This was the week that President Trump really started to drain the swamp. It came when he yanked the nomination of Jessie Liu to a Treasury Department post. The decision was all Trump’s and occurred after Trump learned details about what was going on when she was United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.
Though Trump was most aggravated with Liu not clamping down on the outrageous sentencing recommendations of her staff in the Roger Stone case, there was a long list of other concerns that made it clear to the president the extent of ideological weaponization across the Justice Department.
Let’s start with Roger Stone for now.
Liu’s so-called “career prosecutors” devised a sentencing recommendation of nine years in prison for behavior that became commonplace anytime former Attorney General Eric Holder appeared before Congress under oath.
Lest we forget, Holder was found in criminal contempt of Congress in a bipartisan 255-67 vote. Back then, most House Democrats didn’t find contempt of Congress to be an impeachable offense. Don’t forget, House Democrats marched off the floor during the Holder contempt vote.
This nicely illustrates the central theme that has animated Trump’s impeachment, Justice Department investigations of Trump, Liu’s yank, and the entire political saga of the last three years.
Justice is no longer blind. Investigations, charges, and even prison terms depend on the ideological views of the targets.
If you are a friend of the president, the Justice Department “career lawyers” will do all they can to find a venue in the District of Columbia where they know a rabid population of Democrat jurors will do all they can to send you to Big Sandy.
If you doubt me, you haven’t heard of Tomeka Hart, the nasty partisan jury foreman in Stone’s trial who should have never been on the jury in the first place.
The Scales of Justice come in two versions, one for Democrats and one for Trump.
Let’s examine those Justice Department “career lawyers.”
It is now plain that “career lawyer” isn’t a euphemism for unbiased and impartial. It’s exactly the opposite. It usually means Democrat, leftist, elitist, culturally hostile to middle America and feverishly anti-Trump.
Two months have passed since Dec. 9, 2019, the day Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz exposed the profound damage done to a judicial institution vital to successfully defending America in a world of complex threats: the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISC.
The damage done to American public trust in the court is not incidental. Trust is a source of strength, among friends or in the world’s most powerful nation. Trust promotes cooperation, which enhances systemic strength. When trust disappears, expect discord seeding division and weakness.
The FISC was created to protect a citizen’s constitutional rights while permitting intelligence community surveillance of legitimate suspects. To protect necessary cloak-and-dagger secrets, the FISC meets in secret. A secret court in a free society requires two things: (1) legitimate existential threats to citizens and assets: (2) trust in security agency professionalism and integrity, and trust in the judgment of the court judges.
Unfortunately, the abuse of the FISC by corrupt members of U.S. security and legal agencies — specifically within the FBI and DOJ — may have squandered that trust forever. Evidence is emerging that other corrupt actors, perhaps in the CIA, conducted illegal surveillance.
With the documented abuse acknowledged, America needs an FISC-type legal tool to combat covert threats like terrorism, transnational crime and enemy espionage. Twenty-first-century digital and financial connectivity, and commercial jet transportation, reduce police and Pentagon response time.
A FISC with integrity must also protect an American citizen’s constitutional rights from crooks and crony government. Horowitz discovered premeditated fraud on the FISC by a DOJ attorney. In 2016, the attorney “altered” email from “the other U.S. government agency” (CIA) and submitted a fraudulent application for a warrant to the court. So the FISC approved the warrant.
The target: Carter Page, a Naval Academy graduate and a former Trump presidential campaign associate. Spying on Page — an innocent man — opened a door to spying on President Donald Trump.
Following Horowitz’s report, the FISC’s then-presiding judge, Rosemary Collyer, issued a public order regarding the Page application and the FBI’s lack of “candor”: “The frequency with which representations made by FBI personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable. The FISC expects the government to provide complete and accurate information in every filing with the Court.”
Collyer should chastise herself as well. She and her colleagues failed to responsibly question the application. The FBI alleges a Naval Academy grad associated with a presidential campaign in an election year is a Russian asset? Judge, wake the hell up. Page was actually a CIA asset.
Trump administration Attorney General William Barr knows the court is a national security asset and wants to save it. On Feb. 6, he put his personal reputation on the line and issued a memo requiring the FBI to have him sign off on FISC applications. Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz pegs the FISC’s structural weakness: Alleged perpetrators have no defender. So assign a lawyer to question government evidence.
