DOJ OIG Report

September 12, 2019 – US attorney recommends proceeding with charges against McCabe; DOJ rejects last-ditch appeal

Andrew McCabe (Credit: Lancaster Dems)

“U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu has recommended moving forward with charges against Andrew McCabe, Fox News has learned, as the Justice Department rejects a last-ditch appeal from the former top FBI official.

McCabe — the former deputy and acting director of the FBI — appealed the decision of the U.S. attorney for Washington all the way up to Jeffrey Rosen, the deputy attorney general, but he rejected that request, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The potential charges relate to DOJ inspector general findings against him regarding misleading statements concerning a Hillary Clinton-related investigation.

A source close to McCabe’s legal team said they received an email from the Department of Justice which said, “The Department rejected your appeal of the United States Attorney’s Office’s decision in this matter. Any further inquiries should be directed to the United States Attorney’s Office.” (Read more: Fox News, 9/12/2019)

January 6, 2017 – The DOJ OIG report on Comey’s memos details plans to ambush Trump with Moscow sex allegation

(L-R) James Comey, John Brennan, James Clapper, and Adm. Michael Rogers testify about “worldwide cyber threats” during an open hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on September 10, 2015. (Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(…) “On Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, Comey, along with CIA head John Brennan, national intelligence chief James Clapper, and NSA Director Mike Rogers, met with Trump in Trump Tower in New York. Together, they briefed the president-elect on the findings of the intelligence community investigation into Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

But the group, and especially Comey, had bigger plans than that. Before the meeting, they agreed that after briefing Trump on Russian efforts, the others would leave and Comey would stay to brief Trump alone about the Steele Moscow sex allegation.

Comey and top FBI officials prepared meticulously for the moment. The IG report says Comey had a planning meeting with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, chief of staff James Rybicki, general counsel James Baker, and “the supervisors of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.” (It is unclear who was in that last group, although the now-famous FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page played large roles in the investigation.)

The IG report says the group “agreed that the briefing needed to be one-on-one so that Comey could present the ‘salacious’ information in the most discreet and least embarrassing way.” But however it was presented, the FBI leaders worried that Trump might “perceive the one-on-one briefing as an effort to hold information over him like a ‘Hoover-esque type of plot.'” That was a reference to the FBI’s notorious founding director J. Edgar Hoover, who relished keeping (and using) embarrassing secrets on top political leaders.

The group discussed how Trump might react. In particular, they considered whether he would “make statements about or provide information of value to the pending Russia interference investigation” known as “Crossfire Hurricane.”

Perhaps Trump would say something incriminating. The FBI officials made plans for Comey, immediately after leaving the meeting, to write down everything he could remember about whatever Trump said. Comey also wanted to discuss Trump’s reactions with top aides immediately. Comey told the inspector general it was “important for FBI executive managers to be ‘able to share in [Comey’s] recall of the salient details of those conversations.'” Bureau officials also wanted to be able to respond if Trump publicly “misrepresent[ed] what happened in the encounter.”

So, preparations were made. “Comey said he had a secure FBI laptop waiting for him in his FBI vehicle and that when he got into the vehicle, he was handed the laptop and ‘began typing as the vehicle moved,'” the report says. He worked on his account as the FBI car took him to the New York field office, where aides had set up a secure video teleconference with Rybicki, McCabe, Baker, and the “Crossfire Hurricane” supervisors. Comey continued to work on his memo after that and sent the group a final version the next day, Saturday, Jan. 7.

In his memoir, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, Comey wrote that at the Trump Tower briefing he assured the president-elect, “We are not investigating you, sir.” At the moment Comey said those words, he had the “Crossfire Hurricane” team ready for a secure video conference on Trump’s response to the Steele dossier allegation.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 8/29/2019)

August 31, 2019 – The Archey Declarations prove Comey/McCabe “small group” hid information from FBI investigators until they could get Mueller appointed

“There are two sets of documents that outline a precise picture.  Robert Mueller’s lead FBI Agent David Archey made sworn declarations to the court, without knowledge of FBI “whistleblower” information provided to DOJ Inspector General, Michael Horowitz.

There is a distinct conflict within the IG report on James Comey (and memos) (Available Here) and the David Archey declarations (Available Here).  However, beyond the conflict, there’s an even more alarming picture of how Robert Mueller was deployed when all the information is overlaid on a timeline.   A very clear picture emerges; very clear.

In June 2017 CNN (and other media) filed a FOIA suit to gain the Comey memos.  As the lawsuit progressed through a lengthy battle -where the Mueller team did not want to turn over those memos- Mueller’s lead FBI agent, David Archey, made sworn declarations to the court.  Those statements became known as the “Archey Declarations.”  Inside those declarations, agent Archey provided a specific outline of the FBI and the memos.

Note the date – Agent Archey states the “investigative team” came into full possession of the Comey memos: on or by May 12th, 2017.”

The “investigative team” would be Andrew McCabe, Bill Priestap, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and then James Baker as lead counsel for the group.  The “Director’s staff” would be James Rybicki, who is identified by Archey as having “maintained” possession of the memos.

