Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)

November 22, 2019 – FBI lawyer referred for criminal prosecution by Horowitz was primary FBI attorney on Trump-Russia case

Kevin Clinesmith (Credit: Facebook)

“A former FBI attorney reportedly referred for criminal prosecution by Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz—for allegedly altering an email connected to the surveillance warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page—was assigned in early 2017 as “the primary FBI attorney assigned” to the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into alleged Russian election interference.

The lawyer, who has been identified as Kevin Clinesmith in media reports, had been incorrectly portrayed by many members of the media as a “low-level” or junior member of the FBI’s legal team.

Text messages obtained by Horowitz, covered in a June 2018 report, showed that Clinesmith had a strong bias against Trump, texting “Viva le resistance” following Trump’s election as well as: “my god damned name is all over the legal documents investigating his staff.”

Clinesmith worked on both the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the Trump-Russia investigation. He would also later become a member of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and was one of the FBI officials—along with FBI Agent Peter Strzok—who was removed by Mueller after IG Horowitz discovered FBI text messages expressing political bias against Trump.

The New York Times reported on Nov. 22, that Clinesmith was removed from the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation in February 2018 and resigned from the FBI “about two months ago.”

Clinesmith has reportedly been referred for criminal prosecution by Horowitz for altering “an email that officials used to prepare to seek court approval to renew the wiretap”—also known as the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) renewal—on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, the New York Times reported.

(…) According to the NYT article, the “paperwork associated with the renewal applications contained information that should have been left out, and vice versa.” Clinesmith reportedly altered an email that “was a factor during the wiretap renewal process.”

Clinesmith allegedly “took an email from an official at another federal agency that contained several factual assertions, then added material to the bottom that looked like another assertion from the email’s author, when it was instead his own understanding.”

This altered email was then included in a package that was prepared for another FBI official to read in “preparation for signing an affidavit,” that was to be submitted to the FISA Court “attesting to the facts and analysis” in the application. ” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 11/24/2019)  (Archive)

November 22, 2019 – Durham probe expands to Pentagon office that contracted FBI spy Stephan Halper

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

“Justice Department prosecutor U.S. Attorney John Durham is questioning personnel connected to the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, which awarded multiple contracts to FBI informant Stephan Halper. Halper, who was informing the bureau on Trump campaign advisors, is a central figure in the FBI’s original investigation into President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, SaraACarter.com has learned.

(…) Multiple sources confirmed to this news site that Durham has spoken extensively with sources working in the Office of Net Assessment, as well as outside contractors, that were paid through the Pentagon office.

(…) In 2016, Halper was an integral part of the FBI’s investigation into short-term Trump campaign volunteer, Carter Page, and George Papadopolous. Halper first made contact with Page at his seminar in July 2016. Page, who was already on the FBI’s radar, was accused at the time of being sympathetic to Russia. Halper stayed in contact with Page until September 2017.

(…) According to the DoD Inspector General’s report the Office of Net Assessment (ONA) Contracting Officer’s Representatives (CORs) “did not maintain documentation of the work performed by Professor Halper or any communication that ONA personnel had with Professor Halper; therefore, ONA CORs could not provide sufficient documentation that Professor Halper conducted all of his work in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. We determined that while the ONA CORs established a file to maintain documents, they did not maintain sufficient documentation to comply with all the FAR requirements related to having a complete COR.” (Read more: Sara Carter, 11/22/2019)   (Archive)

November 21, 2019 – Former FBI lawyer allegedly alters document in Carter Page FISA application; Rod Rosenstein once testified to FISA alterations

Michael Horowitz (Credit: public domain)

“An FBI official is under criminal investigation after allegedly altering a document related to 2016 surveillance of a Trump campaign adviser, several people briefed on the matter told CNN.

The possibility of a substantive change to an investigative document is likely to fuel accusations from President Donald Trump and his allies that the FBI committed wrongdoing in its investigation of connections between Russian election meddling and the Trump campaign.

The finding is expected to be part of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s review of the FBI’s effort to obtain warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide. Horowitz will release the report next month.

