DOJ OIG

July 23, 2019 – James Comey is under DOJ Investigation for misleading Trump while targeting him In FBI probe

“Former FBI Director James Comey has been under investigation for misleading President Trump – telling him in private that he wasn’t the target of an ongoing FBI probe, while refusing to admit to this in public.

According to RealClearInvestigations‘ Paul Sperry, “Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz will file a report in September which contains evidence that “Comey was misleading the president” while conducting an active investigation against him.

Even as he repeatedly assured Trump that he was not a target, the former director was secretly trying to build a conspiracy case against the president, while at times acting as an investigative agent.RCI

According to two US officials familiar with Horowitz’s upcoming report on FBI misconduct, Comey was essentially “running a covert operation” against Trump – which began with a private “defensive briefing” shortly after the inauguration. RCI‘s sources say that Horowitz has poured over text messages between the FBI’s former top-brass and other communications suggesting that Comey was in fact conducting a “counterintelligence assessment” of the president during their January 2017 meeting in New York.

(…) Sperry notes that Comey wasn’t working in isolation on the Trump effort. In particular, Horowitz has looked at the January 6, 2017 briefing on the infamous ‘Steele Dossier’ – a meeting which was used by BuzzFeed, CNN and others to legitimize reporting on the dossier’s salacious and unsubstantiated claims.

Comey’s meeting with Trump took place one day after the FBI director met in the Oval Office with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to discuss how to brief Trump — a meeting attended by National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who would soon go to work for CNN. -RCI

While Comey claims in his book, “A Higher Loyalty” that he didn’t have “a counterintelligence case file open on [Trump],” former federal prosecutor and National Review columnist Andrew McCarthy notes that just because Trump’s name wasn’t on a formal file or surveillance warrant doesn’t mean that he wasn’t under investigation.

“They were hoping to surveil him incidentally, and they were trying to make a case on him,” said McCarthy. “The real reason Comey did not want to repeat publicly the assurances he made to Trump privately is that these assurances were misleading. The FBI strung Trump along, telling him he was not a suspect while structuring the investigation in accordance with the reality that Trump was the main subject.”

What’s more, the FBI couldn’t treat Trump as a suspect – formally, as they didn’t have the legal grounds to do so according to former FBI counterintelligence lawyer Mark Wauck. “They had no probable cause against Trump himself for ‘collusion’ or espionage,” he said, adding “They were scrambling to come up with anything to hang a hat on, but had found nothing.”

What remains unclear is why Comey would take such extraordinary steps against a sitting president. The Mueller report concluded there was no basis for the Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories. Comey himself was an early skeptic of the Steele dossier — the opposition research memos paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign that were the road map of collusion theories – which he dismissed as “salacious and unverified.” -RCI

(Read more: Zero Hedge, 7/23/2019)

July 5, 2019 – Reluctant witnesses in FISA abuse probe agree to talk to DOJ inspector general

Michael Horowitz (Credit: Getty Images)

“Key witnesses sought for questioning by Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz early in his investigation into alleged government surveillance abuse have come forward at the 11th hour, Fox News has learned.

Sources familiar with the matter said at least one witness outside the Justice Department and FBI started cooperating — a breakthrough that came after Attorney General William Barr ordered U.S. Attorney John Durham to lead a separate investigation into the origins of the bureau’s 2016 Russia case that laid the foundation for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

While the investigative phase of the inspector general’s long-running probe is said to be complete, the sources said recent developments required some witnesses to be reinterviewed. And while Barr testified that he expected the report into alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuse to be ready in May or last month, multiple sources said the timeline has slipped.

(…) A spokesman for Horowitz would not comment on the report’s status. But during largely unrelated testimony in November, Horowitz offered some guidance for the timeline of the FISA abuse probe in response to questions from GOP Rep. Jim Jordan.

“What I can say is given the volume of documents we’ve had and the number of witnesses it looks like we’ll need to interview, we are likely to be in the same sort of general range of documents and witnesses as the last report,” Horowitz said, referring to his team’s review of the Clinton email case. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we are in that million or so plus range of documents and a hundred-ish or so interviews. The last review, as you know, took us about … 16 months or so.” (Read more: Fox News, 7/05/2019)

June 3-4, 2019 – IG Horowitz investigators interview Chris Steele

“Comey FBI apologist, Fusion GPS co-conspirator and Lawfare Alliance media narrative engineer, Natasha Bertrand, has an outline published today on the background interview of dossier author Christopher Steele.

