Jake Sullivan

April 23, 2019 – FBI official, Bill Priestap, admits Hillary Clinton’s emails were found in Obama White House

Bill Priestap (Credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images)

Judicial Watch announced today that a senior FBI official admitted, in writing and under oath, that the agency found Clinton email records in the Obama White House, specifically, the Executive Office of the President. The FBI also admitted nearly 49,000 Clinton server emails were reviewed as result of a search warrant for her material on the laptop of Anthony Weiner.

E.W. (Bill) Priestap, assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division, made the disclosure to Judicial Watch as part of court-ordered discovery into the Clinton email issue.

Priestap was asked by Judicial Watch to identify representatives of Hillary Clinton, her former staff, and government agencies from which “email repositories were obtained.” Priestap responded with the following non-exhaustive list:

  • Bryan Pagliano
  • Cheryl Mills
  • Executive Office of the President [Emphasis added]
  • Heather Samuelson
  • Jacob Sullivan
  • Justin Cooper
  • United States Department of State
  • United States Secret Service
  • Williams & Connolly LLP

Priestap also testifies that 48,982 emails were reviewed as a result of a warrant for Clinton email account information from the laptop of Anthony Weiner, who had been married to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

A complete copy of Priestap’s interrogatory responses is available here. Priestap, is serving as assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division and helped oversee both the Clinton email and the 2016 presidential campaign investigations. Priestap testified in a separate lawsuit that Clinton was the subject of a grand jury investigation related to her BlackBerry email accounts.

“This astonishing confirmation, made under oath by the FBI, shows that the Obama FBI had to go to President Obama’s White House office to find emails that Hillary Clinton tried to destroy or hide from the American people.” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “No wonder Hillary Clinton has thus far skated – Barack Obama is implicated in her email scheme.”

Priestap was ordered to answer the written questions by United States District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth when he ruled in January that Judicial Watch’s discovery could begin in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. This action came in Judicial Watch’s July 2014 FOIA lawsuit for:

Copies of any updates and/or talking points given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency concerning, regarding, or related to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Any and all records or communications concerning, regarding, or relating to talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency. (Read more: Judicial Watch, 4/23/2019)

February 8, 2018 – Adam Schiff recruits two former National Security Council aides who worked with the hearsay whistleblower

Abigail Grace (l), Adam Schiff (c), Sean Misko (r) (Credit: The Washington Examiner)

“House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff recruited two former National Security Council aides who worked alongside the CIA whistleblower at the NSC during the Obama and Trump administrations, the Washington Examiner has learned.

Abigail Grace, who worked at the NSC until 2018was hired in February, while Sean Misko, an NSC aide until 2017, joined Schiff’s committee staff in August, the same month the whistleblower submitted his complaint.

(…) Grace, 36, was hired to help Schiff’s committee investigate the Trump White House. That month, Trump accused Schiff of “stealing people who work at White House.” Grace worked at the NSC from 2016 to 2018 in U.S.-China relations and then briefly at the Center for a New American Security think tank, which was founded by two former senior Obama administration officials.

A Schiff aide commented in February: “We have hired staff for a variety of positions, including the committee’s oversight work and its investigation. Although none of our staff has come directly from the White House, we have hired people with prior experience on the National Security Council staff for oversight of the agencies, and will continue to do so at our discretion.” Schiff himself said, “If the president is worried about our hiring any former administration people, maybe he should work on being a better employer.”

Misko, 37, worked in the Obama administration as a member of the secretary of state’s policy planning staff under deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan, who became Hillary Clinton’s top foreign policy official during her 2016 presidential campaign. In 2015, Misko was the director for the Gulf states at the NSC, remaining there into the Trump administration’s first year.

A source familiar with Grace’s work at the NSC told the Washington Examiner, “Abby Grace had access to executive privilege information, and she has a duty not to disclose that information. She is not authorized to reveal that information.”

The same source said that Misko had not been trusted by Trump appointees. “There were a few times where documents had been signed off for final editing before they go to the national security adviser for signature,” the source said. “And he actually went in and made changes after those changes were already finished. So he basically tried to insert, without his boss’ approval. (Read more: The Washington Examiner, 10/11/2019) (Archive)

January 17, 2019 – Charles Ortel Opinion: The ‘Benghazi’ scandal likely involves national security offenses, money laundering, campaign-finance crimes, charity fraud, and public corruption

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta/The Associated Press)

“The recent ruling by US District Judge Royce C. Lamberth may become a breakthrough in the 5-year long Clinton email scandal, Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel told Sputnik, asking how it happened that the Obama administration, the CIA and FBI had apparently overlooked “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”

“The ‘Benghazi’ scandal likely involves national security offenses, money-laundering, campaign-finance crimes, charity fraud, and public corruption”, says Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel, commenting on a US federal judge ordering former Obama officials to answer the conservative watchdog Judicial Watch’s (JW) questions on Hillary Clinton’s private email issue and the Benghazi scandal.

On 15 January, US District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that former national security adviser Susan Rice, former deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, fmr. secretary of state Clinton’s former senior advisor and deputy chief of staff Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap must answer the watchdog’s written questions about the State Department’s response to the deadly 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya.

BREAKING: Citing government shutdown, DOJ/State seek to stall court-ordered discovery ordered to begin yesterday on Clinton Email, Benghazi Scandal: Top Obama-Clinton Officials, Susan Rice, and Ben Rhodes to Respond to @JudicialWatch Questions Under Oath https://t.co/kka1QCEWtG pic.twitter.com/WYHLLTFP0G

— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton)

​”In time, historians will likely document that the Clintons and Obamas entered office in January 2009 with a grand plan to transform America’s relations with key powers, especially in the Middle East,” Ortel said. “This plan involved toppling national leaders in many nations by fomenting local uprisings using clandestine resources, in actions that were not likely validly authorized by Congress, as is certainly required under US laws.” (Read more: Sputnik News, 1/17/2019)

January 15, 2019 – Federal Court orders discovery on Clinton Email, Benghazi scandal

Judge Royce Lamberth (Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi/Legal Times)

“Judicial Watch announced today that United States District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that discovery can begin in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides will now be deposed under oath. Senior officials — including Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap — will now have to answer Judicial Watch’s written questions under oath. The court rejected the DOJ and State Department’s objections to Judicial Watch’s court-ordered discovery plan. (The court, in ordering a discovery plan last month, ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”)

Judicial Watch’s discovery will seek answers to:

  • Whether Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a non-government email system;
  • whether the State Department’s efforts to settle this case beginning in late 2014 amounted to bad faith; and
  • whether the State Department adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request.

Discovery is scheduled to be completed within 120 days. The court will hold a post-discovery hearing to determine if Judicial Watch may also depose additional witnesses, including Clinton and her former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills.

Judge Lamberth ordered written responses under oath to Judicial Watch’s questions from Obama administration senior officials Rice, Rhodes and Sullivan, and former FBI official Priestap. Rice and Rhodes will answer interrogatories under oath on the Benghazi scandal. Rejecting the State and Justice Department objections to discovery on the infamous Benghazi talking points, Judge Lamberth reiterated:

Yet Rice’s talking points and State’s understanding of the attack play an unavoidably central role in this case: information about the points’ development and content, as well as their discussion and dissemination before and after Rice’s appearances could reveal unsearched, relevant records; State’s role in the points’ content and development could shed light on Clinton’s motives for shielding her emails from FOIA requesters or on State’s reluctance to search her emails.

Judicial Watch also may serve interrogatories on Monica Hanley, a former staff member in the State Department’s Office of the Secretary, and on Lauren Jiloty, Clinton’s former special assistant.

Eric Boswell (Credit: public domain)

According to Lamberth’s order, regarding whether Clinton’s private email use while Secretary of State was an intentional attempt to evade FOIA, Judicial Watch may depose:

  1. Eric Boswell, the former Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security.… Boswell’s March 2009 memo to Mills … discusses security risks Clinton’s Blackberry use posed more generally. And Boswell personally discussed the memo with Clinton. So, he plainly has relevant information about that conversation and about his general knowledge of Clinton’s email use. Judicial Watch may depose Boswell.
  2. Justin Cooper. the Clinton Foundation employee who created the clintonemail.com server. In its proposal, Judicial Watch noted Cooper’s prior congressional testimony “appears to contradict portions of the testimony provided by Huma Abedin in the case before Judge Sullivan.” … Cooper repeatedly told Congress that Abedin helped set-up the Clintons’ private server, e.g., Examining Preservation of State Department Federal Records: [before a Congressional hearing] Abedin testified under oath she did not know about the server until six years later.… Judicial Watch may depose Cooper.
  3. Clarence Finney, the former deputy director of State’s Executive Secretariat staff…. [T]his case’s questions hinge on what specific State employees knew and when they knew it. As the principal advisor and records management expert responsible for controlling Clinton’s official correspondence and records, Finney’s knowledge is particularly relevant. And especially given the concerns about government misconduct that prompted this discovery, Judicial Watch’s ability to take his direct testimony and ask follow-up questions is critical.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 1/15/2019)

January 10, 2019 – Judicial Watch to depose former top officials involved in the Clinton email scandal

Judicial Watch announced today that it submitted a court-ordered discovery plan for the depositions of several top former government officials involved in the Clinton email scandal, including Obama administration senior officials Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap.

Judicial Watch “intends to update the Court regarding the depositions of Hillary Clinton and Cheryl Mills at the conclusion of the 16-week discovery period, unless the Court believes such notice is not necessary.” The plan for discovery is the latest development in Judicial Watch’s July 2014 FOIA lawsuit filed after the U.S. Department of State failed to respond to a May 13, 2014 FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)). Read the discovery plan here:

August 16, 2018 – Judicial Watch releases newly uncovered Clinton emails, 5 contain classified information

“Judicial Watch today released two batches, 184 pages and 45 pages, of newly uncovered emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from the U.S. Department of State sent and received over her unsecure, non-“state.gov” email system. Five emails contain classified information.

Judge James Boasberg (Credit: public domain)

(…) “The documents are part of the accelerated schedule of production ordered by U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg, which requires the State Department to complete processing by September 28, 2018, the remaining documents of the 72,000 pages recovered by the FBI in its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s illicit email server. These new classified and other emails appear to be among those that Clinton had attempted to delete or had otherwise failed to disclose.

  • On June 7, 2011, Clinton received classified information on her non-secure email account from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, which Blair also forwarded to Jake Sullivan, about Blair’s Middle East negotiations with Israel, the Palestinians and the French
  • On January 26, 2010, Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan sent classified information via his unsecure Blackberry to Huma Abedin’s State Department email account that he’d earlier sent to Clinton’s and Abedin’s non-secure @clintonemail.com email accounts about U.K. negotiations with Northern Ireland.
  • On October 28, 2010, Clinton exchanges information with her friend Marty Torrey – a congressional aide – who asks Clinton in an email if she would advise that Torrey meet with former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Clinton responds through her non-secure email account approving the meeting and notes that she is emailing him from Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • An email chain dated April 8, 2010, which contains a memo from Sid Blumenthal to Hillary Clinton related to the change of government in Kyrgyzstan, contains information classified “confidential” and is redacted as “foreign government information” and “foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources.” Blumenthal urges Clinton to “develop relations” with the new government in Kyrgyzstan.

All of this suggests to me the necessity for the State Department to assert itself and take the lead in developing relations with the new government.

  • A January 26, 2010, email to Hillary Clinton from her deputy chief of staff, Jake Sullivan, is classified “confidential” and contains a “call sheet” that Clinton received prior to placing a call to Northern Ireland political leaders. It appears that the redacted portions contain the names of particular members of Sinn Fein who were invited to a particular meeting and the expectations of either themselves or other foreign ministers for the outcomes of that meeting.
  • A June 13, 2009, email to Clinton from Sullivan with the subject line “Northern Ireland” is classified “confidential” and nearly completely redacted. The particular subject details are unclear.
  • Abedin emails Clinton about “Invites for the week” in an undated email (but apparently written before November 1, 2011, the day Clinton’s mother died, because her mother is one of the invitees – probably written in early 2009, based on the period most of these emails seem to have been written), and notes that she (Clinton) has a “George Soros lunch from 1-3 in Southampton.”
  • On October 20, 2010, lawyer Lanny Davis writes Clinton an email saying, “Thank you H for who you are and what you do,” followed in the exchange by another with “PS. I swear you look younger and better every time I see you, Good night dear Hillary. Lanny.” Mr. Davis is currently a lawyer for Michael Cohen.
  • In an undated email, Blumenthal emails Clinton about State Department management issues suggests that Joseph C. Wilson “should be spoken with for his view of dept, personnel…is shrewd.” Wilson is a former ambassador to Gabon who went on to become an Africa consultant and deal-maker.

“These classified Hillary Clinton emails that she tried to hide or destroy show why it is urgent that the DOJ finally undertake an honest criminal investigation,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These emails show how the prior sham investigation by the Comey-Strzok-McCabe-Lynch crowd was a joke. It is past time for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to order a new investigation of the Hillary Clinton email scandal.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 8/16/2018)

July 13, 2018 – Lisa Page discusses the DOJ influence over the FBI’s Clinton email investigation

(Credit: State of the Nation)

(…) “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)

May 2, 2018 – Abedin Emails Show Clinton Foundation-State Department Haiti Links

Huma Abedin (Credit: Getty Images)

“Judicial Watch today released 894 pages of new State Department documents, including previously unreleased email exchanges in which former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was sent additional classified information through her unsecure clintonmail.com email account by top aide Huma Abedin. The Abedin emails also include repeated instances of Clinton’s detailed daily schedules being sent to top Clinton Foundation officials at unsecured email addresses.

The records were produced for Judicial Watch by the State Department from the non-state.gov email accounts of Abedin.  The records were obtained in response to a court order from a May 5, 2015lawsuit filed against the State Department (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00684)) after it failed to respond to a March 18, 2015, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking:

  • All emails of official State Department business received or sent by former Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin from January 1, 2009 through February 1, 2013 using a non-“state.gov” email address.

The new documents included 29 email exchanges not previously turned over to the State Department, bringing the known total to date to at least 317 emails that were not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over to the State Department. These records further appear to contradict statements by Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails were turned over to the State Department.

The emails show classified information was sent through the clintonemail.com account:

  • In a December 21, 2009, email, Clinton top national security and foreign policy staffer Jake Sullivan forwarded an email to Clinton’s unsecured email account containing classified information heavily redacted under FOIA exemption B1.4(D) – “Information specifically authorized by an executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy … Foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources.” Clinton then forwarded the email, concerning the climate change accord, from her unsecured email account to Abedin’s unsecured email account with the message, “Pls print.”
  • And, on December 24, 2009, Clinton sent an unsecured email from HDR22@clintonmail.com to then-Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson. The classified email, asking Carson to “Pls review the memcon of my call w [French] FM Kouchener [Redacted].” Information in this message was blacked out using FOIA exemptions B1.4(B) – “Foreign government information” and (D).
  • On January 17, 2010, five days after the massive Haitian earthquake, former Bill Clinton aide Justin Cooper emails Hillary Clinton’s then- deputy chiefs of staff, Jake Sullivan and Huma Abedin, to ask if they can do a conference call to discuss Haiti. Clinton Foundation officials Laura Graham and Doug Band are also provided the call-in information for the conference call. (Author Peter Schweizer would later describe in his book “Clinton Cash” how the Obama administration, during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, allowed hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer-funded reconstruction contracts for Haiti to flow through the Clinton Foundation.) “

(Read more: Judicial Watch, 5/02/2018)

December 20, 2016 – Hillary deletes an email showing that she forwarded classified information to Chelsea who has no apparent security clearances

Chelsea and Hillary Clinton (Credit: Agence France Presse/Getty Images)

“Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton deleted an email from 2009 that shows she forwarded classified information to her daughter, Chelsea.

The State Department released the email on Friday, as it is one of thousands that were recovered by the FBI from Clinton’s private email server.

The email chain from December 20, 2009 titled ‘Update,’ began with a message from Michael Froman, who served as deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs and as a deputy assistant to President Obama.

It was then sent to Clinton’s foreign policy adviser at the State Department, Jake Sullivan, along with several aides to the president.

Sullivan then sent it to Clinton who forwarded it to her daughter, who used the pseudonym ‘Diane Reynolds’.

Since it contains classified ‘confidential’ information, the entire text in the body portion of the email has been redacted.

The email was labeled a ‘near duplicate’ by the State Department who indicated it was similar for the most part to others the agency has released from the thousands of emails she turned over in December 2014.

The former first lady did not delete other responses she made to others who were on the email thread from that ‘Update’ email chain. (Read more: The Daily Mail, 11/04/2016) 

The FBI never asked Clinton’s aides for all their computers and mobile devices.

Politico reports that the FBI never asked Clinton’s top aides for their computers and mobile devices as part of the FBI’s Clinton email investigation. An unnamed source familiar with the investigation says, “No one was asked for devices by the FBI.”

Because the investigation didn’t have subpoena power, it could only ask for people to cooperate, or make immunity deals with them. The FBI did make an effort to get Clinton’s computers and mobile devices, and made immunity deals with Clinton lawyers Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson to get their computer laptops, but FBI requests didn’t go much beyond that.

Bob Goodlatte (Credit: Bill O'Leary / Getty Images)

Bob Goodlatte (Credit: Bill O’Leary / Getty Images)

Bob Goodlatte (R), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, says, “The more we learn about the FBI’s initial investigation into Secretary Clinton’s unauthorized use of a private email server, the more questions we have about the thoroughness of the investigation and the administration’s conclusion to not prosecute her for mishandling classified information.”

Politico suggests that the FBI might not have asked for what Clinton’s aides possessed because of a focus on Clinton and her server and mobile devices. “It’s also possible the FBI or prosecutors elected not to demand all the Clinton aides’ computers and other electronics because doing so might have triggered a legal battle that could have slowed the probe.”

The issue about what Clinton’s aides may have possessed came to the fore after the FBI reopened the Clinton email investigation after emails belonging to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin were discovered on a computer owned by her estranged husband Anthony Weiner. In an April 2016 FBI interview and then in a public deposition in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in June 2016, Abedin said she gave her lawyers all devices she thought might contain State Department-related emails. However, it appears no government entity ever asked for any of her devices, so her lawyers never gave them up to anyone.

Abedin was asked for all her work-related emails from her time in the State Department in another FOIA lawsuit, but not the computers or devices the emails were stored on.

The same appears to be true for other top Clinton aides like Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, Bryan Pagliano, and others, with the few exceptions noted above.(Politico, 11/1/2016)