Devin Nunes was on with Maria Bartiromo on March 25, 2018. Nunes is refreshingly candid which makes his interviews worthwhile.
While much was covered, there was one short comment by Nunes that specifically grabbed my attention:
Remember the IG report is only looking at how they handled the Clinton email investigation, so we really need that report.
“The IG report is only looking at how they [DOJ & FBI] handled the Clinton email investigation…”
The sooner the better because that information is really pertinent to the investigations that both the Judiciary Committee has going on and the Intelligence Committee because we’re still looking into FISA abuse and other matters.
We still have a lot of witnesses to bring in from the State Department and from the FBI and DOJ to try to get to the bottom of, you know, was there a conspiracy to go after the Trump campaign? Did people purposely obstruct Congress’ investigation? We still need to get those answers and that’s what we continue to look at
I’ve heard this reference to a more narrow Inspector General Investigation several times recently:
Everyone should keep in mind that Horowitz IG investigation is into FBI/DOJ handling of Clinton email case, not Trump-Russia case. Latter investigation will surely follow, with report coming in 2021 or so.https://t.co/OcUmmYnzDl
— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 17, 2018
In fairness, here’s York’s clarification:
Folks: I was joking when I said DOJ/FBI IG report on Trump-Russia probe would be out in ‘2021 or so.’ I don’t know. But I do know it hasn’t started yet, so isn’t coming anytime soon.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 17, 2018
The primary point, which York maintains, is the Inspector General’s Investigation is currently limited to the Clinton email case.
Senator Grassley recently referred to the IG’s Investigation as a review of the DOJ & FBI handling of the Clinton email investigation:
The Department of Justice Inspector General is currently reviewing the Department’s [DOJ] and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s handling of the Clinton email investigation.
Grassley cites the Inspector General’s Initiation of Review.
There’s just one problem.
That’s not what the Inspector General’s Initiation of Review says.
A letter from the Inspector General in July 2017 provides further evidence to the contrary.
Here’s the January 12, 2017 statement from the Office of Inspector General:
DOJ OIG Announces Initiation of Review
Department of Justice Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today that, in response to requests from numerous Chairmen and Ranking Members of Congressional oversight committees, various organizations, and members of the public, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will initiate a review of allegations regarding certain actions by the Department of Justice (Department) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in advance of the 2016 election. Cognizant of the scope of the OIG’s jurisdiction under Section 8E of the Inspector General Act, the review will examine the following issues:
- Allegations that Department or FBI policies or procedures were not followed in connection with, or in actions leading up to or related to, the FBI Director’s public announcement on July 5, 2016, and the Director’s letters to Congress on October 28 and November 6, 2016, and that certain underlying investigative decisions were based on improper considerations;
- Allegations that the FBI Deputy Director should have been recused from participating in certain investigative matters;
- Allegations that the Department’s Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs improperly disclosed non-public information to the Clinton campaign and/or should have been recused from participating in certain matters;
- Allegations that Department and FBI employees improperly disclosed non-public information; and
- Allegations that decisions regarding the timing of the FBI’s release of certain Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents on October 30 and November 1, 2016, and the use of a Twitter account to publicize same, were influenced by improper considerations.
The review will not substitute the OIG’s judgment for the judgments made by the FBI or the Department regarding the substantive merits of investigative or prosecutive decisions. Finally, if circumstances warrant, the OIG will consider including other issues that may arise during the course of the review.
Various actions of the DOJ & FBI “in advance of the 2016 election”. Not “Clinton Email Investigation”.
Time after time, Horowitz will use this specific language to describe his Investigation.
Here is the December 2, 2017 clarification statement made by the Inspector General:
The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General released the following statement in response to inquiries today:
The January 2017 statement issued by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) announcing its review of allegations regarding various actions of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in advance of the 2016 election stated that the OIG review would, among other things, consider whether certain underlying investigative decisions were based on improper considerations and that we also would include issues that might arise during the course of the review. The OIG has been reviewing allegations involving communications between certain individuals, and will report its findings regarding those allegations promptly upon completion of the review of them.
The statement was prompted by the breaking news on FBI Agent Peter Strzok. See, The Inspector General’s Quiet Investigation.
The actual lead-up to these events was the guilty pleading by General Flynn on December 1, 2017.
