Posts Tagged ‘Hillary Clinton’

Dossier Author Steele Visited State Department in Oct. 2016

June 21, 2018

Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the infamous Trump dossier, visited the State Department weeks before the 2016 presidential election to discuss his findings about then-candidate Donald Trump.

“Based upon our review of the visitor logs at the State Department, Mr. Steele visited the State Department, briefing officials on the dossier in October 2016,” Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., said, The Daily Caller reported.

Image may contain: 1 person, suit

Christopher Steele

The dossier was compiled over several months and made allegations Trump had ties to the Russian government. Some of the claims in the document were scandalous.and most unverified.

The dossier was leaked to the media and published by BuzzFeed News a short time before Trump was sworn in as president in January 2017.

Steele’s visit to the State Department had not been made public until Wednesday.

Burr cited an exchange he had with former State Department official Victoria Nuland — who worked for the department during the Obama administration — in revealing Steele’s trip to Washington, D.C. Nuland said she saw portions of the dossier in July 2016.

Former FBI Director James Comey briefed President Donald Trump on the dossier after he won the election but before he took office. It has also been reported former Secretary of State John Kerry and others might have seen the document before its publication.

The Steele dossier was one of the sources FBI officials used to obtain multiple FISA warrants to spy on certain members of the Trump campaign in 2016.

Read Newsmax: Report: Dossier Author Steele Visited State Department in Oct. 2016 | Newsmax.com
.

https://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/dossier-christopher-steele-state-department-deep-state/2018/06/20/id/867349/

Advertisements

Congress – FBI Sandoff: Trey Gowdy Says Congress Ready To Use “Full Arsenal of Constitutional Weapons” To Make FBI/DOJ Comply With Document Requests

June 18, 2018

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said on ‘FOX News Sunday’ that House Republicans would hold top FBI and Justice Department officials in contempt of Congress if they fail to comply with subpoenas for sensitive documents championed by Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes.

Gowdy, Nunes, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte met on Friday with FBI and DOJ officials and “went item by item” through the outstanding subpoenas, Gowdy said.

“And Paul Ryan made it very clear: There’s going to be action on the floor of the House this week if the FBI and DOJ do not comply with our subpoena requests,” Gowdy said. House Republicans will use their “full arsenal of constitutional weapons to gain compliance.”

“Including contempt of Congress?” host Chris Wallace asked.

“That would be among them, yes sir,” Gowdy replied. “I don’t want the drama. I want the documents. There is no ambiguity, the Speaker of the House was really clear: you’re going to comply or there’s going to be floor action, and I think they got the message.”

He also said that the Justice Department’s inspector general report on the handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe helps President Trump.

FoxNewsSunday

@FoxNewsSunday

On how the DOJ’s IG Report impacts @realDonaldTrump, @TGowdySC tells Chris: “It certainly helps him”
Watch the full interview at 2PM & 7PM ET @FoxNews

Asked by anchor Chris Wallace if the report exonerates Trump, Gowdy said, “it certainly helps him.”

Gowdy said the report proved that the same agents involved in the Clinton email investigation later went on to bias investigations into Trump.

Image result for John Brennan, james clapper, photos

“The same people, the same players that were involved in the Clinton probe later moved to the Russian probe. [Former CIA Director] John Brennan, who said he should be in the dustpan of history, [former FBI Director] Jim Comey, who said impeachment was too good of a remedy, [former Attorney General] Loretta Lynch, who wanted Hillary Clinton to win,” Gowdy said.

https://video.foxnews.com/v/video-embed.html?video_id=5797742928001&loc=realclearpolitics.com&ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.realclearpolitics.com%2Fvideo%2F2018%2F06%2F17%2Fgowdy_house_gop_will_hit_fbidoj_with_full_arsenal_of_constitutional_weapons_if_they_dont_comply_with_requests.html&_xcf=

.

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/06/17/gowdy_house_gop_will_hit_fbidoj_with_full_arsenal_of_constitutional_weapons_if_they_dont_comply_with_requests.html

.

Full interview:

From Fox News Sunday:

Full Gowdy Interview

Related:

FBI head proves Washington has a vendetta against Trump

June 17, 2018
.

As FBI director Christopher Wray started giving his response to the blistering report on the Hillary Clinton investigation, I hoped he would accept the findings as proof the agency lost its way and must be shaken to its foundation. By the time he finished talking, I felt ­naive for daring to hope.

Commentary
By Michael Goodwin
New York Post

Wray’s performance was worse than disappointing. It was infuriating proof that it will take more than one election to change the corrupt culture of Washington.

Wray replaced the ousted James Comey, whose conduct in the Clinton probe was shredded by Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Investigators demonstrated with new details that the self-right­eous Comey was insubordinate and duplicitous, and even used private e-mail for government business while he investigated Clinton over her private, ­unsecured server. Talk about arrogance.

The report ends forever the illusion that Comey was a noble public servant. He served only himself and is now so toxic to both parties that it’s unlikely he will ever get another government job. Hallelujah.

But the FBI didn’t stink only from the head. The report paints an agency run amok, with numerous examples of serious misconduct by leaders, agents and ­lawyers.

We learned of more outrageous texts from Peter Strzok, the top agent who worked on both the Clinton and Russia investigations. In one, Strzok promised his lover, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, that “We’ll stop” Donald Trump from becoming president.

Horowitz found another unidentified FBI employee who, in a message to a colleague, echoed Clinton’s “deplorables” slur by calling Trump supporters “all poor to middle class, uneducated, lazy POS that think he will magically grant them jobs for doing ­nothing.”

Yet another one sent “heads up” e-mails to Clinton campaign boss John Podesta and lobbied to get his kid a job on the campaign. The report also found numerous agents having improper media contacts, with some accepting gifts.

The mystery of leaks is a mystery no more. The FBI was a giant faucet.

Except to Christopher Wray, who acted as if the disturbing findings were just another day at the office. While saying the report shows “we’ve got some work to do,” he stressed its limited scope.

“It’s focused on a specific set of events back in 2016, and a small number of FBI employees connected with those events,” he said. “Nothing in the report impugns the integrity of our workforce as a whole, or the FBI as an institution.”

Right, and otherwise Mrs. Lincoln, did you enjoy the play?

Both Comey and his top deputy, Andrew McCabe, were fired, agents are being investigated for partisan conduct, Congress is in an uproar about FBI stonewalling of documents and public trust is plummeting. But Wray is the consummate company man as he sings the agency’s praises while suggesting the dirty doings are no big deal.

“The report did not find any evidence of political bias or improper consideration actually impacting the investigation under review,” he boasted, then diminished the improper behavior as mere “errors of judgment, violations of or disregard for policy, and decisions that, at the very least, in hindsight, were not the best choices.”

Arrrrgh!

His bias bar is so low it would never pass muster in an ordinary criminal trial. Imagine a case where the defendant is black and all the jurors have identified themselves as white racists. Would it be considered a fair trial if they found the defendant guilty just because they didn’t make racist comments during deliberations?

By circling the wagons, Wray shows he is unprepared to carry out big changes. That makes it three strikes at Justice, as Wray joins Attorney General Jeff Sessions and deputy AG Rod Rosenstein as Trump’s biggest whiffs.

They are worse than weak links. They simply don’t see themselves as being part of the same administration.

Sessions’ recusal from the Russia probe turned Trump’s fate over to Rosenstein, who is acting much as Comey acted — above accountability.

He and Wray are withholding key documents House Republicans want about the suspect FBI probe of Trump. Rosenstein threatened to subpoena House members and their staff for daring to question his actions, a chilling abuse of power that reveals his disdain for legitimate oversight.

Despite its otherwise good work, the inspector general report becomes part of the problem by refusing to second-guess Comey’s approach to the Clinton case, saying his choices were matters of discretion that fell within guidelines. Yet the approach Comey chose smacks of politics, with Clinton given every benefit of the doubt and remarkable deference.

Another shortcoming is outside the report’s scope, but can’t be ­ignored. The kid-glove treatment Clinton got stands in sharp contrast to the harsh way Trump and his team are being treated in the Russia probe.

Guilty pleas and indictments, capped by Paul Manafort’s jailing Friday, show special counsel Robert Mueller is playing prosecutor hardball even though he works under the same Justice Department rules Comey used to give Clinton a free pass. Political bias is the only way to explain the ­disparity.

Some 19 months after Trump was elected, the schism his triumph reflected is hardening. Instead of giving all Americans reasons to trust their government, Sessions, Rosenstein, Wray and Mueller act as if they are the law and everybody else should shut up.

Endless conflict will be their ­legacy.

https://nypost.com/2018/06/17/fbi-head-proves-washington-has-a-vendetta-against-trump/?utm_source=facebook_sitebuttons&utm_medium=site%20buttons&utm_campaign=site%20buttons

Rudy Giuliani Renews Calls for Justice Department to Investigate Russia Probe

June 17, 2018

Mr. Giuliani also addressed the question of presidential pardons. ‘The president is not going to issue pardons in this investigation,” he said

Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, seen at the White House May 29, stepped up calls for an investigation into the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into alleged ties between Russia and the president’s election campaign.
Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, seen at the White House May 29, stepped up calls for an investigation into the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into alleged ties between Russia and the president’s election campaign. PHOTO: ANDREW HARNIK/ASSOCIATED PRESS
.

President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani stepped up calls for an investigation into the legitimacy of Robert Mueller’s appointment as a special counsel to investigate alleged coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“We want the Mueller probe to be investigated the way the Trump administration is being investigated,” Mr. Giuliani said Sunday in an interview on CNN.

Mr. Giuliani has stepped up his criticism after a report Thursday from the Justice Department’s inspector general that criticized former FBI Director James Comey for his handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

“We know from the probe by the inspector general, the FBI at the highest levels here were doing very unorthodox things,” Mr. Giuliani said. The investigation, which he said should be led by the Justice Department, should look into the special counsel “not necessarily because of Mueller but because of its genesis in this almost completely illegal and unethical probe.”

Mr. Trump has sought to use the report to discredit Mr. Mueller’s investigation, although it didn’t address the topic.

Earlier this week, Mr. Giuliani called for Mr. Mueller’s suspension as special counsel. Mr. Mueller’s probe has indicted 20 people on charges including money laundering and tax fraud.

Mr. Giuliani also addressed whether the president might pardon people caught up in Mr. Mueller’s investigation.

“The president has issued no pardons in this investigation, the president is not going to issue pardons in this investigation,” Mr. Giuliani said, adding that pardons would distract attention from the unfairness of Mr. Mueller’s investigation.

Still, he reasserted Mr. Trump’s authority to issue pardons.

“When it’s over, hey, he’s the president of the United States,” Mr. Giuliani said.

Mr. Giuliani’s call for investigations of the investigations was echoed Sunday by Stephen Bannon, a former top White House aide.

“We ought to have another Church commission like they had in the ‘70s,” Mr. Bannon said in an interview on ABC, referring to a special committee led by Sen. Frank Church to investigate abuses from the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service and the National Security Agency.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/rudy-giulianirenews-calls-for-justice-department-to-investigate-russia-probe-1529247643

Open Up the Horowitz Secret Appendix — We Need to Know More About The I.G. Report on the FBI, Justice Department Findings

June 17, 2018

The public needs to know the history of the Russian info that had a big effect on Mr. Comey’s decisions.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz testifies at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Washington, D.C., July 26, 2017.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz testifies at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Washington, D.C., July 26, 2017.PHOTO: ZACH GIBSON/EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report points to multiple irregularities in FBI chief James Comey’s actions in the 2016 election campaign, sees no evidence of political bias, but never really gets to the bottom of why Mr. Comey played the role he did.

Mr. Comey may have been worried that a Justice Department decision not to prosecute Mrs. Clinton would lack credibility, but it was in no sense his obligation to solve this problem. It simply was not the FBI chief’s job to relieve the Obama administration of the need to sell its decision to the electorate. This is why we have elections. It’s what political accountability is all about.

This is where Russia enters in. It is highly absurd at this point to keep this information secret, as Mr. Horowitz does in a classified appendix.

We already know from press reporting last year that the FBI was in possession of some kind of Russian intercept of a purported Democratic email that referred to an alleged conversation between Clinton aide Amanda Renteria and Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Mr. Horowitz says Mr. Comey did not find the information credible, didn’t investigate it, and didn’t tell his Justice Department superiors about it.

