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Tom Fitton's Weekly Update

JW Exposed FBI-Media Collusion Against Trump

Smoking Gun Emails Show Media-FBI Anti-Trump Collusion and FBI Ethical Morass
California Begins Massive Voter Roll Clean-Up – Notifies Up to 1.5 Million ‘Inactive’ Voters as Part of Judicial Watch Lawsuit Settlement
Key Clinton Aide Questioned by Judicial Watch Attorneys About Email ‘Matter’
The Cross Still Stands


Smoking Gun Emails Show Media-FBI Anti-Trump Collusion and FBI Ethical Morass

This is a first for Judicial Watch: We apparently were the cause of a spat between FBI lovebirds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

This and more serious revelations come in 345 pages of Page-Strzok records obtained through a January 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed after the DOJ failed respond to a December 4, 2017 FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00154)). We sued for all communications between FBI official Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page.

The emails were released in response to a May 21 court order by U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton to the FBI to process 13,000 pages of records.  The records are being released to us intermittently in batches.

In an email thread starting at 6:34 a.m. on May 9, 2017, with the subject line “Comey’s Testimony on Huma Abedin Forwarding Emails Was Inaccurate – ProPublica” nearly a dozen top FBI officials scrambled to draft a letter to Congress about Comey’s May 3 Senate testimony.

This email thread was concerned with a May 8, 2017, ProPublica report stating that, “Comey’s most surprising revelation was that Huma Abedin — [Anthony] Weiner’s wife and a top Clinton deputy — had made ’a regular practice’ of forwarding ‘hundreds and thousands’ of Clinton messages to her husband, ‘some of which contain classified information.’ Comey testified that Abedin had done this so that the disgraced former congressman could print them out for her boss.… FBI officials have privately acknowledged that Comey misstated what Abedin did and what the FBI investigators found.”

After a flurry of emails, by 8:56 a.m. Comey’s chief of staff, Jim Rybicki, sent the group a draft letter for Congress, saying, “Below is a draft that has been reviewed by the Director. Please let me know your thoughts.” At 2:02PM, Asst. Director for Congressional Affairs, Greg Brower, asked his colleagues to review the latest iteration of the draft letter to the Senate.

Just “hours after” the FBI issued a letter muddling his testimony, Trump announced Comey’s firing.

In a March 24, 2017 email from New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt to FBI Assistant Director for Public Affairs Michael Kortan, Schmidt offers the FBI information about Ambassador Kislyak allegedly setting up a meeting between Jared Kushner and a Russian banker. Michael Schmidt asks no questions of Kortan, instead only offering information:

Michael Schmidt emails Kortan: Mike: Wanted to flag you on something. Three of my colleagues are working on a story about the Russia investigation. They’re told that Jared Kushner is among the individuals who the F.B.I. is scrutinizing for their meetings with Russians. My colleagues were told that Ambassador Kislyak, after meeting Kushner and General Flynn in early December at Trump Tower, set up a meeting with Kushner and a Russian banker. Kushner ultimately met with the Russian banker. The banker worked for Alpha Bank. Thanks. Mike

In an April 10, 2017, email exchange between Strzok, Page and other redacted FBI officials with the subject line “NYT Last Shot,” the FBI appears to be given a preview of an upcoming article in The New York Times.

[Redacted] emails Strzok, Page and others: Pete/Lisa, The editing is nearing completion and we have one last shot to hear what the end result is. Do you have time later today or tomorrow that is convenient for a listening session? Likely by phone in Mike’s office.

In an email on April 26, 2017, ProPublica reporter Peter Elkind sent the FBI a “fact check” list of items in preparation for a story he was working on about James Comey and the Clinton email investigation. Elkind describes the list as, “a first small batch of straightforward details for fact-check purposes.” Elkind notes that his information showed that Comey had “ordered up files on about 30 previous cases where government had investigated mishandling of classified information.”

In response to Elkind’s questions, four top FBI officials, including Strzok, Page and Kortan were assembled as a “quorum” to discuss.

In a series of emails on April 27, 2017, an FBI official whose name was redacted states that a Politico reporter forwarded them a Judicial Watch press release discussing how an FBI court filing revealed the existence of a grand jury targeting Clinton. That official then forwarded it to Strzok, Page and other redacted officials in the Counterterrorism Division and Director’s Office.

