Archive for the ‘Department of Justice’ category

The Intimidation Game, Cont’d

September 17, 2017

The Intimidation Game, Cont’d, Power Line,  Scott Johnson, September 17, 2017

Paul Mirengoff covered the Department of Justice’s September 8 reiteration of its decision not to prosecute Lois Lerner. Paul noted the absence of a rejoinder to the stated conclusion that the department lacked sufficient evidence to bring a case against Lerner. I hate cliches, but the more things change…

John Koskinen remains Commissioner of the IRS. Only last month Kim Strassel noted that the IRS is still toying with conservative nonprofits. Kim wrote that “Trump’s Justice Department has inexplicably continued to defend the IRS’s misdeeds under President Obama,” of which Kim herself covered many.

At the heart of Kim’s book The Intimidation Game lies a narrative account of the voluminous IRS wrongdoing during the Obama administration (chapters 7-11 and 21). It is chilling.

An unsigned editorial in the current issue of the Weekly Standard laments “The unaccountable IRS.” It does not cite evidence supporting the proposition that Lerner is guilty of criminal wrongdoing. However, it does restate the issues raised by the status quo while and take up themes that have occupied us over the years:

To understand the pragmatic realities of federal governance in the 21st century, one must recognize the existence of a fourth branch of government: the administrative state. We have some two million federal bureaucrats with extraconstitutional legislative powers. Not only do they write the reams of regulations that order our lives, they have the authority to enforce them capriciously. And thanks to absurd civil service protections, it is exceedingly difficult to hold them accountable for abuses of power, even when Congress demands it.

Of course, you can’t censure federal bureaucrats for their crimes if you don’t even try. On September 8, Donald Trump’s Justice Department announced it would not be reopening an investigation into the conduct of Lois Lerner, the IRS official responsible for targeting and harassing conservative groups in the 2010 and 2012 elections. That investigation had ended in 2015, when Barack Obama’s Justice Department stated it would not be charging Lerner or anyone else at the IRS because it “found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution.”

Lerner herself admitted “absolutely inappropriate” targeting had taken place but blamed it on “front-line people.” Soon after, she pleaded the Fifth in testimony to a congressional committee and was placed on administrative leave by the IRS. Emails later confirmed Lerner had a strong personal bias against conservatives (she called them “crazies” and “a—holes”), and there was an extensive and credible series of accusations that she harassed conservative groups when she worked for the Federal Election Commission in the 1990s. If all this doesn’t suggest motive and criminality, it’s still an outrage that Lerner, whose leave was never revoked, eventually retired from the IRS with a full and generous pension.

President Obama declared on national television during the height of the scandal that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” in the agency. That’s laughable….

The intimidation game will be resumed unless something is done. The Standard editorial raises the question what is to be done. Concerned readers will want to check out the whole thing here.

Weekly Update: It’s amateur hour at State

September 16, 2017

Weekly Update: It’s amateur hour at State, Judicial Watch, September 15, 2017

(The second part of the article deals with the failure of the Department of Justice to prosecute former IRS head Lois Lerner. I have not corrected typos in the article because my internet keeps going down and I want to get this posted promptly.– DM)

Clinton Emails Reveal Additional Mishandling of Classified Information

We continue to accumulate details of the communications abuses in the Hillary Clinton State Department, but after you read the following report pause and consider the big picture. For four years the inner workings of her department were porous to prying eyes. Is it just a coincidence that Hillary Clinton’s diplomatic efforts so often failed?

This week we released 1,617 new pages of documents revealing numerous additional examples of classified information being transmitted through the unsecure, non-state.gov account of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, as well as many instances of Hillary Clinton donors receiving special favors from the State Department.

The documents included 97 email exchanges with Clinton not previously turned over to the State Department, bringing the known total to date to at least 627emails that were not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over, and further contradicting a statement by Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails had been turned over to department.

The emails are the 20th production of documents obtained in response to a court order in a May 5, 2015, lawsuit we filed against the State Department (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00684)). We sued after State failed to respond to a March 18, 2015, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking: “All emails of official State Department business received or sent by former Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin from January 1, 2009 through February 1, 2013 using a non-‘state.gov’ email address.”

