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Tag: Justice Department

Jeffrey Rosen Confirmed As DOJ’s Second-in-Command Despite No Experience As Prosecutor

Jeffrey Rosen at the Senate confirmation hearing.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former Deputy Secretary of Transportation Jeffrey Rosen, who has no experience as a prosecutor, is now the second-in-command at the Justice Department.

The Senate voted along party lines Thursday to confirm confirm Rosen to replace former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the embattled official who initiated Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation.

Rosen has never served in the Justice Department. He previously served as general counsel at the Department of Transportation and at the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush.

Democrats said they opposed Rosen because he lacks DOJ experience and refused during congressional testimony to pledge to release the full, unredacted Mueller report.

“We need a Deputy Attorney General who knows the Justice Department,,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in a statement after Rosen’s confirmation. “Mr. Rosen simply does not have the qualifications for this critical assignment.”

Republicans praised Rosen for his “rock-solid reputation,” as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put it.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said Rosen has “the experience, skills and the temperament we want in a deputy attorney general.”

Rosen was nominated by President Trump in February.

Michigan Republican Indicted on Charges of Attempted Extortion, Bribery, Lying to FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal grand jury has indicted Michigan state Rep. Larry Inman on charges of attempted extortion, bribery and lying to an FBI agent.

The Republican from Traverse City faces up to 15 years in prison after authorities said Wednesday that he solicited money via text messages from the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights.

In one of the text messages, the third-term Republican wrote, “We never had this discussion.”

In exchange for the money in June, Inman pledged to vote “no” on repealing the state’s prevailing wage law, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Offie for the Western District of Michigan.

“We will get a ton of pressure on this vote,” Inman is accused of texting to a union representative, asking for a larger increase in donations to his campaign. “Its not worth losing assignments and staff for $5,000. . . . My suggestion is you need to get people maxed out.”

House Speaker Lee Chatfield, a Republican, called for Inman to resign.

“Everyone in the House is surprised and disappointed by this news,” Chatfield said in a statement. “The indictment just came to my attention this morning, and I am still gathering more information. There’ll be more to say once we’ve been able to have a longer conversation with Rep. Inman. Until then, I have directed the House Business Office to take control of the representative’s office to ensure consistent services are available for the people of Grand Traverse County. Additionally, Rep. Inman has been removed from his committee assignments effective immediately.”

Inman also is accused of lying to the FBI, denying he solicited bribes.

FBI Translator Arrested on Charges of Lying to Investigators about Terrorism Probe

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A translator working for the FBI has been arrested on charges of lying to investigators about having contact with a suspect in a terrorism investigation.

Abdirizak Jaji Raghe Wehelie, 66, of Burke, Virginia, was arrested Saturday and charged with obstructing an investigation and making false statements to the FBI, the Justice Department wrote in a news release.

The Justice Department  accused Wehelie of having a personal relationship with a terrorism suspect, who had left a voicemail on Wehelie’s phone. When Wehelie translated the call, he failed to disclose the connection or reveal that it was his phone that the suspect had called.

The terrorism suspect’s phone was under court-ordered surveillance.

According to federal prosecutors, Wehelie later disclosed that he had been friends with the suspect for years.

Wehelie faces up to 25 years in prison.

House Committee Sets Contempt Hearing for AG Barr

Attorney General William Barr testified before Senate committee.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The House Judiciary Committee is planning to vote Wednesday on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena to turn over special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report by Monday’s deadline.

But first, committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., has agreed to meet with Justice Department officials to “negotiate” the report’s release, Axios reports.

In a letter to Nadler on Monday, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd reminded Nadler that he and the committee have been offered to look at an “even-less-redacted version” of the report.

Barr failed to meet the committee’s demands to turn over the full report Monday, and he also did not appear at a hearing last week focused on the Mueller report.

“Although the Committee has attempted to engage in accommodations with Attorney General Barr for several months, it can no longer afford to delay, and must resort to contempt proceedings,” the contempt resolution reads.

FBI Sent Investigator to Question Trump Aide about Russia’s Involvement

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, via LinkedIn.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI in 2016 sent an undercover investigator masquerading as a research assistant to meet with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos as part of a counterintelligence investigation into the campaign’s ties to Russia, The New York Times reports.

The meeting happened at a London pub after Papadopoulos suggested to an Austrian diplomat that the campaign had “received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to candidate Clinton,” according to Robert Mueller’s report.

Ultimately, the operation “yielded no fruitful information,” The Times reports.

