Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte have been busy.
On January 4, 2018, Grassley – along with Lindsey Graham – referred Christopher Steele to the Department of Justice for “investigation of potential violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, for statements the Committee has reason to believe Mr. Steele made regarding his distribution of information contained in the dossier.”
On January 5, 2018, Grassley issued a statement on Steele’s referral and called for review by a Special Counsel:
After reviewing how Mr. Steele conducted himself in distributing information contained in the dossier and how many stop signs the DOJ ignored in its use of the dossier, I believe that a special counsel needs to review this matter. The rule of Law depends on the government and all who work on its behalf playing by the rules themselves.
At the time I noted the following:
We are witnessing the execution of a pincer movement. Nunes is working on one angle. Grassley and Graham another. Bob Goodlatte yet another.
I called the piece A Strategic Tightening. For good reason.
This is what’s currently transpiring.
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes:
Nunes is working on the 1,000 pages of documents he received from the DOJ/FBI on January 5, 2018. These documents were used to establish the FBI investigation and to obtain retroactive Section 702 “About” query approval from the FISA Court.
Nunes is also working on interviewing key participants:
You have agreed that all such witnesses – namely, former DOJ Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr; FBI Supervisory Special Agent Peter Strzok; former FBI General Counsel James Baker; FBI Attorney Lisa Page; FBI Attorney Sally Moyer; FBI Assistant Director Greg Brower; FBI Assistant Director Bill Priestap; and FBI Special Agent James Rybicki – will be made available for interviews to be conducted in January.
Neither Priestap nor Rybicki had initially been scheduled for interviews.
Bill Priestap is head of FBI Counterintelligence. James Rybicki was Comey’s Chief of Staff and senior counselor.
They are central figures.
You may recognize both names from some of the recently released texts between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page – who may or may not have been involved in a relationship…
As a result of the government shutdown, these interviews have slipped to February 2018 – but they are happening.
Lastly, Nunes and his staff put together the House Memo which is likely to be released within two weeks.
This will be a significant event.
Note: The underpinnings of the House Memo most likely do NOT directly originate from the January 5, 2018 DOJ Document release.
And of course, Nunes played an absolutely crucial role in his uncovering of surveillance abuse.
House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte:
Goodlatte is hard at work going through an initial delivery of what will ultimately be more than 1.2 million documents from Inspector General Horowitz’s Investigation. The first delivery of documents took place on January 12, 2018.
It’s not yet clear what percentage of documents Goodlatte has received – but IG Horowitz has promised the entirety to Goodlatte’s Committee.
Goodlatte’s job is a big one.
A large amount of forthcoming information will likely be from this source.
Goodlatte has also been publicly hammering away at the texts between Strzok and Page.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley:
My sense is we are going to discover that Grassley may play the coordinating force within Congress.
As noted, Grassley referred Steele to the DOJ.
On January 23, 2018, Grassley sent a letter to IG Horowitz asking for clarification of the missing FBI texts. Horowitz’s response made public the fact that IG Horowitz had already begun recovering the lost texts.
It also gave Horowitz a chance to publicly note the following:
I would have no objection to the Department providing its own records to your Committees in response to a Congressional oversight request should Department leadership deem it appropriate to do so.
On January 24, 2018, Grassley made clear there was significantly more to his Steele Referral than most originally thought.
In reality, the Steele Referral was the Senate Judiciary’s version of the House Memo:
Here in the Senate, the Judiciary Committee has access to the same information that the House Intelligence Committee saw before drafting its summary memo. Our committee does not have the same authority to release classified information. We have to rely on the agency to review and potentially declassify our memo.
At the end of his speech, Grassley called for the public release of all the classified, underlying documents backing his January 4, 2018 Senate Judiciary Memo – also known as the Christopher Steele Referral.
This information should made be public as soon as possible, through the appropriate process. And, I don’t just mean the summary memos. The government should release the underlying documents referenced in those memos.
This was a large and meaningful step.
On January 25, 2017, Grassley sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray regarding the January 19, 2018 delivery of additional texts between Strzok and Page.
Grassley held no punches:
The text messages that were provided raise serious concerns about the impartiality of senior leadership running both the Clinton and Trump investigations.
On January 26, 2018, Grassley “sent six letters seeking information and documents regarding Christopher Steele’s work on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary for America.”
“The letters seek information and documents relating to those political organizations’ knowledge of and involvement in Mr. Steele’s work and his reported interactions with the FBI while he was working on behalf of these political organizations.”
