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Tag: james comey

Two Top FBI Aides to James Comey Who Came Under Fire Resign

Lisa Page, via social media.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Two top FBI aides to James Comey when he was the FBI director have resigned from the bureau.

James Baker, who served as the bureau’s general counsel, and Lisa Page, another FBI lawyer, resigned Friday, the New York Times reports

Baker was under investigation last year on allegations he disclosed classified information to a reporter. Page came under fire for after the release of text messages between her and FBI Agent Peter Strzok, both of whom attacked President Trump in text messages to each other.

“A great public servant retired from the FBI today,” Comey tweeted in response to Baker’s resignation. “Jim Baker’s integrity and commitment to the rule of law have benefitted our country through 5 presidents, of both parties. We are fortunate he and so many others choose to devote their lives to justice.”

Baker plans to become a visiting fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institute and editor-in-chief of the blog.

Page is said to have another job lined up, but it’s unclear what that is.

Comey Slams House Intel Report on Collusion, Says Trump Has No Credibility

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey slammed a House intelligence Committee report by Republicans that concluded President Trump’s campaign didn’t collude with Russia to undermine the 2016 presidential election.

Comey, who was fired by Trump in May 2017, also said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the president should avoid an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller.

“I have serious doubts about his credibility,” Comey said.

Comey, who is doing a round of interviews to publicize his new memoir, added: “Sometimes people who have serious credibility problems can tell the truth when they realise that the consequences of not telling the truth in an interview or in the grand jury would be dire, But you’d have to go in with a healthy sense that he might lie to you.”

Comey called the GOP-authored report on its Russia investigation “a political document,” saying the probe “wrecked the committee.”

Trump hailed the 253-page report Friday as vindication that the special counsel investigation is a “total Witch Hunt.”

Comey accused the president of “an effort to undermine the credibility of the investigation that the special counsel’s conducting.”

Trump Lashes Out at FBI and Justice Department on Fox & Friends

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump lashed out at the FBI and Justice Department and even threatened to intervene in the Russia investigation in a rambling, half-hour interview on “Fox & Friends.”

Trump angrily castigated the Justice Department, saying it should be investigating his enemies, not him.

“I am very disappointed in my Justice Department,” Trump said, adding that it’s an “absolute disgrace” that the FBI is investigating his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

Trump cited the FBI searches as proof that he is being set.

“That’s not the FBI; that’s a fix,” Trump said.

Trump also said he may back out of his pledge to stay out of the Justice Department investigation.

“I have decided that I won’t be involved. I may change my mind at some point, because what’s going on is a disgrace,” he said.

Raising concerns that he may fire special counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Trump called the Russia investigation a “witch hunt with people in the Justice Department who shouldn’t be there.”

Trump once again congratulated himself on firing then-FBI Director James Comey.

“I did a great thing for the American people by firing him,” Trump said. “Look, Comey is a leaker and he’s a liar and not only on this stuff — he’s been leaking for years.”

Comey Assails FBI’s Treatment of Martin Luther King But Ignores Racial Profiling Under His Leadership

Former FBI Director James Comey.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

When James Comey became the FBI director in 2013, he placed atop his desk a framed copy of the letter that authorized the surveillance of Martin Luther King Jr. as a reminder of the bureau’s “shameful.” 

In his new book, Comey said he deeply admired the civil rights giant and criticized the FBI’s treatment of him as “a dark chapter in the Bureau’s history.” Comey required the bureau’s entire workforce to read King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” and created a curriculum for new agents to “remember how well-meaning folks lost their way.” New recruits were ordered to visit the King memorial and write an essay about one of their favorite quotes inscribed on the wall.

But what Comey doesn’t mention is the bureau’s “same racialized tactics and assumptions in his tenure as FBI director: broadly targeting the Muslim-American community, coercing informants, trafficking in racial profiling, surveilling Black Lives Matter and Standing Rock activists, and largely standing aside amid police violence and misconduct.”

The surveillance of the civl rights movement, which went far beyond King, wasn’t largely known until activists broke into an FBI office in Pennsylvania and stole the records before leaking them to the media.

“To become targets of the FBI, it wasn’t necessary for African Americans to engage in violent behavior,” said Betty Medsger, the Post reporter who broke the initial story. “Being black was enough.” Agents were required “to investigate and, if possible, infiltrate every black student organization at two year and four year colleges.”