To restore public trust, the individuals who abused the court must be investigated, arrested, tried, convicted and sent to prison. They committed an array of crimes — including criminal mishandling of classified material. The FISC is a classified court.
In the past, the public expected responsible reporters to scrutinize government operations. In the FISC saga, contemporary mainstream media served as a PR tool for crooked cops and spies. So-called elite press outfits like The New York Times and The Washington Post unquestioningly touted intelligence leaks that have proven to be false.
Though mainstream media outlets take scant notice, angry calls to disband the court have not faded. The decibels will increase when federal prosecutor John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Russia collusion hoax becomes headline news.
I wager Durham will expose crony government at its worst — dirty government officials, bureaucrats and agents who are politically exploiting and criminally manipulating the U.S. national security structure to harm their political opponents.
We shall see.
A day after a nine-year sentencing recommendation for the elderly Roger Stone was filed, Senior DOJ officials immediately distanced themselves from the recommendation. They told CBS News that the prison time recommendation was “extreme, excessive, grossly disproportionate to offenses,” and that this is not what was briefed to the DOJ by the assigned prosecutors. Hours later, all four lawyers assigned to the case withdrew, with one, Jonathan Kravis, resigning from the DOJ entirely.
This is unusual, to say the least. Top to bottom, from the start of the case to this shocking end, has been unprecedented. What is going on?
President Trump asked: “Who are the four prosecutors (Mueller people?) who cut and ran after being exposed for recommending a ridiculous nine-year prison sentence to a man that got caught up in an investigation that was illegal, the Mueller Scam, and shouldn’t ever even have started?”
I went to federal trial attorney Jesse Binnall for some answers. Binnall defends high-profile clients against political witch-hunts and has defended cases brought by Jonathan Kravis in the past. Currently, Binnall is defending Michael Flynn alongside Sidney Powell.
In your professional opinion, was anything unusual about the Roger Stone case?
“Roger Stone wouldn’t ever have been a target of prosecution had he not been a Trump supporter. The President was absolutely right; the political underpinnings of this case are very disturbing. The events of the past few days show just how unusual this case really is.”
Can you explain what exactly was unusual in recent days, and why?
“These four prosecutors filed a brief making a sentencing recommendation without getting approval from the chain of command. That is extraordinarily unusual in the DOJ. In fact, I can say it’s unheard of at the DOJ; certainly, I’ve never heard of it. In practice, DOJ lawyers almost always get approval for everything they do.”
Then, all four prosecutors on this case withdrew in succession, with one, Kravis, resigning from the DOJ entirely. This is unheard of. Why do you think they did it? Do you believe they planned and colluded?
“I think they knew exactly what was going to happen when they filed that sentencing recommendation, expecting they will be reined in for doing so. They could then play the role of martyrs by resigning from the case, with one of them resigning entirely from his job.
One of the most serious powers of a prosecutor is asking to deprive a defendant of freedom, requesting jail time. I think this [nine-year sentence] was an abuse of their power as prosecutors, to make a recommendation like this without making a departmental approval.
They knew leftist media would celebrate their disobedience and abuse of power. Leftist media has a history of fawning over people who martyr themselves for left-wing causes, just like Sally Yates. I think they wanted to leave the Roger Stone case with a bang.
Or, they did it because they were going rogue, and they didn’t care what their supervisors thought. Perhaps because they don’t like U.S. Attorney Shea. To them, this case is political, and it’s personal. I think they suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome. TDS is a very serious condition!”
I’d like to think there’s some deep thinking going on in the DOJ tonight about the words ‘prosecutorial misconduct’.
The entire team prosecuting Roger Stone abruptly resigned from the criminal case on Tuesday after the Justice Department said it planned to reduce the recommended sentence for Stone, a longtime Trump associate.
The Justice Department on Tuesday said it was pulling back on its request to sentence Stone to seven to nine years in prison after President Donald Trump blasted the sentencing proposal as “a miscarriage of justice.”
Weissmann is the one who also did the work to get General Flynn indicted for perjury. Seems to be his usual tactic is to use a perjury charge because doing real investigative work is just too hard for him.
Just the kind of “Law Enforcement Officer” that you need when you want a tyrannical police state.
Andrew Weissmann, one of the most prominent members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russia, let slip on Thursday that they were “trying to get rid of” President Trump, in part by laying a perjury trap to get him on record under oath.
