OCTOBER 13, 2017
Who is running the store at the FBI!?
First the FBI told us it had no documents related to the infamous tarmac meeting between former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton.
But now the FBI just told us that the FBI located 30 pages of documents related to the June 27, 2016, meeting, and it proposes that it produce non-exempt material no later than November 30, 2017.
This is in response to our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:16-cv-02046)) filed after the Justice Department failed to comply with a July 7, 2016, FOIA request seeking the following:
- All FD-302 forms prepared pursuant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server during her tenure.
- All records of communications between any agent, employee, or representative of the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding, concerning, or related to the aforementioned investigation. This request includes, but is not limited to, any related communications with any official, employee, or representative of the Department of Justice, the Executive Office of the President, the Democratic National Committee, and/or the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.
- All records related to the meeting between Attorney General Lynch and former President Bill Clinton on June 27, 2016.
The FBI originally informed us that it didn’t locate any records related to the tarmac meeting. However, in a related case, the Justice Department located emails in which Justice Department officials wrote that they had communicated with the FBI. As a result, by letter dated August 10, 2017, the FBI told us: “Upon further review, we subsequently determined potentially responsive documents may exist. As a result, your [FOIA] request has been reopened …”
(Surprisingly, the Trump Justice Department refuses to disclose the talking points developed by the Obama Justice Department to help it respond to press inquiries about the controversial June 27, 2016, tarmac meeting between Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.)
On June 27, 2016, Attorney General Loretta Lynch met privately with former President Bill Clinton on board a parked private plane at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. The meeting occurred during the then-ongoing investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s email server, and mere hours before the Benghazi report was released publicly involving both Mrs. Clinton and the Obama administration. We filed a request on June 30 that the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General investigate that meeting.
The FBI is out of control. It is stunning that the FBI “found” these Clinton-Lynch tarmac records only after we caught the agency hiding them in another lawsuit. We will continue to press for answers about the FBI’s document games in court. In the meantime, the FBI should stop the stonewall and release these new records immediately.
This case has also forced the FBI to release to the public the FBI’s Clinton investigative file, although more than half of the records remain withheld. The FBI has also told us that it anticipates completing the processing of these materials by July 2018.
There is significant controversy about whether the FBI and Obama Justice Department investigation gave Clinton and other witnesses and potential targets preferential treatment.
The Obama administration extended numerous immunity agreements, including: Clinton’s former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills; John Bentel, former director of the State Department’s Office of Information Resources Management; Heather Samuelson, Clinton’s executive assistant; Brian Pagliano, an IT employee at the State Department who serviced the Clinton non-government server; and an employee at Platt River Networks, the company that maintained it. It is not clear whether Hillary Clinton received some type of immunity.
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. Judicial Watch has several lawsuits about this McCabe/FBI/Clinton scandal.
We’ll be sure to report back to you when we get the new documents.
This week on your behalf I participated in a special, highly revealing discussion among members of the U.S. House of Representatives and experts regarding the Wasserman Schultz/Awan Brothers IT scandal.
As you may already know, a Democratic IT staffer named Imran Awan was arrested in July on charges of bank fraud. He was employed with Debbie Wasserman Shultz and other members Congress. Wasserman Schultz is a Democratic congresswoman from Florida and former chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Imran Awan is also a suspect in a cybersecurity investigation, having been banned from congressional networks in February. In addition, his relatives, also government IT employees, are currently being investigated for alleged involvement in defrauding the federal government as well as compromising sensitive information from congressional servers.
The event featured: Congressmen Louie Gohmert of Texas, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Steve King of Iowa, and Ron Desantis of Florida. Joining me was Luke Rosiak, a reporter with The Daily Caller News Foundation, who’s done incredible reporting on this scandal. (You can see his dozens of stories here.)
I told the congressmen that there are several issues: national security, management of the House, and the privacy of their constituents. Here are some of my remarks:
I’m not aware of any official hearing by the House into this burgeoning scandal. This needs to be front and center for the House. The Republican majority is in charge of making sure the rules are being followed, and it doesn’t seem to me they’re doing the work necessary to reassure the American people.
National security is obviously something that is front and center here, but my concern is that the Justice Department is afraid to raise the issue when it comes to crimes with a political component. I fear the Justice Department is going to fear to tread here. We’ve already seen pushback from Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
What happened led to breaches of secure information all over the place. We’ve had evidence that they were in contact with some Pakistani officials. There were aliases used. Also data being moved in large quantities suggests something wrong. But evidently to even raise that question is controversial.
Hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars have gone missing in the form of equipment. Moreover, when citizens communicate with their House members they often reveal the most private information. As sensitive as anything the IRS has or anything your healthcare provider has. People provide Social Security information. And that material could be on their member’s servers. All of that could have been breached here.
This house has not policed itself, and it has left itself susceptible to being defrauded by crooks.
Who’s watching the store?
Judicial Watch commends the House members, especially Rep. Louie Gohemert, who participated in this educational event. It is remarkable that they had to do an unofficial hearing on this key corruption issue. And I’m proud to say that Judicial Watch played a key role in recording and disseminating the video of the hearing across the media, where it took off like wildfire.
It doesn’t appear that the Congress or the federal agencies or the press want to handle this hot potato.
The jurisdictions proclaiming sanctuary for illegal aliens are doing their citizens and other innocents real harm.
Newly released documents (45 pages and 680 pages) from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reveal that hundreds of counties across the U.S. denied Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) detainer requests for criminal illegal aliens in the first quarter of fiscal year 2017.
The retainer requests, containing specific information about scores of criminal charges against released aliens, were not included in the Declined Detainer Outcome Reports (DDOR) the Trump administration suspended in early April after only three weeks of publication.
We forced the release of the documents as a result of a court order in our May 26, 2017, FOIA lawsuit filed after DHS failed to respond to an April 13, 2017, FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:17-cv-01008)). We were seeking:
- All complaints received by ICE concerning the [Declined Detainer Outcome Report]
- All records concerning the suspension of the weekly publication of the [Declined Detainer Outcome Report]
- All records identifying the reporting methodologies used to create the [Declined Detainer Outcome Report]
We released several spreadsheets compiling statistics on the nature of criminal activities illegal aliens had committed during the first four months of 2017; a nationwide list of jails that failed to cooperate with the ICE detainer program; and the top 50 jurisdictions that failed to cooperative with the ICE detainer program.
Leading the pack of counties denying detainers were Ventura County, CA (188); Miami-Dade, FL (93); Denver, CO (74); Clark, NV (68); and Los Angeles, CA (57). A total of 284 detainers were declined during the first three months of fiscal year 2017, involving: various forms of assault (16); drug-and-alcohol-related charges (39); weapons charges, and crimes against persons and property (18).
The Declined Detainer Outcome Reports highlighted state and local governments that did not comply with ICE’s detainer program (also known as sanctuary cities). According to one new ICE email, the “declined detainer” reports was meant to be easily understood:
So an American citizen sitting at home can open the report, see the total number of detainers issued in a week, detainers issued to jurisdictions that don’t cooperate, the confirmed declined detainer list, and the list of all jurisdictions that don’t honor detainers. A snapshot, in essence.
In an April 6, 2017, email from Acting Director of DHS, Thomas Homan, to DHS staff in response to complaints about errors in the DDOR from U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) office, Homan said:
Certainly but NYC is extremely uncooperative. We will provide the information and work with OPLA and OGC staff to engage. They removed our officers from Rikers Island and will not honor detainers. I met with them personally last year in an effort to gain more cooperation. We will review asap.
In at least one instance, local law enforcement actions went beyond a simple lack of cooperation with ICE to turn over detained illegal aliens to outright obstruction of ICE’s efforts to pick up illegal immigrants in local custody. For example, according to a March 21, 2017, ICE email: “Hennepin County Adult Detention Center released an alien out the front door of the jail as an ICE officer was waiting in their sally port to take him into custody.”
These new documents confirm that sanctuary policies are dangerous and help the worst of worst criminal element. The complaints of sanctuary politicians aside, the Trump administration must catalogue the continued threat to the public safety caused by lawless sanctuary policies.
In April, Judicial Watch obtained 204 illegal alien Detainer Requests denied to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by the Travis County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office. The illegal aliens protected by the Sheriff’s Office were charged or convicted of 31 acts of violence, 14 thefts or burglaries, and three acts or threats of terrorism. Forty-four of the denied requests were for inmates originally detained by Homeland Security and temporarily transferred to Travis County (home to the state capital in Austin) for disposition of state or local charges.
According to CNN, the Trump administration suspended publication of the Declined Detainer Outcome Reports on April 11, 2017, after only three weeks and three total reports due to “complaints.” The Hill further reported that according to ICE spokeswoman Sarah Rodriguez, the Declined Detainer Outcome Reports were halted in order to “analyze and refine [the organization’s] reporting methodologies.”
The Declined Detainer Outcome Reports highlighted state and local governments, often referred to as sanctuary cities, that did not comply with ICE’s detainer program:
ICE places detainers on aliens who have been arrested on local criminal charges and for whom ICE possesses probable cause to believe that they are removable from the United States, so that ICE can take custody of the alien when he or she is released from local custody. When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission.
In June, President Trump conducted a roundtable discussion with families of victims of crimes committed by illegal aliens. Let’s hope he never has to do that again.
Until next week…