WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) was joined by Representatives Mark Meadows (R, NC-11), Jim Jordan (R, OH-4), Ron Desantis (R, FL-6), Matt Gaetz (R, FL-1) and other Members of Congress announcing the introduction of a 12-page House Resolution (H-RES 907) detailing misconduct at the highest levels of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with regards to FISA Abuse, how and why the Hillary Clinton email probe ended, and how and why the Donald Trump-Russia probe began. The Resolution, sponsored by 25 Members of Congress, calls for the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate the misconduct that took place.
“19 [now 25] Members of Congress are introducing today a 12 page House resolution detailing misconduct at the highest levels of the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation with regards to FISA abuse, how and why the Hillary Clinton email probe ended and how and why the Donald Trump-Russia probe began.
This resolution also calls for the appointment of a Second Special Counsel to investigate this gross misconduct, with the understanding that the Justice Department cannot be expected to investigate itself.
It’s very important to note that the ranks of the DOJ and FBI are filled with amazing, patriotic Americans who love their job, take their oath seriously, and perform their jobs objectively and with much respect for the rule of law. These are historic, legendary agencies that require transparency and accountability regarding the misconduct that took place. It is important for these exceptional public servants and important agencies to continue their work moving forward stronger than ever before.
As the resolution states, “the concerns of the American people are serious and the issues requiring an immediate, unbiased, independent, and thorough investigation are broad.”
In just the past few days, we learned that the DOJ, FBI, or both appear to have planted at least one person into Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign to infiltrate and surveil the campaign. This action alone reminds us of just how necessary this resolution is as well as the appointment of a second special counsel.
First, we will discuss some of the misconduct related to how and why the Hillary Clinton email probe ended. Then we will get into details related to FISA abuse that took place, and finally, we will discuss the misconduct with regards to how and why the Donald-Trump Russia probe began.
With regards to Secretary Clinton, federal law, and State Department rules, regulations, and protocol were violated, with her use of a private email server in her Chappaqua, New York, home.
Official communications were transmitted on an unsecured server and included emails that contained classified information when they were sent, in addition to other emails which were retroactively deemed classified by the Department of State.
Former FBI Director James Comey has acknowledged that 65 of these illicit emails were classified as ‘‘Secret’’ and 22 were classified as ‘‘Top Secret’’.
There is significant evidence that the use of this private server by Secretary Clinton was meant to avoid compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) and done to obstruct justice by not having to turn over incriminating emails in the case of a subpoena.
Various sensitive emails subject to grand jury and congressional subpoenas were destroyed on Secretary Clinton’s private server through the use of ‘‘BleachBit’’ software and the destruction of hardware before they could be obtained by investigators in March 2015.
In a September 2015 meeting between then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and then-Director Comey, the Attorney General instructed Director Comey to refer to the Clinton email investigation as a ‘‘matter’’, thus watering down the severity of the investigation and aligning the Justice Department’s rhetoric with the messaging of the Clinton campaign.
Cheryl Mills, who served as Counselor and Chief of Staff to Hillary Clinton during her entire tenure as Secretary of State, was offered immunity from prosecution in exchange for access to her laptop that contained many of the questionable emails.
According to transcripts obtained by the Senate Judiciary Committee, former Director Comey was prepared to exonerate Hillary Clinton as early as April or May of 2016 when he began to draft a statement announcing the end of his investigation, before up to 17 key witnesses, including former Secretary Clinton and several of her closest aides, were even interviewed.
Comey contradicted these transcripts when he stated during sworn testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on September 28, 2016, that he made the decision not to recommend criminal charges for Secretary Clinton ‘‘after’’ she was interviewed by the FBI on July 2, 2016.
Director Comey, in the final draft of his statement, allowed FBI Agent Peter Strzok to replace ‘‘grossly negligent’’, which is legally punishable under Federal law, with ‘‘extremely careless’’, which is not legally punishable under Federal law.
