May 23, 2019 – Trump’s declassification orders gives Barr sweeping authority to declassify and unredact several of Clinton’s still secret communications
(…) “White House lawyers wrote the May 23 order in a way that delegates sweeping authority to Barr to declassify or un-redact documents covering both 2016 presidential investigations. This is key, because the same former Justice Department and FBI officials who led the Russia “collusion” investigation also headed the Clinton inquiry.
Under the order, these and other agencies will finally have to cough up key classified documents — including summaries of suspect and witness interviews, confidential source reports, transcripts of covert recordings and other investigative records — that they’ve withheld from congressional Republicans investigating whether the former administration misused its spying powers to monitor Trump and his aides. In addition, they’ll have to loosen their grip on secret papers related to the probe of Clinton’s illicit server.
One of these undisclosed papers remains so secret that Justice’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz was barred from discussing it in his 500-plus-page report on the FBI’s investigation of Clinton. “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,” he said.
The documents are said to implicate the Clinton campaign and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch in a secret deal to fix the Clinton email investigation.
In his memoir, former FBI Director James Comey says he worried Lynch might be viewed as “politically compromised” if the secret information leaked, especially after the public found out she privately met with Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac just days before the FBI interviewed his wife in July 2016.
In recent closed-door House testimony, Lynch said she received a “defensive briefing” from the FBI on the potentially incriminating material in late summer 2016, but claimed it told her it couldn’t verify the information and didn’t think it “worthy of investigation.”
The FBI has been sitting on the documents — which I’m told are classified Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information, meaning they can only be viewed in a secure room known as a SCIF — since March 2016.
The CIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence also have copies and are keeping them under tight seal. (ODNI is the intelligence hub through which all requests and approvals for declassification normally flow.) Horowitz said they told him they need to protect “sources and methods” — an excuse the agencies too often hide behind when they don’t want to release embarrassing or potentially incriminating information.
But Trump’s order gives Barr unilateral authority to declassify any information classified under Obama’s Executive Order 13526, including “intelligence sources or methods.”
Count on Barr also freeing up a highly classified May 2016 memo drafted by Clinton investigators for higher-ups at Justice’s National Security Division. At the time, agents sought access to a still-secret intelligence report that a foreign government (reportedly China) penetrated Clinton’s unsecured private server and exfiltrated classified emails. They needed to explore the issue to complete their investigation, since cyber-espionage was relevant to their probe.
But this was the same month Comey began drafting his statement exonerating Clinton, so the memo was never sent. And the breach was never fully investigated. “The FBI left a potential mountain of evidence unreviewed,” former Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said.
In August 2015, the Intelligence Community’s IG first alerted then-FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok to an “anomaly” related to the foreign intrusion on Clinton’s emails going through her server. Strzok’s notes from their meeting have suddenly turned up “missing,” or at least that’s what the FBI is telling the watchdog group Judicial Watch after it FOIA’d them.” (Read more: IssuesInsights, 8/09/2019)
December 19, 2018 – Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee claims four Trump campaign officials are targets of FISA investigations
“Multiple Trump campaign officials were the subjects of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act investigations, a Democratic lawmaker said in a closed-door hearing late last year.
If what Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, says is true, the scope of the FBI’s FISA efforts for its counterintelligence investigation into President Trump’s 2016 campaign and its ties to Russia span far wider than previously known. So far, it is only confirmed that the FBI obtained FISA warrants targeting onetime Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
During a hearing on Dec. 19 with former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the transcript of which was released on Monday, Jackson Lee mentioned three other individuals.
“I want to talk about the spring, summer, and autumn of 2016. Carter Page, at the time, was suspected of being a Russian asset; George Papadopoulos had told the Australian ambassador that Russians had Hillary [Clinton] emails; Paul Manafort had been named Trump campaign manager; Michael Flynn was Trump’s chief national security adviser and foreign policy adviser and, just yesterday, had a continuance in his sentencing,” Jackson Lee said. “One thing that all of these persons had in common was that each was the subject of a FISA Court investigation, which we now know, and all were directly connected to Trump. As attorney general, you had the authority to oversee FISA application process. Is that correct?”
Lynch replied “yes,” after which Justice Department lawyer Bradley Weinsheimer cut in to say Jackson Lee’s question “potentially gets into possibly classified information and also equities in an ongoing investigation.