So this “small group”, particularly James Rybicki, is the center of the team.  This team is also confirmed by the IG Horowitz report. This team had the memos on May 12th, 2017.

Now we move into the aspect where the motives and ideology become clear when we look at the IG custodial record of the memos, as outlined by the Supervisory Special Agent in charge of Comey’s documents within the IG report, compared to the Archey declarations.

The FBI Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) in charge of Comey’s document retrieval is the “whistleblower” who eventually went to the IG.  I’ll explain why and how below; and to make understanding easier we shall use “SSA Whistleblower” to describe him.

♦ On May 10th, the Comey memos were not in Comey’s office [per IG report].  At the time of the search and review of Comey’s office, there were no hard copies found by SSA Whistleblower.

Now, keep in mind “by May 12th” James Rybicki had all the Comey memos in his possession, per Mueller team FBI Agent David Archey.

♦ On May 12th, SSA Whistleblower went to James Comey’s house along with James Rybicki and Deputy FBI Director David Bowditch.

(IG Report – Comey Memos – Page 34) 

During this May 12th visit, James Comey never told SSA Whistleblower he had the memos in his personal safe.  James Rybicki was also present for this retrieval visit and also never told SSA Whistleblower that he was holding the memos in his FBI HQ office.

♦ On May 15th, three days later, James Rybicki then tells SSA Whistleblower he knows the location of the Comey memos; and Rybicki informs SSA Whistleblower he has additional relevant material.

(IG Report – Comey Memos-Page 38) 

From the IG Report: “Rybicki told the SSA that he did not tell anyone about the Memos during the May 10 inventory because he understood that process to only include Comey’s office.”   Very sketchy.

At this point, SSA Whistleblower had to suspect something sketchy was happening.  Keep in mind the following day May 16th, 2017, Comey sent memo content to his friend Daniel Richman with instructions to leak to the New York Times. (Article published 5:00 pm May 16, 2017)

If Rybicki didn’t inform SSA Whistleblower on May 15 about the Comey memos, then SSA Whistleblower would have found out from leaked media reports the next day May 16.

If Rybicki didn’t tell SSA Whistleblower about the memos on May 15, then it would have looked like the ‘small group’ was hiding and leaking the memos.  An intellectually honest review of the timing, and considering Rybicki had indeed been hiding the memos, leads to the conclusion Rybicki knew the NYT leak was coming; Rybicki was coordinating with James Comey; Rybicki/Comey were trying to avoid team scrutiny. [Further evidence of this surfaces in the Mueller contact timeline.]

By May 16th, 2017, SSA Whistleblower, had to see the sketchy nature of how this was unfolding.   As a result this scenario from the IG report now makes sense:

If we overlay the FBI “small group” contact with Robert Mueller an even more clear picture emerges.

“Crossfire Hurricane” – During 2016, after the November election and throughout the transition period and into 2017, the FBI had a counterintelligence investigation ongoing against Donald Trump. FBI Director James Comey’s memos were part of this time period as the FBI small group was gathering evidence.  Then Comey was fired…

♦ Tuesday, May 9th – James Comey was fired at approximately 5:00 pm EST.  Later we discover Rod Rosenstein first contacted Robert Mueller about the special counsel appointment less than 15 hours after James Comey was fired.

♦ Wednesday, May 10th – From congressional testimony, we know DAG Rod Rosenstein called Robert Mueller to discuss the special counsel appointment on Wednesday, May 10th, 2017, at 7:45 am. [See Biggs questions to Mueller at 2:26 of video]

According to his own admissions (NBC and CBS), Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe immediately began a criminal ‘obstruction’ investigationWednesday, May 10th; and he immediately enlisted Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

A few hours after the Rosenstein-Mueller phone call, James Comey’s office was being searched by the SSA Whistleblower per the IG report on Comey’s memos.

(IG Report – Comey Memos – Page 33) 

♦Thursday, May 11th – Andrew McCabe testified to congress. With the Comey firing fresh in the headlines.  McCabe testified there had been no effort to impede the FBI investigation.

Also on Thursday, May 11th, 2017, The New York Times printed an article, based on information seemingly leaked by James Comey, about a dinner conversation between the President and the FBI Director.   The “Loyalty” article [link].  The IG report shows: [Daniel] Richman confirmed to the OIG that he was one of the sources for the May 11 article, although he said he was not the source of the information in the article about the Trump Tower briefing“.

♦Friday, May 12th –  Andrew McCabe met with DAG Rod Rosenstein to discuss the ongoing issues with the investigation and firing.  Referencing the criminal ‘obstruction’ case McCabe had opened just two days before.  According to McCabe:

“[Rosenstein] asked for my thoughts about whether we needed a special counsel to oversee the Russia case. I said I thought it would help the investigation’s credibility. Later that day, I went to see Rosenstein again. This is the gist of what I said: I feel strongly that the investigation would be best served by having a special counsel.” (link)

According to Andy Biggs questioning of Mueller, on this same day, May 12th, evidence shows Robert Mueller met “in person” with Rod Rosenstein.  This is the same day when SSA Whistleblower went to James Comey’s house to retrieve FBI material and both Rybicki and Comey never informed the agent about the memos:

(IG Report-Comey Memos-Page 34)

May 12th, is the date noted by David Archey when FBI investigators had assembled all of the Comey memos as evidence.  However, no-one in the FBI outside the “small group” knows about them.