Except that as recently as a few weeks ago in a TV interview Mr. Comey indicated the information might not be false. Hmm.

One more thing we learn: The same classified source reported an allegation that Mr. Comey himself would seek to delay the Hillary investigation to aid Republicans.

So the information wasn’t credible, wasn’t investigated, and wasn’t shared with his superiors. We also don’t know which agency it came from or what discussions about its relevance took place. And yet it was hugely consequential. Mr. Comey himself tells us in his memoir that this classified information was pivotal to his decision to intervene. He feared it would leak and be used to discredit any DOJ decision to clear Mrs. Clinton.

Let’s pause here. Readers may have noticed a slight elision in my May 30 column on these matters. Mr. Comey’s second intervention, the one reopening the Hillary investigation shortly before the election, was one intervention that was not based on Russian intelligence.

It was also the one intervention decidedly not urged on Mr. Comey or favored by his Obama administration colleagues.

But consider: Mr. Comey by this point could not have failed to notice that all the FBI’s interventions were tending to benefit Mrs. Clinton. He could not have failed to notice that the intelligence basis for his actions (e.g., the Steele dossier) was disconcertingly thin.

He would have been lacking in shrewdness not to wonder if Obama spy masters were playing him for a sap. When the Anthony Weiner laptop surfaced, he would have had every reason to be eager to re-establish his bona fides with his GOP congressional overseers as somebody who in retrospect would be seen to have played an evenhanded role in the election.

Voilà. Yet this line of inquiry has not been so much neglected as dropped by the media. Virtually no press accounts this week even mention Mr. Horowitz’s classified appendix.

This is not exactly surprising. Democrats and Mr. Trump’s press critics ecstatically embraced the Russian interference theme but, unfortunately for them, the Russian interference theme also gives coherence and motive to the story they wish to ignore. This story concerns a consistent pattern of meddling in the race by our own intelligence agencies, using Russian intelligence as an excuse.

Indeed, a fact becomes clearer than ever, especially from the poorly self-serving babblings of former Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper : The now-defunct theory that Mr. Trump was Russia’s cat’s-paw had been widely adopted at the highest echelons of the Obama administration. It inspired many of the administration’s actions.

It almost goes without saying that Russia at first would have looked on Mr. Trump’s candidacy as the U.S. establishment did, as a joke, discrediting our democracy.

That Russian trolls were keen to promote the Trump phenomenon seemed obvious to this columnist from August 2015, as I’ve pointed out.

But this does not delegitimize Mr. Trump or the message his voters were trying to send by electing him. The Kremlin was no less blinkered and smug than our own establishment, a k a Mr. Comey, in its understanding of the Trump phenomenon and contempt for democratic outcomes.

Mr. Comey’s actions unfurl more as a comedy of arrogance rather than a conspiracy, though conspiratorial elements certainly came to be involved, especially in promoting leakage of the Steele dossier and various innuendo against the incoming Trump administration.

Not for the first time, we wonder how the Trump presidency might have been different, and how much opportunity the country might not now be squandering, if Democrats had decided to understand his election as an interesting, antipartisan, possibly providential anomaly rather than inventing conspiracy theories about it.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/open-up-the-horowitz-secret-appendix-1529096831

Insubordination and Bias at FBI

June 15, 2018

The inspector general report is careful in its conclusions, but damning on the facts.

Former FBI Director James Comey.
Former FBI Director James Comey. PHOTO: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s 500-page report covers plenty, but it can be distilled to two words he uses to describe the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the 2016 election: insubordination and bias. Two terms that are chilling in connection with such a powerful agency.

That won’t be the message from Democrats and most of the press, who will focus on a few episodes they will claim cost Hillary Clinton an election. Watch for them to blame former FBI Director James Comey, whom the report faults for “a serious error of judgment,” for having “concealed information” from superiors, and for “violation of or disregard for” departmental and bureau policies.