Horowitz turned over evidence on the allegedly altered document to John Durham, the federal prosecutor appointed early this year by Attorney General William Barr to conduct a broad investigation of intelligence gathered for the Russia probe by the CIA and other agencies, including the FBI. The altered document is also at least one focus of Durham’s criminal probe.

It’s unknown how significant a role the altered document played in the FBI’s investigation of Page and whether the FISA warrant would have been approved without the document. The alterations were significant enough to have shifted the document’s meaning and came up during a part of Horowitz’s FISA review where details were classified, according to the sources. (Read more: CNN, 11/21/2019)  (Archive)

November 8, 2019 – Lawfare founder, Benjamin Wittes, tweets “he is proud to know Lisa Page and call her a friend”

Lawfare founder Benjamin Wittes sent a curious tweet appearing to defend former DOJ lawyer Lisa Page; who was previously assigned to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. The tweet comes out of the blue; and there’s nothing currently in the public sphere or headlines about Ms. Page. It seems rather odd:

My hunch is Ms. Page may have spoken honestly to Horowitz or Durham about her experience as part of the ‘small group’.  If accurate, and considering McCabe threw Page under the bus to protect himself against an internal investigation about his media leaks, Ms. Page’s current disposition may very well be adverse to the interests of the coup plotters.   [Additionally, Ms. Page had no involvement with the FBI FISA construct.]

Michael Bromwich is Andrew McCabe’s attorney.  Bromwich is a Lawfare member.

Perhaps the former Deputy Director is being positioned as the ‘fall guy’. (Conservative Treehouse, 11/08/2019)

November 5, 2019 – DOJ prosecutors overseeing the Flynn case, Jessie K. Liu and Brandon Van Grack, admit to “mistakenly” attributing wrong notes to wrong FBI agents

Prosecutor Brandon Van Grack sends a letter to Flynn’s defense team today containing a stunning, almost impossible to comprehend, admission of a mistake central to the claims of the prosecution.  In March 2018 the FBI presented notes taken by agents Pientka and Strzok, now they say they made a ‘mistake’.

For almost two years the DOJ misidentified, misattributed, and never corrected that the authors of the Flynn interview notes were actually reversed.  All of the notes attributed to FBI Agent Peter Strzok actually were taken by FBI Agent Joseph Pientka, and vice-versa:

What kind of f**kery is this?  The DOJ never confirmed the authorship of the FBI notes that are central to the FD-302, upon which the entire prosecution claim of Flynn lying to investigators is based? …Seriously?

The entire FBI case against Flynn; meaning the central element that he lied to FBI investigators (he didn’t); is predicated on the FD-302 interview reports generated by the two FBI agents; later discovered to have been edited, shaped and approved by Andrew McCabe….  And for almost two years the entire outline of their documented evidence has been misattributed?

C’mon man.  This is sketchy as heck.

Obviously what triggered this re-review of the notes was a smart sur-surreply from the defense that highlighted how Peter Strzoks notes were far too neat, organized and well constructed to have been written during an actual interview. [SEE HERE]

For the prosecution to now reverse course and say the agent attribution was transposed, is either the biggest screw-up in a high profile case…. OR, the prosecution now needs to reverse the note-takers due to the exact, and common sense, reasons highlighted by the defense.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 11/05/2019)  (Archive)

UPDATE:

Michael Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, appears on Fox Late Night to discuss the stunning letter from the DOJ that for the past two years they have attributed the wrong notes to the wrong FBI agent. – Conservative Treehouse

October 30, 2019 – Andrew McCabe refuses to discuss FBI verification of the Clinton/DNC/Steele Dossier

“Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe refused to say Wednesday what parts of the Steele dossier the FBI verified before using the salacious document in surveillance warrant applications to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

McCabe, a CNN analyst, appeared on a panel with former CIA officials John Brennan, John McLaughlin and Michael Morell to discuss the intelligence community’s role in the 2020 election.

A journalist asked McCabe during a Q&A session to describe what parts of the dossier, authored by former British spy Christopher Steele, the FBI verified before using it in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications to spy on Page.

“Would you be able to say with specificity what the FBI verified in the Steele dossier before using it in FISA applications?” Jerry Dunleavy, a reporter at the Washington Examiner, asked McCabe.

