About That ‘Cover Up’ Thing

As I have previously stated, if you want an unbiased assessment of what is actually going on behind the scenes in our government, one of your best sources is Judicial Watch.

Yesterday Judicial Watch posted a Press Release about Hillary Clinton’s private server. Below are some of the highlights:

FBI notes of an interview with an unidentified Platte River Networks official in February 2016 (almost a year after the Clinton email network was first revealed) show that Platte River “gave someone access to live HRC archive mailbox at some point.” The same notes show that an email from December 11, 2014, exists that reads “Hillary cover up operation work ticket archive cleanup.” The interviewee said that the “cover up operation” email “probably related to change to 60 day [sic] email retention policy/backup.” The subject indicated that he didn’t “recall the prior policy.” The notes also indicated, “[Redacted] advised [redacted] not to answer questions related to conv [conversation] w/DK [David Kendall] document 49 – based on 5th amendment.”

The subject said that “everyone @ PRN has access to client portal.”

A December 11, 2014, Platte River Networks email between redacted parties says: “Its [sic] all part of the Hillary coverup operation <smile> I’ll have to tell you about it at the party”

An August 2015 email from Platte River Networks says: “So does this mean we don’t have offsite backups currently? That could be a problem if someone hacks this thing and jacks it up. We will have to be able to produce a copy of it somehow, or we’re in some deep shit. Also, what ever [sic] came from the guys at Datto about the old backups? Do they have anyway [sic] of getting those back after we were told to cut it to 30 days?”

In March 2015, Platte River Networks specifically discusses security of the email server.

[Redacted] is going to send over a list of recommendations for us to apply for additional security against hackers. He did say we should probably remove all Clinton files, folders, info off our servers etc. on an independent drive.

Handwritten notes that appear to be from Platte River Networks in February 2016 mention questions concerning the Clinton email system and state of back-ups

The documents show Platte River Networks’ use of BleachBit on the Clinton server. The BleachBit program was downloaded from a vendor called SourceForge at 11:42am on March 31, 2015, according to a computer event log, and over the next half hour, was used to delete the files on Hillary’s server.

…From: [Redacted]

Sent: Saturday, June 27, 2015 2:46 PM

To: Grafeld, Margaret P [Peggy]

Subject: Concerns about the HRC Review …

While working with this inspector, I have personally reviewed hundreds of documents in the HRC collection. I can now say, without reservation, that there are literally hundreds of classified emails in this collection; maybe more. For example, there are comments by Department staff in emails relating to the Wikileaks unauthorized disclosures; many of the emails relating to this actually confirm the information in the disclosures. This material is the subject of FOIA litigation, and the emails will now have to be found, reviewed and upgraded. Under the EO 13526, it would be in in our right to classify the entire HRC collection at the Secret level because of the “mosaic effect.” While there may be IC equities in the collection, I am very concerned about the inadvertent release of State Department’s equities when this collection is released in its entirety — the potential damage to the foreign relations of the United States could be significant.

The Press Release concludes:

“Judicial Watch uncovered new ‘cover-up’ records on the illicit Clinton email system that further demonstrate the sham nature of the FBI/DOJ ‘investigation’ of her,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These shocking new documents show that various Obama agencies were protecting Hillary Clinton from the consequences of her misconduct. It is well past time for the DOJ to stop shielding Hillary Clinton and hold her fully accountable to the rule of law.”

In a different lawsuit Judicial Watch previously released 186 pages of records from the DOJ that include emails documenting an evident cover-up of a chart of potential violations of law by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

And, in a separate lawsuit, Judicial Watch uncovered 215 pages of records from the DOJ revealing former FBI General Counsel James Baker discussed the investigation of Clinton-related emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop with Kendall. Baker then forwarded the conversation to his FBI colleagues.

Judicial Watch has previously released numerous instances of classified information distributed through Clinton’s unsecure, non-government email system. For example, see here, here and here.

And, Judicial Watch is currently conducting depositions of senior Obama-era State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides.

Here’s the evidence. What is the government going to do about it?

Avoiding The Consequences Of Bad Behavior

On February 11th, Judicial Watch posted the following Press Release:

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it received 215 pages of records from the U.S. Department of Justice revealing former FBI General Counsel James Baker discussed the investigation of Clinton-related emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop with Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall. Baker then forwarded the conversation to his FBI colleagues.

