Florida Man Arrested in Connection With Bomb Plot Against Trump Critics

Federal authorities made an arrest on Friday in connection with the nationwide bombing campaign against outspoken critics of President Trump. It was not immediately clear who had been taken into custody, but a man was arrested in Plantation, Fl. Authorities said the number of suspicious packages found has grown to 12.

Federal authorities made an arrest on Friday in connection with the nationwide bombing campaign against outspoken critics of President Trump. It was not immediately clear who had been taken into custody, but a man was arrested in Plantation, Fl., law enforcement officials said, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

Earlier, the FBI reported intercepting suspicious packages addressed to Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and former National Intelligence Director James Clapper , similar in appearance to pipe bomb devices sent to prominent Democrats .

Investigators scrambled to locate the culprit and motives behind a bizarre plot aimed at critics of President Trump, the Associated Press reports. The discoveries brought to 12 the total number of devices addressed to Democratic figures including former President Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. The package to Booker was intercepted in Florida. The one discovered at a Manhattan postal facility was addressed to Clapper c/o CNN. An earlier package had been sent to former Obama CIA Director John Brennan in care of CNN.

Investigators were analyzing the crude devices to determine whether they were intended to detonate or simply sow fear just before Election Day. Law enforcement officials said  the devices, containing timers and batteries, were not rigged like booby-trapped package bombs that would explode upon opening.

They were uncertain whether the devices were poorly designed or never intended to cause harm. A postal database search suggested at least some may have been mailed from Florida. Investigators are checking a postal facility in Opa-locka, Fl., where they believe some of the packages originated. Details about the devices came as the four-day mail bomb scare spread nationwide, drawing investigators from dozens of federal, state and local agencies.

Trump claimed on Friday he was being blamed for the mail bombs addressed to his critics, complaining in a tweet, “Funny how lowly rated CNN, and others, can criticize me at will, even blaming me for the current spate of Bombs and ridiculously comparing this to September 11th and the Oklahoma City bombing, yet when I criticize them they go wild and scream, ‘it’s just not Presidential!’ ”

from https://thecrimereport.org

FBI Director to Cops: Don’t Listen to ‘Armchair Critics’

Speaking at a convention of police chiefs in Orlando, Christopher Wray cited the opiate crisis, mass violence, terrorism and cyber threats as law enforcement priorities. And the leader of an agency that has faced oppressive attacks from Donald Trump pointedly said that law enforcers must “tune out the noise” emanating from critics.

Improved communication and collaboration among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies is essential to confront the “unprecedented” threats to public safety that the United States faces, FBI Director Christopher Wray said Sunday.

Speaking at the annual conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Orlando, Wray also cited the background noise that law enforcers face in dealing with “armchair critics.” Wray did not mention Donald Trump in his speech, but the president has made a habit of attacking the FBI as “corrupt” on Twitter.

Wray listed these law enforcement “significant challenges”:

  • The opiate crisis. More than 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017, “and by all accounts, the problem is getting worse,” Wray said. He urged a renewed effort to reduce the narcotics supply from China and Mexico. “This has become a national security issue that plays itself out on our streets every day,” he said.
  • Mass violence. “In 2017 alone, there were 30 separate active shootings in the United States—the biggest number ever recorded by the FBI during a one-year period,” Wray said.
  • International and domestic terrorism. “The homegrown violent extremist threat is the new normal,” Wray said. “These folks are largely radicalized online, and they’re inspired by the global jihadist movement.” He said the bureau has terrorist investigations in all 50 states, and arrests have been made “all over the map, in cities big and small.”
  • Cyber security. “The cyber threat continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and the more we shift to the Internet as the conduit and the repository for everything we use and share and manage, the more danger we’re in,” he said.

“We need to rely on each other for information, for experience and best practices, for new ideas and new ways of looking at old problems,” Wray told the police chiefs, according to a transcript provided by the FBI. Among other things, he cited an effort by big-city chiefs and county sheriffs “to develop a comprehensive threat assessment to help law enforcement leaders better identify, analyze, and prioritize the major threats facing their communities.”

