June - 2018

June 26, 2018 – House Approves Resolution Demanding DOJ/FBI Docs

Jim Jordan (l) and Mark Meadows. (Credit: public domain)

“The House Judiciary Committee approved for the first time a resolution Tuesday demanding that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein turn over all requested documents regarding the FBI’s handling of the Russia investigation during the presidential election after seven days or face possible impeachment or contempt.

The decision to move forward with the resolution came after a year of battles with the Justice Department and FBI to turn over requested documents. The committee voted on party lines 15-11 to pass the resolution directing Rosenstein to comply within the next seven days or face the consequences.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who has been one of the lawmakers at the front lines of the committee’s investigation, said the resolution is the result of the frustration felt among lawmakers conducting oversight. He noted that it will be up to House Republican leaders to decide whether or not to take it to the full House for a vote.

“If they don’t comply with the resolution they know the remedies the House has, contempt and impeachment,” said Jordan. “If we don’t get that information entitled to us, everybody knows that we’ll do what we have to do to get it done.”

Jordan and Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., were the authors of the resolution. Both members have criticized Rosenstein and the FBI for failing to deliver documents. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-CA, has also been fighting the Justice Department for documents and has threatened as well to hold Rosenstein in contempt or impeachment if they are not produced.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 6/26/2018)

June 26, 2018 – Here’s One Unverified File the Feds Won’t Leak: About Loretta Lynch

Hillary Clinton, James Comey and Loretta Lynch (Credit: World Tribune)

“The FBI had little problem leaking “unverified” dirt from Russian sources on Donald Trump and his campaign aides – and even basing FISA wiretaps on it. But according to the Justice Department’s inspector general, the bureau is refusing to allow even members of Congress with top security clearance to see intercepted material alleging political interference by President Obama’s attorney general, Loretta Lynch.

That material – which has been outlined in press reports – consists of unverified accounts intercepted from putative Russian sources in which the head of the Democratic National Committee allegedly implicates the Hillary Clinton campaign and Lynch in a secret deal to fix the Clinton email investigation.”

(…) “True or false, the material is consequential because it appears to have influenced former FBI Director James B. Comey’s decision to break with bureau protocols because he didn’t trust Lynch. In his recent book, Comey said he took the reins in the Clinton email probe, announcing Clinton should not be indicted, because of a “development still unknown to the American public” that “cast serious doubt” on Lynch’s credibility – clearly the intercepted material.

If the material documents an authentic exchange between Lynch and a Clinton aide, it would appear to be strong evidence that the Obama administration put partisan political considerations ahead of its duty to enforce the law.

The information remains so secret that Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz had to censor it from his recently released 500-plus-page report on the FBI’s investigation of Clinton, and even withhold it from Congress.”

(…) “The contents of the secret intelligence document — which purport to show that Lynch informed the Clinton campaign she’d make sure the FBI didn’t push too hard — were included in the inspector general’s original draft. But in the official IG report issued June 14, the information was tucked into a classified appendix to the report and entirely blanked out.

“The information was classified at such a high level by the intelligence community that it limited even the members [of Congress] who can see it, as well as the staffs,” Horowitz explained last week to annoyed Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight authority over Justice and the FBI.” (Read more: RealClearInvestigations, 6/26/2018)

June 14, 2018 – Judicial Watch comments on the DOJ IG Report and the Clinton Email Investigation

“The IG report has destroyed the credibility of the Department of Justice and the FBI. It confirms what Judicial Watch has investigated and revealed for nearly two years. The Obama DOJ/FBI investigation of Clinton was rushed, half-baked, rigged, and irredeemably compromised by anti-Trump and pro-Clinton bias and actions. As Judicial Watch uncovered the Clinton email scandal, it is outrageous to see a politicized FBI and DOJ then so obviously refuse to uphold the rule of law.

The IG report details repeated DOJ/FBI deference to Hillary Clinton, her aides and their lawyers. Americans should examine the report and judge for themselves whether the over-the-top deference to Hillary Clinton can be explained as anything other than political, especially from agencies that at the same time were actively collaborating with the Clinton campaign’s Fusion GPS to spy on and target then-candidate Trump. The IG report details how at least five top FBI agents and lawyers exchanged pro-Clinton and anti-Trump communications. The IG shares the concerns of Judicial Watch and millions of Americans that this bias cast a cloud over the credibility of the Clinton email and Russia investigations.

As Judicial Watch has demonstrated through its independent investigations and lawsuits, there is more than enough evidence that Clinton knowingly and intentionally mishandled classified information while using a non-government email system to conduct government business.

Will the Sessions Justice Department now do the right thing and conduct a Clinton email investigation properly? Or will it let James Comey and Loretta Lynch have the last word on Hillary Clinton’s evident email crimes?

In the meantime, Judicial Watch will continue its ongoing FOIA lawsuits and investigations into the Clinton email scandal and the related Obama administration cover-up.

Judicial Watch has numerous lawsuits and document productions regarding the issues raised by the IG, including the conduct of Andrew McCabe, the Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting, the Strzok-Page communications, the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton, and DOJ collusion with the Clinton campaign.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who was appointed by President Obama, has been investigating allegations of wrongdoing within the federal law-enforcement agencies since January 12, 2017. Horowitz opened a separate investigation into James Comey on April 20 over classified information stemming from his memo leaks.

Horowitz previously released a report stating that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was dishonest with investigators about how sensitive information from the agency ended up in The Wall Street Journal in 2016, which was the basis for his termination and criminal referrals by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last May. Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who met with former President Bill Clinton just days before Hillary’s FBI interview, was also a subject of Horowitz’s report.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 6/14/2018)

June 21, 2018 – DOJ official Peter Kadzik, who tipped off Podesta, is unlikely to face legal consequences

Peter Kadzik (Credit: Venable LLP)

“Former Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik is unlikely to face any legal consequences for tipping off Clinton campaign manager John Podesta to a release of Hillary’s emails, experts tell the Daily Caller.

Kadzik’s conduct in the DOJ was described by Michael Horowitz’s IG report as constituting “poor judgment.” According to last week’s IG report, Peter Kadzik was trying to get his son hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign while Kadzik himself was part of the investigation into Clinton’s private server.

He also emailed Clinton’s 2016 campaign chair, John Podesta, with a “heads up” on when the some of her emails would be released publicly.” (Read more: Daily Caller, 6/21/2018)

June 21, 2018 – Sessions: Peter Strzok No Longer Has Security Clearance

Peter Strzok (Credit: Saul Loeb/Agence France Presse/Getty Images

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions confirmed Thursday that embattled anti-Trump FBI official, Peter Strzok, no longer has his security clearance.

This news comes just days after Strzok’s attorney confirmed that the agent was escorted out of FBI headquarters following the bombshell Inspector General’s report on the bureau’s mishandling of the Clinton email investigation.

In an interview with radio host, Howie Carr, Sessions said, “Mr. Strzok, as I understand, has lost his security clearance.”  Despite losing his clearance, the Attorney General said it was his “understanding” that Strzok remained on the FBI’s payroll, but that he wasn’t sure.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 6/22/2018)

June 19, 2018 – Opinion: The IG report on FBI’s Clinton probe reveals this saga may be just getting started

By: Margot Cleveland

“The media has focused almost exclusively on the conclusion of the Justice Department inspector general’s report on the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email probe, which found bias did not impact the probe, as well as the lack of any newly announced indictments or criminal referrals. The goal of course being to downplay the negative findings of the report.

At the same time, the press gave, at most, passing mention to the statement Attorney General Jeff Sessions simultaneously released. But his statement and the findings of the report make one thing clear: This isn’t over.

Here’s why. Throughout the 568-page report, the IG highlighted several areas meriting additional investigation. And Sessions said the report “reveals a number of significant errors by the senior leadership of the Department of Justice and the FBI during the previous administration,” and stressed “this is not the end of the process.”

John Huber (Credit: public domain)

United States Attorney John Huber continues his work in cooperation with the IG to review certain prosecutorial and investigative determinations made by the Justice Department in 2016 and 2017. Based on his review of the report and his own investigation, Huber will provide recommendations as to whether any matter not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation required further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of Special Counsel.”

Put simply: There is still much to be done and much to come. What is likely over is the possibility the Justice Department will re-investigate Clinton for mishandling of classified information, or prosecute her. That’s a good thing. Clinton is done. While she may never face justice in a court of law, perhaps losing the presidency is a more prescient and proper punishment.

Three areas remain, however, that the IG report tees up for further investigation and potential prosecution. (Read more: The Federalist, 6/19/2018)

June 19, 2018 – Editorial: Andrew McCarthy addresses the “intent” behind Clinton’s unsecured, private server

Andrew C. McCarthy (Credit: National Review)

(…) “The Obama Justice Department and FBI spin on intent takes no account of the 800-pound gorilla in the room: The only reason officials were put in this position of compromising intelligence was that their boss, Clinton, established an improper communications network. And, again, she perfectly well understood that this was a monumental security breach.

It was not just a matter of whether any single transmission was an intentional flouting of the rules. It was, more significantly, a matter of erecting a renegade network for the systematic conduct of the State Department’s most sensitive work — including communications with the president and other top national-security and foreign-policy officials.

And observe how perverse this is: The Justice Department and FBI’s crimped construction of intent and knowledge enabled Clinton — the person singularly responsible for creating the problem — to escape liability on the ground she could not be held responsible for poor decisions by her staff. Investigators reasoned that the secretary of state was one of the nation’s highest government officials, who was more often than not receiving, not sending, sensitive information, and who was inundated by so much information that she had no choice but to rely on underlings to make judgments about what information could safely be sent to her.

It is a classic in the Clinton genre: rules-don’t-apply-to-me sense of privilege causes mess; subordinates blamed for mess; Washington looks the other way. If the FBI thought it was tremendously important that Clinton was on the receiving end of most (but not all) classified emails (inference: it was not her fault that people who should have known better sent her secret intelligence), how could it not have been even more important that Clinton imposed a non-secure, non-government server on her subordinates’ ability to communicate with her?

Remarkably, even blinding themselves to critical evidence was not enough to bury the case. In order to conclude that there was no prosecutable offense, the Obama Justice Department and FBI still had to rewrite the applicable statute (the Espionage Act, codified in Section 793 of the federal penal code). That’s because, for all the supposed obsession about whether investigators had enough evidence of criminal intent, the law does not actually require such evidence — if one is an official who has been schooled in the handling of national defense secrets, gross negligence will do.

The IG obligingly confines this aspect of his perfunctory assessment to a footnote (number 124):

Even though Section 793(f)(1) does not require intent, prosecutors told us that the Department has interpreted the provision to require that the person accused of having removed or delivered classified information in violation of this provision possess knowledge that the information is classified. In addition, based on the legislative history of Section 793(f)(1), the prosecutors determined that conduct must be “so gross as to almost suggest deliberate intention,” be “criminally reckless,” or fall “just a little short of willful” to meet the “gross negligence” standard.

In other words, the Justice Department added proof elements that are not in the statute. The Espionage Act literally says that if you are a government official who has been entrusted with sensitive information, you are guilty if you either willfully cause its transmission to an unauthorized person or place (Section 793(d)), or are grossly negligent in permitting it to be removed from its proper custody, transmitted to an unauthorized person, or lost, stolen, or abstracted (Section 793(f)(1)).”  (Read more: National Review, 6/19/2018)

June 15, 2018 – Gowdy: GOP will hit DOJ with ‘full arsenal’ If they ignore subpoenas

Trey Gowdy (Credit: public domain)

“House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy warned the DOJ and the FBI on Sunday that Republicans will come after them if they choose not to comply with subpoena requests.

Gowdy told “Fox News Sunday” that House Speaker Paul Ryan led a meeting with FBI and DOJ officials on Friday night and “made very clear there’s going to be action on the floor of the House this week if FBI and DOJ do not comply with our subpoena request.”

“Paul Ryan led this meeting. You had Devin Nunes, Bob Goodlatte, myself and everyone you can think of from the FBI and the DOJ, and we went item by item on both of those outstanding subpoenas,” Gowdy explained. “We’re going to get compliance or the House of Representatives is going to use its full arsenal of constitutional weapons to gain compliance.”

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray were present at Ryan’s meeting, according to Gowdy. (Read more: Daily Caller, 6/17/2018)

June 14, 2018 – “Foreign Actors” obtain access to some of Clinton’s emails

(Credit: Fox News)

“Foreign actors” obtained access to some of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails — including at least one email classified as “secret” — according to a new memo from two GOP-led House committees and an internal FBI email.

Fox News obtained the memo prepared by the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, which lays out key interim findings ahead of next week’s hearing with Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. The IG, separately, is expected to release his highly anticipated report on the Clinton email case later Thursday.

The House committees, which conducted a joint probe into decisions made by the DOJ in 2016 and 2017, addressed a range of issues in their memo including Clinton’s email security.

“Documents provided to the Committees show foreign actors obtained access to some of Mrs. Clinton’s emails — including at least one email classified ‘Secret,’” the memo says, adding that foreign actors also accessed the private accounts of some Clinton staffers.

The memo does not say who the foreign actors are, or what material was obtained, but it notes that secret information is defined as information that, if disclosed, could “reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to the national security.” (Read more: Fox News, 6/14/2018) 

June 13, 2018 – Court sets hearing on motion to compel email testimony from Hillary Clinton

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan (Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi/National Law Journal)

“Judicial Watch announced a federal court ordered a hearing for Thursday, October 11, 2018, on a motion to compel testimony about the email practices of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The order was issued by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.

(…) “In 2016, Hillary Clinton was required to submit, under oath, written answers to Judicial Watch’s questions. Clinton objected to and refused to answer questions about the creation of her email system; her decision to use the system despite warnings from State Department cybersecurity officials; and the basis for her claim that the State Department had “90-95%” of her emails. Judge Sullivan is considering Judicial Watch’s motion to compel answers to these questions.

In her responses sent to Judicial Watch and the court on October 13, 2016, Clinton refused to answer three questions and responded that she “does not recall” 20 times concerning her non-government clintonemail.com email system. She preceded her responses by eight “general objections” and two “objections to definitions.” The words “object” or “objection” appear 84 times throughout the 23-page document submitted to the court and Judicial Watch.

Judge Sullivan will also hear arguments on Judicial Watch’s motion to compel testimony from former State Department Director of Information Resource Management of the Executive Secretariat John Bentel (who asserted his Fifth Amendment right and refused to answer 87 questions at his deposition) and Judicial Watch’s motion to unseal the audiovisual recordings of all depositions. Judicial Watch took the testimony of key Clinton aides and State Department senior officials, including Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, but the videotapes of the depositions are currently under seal.”  (Judicial Watch, 6/13/2018)