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Tag: William Barr

FBI Did Not Spy on Trump’s Campaign, DOJ Inspector General Found

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump has repeatedly claimed that the FBI turned rogue and spied on his campaign in 2016 in what he said was “perhaps the biggest scandal in the history of our country.”

The Justice Department’s inspector general found no evidence that the FBI infiltrated Trump’s campaign or launched a politically motivated investigation to undermine his candidacy, according to The New York Times and NBC News.

The findings are in a draft copy of an inspector general report that is due out on Dec. 9 as part of a larger examination of the Russia investigation.

The inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, also undercuts claims that the FBI’s pursuit of a secret wiretap on a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, was politically motivated.

In April, Attorney General William Barr told a Senate committee that he suspected “spying did occur.” A few days later, Trump insisted, “There was absolutely spying into my campaign.”

But in May, FBI Director Christopher Wray took issue with the characterization that the bureau was “spying” on Trump’s campaign, saying, “I don’t think I personally have any evidence of that sort.”

Justice Department Launches Plan to Crack Down on Gun Violence

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department unveiled a nationwide initiative aimed at reducing gun violence and enforcing federal firearm laws.

Dubbed “Project Guardian,” the five-point plan includes coordinated prosecution, enforcement of firearm laws and background checks, improved information sharing, coordinated response to mental health denials, and crime gun intelligence coordination.

The plan calls for strengthening partnerships among the ATF, federal prosecutors, and state and local law enforcement to enforce existing laws.

The deputy attorney general is tasked with overseeing the implementation of the plan.

“I know you share my grave concern regarding the gun violence that has plagued our communities and that you are committed to preventing gun violence whenever possible,” Attorney General William Barr said in a news release. “By initiating Project Guardian, we take an important step in increasing the safety and security of our communities. I look forward to hearing in the coming months about your implementation of this program, which will help make our country a safer place for all.”

DOJ’s Review of the Origins of the Trump Investigation Evolves into Criminal Probe

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump has long claimed, with no evidence, that the Russia investigation was a hoax and a “witch hunt.”

Now, two years later, the Justice Department’s inquiry into the origins of the probe has evolved into a criminal investigation.

Attorney General William Barr has turned over the investigation to John H. Durham, who will serve as the prosecutor with subpoena power over testimony and documents and the power to convene a grand jury, The New York Times reports.

In other words, the Justice Department is investigating itself over what Democrats say is unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

Durham, a longtime prosecutor known for investigating CIA torture, will determine whether intelligence and law enforcement agencies acted within the law when they investigated possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Barr’s review of the Russia investigation began in May, when Barr said he had discussions with intelligence and law enforcement officials that led him to question the legitimacy of the investigation. At one point, Barr even described law enforcement’s actions as “spying” on the Trump campaign.

In an interview with Fox News in May, Barr said he had been pursuing questions about whether “government officials abused their power and put their thumb on the scale” to investigate the Russia link.

Since then, no credible evidence has been made public to suggest law enforcement acted inappropriately in investigating Trump’s campaign.

Serious Questions Raised about DOJ and AG Barr’s Handling of Whistleblower Complaint

Attorney General William Barr.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Department of Justice’s handling of the whistleblower complaint involving Ukraine raises a serious question: Why did the DOJ decide not to forward the complaint to Congress?

The complaint was serious enough to spur an impeachment inquiry. It alleges Trump tried to pressure a foreign nation to investigate his political opponent.

The whistleblower also implicates Attorney General William Bar for allegedly helping Trump dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son.

Democrats are accusing Trump of using the Justice Department to help interfere in the election.

It also has become clear that Barr’s DOJ has stymied the investigation.

As the impeachment inquiry continues, much more will be known about Barr’s involvement.

DOJ Drafts Proposal to Expedite Death Penalty for Convicted Mass Shooters

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

People convicted of carrying out mass shootings would face an expedited path to the death penalty under legislated drafted by the Justice Department.

The bill follows the DOJ’s announcement in July that it would begin capital punishment again for the first time in two decades.

The proposal was drafted Attorney General William Barr with the help of Vice President Mike Pence’s policy team, CBS News reports, citing VP Chief of Staff Mark Short.

The proposal is likely part of a White House package of gun safety proposals.

Last month, President Trump advocated an expedited death penalty for convicted mass shooters. But Trump’s position on gun control measures has been in constant flux and impossible to pin down.

Attorney General William Barr Books Holiday Party at Trump Hotel in D.C.

AG William Barr

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Right or wrong, the optics look bad.

Last month, Attorney General William Barr booked a “Family Holiday Party” in President Trump’s D.C. hotel on Dec. 8 that is likely to deliver Trump’s business more than $30,000 in revenue, Jonathan O’Connell and David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post write.

 The party will include a buffet and an open bar for about 200 people.

The Justice Department says Barr is paying for the party and chose Trump’s hotel only after finding that other hotels were booked.

“Career ethics officials were consulted and they determined that ethics rules did not prohibit him from hosting his annual party at the Trump hotel,” an unnamed Justice official told the Post.

Trump Won’t Say If He Has Confidence in FBI Director Wray

FBI Director Christopher Wray in Atlanta. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump would not say whether he has confidence in his FBI Director Christopher Wray during an interview with The Hill.

The president also emphasized that he disagrees with Wray’s opinion that FBI agents didn’t spy on his 2016 campaign.

Wray told Congress in May he would not describe FBI investigations as “spying” when asked about Attorney General Bill Bar’s assertion that federal law enforcement officials “spied” on the Trump campaign.

“I mean, I disagree with him on that and I think a lot of people are disagreeing,” Trump told The Hill. “You may even disagree with him on that.”

When asked about his level of confidence in his FBI director, Trump said, “Well, we’ll see how it turns out.”

Trump’s response raised eyebrows because he fired then-FBI Director James Comey in April 2017, a decision that led to the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel.

Later, Trump’s first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, fired then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

House Dems Expect to Hold AG Barr in Contempt This Week over Mueller Report

Attorney General Barr testifying Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives is expected to vote Tuesday to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress after he refused to turn over unredacted copies of the Robert Mueller report.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., issued a subpoena for the records, but Barr rejected it, and the White House invoked executive privilege over the document.

House Democrats also are expected Tuesday to support holding former White House counsel Don McGhan in contempt for refusing to testify before Congress or disclose documents. The White House has invoked executive privilege to prevent McGhan from testifying or releasing documents.

Democrats believe they have the votes to hold both men in contempt, which would enable the House members to file lawsuits in hopes that a judge will order Barr and McGhan to comply.

What’s unclear is how long it would take for a lawsuit to wend its way through the court systems.