The documents also further describe a previously reported quid pro quo from the Obama State Department offering the FBI more legal attaché positions if it would downgrade a redaction in an email found during the Hillary Clinton email investigation “from classified to something else.”

The newly obtained emails came in response to a May 21 order in a January 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed after the DOJ failed to respond to a December 4, 2017 FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00154)). Judicial Watch seeks:

  • All records of communications, including but not limited to, emails, text messages and instant chats, between FBI official Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page;
  • All travel requests, travel authorizations, travel vouchers and expense reports of Peter Strzok.
  • All travel requests, travel authorizations, travel vouchers and expense reports of Lisa Page.

On October 28, 2016, the day that Comey sent a letter to Congress regarding the FBI’s discovery that the Weiner laptop contained Clinton’s emails. Hillary Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall, within hours, emails Baker requesting a call “ASAP” about the Comey letter. Baker describes his follow-up call to senior FBI officials:

I received the email below from David Kendall and I called him back. Before doing so I alerted DOJ via email that I would do that.

[Redacted paragraph]

He said that our letter was “tantalizingly ambiguous” and made statements that were “inchoate and highly ominous” such that what we had done was worse than transparency because it allows people to make whatever they want out to make out of the letter to the prejudice of Secretary Clinton.

I told him that I could not respond to his requests at this time but that I would discuss it with others and get back to him.

I suggest that we have some kind of follow up meeting or phone call with this group either this evening or over the weekend to address this and probably other issues/questions that come up in the next 24 hours. Sound reasonable?

Baker’s heads up on the Kendall call was sent to:

The emails show that a conference call for the above senior officials was set up for the next day by Peter Strzok. (Two days before the election, on November 6, Comey sent a second letter reporting that the FBI’s review of the Weiner laptop material would not change his “conclusion” that Hillary Clinton should not be prosecuted.)

On October 13, 2016, former FBI attorney Lisa Page sent an email, which apparently references a related Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit and further discusses a previously reported quid pro quo offer from the State Department:

Jason Herring will be providing you with three 302s of current and former FBI employees who were interviewed during the course of the Clinton investigation. These 302s are scheduled to be released to Congress in an unredacted form at the end of the week, and produced (with redactions) pursuant to FOIA at the beginning of next week. As you will see, they describe a discussion about potential quid pro quo arrangement between then-DAD in IOD [deputy assistant director in International Operations Division] and an Undersecretary at the State Department whereby IOD would get more LEGAT [legal attaché] positions if the FBI could change the basis of the FOIA withhold re a Clinton email from classified to something else. [Emphasis added]

The lawsuit also forced the release of a November 6, 2016, email by then-FBI official Peter Strzok telling Bowdich, Priestap, Rybicki, Page, former FBI General Counsel James Baker and others: “[Redacted], Jon and I completed our review of all of the potential HRC work emails on the [Anthony Weiner] laptop. We found no previously unknown, potentially classified emails on the media.”

As Judicial Watch previously reported, there were at least 18 classified emails found on the Weiner laptop by the FBI. Paul Sperry’s RealClear Investigations report revealed that only 3,077 of the 340,000 emails “were directly reviewed for classified or incriminating information.”

The new records also include a September 2, 2016, email that Comey forwards containing a press release issued that day by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), in which Grassley criticized the FBI for not publicly releasing many unclassified records related to the Clinton email-server investigation, as demanded by Congress. In his cover note responding to Grassley’s charge, Comey tells his top aides, “To be great is to be misunderstood.” Page then responds with, “Outstanding.”

On October 23, 2016, Strzok forwarded to Page and others the Wall Street Journal article revealing that Andrew McCabe’s wife had received a half million dollars for her Democratic state senate campaign. Page responded that the article, “shaded or omitted or mischaracterized” facts “in order to get out the story [the reporter] wanted to tell.” She claimed the WSJ story was just “another depressing chapter in this whole post-investigation saga.”

“It is big news that, just days before the presidential election, Hillary Clinton’s personal lawyer pressured the top lawyer for the FBI on the infamous Weiner laptop emails,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These documents further underscore that the fix was in for Hillary Clinton. When will the Justice Department and FBI finally do an honest investigation of the Clinton email scandal?”