The assistant general counsel in the National Security Law Branch responded, copying in E.W. Priestap, assistant director for Counterintelligence, but his response is entirely redacted.

In a separate email exchange on April 27, 2017, about the same Judicial Watch press release, Page replies to someone in the Office of General Counsel saying “I didn’t realize that we had said this publicly.” Next Page appears to quarrel with paramour Strzok via email about this issue:

Page emails Strzok: Are you serious, dude? I sent to [redacted]. So I’ve committed some grave sin for not including you on this? My apologies, DAD Strzok, sir.

Strzok emails Page: You know what? Take a step back and look at this… And stop with the DAD Sir bullsh*t. That’s not the point and you know it.

Page emails Strzok: I think you think you should take your own advice. I didn’t look to see who was on the distribution when I sent it. Sorry, that’s on me. But this is distinctly not a big deal. And I definitely didn’t err in not including you on a two-line email to [redacted]. Get a grip.

In a May 1, 2017, email exchange between Strzok and a redacted FBI Counterespionage Division official about a background briefing Strzok gave about charges being brought against a group of  Russians for hacking Yahoo, Strzok says, “What you saw … is that the D (Director Comey), DD (Deputy Director Andrew McCabe), and EAD (Executive Asst. Director Paul Abbate) are all bright men with attention to detail and impressive memories.”

In a March 21, 2017, email from Strzok to Page, Strzok accuses an FBI colleague of “constant sneaky but unprovable underhandedness,” because she called “Charlie” in the FBI Office in NY for information on something rather than waiting on Strzok to respond, saying she didn’t know “if your answer meant you’d be back tonight.”

Strzok emails Page: Of course this was a BS cover for calling Charlie in NY about one of my cases because of something Carl allegedly asked (“I didn’t know if your answer meant you’d be back tonight”) … I tired of the constant sneaky but unprovable underhandedness.

These new Page-Strzok emails show the Obama FBI to be a mess both professionally and ethically. The best example of the ethical morass at the FBI are the emails showing how a report on our disclosure that a grand jury had been used in the Clinton email investigation set off a spat between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.


California Begins Massive Voter Roll Clean-Up – Notifies Up to 1.5 Million ‘Inactive’ Voters as Part of Judicial Watch Lawsuit Settlement

I am happy to report to you that Los Angeles County has sent notices to as many as 1.59 million inactive voters on its voter rolls – a step toward removing the names of voters who have moved, died, or are otherwise ineligible to vote.

The massive mailings are the result of a settlement agreement with us requiring the county to remove as many as 1.5 million inactive registrations. In addition, the California secretary of state has alerted other California counties to clean up their voter registration lists to comply with the federal National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), as the secretary promised to do in that same settlement agreement.

All of this is the result of a federal lawsuit we filed in 2017 to force the cleanup of Los Angeles County’s voter rolls (Judicial Watch, Inc., et al. v. Dean C. Logan, et al. (No. 2:17-cv-08948)). We sued on its own behalf and on behalf of Wolfgang Kupka, Rhue Guyant, Jerry Griffin, and Delores M. Mars, who are lawfully registered voters in Los Angeles County. We were joined in this lawsuit by Election Integrity Project California, Inc., a public interest group that has long been involved in monitoring California’s voter rolls.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, voters who do not respond to the notices sent by the county and who do not vote in the next two federal elections must be removed from the voting rolls. Secretary Padilla also agreed to update the state’s online NVRA manual in order to make clear that ineligible names must be removed and to notify each California county that they are obliged to do this. On April 11, Secretary Padilla notified us that this part of the settlement agreement had been implemented.

The agreement also required the office of the secretary of state to send a written advisory to all county clerks/registrars of voters in California stating that current federal law requires the cancellation of a registrant who has failed to respond to an official notice and who then fails to vote, offers to vote, correct the registrar’s record, “or otherwise have their eligibility to vote confirmed for a period of time including the next two general federal elections.”

The updated California National Voter Registration Act Manual, March 2019, conforms to this standard. In April and May 2019, the California secretary of state provided a training presentation to all 58 counties in California regarding the proper list maintenance procedures under the NVRA.

