Weekly Update: FBI Cover-Up?
The more we learn about the FBI under James Comey’s supervision the more we have reason to question the activities of the fired FBI Director. Because he has left a trail of suspicious activities in is wake, Comey now stands out as key figure in the Deep State’s illicit attempts to target President Trump.
And it looks like the Deep State is protecting Comey still. We were forced to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for FBI records about former Director Comey’s book, which he signed to write in August 2017 and is set for publication in April 2018 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice, (No. 1:18-cv-00220)).
Our suit also seeks records of communications between Comey and the FBI prior to and regarding Comey’s controversial June 2017 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
We filed on January 31 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the Justice Department failed to respond to our August 14, 2017, FOIA request for:
- All records of communications between the FBI and Comey prior to and regarding Comey’s testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on June 8, 2017.
- All records of communications between the FBI and Comey relating to an upcoming book to be authored by Comey and published.
- All records, including but not limited to forms completed by Comey, relating to the requirement for prepublication review by the FBI of any book to be authored by Comey with the intent to be published or otherwise publicly available.
Comey reportedly received an advance in excess of $2 million for his book, Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, reportedly set for publication on April 17th. Former FBI agents and officials intending to write books concerning their tenure are customarily required to submit the entire transcript for pre-publication review.
A month after President Trump fired Comey on May 9, 2017, Comey provided highly controversial testimony before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about the circumstances that led to his dismissal, the ongoing investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s illicit email server. During that testimony, Comey admitted he leaked information about his conversations with President Donald Trump in order to get a special prosecutor appointed. (In November, we filed a separate FOIA lawsuit against the Justice Department for its records about Comey’s testimony.)
Comey seems to have protected status for any misconduct, and we want to know if he had a special deal for his book from his friends in the FBI. The Deep State is in cover-up mode. The FBI, DOJ, and the Special Counsel are stonewalling our requests for Comey documents.
We have several other lawsuits pending for Comey-related records:
- Two lawsuits (hereand here) seek specifically the “Comey memos” ((Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice(No. 1:17-cv-01189)) and (Daily Caller News Foundation v. U.S. Department Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01830));
- Onelawsuit seeks metadata of the “Comey memos” and related records-management information ((Judicial Watch, Inc., v. U.S. Department of Justice(No. 17-cv-01520));
- And anotherlawsuit seeks non-disclosure agreements pertaining to the handling, storage, protection, dissemination, and/or return of classified information signed by Comey ((Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01624)).
On January 11, U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg the FBI to turn over the “Comey memos” for in camera review by the court. In doing so, the court rejected arguments by the Sessions Justice Department to dismiss the lawsuits seeking the Comey information.
Unfortunately, on February 2, Boasberg ruled that the “Comey memos” would not be made public. Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation almost immediately appealed the ruling. We don’t intend to let up in our pursuit of the truth about the egregious conduct of the FBI’s former director.
Sidney Blumenthal, a long-time hit man for Bill and Hillary Clinton, is back in the news. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., seemed to suggest Tuesday that Blumenthal was connected to the controversial unverified “Trump dossier.”
We’ve tracked this unpleasant man – so nasty he was nicknamed “Sid Vicious” — over the years: How Hillary Clinton relied on him in defiance of President Obama; how the former secretary of state and Blumenthal kept in touch during her tenure; how she originally wanted him to be a high-ranking adviser.
With Blumenthal’s latest appearance in the spotlight, Micah Morrison, our chief investigative reporter, provides some background on Blumenthal and another Clintonista, Cody Shearer, in this Investigative Bulletin report:
The strange case of the Russian dossier got even stranger this week with a new report from the Guardian raising a name from the seamy side of Clinton past. A “second Trump-Russia dossier” has been turned over to the FBI, the Guardian reported. The second dossier was compiled by Cody Shearer, who the Guardian identifies as a “a controversial political activist and former journalist who was close to the Clinton White House in the 1990s.”
That’s putting it mildly. Shearer in fact has long been linked to the sleaziest aspects of the Clinton operation, mainly through his close relationship with Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal. Longtime observers of the Clinton ecosystem know that when Cody appears, Sid Blumenthal is not far behind. A ceaseless schemer, Blumenthal was so offensive to the Obama White House that he was banned from an official role at Mrs. Clinton’s State Department. But that barely slowed him down. As documented by Judicial Watch and others, Blumenthal was a constant presence by Mrs. Clinton’s side during her State Department years.