Wray, 51, was appointed by Trump in August 2017 following his controversial dismissal of James Comey. Wray, just the eighth man to lead the agency, has been buffeted by Trump’s Twitter criticisms of the FBI and the Department of Justice–and their leaders, including Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Among numerous other examples, Trump tweeted on Sept. 1, “You’ve got corruption at the DOJ & FBI. The leadership of the DOJ & FBI are completely out to lunch in terms of exposing and holding those accountable who are responsible for that corruption.”

While failing to mention Trump, Wray closed with a riff on the wearying strain that detractors bring to an already taxing occupation.

“Our jobs seem to be getting more daunting each day,” Wray said. “And there are lots of days when you think there’s got to be an easier way to make a living.”

He offered this piece of advice: “Tune out the noise, the chatter, and the armchair critics. Focus on the work, and the people we do the work for. Heads up, eyes forward, shoulder-to-shoulder. We’ll forge ahead—together.”

from https://thecrimereport.org

Rosenstein, Trump Plan Tandem FL Convention Trip

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein and President Trump, engaged in an ongoing political drama, will travel together on Monday to a convention of police chiefs in Orlando, although it’s not clear that the trip will include their much-discussed sit-down.

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, whose future at the Justice Department has been steeped in drama, is planning to fly with President Trump on Air Force One to an event in Orlando on Monday, reports the Washington Post. Trump is scheduled to speak Monday afternoon at the annual conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference. It is not unusual for senior Justice Department officials to join Trump at such events.

Trump and Rosenstein were scheduled to meet late last month following reports that Rosenstein wanted to wiretap the president early in his tenure. But Trump postponed the meeting amid an all-consuming confirmation process for Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. It was not immediately clear whether Trump and Rosenstein would hold that meeting on the trip to Florida on Monday. Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation of Russian election interference led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, offered to resign last month after reports that he contemplated secretly recording conversations with the president.

from https://thecrimereport.org

ACLU Sues Over Trump’s Removal of Asylum Protections

The lawsuit argues against “expedited removal” policies instituted by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that remove asylum protections for victims of domestic and gang violence. “This is a naked attempt by the Trump administration to eviscerate our country’s asylum protections,” said an ACLU official.

The American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration over its decision to remove asylum protections for victims of domestic and gang violence, reports Politico. The ACLU is arguing against “expedited removal” policies put forth by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that it says “generally” deny claims of violence of that nature. “This is a naked attempt by the Trump administration to eviscerate our country’s asylum protections,” said the ACLU’s Jennifer Chang Newell. “It’s clear the administration’s goal is to deny and deport as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.”

The lawsuit, Grace v. Sessions, was filed in federal district court in Washington, D.C. In June, the attorney general overturned asylum protections for certain victims of violence, effectively reversing a push by the Obama administration to provide refuge to women with credible claims of domestic violence. Sessions questioned in his decision whether victims of private criminal activity qualified as members of a “particular social group” eligible for asylum in the U.S. Asylum seekers must currently prove they have credible fear — based on grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion — in their home country.

from https://thecrimereport.org

ACLU Sues Over Trump’s Removal of Asylum Protections

The lawsuit argues against “expedited removal” policies instituted by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that remove asylum protections for victims of domestic and gang violence. “This is a naked attempt by the Trump administration to eviscerate our country’s asylum protections,” said an ACLU official.

The American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration over its decision to remove asylum protections for victims of domestic and gang violence, reports Politico. The ACLU is arguing against “expedited removal” policies put forth by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that it says “generally” deny claims of violence of that nature. “This is a naked attempt by the Trump administration to eviscerate our country’s asylum protections,” said the ACLU’s Jennifer Chang Newell. “It’s clear the administration’s goal is to deny and deport as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.”

The lawsuit, Grace v. Sessions, was filed in federal district court in Washington, D.C. In June, the attorney general overturned asylum protections for certain victims of violence, effectively reversing a push by the Obama administration to provide refuge to women with credible claims of domestic violence. Sessions questioned in his decision whether victims of private criminal activity qualified as members of a “particular social group” eligible for asylum in the U.S. Asylum seekers must currently prove they have credible fear — based on grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion — in their home country.

from https://thecrimereport.org

How Has Trump’s ICE Force Impacted His Hometown? Bigly

Trump’s war on immigration has increased fears of deportation among his hometown’s estimated 500,000 undocumented residents. ICE arrests in New York spiked after his inauguration.