Last month, United States District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that discovery can begin in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides will now be deposed under oath. Senior officials — including Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, and FBI official E.W. Priestap — will now have to answer Judicial Watch’s written questions under oath. The court rejected the DOJ and State Department’s objections to Judicial Watch’s court-ordered discovery plan. (The court, in ordering a discovery plan last month, ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”)

Judicial Watch’s discovery will seek answers to:

  • Whether Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a non-government email system;
  • whether the State Department’s efforts to settle this case beginning in late 2014 amounted to bad faith; and
  • whether the State Department adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request.

Who Has The Transcript? Who Is Leaking The Transcript? Why Is It Being Leaked?

Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner today about James Baker’s two interviews with House of Representatives investigators last October. The article notes that Republican Rep. Mark Meadows called parts of Baker’s testimony “explosive.”

The article reports:

Republicans intended to make the interview transcripts public. The questioning was not conducted in a classified setting, and Baker had FBI and other lawyers with him the whole time. But the House still had to send the transcripts to the FBI for clearance, just to make sure public release would not reveal any classified or otherwise secret information.

If Republicans hoped for a quick OK from the bureau, they were sorely disappointed. October passed. Then November. Then December. And now, half of January. The FBI still has the transcripts, and there is no word on when the bureau will clear them for release.

Even though the transcripts have not been released, they are in the news.

The article explains:

Two major news stories in the past few days have been based in whole or in part on what Baker told lawmakers. Some news organizations appear to have read the transcripts, or at least significant portions of them, or had them read to reporters by someone with access. Suddenly, the Baker transcripts are hot.

Again, the FBI still has the transcripts and is not yet saying when they will be cleared for release.

It seems as if both The New York Times and CNN have reported on information in the transcripts (along with comments by Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows):

The Baker excerpt, revealing the criminal investigation, is a new and important part of the story of the FBI’s handling of the Trump-Russia investigation. Release of the full transcripts could shed new light on the FBI’s use of the Trump dossier in the Russia probe. But they remain secret — and it is the FBI that has the final word on whether and when to allow the release of information that is unflattering to the FBI.

The second big story that came in part from the Baker transcript was the New York Times piece last Friday headlined, “FBI Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia.”

The story caused intense excitement in anti-Trump circles. “Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security,” the Times reported. “Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”

In the piece, the bureau’s reasoning was explained by references to … the secret Baker transcripts. The paper said Baker told lawmakers that the FBI viewed President Trump’s firing of Director James Comey as a national security issue. “Not only would it be an issue of obstructing an investigation, but the obstruction itself would hurt our ability to figure out what the Russians had done, and that is what would be the threat to national security,” Baker said in the still-secret testimony, according to the Times. The paper said portions of the testimony “were read to The New York Times.”

Not long after, CNN published an article, “Transcripts detail how FBI debated whether Trump was ‘following directions’ of Russia.” CNN quoted significant portions of the Baker transcripts, in which Baker said the FBI wanted to know if Trump “was acting at the behest of and somehow following directions, somehow executing [Russia’s] will.”

It’s time for the FBI to stop playing games and release the transcripts. If there are rogue elements of the FBI that will be revealed in these transcripts, so be it. It is time that we cleaned up our justice system and brought back transparency and equal justice under the law.

 

It’s Going To Be An Interesting Week

CNS News posted the following headline today, “Glenn Simpson, James Baker, and Nellie Ohr Scheduled to Testify This Week; Simpson Taking the 5th.” My, what an interesting combination of testimonies.

The article reports:

Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, will take the Fifth, refusing to testify, when he appears before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Taking the Fifth does not necessarily mean that you are guilty of anything, but the article speculates on why Mr. Simpson might want to take the Fifth:

Simpson previously has testified before the House intelligence committee and two Senate committees. In response to a subpoena to testify on Tuesday, Simpson’s lawyers sent a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, saying in part that the “inquiry is not designed to discover the truth.”

“The obvious — and at times explicitly stated — goal of this Committee is to discredit and otherwise damage witnesses to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, all as part of an effort to protect a President who has sought to placate and curry favor with a hostile foreign power and who demands that the Justice Department stop investigating him,” said the letter obtained by various media outlets.

When the flak becomes thick, it means that you are getting close to the target. It is becoming obvious to almost everyone that the Special Prosecutor’s investigation is going nowhere because it was a political scheme to interfere with the Trump presidency. Now we are reaching a time when those responsible for the scheme may be held accountable.

The article further reports:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refused a request to appear last Thursday, prompting calls by some Republicans to subpoena him:

“He didn’t show up,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said of Rosenstein. “Look, when you’re the guy who in reality is running the Justice Department, and the chairman of the committee that has jurisdiction over your agency asks you to come, you are obligated to come and you’re obligated to come and testify under oath. He didn’t do that.