Flight Records Contradict Trump’s Alibi for Mysterious Moscow Visit in 2013

President Trump answering media questions on Air Force One. Photo via the White House.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump twice told then-FBI Director James Comey that a salacious report about him with hookers in Moscow could not possibly be true because he didn’t spend the night in Russia.

But flight records obtained by Bloomberg contradict the president’s claims and could pose a serious problem for Trump as the special counsel investigation advances. 

According to memos kept by Comey and turned over to Congress last week, the president insisted he was so busy he didn’t have time to sleep while in Moscow for the 2013 Miss Universe pageant.

According to Bloomberg’s reconstruction of events, Trump flew from Asheville to Moscow on a Bombardier Global private jet owned by Phil Ruffin, his partner in the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Las Vegas, the New York Times reported in January 2017. The plane arrived in Moscow at 6:15 a.m on a Friday and departed Russia at 3:58 a.m. on Sunday.

The records indicate Trump stayed overnight in Moscow between Friday and Saturday.

According to Comey, Trump was obsessed with discounting the “Golden Showers thing” and insisted he didn’t stay overnight in Moscow.

The allegations were detailed in a dossier about alleged collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia by British spy Christopher Steele.

When Trump returned to New York from Moscow at 4:11 a.m. local time, he tweeted, “I just got back from Russia-learned lots & lots. Moscow is a very interesting and amazing place!”

FBI Continues to Become Whiter Despite Recruitment Campaign

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s campaign to integrate its predominately white ranks has failed to bring more African Americans on board.

In fact, a smaller share of the FBI’s ranks are African American than a decade ago, when black agents made up 6.5% of the ranks. Today, only 4.4% of the bureau’s 13,500 agents are black, even though African Americans represent about 12% of the U.S. population, Intercept reports.

Intercept wrote

“And that’s just the race problem within the FBI. It’s hard to diversify an agency that many still associate with the systemic surveillance, infiltration, and repression of civil rights activists in the past — and which maintains ample discretion today to target individuals and groups it deems suspicious based on criteria that all too often reflect their race or religion. The bureau’s efforts at reform, so far, have been mostly aimed at recruiting a more diverse force. But people of color who do sign up to join its ranks often find themselves isolated as they come face to face with racism and discrimination within the bureau, as well as with the bureau’s often racist and discriminatory policing.”

In July 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey delivered a speech at a historically black university and called the lack of diversity a “crisis,” pledging to reverse the trend.

A year earlier, Comey, in his “hard truths speech,”  declared, “The FBI is overwhelmingly white and male among my agent force. … I have to change the numbers.”

Some experts say the problem isn’t recruitment; it’s alienation.

“National security policies that the public should know about demonstrate racial and ethnic bias that make it hard for people to work there who are not conformists,” Michael German, a former FBI agent and a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice, told The Intercept. “The problem is that the FBI is a very conformist organization. So anybody who publicly criticizes the FBI is ostracized from the wider FBI fraternity – and I say fraternity because it is still almost all male, as well as almost all white.”

 

Weekend Series on Crime: The Latin Kings Gang

Meet the Little-Known Trump Official Who Could End the Mueller Probe

Solicitor General Noel Francisco

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The fate of the special counsel investigation that has cast a long shadow of the White House may ultimately fall into the hands of Solicitor General Noel Francisco, a little-known Trump appointee who happens to be no fan of the FBI or its former director, James Comey.

Many legal experts believe Trump lacks the authority to fire Rosenstein on his own, so the next quickest way to end the special counsel probe is to get someone else to do it.

If Trump fires Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller and is overseeing the investigation, the next in line to become Mueller’s boss is Francisco, who has a history of fighting to protect what he sees as broad executive privileges.

Like Trump, Francisco has claimed Comey, whom the president fired in May, is motivated by a political biased against Trump. That has raised concerns that Francisco would be more likely to follow orders to fire Mueller, whose 11-month investigation has landed indictments against more than 20 people and entities.

“I don’t think we know enough to be confident,” Eric Columbus, a former senior Obama Justice Department official, told Politico. “I doubt he would fire Mueller but could limit him, which has always been the greater concern.”

Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation, the removal of the deputy AG would give control of the Mueller investigation to the third-ranking Justice Department official, the associate attorney general, a job that has been vacant since Rachel Brand resigned from the position in February and has yet to be replaced.

Under Justice Department rules, Francisco, 48, is the next in line.

If Trump follows through, the move would be strikingly similar to President Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre in which he fired his attorney general and deputy attorney general for refusing to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox. The terminations left the decision up to Solicitor General Robert Bork, who fired Cox. A judge later ruled the termination was illegal.

 

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