June 2018

June 27, 2018 – Peter Strzok deleted ‘personal’ communications with Lisa Page

Peter Strzok (Credit: public domain)

“Former FBI official Peter Strzok told Congress in 2018 that he deleted “personal” communications he had with his mistress, former FBI attorney Lisa Page.

“As a fact of the matter, following the — at some point, I — you know, it was related to personal reasons — deleted all those,” Strzok told lawmakers on June 27, 2018, according to a transcript of the testimony released Thursday.

“But they were the personal communications, not the work ones,” added Strzok, who acknowledged having an extramarital affair with Page.

Aitan Goelman, an attorney for Strzok, told The Daily Caller News Foundation on Thursday that Strzok deleted the messages before he was removed from the Mueller team.

“Pete deleted personal communications from his personal iPhone before and unrelated to these investigations,” said Goelman, who added in a follow-up comment that the deletions were made prior to July 27, 2017, when Strzok was kicked off the Mueller probe.

Goelman did not provide a specific date for the deletions.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 3/14/2019)

June 27, 2018 – Strzok testimony reveals DOJ and Clinton lawyers struck secret deal to block FBI access to Clinton Foundation Emails

Bill and Hillary Clinton (Credit: public domain)

“The Justice Department and Hillary Clinton’s legal team “negotiated” an agreement that blocked the FBI from accessing emails on Clinton’s homebrew server related to the Clinton Foundation, according to a transcript of recently released testimony from last summer by former FBI special agent Peter Strzok.

“Under questioning from Judiciary Committee General Counsel Zachary Somers, Strzok acknowledged that Clinton’s private personal email servers contained a mixture of emails related to the Clinton Foundation, her work as secretary of state and other matters.

Were you given access to [Clinton Foundation-related] emails as part of the investigation?” Somers asked

We were not. We did not have access,” Strzok responded. “My recollection is that the access to those emails were based on consent that was negotiated between the Department of Justice attorneys and counsel for Clinton.” – Fox News

Strzok added that “a significant filter team” was employed at the FBI to “work through the various terms of the various consent agreements.”

“According to the attorneys, we lacked probable cause to get a search warrant for those servers and projected that either it would take a very long time and/or it would be impossible to get to the point where we could obtain probable cause to get a warrant,” said Strzok.

(…) Later in his testimony last summer, Strzok said that agents were able to access “the entire universe” of information on the servers by using search terms to probe their contents – saying “we had it voluntarily.”

“What’s bizarre about this, is in any other situation, there’s no possible way they would allow the potential perpetrator to self-select what the FBI gets to see,” said former Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz – former chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee until 2017 and current contributor to Fox News. “The FBI should be the one to sort through those emails — not the Clinton attorneys.

Chaffetz suggested that the goal of the DOJ was to “make sure they hear no evil, see no evil — they had no interest in pursuing the truth.”

“The Clinton Foundation isn’t supposed to be communicating with the State Department anyway,” said Chaffetz. “The foundation — with her name on it — is not supposed to be communicating with the senior officials at the State Department.” (Read more: Zero Hedge, 3/15/2019)  (Strzok Transcript)

June 27, 2018 – Peter Strzok testifies about his affair with Lisa Page and possible vulnerabilities

(Credit: public domain)

“During the closed door testimony, Strzok was asked by a Republican investigator with the committee if his affair made him “vulnerable to potential recruitment” by “hostile intelligence service[s].”

“I don’t think I would characterize it that way,” Strzok said. “I think it is not so much any particular action as it is the way that action might be used to coerce or otherwise get somebody to do something.”

Strzok said his extramarital affair did not make him vulnerable, nor did it “have any power in coercing me to do anything other than obeying the law and doing honest, competent investigation.”

However, it is common knowledge in the intelligence community and FBI that an extramarital affair is “a sure way to make you a target through blackmail and makes one susceptible to recruitment by foreign intelligence agencies,” said a former intelligence official, who spent nearly 30 years oversees.

“It’s an important question and one that should have been asked and investigated,” said the intelligence official. “Affairs are the number one way to get compromised.”

Strzok was defiant during the questioning regarding Page, saying he would absolutely not give in to blackmail by anyone who would attempt to do so. He said he had not been blackmailed or coerced by anyone but if he had he “would immediately go report that to my superiors and see how they wanted to follow up…But it is—I absolutely would not have been vulnerable or even let alone consider any sort of recruitment attempt.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 3/14/2019)

June 26, 2018 – House Approves Resolution Demanding DOJ/FBI Docs

Jim Jordan (l) and Mark Meadows. (Credit: public domain)

“The House Judiciary Committee approved for the first time a resolution Tuesday demanding that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein turn over all requested documents regarding the FBI’s handling of the Russia investigation during the presidential election after seven days or face possible impeachment or contempt.

