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Tag: Senate

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.”

Deputy AG: No Plans to Fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller

Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general.

Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The deputy U.S. attorney general assured Congress on Tuesday that special counsel Robert Mueller would have “the full degree of independence” to investigate allegations of Russia interfering in the presidential election.

“Director Mueller is going to have the full degree of independence that he needs to conduct that investigation appropriately,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, the Business Insider reports

Rosenstein’s assurance comes after Donald Trump’s friend suggested the president may fire Mueller.

But that power belongs to Rosenstein, who said he sees no good reason to fire Mueller.

America Will Be Glued to the TV When James Comey Testifies Before Congress

FBI Director James Comey appears Wednesday before the Senate.

FBI Director James Comey appears Wednesday before the Senate.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

If  Americans were given a choice who they’d like to have a one-on-one dinner with, fired FBI Director James Comey would be pretty high on that list for many.

Well, the next best thing to that would be to hear Comey publicly testify before Congress.

That’s now expected to happen.

Comey will testify publicly before the Senate Intelligence Committee at a date to be set after Memorial Day, committee leaders announced Friday night, according to the Washington Post.

Expect plenty folks to be glued to the TV or computer during the testimony, as they were during the Watergate hearings.

 

 

Sen. McConnell Would Support Garland As New FBI Director

Sen. Mitch McConnell/official photo

Sen. Mitch McConnell/official photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After Senate Leader Mitchell McConnell played a key role in denying President Obama’s choice for Supreme Court, the Kentucky Republican would support Judge Merrick Garland as the next director of the FBI, McConnell’s former advisor said.

“I think the Senate majority leader thinks that’s a fantastic idea,” Josh Holmes told “Fox News Sunday.”

“He certainly thinks [Garland] will be qualified. And [McConnell] certainly thinks he would be somebody that he could support.”

McConnell he prevented Garland from receiving a hearing on the nomination.

Garland name’s was floated last week by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.

“Instead of a special prosecutor, @realDonaldTrump should nominate Merrick Garland to replace James Comey,” Lee wrote on Twitter Thursday.

Schumer: Appoint Special Counsel Or No New FBI Director

Sen. Charles Schumer

Sen. Charles Schumer

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is threatening to prevent the appointment of a new FBI director until the Justice Department appoints a special counsel to investigate whether President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the presidential election.

“I think there are a lot of Democrats who feel that way,” Schumer said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We’ll have to discuss it as a caucus, but I would support that move.”

So far the Justice Department declined to appoint a special counsel, and Republicans in the Congressional have rejected the idea.

Trump interviewed candidates for the top FBI job over the weekend but has yet to confirm the nominees.

“The key here, of course, is getting some of our Republican colleagues to join us.”