From within the article, beyond the sympathetic propaganda, some overarching details are interesting:

♦(1) As expected Mr. Steele would only talk to OIG investigators from Horowitz’s office; Steele would not speak to U.S. Attorney John Durham.

♦(2) The interview took place at the same time President Trump traveled to the U.K (June 3rd-5th) for a state visit.  Likely coordinated so FBI officials could travel innocuously without media scrutiny (lots of security officials traveled on behalf of U.S. interests at the time); likely the preferred timing of Steele himself.

♦(3) The interview(s) took place over two days for a total of sixteen hours of conversation. The recent reports of IG delay and follow-up interviews are almost certainly related to the outcome of the investigative findings (ie. Kathleen Kavalec cooperation etc.).

♦(4) Current officials within the DOJ/FBI; with obvious interests related to the corrupt activity surrounding the FBI and DOJ use of Steele (ie. McCabe and Comey apologists); are leaking the content of the investigative interviews to their notorious Lawfare Alliance media cohorts, ie. Natasha Bertrand.

WASHINGTON DC – Christopher Steele, the former British spy behind the infamous “dossier” on President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, was interviewed for 16 hours in June by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The interview is part of an ongoing investigation that the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, has been conducting for the past year. Specifically, Horowitz has been examining the FBI’s efforts to surveil a one-time Trump campaign adviser based in part on information from Steele, an ex-British MI6 agent who had worked with the bureau as a confidential source since 2010.

The extensive, two-day interview took place in London while Trump was in Britain for a state visit, the sources said, and delved into Steele’s extensive work on Russian interference efforts globally, his intelligence-collection methods and his findings about Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, who the FBI ultimately surveilled. The FBI’s decision to seek a surveillance warrant against Page — a warrant they applied for and obtained after Page had already left the campaign — is the chief focus of the probe by Horowitz.

The interview was contentious at first, the sources added, but investigators ultimately found Steele’s testimony credible and even surprising. The takeaway has irked some U.S. officials interviewed as part of the probe — they argue that it shouldn’t have taken a foreign national to convince the inspector general that the FBI acted properly in 2016. Steele’s American lawyer was present for the conversation.  (read more)

Adam Waldman (l) and Christopher Steele (Credit: public domain)

Steele’s American lawyer is likely Adam Waldman (far left), the same U.S. lawyer/lobbyist who was working to put Steele in touch with SSCI Vice-Chairman Mark Warner in 2017.

Attorney Waldman has interests in alignment with the Lawfare network and direct connection to Daniel Jones, Dianne Feinstein’s former chief-of-staff who also took millions from resistance operatives (more Lawfare and Fusion-GPS allies) to continue funding Steele’s work afer the Trump inauguration.

Attorney Adam Waldman was also the lawyer representing Oleg Deripaska (pictured above on right); who we now know was paying Christopher Steele for research in 2016 while Steele was writing the dossier.

It’s one big convoluted network of allied interests, mixed with current and former DOJ and FBI officials who have a self-interest in hiding their illicit behavior.  Almost all of the people within this network have ideological allies in the media, and depending on the subject issue at hand they are described in relative terms:

“Beach friends” (Christine Blasey Ford); “Lawfare Alliance” (Benjamin Wittes et al); FBI Washington Field Office and Main Justice officials are all part of this group and were also the officials within the Mueller probe.   This network is all the same people, running in the same circles, meeting at the same parties, vacationing in the same areas and leaking to the same primary media contacts to project their narrative and defend their interests.

The article in Politico by Natasha Bertrand is a singular example. Quite simply this entire network is confident in their outlook that all of their behavior operates above the law.