(…) There has been talk in recent weeks about further steps taken to record members of Trump’s campaign, including Papadopoulos. Former Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said on Sunday that the FBI withheld “game changer” transcript material about Papadopoulos from the surveillance court when filing applications targeting Page.
In an interview Friday, former FBI general counsel James Baker, who claims to have taken a leading role in overseeing the Page FISA warrant applications, was asked point-blank if the bureau used an unverified dossier to surveil anyone else. Claiming to be unfamiliar with what the government has revealed, Baker opted not to confirm nor deny it.
“I don’t think I should comment on that. I don’t know what else the government has confirmed,” Baker said on MSNBC. “I don’t want to confirm or deny anything about other potential FISA applications.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 5/21/2019)
December 19, 2018 – Lynch testimony reveals bias and intent for failing to give Trump defensive briefing
“The defensive briefing, after all, is a procedure that is often given to presidential candidates, elected officials and even U.S. businesses that have either been unwittingly approached by foreign actors attempting to gain trust and befriend those in position of influence.
The briefing allows the government to protect the candidates, specifically if there is substantial information or knowledge to suggest that someone has targeted an unwitting American for information. If the FBI or intelligence agencies suspect foreign adversaries may be trying to penetrate a presidential campaign, as those FBI and DOJ sources suggested in testimony to lawmakers, it would then be required to warn those affected, a senior former intelligence official told SaraACarter.com.
Why? Because foreign adversaries like China and Russia for example, and even allies, will attempt to glean information – or favor – from unwitting persons with access to senior level officials. The access can assist those nation’s own national interest or provide access for intelligence collection.
In the case of Trump, the FBI gave only a general counterintelligence briefing but did not provide information to the campaign that the FBI believed there were specific counterintelligence threats. For example, the FBI’s concern over campaign advisors George Papadopolous, Carter Page and then concerns over former national security advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.“It is an essential task of the FBI and the intelligence community to give a defensive briefing to a presidential candidate when a foreign adversary is attempting to penetrate or make contact with someone in the campaign,” said a former senior intelligence official. “If the FBI and DOJ were so concerned about Carter Page and (George) Papadopolous why didn’t they brief Trump when he became a candidate? The fact that they didn’t is very revealing. If they gave defensive briefing to the Clinton campaign then I think we have the answer.
Bruce Ohr’s 268-page testimony, released last week by Georgia Rep. Doug Collins reveals the machinations of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign and the players involved. Ohr’s testimony coupled with testimony provided by former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, which has not been released but reviewed by this reporter, along with former FBI General Counsel James Baker’s testimony reveals a startling fact: everyone appeared to say they were concerned the Russian’s were penetrating the Trump campaign but no one at the DOJ or FBI authorized a defensive briefing.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 3/14/2019)
December 19, 2018 – Former AG Lynch ‘appears to have amnesia’ during testimony about Carter Page FISA
“Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch told Congressional lawmakers in closed door testimony that despite the DOJ having approved the FBI warrant and renewals to spy on Carter Page, she did not recall the applications, did not remember the details contained in the applications or the circumstances surrounding conversations about the warrant, according to testimony reviewed by SaraACarter.com.
Lynch “appeared to have amnesia” during her testimony that she delivered in December before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, said one congressional official, who had knowledge of the hearing. The official said Lynch’s closed-door testimony on Page, a former Trump campaign volunteer, left lawmakers with more questions than answers.
(…) Goodlatte Questions Lynch on Carter Page
…under questioning from House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, she listed the standard detailed procedures of what is required from the Attorney General when the FBI files for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Warrant to spy on an American.
“By statute, the Attorney General is the final signatory on the FISA applications,” stated Lynch to the committee. “By regulation, the signatory authority has been delegated – shall I say shared—with the Deputy Attorney General and the head of the national security division as long as the people in those positions are presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed.”
Lynch on Page
“I don’t have any recollection of being briefed on the Page application either. And I don’t have a recollection of signing it, said Lynch.”
So she knows the rules and regulations but when asked in more detail about the process of approving the FBI’s application on Page she freezes.
Goodlatte, who was then the chairman of the committee, asked Lynch: “Is that what happened to the Carter Page case?”
