TURNING ON EACH OTHER: Lynch denies Comey claims on Clinton email investigation

WASHINGTON — Newly released transcripts of Loretta Lynch’s testimony before the House Oversight and Judiciary Committee last December show the former Obama administration Attorney General now contradicts claims made by former FBI head James Comey.

When directly asked if she instructed Comey to call the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email scandal a “matter,” she replied: “I did not.

“I have never instructed a witness as to what to say specifically,” she said. “Never have, never will. In the meeting that I had with the director, we were discussing how best to keep Congress informed of progress and discuss requesting resources for the department overall.”

“I didn’t direct anyone to use specific phraseology,” Lynch continued. “When the director asked me how to best to handle that, I said: ‘What I have been saying is we have received a referral and we are working on the matter, working on the issue, or we have all the resources we need to handle the matter, handle the issue.’ So, that was the suggestion that I made to him.”

Lynch’s claims directly contradict Claims Comey made to the New York Times, in which he said Lych specifically asked him to refer the Clinton investigation as “a matter.”

“The attorney general had directed me not to call it an ‘investigation,’ but instead to call it a ‘matter,’ which confused me and concerned me,” Comey told the Times in June, 2017.

Transcripts of Lynch’s testimony also show she denied allegations that her department never ordered politically motivated infiltration of then-candidate Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

“Did President Obama, or anyone in his administration, ever make a demand or request that the FBI or DOJ infiltrate or surveil the Trump campaign for political purposes?” Lynch was asked by Rep. Jerry Nadler, (D)-N.Y..

“Never,” Lynch replied.

Asked how she would respond if she had received such a request, Lynch said, “I would have declined it and told them how inappropriate it was.”

lynchcomey

HANNITY: Docs prove Trump-Russia collusion allegations were a hoax

WASHINGTON – Conservative talk show host Sean Hannity announced Monday documentation exists which will prove allegations that President Donald Trump colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election were a massive hoax.

“At this hour, your federal government is in possession of transcripts from 2016 featuring secretly recorded conversations between FBI informants and one-time trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos,” Hannity said Monday evening during his opening monologue.

“According to those who have seen these transcripts, its contents are chock-full of clear irrefutable, incontrovertible, exculpatory evidence proving Trump-Russia collusion was always a hoax from the get-go,” said Hannity. “This includes former congressman Trey Gowdy who is now calling these documents ‘game changing.'”

Gowdy, who appeared on “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo, confirmed the existence of the documents.

“Some of us have been fortunate enough to know whether or not those transcripts exist. But they haven’t been made public, and I think one, in particular … has the potential to actually persuade people,” said Gowdy. “Very little in this Russia probe I’m afraid is going to persuade people who hate Trump or love Trump. But there is some information in these transcripts that has the potential to be a game-changer if it’s ever made public.”

Hannity, expressing the importance of such documents, said the findings must be made available to the American people.

“If Comey, Strzok, the highest level officials… the upper echelon, the Intel community were withholding exculpatory evidence, let me tell you this is bigger than we ever thought,” Hannity said. “It means the of premeditated fraud, conspiracy against the FISA court, that means there was a real attempt to steal a presidential election with Russian lies paid for by Hillary and an effort when they lost, to unseat a duly elected president of you, the people. Much worse than we ever knew.”

trump and hannity

THE CLINTON SCANDAL: Seven highlights from bombshell IG report on the DOJ, FBI Clinton email probe

Washington, D.C. (Fox News) — Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s bombshell report on the DOJ and FBI’s actions during the Hillary Clinton email probe takes particular aim at key figures who, until now, have mostly escaped official censure for their conduct while in office.

The DOJ watchdog reviewed a variety of critical decisions over the course of the investigation — including how authorities conducted the summer 2016 interview with Hillary Clinton, and why top FBI and DOJ officials with political connections didn’t immediately recuse themselves from the probe.

Horowtiz’s report also outlines new information concerning apparent bias at the FBI and DOJ that he says undermines the public trust in each agency.

