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Tag: FBI

FBI Investigating If Fatal Stabbing of Black College Student Was Racially Motivated

Richard Collins, right, Sean Urbanski, left.

Richard Collins, right, Sean Urbanski, left.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating the fatal stabbing of a black college student in Maryland after it was discovered the white suspect belonged to a racist Facebook group called “Alt-Reich.”

ABC News reports that 22-year-old Sean Urbanski, a student at University of Maryland, has been charged in the stabbing death of 23-year-old Richard Collins III, who was a U.S. Army officer.  

Calling the attack random and “totally unprovoked,” the university police requested the FBI’s assistance.

“New information obtained today from witnesses and other sources has led law enforcement officials to consider a hate-bias motive in this case,” University of Maryland President Wallace Loh said in a statement Sunday. “To ensure a comprehensive investigation, UMPD today asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to provide technical and forensic expertise, which it agreed to do.“

Collins, who was set to graduate from Bowie State University on Tuesday, was visiting UMD campus when he was stabbed by Urbanski, an apparent stranger.

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.

Robert Mueller Is Like ‘Batman’ Capable of Saving America, Former Colleague Says

Robert Mueller

Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has an unblemished reputation as an investigator with integrity and will conduct a thorough investigation of Trump’s campaign and Russia without regard for politics, his former second-in-charge said Sunday.

“A line in New York would be Batman’s back to save Gotham, but I think in this case, Batman is back to save America,” Timothy Murphy told John Catsimatidis during an interview on “The Cats Roundtable.”

Mueller has been appointed special counsel to investigate connections between Trump’s campaign and the Russians after the president fired FBI Director James Comey.

Murphy said Mueller has “unquestionable integrity,” so he won’t be conducting a “witch hunt,” a phrased used by Trump to describe the investigation.

“To have someone come in and independently oversee this investigation was a brilliant move,” said Murphy, who worked at the FBI from 1988 to 2011.

America Will Be Glued to the TV When James Comey Testifies Before Congress

FBI Director James Comey appears Wednesday before the Senate.

FBI Director James Comey appears Wednesday before the Senate.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

If  Americans were given a choice who they’d like to have a one-on-one dinner with, fired FBI Director James Comey would be pretty high on that list for many.

Well, the next best thing to that would be to hear Comey publicly testify before Congress.

That’s now expected to happen.

Comey will testify publicly before the Senate Intelligence Committee at a date to be set after Memorial Day, committee leaders announced Friday night, according to the Washington Post.

Expect plenty folks to be glued to the TV or computer during the testimony, as they were during the Watergate hearings.

 

 

Parker: Trump’s Early Influence on the Criminal Justice System and Law Enforcement

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

President Trump is a media magnet, for better or worse. Debates on public policy and personal peccadilloes whirl so fast that it seems fair to step back and try to ignore the daily sensations and make a preliminary assessment of his successes and failures in the law enforcement and criminal justice arenas.

Relations with Law Enforcement Agencies

Candidate and now President Trump often voices an intention of becoming a supporter and partner with police and federal agents. He vocally repeats the warnings from the War on Drugs contingent and openly chose their tenets over Black Lives Matter. He promises more support, financial, executive, and legislative, and he declares new policies and priorities.

The jury seems to still be out on whether these promises are going to be implemented but law enforcement seemed at least open-minded after their general ambivalence for Obama. But Trump’s “buddy” plan took a serious hit in the last few days when he abruptly fired the well respected head of the largest and most influential law agency in the nation, if not the world.

Last week Trump fired James Comey, the Director of the FBI. In the Bureau’s almost 100 year history this had occurred only twice previously:  President Richard Nixon fired the director while the nation was in the throes of Watergate, and President Bill Clinton fired William Sessions in 1993, shortly after Clinton took office.

Ross Parker

Ross Parker

Although Comey had drawn some criticism by his disclosures a few days before the election that the Bureau was re-opening and then re-closing the investigation on candidate Hillary Clinton, most thought that, however misguided, the comments were not intended to affect the election or have any other ill intent. Whether they did or did not doom her election hopes is another subject.

