December 28, 2018 – Goodlatte and Gowdy recommend a second counsel to continue investigating the investigators of Hillary Clinton’s emails and Trump Russia collusion
“The outgoing Republican committee chairmen in charge of a year-long probe of how the FBI and Justice Department handled investigations into the Trump campaign’s alleged Russia ties and Hillary Clinton’s emails once again called for a second special counsel to look into such matters in a letter to top administration and congressional officials summing up their work.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., sent their letter to acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. In it, they encouraged them to pick up where the House panels left off and “continue to identify and eliminate bias” at the federal law enforcement agencies “so the public can trust the institutions to make decisions solely on the facts and the law and totally devoid of political bias or consideration.”
“Our 2016 presidential candidates were not treated equally,” Goodlatte and Gowdy wrote in a statement accompanying the release of the letter. “The investigators in both investigations were biased against President Trump.”
The House GOP leaned heavily on details in an inspector general report released earlier this year to make their arguments about bias having infected the FBI and DOJ’s proceedings. The IG’s report found that while certain individuals, such as former top FBI counterintelligence officer Peter Strzok, displayed clear personal bias against Trump, there was no evidence that the conclusions of the investigations themselves were biased.” (Read more: Chicago Tribune, 12/28/2018)
December 19, 2018 – Former AG Lynch ‘appears to have amnesia’ during testimony about Carter Page FISA
“Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch told Congressional lawmakers in closed door testimony that despite the DOJ having approved the FBI warrant and renewals to spy on Carter Page, she did not recall the applications, did not remember the details contained in the applications or the circumstances surrounding conversations about the warrant, according to testimony reviewed by SaraACarter.com.
Lynch “appeared to have amnesia” during her testimony that she delivered in December before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, said one congressional official, who had knowledge of the hearing. The official said Lynch’s closed-door testimony on Page, a former Trump campaign volunteer, left lawmakers with more questions than answers.
(…) Goodlatte Questions Lynch on Carter Page
…under questioning from House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, she listed the standard detailed procedures of what is required from the Attorney General when the FBI files for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Warrant to spy on an American.
“By statute, the Attorney General is the final signatory on the FISA applications,” stated Lynch to the committee. “By regulation, the signatory authority has been delegated – shall I say shared—with the Deputy Attorney General and the head of the national security division as long as the people in those positions are presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed.”
Lynch on Page
“I don’t have any recollection of being briefed on the Page application either. And I don’t have a recollection of signing it, said Lynch.”
So she knows the rules and regulations but when asked in more detail about the process of approving the FBI’s application on Page she freezes.
Goodlatte, who was then the chairman of the committee, asked Lynch: “Is that what happened to the Carter Page case?”
“I wasn’t involved in the processing of the Page FISA and I can outline the process for you but I don’t have personal (knowledge) of it,” she said.
Confounded Goodlatte says “no, no, it is just not clear to me, the Attorney General has a role, you often rely upon others to supplement your work in fulfilling that role. Did you have a role in that or were you briefed?”
“I don’t have any recollection of being briefed on the Page application either. And I don’t have a recollection of signing it,” said Lynch in response.
Goodlatte then asks Lynch if she recalls signing any of the renewal applications to continue spying on Page.
“I don’t have a recollection of being involved in the FISA for Mr. Page at all,” she says.
Goodlatte then goes on to ask: “were you briefed about the relevance of Mr. Page’s FISA warrant with regard to this broader Russia investigation?”
Again, Lynch fails to have any memory of anything Page.
“I don’t have a recollection of a briefing of that type, no,” said Lynch.
Goodlatte then asks: “When did you first hear the name Carter Page?”
Lynch: “Again, it would have to have been like late spring of 2016 or so in this context. I don’t recall I knew of him from other sources or not.” (Read more: Sara Carter, 3/04/2019)
June 15, 2018 – Gowdy: GOP will hit DOJ with ‘full arsenal’ If they ignore subpoenas
“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)
May 1, 2018 – House GOP chair calls for investigation into FBI’s Clinton Foundation probe
“Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday raising issues related to some of the claims laid out by a scathing inspector general report on Andrew McCabe, the fired FBI deputy director.
“I have serious concerns that the Department, during the Obama Administration, attempted to obstruct justice by attempting to inappropriately terminate an FBI investigation on the Clinton Foundation,” Goodlatte wrote. “Under the facts laid out by the DOJ Inspector General (IG), it is shocking to hear that the Obama Department of Justice may have allowed politics to dictate what cases should or should not be pursued.”
The IG report, released last month, concluded that McCabe made leaks to the media that were designed to combat the perception that he had a conflict of interest in overseeing dual FBI investigations related to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, including one related to the Clinton Foundation and another related to her use of a private email server.
McCabe’s disclosure recounted his version of a conversation with a DOJ official about the investigation, in which McCabe says he pushed back on concerns about FBI agents taking “overt steps” during the presidential campaign.
