Department of Justice Office of Inspector General (DOJ OIG)

October 2, 2019 – Closed-door State Department IG meeting disappoints U.S. media

“For two days the mainstream media were breathlessly reporting on an “urgent request” from the State Department Inspector General for a closed-door meeting.

Media sources whipped their left-wing audiences into an anticipatory frenzy with predictions of devastating information soon to come from an “explosive” and “highly unusual” request.  It must be connected to President Trump and Secretary Mike Pompeo hiding devastating information, they said

Well, the super-anticipated ‘closed-door’ briefing was held today, and the IG handed out packets of information related to revelations of Democrats colluding with the Ukraine government.  The exact opposite of what the media and the professional left anticipated.

WASHINGTON –  The State Department’s Inspector General shared a packet of months-old news stories and other Ukraine-related documents during an “urgent” briefing with Congressional staffers on Wednesday, sources told the Daily Caller.

Sources familiar with the meeting said the IG handed over a packet containing, among other old materials, news articles written this past spring by The Hill’s John Solomon about Democratic ties to Ukraine.

[…]  The briefing was a huge blow to Democrats, who were expecting bombshell information regarding the Trump administration’s contact with Ukraine and investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden.

In fact, several news outlets reported earlier in the day that the briefing would be about State Department leadership retaliating against career employees who wanted to cooperate with the Democrats’ investigation into Trump. (read more)

Whether the briefing was a set-up to embarrass the media is now being debated.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 10/02/2019)

October 2, 2019 – The DOJ Inspector General identifies DC U.S. Attorney leaking grand jury evidence

“…The Department of Justice Office of Inspector General has released a notification stating that a former U.S. Attorney within the DC Circuit was caught leaking grand jury information to an “unauthorized individual”:

Unfortunately, “criminal prosecution” for leaking grand jury material “was declined”.

The Asst. U.S. Attorney (AUSA) is not identified by name, but the IG release notes the attorney is no longer working for the DOJ ; likely fired as an outcome of getting caught.

….with the name not being released, that leads to speculation. Also with the recipient not being named, that too leads to speculation.  Was the leak to the media, or was the leak for allied members of the ‘resistance’ in government (ie. congress).  Regardless, it is safe to accept the leaker and recipient are part of the Lawfare Alliance.

One possibility for the identity of the leaker is Asst. U.S. Attorney Deborah Curtis who recently withdrew from cases involving: Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn and Concord LLC, all cases stemming from Mueller and the scheme team prosecutions.

To be clear, we don’t know who the leaker is.  Heck, it could be Andrew Weissmann for all we know… but the timing with Curtis is, well, very conspicuous.  However, regardless of the identity of the U.S. Attorney, the primary takeaway is several-fold.

First, we see a U.S. Attorney in DC is leaking grand jury information.  That is a big deal; it shows the scale of corruption with the DOJ in/around Washington DC.

Second, we see Main Justice declining to prosecute the attorney for leaking the grand jury information.  That too is a big deal.  No outsider would ever be permitted to escape that level of accountability.

Third, once again, we can see the scale and scope of total corruption within the system.

Lawfare is a very serious problem.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 10/02/2019)

August 15, 2018 – Notes on Peter Strzok’s possible FISA application abuse and falsified FBI FD-302 report on Michael Flynn interview

“The media narrative surrounding FBI Agent Peter Strzok’s firing has been framed, almost exclusively, around his political text messages. Given the nature of the media participation in the events, this is not surprising.  However, Strzok’s text messages have no bearing on his firing.

In March 2018 the DOJ Office of Inspector General announced an ongoing review of how the DOJ and FBI used FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) as a weaponized tool against their political opposition.