“Specifically, what was verified in the dossier before it was used?” Dunleavy added.

McCabe was succinct and abrupt.

“So the answer to your first question is ‘no,’” he said, “I will not go into specificity about what the FBI verified prior to the FISA or after.”

(Read more: The Daily Caller, 10/31/2019)

October 29, 2019 – Judicial Watch obtains emails between Bruce Ohr, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page —DOJ is still withholding a majority of these communications

(Graphic Credit: Truthfeed)

“Judicial Watch announced today it received through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit 13 pages out of 42 responsive pages of communications between former FBI official Peter Strzok and DOJ official Bruce Ohr that the DOJ claimed previously it could not find.

(…) In the lawsuit, Judicial Watch challenged the DOJ’s extraordinary claim that there were no records of communications between Strzok and Ohr in light of the preeminent role both individuals played in the anti-Trump collusion investigation. In addition, Ohr himself testified before Congress that he did, in fact, meet and communicate with Strzok.

The documents show contact between Ohr and Strzok in the weeks after the 2016 presidential election, during the presidential transition, and in the days following President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page arranges a November 21, 2016, meeting from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at FBI headquarters. “Required attendees” include Ohr, Strzok, and FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Jonathan Moffa.

On November 29, 2016, Ohr attempts to arrange a meeting between Strzok, Page, himself, and Deputy Assistant Attorney General (Criminal Division) Bruce Swartz.

Ohr writes to Strzok and Page under the subject Meeting with Bruce Swartz: “Thanks again for taking the time to chat today. As I mentioned, I would like to set up a short meeting for us with Bruce Swartz. Would next Monday at 5:30 p.m. work? Also, is there any chance you guys could come over to our building?”

Page responds: “Unfortunately, Pete is briefing HPSCI [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] from 5-6:30 on Monday. Just about any other time that day would work. And we’re happy to come to you (especially because Bruce S. always has good snacks…)” [smile emoticon]

Ohr responds to Page: “No problem – is 6:30 (or later) that day too late? Otherwise we may be into the next week. I will ensure the snacks are up to snuff!”

Page writes to Ohr at 5:46 p.m.: “Unfortunately, it is. Have a flight later that night. Sorry about that.”

Ohr responds at 6:32 p.m.: “Got it. I’ll find a few dates/times for the week after and shoot them to you.”

A meeting with importance classified as “high” is scheduled for December 5, 2016. Strzok, Ohr and Swartz are scheduled to meet from 5:30 to 6 p.m. at Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) 2213, and later is canceled.

On January 4, 2017, a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) official in the Office of Special Measures [a unit within FinCEN set up to sanction foreign and domestic financial institutions] forwards to Ohr an unclassified but fully redacted FinCEN document, which Ohr then forwards to Strzok on February 1, 2017.

Ohr writes to Strzok: “Pete – As we discussed. I will forward the classified document as well, as well as one more unclassified document.”

January 30, 2017, FinCEN sent protected information and its password to [Redacted].

On February 1, 2017, at 2:11 pm Lisa Holtyn, Ohr’s assistant, sends to members of Bruce Ohr’s former team at Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) password protected information from FinCEN, saying “I’ll send the password separately.” Minutes later, she sends the same email to Bruce Ohr. Seconds after that, Ohr forwards the email to Strzok, followed by the password.

“Ohr and Strzok clearly were working regularly with each other during the time the illicit Spygate operation heated up against President Trump,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It speaks volumes that Judicial Watch was forced to drag the DOJ and FBI into court in order to force the agency to admit to documents they’ve obviously had all along.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 10/29/2019)  (Archive)

Sarah Carter writes in August 2018:

(…) “Ohr stated during his hours-long testimony that the FBI failed to disclose this pertinent information to the nation’s secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) when it sought an application to spy on Page. The FBI also failed to disclose that when it sought the application, it was using senior Justice Department official, Bruce Ohr as a cut-out for a source the bureau had terminated.

