March 30, 2018 – Top FBI congressional liaison, Greg Brower, leaves the agency
“Greg Brower, an FBI assistant director and head of the Office of Congressional Affairs, stepped down last Friday after a year on the job. In the role, Brower was on the receiving end of a pack of congressional probes into the law enforcement agency’s conduct.
The decision, a “tough” one he made of his own accord, Brower said, follows other high-level departures from the bureau as FBI Director Christopher Wray assembles his own team of close advisers.
“It was tough but I had an offer I couldn’t refuse from a great law firm,” Brower said in an interview Thursday. “It was very gratifying to be a part of that team. I could not be more proud of how people work and how committed they are to the mission.”
Brower was appointed to the position by then-FBI director James Comey in March of 2017 after serving as the bureau’s deputy general counsel. He will join the lobbying and law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck as a shareholder in the litigation department.
The work in the legislative affairs office has heated up during Brower’s tenure, as the fallout from Comey’s firing by President Donald Trump has fanned a growing mistrust of the FBI among some lawmakers and spurred a round of congressional investigations.
Not long before Brower’s departure, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee slapped the Justice Department with a subpoena for documents related to a trio of recent controversial decisions made by the FBI, including the move in 2016 to not charge Hillary Clinton after the probe of her email server and the internal recommendation by an FBI office to fire former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
In response, Wray said last week that the pace of document production for congressional inquiries at the bureau was “too slow” and doubled the number of FBI staff responsible for reviewing the records.” (Read more, CNN, 4/06/2018)
May 18 – 19, 2017: Emails Show FBI Advised Comey to Consult with Mueller’s Office Prior to June 2017 Testimony
“Judicial Watch today released new emails from the Department of Justice (DOJ) showing that former FBI Director James Comey was advised by FBI officials in May 2017 to consult with Special Counsel Robert Mueller prior to testifying before any congressional committees regarding Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and his firing as FBI director.
According to numerous news reports, Comey met directly with Mueller previous to his June 8, 2017 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Sources said that Comey’s opening statement and subsequent testimony were coordinated with Mueller.
At the hearing, Comey revealed that he had intentionally leaked material from a memo allegedly documenting a meeting with President Trump in order to help assure the appointment of a special counsel.
I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. Didn’t do it myself, for a variety of reasons. But I asked him to, because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.
The DOJ and FBI have stated that Comey’s leaks were unauthorized and compared the disclosures to Wikileaks.
The documents obtained by Judicial Watch are the first to reveal that high-ranking FBI officials helped Comey coordinate his testimony with Mueller.
- On May 17, 2017, Comey received notices to appear before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee.
- An email chain dated May 18 and 19, 2017, with the subject line “Future testimony” shows then-FBI Chief of Staff James Rybicki, then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Assistant Director Gregory Brower, Comey and others discussing Comey’s upcoming testimony:
- In this chain, on May 18 at 6:30 pm, Comey wrote to Rybicki to confirm that he had accepted the invitation to testify before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) but declined the invitations from the Senate Judiciary Committee and House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee.
- Comey also writes: “Last, would you please tell OGC [Office of the General Counsel] that I would like to be able to review any documents authored by me or on which I am copied that will be produced to SSCI in connection with my testimony and would like the opportunity for that review before I testify?”
August 16-24, 2016 – New Strzok-Page emails reveal FBI gave special treatment to Clinton’s demands for email investigation information just before election
“Judicial Watch announced today it received 218 pages of disgraced former FBI officials Peter Strzok-Lisa Page emails which show then-FBI General Counsel James Baker instructing FBI officials to expedite the release of FBI investigative material to Hillary Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall in August 2016. Kendall and the FBI’s top lawyer discussed specifically quickly obtaining the “302” report of the FBI/DOJ interview of Mrs. Clinton.
(…) On August 16, 2016, at 10:02 p.m. Baker emails then-Associate Deputy Director David Bowdich; Michael Steinbach, former executive assistant director for national security; former Acting Assistant Director Jason V. Herring; former FBI lawyer Lisa Page; former Principal Deputy General Counsel Trisha Anderson; Michael Kortan, FBI assistant director for public affairs, now retired; James Rybicki, former chief of staff to Comey; and others to inform them that he “just spoke” with Clinton’s lawyer Kendall, who requested documents from the FBI. Baker says he told Kendall he would “need to submit a request.” Baker tells them, “I said we would process it expeditiously.”
“I just spoke with David Kendall … I conveyed our view that in order to obtain the documents [FBI investigative material] they are seeking they need to submit a request pursuant to the Privacy Act and FOIA. I said they could submit a letter to me covering both statutes. They will send it in the morning. I said that we would process it expeditiously. David asked us to focus first on the Secretary’s 302 [FBI interview report]. I said OK. [Redacted] We will have to focus on this issue tomorrow and get the 302 out the door as soon as possible and then focus on the rest of the stuff.”
The following day, August 17, 2016, Kendall sent a FOIA/Privacy Act request on “behalf of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton” to the FBI’s top lawyer with a request for “expeditious processing.” Baker passes this request to Bowdich, Steinbach, Herring, Page, Anderson:
In my view, we need to move as quickly as possible on this, but pursuant to David’s oral request last night, we should focus first on Secretary Clinton’s 302…. Is the end of this week out of the question for her 302?
In a follow-up email exchange, the same day, Anderson arranged for Herring, Page, former FBI Assistant Director and head of the Office of Congressional Affairs Gregory Brower, Strzok and others to “coordinate a plan for processing and releasing” Clinton’s 302, though one official reminds others that they should process the request “consistent” with other requests.
Then, in an August 21, 2016, email exchange Baker tells his people that he would “alert” Kendall shortly before Clinton’s 302 was to be posted on the FBI’s FOIA Vault webpage. On September 2, 2016, the FBI announced the release of Clinton’s interview documents.
Finally, on August 24, 2016, the acting FBI FOIA unit chief said he sees “no problem” with giving Hillary’s attorney a heads up before her records were posted to the Vault.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 6/03/2019)