As we previously noted, Los Angeles County has over 10 million residents, more than the populations of 41 of the 50 United States. California is America’s largest state, with almost 40 million residents. The county had allowed more than 20% of its registered voters to become inactive without removing them from the voter list.

We discovered that California had treated the removal of inactive voters as permissive, not mandatory, and had not cleaned its voter registration rolls in at least 20 years. The Supreme Court affirmed last year in an opinion affirming a historic Judicial Watch settlement with Ohio that the NVRA “makes this removal mandatory.”

This victory for clean elections in California will set another national precedent for other states to take reasonable steps to ensure that dead and other ineligible voters are removed from the rolls.

We are the national leader in enforcing the provisions of the NVRA.  In early January, we announced that we had signed a settlement agreement with the State of California and county of Los Angeles under which they will begin the process of removing from their voter registration rolls as many as 1.5 million inactive registered names that may be invalid. This was only the third statewide settlement achieved by private plaintiffs under the NVRA – and we were the plaintiff in each of those cases. The other statewide settlements were with Ohio (in 2014) and with Kentucky (2018), which agreed to a court-ordered consent decree.


Key Clinton Aide Questioned by Judicial Watch Attorneys About Email ‘Matter’

We just released the deposition transcript of Justin Cooper, a former aide to President Bill Clinton and a Clinton Foundation employee who registered the domain name of the unsecure clintonemail.com server that Hillary Clinton used while serving as Secretary of State.

Cooper admits that he spoke with Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s former chief of staff, one week prior to his deposition and let her know that the deposition had been scheduled. Cooper also said that he worked with Huma Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, to create the private email system, but can’t recall if Clinton had any input in its creation or if he wiped the original server. The entire transcript is available here.

Cooper was recently deposed as part of the discovery granted to Judicial Watch by U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth in response to its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s unsecured, non-government email system (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)).

Cooper testified that he spoke with Mills the week before giving his deposition:

Q When did you last speak with Cheryl Mills?

A Last week.

Late last year Judge Lamberth criticized the DOJ, saying he was “dumbfounded” by the Inspector General report revealing that Mills had been given immunity and was allowed to accompany former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to her FBI interview. The full transcript of that hearing is available here. Judge Lamberth:

I did print out and read that 500-page report when I got it and I was actually dumbfounded when found out, in reading that report, that Cheryl Mills had been given immunity because … I had myself found that Cheryl Mills had committed perjury and lied under oath in a published opinion I had issued in a Judicial Watch case where I found her unworthy of belief, and I was quite shocked to find out she had been given immunity in — by the Justice Department in the Hillary Clinton email case. So I did not know that until I read the IG report and learned that and that she had accompanied the Secretary to her interview.

(In an April 28, 2008, ruling relating to Mills’ conduct as a White House official in responding to concerns about lost White House email records, Judge Lamberth called Mills’ participation in the matter “loathsome.” He further stated Mills was responsible for “the most critical error made in this entire fiasco … Mills’ actions were totally inadequate to address the problem.”)

When Cooper was asked who approached him about creating the clintonemail.com account, Cooper answered: “It would have been a discussion with Huma Abedin.” Cooper also testified that Abedin was his primary contact regarding the choice of the domain name that was registered “I believe” in “January ’09.”

Cooper’s testimony is at odds with our 2016 deposition of Abedin in which she testified that she became aware of the server through “reading in some news articles about a year, a year-and-a-half ago, when it was – it was being publicly discussed.”

Cooper said “I don’t recall” when asked if Clinton herself had any input in the creation of the domain name.

Cooper also testified that there were two servers: an original “Apple server” and then a Windows server, which was “the Pagliano server,” named after Clinton’s top State Department IT specialist Bryan Pagliano. Cooper said he couldn’t recall whether the Apple server was wiped once her emails were transferred over to the Pagliano server in early 2009.

When Cooper was asked to testify how many e-mails accounts he created or set up for Clinton he answered, “To the best of my recollection two or three.” Cooper also said that he and Pagliano set up email accounts for Abedin and Chelsea Clinton.

Pagliano was a Clinton State Department IT official who repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right to not answer questions in our 2016 deposition.

When Cooper was asked if Clinton or anyone associated with them is paying his legal bills for this deposition or any other matters related to Secretary Clinton’s use of email, he answered: “In relation to [today’s legal expenses] it’s unclear to me if I’ll be reimbursed for these – for legal fees from the Clintons. My previous legal fees about a year after the conclusion of the congressional testimony through my lawyers was negotiated for settlement for the Clintons to make payment.”