The operation shows how far the FBI was willing to go to determine whether Trump’s campaign was working with Russia in its attempts to interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

The newly discovered information gives Trump and his supporters fuel to claim the FBI improperly “spied” on him to derail his campaign. Whether the counterintelligence probe was improper is the subject of an investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

Last month, Attorney General William Barr said he believes “spying did occur.”
The Trump campaign released the following statement:

“There is a word for this in the English language: Spying. Democrats and their media friends have expressed horror at the term, but there is no other way to describe it: The FBI spied on the Trump campaign in 2016. For two years, Democrats and their allies in the media have lied to the American people about the Russia collusion hoax, when all along the real scandal was the Obama Administration using the Justice Department to spy on a political adversary’s campaign. As President Trump has said, it is high time to investigate the investigators.”

Comey Suggests to Barr That Trump ‘Has Eaten Your Soul’

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey slammed Attorney General William Barr’s handling of the Robert Mueller report on Russian interference in the presidential election.

In an op-ed in The New York Times on Wednesday, Comey questions how a “bright and accomplished lawyer” like Barr could downplay obstruction of justice and other disturbing findings in the Mueller report.

Comey attempts to answer the question, suggesting accomplished people’s “proximity to an amoral leader” and their “lacking inner strength” can make it difficult to “resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from.”

Comey says leaders must make “compromises” and adopt his language and “praise his leadership” to avoid termination.

“And then you are lost. He has eaten your soul,” Comey concluded.

5 Takeaways from Attorney General Barr’s Testimony about Mueller Report

Attorney General William Barr testifies on Wednesday.

Attorney General William Barr was defiant Wednesday while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Here are five takeaways from the hearing:

1. Calls for Barr to resign

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, demanded Barr resign, accusing him of lying to Congress and covering up for President Trump.

“You lied to Congress.” Hirono said. “Now we know more about your deep involvement and trying to cover up for Donald Trump. Being attorney general of the United States is a sacred trust. You have betrayed that trust. America deserves better. You should resign.”

2. “Misleading” testimony

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, accused Barr of “purposely misleading” the committee when he suggested he was “not aware of any challenge to the accuracy of the findings.”

Leahy pointed out that Mueller expressed his misgivings with Barr about his handling of the Mueller report.

“Mr. Barr, I feel that your answer was purposely misleading, and I think others do, too,” Leahy told the attorney general.

3. Barr suggests Trump ‘fully cooperated’

Barr insisted Trump “fully cooperated” with Mueller’s investigation, drawing criticism from Democrats.

Mueller’s report repeatedly indicated that Trump and his team failed to cooperate with a lot of the investigation and that the president refused to sit down for an interview.

The report states, “We again requested an in-person interview, limited to certain topics, advising the President’s counsel that ‘this is the President’s opportunity to voluntarily provide us with information for us to evaluate in the context of all of the evidence we have gathered.’ President Trump declined.”

4. Barr has no qualms with Mueller testifying 

When Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, asked Barr if Mueller should testify, Barr responded, “I already said publicly, I have no objection.”

But when Durbin asked if former White House counsel Don McGahn should testify, Barr said, “That’s a call for the President to make.”

Durbin responded, “Well, he’s a private citizen at this point.”

Barr said, “I assume he would be testifying about privileged matters.”

5. Barr refers to Mueller report as “my baby”

Barr testified that Mueller’s report was “my baby” after the special counsel turned it over to the Justice Department.

“His work concluded when he sent his work to the attorney general,” Barr said. “At that point, it was my baby, and I effective overrode the regulations, used discretion, to lean as far forward as I could to make that public. And it was my decision how and when to make it public, not Bob Mueller’s.”

Barr is scheduled to testify Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee.

Mueller Expresses Frustration with AG Barr’s Characterization of Full Report on Russian Interference

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Robert Mueller shared his misgivings in a letter to the Justice Department about how Attorney General William Barr characterized the special counsel’s full report on the Russia investigation.

In a letter to the Justice Department in late March, Mueller expressed opposition to Barr’s summary, which President Trump used to claim he was exonerated of collusion and obstruction of justice, The Washington Post, CNN and The New York Times report.

Mueller complained to Barr that his summary to Congress “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the special counsel’s 448-page report, especially when it came to obstruction of justice.

“The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote. “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”

After Barr received the letter, he and Mueller, who are longtime friends, also spoke over the phone. Barr said he was pushing for the full report to be released as soon as the appropriate redactions were made.

The discovery of Mueller’s letter came one day before Barr is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. On Thursday, Barr is set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.

Democrats are likely to hammer Barr over the rift between himself and Mueller.

In Barr’s summary, he said Mueller did not reach a conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice. Barr concluded in his summary that he examined the evidence and concluded it was insufficient to rise to the level of charges.

Democrats are questioning whether Barr is acting like an independent, objective attorney general or the personal attorney for Trump.