Blumenthal and Shearer are connected to a global network of intelligence and military freelancers. They played a dangerous game meddling in Libyan affairs after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. They supplied intelligence to Secretary of State Clinton in the weeks leading up to the Benghazi debacle and pitched deals to make money off the Libyan turmoil. ProPublica reports at length on the Blumenthal and Shearer’s Libyan efforts here. According to Judicial Watch’s reporting, during Mrs. Clinton’s State Department tenure, Blumenthal also promoted African business deals and meddled in European Union elections.
As for Shearer, he has a long history of dirty tricks. He’s been linked to Whitewater-era efforts to dirty up Bill Clinton critics; to shakedown politics involving the Cheyenne-Arapaho Indian tribe; and to fronting for Bosnian Serb butcher Radovan Karadzic. Read more about it here and here.
The Guardian reports that the new Shearer document makes some of the same allegations about Mr. Trump as the original Christopher Steele dossier, including “lewd acts at a five-star hotel” in Moscow. It also notes that Steele passed on the Shearer report to the FBI in October 2016, but would not vouch for its accuracy. That’s worth pausing over.
According to the Guardian, Steele provided “a copy [of the Shearer report] because it corresponded with what he had separately heard from his own independent sources.”
If the reporting here is accurate, that’s quite a coincidence—that Cody Shearer and Christopher Steele were hearing the same things from different sources at pretty much the same time. A closer look at timelines and sources might be revealing. If Sid and Cody are behind the original Russian dossier sources, that would be big news indeed.
Incredibly, an Obama State Department official admitted he and State worked with Steele and Blumenthal directly (and also used Cody Shearer) to gather anti-Trump Russia dirt. This no surprise to us given our find that the Obama/Kerry State Department vacuumed up Russia classified info to create yet another “dossier” to share with a friendly Democratic senator in order to undermine President Trump.
Judicial Watch has other FOIAs pending and planned on Obama State shenanigans targeting Mr. Trump. But it looks like the Obama/Clinton Russia scandal is expanding even as the case alleging Trump-Russia collusion continues to collapse.
The Secret Service is taking the term secret too far, yet again.
We had to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for Secret Service travel-expense records related to expenses incurred protecting President Trump and his family while they traveled between June and October 2017 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:18-cv-00161)).
We sued after the Secret Service, a component of the Department of Homeland Security, failed to respond to nine (!) separate FOIA requests for records regarding:
- President Trump’s trip to his Bedminster, NJ, golf club from June 9-11;
- President Trump’s trip to Bedminster from June 23-25;
- President Trump and Melania Trump’s trip to Bedminster from June 30-July 3
- President Trump’s trip to Bedminster from July 14-16;
- President Trump and Melania Trump’s various trips for a vacation to Bedminster and New York from August 4-21;
- President Trump’s trip to Phoenix for a campaign rally on August 22;
- President Trump’s trip to Missouri to appear at a rallyas a kickoff for tax reform at the Loren Cook Company on August 30;
- President Trump’s trip to Huntsville, AL, on September 22to campaign for Sen. Luther Strange. He then spent the weekend at Bedminster, returning to the White House on September 24; and
- President Trump’s trip to Bedminster from September 29 to October 1
The Secret Service records document costs for meals, hotels, air/rail, car rentals and other incidentals incurred by the Service while providing protection of the president and his family when they are on personal or political travel.
Last month, we released Air Force records detailing Air Force One travel costs. The total costs for President Trump’s travels recorded in this document production amounted to $3,199,188.30. Added to the previously released costs, the known political and leisure travel costs for President Trump and his family now amount to $13,533,937.28. (To date, we have uncovered total travel expenses of the Obamas amounting to $114,691,322.17.)
The Secret Service secrecy on presidential travel (for both President Obama and President Trump) is inexcusable. It is ridiculous that we have to continue filing federal lawsuits to prod the Secret Service to produce simple expense information about the costs of presidential travel.
This is not the first time we have been forced to file suit over the Secret Service’s failing to respond to FOIA requests for presidential travel-expense records. While monitoring travel for President Obama and his family, we encountered continuous resistance to FOIA requests. Between July 21, 2014 and November 10, 2015, the Secret Service failed to respond to 19 (!!) separate FOIA requests seeking records of security-related expenses for travel by Barack Obama and other VIPs. On November 10, 2015, we filed a FOIA lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia asking the court to actually enjoin the Secret Service from continuing to withhold responsive documents from us (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:15-cv-01983)).
We filed a related lawsuit on May 6, 2016 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:16-cv-0863)) after the Secret Service failed to respond to five (5) additional travel-related FOIA requests. We appealed the District Court’s dismissal of our claim that the agency has a policy and practice of violating FOIA’s procedural requirements in connection with processing of Judicial Watch’s FOIA requests. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard argument on our policy and practices claim on September 15, 2017. I’m hoping we get a positive result from the appeals court soon.
Until next week…