“I wasn’t involved in the processing of the Page FISA and I can outline the process for you but I don’t have personal (knowledge) of it,” she said.
Confounded Goodlatte says “no, no, it is just not clear to me, the Attorney General has a role, you often rely upon others to supplement your work in fulfilling that role. Did you have a role in that or were you briefed?”
“I don’t have any recollection of being briefed on the Page application either. And I don’t have a recollection of signing it,” said Lynch in response.
Goodlatte then asks Lynch if she recalls signing any of the renewal applications to continue spying on Page.
“I don’t have a recollection of being involved in the FISA for Mr. Page at all,” she says.
Goodlatte then goes on to ask: “were you briefed about the relevance of Mr. Page’s FISA warrant with regard to this broader Russia investigation?”
Again, Lynch fails to have any memory of anything Page.
“I don’t have a recollection of a briefing of that type, no,” said Lynch.
Goodlatte then asks: “When did you first hear the name Carter Page?”
Lynch: “Again, it would have to have been like late spring of 2016 or so in this context. I don’t recall I knew of him from other sources or not.” (Read more: Sara Carter, 3/04/2019)
December 19, 2018 – Loretta Lynch and James Comey’s testimonies conflict on whether she told him to refer to the Hillary Clinton email investigation as a “matter” instead of an investigation
“While testifying last year at a closed-door House Oversight Committee hearing last June, Comey said Lynch had pressured him to minimize the significance of the Clinton email probe – an encounter which he says left him questioning her impartiality, and – along with Lynch’s clandestine tarmac meeting on a hot summer’s day in 2016 – contributed to his decision to hold a July 2016 press conference announcing the FBI’s conclusions.
“The attorney general had directed me not to call it an investigation, but instead to call it a matter, which confused me and concerned me,” said Comey. “That was one of the bricks in the load that led me to conclude, ‘I have to step away from the department if we’re to close this case credibly.'”
Lynch, meanwhile, told congressional House Oversight and Judiciary committees on December 19: “I did not. I have never instructed a witness as to what to say specifically. Never have, never will.”
“I didn’t direct anyone to use specific phraseology.When the Director asked me how to best to handle that, I said: What I have been saying is we have received a referral and we are working on the matter, working on the issue, or we have all the resources we need to handle the matter, handle the issue. So that was the suggestion that I made to him,” Lynch added – telling lawmakers that she was “quite surprised” to hear how Comey would later describe the conversation “because that was not how it was conveyed to him, certainly not how it was intended.”
A transcript of Lynch’s interview was released Monday evening by House Judiciary ranking member Doug Collins (R-GA) which reveals the conflicting testimonies. (Read more: Zero Hedge, 5/21/2019) (Lynch Transcript, 12/19/2018)
December 19, 2018 – House Oversight and Judiciary Committees interview Loretta Lynch – Transcript
Dec. 7, 2018 – Comey is questioned about secret memo on Lynch ahead of testimony and states he believes the Russian intel is “genuine” but questions accuracy
“A controversial and classified document, alleging potential misconduct by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, resurfaced on December 7, suggesting lawmakers may press Lynch about the memo during her own deposition.
While the contents of the document remain classified, media leaks suggest it includes an email from the then-chair of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Leonard Benardo of the Open Society Foundations, the nonprofit organization run by billionaire Democratic fundraiser George Soros. The email shows Lynch assured Clinton-campaign staffer Amanda Renteria that the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized access to the private email server would not “go too far.”
(…) Comey said the document was one of the factors that led him to break from established protocol and announce the exoneration of Clinton in a press conference. During his transcribed deposition (pdf) on Capitol Hill on Dec. 9, Comey answered questions about the document to both a Democrat and a Republican.
“[I’ve] tried to be very careful in public comments about this. There was material that had not been verified that I believed if it became public, would be used to cast doubt on whether the Attorney General had acted appropriately with respect to the investigation,” Comey said in response to a question from Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) about the document on Dec. 9. “I don’t think I’m allowed to go beyond that in characterizing that material.”
“So far as I knew at the time, and still think, the material itself was genuine, which is a separate question, though, from whether it was what it said was accurate,” Comey added in response to a question from Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.).
