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CORRUPTION

Top Trump Border Official Broke Federal Ethics Rules to Get ‘Sponsors’ to Fund FBI Happy Hours: Report

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President Donald Trump’s top border reportedly official broke FBI ethics rules in an effort to get outside “sponsors” to fund happy hours with alcohol and food, and continued to do so even after he was warned in writing that it was against federal regulations.

Mark Morgan, President Trump’s acting commissioner of the Customs and Border Protection agency, reportedly broke ethics rules in 2015, when he served as deputy assistant director of the FBI’s training division, according to an exclusive report from the San Francisco Chronicle.

An Inspector General’s investigation was not completed until January of 2018. It unclear if the FBI IG ever notified either the Obama administration or the Trump administration. Morgan was moved from the FBI to the Border Patrol in 2016.

He was “forced out of Border Patrol leadership in January 2017,”  but “became a vocal supporter of Trump on Fox News, and the president brought him back into the government in May 2019 to run Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” the Chronicle reports.

Morgan was later named as CBP acting commissioner.

Image: CBP photos by Glenn Fawcett via Flickr

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CORRUPTION

Barr Blasted for Wrongly Suggesting Obama and Biden Abused Their Power, Had ‘Level of Involvement’ in Russia Probe

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Attorney General Bill Barr is under fire for wrongly suggesting former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden abused their power and had some “level of involvement” in the FBI’s investigation of now-President Donald Trump.

On Monday Barr announced that he does not “expect” the federal prosecutor he appointed to lead that investigation “will lead to a criminal prosecution of either man.”

But Barr also suggested both men had engaged in an abuse of power, without offering any proof, in what some see as a clear attempt to disparage them.

“We have to bear in mind what the Supreme Court recently reminded us of in the ‘Bridgegate’ case. As the court said there, there’s a difference between an abuse of power and a federal crime. Not every abuse of power, no matter how outrageous, is necessarily a federal crime,” Barr declared.

“Now, as to President Obama and Vice President Biden – whatever their level of involvement – based on the information I have today, I don’t expect Mr. Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man.”

Barr is known to choose his words very carefully, to paint the picture he wants Americans to see. A federal judge has already chastised him for his four-page Mueller investigation letter, calling it “distorted” and “misleading.”

And by declaring there won’t be a “criminal investigation,” he gets the words “criminal” and “investigation” or “prosecution” tied to both Democrats in the press.

His remarks immediately led to headlines like these:

“Barr says he does not expect criminal investigation of Obama or Biden as result of Durham probe”

“Barr Says Probe Won’t Likely Lead to Prosecution of Obama, Biden”

“Barr Says He Doesn’t Expect Criminal Probe Into Obama or Biden”

On social media many saw through Barr’s tactics:

 

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CORRUPTION

‘Good to Be a Criminal Who Is Friends With the President’: Manafort Early Prison Release Draws Outrage – ‘Doesn’t Qualify’

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“Released to home confinement amid growing outbreak of white privilege”

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) on Wednesday released convicted felon Paul Manafort to home confinement, citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. But many online quickly expressed outrage upon learning the President’s former campaign chairman who has ties to Russia is housed in a prison that has no coronavirus cases.

Under Attorney General Bill Barr federal prisons have slowly been releasing prisoners from jail to reduce the spread of coronavirus, but certain conditions must be met. Prisoners have to have served at least half their sentence, or served at least one-quarter of their sentence and have less than 18 months remaining.

Manafort meets none of those requirements.

“Manafort, 71, has been serving out his more than seven-year sentence for charges related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation in a federal correctional institution in central Pennsylvania,” ABC News reports. “He was found guilty of tax fraud and conspiracy and was sentenced by a federal judge in March 2019. He was slated to be released from prison November 4, 2024. The charges stemmed from his work related to Ukraine between 2006 and 2015.”

Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance, now an MSNBC contributor and a University of Alabama law professor, says Manafort simply doesn’t qualify.

“This raises real fairness concerns. Manafort doesn’t qualify for compassionate release,” Vance says on Twitter. “Did he get special treatment ahead of others who do? People in facilities with outbreaks or closer to the end of their sentence? Did Trump’s friend get preferential treatment under the guise of appropriate releases to protect BOP inmates?

She notes that former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen, “much closer to the end of his sentence, was denied release after news he would be was made public.”

Some are suggesting Manafort’s release proves Trump intervened in keeping Cohen in jail.

Last year CNN reported “Special counsel Robert Mueller believes that Paul Manafort was sharing polling data and discussing Russian-Ukrainian policy with his close Russian-intelligence-linked associate, Konstantin Kilimnik, while he led the Trump presidential campaign, according to parts of a court filing that were meant to be redacted by Manafort’s legal team Tuesday but were released publicly.”

Outrage over what many see as unwarranted preferential treatment was widespread.

Some, perhaps mockingly, wondered if Manafort might get his old job back, working for the Trump campaign, given the President is reportedly considering re-hiring his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

Here’s what some others are saying:

 

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CORRUPTION

Nearly 2000 Former DOJ Officials Sign Letter Calling on Barr to Resign Over His ‘Assaults on the Rule of Law’

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Call for Resignation and Censure

Nearly 2000 former Dept. of Justice officials have signed on to a letter calling on Attorney General Bill Barr to resign over his “political interference” in the Mike Flynn case, as ABC News reports. The DOJ dropped the charges against President Trump’s former National Security Advisor, who had already pleaded guilty twice to lying to the FBI. He was also accused of acting as a paid, unregistered foreign agent to Turkey while serving on the Trump transition team.

“We continue to believe that it would be best for the integrity of the Justice Department and for our democracy for Attorney General Barr to step aside,” the letter reads. “In the meantime, we call on Congress to hold the Attorney General accountable.”

The former officials also are urging the House Judiciary Committee to “demand that [Barr] answer for his abuses of power. We also call upon Congress to formally censure Attorney General Barr for his repeated assaults on the rule of law in doing the President’s personal bidding rather than acting in the public interest. Our democracy depends on a Department of Justice that acts as an independent arbiter of equal justice, not as an arm of the president’s political apparatus.”

In the Flynn case the officials say “Attorney General Barr has once again assaulted the rule of law,” and urge the judge to  deny the DOJ’s request to drop the charges.

“Attorney General Barr’s repeated actions to use the Department as a tool to further President Trump’s personal and political interests have undermined any claim to the deference that courts usually apply to the Department’s decisions about whether or not to prosecute a case.”

The list, currently at 1956 names and growing, includes former U.S. Attorneys and trial attorneys, the Chief of the Criminal Division at SDNY, Inspector Generals, Section Chiefs, and Special Counsels, and others.

 

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