True, the report is damning about the man who lectures Americans on “higher loyalty.” It describes how an “insubordinate” Mr. Comey was, as early as April 2016, considering how to cut his Justice Department bosses from a public statement exonerating Hillary Clinton. He hid this scheme for fear “they would instruct him not to do it”—and therefore was able to “avoid supervision.” He then “violated long-standing Department practice and protocol” by using his July 5 press conference for “criticizing Clinton’s uncharged conduct.” In October, he made public that the FBI had reopened the investigation, even though the Justice Department recommended he not do so. Mr. Comey went rogue, and President Trump had plenty of justification in firing him in May 2017.

Yet it is the report’s findings on the wider culture of the FBI and Justice Department that are most alarming. The report depicts agencies that operate outside the rules to which they hold everybody else, and that showed extraordinary bias while investigating two presidential candidates.

There’s Loretta Lynch, who felt it perfectly fine to have a long catch-up with her friend Bill Clinton on a Phoenix tarmac and whom the inspector general slams for an “error in judgment.” Mr. Comey’s entire staff was complicit in concealing the contents of the July press conference from Justice officials. We discover that significant FBI “resources” were dedicated in October to spinning FBI “talking points” about the Clinton investigation—rather than actually investigating the new Anthony Weiner laptop emails the bureau discovered in September. We even find that Mr. Comey used personal email and laptops to conduct government work.

There’s former Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik, who was tipping off the Clinton campaign even as he took part in the investigation, and who “failed to strictly adhere to [his] recusal” when he finally stepped away. Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe also did not “fully comply with his recusal,” and he’d already been found to have lied to the bureau about a leak to the media. Speaking of leaks, Mr. Horowitz needed full attachments and charts to list the entire “volume of communication” between FBI employees and the press. Not only did these folks have “no official reason to be in contact with the media,” but they also “improperly received benefits from reporters, including tickets to sporting events, golfing outings, drinks and meals, and admittance to nonpublic social events.”

Be ready to hear the report absolves the FBI and DOJ of “bias.” Not true. It very carefully states that “our review did not find documentary or testimonial evidence directly connecting the political views these employees expressed in their text messages and instant messages to the specific investigative decisions we reviewed.” Put another way, he never caught anyone writing down: Let’s start this Trump investigation so we can help Hillary win.

But the bias is everywhere. It’s in the texts between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, and those of three other employees who are routinely “hostile” to Candidate Trump. It’s in Ms. Page’s freak-out that Mr. Trump might win the presidency and Mr. Strzok’s reply: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.” It’s in a message from an unnamed agent in November 2016 who writes that although the FBI found Clinton aide Huma Abedin had “lied,” it doesn’t matter since “no one at DOJ is going to prosecute.” To which a second agent replies. “Rog—noone is going to pros[ecute] even if we find unique classified.”

It’s in the Justice Department’s decision to cut deals with Mrs. Clinton and her staff and shelter them from a grand jury. And to agree to limitations in searching for and in devices. And in immunity agreements. The report is largely neutral on all this, giving officials the broad benefit of the doubt on “discretionary judgments made during the course of an investigation.” But it immediately follows that statement by noting that its job of evaluating the integrity of decisions was “made significantly more difficult” by the obvious bias among key players, which “cast a cloud” over the entire “investigation’s credibility.”

The current FBI and Justice Department leadership can no longer justify its refusal to come clean on its other actions. A neutral arbiter has found they made a hash of the Clinton investigation, and it is reasonable to assume that those same players made a hash of the Trump probe. The sooner they acknowledge it, the sooner Congress can move to reform these agencies so that no such thing ever happens again.

Write to kim@wsj.com.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/insubordination-and-bias-at-fbi-1529018176

Giuliani Calls for Mueller’s Suspension, Criticizes Top Justice Department Officials

June 15, 2018

President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer says Mueller probe is ‘phony’ after watchdog report released

Rudy Giuliani, shown in Jerusalem on June 7, said on Fox News’s ‘Hannity’ that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have until Friday to redeem themselves.
Rudy Giuliani, shown in Jerusalem on June 7, said on Fox News’s ‘Hannity’ that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have until Friday to redeem themselves. PHOTO: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS

WASHINGTON— Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, on Thursday called for special counsel Robert Mueller to be suspended and for two Justice Department officials to “redeem themselves” following a report critical of the agency’s investigationinto Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

The Justice Department earlier Thursday released the long-awaited watchdog report, which rebuked former FBI Director James Comey’s decisions to publicize details about the politically charged Clinton investigation but found no evidence that the probe was affected by bias or other political considerations.