On September 11, 2009, the highly sensitive name and email address of the person giving the classified Presidential Daily Brief was included in an email forwarded to Abedin’s unsecure email account by State Department official Dan Fogerty. The State Department produced many more Clinton and Abedin unsecured emails that were classified:

  • On April 16, 2009, Deputy Assistant Secretary Jeffrey Feltman sent to Abedin’s unsecure email account classified informationabout an unknown subject.
  • On June 18, 2009, Abedin sent classified informationsummarizing a June 18, 2009, “Middle East Breakfast” meeting between various senators, representatives and State Department officials, at which Deputy Secretary Jack Lew and George Mitchell briefed the congressmen with “an update on our discussions with the [Middle East] parties.”
  • On June 23, 2009, U.S. diplomat Martin Indyk, who had his security clearance suspendedin 2000 for “possible sloppiness” in the handling of classified information, sent a memo containing classified information to Abedin’s unsecure email account. The memo, written for Clinton, pertained to Indyk’s discussions with top Israeli officials:

Could I ask you to review the memo below that I wrote yesterday on my return from Israel?  If you think it worthwhile, I’d be very grateful if you showed it to HRC (I have already shared it with Mitchell and Feltman). A confrontation with Bibi appears imminent.  I’ve never been one to shy away from that, as she may know.  But it has to be done carefully, and that doesn’t appear to be happening.  And I’m concerned that she will be tarred with the same brush if this leads to a bad end.  So I think she needs to make sure that the friction is productive.  I’ve made some suggestions at the end of the memo

  • On August 1, 2009, Abedin forwarded classified informationfrom State Department official Richard Verma to her unsecure email account. The email from Senator Russ Feingold was sent to Hillary Clinton regarding her upcoming Africa trip.
  • On August 4, 2009, Assistant Secretary Jeffrey Feltman sent classified informationabout discussions with Kuwaiti officials to Abedin’s unsecure email account. Feltman noted that the Kuwaitis felt a lunch they had with Obama was “chilly.” The discussions concerned Guantanamo as well as Kuwait’s treatment of detainees.
  • On Sept 20, 2009, Abedin forwarded classified informationto her unsecure email account. The email was from State Department official Esther Brimmer and concerned foreign leaders’ discussions regarding a UNESCO leadership appointment.
  • On November 1, 2009, U.S. Ambassador to the UAE Rick Olson sent classified informationto Abedin’s unsecure email account. The email shows that Olsen was traveling with Hillary in the Middle East, and Abedin asked him to “work on a list of everything covered in the mbz [presumably Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi] meeting for Hillary.” Olson asks: “do you want it on this system (I can sanitize), or on the other system.” She replies: “This system easier. We are staying without class[ified] computers. Thx.”
  • On December 1, 2009, Abedin sent classified informationabout foreign military contributions to the Afghanistan war effort to her unsecure email account. The email originated with State official Sean Misko who wrote to Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan that he first “accidentally” sent it on the “high side” (secure) but was resending.
  • On December 25, 2009, Abedin sent to her unsecure email account classified informationprepared by Deputy U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Francis Ricciardone concerning the Afghan elections.
  • On December 26, 2009, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual sent a memo to Clinton, which was found on Abedin’s unsecure email account. It contained extensive classified information involving U.S. and Mexican counter-drug operations in Mexico.
  • On March 22, 2010, Abedin forwarded to her unsecure email account classified informationabout a telephone conversation between President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
  • On April 13, 2010, Abedin forwarded to her unsecure email account classified informationfrom Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman regarding diplomatic discussions with the foreign ministers of Algeria and Morocco.
  • On May 24, 2010, Abedin forwarded to her unsecure email account classified informationabout the minutes of a State Department senior staff meeting regarding State Department officials’ meetings in Uganda.
  • Among Abedin’s unsecure email records is a document that is simply titled “NOTE” with the date September 12, 2010. The contents are entirely redacted as classified.
  • On January 28, 2011, Abedin sent Clinton an unsecure email containing classified informationrelating to a briefing White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs gave.
  • On March 21, 2012, Clinton received a memo from State Department officials Joseph Yun and Derek Mitchell marked “Sensitive But Unclassified” and sent to Abedin’s unsecure email account. It contained classified informationabout elections in Burma.
  • Jake Sullivan emailed to Hillary’s unsecure email account classified informationin which Sullivan discussed the content of conversations with UK Prime Minister Gordon regarding “the situation” in Northern Ireland. The date of this email is not included on the document.
  • On April 8, 2012, Abedin sent classified informationto her unsecure email regarding a call sheet and an “Action Memo” for Clinton relating to a call with Malawi President Joyce Banda. On April 9, 2012, confidential assistant Monica Hanley again forwarded the classified information to Clinton’s unsecure email account.

Other emails contain sensitive information that was sent via Hillary Clinton’s unsecure email servers.

  • On August 18, 2009, Hanley provided Abedin with laptop and fob (a physical device that provides a login code) logins and passwordsto log onto a laptop, as well as a secure State Department website at https://one.state.gov. Included were a PIN number and instructions on how to access her email from the secure State Department website. Abedin forwarded this information to her unsecure account.

(The FBI interviewed Hanley in its probe of Clinton’s email practices, and State’s Diplomatic Security staff reprimanded her after she left classified material behind in a Moscow hotel room. Hanley was the staffer tasked with finding BlackBerry phones for Clinton to use.)

