Department of Justice

January 17, 2020 – The Comey Coverup Unravels

Former FBI Director James Comey on Capitol Hill, Dec. 17, 2018. (Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press)

“In a curious report on Thursday evening, the New York Times carefully averts its eyes from everything that’s interesting. Even Adam Schiff has acknowledged that James Comey’s actions in 2016 may represent the most important and significant Russian influence on the election. (Hoist your shot glass. This will be the umpteenth time I’ve quoted Mr. Schiff on this matter in this column.)

Surely one of the most consequential pieces of intelligence ever received by U.S. agencies was, as we now learn, received in early 2016 from a Dutch counterpart. This is the dubious Russian intelligence that set off Mr. Comey’s multiple interventions in the last presidential race, culminating in an improper act that may have inadvertently elected Donald Trump. Even at the time Mr. Comey’s FBI colleagues considered the intelligence, which indicated questionable actions by the Justice Department to fix the Hillary email investigation, to be false, possibly a Russian plant.

The Times adds the unsurprising revelation that Mr. Comey himself is suspected in the illegal leak that, in early 2017, alerted the media to this untold aspect of his 2016 actions, before the matter disappeared again behind a veil of official secrecy. Yet bizarrely, the paper plays down its scoop, suggesting that any inquiry into a “years-old” leak now can only be a political hit job by an “ambitious” Justice Department attorney seeking to please President Trump.

First of all, I doubt this subject pleases Mr. Trump—it re-raises the question of whether his election was an accident caused by Mr. Comey. Second, the information is obviously important. The scandal hiding in plain sight is our intelligence establishment’s misuse of its authority to muck around in the 2016 election.

As a bonus, I’m going to suggest the FBI’s own pursuit of the collusion will-o’-the-wisp may have been occasioned by its hope of finding that the same fabricated Russian intelligence was in the hands of the Trump campaign, providing an ex post justification for Mr. Comey’s actions that he desperately would have wanted once fingers began pointing at him for Mrs. Clinton’s defeat. (I guess we can at least be glad he didn’t plant the information on Carter Page. )

Let’s call a spade a spade. The media is a big part of the coverup. When the Justice Department inspector general issued his damning report on Mr. Comey, not one media outlet in the Factiva database told its readers about the existence of its classified appendix except this column and Britain’s Daily Mail tabloid.” (Read more: The Wall Street Journal, 1/20/2020)  (Archive)

January 16, 2020 – Federal prosecutors are investigating an earlier incident of leaking by James Comey re Loretta Lynch assuring Clinton would not be prosecuted

(Credit: The Daily Mail)

The New York Times just published a bombshell report that’s faintly reminiscent of the scoops that the Liberal paper of record used to publish during the spring and summer of 2017 when the Mueller probe was in its infancy.

Except this time, instead of the leak focusing on alleged wrongdoing by President Trump and his inner circle, the NYT is focusing on former FBI Director James Comey, who has increasingly been taken to task by the mainstream press in recent months for his botched handling of both the Clinton investigation and the origins of the probe in Russian interference (remember that?).”

According to veteran NYT reporter Adam Goldman (a reporter who won a Pulitzer in 2018 for his work bolstering the Russian interference narrative), federal prosecutors have launched an investigation into an earlier incident of leaking by former FBI Director James Comey.

(…) The latest investigation involves material that Dutch intelligence operatives siphoned off Russian computers and provided to the United States government. The information included a Russian analysis of what appeared to be an email exchange during the 2016 presidential campaign between Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat of Florida who was also the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee at the time, and Leonard Benardo, an official with the Open Society Foundations, a democracy-promoting organization whose founder, George Soros, has long been a target of the far right.

In the email, Ms. Wasserman Schultz suggested that then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch would make sure that Mrs. Clinton would not be prosecuted in the email case. Both Ms. Wasserman Schultz and Mr. Benardo have denied being in contact, suggesting the document was meant to be Russian disinformation.

That document was one of the key factors that drove Mr. Comey to hold a news conference in July 2016 announcing that investigators would recommend no charges against Mrs. Clinton. Typically, senior Justice Department officials would decide how to proceed in such a high-profile case, but Mr. Comey was concerned that if Ms. Lynch played a central role in deciding whether to charge Mrs. Clinton, Russia could leak the email.

