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Tag: Justice Department

Rosenstein Defends Appointment of Mueller But Said FBI Misled Him on Carter Page Surveillance

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifying before a House committee in December 2017.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday defended his decision to appoint a special counsel to investigate Russia’s election meddling, but blamed top-level FBI officials for “significant errors.”

“I still believe it was the right decision under the circumstances,” Mr. Rosenstein told the Senate Judiciary Committee about appointing Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel, The New York Times reports. “I recognize that people can criticize me for them. That’s the consequence of being in these jobs — you make decisions and people criticize you for them — but I believed it was the right decision at the time.”

Rosenstein, however, said he signed applications to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page based on erroneous information and omissions.

The Republican-led committee is ramping up its investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation.

Ex-Deputy AG Rosenstein to Testify Before Senate Committee about FBI’s Probe of Trump’s Campaign

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifying before a House committee in December 2017.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is set to testify next week at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about the FBI’s investigation of President Trump’s 2016 campaign.

“Mr. Rosenstein will testify about the new revelations contained in the Horowitz report concerning the FISA warrant applications and other matters,” Chairman Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said in a statement, KTLA5 reports. “This will be the first in a series of oversight hearings regarding all things Crossfire Hurricane and the Mueller investigation.”

Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Russia’s meddling in the campaign in 2017.

Rosenstein is expected to be the only witness during the hearing on Wednesday.

FBI Launches Hate Crime Investigation into Shooting Death of Ahmaud Arbery

Ahmaud Arbery

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Justice Department have launched an investigation into the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, a black jogger in Georgia whose attack by two white men in February was captured on a graphic video recording, according to an attorney for the victim’s family.

The bureau is exploring whether the suspects, Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis, 34, committed a hate crime, said Lee Martin, who represents the 25-year-old victims family, The Guardian reports.

Martin said he met with Justice Department officials, who told him the FBI also is looking into why no arrests were made until two months after the Feb. 23 shooting.

Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, were arrested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and charged with murder on May 8, three days after a video of the attack sparked outrage. The GBI also arrested the man who captured the attack on video.

Trump to Nominate Tim Shea as New Acting Administrator of DEA

Tim Shea

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Tim Shea, the top federal prosecutor in Washington D.C. and a former senior adviser to Attorney General William Barr, will soon be tapped to become the DEA administrator, ABC News reports, citing an administration official.

President Trump plans to replace him with Justin Herdman, the U.S. attorney in Cleveland.

Shea oversaw the Justice Department’s move to drop charges against Michael Flynn, the president’s former national security adviser. He also played a significant role in reversing the sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone, a longtime Trump ally.

Shea will replace Uttam Dhillon, who was serving as acting DEA administrator. Dhillon will be transferred to a senior leadership position in the Justice Department.

FBI: Pensacola Gunman Who Killed 3 Sailors Planned Attack with Al Qaeda

Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Saudi Air Force officer who killed three sailors at a military base in Florida in December 2019 worked with Al Qaeda to plan the attack, federal authorities said.

The connection was made after FBI technicians finally gained access to a cell phone that Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani tried to destroy, Attorney General William Barr said at a news conference, according to a New York Times report.

The FBI and Justice Department criticized Apple for refusing to unlock the gunman’s phone.

Authorities said the gunman, a Saudi Air Force cadet training with the American military in Pensacola, communicated with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to plan the attack, which injured eight others.

Apple said it helped the FBI and gave investigators access to the gunman’s online storage accounts.

“The false claims made about our company are an excuse to weaken encryption and other security measures that protect millions of users and our national security,” Apple said in a statement.

Sen. Burr Stepping Down as Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Amid Federal Probe of Stock Sell-Off

Sen. Richard Burr

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Sen. Richard Burr is stepping down as the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman after FBI agents seized his cell phone as part of a federal investigation of his mass sell-off of stocks.

Justice Department and SEC investigators are investigating whether Bur violated a law that bars members of Congress from trading on insider information obtained from their privileged position.

“This is a distraction to the hard work of the committee and the members, and I think the security of the country’s too important to have a distraction,” Burr told reporters at the Capitol in an interview recorded by C-SPAN.

It’s not yet clear who would replace Burr, a Republican from North Carolina.

Burr sold a significant chunk of his stock portfolio on Feb. 13, when his committee was receiving daily updates on the coronavirus.

A week later, the stock market declined sharply.

FBI Serves Search Warrant on Sen. Burr Over Stock Sell-Off Amid Coronavirus

Sen. Richard Burr

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

FBI agents served a search warrant and seized Sen. Richard Burr’s cell phone as part of an investigation of his mass sell-off of stocks, a law enforcement official told The Los Angeles Times.

Burr, a Republican from North Carolina who also serves as the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, has been under a Justice Department investigation after selling a significant chunk of his stock portfolio on Feb. 13, when his committee was receiving daily updates on the coronavirus.

A week later, the stock market declined sharply.

The Justice Department is investigating whether Bur violated a law that bars members of Congress from trading on insider information obtained from their privileged position.

Barr sold off between $628,000 and $1.7 million of his portfolio, ProPublica first reported.

Judge Postpones Ruling on DOJ’s Request to Drop Charges Against Michael Flynn

Former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Hold up, Michael Flynn.

A federal judge on Tuesday postponed a ruling on the Justice Department’s request to drop the criminal case against Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser.

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said he will give outside parties an opportunity to weigh in on the Justice DEpartment’s request, The New York Times reports.

Attorney General William Barr has been widely criticized for intervening in the case against Flynn, whom Trump has been calling to be exonerated.

The judge has some authority to reject the Justice Department’s request.

Flynn’s attorney objected to the judge’s decision.

“This court has consistently — on twenty-four (24) previous occasions — summarily refused to permit any third party to inject themselves or their views into this case,” the attorneys said in a motion filed after the judge’s order. “Only the Department of Justice and the defense can be heard.”

Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian diplomat and even cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.