May - 2017

Late May, 2017 – Andrew McCabe wrote a confidential memo recounting details on the firing of James Comey

Andrew McCabe (Credit: Bill Clark/Getty Images)

“The former acting F.B.I. director, Andrew G. McCabe, wrote a confidential memo last spring recounting a conversation that offered significant behind-the-scenes details on the firing of Mr. McCabe’s predecessor, James B. Comey, according to several people familiar with the discussion.

Mr. Comey’s firing is a central focus of the special counsel’s investigation into whether President Trump tried to obstruct the investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia. Mr. McCabe has turned over his memo to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

In the document, whose contents have not been previously reported, Mr. McCabe described a conversation at the Justice Department with the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, in the chaotic days last May after Mr. Comey’s abrupt firing. Mr. Rosenstein played a key role in the dismissal, writing a memo that rebuked Mr. Comey over his handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton.

But in the meeting at the Justice Department, Mr. Rosenstein added a new detail: He said the president had originally asked him to reference Russia in his memo, the people familiar with the conversation said. Mr. Rosenstein did not elaborate on what Mr. Trump had wanted him to say.

To Mr. McCabe, that seemed like possible evidence that Mr. Comey’s firing was actually related to the F.B.I.’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, and that Mr. Rosenstein helped provide a cover story by writing about the Clinton investigation.

One person who was briefed on Mr. Rosenstein’s conversation with the president said Mr. Trump had simply wanted Mr. Rosenstein to mention that he was not personally under investigation in the Russia inquiry. Mr. Rosenstein said it was unnecessary and did not include such a reference. Mr. Trump ultimately said it himself when announcing the firing.” (Read more: New York Times, 5/30/2018)

May 18 – 19, 2017: Emails Show FBI Advised Comey to Consult with Mueller’s Office Prior to June 2017 Testimony

“Judicial Watch today released new emails from the Department of Justice (DOJ) showing that former FBI Director James Comey was advised by FBI officials in May 2017 to consult with Special Counsel Robert Mueller prior to testifying before any congressional committees regarding Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and his firing as FBI director.

According to numerous news reports, Comey met directly with Mueller previous to his June 8, 2017 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Sources said that Comey’s opening statement and subsequent testimony were coordinated with Mueller.

At the hearing, Comey revealed that he had intentionally leaked material from a memo allegedly documenting a meeting with President Trump in order to help assure the appointment of a special counsel.

I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. Didn’t do it myself, for a variety of reasons. But I asked him to, because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.

The DOJ and FBI have stated that Comey’s leaks were unauthorized and compared the disclosures to Wikileaks.

The documents obtained by Judicial Watch are the first to reveal that high-ranking FBI officials helped Comey coordinate his testimony with Mueller.

  • On May 17, 2017, Comey received notices to appear before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee.
  • An email chain dated May 18 and 19, 2017, with the subject line “Future testimony” shows then-FBI Chief of Staff James Rybicki, then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Assistant Director Gregory Brower, Comey and others discussing Comey’s upcoming testimony:
  • In this chain, on May 18 at 6:30 pm, Comey wrote to Rybicki to confirm that he had accepted the invitation to testify before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) but declined the invitations from the Senate Judiciary Committee and House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee.
  • Comey also writes: “Last, would you please tell OGC [Office of the General Counsel] that I would like to be able to review any documents authored by me or on which I am copied that will be produced to SSCI in connection with my testimony and would like the opportunity for that review before I testify?”

(Read more: Judicial Watch, 5/10/2018)

May 17th, 2017 – Rosenstein appoints Mueller as Special Counsel, Strzok/Page text plans for the team

Aaron Zebley (Credit: Jeff Chiu/The Associated Press)

May 17th, 2017 Mueller is appointed. The Strzok/Page text messages reveal discussions of team being assembled. Strzok notes “emailing with Aaron.”  Well that’s Aaron Zebley former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s Chief of Staff who was selected for Special Counsel position. He’s also a partner at WilmerHale, and Strzok mentions to Page that she might find herself working at WilmerHale if she plays her cards right.