The Wall Street Journal reported that “a senior Justice Department official called Mr. McCabe to voice his displeasure at finding that New York FBI agents were still openly pursuing the Clinton Foundation probe during the election season. … The Justice Department official was ‘very pissed off,’ according to one person close to McCabe, and pressed him to explain why the FBI was still chasing a matter the department considered dormant.”
Goodlatte and other Republicans have seized on the findings in the report, saying it shows that the Obama-era DOJ, led by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, may have been putting pressure on the bureau to end the Clinton probes.” (Read more: The Hill, 5/01/2018)
April 19, 2018 – Nunes, Gowdy, Goodlatte Statement on Comey Memos
“Today House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Ca.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) issued the following statement:
“We have long argued former Director Comey’s self-styled memos should be in the public domain, subject to any classification redactions. These memos are significant for both what is in them and what is not.
Former Director Comey’s memos show the President made clear he wanted allegations of collusion, coordination, and conspiracy between his campaign and Russia fully investigated. The memos also made clear the ‘cloud’ President Trump wanted lifted was not the Russian interference in the 2016 election cloud, rather it was the salacious, unsubstantiated allegations related to personal conduct leveled in the dossier.
The memos also show former Director Comey never wrote that he felt obstructed or threatened. While former Director Comey went to great lengths to set dining room scenes, discuss height requirements, describe the multiple times he felt complimented, and myriad other extraneous facts, he never once mentioned the most relevant fact of all, which was whether he felt obstructed in his investigation.” (Read more: House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, 04/19/2018)
December 21, 2017 – Prosecutors ask FBI agents for info on Uranium One deal
“On the orders of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Justice Department prosecutors have begun asking FBI agents to explain the evidence they found in a now dormant criminal investigation into a controversial uranium deal that critics have linked to Bill and Hillary Clinton, multiple law enforcement officials told NBC News.
The interviews with FBI agents are part of the Justice Department’s effort to fulfill a promise an assistant attorney general made to Congress last month to examine whether a special counsel was warranted to look into what has become known as the Uranium One deal, a senior Justice Department official said.
At issue is a 2010 transaction in which the Obama Administration allowed the sale of U.S. uranium mining facilities to Russia’s state atomic energy company. Hillary Clinton was secretary of state at the time, and the State Department was one of nine agencies that agreed to approve the deal after finding no threat to U.S. national security.
(…) “In a letter to Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Stephen Boyd said Justice Department lawyers would make recommendations to Sessions about whether an investigation should be opened or expanded, or whether a special counsel should be appointed to probe a number of issues of concern to Republicans.
In recent weeks, FBI agents who investigated the case have been asked by Justice Department prosecutors to describe the results of their probe. The agents also have been asked if there was any improper effort to squash a prosecution, the law enforcement sources say.
The senior Justice Department official said the questions were part of an effort by the Sessions team to get up to speed on the controversial case, in the face of allegations from Congressional Republicans that it was mishandled.” (Read more: ABC News, 12/21/2017)
The FBI never asked Clinton’s aides for all their computers and mobile devices.
Politico reports that the FBI never asked Clinton’s top aides for their computers and mobile devices as part of the FBI’s Clinton email investigation. An unnamed source familiar with the investigation says, “No one was asked for devices by the FBI.”
Because the investigation didn’t have subpoena power, it could only ask for people to cooperate, or make immunity deals with them. The FBI did make an effort to get Clinton’s computers and mobile devices, and made immunity deals with Clinton lawyers Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson to get their computer laptops, but FBI requests didn’t go much beyond that.
Bob Goodlatte (R), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, says, “The more we learn about the FBI’s initial investigation into Secretary Clinton’s unauthorized use of a private email server, the more questions we have about the thoroughness of the investigation and the administration’s conclusion to not prosecute her for mishandling classified information.”
Politico suggests that the FBI might not have asked for what Clinton’s aides possessed because of a focus on Clinton and her server and mobile devices. “It’s also possible the FBI or prosecutors elected not to demand all the Clinton aides’ computers and other electronics because doing so might have triggered a legal battle that could have slowed the probe.”
The issue about what Clinton’s aides may have possessed came to the fore after the FBI reopened the Clinton email investigation after emails belonging to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin were discovered on a computer owned by her estranged husband Anthony Weiner. In an April 2016 FBI interview and then in a public deposition in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in June 2016, Abedin said she gave her lawyers all devices she thought might contain State Department-related emails. However, it appears no government entity ever asked for any of her devices, so her lawyers never gave them up to anyone.
Abedin was asked for all her work-related emails from her time in the State Department in another FOIA lawsuit, but not the computers or devices the emails were stored on.
The same appears to be true for other top Clinton aides like Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, Bryan Pagliano, and others, with the few exceptions noted above.(Politico, 11/1/2016)
The Justice Department allegedly made immunity side deals that ordered the destruction of key evidence and limited what the FBI could search.
