Obstruction Of Justice?

On Thursday, Judicial Watch posted the following Press Release:

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released an email revealing that Nellie Ohr, wife of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, informed him that she was deleting emails sent from Bruce Ohr’s DOJ email account.

From: Nellie Ohr

Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2016 12:49 PM

To: Ohr, Bruce (ODAG)

Subject: Re: Analyst Russian Organized Crime – April 2016

Thanks! I’m deleting these emails now

The full email exchange is between Bruce Ohr, Lisa Holtyn, Nellie Ohr, and Stefan Bress, a first secretary at the German Embassy, and is part of 339 pages of heavily redacted records from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Judicial Watch obtained the records through a March 2018 Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed after the Justice Department failed to respond a December 2017 request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00490)).

Nellie Ohr’s email has the same subject line as an email exchange with the subject line “Analyst Russian Organized Crime – April 2016” in which Bress initiates a discussion with Bruce Ohr and his top aide, Lisa Holtyn, proffering some “Russian analysts” to discuss a variety of topics with Ohr, Holtyn, and other DOJ officials. Among those topics to be discussed is “Impact of Russian influence operations in Europe (‘PsyOps/InfoWar’).”

Holtyn responds with, “I haven’t had a chance to confer with Bruce yet, but would certainly love to meet with the ‘A Team’!” Bruce Ohr then says, “That time works for me as well.” Bress then provides the personal details/passport numbers of the German analysts who will be meeting with Holtyn and Ohr. Holtyn tells Bress that the Ohr’s would like to host the German delegation for dinner and notes that Joe Wheatley and Ivana Nizich (a husband/wife team of DOJ Organized Crime prosecutors and friends of the Ohr’s) would join them as well.

Until he was demoted for his connection to the anti-Trump dossier, Bruce Ohr was a top official at DOJ. A House Intelligence Committee memo released by Chairman Devin Nunes said that Nellie Ohr was “employed by Fusion GPS to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump” and that Bruce Ohr passed the results of that research, which was paid for by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign, to the FBI. The “salacious and unverified” Dossier was used to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) surveillance warrant to spy on Carter Page.

These documents are part of Nellie Ohr’s and the DOJ’s communications about Russia. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) recently wrote up a criminal referral concerning her testimony before Congress that she had no knowledge of what was going on during the Russia investigation at DOJ.

“This email is disturbing and suggests documents relevant to the improper targeting of President Trump were destroyed,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

This production of documents also revealed that Bruce Ohr remained in regular contact with former British spy and Fusion GPS contractor Christopher Steele after Steele was terminated by the FBI in November 2016 for revealing to the media his position as an FBI confidential informant.

Americans just spent upwards of $30 million and two years investigating Russian collusion and obstruction of said investigation. Why weren’t deleted emails from key players in the investigation looked at?

The investigation into the investigators has something in common with many Clinton scandals. Although the Clintons are only tangentially involved in this scandal, it bears one of their trademarks–keep the scandal in the news until people are sick of it. At that point, reveal the truth. The public will be so bored with the basic scandal that they won’t even notice or process the truth. I hope I am wrong about this–people involved in the abuse of government power need to go to jail, but I am afraid that by the time the truth comes out, no one will care.

Truth Based On Evidence

A lot of what we are hearing about collusion, surveillance, etc., is simply stated as ‘reliable sources say.’ I suspect some of what we are hearing is true, but it is impossible to tell what is real and what is not. However, while the media is simply speculating and smearing people they don’t like, Judicial Watch is quietly executing Freedom of Information Act requests and analyzing the date.

Below is the latest Press Release from Judicial Watch (February 15th):

‘I’ll make sure Andy tells Mike to keep these in his pocket’

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it received 186 pages of records from the Department of Justice that include emails documenting an evident cover up of a chart of potential violations of law by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Judicial Watch obtained the records through a January 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed after the DOJ failed respond to a December 4, 2017 FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00154)). Judicial Watch is seeking all communications between FBI official Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page.

The newly obtained emails came in response to a May 21 order by U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton to the FBI to begin processing 13,000 pages of records exchanged exclusively between Strzok and Page between February 1, 2015, and December 2017. The FBI may not complete review and production of all the Strzok-Page communications until at least 2020.

  • Three days after then-FBI Director James Comey’s press conference announcing that he would not recommend a prosecution of Mrs. Clinton, a July 8, 2016 email chain shows that, the Special Counsel to the FBI’s executive assistant director in charge of the National Security Branch, whose name is redacted, wrote to Strzok and others that he was producing a “chart of the statutory violations considered during the investigation [of Clinton’s server], and the reasons for the recommendation not to prosecute…”

[Redacted] writes: I am still working on an additional page for these TPs that consist of a chart of the statutory violations considered during the investigation, and the reasons for the recommendation not to prosecute, hopefully in non-lawyer friendly terms …

Strzok forwards to Page, Jonathan Moffa and others: I have redlined some points. Broadly, I have some concerns about asking some our [sic] senior field folks to get into the business of briefing this case, particularly when we have the D’s [Comey’s] statement as a kind of stand alone document. In my opinion, there’s too much nuance, detail, and potential for missteps. But I get they may likely be asked for comment.

[Redacted] writes to Strzok, Page and others: The DD [Andrew McCabe] will need to approve these before they are pushed out to anyone. At the end of last week, he wasn’t inclined to send them to anyone. But, it’s great to have them on the shelf in case they’re needed.

[Redacted] writes to Strzok and Page: I’m really not sure why they continued working on these [talking points]. In the morning, I’ll make sure Andy [McCabe] tells Mike [Kortan] to keep these in his pocket. I guess Andy just didn’t ever have a moment to turn these off with Mike like he said he would.

Page replies: Yes, agree that this is not a good idea.

Neither these talking points nor the chart of potential violations committed by Clinton and her associates have been released.

  • On May 15, 2016, James Rybicki, former chief of staff to Comey, sends FBI General Counsel James Baker; Bill Priestap, former assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division; McCabe; Page; and others an email with the subject line “Request from the Director.”

Rybicki writes: By NLT [no later than] next Monday, the Director would like to see a list of all cases charged in the last 20 years where the gravamen of the charge was mishandling classified information.

It should be in chart form with: (1) case name, (2) a short summary for content (3) charges brought, and (4) charge of conviction.

If need be, we can get it from NSD [National Security Division] and let them know that the Director asked for this personally.

Please let me know who can take the lead on this.

Thanks!

Jim

Page forwards to Strzok: FYSA [For your situational awareness]

Strzok replies to Page: I’ll take the lead, of course – sounds like an espionage section question… Or do you think OGC [Office of the General Counsel] should?

And the more reason for us to get feedback to Rybicki, as we all identified this as an issue/question over a week ago.

Page replies: I was going to reply to Jim [Rybicki] and tell him I can talked [sic] to you about this already. Do you want me to?

  • A July 22, 2016, email exchange, among Strzok, Page, Moffa and other unidentified FBI and DOJ officials, shows that Beth Wilkinson, an attorney for several top Clinton aides during the server investigation, wanted a conference call with the DOJ/FBI and that she was “haranguing” the FBI/DOJ about the return of laptops in the FBI’s possession:

A Wilkinson Walsh attorney, emails [Redacted] FBI National Security Division Officials: We wanted to follow up on our conversation from a few days ago. We would like to schedule a time to speak with both you and [Redacted] early next week. Is there a time on Monday or Tuesday that could work on your end?

[Redacted] FBI National Security Division official emails: See below. I am flexible on Monday and Tuesday. [Redacted] can chime in with her availability. It is my understanding that Toscas [George Toscas, who helped lead Midyear Exam] may have called over to Jim or Trisha [former Principal Deputy General Counsel Trisha Anderson] regarding some high-level participation for at least the first few such calls. I am happy to discuss further but wanted to send you this so you could raise within the OGC [Office of the General Counsel] and give me a sense of scheduling options. I am around if you want to talk.

***

[Redacted] FBI National Security Division official writes: In the meantime, I’ll tell Hal that we will certainly schedule a call and will get back to him as to timing. Since he knows Beth [Wilkinson] personally, it could be useful to have Jim on the phone if she is going to be haranguing us re: the laptops.

[Redacted] FBI Office of the General Counsel writes: More…I guess this is [Redacted’s] rationale for why we need to have the GC on the call to discuss the fact that we will be following all of our legal obligations and FBI policies/procedures with regard to the disposition of the materials in this case.

Strzok writes: You are perfectly competent to speak to the legal obligations and FBI policy/procedures. We should NOT be treating opposing counsel this way. We would not in any other case.