“So if it takes a subpoena, that’s exactly what should happen. We need him to answer questions about all kinds of issues associated with the Trump-Russia investigation, but specifically the statement that it’s alleged that he said where he talked about actually recording the commander in chief of our great country and he talked about the 25th Amendment.

“That is specifically what I want to ask him about,” Jordan told “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo.

Rosenstein has said he was joking when he suggested wearing a wire into the Oval Office with the goal of documenting the alleged dysfunction of the commander in chief.

But according to some press reports, three FBI officials — Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, and James Baker — did not take Rosenstein’s words as a joke, believing him to be serious about wiretapping the president in the wake of James Comey’s firing.

It’s interesting that Rod Rosenstein wrote the letter that recommended Comey’s firing.

The article highlights some of the history of the Russian collusion investigation:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refused a request to appear last Thursday, prompting calls by some Republicans to subpoena him:

“He didn’t show up,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said of Rosenstein. “Look, when you’re the guy who in reality is running the Justice Department, and the chairman of the committee that has jurisdiction over your agency asks you to come, you are obligated to come and you’re obligated to come and testify under oath. He didn’t do that.

“So if it takes a subpoena, that’s exactly what should happen. We need him to answer questions about all kinds of issues associated with the Trump-Russia investigation, but specifically the statement that it’s alleged that he said where he talked about actually recording the commander in chief of our great country and he talked about the 25th Amendment.

“That is specifically what I want to ask him about,” Jordan told “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo.

Rosenstein has said he was joking when he suggested wearing a wire into the Oval Office with the goal of documenting the alleged dysfunction of the commander in chief.

But according to some press reports, three FBI officials — Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, and James Baker — did not take Rosenstein’s words as a joke, believing him to be serious about wiretapping the president in the wake of James Comey’s firing.

Hopefully anyone involved in plotting against a duly-elected President will pay a high price for their actions.

Chess And Checkers

In the past, the Democrats and their media allies have played chess while the Republicans have played checkers. That seems to be changing. In evaluating Donald Trump, you have to consider who he was before he ran for President. Donald Trump inherited two major things from his father–a good supply of seed money and a strong work ethic. With those two things, he entered the real estate market in New York City, definitely a place where street smarts, common sense, and the ability to play poker are needed. He succeeded in that market by marketing his brand and building tall buildings. In creating that success, he often dealt with people who played by rules other than those of polite society. He honed the ability to know when he could close a deal with a handshake and when he needed an ironclad contract. He also mastered the art of leverage. That brings me to the present.

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial yesterday that asks the questions, “Did Hillary Clinton Direct Deep State’s Trump Investigation?”

That is an interesting question. At present the evidence is circumstantial, but the article lists much of that evidence:

Last week, while Washington Democrats and their far-left allies shrieked in rage at the prospect of Kavanaugh taking a seat on the high court, former FBI General Counsel James Baker — who reported directly to former FBI Director James Comey — told congressional investigators that an attorney from the Perkin Coies law firm gave him materials about Russian election meddling during the 2016 presidential campaign.

This is a stunning revelation, since it directly contradicts Justice Department and FBI official sworn testimony.

…Baker told Congress last week that Perkin Coies lawyer Michael Sussmann directly handed documents to him about Russia’s attempts at meddling in the 2016 election. He was a cutout, a go-between, for Hillary Clinton. And the FBI knew it.

…”Numerous officials at the DOJ and the FBI have told us under oath…nobody at FBI or DOJ knew anything about the Democratic Party being behind the Clinton dirt,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said Sunday. “Now you have one of the top lawyers for the Democrats and the Clinton campaign who was feeding information directly to the top lawyer at the FBI.”

The article concludes:

Nunes says that the recent revelations show why President Trump should declassify some of the Russia-related documents. We think that should only be the starting point for a thorough investigation of the Hillary Clinton campaign’s apparent crimes.

An article at The American Thinker posted today offers one explanation of why the declassification of the Russia-related documents has been delayed:

There’s a reason why President Trump has not unilaterally declassified the documents exposing perfidy against him: leverage.  As the whole Russia hoax is beginning to come into some sort of global perspective – quite literally, as we’ll see – the extent of the advantage he now maintains by holding back declassification as a threat outweighs the benefits of transparency.  Recent posts by observers who write from widely varying perspectives give us the ability to discern the current state of play.

The article at The American Thinker explains the principle of leverage involved in not declassifying those documents:

There are many other players, in addition to Rosenstein, who are at serious risk.  But from the perspective of leverage, Rosenstein is the key because he created the special counsel part of the hoax and because – as a result of A.G. Sessions’s recusal – he remains in charge of the special counsel operation.  Rosenstein can exercise as much or as little control over Mueller as he wants.  Trump’s threat of declassification of the “origination material” gives Trump complete leverage over Rosenstein and therefore over Mueller.

…Leverage, anyone?  Declassification would expose all these foreign players, but the heaviest hit by far would be against the U.K. and its Australian poodle.  And so we learn that “key allies” “begged” Trump not to declassify that “origination material.”

We currently have a President who plays chess. We need to get used to that.

When Did The FBI Become Political?

This article is based on two articles–one at The Conservative Treehouse and one at The Hill.

The Conservative Treehouse article reports:

The DOJ-NSD and FBI are holding a press conference today at 9:30am.  The topic is unknown, but the timing coincides with a document production subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee for McCabe Memos, the “Woods File” supporting the Carter Page FISA application, and Gang-of-Eight documents on the Russia investigation.

In related news, former FBI chief legal counsel, James Baker, delivered testimony to the Joint House Committee yesterday in the ongoing investigation of corrupt FISA processes and “spy-gate”.   Fox News and The Hill both have reports.

The Hill reports:

Congressional investigators have confirmed that a top FBI official met with Democratic Party lawyers to talk about allegations of Donald Trump-Russia collusion weeks before the 2016 election, and before the bureau secured a search warrant targeting Trump’s campaign.

Former FBI general counsel James Baker met during the 2016 season with at least one attorney from Perkins Coie, the Democratic National Committee’s private law firm.

That’s the firm used by the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to secretly pay research firm Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence operative, to compile a dossier of uncorroborated raw intelligence alleging Trump and Moscow were colluding to hijack the presidential election.

The dossier, though mostly unverified, was then used by the FBI as the main evidence seeking a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant targeting the Trump campaign in the final days of the campaign.

The revelation was confirmed both in contemporaneous evidence and testimony secured by a joint investigation by Republicans on the House Judiciary and Government Oversight committees, my source tells me.

It means the FBI had good reason to suspect the dossier was connected to the DNC’s main law firm and was the product of a Democratic opposition-research effort to defeat Trump — yet failed to disclose that information to the FISA court in October 2016, when the bureau applied for a FISA warrant to surveil Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

“This is a bombshell that unequivocally shows the real collusion was between the FBI and Donald Trump’s opposition — the DNC, Hillary and a Trump-hating British intel officer — to hijack the election, rather than some conspiracy between Putin and Trump,” a knowledgeable source told me.

Here you have the smoking gun in the Russian investigation. Unfortunately it is a smoking gun that Robert Mueller has chosen to ignore. That alone should give all of us pause. What in the world is Mueller investigating? (Or what in the world is Mueller avoiding investigating?)

The Hill further reports:

The growing body of evidence that the FBI used mostly politically-motivated, unverified intelligence from an opponent to justify spying on the GOP nominee’s campaign — just weeks before Election Day — has prompted a growing number of Republicans to ask President Trump to declassify the rest of the FBI’s main documents in the Russia collusion case.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), House Freedom Caucus leaders Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), veteran investigator Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and many others have urged the president to act on declassification even as FBI and Justice Department have tried to persuade the president to keep documents secret.

Ryan has said he believes the declassification will uncover potential FBI abuses of the FISA process. Jordan said he believes there is strong evidence the bureau misled the FISA court. Nunes has said the FBI intentionally hid exculpatory evidence from the judges.

And Meadows told The Hill’s new morning television show, Rising, on Wednesday that there is evidence the FBI had sources secretly record members of the Trump campaign.

“There’s a strong suggestion that confidential human sources actually taped members within the Trump campaign,” Meadows told Hill.TV hosts Krystal Ball and Ned Ryun.

I can assure you that if those responsible for the illegal spying on the opposition campaign are not brought to justice, this will happen again in the future. In the Watergate Scandal, people went to jail. In the Russiagate Scandal, people should also go to jail. Oddly enough, it seems as if the people the Special Prosecutor is investigating are not the ones who should go to jail.