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Tag: Senate Judiciary Committee

Senate Judiciary Committee to Vote Next Week on FBI Director

Christopher Wray at confirmation hearing.

Christopher Wray at confirmation hearing.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Christopher Wray’s nomination to FBI director.

Committee chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said he was impressed with Trump’s pick and wanted to move swiftly.

The committee vote is scheduled for July 20.

If approved, Wray would replace James Comey, whom President Trump fired amid an investigation into Russian interference with the presidential election.

Democrats on the committee indicated they support Wray’s nomination, but it’s unclear whether they plan to delay the vote.

During his nomination hearing earlier this week, Wray pledged independence and said he would resign before succumbing to political pressure.

Trump’s FBI pick: Russia Probe Is No Witch Hunt, And Comey Is No ‘Nut Job’

Christopher Wray testifies during his confirmation hearing to become the next FBI director.

Christopher Wray testifies during his confirmation hearing to become the next FBI director.

If Donald Trump was hoping to find a loyalist or political puppet to replace fired FBI Director James Comey, the president nominated the wrong person.

Pledging he would resign before caving to political pressure, Christopher A. Wray was candid, direct and unafraid to challenge the president’s unsubstantiated attacks on the intelligence community during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I will never allow the FBI’s work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law and the impartial pursuit of justice,” Wray testified. “Period. Full stop.”

Wray, a former senior Justice Department official also defended Comey and Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to investigate allegations that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

To discredit the growing and evolving investigations, Trump routinely depicts intelligence officials as politically driven scrooges bent on driving him out of the White House. He’s called Comey a “nut job” and painted Mueller as an unscrupulous opportunist.

Wray defended them both.

“I have worked closely with Director Mueller in many past government services,” Wray testified. “I view him as a consummate straight-shooter and somebody I have enormous respect for.”

Wray’s firm insistence that he run the FBI without political influence appeared to convince many Democrats to support his nomination.

Senate Judiciary Committee to Probe Political Influence of FBI Investigations

Sen. Chuck Grassley

Sen. Chuck Grassley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to investigate attempts to influence FBI investigations under the Trump and Obama administrations.

Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, called for the congressional probe to explore why President Trump really fired former FBI Director James Comey’s firing and whether anyone in Obama’s administration tried to influence the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server.

Grassley’s call for a wide-ranging investigation comes in response to Democrats requesting to investigate whether Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey, Politico reports. 

“The Judiciary Committee has an obligation to fully investigate any alleged improper partisan interference in law enforcement investigations,” Grassley wrote to his Democratic counterpart, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. “It is my view that fully investigating the facts, circumstances, and rationale for Mr. Comey’s removal will provide us the opportunity to do that on a cooperative, bipartisan basis.”

Grassley believes an investigation into the handling of Clinton’s use of a private email service is called for after Comey testified last week that he was concerned the Justice Department “could not credibly complete the investigation and decline prosecution without grievous damage to the American people’s confidence in the justice system.”

Stephen Colbert Pokes Fun at FBI Director’s Testimony about Clinton Investigation

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Late night comedian Stephen Colbert had harsh words for FBI Director James Comey following controversial testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Colbert played clips of Wednesday’s committee hearing in which Comey defended his decision to notify Congress that the Hillary Clinton investigation had reopened.

Colbert also ribbed Comey for saying he was “mildly nauseous” for potentially upending the election.

“Maybe it’s morning sickness — after all, you did screw the whole country,” Colbert said. 

Other Stories of Interest

Sen. Franken: Senate Likely to Probe FBI’s ‘Rogue’ Conduct in Clinton Investigation

Sen. Al Franken

Sen. Al Franken

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The controversial actions by the FBI in the wake of the Hillary Clinton email investigation likely will continue after the election.

Congressional Republicans have pledged to review whether the FBI mishandled the investigation.

Now, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken said the Senate Judiciary Committee likely will conduct hearings on what he characterized as “troubling” and “rogue” FBI conduct, Politico reports. 

Franken, a Democrat, questioned Sunday why FBI Director James Comey would inform congressional leaders of renewing the Clinton investigation without having any evidence of wrongdoing.

What’s “more troubling,” Franken said, is that “rogue elements within the FBI” may have leaked information about the case just before the presidential election.

Franken, who is a member of the Judiciary Committee, said he expects Comey will be called to testify before the panel

“He should answer questions about this, and he should be able to control the FBI,” Franken said.

Other Stories of Interest

Sen. Chuck Grassley Blasts FBI for Rebuffing Judge’s Request for Clinton E-Mails

Sen. Grassley

Sen. Grassley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s decision to reject a judge’s request for information on the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail system has prompted outrage from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley.

Politico reports that Grassley didn’t mince words after the FBI refused to provide information on whether the bureau retrieved e-mail records.

“The FBI is behaving like it’s above the law,” said Grassley, whose committee oversees the bureau. “Simply refusing to cooperate with a court-ordered request is not an appropriate course of action.”

Grassley hasn’t said yet what actions his committee will take.

Lawyer Nominated for Key Justice Department Post Faces Increased Pressure

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Obama’s nominee of a key Justice Department position is coming under more attack.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and former Gov. Tom Ridge urged the U.S. Senate to reject Debo Adegbile because he helped overturn the death penalty for a convicted cop killer.

Still, the Senate Judiciary Committee narrowly approved Adegbile to lead the Civil Rights Division, placing his fate in the hands of the full Senate.

In 2011, Adegbile helped get the death penalty tossed in the case of a Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted in 1982 of murdering a Philadelphia police officer.

Anger Over NSA Surveillance Could Lead to Broad Changes in Intelligence Gathering

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Is the intelligence community on the verge of a major shakeup?

Maybe so, the USA Today reports.

As public pressure builds against the NSA over more revelations over international and domestic spying, lawmakers are considering major overhauls.

“It is time for serious and meaningful reforms so we can restore confidence in our intelligence community,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. “Modest transparency and oversight provisions are not enough. We need real reform.”