December 26, 2019 – Judicial Watch sues the CIA and DOJ for the communications of Eric Ciaramella
“Judicial Watch announced today that it filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against both the DOJ and CIA for communications of CIA employee Eric Ciaramella, who reportedly worked on Ukraine issues while on detail to both the Obama and Trump White Houses.
The lawsuit against the DOJ was filed after it failed to respond to November 2019 FOIA requests seeking communications between Ciaramella and former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI Attorney Lisa Page, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and/or the Special Counsel’s Office (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-03809)).
Judicial Watch filed suit against the CIA after it failed to respond to FOIA requests seeking all of Ciaramella’s emails from June 1, 2016, to November 12, 2019 (Judicial Watch v. Central Intelligence Agency (No. 1:19-cv-03807)).
Ciaramella’s name appears in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the 2016 presidential election, in reference to two emails Ciaramella sent to then-Chief of Staff John Kelly and other officials, describing a meeting between President Trump, Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Foreign Minister Sergey Kislyak:
In the morning on May 10, 2017, President Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office.468
468… (5/9/17 White House Document, “Working Visit with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia”) … (5/10/17 Email, Ciaramella to Kelly et al.). The meeting had been planned on May 2, 2017, during a telephone call between the President and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the meeting date was confirmed on May 5, 2017, the same day the President dictated ideas for the Comey termination letter to Stephen Miller…. (5/10/17 Email, Ciaramella to Kelly et al.).
Information about this phone call was subsequently leaked to The New York Times.
Ciaramella is widely reported as the person who filed the whistleblower complaint that triggered the impeachment proceedings. His name reportedly was “raised privately in impeachment depositions, according to officials with direct knowledge of the proceedings, as well as in at least one open hearing held by a House committee not involved in the impeachment inquiry.”
“There is significant public interest, thanks to the Obama Spygate scandal and the related abusive impeachment of President Trump, in what Eric Ciaramella was up to,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “CIA operative Ciaramella is documented to be involved in the Russia collusion investigation and was a key CIA operative on Ukraine in the both the Obama and Trump White Houses. Our lawsuits are designed to break through the unprecedented cover-up of his activities.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 12/26/2019) (Archive)
- Andrew McCabe
- Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
- Comey firing
- December 2019
- Department of Justice
- Donald Trump
- Eric Ciaramella
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- FOIA lawsuit
- hearsay whistleblower
- John Kelly
- Judicial Watch
- Lisa Page
- media leak
- Mueller Report
- Peter Strzok
- Robert Mueller
- Sergey Kislyak
- Sergey Lavrov
- Stephen Miller
August 28, 2019 – Jeff Carlson: Highlights from the IG Report on Comey’s Memos
Comey had told the IG that he believed the memos shared with his attorneys did not contain any classified information.
However, the IG noted that specifically: “Memos 1 and 3 contained information classified at the ‘SECRET’ level, and that Memos 2 and 7 contained small amounts of information classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level—although Comey redacted all classified information in Memo 7 before sending to his attorneys.”
The IG report also noted that “Comey considered Memos 2 through 7 to be his personal documents.”
Comey maintained copies of Memos 2 through 7 at his personal residence—a fact that he failed to report to the FBI. Comey also provided James Rybicki, his chief of staff, with a copy of these same memos to maintain at FBI headquarters.
On May 14, 2017, Comey provided electronic copies of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to one of his personal attorneys, who subsequently shared the memos with two additional attorneys several days later on May 17, 2017. Memo 2 contained six words, four of which were names of specific countries that the FBI later deemed to be classified.
Leak to the Media
On May 16, Comey provided a copy of Memo 4 to Daniel Richman who was a “close personal friend” in addition to being one of Comey’s attorneys. Comey directed Richman to “share the contents of Memo 4, but not the Memo itself, with a specific reporter for The New York Times.”
Richman did have a security clearance at this time, but there appears to be no demonstrable “need to know” that is also a requirement for gaining access to classified information.
This memo contained information that was deemed by the FBI to be “For Official Use Only” but did not contain any classified information. The IG noted: “We found no evidence that Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the Memos to members of the media.”
The same day that Comey’s two additional attorneys gained access to his memos—May 17, 2017—former FBI Agent Peter Strzok sent a text to former FBI lawyer Lisa Page noting, “F’in Pamela Brown knows there were two phone call memos.” Brown, a reporter for CNN, had reported on the existence of Comey Memos the night prior during a segment with Anderson Cooper but had yet to mention the phone call memos.