The Flynn Case appeared strange from the beginning. Now it appears to be falling apart. Senator Grassley has indicated he thinks 302’s may have been edited. The House Intelligence Committee recently found that FBI agents did not detect any deception during Flynn’s interview.
On December 1, 2017, Judge Contreras presided over a hearing where Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts with Russia.
Here is what occurred between the two dates in the Flynn Case:
- December 2 2017 – Washington Post reveals existence of incriminating messages between Peter Strzok revealing anti-Trump biases.
- December 2 2017 – The DOJ Office of the Inspector General issues statement in response to inquiries stemming from a New York Times article on Strzok.
- December 4 2017 – CNN reveals Strzok changed wording of Clinton investigation to avoid criminal charges.
- December 6 2017 – DOJ executive Bruce Ohr demoted after revelations he secretly met with Fusion GPS, which had secretly employed his wife Nellie.
- December 7 2017 – Fox News reveals DOJ’s Bruce Ohr was in contact with Fusion GPS at the same time the FISA application was submitted and granted.
- December 7 2017 – Rep. Jim Jordan grills FBI director Wray about the FBI’s use of the Steele Dossier to secure FISA warrant. Demands to see FISA Application material.
- December 7 2017 – Judge Contreras was recused. Court spokeswoman Lisa Klem did not say why Contreras was recused.
Representative Jim Jordan’s questioning of Director Wray occurred on the morning of December 7, 2017. Judge Contreras’ recusal occurred in the late afternoon per reports.
Essentially, all hell broke loose after General Flynn’s guilty plea. A guilty plea that is now increasingly appearing to have been forced.
This information – along with all the subsequent discoveries – originated from the Inspector General’s Investigation. All of it.
The DOJ’s Office of Inspector General announced the Initiation of Review on January 12, 2107.
From January 12, 2017 to December 1, 2017 there was almost nothing from the IG – nearly complete silence. Until the day after General Flynn pleaded guilty.
Then – a one paragraph statement from the OIG and a flood of information concurrently came pouring forth – introducing us to new players:
* Peter Strzok * Lisa Page * Bruce Ohr * Nellie Ohr * Bill Priestap * James Rybicki * John Carlin * Mary McCord * Marc Elias * Mary Jacoby * James Baker * Lisa Monaco * David Laufman * Rachel Brand * Michael Kortan * Josh Campbell * Trisha Anderson * Greg Bower * Sally Moyer * Victoria Nuland * Natalia Veselnitskaya *
And reminding of us of known ones:
* James Comey * Andrew McCabe * John Brennan * James Clapper * Sally Yates * Loretta Lynch * Susan Rice * Samantha Power *
We discovered how the DOJ’s NSD and FBI used independent contractors to gather information using illegal FISA “About” queries.
It became clear how the Dossier was used to establish surveillance over the Trump Campaign.
On July 14, 2017, Inspector General Michael Horowitz sent a letter in response to an earlier request from several Democratic Senators regarding the investigation and the recusal of AG Jeff Sessions.
The Inspector General’s letter contained only three short paragraphs. Only two sentences were actually important:
As you know, in January 2017, the Office of Inspector General initiated a review of allegations regarding various actions by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in advance of the 2016 election…We are continuing to assess what, if any, additional review would be appropriate for the OIG to undertake and will update you as appropriate.
The Inspector General was suddenly responding to a letter the Democrat Senators had sent him more than four months earlier – on March 3, 2017.
The reason for the strange timing of the Inspector General’s letter was simple. It was at this point – July 14, 2017 – the Inspector General’s Investigation shifted and expanded.
July 14, 2017, was exactly the same time when the Inspector General’s Investigation discovered FBI Agent Peter Strzok’s texts.
We know this because of a timeline IG Horowitz laid out in a December 13, 2017 response to a letter from Senators Johnson and Grassley. Grassley and Johnson were specifically asking for more information regarding the timeline, and means of discovery, of the texts sent by demoted FBI Agent Strzok.
The wording of Horowitz’s letter proves important to understanding the scope of the Inspector General’s Investigation.
Thank you for your letter of December 6, 2017, requesting information regarding the Office of the Inspector General’s discovery of certain electronic text messages in connection with its review of the actions of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in advance of the 2015 presidential election. Our responses to the questions presented in your letter are set forth below.