Known as Mueller’s “pitbull,” Weissmann was heavily involved in the criminal case against Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort. He stepped down before Mueller released his final report and struck a deal with a publisher for a book about his experiences on the special counsel.
He would also sign with NBC and MSNBC as a legal analyst, and appeared Thursday afternoon on MSNBC to comment on President Trump’s remarks earlier in the day on his acquittal by the U.S. Senate, where the president denounced the effort by political enemies to take him out.
Republican National Committee spokeswoman shared a video clip of the segment on Twitter, saying that “Weissmann just admitted what we always knew.”
Taking a shot at Trump for “mouthing off” earlier in the day, Weissmann said, “He never submitted to an interview, he never testified under oath — it’s true, the same happened in the Mueller case.”
“Why do you think that is?” MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace asked.
“There’s a classic reason,” Weissman replied. “There is legal jeopardy that attaches if you sit for an interview or if you say something under oath to federal prosecutors, to federal prosecutors, to the House, to the Senate — so if you notice, the president is happy to talk today about ‘oh, this is evil and these people are corrupt,’ but when it came time for him to put up or shut up, which is are you willing to actually say this under oath or even in an interview, he’s completely silent.”
This being, of course, Trump’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Speaking from the East Room on Thursday, the president said the Russian collusion probe was “all bullshit,” insisting that he was “treated unbelievably unfairly.”
Trump called former FBI director James Comey a “sleazebag,” and slammed the “top scum” at the bureau, to include disgraced former bureau agent Peter Strzok.
“We’ve been going through this now for three years. It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops, it was leakers. It was a disgrace. Had I not fired James Comey, who was a disaster, by the way, it’s possible I wouldn’t even be standing here right now,” he said. “We caught him in the act. Dirty cops. Bad people.”
“These are the crookedest, most dishonest, dirtiest people I’ve ever seen,” he added.
Weissmann was the epitome of the “13 angry Democrats” Trump often referred to when speaking of the special counsel……
As for bias, while there are many signs, the fact Weissmann attended Clinton’s 2016 election night party in New York City, according to The Wall Street Journal, may say all that needs to be said.
Until the FBI agents who did this are held accountable, and that means in a court of law facing charges, Directors Wray’s words are so much hot air.
FBI Director Christopher Wray testified Wednesday that the actions taken by the bureau to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page were “unacceptable” and “cannot be repeated.”
During his first congressional appearance following the release of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s FISA review last year, Wray vowed to reform the FISA system by implementing “specific procedures and safeguards.”
“The failures highlighted in the inspector general report are unacceptable, period. And they cannot be repeated,” Wray testified before the House Judiciary Committee.
“I have already ordered more than 40 corrective actions to our FISA policies and procedures,” Wray continued, adding that he has “gone above and beyond” in outlining what “should be changed” and “can be changed” and can provide “accountability,” “rigor” and “discipline.”
“I do not think anyone has carte blanche to bypass rules, and I intend to make it painfully clear that is unacceptable at the FBI today,” he added.
Meanwhile, Republicans on the committee used Wednesday’s hearing as an opportunity to further grill Wray and the FBI.
“I don’t trust your agency anymore,” Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., told Wray, adding that the FBI has “lost the trust of an awful lot of Americans.”
And Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, suggested that Wray was not taking the misconduct outlined in the inspector general’s report “seriously.”
“I’m concerned you’re not taking this seriously enough,” Jordan said. “Are you taking this seriously enough, Director Wray?”
The FBI director underscored that activities surrounding FISA during the 2016 presidential election were unacceptable and “unrepresentative of who we are as an institution.”
“Political bias has no place in today’s FBI,” Wray said.
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — A perjury charge has been filed against Susan Holmes, the woman who recently tried to use Colorado’s new “red flag” law to have a Colorado State University officer’s weapons confiscated.
Morris shot and killed Holmes’ son in 2017. The district attorney found the shooting to be “clearly justified.”
A petition for an extreme risk protection order requires the petitioner to have a connection to the respondent, such as being a blood relative, a marriage or domestic partner, or having a child in common with the respondent.
Under penalty of perjury, Holmes claimed she had a child in common with Morris when in fact, she does not.
On Thursday, Colorado court records showed Holmes is charged with one count of perjury and one count of attempt to influence a public servant. The latter charge is for allegedly lying to a judge.