The Strzok text regarding Brown is notable for two reasons. One, Strzok was clearly familiar with the contents of Comey’s Memos, and two, Brown had to have learned of the “phone call Memos” from a source other than Richman—who had only received a copy of Memo 4, which detailed a physical meeting and did not mention any “phone call Memos.” It is not known who provided Brown with the additional information.
Notably, the FBI “first learned that Comey had shared Memo 4 with Richman while watching Comey’s public testimony before SSCI [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence] on June 8, 2017.” Nor did Comey inform the FBI that he had shared Memos 2, 4, 6 and 7 with his personal attorneys. It was only after the FBI questioned Richman regarding Memo 4 that the FBI learned that Comey had also provided the additional memos to his attorneys.
Comey Kept Memos at His Home
The June 8, 2017, date is particularly notable because only the day before, on June 7, 2017, did Comey provide the copy of his memos that he kept in his home safe to the FBI at the request of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Although the existence of the Comey Memos were well-known by this time, it does not appear that FBI personnel knew that Comey kept his own memo copies at home—until he turned them over.
The IG report highlighted Comey’s retention of his memos at his personal residence, noting: “We found it particularly concerning that Comey did not tell anyone from the FBI that he had retained copies of the Memos in his personal safe at home, even when his Chief of Staff, the FBI’s Associate Deputy Director, and three SSAs [Supervisory Special Agents] came to Comey’s house on May 12, 2017, to inventory and remove all FBI property.” Why Comey chose to not disclose this information to the FBI remains unknown.
According to the IG report, “[O]n June 7, 2017, Comey provided the SSA who came to his home with Comey’s signed originals of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7, which were the only Memos that Comey said he had retained at his residence.” Notably, the “SSA said he had been advised ahead of time that Comey had Memos to give to him.” The report does not disclose who advised the SSA, but it may have been Special Counsel Mueller.
Comey told the IG that “he voluntarily gave his signed originals of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to the SSA at his house that day, not because he had concerns that they contained classified information, but “because Special Counsel [Robert Mueller] asked for them.”
How the Special Counsel came to learn that Comey had a personal copy of his memos at his house remains unknown, particularly as it appears that no one else within the FBI was aware of this fact until Comey turned the memos over.
Comey had previously viewed the FBI copies of his memos that had already been officially classified by the FBI on June 7, 2017, in preparation for his June 8 testimony. As a result, Comey was now aware of what the FBI deemed “SECRET” or “CONFIDENTIAL.” As the IG report noted, “By not immediately reporting that he had provided Memo 2 to his attorneys when Comey first learned that the FBI had designated a small portion of Memo 2 as classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level, Comey violated FBI policy.”
Lisa Page Obtains Memos Ostensibly for McCabe
Others within the FBI also had copies of Comey’s Memos. According to the IG’s report, “Page told the OIG that McCabe also allowed her to look at Memos 2, 3, and 4, but asked her not to share them with anybody. Page told the IG that “she decided to make and keep copies of these Memos because they were ‘just of the nature that [she] felt like there should be one other copy somewhere else.’” Page claimed not to know “if others in the FBI were keeping copies of the Memos.”
However, it appears that Page attempted to hide her possession of Comey’s Memos from other officials within the FBI. On May 10, 2017, Comey’s former chief of staff James Rybicki was contacted by Page who requested “a full set of the Memos.” Rybicki, who told the IG that Page said her request was made on behalf of Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, then made three copies of Comey’s Memos—one for himself, one for Page to pass along to McCabe, and one for FBI General Counsel James Baker. Notably, May 10, 2017, may have been the date that McCabe opened an investigation into President Donald J. Trump.
Page told the IG a somewhat different version of events, noting that “she did not think McCabe had asked her to assemble copies of the memos; she said she thought she did it on her own because she “knew that it needed to get done.” Additionally, Rybicki told the IG “that he was ‘surprised’ when he learned that Page already had copies of some of the Memos because he ‘didn’t think anybody maintained a copy’ other than him, and didn’t know how she got them.”
Comey told the IG that he considered “Memos 2 through 7 to be his personal documents,” but this assertion was roundly dismissed by other FBI officials. According to the IG report, “All of the FBI senior leaders interviewed by the OIG stated that the Memos were official government records.” McCabe told the IG that Comey’s Memos served as a “record of [Comey’s] official engagement with the President.” Baker said the memos were “related to official business” and that “they were discussed in the office in connection with [Comey’s] official responsibilities.” Rybicki said he had “treated the Memos as FBI records.” The FBI’s Director of Counterintelligence Bill Priestap characterized the memos as documents “produced by the Director in his capacity as Director … they’re FBI work product.”
Whistleblower Provided IG Memos
Interestingly, “shortly after Comey’s removal, a set of the seven Memos was provided to the OIG by a Department employee, who claimed whistleblower status,” the IG revealed in the report. The number of individuals within the FBI who had access to Comey’s Memos was comprised of a very small group. The IG noted that the whistleblower “viewed the Memos as extremely sensitive documents and was concerned that there should be a separate set deposited somewhere for safekeeping.” This means that the IG obtained possession of the Comey Memos very early on—since mid-May 2017.
Additionally, the IG revealed that it was then-Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who referred the matter of Comey’s Memos to the Office of the Inspector General for review in July 2017. McCabe may have been unaware that the IG already was in possession of Comey’s Memos via the unknown whistleblower.
Genesis of Comey’s Memos
In regards to the genesis of the Memos, Comey told the IG that it was his Jan. 27, 2017, dinner with President Trump that prompted him to begin the process of maintaining Memos detailing his interactions with the president. However, Comey had already written an earlier memo regarding a meeting with President Trump on Jan. 6, 2017, where Comey provided the president with details of the “salacious” information from the Steele dossier. Comey also told Congress a slightly different story, testifying on June 8, 2017, that he began creating memos from his very first interaction with President Trump, based on a “gut feeling.”
The IG report provides some intriguing details surrounding the Jan. 6, 2017, meeting, and the manner in which that meeting was pre-determined to be fully documented by Comey.
“Witnesses interviewed by the OIG also said that they discussed Trump’s potential responses to being told about the ‘salacious’ information, including that Trump might make statements about, or provide information of value to, the pending Russian interference investigation.
“Multiple FBI witnesses recalled agreeing ahead of time that Comey should memorialize his meeting with Trump immediately after it occurred. Comey told the OIG that, in his view, it was important for FBI executive managers to be ‘able to share in [Comey’s] recall of the … salient details of those conversations.’ Comey also said that an additional concern, shared by the members of his management team, was that if the briefing became ‘a source of controversy’ it would be important to have a clear, contemporaneous record because Trump might ‘misrepresent what happened in the encounter.’”
It appears from the IG’s report that President Trump had no knowledge that Comey was transcribing their interactions. The FBI’s General Counsel, James Baker, told the IG that “it was his understanding that the small group of people who had access to the Memos ‘really didn’t want anyone to know the Director … was recording at this level of detail his interactions with the President’ because any perception that Comey was ‘keeping … book’ on the President would upset any effort to have an effective and ongoing working relationship.”
It should also be noted that Comey failed to keep any memos of his meetings with Obama and other Obama-era officials.
Memo 3 was one of those deemed to contain information classified at the “SECRET” level. In regards to this particular memo, Comey told the IG that he gave one copy to Rybicki, with instructions for Rybicki to show it to McCabe and Baker, while keeping the other copy in his desk drawer—located in his secure office. On May 10, 2017, the day immediately following Comey’s firing, a Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) was assigned to inventory the contents of Comey’s office. As noted in the IG report, “According to the inventory, no hard copies of any of the Memos were found in Comey’s office.”
Five days later, on May 15, 2017, following a conversation with Comey, Rybicki notified the SSA that there “were additional documents belonging to Comey stored in the reception area near the former Director’s office.” Among these documents were six of the original Comey Memos. According to the IG, this was the first time the SSA learned of the existence of the Comey Memos. Rybicki told the SSA that “he did not tell anyone about the Memos during the May 10 inventory because he understood that process to only include Comey’s office.”
Comey Violated FBI Policy
The IG found that “Comey’s actions violated Department or FBI policy, or the terms of Comey’s FBI Employment Agreement” and concluded that “Comey’s retention, handling, and dissemination of certain Memos violated Department and FBI policies, and his FBI Employment Agreement.”
The IG recognized that the “responsibility to protect sensitive law enforcement information falls in large part to the employees of the FBI who have access to it through their daily duties” and pointedly noted that “Comey failed to live up to this responsibility.”
