August 16, 2018 – House Judiciary and Oversight Committees interview George Toscas – Transcript
July 13, 2018 – Lisa Page on John Carlin’s role
(…) “John Carlin was an assistant attorney general and head of the DOJ’s National Security Division (NSD). He had previously served as chief of staff to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.
Carlin announced his resignation the day after he filed the government’s proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications. This filing would be subject to intense criticism from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) following disclosures made by then-National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers. Significant changes to the handling of raw FISA data would result.
Carlin was succeeded by Mary McCord–who would later accompany acting AG Sally Yates to see White House counsel Don McGahn about Trump’s national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn.
Page was asked at several points regarding influence from political appointees. At one point in the discussion, she singled out Carlin—and what she had to say proved interesting:
“I do know that at least John Carlin, for example, who is a political appointee, was kept abreast of the sort of investigative activity that was going on. And the only reason I know this is because when there was conflicts between us and DOJ, John might call over to—John Carlin might call over to Andy McCabe, and sort of make his team’s pitch, and then Andy would, you know, sort of the back-and-forth would go on. So it is clear that John had, was getting some sort of briefing, but he was not, it was, it never occurred by the FBI, which is, in my view, atypical.”
In response to a question asking who was McCabe’s direct counterpart at the DOJ on the investigation, Page responded, “it would have been John. It was either John Carlin or George Toscas who would have, who would have reached out to Mr. McCabe.”
The congressional staffer who was doing this particular line of questioning appeared to attempt to mitigate the information just revealed by Page:
“Numerous witnesses have confirmed to us that George Toscas, a career prosecutor, was in charge of the day-to-day operation of DOJ on this investigation. And that Carlin and other political folks above him had briefings certainly, so they had knowledge but didn’t have input in the investigation.”
“Do you have any personal knowledge of John Carlin, Loretta Lynch, Sally Yates, or other political appointees at the DOJ issuing orders on how to conduct the Midyear investigation?” Page was asked.
Page answered that she had “no personal knowledge of that.” Despite the attempts to shift the conversation, these admissions are notable.
Carlin was a very senior official within the DOJ. He was also Toscas’s boss. It was Toscas who was contacted by New York prosecutors (possibly former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara) involved in the Anthony Weiner investigation regarding the Clinton emails found on Weiner’s computer. In response, Toscas contacted McCabe, his counterpart at the FBI, ultimately forcing McCabe to inform Comey of the existence of Clinton emails on Weiner’s laptop.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/21/2018)
July 13, 2018 – Lisa Page testimony on FISA briefings, Brennan, and White House knowledge
(…) “At several points, Page noted a frustration on the part of the FBI in relation to the speed with which the DOJ was moving in the FISA spy warrant-application process.
When questioned about the need to move swiftly, Page noted, “There was an operational reason that we were pushing to get the FISA up, which I am not at liberty to discuss.” Upon further questioning, Page tried to provide slightly more clarity: “We had an operational reason that we wanted to get this thing up quickly with respect to the subject himself.”
According to Page’s testimony, she first learned of plans to obtain a FISA warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page approximately a month before the FISA was granted on Oct. 21, 2016.
Page disclosed that Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stu Evans was the person within the DOJ who was in charge of the entire FISA process, but notably, the FBI chose not to tell Evans that they had opened a counterintelligence investigation:
“We were so concerned about the fact that we were opening this investigation and we were so concerned about leaks that we were literally individually making decisions about who to tell and who not to tell, because we were trying to keep it so closely held.”
According to Page, the only DOJ official they told was Toscas, the deputy assistant attorney general in the National Security Division. Without forewarning to the FBI, Toscas informed Evans in August 2016—possibly earlier—of the FBI’s newly opened investigation.
The text in question was from Aug. 10, 2016, and was paraphrased by one of the congressional representatives:
“I remember what it was, Toscas already told Stu Evans everything. Sally called to set up a meeting.”
“Sally” is affirmed in the conversation as referring to Deputy AG Sally Yates.