The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said a warrant is out for Holmes and she is not in custody. The sheriff’s office confirmed the warrant is in relation to the ERPO case.
The warrant has been active for about one week.
Holmes’ bond is currently set at $5,000.
Virginia Sheriff Richard Vaughan Explains Why He Won’t Enforce Gov. Ralph Northam’s Gun Control Laws
In other words, if you’re coming to this country and immigration can tell you’re going to instantly go on welfare because you don’t even have a job lined up, you don’t come in.
The Supreme Court ruled on Monday to approve the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule for new immigrants.
The justices approved the rule by a vote of 5-4 along ideological lines.
[so what else is new?]
“Public charge” has in recent years been defined as a person dependent on cash assistance programs. The Trump administration updated the definition in August 2019 to include people likely to require non-cash government benefits, and sought to implement a policy limiting the number of new immigrants who would require government assistance such as food stamps or Medicaid.
Lower courts have repeatedly blocked the new policy from going into effect. In early January the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals implemented a nationwide injunction against the policy, which Monday’s Supreme Court decision overrules.
“Throughout our history, self-reliance has been a core principle in America,” then-acting director of U.S. Customs and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli said at a 2019 press conference regarding the new policy. “The virtues of perseverance, hard work, and self-sufficiency laid the foundation of our nation and have defined generations of immigrants seeking opportunity in the United States.”
The FBI Wants To Treat Carter Page Warrant Mistakes Like Training Problems. A Court Adviser Says That’s Not Enough.
After seriously messing up its warrant applications with the FISA Court, can the FBI be trusted?
The FBI could and can be trusted to always be a player in national politics.
The FBI’s newly released plans to avoid mistakes when seeking permission to wiretap and surveil American citizens is insufficient, according to an expert brought in to advise the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).
In December, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Justice released a report showing significant problems with the warrants that the FBI submitted to FISC in order to secretly wiretap Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. While the OIG’s report concluded that the agency was justified in investigating whether Page was unduly influenced by his connections with the Russian government, it also determined that the FBI withheld important details from the FISC that might have influenced its decision to grant these warrants. These omissions were not in Page’s favor, and ultimately the OIG found 17 different errors or omissions in the warrant requests, some of which were not corrected in subsequent applications.
The FISC’s judges were extremely unhappy to discover information had been withheld from them, and then-presiding Judge Rosemary M. Collyer (who has since retired) ordered FBI Director Christopher Wray to send a plan to the court by January 10 explaining how the FBI would avoid making similar mistakes in the future.
Wray submitted his plan last week. It’s a dense and technical response that is mostly inscrutable to anybody who does not have a history of involvement with the court’s surveillance processes. Wray provides a list of 12 actions the FBI has taken or will take to make sure future applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants include all the information judges should’ve had when the FBI sought permission to surveil Page. Wray’s plans revolve primarily around adding most steps to verify and re-verify information contained in the warrant requests to make sure that FBI agents and supervisors are not omitting information that might undermine or compromise their case for a surveillance warrant. Wray also says the agency will improve training by creating a case study program to teach FBI agents about historical precedents (I’m guessing the Page warrants will play a starring role).
While the FBI was hammering out this plan, the FISC appointed David Kris, a former Justice Department attorney during President Barack Obama’s administration, to advise the court. His appointment caused some partisan-tinged outrage. Kris had previously defended the FBI’s surveillance of Page and had been critical of claims by Rep. Devin Nunes (R–Calif.) that the warrants against Page had problems. Trump even attacked Kris in a tweet.
But Kris has also been skeptical of how the federal government uses surveillance against American citizens and has criticized the National Security Agency’s position that laws passed to fight the war on terror and to investigate Al Qaeda permitted the agency to secretly snoop on American citizens. And he voiced these criticisms while working on national security issues at the Justice Department under President George W. Bush.
It appears that version of Kris analyzed the FBI’s plans. On Wednesday, he responded that Wray’s proposals were ultimately insufficient. Part of the larger problem, which Wray has acknowledged, is that it’s hard to check the accuracy of information that’s not included or deliberately omitted. In the Page case, much of the erroneous intel that might have dissuaded the judges from granting a warrant was not included in the warrant application, and therefore its accuracy was not assessed.
“North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County, that state’s largest, was among the biggest offenders, releasing numerous violent criminals rather than turn them over to federal authorities for removal. Among them was a previously deported Honduran charged with rape and child sex crimes.” — Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Report.
Over 90% of the criminal illegal aliens arrested in 2019 had either criminal convictions or pending charges. The average was four charges per alien.
And yet Democrats insist on putting the well-being of these criminal aliens before the safety of American citizens.
The report also found the number of individuals apprehended or found inadmissible nationwide totaled 1,148,024, an increase of 68 percent over the previous fiscal year. Over one million illegals crossed into the United States in 2019 because the Democratic Party and news media care more about the well-being of lawbreakers with open border policies, sanctuary states and cities, and a deep hatred for President Donald Trump and for the nation’s law enforcement.
More than 90% of illegal immigrants arrested by federal agents in the United States last year had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges, including 56,000 assaults and thousands of sex crimes, robberies, homicides and kidnappings. Many had “extensive criminal histories with multiple convictions,” according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) year-end report.
On Oct. 30, I reported that the Department of Justice had assigned an FBI Special Agent in Charge, or SAC, to review Rep. Ilhan Omar’s apparent, astonishing spree of felonies from 2009 to 2017.
Minnesota state Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R) had previously filed a complaint on the matter with the Minnesota District of the Department of Justice. That office — headed by U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald, a 2018 Donald Trump appointee — directed the FBI to review the complaint. An FBI SAC formally met with Rep. Drazkowski, and others, in mid-October to receive a prepared file of evidence and related information.
Indeed, this has since occurred.
At least the following two federal agencies were contacted by the FBI with information regarding Rep. Omar. The FBI then placed the October meeting attendees in touch with selected investigators within these two agencies:
1. Department of Education Inspector General
This is related to evidence suggesting that Rep. Omar’s 2009 marriage to a UK citizen may have been an attempt to facilitate federal student loan fraud, or other fraud involving higher education.
2. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
● This is related to evidence suggesting a breathtaking number of possible immigration-related felonies. As I stated in an introductory passage within my July 18 article:
The [following] answers to those questions about [Rep. Omar’s 2009 marriage] appear to give probable cause to investigate Omar for eight instances of perjury, immigration fraud, marriage fraud, up to eight years of state and federal tax fraud, two years of federal student loan fraud, and even bigamy.
The New York Times is breaking, and can we say, desperately spinning, the reports that former FBI Director James Comey is under investigation for leaking classified information.
Breaking News: U.S. prosecutors appear to be scrutinizing whether James Comey illegally disclosed classified secrets, part of an unusual inquiry into years-old leaks that leaves law enforcement officials open to accusations of politicizing their work https://t.co/ZEA82KJYei
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 16, 2020
How’s that for an attempt to spin the investigation? This is the news timeline, not opinion. But yes, let’s pretend they’re objective. And maybe the reason it wasn’t investigated when it should have been is that there were still Comey cronies controlling everything? Of course, just a thought.
But on to what they’re trying to spin.
Comey had previously violated FBI policy in leaking the information to the times through his friend, Daniel Richman and the matter was referred to federal prosecutors in New York.
Now this new investigation involves leaks relating to two articles including one in the Washington Post and another in the NY Times (now we see why the spinning) about a Russian intelligence document, which the Times says was highly classified.
Now this part is fascinating:
The document played a key role in Mr. Comey’s decision to sideline the Justice Department and announce in July 2016 that the F.B.I. would not recommend that Hillary Clinton face charges in her use of a private email server to conduct government business while secretary of state.
Wait, what? What would a Russian intelligence document have to do with Comey stepping in and taking the power away from the DOJ, which he could not properly do anyway? At the time, Comey implied in his reasoning that there was classified information with regard to Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
The document is mentioned in a book published last fall, “Deep State: Trump, the F.B.I., and the Rule of Law” by James B. Stewart, a Times reporter.
Here’s the money paragraph, hidden down in the story.
The latest investigation involves material that Dutch intelligence operatives siphoned off Russian computers and provided to the United States government. The information included a Russian analysis of what appeared to be an email exchange during the 2016 presidential campaign between Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat of Florida who was also the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee at the time, and Leonard Benardo, an official with the Open Society Foundations, a democracy-promoting organization whose founder, George Soros, has long been a target of the far right.
In the email, Ms. Wasserman Schultz suggested that then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch would make sure that Mrs. Clinton would not be prosecuted in the email case. Both Ms. Wasserman Schultz and Mr. Benardo have denied being in contact, suggesting the document was meant to be Russian disinformation.