“As part of this examination, the OIG also will review information that was known to the DOJ and the FBI at the time the applications were filed from or about an alleged FBI confidential source. Additionally, the OIG will review the DOJ’s and FBI’s relationship and communications with the alleged source as they relate to the FISC applications.”  (pdf link)

Two months later on Monday May 21st, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein added a significant DOJ mandate to the Inspector General review.  Rosenstein expanded the original FISA review to include looking at whether officials within the intelligence community may have unlawfully used human intelligence assets to “spy” or “surveil” the Trump campaign:

“The Department has asked the Inspector General to expand the ongoing review of the FISA application process to include determining whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election.” (link)

Part of that ongoing IG review surrounds FBI Affidavits presented to the FISA Court (FISC) and whether those affidavits were fraudulent; thereby misleading the court. FBI Agent Peter Strzok is the primary affiant swearing to the truthfulness and fullness of the information that underlines the FISA application (ie. Woods Procedures) . We know Peter Strzok lied and misrepresented information to the court.

In addition to violating the Woods Procedures, FBI Agent Peter Strzok likely falsified, manipulated and shaped FD-302 investigative notes in both the Hillary Clinton and Michael Flynn interviews. His own text messages with DOJ Special Counsel Lisa Page highlight that Peter Strzok was very familiar with manipulating evidence by the narrative he could/did write in his 302 submissions.

Senator Chuck Grassley and Christopher Wray (Credit: public domain)

On May 11, 2018, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley dropped a sunlight grenade into the prosecution of Michael Flynn with a jaw-dropping request letter (full pdf below) to FBI Director Christopher Wray. [Judiciary Link Here]

Within the letter Chairman Grassley outlined a prior briefing from fired FBI Director James Comey to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and contrasts the false presentations of James Comey and by extension Peter Strzok, regarding Michael Flynn, against recently known evidence.

Additionally, Grassley requested:

♦the transcription of the phone call(s) intercepted by the FBI between Flynn and Russian Ambassador Kislyak;

♦the FD 302s written by the FBI in their interview with Michael Flynn;

♦testimony from Special Agent Joe Pientka, likely the second FBI agent who was partnered with Peter Strzok for the Flynn interview.

The name of the second FBI agent was previously unknown, and it’s likely Chairman Grassley outed the name for a very specific reason. This is a BIG shot across the bow.

Previously the Justice Department was refusing to provide any information to the committee pertinent to Grassley’s requests, citing the ongoing investigation. However, the Senator was outlining his request against the backdrop of the Judge in the Flynn case demanding the Special Counsel turn over all exculpatory information.

Judge Contreras was presiding judge on the initial guilty plea, then “was recused”. Judge Sullivan took over and demanded the DOJ turn over all exculpatory evidence.

Judge Contreras was presiding judge on the initial guilty plea, then “was recused”. Judge Sullivan took over and demanded the DOJ turn over all exculpatory evidence. (Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

Senator Grassley outlines the February 15th, 2017, briefing provided by James Comey to the committee:

(…) “Like the Flynn interview itself, that briefing was not transcribed. Also like the Flynn interview, there are notes taken by a career, non-partisan law enforcement officer who was present. The agent was on detail to the Committee staff at the time.

According to that agent’s contemporaneous notes, Director Comey specifically told us during that briefing that the FBI agents who interviewed Lt. General Michael Flynn, “saw nothing that led them to believe [he was] lying.” Our own Committee staff’s notes indicate that Mr. Comey said the “agents saw no change in his demeanor or tone that would say he was being untruthful.”

Contrary to his public statements during his current book tour denying any memory of those comments, then-Director Comey led us to believe during that briefing that the agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe he intentionally lied about his conversation with the Ambassador and that the Justice Department was unlikely to prosecute him for false statements made in that interview. In the months since then, the Special Counsel obtained a guilty plea from Lt. General Flynn for that precise alleged conduct.”

It is important to remember – there is a widely held belief that Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe told the FBI agents (Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka) to shape their FBI reports of the interview (FD-302s) to assist a “Flynn lied” narrative.

