Federal Bureau of Investigation

Regional News • Americas • United States
FBI arrest six men over plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer Credit: Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy University of Michigan (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Six people were arrested Thursday morning in a raid over the alleged plot to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. According to the FBI, the group had been planning the plot since June.

They had surveilled Whitmer's vacation home in August and September, and according to the FBI, they indicated that they wanted to take her hostage before the presidential election in November.

Adam Fox, Barry Croft, Kaleb Franks, Daniel Harris, Brandon Caserta, and Ty Garbin were taken into custody in a raid on a house in suburban Detroit on Thursday morning

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump and Biden face off in first presidential debate
Trump and Biden face off in first presidential debate
Credit: C-Span (Screenshot)

The first presidential debate was 90 minutes of interjections and altercations and moderator Chris Wallace repeatedly had to ask President Donald Trump not to interrupt former Vice President Joe Biden.

President Trump spoke a total of around 38 minutes compared to Biden with 43 minutes. The Covid-19 pandemic took up around 20 minutes of the debate, race and violence 17 minutes, election integrity 11 minutes and climate change 10 minutes. Trump interrupted Biden 73 times.

Key Points:

  • President Trump questioned the legitimacy of the November election again and alleged he had seen "tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated." Biden countered that Trump's own FBI director didn't find evidence of widespread voter fraud. "This is all about trying to dissuade people from voting, because he is trying to scare people into thinking that it's not going to be legitimate. Show up and vote. You will determine the outcome of the election," so Biden.
  • Biden called Trump "Putin's puppy" who "refuses to say anything to Putin about the bounty on the heads of American soldiers" and "the worst president that America has ever had."
  • Trump repeatedly interrupted Biden, and Wallace had to unsuccessfully remind the President about the rules, saying: "Mr President. Your campaign agreed that both sides would get two-minute answers. Uninterrupted. Well, your side agreed to it. Why don't you observe what your campaign agreed to as a ground rule."
  • Biden said that Trump has made the country "sicker, poorer, more divided and more violent," adding that during his time as vice president, he fixed the recession his administration inherited. "We left him a booming economy and he caused the recession," Biden said.
  • Trump refused to denounce White supremacists, claiming that "almost everything I see is from the left-wing, not from the right-wing. I'm willing to do anything. I want to see peace."
Law
Canadian woman accused of writing ricin letters to Trump brought before a US federal court

A Canadian woman, who was arrested after sending a letter containing highly toxic ricin to Donald Trump, has been charged with threatening the US president. The 53-year-old was brought before a federal court in New York on Tuesday.

According to the indictment, the envelope containing the poison contained a letter to Trump in which the woman described the president as an "ugly tyrant clown". She accused him in the letter of "ruining the USA and leading it to disaster".

Law
Packages containing poison ricin addressed to Trump allegedly came from Canada
Packages containing poison ricin addressed to Trump allegedly came from Canada
Credit: Cezary p (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has stated that they are assisting the FBI with an investigation after two letters to the White House that contained poison had been intercepted.

A woman from Canada is currently under investigation for the sending of ricin poison that could potentially cause nausea through to organ failure and death through a collapse in the circulatory system.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
YouTuber Jake Paul's home searched by FBI
Jake Paul (r) at the Web Summit 2016
Jake Paul (r) at the Web Summit 2016 Credit: Web Summit / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

An FBI swat team has searched the Calabasas residence of 23-year-old YouTuber Jake Paul and confiscated several firearms, including long guns. The reason for the search has not been disclosed but was reportedly related to an ongoing investigation. At the time of the raid, Paul was not present.

"The FBI is executing a federal search warrant at a residence in Calabasas in connection with an ongoing investigation," so a statement by the FBI. "The affidavit in support of the search warrant has been sealed by a judge and I am, therefore, prohibited from commenting as to the nature of the investigation. No arrests are planned."

Regional News • Americas • United States
FBI arrests Chinese researcher for visa fraud
Chinese consulate in San Francisco
Chinese consulate in San Francisco Credit: InSapphoWeTrust (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The FBI arrested a Chinese researcher who took refuge in the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco. The researcher, Juan Tang, will appear in court on Monday after allegedly made fraudulent statements on her visa application by concealing that she served in the Chinese military.

If convicted, Tang faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Alleged Chinese military researcher sheltered by Chinese consulate in San Francisco
Chinese consulate in San Francisco
Chinese consulate in San Francisco Credit: InSapphoWeTrust (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

According to court filings, the FBI alleges that a Chinese citizen that is affiliated to the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) appears to have entered the Chinese consulate in San Francisco. The FBI had previously interviewed the person in question and searched her home. According to them, the person had stated to have any affiliation with the PLA, but an investigation revealed a connection to the Air Force Military Medical University (FMMU) and that she is considered active military personnel.

The person in question is being charged with visa fraud and similar to other cases where Chinese military scientists have been allegedly directed to steal information from U.S. insitutions.