Speaking on Fox News’ “Hannity,” Mr. Giuliani, referring to the deputy attorney general and the attorney general, said: “I believe that Rod Rosenstein and Jeff Sessions have a chance to redeem themselves. And that chance comes about tomorrow. It doesn’t go beyond tomorrow.”

He also called for the suspension of Mr. Mueller, who is investigating whether Trump associates colluded with Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election, and said: “Honest people should be brought in.” Mr. Trump has denied collusion, and Moscow has denied election meddling.

Mr. Trump in recent months has often privately considered firing Messrs. Mueller, Rosenstein and Sessions, and has been openly critical of all three. White House aides have urged the president not to follow through on any of those moves, warning him that it would only prolong the investigation.

Mr. Giuliani also called for the Mueller probe, which has indicted 20 people on charges including money laundering and tax fraud, to be suspended, calling the probe “phony.” He said he was “talking for myself now, not the president. But I believe he would agree with this.”

Mr. Giuliani joined the president’s personal legal team for the Russia investigation earlier this year with an explicit mandate to bring the probe to a swift end. Since then, the legal team has spent months negotiating with Mr. Mueller over the terms of a possible interview with the president. Mr. Giuliani in recent weeks has suggested he is less inclined to have Mr. Trump sit for an interview, which the president has said he is eager to do.

Write to Rebecca Ballhaus at Rebecca.Ballhaus@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/giuliani-calls-for-muellers-suspension-criticizes-top-justice-department-officials-1529032907

FBI agent who wanted to ‘stop’ Trump has really just helped him — “Deep State” Thought it Could Swing the Election — Voters not needed

June 15, 2018

“We’ll stop it.”

With the revelation of those three words, which popped up in today’s Justice Department report about the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton, the world has changed.

We now know that senior FBI official Peter Strzok sought to calm his mistress and fellow FBI official Lisa Page’s fears of a Trump presidency by promising to stop it from happening. By text message.

Eighteen months later, Congress asked the Justice Department for all materials relating to the couple’s conduct — and the text containing those three words was missing from those materials. The thing was, the text to which it was a response was supplied to Congress. But not the smoking gun. That had been disappeared. Until the Justice Department report revealed them.

Let’s face it: It is highly unlikely that this extraordinarily incendiary text simply vanished of its own accord. Someone almost surely vanished it so that it would not become the subject of a thousand Fox News broadcasts. I think we can presume that special someone was its author, Peter Strzok.

.
Commentary
By  John Podhoretz
.

This guy Strzok may be the emblematic figure of the past few years of Washington scandal. He was intimately involved in the investigation into Hillary Clinton and in the Russia investigation — that is, until independent counsel Robert Mueller found out about the texting with Lisa Page and fired them both off the probe only a month after Mueller started his work.

The report notes that Hillary Clinton e-mail crisis — called Midyear — came back into play in late September 2016 as the Russia investigation was getting its sea legs. Strzok was more interested in the latter, the Inspector General reports, and “we did not have confidence that Strzok’s decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the Midyear-related investigative lead discovered on the Weiner laptop was free from bias.”

In other words, he wanted to get Trump more than he wanted to deal further with the Clinton matter. Other texts he shared with Page feature weird formulations suggesting this as well — texts that Strzok must be made to explain to the public in sworn testimony before the House or Senate Judiciary Committees in short order.

Like this one, from August 15, 2016: “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration … that 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 …”Strzok told the IG that this “was part of a discussion about how to handle a variety of allegations of ‘collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the government of Russia’ … Given that Clinton was the ‘prohibitive favorite’ to win, Strzok said that they discussed whether it made sense to compromise sensitive sources and methods to ‘bring things to some sort of precipitative conclusion and understanding.’ ”

Let’s parse this. What he meant was they were discussing whether to leak information (thereby “compromising sensitive sources and methods”) to ruin Trump, mindful that it might not be necessary to do so because Hillary would win anyway.

Yes, this is just great, that they were having such a conversation within the FBI, isn’t it?

