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Tag: house

Democrat Questions FBI Director’s Willingness to Investigate Trump’s Ties to Russia

Russian leader Vladimir Putin

Russian leader Vladimir Putin

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey has shown virtually no willingness to cooperate with a Congressional investigation into potential ties between Russia and President Trump’s campaign, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Monday.

“I have yet to be convinced … by the director of the FBI that we will have the fulsome kind of cooperation that we will need,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told reporters in the Capitol, The Hill reports.

Without the full cooperation of the FBI and Comey, Schiff said there’s little the Intelligence Committee can do.

“We can’t become the FBI, we can’t send out our own investigators spanning all over the globe,” Schiff said. “We will need their cooperation, and whether we will get that in as fulsome a manner as we need has yet to be determined, in my view.” 

Schiff’s comments came just hours after Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said he’s seen “no evidence” of ties between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

“What I’ve been told, by many folks, is that there’s nothing there — but we’re absolutely looking into it,” Nunes said.

Senator: FBI Is Down 6,000 Agents Despite Increasing Threats of Terrorism

Sen. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Lindsey Graham

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Budget cuts have left the FBI with too few agents to properly address the terrorism threat, Sen. Lindsey Graham said.

“The FBI has lost 6,000 agents due to budget cuts. The Army is going to be at 1940 levels – the Navy at 1950 levels. I want to restore our defense cuts and our intelligence cuts so we can fight a war we can afford to win,” he told the FOX Business Network’s Stuart Varney

On Monday, House Democrats supported legislation that would give the FBI authority to reject gun purchases to people on the terror watch list. The GOP rejected the measure in December.

Hillary Clinton called on a national ban on assault-style weapons, while Donald Trump proposed a ban on Muslims entering the country.

Secret Service Permitted to Track Cell Phones without Warrant from a Judge

cellphone-tower-photo2By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In the event of a nonspecific threat to a president or someone else under protection, the Secret Service won’t be required to get a warrant to use cellphone-tracking technology, the Associated Press reports. 

A House subcommittee learned about the new policy from Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Seth M. Stodder.

The devices, known as Stingrays, have been criticized by civil libertarians and privacy advocates as too intrusive.

The Justice Department introduced a similar policy in September. That policy includes the FBI.

Federal law requires authorities to get a signed warrant from a judge before using Stringrays, but exceptions have been made for “exigent circumstances.”

FBI Investigating Columbus Mayor Over Questionable Real Estate Deal

Mayor Michael Coleman

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has launched an investigation into the Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman in the midst of a bribery scandal, WBNS-10 reports. 

The investigation involves a 2010 real estate deal.

The questions by the FBI centered around the sale of the mayor’s home, where she lived with his wife and their three children until they filed for dissolution in 2009.

The home sold to a woman abroad for $520,000 in 2010.

Coleman issued the following statement:

The sale of our home to Mrs. Li was an arms-length and fair transaction with everything aboveboard. Our original asking price for the home was $750,000. This asking price was recommended to us by our independent real estate broker who was very familiar with comparable home sales in the neighborhood. Also, before we sold our home, we put $570,000 of improvements into it to repair and replace fire damage. But we sold the home to Mrs. Li for substantially less, for $520,000. We also know that several other homes in the neighborhood sold for more than ours on a per square foot basis, according to an independent professional appraisal report.
In view of these documented facts, there is no basis for anyone to suggest that we sold our home for more than it was worth or that there was anything inappropriate about the transaction.

House Members Declare ‘No Confidence’ in DEA Administrator Leonhart

Michele Leonhart

Michele Leonhart

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers leveled harsh claims against DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart on Wednesday, saying they had no confidence in her ability to lead the agency.

The sharp words come a day after lawmakers learned that DEA agents received lax punishment for attending “sex parties” in Columbia, the Huffington Post reports. 

“After over a decade of serving in top leadership positions at DEA, Administrator Leonhart has been woefully unable to change or positively influence the pervasive ‘good old boy’ culture that exists throughout the agency,” read the statement from 22 members of the Oversight Committee, including Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).

“From her testimony, it is clear that she lacks the authority and will to make the tough decisions required to hold those accountable who compromise national security and bring disgrace to their position,” the statement continues. “Ms. Leonhart has lost the confidence of this Committee to initiate the necessary reforms to restore the reputation of a vital agency.”

DEA critics were happy to chime in.

“There’s simply no excuse for the outrageous behavior of the DEA’s so-called leadership,” said Neill Franklin, executive director of the reform group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and a Maryland police veteran, in a statement. “Leonhart just helps us add to the list of reasons of why we need to rethink our entire approach to drug policy.”

 Other Stories of Interest


Day of Reckoning: Deadline to Avoid Homeland Security Shutdown Is Today

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The fate of Homeland Security’s budget and President Obama’s immigration plan is in the hands of the U.S. Senate on the final day before money runs out today.

The New York Times reports that the Senate is expected to vote today on a measure that would providing funding for the remainder of the fiscal year.

But House Republicans appear poised to reject the measure in what would create a partial shutdown of the department at a time when the country is worried about the spread of terrorism. The House may consider a shorter-term funding bill.

House Republicans are trying to stop financing for Obama’s immigration plan.

“As a governing party, we’ve got to fund D.H.S. and say to the House, ‘Here’s a straw so you can suck it up,’ ” said Senator Mark S. Kirk, Republican of Illinois. “This battle should be the end of the strategy of attaching whatever you’re upset at the president to a vital piece of government.”

 

House Speaker Boehner ‘Certainly’ Prepared to Let Homeland Security Shut Down

John A. Boehner By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

House Speaker John A. Boehner said he’s “certainly” willing to let Homeland Security shut down at the end of the month.

The New York Times reports that Boehner said he won’t budge on a spending bill that would remove funding for President Obama’s immigration policy.

“The House has done its job; we’ve spoken,” Mr. Boehner said on “Fox News Sunday.” “If the Senate doesn’t like it, they’ll have to produce something that fits their institution.”

The House passed the Homeland Security bill last month, but it “stands no chance of becoming law.”

“Senate Democrats have filibustered it; Mr. Obama has said he would veto it; and even some Senate Republicans, including John McCain of Arizona, have questioned the wisdom of the House’s unyielding position, raising doubts that the bill would get even 51 Republican votes in the Senate.”

Republicans Face Uphill Battle in Halting President’s Immigration Plan

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A Republican plan to effectively wipe out President Obama’s new immigration initiatives doesn’t appear to have enough votes, Reuters reports

While the House appears to have the votes to defund the president’s controversial plans, the Senate would need at six Democrats and every Republican to support the GOP plan.

That’s not going to happen, a Senate Democratic leadership aide told Reuters.

Whatever the case, the president has pledged to veto any measure that would disrupt his immigration plans.

Republicans said that would be reckless.

“I know there’s a lot of consensus on our side that the last thing we need to do is to do something to jeopardize the security of our own citizens,” said Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee.