FROM Devlin Barrett
Trump picks new FBI Director On Twitter today, President Trump announced his appointment to replace James Comey, the man he fired as head of the FBI. He’ll ask the Senate to confirm former Justice Department lawyer Christopher Wray. Trump's announcement of Christopher Wray for the new FBI Director nomination. (Twitter)
Chaos and confusion as a new administration gets under way After less than a week in office, President Trump has been shaking up governmental institutions — as promised during his campaign. But his labeling intelligence agencies "Nazis" surprised even supporters — and Saturday's apologetic visit to the CIA seems to have backfired. Meantime, the CIA and others are investigating relations between the President's close advisors and Russia. We ask what they're looking for, and hear about the potential consequences of a chief executive at loggerheads with his sources of information on national security.
Trump has intelligence briefing on Russian hacking Three hours before today's intelligence briefing, Donald Trump told the New York Times the focus on Russian hacking is " a political witch hunt ." As we go to air, the meeting continues. The Director of Intelligence and the head of the CIA are there, and FBI Director James Comey is meeting his new boss for the first time. Devlin Barrett covers the Justice Department for the Wall Street Journal .
An FBI bombshell in the final stretch Last Friday’s October surprise by FBI Director James Comey hasn’t helped Donald Trump or damaged Hillary Clinton… at least so far. Early polls show voters knew about the latest email kerfuffle, but that they’d already made up their minds. Many said they wished this campaign were over. The political world is fully engrossed. Was Comey trying to influence the election? Did he violate the law? Did he have any choice? Democrats are outraged. Former attorneys general--even Republican Senators--are asking questions. But the most important won’t be answered until next Tuesday: will it affect the turnout?
FBI reviews new emails linked to Clinton FBI Director James Comey said today that his agency had uncovered new emails related to the closed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private server. That bombshell came 11 days before the election -- in the form of a letter to Congress. At a rally today in New Hampshire, Donald Trump tried to make political hay of the news. But Devlin Barrett, who covers the Justice Department for the Wall St Journal , says the investigation is more political than legal.
National violent crime rates rose in 2015, FBI says Violent crime in America has been decreasing for 20 years. Over all, the trend is still very good. But the FBI reports today that, in 2015, there was a jump in the nationwide murder rate of 10.8 percent. Devlin Barrett of the Wall Street Journal started reporting on crime in the 1990s, the decade he calls "the battle years."
AG Loretta Lynch accepts Officials’ Recommendations on Clinton Emails Attorney General Loretta Lynch said today that she will accept whatever recommendations prosecutors and FBI agents make on whether to file charges in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as Secretary of State. She was responding to concerns about a private meeting between her and former President Bill Clinton on an airplane this week.
FBI Director Comey Talks Encryption, Guns and Terrorism Speaking to the Senate Judiciary Committee today, FBI Director James Comey had new information about the husband and wife who killed 14 people and injured 21 others last week in San Bernardino. The FBI director testified that, "In fact our investigation to date, which I can only say so much about, indicates they were actually radicalized before they started courting or dating each other online. And online as early as the end of 2013 were talking to each about jihad and martyrdom before they became engaged, then married and lived in the United States." Devlin Barrett, who covers the Justice Department for the Wall Street Journal , has an update.
License Plates, Law Enforcement and Violations of Privacy The National License Plate Recognition Program was begun by the Drug Enforcement Agency in 2008 to track the movement of drugs and drug money along the Mexican border. It has been buried in secrecy. But documents obtained by the ACLU and interviews by the Wall Street Journal reveal that it’s been vastly expanded, and US Senators are among those worried about significant violations of privacy all over the country. License plate scanners in search of drug traffickers and stolen cars often identify the occupants of automobiles—revealing how ordinary Americans go about their business. It’s unclear how long the pictures stay in the files of federal and local police… or who else has access. But concerns about privacy are being raised.
Breaking Down the Federal Investigations into Brown and Garner A grand jury in Staten Island, New York, refused to indict the white police officer who used the chokehold on Eric Garner. But U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that there will be a federal civil rights investigation into the incident, which led to Garner’s death. The Justice Department also launched a civil rights probe into the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; a civil rights investigation into the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida, two years ago, is ongoing. What’s likely to come of these investigations?
Benghazi Suspect to Remain in Custody Without Bail Federal prosecutors say the militia leader charged in connection with the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi has corroborated key details about the incident that left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. According to a court document filed by the Justice Department, Ahmed abu Khattalah voiced opposition to the US presence in Libya in the days before the attack. Today, a federal judge ordered abu Khattalah held without bail. Jonathan Allen is the Washington Bureau Chief for Bloomberg News.
Record Mortgage Settlement Is in the Works Bank of America reportedly may have to pay $12 billion after negotiations with the Department of Justice. It's all about the destructive home mortgages that triggered America's financial crisis and BofA would be on the hook for the biggest penalties so far. That's according to Devlin Barrett, who broke the story for the Wall Street Journal .
Toyota to Pay $1.2 Billion Settlement for Acceleration Problems The Justice Department has reached a $1.2 billion settlement to end a four-year criminal probe of safety issues involving Toyota. Attorney General Eric Holder called Toyota's conduct " shameful ," showing a blatant disregard for systems and laws designed to look after the safety of consumers. By the company's own admission, it protected its brand ahead of its own customers. This constitutes a clear and reprehensible abuse of the public trust." Devlin Barrett reports on the Justice Department for the Wall Street Journal .
Superstorm Sandy and FEMA Superstorm Sandy has FEMA back in the headlines, with potential consequences for the Presidential campaign. What does FEMA really do? What are the benefits and risks for the Obama campaign ? Is Mitt Romney being pushed under the bus by the Republican Governor of devastated New Jersey?
Superstorm Sandy and FEMA After major disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency becomes a household word. It gave George W. Bush a black eye after Katrina. Now President Obama is deploying FEMA with less than a week until Election Day. GOP Governor Chris Christie has welcomed him to New Jersey. What is FEMA's relationship to the states? Who's really in charge? What has Mitt Romney had to say about the agency and its future? We talk with a former leader of FEMA and others about federal assistance in times of trouble and in the presidential campaign.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.