April - 2017

April 25, 2017 – Donna Shalala calls it a wrap as president and chief executive of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation

Donna Shalala (Credit: The Miami Hurricane /Monica Herndon)

“Donna Shalala, the former Clinton Cabinet secretary who brought dynamism and seasoned leadership to the Clinton Foundation after leaving the helm of the University of Miami, is returning to Miami and teaching — full time.

After a two-year stint amid a bruising U.S. presidential campaign for the Clintons, Shalala, 76, called it a wrap Tuesday as president and chief executive of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Her departure coincides with former President Bill Clinton’s announcement that he will take on the chairmanship of the board of directors. Shalala will also be a member of the board.” (Read more: Miami Herald, 04/25/2017)

April 14, 2017 – Damning new Strzok text to Page: “The Times is angry with us about the WP scoop”

Another text written by Lisa Page on December 19, 2016.  (Credit: Fox News)

“A series of text messages released Wednesday reveal that former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok was in contact with reporters at the New York Times and Washington Post regarding stories they published about the FBI’s investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and President Trump’s campaign during the spring of 2017, according to a series of texts obtained by SaraACarter.com.

The text messages suggest that Strzok, along with his paramour, former FBI Attorney Lisa Page, had been in contact with reporters from both newspapers. Strzok specifically mentioned two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times writer Michael Schmidt in his text message to Page.

Strzok wrote:

Also, apparently Times is angry with us about the WP (Washington Post) scoop and earlier discussion we had about the Schmidt piece that had so many inaccuracies. Too much to detail here, but I told Mike (redacted) and Andy they need to understand we were absolutely dealing in good faith with them,” Strzok texted to Page on April 14, 2017. “The FISA one, coupled with the Guardian piece from yesterday.”

(The New York Times did not respond immediately for comment. The Washington Post also did not respond immediately for comment.)

According to several U.S. officials who spoke to this news outlet, “Mike” mentioned in Strzok’s text message is Mike Kortan, the former FBI assistant director for public affairs who retired in February. “Andy” was in reference to former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. McCabe was fired earlier this year after it was revealed in DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report that said he lied to investigators and leaked information to the media. (Read more: Sarah Carter, 9/12/2018)

April 13, 2017 – GCHQ admits the British spy agency was digitally wiretapping Trump associates in 2015

A month before the GCHQ admits to digitally wiretapping the Trump administration, Bob Zimmerman (l) and Obama spokesman, Ben Ferguson (r), appear with Pamela Brown on CNN March 4, 2017, to deny it was occurring. (Credit: CNN)

“The British Guardian posted a report on April 13 claiming that its sources now admit that the British spy agency GCHQ was digitally wiretapping Trump associates, going back to late 2015. This was presumably when the December 2015 Moscow meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lt. General Michael Flynn took place.

This runs contrary to the blanket nature of the denial insinuated in GCHQ’s carefully-crafted statement of March 17 claiming it was all “nonsense” and “utterly ridiculous” that they conducted surveillance of “then president-elect” Donald Trump (emphasis added). The surveillance went back a year before he became “president-elect.”

President Trump’s claim of being “wire tapped” has been vindicated. Indeed, the surveillance is far more extensive than even he suspected at the time.

Based on the new disclosures, we can safely conclude that the world’s most advanced and extensive system of computerized espionage was indeed used against him and people he worked with, for political purposes, with the knowledge and approval of top Obama officials such as CIA Director John Brennan (one major name implicated by the Guardian).

Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano, who said GCHQ was involved in wiretapping Trump, was also vindicated. Fox News owes Napolitano an apology for yanking him off the air for a week for making that “controversial” and now-verified assertion.” (Read more: Accuracy in Media, 4/17/2017)

April 11, 2017 – Mueller’s top investigator arranges meeting with reporters to discuss Manafort investigation

Andrew Weissmann (Credit: public domain)

“Justice Department documents released on Friday confirm that the DOJ attorney known as Robert Mueller’s “pit bull” arranged a meeting with journalists in April 2017 to discuss an investigation into Paul Manafort.

