May 23, 2018 – Editorial: How the Clinton-Emails Investigation Intertwined with the Russia Probe
By: Andrew C. McCarthy
(…) “It was a little after midnight on May 4, 2016. FBI lawyer Lisa Page was texting her paramour, FBI counterespionage agent Peter Strzok, about the most stunning development to date in the 2016 campaign: Donald Trump was now the inevitable Republican nominee. He would square off against Hillary Clinton, the Democrats’ certain standard-bearer.
The race was set . . . between two major-party candidates who were both under investigation by the FBI.
In stunned response, Strzok wrote what may be the only words we need to know, the words that reflected the mindset of his agency’s leadership and of the Obama administration: “Now the pressure really starts to finish MYE.”
MYE. That’s Mid-Year Exam, the code-word the FBI had given to the Hillary Clinton emails probe.”
(…) “When Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s shameful Arizona tarmac meeting with former President Clinton becomes a scandal in late June, she tries to mitigate the damage by announcing an intention to accept whatever recommendation the FBI makes. Lisa Page spitefully texts Peter Strzok. “And yeah, it’s a real profile in couragw [sic], since she knows no charges will be brought.”
That was July 1. The very next day, the FBI does its just-for-show interview of Mrs. Clinton. Three mornings later, July 5 (at the start of the work week after Independence Day), Comey holds his press conference to announce that, of course, no charges will be brought.
To accomplish this, he effectively rewrites the classified-information statute Clinton violated; barely mentions the tens of thousands of official government business emails that she destroyed; claims without any elaboration that the FBI can see no evidence of obstruction; and omits mention of her just-concluded interview in which — among other things — she pretended not to know what the markings on classified documents meant.
On the very same day, the FBI’s legal attaché in Rome travels to London to interview Christopher Steele, who has already started to pass his sensational dossier allegations to the bureau. And with the help of CIA director John Brennan and British intelligence, the FBI is ready to run a spy — a longtime CIA source — at Carter Page in London on July 11, just as he arrives there from Moscow.
With the pressure to finish MYE in the rearview mirror, Hillary Clinton looked like a shoo-in to beat Donald Trump. By mid September, Lisa Page was saying as much at a meeting in Deputy Director McCabe’s office. But Strzok was hedging his bets: Maybe “there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
Soon, as the campaign wound down, the FBI and the Obama Justice Department were on the doormat of the FISA court, obtaining a surveillance warrant on Carter Page, substantially based on allegations in the Steele dossier — an uncorroborated Clinton-campaign opposition-research screed. Meanwhile, the FBI/CIA spy was being run at George Papadopoulos, and even seeking a role in the Trump campaign from its co-chairman, Sam Clovis.
Or maybe you think these things are unrelated . . .” (Read more: National Review, 5/23/2018)
May 23, 2018 – It was a favor factory: State Dept. turns over thousands of Clinton-era State Department emails to/about the Clinton Foundation
“We have just uncovered a stunning revelation about the extent to which the Clinton State Department colluded with the Clinton Foundation. Despite what Hillary Clinton told the American people, there was no firewall.”
(…) “These documents, only now being uncovered through our FOIA request and subsequent litigation, show extensive communications exchanged between Clinton or her senior staff at State Department and Doug Band – a senior aid at the Clinton Foundation and creator of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).
In recent court filings, the State Department has revealed that more than 8,700 documents exist in Cheryl Mills’ and/or Huma Abedin’s files which contain the single search term, “Doug Band.” It is possible, and indeed likely, that each document consists of several pages placing the number closer to 18,000 pages or more.
The ACLJ has also learned through our litigation that another 22,000 documents exist in Cheryl Mills’ and Huma Abedin’s files (not including attachments) mentioning or referring to the Clinton Foundation or a related term referencing the foundation.
This information alone serves as overwhelming evidence of the corruption that occurred within the State Department during the time Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State. The documents also confirm that Secretary Clinton intentionally lied to the American people and misled the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during her confirmation hearings for Secretary of State. On several occasions, Secretary Clinton assured the Senate that she would maintain a complete separation between her two worlds – the foundation and any donors hoping to obtain favors and her operation of the State Department. In fact, she informed the Senate that as early as January 2009, steps had already been taken to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. Absolutely no such steps appear to have ever been taken.
Indeed, in just the most recent 89 pages of documents produced by State which mention Doug Band, it is clear that Band served as a liaison for Clinton donors looking for favors and official acts from the Clinton-run State Department.
From requests for Secretary Clinton’s appearance at social events and fundraisers to requests for special consideration for government positions (Brock Johnson) and at least 5 ambassadorships (a diplomatic official of the highest rank), Doug Band was the guy to contact; and he had a direct line to Secretary Clinton and her senior staff. If a foundation donor needed help with a visa application in light of a prior criminal conviction or experienced complications with international travel, they contacted Doug Band and, within minutes of receiving their request, Doug Band would forward the request/favor to Huma Abedin or Cheryl Mills.
In fact, when other government employees or officials couldn’t get a hold of Secretary Clinton or her staff, they emailed Doug Band for a response.”
(…) “Brock Johnson later tipped off Cheryl Mills about a “Significant FOIA” request in 2012 that requested information about “the number of email accounts of, or associated with, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the extent to which those email accounts are identifiable as those of or associated with Secretary Clinton.” The Inspector General found that the State Department then falsely stated that there were “no records responsive to your request,” when in fact numerous officials knew about Secretary Clinton’s private email address. To be clear, Johnson tipped off Cheryl Mills about the FOIA request that would have first publicly uncovered Secretary Clinton’s email scandal; instead the State Department covered it up for months longer. And Johnson obtained his job as a “favor” to the Clinton Foundation.” (Read more: American Center for Law and Justice, 5/23/2018)
May 16, 2018 – Report on DOJ’s Handling of Clinton Email Probe Nears Release
“Multiple subjects of a report on the Justice Department’s handling of a 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email use have been notified that they can privately review the report by week’s end, signaling the long-awaited document is nearing release.
The report is likely to reignite the volatile debate over the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s handling of the Clinton probe, and it will put Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general, in a familiar place—taking aim at members of the law enforcement community.
Those invited to review the report were told they would have to sign nondisclosure agreements in order to read it, people familiar with the matter said. They are expected to have a few days to craft a response to any criticism in the report, which will then be incorporated in the final version to be released in coming weeks.
Mr. Horowitz told lawmakers last month he expected to issue the report in May, but Tuesday’s notification is the first indication that Mr. Horowitz has largely completed his inquiry. Congressional committees are expected to review the report in coming weeks. (Read more: Wall Street Journal, 5/16/2018)
May 2018 – WikiLeaks veteran flips on Assange for immunity
“A WikiLeaks volunteer and friend of Chelsea Manning agreed to cooperate with the US Justice Department and appear in front of an Alexandria, VA grand jury in exchange for immunity [in May 2018], reports the Daily Beast.
“I decided to cooperate in exchange for immunity,” said David House – a computer science graduate and political activist who previously refused to testify against Julian Assange in 2011, only to be subpoenaed last May for an encore appearance in front of a grand jury that’s been investigating the WikiLeaks founder for almost nine years.
“You know, I’m walking around on the street out here. I’m not in an embassy,” he added.
House spoke briefly with prosecutors and then testified for about 90 minutes in front of the grand jury, he said. “They wanted to know about my meetings with Assange, they wanted to know broadly about what we talked about,” he recalled. Prosecutors seemed particularly interested in the potential for collateral damage in some of Assange’s leaks. The identities of some American collaborators were exposed in Assange’s release of State Department cables and Army field reports from Afghanistan, which triggered internal debate and led to the departure of some of WikiLeaks’ key staffers early on. –Daily Beast
“They showed me chat logs in which I was arguing vehemently with him about releasing documents that would leave people vulnerable and put people’s lives at risk,” said House. “That was the only thing they put in front of my face that made me think, ‘This may be what they’re going after him for.’”
Chelsea Manning, meanwhile has refused to comply with a March 5 subpoena in the same case – making good on a vow to fight the subpoena in court.
“I am not going to contribute to a process that I feel is dangerous and could potentially place me in a position where I am forced to backtrack on the truth,” Manning told the New York Times.” (Read more: Zero Hedge, 3/02/2019)
May 15, 2018 – Two Colleagues Contradict Brennan’s Denial of Reliance on Dossier
“Former CIA Director John Brennan’s insistence that the salacious and unverified Steele dossier was not part of the official Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 election is being contradicted by two top former officials.
Recently retired National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers stated in a classified letter to Congress that the Clinton campaign-funded memos did factor into the ICA. And James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence under President Obama, conceded in a recent CNN interview that the assessment was based on “some of the substantive content of the dossier.” Without elaborating, he maintained that “we were able to corroborate” certain allegations.
These accounts are at odds with Brennan’s May 2017 testimony before the House Intelligence Committee that the Steele dossier was “not in any way used as the basis for the intelligence community’s assessment” that Russia interfered in the election to help elect Donald Trump. Brennan has repeated this claim numerous times, including in February on “Meet the Press.”
