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Tag: general counsel

Top Homeland Security Lawyer Fired in Latest Shake-Up

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Shake-ups continue at the Department of Homeland Security with Tuesday’s departure of John Mitnick, the agency’s general counsel.

The White House fired Mitnick, who oversaw 2,500 lawyers at the agency, The New York Times reports.

“We thank John for this service, and we wish him well,” a DHS spokesperson said in a statement.

The firing comes about four months after the White House ousted numerous top Homeland Security officials, including the secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen and the acting deputy secretary, Claire Grady. A month later, L. Francis Cissna, the head of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, left the agency a month later.

It’s not immediately clear who will replace Mitnick. Among the possibilities are Joseph B. Maher, the department’s principal deputy general counsel, and Chad Mizelle, an associate counsel to the president.

Special Counsel Probe Reaches Trump’s Inner Circle with AG Sessions Interview

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before Congress about contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The special counsel investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia has officially penetrated the president’s inner circle.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was questioned for several hours last week as special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of legal experts dive deeper into allegations against President Trump and his former and current associates, the New York Times reported. 

It wasn’t immediately clear what questions were posed to Sessions, but he is a key witness in several targets of the probe: During the campaign, Sessions met with several Russian officials and was involved in developing Trump’s positions on Russia.

The attorney general also may have information about the firing of then-FBI director James Comey.

The president’s relationship with Sessions has been rocky since he recused himself in any future investigations involving Trump’s campaign since the former Alabama senator had close ties  of his close ties to the campaign.

So far, Mueller’s investigation has produced indictments against four former Trump campaign.

Opinion: Nobody’s Home at Homeland Security

Michael McCaul
The Wall Street Journal

President Obama recently announced the long-overdue nomination of Jeh Johnson, the former general counsel of the Defense Department, as the fourth secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. If confirmed, Mr. Johnson will immediately face a major obstacle: Over 40% of the department’s senior leadership positions are either vacant or have an “acting” placeholder. This means that nearly half of the top positions at the third-largest agency in the U.S. government aren’t filled—a problem that has impaired its operations and speaks volumes about this administration’s commitment to homeland security.

The positions didn’t become vacant all at once. The problem has snowballed as the Obama administration has failed to fill open spots in various parts of the department for many months, and in some cases for years.

To read more click here.

Supreme Court Ruling Prompts FBI to Turn Off About 3,000 GPS Devices

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s fair to surmise that the FBI has a surplus of GPS devices that are just going to be sitting around.

The Wall Street Journal reports that FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann said at a conference Friday that a Supreme Court ruling requiring a court order before placing a GPS on someone’s car has prompted the FBI to turn off about 3,000 GPS devices that were in use.

Weissmann made his comments at a University of San Francisco conference called “Big Brother in the 21st Century.”

The Journal reports that the devices were often placed underneath cars to track movements.

 

 

Andrew Weissmann Named FBI’s General Counsel

Andrew Weissmann/photo columbia law

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Andrew Weissmann, a private lawyer who once served as the former director of the federal government’s Enron task force, and who also previously served as FBI Director Robert S. Mueller’s special counsel, will become the FBI’s new general counsel, according to the Am Law Daily reported.

The publication reports that Weissman has left his post as cochair of Jenner & Block’s white-collar defense and investigations practice, a New York-based firm he joined in 2006.

Weissmann replaces Valerie Caproni, who became the general counsel at Northrop Grumman Corporation earlier this month, Am Law Daily reported.

The publication reported that he will oversee a 300-lawyer law department.