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Tom Fitton's Weekly Update

Obama State Department’s Meeting on ‘Russia Matter’ in 2016


Obama State Department Officials Set Meeting on ‘Russian Matter’ in 2016
Kentucky to Remove Inactive Voters Names in Agreement with Judicial Watch
No Surprise: Illegal Aliens Released from Custody Commit More Crimes


Obama State Department Officials Set Meeting on ‘Russian Matter’ in 2016

The Obama State Department was central to the effort to target President Trump with the Russia smear. We have obtained new emails showing that senior Obama State Department officials advanced the Russiagate hoax just before the 2016 presidential election.

With The Daily Caller News Foundation we have released 84 pages of documents, including a September 2016 email exchange between then-Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Special Coordinator for Libya Jonathan Winer, a close associate of dossier author Christopher Steele, discussing a “face-to-face” meeting on a “Russian matter.”

(In June 2016 Nuland permitted a meeting between Steele and the FBI’s legal attaché in Rome. Nuland told CBS News that the State Department knew about the Steele dossier by July 2016.)

According to an op-ed Winer wrote for The Washington Post in 2018, also in September 2016, “Steele and I met in Washington and discussed the information now known as the “dossier … I prepared a two-page summary and shared it with Nuland, who indicated that, like me, she felt that the secretary of state needed to be made aware of this material.”

The documents we obtained also show that State Department officials continued to use unsecure BlackBerry devices for the transmission of classified material more than a year after Hillary Clinton’s use of an unsecure, non-government email system was revealed.

We obtained the documents in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed on April 25, 2018, on behalf of the Daily Caller News Foundation against the State Department after it failed to respond to three separate FOIA requests (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:18-cv- 00968)). The lawsuit seeks:

  • All records of communications between State Department officials, including former Secretary of State John Kerry, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, on the one hand, and British National Christopher Steele and/or employees or contractors of Steele’s company, Orbis Business Intelligence, on the other hand.
  • All records and/or memoranda provided by Christopher Steele and/or his firm Orbis Business Intelligence or by others acting on Steele’s/Orbis’s behalf, to State Department officials.
  • Any and all records in the custody of the State Department related to the provision of documents to British national Christopher Steele and/or his firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, or the receipt of documents from Steele or his firm. Time period is January 20, 2009 through the present.
  • All records created in 2016 by Jonathan M. Winer relating to research compiled by Christopher Steele.

A September 17, 2016, email exchange between Nuland and Winer – which was classified in the interest of national defense or foreign policy – discusses the political situation in Libya, but also brings up a “Russian matter:”

From: Winer, Jonathan
Sent: September 17, 2016 at 12:40:00 PM EDT
To: Nuland, Victoria J
Subject: Re: Libya Update

Would like to discuss this and a Russian matter.

From: Nuland, Victoria J
Sent: Saturday, September 17, 2016 1:31 PM
To: Winer, Jonathan
Subject: Re. Libya Update

In ny face to face?

From: Winer, Jonathan
Sent: September 17, 2016 at 1:56:05 PM EDT
To: Nuland, Victoria J
Subject: Re: Libya Update

Yes that was [sic] be good.

From: Nuland, Victoria J
Sent: Saturday, September 17, 2016 1:58 PM
To: Winer, Jonathan
Subject: Re. Libya Update

Good. I’ll reach out when im there Sunday. [Redacted]

Other emails show senior State Department personnel using unsecure BlackBerrys to transmit classified information even after the Clinton email scandal became public.

Here is some background on these characters.

We recently released 16 pages of documents revealing that Nuland and Winer coordinated with then-House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s (D-MD) national security advisor Daniel Silverberg to work on Russia dossier materials provided by Christopher Steele.

In December 2018, we released documents revealing that Nuland was involved in the Obama State Department’s urgent gathering of classified Russia investigation information and disseminating it to members of Congress within hours of Donald Trump taking office.