There is a great deal of debate surrounding the guilty plea as an outcome of a carefully constructed and coordinated plan by FBI and DOJ officials to target Flynn.

The letter continues:

(…) “The Department has withheld the Flynn-related documents since our initial bipartisan request last year, citing an ongoing criminal investigation. With Flynn’s plea, the investigation appears concluded.

Additionally, while we are aware that the Special Counsel’s office has moved to delay Lt. General Flynn’s sentencing on several occasions, we presume that all related records already have been provided to the defense pursuant to Judge Sullivan’s February 16, 2018 order requiring production of all potentially exculpatory material. Thus, although the case is not yet adjudicated, the Committee’s oversight interest in the underlying documents requested more than a year ago now outweighs any legitimate executive branch interest in withholding it. So too does the Committee’s interest in learning the FBI agents’ actual assessments of their interview of Lt. Gen. Flynn, particularly given the apparent contradiction between what then Directory Comey told us in March 2017 and what he now claims.”

Then comes the hammer:

(…) “In addition, please make Special Agent Joe Pientka available for a transcribed interview with Committee staff no later than one week following the production of the requested documents.”

Regarding the “widely held belief” that Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe told the FBI agents (Strzok and Pientka) to shape their FBI reports of the interview (FD-302’s) to assist a “Flynn lied” narrative. As Nick Falco points out evidence of that is within the most recent text messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok:

January 23, 2017, the day before the Flynn interview, Lisa Page says: “I can feel my heart beating harder, I’m so stressed about all the ways THIS has the potential to go fully off the rails.” Weird!”

♦Strzok replies: “I know. I just talked with John, we’re getting together as soon as I get in to finish that write up for Andy [McCabe] this morning. Strzok agrees with Page about being stressed that “THIS” could go off the rails. (Strzok meets with Flynn the next day.)

♦Why would Page & Strzok be stressed about “THIS” potentially going off the rails if everything was by the book?

BECAUSE IT WASN’T!

February 14th, 2017, there is another note about the FBI reports filed from the interview.

Peter Strzok asks Lisa Page if FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is OK with his report: “Also, is Andy good with F-302?”

Lisa Page replies: “Launch on F 302.”

And we know from their discussions of manipulating FBI reports a year earlier, inside the Hillary Clinton investigation – that Peter Strzok has withheld information, and manipulated information, through use of the 302 reports:

(Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 8/15/2018)

(Timeline editor’s note: With special thanks to Conservative Treehouse for allowing us to post their well documented research to the timeline. We have decided to post this piece in full. Please visit their website and read more of Sundance’s work. His team is an organized group of super sleuths who are putting this maddening puzzle together, piece by piece.)

July 5, 2018 – IG Report Follow Up: DOJ and FBI investigation of Clinton highlights two systems of justice – A Video Series

“Inspector General Michael Horowitz is currently investigating how the FISA processes and FISA Court was used by the DOJ and FBI to conduct surveillance on Trump campaign. Additionally, congress is requesting several witnesses appear before hearings to discuss their involvement in the events around the 2016 presidential election and the use of the intelligence apparatus of the U.S. government to influence the outcome.

However, to gain an idea of how the FISA inquiry is likely to end; perhaps it is worthwhile to look at how the IG viewed, and constructed, the last report (full pdf below).  Within the content of the released report it becomes obvious the Obama DOJ and FBI constructed a dual system of justice.  Political ideology determines which process to follow.

This is the second in a four part series of reports on the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on the investigation of Hillary Clinton by the FBI and Justice Department.  Part one is here.  Part three and four follow.”