Ohr had also communicated with senior members of the FBI, including former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, FBI attorney Lisa Page, and former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, at the bureau but stated that his superiors at the Justice Department were not aware that he was being used as a source for the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign, according to sources who spoke to SaraACarter.com.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 8/31/2018)

October 25, 2019 – Lee Smith: Deep State used ‘criminal conspiracy’ to stop Flynn’s audit of intelligence agencies

“A multifaceted “criminal conspiracy” to destroy former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was launched by persons across the national security state apparatus to prevent audits of intelligence agencies’ operations, said Lee Smith, author of The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in U.S. History, in a Friday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with host Rebecca Mansour and special guest host Rick Manning.

“General Flynn’s lawyer, Sydney Powell, has done a fantastic job of unearthing a whole bunch of new information which clarifies what we’ve known — what we’ve suspected — for quite a long time, that large parts of the intelligence community targeted General Flynn,” Smith stated.

Smith added, “Sydney Powell has brought forth a whole bunch of important information … about how they tinkered with the FBI’s interviews. They also ambushed General Flynn in the White House for an interview, and we know how that went down. It was James Comey who asked his deputy director Andy McCabe to send agents down there to go after General Flynn.

Smith remarked, “Keep in mind, this is a very, very large operation against General Flynn that started long before Donald Trump was elected, and this was the other terrific thing that Sydney Powell has done with her work.”

“Stefan Halper, who was identified by the Washington Post and the New York Times as the confidential human source who was sent to spy on the Trump campaign,” noted Smith. “Now, what Sydney Powell has found, is that he had a handler at the Pentagon. So we’re talking about the Department of Justice, we’re talking about the FBI, but we’re also talking about the Pentagon. We are talking about a number of different agencies involved in targeting General Flynn.” (Read more: Breitbart, 10/25/2019)

October 24, 2019 – New Strzok texts reveal a ‘crescendo of leaks,’ Grassley/Johnson write ICIG Atkinson asking for an investigation

Ron Johnson (l) and Charles Grassley (Credit: public domain)

“Top Republicans on Wednesday demanded that Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) Michael Atkinson explain why the watchdog hasn’t said if it’s investigating “a number of leaks of highly sensitive information” in recent years — and released several previously unpublished texts and emails from since-fired FBI agent Peter Strzok.

Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, specifically asked the ICIG why Strzok texted bureau colleague Lisa Page on Dec. 15, 2016: “Think our sisters have begun leaking like mad. Scorned and worried and political, they’re kicking into overdrive.”

“What are they worried about, and what are they kicking into ‘overdrive?’ Johnson and Grassley wrote. “Who are the ‘sisters,’ and what does it mean to say that the ‘sisters have [been] leaking like mad’?”

Additionally, the senators pushed to know whether the ICIG was looking into Strzok’s email to FBI colleagues on April 13, 2017, when he wrote that an unidentified “agency” might be the “source of some of the leaks” to the media that he’d been seeing.

“I’m beginning to think the agency got info a lot earlier than we thought and hasn’t shared it completely with us,” Strzok wrote, according to documents that the senators included in their letter to the ICIG. “Might explain all these weird/seemingly incorrect leads all these media folks have. Would also highlight agency as a source of some of the leaks.”

In a June 6, 2017 email to Page, Strzok mused, “Think there will be a crescendo of leaks/articles leading up to Thurs.”

And, a Dec. 13, 2016 text message apparently showed Strzok trying to set up a Skype meeting with a reporter. “Text from reporter: retrieving my password for Skype,” he wrote.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz faulted the FBI last year for repeated violations of its media communications policy, noting that agents had received gifts from reporters and leaked regularly.

Then, on April 6, 2017, Strzok wrote to senior FBI leadership to complain about a New York Times article entitled, “C.I.A. Had Evidence of Russian Effort to Help Trump Earlier Than Believed,” claiming it painted the FBI in an unfavorable light and got key facts wrong.

“Mike, below is inaccurate, favors the CIA at the expense of the FBI in particular, and is at odds with what Apuzzo and Goldman know,” Strzok wrote. “Most importantly, it’s at odds with the D’s [FBI Director’s] recent public testimony that we’ve been looking at links (which necessarily imply favoring Trump) since July ’16.”

Read the full letter to Atkinson, including the newly released Strzok Texts here.

(Read more: Fox News, 10/24/2019)  (Archive)