Law
Gunman attacks US federal judge Esther Salas family, kill her son
Gunman attacks US federal judge Esther Salas family, kill her son
Credit: DPP Law (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In an attack to the family home of US federal judge Esther Sales, her 20-year-old son was shot dead and her husband injured. Investigators said the judge was unharmed.

According to reports the attacker was dressed as a FedEx delivery driver.

The FBI posted a call for informations on Twitter: "The FBI is investigating a shooting that occurred at the home of Judge Ester Salas in North Brunswick Township, New Jersey earlier this evening, July 19. We're looking for one subject & ask that anyone who thinks they may have relevant information call us at 1-973-792-3001."

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Feds reportedly fear that Ghislaine Maxwell could commit suicide
Feds reportedly fear that Ghislaine Maxwell could commit suicide
Credit: Ghislaine Maxwell / wikimedia commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

According to reports, strict safety protocols have been implemented for Jeffrey Epstein's friend and confidante Ghislaine Maxwell over fear she might commit suicide. Federal officers took away Maxwell's bedsheets and clothing, the latter was replaced with paper clothes. Maxwell, who was arrested last week, will be under constant surveillance during her imprisonment in response to criticism regarding the uncertain circumstances of Epstein's death.

Technology • Internet & Web
Tech platforms accused of having up to thousands of subcontracts with US law enforcement agencies
Tech platforms accused of having up to thousands of subcontracts with US law enforcement agencies
Credit: unsplash.com / Morning Brew

The non-profit Tech Inquiry has discovered alleged ties between technology companies such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft with the United States law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, Department of Defense, Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Prisons and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Tech inquiry has analyzed over 30 million governmental contracts from the past five years and sub-contracts below them. They discovered that Google and Amazon several hundreds of subcontracts with United States law enforcement agencies while Microsoft several thousand.

Regional News • Americas • United States
CNN and Buzzfeed obtain more records of Robert Mueller's investigation
Robert Mueller at the White House, 2021
Robert Mueller at the White House, 2021 Credit: The White House from Washington, DC / Public domain

CNN and Buzzfeed obtained further reports and notes from "special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 election [...] in response to Freedom of Information Act lawsuits by BuzzFeed News and CNN." The notes contain interviews with major witnesses during Robert Mueller's investigations, including Steve Bannon and multiple witnesses whose names had been retracted.

Some of the key takeaways of these notes are:

  • Steve Bannon, Trump's former campaign manager, expressed severe mistrust of Roger Stone, accusing Stone of having leaked damaging information to the press to get Paul Manafort as a replacement for Corey Lewandowski as campaign manager. Bannon called Stone a "nasty piece of work" with a "sketchy background."

  • Bannon described Trump asking frequently about "dirt" on Hillary Clinton and her missing emails to hurt her campaign. According to Bannon, Trump assumed the emails could contain information that would link "crooked Hillary" to the conspiracy theory about an illicit uranium deal.

  • FBI agents visited a male, unnamed witness who asked "if the agents were there to inquire about the campaign, and about Erik Prince, a military contractor and unofficial adviser to Trump’s campaign."
Sports
Noose found in NASCAR drivers garage: "No crime committed" according to FBI
Bubba Wallace with other Nascar drivers
Bubba Wallace with other Nascar drivers Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

According to a now concluded FBI investigation the noose had been in garage number 4 since 2019. Which only had been assigned to Bubba Wallace, the only full-time black driver in NASCAR, last week. US attorney Jay E Town and FBI special agent in charge Johnnie Sharp Jr have announced in a statement that "The investigation also revealed evidence, including authentic video confirmed by Nascar, that the noose found in garage number 4 was in that garage as early as October 2019". NASCAR itself stated that they are "thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba".

Technology • Internet & Web
Video call provider Zoom plans on excluding encryption for free users to allow FBI surveillance

The video call and conferencing provider Zoom that experienced a surge in popularity due to the Covid-19 pandemic and has faced criticism over security concerns has announced that it will implement end-to-end encryption for video calls. Though the encryption will only be provided for users with a paid plan. CEO Eric Yuan has stated that they "want to work together with FBI, with local law enforcement in case some people use Zoom for a bad purpose" as a reason for not providing the encryption to free users.

Law
United States judge rules that FBI is not allowed to look at locked phone screen without warrant

In a ruling by judge John Coughenour at the district court of Seattle, the judge has decided that the FBI violated the 4th Amendment by powering the phone of the suspect on and taking a photograph of the lock screen. While powering the phone on and looking at the phone during the search is permitted, the judge ruled that taking a photograph and examining it later requires a warrant.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump announces that he is considering a "full pardon" former advisor Michael Flynn

The former security advisor of Donald Trump, Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in 2017 and is currently trying to withdraw this plea has high chances of receiving a presidential pardon from Donald Trump. The President wrote in a Twitter post that he is "strongly considering a full pardon".