(…) It’s believed that the investigation began in recent months, but it’s unclear whether a grand jury has been impaneled, or how many witness [sic] have been interviewed.” (Read more: Zero Hedge, 1/16/2020)  (Archive)

January 14, 2020 – Federal Court orders snap hearing on Awans congressional Democratic IT scandal, after DOJ files document under seal

Judge Amit Mehta (Credit: National Law Journal)

“Judicial Watch announced today that a federal court yesterday ordered a snap hearing after the Justice Department submitted information under seal on Friday following the court’s demand for an explanation of why no records have been produced in the ongoing legal battle for documents about the Congressional Democrat IT (information technology) scandal involving the Awan brothers. The hearing is set for tomorrow, January 15, at 10 am.

In a joint status report filed on December 5, 2019, Judicial Watch reported to the court that the DOJ claimed in a phone call that it was now unable to produce any records to either of the FOIA requests “because the agency was waiting for some unspecified action by Judge [Tanya S.] Chutkan in some other matter so as to avoid having to produce records in this case.” In that same report the DOJ told the court that Judge Chutkan is “presiding over a related sealed criminal matter” that prohibits the government from releasing the requested FOIA information.

In a hearing last month, U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta expressed frustration and ordered the Justice Department to explain its failure to produce records by January 10 and to provide Judicial Watch some details about the delay. Instead, the Justice Department made its filing under seal and has yet to provide Judicial Watch with any details about its failure to produce records as promised to the court.

“The cover-up of the Awan Brothers Democratic IT scandal shows the FBI and DOJ’s penchant for dishonesty isn’t just limited to FISA abuse,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The DOJ’s handling of the Awan Brothers case has long been an issue of concern and now we are expected to believe some secret investigation prevents the public from knowing the full truth about this scandal. We are skeptical.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 1/14/2020)  (Archive)

January 12, 2020 – McCord is the key – Devin Nunes discusses sketchy issues surrounding ICIG Michael Atkinson and origination of the “whistle-blower” complaint

“House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes appears with Maria Bartiromo to discuss two very important issues.  The first is the origination of the “whistle-blower” complaint and new issues surrounding Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson.  The second important subject is the background of newly installed FISA Court monitor, David Kris, to oversee the FBI reform promises.

CTH has some explosive new information that has been shared with Mr. Nunes on both issues, but we start with the interview and ICIG Michael Atkinson.

Since our original research into Atkinson, there have been some rather interesting additional discoveries.

The key to understanding the corrupt endeavor behind the fraudulent “whistle-blower” complaint, doesn’t actually originate with ICIG Atkinson. The key person is the former head of the DOJ National Security Division, Mary McCord.

Mary McCord (Credit: public domain)

Prior to becoming IC Inspector General, Michael Atkinson was the Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General of the National Security Division, Mary McCord.

It is very safe to say Mary McCord and Michael Atkinson have a working relationship from their time together in 2016 and 2017 at the DOJ-NSD. Atkinson was Mary McCord’s senior legal counsel; essentially her lawyer.

McCord was the senior intelligence officer who accompanied Sally Yates to the White House in 2017 to confront then White House Counsel Don McGahn about the issues with Michael Flynn and the drummed up controversy over the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak phone call.

Additionally, Mary McCord, Sally Yates, and Michael Atkinson worked together to promote the narrative around the incoming Trump administration “Logan Act” violations. This silly claim (undermining Obama policy during the transition) was the heavily promoted, albeit manufactured, reason why Yates and McCord were presumably concerned about Flynn’s contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. It was nonsense.

However, McCord didn’t just disappear in 2017 when she retired from the DOJ-NSD. She resurfaced as part of the Lawfare group assembly after the mid-term election in 2018.

THIS IS THE KEY.

Mary McCord joined the House effort to impeach President Trump; as noted in this article from Politico:

“I think people do see that this is a critical time in our history,” said Mary McCord, a former DOJ official who helped oversee the FBI’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and now is listed as a top outside counsel for the House in key legal fights tied to impeachment. “We see the breakdown of the whole rule of law. We see the breakdown in adherence to the Constitution and also constitutional values.”

