As Congress and some of the press begin to peel back the layers of scandal surrounding the government surveillance and investigation into the Trump campaign, it is truly starting to smell like corrupt government agencies. The more we know, the worse it smells.
The Daily Caller posted an article yesterday about some events that occurred before the appointment of a Special Prosecutor. There was definitely a strategy among those who wanted to undo the 2016 presidential election.
The article reports:
Justice Department documents released on Friday confirm that the DOJ attorney known as Robert Mueller’s “pit bull” arranged a meeting with journalists in April 2017 to discuss an investigation into Paul Manafort.
The documents show that Andrew Weissmann arranged a meeting with DOJ and FBI officials and four Associated Press reporters on April 11, 2017, just over a month before Mueller was appointed special counsel.
Manafort’s lawyers obtained the documents on June 29 and revealed them in a briefing filed in federal court in Virginia. The attorneys are pushing for a hearing into what they say are possible leaks of secret grand jury information, false information and potentially classified materials from the meeting.
“The meeting raises serious concerns about whether a violation of grand jury secrecy occurred,” a lawyer for Manafort, Kevin Downing, wrote in a motion requesting a hearing. “Based on the FBI’s own notes of the meeting, it is beyond question that a hearing is warranted.”
The article continues:
The existence of meeting between AP reporters and DOJ officials was first reported in January. The government confirmed it for the first time in a pre-trial hearing held on June 29.
In the hearing, FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Pfeiffer said that the FBI may have conducted a May 2017 raid of a storage locker that Manafort was renting based on a tip from AP reporters. He also said that the purpose of the meeting was for the DOJ and FBI to obtain information from The AP.
Manafort is set to go to trial on July 25 for a slew of money laundering and bank fraud charges related to his consulting work for a Ukrainian politician years before joining the Trump campaign.
Friday’s court filing includes two reports about the April 11, 2017 meeting: one written by Pfeiffer and another written by Supervisory Special Agent Karen Greenaway.
“The meeting was arranged by Andrew Weissmann,” Greenaway wrote in her report, for the first time establishing that Weissmann took part in the meeting.
Greenaway also said that Weissmann provided guidance to the reporters for their investigation. According to Greenaway, Weissmann suggested that the reporters ask the Cypriot Anti-Money Laundering Authority, a Cypriot government agency, if it had provided the Department of Treasury with all of the documents they were legally authorized to provide regarding Manafort.
The AP journalists, Chad Day, Ted Bridis, Jack Gillum and Eric Tucker, were conducting an extensive investigation of Manafort, including payments he received through various shell companies set up in Cyprus.
There are a few things to remember here. Paul Manafort may or may not have committed crimes, but the accusations have to do with events years before he joined the Trump campaign. This is totally out of the jurisdiction of the Special Prosecutor. Meanwhile, Paul Manafort is being held in solitary confinement in a Virginia prison cell for 23 hours a day because correctional officials “cannot otherwise guarantee his safety.” Does anyone actually believe this is in accordance with Mr. Manafort’s constitutional rights?
The article also reports:
DOJ officials provided other guidance to the reporters, according to Greenaway’s report. She noted that when the journalists asked DOJ officials to tell them if they were off base in their findings about Manafort, “government attendees confirmed that the AP reporters appeared to have a good understanding of Manafort’s business dealings in Ukraine.”
Downing said that the special counsel’s office has previously confirmed that at the time of the meeting with the AP reporters, “there was an ongoing grand jury investigation of Mr. Manafort in the Eastern District of Virginia.”
In addition to Weissmann, Pfeiffer and Greenaway, Justice Department officials George Mceachern, Ann Brickley and Ariel Shreve attended the meeting.
It is time for Congress to put a stop to this charade. The only solution to this corruption is to change all the documents related to this investigation that were previously classified to unclassified and let the American people see what has gone on. That is the only way the credibility of the FBI and DOJ will recover.