That document was one of the key factors that drove Mr. Comey to hold a news conference in July 2016 announcing that investigators would recommend no charges against Mrs. Clinton. Typically, senior Justice Department officials would decide how to proceed in such a high-profile case, but Mr. Comey was concerned that if Ms. Lynch played a central role in deciding whether to charge Mrs. Clinton, Russia could leak the email.
Whoa, so strip everything away and what the document says is that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was guaranteeing that Lynch would get Hillary Clinton off.
A federal appeals court allowed the administration to use a certain set of Defense Department funds for the construction of the border wall after a lower court blocked the administration from dipping into them last month.
The ruling marks a victory for President Donald Trump, who has sought to shore up funds for his signature border wall. The money is separate from other funds that the Supreme Court allowed to be used last year.
In a 2-1 ruling, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay of a Texas judge’s order, which the administration had appealed. The case is still ongoing.
The use of Defense Department funds for the President’s border wall has received pushback from numerous groups and states, which have argued the administration circumvented Congress to shore up wall funds.
The latest ruling applies to the military construction funds. Last September, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper authorized diverting $3.6 billion in the construction funds for 11 wall projects on the southern border with Mexico. The Pentagon said at the time that half the money was coming from deferred projects overseas, and the other half was planned for projects in the US.
The ruling doesn’t apply to the use of other funds, including counter-drug and Treasury Forfeiture Funds, that have been designated for wall construction.
After seeing so many of these plea bargains letting criminals free to commit more crime, that wouldn’t have happened because they still would have been behind bars, it makes the conspiracy theory that it’s a plan not seem all that off the wall anymore.
ELIZABETH — The gunman who killed two congregants at a Texas church last month had been charged years earlier with a felony gun offense in New Jersey, where prosecutors later downgraded the crime to a low-level misdemeanor that had nothing to do with firearms.
Since the Dec. 29 shootout at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, much has come out about Keith Thomas Kinnunen’s criminal record, which seems to follow a pattern: He would get charged with serious, sometimes violent crimes, which later were pleaded down to less-consequential offenses.
Despite Kinnunen’s history of mental illness — including a 2012 judge’s order declaring him unfit to stand trial — it does not appear his plea deals were enough to trigger legal provisions limiting gun ownership, which would apply in cases involving domestic violence and felonies.
Linden police arrested Kinnunen in Sept. 12, 2016, after finding him with a 12-gauge shotgun, the same kind he used last month in the Texas church. Linden police said Kinnunen, who had been riding a bicycle near the Phillips 66 refinery, told them he was homeless and was taking photos of “interesting sites.”
He was charged with unlawful possession of a rifle/shotgun, a third-degree indictable crime that in other states would be called a felony.
In January 2017, he accepted a plea deal finding him guilty of criminal trespass, a low-level misdemeanor that state law classifies as a petty disorderly persons offense.
As part of the deal, a Superior Court judge in July 2017 sentenced him to 303 days of time served at Union County Jail and ordered him to forfeit his weapon.
A spokesman for the Union County Prosecutor’s Office last week defended the deal as “fully reasonable and legally appropriate.”
“The assistant prosecutor assigned to this case consulted with a member of the Union County Police Department Ballistics Unit, who determined that because the recovered weapon was missing a fundamental component, it was inoperable under the definition outlined in the applicable statute,” the spokesman for the office said in a written statement.
In Oklahoma in 2011, Kinnunen was charged with felony assault and battery with a dangerous weapon after attacking the owner of a doughnut shop. He was also charged with arson in a separate offense in which he was accused of starting a fire at a cotton field with flaming tampons. Police also said that he forced his underage to throw around a flaming football.
An Oklahoma judge in 2012 ruled him mentally incompetent to stand trial and committed him to a psychiatric facility. A year later, he pleaded guilty after the charges were downgraded to misdemeanors.
In 2012, an ex-wife in Oklahoma filed for a protective order that described him as “a violent, paranoid person with a long line of assault and battery w/ and without firearms.”
Another ex-wife told The Associated Press that they divorced in 2011 after he got “more and more” into drugs that “messed with his head.”
In 2008, he was charged with aggravated assault in Texas. The charged was later downgraded to misdemeanor deadly conduct.
