The looming November presidential election will not delay a report from U.S. Attorney John Durham, Attorney General William Barr told lawmakers in Washington this week.
“I will be very careful. I know what Justice Department policy is,” Barr said while appearing Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee. “Any report will be, in my judgment, not one that is covered by the policy and would disrupt the election.”
The policy in question is informal guidance not to take action that could be viewed as influencing elections. Barr in a memo (pdf) in February said the department “must exercise particular care regarding sensitive investigations and prosecutions … especially in an election year.”
Rep. Debbie Murcasel-Powell (D-Fla.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, tried getting Barr to commit to not releasing the report because of the upcoming election.
“No,” Barr responded. Asked again, he added: “No. I will be very careful.”
“We’re not going to interfere—in fact, I’ve made it clear that we’re not going to tolerate interference,” Barr told the lawmaker.
Durham is probing the origins of the FBI’s investigation into possible links between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian actors, a probe boosted by unsubstantiated information compiled by a former British spy who was paid by the Democratic National Committee and Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said recently during an appearance on Fox News that criminal charges will come out of the investigation.
“I know I expect indictments based on the evidence I’ve seen,” he said, adding, “It’s all starting to unravel, and I tell you, it’s time that people go to jail and people are indicted.”
Barr has said he doesn’t expert the investigation to directly lead to former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden, who is now running for president. But Americans will recognize some of the names linked to the probe, Barr teased last month.
Later in June, Barr said Durham is “pressing ahead as hard as he can” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I expect that we will have some developments, hopefully before the end of the summer,” the attorney general said on Fox.
The lack of visible progress has frustrated some Trump allies.
“It’s been slow,” Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) told Barr. “I think the Durham investigation is something most of us were waiting for.”
The attorney general declined to give any details on the probe. “I cannot get into that,” he said.
Janita Kan and Isabel Van Brugen contributed to this report.
The Justice Department’s watchdog has identified critical errors in every FBI wiretap application.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Sunday that it’s “time for people to go to jail” as part of U.S. Attorney John Durham’s probe into FBI misconduct — prompting ex-Trump aide George Papadopoulos to sound a celebratory note on Twitter.
The comments came as Fox News learned this weekend that Jennifer Boone, a senior FBI official who oversaw the flawed probe into former Trump adviser Carter Page, has received a major promotion to lead a field office — and the bureau won’t say why.
Meadows, during his Sunday interview with Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” also previewed the Trump administration’s soon-to-be-released plans for reopening schools and implementing new economic stimulus measures. More details, Meadows said, would be coming this week.
However, Meadows’ comments on the Durham probe were among his most suggestive yet. They followed Attorney General Bill Barr’s comments to Fox News earlier this year that Durham’s findings have been “very troubling” and that familiar names are currently being probed.
“I think the American people are expecting indictments,” Meadows told anchor Maria Bartiromo. “I expect indictments based on the evidence I’ve seen. Lindsey Graham did a good job in getting that out. We know that they not only knew that there wasn’t a case, but they continued to investigate and spy.”
Internal FBI documents that emerged in April showed that Peter Strzok — the now-disgraced anti-Trump former head of FBI counterintelligence — ordered the investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to remain open even after it was slated to be closed due to a lack of so-called “derogatory” information. Strzok pursued an investigation based on the Logan Act, a law never used in a successful prosecution and that was intended to prevent individuals from falsely representing the U.S. government abroad in a pre-telephone era.
FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok, testifies before a House Judiciary Committee joint hearing on “oversight of FBI and Department of Justice actions surrounding the 2016 election” on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
“And yes, I use the word spy on Trump campaign officials and actually even doing things when this president was sworn in,” Meadows continued. “And after that and doing in an inappropriate manner, you’re going to see a couple of other documents come out in the coming days that will suggest that not only was the campaign spied on, but the FBI did not act appropriately as they were investigating. It’s all starting to come unraveled. And I tell you, it’s time that people go to jail and people are indicted.”
The Justice Department’s (DOJ’s) watchdog has identified critical errors in every FBI wiretap application that it audited as part of the fallout from the bureau’s heavily flawed investigation into former Trump adviser Carter Page, who was surveilled during the campaign in part because of a largely discredited dossier funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
The FBI repeatedly accused Page of being a “foreign agent” in its warrant applications. Page has not been charged with any wrongdoing, and the DOJ has since admitted that its warrant applications lacked probable cause and should not have been sought.