“That’s why you’re seeing lawyers come out and being very willing to put in extraordinary amounts of time and effort to litigate these cases,” she added. (link)

Former DOJ-NSD Head Mary McCord is currently working for the House Committee (Adam Schiff) who created the impeachment scheme.

Now it becomes critical to overlay that detail with how the “whistle-blower” complaint was organized.  Mary McCord’s former NSD attorney, Michael Atkinson, is the intelligence community inspector general who brings forth the complaint.

The “whistle-blower” had prior contact with the staff of the committee.  This is admitted.  So essentially the “whistle-blower” almost certainly had contact with Mary McCord, and then ICIG Michael Atkinson modified the whistle-blower rules to facilitate the outcome.

There is the origination.   That’s where the fraud starts.

The coordination between Mary McCord, the Whistle-blower, and Michael Atkinson is why HPSCI Chairman Adam Schiff will not release the transcript from Atkinson’s testimony.

It now looks like the Lawfare network constructed the ‘whistle-blower’ complaint aka a Schiff Dossier and handed it to allied CIA operative Eric Ciaramella to file as a formal IC complaint.  This process is almost identical to the Fusion-GPS/Lawfare network handing the Steele Dossier to the FBI to use as the evidence for the 2016/2017 Russia conspiracy.

Atkinson’s conflict-of-self-interest, and/or possible blackmail upon him by deep state actors who most certainly know his compromise, likely influenced his approach to this whistleblower complaint.   That would explain why the Dept. of Justice Office of Legal Counsel so strongly rebuked Atkinson’s interpretation of his responsibility with the complaint.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 1/12/2020)  (Archive)

January 10, 2020 – FBI finds new Clinton classified emails – discloses that Clinton used text messages for government business

“Judicial Watch today released 37 pages of new Clinton emails recently found by the FBI that show former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used her unsecure, non-government email to transmit classified information. The new emails also show Clinton used text messages for government business. The documents, produced to Judicial Watch after a review by the State Department, include 13 new Clinton emails.

The State Department did not provide information about where the emails were found; why they were not previously produced; or if additional records are anticipated. Last month, a Justice Department attorney could not tell a federal court judge how and where the FBI discovered the new cache of Clinton emails. The State Department previously claimed it had produced all releasable Clinton emails, including emails recovered by the FBI that Hillary Clinton tried to destroy or withhold. The State Department initially claimed all responsive emails had been produced in 2018, but then found more emails which were produced, for the first time, early last year.

Then in November 2019, the State Department first disclosed to the court that the FBI had found this latest batch of emails.

(…) “Magically, after years, the FBI finds more Clinton emails that show Clinton used text messages for government work, not to mention the continuing flow of classified information transmitted over her unsecure email system,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These documents further underscore the need for a fresh, unbiased and thorough criminal investigation into Clinton’s blatant malfeasance – and the related DOJ, FBI, and State Department cover-up.”

Clinton repeatedly stated that the 55,000 pages of documents she turned over to the State Department in December 2014 included all of her work-related emails. In response to a court order in another Judicial Watch case, she declared under penalty of perjury that she had “directed that all my emails on clintonemail.com in my custody that were or are potentially federal records be provided to the Department of State, and on information and belief, this has been done.”

The production of documents in this case was to have been concluded with the FBI’s recovery of approximately 5,000 of the 33,000 government emails Clinton took and tried to destroy, however, the case remains ongoing. (Emails highlighted at Judicial Watch, 1/10/2020)  (Archive)

January 10, 2020 – An Ex-DOJ official who is chosen by FISC Judge James Boasberg to assist in FISA reform, was ardent defender of FBI’s surveillance of Carter Page

Judge James Boasberg (Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM/The Associated Press)

“A former Justice Department official picked Friday to oversee the FBI’s reforms of its surveillance procedures in the wake of a damning inspector general’s report was one of the many pundits during the Russia probe to defend the bureau’s surveillance of Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

David S. Kris, a former assistant attorney general for national security, was also an outspoken critic of Rep. Devin Nunes and other congressional Republicans who accused the FBI of misleading the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) in applications to wiretap Page.

