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Tag: House of Representatives

House Democrats: Trump’s Administration Turns Blind Eye to White Nationalism

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

House Democrats are questioning why Trump’s administration “is failing to address white supremacist, extremist violence” as domestic terrorism is on the rise.

Consider this: All race-based domestic terrorism in 2018 was committed by alleged white supremacists. When the Department of Homeland Security wanted to increase its focus on domestic terrorism, the White House intervened and rejected the idea.

So alarmed by the surge in white supremacist violence, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned Congress in July that “a majority of domestic terrorism cases are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence.”

So why does it appear Trump’s administration is not taking the threat seriously?

In a letter to the leadership of the FBI and Homeland Security, 65 House Democrats said white supremacy must be met with a “vigorous, systemic and coordinated response.”

“We are concerned that the Trump administration is jeopardizing our national security by failing to take domestic terrorism seriously,” the letter reads. “In particular, this administration is failing to address white supremacist extremist violence, the leading cause of domestic terrorism.”

The letter adds, “It is unacceptable that political interference from the White House should prevent domestic terrorism from receiving the elevated level of focus it deserves, especially following recent, high profile terrorist attacks.”

Former FBI Director Comey Slams Republicans, Fox News After Congressional Hearing

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey walked out of his closed-door testimony to the House Judiciary and Oversight Committee and slammed House Republicans and Fox News.

“At some point, someone has to stand up and in the face of fear of Fox News, fear of their base, fear of mean tweets, stand up for the values of this country and not slink away into retirement but stand up and speak the truth,” Comey, a longtime Republican, said. “I find it frustrating to be here answering questions about things that are far less important than the values this country is built upon.”

Comey also said the failure of House Republicans to defend the FBI from Trump’s drumbeat of criticism is “to their everlasting shame.”

“Their silence is shameful,” Comey said. “Someday, they gotta explain to their grandchildren what they did today.”

During the closed-door session, Comey said he was barraged with questions about Hillary Clinton’s email server and Christopher Steele’s dossier.

Since Democrats are taking over the House in January, Monday was likely their last time to control hearings involving Comey.

Trump’s decision to fire Comey in May 2017 was quickly followed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointing  special counsel Robert Mueller.

Ex-FBI Director Comey Reaches Deal to Meet Privately with GOP-Controlled House Committee

Former FBI Director James Comey on ABC’s 20/20.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey has made a deal with Republicans to testify privately before the House Judiciary Committee after threatening to block a subpoena to appear.

The deal comes after Comey’s attorney, David Kelley, contested a House subpoena on the grounds that it was equivalent to “dragging (Comey) into a dark alley” and asked, “What its the purpose of keeping it out of the public eye?” according to the USA Today

In a deal with House Republicans, Comey agreed to testify as long as a transcript of the interview is released within 24 hours and that the former FBI boss can speak publicly about the testimony.

Comey, who was fired by President Trump in April 2017, said he was primarily concerned that Republicans would selectively use the testimony to try to discredit the Robert Mueller investigation.

The House committee is expected to ask Comey about the FBI’s decision to drop the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server and his involvement in the probe into Russian meddling in the presidential election.

“Grateful for a fair hearing from judge,” Comey tweeted on Sunday. “Hard to protect my rights without being in contempt, which I don’t believe in. So will sit in the dark, but Republicans agree I’m free to talk when done and transcript released in 24 hours. This is the closest I can get to public testimony.” 

How Democrats Could Save the Mueller Probe if Trump’s Administration Tries to End It

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into Russian meddling is at risk of being sabotaged by President Trump’s administration.

A day after the midterm elections, Trump forced Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign and replaced him with a loyalist, Matthew Whitaker, who could try to end the investigation.

Republicans in the Senate blocked a bill to protect the special counsel probe on Wednesday, and this morning Trump unleashed a series of tweets calling the probe “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LINK TO NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY.”

But Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives, still have recourse. Slate reports that Democrats could protect the investigation by creating a “Special Select Committee on Russian Election Interference” and appointing Mueller and his prosecutors as the lead investigators. 

