trump tower project.

But those projects don’t have the same level of security required for an FBI building.

“POTUS has interest in the issue and has met with FBI officials, but more importantly the GSA [General Services Administration] team. GSA has concerns that the building can’t be rehabilitated particularly given the security requirements and has relayed that to him,” the White House told Axios of Trump’s plans to renovate.

The FBI has been searching for a new headquarters for years, but funding problems continue to delay the project.

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