Some of the key takeaways from the report include:
1. New texts between FBI lovers Strzok and Page were ‘disappointing’ and cast a shadow over the integrity of the entire Clinton email probe

A slew of anti-Trump text messages between special counsel Lisa Page and FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok damaged the integrity of the entire Clinton email probe, Horowitz writes.
The report unearths striking new messages between the pair that were sent and received on government devices, including one in which Strzok vows to “stop” Trump from being elected just months before the presidential election.

On August 8, 2016, the IG found, Page asked Strzok “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” and Strzok replied “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”

While Horowitz noted that there is no available evidence that political considerations directly impacted investigative decisions in the Clinton probe, and that Strzok was not the “sole” decision maker on any key investigative actions, he concluded the officials’ behavior was still highly inappropriate.

“We recognize that these text and instant messages cast a cloud over the FBI’s handling of the Midyear investigation and the investigation’s credibility,” the IG report said.

MYE, or “Midyear Exam,” was the code used in the FBI to refer to the investigation into Clinton’s private email server.

Horowitz also noted additional texts between the lovers that he called ‘notable,’ including one in which Page admits the two used their FBI phones to conceal their extramarital affair from their spouses.

2. Three additional, unnamed FBI employees — including one lawyer who later worked on the Mueller probe — are under scrutiny for anti-Trump bias

Strzok and Page are not the only FBI officials who evidenced anti-Trump bias during the Clinton email probe, Horowitz noted in the report.

The watchdog identified three other unnamed individuals, including two agents and one FBI attorney who worked on the Muller Russia probe until earlier this year, who made “statements of hostility toward then-candidate Trump and statements of support for candidate Clinton,” and improperly mixed “political opinions” with case-related discussions.

“Instant messages exchanged between Agent 1, who was one of the four Midyear case agents, and Agent 5, who was a member of the filter team,” as well as “instant messages sent by FBI Attorney 2, who was assigned to the Midyear investigation,” are specifically flagged in the IG report.

The filter team was assigned to review documents for potential privilege issues, such as attorney-client matters.
“We found that the conduct of these five FBI employees brought discredit to themselves, sowed doubt about the FBI’s handling of the Midyear investigation, and impacted the reputation of the FBI,” the IG said.

Again, the IG report noted that it was unable to connect the officials’ apparent political bias to specific investigative decisions.

3. Investigators didn’t give a good reason for not pursuing laptops and cellphones belonging to Clinton’s senior aides

The IG asked investigators why they made no effort to obtain the personal devices that Clinton’s senior aides were using at the State Department, since those devices were “potential sources of Clinton’s … classified emails” or places where unauthorized classified emails were being stored.

In response, officials on the probe claimed that “the culture of mishandling classified information at the State Department” was so pervasive that it “made the quantity of potential sources of evidence particularly vast” — a rationale that the IG implied was unconvincing, because investigators could simply have obtained personal devices for a handful of key Clinton aides.

Investigators also claimed the State Department would be the better agency to handle that kind of deep-dive into Clinton’s emails.

In the end, Horowitz concluded that the issue was a “judgment call” and that there was no evidence improper political considerations influenced investigators’ decisions.

4. Despite Clinton connections, former Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe didn’t fully recuse themselves

The IG report focused on two top investigative officials’ connections to Hillary Clinton: ex-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and former Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik.

Kadzik exercised “poor judgment” by failing to immediately recuse himself as the Clinton probe unfolded, even after he sought employment for his son at her campaign, the watchdog wrote.

Additionally, Kadzik’s decision to provide Clinton campaign chair John Podesta the schedule for a court-ordered release of some of Clinton’s emails “raised a reasonable question about his ability to act impartially on Clinton-related matters in connection with his official duties” — even though it later became clear the information was public.

Horowitz also noted that Kadzik didn’t fully honor his supposed recusal in November 2016.

“Though Kadzik said he told his deputies … that he was recused, emails show that Kadzik subsequently sent and received emails about Clinton-related matters,” Horowitz wrote.
Meanwhile, McCabe, whose wife Jill has ties to then-Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and unsuccessfully sought a state Senate seat in Virginia in 2015 as a Democrat, was not obligated to recuse himself during the probe, the IG report found.