The fact that Agent Strzok was emailing with “Aaron” Zebley prior to the official appointment of the special counsel team should likely raise a few eyebrows. Of course within this time-frame of the messaging released, the redactions increase.

Toward the end of the release a more thorough picture emerges of who was selecting Robert Mueller’s team and why. Andrew McCabe was key player along with James Baker. Reading how this was done blows the entire Mueller “White Hat Theory” to smithereens. However, the conversation does highlight an aspect we have previously discussed. Robert Mueller did not select the “small group” to work with him; but rather the DOJ/FBI “small group” appears to have selected him.

Specifically Peter Strzok and Lisa Page are discussing who is best ideological ally to help their Mueller Special Counsel team “get Trump” (discussions on pages 46, 47, 48, 49 in year 2017 section).

Predictably right when those juicy tidbits about the Mueller agenda are surfacing, the text   message release abruptly stops on May 23rd, 2017.”  (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 4/27/2018) (Strzok/Page text messages)

May 17, 2017 – Robert Mueller, Former F.B.I. Director, Is Named Special Counsel for Russia Investigation

Robert Mueller (Credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

“The Justice Department appointed Robert S. Mueller III, a former F.B.I. director, as special counsel on Wednesday to oversee the investigation into ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials, dramatically raising the legal and political stakes in an affair that has threatened to engulf Mr. Trump’s four-month-old presidency.

The decision by the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, came after a cascade of damaging developments for Mr. Trump in recent days, including his abrupt dismissal of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, and the subsequent disclosure that Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey to drop the investigation of his former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.

Mr. Rosenstein had been under escalating pressure from Democrats, and even some Republicans, to appoint a special counsel after he wrote a memo that the White House initially cited as the rationale for Mr. Comey’s dismissal.” (Read more: New York Times, 5/17/2017),  (Justice News, 5/17/2017)

May 2017 – Rod Rosenstein Suggests Secretly Recording Trump and Discussed 25th Amendment

Rod Rosenstein (Credit: NBC News)

“The deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, suggested last year that he secretly record President Trump in the White House to expose the chaos consuming the administration, and he discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office for being unfit.

Mr. Rosenstein made these suggestions in the spring of 2017 when Mr. Trump’s firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director plunged the White House into turmoil. Over the ensuing days, the president divulged classified intelligence to Russians in the Oval Office, and revelations emerged that Mr. Trump had asked Mr. Comey to pledge loyalty and end an investigation into a senior aide.

Mr. Rosenstein was just two weeks into his job. He had begun overseeing the Russia investigation and played a key role in the president’s dismissal of Mr. Comey by writing a memo critical of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. But Mr. Rosenstein was caught off guard when Mr. Trump cited the memo in the firing, and he began telling people that he feared he had been used.

Mr. Rosenstein made the remarks about secretly recording Mr. Trump and about the 25th Amendment in meetings and conversations with other Justice Department and F.B.I. officials. Several people described the episodes, insisting on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The people were briefed either on the events themselves or on memos written by F.B.I. officials, including Andrew G. McCabe, then the acting bureau director, that documented Mr. Rosenstein’s actions and comments.

None of Mr. Rosenstein’s proposals apparently came to fruition. It is not clear how determined he was about seeing them through, though he did tell Mr. McCabe that he might be able to persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions and John F. Kelly, then the secretary of homeland security and now the White House chief of staff, to mount an effort to invoke the 25th Amendment.”

(…) “Mr. Rosenstein disputed this account.

“The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” he said in a statement. “I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”

A Justice Department spokeswoman also provided a statement from a person who was present when Mr. Rosenstein proposed wearing a wire. The person, who would not be named, acknowledged the remark but said Mr. Rosenstein made it sarcastically.” (New York Times, 9/21/2018)

May 09, 2017 – Rod Rosenstein’s letter recommending Comey’s dismissal

Rod Rosenstein’s letter, titled, “Restoring Public Confidence in the FBI” recommends FBI Director James Comey’s dismissal. (Credit: BBC)

“President Donald Trump followed the recommendation of his deputy attorney general when he fired FBI boss James Comey. What did Rod Rosenstein say? This is his letter in full.