The IG’s report also noted, “By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees—and the many thousands more former FBI employees—who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information.”
The IG provided a copy of his findings to the DOJ for a prosecutorial decision regarding Comey’s conduct. The DOJ declined prosecution. It is not known when the IG’s findings were first submitted to the DOJ. The IG then prepared this more comprehensive report that focused on whether Comey’s actions violated Department of FBI policy.
It was previously reported that the DOJ had declined prosecution of Comey. According to a source for Fox News, “Everyone at the DOJ involved in the decision said it wasn’t a close call,” one official said. “They all thought this could not be prosecuted.”
To underscore the difficulties the DOJ faced in pursuing a successful prosecution is the fact that Comey’s Memos were only classified by the FBI after Comey had leaked them. Additionally, the IG found no proof that “Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the Memos to members of the media.”
A failed prosecution at this juncture would prove problematic to the overall investigation of Spygate. The IG’s pending report on FISA abuse is far more important and potentially significantly more damning. (themarketswork.com, 8/30/2019)
(Republished with permission.)
- Andrew McCabe
- August 2019
- Bill Priestap
- classified information
- Daniel Richman
- DOJ OIG Investigation
- DOJ OIG Report
- DOJ OIG Report-Comey Memos
- FBI whistleblower protection
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- James Baker
- James Comey
- James Rybicki
- Lisa Page
- media leaks
- Michael Horowitz
- Mueller team
- Pamela Brown
- Peter Strzok
- Robert Mueller
August 20, 2019 – Indicted Russian firm, Concord Management and Consulting, challenges Mueller’s meddling accusations that are, ‘at best misleading and at worst demonstrably false’
“The Russian consulting firm accused of bankrolling social media meddling in the 2016 presidential election spent less than $5,000 on candidate ads and rallies that would be subject to government auditing, the company argues in a court filing.
The motion from Concord Management and Consulting LLC challenges the federal government’s assertion that it spent huge sums of Russian money on social media aimed at disrupting the American political process.
Concord is charged with failing to file with the Federal Election Commission. The firm says some of the online ads listed in an indictment brought by special counsel Robert Mueller cost less than $10 each and added up to $2,930. Conjured-up rallies cost another $1,833 in payroll.
The 2018 indictment accuses Concord of funding the Internet Research Agency. That is the Russian troll farm in St. Petersburg that bought the internet ads, did social media spoofing and set up rallies against candidate Hillary Clinton and for Donald Trump.
“The allegation in the Indictment claiming that IRA spent thousands of dollars each month to purchase advertisements is at best misleading and at worst demonstrably false because the discovery indicates that many of the advertisements took place after the 2016 presidential election or did not involve any clearly identifiable candidate,” Concord attorney Eric A. Dubelier argued in a Monday filing in U.S. District Court.
In its filing, Concord cited cost figures based on evidence from U.S. prosecutors. The indictment listed ads that were required to be reported in campaign finance reports to the FEC.
The filing’s main argument has to do with the identities of defendants. It claims the government refuses to say which company employees violated FEC laws. Only one Concord employee is listed: its head, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a food service mogul close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.” (Read more: The Washington Times, 8/20/2019)
August 1, 2019 – Opinion: Here Are 5 Big Holes in Mueller’s Work
“Robert Mueller’s two-year, $25.2 million investigation was supposed to provide the definitive account of Donald Trump, Russia and the 2016 election. Yet even after he issued a 448-page report and testified for five hours before Congress, critical aspects remain unexplained, calling into question the basis for the probe and the decisions of those who conducted it.
Time and again in his report and his testimony, Mueller refused to address a wide range of fundamental issues, claiming they were beyond his purview. Some of the issues Mueller and his team did not clarify include whether the FBI had a sound predicate for opening a counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign; whether the FBI knowingly relied on false material; and the links between U.S. government agencies and key figures who fueled the most explosive claims of an illicit Trump-Russia relationship. Mueller claimed that he was prevented from answering critical questions due to ongoing Justice Department reviews, one by Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham and the other by Inspector General Michael Horowitz. In the meantime, here are some of the biggest mysteries that Mueller’s team left hanging in the air.
Who Is Joseph Mifsud, and Was He the Actual Predicate for the Russia Investigation?