Unfortunately, if the tone of the article is generally their position, it would appear they feel remarkably confident the investigation by IG Horowitz is nothing to fear.  This overall outlook is bolstered by the historic track record of the OIG with regard to the two most recent investigative summaries: (1) Andrew McCabe leaking to media, and (2) DOJ and FBI conduct in the Hillary Clinton investigation.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 7/09/2019)

January 23, 2019 – Opinion: FBI Special Agent Joseph Pientka Is the DOJ’s Invisible Man

Christopher Steele and Bruce Ohr (Credit: public domain)

(…) “The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [FISC] was not alerted to the fact that much of the information in the surveillance warrant on Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page was being provided by paid political propagandists employed by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

To continue receiving Trump-Russia collusion propaganda from opposition research firm Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele—who had been hired by Fusion GPS on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC—the FBI established a back-channel through former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr at the Department of Justice. After every meeting with Steele, Ohr would sit down for an interview with FBI Special Agent Joseph Pientka, who would fill out official FD-302 interview forms to pass on the information within the FBI.

(…) It seems something spooked the SpyGate plotters into presenting an appearance of drawing back from Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS while still surreptitiously using that political propaganda shop as a source for their ongoing investigations.

This back-channel allowed the FBI to hide Fusion GPS’s—and the Clinton campaign’s–role in providing much of the “evidence” being used to drive these politically-motivated investigations of Trump and his associates.

So why Bruce Ohr? Because he was a top official inside the Department of Justice and close to the DOJ’s National Security Division [NSD].

The point was to launder Fusion GPS’s Trump-Russia allegations through Ohr to Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and lead agent on the Trump case, Peter Strzok, so it could be claimed the information was coming from a legitimate intelligence source instead of from paid political propagandists working for Hillary Clinton.

This means it’s highly likely that when Bruce Ohr’s personal notes from his meetings with Fusion GPS are compared with the official FD-302 interview forms that Agent Pientka filled out following his interviews with Ohr, they are not going to match when it comes to what the stated source was for the Trump-Russia information.

For Pientka to write down on the 302 forms that this information on Trump-Russia he was being given by Ohr was still coming from the Fusion GPS boys after the FBI had supposedly severed all ties with them would have defeated the entire reason for going to the trouble of establishing a backchannel in the first place.

Investigative journalist John Solomon of The Hill has stated in his reports that he has been shown Ohr’s handwritten notes that he made during his talks with Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele. So in his own notes, Ohr made it clear who he was talking to and where he was getting these allegations from.

So now the $56,000 question: What do the FD-302 forms Pientka filled out actually say about where the Trump-Russia allegations came from? Do the interview forms admit the allegations were coming from a politically motivated propaganda shop, or do they claim the information came from politically neutral intelligence sources?

I’ve no doubt that at some time in the past year and a half, the DOJ Inspector General’s office sat Pientka down for extensive and detailed interviews about his dual roles in both the Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn affair (he and Strzok interviewed Flynn), and with the Fusion GPS back-channel to the FBI. What he told them must have been incredibly sensitive, since nobody has publicly seen or heard from Pientka all this time, even though House and Senate committees have requested that the DOJ produce him for testimony.  Whatever Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz’s investigators discovered in their interviews with Pientka, they are keeping a very tight lid on it.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/23/2019)

December 28, 2018 – Goodlatte and Gowdy recommend a second counsel to continue investigating the investigators of Hillary Clinton’s emails and Trump Russia collusion

Bob Goodlatte and Trey Gowdy recommended a second special counsel to continue their work in March 2018. (Credit: Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg)

“The outgoing Republican committee chairmen in charge of a year-long probe of how the FBI and Justice Department handled investigations into the Trump campaign’s alleged Russia ties and Hillary Clinton’s emails once again called for a second special counsel to look into such matters in a letter to top administration and congressional officials summing up their work.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., sent their letter to acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. In it, they encouraged them to pick up where the House panels left off and “continue to identify and eliminate bias” at the federal law enforcement agencies “so the public can trust the institutions to make decisions solely on the facts and the law and totally devoid of political bias or consideration.”

“Our 2016 presidential candidates were not treated equally,” Goodlatte and Gowdy wrote in a statement accompanying the release of the letter. “The investigators in both investigations were biased against President Trump.”

