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FBI nominee Wray pledges the `impartial pursuit of justice'

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Christopher Wray pledged “the impartial pursuit of justice” if confirmed as FBI director, as senators focused on his ability to pursue investigations independently against the backdrop of revelations about a meeting the president’s son held with a Russian lawyer during last year’s campaign.

“If I am given the honor of leading this agency, I will never allow the FBI’s work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law, and the impartial pursuit of justice. Period,” Wray said in prepared testimony Wednesday to the Senate Judiciary Committee. “My loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law. They have been my guideposts throughout my career, and I will continue to adhere to them no matter the test.”

The committee weighed President Donald Trump’s nomination of Wray to head the Federal Bureau of Investigation, after the president’s abrupt firing of James Comey in May. If confirmed, Wray will oversee FBI agents aiding special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of whether Trump or any of his associates colluded with Russia to meddle in last year’s U.S. election.

“It’s vitally important for the FBI Director to be independent,” Republican committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa said of the former federal prosecutor in opening remarks. “He’s prosecuted folks on both sides of the political spectrum, including folks working on a Republican campaign.”

Wray’s independence is an issue because Comey testified before Congress that Trump repeatedly asked for his loyalty and suggested the FBI drop an investigation into Michael Flynn, the president’s first national security adviser. Flynn was forced out of his job after less than a month for misleading White House officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, about his discussions with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. after the 2016 election.
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The hearing takes place as Washington digests the news that Trump’s son, Donald Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, met before the election with a woman they had been told was a Russian government lawyer who would provide damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

The revelations, which followed Donald Jr.’s decision to publish emails related to the meeting following inquiries and reports about it in the New York Times, conflicted with previous administration statements that campaign officials didn’t meet with Russian officials and raised fresh questions about whether any Trump associates colluded with Moscow.

Wray, 50, has a history of taking on politically tough assignments. A former Justice Department official who helped the U.S. respond to the Sept. 11 attacks, Wray represented Credit Suisse Group AG before its main unit pleaded guilty in 2014 and paid $2.6 billion for helping thousands of Americans evade taxes. He also represented New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in the so-called Bridgegate investigation of politically motivated traffic delays in 2013.

The Yale Law School graduate is likely to lean heavily on his previous experience when he was confirmed to head the Justice Department’s criminal division, where he served from September 2003 until May 2005. He also helped lead the Justice Department’s efforts to address a wave of corporate fraud scandals, overseeing the prosecutions of Enron Corp. and HealthSouth Corp., among other major investigations.

But Wray’s tenure at the Justice Department could also be among the most contentious aspects of his confirmation process. Senators are likely to ask about what role he played in controversial counterterrorism programs put in place by President George W. Bush’s administration after the Sept. 11 attacks, including waterboarding.

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  1. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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