Saturday, May 13th, 2017, another meeting between Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller, this time with AG Jeff Sessions also involved. [Per Andy Biggs]

♦ Sunday, May 14th –  Comey transmitted copies of Memos 2, 4, and 6, and a partially redacted copy of Memo 7 to Patrick Fitzgerald, who was one of Comey’s personal attorneys.  Fitzgerald received the email and PDF attachment from Comey at 2:27 p.m. on May 14, 2017, per the IG report.

♦ Monday, May 15th, McCabe states he and Rosenstein conferred again about the Special Counsel approach. McCabe: “I brought the matter up with him again after the weekend.”

On this same day was when James Rybicki called SSA Whistleblower to notify him of Comey’s memos. The memos were “stored” in a “reception area“, and in locked drawers in James Rybicki’s office.

(IG Report-Comey Memos-Page 38)

♦Tuesday May 16th – Per the IG report: “On the morning of May 16, Comey took digital photographs of both pages of Memo 4 with his personal cell phone. Comey then sent both photographs, via text message, to Richman”

On this same day, Rod Rosenstein takes Robert Mueller to the White House for a meeting in the oval office between President Trump, VP Pence, Robert Mueller, and Rod Rosenstein.    While they were meeting in the oval office, the following story was published by the New York Times (based on Comey memo leaks to Richman):

Also during the approximate time of this Oval Office meeting, Peter Strzok texts with Lisa Page about information relayed to him by Tashina Guahar (main justice) on behalf of Rod Rosenstein (who is at the White House).

Later that night, after the Oval Office meeting – According to the Mueller report, additional events on Tuesday May 16th, 2017:

Interesting that Tashina Gauhar was taking notes presumably involved in the May 16, 2017 meeting between, Lisa PageRod Rosenstein, and Andrew McCabe. 

This meeting at Main Justice appears to be happening in the evening (“later that night”) after the visit to the White House with Robert Mueller.  This meeting appears to be Lisa Page, Rod Rosenstein and Andrew McCabe; along with Tashina Gauhar taking notes.

Why is Tuesday, May 16th, 2017, date of additional importance?

♦ Wednesday May 17th, 2017:  Rod Rosenstein and Andrew McCabe go to brief the congressional “Gang-of-Eight”: Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Devin Nunes, Adam Schiff, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, Richard Burr and Mark Warner.

(…) “On the afternoon of May 17, Rosenstein and I sat at the end of a long conference table in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol. We were there to brief the so-called Gang of Eight—the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate and the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Rosenstein had, I knew, made a decision to appoint a special counsel in the Russia case.”

(…) “After reminding the committee of how the investigation began, I told them of additional steps we had taken. Then Rod took over and announced that he had appointed a special counsel to pursue the Russia investigation and that the special counsel was Robert Mueller.” (link)

Immediately following this May 17, 2017, Go8 briefing, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein notified the public of the special counsel appointment.

What is clear from a review of all the related and released information is the FBI small group (McCabe, Page, Strzok, Rybicki, Baker) were hiding the ongoing FBI investigation from other FBI officials (including the SSA Whistleblower), inside the department after Comey was fired.

McCabe launched a “criminal investigation” (obstruction) on May 10th, and Rosenstein was in immediate contact with Robert Mueller about being a special counsel after conversations with the FBI small group. The small group was then releasing information to their media allies, and hiding the releases from FBI agents outside the small group; until they no longer needed to do so (May 15).

On May 15th, it appears the SSA was finally notified of the Comey memos because the small group already knew Robert Mueller was going to be appointed.

Comey, his lawyers and Lawfare allies, together with the small group, coordinated to leak and publish the NYT article (May 16th) the day Mueller was interviewing President Trump in the oval office. They knew Mueller was going to be appointed the following day, May 17th.  The NYT leak was cover and ammunition for Rod Rosenstein to fulfill his role.

This is the Special Counsel as the insurance policy deployed.

Everything was a set up by the small group; exclusively executed by the small group; kept hidden from other FBI agents and officials; Mueller’s visit with President Trump was part of that investigative effort.

This overall conspiracy/plan is why the SSA turned to the Inspector General and requested Whistleblower protection.  This is also why IG Horowitz was motivated to carve out the Comey memos in his report.  KEY POINT – OIG Michael Horowitz has outlined the Special Counsel appointment as fraudulently predicated.

(Conservative Treehouse, 8/31/2019)

(Republished with permission.)

August 28, 2019 – The DOJ OIG report on Comey’s memos is released; the substance within the report shows a two-tiered Justice system

“Having just completed a first review of the IG Report on James Comey, with numerous highlights for further overlay and research, here are my thoughts upon initial review.

First, there is absolutely no doubt James Comey used his memos akin to FD-302 investigative reports from an FBI agent. Meaning, from beginning-to-end he considered himself an investigative agent against the President-elect and then President Trump.

