January - 2018

January 31, 2018 – Rosenstein threatens to “subpoena” emails, phone records and other documents from lawmakers and staff on a Republican-led House committee during a tense meeting

Rod Rosenstein (Credit: CNN)

“Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein threatened to “subpoena” emails, phone records and other documents from lawmakers and staff on a Republican-led House committee during a tense meeting earlier this year, according to emails reviewed by Fox News documenting the encounter and reflecting what aides described as a “personal attack.”

The emails memorialized a January 2018 closed-door meeting involving senior FBI and Justice Department officials as well as members of the House Intelligence Committee. The account claimed Rosenstein threatened to turn the tables on the committee’s inquiries regarding the Russia probe.

“The DAG [Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein] criticized the Committee for sending our requests in writing and was further critical of the Committee’s request to have DOJ/FBI do the same when responding,” the committee’s then-senior counsel for counterterrorism Kash Patel wrote to the House Office of General Counsel. “Going so far as to say that if the Committee likes being litigators, then ‘we [DOJ] too [are] litigators, and we will subpoena your records and your emails,’ referring to HPSCI [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] and Congress overall.”

A second House committee staffer at the meeting backed up Patel’s account, writing: “Let me just add that watching the Deputy Attorney General launch a sustained personal attack against a congressional staffer in retaliation for vigorous oversight was astonishing and disheartening. … Also, having the nation’s #1 (for these matters) law enforcement officer threaten to ‘subpoena your calls and emails’ was downright chilling.”

The committee staffer noted that Rosenstein’s comment could be interpreted as meaning the department would “vigorously defend a contempt action” — which might be expected. But the staffer continued, “I also read it as a not-so-veiled threat to unleash the full prosecutorial power of the state against us.”

(…) “A DOJ official told Fox News that Rosenstein “never threatened anyone in the room with a criminal investigation.” The official said the department and bureau officials in the room “are all quite clear that the characterization of events laid out here is false,” adding that Rosenstein was responding to a threat of contempt. ” (Read more: Fox News, 6/12/2018)

January 29, 2018 – McCabe resigns after FBI Director Wray reviews House FISA abuse memo

Andrew McCabe is escorted by U.S. Capitol police. (Credit: Getty Images)

“FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was forced to resign Monday, just as the House Intelligence Committee is expected to vote on the public release of a classified memo this afternoon revealing extensive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse under the Obama administration, sources told this reporter.

McCabe apparently lashed out to his colleagues when he was told he would be asked to resign, according to sources. FBI Director Christopher Wray viewed the four-page memo on Sunday, sources familiar with the discussions said.

McCabe, who is facing three federal inquiries for conflicts-of-interest during his time at the FBI, is one of the numerous names mentioned in the classified memo detailing FISA abuse, according to sources who reviewed the memo.

The federal inquiries into allegations against McCabe, who was expected to resign in March, are based on documents and interviews conducted by this reporter over the past year and range from sexual discrimination to improper political activity.

McCabe, a central figure in the ongoing Russia investigation against Trump, is also part of the Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s ongoing review into the FBI’s handling of former Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to send classified information.

Current and former FBI officials said McCabe’s resignation is the beginning of more resignations to come.

“There are people lining up in the bureau to go after McCabe,” said a former FBI official, with knowledge. “There will be a clean up at the Bureau of his cronies.” (Read more: Sara A. Carter, 1/29/2018)

January 19, 2017 – Ex-FBI lawyer Lisa Page ‘interned’ ‘under Clinton,’ texts reveal

Lisa Page (Credit: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Agence France Press/Getty Images)

“Ex-FBI lawyer Lisa Page, whose Trump-bashing texts made it clear who she backed in the 2016 presidential election, refers in a newly revealed message to serving as an intern “under Clinton.”

Page, who exchanged tens of thousands of texts with disgraced FBI official Peter Strzok, revealed the information in one message among a new batch exclusively obtained by Fox News.

“Get inspired and depressing reading that article about how Obama approached the mail room,” Page wrote Strzok on Jan. 19, 2017 – the last day of the Obama administration. “Needless to say, it was very different when I interned there under Clinton.”

The article they were discussing was a Jan. 17, 2017 story in the New York Times Magazine entitled “To Obama With Love, and Hate, and Desperation,” which described eight years of mail that poured through the mailroom.

In the text message exchange, Strzok tried to engage Page in a discussion about her time in the internship.

“How was it different?” he replied.

“Will have to talk in person,” answered Page. “It’s hard to describe. More of a rote have to respond to the mail exercise.”

It was not clear who exactly Page interned for or what she did. Page, 39, attended American University in Washington in the late 1990s, studying public affairs and earning her bachelor’s degree in 2000. (Read more: Fox News, 9/14/2018)

January 4, 2018 – FBI launches new Clinton Foundation investigation

(Credit: New York Post)

“The Justice Department has launched a new inquiry into whether the Clinton Foundation engaged in any pay-to-play politics or other illegal activities while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of State, law enforcement officials and a witness tells The Hill.

FBI agents from Little Rock, Ark., where the foundation was started, have taken the lead in the investigation and have interviewed at least one witness in the last month, and law enforcement officials said additional activities are expected in the coming weeks.

The officials, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said the probe is examining whether the Clintons promised or performed any policy favors in return for largesse to their charitable efforts or whether donors made commitments of donations in hopes of securing government outcomes.

The probe may also examine whether any tax-exempt assets were converted for personal or political use and whether the foundation complied with applicable tax laws, the officials said.

One witness recently interviewed by the FBI described the session to The Hill as “extremely professional and unquestionably thorough” and focused on questions about whether donors to Clinton charitable efforts received any favorable treatment from the Obama administration on a policy decision previously highlighted in media reports.

The witness discussed his interview solely on the grounds of anonymity. He said the agents were from Little Rock and their questions focused on government decisions and discussions of donations to Clinton entities during the time Hillary Clinton led President Obama’s State Department.

The FBI office in Little Rock referred a reporter Thursday to Washington headquarters, where officials declined any official comment.

Clinton’s chief spokesman, Nick Merrill, on Friday morning excoriated the FBI for re-opening the case, calling the probe “disgraceful” and suggesting it was nothing more than a political distraction from President Trump‘s Russia controversies.

“Let’s call this what it is: a sham,” Merrill said. “This is a philanthropy that does life-changing work, which Republicans have tried to turn into a political football. It began with a now long-debunked project spearheaded by Steve Bannon during the presidential campaign. It continues with Jeff Sessions doing Trump’s bidding by heeding his calls to meddle with a department that is supposed to function independently.” (Read more: The Hill, 1/04/2018)

January 4, 2018 – Comey’s original Clinton memo released, cites possible violations

James Comey (Credit: Gary Cameron/Reuters)

“Ex-FBI Director James Comey’s original statement closing out the probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email server was edited by subordinates to remove five separate references to terms like “grossly negligent” and to delete mention of evidence supporting felony and misdemeanor violations, according to copies of the full document.

Comey also originally concluded that it was “reasonably likely” that Clinton’s nonsecure private server was accessed or hacked by hostile actors, though there was no evidence to prove it. But that passage was also changed to the much weaker “possible,” the memos show.

The full draft and edits were released on the website of Senate Homeland and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), providing the most complete public accounting to date of Comey’s draft and the subsequent edits.” (Read more: The Hill, 01/04/2018)