1. When and how did OIG become aware of the text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page?
In gathering evidence for the OIG’s ongoing 2016 election review, we requested, consistent with standard practice, that the FBI produce text messages from the FBI-issued phones of certain FBI employees involved in the Clinton e-mail investigation based on search terms we provided. After finding a number of politically-oriented text messages between Page and Strzok, the OIG sought from the FBI all text messages between Strzok and Page from their FBI-issued phones through November 30, 2016, which covered the entire period of the Clinton e-mail server investigation. The FBI produced these text messages on July 20, 2017. Following our review of those text messages, the OIG expanded our request to the FBI to include all text messages between Strzok and Page from November 30, 2016, through the date of the document request, which was July 28, 2017. The OIG received these additional messages on August 10, 2017.
“The OIG expanded our request to the FBI…”
The FBI produced the Strzok text messages on July 20, 2017. Horowitz’s discovery and subsequent request for the texts obviously occurred earlier.
Although the Inspector General’s letter to Senator Grassley does not note exactly when the texts were first discovered, we can now be reasonably confident the discovery was made on or before July 14, 2017 – the date of IG Horowitz’s letter to the Democrat Senators.
From the closing section of IG Horowitz’s letter:
4. In connection with the OIG’s review of the actions of DOJ and the FBI in advance of the 2016 presidential election, has the OIG received any similar allegations involving other government officials?
The OIG’s review is ongoing, and we currently are in the process of completing our witness interviews and document review. Thereafter, we intend to issue a public report with our findings on these and the other issues we are reviewing, and we would be pleased to discuss them with you at that time.
“We intend to issue a public report with our findings on these and other issues we are reviewing…”
The Inspector General cc: the same senior Democrat Senator to which he wrote that July 14, 2017 letter. He was providing another update on the scope of his investigation.
Further evidence of the scope of IG Horowitz’s investigation is provided by the House Memo.
When Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe was forced by FBI Director Wray to give up his post – prior to McCabe’s actual termination – Sara Carter reported the following:
According to several U.S. officials, McCabe’s government communications were collected as part of the ongoing DOJ Inspector General investigation.
McCabe was removed after FBI Director Chris Wray saw information from the then-unreleased House Memo detailing extensive FISA abuse by the FBI.
The House Memo also contained quotes and information from Bill Priestap and Bruce Ohr – see items #3 & 4. Although both men remain on Devin Nunes’ interview list, neither Nunes or anyone from the House Intelligence Committee has yet to interview either man.
Priestap and Ohr – both of whom are almost certainly cooperating at this point – must have been interviewed by the Inspector General. Additionally, it is likely that IG Horowitz was the individual who unearthed the FBI’s many interviews of Ohr.
On February 27, 2018, Jeff Sessions held a press conference on the Opioid Crisis. The Conservative Treehouse caught a response by AG Jeff Sessions to a question on FISA abuse:
We believe the Department of Justice must adhere to the highest standards in the FISA Court. And yes, it will be investigated. I think that’s just the appropriate thing. The Inspector General will take that as one of the matters he’ll deal with.
Sessions has already noted the appointment of Outside Prosecutors. A November 17, 2017 response letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd previously highlighted this same appointment.
I have appointed a person outside of Washington, many years in the Department of Justice, to look at all the allegations that the House Judiciary Committee members sent to us – and we’re conducting that investigation.
The Attorney General has directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues raised in your letters.
These senior prosecutors will report directly to the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General.
We recently obtained tantalizing evidence of a grand jury empaneling. This was not the result of any Congressional investigation. If it exists – and the DOJ response would seem to indicate it does – the grand jury is resulting from Inspector General Horowitz’s Investigation.
The Inspector General said it plainly on January 12, 2017:
If circumstances warrant, the OIG will consider including other issues that may arise during the course of the review.
He hinted at his decision in his July 14, 2017 letter:
We are continuing to assess what, if any, additional review would be appropriate for the OIG to undertake.
IG Horowitz was more direct in his December 2, 2017 clarification statement:
The OIG review would, among other things, consider whether certain underlying investigative decisions were based on improper considerations and that we also would include issues that might arise during the course of the review.
The Inspector General noted his decision in his December 13, 2017 letter:
We intend to issue a public report with our findings on these and the other issues we are reviewing.