Page was emphatic that this discussion didn’t have anything to do with the actual FISA but instead reflected the FBI’s concern that increasing numbers of people were learning of their investigation.
Notably, Toscas reported to Carlin, the head of the NSD, whose actions before the FISA court in relation to his presentation of the government’s proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications, strongly suggest he was also aware of the FBI’s investigation. Carlin appears to have been aware of the FBI’s later FISA preparations, as well.
The congressional representative then asked the following question:
“What you’re saying is when the director briefed the White House 2 days prior to that, on August the 8th, or prepared for it, actually briefed him on the 10th, that it had nothing to do with any campaign. Even though George Toscas and Stu Evans knew about it.”
Normally, when a member of the FBI uses the word “director,” they would be referring to the FBI director. In this case, while not made absolutely clear in the transcript, it appears “director” refers to CIA Director John Brennan, who had been discussed in the preceding comments relating to Brennan’s briefing of Reid.
From Brennan’s congressional testimony, we know that he had briefed the White House at some point in early August 2016, prior to Aug. 11:
“In consultation with the White House, I personally briefed the full details of our understanding of Russian attempts to interfere in election to congressional leadership, specifically Senators Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr; and to Representatives Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Devon Nunes and Adam Schiff between 11 August and 6 September.”
Page responded to the question: “Sir, I would be shocked. I would truly be stunned to discover that the director had briefed the president on the substance of our investigation or even the existence of our investigation. I would be—I can’t say it didn’t happen, I wasn’t there, but I would be stunned to discover that.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/11/2019)
- Adam Schiff
- Barack Obama
- Carter Page
- Clinton/DNC/Steele Dossier
- Department of Justice
- Devin Nunes
- Dianne Feinstein
- FBI Counterintelligence Division
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- FISA briefings
- FISA Title-1 surveillance warrant
- George Toscas
- Harry Reid
- John Brennan
- John Carlin
- July 2018
- Lisa Page
- Mitch McConnell
- Nancy Pelosi
- Paul Ryan
- Richard Burr
- Sally Yates
- Stuart Evans
July 13, 2018 – Lisa Page discusses the DOJ influence over the FBI’s Clinton email investigation
(…) “Page also repeatedly noted a tension between the FBI and DOJ, noting that the DOJ was far more cautious in their approach to matters and was ultimately responsible for the decision not to prosecute in the Clinton case.
Another aspect that developed in the dynamic between the DOJ and the FBI was pressure from the department to place additional people into the FBI’s investigation. Page noted that “as soon as the planning started to begin to interview some of the more high-profile witness, not just Mrs. Clinton but also Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, and her sort of core team, the department wanted to change the sort of structure and the number of people who were involved.”
In particular, David Laufman, a deputy assistant attorney general and head of counterintelligence for the DOJ’s National Security Division at the time, pushed extensively to be present for the higher profile interviews. As Page noted, this quickly spiraled into a problem for the FBI:
“Once we started talking about including David, then the U.S. Attorney’s Office also wanted to participate in the interviews, although they had participated in virtually none by that point. And so, then the U.S. Attorney’s Office was pushing to have the AUSAs [Assistant U.S. Attorney], who were participating in the Clinton investigation, also participate.”
“And so now, all of a sudden, we were going from our standard two and two to this burgeoning number of people.”
Apparently, Laufman felt so strongly that he went to his boss, George Toscas, the deputy assistant attorney general in the National Security Division, who then approached McCabe directly.
The DOJ’s ongoing influence was felt in other ways as well. Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, both fact witnesses, were allowed to attend Clinton’s interview as her attorneys. As Page admitted, “I would agree with you, that it is not typically appropriate or operationally necessary to have fact witnesses attend the interview.”
The decision to allow attendance of fact witnesses during Clinton’s interview came from the DOJ, although Page said she wasn’t certain who had made the decision. She noted that the FBI protested the move but were overridden, so the decision must have come from a senior level within the DOJ.” (The Epoch Times, 1/21/2019)
September 28, 2016 – November 6, 2016: A recap of how the FBI handles the Weiner laptop
A lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch has unearthed an email [full pdf] from Clinton Lawyer David Kendall to FBI chief legal counsel James Baker on the day the FBI was forced to re-open the Clinton email investigation due to the Weiner laptop.