On Dec. 29, Kinnunen walked into the packed White Settlement church wearing a fake beard and wig and opened fire, killing 67-year-old Richard White and 64-year-old Anton “Tony” Wallace. Kinnunen was then killed by a single shot by security volunteer Jack Wilson.
The motive for the attack was unclear. The church had previously helped feed the shooter. The pastor told The Associated Press that Kinnunen was angry when the congregation declined to give him money.
Before this policy went into effect, illegal immigrant families knew that if they crossed the border and claimed asylum, they’d effectively get a free pass. Immigration officials would release them into the U.S. within 20 days, on the promise that they would show up for their court date months in the future. Few bother to return. This policy was dubbed “Catch and Release” for a reason.
Now, they must wait in Mexico while immigration judges review their cases.
What “Remain in Mexico” revealed is how few asylum seekers have legitimate claims. In fact, judges granted asylum in less than 1% of the more than 10,000 MPP claims resolved so far, according to TRAC Research Center at Syracuse University.
The impact of this program has been little short of profound.
The number of apprehensions at the southwest border plummeted from 144,000 in May 2019 to just 42,649 in November – the last month for which the government has data. The number of families caught crossing illegally went from 84,486 in May to a mere 9,000 in November.
As the El Paso Times put it, “the policy has proved to be a virtual wall.”
Virginia is not the only state where the ‘2A Sanctuary’ movement is taking off
The Delta County Board of County Commissioners’ work session on March 12, 2019, was standing room only.
Nearly 250 residents had packed into the county building in Western Colorado. Every available chair was filled, and attendees lined the wall elbow-to-elbow. To accommodate the unusually large crowd, county staff opened up a second meeting room and dialed up the internal conference line to broadcast what was being said in the main meeting room. Even with that additional space, attendees spilled out into the adjacent hallways—all attempting to jockey for a better position to listen in on deliberations.
The discussion that generated so much attention in this rural community of 30,568 started 275 miles away, in Denver: House Bill 1177 (H.B.1177), passed by the Colorado House of Representatives just 10 days prior. Officially titled “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” (ERPO), the bill would codify the seizure of firearms from citizens who are a perceived threat to themselves or others with an ex parte civil order.
Commonly referred to as a “red flag law,” this type of legislation is part of a state-by-state strategy pushed by gun control activists who were galvanized by the 2018 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Prior to the Parkland shooting, five states had some sort of red flag law on the books; not including H.B. 1177, there are now 14.
Delta County residents showed up to the hearing because they were deeply concerned about the bill’s constitutionality. When the Delta County forum opened to public comment, resident after resident beseeched the commissioners to stand up in support of their individual rights to bear arms, private property, and due process. Sporting a shirt with the words “I plead the Second” in military stencil accompanied by the profile of an AR-15, one man standing in the hallway shouted “amen” and “yes, sir,” boisterously affirming each petitioner who referenced gun rights. Not one person spoke in support of the bill.
County leadership shared their antipathy toward the legislation. Delta County Sheriff Mark Taylor, who was elected sheriff in 2018 and also served as undersheriff for the previous 16 years, was the first to speak. Visibly and audibly nervous, Taylor read a prepared statement that expressed his own opposition to H.B. 1177.
“I feel that that bill goes beyond, there’s no due process as far as enforcing that bill,” Taylor says.
After summarizing his main objections—specifically, that the legislation violates the Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments—Taylor requested that the board of commissioners adopt a resolution that designated Delta County as a “Second Amendment Sanctuary County.” Taylor received a standing ovation from the audience.
What exactly constitutes “sanctuary” status for law enforcement is a point of contention throughout Colorado. Like Delta County, more than half of Colorado counties have adopted resolutions—some more strident, some more symbolic—explicitly challenging H.B.1177 and implicitly suggesting local law enforcement will not comply with the new law. Several sheriffs—predominately from rural Colorado—have publicly expressed their willingness to go to jail if court-ordered to issue an ERPO. Other sheriffs have said it is not their job to pick and choose the laws that they want to enforce.
Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe apologized for lying to agents who spent weeks investigating the source of a leak to the Wall Street Journal that actually came from him, new documents reveal.
Shortly before the 2016 election, The Journal reported that an FBI investigation was underway involving then-candidate Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation.
McCabe in May 2017 denied that he was the source of the leak — but later fessed up, angering bureau investigators who had been spinning their wheels trying to identify the source of the leak.