Note: The recording of his encounter with the target, President-elect Trump should be “treated like FISA derived information in a counterintelligence investigation.”  During this January 6th operation, Comey was the active FBI agent gathering evidence for later use.  The collected intelligence would be shared with the team via memo #1.

Remember the Lisa Page Texts from the same date?

The FBI redacted almost all of that text because it outlines the distribution of the evidence Comey was collecting.   Comey’s memos were essentially FD-302 reports, and the officials within the DOJ and FBI didn’t want that exposed.  Lisa Page text was heavily redacted because it would have shown the January 6th encounter was an operation against Trump.

Every encounter and every aspect of every action within that encounter was conducted in what Comey perceived as an official investigative capacity.

President Trump was the target of Comey’s operations and he wrote his memos as investigative notes therein. Example: Comey ran the, operation:

So the “small group”: Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Baker, Priestap, Rybicki, et al, were running a counterintelligence operation against the incoming administration.

There are parts of the IG report highlighting a stunning amount of self-interest.

Example:  Who made the decision(s) about what “was” or what “was not” classified?  Or, put another way: who was making the internal decisions about Comey’s exposure to legal risk for sharing his investigative notes (memos) outside the department?

The answer is the same “small group” who were carrying out the operation:

James Baker, Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe, James Rybicki and Lisa Page were determining what parts of James Comey’s investigative notes needed to be classified.

The corrupt FBI was in position to police itself.   This is not a conflict of interest, it is better described as a profound conflict of self-interest.

The information the ‘small group‘ wanted to use to frame the target would be visible, not classified; however, any material that would outline the construct of their corruption in targeting the target would be hidden, classified.  You can’t make this stuff up folks.

The “small group” WAS the sources and methods they were protecting.

Everything needed to understand that level of corruption is outlined in the way the IG report discusses the handling of James Comey’s investigative notes (ie. memos).  AND the fact that James Comey kept them hidden, yes hidden.  Read this stuff!

First, “no hard copies of any of the memos were found in Comey’s FBI office.”:

So, if the memos were not held in Director James Comey’s official FBI office, the next logical question is where were they?

Well, when Special Agents went to James Comey’s house, he still kept them hidden and never informed the agents:

If Mr. Altruism, James Comey, was simply fulfilling the duty of a concerned and dedicated FBI Director, why not tell the FBI agents -picking up FBI records- that he had copies of FBI investigative notes in his “personal safe” while they were there?

What honorable justification exists for keeping them hidden from valid investigators?

Obviously me, you and God are not the only ones able to see the sketchy nature of this construct.  In fact, an internal FBI whistleblower came forward soon after that search of Comey’s home to request official “whistleblower status protection” from the IG.

Think logically…. What would prompt someone inside the FBI; who at some point gained access to the Comey memos; to request ‘whistleblower protected status’?

Doesn’t the “whistleblower request” indicate the requesting FBI official saw something nefarious in the way this was all going down?

Who was that ‘whistleblower’?

Well, first, Captain Obvious would tell you it has to be someone who actually gained possession of those memos right?…. this is not a big group.  Second, you only need to read a few more pages of the IG report to see who it was:

The “whistleblower” was the Supervisory Special Agent described in page 38 as above.

The memos were “stored” in a “reception area“, and in locked drawers in James Rybicki’s office.  [“Drawer safes” are silly FBI legal terms for fancy locked drawers]  Also note…

Reception area“?  “May 15th“?

Well, (#1) apparently no-one wanted to be the one holding the hot potato of investigative evidence (Comey memos); that ownership would outline them as participatory members in carrying out the targeting of then President Trump.  Oh, yeah, those investigative notes were not in “the office of the FBI Director” on May 10th, when you were here searching the last time,… for some mysterious reason.. they, uh,… well, they were discovered…  in the “reception area“… yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket!   Right under the four month old copy of People Magazine, n’ stuff.

….ARE YOU FRIGGIN’ KIDDING ME WITH THIS?

…AND (#2) the very next morning, GUESS what happened?…

Now we see why the FBI Supervisory Special Agent in charge of inventorying Comey records asked the IG for official “whistleblower status.”

Sketchy warning flares surrounded the SSA agent right there in the FBI executive suites.

Of course the SSA gave the Inspector General the seven memos, asked for whistleblower protection, and likely told the IG the way they were produced stinks to high heaven.   Good grief. (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 8/29/2019)

August 28, 2019 – Jeff Carlson: Highlights from the IG Report on Comey’s Memos

(Credit: Lazaro Gamio/Axios)

Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz has released a report on former FBI Director James Comey’s leaking of personal memos to his attorneys, a personal friend, and the media.

Comey had told the IG that he believed the memos shared with his attorneys did not contain any classified information.

However, the IG noted that specifically: “Memos 1 and 3 contained information classified at the ‘SECRET’ level, and that Memos 2 and 7 contained small amounts of information classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level—although Comey redacted all classified information in Memo 7 before sending to his attorneys.”

The IG report also noted that “Comey considered Memos 2 through 7 to be his personal documents.”