The evidence amassed in the Justice Department report makes one thing clear: Strzok is dangerous — and an utter schmuck. Consider the astounding vainglory of a text he sent just after Mueller was appointed: “I personally have a sense of unfinished business. I unleashed it with [Midyear]. Now I need to fix it and finish it.”

The IG says Strzok “acknowledged that his text messages could be read to suggest that Strzok held himself responsible for Trump’s victory and Clinton’s defeat … However, Strzok said he strongly disagreed with this interpretation.” You can read the report and see how he lays out his disagreement. It’s cringe-inducing babble and nonsense.

He’s proof that the “deep state” made up of permanent Washington officials working their will against political types supposedly out to get Trump is a real phenomenon — and that it’s just as much derp state (Twitter wag Kate Hyde’s term) as deep state.

See, here’s the thing. Trump did get elected. What’s more Strzok himself told Page in a text that when it came to the Russia probe, “my gut sense and concern” told him “there’s no big there there.”

Trump is fortunate in his political enemies. He ran against the worst possible Democratic candidate. And these revelations from Derp State Strzok are deeply threatening to the political and institutional viability of the Mueller probe itself — the very thing Democrats and left-liberals have spent the past year praying might do him in.

Did I call him a shmuck? Strzok is the ultimate shlimazel — a Yiddish term for a clumsy oaf who trips himself up at every turn. Strzok reassured his mistress that he’d stop Trump. He didn’t do it in 2016. And he may have contributed to not stopping Trump in 2020.

By the way, they’re no longer an item.

FILED UNDER       
.

The Disgrace of Comey’s FBI

June 15, 2018

The damning IG report shows the urgent need to restore public trust.

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and suit

The long-awaited Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation makes for depressing reading for anyone who cares about American democracy. Self-government depends on public trust in its institutions, especially law enforcement. The IG’s 568-page report makes clear that the FBI under former director James Comey betrayed that public trust in a way not seen since J. Edgar Hoover.

We use the Hoover analogy advisedly, realizing that the problem in this case was not rampant illegal spying. Though IG Michael Horowitz’s conclusions are measured, his facts are damning. They show that Mr. Comey abused his authority, broke with long-established Justice Department norms, and deceived his superiors and the public.

While the IG says Mr. Comey’s decisions were not the result of “political bias,” he presided over an investigating team that included agents who clearly were biased against Donald Trump. The damage to the bureau’s reputation—and to thousands of honest agents—will take years to repair.

The issue of political bias is almost beside the point. The IG scores Mr. Comey for “ad hoc decisionmaking based on his personal views.” Like Hoover, Mr. Comey believed that he alone could protect the public trust. And like Hoover, this hubris led him to make egregious mistakes of judgment that the IG says “negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice.”

***

The report scores Mr. Comey in particular for his “conscious decision not to tell [Justice] Department leadership about his plans to independently announce” an end to the investigation at his July 5 press conference in which he exonerated but criticized Mrs. Clinton. And the IG also scores his action 11 days before the 2016 presidential election, on October 28, to send a letter to Congress saying the investigation had been reopened.

The decision to prosecute belongs to the Attorney General and Justice, not the FBI. And the FBI does not release derogatory information on someone against whom it is not bringing charges. Regarding the October letter informing Congress that the FBI was renewing the investigation, FBI policy is not to announce investigations. “We found unpersuasive Comey’s explanation,” deadpans the IG.

“We found that it was extraordinary and insubordinate for Comey to conceal his intentions from his superiors, the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, for the admitted purpose of preventing them from telling him not to make the statement, and to instruct his subordinates in the FBI to do the same,” says the report.

“Comey waited until the morning of his press conference to inform [Attorney General Loretta] Lynch and [Deputy Attorney General Sally ] Yates of his plans to hold one without them, and did so only after first notifying the press. As a result, Lynch’s office learned about Comey’s plans via press inquiries rather than from Comey. Moreover, when Comey spoke with Lynch he did not tell her what he intended to say in his statement.”

All of this underscores the case that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made when he advised President Trump in May 2017 that he should fire Mr. Comey. The President’s mistake was not firing Mr. Comey immediately upon taking office on Jan. 20, 2017, as some of us advised at the time.

