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Tag: Impeachment

Stejskal: Deep State? These People Are American Patriots

The writer, an FBI agent for 31 years, retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office in 2006.

By Greg Stejskal
On March 10, 1975, I reported to the Department of Justice Building in Washington, D.C. — “Main Justice” — to be sworn in as a FBI special agent with my fellow new agents. In a large room that was used for the secret trial of the Nazi saboteurs during World War II, I raised my right hand and took the oath that every agent takes:

“I (my name) do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

The Constitution prescribes a similar oath for the president in Article II.

Unlike those Nazi saboteurs who swore an oath to the Fuhrer, we swore allegiance to the concept that we are a country of laws, and no man is above the law. We would not be taking an oath of fealty to anyone. In fact during the Revolution, those serving in the Continental Army not only pledged allegiance to the United States, but specifically denounced any allegiance to King George III.

Featured_nazi_saboteur_trial_39315
Trial of Nazi saboteurs during World War II.

For me what followed was an almost 32-year career investigating and prosecuting violations of federal laws. I had the good fortune to be involved in a number of high-profile cases, and it was a rewarding career.

So when I watched the recent impeachment hearing, I had a somewhat unique perspective.

Most people didn’t have the time to watch the hearings. Others  prejudged them as a hoax or a witch hunt.

Being retired, I did have time and tried to view the hearings objectively. (Full disclosure: I’m a lifelong Republican.)

I’m not going to recount the evidence or try to make a case for or against impeachment although I thought the evidence was compelling and creditable. But what especially troubled me were the personal attacks on the witnesses by the president. Most of the witnesses were career foreign service officers. All of whom took an oath to support and defend the Constitution.

No right to publicly disparage

Greg Stejskal

The third public witness was Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine and a career foreign service officer. She was removed as ambassador by President Trump. In the now infamous, “perfect,” July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump characterized Ambassador Yovanovitch as “bad news.”

Whilee Yonanovitch was testifying Nov. 15 at the congressional hearing on national TV, President Trump tweeted:

“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second call with him. It is a US President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”

It is the president’s “absolute right” to appoint and/or remove an ambassador, but I don’t believe the president has any kind of right to publicly disparage a career foreign service officer with an outstanding reputation and stellar career. Leaving aside the issue of whether his tweet constituted witness intimidation.

On Nov. 19, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams testified. Jennifer Williams is a veteran State Department official who has served as a special advisor to Vice President Mike Pence on European and Russian affairs.

Before her testimony, President Trump again took to twitter saying, she [Williams] should read the transcripts of the July 25 call and another one that took place in April. “Then she should meet with the other Never Trumpers, who I don’t know and mostly never even heard of and work out a better presidential attack!”

Read more »

FBI Sought Interview with Whistleblower Who Help Initiate Impeachment Inquiry

Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI requested an interview with the whistleblower who helped initiate the impeachment inquiry into President Trump and Ukraine.

An agent in the Washington Field Office sought the interview last month by reaching out to the CIA analyst’s attorney, according to sources who spoke with Yahoo News, the Associated Press and The New York Times.

It wasn’t clear why the FBI wanted to interview the whistleblower, and the interview never happened.

One of the attorneys for the whistleblower declined media interviews, as did the FBI.

Yahoo News reports that top FBI officials were divided on whether to get involved. But it wouldn’t be unusual for the bureau to investigate allegations of wrongdoing within the federal government.

An interview could impact the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

Mueller’s Secret Grand Jury Materials Sought in Impeachment Trials

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Much of evidence collected during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has remained secret, but that could change as the impeachment inquiry continues.

On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit is expected to consider whether the grand-jury materials from the investigation should be released to the House Judiciary Committee.

The three-member panel is set to consider a lower-court’s ruling that called for the release of evidence that the House Committee says is critical to determining whether President Trump should be impeached, The Washington Post reports.

The Justice Department argues the redacted materials cited in the Mueller report should not be released because the impeachment proceeding are not “judicial.”

House lawyers argued in court filings that the material is important to “aid the House in determining whether the President committed impeachable offenses, including attempted obstruction of the Special Counsel’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election and solicitation of Ukrainian interference in the 2020 Presidential election.”

FBI Launches Probe of Death Threats Targeting CIA Whistleblower

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating death threats leveled against the CIA whistleblower whose complaint prompted the U.S. House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry.

Since the whistleblower’s identify is still anonymous, the threats were sent to the legal team representing the CIA official, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told the New York Daily News.

Several of the death threats mentioned executing and shooting the CIA informant.

One email sent to the legal team says, “The whistleblower should be shot.”

Another person wrote, “In Putin’s country, they would execute this person.”

According to the source, the FBI is taking the threats “incredibly seriously.”

President Trump has turned up the hateful rhetoric directed at the whistleblower, calling him a “partisan operative,” “spy,” and “never Trumper.”

“Sounding more and more like the so-called Whistleblower isn’t a Whistleblower at all,” Trump tweeted last month.

Comey: How a Trump Presidency Shows the Constitutional System is Working

FBI Director James Comey, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey sees a silver lining in a Trump presidency.

“I think our country is being stress-tested now. And I actually believe our current president has illuminated things for us that we were taking for granted,” Comey told University of Chicago law students Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune first reported.

“I think he is accomplishing, without intending to, a shrinking of the presidency, which I think is … closer to the design of the founders, and the energizing of the Congress and the courts that hasn’t happened in a couple of decades,” Comey said.

The former FBI director said over the weekend that he supports the impeachment inquiry, saying, “If the news accounts are accurate, the president engaged in a shocking abuse of power.”

While Comey didn’t mention the impeachment at the University of Chicago, he said truth is the “touchstone” of American values.

“I see good things happening as a result of what he’s doing,” Comes said. “I see people say we have a constitutional crisis. No. I don’t think so. I see the design working. It’s a nerve-wracking stress, but I see it working.”

Comey Says House ‘Has No Choice’ But to Move Forward with Impeachment Inquiry of Trump

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey, who joked that he’d move to New Zealand if Trump was re-elected, said the House of Representatives “has no choice but to pursue an impeachment inquiry.”

Comey blasted Trump’s call with Ukraine during a wide-ranging interview at the bipartisan Politicon political convention in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday.

If he were still in charge of the FBI, Comey said he “might” launch a criminal investigation into whether Trump’s call with Ukraine’s president constituted a quid pro quo.

“If the news accounts are accurate, the president engaged in a shocking abuse of power,” Comey said.

But, he said, he wants to “withhold judgment” on impeachment until “we have a chance as a country to see public testimony to get the transparency we deserve.”

During the interview, Comey said he believes America is held together by a “set of values.” When asked if he’d still believe that if Trump was re-elected, Comey joked, “From my new home in New Zealand, I will still believe in America.”

Here’s What House Democrats Can Do Next After Panel Approved Contempt for Barr

AG William Barr.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The House Judiciary Committee approved a contempt resolution Wednesday after Attorney General William Barr refused to disclose Robert Mueller’s full, unredacted report, but that’s only the first step.

What options do Democrats have left?

The committee on Wednesday essentially recommended that the full House hold Bar in contempt of Congress, and that seems more likely as Democrats grow frustrated with the attorney general’s continued insistence that he will not disclose the unredacted report. President Trump also invoked executive privilege over the report.

If the full House approves the contempt resolution and the records still aren’t turned over, Democrats could then ask the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia or the Justice Department to charge Barr for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena. They also could ask a court to enforce the subpoena, or they have the authority to call on their sergeant at arms to arrest Barr.

The House and Senate have the authority to seek jail time for people who violate congressional orders, but that hasn’t happened in nearly a century, The Atlantic reports. Then again, these aren’t ordinary times.

“Its day in the sun is coming,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told the Atlantic.

“This is not some peripheral schoolyard skirmish,” Raskin added. “This goes right to the heart of our ability to do our work as Congress of the United States.”

If Democrats don’t seek to hold Barr accountable, they could begin impeachment hearings, but that option is becoming less likely.

Whatever the case, Democrats made the first step Wednesday. What happens next is anyone’s guess.

Group of Conservative Lawmakers Are Trying to Impeach Deputy AG Rosenstein

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A group of conservative lawmakers are trying to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the top official overseeing Robert Mueller’s investigation of President Trump and his campaign’s role in Russian interference during the election.

Eleven Congressional members filed articles of impeachment against Rosenstein on Wednesday, claiming he committed “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, introduced the politically risky measure.

They and nine other Republicans allege Rosenstein mishandled the FISA surveillance of Carter Page, a former adviser to Donald Trump; a lack of transparency; unnecessarily excessive redactions of documents; and violating a Congressional subpoena, Newsweek reports.

Observers believe it’s incredibly unlikely that the lawmakers will get enough votes to secure an impeachment conviction. The measure requires a majority in the House of Representatives and two-thirds support in the Senate.

Rosenstein appointed Mueller in May 2017 after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey – a move that has infuriated the president and his supporters.