With the passage of time the inherent issues have become somewhat clouded, and most people have forgotten many of the inherent issues that showcased how the FBI and DOJ had decided in advance not to prosecute Hillary Clinton. However, the key takeaway from this latest FOIA finding is that Clinton lawyers directly contacted the FBI team that was investigating the Weiner laptop. (Note: read email chain bottom to top)
The Weiner laptop emails were originally discovered by New York investigators and reported to the FBI office in Washington DC on September 28th, 2016. However, the FBI never took action to review the emails until a month later on October 28th.
It was DOJ officials within SDNY (Southern District of New York) who called Main Justice (DOJ in DC) and asked about a needed search warrant a month later that kicked off the review.
Let’s look at the Page/Strzok messages and remind ourselves of what was going on.
Here are the messages from Lisa Page and Peter Strzok surrounding the original date that New York officials notified Washington DC FBI. It’s important to note the two different entities: DOJ -vs- FBI.
According to the September 28, 2016, messages from FBI Agent Peter Strzok it was the SDNY in New York telling Andrew McCabe in DC about the issue. Pay close attention to the convo:
Notice: “hundreds of thousands of emails turned over by Weiner’s attorney to SDNY”. This is not an outcome of a New York Police Dept. raid on Anthony Weiner. This is Weiner’s attorney going to the U.S. attorney and voluntarily turning over the laptop and by extension the emails. The emails were not turned over to the FBI in New York, the actual emails were turned over to the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District, Preet Bahara.
The SDNY then called the FBI Mid-Year-Exam team in Washington DC, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was notified, and then nothing happened for over three weeks.
On October 21, 2016, a phone call kicks off additional inquiry. This is the call referenced by James Comey in the Bret Baier interview.
Someone from New York called “Main Justice” (the DOJ National Security Division in DC) and notified DOJ-NSD Deputy Asst. Attorney General George Toscas of the Huma Abedin/Hillary Clinton emails via the “Weiner investigation.”
George Toscas “wanted to ensure information got to Andy“, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe…. so he called FBI Agent Peter Strzok…. who told George Toscas “we know”.
Peter Strzok then tells Bill Priestap. Of course, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe already knew about the emails since, more than three weeks earlier.
That phone call kicks off an internal debate about the previously closed Clinton email investigation. And Andrew McCabe sitting on the notification from New York for over three weeks kicks off a second internal FBI discussion about McCabe needing to recuse himself because of the optics of his doing nothing.
It’s October 27th, 2016, James Comey chief-of-staff Jim Rybicki wants McCabe to recuse himself. But Rybicki is alone on an island. Lisa Page is furious at such a suggestion, partly because she is McCabe’s legal counsel and if McCabe is recused so too is she.
At the same time as they are debating how to handle the Huma Abedin/Hillary Clinton emails, the FBI begin leaking to the media to frame a specific narrative. The issue of them sitting on the laptop for three weeks and doing nothing is a potentially damning detail.
Important to note here: at no time is there any conversation -or hint of a conversation- that anyone is reviewing the content of the laptop emails. The discussions don’t mention a single word about content… every scintilla of conversation is about how to handle the issues of the emails themselves. Actually, there’s not a single person mentioned in thousands of text messages that applies to an actual person who is looking at any content.
Quite simply: there is a glaringly transparent lack of an “investigation”.
Within this “tight group” at FBI, as Comey puts it, there is not a single mention of a person who is sitting somewhere looking through the reported “600,000” Clinton emails that was widely reported by media. There’s absolutely ZERO evidence of anyone looking at emails or scouring through laptop data…. and FBI Agent Peter Strzok has no staff under him who he discusses assigned to such a task…. and Strzok damned sure ain’t doing it.
It’s still October 27th, 2016, the day before James Comey announces his FBI decision to re-open the Clinton investigation. Jim Rybicki is still saying McCabe should be recused from input; everyone else, including FBI Legal Counsel James Baker, is disagreeing with Rybicki and siding with Lisa Page.