In a related lawsuit, we are suing the State Department communications between Ambassador Nuland and employees of Fusion GPS, as well as top ranking Department of Justice, FBI, and State Department officials.

We recently released 41 pages of documents from the State Department revealing that Winer, played a key role in facilitating Steele’s access to other top government officials, prominent international business executives. Winer was even approached by a movie producer about making a movie about the Russiagate targeting of President Trump.

Winer was implicated in working with Steele and Clinton associate Sidney Blumenthal to circulate the anti-Trump dossier.

I talked about the dossier-linked State Department officials with Hannity last night. See the interview here.


Kentucky to Remove Inactive Voters Names in Agreement with Judicial Watch

I am pleased to tell you of another success in our campaign to clean up voter rolls around the country. Kentucky recently mailed address confirmation notices to 250,000 voters who are believed to have moved, thanks to a consent judgment agreed to by the Commonwealth. These registrations are probably outdated and will be cancelled if the voters fail to vote in future elections or to confirm their current addresses.

Our victory in Kentucky is in addition to California, where up to 1.6 million inactive names are set to be removed from voter registration rolls in Los Angeles County.

We previously filed a successful NVRA lawsuit against Indiana, causing it to voluntarily clean up its voting rolls, and we have an ongoing lawsuit with the State of Maryland.

In the consent judgment, Kentucky acknowledges that the state is not in compliance with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA): “[T]he practices currently in place in Kentucky do not comply with the NVRA’s requirement that states conduct a general voter registration list maintenance program that makes a reasonable effort to remove ineligible persons from the voter rolls due to a change in residence outside of the jurisdiction …”

The address confirmation notices were sent to about 7% of the names currently on Kentucky’s voter rolls.

As part of the consent judgment, the Kentucky State Board of Elections is to proceed with a canvass mailing “to identify registrants through mail returned as undeliverable who may have unreported moves since 2009.” Voters who do not respond to the notices sent by Kentucky and who do not vote in the next two federal elections must be removed from the voting rolls. Despite the consent judgment being signed a year ago, Democrat Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes’s office has been accused of improperly delaying the processing of previous mailings through 2018, delaying the final clean up of Kentucky’s voting rolls by at least two years.

The consent judgment results from our lawsuit under the NVRA (Judicial Watch, Inc. and the United States of America v. Alison Lundergan Grimes, et al. (No. 3:17-cv-00094)). In June 2018, with our agreement, the Justice Department moved to intervene in the lawsuit against Kentucky. During the course of the litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Husted that the removal of old voter registrations is mandatory under the NVRA, something the Kentucky State Board of Elections had failed to do.

Our lawsuit against Kentucky alleged that 48 counties had more registered voters than citizens over the age of 18. The suit noted that Kentucky was one of only three states in which the statewide active registration rate is greater than 100 percent of the age-eligible citizen population.

Because of our work, Kentucky is taking action to ensure cleaner elections in the Bluegrass State. Dirty voting rolls can mean dirty elections, so it is essential that dead and long-gone voters be removed from voter registration lists.

We are the national leader in enforcing the provisions of the NVRA. In June, we announced that Los Angeles County had sent notices to 1.6 million inactive voters on its voter rolls pursuant to a settlement agreement. Prior to the California settlement agreement, we estimated that national census data and voter-roll information showed that there were 3.5 million more names on various county voter rolls nationwide than there were citizens of voting age. This settlement could cut this number in half.

In addition, the California secretary of state has alerted other California counties to clean up their voter registration lists to comply with the NVRA. Our lawsuit to force the cleanup of California’s voter rolls, which resulted in the settlement agreement (Judicial Watch, Inc., et al. v. Dean C. Logan, et al. (No. 2:17-cv-08948)), uncovered the fact that neither the State of California nor Los Angeles County had been properly removing inactive voters from the voter-registration rolls for the past 20 years.

The California agreement is 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.