How is Donald Trump’s war on immigrants playing out in his hometown, where an estimated 500,000 residents are undocumented? In the eight months after Trump’s inauguration, ICE arrests in the New York City area jumped by 67 percent compared to the same period in the previous year, and arrests of immigrants with no criminal convictions increased 225 percent, reports The Marshall Project and New York Magazine. During that time, ICE arrested 2,031 people in the five New York boroughs and surrounding counties. These aren’t unprecedented numbers: ICE arrested almost four times as many people in New York City in 2010 as it did last year, and it picks up far fewer people here than in some other parts of the country.

Thanks to free legal assistance, immigrant New Yorkers are more likely to be represented in court than many of their counterparts around the country. (Eighty percent in Queens versus 39 percent in South Carolina, for example.) Partly as a result, they’re less likely to get deported, according to data from Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. Nonetheless, Trump’s immigration crackdown has instilled a new level of fear throughout the city. Before he took office, many immigrants who were considered low priority for deportation were allowed to stay as long as they regularly reported to immigration authorities. But soon after his inauguration, Trump expanded the number of people considered a priority for deportation. Today, people whose only offense is staying in the country illegally are being flagged for removal. For many immigrant New Yorkers, once ordinary activities are now fraught with dread. TMP and New York tell some of their stories in a special report.

How Has Trump’s ICE Force Impacted His Hometown? Bigly

Trump’s war on immigration has increased fears of deportation among his hometown’s estimated 500,000 undocumented residents. ICE arrests in New York spiked after his inauguration.

How is Donald Trump’s war on immigrants playing out in his hometown, where an estimated 500,000 residents are undocumented? In the eight months after Trump’s inauguration, ICE arrests in the New York City area jumped by 67 percent compared to the same period in the previous year, and arrests of immigrants with no criminal convictions increased 225 percent, reports The Marshall Project and New York Magazine. During that time, ICE arrested 2,031 people in the five New York boroughs and surrounding counties. These aren’t unprecedented numbers: ICE arrested almost four times as many people in New York City in 2010 as it did last year, and it picks up far fewer people here than in some other parts of the country.

Thanks to free legal assistance, immigrant New Yorkers are more likely to be represented in court than many of their counterparts around the country. (Eighty percent in Queens versus 39 percent in South Carolina, for example.) Partly as a result, they’re less likely to get deported, according to data from Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse. Nonetheless, Trump’s crackdown has instilled a new level of fear among immigrants. Before he took office, many immigrants who were considered low priority for deportation were allowed to stay as long as they regularly reported to immigration authorities. But soon after his inauguration, Trump expanded the number of people considered a deportation priority. Today, people whose only offense is staying in the country illegally are being flagged for removal. For many immigrant New Yorkers, once ordinary activities are now fraught with dread. TMP and New York tell some of their stories in a special report.

Trump Official: 30,000 Undocumented Kids Could Be Held by August

A senior administration official at the Department of Health and Human Services says the agency expects to be taking in about 250 children a day as a result of the crackdown on illegal immigration that started in May, even as President and Mrs. Trump declared in separate statements they “hated” seeing kids taken from their parents. That could mean some 30,000 kids will be detained by the end of August, the official said.

The Trump administration could be holding 30,000 undocumented immigrant children by the end of August as a result of its push to enforce federal immigration laws, which has led to the separation of children from their parents and guardians as those adults are prosecuted, reports The Washington Examiner. 

A senior administration official who asked not to be identified said the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been taking in about 250 children per day in recent weeks (HHS is the agency that is taking in children when they are separated from their families).

An HHS official also added that the agency expects to be taking about 250 kids each day at least for the next two months. If that estimate holds, HHS could be caring for 18,500 more children by the end of August. The official said as of Friday, HHS was already holding 11,500 children, which means the total could hit 30,000 by August.

The practice of separating children from undocumented immigrant adults has become highly controversial in the last few weeks, and the media has highlighted the issue by revealing the horrible conditions of immigration detention centers, where children are being held in cages and separated from their families.

Inside an old warehouse in South Texas, hundreds of immigrant children wait in cages created by metal fencing. One cage had 20 children inside. Scattered about are bottles of water, bags of chips and large foil sheets intended to serve as blankets, the Associated Press reports.

One teenager said she was helping care for a young child she didn’t know because the child’s aunt was somewhere else in the facility. She had to show others in her cell how to change the girl’s diaper.

