On December 8, 2017, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes gave an interview to Fox News. He made a number of notable comments:
We have had an ongoing investigation into DOJ [Department of Justice] and FBI since mid-summer for both FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] abuse and other matters that we can’t get into too much. But it is very concerning.
I believe there’s evidence that abuses have occurred.
I hate to use the word corrupt, but they become so dirty that, who is watching the watchmen? Who is investigating these people? There is no one.
We have no evidence of Russian collusion between the Trump campaign.
On December 28, 2017, Nunes sent a blistering letter to Deputy AG Rosenstein:
From the letter:
Several weeks ago, DOJ informed the Committee that the basic investigatory documents demanded by the subpoenas…did not exist.
DOJ subsequently located and produced numerous FD-302s [Interview Summaries] pertaining to the Steele dossier thereby rendering the initial response disingenuous at best.
Not only did documents exist that were directly responsive to the Committees subpoenas, but they involved senior DOJ and FBI officials who were swiftly reassigned when their roles in matters under the Committee’s investigation were brought to light.
The Committee no longer credits the representations made by DOJ and/or the FBI regarding these matters. Accordingly, DOJ and the FBI are instructed to promptly produce to the Committee no later than January 3, 2018, ALL outstanding records identified as responsive to the August 24 subpoenas.
DOJ/FBI’s intransigence with respect to the August 24 subpoenas is part of a broader pattern of behavior that can no longer be tolerated.
At this point it seems the DOJ and FBI need to be investigating themselves.
House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte is pursuing a parallel investigation – in tandem with House Intelligence Chairman Nunes. Goodlatte recently noted the following:
There are, as you know, many, many more. I think 1.2 million documents that the Inspector General has. We have a commitment from the assistant Attorney General, Mr. Boyd [Office of Legislative Affairs] to provide those by January 15, .
It’s entirely possible the documents requested by Nunes may already be included in the Inspector General’s much larger delivery – slated for mid-January 2018.
Any investigation – especially the Inspector General’s Investigation – is an existential threat to the Obama-era leadership of both the FBI and DOJ. Highly politicized hiring practices put in place by Obama and Eric Holder – despite laws against such practices – quite literally subverted the DOJ.
As I’ve noted before, I’m not yet convinced that Rosenstein is part of the problem. He may well be one of the individuals conducting the investigation.
Rosenstein and Christopher Wray, President Trump’s new FBI Director, have been jointly leading a newly created unit to target leaking. Their investigation has been ongoing since at least May 2017. You can read more here.
The direction of Nunes’ anger towards Rosenstein may be procedural in nature. Nunes is furious with the DOJ – but he may not be angry with Rosenstein.
Chairman Nunes also demanded interviews with some salient individuals:
Additionally, by the same deadline, please provide – in writing – available dates in January 2018 for interviews with the following officials:
- Former DOJ Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr;
- FBI Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) Peter Strzok;
- FBI Attorney James Baker;
- FBI Attorney Lisa Page;
- FBI Attorney Sally Moyer; and
- FBI Assistant Director for Congressional Affairs Greg Brower.
Missing from that interview list:
- Andrew McCabe, Deputy FBI Director.
- Bill Priestap, Assistant Director, FBI Counter Intelligence.
McCabe is already being investigated and recently testified for nine hours behind closed doors. McCabe was accompanied to his testimony by FBI lawyer James Baker (on Nunes’ interview list).
Immediately following McCabe’s testimony, Baker was “reassigned” (fired) and McCabe announced his retirement.
The omission of Bill Priestap is far more interesting.
Bill Priestap is not a household name.
But he held a pivotal role in the FBI’s exoneration of Clinton, the subsequent Trump-Russia Investigation and surveillance of the Trump Campaign.
As I noted in Where is Bill Priestap – FBI’s Counter-Intelligence Head:
Individuals directly below Priestap (Strzok) and directly above Priestap (McCabe) have been ensnared and exposed by the Inspector General’s Investigation.
So where is Bill Priestap?
And why aren’t you hearing his name daily?
Because someone has almost certainly been speaking with him.
Perhaps the Inspector General has some answers.
Why is Bill Priestap not on that interview list?
Could it be that he’s already being interviewed (turned)?
— Jeff Carlson, CFA (@themarketswork) December 29, 2017
The omission of Priestap from Nunes’ interview requests seems quite telling.
Representative Ron DeSantis commented on FBI/DOJ stonewalling in relation to Nunes’ letter:
We’ve been asking for this stuff for months, and if the answers to these questions were ‘of course the FBI didn’t rely on the Dossier – they didn’t pay Steele – they didn’t use it to get surveillance’ you could have answered these questions in five minutes.
So, to me, the answers to those questions are not going to be comfortable for people both in the Bureau and in the Justice Department.
This thing just stinks to high heaven.
January 2018 is shaping up to be a most interesting month…
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