As for political bias, the IG devotes a chapter to the highly partisan texts exchanged over FBI phones between FBI personnel. The IG says he found no evidence that political bias affected investigative decisions, but the details will be fodder for those who think otherwise.

For one thing, the political opinions ran in only one direction—against Mr. Trump. Then there is the case of FBI agent Peter Strzok and his decision to prioritize the Russian investigation over following up on Mrs. Clinton’s emails. The IG concludes that Mr. Strzok’s “text messages led us to conclude that we did not have confidence that Strzok’s decision was free from bias.”

The specific Strzok message the IG cites is one in which he responded to a text from his paramour, Lisa Page, asking for reassurance that Mr. Trump was “not ever going to become president, right?” Mr. Strzok replied, “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”

Senator Ron Johnson’s office reports that his committee had received the first part of this exchange— Ms. Page’s question—from Justice. But somehow Mr. Strzok’s astonishing reply wasn’t included. If this was deliberate, the official who ordered this exclusion should be publicly identified and fired.

The report also chronicles a long list of other questionable judgments by the FBI and Justice. These include waiting until late October to announce that the FBI was seeking a search warrant for Anthony Weiner’s laptop, though “virtually every fact that was cited” to justify the move had been known a month before.

And the report criticizes the decision to let Mrs. Clinton’s attorneys, Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, attend the FBI’s interview with Mrs. Clinton when they were potential witnesses to her possible offenses. This was “inconsistent with typical investigative strategy and gave rise to accusations of bias and preferential treatment,” the IG says.

***

The unavoidable conclusion is that Mr. Comey’s FBI became a law unto itself, accountable to no one but the former director’s self-righteous conscience. His refusal to follow proper guidelines interfered with a presidential election campaign in a way that has caused millions of Americans in both parties to justifiably cry foul.

This should never happen in a democracy, and steps must be taken so that it never does again. Mr. Horowitz deserves credit for an investigation that was thorough, informative and unplagued by leaks. But it is not the final word. Next week he will be testifying before Congress to flesh out and clarify his findings. Congress should also call FBI agents as witnesses.

The larger damage here is to trust in institutions that are vital to self-government. Mr. Trump will use the facts to attack the FBI, but most agents are honest and nonpartisan. Christopher Wray, the new FBI director, promised Thursday to implement the IG’s recommendations, but his cleanup task is larger. He can start by ending the FBI’s stonewall of Congress on document requests.

Mr. Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have to understand that radical measures are needed to restore public trust in both the FBI and Justice Department. If they won’t do it, someone else must.

Appeared in the June 15, 2018, print edition.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-disgrace-of-comeys-fbi-1529019418

Trey Gowdy: FBI Botched investigation into potential Espionage Act violations by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

June 14, 2018

Severely damaged the credibility of the FBI and DOJ…

Image may contain: 1 person

Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Committee, made a statement ahead of the report’s release, calling the findings “deeply disappointing.”

Here is the bulk of his statement:

“I am alarmed, angered, and deeply disappointed by the Inspector General’s finding of numerous failures by DOJ and FBI in investigating potential Espionage Act violations by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

This report confirms investigative decisions made by the FBI during the pendency of this investigation were unprecedented and deviated from traditional investigative procedures in favor of a much more permissive and voluntary approach. This is not the way normal investigations are run.

The investigation was mishandled. The investigatory conclusions were reached before the end of the witness interviews. The July 5th press conference marked a serious violation of policy and process. And the letters to Congress in the fall of 2016 were both delayed in substance and unnecessary in form.

Moreover, the treatment afforded to former Secretary Clinton and other potential subjects and targets was starkly different from the FBI’s investigation into Trump campaign officials. Voluntariness and consent in the former were replaced with search warrants, subpoenas, and other compulsory processes in the latter. Many of the investigators and supervisors were the same in both investigations but the investigatory tactics were not.

Former Director Comey violated department policy in several significant ways. The FBI’s actions and those of former Director Comey severely damaged the credibility of the investigation, the public’s ability to rely on the results of the investigation, and the very institutions he claims to revere.”

https://www.cbsnews.com/live-news/inspector-general-report-clinton-email-investigation-2018-06-14-live-updates/

Related: