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Tag: politics

Dems Urge Secret Service to Cough Up Details of Pence’s Football Trip

Vice President Mike Pence.

Vice President Mike Pence.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Calling Vice President Mike Pence’s early departure from an NFL game on Sunday a political stunt, two top Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee are urging the Secret Service to disclose the cost of the trip in Indianapolis.

The letter to Secret Service Director Randolph Alles on Wednesday accused Pence of billing taxpayers for a political stunt.

“The costs associated with the Vice President traveling to Indianapolis and attending a large, public event are immense, and we are deeply concerned that the Trump Administration finds it appropriate to expend taxpayer resources to play political games,” reads the letter by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman.

The letter also asks whether any of the agents who were present lost their eligibility for overtime because of statutory pay limits.

The Hill wrote:

Pence flew from Las Vegas to Indianapolis, where he attended a matchup between the Colts and the San Francisco 49ers. Reporters traveling with the vice president were told by a staffer to wait in their vans outside the stadium because of the possibility of “an early departure from the game.”

Pence soon left, after some players knelt in protest during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” President Trump later tweeted that he had told the vice president to leave if any players took a knee.

Trump Insists in Poland That ‘Nobody Really Knows’ if Russia Meddled in Election

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump once against split with U.S. intelligence agencies on whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

“I think it was Russia … and I think it could have been other countries,” Trump said when asked about the alleged meddling at a press conference in Warsaw ahead of the G-20 summit in Germany.

The president later said the hackers could just be “other people.”

“A lot of people interfere” in elections, Trump said, adding “nobody really knows for sure.”

The CIA and FBI have said conclusively that overwhelming evidence indicates Russia tried to influence the election in favor of Trump.

The president’s reluctance to acknowledge Russia’s involvement comes amid a special counsel investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Moscow to upset the election.

Trump also is meeting with Putin on Friday.

Trump: ‘Everyone’ at G-20 Is Talking about DNC’s Handling of Cyberattacks

President Trump

President Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

At the G-20 summit in Germany, President Trump claimed “everyone here is talking about” how Democrats handled cyberattacks during last year’s presidential election. 

It’s unclear why leaders of the world’s wealthiest and developing countries would be caught up in old election news at a gathering designed to promote international financial stability. What’s more likely is that Trump is trying to divert attention away from a very active investigation into whether his campaign conspired with Russia to meddle in the election. 

In a tweet Friday morning, Trump claimed “everyone is talking about why John Podesta refused to give the DNC server to the FBI and the CIA. Disgraceful!”

On Thursday, Trump used the international stage to slam America’s intelligence agencies, the Democratic National Committee, the media, Russia and former President Obama.

How Trump’s Boorish Temperament Is Exposing Him to More Scrutiny

donald trump rallyBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If President Trump thought firing FBI Director James Comey would rein in the bureau’s robust federal investigation of ties between Russia and Trump’s campaign, the billionaire-turned-political newcomer made a terrible, potentially fateful miscalculation.

Trump’s brazen decision Tuesday to terminate the man who was leading the growing investigation prompted a far-reaching call for an independent special counsel to examine whether the president’s campaign conspired with Russia to interfere with the 2016 election. Some also are questioning whether Comey’s firing constitutes obstruction of justice since he was looking into potential crimes committed by the president and some of his inner circle.

Former FBI Director James Comey

Former FBI Director James Comey

After drawing fierce criticism from both sides of the aisle, Democrats on Wednesday called for an independent special counsel to investigate the allegations. Then on Thursday, 20 attorneys general from across the country urged the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel.

Despite the reaction, Trump continues to take to Twitter and TV to blame the investigation on “fake news” and Democrats who “fabricated” the allegations “as an excuse for losing the election.”

FBI Plans to Launch Special Unit to Investigate Russian Interference in American Politics

The FBI's current headquarters in Washington D.C.

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Showing how serious the FBI is about allegations of Russian interference in American politics, the bureau plans to create a special unit at its Washington D.C. headquarters to coordinate the probe.

The special unit also will give FBI Director James Comey “greater visibility into the investigations granular details,” the Financial Times reports.

“It’s meant to surge resources,” one FBI agent said.

The FBI also used temporary units to investigate WikiLeaks.

Because of the high-profile investigation of Russia and the massive amount of resources involved, the special unit allows the inquiry to have a central manager.

“It’s getting unwieldy,” said one person briefed on the plan. “It’s too big and it’s on the front page of the newspaper every day.” 

An FBI spokesman declined to comment.

FBI Director Comey Said He Regrets handling of Clinton Investigation And Is Nonpartisan

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey insisted Wednesday that the bureau is nonpartisan and that he’s not worried about the political storm that is brewing over the Russia investigation.

“I know that when I make a hard decision, a storm is going to follow,” Comey said at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance Leadership dinner, CNN reports. “Honestly, I don’t care.”

When asked about the decision to announce the reopening of an investigation of Hillary Clinton, Comey said he regretted his decision. 

“People sometimes look at me and say, ‘Look at what you did, look at what you did,'” Comey said. “Most people are wearing glasses that filter the world according to (their) side.”

Clinton Aide John Podesta Unleashes on FBI, Calling It ‘Deeply Broken’

John Podesta

John Podesta

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

John Pedesta, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, said the FBI’s response to Russia tampering with the presidential election reveals a “deep broken” bureau.

“The more we learn about the Russian plot to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign and elect Donald Trump, and the failure of the FBI to adequately respond, the more shocking it gets,” Podesta wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Thursday.

Pedestal questioned the FBI’s priorities by focusing on Clinton’s private email server.

“As the former chair of the Clinton campaign and a direct target of Russian hacking, I understand just how serious this is. So I was surprised to read in the New York Times that when the FBI discovered the Russian attack in September 2015, it failed to send even a single agent to warn senior Democratic National Committee (DNC) officials,” he wrote.

“What takes this from baffling to downright infuriating is that at nearly the exact same time that no one at the FBI could be bothered to drive 10 minutes to raise the alarm at DNC headquarters, two agents accompanied by attorneys from the Justice Department were in Denver visiting a tech firm that had helped maintain Clinton’s email server.”

“Comparing the FBI’s massive response to the overblown email scandal with the seemingly lackadaisical response to the very real Russian plot to subvert a national election shows that something is deeply broken at the FBI,” Podesta added.

Podestà said Congress should investigate Russian meddling in the election.

“The election is over and the damage is done, but the threat from Russia and other potential aggressors remains urgent and demands a serious and sustained response. Congress should authorize a far-reaching, bipartisan independent investigation modeled on the 9/11 commission,” he wrote. 

CIA, FBI Disagree on Veracity of Claims That Russia Hacked Emails to Help Trump Win

CIA headquarters

CIA headquarters

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The CIA and FBI have contrasting opinions about the veracity of claims that Russia was involved in the hacking of emails of the Democratic National Committee.

CIA officials told reporters that the intelligence agency is fairly certain that Russia’s motives were to help Donald Trump win the election. But the FBI is less certain and said there hasn’t been conclusive evidence about the motive, CNN reports.

“At this point, there appears to have been a combination of motivations,” one US law enforcement official said. “They wanted to sow discord and undermine our systems. It’s clear not even the Russians thought he would win.”

Democrats and Republicans are using the evidence – or lack of evidence – to make partisan points.

“The certainty with which it is being portrayed that the intelligence community fingered Russia and revealed multiple attacks — those are being overblown and put forward with a certainty that doesn’t exist,” said one Republican congressional aide familiar with discussion among top leadership and committee members. “Absolute work of fiction by whoever is leaking this information to the press.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer said Sunday that the lack of consensus between the two agencies is reason enough to investigate.

“The fact the CIA and FBI disagree shows the need for a bipartisan investigation to get to the bottom of this. The investigation should be tough, strong, bipartisan and have access to all materials, classified and not,” Schumer said.