Meanwhile the conversation has shifted slightly to “PC”, probable cause. Read:
While Lisa Page is leaking stories to Devlin Barrett (Wall Street Journal), the internal discussion amid the “small group” is about probable cause.
The team is now saying if there was no probable cause when Comey closed the original email investigation in July 2016 (remember the very tight boundaries of review), then there’s no probable cause in October 2016 to reopen the investigation regardless of what the email content might be. The inspector general report from June 2018 explains why:
The DOJ’s legal interpretation of “intent”, as a prerequisite for criminal charges based on transmission of classified data, virtually assured Clinton would not be prosecuted.
This appears to be how the FBI “small group” or “tight team” justify doing nothing with the content and notification received from New York (SDNY). They received notification of the emails on September 28th and it’s now October 27th, and they haven’t even looked at them. Heck, they are debating if there’s even a need to look at it.
Then on October 28th, 2016, the FBI and Main Justice officials have a conference call about the entire Huma Abedin/Hillary Clinton email issue. Here’s where it gets interesting.
George Toscas and David Laufman from DOJ-NSD articulate a position that something needs to happen because Main Justice is now concerned about the issue of FBI (McCabe) sitting on the emails for over three weeks without any feedback to SDNY (New York).
Comey later admitted in his memoir “A Higher Loyalty,” that political calculations shaped his decisions during this period. But, he wrote, they were calibrated to help Clinton:
“Assuming, as nearly everyone did, that Hillary Clinton would be elected president of the United States in less than two weeks, what would happen to the FBI, the Justice Department or her own presidency if it later was revealed, after the fact, that she still was the subject of an FBI investigation?”
Thanks to the political decision of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Main Justice in DC, specifically DOJ National Security Division, now looks like they are facilitating a cover-up operation being conducted by the FBI “small group”. [which is actually true, but they can’t let that be so glaringly obvious]. FBI Director James Comey is worried that if anyone found out they had sat on this laptop discovery a “President Clinton” would then come under investigation….. how would the FBI explain themselves?
As a result of the Top-Tier officials conference call, FBI Agent Strzok is grumpy because his opinion appears to be insignificant; the discussion is above his pay grade.
The decision is now reached to announce the re-opening of the investigation. This sends Lisa Page bananas…
…In rapid response mode Lisa Page reaches out to journalist Devlin Barrett, again to quickly shape the media coverage. Now that the world is going to be aware of the need for a Clinton email investigation 2.0 the internal conversation returns to McCabe’s recusal.
Please note that at no time in the FBI is anyone directing an actual investigation of the content of the Clinton emails. Every single second of every effort is devoted to shaping the public perception of the need for the investigation. According to Peter Strzok and Lisa Page every media outlet is being watched; every article is being read; and the entire apparatus of the small group (James Baker, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Mike Kortan et al) is shaping coverage therein by contacting their leak outlets.
The laptop emails Anthony Weiner’s lawyer brought to Preet Bharara (SDNY) might have been Anthony Weiner’s leverage to try and escape NY prosecution. Eric Prince outlined the content of that laptop as carrying much more than just Clinton emails:
“Because of Weinergate and the sexting scandal, the NYPD started investigating it. Through a subpoena, through a warrant, they searched his laptop, and sure enough, found those 650,000 emails. They found way more stuff than just more information pertaining to the inappropriate sexting the guy was doing,” Prince claimed.
“They found State Department emails. They found a lot of other really damning criminal information, including money laundering, including the fact that Hillary went to this sex island with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Bill Clinton went there more than 20 times. Hillary Clinton went there at least six times,” he said.
“The amount of garbage that they found in these emails, of criminal activity by Hillary, by her immediate circle, and even by other Democratic members of Congress was so disgusting they gave it to the FBI, and they said, ‘We’re going to go public with this if you don’t reopen the investigation and you don’t do the right thing with timely indictments,’” Prince explained.