In a March 5, 2018, letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, Adm. Rogers informed the committee that a two-page summary of the dossier — described as “the Christopher Steele information” — was “added” as an “appendix to the ICA draft,” and that consideration of that appendix was “part of the overall ICA review/approval process.”
(…) “The dossier, which is made up of 16 opposition research-style memos on Trump underwritten by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s own campaign, is based mostly on uncorroborated third-hand sources. Still, the ICA has been viewed by much of the Washington establishment as the unimpeachable consensus of the U.S. intelligence community. Its conclusions that “Vladimir Putin ordered” the hacking and leaking of Clinton campaign emails “to help Trump’s chances of victory” have driven the “Russia collusion” narrative and subsequent investigations besieging the Trump presidency.
Except that the ICA did not reflect the consensus of the intelligence community. Clapper broke with tradition and decided not to put the assessment out to all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies for review. Instead, he limited input to a couple dozen chosen analysts from just three agencies — the CIA, NSA and FBI. Agencies with relevant expertise on Russia, such as the Department of Homeland Security, Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department’s intelligence bureau, were excluded from the process.” (Read more: Real Clear Investigations, 5/15/18)
May 14, 2018 – Mueller may have a conflict — and it leads directly to a Russian oligarch
“In 2009, when Mueller ran the FBI, the bureau asked Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska to spend millions of his own dollars funding an FBI-supervised operation to rescue a retired FBI agent, Robert Levinson, captured in Iran while working for the CIA in 2007.”
(…) “Deripaska’s efforts came very close to success,” said David McGee, a former federal prosecutor who represents Levinson’s family. “We were told at one point that the terms of Levinson’s release had been agreed to by Iran and the U.S. and included a statement by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointing a finger away from Iran. At the last minute, Secretary Clinton decided not to make the agreed-on statement.”
(…) “The FBI had three reasons for choosing Deripaska for a mission worthy of a spy novel. First, his aluminum empire had business in Iran. Second, the FBI wanted a foreigner to fund the operation because spending money in Iran might violate U.S. sanctions and other laws. Third, agents knew Deripaska had been banished since 2006 from the United States by State over reports he had ties to organized crime and other nefarious activities. He denies the allegations, and nothing was ever proven in court.
The FBI rewarded Deripaska for his help. In fall 2009, according to U.S. entry records, Deripaska visited Washington on a rare law enforcement parole visa. And since 2011, he has been granted entry at least eight times on a diplomatic passport, even though he doesn’t work for the Russian Foreign Ministry.”
(…) “Mueller’s indictment of Manafort makes no mention of Deripaska, even though prosecutors have evidence that Manafort contemplated inviting his old Russian client for a 2016 Trump campaign briefing. Deripaska said he never got the invite and investigators have found no evidence it occurred. There’s no public evidence Deripaska had anything to do with election meddling.”
(…) “Two months before Trump was elected president, Deripaska was in New York as part of Russia’s United Nations delegation when three FBI agents awakened him in his home; at least one agent had worked with Deripaska on the aborted effort to rescue Levinson. During an hour-long visit, the agents posited a theory that Trump’s campaign was secretly colluding with Russia to hijack the U.S. election.
Deripaska laughed but realized, despite the joviality, that they were serious,” the lawyer said. “So he told them in his informed opinion the idea they were proposing was false. ‘You are trying to create something out of nothing,’ he told them.” The agents left though the FBI sought more information in 2017 from the Russian, sources tell me. Waldman declined to say if Deripaska has been in contact with the FBI since Sept, 2016.” (Read more: The Hill, 5/14/2018)
May 11, 2018 – Contradicting Comey on Flynn—Again The Senate Judiciary Chairman corroborates the House Intelligence report
“The contradictions of former FBI director James Comey keep piling up. The latest came Friday when Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley provided new evidence that Mr. Comey told Congress a different story last year about the truthfulness of former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn than Mr. Comey is now telling the public.
In a letter to the FBI and the Justice Department seeking documents, Mr. Grassley relates that Mr. Comey “touched on” the Flynn case before the Judiciary Committee on March 15, 2017. A “career, non-partisan law enforcement officer” was present and took notes. “According to that agent’s contemporaneous notes,” Mr. Grassley writes, “Director Comey specifically told us during that briefing that the FBI agents who interviewed Lt. General Michael Flynn, ‘saw nothing that led them to believe [he was] lying.’”
Mr. Grassley says this contradicts Mr. Comey’s “public statements during his current book tour denying any memory of those comments,” and that Mr. Comey “led us to believe during that briefing” that “the Justice Department was unlikely to prosecute [ Mr. Flynn ] for false statements made in that interview.”
