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Tag: Senate

White House Is ‘Fully Confident’ of Kavanugh’s Confirmation After FBI Finishes Brief Review

Brett Kavanaugh during the Senate confirmation hearings.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The White House said it is “fully confident” the Senate will confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after the FBI completed its investigation following at least three sexual assault allegations against the judge.

The Judiciary Committee said it received the bureau’s report early Thursday, setting the stage for what could be a contentious day on Capitol Hill.

Senators are being given access to the report at a secure facility at the Capitol. 

An official briefed on the FBI investigation told the New York Times that nine of the 10 people whom the FBI had contacted agreed to interviews. The identities of those people were not immediately clear.

Democrats said the FBI did not conduct a thorough investigation into three allegations that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted women in high school and college.

Republicans Balk at Bill to Protect Russia Investigation As Trump Meets with Rosenstein

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The fate of the special counsel’s Russia investigation hangs in the balance as President Trump decides today whether to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who supervises the federal probe.

The removal of Rosenstein would cause a shake-up at the top of the Justice Department, leaving open the possibility that the new deputy attorney general could end the investigation by firing social counsel Robert Mueller.

This scenario is why Democrats and some Republicans are backing a bill that would make it more difficult for Trump’s administration to end an investigation that has resulted in numerous indictments.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to bring the bill to the floor, leaving no protections in place to prevent Mueller’s removal.

The bill, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, would allow Mueller to appeal and provide for a judicial review of any attempts to fire him.

Dem Senator Says Confirmation Vote on Kavanaugh Should Be Delayed Pending Outcome of FBI Probe Into Sexual Assault Allegations

Brett Kavanaugh during the Senate confirmation hearings.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The U.S. Senate should wait on voting for the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court until the FBI conducts an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.

That’s according to Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Feinstein’s statement follows a Washington Post report that detailed a first-hand account of sexual abuse by California professor Christine Blasey Ford. 

In a written statement, Feinstein said the professor’s allegations, which include being pinned down, groped and forced into silence at a high school party, were “extremely serious and bear heavily on Judge Kavanaugh’s character.”

Whether Feinstein gets his way is another story. At least three Democrats said Sunday that the confirmation hearings should continue, despite the allegations.

What Happens to Mueller’s Trump-Russia Probe Under a Government Shutdown?

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If the U.S. Senate can’t avert a government shutdown by ending a spending impasse by midnight Friday, the special counsel investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia won’t be impacted, according to the Justice Department.

That’s because all employees working on the special counsel probe are exempt from furlough since their paychecks don’t come from annual appropriations.

“All employees with the Special Counsel’s Office are considered exempt and would continue their operations in the case of a lapse in appropriations,” Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior told The Hill

Late Thursday, the U.S. House approved a short-term extension on government funding to allow the Senate an opportunity to reach an agreement by midnight to avert a shutdown.

But many Democrats emphatically pledged to reject the GOP plan without concessions that would prevent the deportation of younger immigrants who were brought to the country illegally.

Although Republicans have a majority in the Senate, the funding bill requires 60 votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster.

Brutal Assault of Sen. Rand Paul Began Over Landscaping Dispute; FBI Gets Involved

Sen. Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is now assisting local police investigating a brutal assault that left Sen. Rand Paul with five broken ribs, lung contusions and injuries to his face on the lawn of his Kentucky home.

The violent attack was prompted by a dispute between the Republican senator and his neighbor over landscaping, the New York Times reports

Authorities said Paul was attacked while mowing his lawn and wearing ear plugs.

“Rand never saw him coming or heard him coming,” according to the senator’s friend, Robert Porter, who visited Paul on Saturday.

The neighbor, Rene Albert Boucher, 59, was charged with one count of fourth-degree assault.

Senate Judiciary Committee to Subpoena 2 FBI Officials Over Comey’s Firing

Sen. Chuck Grassley

Sen. Chuck Grassley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Senate Judiciary Committee is preparing for a showdown with the Justice Department after it prevented two senior FBI officials from testifying on Capitol Hill about President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

The Senate legal counsel plans to subpoena the senior FBI officials – Carl Ghattas and James Rybicki – to force their testimony about Comey’s firing, CNN reports

The Justice Department last week said it was preventing the FBI officials from appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee because of the DOJ’s “long-standing policy regarding the confidentiality and sensitivity of information relating to pending matters.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., aren’t backing down.

“We’ve got subpoenas at the Senate counsel office,” Grassley told CNN Wednesday, referring to the Senate office that would draft the subpoenas. “When we get done there, I’m gonna have to consult with Sen. Feinstein.”

GOP Senators: Comey Drafted Letter Exonerating Clinton Long Before Probe Was Over

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

About two months before Hillary Clinton was even interviewed by the FBI over her private email account, the bureau’s former director James Comey already began drafting a statement exonerating her, according to Republican senators who released partial transcripts of interviews.

The draft exoneration even came before the FBI interviewed top Clinton aides who were offered immunity in exchange for their cooperation, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and Sen. Lindsey Graham said Thursday in a joint statement, Politico reports.

The senators sent a letter to new FBI Director Christopher Wray, saying the Comey’s draft statement in April or early May was premature. 

“Conclusion first, fact-gathering second—that’s no way to run an investigation. The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy,” Grassley and Graham wrote.

The senators demanded all drafts prepared by Comey.

Trump’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee said the senators’ claims, if true, underscore Trumps concerns about Comey.

“If it is as accurate as they say it is, that would certainly give cause and reason that Jim Comey was not the right person to lead the FBI,” Sanders said.

Other Stories of Interest

Only 5 Senators Voted Against the Nominee for FBI Director Since 1973

Christopher Wray at confirmation hearing.

Christopher Wray at confirmation hearing.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Since the Senate began voting on nominees for FBI director in 1973, only one senator cast a no vote – until Tuesday.

That’s when five Democrats objected to the confirmation of Christopher Wray to replace fired FBI Dire tor James Comey.

The final vote was 92-5. Voting no were Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley, Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden.

The only other nominee for FBI director to receive a no vote was Comey in 2013, when Sen. Rand Paul objected, according to CNN

The bureau’s first director, J. Edgar Hoover, was not subjected to a Senate vote, and he held the position for nearly 48 years.