We can’t rest, and we won’t.


No Surprise: Illegal Aliens Released from Custody Commit More Crimes

It is rather astonishing that public officials we elect to ensure our safety instead throw roadblocks in the way of law enforcement officers. Our Corruption Chronicles blog describes one small victory in efforts to have federal and local police work together.

Following a Judicial Watch lawsuit, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has reinstated a reporting system that informs the public about illegal immigrants who commit crimes after being released from state or local custody. The offenders are shielded by sanctuary policies that ban local law enforcement from honoring Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers placed on illegal aliens who have been arrested on local criminal charges. If the detainer is honored, ICE takes custody and deports the criminal rather than release him or her back into the community. When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders, it undermines the federal government’s duty to protect public safety.

To pressure municipalities that protect illegal aliens, the Trump administration published weekly Declined Detainer Outcome Reports highlighting state and local governments that did not comply with ICE’s detainer program. The troublesome logs included details of illegal aliens who committed all sorts of atrocious crimes after local authorities let them go and identified the law enforcement agency that released them. Published on ICE’s website, the reports ignited outrage among open borders groups and their mainstream media allies, who complained that the information was controversial and discriminatory. One mainstream media outlet actually reported that “immigration advocates also criticized the list for singling out the criminals among undocumented immigrants without acknowledging the contributions of the broader population to their communities.”

DHS caved into the pressure and temporarily suspended the informative weekly Declined Detainer Outcome Reports. Judicial Watch immediately launched an investigation, requesting records from the agency under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and subsequently suing for the information. Sanctuary cities violate federal law and put the public at risk. In the last decade Judicial Watch has also gone to court to fight sanctuary policies nationwide, including in Arizona, California, Illinois, the District of Columbia and Texas, to name a few. In California alone, Judicial Watch has sued several municipalities for protecting illegal immigrant criminals. Among them are San Francisco, Los Angeles and Pasadena, though practically the entire state shields illegal immigrants from the feds, including serious criminals.

In fact, the reinstatement of the Declined Detainer Report includes a small sample from just the Golden State. ICE recently announced the report’s comeback and revealed it will be issued on a quarterly basis. “In order to increase transparency surrounding the immigration enforcement process, ICE will produce the Declined Detainer Report on a quarterly basis, beginning in the second quarter of Fiscal Year (FY) 2018,” the agency announced recently. “The report will highlight cases where ICE issued a detainer, the detainer was declined, and the alien subsequently committed a crime after being released from state or local custody. Because ICE is often not alerted by uncooperative jurisdictions when a detainer has been declined, and because ICE may only learn of the detainer having been declined after an alien is arrested for a subsequent offense, the cases contained in this report are examples of a broader public safety issue and are not exhaustive.”

The comeback report offers alarming details involving 16 illegal immigrants who committed crimes after being released by various California law enforcement agencies during a three-month period. Some were arrested and released multiple times by the same local law enforcement agency after committing felonies. In all of the cases, ICE issued detainers but local police ignored the federal agency to protect the illegal alien from deportation, instead freeing the perpetrator back into the community. Offenders include Mexican, Honduran and Salvadoran nationals charged with murder, rape, assault with a deadly weapon, spousal abuse, driving under the influence of alcohol, possession of illegal drugs and other serious crimes. One 23-year-old Honduran man was booked and released in San Francisco ten times in less than a year for crimes ranging from burglary, vehicle theft and driving without a license. In each of the arrests, ICE issued a detainer but the San Francisco Police Department disregarded it and let the man go.

Chris Crane, a veteran ICE agent who serves as president of the union that represents some 7,600 officers, reminds that this is only a tiny snippet of a national public safety crisis, because the agency doesn’t have the manpower to track everyone released. “If I was working in a sanctuary city, my released criminal aliens that would reoffend would be more than five a year,” Crane said.

The political and ideological imperatives of the Left have created this state of affairs.

Until next week …