5. ‘Insubordinate’ Ex-FBI Director James Comey repeatedly violated policy and inaccurately described the legal situation surrounding Clinton’s emails

Former FBI head James Comey had an apparently strong desire to avoid confronting authority figures with his concerns about their behavior, even as he nurtured a habit of going around the chain of command and violating long-standing departmental policies, the IG report found.

In testimony before Congress and elsewhere, for example, Comey claimed that he had been pressured by former Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch to call the Clinton investigation a “matter” in 2015, rather than an investigation.

But Horowitz noted that others present who heard Lynch’s instruction did not interpret her as trying to downplay the investigation, but instead to standardize language for personnel purposes. Perhaps more significantly, the IG report found that Comey seemed to have kept his concerns entirely to himself.

Comey, whom President Trump has called a “slimeball,” also failed to act appropriately on his concerns about the infamous airport tarmac meeting between then-Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton in the waning days of the email probe, according to Horowitz.

But the IG’s most substantial criticisms of Comey centered around his decision to stage a dramatic press conference in the summer of 2016, in which he announced that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring criminal charges against Hillary Clinton, even as he acknowledged she had been “extremely careless” in her handling of classified information.”

“Comey’s unilateral announcement was inconsistent with Department policy, usurped the authority of Attorney General, and did not accurately describe the legal position of the Department prosecutors,” the IG report said.

The ex-FBI director made a similarly “serious error in judgment” by sending a letter to Congress announcing the reopening of the Clinton probe just days before the 2016 presidential election, according to the report.

“We found that it was extraordinary and insubordinate for Comey to conceal his intentions from his superiors, the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, for the admitted purpose of preventing them from telling him not to make the statement, and to instruct his subordinates in the FBI to do the same.”

The rebuke was a particularly scathing one for Comey, who has cultivated his image as a responsible and strong leader since leaving office.

6. Former Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch made errors in judgment during the Clinton probe

Horowitz also charged that Lynch similarly made multiple errors in judgment during the probe.

The DOJ watchdog was especially critical not just of Lynch’s decision to hold court with the president on the Phoenix tarmac, but also her decision to retain involvement in the probe despite the appearance of bias.

“Although we found no evidence that Lynch and former President Clinton discussed the Midyear investigation or engaged in other inappropriate discussion during their tarmac meeting on June 27, 2016, we also found that Lynch’s failure to recognize the appearance problem created by former President Clinton’s visit and to take action to cut the visit short was an error in judgment,” the IG wrote.

7. FBI agents’ actions surrounding the DOJ/FBI interview of Hillary Clinton were ‘inappropriate’ and created appearance of bias

Lisa Page, the Special Counsel to the Deputy Director of the FBI, sent messages to FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok, ex-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and another FBI employee suggesting that the agency limit the number of people attending the critical in-person interview with Clinton as the investigation wrapped up, the IG report said.

Page’s chief consideration was that Clinton would be angry at the FBI upon becoming president, which the IG flags as an “inappropriate” consideration.

“[S]he might be our next president,” Page wrote, in urging that the number of people at the interview be limited to four or six. “The last thing you need us going in there loaded for bear. You think she’s going to remember or care that it was more doj than fbi?”

While the IG report found that Page’s text did not appear to influence the number of attendees at the Clinton interview, since eight officials attended from the FBI and DOJ, the report nonetheless said her considerations were improperly political.

“Suggesting that investigative decisions be based on this consideration was inappropriate and created an appearance of bias,” the IG wrote.

Additionally, the IG notes that it was “inconsistent with typical investigative strategy” for the FBI to allow former Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills and ex-campaign staffer Heather Samuelson to sit in on the Clinton interview.

“We questioned why the Department and FBI allowed Mills and Samuelson, two percipient witnesses (one of whom, Mills, herself had classified information transit through her unclassified personal email account) attend Clinton’s interview, even if they had also both served as lawyers for Clinton after they left the State Department,” the IG wrote.

While the report does not definitively find that political bias motivated the decision to allow Mills and Samuelson in the interview, `it recommends improvements to the DOJ and FBI’s handling of similar situations in the future.

“[T]here are serious potential ramifications when one witness attends another witness’s interview,” the IG notes.

igreport

 

FEDS EYE CLINTON: FBI reopens probe of Lynch/Clinton meeting

Washington, D.C. — The FBI has reconsidered it’s stance on a request for records relating to the now infamous tarmac meeting between former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former president Bill Clinton, says American Center for Law and Justice President Jay Sekulow.