Mueller’s pointed refusal to answer questions about Mifsud underscored that his team did not provide a plausible explanation for the incident that supposedly sparked the Russia investigation in July 2016. Mifsud is the mysterious Maltese professor who reportedly informed Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos that the Russian government had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Their conversation took place in , before the alleged hacking of Democratic Party emails was publicly known. (cont.)
What Was the Role of the Steele Dossier?
Mueller also refused to address another key driver of the Trump-Russia probe – the series of unverified and salacious opposition research memos against Trump secretly financed by the Clinton campaign and the DNC and compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. Some Republicans believe the dossier was the real trigger of the FBI probe and that Mifsud was later used as an excuse by the FBI to cover that up once the dossier’s partisan origins were revealed. As he did with Mifsud, Mueller, who was FBI Director between 2001 and 2013, stonewalled the many Republican efforts to press him on this topic. (more)
Why Did the Mueller Team Invent the Polling Data Theory About Konstantin Kilimnik, and Omit His U.S. Ties?
Mueller also refused to answer critical questions about his report’s portrayal of Konstantin Kilimnik. The longtime business associate of Trump’s one-time campaign manager, Paul Manafort, became central to the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory as a result of the Mueller team’s own innuendo. In January 2019, Mueller accused Manafort of lying about sharing Trump campaign polling data with Kilimnik during the 2016 campaign. According to Mueller, the FBI had assessed that Kilimnik has an unspecified “relationship with Russian intelligence.” In court, Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann repeated that ambiguous claim and tacked on a piece of tantalizing flourish: “This goes to the larger view of what we think is going on, and what we think is the motive here. This goes, I think, very much to the heart of what the special counsel’s office is investigating.” Weissmann’s comments fueled widespread speculation – and even confident assertions – that Kilimnik had passed on the polling data to the Russian government, which then put it to use for its supposed social media interference campaign targeting malleable swing-state voters. (cont.)
Why Did the Mueller Team Falsely Suggest That Trump Tower Moscow Was a Viable Project – and What Was the Role of FBI Informant Felix Sater?
Along with the discredited polling-data theory, House Democrats repeatedly played up the Mueller team’s indictment of Michael Cohen for lying to Congress about the failed effort to build a Trump Tower Moscow. In court filings, the Mueller team insinuated that the project was a viable and lucrative one. Because Cohen had lied to Congress and Trump had denied having business dealings in Russia, Rep. Joaquin Castro asked Mueller if he had assessed whether “President Trump could be vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians.” (cont.)
Was Specious Info Leaked to Justify the Absence of Trump-Kremlin Links?
In the absence of evidence tying the Trump campaign to the Kremlin – and a preponderance of leads involving key figures actually tied to the West – U.S. intelligence officials helped cast a pall of suspicion through misleading, and sometimes false, media leaks. In January 2017, then-FBI Director James Comey briefed President-elect Trump on the Steele Dossier’s most explosive allegation: that the Russians had a tape of him with prostitutes in a Moscow Ritz-Carlton hotel room. Comey’s briefing to Trump was leaked to the press, leading to the dossier’s publication by BuzzFeed and cementing the story atop the news cycle for the more than two years since.” (cont.)
July 25, 2019 – WSJ Editorial: What Mueller Was Trying to Hide
By Kimberly Strassel
(…) “The most notable aspect of the Mueller report was always what it omitted: the origins of this mess. Christopher Steele’s dossier was central to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe, the basis of many of the claims of conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. Yet the Mueller authors studiously wrote around the dossier, mentioning it only in perfunctory terms. The report ignored Mr. Steele’s paymaster, Fusion GPS, and its own ties to Russians. It also ignored Fusion’s paymaster, the Clinton campaign, and the ugly politics behind the dossier hit job.
Mr. Mueller’s testimony this week put to rest any doubt that this sheltering was deliberate. In his opening statement he declared that he would not “address questions about the opening of the FBI’s Russia investigation, which occurred months before my appointment, or matters related to the so-called Steele Dossier.” The purpose of those omissions was obvious, as those two areas go to the heart of why the nation has been forced to endure years of collusion fantasy.
Mr. Mueller claimed he couldn’t answer questions about the dossier because it “predated” his tenure and is the subject of a Justice Department investigation. These excuses are disingenuous. Nearly everything Mr. Mueller investigated predated his tenure, and there’s no reason the Justice Department probe bars Mr. Mueller from providing a straightforward, factual account of his team’s handling of the dossier.