“I believe – I know, and this is from a very well-placed source of mine at 1PP, One Police Plaza in New York – the NYPD wanted to do a press conference announcing the warrants and the additional arrests they were making in this investigation, and they’ve gotten huge pushback, to the point of coercion, from the Justice Department, with the Justice Department threatening to charge someone that had been unrelated in the accidental heart attack death of Eric Garner almost two years ago. That’s the level of pushback the Obama Justice Department is doing against actually seeking justice in the email and other related criminal matters,” Prince said. (Link)
There’s never been any investigation that would disprove the laptop content was not what Eric Prince’s sources outlined. However, the SDNY, responding to upper level leadership from Main Justice and FBI in DC, turned over all material and essentially the laptop was buried.
In DC the FBI (Comey and McCabe) created the appearance of a re-opening of the Clinton investigation on October 28th, 2016, to keep control and ensure the investigative outcomes remained in their hands; as Comey said: “they had no choice.”
However, once the FBI opened the investigation October 28th, they did exactly the same thing they had done from September 28th to October 28th… they did nothing. A few days later [November 6, 2018] they declared the second investigation closed, and that was that.
Again, they never expected her to lose.
When she did lose, panic ensued.
Now does Mueller make more sense?
The widely held view of the process is/was that Rod Rosenstein selected Robert Mueller as special counsel, and following that selection Mueller created his team. The perspective from CTH research is slightly different.
CTH believes that following the firing of FBI Director James Comey, the FBI Chief Legal Counsel, Jim Baker and FBI Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe; together with the corrupt small group that was involved in the prior year’s counterintelligence investigation; reacted to Comey’s firing by pressuring Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint their preferred person, Robert Mueller.
Within this internal debate (May 2017); at the time this construct was being argued; is when the famous comment from Rosenstein originates: “what do you want me to do, wear a wire?” The corrupt FBI investigative crew; having initiated and continued “Crossfire Hurricane”; including people from the DOJ-NSD side (Ohr, Weissmann, etc) were pressuring Rosenstein to appoint a special counsel….. but not just any special counsel.. Baker and McCabe had the person pre-selected. That person was Robert Mueller.
They needed Robert Mueller because they needed a person who held a similar level of risk from prior activity exposure as themselves. Mueller, directly or indirectly, was at the center of multiple Obama and Clinton abuses of power.
Obviously we can see the reason for this FBI/DOJ crew to need a special counsel. As career corruptocrats they were operating from a mindset of mitigating risk to themselves and continuing to advance on the objective to attack the executive office through their investigative schemes.
The key point here is subtle but very significant. Robert Mueller didn’t select his team, the corrupt team, the “small group”, selected him.
There is a great deal of inconsistent application of law surrounding the DOJ/FBI investigative authority during 2015 and 2016. There is also a great deal of fatigue surrounding discussion of those inconsistent applications. Contradictions, inconsistency and obtuse justifications are as rampant in our midst as the political narratives shaping them. Perhaps that’s by design. WATCH:
(Republished with permission)
September 28 – November 6, 2016: Despite Comey assurances, the Weiner Laptop emails were never examined
“When then-FBI Director James Comey announced he was closing the Hillary Clinton email investigation for a second time just days before the 2016 election, he certified to Congress that his agency had “reviewed all of the communications” discovered on a personal laptop used by Clinton’s closest aide, Huma Abedin, and her husband, Anthony Weiner.”
(…) “FBI officials in New York assumed that the bureau’s brass would jump on the discovery, particularly since it included the missing emails from the start of Clinton’s time at State. In fact, the emails dated from the beginning of 2007 and covered the entire period of Clinton’s tenure as secretary and thereafter. The team leading the Clinton investigation, codenamed “Midyear Exam,” had never been able to find Clinton’s emails from her first two months as secretary.
By Oct. 4, the Weiner case agent had finished processing the laptop, and reported that he found at least 675,000 emails potentially relevant to the Midyear case (in fact, the final count was 694,000). “Based on the number of emails, we could have every email that Huma and Hillary ever sent each other,” the agent remarked to colleagues. It appeared this was the mother lode of missing Clinton emails. But Strzok remained uninterested. “This isn’t a ticking terrorist bomb,” he was quoted as saying in the recently issued inspector general’s report. Besides, he had bigger concerns, such as, “You know, is the government of Russian trying to get somebody elected here in the United States?”
Strzok and headquarters sat on the mountain of evidence for another 26 days. The career New York agent said all he was hearing from Washington was “crickets,” so he pushed the issue to his immediate superiors, fearing he would be “scapegoated” for failing to search the pile of digital evidence. They, in turn, went over Strzok’s head, passing their concerns on to career officials at the National Security Division of the Justice Department, who in turn set off alarm bells at the seventh floor executive suites of the Hoover Building.
The New York agent has not been publicly identified, even in the recent IG report, which only describes him as male. But federal court filings in the Weiner case reviewed by RCI list two FBI agents present in court proceedings, only one of whom is male – John Robertson. RCI has confirmed that Robertson at the time was an FBI special agent assigned to the C-20 squad investigating “crimes against children” at the bureau’s New York field office at 26 Federal Plaza, which did not return messages.
The agent told the inspector general that he wasn’t political and didn’t understand all the sensitive issues headquarters may have been weighing, but he feared Washington’s inaction might be seen as a cover-up that could wreak havoc on the bureau.
“I don’t care who wins this election,” he said, “but this is going to make us look really, really horrible.”
Once George Toscas, the highest-ranking Justice Department official directly involved in the Clinton email investigation, found out about the delay, he prodded headquarters to initiate a search and to inform Congress about the discovery.
By Oct. 21, Strzok had gotten the word. “Toscas now aware NY has hrc-huma emails,” he texted McCabe’s counsel, Lisa Page, who responded, “whatever.”
Four days later, Page told Strzok – with whom she was having an affair – about the murmurs she was hearing from brass about having to tell Congress about the new emails. “F them,” Strzok responded, apparently referring to oversight committee leaders on the Hill.
The next day, Oct. 26, the New York agent finally was able to brief Strzok’s team directly about what he had found on the laptop. On Oct. 27, Comey gave the green light to seek a search warrant.
“This decision resulted not from the discovery of dramatic new information about the Weiner laptop, but rather as a result of inquiries from the Weiner case agent and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office [in New York],” Horowitz said in his recently released report on the Clinton investigation.
Former prosecutors say that politics is the only explanation for why FBI brass dragged their feet for a month after the New York office alerted them about the Clinton emails.
“There’s no rational explanation why, after they found over 300,000 Clinton emails on the Wiener laptop in late September, the FBI did nothing for a month,” former deputy Independent Counsel Solomon “Sol” L. Wisenberg said in a recent interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham. “It’s pretty clear there’s a real possibility they did nothing because they thought it would hurt Mrs. Clinton during the election.”
Horowitz concurred. The IG cited suspicions that the inaction “was a politically motivated attempt to bury information that could negatively impact the chances of Hillary Clinton in the election.”
He noted that on Nov. 3, after Comey notified Congress of the search, Strzok created a suspiciously inaccurate “Weiner timeline” and circulated it among the FBI leadership.
The odd document, written after the fact, made it seem as if New York hadn’t fully processed the laptop until Oct. 19 and had neglected to fill headquarters in on details about what had been found until Oct. 21. In fact, New York finished processing on Oct. 4 and first began reporting back details to top FBI executives as early as Sept. 28.” (Read much more: RealClearInvestigations, 8/23/2018)
(Timeline editor’s note: This is just an excerpt from a much more in-depth report on what happened to the Weiner laptop. Please be sure to read it in its entirety.)
July 22, 2016 – FBI officials email exchange shows Clinton aide attorney, Beth Wilkinson was “haranguing” them over the return of laptops
“A July 22, 2016, email exchange, among Strzok, Page, Moffa and other unidentified FBI and DOJ officials, shows that Beth Wilkinson, an attorney for several top Clinton aides during the server investigation, wanted a conference call with the DOJ/FBI and that she was “haranguing” the FBI/DOJ about the return of laptops in the FBI’s possession:
A Wilkinson Walsh attorney, emails [Redacted] FBI National Security Division Officials: We wanted to follow up on our conversation from a few days ago. We would like to schedule a time to speak with both you and [Redacted] early next week. Is there a time on Monday or Tuesday that could work on your end?