Comey maintained copies of Memos 2 through 7 at his personal residence—a fact that he failed to report to the FBI. Comey also provided James Rybicki, his chief of staff, with a copy of these same memos to maintain at FBI headquarters.

On May 14, 2017, Comey provided electronic copies of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to one of his personal attorneys, who subsequently shared the memos with two additional attorneys several days later on May 17, 2017. Memo 2 contained six words, four of which were names of specific countries that the FBI later deemed to be classified.

Leak to the Media

On May 16, Comey provided a copy of Memo 4 to Daniel Richman who was a “close personal friend” in addition to being one of Comey’s attorneys. Comey directed Richman to “share the contents of Memo 4, but not the Memo itself, with a specific reporter for The New York Times.”

Richman did have a security clearance at this time, but there appears to be no demonstrable “need to know” that is also a requirement for gaining access to classified information.

This memo contained information that was deemed by the FBI to be “For Official Use Only” but did not contain any classified information. The IG noted: “We found no evidence that Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the Memos to members of the media.”

The same day that Comey’s two additional attorneys gained access to his memos—May 17, 2017—former FBI Agent Peter Strzok sent a text to former FBI lawyer Lisa Page noting, “F’in Pamela Brown knows there were two phone call memos.” Brown, a reporter for CNN, had reported on the existence of Comey Memos the night prior during a segment with Anderson Cooper but had yet to mention the phone call memos.

The Strzok text regarding Brown is notable for two reasons. One, Strzok was clearly familiar with the contents of Comey’s Memos, and two, Brown had to have learned of the “phone call Memos” from a source other than Richman—who had only received a copy of Memo 4, which detailed a physical meeting and did not mention any “phone call Memos.” It is not known who provided Brown with the additional information.

Notably, the FBI “first learned that Comey had shared Memo 4 with Richman while watching Comey’s public testimony before SSCI [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence] on June 8, 2017.” Nor did Comey inform the FBI that he had shared Memos 2, 4, 6 and 7 with his personal attorneys. It was only after the FBI questioned Richman regarding Memo 4 that the FBI learned that Comey had also provided the additional memos to his attorneys.

Comey Kept Memos at His Home

The June 8, 2017, date is particularly notable because only the day before, on June 7, 2017, did Comey provide the copy of his memos that he kept in his home safe to the FBI at the request of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Although the existence of the Comey Memos were well-known by this time, it does not appear that FBI personnel knew that Comey kept his own memo copies at home—until he turned them over.

The IG report highlighted Comey’s retention of his memos at his personal residence, noting: “We found it particularly concerning that Comey did not tell anyone from the FBI that he had retained copies of the Memos in his personal safe at home, even when his Chief of Staff, the FBI’s Associate Deputy Director, and three SSAs [Supervisory Special Agents] came to Comey’s house on May 12, 2017, to inventory and remove all FBI property.” Why Comey chose to not disclose this information to the FBI remains unknown.

According to the IG report, “[O]n June 7, 2017, Comey provided the SSA who came to his home with Comey’s signed originals of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7, which were the only Memos that Comey said he had retained at his residence.” Notably, the “SSA said he had been advised ahead of time that Comey had Memos to give to him.” The report does not disclose who advised the SSA, but it may have been Special Counsel Mueller.

Comey told the IG that “he voluntarily gave his signed originals of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to the SSA at his house that day, not because he had concerns that they contained classified information, but “because Special Counsel [Robert Mueller] asked for them.”

How the Special Counsel came to learn that Comey had a personal copy of his memos at his house remains unknown, particularly as it appears that no one else within the FBI was aware of this fact until Comey turned the memos over.

Comey had previously viewed the FBI copies of his memos that had already been officially classified by the FBI on June 7, 2017, in preparation for his June 8 testimony. As a result, Comey was now aware of what the FBI deemed “SECRET” or “CONFIDENTIAL.” As the IG report noted, “By not immediately reporting that he had provided Memo 2 to his attorneys when Comey first learned that the FBI had designated a small portion of Memo 2 as classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level, Comey violated FBI policy.”

Lisa Page Obtains Memos Ostensibly for McCabe

Others within the FBI also had copies of Comey’s Memos. According to the IG’s report, “Page told the OIG that McCabe also allowed her to look at Memos 2, 3, and 4, but asked her not to share them with anybody. Page told the IG that “she decided to make and keep copies of these Memos because they were ‘just of the nature that [she] felt like there should be one other copy somewhere else.’” Page claimed not to know “if others in the FBI were keeping copies of the Memos.”

However, it appears that Page attempted to hide her possession of Comey’s Memos from other officials within the FBI. On May 10, 2017, Comey’s former chief of staff James Rybicki was contacted by Page who requested “a full set of the Memos.” Rybicki, who told the IG that Page said her request was made on behalf of Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, then made three copies of Comey’s Memos—one for himself, one for Page to pass along to McCabe, and one for FBI General Counsel James Baker. Notably, May 10, 2017, may have been the date that McCabe opened an investigation into President Donald J. Trump.

Page told the IG a somewhat different version of events, noting that “she did not think McCabe had asked her to assemble copies of the memos; she said she thought she did it on her own because she “knew that it needed to get done.” Additionally, Rybicki told the IG “that he was ‘surprised’ when he learned that Page already had copies of some of the Memos because he ‘didn’t think anybody maintained a copy’ other than him, and didn’t know how she got them.”

Comey told the IG that he considered “Memos 2 through 7 to be his personal documents,” but this assertion was roundly dismissed by other FBI officials. According to the IG report, “All of the FBI senior leaders interviewed by the OIG stated that the Memos were official government records.” McCabe told the IG that Comey’s Memos served as a “record of [Comey’s] official engagement with the President.” Baker said the memos were “related to official business” and that “they were discussed in the office in connection with [Comey’s] official responsibilities.” Rybicki said he had “treated the Memos as FBI records.” The FBI’s Director of Counterintelligence Bill Priestap characterized the memos as documents “produced by the Director in his capacity as Director … they’re FBI work product.”

Whistleblower Provided IG Memos

Interestingly, “shortly after Comey’s removal, a set of the seven Memos was provided to the OIG by a Department employee, who claimed whistleblower status,” the IG revealed in the report. The number of individuals within the FBI who had access to Comey’s Memos was comprised of a very small group. The IG noted that the whistleblower “viewed the Memos as extremely sensitive documents and was concerned that there should be a separate set deposited somewhere for safekeeping.” This means that the IG obtained possession of the Comey Memos very early on—since mid-May 2017.

Additionally, the IG revealed that it was then-Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who referred the matter of Comey’s Memos to the Office of the Inspector General for review in July 2017. McCabe may have been unaware that the IG already was in possession of Comey’s Memos via the unknown whistleblower.

Genesis of Comey’s Memos

In regards to the genesis of the Memos, Comey told the IG that it was his Jan. 27, 2017, dinner with President Trump that prompted him to begin the process of maintaining Memos detailing his interactions with the president. However, Comey had already written an earlier memo regarding a meeting with President Trump on Jan. 6, 2017, where Comey provided the president with details of the “salacious” information from the Steele dossier. Comey also told Congress a slightly different story, testifying on June 8, 2017, that he began creating memos from his very first interaction with President Trump, based on a “gut feeling.”

The IG report provides some intriguing details surrounding the Jan. 6, 2017, meeting, and the manner in which that meeting was pre-determined to be fully documented by Comey.

“Witnesses interviewed by the OIG also said that they discussed Trump’s potential responses to being told about the ‘salacious’ information, including that Trump might make statements about, or provide information of value to, the pending Russian interference investigation.

“Multiple FBI witnesses recalled agreeing ahead of time that Comey should memorialize his meeting with Trump immediately after it occurred. Comey told the OIG that, in his view, it was important for FBI executive managers to be ‘able to share in [Comey’s] recall of the … salient details of those conversations.’ Comey also said that an additional concern, shared by the members of his management team, was that if the briefing became ‘a source of controversy’ it would be important to have a clear, contemporaneous record because Trump might ‘misrepresent what happened in the encounter.’”

It appears from the IG’s report that President Trump had no knowledge that Comey was transcribing their interactions. The FBI’s General Counsel, James Baker, told the IG that “it was his understanding that the small group of people who had access to the Memos ‘really didn’t want anyone to know the Director … was recording at this level of detail his interactions with the President’ because any perception that Comey was ‘keeping … book’ on the President would upset any effort to have an effective and ongoing working relationship.”

It should also be noted that Comey failed to keep any memos of his meetings with Obama and other Obama-era officials.

Memo 3 was one of those deemed to contain information classified at the “SECRET” level. In regards to this particular memo, Comey told the IG that he gave one copy to Rybicki, with instructions for Rybicki to show it to McCabe and Baker, while keeping the other copy in his desk drawer—located in his secure office. On May 10, 2017, the day immediately following Comey’s firing, a Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) was assigned to inventory the contents of Comey’s office. As noted in the IG report, “According to the inventory, no hard copies of any of the Memos were found in Comey’s office.”

Five days later, on May 15, 2017, following a conversation with Comey, Rybicki notified the SSA that there “were additional documents belonging to Comey stored in the reception area near the former Director’s office.” Among these documents were six of the original Comey Memos. According to the IG, this was the first time the SSA learned of the existence of the Comey Memos. Rybicki told the SSA that “he did not tell anyone about the Memos during the May 10 inventory because he understood that process to only include Comey’s office.”

Comey Violated FBI Policy

The IG found that “Comey’s actions violated Department or FBI policy, or the terms of Comey’s FBI Employment Agreement” and concluded that “Comey’s retention, handling, and dissemination of certain Memos violated Department and FBI policies, and his FBI Employment Agreement.”

The IG recognized that the “responsibility to protect sensitive law enforcement information falls in large part to the employees of the FBI who have access to it through their daily duties” and pointedly noted that “Comey failed to live up to this responsibility.”

The IG’s report also noted, “By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees—and the many thousands more former FBI employees—who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information.”