If anything, Mr. Mueller had an obligation to answer those questions, since they go to the central failing of his own probe. As Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz asked Mr. Mueller, how could a special-counsel investigation into “Russia’s interference” have any credibility if it failed to look into whether the Steele dossier was itself disinformation from Moscow? Mr. Steele acknowledges that senior Russian officials were the source of his dossier’s claims of an “extensive conspiracy.” Given that no such conspiracy actually existed, Mr. Gaetz asked: “Did Russians really tell that to Christopher Steele, or did he just make it up and was he lying to the FBI?”
Mr. Mueller surreally responded: “As I said earlier, with regard to Steele, that is beyond my purview.”
So it went throughout the whole long day. Republicans asked basic questions about the report’s conclusions or analysis, and Mr. Mueller dodged and weaved and refused to avoid answering questions about the FBI’s legwork, the dossier’s role and Fusion’s involvement. Ohio Rep. Steve Chabot asked how the report could have neglected to mention Fusion’s ties to a Russian company and lawyer. Mr. Mueller: “Outside my purview.” California Rep. Devin Nunes asked several questions about one of the men at the epicenter of the “collusion” conspiracy—academic Joseph Mifsud, whom former FBI Director Jim Comey has tried to paint as a Russian agent. Mr. Mueller: “I am not going to speak to the series of happenings as you articulated them.”
Then again, how could he? The Mueller team, rather than question the FBI’s actions, went out of its way to build on them. That’s how we ended up with tortured plea agreements for process crimes from figures like former Trump aide George Papadopoulos and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. They were peripheral figures in an overhyped drama, who nonetheless had to be scalped to legitimize the early actions of Mr. Comey & Co. Mr. Mueller inherited the taint, and his own efforts were further tarnished. That accounts for Mr. Mueller’s stonewalling.” (Read more: The Wall Street Journal, 7/25/2019)
July 24, 2019 – Rep. Matt Gaetz questions Mueller about the Steele Dossier, the Trump Tower meeting and Peter Strzok
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., questions former special counsel Robert Mueller during his July 24 testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. Gaetz addresses the Steele Dossier, the Trump Tower meeting and Peter Strzok.
July 24, 2019 – Rep. Mike Turner questions Bob Mueller on his mythical power to ‘exonerate’ Trump and points to the media’s use of the word before the hearing ends
“A House Republican pulled out a screengrab from Wednesday’s CNN coverage of Robert Mueller’s hearing as part of a demonstration to argue that the special counsel cannot legally prove exoneration.
Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) was questioning Mueller on the legal concept of exoneration, arguing it doesn’t exist and that neither Mueller or Attorney General Bill Barr could “exonerate” someone.
“The report states, accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it does not exonerate him,” Turner said. “There’s no office of exoneration at the Attorney general’s office, no certificate at the bottom of his desk. Mr. Mueller, would you agree with me that the Attorney General does not have the power to exonerate?”
Mueller frequently declined to discuss the question, saying, “I’m not prepared to deal with a legal discussion in that arena.” (Read more: Mediaite, 7/24/2019)
All of Rep. Turner’s questions for Robert Mueller can be seen here:
July 24, 2019 – Chuck Todd calls Mueller hearing an optics disaster for Democrats
“Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd on Wednesday called former special counsel Robert Mueller‘s testimony “a disaster” for Democrats from an optics perspective.
“On substance, the Democrats got what they wanted,” Todd noted during a panel discussion anchored by NBC’s Lester Holt.
“They got him to confirm that he didn’t make a charge because of the Justice Department memo. He confirmed that you can still indict [President Trump] on these charges after he leaves office. And he seemed to confirm the idea that under any other circumstance, he likely would have filed some charges.”
“But he provided such, what do you call it, uncomfortable clarity?” Todd continued. “As they [Democrats] were using him for clarity, he’d somehow fog it up in how he’d do certain things. So look, on optics, this was a disaster,” Todd concluded.
The sentiment echoed remarks earlier by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, who called the hearing “a disaster for the Democrats” and “for the reputation of Robert Mueller” during a discussion on the network that was retweeted by Trump.” (Read more: The Hill, 7/24/2019)
June 25, 2019 – Congress issues a subpoena to Robert Mueller and he agrees to testify
“Special Counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to testify before Congress on July 17 on his report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the House Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee announced Tuesday night.
In a joint statement, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said that Mueller had agreed to testify in an open session.