[Redacted] FBI National Security Division official emails: See below. I am flexible on Monday and Tuesday. [Redacted] can chime in with her availability. It is my understanding that Toscas [George Toscas], who helped lead Midyear Exam may have called over to Jim or Trisha [former Principal Deputy General Counsel [Trisha Anderson] regarding some high-level participation for at least the first few such calls. I am happy to discuss further but wanted to send you this so you could raise within the OGC [Office of the General Counsel] and give me a sense of scheduling options. I am around if you want to talk.
[Redacted] FBI National Security Division official writes: In the meantime, I’ll tell Hal that we will certainly schedule a call and will get back to him as to timing. Since he knows Beth [Wilkinson] personally, it could be useful to have Jim on the phone if she is going to be haranguing us re: the laptops.
[Redacted] FBI Office of the General Counsel writes: More…I guess this is [Redacted’s] rationale for why we need to have the GC on the call to discuss the fact that we will be following all of our legal obligations and FBI policies/procedures with regard to the disposition of the materials in this case.
Strzok writes: You are perfectly competent to speak to the legal obligations and FBI policy/procedures. We should NOT be treating opposing counsel this way. We would not in any other case.
February/March – June, 2016: Lisa Page testifies there were lots of disagreements between the FBI and DOJ over Clinton’s private server
“As Page noted during her testimony, “there were lots and lots and lots of disagreements between the FBI and the department.” One issue of ongoing contention was Clinton’s actual email server:
“There was a great deal of discussion between the FBI and the department with respect to whether to proceed, obtain the server which housed the bulk of Secretary Clinton’s emails, pursuant to consent or pursuant to a subpoena or other compulsory process.”
Additionally, access to the laptops of Clinton’s aides and personal lawyers was an area of particular contention:
“There were, I think, months of disagreement with respect to obtaining the Mills and Samuelson laptops. So Heather Mills and—Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson were both lawyers who engaged in the sorting. Once it had been identified that Secretary Clinton had these emails—I’m guessing it’s pursuant to the FOIA request, but I don’t really know—she—well, our understanding is that she asked her two lawyers to take the bulk of the 60,000 emails and to sort out those which were work-related from those which were personal and to produce the work-related ones to the State Department.
“They did so. That 30,000 is sort of the bulk of the emails that we relied on in order to do the investigative technique, although we found other emails a jillion other places. We, the FBI, felt very strongly that we had to acquire and attempt to review the content of the Mills and Samuelson laptops because, to the extent the other 30,000 existed anywhere, that is the best place that they may have existed.”
“And notwithstanding the fact that they had been deleted, you know, we wanted at least to take a shot at using, you know, forensic recovery tools in order to try to ensure that, in fact, the sorting that occurred between—or by Mills and Samuelson was done correctly.”
According to Page, the ongoing dispute with the DOJ ran from “February/March-ish of 2016” to June of 2016. Page also noted one other critical factor in the investigation: “the FBI cannot execute a search warrant without approval from the Justice Department.”
Notably, Page, an experienced lawyer, thought the legal case could be made that the Mills and Samuelson laptops should be made available for forensic examination. As she noted, the frustration within the FBI came, in part, from the DOJ’s “unwillingness to explain their reasoning.”
Page noted that the issue regarding the laptops rose to “the head of the OEO, the Office of Enforcement Operations, which is the unit at the Justice Department that would have to approve a warrant on a lawyer—because, of course, these were all lawyer laptops. It rose to that individual, it rose to George Toscas, over the course of this three months or so.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/11/2019)
October 11, 2015 – FBI officials express concern about Obama’s interview with 60 Minutes
A (future) DOJ OIG report reveals there is great concern among FBI and DOJ officials about the impact of their investigation, after Obama’s interview with CBS 60 Minutes: