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Tag: Justice Department

Senator Demands Answers about Suspension of Whistleblowing FBI Agent

Sen. Chuck Grassley

Sen. Chuck Grassley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Senate committee chairman wants more information from the Justice Department about an FBI agent who was suspended after blowing the whistle on a former Louisiana district attorney accused of trading sex for leniency, the Associated Press reports. 

FBI Special Agent Mike Zummer filed an ethics complaint in 2013 against a federal prosecutor, Fred Harper, of New Orleans.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said Zummer complained that Harper’s relationship with a defense attorney may have resulted in a lenient plea agreement for former St. Charle Parish District Attorney Harry Morel.

The FBI suspended Zummer and his security clearance earlier this year after he made the conflict-of-interest allegations in a letter to a judge.

“That looks like it could be a misuse of the security clearance process to mask retaliation for protected whistleblowing,” Grassley wrote in Nov. 15 letters to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director James Comey.

Grassley said he has not yet received a response.

Jeff Sessions’ Appointment As Attorney General Would Make Immigration a Top Priority

Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Sen. Jeff Sessions was one of Congress’ leading crusaders for cracking down on illegal immigration and increasing mass deportations – positions he could turn into a reality as attorney general.

If President-elect Donald Trump officially choose Sessions to lead the Justice Department, immigration could be the top priority of his administration, the Associated Press reports. 

The AP writes:

As the nation’s top law enforcement official, Sessions could execute maneuvers to limit which nationalities the U.S. would accept as refugees and to reverse a federal policy that protects young people from deportation.

“The president has the clear power to suspend immigration to protect America,” Sessions said during the Republican convention when he was discussing the threat of terrorism and the need to scrutinize refugees more closely.

The fourth-term Republican from Alabama was the first senator to support Trump’s candidacy, and he helped shape Trump’s positions on immigration. Sessions favors limiting the number of refugees coming into the U.S. and turning away children who arrive at the border alone who are attempting to reunite with families living in the U.S.

Justice Department Tries to Block Release of Inmate Featured on ‘Making a Murderer’

Brendan Dassey

Brendan Dassey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is trying to block the release of a Wisconsin inmate whose case was featured in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer.”

Brendan Dassey is urging a federal appeals court to releases him from prison.

After a federal judge overturned the conviction in the death of a photographer, the state Justice Department has appeared the ruling, the Las Vega Review-Journal reports. 

That hasn’t stopped a judge from ordering Dassey’s release from prison by this evening.

The Justice Department argues Dassey’s confession was voluntary and that he is a risk to society.

Dassey’s attorneys countered that he has behaved well in prison and poses no danger to society.

Other Stories of Interest

Rudy Giuliani: Probably Nobody ‘Knows Justice Department Better Than Me’

Rudolph Giuliani

Rudolph Giuliani

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Rudy Giuliani sounded a lot like President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday when he spoke of his qualifications to head the Justice Department.

“There’s probably nobody that knows the Justice Department better than me,” the former New York mayor said, adding that “I certainly have the energy” to take on the task of attorney general, USA Today reports

He added: “I know the bottom of the Justice Department, and I know the top of the Justice Department.”

It’s unclear whether Giuliani will be tapped for the job.

In the meantime, some members of Trump’s transition team appeared to suggest that the new administration won’t try to prosecute Hillary Clinton.

A Very Different Justice Department Expected under Trump Presidency

Rudolph Giuliani

Rudolph Giuliani

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Donald Trump presidency likely means a very different Department of Justice, which had focused on civil rights issues under President Obama.

That means potentially dramatic changes in the leadership at the DOJ, the New York Times reports. 

Career lawyers who handle prosecutions in the Justice Department are the least likely to be affected because they handle the day-to-day work of prosecuting cases.

Many are speculating that the new attorney general will be Rudolph Giuliani, the former mayor of New York. The new AG will have the authority to implement new priorities.

Because of Trump’s promised tax cuts, there likely will be fewer resources in the Justice Department, and that could mean devoting less time to white-collar crime, which takes a significant amount of time.

Deep Division inside the FBI Likely to Persist Long After the Election

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The infighting in the Justice Department and FBI over the handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation is creating deep divisions that could impact the agencies long after the presidential election.

The Washington Post reports that “internal dissension has exploded into public view” as FBI sources leak information to reporters about the Clinton Foundation.

And then there’s FBI Director James Comey, who has been criticized by President Obama, other high-ranking Democrats and the Justice Department for revealing information that may or may not be connected to the Clinton server probe.

“He’s got to get control of the ship again,” Robert Anderson, a former senior official in the FBI, said of Comey, a friend. “There’s a lot of tension in the organization, and there’s a lot of tension in Congress and the Senate right now, and all that counts toward how much people trust the FBI.”

The information coming out of the FBI appears to have helped Donald Trump gain in the polls.

Clinton declined to say whether she would fire Comey if she is elected.

“I’m not going to, you know, either get ahead of myself by assuming I’ll be fortunate enough to be elected,” Clinton said, responding to a question from SiriusXM’s Joe Madison. “That’s really up to you and your listeners. People have to turn out, or nothing that I’m going to be proposing will come into reality, but I also would never comment on any kind of, you know, personnel issue.”

WikiLeaks: DOJ Official Tipped Off Clinton Campaign about Email Filing

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A top Justice Department official tipped off Hillary Clinton’s campaign about new developments in the investigation over her email use as a secretary of state, according to hacked emails by WikiLeaks.

Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik provided a “heads up” in an email to Clinton campaign chairman John Pedesta, Politico reports.

The email came from Kadzik’s personal account, which was titled “Heads up.”

“There is a [House Judiciary Committee] oversight hearing today where the head of our Civil Division will testify. Likely to get questions on State Department emails. Another filing in the FOIA case went in last night or will go in this am that indicates it will be awhile (2016) before the State Department posts the emails.”

Pedestal passed on the emails to top Clinton aides, saying, “Additional chances for mischief.”

Other Stories of Interest

Federal Authorities with Connections to Lobbyists Failed to Combat Painkiller Abuse

pain medsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Nearly 19,000 people died of overdoses from prescription painkillers in 2014, and another 10,574 died from heroin.

The Washington Post investigated the interaction between the DEA and pharmaceutical distributors and found a troubling connection.

DEA officials said high-level Justice Department officials who were being heavily lobbied by wholesalers eased aggressive civil enforcement against wholesalers.

Civil case filings against wholesalers fell from 131 in fiscal 2011 to 40 in fiscal 2014.

The Post wrote:

Collectively, 13 companies identified by The Washington Post knew or should have known that hundreds of millions of pills were ending up on the black market, according to court records, DEA documents and legal settlements in administrative ­cases, many of which are being reported here for the first time. Even when they were alerted to suspicious pain clinics or pharmacies by the DEA and their own employees, some distributors ignored the warnings and continued to send drugs.

“Through the whole supply chain, I would venture to say no one was doing their job,” said Joseph T. Rannazzisi, former head of the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control, who led the effort against distributors from 2005 until shortly before his retirement in 2015. “And because no one was doing their job, it just perpetuated the problem. Corporate America let their profits get in the way of public health.”

A review of the DEA’s campaign against distributors reveals the extent of the companies’ role in the diversion of opioids. It shows how drugs intended for millions of legitimate pain patients ended up feeding illegal users’ appetites for prescription narcotics. And it helps explain why there has been little progress in the U.S. opioid epidemic, despite the efforts of public-health and enforcement agencies to stop it.

Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., asked Attorney General Loretta Lynch in a letter to respond to the Post’s findings.

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