Weekly Update: Release the FISA Docs – JW Sues
Judicial Watch Sues for Russia Collusion FISA Documents
ANOTHER Dossier: Obama State Department Gave Classified Docs to Democratic Sen. Cardin to Undermine Trump
Andrew McCabe, FBI #2 Official, Forced Out
The House memo released today makes a compelling case that the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court was misled and severely abused by top officials in the Justice Department and FBI. Rather than relying upon dueling summary memos from Republicans and Democrats, the American people should be able to see for themselves the details of how the Obama administration officials (and Rod Rosenstein of the Trump administration) justified spying on the Trump team.
To that end we have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department for FBI documents regarding the FISA warrant application submitted to – and responses from – the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court related to alleged collusion between Russia and Trump campaign associates (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00245)).
We filed suit in the United States District Court of the District of Columbia after the agency rejected a July 19, 2017, FOIA request seeking:
Copies of all proposed and all final signed FISA applications submitted to the FISC relating to Russian interference in the 2016 election, allegations of collusion between people associated with the Trump campaign and Russia, and any known Trump associates regardless of context;
Copies of all FISC responses to the above-mentioned applications in which the Court notified the FBI or Justice Department that it would not grant the proposed applications or recommended changes. If any such FISC responses were provided orally, rather than in writing, please provide copies of FBI or Justice Department records memorializing or otherwise referencing the relevant FISC responses;
Copies of all FISC orders relating to the above mentioned applications, whether denying the applications and certifications, denying the orders, modifying the orders, granting the orders, or other types of orders.
Let’s be clear about what is at stake here. The memo shows that Comey, McCabe, Yates, and Rosenstein misled the FISA court. Will Rosenstein be fired? Will he have to recuse himself, in the least?
Moreover, and more significantly, the Steele dossier was a “salacious and unverified” document paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. Yet, it was used by top Justice Department officials to obtain a FISA warrant. In fact, there could have been no FISA warrant without the dossier. Which means there was no Russia collusion story without the dossier. Which means there could have been no Mueller special counsel without the Clinton-financed anti-Russia dossier.
From what we know publicly, this may be the worst government abuse scandal in a generation – which makes it urgent the Justice Department stop stonewalling the release of the FISA documents.
ANOTHER Dossier: Obama State Department Gave Classified Docs to Democratic Sen. Cardin to Undermine Trump
A year ago, as Donald Trump was preparing to assume the office of President, the various Obama agencies were working to illicitly undermine the new administration with the Russia collusion story. One agency, the corrupt Obama State Department, vacuumed up classified information on Russia and sent it over to a friendly Democrat in the Senate just days before the inauguration!
We found this new dossier thanks to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit we filed in federal court. The State Department turned over to us 42 pages of heavily redacted documents containing classified information that was provided to Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and outspoken critic of President Donald Trump. The documents show Russian political interference in elections and politics in countries across Europe.
This new dossier was part of a plan. According to a March 2017 report in the Baltimore Sun: “Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin received classified information about Russia’s involvement in elections when the Obama administration was attempting to disseminate that material widely across the government in order to aid in future investigations, according to a report Wednesday … Obama officials were concerned, according to the report [in The New York Times, below], that the Trump administration would cover up intelligence once power changed hands.”
In March 2017, former Obama Deputy Asst. Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas admitted that there was surveillance of President’s Trump’s campaign and leaking of intelligence information. She encouraged people in the administration and on the Hill to “get as much intelligence as you can before President Obama leaves [office] … I became very worried because not enough was coming out into the open and I knew that there was more … That’s why you have the leaking.”
In a section of the documents provided to Cardin titled “Political Parties” and marked as sensitive, Russia is said to have sought to foster relationships with groups in Germany, Austria, and France, to include paying members to travel to conferences in Crimea and Donbas “where they stoutly defend Russian policy.”
The following section, titled “Pro-Kremlin NGOs and Think Tanks,” also marked as sensitive, discusses the Russian government funded Caucasus Research Network, which helped to spread anti-EU and NATO reports throughout the region. Also discussed is the Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative, which was founded by Natalia Veselnitskaya. The Initiative was reportedly “working to erode support for the Magnitsky Act (which imposes sanctions on … gross human rights violations). The organization screened an anti-Magnitsky film at Washington’s Newseum in June.”
The Magnitsky Act attracted public attention earlier this year when it was reported that Veselnitskaya obtained a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. with the purpose of seeking to undermine the act. It was reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to repeal the act – at least in part because it targeted top Russian officials who had committed human rights violations and were the beneficiaries of a $230 million tax fraud that Magnitsky exposed.
These documents show the Obama State Department under John Kerry gathered and sent its own dossier of classified information on Russia to Senator Ben Cardin, a political ally in the U.S. Senate, to undermine President Trump. Though this is a big find, our investigation is not over. We will pursue information on who pulled this classified information, who authorized its release, and why was it evidently dumped just days before President Trump’s inauguration.
We obtained the documents in response to our May 9, 2017, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch vs U.S. Department of State (No. 1:17-cv-00852)). We sued after the State Department failed to respond to our March 2, 2017, FOIA request seeking:
All records provided by any official, employee, or representative of the Department of State to Senator Ben Cardin, any member of his staff, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and/or any Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff member regarding, concerning, or related to efforts by the Russian Government to affect, manipulate, or influence any election in the United States or any foreign country from November 8, 2016 to present.
Even The New York Times reported on the conspiracy last year:
There also was an effort to pass reports and other sensitive material to Congress. In one instance, the State Department sent a cache of documents marked “secret” to Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland days before the Jan. 20 inauguration. The documents, detailing Russian efforts to intervene in elections worldwide, were sent in response to a request from Mr. Cardin, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, and were shared with Republicans on the panel.
The documents don’t seem to mention any activity by Russia in the U.S. 2016 election, but they are heavily redacted. They do, however, disclose information about Russian influence operations in Europe.
According to the documents, Russia’s actions in the nation of Montenegro were intended to disrupt the October 2016 nationwide elections:
On election day, countless citizens, including Embassy staff, received spam text messages from several countries, including Great Britain and China. The text messages alleged that the DPS [Democratic Party of Socialists, the ruling party in Montenegro] was conducting fraudulent activities on the polling day, such as paying for votes. … At the same time, many portals experienced massive cyber denial of service attacks, including CdM.me, a main news portal, CDT, a key CSO monitoring the elections, and the DPS website itself … Hacker made multiple attempts to enter the administrative part of CdM’s website, disabling infrastructure, and bringing down servers …
The documents also reveal that Russia aggressively used the media to influence public opinion in the Czech Republic:
We have seen a significant increase in the number of on-line media servers that tout an alternative take on local and international developments than the mainstream media. In the Czech Republic these online media servers are almost exclusively run by Czechs who can often be described as pro-Russian. And while many informed Czech observers believe the influence of Russian disinformation is overstated, they also contend that Russia actively seeks exacerbate fissures within Czech society tapping into dissatisfaction within some segments of Czech society over the socioeconomic return of the EU experiment.
The documents note that some countries resist Russian interference.
Estonia has adopted a “zero tolerance” approach to illegal activities by Russian intelligence operatives.… Every year Kapo, the Estonian domestic intelligence service, puts out a public review of major cases, publicly naming organizations and individuals that are suspected of working with the Russians.
We can add the State Department to the list of agencies that, under Obama’s leadership, tried to undermine a duly elected president of the United States. The implications are frightening.
This week Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was finally removed from his position.
We uncovered documents months ago that should have triggered his removal then. Nevertheless, the disturbing disclosures about McCabe’s conduct from Judicial Watch litigation obviously spurred irresistible public pressure for McCabe’s removal.
I’m concerned that McCabe was allowed to remain in the FBI as long as he did. Did Director Wray force McCabe out only because of the pending disclosures in the House dossier memo? (The Memo discloses, in fact, that McCabe signed off on misleading information to get warrants to spy on Carter Page, a campaign adviser on the Trump team.) The FBI is not above the law, and the American people expect full accountability.
We recently uncovered that McCabe, despite massive contributions from Clinton ally Terence McAuliffe to McCabe’s wife’s 2015 political campaign, did not recuse himself from the Clinton email investigation until just a week before the 2016 presidential election. We also forced out documents that show that McCabe used FBI resources for his wife’s campaign.
Separately last week, the FBI failed to turn over any McCabe text messages in a final response to a September 2017 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit we filed on behalf of Jeffrey A. Danik, a 30-year veteran, retired FBI supervisory special agent, against the Department of Justice for records related to McCabe (Jeffrey A. Danik v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01792)). The lawsuit seeks:
Text messages and emails of McCabe containing: Dr. Jill McCabe, Jill, Common Good VA, Terry McAuliffe, Clinton, Virginia Democratic Party, Democrat, Conflict, Senate, Virginia Senate, Until I return, Paris, France, Campaign, Run, Political, Wife, Donation, OGC, Email, or New York Times.
Earlier this month we sued for the text messages of FBI official Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page. The text messages are of public interest because Strzok and Page were key investigators in the Clinton email and Trump Russia collusion investigations. Strzok was reportedly removed from the Mueller investigative team in August and reassigned to a human resources position after it was discovered that he and Page, who worked for McCabe, exchanged pro-Clinton and anti-Trump text messages.
We still want the McCabe text messages and we want a full investigation of the numerous anti-Trump and other outrageous FBI abuses under Obama and McCabe’s mentor, James Comey.
Until next week …