“Americans have demanded to hear directly from the Special Counsel so they can understand what he and his team examined, uncovered, and determined about Russia’s attack on our democracy, the Trump campaign’s acceptance and use of that help, and President Trump and his associates’ obstruction of the investigation into that attack,” they said.
The committees issued subpoenas Tuesday to compel Mueller’s testimony, according to the joint statement. The decision to compel Mueller to testify is a landmark move that will put an end to a months-long saga on Capitol Hill where lawmakers have for weeks fought to get access to information about whether President Trump obstructed justice. (Read more: The Daily Beast, 6/25/2019)
June 20, 2019 – The Justice Department allows Congress to view the Rosenstein Scope Memos
Byron York has put down the crustless triangle sandwich and white wine spritzer long enough to finally discover the October 20th, 2017, scope memo written by Rod Rosenstein that authorized Weissman and Mueller to target Michael Flynn Jr.
(…) The Justice Department has recently allowed members of some congressional committees to view the scope memos, and out of that has come the news that there was a third scope memo to Mueller. Dated Oct. 20, 2017, its contents remain a secret. But its very existence suggests something was going on behind the scenes in the relationship of Mueller and his supervisors at the Justice Department. (read more)
York continues… “At the moment, the third scope memo, like most of the second scope memo, remains a secret.“… Good grief, seriously? Funny how AG Barr is now letting congress look at the scope memos, meanwhile -despite the authorization to release provided by President Trump- the public is blocked from them. I digress.
The October 20th, 2017, Rosenstein scope memo was specifically so that Weissmann and Mueller could target specific people for maximum political damage; including the targeting of Michael Flynn Jr. to generate leverage so that Flynn Sr. would have to accept a plea or see his family crushed under the weight of the weaponized special counsel.
The original authorization for the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller was May 17th, 2017. However, the released Weissmann/Mueller report shows there were two additional scope memos authorizing specific targeting of the Mueller probe. The second scope memo was August 2nd, 2017, (outlined here), and is an important part of the puzzle that helps explain the corrupt original purpose of the special counsel.
The third scope memo was issued by Rod Rosenstein to Robert Mueller on October 20th, 2017. The transparent intent of the third scope memo was to provide Weissmann and Mueller with ammunition and authority to investigate specific targets, for specific purposes. One of those targets was General Michael Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn Jr.
As you review the highlighted portion below, found on pages 12 and 13 of the Weissmann report, read slowly and fully absorb the intent; the corruption is blood-boiling:
This third scope memo allowed Weissmann and Mueller to target tangentially related persons and entities bringing in Michael Cohen, Richard Gates, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn Jr. Additionally and strategically (you’ll see why), this memo established the authority to pursue “jointly undertaken activity“.
With Paul Manafort outlined as an investigative target in the original authorization and the second scope memo, the third scope memo authorizes expansion to his business partner Richard Gates and their joint businesses. This memo also permits the investigation of Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen and all of his interests; and in ultimate weasel sunlight, Rosenstein authorizes an investigation of his boss, AG Jeff Sessions.
Before getting to more targets, notice the underlined passage about starting with a lot of investigative material because the special counsel was picking up a Russian interference investigation that had been ongoing for “nearly 10 months.”
I would also note that our CTH research indicates all of the illegally extracted FISA-702(16)(17) database search results would be part of this pre-existing investigative file available immediately to Weissmann and Mueller. However, in order to use the search-query evidence, Weissmann and Mueller would need to backfill some alternate justification; or find another way to “rediscover” the preexisting results….. I digress
The four identified targets within the original July 2016 investigation, “Operation Crossfire Hurricane”, were George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and Carter Page. (See HPSCI report):
General Flynn was under investigation from the outset in mid-2016. The fraudulent FBI counterintelligence operation, established by CIA Director John Brennan, had Flynn as one of the early targets when Brennan handed the originating electronic communication“EC” to FBI Director James Comey.” (Read more: The Conservative Treehouse, 6/20/2019)
- Andrew Weissmann
- Crossfire Hurricane
- electronic communication memo (EC)
- FBI counterintelligence investigation
- George Papadopoulos
- John Brennan
- June 2019
- Lt. General Michael Flynn
- Michael Cohen
- Michael Flynn Jr.
- Mueller Report
- Paul Manafort
- Richard Gates
- Robert Mueller
- Rod Rosenstein
- Roger Stone
- scope memos
- William Barr