(…) “Over 640,000 people have read the IG report from our SCRIBD link alone. Tens of millions more have likely read parts or the majority from other links to the report. In essence, unlike all prior aspects of the government hiding material, a much larger percentage of the American population is currently awake and holding direct knowledge of what has taken place.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 7/05/2018)

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 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 14, 2018 – The DOJ IG Report on the Clinton Email Investigation is released…Judicial Watch response

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement regarding the Justice Department’s Inspector General’s report:

“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)

August 9, 2016 – The most damaging text between Strzok and Page suggests they will stop Trump from becoming president

“It was the most damaging of all the damaging texts exchanged between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. On Aug. [9], 2016, in the second week of the Trump-Russia investigation on which both were working, Page texted Strzok to say, “He’s not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Strzok responded, “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”

(…) “The Justice Department gave Congress Page’s “not ever going to become president” text months ago, when it produced thousands of texts to Hill investigators. But lawmakers — and the public — did not learn of the explosive second part of the exchange — Strzok’s “We’ll stop it” answer — until last Thursday, when Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on the Clinton email investigation was  that given to Congress.

Why wasn’t that given to Congress?” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., asked on Fox News the day the Horowitz report was released. “Why did I find out about that today at noon?”

(…) “There had been a flaw in the FBI’s collection system, Horowitz said. Searching for the missing texts, Horowitz took possession of Strzok’s and Page’s phones and “undertook a series of steps to seek to exploit, to extract the missing text messages from the phones.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 6/20/2018)

May 3, 2016 – Justice Dept. takes steps to restore IG watchdogs’ access to records

Michael Horowitz & Sally Yates (Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP, Pete Marovich/Getty)

“The Justice Department took steps Tuesday to restore the access of some government watchdogs to sensitive internal records, but officials called on Congress to enact a permanent, wider fix.

The inspector general offices for 72 agencies across the federal government charged that legal policy changes made by the Obama administration over the last several years had curtailed their access to records, harmed a wide range of investigations and compromised their independence.

At least 20 investigations into topics such as sexual abuse at the Peace Corps and fatal shootings by the Drug Enforcement Administration were slowed, hindered, or sometimes closed as a result of the changes, the inspectors general said.

Justice Department officials said Tuesday that a new directive and an accompanying legal opinion would address some of those concerns.

In a memo dated Monday, Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates said that responding to investigations by the Justice Department’s inspector general “is of the highest priority” for the department, and she directed officials to provide timely access to all the material requested.

That includes grand jury documents, wiretapping records and other confidential materials that a controversial Justice Department legal opinion last year concluded could be withheld in some circumstances. Ms. Yates’s memo was first reported by The Associated Press.

In December, a congressional spending bill signed by President Obama threatened to cut off funding if records were improperly withheld from the inspectors general for the Justice Department and five others covered by the bill: the Commerce Department, NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Legal Service Corporation.

A legal opinion last week by the Justice Department’s office of legal counsel — replacing the one that came out last year — said that because of that funding measure, all material must now be turned over to those watchdogs through the end of the fiscal year in September.

In a telephone interview, Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general and leader of the governmentwide association of inspectors general, said it was unfortunate that it had taken the threat of a cutoff in funding by Congress for his office to see its full access to investigative records restored for now.

“The I.G.s have a right to access these documents — period,” he said.” (Read more: New York Times, 5/03/2016)

Late December, 2015 – British spy agency GCHQ tips off CIA director John Brennan that Putin was seeking to financially support Trump in the coming election

GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham (Credit: BBC)

“Britain’s spy agencies played a crucial role in alerting their counterparts in Washington to contacts between members of Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, the Guardian has been told.

GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information, they added.

Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, sources said.

The European countries that passed on electronic intelligence – known as sigint – included Germany, Estonia and Poland. Australia, a member of the “Five Eyes” spying alliance that also includes the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand, also relayed material, one source said.

Another source suggested the Dutch and the French spy agency, the General Directorate for External Security or DGSE, were contributors.

(..) “Both US and UK intelligence sources acknowledge that GCHQ played an early, prominent role in kickstarting the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, which began in late July 2016.

One source called the British eavesdropping agency the “principal whistleblower.” (Read more: The Guardian, 4/13/2017)