Sekulow reveled the new developments in the case while appearing Wednesday on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” (http://video.foxnews.com/v/5542555329001/?#sp=show-clips) confirming that the FBI sent him a letter saying it had reopened his Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to the June 2016 meeting in Arizona.

The tarmac meeting outraged Republicans who alleged that Lynch’s meeting with Clinton, who’s wife Hillary was at the time the subject of an ongoing criminal probe into her use of a private server to store and send classified emails, was inappropriate.

One week after the meeting, then-FBI Director James Comey called out Clinton’s actions as “extremely careless” but declined to recommend charges. The criminal investigation was closed shortly thereafter. Both Lynch and Clinton claimed at the time that the meeting on the tarmac of a Phoenix airport was coincidental and that the criminal probe into the former Secretary of State was not discussed.

“While we appreciate that the FBI has ‘reopened’ the case file and is now ‘searching’ for documents responsive to our duly submitted FOIA request from more than a year ago, it stretches the bounds of credulity to suggest that the FBI bureaucracy just discovered that ‘potentially responsive’ records ‘may exist’ on its own accord,” Sekulow said in a released statement (https://aclj.org/government-corruption/breaking-fbi-reopening-aclj-foia-request-on-clinton-lynch-meeting-after-being-caught-in-a-lie).

“The FBI’s letter – dated one week after we publicly excoriated the FBI for lying to us when the Comey-led FBI told us last October that it had “no” records responsive to our request – now states that “records potentially responsive to your request may exist,” the statement continues.

“It is unbelievable that the FBI bureaucracy still only admits that some documents “may exist. We know they exist,” the statement went on.

Sekulow, said the ACLJ will continue to “press on in our legal fight to ensure that the details of the secret Clinton-Lynch meeting and the subsequent cover-up and withholding of information from the public comes to light.”

He added that his organization will continue to “legally hold the FBI’s feet to the fire” and that he is “willing to go to court to get (the records) if necessary.”

Upon being fired by President Trump partly due to his handling of the Clinton investigation, Comey told a congressional panel that Lynch directed him to describe the email probe as a “matter” and not an “investigation” and that the tarmac meeting was a “deciding factor” in his decision making in regard to the case.

clintonlynch

JUDICIAL WATCH: LORETTA LYNCH USED ALIAS IN EMAILS ABOUT CLINTON TARMAC MEETING

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Former attorney general Loretta Lynch used the alias “Elizabeth Carlisle” in email discussions regarding her now infamous tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton, reports Judicial Watch.

Lynch, who served as AG under Barack Obama’s administration during the FBI’s probe into then Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, met with former president Clinton at a Phoenix, Arizona airport just before the FBI announced it would not recommend charges against Donald Trump’s political rival.

Although the meeting raised many eyebrows in both legal and political circles, both Lynch and Clinton claimed at that time that the meeting was accidental and that the probe into whether Hillary Clinton had revealed classified information when using private email servers while secretary of state was never discussed.

However, new documents obtained by conservative watchdog groups Judicial Watch and American Center for Law and Justice reveal that Lynch used the alias “Elizabeth Carlisle” in discussing the controversy surrounding the meeting and how to best respond to the growing media frenzy surrounding it (http://media.aclj.org/pdf/Clinton-Lynch-Documents-1.pdf).

The emails were included in 413 pages obtained as a result of a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch seeking information about the June 27, 2016 meeting. Although Lynch officially denied any wrongdoing, it was later revealed that Lynch took great efforts to conceal the meeting, which was discovered by a reporter in Phoenix based on a tip.

After learning of the meeting, the Phoenix’s ABC News affiliate contacted the Justice Department to inquire about the possible conflict of interest. The Judicial Watch emails reveal that the reporter’s call touched off a mass panic to develop talking points to help quell the developing scandal.

In a statement, Lynch’s attorney, Robert Raben, confirmed to The Daily Caller (http://dailycaller.com/2017/08/07/here-is-the-alias-email-account-loretta-lynch-used-as-attorney-general/) on Monday that Lynch, in fact, used the pseudonym for the purpose of security, but denied any iniquity.