  • In an April 12, 2016, email exchange initiated by an email from Strzok to [Redacted] within the Justice Department’s National Security Division (NSD), Strzok asks the NSD official if he’d like to add anything to the agenda of a meeting to occur three days later between FBI and DOJ attorneys.

[Redacted] NSD official responds: Would like to see what you have on your agenda so we could see what we might want to add on our end. I will mention to [Redacted]. Also interested in understanding FBI OGC’s analysis of the privilege and ethics issues we are facing.

Strzok forwards to Page: Pretty nonresponsive.…

Page responds: Why provide them an agenda? I wouldn’t do that until you have a sense of how Andy [McCabe] wants to go. So no. We’ll talk about what we’re going to talk about and then they can talk about what they want to talk about. Also, seriously Pete. F him. OGC needs to provide an analysis? We haven’t done one. But they seem to be categorical that it’s just impossible, I’d just like to know why.

And now I’m angry before bed again.?

Total indulgence, there’s a TV in here. Here’s hoping I can find something to sufficiently melt my brain???

Strzok replies: Because I want to make this productive! Why NOT provide them an agenda!?!? We all talk about what we want to talk about and that’s a waste of time.

They haven’t done one either (legal analysis)

Assume noble intent.

How do we maximize this use of time?

Page writes: I’m ignoring all this and going to bed.

Strzok and Page were discussing a meeting that the Justice Department and FBI were about to have concerning, among other things, “privilege and ethics issues we are facing.”

  • On July 12, 2016, Eugene Kiely, the director of FactCheck.org, emailed the FBI about inconsistencies he’d identified between Comey’s congressional testimony and statements by Clinton and her campaign about her deletion of emails. Kiely noted that Comey testified to the House that Clinton did not give her lawyers any instructions on which of her emails to delete, whereas Clinton herself told the press that she made the decision on which emails should be deleted. Kiely also pointed out that Comey said in his testimony that there were three Clinton emails containing classification “portion markings,” whereas the State Department had said there were only two Clinton emails with classification markings. Kiely’s inquiry set off an internal discussion at the top of the FBI on how to respond to his questions.

Strzok writes: “We’re looking into it and will get back to you this afternoon; the answer may require some tweaking, the question is whether this is the forum to do it.” The email is addressed to FBI intelligence analyst Moffa; Rybicki; Michael Kortan, FBI assistant director for public affairs, now retired; Lisa Page and others.

Strzok’s suggested press response is fully redacted, but included is his deferral to the “7th floor as to whether to release to this reporter or in another manner.”

When asked “should we provide any additional information to FactCheck.org or would any updates more appropriately be give [sic] directly to Congress?” Strzok defers to “Jim/Lisa [Page]” and [Redacted].

  • In response to a March 29, 2016, article in The Hill, forwarded by Strzok to Page, reporting that Judge Royce Lamberth ordered limited discovery for Judicial Watch in its lawsuit against the State Department for Clinton’s emails (related to the Benghazi attack) – and thus opening Clinton up to possible depositions by Judicial Watch – Page responds simply: “Oh boy.”

“Judicial Watch caught the FBI in another cover-up to protect Hillary Clinton,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These records show that the FBI is hiding a chart detailing possible violations of law by Hillary Clinton and the supposed reasons she was not prosecuted.”

Judicial Watch recently released  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 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.”

When in doubt, go directly to the source!

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.

Do Felonies Even Matter Anymore?

There is a lot of information slowly dribbling out of the Inspector General’s (IG) Report on the Clinton email investigation. One of the disturbing things is the seeming disregard by the Mid-Year-Exam (MYE) team (the team that was investigating Hillary Clinton’s private server) for basic protocols. The information regarding the use of personal email accounts is found on page 424 of the IG Report.

The Conservative Treehouse is reporting today:

One of the interesting aspects of the IG report is the documented use of personal email by participants within the FBI “small group” Mid-Year-Exam (MYE) team. [pg 424]

One of those documented examples involves FBI Agent Peter Strzok downloading the content of the sealed Anthony Weiner Indictment, October 29, 2016, to his personal email address. Unauthorized extraction of a ‘sealed SDNY indictment‘, and transmission to a non-secure system, is a felony.

No  wonder no one wanted to indict Hillary Clinton–they were all doing the same thing!

The article includes further information from the IG Report:

[…]  During our review, we identified several instances where Strzok used his personal email account for government business.  […]  Most troubling, on October 29, 2016, Strzok forwarded from his FBI account to his personal email account an email about the proposed search warrant the Midyear team was seeking on the Weiner laptop.

This email included a draft of the search warrant affidavit, which contained information from the Weiner investigation that appears to have been under seal at the time in the Southern District of New York and information obtained pursuant to a grand jury subpoena issued in the Eastern District of Virginia in the Midyear investigation.

The footnotes here are interesting:

fn #217 reads: ” The OIG previously notified the respective U.S. Attorney’s Offices about Strzok’s actions.”

fn #218 reads: “We requested access to Strzok’s personal email account. Strzok agreed to produce copies of work-related emails in his personal account but declined to produce copies of his personal emails. Strzok subsequently told the OIG that he had reviewed the emails residing in his personal mailboxes and found no work-related communications. We determined that we lacked legal authority to obtain the contents of Strzok’s personal email account from his email provider, which requires an Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) search warrant to produce email contents. Strzok’s email provider’s policy applies to opened emails and emails stored for more than 180 days, which ECPA otherwise permits the government to obtain using a subpoena and prior notice to the subscriber. See 18 U.S.C. § 2703(a), (b)(1)(B)(i); COMPUTER CRIME AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY SECTION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, SEARCHING AND SEIZING COMPUTERS AND OBTAINING ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE IN CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS at 129-30 (2009). In addition, although we learned that a non-FBI family member had access to Strzok’s personal email account in 2017, Strzok told the OIG that no one else had access to his personal email account during the period in question (i.e., late October 2016).”

The article concludes:

Knowing the nature of all FBI investigative benefits-of-doubt previously afforded throughout 2015 and 2016; do you think the FBI DC team didn’t immediately notify Team Clinton directly or through some facilitating channel?

Perhaps the answer to that question outlines why Peter Strzok suddenly found a need to download the sealed SDNY Weiner indictment and transfer it to his personal email?

Curioser and curiouser…

As more and more people begin to analyze the IG Report, we will likely find more very odd actions taken by the FBI in recent years.

Judicial Watch Is On The Case

The following Press Release was issued by Judicial Watch yesterday:

Sues for Records on Links Between FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe 

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced that it today filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on behalf of Jeffrey A. Danik, a retired FBI supervisory special agent, against the U.S. Department of Justice for records concerning FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (Jeffrey A. Danik v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01792)). Danik worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation for almost 30 years.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia in support of Danik’s October 25, 2016, and February 28, 2017, FOIA requests for records about McCabe’s “conflicts of interest” regarding his wife’s (Dr. Jill McCabe’s) political campaign, and McCabe’s reporting to the FBI of any job interviews or offers.  Specifically, the two FOIA requests seek:

Text messages and emails of McCabe containing “Dr. Jill McCabe,” “Jill,” “Common Good VA,” “Terry McAuliffe,” “Clinton,” “Virginia Democratic Party,” “Democrat,” “Conflict,” “Senate,” “Virginia Senate,” “Until I return,” “Paris,” “France,” “Campaign,” “Run,” “Political,” “Wife,” “Donation,” “OGC,” Email,” or “New York Times.”  

In 2015, a political action committee run by McAuliffe, a close friend and political supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, donated nearly $500,000 to Jill McCabe, wife of McCabe, who was then running for the Virginia State Senate. Also, the Virginia Democratic Party, over which McAuliffe had significant influence, donated an additional $207,788 to the Jill McCabe campaign. In July 2015, Andrew McCabe was in charge of the FBI’s Washington, DC, field office, which provided personnel resources to the Clinton email probe.

“I am saddened by how the FBI’s reputation has been tarnished by the poor judgement and ethics of its leadership,” stated Mr. Danik. “I know I’m not the only retired (or serving) FBI special agent who is concerned about Mr. McCabe’s conflicts of interest on the Clinton email matter.  The agency seems to be illegally hiding records about this scandal, which is why I’m heading to court with Judicial Watch.”

“We’re honored to help Mr. Danik hold accountable the FBI—the agency he served for decades,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We believe Mr. McCabe’s text messages and emails will be particularly enlightening to the public seeking answers about the Clinton email debacle.”

In July 2017, Judicial Watch filed three FOIA lawsuits seeking communications between the FBI and McCabe concerning “ethical issues” involving his wife’s political campaign; McCabe’s communications with McAuliffe; and McCabe’s travel vouchers.

There are obviously some honest FBI agents who are concerned with the reputation of the Agency. Hopefully, the corruption in the FBI will be exposed and dealt with.