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Tag: Senate

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.

Bi-Partisan Bill Seeks to Prevent Firing of Special Counsels, Like Robert Mueller

Sen. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Lindsey Graham

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A bi-partisan effort in the Senate has been introduced to prevent the firing of a special counsel, such as Robert Mueller, without judicial review.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, introduced the measure.

“A special counsel cannot be fired when they were entitled to investigate the president or his team unless you have judicial review, not just for Trump, but for any future president,” Graham said when describing the legislation to reporters on Thursday, USA Today reports. “We need a check and balance here.”

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., co-sponsored the bill.

“I’m introducing this legislation to make sure the president can’t just fire a special prosecutor, that it has to be for cause and that the judicial branch should have a say in whether there is legitimate cause or not,” Booker old MSNBC.

 The bill comes as rumors swirl that President Trump wants to fire Mueller, who is investigating Russia’s role in interfering with the 2016 presidential election.

Muslim Group: FBI Nominee Wray Has Troubling History with Immigrant Detainees

    FBI Director nominee Christopher WrayFBI Director nominee Christopher Wray

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI nominee Christoper Wray has a troubling history with mistreating immigrant detainees in the aftermath of 9/11, a Muslim civil rights group warned senators.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR is urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to grill Christopher Wray during his confirmation hearing next week, the AJC.com reports

At issue is Wray’s reported communication blackouts between hundreds of immigrant detainees and the outside world while he was serving in a high-ranking position in the Justice Department for former President George W. Bush.

According to a story in the Daily Beast, Wray directed his employee to curtail communication between the detainees and the outside world while serving as principal deputy attorney general. 

“Many of the leads that resulted in the detention of these immigrants were based on discriminatory religious and ethnic profiling and were meritless suspicion,” the group said.

Although CAIR didn’t take a public position on the nomination, the group claimed Wray’s communication blackouts were “unconstitutional.”

Other Stories of Interest

Senate Intelligence Committee Expects to Soon Review Comey Memos

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies about President Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee in early June.

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies about President Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee in early June.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election, is expected to soon review memos written by former FBI Director James Comey to document his conversations with President Trump.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said Wednesday that he’s received assurances that committee leaders will receive the memos, the Chicago Tribune reports. 

Warner called the memos “critical information we have to have as part of our review process.”

Also on Wednesday, committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., said he hopes the panel will be able wrap up its investigation by the end of the year.

As part of the investigation, the committee is expected to interview Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, at a yet-to-be-determined date.

Trump’s Nominee for FBI Director to Face Tough Questions about His Past

Christopher A. Wray

Christopher A. Wray

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It’s safe to say President Trump’s nominee for FBI director, Christoper Wray, will face tough rounds of questions during his confirmation hearing before the Senate.

After all, some senators and legal experts have accused the president of obstructing justice by firing former director James Comey in retaliation for investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. Special counsel Robert Mueller and his high-powered team of lawyers is investigating those very allegations.

Wray, whom Trump called “a man of impeccable credentials,” is likely to be hammered about why he removed from his law firm’s website in January the fact that he represented an undisclosed American energy executive who was under criminal investigation by the Russian government. 

Wray’s law firm, King & Spalding, represents the Russian energy firm Rosneft, which has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the International Business Times reports

Wray also is likely to be grilled about his representation of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a longtime Trump supporter, in the Bridgegate scandal. Christie has declined to say whether he recommended Wray to Trump.

And several civil liberties advocates are expressing concerns about Wray.

“Christopher Wray’s firm’s legal work for the Trump family, his history of partisan activity, as well as his history of defending Trump’s transition director during a criminal scandal makes us question his ability to lead the FBI with the independence, even-handed judgment, and commitment to the rule of law that the agency deserves,” American Civil Liberties Union National Political Director Faiz Shakir said in a statement.

Russian Cyberattacks on Election Systems Adds Pressure to Homeland Security

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Mounting evidence that Russia used cyberattacks to impact the presidential election has turned up the heat on Homeland Security to protect America’s democratic system from hackers.

Homeland Security officials told the Senate Intelligence Committee last week that they have evidence to suggest Russian operatives targeted election systems in 21 states.

The Hill reports that lawmakers are urging the department to help states protect their election systems. 

“I’m deeply concerned about the danger posed by future interference in our elections,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the vice chairman of the intelligence panel, said Wednesday. “We have elections in 2018, but in my home state of Virginia, we have statewide elections this year. So this needs a sense of urgency.”

Senators asked Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to provide more details about the targeted election systems, including which states were targeted.

(D-Ore.). “We obviously need to know about vulnerabilities, so that we can find solutions, and we need better cybersecurity to protect elections from being hacked in the first place.”