“That address was and is known to the individuals who process [Freedom of Information Act] requests; the practice, similar to using initials or numbers in an email, helps guard against security risks and prevent inundation of mailboxes,” Raben said.

When pushed for details on what was discussed during her meeting with Bill Clinton, Lynch claimed the two kept the conversation “light” and primarily discussed each other’s grandchildren.

It was later pointed out by critics of the story that Lynch, who has no children of her own, had no grandchildren to discuss.

trumplynchclinton

HE SAID; HE SAID: FIRED FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY ACCUSES TRUMP OF LIES; ADMITS TO BEING SOURCE BEHIND MEMO LEAK

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In one of the most anticipated testimonies to hit the nation’s capital in years, fired FBI director James Comey unleashed on his former boss today, accusing President Donald Trump of being, among other things, a liar.

Comey, who was discharged from his position as FBI director by Trump in May, came out swinging against the president, whom he accused of defaming him.

“I knew there might come a day when I might need a record of what happened not only to defend myself but to protect the FBI,” said Comey who called allegations by Trump that he was fired for incompetence in his handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation, “lies, plain and simple.”

Comey went on to testify that he believes he was fired because of the Russia investigation and that in a closed door meeting in February, Trump pressured him to ease off an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s communications with a Russian ambassador.

When pressed by Democrat members of the House Intelligence Committee, however, Comey told lawmakers that Trump never asked him to end the Russia investigation, which presented a serious blow to anti-Trump activists who hoped to gain ammunition to use toward impeachment.

“Not to my understanding, no,” Comey replied, when asked by Committee Chairman Richard Burr, (R)-N.C if the president even once asked him to pull back on the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

In some of the most shocking testimony of the day, Comey admitted to orchestrating leaks to the press in the hope of prompting the appointment of a special prosecutor in the FBI’s Russia probe.

“The president tweeted on Friday after I got fired that I better hope there’s not tapes,” Comey testified. “I woke up in the middle of the night on Monday night cause it didn’t dawn on me originally that there might be corroboration for our conversation, and my judgement was I needed to get that out into the public square and so I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter, didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.“

Trump allies and family members were quick to respond to the allegation with Donald Trump, Jr., tweeting,” Did I miss something or did Comey just say he asked a friend to leak information to the press? Is this a joke?”

Another major revelation that surfaced from Comey’s testimony was his admission that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch ordered him to describe the Hillary Clinton email probe as a “matter,” instead of an investigation in an effort to align the DOJ’s comments with those of the Clinton campaign.

After his testimony was over, Trump spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders was quick to condemn Comey’s comments, telling reporters at a press briefing, “I can definitively say the president is not a liar.”

The president’s long time personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz, also hit back at Comey’s allegations and hinted that the former FBI boss may be facing jail time of his own.

Speaking at a post-testimony press conference, Kasowitz said (https://rebekahworsham.org/2017/06/08/potus-swings-back-trumps-attorney-issues-formal-response-to-allegations-put-forth-by-james-comey/):

“Today, Mr. Comey admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the President. The leaks of this privileged information began no later than March 2017 when friends of Mr. Comey have stated he disclosed to them the conversations he had with the President during their January 27, 2017 dinner and February 14, 2017 White House meeting. Today, Mr. Comey admitted that he leaked to friends his purported memos of these privileged conversations, one of which he testified was classified. He also testified that immediately after he was terminated he authorized his friends to leak the contents of these memos to the press in order to “prompt the appointment of a special counsel.” Although Mr. Comey testified he only leaked the memos in response to a tweet, the public record reveals that the New York Times was quoting from these memos the day before the referenced tweet, which belies Mr. Comey’s excuse for this unauthorized disclosure of privileged information and appears to entirely retaliatory. We will leave it the appropriate authorities to determine whether this leaks should be investigated along with all those others being investigated.”

Referencing Comey’s testimony that Trump never asked Comey or anyone on his team to halt the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, allegations that Democrats have been putting forth for months, Kasowitz added that president “feels completely vindicated”.

HESAID