Or Democrats could subpoena details of the investigation and hire him to complete the probe.

Democrats’ Control of the House Affords Protections to Mueller

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Democrats’ takeover of the House of Representatives is good news for special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation of Russia and President’s Trump’s campaign.

The House only need a simple majority to impeach Trump, a maneuver that political observers believe is unlikely unless Trump tries to interfere with the election or is later found guilty of committing crimes. 

Democrats have tiptoed around the issue because of the political ramifications, especially since a vote of two-thirds of the Senate is required.

Trump has hinted that he may take bold steps after the midterm elections, such as firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from the Russia investigation.

With control of the House, Democrats also have subpoena power, which could become critical if Trump tries to interfere with the investigation.

While the House cannot issue criminal charges, it can hold public hearings and refer issues to the Justice Department for investigation.

GOP Rep. Hunter Indicted Over Lavish Personal Expenses from Campaign Funds

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, via U.S. Department of Defense.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter and his wife, Margaret, were indicted Tuesday on dozens of charges that allege they used campaign donations to pay for personal expenses, from family vacations and dental work to theater tickets and school tuition.

The Republican from Alpine, Calif., is accused of spending more than $250,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses between 2009 and 2016 and filing false campaign finance records to cover up the unlawful spending, the Wall Street Journal reports

House Speaker Paul Ryan stripped Hunter of his committee assignments.

“The charges against Rep. Hunter are deeply serious,” Mr. Ryan said in a statement.

Nevertheless, Hunter claimed the 60-count indictment was politically motivated.

According to the indictment, Hunter and his wife used the campaign funds for ski trips, hotel stays, European vacations, dinners and even video games.

House Committee Approves $5 Billion for Trump’s Border Wall

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s much-touted border wall is advancing to the full House of Representatives after a committee approved $5 billion in funding for the project.

The House Appropriations Committee voted along party lines, advancing the measure with a 29-22 vote.

The bill also provides a $3.7 billion increase in funding for Homeland Security, pushing the total to $51.4 billion; money for 400 new ICE agents; and $1.9 billion for cybersecurity efforts, The Hill reports

“It is outrageous that House Republicans have prioritized unnecessary funds for President Trump’s border wall and cruel immigration policies rather than fighting terrorism through substantial new investments in first responder grants or growing the economy and creating jobs through job training, making college more affordable, or research and development initiatives,” said Rep. Nita Lowey (N.Y), the top Democrat on the committee, told the Hill.
The $5 billion would finance 200 miles of a wall along the border with Mexico.

Trump has requested $25 billion to fund the wall.

“Globalization, cybersecurity, and terrorism are changing our way of life and we need to change with it. This bill fully supports our men and women on the frontline who work tirelessly to keep us safe. The bill also provides the necessary funding for critical technology and physical barriers to secure our borders,” said committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.).

House Lawmakers Reject Funding for Trump’s Revised Plan to Build New FBI Headquarters

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

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The long-delayed plan to build a new FBI headquarters has hit yet another snag.

House lawmakers said they aren’t comfortable funding a new headquarters until the Trump administration can justify why it scrapped a decade-long plan for a new building in the suburbs.

Trump’s plan calls for demolishing the J. Edgar Hoover headquarters in Washington D.C, and constructing a new building in its place.

“The Act does not include funding for the revised Headquarters consolidation plan released on February 12, 2018, because many questions regarding the new plan remain unanswered, including the revision of longstanding security requirements and changes to headquarters capacity in the national capital region,” lawmakers wrote of the omnibus spending bill, which funds agencies for the rest of the year, according to Federal News Radio. “Until these concerns are addressed and the appropriate authorizing Committees approve a prospectus, the Committees are reluctant to appropriate additional funds for this activities.”

The new proposal prompted the General Services Administration Inspector Carol Ochoa to open an investigation into the sudden change in plans.

The omnibus bill, however, includes $370 million for other FBI construction projects.

But on Friday morning, Trump threatened to veto the bill.

“I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded,” Trump tweeted.