Contrary to Trump’s protestations, Comey was and continues to be highly regarded by other law enforcement agents, Congress, and the public at large. With the men and women of the FBI, the issue is personal.

It was also the way it was done, its peremptory quality, the prevarication and confusion among Trump, his staff and spokespersons. The Director found out he’d been terminated on a TV news program. It was the kind of Amateur Hour we have come to expect from this Administration.

Ironically ,Trump’s firing resulted in the disclosure of his meddling/obstruction of the investigation of fired National Security Coordinator Michel Flynn. Trump’s remarks to Comey about closing the Flynn investigation would probably never have seen the light of day absent the firing. Not the first time Trump stepped on an important part of his anatomy.

The flare-up of violent crime statistics, concern about increasing assaults on police, general ambivalence toward Obama policies—all of these factors provided an atmosphere in which President Trump could have cemented relations with law enforcement. But the Comey affair and Trump’s meddling in several other DOJ cases and policies seem to have made this a lost opportunity for him to build an alliance with law enforcement.

Supreme Court and the Judiciary

Another potentially positive area was in his judicial appointments. From a law enforcement perspective, if the measure of the value of Justices and judges is their tendency to rule for the government in criminal cases, then the selection of Justice Gorsuch to fill Justice’s Scalia’s seat was a big win for Trump.

But the win came at a price. The absence of a Justice for a year meant that the Court was stuck in third gear and could not resolve some important questions which have split the lower courts.

Then, too, the politicization of the selection process and the abandonment of the 60 vote rule in the Senate will impact the process negatively for decades. The emphasis on broad-based excellence has been de-emphasized a notch for a candidate’s predicted loyalty on a few hot-button issues. The fact that we appeared to have gotten a Justice of excellence and integrity in Justice Gorsuch does not entirely absolve the methods and intentions of the selection process.

Read more »

Two High-Profile Prospects for FBI Director Express Disinterest

Judge Merrick Garland (White House photo)

Judge Merrick Garland (White House photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two high-profile prospects for the FBI director job have signaled they don’t want it, reports Reuters.

Advisers to Judge Merrick Garland and Sen. John Cornyn said they discouraged them from seeking the post, cautioning that they would be leaving important, secure jobs for one fraught with politics and controversy, reports Reuters.

Nominating Garland, who failed to get confirmed as a justice for the U.S. Supreme Court under the Obama administration, may have been a way for the White House and the GOP to extend an olive branch to the Democrats. Cornyn, because of his clear partisanship, might have had a difficult time getting confirmed by his fellow senators.

In any event, it’s perceived that any new director will come into a politically charged and potentially unstable environment. Not the most ideal of circumstances considering the job is already inherently stressful.

The White House has indicated that it would like to have a nominee by Friday.

 

Trump Should Be Very Afraid of James Comey’s Notes, Post Writes

President Trump

President Trump

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In a tweet the other day, President Donald Trump suggested fired FBI Director James Comey be careful about leaking information to the press because  he just might have tape recordings.

Well, Comey has appeared to do one better: He apparently has notes of conversations with the president, and Aaron Blake of the Washington Post writes  “that should make Trump very worried.”

The Post that Comey has notes indicating that Trump had asked him to close the investigation into Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.  The White House is denying the account.

Blake writes:

But the possible existence of a trove of Comey memos may be the real story here. Comey is known to be a pretty meticulous keeper of notes, and CNN’s Jake Tapper just reported that Comey kept extensive notes of his conversations with Trump for the precise reason that they made him uneasy — presumably because of Trump making requests such as the Flynn one that crossed a line for Comey.

And the reason Trump tweeted what he did about Comey four days ago is because the New York Times had just reported Trump sought a loyalty pledge from Comey at a dinner shortly after Trump’s inauguration. It’s difficult not to presume that Comey has notes about this meeting, too.