The letters were sent to:
- The Democratic National Committee (DNC)
- Hillary for America (HFA)
- Former DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
- Former DNC Chair Donna Brazile
- HFA Chair John Podesta
- HFA Chief Strategist Joel Benenson
Grassley asked slight variants of the same twelve questions:
1. Prior to the Washington Post’s article in October of 2017, who at the DNC was aware of Mr. Steele’s efforts on behalf of the DNC to compile and distribute allegations about Mr. Trump and the Russian government? Please list each individual who knew, when he or she first learned of his efforts, and how he or she learned. Please also provide all related documents.
2. Did anyone at the DNC receive copies of any of the memoranda comprising Mr. Steele’s dossier prior to its publication by Buzz feed in January of 2017? If so, how and when? Please provide all related documents.
3. Regardless of whether they received copies of the actual memoranda, did anyone at the DNC otherwise receive information contained in the dossier prior to Buzzfeed publishing the dossier in January of 2017? If so, how and when? Please provide all related documents.
4. Did anyone at the DNC receive other memoranda written or forwarded by Mr. Steele regarding Mr. Trump and his associates that were not published as part of the Buzzfeed dossier? If so, how and when? Please provide all related documents.
5. Did anyone at the DNC distribute outside of the organization any of the dossier memoranda, information contained therein, or other information obtained by Mr. Steele? If so, please list who distributed the information, what was distributed, and to whom it was distributed. Please provide all related documents.
6. Did anyone at the DNC communicate with any government officials – whether in the executive, legislative or judicial branches – regarding the dossier memoranda, information contained therein, or other information obtained by Mr. Steele? If so, please list the parties involved in the communication, the content of the communication, and the date and means of the communication. Please provide all related documents.
7. Did anyone at the DNC instruct, request, suggest, or imply that any individuals should pass along information to Mr. Steele or his intermediaries? Please provide all related documents.
8. Did anyone at the DNC communicate with members of the press regarding the dossier memoranda, information contained therein, or other information obtained by Mr. Steele? If so, please list the parties involved in the communication, the content of the communication, and the date and means of the communication. Please provide all related documents.
9. Did anyone at the DNC inform Secretary Clinton of Mr. Steele’s efforts, whether by name or not, or of the allegations he was spreading? If so, who and when? Please provide all related documents.
10. Was anyone at the DNC aware of Mr. Steele’s contacts with the FBI or other government agencies prior to the 2016 election? If so, who? When and how did they become aware? Please provide all related documents.
11. Did anyone at the DNC encourage, whether directly or through intermediaries, Mr. Steele to initiate or continue contacts with the FBI or other government agencies? If so, who and when? Please provide all related documents.
12. For the period from March 2016 through January 2017, please provide all communications to, from, copying, or relating to:
Fusion GPS; Bean LLC; Glenn Simpson; Mary Jacoby; Peter Fritsch; Tom Catan; Jason Felch; Neil King; David Michaels; Taylor Sears; Patrick Corcoran; Laura Sego; Jay Bagwell; Erica Castro; Nellie Ohr; Rinat Akhmetshin; Ed Lieberman; Edward Baumgartner; Orbis Business Intelligence Limited; Orbis Business International Limited; Walsingham Training Limited; Walsingham Partners Limited; Christopher Steele; Christopher Burrows; Sir Andrew Wood, Paul Hauser; Oleg Deripaska; Cody Shearer; Sidney Blumenthal; Jon Winer; Kathleen Kavalec; Victoria Nuland; Daniel Jones; Bruce Ohr; Peter Strzok; Andrew McCabe; James Baker; Sally Yates; Loretta Lynch; John Brennan.
And now we know who Grassley is looking into regarding the construction, dissemination and use of Steele’s Trump Dossier…
I would argue there are several missing names: Lisa Page, James Rybicki, Bill Priestap, James Comey and James Clapper. There are several other overtly obvious names missing as well.
But I’m equally sure there’s good reason for those omissions – presently.
We are witnessing the execution of a pincer movement – coordinated between the DOJ (Sessions/Wray/Horowitz) and Congress – and centered around Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s Investigation and pending report.
Congress will likely prove the conduit by which most information is disseminated to the public – prior to the Inspector General’s actual report.
For more on Inspector General Michael Horowitz and his year-long Investigation see:
Honorable Congressional Mention:
Representative Jim Jordan: was one of the first to publicly discuss use of the Trump Dossier as the basis to gain surveillance approval.
Representative Matt Gaetz: has been leading efforts to publicize and release the House Memo.
Chairman of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Ron Johnson: has pushed the FBI/DOJ on the loss of texts along with content of recent text releases.
This link may prove helpful as a reference to those wanting to look into the unfolding FBI/DOJ/Obama Administration scandal surrounding illegal surveillance and collusion. Scroll towards the bottom for a Timeline of Events.