Comey had previously written about the document in his book, explaining that he made the exoneration announcement because of a “development still unknown to the American public” that “cast serious doubt” on Lynch.
During his testimony, Comey agreed disclosing information in the document to the public would “have caused some to question the objectivity of the Department of Justice (DOJ).”
According to Comey, Lynch and then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates were briefed on the contents of the document. The FBI then interviewed Lynch about the matter, although he was not present, Comey said.
If, since last year, the FBI or lawmakers had found a way to verify the accuracy of the document, it would prove that Obama administration officials at the highest level were using their power to further a political agenda. The finding could be especially devastating since it could implicate the head of the Justice Department, an entity traditionally independent of The White House and politics.
Lynch’s actions are behind three of the main reasons that Comey cites for announcing that no charges will be brought against Clinton. The usual protocol is for the Justice Department, not the FBI, to make a determination about bringing charges. Neither the FBI nor the DOJ announces details of investigations that do not result in prosecution.
Comey said he decided to make the announcement because of the way Lynch’s tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton could be perceived. Lynch had also told Comey to refer to the Clinton investigation as a matter.
The FBI would go on to interview Clinton on July 2, five days after the tarmac meeting. According to Ratcliffe, Clinton was never asked about the tarmac meeting during the FBI interview.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 12/09/2018)
November 28, 2018 – Trump retweets a meme that says, “Now that Russia collusion is a proven lie, when do the trials for treason begin?”
Appearing behind bars in the meme include Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Bill Clinton, John Podesta, Loretta Lynch, Robert Mueller, Rod Rosenstein, Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, James Clapper and James Comey.
September 28, 2018 – House Intel Cmte. votes to release the transcripts of 53 interviews re Russiagate, including high-level Obama officials
“The House Intelligence Committee voted on Sept. 28 to release the transcripts of 53 interviews conducted during the committee’s investigation of Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election.
The interviews include high-level officials of the Obama administration, such as former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice.
The list (pdf) also includes people from President Donald Trump’s circle, including his son, Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner, and former campaign chair Corey Lewandowski.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 9/28/2018)
August 31, 2018 – Testimony by FBI lawyer Trisha Anderson reveals extensive role in Trump, Clinton investigations
“A key player in the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of Donald Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign was Trisha Anderson, who, at the time, was the No. 2 lawyer at the agency’s Office of General Counsel.
Despite having no specific experience in counterintelligence before coming to the FBI, Anderson was, in some manner, involved in virtually all of the significant events of the investigation.
Anderson told members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees in August last year during closed-door testimony that she was one of only about 10 people who had known about the Trump–Russia investigation prior to its official opening.
A transcript of Anderson’s testimony, which was reviewed for this article, reveals that she had read all of the FBI’s FD302 forms detailing information that the author of the Steele dossier, former British spy Christopher Steele, had provided to high-ranking Department of Justice (DOJ) official Bruce Ohr.
Anderson also told lawmakers that she personally signed off on the original application for a warrant to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page without having read it. The FBI relied heavily on the unverified information in the Steele dossier—which was paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee—to obtain the FISA warrant.
Anderson also was part of a small group of FBI personnel who got to read then-FBI Director James Comey’s memos about conversations he had with President Donald Trump.
Besides the investigation into Trump, Anderson also was involved in the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton for sending classified information using a private server.
Anderson’s testimony reveals that she received the original referral from the inspectors general for both the State Department and Intelligence Community on Clinton after hundreds of classified emails had been found on her server.
Her testimony also raises questions as to whether then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict of interest.
Lawmakers also questioned Anderson about whether she advised Comey against making a public announcement that the FBI had reopened its investigation into Clinton following findings on the laptop of former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) because Comey would have been “responsible for getting Donald Trump elected.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 3/08/2019) (Trisha Anderson transcript, 8/31/2018)
- August 2018
- Bruce Ohr
- Christopher Steele
- Clinton Email Investigation
- Clinton emails
- Clinton/DNC/Steele Dossier
- Democratic National Committee (DNC)
- FBI counterintelligence investigation
- FISA application
- FISA Title-1 surveillance warrant
- House Judiciary Committee
- House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
- Loretta Lynch
- Trisha Anderson
- Trump campaign
- Weiner laptop