An inspector general’s (IG) report released Dec. 9, 2019, largely vindicated Republicans and Page. The report identified 17 errors and omissions the FBI made in its four applications to surveil Page. The IG also said the FBI was unable to corroborate allegations that Page was a Russian agent.

Judge James E. Boasberg, who presides over the FISC, tapped Kris [to] serve as amicus curiae for a review of the FBI’s handling of the Page surveillance warrants. In that role, Kris will “assist” the FISC in assessing the FBI’s implementation of a series of reforms to address the problems uncovered in the IG report.

Assistant Attorney General David Kris (l) of the Justice Department’s National Security Division testifies with Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson before the Senate Armed Services Committee on July 7, 2009. (Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Nunes and Page both panned the choice of Kris given his past commentary defending the FBI.

“It’s hard to imagine a worse person the FISC could have chosen outside Comey, McCabe, or Schiff,” Nunes, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.  

“The choice is shocking and inexplicable.”

Page also weighed in on Kris’s selection to oversee the FBI’s reforms.

“If there were any hope for the system fixing this FISA mess, it extinguished with David Kris’ appointment,” he told The DCNF.

“Nobody trying to fix the rampant abuse and coverup plaguing the entire FISA process would have picked Kris,” continued Page, who called Kris a “longtime FISA apologist.”

“Instead, you appoint Kris for only one reason: you don’t want the system fixed. You just want it to look like you do.”

(Read more: The Daily Caller, 1/11/2020)  (Archive)

December 26, 2019 – Judicial Watch sues the CIA and DOJ for the communications of Eric Ciaramella

Eric Ciaramella’s name appears in William Taylor’s transcript and is mistakenly released by the House Intelligence Committee.

“Judicial Watch announced today that it filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against both the DOJ and CIA for communications of CIA employee Eric Ciaramella, who reportedly worked on Ukraine issues while on detail to both the Obama and Trump White Houses.

The lawsuit against the DOJ was filed after it failed to respond to November 2019 FOIA requests seeking communications between Ciaramella and former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI Attorney Lisa Page, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and/or the Special Counsel’s Office (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-03809)).

Judicial Watch filed suit against the CIA after it failed to respond to  FOIA requests seeking all of Ciaramella’s emails from June 1, 2016, to November 12, 2019 (Judicial Watch v. Central Intelligence Agency (No. 1:19-cv-03807)).

Ciaramella’s name appears in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the 2016 presidential election, in reference to two emails Ciaramella sent to then-Chief of Staff John Kelly and other officials, describing a meeting between President Trump, Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Foreign Minister Sergey Kislyak:

In the morning on May 10, 2017, President Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office.468 

###

468… (5/9/17 White House Document, “Working Visit with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia”) … (5/10/17 Email, Ciaramella to Kelly et al.). The meeting had been planned on May 2, 2017, during a telephone call between the President and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the meeting date was confirmed on May 5, 2017, the same day the President dictated ideas for the Comey termination letter to Stephen Miller…. (5/10/17 Email, Ciaramella to Kelly et al.).

Information about this phone call was subsequently leaked to The New York Times.

Ciaramella is widely reported as the person who filed the whistleblower complaint that triggered the impeachment proceedings. His name reportedly was “raised privately in impeachment depositions, according to officials with direct knowledge of the proceedings, as well as in at least one open hearing held by a House committee not involved in the impeachment inquiry.”

“There is significant public interest, thanks to the Obama Spygate scandal and the related abusive impeachment of President Trump, in what Eric Ciaramella was up to,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “CIA operative Ciaramella is documented to be involved in the Russia collusion investigation and was a key CIA operative on Ukraine in the both the Obama and Trump White Houses. Our lawsuits are designed to break through the unprecedented cover-up of his activities.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 12/26/2019)  (Archive)

December 20, 2019 – FISA Court Owes Some Answers

Kimberly Strassel

“Federal Bureau of Investigation for “misconduct” in the Carter Page surveillance warrant. Some would call this accountability. Others will more rightly call it the FISC’s “shocked to find gambling” moment.

Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer issued her four-page rebuke of the FBI Tuesday, after a Justice Department inspector general report publicly exposing the FBI’s abuses. The judge blasted the FBI for misleading the court by providing “unsupported or contradicted” information and by withholding exculpatory details about Mr. Page. The FISC noted the seriousness of the conduct and gave the FBI until Jan. 10 to explain how it will do better.

The order depicts a court stunned to discover that the FBI failed in its “duty of candor,” and angry it was duped. That’s disingenuous. To buy it, you’d have to believe that not one of the court’s 11 members—all federal judges—caught a whiff of this controversy until now. More importantly, you’d have to ignore that the court was directly informed of the FBI’s abuses nearly two years ago.

On Feb. 7, 2018, Devin Nunes, then chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to Judge Collyer informing her of its findings in his probe of the FBI’s Page application. He wrote that “the Committee found that the FBI and DOJ failed to disclose the specific political actors paying for uncorroborated information” that went to the court, “misled the FISC regarding dissemination of this information,” and “failed to correct these errors in the subsequent renewals.” Mr. Nunes asked the court whether any transcripts of FISC hearings about this application existed, and if so, to provide them to the committee.

Judge Collyer responded a week later, with a dismissive letter that addressed only the last request. The judge observed that any such transcripts would be classified, that the court doesn’t maintain a “systematic record” of proceedings and that, given “separation of power considerations,” Mr. Nunes would be better off asking the Justice Department. The letter makes no reference to the Intelligence Committee findings. (Read more: The Wall Street Journal, 12/20/2019)  (Archive)

December 20, 2019 – Former NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers, is cooperating with probe of Trump-Russia investigation

“Retired Admiral Mike Rogers, former director of the National Security Agency, has been cooperating with the Justice Department’s probe into the origins of the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump presidential campaign’s alleged ties to Russia, according to four people familiar with Rogers’s participation.

Rogers has met the prosecutor leading the probe, Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, on multiple occasions, according to two people familiar with Rogers’s cooperation. While the substance of those meetings is not clear, Rogers has cooperated voluntarily, several people with knowledge of the matter said.

(…) Rogers’s voluntary participation, which has not been previously reported, makes him the first former intelligence director known to have been interviewed for the probe.

“He’s been very cooperative,” one former intelligence officer who has knowledge of Rogers’s meetings with the Justice Department said.” (Read more: The Intercept, 12/20/2019) (Archive)

December 20, 2019 – The FISA Court orders a review of all FISA filings handled by FBI lawyer facing criminal investigation

Carter Page, petroleum industry consultant and former foreign-policy adviser to Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential election campaign, in Washington on May 28, 2019. (Credit: Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ordered a review of all Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act filings handled by Kevin Clinesmith, the FBI lawyer who altered a key document about Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

The FISA court confirmed Clinesmith had been referred to the Justice Department for a possible criminal investigation. Judge Rosemary Collyer, who leads the FISA court, ordered the DOJ to bring it up to speed on everything it had learned about Clinesmith’s conduct and to explain why there was a delay between the conclusion of Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigation and the court being told what misconduct had been unearthed.

Specifically, the FISA court ordered the DOJ to “identify all other matters currently or previously before this court that involved the participation” of Clinesmith. The court also ordered the DOJ to “describe any steps taken or to be taken by the Department of Justice or FBI to verify that the United States’s submissions in those matters completely and fully described the material facts and circumstances,” unlike the Page FISA filings. Third, court ordered the DOJ to “advise whether the conduct” of Clinesmith has been “referred to the appropriate bar associations for investigation or possible disciplinary action.”

Several months before its first FISA filing against Page, the FBI was informed Page had been a source of information for the CIA in the past, a fact the bureau failed to include in its initial filing or any of its renewals. A liaison from the CIA reminded Clinesmith, who was a part of the team reviewing the Page FISA filings, about Page’s previous relationship with the agency. But instead of accurately informing the FBI supervisory special agent so that the FISA court could be properly informed, Clinesmith altered the email to falsely state that Page was “not a source.”

This public order follows a scathing letter from Collyer directed at the bureau released earlier this week.

“The FBI’s handling of the Carter Page applications, as portrayed in the [Horowitz] report, was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above,” said Collyer, who approved the initial surveillance warrant against Page.” (Read more: The Washington Examiner, 12/21/2019)  (Archive)