The documents show that Andrew Weissmann arranged a meeting with DOJ and FBI officials and four Associated Press reporters on April 11, 2017, just over a month before Mueller was appointed special counsel.

Manafort’s lawyers obtained the documents on June 29 and revealed them in a briefing filed in federal court in Virginia. The attorneys are pushing for a hearing into what they say are possible leaks of secret grand jury information, false information and potentially classified materials from the meeting.

“The meeting raises serious concerns about whether a violation of grand jury secrecy occurred,” a lawyer for Manafort, Kevin Downing, wrote in a motion requesting a hearing. “Based on the FBI’s own notes of the meeting, it is beyond question that a hearing is warranted.”

Manafort’s attorneys have for months questioned whether Weissmann, the number two official on the Mueller team, leaked information about Manafort to The AP. At the time of the meeting, Weissmann served as chief of the Justice Department’s criminal fraud section.

He previously served as general counsel to Mueller when he was FBI director. Weissmann joined the special counsel’s investigation when it was formed on May 17, 2017. (Read more: Daily Caller, 7/08/2018)

April 11, 2017 – Comey’s statement for the record on his last conversation with Trump

Statement for the Record

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
James B. Comey
June 8, 2017

Chairman Burr, Ranking Member Warner, Members of the Committee

Thank you for inviting me to appear before you today. I was asked to testify today to describe for you my interactions with President-Elect and President Trump on subjects that I understand are of interest to you. I have not included every detail from my conversations with the President, but, to the best of my recollection, I have tried to include information that may be relevant to the Committee.

April 11 Phone Call

James Comey (Credit: ABC News)

On the morning of April 11, the President called me and asked what I had done about his request that I “get out” that he is not personally under investigation. I replied that I had passed his request to the Acting Deputy Attorney General, but I had not heard back. He replied that “the cloud” was getting in the way of his ability to do his job. He said that perhaps he would have his people reach out to the Acting Deputy Attorney General. I said that was the way his request should be handled. I said the White House Counsel should contact the leadership of DOJ to make the request, which was the traditional channel.

He said he would do that and added, “Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.” I did not reply or ask him what he meant by “that thing.” I said only that the way to handle it was to have the White House Counsel call the Acting Deputy Attorney General. He said that was what he would do and the call ended.

That was the last time I spoke with President Trump.” (Read more: CNN, 6/8/2017)

April 2017 – Texts reveal FBI and DOJ leaked information to the press to damage Trump

Mark Meadows (Credit: Fox News)

“Newly released text messages and documents obtained by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reveal that senior members of the FBI and Department of Justice led a coordinated effort to leak unverified information to the press regarding alleged collusion with Russia to damage President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a letter sent by the committee to the DOJ Monday. [9/10/2018]

READ: Letter from MRM to DAG Rosenstein

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-NC, sent the letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein saying a “review of the new documents raises grave concerns regarding an apparent systemic culture of media leaking by high-ranking officials at the FBI and DOJ related to ongoing investigations.”

The review of the documents suggests that the FBI and DOJ coordinated efforts to get information to the press that would potentially be “harmful to President Trump’s administration.” Those leaks pertained to information regarding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant used to spy on short-term campaign volunteer Carter Page.

The letter lists several examples:

 

The letter notes the troubling nature of the text messages. Former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions after a scathing report from the DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigation charging McCabe with lying to investigators and leaking to the press. Last week, the DOJ announced that McCabe is currently under a grand jury investigation.

The letter notes that the two text messages in April 2017 were during the same time frame as the FBI and DOJ officials were having conversations with reporters. During that time the Washington Post “broke a story on the Carter Page FISA application on April 11, 2017, setting off a flurry of articles suggesting connections between President Trump and Russia.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 9/10/2018)