Archive for the ‘House Intelligence Committee’ category

Trump’s Right — the FBI Is in Tatters

December 4, 2017

Trump’s Right — the FBI Is in Tatters, PJ MediaRoger L Simon, December 3, 2017

In a series of heavily criticized tweets (aren’t they always) Trump is asserting that the FBI’s reputation is in tatters.  Of course, he’s right.  This isn’t justice as it’s supposed to be, not even faintly. It’s Kafka meets Orwell in the Deep State.

Robert Mueller may not realize it, but the conclusion of his investigation, whatever it is, will never be accepted by a huge percentage of the public. As the French say, Mentir est honteux.  Lying is shameful.  Mike Flynn may have lied, but so, undoubtedly, has the FBI, multiple times, more than Flynn could ever dream of doing or be capable of doing.  And they’re the ones we’re supposed to trust in the end.

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What’re we supposed think when it’s revealed the man running the Hillary Clinton email server investigation (Peter Strzok) was a married Hillary supporter conducting an adulterous affair with a government lawyer, while dissing Donald Trump in his clandestine billet-doux text messages?

(Was he auditioning for Harvey Weinstein’s next movie, assuming Weinstein is ever allowed to make a movie again or even would make one that in any way besmirched his good friend Hillary?)

As an FBI agent, Strzok’s use of text messaging for such an enterprise was nothing short of moronic in this digital age, but nevertheless he was not fired but simply and quietly sent to FBI  “Siberia” last summer, his activities only miraculously coming to public attention last week.

Why the secrecy? Many reasons, probably yet to be determined, but it comes down to this: the FBI, like the Mafia, practices omertà.

They have a code of silence as Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch, who spends his life trying to pry information from our supposedly premier law enforcement agency, can tell you.  Ditto, now, the House Intelligence Committee, whose chairman Devin Nunes, as Byron York reports for the Washington Examiner, is apoplectic.

Word of the messages and the affair were news to Nunes, even though the committee had issued a subpoena that covered information about Strzok’s demotion more than three months ago. The committee’s broadly worded subpoena for information related to the so-called Trump dossier went to the FBI and DOJ on Aug. 24. In follow-up conversations on the scope of the subpoena, committee staff told the FBI and DOJ that it included information on the circumstances of Strzok’s reassignment.

On Oct. 11, Nunes met with deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein. In that meeting, Nunes specifically discussed the committee’s request for information about Strzok.

In an Oct. 31 committee staff meeting with the FBI, bureau officials refused a request for information about Strzok.

On Nov. 20, the committee again requested an interview with Strzok. (Three days earlier, on November 17, Strzok met with the Senate Intelligence Committee.)

On Nov. 29, Nunes again spoke to Rosenstein, and again discussed Strzok.

On Dec. 1, the committee again requested to speak with Strzok.

Obviously nothing has been forthcoming until now.  But speaking of FBI stonewalling, there’s this new revelation from Fitton, concerning the “happenstance” meeting between Bill Clinton and then AG Loretta Lynch at the Phoenix airport.  The “accidental” encounter supposedly resulted in some chit-chat about grandchildren, but only a few days later then FBI director Comey announced he wouldn’t recommend prosecution of Hillary Clinton:

Because of the revelation in our other lawsuit, the FBI – without our knowledge—”reopened” our [July 7, 2016] FOIA request. The agency supposedly found about 30 pages of information, which it needed six weeks to review. The FBI finally gave them to us late Thursday.

Now we know why the FBI played shell games. The documents show that FBI officials were concerned solely about the leaking of details of the tarmac meeting. None of the documents show top agency officials cared one whit about the propriety of the meeting itself, but only about who blew the whistle on the covert tête-à-tête.

In one email, an FBI official writes “we need to find that guy.” And in another we learn that the Phoenix FBI office was contacted “in an attempt to stem any further damage.” An FBI official working on Lynch’s security detail even goes so far as to suggest non-disclosure agreements to keep the full facts from coming forth.

No wonder the FBI didn’t turn these documents over until we caught it red-handed, hiding and lying about them.

Simply put, the FBI appears to be fully complicit in a cover-up that attempted to influence a presidential election for a favored candidate – Hillary Clinton. And the truth was trampled on a Phoenix tarmac.

Sense a pattern here, Watson?

The FBI seems suddenly concerned with leakers when it affects them. Well, that’s only a part of the story — but a significant part.  Like most bureaucratic organizations, whether in law enforcement or not, as they grow self-preservation increasingly becomes the dominant motivation.  In the case of the FBI, it’s self-preservation leavened with a significant dollop of political bias, conscious and unconscious.

In the case of Strzok, the bias was clearly a bit too conscious for his own good, but who could doubt, given the dramatis personae of Mueller’s investigation, that many of his cohorts share the same views but have the horse sense to leave them out of their text messages.? (Apropos Strzok, it’s interesting he wasn’t fired.  Was it because they feared he would go rogue?)

In a series of heavily criticized tweets (aren’t they always) Trump is asserting that the FBI’s reputation is in tatters.  Of course, he’s right.  This isn’t justice as it’s supposed to be, not even faintly. It’s Kafka meets Orwell in the Deep State.

Robert Mueller may not realize it, but the conclusion of his investigation, whatever it is, will never be accepted by a huge percentage of the public. As the French say, Mentir est honteux.  Lying is shameful.  Mike Flynn may have lied, but so, undoubtedly, has the FBI, multiple times, more than Flynn could ever dream of doing or be capable of doing.  And they’re the ones we’re supposed to trust in the end.

Nunes blows up, threatens contempt after FBI stonewalls House on Russia investigator demoted for anti-Trump bias

December 3, 2017

OPINION: Nunes blows up, threatens contempt after FBI stonewalls House on Russia investigator demoted for anti-Trump bias, Washington ExaminerByron York, December 2, 2017

(Please see also, FBI Stonewalls Corruption Probe, which opens with this sentence:

The Obama administration corrupted everything it touched, including the FBI. A scandal is brewing, and the FBI, predictably, is responding with the Obama playbook: it is stonewalling. Byron York has the story:

— DM)

Stories in both the Washington Post and New York Times on Saturday reported that Peter Strzok, who played a key role in the original FBI investigation into the Trump-Russia matter, and then a key role in Mueller’s investigation, and who earlier had played an equally critical role in the FBI’s Hillary Clinton email investigation, was reassigned out of the Mueller office because of anti-Trump texts he exchanged with a top FBI lawyer, Lisa Page, with whom Strzok was having an extramarital affair. Strzok was transferred to the FBI’s human resources office — an obvious demotion — in July.

The Post reported that Strzok and Page exchanged text messages that “expressed anti-Trump sentiments and other comments that appeared to favor Clinton.”

Word of the messages and the affair were news to Nunes, even though the committee had issued a subpoena that covered information about Strzok’s demotion more than three months ago. The committee’s broadly worded subpoena for information related to the so-called Trump dossier went to the FBI and DOJ on Aug. 24. In follow-up conversations on the scope of the subpoena, committee staff told the FBI and DOJ that it included information on the circumstances of Strzok’s reassignment.

On Oct. 11, Nunes met with deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein. In that meeting, Nunes specifically discussed the committee’s request for information about Strzok.

In an Oct. 31 committee staff meeting with the FBI, bureau officials refused a request for information about Strzok.

On Nov. 20, the committee again requested an interview with Strzok. (Three days earlier, on November 17, Strzok met with the Senate Intelligence Committee.)

On Nov. 29, Nunes again spoke to Rosenstein, and again discussed Strzok.

On Dec. 1, the committee again requested to speak with Strzok.

After each occasion, the FBI and DOJ did nothing. Now, in what appears to be an orchestrated leak, both the Post and Times published the reason for Strzok’s demotion, along with concerns that the revelation might help President Trump. “Among federal law enforcement officials, there is great concern that exposure of the texts they exchanged may be used by the president and his defenders to attack the credibility of the Mueller probe and the FBI more broadly,” the Post reported. The Times reported that “the existence of the text messages is likely to fuel claims by Mr. Trump that he is the target of a witch hunt.”

Well, yes. It will be of concern to Trump’s defenders, and to defenders of fair investigations generally, that such an important figure in both the Clinton and Trump probes privately expressed bias. It will be important for investigators — and the public — to see Strzok’s and Page’s texts to assess the extent of the problem. But in any event, Nunes is extremely unhappy — not only with the revelation of bias but with the FBI’s resistance.

“By hiding from Congress, and from the American people, documented political bias by a key FBI head investigator for both the Russia collusion probe and the Clinton email investigation, the FBI and DOJ engaged in a willful attempt to thwart Congress’ constitutional oversight responsibility,” Nunes said in a statement Saturday afternoon. “This is part of a months-long pattern by the DOJ and FBI of stonewalling and obstructing this committee’s oversight work, particularly oversight of their use of the Steele dossier. At this point, these agencies should be investigating themselves.”

To add insult to injury, at just the moment the leaked stories appeared, the Justice Department out of the blue notified Nunes that it would meet some of the committee’s demands for information that it had been refusing for months. That didn’t make the chairman happy, either.

“The DOJ has now expressed — on a Saturday, just hours after the press reports on Strzok’s dismissal appeared — a sudden willingness to comply with some of the committee’s long-standing demands,” Nunes said in the statement. “This attempted 11th-hour accommodation is neither credible nor believable, and in fact is yet another example of the DOJ’s disingenuousness and obstruction.”

As a result, Nunes said he has instructed committee staff to draw up a contempt of Congress citation for Rosenstein and for FBI Director Christopher Wray. The chairman promised to take action on the citation before the end of December unless the FBI and DOJ meet all the committee’s outstanding demands.

Obviously Nunes is angry that he did not know about the real reasons for Strzok’s demotion. And he is equally angry with the FBI’s and DOJ’s treatment of the committee. Contempt of Congress is a big move for lawmakers to take, especially against an agency controlled by the same party as leaders of the House. But remember, House Speaker Paul Ryan has already said the FBI and DOJ “stonewalled” the House, and he demanded that it comply immediately. That was five weeks ago. Now, after this latest episode, it seems likely that leaders in Congress are becoming increasingly frustrated with what they see as the FBI and DOJ jerking lawmakers around. At some point, they will act.

 

Carter Page bashes House Intelligence Committee in testimony before panel

November 2, 2017

Carter Page bashes House Intelligence Committee in testimony before panel, Washington Times,  November 2, 2017

Carter Page says false charges in a Democrat-financed dossier brought him “irreparable damage” and subjected him to death threats. (Associated Press)

Mr. Steele, who paid Russian sources with Democratic Party money, made allegations that Mr. Page:

  • While on a publicized speaking appearance in Moscow in July 2016, met with two Kremlin connected figures who have been sanctioned by the U.S.
  • Agreed to a brokerage fee in exchange for pushing the end of U.S. sanctions.
  • Told an “ethnic Russian” he was working to swing Bernie Sanders voters to Mr. Trump’s side.
  • Worked hand-in-hand with then-campaign manager Paul Manafort to have Russia interfere in the 2016 election, including hacking Democratic Party computers.

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Former Donald Trump campaign adviser Carter Page on Thursday began his scheduled testimony before the House Intelligence Committee by bashing the panel itself.

He released his opening statement which singles out Democrats for reading charges against him from a Democratic Party-funded dossier.

Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democratic, was especially harsh on Mr. Page at the televised March hearing with then-FBI Director James Comey. Mr. Schiff read unverified allegations against Mr. Page from former British spy and dossier writer Christopher Steele.

Mr. Carter, a former volunteer Trump adviser who runs an energy investment firm in New York and worked for Merrill Lynch in Moscow in the 2000s, called Mr. Schiff’s and other Democrats’ dossier-quoting as “extensive misinformation.”

“Whereas my name was so thoroughly tarnished during your Committee’s March 20, 2017 discussion with James Comey about the Dodgy Dossier on national television,” he said. “I also request in the interest of time that my short biography be submitted for the record.”

If there is one person besides President Trump who was thoroughly trashed in the dossier, it was Mr. Page.

Mr. Steele, who paid Russian sources with Democratic Party money, made allegations that Mr. Page:

  • While on a publicized speaking appearance in Moscow in July 2016, met with two Kremlin connected figures who have been sanctioned by the U.S.
  • Agreed to a brokerage fee in exchange for pushing the end of U.S. sanctions.
  • Told an “ethnic Russian” he was working to swing Bernie Sanders voters to Mr. Trump’s side.
  • Worked hand-in-hand with then-campaign manager Paul Manafort to have Russia interfere in the 2016 election, including hacking Democratic Party computers.

Mr. Page has said the charges are fiction. He never met the two men in Moscow; he did not discuss or receive a brokerage fee; he did not have a discussion about Mr. Sanders; He has never met Mr. Manafort.

Referring to himself in the third person in his submitted biography, Mr. Page said, “He never was asked to obtain nor was he provided negative information about anyone, including Mrs. Hillary Clinton, by any Russian person or entity.”

Mr. Page served on the same campaign advisory panel as George Papadopoulos. Special Counsel Robert Mueller disclosed this week that Mr. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to an FBI agent about his contacts with Russian-connected people during the campaign. Mr. Mueller said he is cooperating with the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The panel met one time, with candidate Trump attending.

The FBI obtained a eavesdropping warrant against Mr. Page in the summer of 2016 on suspicion he worked as a agent for Russia.

The Annapolis graduate and former Navy officer said he was never a foreign agent. He called the monitoring unjustified and questions whether it was based on the dossier.

House Intelligence Panel is Reviewing Uranium One Deal Amid New Evidence of Russian Bribery

October 20, 2017

House Intelligence Panel is Reviewing Uranium One Deal Amid New Evidence of Russian Bribery, Washinton Free Beacon, October 20, 2017

Getty Images

Grassley on Thursday called on the Justice Department to lift a gag order on an FBI informant barring him from speaking to Congress about the Russian bribery scheme and any links to the Obama administration’s decision to approve the Moscow takeover of a U.S. uranium mine.

The Justice Department during the Obama administration reportedly threatened to prosecute the informant if he disclosed details of his involvement in the investigation to Congress.

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The House Intelligence Committee has started asking federal agencies about the Obama administration’s approval of a Russian acquisition of a large uranium mine—a deal that is now under new scrutiny amid revelations about a sweeping Russian bribery scheme from an FBI informant.

The panel so far is only making “preliminary inquiries” and has not launched a formal, full-scale investigation, according to a knowledgeable GOP source.

Information from the FBI informant and court documents about a criminal investigation and prosecution of Russian officials for bribery—and whether key U.S. government agencies knew about the probe—are raising new questions about the uranium deal and whether the United States should have approved it.

New details about the extensive Russian bribery scheme and the U.S. government’s prosecution of it, reported by the Hill newspaper and Circa News, also has drawn renewed attention to millions of dollars the Clintons received from Russians with ties to the state-owned entity involved in the acquisition.

The House Intelligence panel’s questions follow public statements this week from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who said on Wednesday he started investigating the new information about the uranium deal last week and pressed Attorney General Jeff Sessions about it during a committee hearing Wednesday.

Sessions would not say whether the Justice Department had launched an official investigation into the matter but told Grassley that his concerns about the deal “would be reviewed.”

Grassley during the Wednesday hearing said the Clinton Foundation had received millions of dollars from “interested parties” in the uranium deal and highlighted a $500,000 payment former President Bill Clinton received for a speech in Moscow before a Russian-government-aligned bank.

Grassley on Thursday called on the Justice Department to lift a gag order on an FBI informant barring him from speaking to Congress about the Russian bribery scheme and any links to the Obama administration’s decision to approve the Moscow takeover of a U.S. uranium mine.

The Justice Department during the Obama administration reportedly threatened to prosecute the informant if he disclosed details of his involvement in the investigation to Congress.

Grassley said he said he also questioned the circumstances surrounding the uranium deal in 2015.

Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.) asked the Justice Department this week for documents related to the FBI’s investigation into the uranium deal, as the Washington Free Beacon reported Thursday.

Barrasso’s concerns about the deal first began in 2010, when he learned that Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear arm, would be acquiring up to 20 percent of U.S. uranium, in a deal with Canada-based Uranium One.

The senator, a senior member of the GOP leadership who sits on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, says the Obama administration never responded to his requests for information after reports that Bill Clinton had received the $500,000 sum for speaking to a Moscow state-aligned bank and several Uranium One officials donated $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation.

Key House Republicans provided some of the harshest public warnings about the deal in 2010 before it was approved.

Four top House Republicans raised the alarm about the Uranium One deal with Russia, citing “widespread and continuing” Russian corruption and urging a top Obama official to block it.

The lawmakers sent a letter to then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in October 2010 urging him not to approve the sale of the U.S uranium mine to a subsidiary of Rosatam, Russia’s state-owned energy firm that serves as its main nuclear agency. They released the letter in a press release Oct. 5, 2010. The U.S. government moved forward and approved the deal later that month.

The GOP lawmakers who signed the letter are: Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Peter King of New York, along with then-Reps. Spencer Bachus of Alabama and Howard “Buck” McKeon of California. The lawmakers at the time served, respectively, as the ranking members of the House Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, Financial Services and Armed Services Committees.

“Rosatom is a state-owned entity, overseen by a government that has shown little if any inclination to effectively address the widespread and continuing corruption within Russia, particularly its energy sector,” the lawmakers wrote at the time.

The Republicans said the deal also raises serious questions because “Russia has a record of transferring dangerous materials and technologies to rogue regimes, such as those in Iran and Syria.”

“Its willingness to provide nuclear assistance to any regime with cash and its repeated attempts to undermine U.S. nonproliferation efforts disqualifies Russia from being regarded as a reliable partner,” they wrote.

As treasury secretary, Geithner served on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the federal interagency that considers the national security implications of foreign investments. He served alongside some of the most powerful members of President Obama’s cabinet, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Members of Congress now want to know if CFIUS and other U.S. agencies that signed off on the transaction were aware of the FBI’s criminal probe into the Russian bribery scheme. As attorney general, Holder would have known about the FBI probe.

In addition to the Russian corruption issues, the GOP lawmakers warned that Rosatom also had a history of training Iranian scientists and designed and built Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, which they said had just become operational a few months prior, in August, 2010.

Russia, they asserted, was already supplying that nuclear plant with enriched-uranium fuel rods, and has signaled its interest in building further nuclear reactors in Iran.

“This cooperation has caused great distress that it could advance Iran’s nuclear ambitions, be it through the extraction of weapons-grade plutonium from the reactor or the use of Bushehr (and any future additional reactors) as a cover for the prohibited transfer of other sensitive technology,” they wrote. “It has also undermined longstanding efforts to compel Iran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

Officials for Uranium One USA, the entity that owned the U.S. uranium mine, said before the deal went through that they were skeptical the transaction would result in the transfer of any mined uranium to Iran.

The lawmakers pushed back on that idea, arguing that they “remain convinced” that Iran could receive uranium supplies through direct or secondary proliferation.

Just a few years earlier, in 2007, Rosatom had signed an agreement to help build nuclear facilities in Burma and train Burmese scientists, despite U.S. concerns about the Burmese government.

Why is the FBI stonewalling congressional subpoenas on the Fusion GPS ‘Trump Dossier’?

October 7, 2017

Why is the FBI stonewalling congressional subpoenas on the Fusion GPS ‘Trump Dossier’? American ThinkerThomas Lifson, October 7, 2017

[W]hy not use the power of the executive to require the FBI to comply with congressional subpoenas? In fact, why not start playing hardball, and calculate the cost to date of the Meuller inquiry that has produced no hard evidence? The legal team he has assembled is of a standing where $500 an hour is a fair guess of their cost. Multiply that times at least 8 hours a day, times more than 20 attorneys, and we get a meter ticking at the rate of at least 80 thousand dollars a day, probably substantially more if we count non-attorney staff costs.

And remember that as POTUS, Trump can declassify anything that he wants.

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Could the story behind the “Trump dossier” be the Rosetta Stone of Russian manipulation of our electoral process in 2016? There is a strong and justifiable suspicion that the dossier was the critical bit of evidence that persuaded the FISA Court to reverse itself and permit monitoring of American associates of Donald Trump.  The dossier was originally begun as an opposition research project for Republican rivals of Trump, then funded by Democrats, and allegedly, finally funded by the FBI. We already know that some of the wild accusations in it were demonstrably false.

The House Intelligence Committee long has been looking into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and so far has come up with nothing. As in zero specific evidence. This was admitted by no less than Rep. Jackie Spier, a veteran Democrat member of the House of Representatives,

 

It is obviously worth investigating, then, how that dossier came to be created in the first place, and how it was used by various organs of the United States Government, if there is interest in getting to the truth behind Russia’s attempts to affect our elections. Yet, the FBI is refusing to hand over documents that have been subpoenaed by the House.  Kimberly Strassel explains in the Wall Street Journal

Witness how hard the Federal Bureau of Investigation is fighting to avoid divulging any information about the dossier. More than a month ago the House Intelligence Committee issued subpoenas to the FBI and the Justice Department, asking for dossier-related documents. Lawmakers were told to go swivel.

A little more than a week ago, the committee’s frustrated chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, took the case all the way to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who finally offered to make an FBI official available for a briefing. But the bureau is still withholding all documents. To date, Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Judiciary Committee has not received any paper from the FBI on Russia matters, despite numerous requests, some countersigned by the Democratic ranking member, Dianne Feinstein.

As my friend Mike Nadler, emailed:

It’s hard to believe with a Republican president, House and Senate, that the FBI (with a Director appointed by Trump) is still able to stonewall Congressional investigating committees on information on the dossier.  Why won’t the new FBI Director just order his subordinates to cough up the documents?  Or the Attorney General order him to do it.  No one could claim that ordering release of this would be interfering in any investigation….

Indeed, Strassel avers, “[Senator] Grassley recently announced that Mr. Mueller’s separate inquiry would no longer be considered a legitimate reason for the FBI to withhold information from Congress.”

Ms. Strassel guides our attention toward an intriguing figure:

Increasingly, one name is popping up: Gregory Brower, who leads the FBI’s Office of Congressional Affairs. Mr. Brower is an odd man for the job. These gigs tend to go to more-junior people, since they involve the drudgery of answering calls from grumpy congressional staffers. Yet Mr. Brower is a former U.S. attorney—a job that requires Senate confirmation—and a former Nevada state senator.

Before his latest role, he was the deputy general counsel of the FBI. In that post he was described as a confidant of former FBI Director James Comey. It was Mr. Comey who installed Mr. Brower in the congressional affairs job, just a few days before President Trump fired the director.

Mr. Brower has been shutting down congressional requests and stonewalling ever since. He has even tried appealing directly to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office to squelch committee demands for documents.

And it looks very much as if a tag team cover-up may be underway, with Special Counsel Robert Mueller taking the key role in keeping inquiring eyes away from the FBI’s role in the Trump dossier’s utility on smearing the man who was to become POTUS:

Reuters reported Wednesday that Mr. Mueller “has taken over FBI inquiries into a former British spy’s dossier” against Mr. Trump. How very convenient. The Mueller team has leaked all manner of details from its probe, even as it had avoided the dossier. But just as Congress is ratcheting up pressure on the FBI, anonymous sources say that it’s out of the bureau’s hands.

Some Republicans might be tempted to cheer news that the special counsel is looking into the dossier. They shouldn’t. A Mueller takeover will make it even harder for Congress to conduct an independent investigation—which may well have been the reason for the move. Mr. Mueller has had months to look into the document, and his lack of curiosity so far speaks volumes. As a friend of Mr. Comey and a former FBI director himself, Mr. Mueller cannot be counted on to examine impartially whether the FBI was duped.

Indeed, there may be evidence of Russian collusion, not with President Trump’s campaign, but with those who seek to discredit him:

Sen. Richard Burr, who leads his chamber’s Intelligence Committee, noted on Wednesday that his dossier investigation has “hit a wall.” Mr. Steele has gone underground. Mr. Simpson won’t hand over relevant documents or say who paid him. The FBI is stiff-arming lawmakers. No one wants to talk about a dossier that Paul Roderick Gregory, a Russia expert at the Hoover Institution, found to read like something “compiled by a Russian, whose command of English is far from perfect and who follows the KGB (now FSB) practice of writing intelligence reports.” No one wants to discuss an array of Russian lawyers, lobbyists and Kremlin officials who may have been involved in its creation.

Mike Nadler’s question remains: why not use the power of the executive to require the FBI to comply with congressional subpoenas? In fact, why not start playing hardball, and calculate the cost to date of the Meuller inquiry that has produced no hard evidence? The legal team he has assembled is of a standing where $500 an hour is a fair guess of their cost. Multiply that times at least 8 hours a day, times more than 20 attorneys, and we get a meter ticking at the rate of at least 80 thousand dollars a day, probably substantially more if we count non-attorney staff costs.

And remember that as POTUS, Trump can declassify anything that he wants.

I hope that the reason Congress and the President are allowing themselves to be stonewalled is a matter of strategy and timing, not a matter of being intimidated.

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.

 

Fmr. U.N. Amb. Power Emerges As Central Figure In Obama Unmasking Investigation

July 19, 2017

Fmr. U.N. Amb. Power Emerges As Central Figure In Obama Unmasking Investigation, Washington Free Beacon, July 19, 2017

Samantha Power / Getty Images

Former United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power’s involvement in the unmasking by former Obama administration officials of sensitive national security information is raising red flags over what insiders view was an attempt by the former administration to undermine President Donald Trump and key figures on his team, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the situation.

Power appears to be central to efforts by top Obama administration officials to identify individuals named in classified intelligence community reports related to Trump and his presidential transition team, according to multiple sources.

The names of Trump allies in the raw intelligence reports were leaked to the press in what many in Congress and the current administration claim is an attempt by Obama allies and former officials to damage the White House.

The House Intelligence Committee, which is spearheading the investigation into these efforts, has issued subpoenas for Power and other top Obama administration figures, including former national security adviser Susan Rice, as part of congressional efforts to determine the source of these leaks.

Power’s role in this unmasking effort is believed to be particularly questionable given her position as a the U.N. ambassador, a post that does not typically require such sensitive unmasking activities, according to former U.S. officials and other sources familiar with the matter.

“Unmasking is not a regular occurrence—absolutely not a weekly habit. It is rare, even at the National Security Council, and ought to be rarer still for a U.N. ambassador,” according to one former senior U.S. official who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

“It might be defended when the communication in question relates directly to U.N. business, for example an important Security Council vote,” explained the former official, who would only discuss the matter on background. “Sometimes it might be done out of other motives than national security, such as sheer curiosity or to defend a bureaucratic position. Or just plain politics.”

The Intelligence Committee’s focus of Power and other key Obama officials is a prime example of the Obama administration’s efforts to spy on those close to Trump, according to sources familiar with the ongoing investigation.

“The subpoena for Power suggests just how pervasive the Obama administration’s spying on Americans actually was,” said one veteran GOP political operative who has been briefed on the matter by senior Congressional intelligence officials. “The U.N. ambassador has absolutely no business calling for the quantity and quality of the intelligence that Power seems to have been asking for.”

The source questioned why Power would need to uncover such classified intelligence information in her role at the U.N.

“That’s just not the sort of thing that she should have been concerned about, unless she was playing the role of political operative with the help of the intelligence community,” the source said. “It gives away what was actually going on: the Obama administration was operating in a pervasive culture of impunity and using the intelligence community against their political opponents.”

Rice was scheduled to speak to House Intelligence Committee this week, but the meeting was reportedly postponed. Some sources speculated this could be a delaying tactic by Rice aimed at pushing the testimony back until after Congress’s summer recess.

Leading members of Congress have begun pushing for the Intelligence Committee and other oversight bodies to investigate former Obama administration officials who they believe are responsible for the leaks.

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Oversight Committee and chair of its National Security Subcommittee, told the Free Beacon last week that these leaks appear to have come from former senior officials, potentially including Ben Rhodes, the Obama national security adviser responsible for creating what he described as an in-house “echo chamber” meant to mislead the public and Congress about the landmark Iran nuclear deal.

“I think Congress and some members on the Intelligence Committee can call Ben Rhodes to testify,” DeSantis said. “He may be able to invoke executive privilege from when Obama was president, but he definitely can’t do that in any interactions he’s had since then.”

DeSantis identified Rhodes and other senior Obama administration officials as being “involved with feeding journalists some of these [leaks]. I believe he’s in touch with people on the National Security Council. It would be absolutely legitimate as part of leak investigation to bring him in and put him under oath, and I would absolutely support doing that.”

Senior Trump administration officials also have decried the leaks, which have expanded to operational information and are now impeding U.S. national security operations.

The anonymous sources for these articles “are obviously the same Obama holdovers who constantly leak classified information” to various newspapers, one senior administration official told the Free Beacon earlier this month.