  • On August 19, 2009, Hanley asked Abedin to call her and provide Abedin’s computer passwordso that she could download a UN document for Cheryl Mills from Abedin’s computer. Instead of calling Hanley, Abedin apparently provided the computer password in her unsecure reply email, saying, “Its [redacted].”
  • On April 17, 2009, Clinton aide Lona Valmoro emailed Clinton’s sensitive daily schedulefor April 18 to various Clinton Foundation officials, including Doug Band, Terry Krinvic and Justin Cooper. She also forwarded Clinton’s daily schedule for July 16 to numerous Clinton Foundation officials. She did the same thing on September 8, 2009. She did so again on January 10, January 14 and April 11, 2010.
  • The details of Hillary’s arrivalon November 18, 2009, in war-torn Kabul, Afghanistan, for the inauguration of President Karzai, were found on Abedin’s unsecure email account. Included were precise times of landing at Kabul Airport, the occupants of her vehicle, arrival and departure times at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, and meeting times with U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The new documents show that Clinton donors frequently requested and received special favors from the State Department that were connected to the Clinton Foundation.

  • On July 14, 2009, Gordon Griffin, a XL Keystone lobbyist,sent an email to Clinton Foundation executive Doug Band, asking if Band could get him into a Council on Foreign Relations dinner at which Clinton was speaking. Band forwarded the email to Abedin, saying, “Can u get him in?” Abedin replied: “Yes will get him in.” Band was a top aide to President Bill Clinton and co-founder of Teneo. Griffin was a major donor to Hillary Clinton’s Senate and presidential
  • On July 16, 2009, Zachary Schwartz asked Band for help getting visas to travel to Cuba for a film production crew from Shangri La Entertainment. Band forwarded the requestto Abedin, telling her, “Please call zach asap on this. [Redacted.] Important.” Abedin responded, “I’ll call zach when we land in India.” Abedin concludes with “Enjoy. Cuba is complicated. Am sure you aren’t surprised to hear that.” Schwartz worked for Steve Bing, a mega-donor to the Clintons and owner of Shangri La Entertainment. Bing has reportedly donated $10-25 million to the Clinton Foundation and paid Bill Clinton personally $2.5 million a year to be an adviser to a green construction company Bing owned.
  • On September 11, 2009, Terrence Duffy, chairman of futures brokerage firm CME Group, a donor to the Clinton Foundation, asked Clinton to arrange “government appointments” for him in Singapore and Hong Kong. Clinton, using her HDR22@clintonmail.comaddress, forwarded the request to Abedin, “fyi.” Abedin responded to Duffy’s email, saying she would “follow up” with Duffy’s secretary, Joyce. Duffy gave $4,600 to Hillary’s 2008 presidential campaign; CME Group paid Hillary $225,000 for a speaking fee and has donated between $5,001 and 10,000 to the Clinton Foundation.Abedin, using her huma@clintonmail.com address, later told Joyce, “Would like to get some more information and details so we can try to help.” Further along in the exchange, Joyce responds “We would also like some help in arranging meetings with some key govt officials in both locations, such as the Prime Minister of Singapore, and would appreciate any help you may be able to provide.”

On September 29, 2009, Abedin followed up with Duffy, telling him that “we are happy to assist with any and all meetings” and that she had “discussed you and your trip with our assistant secretary of state for east asia and pacific affairs,” suggesting that Duffy write the assistant secretary, Kurt Campbell. Duffy replied, “Thank you very much. I did connect with Kurt Campbell today.”

  • On May 5, 2010, major Clinton Global Initiative member, Clinton Foundation donor and real estate developer Eddie Trump forwarded to “Dougie” Band a request for assistancefrom Russian American Foundation Vice President Rina Kirshner to get the Russian American Foundation involved in a State Department program. Band forwarded the request to Abedin, saying, “Can we get this done/mtg set.” As Judicial Watch previously reported, the State Department doled out more than $260,000 to the Russian American Foundation for “public diplomacy.”
  • Major Clinton donor Bal Das, a New York financier who reportedly raised $300,000for Hillary’s 2008 presidential campaign, asked Abedin on November 11, 2009 if Hillary Clinton could address the Japan Society at its annual conference in 2010. Clinton did speak to the Japan Society’s annual conference in 2011.

The emails also provide insight on the inner workings of the Clinton State Department, in particular her engagement with her staff.

  • In a May 19, 2009, “Global Press Conference” memo, Clinton was given in advance the “proposed questions” of four of the seven foreign reporters. Examples include: “What is the Obama administration’s view of Australian PM Rudd’s proposal to form an Asia-Pacific Community” and “Why can’t American drones not find, detect and destroy the insurgency supply line?”
  • In a document entitled “HRC Pakistan Notes” prepared for Clinton by her staff, Clinton apparently had to be reminded about all her trips to Pakistan and of “stories that you have told/remember.” Her reminder instructions include: “You loved Faisal mosque, and it was especially meaningful to have CVC [Chelsea] with you.” And: “Your first Pakistani friend was in College. She introduced you to Pakistani food and clothes.” And: “You have had lots of Pakistani and Pakistani American friends over the years. From Chicago to California to Washington, DC, you have friends all over the country. They know how much you love Pakistani food …”
  • On February 12, 2010, Case Button, a Clinton speechwriter, asked Abedin if her mother, a professor at Dar Al Hekma, a women’s university in Saudi Arabia where Clinton held a town hall meeting,would be willing to give him advice on talking points he was preparing for Clinton. Abedin responded, “Talk to my mom for sure. She will have good points for you.” After reviewing Hillary’s draft remarks, Huma’s mother, Saleha Abedin, (a controversial Islamist activist), offered some advice: “Do not use the political terms such as ‘democracy/elections/freedom.’ Do not use the term ‘empowerment of women’ instead say ‘enabling women’ Do not even mention driving for women! Don’t sound sympathetic to ‘women’s plight’ or be ‘patronizing’ as other visitors have done and made the students extremely annoyed. They rightly consider these as in-house issues …” No references to these issues appear in Clinton’s speech.

Abedin’s involvement in a major appointment at the State Department is controversial given that Abedin’s mother was an Islamist activist.

  • On July 24, 2009, Cheryl Mills forwarded to Abedin a CV for someone being considered for the position of Special Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. It had been sent to Mills from State Department recruiter Margaret Carpenter. Rather than forwarding the resume on to Clinton for her approval, Abedin simply responds to Mills: “I’m a hundred percent fine with him.”

Abedin also offered her opinion to Clinton on administration leaders: On January 21, 2011, while on a trip to Mexico, Abedin emailed Hillary that, “Biden is a disaster here.”

  • On February 20, 2012, Clinton expresses outrage over an apparent wardrobe miscommunication for a meeting in Mexico and sent an emailto Abedin with the subject line “I’m venting.” Clinton admonished:

So, here I sit in the meeting surrounded by ever other person dressed in a white shirt provided by the Mexicans. Patricia is not wearing the exact style that all others are but her own white shirt. But, since no one ever told me about this, and instead assumed I didn’t need to know, I had no idea about any of this until I just walked into the large meeting in front of the entire press corps and I’m wearing a green top. So, what’s my answer when asked why I think I’m different than all my colleagues and why I’m dissing our hosts? I am sick of people deciding what I should know rather than giving me the info so I can make a decision. This really annoys me and I told Monica [Hanley] I just didn’t understand.

These emails show ‘what happened’ was that Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin obviously violated laws about the handling of classified information and turned the State Department into a pay for play tool for the corrupt Clinton Foundation. The clear and mounting evidence of pay for play and mishandling of classified information warrant a serious criminal investigation by an independent Trump Justice Department.
To read more about Huma Abedin’s emails, click here.

 

 

The IRS Scandal Is Still a Scandal

In a baffling move, President Trump’s Justice Department has decided not to prosecute Lois Lerner, former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the IRS, whose own emails place her at the heart of the politicization of the IRS for the targeting of conservative groups:

When we learned of this, I issued this statement:

I have zero confidence that the Justice Department did an adequate review of the IRS scandal. In fact, we’re still fighting the Justice Department and the IRS for records about this very scandal. Today’s decision comes as no surprise considering that the FBI collaborated with the IRS and is unlikely to investigate or prosecute itself. President Trump should order a complete review of the whole issue. Meanwhile, we await accountability for IRS Commissioner Koskinen, who still serves and should be drummed out of office.

Let’s review the history.

Judicial Watch released 294 pages of FBI “302” documents revealing top Washington IRS officials, including Lois Lerner and Holly Paz, knew the agency was specifically targeting “Tea Party” and other conservative organizations two full years before disclosing it to Congress and the public. An FBI 302 document contains detailed narratives of FBI agent investigations. The Obama Justice Department and FBI investigations into the Obama IRS scandal resulted in no criminal charges.

The FBI 302 documents confirm the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) 2013 report, which said, “Senior IRS officials knew that agents were targeting conservative groups for special scrutiny as early as 2011.” Lerner did not reveal the targeting until May 2013, in response to a planted question at an American Bar Association conference. The documents revealed that then-acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller actually wrote Lerner’s response: “They used names like Tea Party or Patriots and they selected cases simply because the applications had those names in the title. That was wrong, that was absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate.”

Our litigation forced the IRS first to say that emails belonging to Lerner were supposedly missing and later declare to the court that the emails were on IRS back-up systems. Lerner was one of the top officials responsible for the IRS’ targeting of President Obama’s political opponents.  Judicial Watch exposed various IRS record keeping problems:

  • In June 2014the IRS claimed to have “lost” responsive emails belonging to Lerner and other IRS officials.
  • In July 2014Judge Emmett Sullivan ordered the IRS to submit to the court a written declaration under oath about what happened to Lerner’s “lost” emails. The sworn declarations proved to be less than forthcoming.
  • In August 2014, Department of Justice attorneys for the IRS finally admitted Judicial Watch that Lerner’s emails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe. The IRS’ attorneys also disclosed that Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) was looking at several of these backup tapes.
  • In November 2014, the IRS told the court it had failed to search any of the IRS standard computer systems for the “missing” emails of Lerner and other IRS officials.
  • On February 26, 2015, TIGTA officials testifiedto the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that it had received 744 backup tapes containing emails sent and received by Lerner.  This testimony showed that the IRS had falsely represented to both Congress, Judge Sullivan, and Judicial Watch that Lerner’s emails were irretrievably lost. The testimony also revealed that IRS officials responsible for responding to the document requests never asked for the backup tapes and that 424 backup tapes containing Lerner’s emails had been destroyed during the pendency of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit and Congressional investigations.
  • In June 2015, Judicial Watch forced the IRS to admitin a court filing that it was in possession of 6,400 “newly discovered” Lerner emails. Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered the IRS to provide answers on the status of the Lerner emails the IRS had previously declared lost. Judicial Watch raised questions about the IRS’ handling of the missing emails issue in a court filing, demanding answers about Lerner’s emails that had been recovered from the backup tapes.
  • In July 2015, U.S District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan threatened to hold John Koskinen, the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, and Justice Department attorneys in contemptof court after the IRS failed to produce status reports and recovered Lerner emails, as he had ordered on July 1, 2015.

While Washington spins in circles trying to find election rigging on the part of Donald Trump, it closes its eyes to genuine election skullduggery.

Justice Dept Stands Up For Christian Baker

September 8, 2017

Justice Dept Stands Up For Christian Baker, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, September 8, 2017

The government has changed. And the rules have changed.

The DOJ is no longer a pro-crime organization. And instead of persecuting conservatives, it’s now standing up for them against leftist persecution.

The Justice Department on Thursday filed a brief supporting the Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple on faith-based grounds, in the latest religious freedom case to be considered before the nation’s highest court.

Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, had refused to sell a customized cake for a gay couple’s union, claiming a religious exemption to the state’s anti-discrimination law.

“When Phillips designs and creates a custom wedding cake for a specific couple and a specific wedding, he plays an active role in enabling that ritual, and he associates himself with the celebratory message conveyed,” Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall wrote in the brief.

Wall added, “Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights.”

The First Amendment comes first again. And that is as it ought to be.

‘Big fish’ Debbie Wasserman Schultz watches as ‘small fish’ start to cut deals

September 7, 2017

‘Big fish’ Debbie Wasserman Schultz watches as ‘small fish’ start to cut deals, American ThinkerThomas Lifson, September 7, 2017

It’s starting to look as though Imran Awan and his wife Hina Alvi are making plea deals and incriminating people above them in the food chain.  Both of them were I.T. staffers for Democrats in the House of Representatives, earning substantial multiples of customary wages, raising intense suspicions of blackmail.

Ms. Alvi reportedly has already made a deal and will be returning to the U.S. from her native Pakistan, where she earlier fled.  Her husband was arrested at Dulles Airport, attempting to do the same.  Todd Shepherd reports in the Examiner:

A document filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia indicates that federal prosecutors have struck a deal with Alvi that would allow her to return to the U.S., but would also require her to surrender her passport and afterwards not book any international travel. The deal only surrounds how Alvi will turn herself in, and is structured so that she can avoid being arrested in front of her children when she returns to the U.S., “during the last week of September 2017.”

Alvi, and Awan in particular, are the focus of investigations by the FBI and Capitol Police regarding irregularities for purchases of some computers and other equipment which was later discovered to be missing. The pair, and their associates, could have had access to sensitive government information over the years.

We don’t know if Awan has made a deal yet, but his wife would not be returning if that were unlikely.  In fact, thanks to the work of Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller, we have to consider the possibility that Awan has been playing a double- or triple-game since last April.

A laptop that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has frantically fought to keep prosecutors from examining may have been planted for police to find by her since-indicted staffer, Imran Awan, along with a letter to the U.S. Attorney.

U.S. Capitol Police found the laptop after midnight April 6, 2017, in a tiny room that formerly served as a phone booth in the Rayburn House Office Building, according to a Capitol Police report reviewed by The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group. Alongside the laptop were a Pakistani ID card, copies of Awan’s driver’s license and congressional ID badge, and letters to the U.S. attorney. Police also found notes in a composition notebook marked “attorney-client privilege.”

This happened four months after Awan had been banned from the House I.T. network, so he had realized he was in trouble for quite some time, even if DWS kept paying him his salary and he was able to get access to the network via her office.  It was enough time for him to plot and plan.  And it does look as if the material was intended to be discovered, not somehow accidentally left behind:

The laptop was found on the second floor of the Rayburn building – a place Awan would have had no reason to go because Wasserman Schultz’s office is in the Longworth building and the other members who employed him had fired him. (snip)

Leaving important items there accidentally would seem extremely unlikely, according to Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, former prosecutor, and member of the House Judiciary Committee.

“Imran Awan is a calculating person who made great efforts to cover his tracks, both electronically and physically,” Gohmert told TheDCNF. “Placing that laptop with his personal documents, which may well incriminate him, those he worked for, or both, in the dead of night in a House office building, was a deliberate act by a cunning suspect, and it needs to be investigated.”

If Awan thought he was better off with his crimes documented, that suggests he feared something worse than prison, that this was a matter of life insurance.

There are signs that DWS is panicking.  Wasserman Schultz first claimed that the laptop was hers and notoriously harangued the Capitol Police to return it to her on that basis.

Now she is claiming that it was Awan’s and that she had never seen it.  Yet:

Wasserman Schultz has hired an outside counsel, William Pittard, to argue that the laptop not be examined. Pittard argued that the speech and debate clause – which only protects a member’s information directly related to legislative duties – should prevent prosecutors from examining the laptop’s contents, TheDCNF has learned. Pittard did not respond to requests for comment.

Pittard, a partner with KaiserDillon, is the former acting general counsel of the House. Hiring an outside counsel to argue the speech and debate clause on behalf of Wasserman Schultz is highly unusual, because the general counsel of the House offers opinions on speech and debate issues for free.

That can’t be cheap. There must be material on that laptop that that is incriminating.  Very incriminating.  Perhaps of DWS, perhaps of some of the other House Democrats who hired the Awan gang.

Debbie is already distancing herself from Awan:

House Intel Committee Subpoenas FBI, DOJ Over Trump Dossier

September 6, 2017

House Intel Committee Subpoenas FBI, DOJ Over Trump Dossier, PJ MediaDebra Heine, September 6, 2017

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., . (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

The House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed the FBI and the Justice Department for documents relating to the Trump “dodgy dossier,” the Washington Examiner reported Tuesday evening. The committee is seeking information regarding the FBI’s relationship with dossier author Christopher Steele and its possible role in funding what started out as an opposition research project by shady lefty research firm Fusion GPS.

While it has been widely reported that “a wealthy GOP donor” originally funded the anti-Trump dossier, the managers of the Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich campaigns have all told the Examiner’s Byron York that they knew nothing about a GOP-funded oppo-research project on Trump. Meanwhile, Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson has refused to answer the question about who bankrolled the dossier.

The House Intel Committee is one of several congressional committees looking into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Additionally, Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller is leading a separate investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The subpoenas to the FBI and DOJ are a sign of the GOP’s frustration with the lack of cooperation they are getting from even the Trump Justice Department.

“I’m sure you’re noting with the same irony I’m noting the difficulty that a Republican Congress is having getting information from a Department of Justice run by Jeff Sessions,” Gowdy told York.

The committee issued the subpoenas — one to the FBI, an identical one to the Justice Department — on August 24, giving both until last Friday, September 1, to turn over the information.

Neither FBI nor Justice turned over the documents, and now the committee has given them an extension until September 14 to comply.

Illustrating the seriousness with which investigators view the situation, late Tuesday the committee issued two more subpoenas, specifically to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, directing them to appear before the committee to explain why they have not provided the subpoenaed information.

The subpoenas are the result of a months-long process of committee investigators requesting information from the FBI and Justice Department. Beginning in May, the committee sent multiple letters to the FBI and Justice requesting information concerning the Trump-Russia affair.

“We got nothing,” said committee member Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who is taking a leading role in the Russia investigation. “The witnesses have not been produced and the documents have not been produced.”

In a telephone interview Tuesday, Gowdy said the FBI has said it needed more time to comply, and also that complying might interfere with the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller. Whatever the reason, the documents haven’t been produced.

“A subpoena is a tool of last resort in Congress,” Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, said.

Like investigators with the Senate Judiciary Committee, who are also pursuing information about the dossier, the House committee wants to know the origin of the FBI’s involvement in the creation of the document. They are particularly interested to know whether the FBI or Justice Department ever presented information from the dossier — unverified, possibly from paid informants — to a court as a basis for obtaining a surveillance warrant in the Russia investigation.

“I want to know the extent to which it was relied upon, if at all, by any of our intelligence agencies or federal law enforcement agencies,” Gowdy said, “and to the extent it was relied upon, how did they vet, or either corroborate or contradict, the information in it?”

The House intelligence panel, like the Senate Judiciary Committee, has had so-called “de-confliction” discussions with Mueller’s office and believes the special counsel does not object to the House seeking information on the dossier.

The committee believes that seeking information on the origin of the FBI’s role in the dossier, and the bureau’s relationship with dossier compiler Steele, a former British spy, will lead to a better understanding of the FBI’s entire counter-intelligence probe on the question of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

“Several of our lines of questions centered on the dossier, or, if you don’t like the word ‘dossier,’ just insert ‘the origin of the Russia investigation,'” said Gowdy.

The former prosecutor seems determined to get to the bottom of the Trump dossier mystery.

“Congress created the FBI, we created the Department of Justice, we’re the ones who passed the laws that set the boundaries of their jurisdiction, and and we’re the ones that fund them,” he said. “It is not illegitimate for us to ask what prompted this investigation, and it is certainly not illegitimate for us to test and probe the reliability of that underlying information, particularly if, in theory, there are either charging decisions and/or court filings that relied upon that information.”

According to CNN, the reason the Justice Department has been been refusing compliance with the subpoenas is because they don’t want to interfere with the Mueller investigation.

 

Federal Court Dismisses Entire Justice Department Mosque Case

September 1, 2017

Federal Court Dismisses Entire Justice Department Mosque Case, PJ Media,  J. Christian Adams, September 1, 2017

(Please see also, Justice Department Forces Christian Pastor to Testify on Islam Views. — DM)

This opinion does raise serious questions, however, about how an abusive and intrusive effort was launched to go after Christian pastors and to ask them to reveal their beliefs about Islam even after a case settled. We’ll be seeking answers.

Next week, Eric Dreiband will have his confirmation hearing to finally fill the vacancy for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. I doubt that abusive and intrusive discovery against Christian pastors about their theological views of Islam is a top agenda item for Mr. Dreiband.

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Yesterday, I reported on an outlandish effort to shake down a Christian pastor about his views on Islam by the Justice Department in an Obama-era holdover case.

Today, a federal court entirely dismissed the Justice Department’s case.

United States District Court Judge Norman Moon ruled that the case was moot because the mosque settled with Culpeper County. The mosque obtained a settlement allowing it to pump and haul sewage from the land.

The United States had sought to keep the case alive, and to conduct wide ranging and intrusive discovery against third parties such as Pastor Steve Harrelson of the Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church.  Harrelson, as discussed in detail in yesterday’s piece, had been served with a Justice Department subpoena compelling him to testify about his views on Islam and to deliver any papers or documents he had about Islam to the government.

The court ruled that because the county had settled with the mosque, the case was done. This means that DOJ won’t be able to probe the Christian pastor for his views on Islam.

Judge Moon wrote:

Taken together, the Government’s additional measures are marginal quibbles that overlook the forest for the trees. They are based on a presumption of bad faith by the County, a presumption supported by little more than bald assertions and which the County has overcome with compelling and unimpeached evidence.

Ouch.

Moon’s ruling means this hunt is now over, as long as the Trump-run Justice Department does not appeal, something it had better not do.  I was all set to appear with Tucker Carlson to discuss this abuse of power, and the particular people at DOJ behind it! Too bad. Judge Moon may have mooted that also.

This opinion does raise serious questions, however, about how an abusive and intrusive effort was launched to go after Christian pastors and to ask them to reveal their beliefs about Islam even after a case settled. We’ll be seeking answers.

Next week, Eric Dreiband will have his confirmation hearing to finally fill the vacancy for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. I doubt that abusive and intrusive discovery against Christian pastors about their theological views of Islam is a top agenda item for Mr. Dreiband.

You can read the full opinion here.

OPINION | Byron York: FBI fights public release of Trump dossier info

September 1, 2017

OPINION | Byron York: FBI fights public release of Trump dossier info, Washington ExaminerByron York, August 31, 2017

Grassley and the Judiciary Committee seem determined to uncover the full story of the dossier. To do so, they’ll have to use all the powers of Congress, because, when it comes to ordinary citizens, the Justice Department believes they have no right to know.

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Senate investigators have had problems getting the FBI to reveal information about the Trump dossier. They’re not the only ones. Outside groups filing Freedom of Information Act requests are running up against a stone wall when it comes to the dossier.

On March 8, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA request for documents regarding the bureau’s contacts with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who dug for dirt in Russia on candidate Donald Trump in the months before the 2016 presidential election. Steele’s effort was commissioned by the oppo research firm Fusion GPS, which at the time was being paid by still-unidentified Democrats who supported Hillary Clinton. Just weeks before the election, the FBI reportedly agreed to support Steele’s oppo project — an extraordinary action in the midst of a campaign which Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said raised “questions about the FBI’s independence from politics.”

So Judicial Watch asked the Justice Department for:

Any and all records of communications between any official, employee, or representative of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Mr. Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer and the owner of the private firm Orbis Business Intelligence.

Any and all records regarding, concerning, or related to the proposed, planned, or actual payment of any funds to Mr. Steele and/or Orbis Business Intelligence.

Any and all records produced in preparation for, during, or pursuant to any meetings or telephonic conversations between any official, employee, or representative of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Mr. Christopher Steele and/or any employee or representative of Orbis Business Intelligence.

Any and all records produced in preparation for, during, or pursuant to any meetings or telephonic conversations between any official, employee, or representative of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Mr. Christopher Steele and/or any employee or representative of Orbis Business Intelligence.

The idea was that the records would shed light on the basic questions regarding the dossier. Just what did the FBI do? Why? And — this is very important to Grassley — did the FBI ever use the “salacious and unverified” (the words of former FBI Director James Comey) information in the dossier as a basis for applying for warrants to put Americans under surveillance?

The Justice Department’s response to Judicial Watch was simple: No. And not just no: The Department would not even confirm or deny whether any such documents or communications even existed.

So on May 16, Judicial Watch filed suit, seeking to force release of the information. In response, the department told Judicial Watch to forget about it. “Plaintiff’s claims are moot,” Justice lawyers wrote, “because Defendant has notified Plaintiff of its decision to neither confirm nor deny the existence of any responsive records, and the reasons for that decision.”

The reasons the department referred to were contained in nearly identical letters sent to Judicial Watch on March 29 and May 16. “The nature of your request implicates records the FBI may or may not compile pursuant to its national security and foreign intelligence functions,” a Justice Department FOIA official wrote. “Accordingly the FBI cannot confirm or deny the existence of any records about your subject as the mere acknowledgment of such records existence or nonexistence would in and of itself trigger harm to national security interests.” The letter cited legal exemptions to FOIA based on national security.

“Moreover, as a federal law enforcement agency,” the letter continued, “a confirmation by the FBI that it has or does not have responsive records would be tantamount to acknowledging the existence or nonexistence of a pending investigation it has not previously acknowledged.”

The problem, of course, is that the FBI has already acknowledged the existence of a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump-Russia affair. Comey himself did it in Hill testimony on March 20, noting that it is not the Justice Department’s usual practice to confirm such things, but the Trump-Russia matter was of such great public importance that Comey decided to go ahead:

As you know, our practice is not to confirm the existence of ongoing investigations, especially those investigations that involve classified matters, but in unusual circumstances where it is in the public interest, it may be appropriate to do so as Justice Department policies recognize. This is one of those circumstances.

I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts. As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.

As for the dossier itself, in public testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, Comey specifically discussed briefing President-elect Trump on its contents in January.

And of course, the dossier, in all its “salacious and unverified” glory, was published in full by Buzzfeed.

Finally, the Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller to serve as the special counsel in the case. The department announced the appointment publicly and released the document outlining Mueller’s responsibilities.

These were not low-key, hush-hush actions. But apparently no one told the Justice Department’s FOIA bureaucracy that the department and the FBI had, in a very big way, confirmed the existence of the Trump-Russia investigation.

In addition, there are indications that Mueller himself does not object to the public release of information regarding the dossier. The Senate Judiciary Committee has held so-called “deconfliction” meetings with Mueller’s office in which officials discussed whether this or that aspect of the committee’s investigation might interfere with Mueller’s probe. (Such discussions are mostly a matter of courtesy, since the Senate can ultimately do what it wants.) It appears Mueller’s office did not object to the Senate interviewing Fusion GPS chief Glenn Simpson, with the full knowledge that all or part of that interview might be publicly released. While it’s not clear what Simpson told the committee — the public should hope it is released in full — given the committee chairman’s concerns, it’s guaranteed that Simpson was asked about Steele’s interactions with the FBI.

But when it comes to the Freedom of Information Act, the FBI is resisting the release of even the most basic information. “They’re fighting us on everything,” Judicial Watch chief Tom Fitton told me recently. “They’re fighting us tooth and nail.”

Grassley and the Judiciary Committee seem determined to uncover the full story of the dossier. To do so, they’ll have to use all the powers of Congress, because, when it comes to ordinary citizens, the Justice Department believes they have no right to know.