Additionally, an ex-FBI lawyer in that case even falsified a CIA email submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court in order to make Page’s communications with Russians appear nefarious, the DOJ inspector general found. The FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, was allegedly told by the CIA that Page had reported his Russian contacts and was essentially acting as an informant — only for Clinesmith to allegedly omit that exculpatory information in a surveillance warrant application that framed Page’s communications with Russians as a sign that he was a secret foreign agent.
The IG report indicates that Boone also handled outreach to Bruce Ohr, who was a key contact inside the Justice Department for ex-British spy Christopher Steele — the author of the now-discredited anti-Trump dossier produced by the research firm Fusion GPS as opposition research for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS at the time.
“Boone did not recall who ultimately decided to move forward with [Page FISA] Renewal Application No. 2, and available documents do not indicate,” the IG wrote.
Boone also “told us that [she] did not recall being advised that the information from the [Steele] Primary Sub-source significantly differed from the information in Steele’s reporting,” the IG added.
The FBI declined to comment specifically about Boone’s promotion when reached by Fox News this weekend.
“As I’m sure you know, Director [Christopher] Wray recently sat for an interview with your colleague Bret Baier where he talked about the corrective measures he has instituted in response to the FISA IG Report,” an FBI spokesperson told Fox News. “We won’t have a comment beyond what the director said to Mr. Baier.”
Republicans have complained that Wray hasn’t responded to their requests to interview other key officials who oversaw aspects of the Page probe, including Joe Pietnka — who was scrubbed from the FBI website after Fox News inquired about him. Sources say Pientka received a major promotion that moved him from Virginia to a senior role in the San Francisco field office, and public records reviewed by Fox News confirm that Pientka has moved residences.
On Friday, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee released newly declassified documents that they say “significantly undercut” the “reliability” of the infamous Steele dossier from the Russia probe, as well as the accuracy and reliability of the factual assertions in the FISA warrants against Page.
The first document, which the committee said spanned 57 pages, is a summary of a three-day interview Steele’s primary sub-source. The document revealed that the dossier was “unsubstantiated and unreliable,” according to sources who reviewed it, and showed that the FBI was on notice of the dossier’s credibility problems, yet continued to seek further FISA warrant renewals for Page.
Moreover, the document demonstrated that the information Steele’s primary sub-source provided him was “second and third-hand information and rumors at best.”
The document also revealed that Steele’s primary sub-source “disagreed with and was surprised by” how information he gave Steele was then conveyed by Steele in the dossier.
The documents were not the first evidence showing the FBI had reason to doubt the Steele dossier. It emerged in April that the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team investigating the Trump 2016 campaign received multiple indications that Steele was part of an elaborate “Russian disinformation campaign,” according to several declassified footnotes from the IG report.
The FBI’s legal counsel has described the warrant to surveil Page as “essentially a single source FISA” wholly dependent on the dossier, which also made numerous other unsubstantiated claims about Russian hackers in a nonexistent consulate in Miami, Cohen’s purported trips to Prague, and lurid blackmail tapes. Special Counsel Robert Muller couldn’t find any evidence supporting those allegations.
Rumors of mass arrests are nothing new. But it appears that for the first time in history, we’re actually witnessing a major mobilization to take down the Deep State. Some will argue that this is just another Cabal operation. In my review of those claims, I haven’t been able to confirm anything substantial—mostly rumor and unfounded suspicion. One thing is clear, the media is reporting on this Deep State takedown. Whoever is coordinating it, they want you to know. This fact, in concert with many others, in my opinion, suggests that at the very least, one faction of the Deep State is indeed being dismantled—the Clinton-Bush-Rockefeller faction.
This is a good reason to be hopeful. However, we should not let ourselves become complacent.
A people are the guards against undue power and influence, through our wise and unified efforts. Even if the Deep State is completely wiped from the earth, how can we guarantee that the new system will be any better? Because we’ve taken the time to understand what true justice, honorable government, and law are, along with an honest look at history. These are the keys to lasting freedom and prosperity. A people without wisdom in this regard is doomed to give up their freedoms to autocrats in a few generations.
Despite my doubts, I err on the side of hope with these developments. I think that whatever alliance is working against the Deep State wants the people to get wise and wake up.
In history, there have always been forces of goodness that work against evil. Often, only a small handful of dedicated individuals manage to hold back the floodgates of darkness. If you feel you are one of these individuals, don’t lose hope. Freedom will win with our help.
“As far as I'm concerned, it's a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity.” -Hunter Thompson