Memorandum for the Attorney General

FROM: Rod J Rosenstein

SUBJECT: Restoring public confidence in the FBI

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has long been regarded as our nation’s premier federal investigative agency. Over the past year, however, the FBI’s reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage, and it has affected the entire Department of Justice. That is deeply troubling to many Department employees and veterans, legislators and citizens.

The current FBI Director is an articulate and persuasive speaker about leadership and the immutable principles of the Department of Justice. He deserves our appreciation for his public service. As you and I have discussed, however, I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.

The director was wrong to usurp the Attorney General’s authority on July 5, 2016, and announce his conclusion that the case should be closed without prosecution. It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement. At most, the Director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors.

The Director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. But the FBI Director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department. There is a well-established process for other officials to step in when a conflict requires the recusal of the Attorney General. On July 5, however, the Director announced his own conclusions about the nation’s most sensitive criminal investigation, without the authorization of duly appointed Justice Department leaders.” (Read more: BBC, 05/10/2017)

May 9, 2017 – Trump fires FBI Director Comey

ABC News interviews former FBI director James Comey for a special edition of “20/20” that aired on Sunday, April 15, 2018 (Credit: Ralph Alswang/ABC/Getty Images)

“President Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey, the White House announced Tuesday afternoon.

Trump fired Comey based on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters.

“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to lead the bureau,” Trump wrote in a letter to Comey dated Tuesday.

“It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission,” the president wrote.

In a statement on Comey’s firing released by the White House, Trump called the FBI “one of our Nation’s most cherished and respected institutions,” adding, “today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement.”

The White House said that a search for a new permanent FBI director would “begin immediately.” (Read more: The Hill, 5/09/2018)

May 2, 2017 – New Huma Abedin emails reveal additional instances of Clinton sending and receiving classified emails through unsecure server

Huma Abedin (Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“Judicial Watch today released 894 pages of new State Department documents, including previously unreleased email exchanges in which former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was sent additional classified information through her unsecure clintonmail.com email account by top aide Huma Abedin. The Abedin emails also include repeated instances of Clinton’s detailed daily schedules being sent to top Clinton Foundation officials at unsecured email addresses.”

(…) “The new documents included 29 email exchanges not previously turned over to the State Department, bringing the known total to date to at least 317 emails that were not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over to the State Department. These records further appear to contradict statements by Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails were turned over to the State Department.

The emails show classified information was sent through the clintonemail.com account:

  • In a December 21, 2009, email, Clinton top national security and foreign policy staffer Jake Sullivan forwarded an email to Clinton’s unsecured email account containing classified information heavily redacted under FOIA exemption B1.4(D) – “Information specifically authorized by an executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy … Foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources.” Clinton then forwarded the email, concerning the climate change accord, from her unsecured email account to Abedin’s unsecured email account with the message, “Pls print.”
  • And, on December 24, 2009, Clinton sent an unsecured email from HDR22@clintonmail.com to then-Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson. The classified email, asking Carson to “Pls review the memcon of my call w [French] FM Kouchener [Redacted].” Information in this message was blacked out using FOIA exemptions B1.4(B) –  “Foreign government information” and (D).

(…) “On January 17, 2010, five days after the massive Haitian earthquake, former Bill Clinton aide Justin Cooper emails Hillary Clinton’s then- deputy chiefs of staff, Jake Sullivan and Huma Abedin, to ask if they can do a conference call to discuss Haiti. Clinton Foundation officials Laura Graham and Doug Band are also provided the call-in information for the conference call. (Author Peter Schweizer would later describe in his book “Clinton Cash” how the Obama administration, during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, allowed hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer-funded reconstruction contracts for Haiti to flow through the Clinton Foundation.) (Read more: Judicial Watch, 5/02/2017)