The U.S. Border Patrol allowed reporters to visit the facility where it holds families arrested at the southern U.S. border, responding to new criticism and protests over the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy and resulting separation of families.

Yet reporters were not allowed to interview any of the detainees or take photos.

More than 1,100 people were inside the large, dark facility that’s divided into separate wings for unaccompanied children, adults on their own, and mothers and fathers with children. The cages in each wing open out into common areas to use portable restrooms. The overhead lighting stays on around the clock.

The Border Patrol said 200 people inside the facility were minors unaccompanied by a parent. Another 500 were “family units,” parents and children.

In a statement last Friday, Trump condemned the practice of taking away children at the border, declaring, “I hate the children being taken away,” but he falsely blamed Democrats for a law requiring it.

First lady Melania Trumo said she also “hates” to see families separated at the border and hopes “both sides of the aisle” can reform U.S immigration laws, according to a statement Sunday about the controversy over separation  of immigrant parents and children at the U.S- Mexico border.

Democrats responded to the president’s statement by saying that no law mandates the separation of children and parents at the border.

They claimed the current crisis is the result of a Trump administration policy that went into effect in May, which sought to maximize criminal prosecutions of people caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally. More adults were jailed as a result of the policy, which led to their children being separated from them.

Mrs. Trump didn’t refer specifically to the Trump administration’s “no tolerance” policy, which was causing a spike in children being separated from their families.

Megan Hadley is a staff writer at The Crime Report.

from https://thecrimereport.org

In IG’s Comey Report, Several Losers But No Winners

Among other things, the 18-month review by the U.S. inspector general makes it clear that there is no basis to “lock her up,” as the popular anti-Hillary Clinton chant at Trump rallies demands.

Former FBI director James B. Comey predicted last month that the Justice Department inspector general “might bang me for [my] decisions.” “Bang” turned out to be a fittingly forceful verb choice, says the Washington Post. In a report published Thursday after an 18-month review, Inspector General Michael Horowitz faulted Comey’s handling of an election-season investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email use as secretary of state. He criticized Comey for his decision to notify lawmakers just before the election that the FBI was reopening the Clinton email investigation, which he had declared closed at a news conference four months earlier. Writing in the New York Times, Comey responded, “I do not agree with all of the inspector general’s conclusions, but I respect the work of his office and salute its professionalism.”

The upshot of the report? For one thing, it makes clear that there is no basis to “lock her up,” as the popular anti-Clinton chant at Trump rallies demands. The president contends that Clinton should have been indicted. Horowitz concluded that the recommendation not to charge Clinton was sound. For Clinton and her supporters, the report gives credence to the view that she was robbed of her rightful place in the Oval Office. As for Trump, it provides campaign material but does not support his contention that he was a victim of a “deep state” conspiracy at the FBI and other agencies. It found five FBI officials whose private communications indicated troubling personal biases.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Family Separations at Border Prompt Protests, GOP Rift

Amid protests across the country Thursday, the White House and attorney general cited Bible verses to support the separation of families at the Mexican border, a practice that a leading Democrat called “barbaric.” House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans said they are not comfortable with the situation.

Congressional Republicans have distanced themselves from the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the southern border even as the White House and Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible in defending the “zero tolerance” approach to illegal border crossings, reports the Associated Press. House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans said they were not comfortable with family separations, which spiked dramatically after the Justice Department adopted a policy in April of referring all illegal border crossers for prosecution. Meanwhile, thousands of people demonstrated the family separations in dozens of communities on Thursday, including Los Angeles, Austin, Texas, and Suffolk County, N.Y.

In an unusually tense series of exchanges in the White House briefing room, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders blamed Democrats for the policy separating children from parents and wrongly insisted the administration had made no changes increasing the tactics’ use. Ryan and other GOP lawmakers said they are seeking to resolve the problem in a compromise immigration bill. A draft of that bill released Thursday would keep children with their families while they are in Homeland Security Department custody. Ryan claimed Thursday that the family-separation policy is being dictated by a court ruling that prevents children who enter the country illegally from being held in custody for long periods. But House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said President Trump could “stop the practice on a dime.” She called the Trump administration’s separation policy “barbaric.”

from https://thecrimereport.org