The decision to move forward with the resolution came after a year of battles with the Justice Department and FBI to turn over requested documents. The committee voted on party lines 15-11 to pass the resolution directing Rosenstein to comply within the next seven days or face the consequences.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who has been one of the lawmakers at the front lines of the committee’s investigation, said the resolution is the result of the frustration felt among lawmakers conducting oversight. He noted that it will be up to House Republican leaders to decide whether or not to take it to the full House for a vote.

“If they don’t comply with the resolution they know the remedies the House has, contempt and impeachment,” said Jordan. “If we don’t get that information entitled to us, everybody knows that we’ll do what we have to do to get it done.”

Jordan and Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., were the authors of the resolution. Both members have criticized Rosenstein and the FBI for failing to deliver documents. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-CA, has also been fighting the Justice Department for documents and has threatened as well to hold Rosenstein in contempt or impeachment if they are not produced.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 6/26/2018)

June 26, 2018 – Here’s One Unverified File the Feds Won’t Leak: About Loretta Lynch

Hillary Clinton, James Comey and Loretta Lynch (Credit: World Tribune)

“The FBI had little problem leaking “unverified” dirt from Russian sources on Donald Trump and his campaign aides – and even basing FISA wiretaps on it. But according to the Justice Department’s inspector general, the bureau is refusing to allow even members of Congress with top security clearance to see intercepted material alleging political interference by President Obama’s attorney general, Loretta Lynch.

That material – which has been outlined in press reports – consists of unverified accounts intercepted from putative Russian sources in which the head of the Democratic National Committee allegedly implicates the Hillary Clinton campaign and Lynch in a secret deal to fix the Clinton email investigation.”

(…) “True or false, the material is consequential because it appears to have influenced former FBI Director James B. Comey’s decision to break with bureau protocols because he didn’t trust Lynch. In his recent book, Comey said he took the reins in the Clinton email probe, announcing Clinton should not be indicted, because of a “development still unknown to the American public” that “cast serious doubt” on Lynch’s credibility – clearly the intercepted material.

If the material documents an authentic exchange between Lynch and a Clinton aide, it would appear to be strong evidence that the Obama administration put partisan political considerations ahead of its duty to enforce the law.

The information remains so secret that Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz had to censor it from his recently released 500-plus-page report on the FBI’s investigation of Clinton, and even withhold it from Congress.”

(…) “The contents of the secret intelligence document — which purport to show that Lynch informed the Clinton campaign she’d make sure the FBI didn’t push too hard — were included in the inspector general’s original draft. But in the official IG report issued June 14, the information was tucked into a classified appendix to the report and entirely blanked out.

“The information was classified at such a high level by the intelligence community that it limited even the members [of Congress] who can see it, as well as the staffs,” Horowitz explained last week to annoyed Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight authority over Justice and the FBI.” (Read more: RealClearInvestigations, 6/26/2018)

June 21, 2018 – DOJ official Peter Kadzik, who tipped off Podesta, is unlikely to face legal consequences

Peter Kadzik (Credit: Venable LLP)

“Former Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik is unlikely to face any legal consequences for tipping off Clinton campaign manager John Podesta to a release of Hillary’s emails, experts tell the Daily Caller.

Kadzik’s conduct in the DOJ was described by Michael Horowitz’s IG report as constituting “poor judgment.” According to last week’s IG report, Peter Kadzik was trying to get his son hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign while Kadzik himself was part of the investigation into Clinton’s private server.

He also emailed Clinton’s 2016 campaign chair, John Podesta, with a “heads up” on when the some of her emails would be released publicly.” (Read more: Daily Caller, 6/21/2018)

June 21, 2018 – Sessions: Peter Strzok No Longer Has Security Clearance

Peter Strzok (Credit: Saul Loeb/Agence France Presse/Getty Images

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions confirmed Thursday that embattled anti-Trump FBI official, Peter Strzok, no longer has his security clearance.

This news comes just days after Strzok’s attorney confirmed that the agent was escorted out of FBI headquarters following the bombshell Inspector General’s report on the bureau’s mishandling of the Clinton email investigation.