He identified controversial Clinton Foundation official and advisor to President Clinton Doug Band as the individual in a redacted FBI 302 report who had conversations with Cooper and Abedin about the Apple server and who thought adding Hillary Clinton to the server was a “bad idea.”

Q Let me direct your attention to the fourth paragraph about four lines up. This is a redacted version, so we don’t know who the interviewee is or some of the names. But I want to direct your attention to the line that starts off with the redaction and says, blank recall the conversation with Huma Abedin and Cooper regarding the addition of Hillary Clinton to the Apple server; do you see that?

A I do.

Q Do you know who that individual would be …

A I suspect it’s Doug Band.

Q The next line says, blank thought it was a bad idea, but the issue had been decided by that point in time; do you see that?

A Yes.

We were granted depositions and written questions under oath of former Clinton aides, State Department officials, and others:

  • Justin Cooper, a former aide to Bill Clinton who reportedly had no security clearance and is believed to have played a key role in setting up Hillary Clinton’s non-government email system;
  • John Hackett, a State Department records official “immediately responsible for responding to requests for recordsunder the Freedom of Information Act;”
  • Jacob “Jake” Sullivan, Hillary Clinton’s former senior advisor and deputy chief of staff;
  • Sheryl Walter, former State Department Director of the Office of Information Programs and Services/Global Information Services;
  • Gene Smilansky, a State Department lawyer;
  • Monica Tillery, a State Department official;
  • Jonathon Wasser, who was a management analyst on the Executive Secretariat staff. Wasser worked for Deputy Director Clarence Finney and was the State Department employee who actually conducted the searches for records in response to FOIA requests to the Office of the Secretary
  • Clarence Finney, the deputy director of the Executive Secretariat staff who was the principal advisor and records management expert in the Office of the Secretary responsible for control of all correspondence and records for Hillary Clinton and other State Department officials;
  • Heather Samuelson, the former State Department senior advisor who helped facilitate the State Department’s receipt and release of Hillary Clinton’s emails;
  • Monica Hanley, Hillary Clinton’s former confidential assistant at the State Department;
  • Lauren Jiloty, Clinton’s former special assistant;
  • W. Priestap, is serving as assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division and helped oversee boththe Clinton email and the 2016 presidential campaign investigations. Priestap testified in a separate lawsuit that Clinton was the subject of a grand jury investigation related to her BlackBerry email accounts;
  • Susan Rice, President Obama’s former UN ambassador who appeared on Sunday television news shows following the Benghazi attacks, blaming a “hateful video.” Rice was also Obama’s national security advisor involved in the “unmasking” the identities of senior Trump officials caught up in the surveillance of foreign targets;
  • Ben Rhodes, an Obama-era White House deputy strategic communications adviser who attempted to orchestrate a campaign to “reinforce” Obama and to portray the Benghazi consulate terrorist attack as being “rooted in an Internet video, and not a failure of policy;”
  • Heather Samuelson, the former State Department senior advisor who helped facilitate the State Department’s receipt and release of Hillary Clinton’s emails; and one other person to be designated by the State Department.

Questions surrounding a wiped server, a Clinton lawyer being informed of a scheduled deposition, and contradictory testimony – all this we have uncovered recently in our court-ordered discovery on the Clinton email scandal. There’s a stench hovering over it all.


The Cross Still Stands

In December 2018 we filed an amicus curiae brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a decision by an appeals court that a 40-foot, cross-shaped war memorial that has stood on public land in Maryland for nearly a century is unconstitutional because it “excessively entangles” the government with religion.

The week the High Court ruled that the Bladensburg, Maryland, Peace Cross shall be allowed stand, and we applaud this ruling. This ruling recognizes that the World War I memorial cross is not in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution.

The cross has been used throughout American history to honor our nation’s war dead. The cross has become synonymous with veteran sacrifice. It was dedicated to the memory of local heroes.

Military sacrifice made possible the guarantee of our constitutional rights. It is the duty of the courts to honor the Constitution as written by the Framers. The Supreme Court’s decision not only honors those who made the ultimate sacrifice, it is a victory for religious freedom.

 

Until next week …