The chairs of several House and Senate committees write a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, with questions about the limitations the Justice Department placed on the investigation of Clinton’s private server. The signatories of this letter are: House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz (R), Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R), House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte (R), and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes (R).
According to the letter, recently released documents suggest the department, “agreed to substantial and inappropriate limitations on the scope of [the FBI’s Clinton email] investigation.” The restrictions were discovered in the course of the committees’ review of the immunity agreements for former Clinton staffers Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson.
Here are some key excerpts from the letter:
- “We write to express our concerns about the process by which Congress was allowed to view the [Beth] Wilkinson letters, that the letters inappropriately restrict the scope of the FBI’s investigation, and that the FBI inexplicably agreed to destroy the laptops knowing that the contents were the subject of Congressional subpoenas and preservation letters.” (Wilkinson is the lawyer to both Mills and Samuelson.)
- “These limitations would necessarily have excluded, for example, any emails from Cheryl Mills to [Platte River Networks employee] Paul Combetta in late 2014 or early 2015 directing the destruction or concealment of federal records. Similarly, these limitations would have excluded any email sent or received by Secretary Clinton if it was not sent or received by one of the four email addresses listed, or the email address was altered.”
- “Further, the Wilkinson letters memorialized the FBI’s agreement to destroy the laptops. This is simply astonishing given the likelihood that evidence on the laptops would be of interest to congressional investigators.”
- “The Wilkinson letters raise serious questions about why [the Justice Department] would consent to such substantial limitations on the scope of its investigation, and how Director Comey’s statements on the scope of the investigation comport with the reality of what the FBI was permitted to investigate.”
In closing, so that the committee chairs can better understand the DOJ’s basis for agreeing to these restrictions, the letter includes eleven questions for Loretta Lynch, and answers must be submitted no later than October 19, 2016. (US Congress, 10/05/2016)
- Beth Wilkinson
- Bob Goodlatte
- Cheryl Mills
- Chuck Grassley
- Congressional oversight
- Devin Nunes
- FBI's Clinton email investigation
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- Heather Samuelson
- House Judiciary Committee
- House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
- House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
- Jason Chaffetz
- Justice Department (DoJ)
- Loretta Lynch
- Paul Combetta
- private server
- Senate Judiciary Committee
FBI Director James Comey denies Paul Combetta attempted to cover up Clinton’s emails.
In a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Comey comments on a July 2014 Reddit post by Paul Combetta, a Platte River Networks employee who helped manage Clinton’s private server.
Comey says, “Our team concluded that what he was trying to do was when they produced emails not have the actual address but have some name or placeholder instead of the actual dot-com address in the ‘From:’ line.” As a result, the FBI believes Combetta was not engaged in a secret cover-up when he used his “stonetear” alias on the Reddit website to ask for a tool that could delete Clinton’s email address throughout a large file.
However, Republican lawmakers believe Combetta’s Reddit post reveals an effort to hide Clinton’s emails from investigators. For example, committee chair Bob Goodlatte (R) says he believes it was “obviously part of a cover-up. … This clearly demonstrates an action to destroy evidence by people operating Clinton’s private server and her staff.” (Politico, 09/28/2016)
Comey isn’t sure if the FBI was aware of Paul Combetta’s Reddit posts and won’t comment if Combetta committed a crime by deleting them.
When FBI Director James Comey answers questions before a House Judiciary Committee public hearing, two of the committee members ask him key questions about Paul Combetta, the Platte River Networks (PRN) employee who helped manage Clinton’s private server.
Representative Darrell Issa (R) asks: “Director, I have a lot of concerns but one of them refers to Reddit. At the time that the Department of Justice at your behest, or your involvement, gave Paul Combetta immunity, did you do so knowing about all of the posts he had on Reddit…?”
Comey replies: “I am not sure sitting here. My recollection is and I’ll check this and fix it if I am wrong, that we had some awareness of the Reddit posts, I don’t know whether our folks had read them all or not. We had a pretty good understanding of what we thought he had done, but that is my best recollection.”
Issa then asks: “OK, in the last week, [Combetta] has been deleting [his] Reddit posts. Is that consistent with preserving evidence? … You know, I guess my question to you is, is he destroying evidence relevant to Congressional inquiries? And I will answer it for you: yes he is. And what are you going to do about it?”
Comey answers, “That’s not something I can comment on.”
Later in the same hearing, committee chair Representative Bob Goodlatte (R), similarly asks: “Paul Combetta, with PRN, posted to Reddit, asking how to strip out a VIP’s, very VIP email address from a bunch of archived email. … This clearly demonstrates actions taken to destroy evidence by those operating Sec Clinton’s private server and by her staff. … [W]as the FBI aware of this Reddit post prior to offering Mr. Combetta immunity on May 3, 2016?”
Comey responds, “I am not sure. I know that our team looked at it. I don’t know whether they knew about it before then or not.” (House Judiciary Committee, 09/28/2016)