In an interview with radio host, Howie Carr, Sessions said, “Mr. Strzok, as I understand, has lost his security clearance.”  Despite losing his clearance, the Attorney General said it was his “understanding” that Strzok remained on the FBI’s payroll, but that he wasn’t sure.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 6/22/2018)

June 19, 2018 – Opinion: The IG report on FBI’s Clinton probe reveals this saga may be just getting started

By: Margot Cleveland

“The media has focused almost exclusively on the conclusion of the Justice Department inspector general’s report on the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email probe, which found bias did not impact the probe, as well as the lack of any newly announced indictments or criminal referrals. The goal of course being to downplay the negative findings of the report.

At the same time, the press gave, at most, passing mention to the statement Attorney General Jeff Sessions simultaneously released. But his statement and the findings of the report make one thing clear: This isn’t over.

Here’s why. Throughout the 568-page report, the IG highlighted several areas meriting additional investigation. And Sessions said the report “reveals a number of significant errors by the senior leadership of the Department of Justice and the FBI during the previous administration,” and stressed “this is not the end of the process.”

John Huber (Credit: public domain)

United States Attorney John Huber continues his work in cooperation with the IG to review certain prosecutorial and investigative determinations made by the Justice Department in 2016 and 2017. Based on his review of the report and his own investigation, Huber will provide recommendations as to whether any matter not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation required further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of Special Counsel.”

Put simply: There is still much to be done and much to come. What is likely over is the possibility the Justice Department will re-investigate Clinton for mishandling of classified information, or prosecute her. That’s a good thing. Clinton is done. While she may never face justice in a court of law, perhaps losing the presidency is a more prescient and proper punishment.

Three areas remain, however, that the IG report tees up for further investigation and potential prosecution. (Read more: The Federalist, 6/19/2018)

June 19, 2018 – Editorial: Andrew McCarthy addresses the “intent” behind Clinton’s unsecured, private server

Andrew C. McCarthy (Credit: National Review)

(…) “The Obama Justice Department and FBI spin on intent takes no account of the 800-pound gorilla in the room: The only reason officials were put in this position of compromising intelligence was that their boss, Clinton, established an improper communications network. And, again, she perfectly well understood that this was a monumental security breach.

It was not just a matter of whether any single transmission was an intentional flouting of the rules. It was, more significantly, a matter of erecting a renegade network for the systematic conduct of the State Department’s most sensitive work — including communications with the president and other top national-security and foreign-policy officials.

And observe how perverse this is: The Justice Department and FBI’s crimped construction of intent and knowledge enabled Clinton — the person singularly responsible for creating the problem — to escape liability on the ground she could not be held responsible for poor decisions by her staff. Investigators reasoned that the secretary of state was one of the nation’s highest government officials, who was more often than not receiving, not sending, sensitive information, and who was inundated by so much information that she had no choice but to rely on underlings to make judgments about what information could safely be sent to her.

It is a classic in the Clinton genre: rules-don’t-apply-to-me sense of privilege causes mess; subordinates blamed for mess; Washington looks the other way. If the FBI thought it was tremendously important that Clinton was on the receiving end of most (but not all) classified emails (inference: it was not her fault that people who should have known better sent her secret intelligence), how could it not have been even more important that Clinton imposed a non-secure, non-government server on her subordinates’ ability to communicate with her?

Remarkably, even blinding themselves to critical evidence was not enough to bury the case. In order to conclude that there was no prosecutable offense, the Obama Justice Department and FBI still had to rewrite the applicable statute (the Espionage Act, codified in Section 793 of the federal penal code). That’s because, for all the supposed obsession about whether investigators had enough evidence of criminal intent, the law does not actually require such evidence — if one is an official who has been schooled in the handling of national defense secrets, gross negligence will do.

The IG obligingly confines this aspect of his perfunctory assessment to a footnote (number 124):

Even though Section 793(f)(1) does not require intent, prosecutors told us that the Department has interpreted the provision to require that the person accused of having removed or delivered classified information in violation of this provision possess knowledge that the information is classified. In addition, based on the legislative history of Section 793(f)(1), the prosecutors determined that conduct must be “so gross as to almost suggest deliberate intention,” be “criminally reckless,” or fall “just a little short of willful” to meet the “gross negligence” standard.

In other words, the Justice Department added proof elements that are not in the statute. The Espionage Act literally says that if you are a government official who has been entrusted with sensitive information, you are guilty if you either willfully cause its transmission to an unauthorized person or place (Section 793(d)), or are grossly negligent in permitting it to be removed from its proper custody, transmitted to an unauthorized person, or lost, stolen, or abstracted (Section 793(f)(1)).”  (Read more: National Review, 6/19/2018)