The House GOP leaned heavily on details in an inspector general report released earlier this year to make their arguments about bias having infected the FBI and DOJ’s proceedings. The IG’s report found that while certain individuals, such as former top FBI counterintelligence officer Peter Strzok, displayed clear personal bias against Trump, there was no evidence that the conclusions of the investigations themselves were biased.” (Read more: Chicago Tribune, 12/28/2018)

December 20, 2018 – Federal Court refuses to unseal documents justifying FBI raid on reported Clinton Foundation whistleblower

“A federal court refused to unseal government documents that permitted the FBI to raid the home of a reportedly recognized whistleblower who, according to his lawyer, delivered documents pertaining to the Clinton Foundation and Uranium One to a presidentially appointed watchdog.

The U.S. District Court of Maryland’s Chief Magistrate Judge Beth P. Gesner, a Clinton appointee, also sealed her justification for keeping the documents secret in a single-page Dec. 20 order.

On Nov. 15, federal Magistrate Judge Stephanie Gallagher authorized the raid on Dennis Cain’s Union Bridge, Maryland, home. She sealed the government documents justifying it.

The Daily Caller News Foundation asked Gallagher on Nov. 29 to unseal the documents, noting that Cain’s attorney has said his client, a former employee of an FBI contractor, is a recognized whistleblower. The documents should be released in light of “an urgent public interest” surrounding the case, TheDCNF wrote.

Attorneys and experts who defend government whistleblowers told TheDCNF the court should disclose whether prosecutors told Gallagher that Cain was a protected whistleblower under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act.

Cain enjoyed his whistleblower status as early as last summer when he handed over documents to Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz, according to Cain’s lawyer, Michael Socarras. Horowitz instructed a top aide to personally hand-deliver the documents to the House and Senate intelligence committees, the attorney said.

The documents reportedly show that federal officials failed to investigate potential criminal activity regarding the Clinton Foundation and Rosatom, the Russian company that purchased Uranium One. (Read more: The Daily Caller, 1/27/2019)

November 19, 2018 – Opinion: Questions grow about FBI vetting of Christopher Steele’s Russia expertise

Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with Hillary Clinton during the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016, in St Louis, Missouri. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By: John Solomon

(…) “Both the DOJ’s inspector general and multiple committees in Congress are investigating whether the FBI properly handled the Trump-Russia collusion case or whether it fell prey to political pressure and shoddy investigative work, as congressional Republicans and President Trump himself claim.

The FBI has an obligation to submit only verified information to support a FISA warrant.

If the FBI failed to perform the sort of due diligence required to ensure that Steele’s expertise on Russia was reliable and that his dossier was verified, it would mark a massive failure in the FISA process.

There are growing warning signs that the FBI may have rushed its due diligence on Steele’s Russia work product, perhaps in part because it had enjoyed an earlier successful relationship in a corruption case involving European soccer.

My sources tell me that FBI counterintelligence analyst Jon Moffa recently told congressional investigators in a transcribed interview that the bureau was still trying to verify the Steele dossier when it was submitted as evidence for the FISA warrant.

“Our work on verifying facts of the FISA would have been — facts of the reporting would have been ongoing at the time the FISA was generated,” Moffa told House investigators, according to the transcript.

Moffa’s statement isn’t the only red flag.

From my earlier reporting, we know that former FBI lawyer Lisa Page told Congress this past summer that in May 2017seven months after the FISA warrant was issued, and nine months after the Russia probe was started — the FBI had not corroborated the main allegation in Steele’s dossier about collusion between Moscow and the Trump.

And former FBI Director James Comey testified in June 2017 that the dossier was considered unverified and salacious.

Yet it was used as evidence to justify the FBI spying on the campaign of a duly-elected GOP presidential nominee’s campaign, even though it started as political opposition research paid for by the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.” (Read more: The Hill, 11/19/2018)

August 26, 2018 – House task force interviews FBI official, Jonathan Moffa, about Clinton emails

(Credit: Kelo)

“House lawmakers interviewed an FBI official on Friday, part of an ongoing congressional investigation into the bureau’s probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

A congressional source confirmed to the Washington Examiner that the Judiciary and Oversight Committees met privately with FBI official Jonathan Moffa at the end of the week — the latest in a line of interviews conducted by the joint task force looking into the FBI’s controversial handling of the inquiry into the former secretary of state’s unauthorized server.

Moffa was mentioned in an April letter sent to Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., who took note of emails from February 2016 that suggested Justice Department coordination with the FBI before ex-FBI Director James Comey publicly recommend in July that no charges be brought against Clinton, who was then a candidate for president.