The IG provided a copy of his findings to the DOJ for a prosecutorial decision regarding Comey’s conduct. The DOJ declined prosecution. It is not known when the IG’s findings were first submitted to the DOJ. The IG then prepared this more comprehensive report that focused on whether Comey’s actions violated Department of FBI policy.

It was previously reported that the DOJ had declined prosecution of Comey. According to a source for Fox News, “Everyone at the DOJ involved in the decision said it wasn’t a close call,” one official said. “They all thought this could not be prosecuted.”

To underscore the difficulties the DOJ faced in pursuing a successful prosecution is the fact that Comey’s Memos were only classified by the FBI after Comey had leaked them. Additionally, the IG found no proof that “Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the Memos to members of the media.”

A failed prosecution at this juncture would prove problematic to the overall investigation of Spygate. The IG’s pending report on FISA abuse is far more important and potentially significantly more damning. (themarketswork.com, 8/30/2019)

(Republished with permission.)

August 7, 2019 – Top FBI Deputy Assistant Director who leaked to the media is reported to be Bryan Paarmann

The DOJ’s Combating Terrorism Center hosts Bryan Paarmann on October 6, 2017. (Credit: DOJ Combating Terrorism Center)

“Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a harsh summary report in May revealing that an FBI Deputy Assistant Director had numerous unauthorized contacts with the media, accepted gifts from journalists and disclosed the ‘existence’ of sensitive information under court seal to the media.

Several officials confirmed to SaraACarter.com this week that the unknown senior FBI official is Bryan Paarmann. Paarmann, who began his career with the bureau in 1996, was shuffled by FBI Director Christopher Wray in August, 2017 from his position as FBI Deputy Assistant Director of the International Operations Division to special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Division for the New York field office. He is currently on leave and his security clearance has been suspended, sources stated.

Horowitz did not name Paarmann in the investigative summary released in May, but instead referred to him as a Deputy Assistant Director. Horowitz’s investigation focused on the time Paarmann was working at the FBI’s Washington D.C. headquarters as the Deputy Assistant Director of the International Operations Division.

Horowitz stated in his summary that the Department of Justice declined to prosecute.

A senior DOJ official confirmed “that the decision by the Department of Justice to decline prosecution was made before William Barr was Attorney General.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 8/07/2019)

July 20, 2019 – Schiff says Inspector General Horowitz’s work is ‘tainted’ ahead of report on surveillance abuses

Adam Schiff speaks with moderator Kristen Welker with NBC News as part of the Aspen Security Forum on July 20, 2019. (Credit: Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times)

“House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) has pivoted from ‘deepfake doom‘ influencing the 2020 election, to downplaying an upcoming watchdog report by the DOJ’s Inspector General due sometime in September.

Speaking at the Aspen Security Conference (where he had a pow-wow with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson last July), Schiff claims that DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz was co-opted into a scheme to protect President Trump by instigating a “fast track” report last year at Trump’s behest, according to the Washington Examiner‘s Daniel Chaitin.

Schiff claimed the president wanted McCabe, who briefly took over as acting FBI director after Trump fired James Comey in May 2017, investigated and his pension taken away and suggested someone such as former Attorney General Rod Rosenstein obliged the president by making a referral.

“The inspector general found that McCabe was untruthful. He may very well have been untruthful,” the California Democrat said, but noted that is not where main his concern lies.

The initiation of the inspector general’s inquiry in McCabe happened, Schiff said, “because the president wanted it politically.” He added, “Once you go down that road, it leads to disaster.” –Washington Examiner

“I have no reason to question the inspector general’s conclusion, but that investigation was put on a fast track. It was separated from a broader inspector general investigation, which is still ongoing,” said Schiff. “Why was that done? It was done so he could be fired to not get a pension. It was done to please the president when the initiation investigation is tainted. So are the results of that investigation.” (Read more: Zero Hedge, 7/22/2019)

April 16, 2019 – Senators Grassley, Graham and Johnson ask AG Barr for a classified appendix to Horowitz’s previous report re various actions by the FBI and DOJ during the Clinton email investigation

From left to right, Senators Lindsey Graham, Charles Grassley and Ron Johnson (Credit: public domain)

“Three Senate committee chairmen are calling on the Justice Department to provide previously-sought information related to the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email server investigation. DOJ initially refused to furnish the information, citing the ongoing special counsel investigation. Following the conclusion of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson are renewing the request.

“Now that the Special Counsel’s investigation has concluded, we are unaware of any legitimate basis upon which the Department can refuse to answer the Judiciary Committee’s inquiries,” the senators wrote in an unclassified cover letter to Attorney General William Barr.

The chairmen’s request stems from a classified annex to a DOJ Inspector General report on the FBI’s investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for official business and mishandling of classified information. The unclassified portion of the report describes an FBI effort to review highly-classified material that was potentially relevant to its ongoing server investigation codenamed Midyear Exam. In May of 2016, around the same time then-FBI Director James Comey was drafting a statement exonerating Clinton, the FBI’s Midyear team wrote a memo seeking DOJ permission to review highly-classified information “necessary to complete the investigation,” according to the unclassified IG report. However, the memo was never sent to DOJ and the Midyear investigation was closed shortly thereafter. The classified annex includes additional detail about the information in question, its potential relevance to the Midyear investigation and the FBI’s justification for failing to review it.