The House Intelligence Committee has released a transcript of Mr. Comey saying the same thing about Mr. Flynn, so this is the second time Mr. Comey has been contradicted on the point. In December Mr. Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI, and the question is whether special counsel Robert Mueller pressured him to plead to a crime he didn’t commit. Attorney John Dowd asks the same question in a nearby letter and says Congress should seek the 302 forms filed by FBI agents who did the interviewing.” (Read more: The Wall Street Journal, 5/13/2018)
May 11, 2018 – Florida Judge Finds ‘Unlawful’ Ballot Destruction In Former DNC Head Debbie Wasserman Schultz Primary Race
(…) “The 2018 mid-terms are looming on the horizon, and bad news continues to follow the troubled Congresswoman. On Friday, May 11, 2018, Broward Circuit Judge Raag Singhal ruled that Broward County Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes broke state and federal election laws by destroying the paper ballots needed for a recount in Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s 2016 Democrat primary.
The fuss began when Tim Canova, a law professor who ran against Wasserman Schultz in the 2016 Democrat primary, was alerted to possible voting irregularities, and he filed a public records request to inspect the ballots. Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes asked him to pay $71,868.87 to prepare the documents, and as a result, Canova filed a lawsuit for the records.
Dr. Snipes illegally destroyed the paper ballots, according to the ruling by Judge Singhal, and Canova’s lawyer said the state’s attorney should investigate the case for possible criminal sanctions. Wasserman Schultz has not been accused of any involvement in the destruction of the ballots, but Mr. Canova was concerned about voting irregularities in the primary.
Tim Canova plans to oppose Wasserman Schultz again in the 2018 mid-term elections when he will run as an Independent. As reported by Politico, Florida Governor Rick Scott is aware of the ruling against Broward County Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes, and his office released a statement revealing plans to monitor Supervisor Snipes’ office in the next election for Wasserman Schultz’s House seat.” (Read more: Inquisitor, 5/16/2018)
May 11, 2018 – Senator Grassley reveals name of second FBI agent who interviewed General Flynn
“Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has just dropped a sunlight grenade into the prosecution of Michael Flynn with a jaw-dropping request letter (full pdf below) to FBI Director Christopher Wray. [Judiciary Link Here]
Within the letter Chairman Grassley outlines a prior briefing from fired FBI Director James Comey to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and contrasts the false presentations of Comey -regarding Michael Flynn- against recently known evidence.
Additionally, Grassley is requesting: the transcription of the phone call(s) intercepted by the FBI between Flynn and Russian Ambassador Kislyak; the FD 302’s written by the FBI in their interview with Michael Flynn; and testimony from Special Agent Joe Pientka, likely the second FBI agent who was partnered with Peter Strzok for the Flynn interview.
The name of the second FBI agent was previously unknown, and it’s likely Chairman Grassley outed the name for a very specific reason. This is a BIG shot across the bow.
Previously the Justice Department was refusing to provide any information to the committee pertinent to Grassley’s requests, citing the ongoing investigation. However, the Senator is now outlining his request against the backdrop of the Judge in the Flynn case demanding the Special Counsel turn over all exculpatory information.
It is important to remember – there is a widely held belief that Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe told the FBI agents (Strzok and Pientka) to shape their FBI reports of the interview (FD-302’s) to assist a “Flynn lied” narrative.
There is a great deal of debate surrounding the guilty plea as an outcome of a carefully constructed and coordinated plan by FBI and DOJ officials to target Flynn.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/11/2018)
May 10, 2018 – Opinion: About That FBI ‘Source’
By Kimberley A. Strassel
“The Department of Justice lost its latest battle with Congress Thursday when it allowed House Intelligence Committee members to view classified documents about a top-secret intelligence source that was part of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. Even without official confirmation of that source’s name, the news so far holds some stunning implications.
Among them is that the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation outright hid critical information from a congressional investigation. In a Thursday press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan bluntly noted that Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’s request for details on this secret source was “wholly appropriate,” “completely within the scope” of the committee’s long-running FBI investigation, and “something that probably should have been answered a while ago.” Translation: The department knew full well it should have turned this material over to congressional investigators last year, but instead deliberately concealed it.
House investigators nonetheless sniffed out a name, and Mr. Nunes in recent weeks issued a letter and a subpoena demanding more details. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s response was to double down—accusing the House of “extortion” and delivering a speech in which he claimed that “declining to open the FBI’s files to review” is a constitutional “duty.” Justice asked the White House to back its stonewall. And it even began spinning that daddy of all superspook arguments—that revealing any detail about this particular asset could result in “loss of human lives.”
This is desperation, and it strongly suggests that whatever is in these files is going to prove very uncomfortable to the FBI.” (Read more: Wall Street Journal, 5/10/2018)