In the letter, first reported by Fox News, Meadows pointed to emails found on Clinton’s server with “Top Secret” information that indicated Comey may have misled Congress when he testified that there was no DOJ-FBI coordination at “crucial moments of the investigation.” One of those emails from an unidentified senior Justice Department official sent to Peter Strzok, the former FBI official who led the Clinton probe and was recently fired for his anti-Trump texting; Moffa, an official in the FBI’s criminal division and the bureau’s Office of General Counsel; and members of the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia, discussed being “kept in the loop as [a] response is drafted.”

The Judiciary-Oversight joint task force also reportedly set up interviews with at least three other FBI officials earlier this summer, including with Bill Priestap, the assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, and Michael Steinbach, the former head of the FBI’s national security division, and John Giacalone, who preceded Steinbach.

Despite protests from across the aisle, the GOP-led task force isn’t done yet. According to Bloomberg, lawmakers will privately interview former top FBI lawyer James Baker on Aug. 30. (Read more: Washington Examiner, 8/26/2018)

June 14, 2018 – “Foreign Actors” obtain access to some of Clinton’s emails

(Credit: Fox News)

“Foreign actors” obtained access to some of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails — including at least one email classified as “secret” — according to a new memo from two GOP-led House committees and an internal FBI email.

Fox News obtained the memo prepared by the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, which lays out key interim findings ahead of next week’s hearing with Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. The IG, separately, is expected to release his highly anticipated report on the Clinton email case later Thursday.

The House committees, which conducted a joint probe into decisions made by the DOJ in 2016 and 2017, addressed a range of issues in their memo including Clinton’s email security.

“Documents provided to the Committees show foreign actors obtained access to some of Mrs. Clinton’s emails — including at least one email classified ‘Secret,’” the memo says, adding that foreign actors also accessed the private accounts of some Clinton staffers.

The memo does not say who the foreign actors are, or what material was obtained, but it notes that secret information is defined as information that, if disclosed, could “reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to the national security.” (Read more: Fox News, 6/14/2018) 

March 29, 2018 – Excerpts of Sessions letter to Congress reveals his assignment of prosecutor John W. Huber and his work with IG Horowitz

Jeff Sessions (Credit: public domain)

(…) “As you are aware, I have asked the Department’s Inspector General, Michael E. Horowitz, to review certain matters that you and some members of your committees have raised in recent and previous letters. In addition to his ongoing investigation, the Inspector General has now confirmed that he has opened a review into the Department’s compliance with certain legal requirements and Department and FBI policies and procedures with respect to certain applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.”

(…) “To carry out these duties, Title 5 of the United States Code provides the Inspector General with broad discretion and significant investigative powers. The office currently employs approximately 470 staff, a significant number of whom are lawyers, auditors, and investigators who may exercise wide discretion on matters under their jurisdiction. If the Inspector General finds evidence of criminal wrongdoing, he may refer it to a United States Attorney who can then convene a grand jury or take other appropriate actions. To be clear, the Inspector General has the authority to investigate allegations of wrongdoing, collect evidence through subpoena, and develop cases for presentation to the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General for prosecution or other action. The Inspector General also may, under appropriate circumstances, make information available to the public even if no criminal or disciplinary action is recommended. In contrast, this type of information would not normally be publicly available after the conclusion of a traditional criminal investigation.”

(…) “As noted in Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd’s November 13, 2017 letter to the House Committee on the Judiciary, I already have directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues previously raised by the Committee. In that letter, Mr. Boyd stated:

“These senior prosecutors will report directly to the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General, as appropriate, and will make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of a Special Counsel.”

Specifically, I asked United States Attorney John W. Huber to lead this effort. Mr. Huber is an experienced federal prosecutor who was twice confirmed unanimously by the Senate as United States Attorney for the District of Utah in 2015 and 2017. Mr. Huber previously served in leadership roles within the U.S.Attorney’s Office as the National Security Section Chief and the Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney. He has personally prosecuted a number of high-profile cases and coordinated task forces focused against violent crime and terrorism. This work garnered commendations from the highest levels of the Department over the course of two administrations.” Letter, 3/29/2018)