In July of 2018, the Judiciary Committee requested a DOJ briefing to discuss questions raised by the classified annex, and followed up with a classified letter in October. However DOJ initially declined to provide the information, citing the ongoing special counsel investigation into matters related to Russian interference in the 2016 election. Now that the special counsel’s investigation has concluded, the chairmen are renewing their request for details on the FBI’s decision not to seek potentially-relevant information during the Midyear investigation.

Today the chairmen resubmitted the October 2018 classified letter to Attorney General Barr regarding the IG classified annex.  An unclassified cover letter accompanying the request follows:

April 16, 2019
VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION
The Honorable William Barr
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20530
Dear Attorney General Barr:
On October 17, 2018, the Judiciary Committee sent a classified letter to the Justice Department regarding the Inspector General’s classified appendix to its report titled, “A Review of Various Actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice in Advance of the 2016 Election.”  As noted on page 154 of Chapter 5 of the Inspector General’s unclassified report, the classified appendix raises significant issues associated with the FBI’s failure to review certain highly classified information in support of its Midyear investigation.[1]  In particular, the Inspector General noted that it learned that the FBI acquired classified material that “may have included information potentially relevant to the Midyear investigation.”  The FBI even drafted a memorandum in May of 2016 stating that access to the information was “necessary to complete the investigation.”  However, that memorandum was never completed.  During the Inspector General’s investigation, when FBI witnesses were interviewed by the Inspector General, they took the position that the information would not materially impact the conclusion.  That explanation is inconsistent with the memorandum’s self-identified purpose and demands clarification.
Furthermore, on July 31, 2018, the Judiciary Committee requested a briefing on the steps the Department has taken, or plans to take, in light of the report’s findings.  In a subsequent phone call with Department personnel on September 17, 2018, the Department declined to brief the Judiciary Committee, asserting without any clear basis, that it would interfere with Special Counsel Mueller’s equities.  Now that the Special Counsel’s investigation has concluded, we are unaware of any legitimate basis upon which the Department can refuse to answer the Judiciary Committee’s inquiries.
Accordingly, we are reissuing the attached classified letter regarding the important questions raised by the appendix and reiterating our request for a classified briefing on the subject.  Please respond to these questions no later than April 26, 2019.  Should you have questions, please have your staff contact Zachary Somers of Chairman Graham’s staff at 202-224-5225, Joshua Flynn-Brown of Chairman Grassley’s staff at 202-224-4515, or Joseph Folio of Chairman Johnson’s staff at 202-224-4751.[2]
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Sincerely,
Lindsey O. Graham
Chairman
Committee on the Judiciary
Charles E. Grassley
Chairman
Committee on Finance
Ron Johnson
Chairman
Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs
cc:
   The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
   The Honorable Gary C. Peters
   The Honorable Ron Wyden
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[1] Unclassified Inspector General Report, p. 154.  “In addition, as we describe in the classified appendix to this report, the OIG learned near the end of our review that the FBI had considered obtaining permission from the Department to review certain classified materials that may have included information potentially relevant to the Midyear investigation.  Although the Midyear team drafted a memorandum to the Deputy Attorney General in late May 2016 stating that review of the highly classified materials was necessary to complete the investigation and requesting permission to access them, the FBI never sent this request to the Department.  FBI witnesses told us that they did not seek access to these classified materials for various reasons, including that they believed this information would not materially impact the conclusion.  The classified appendix describes in more detail the highly classified information, its potential relevance to the Midyear investigation, the FBI’s reasons for not seeking access to it, and our analysis.”
[2] Chairman Johnson joins these requests as a continuation of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s oversight of these issues.  See S. Rule XXV(k); S. Res. 445, 108th Cong. (2004); S. Res. 70, 116th Cong. § 12(e)(1)(A) ( 2019).

(Grassley/Senate, 4/16/2019)

December 11, 2018 – A DOJ IG report claims all Strzok/Page text messages sent while working for Mueller, were deleted

(Credit: public domain)

“Department of Justice investigators were unable to recover text messages Peter Strzok and Lisa Page sent during their short tenure on the special counsel’s investigation, according to a report released Thursday by the DOJ’s office of the inspector general (OIG).

(…) The new OIG report focuses mostly on a five-month gap in messages between Strzok and Page. When investigators began looking at Strzok and Page’s FBI-issued phones, they found no messages from Dec. 13, 2016, to May 17, 2017, the same day Mueller was appointed special counsel.

The FBI chalked the missing text messages up to a glitch that affected the message retention system on many FBI-issued phones. Government forensic analysts were able to recover many texts from the missing period. The OIG did not dispute the FBI’s claims about why the messages were missing from the phones.

The phone Strzok used while he was on the Mueller team was inspected by a records officer with the special counsel, who found no “substantive” messages on the device. Page’s device was only recovered by the inspector general in September. It had been reset to factory settings July 31, 2017.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 12/13/2018)   (OIG Report, December 2018)