Federal law states gross negligence in handling the nation’s intelligence can be punished criminally with prison time or fines (18 U.S.C. 793, 798).
There is also the June 27, 2016, covert, infamous meeting between AG Lynch and former President Bill Clinton aboard her plane on the tarmac in Phoenix, Arizona. Immediately thereafter, Hillary Clinton would be exonerated.
On July 5, 2016, Director Comey violated DOJ rules and unilaterally exonerated then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in a public statement to the media.
One day later, on July 6, 2016, an announcement followed from Attorney General Lynch that the DOJ investigation into then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would be formally closed with no criminal charges.
In September 2016, the FBI, during an examination of the personal laptop of former Congressman Anthony Weiner as part of an unrelated investigation into him sending sexually explicit messages to a teenage girl, discovered previously unexamined Department of State classified emails belonging to his spouse, top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
It took until October 28, 2016, for Director Comey to announce via a letter to the chairs of the relevant congressional committees that he was reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton, an additional, egregious
delay after the FBI failed to even examine the illicit emails after the FBI discovered them on Anthony Weiner’s computer.
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s wife, Dr. Jill McCabe, was running for Virginia State Senate at the time and, as of October 26th, had received $675,000 in donations from the Virginia Democratic Party and Common Good VA, the Leadership PAC controlled by Democratic Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton associate.
An investigation conducted by the Office of the DOJ Inspector General noted that on October 27, 2016, Director Comey required that Deputy Director McCabe remove himself from a conference call regarding the Clinton emails discovered on Anthony Weiner’s laptop to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest after media reports surfaced noting these questionable political donations.
Further investigation into whether then-FBI Deputy Director McCabe and other FBI officials sought to purposely delay the release of these illicit emails for politically motivated purposes is warranted.
Throughout the Obama Administration, the DOJ failed to fully investigate serious concerns surrounding former President Clinton, then-Secretary of State Clinton, and the Clinton Foundation’s connection to Russian company Uranium One, which received Department of State approval to purchase U.S. uranium mines in 2010.
Throughout Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, a family foundation controlled by the Chairman of Uranium One made $2,350,000 in contributions to the Clinton Foundation which were not publicly disclosed in violation of an agreement Secretary Clinton had with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors.
In 2010, while Russian State interests were working to both acquire a majority stake in Uranium One and to purchase American mines, Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 for a speech in Moscow by a Kremlin-linked Russian investment bank that was underwriting Uranium One stock.
A confidential informant who worked with the FBI to uncover bribery and other corruption related to the Uranium One matter was threatened with reprisal by the Justice Department under Attorney General Lynch when he tried to come forward in 2016.
The Senate Judiciary Committee launched a probe in October 2017 to investigate the Uranium One matter, including whether Federal departments and agencies such as the Department of State knew the FBI was looking into possible corruption before the deal was approved.
An investigation conducted by the Office of the DOJ Inspector General noted that a multi-State investigation into the questionable dealings of the Clinton Foundation with corrupt donors was shut down in August 2016, when pressure was asserted on the FBI by senior officials within the Obama Justice Department.
The same Inspector General’s report also noted that shutting down this investigation into Clinton Foundation impropriety and influence peddling was connected to high ranking officials in the DOJ and FBI, including Attorney General Lynch, Director Comey, and Deputy Director McCabe.
The same Inspector General’s report also found that Deputy Director McCabe, after consenting to the political pressure to shut down the Clinton Foundation multi-State investigation, attempted to later use unauthorized leaks to the press to create a false narrative that he was opposed to the closure of the investigation and that he did this in an attempt to salvage his reputation following revelations of questionable Clinton-connected money being donated to his wife’s Virginia State Senate campaign.
In October 2016, the FBI and DOJ used politically biased, unverified sources to obtain warrants issued by the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (FISA Court) that aided in the surveillance of U.S. citizens, including Carter Page.
The warrants grant U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies sweeping power to collect bulk information and conduct ‘‘about collection’’, which results in surveillance of a broad array of private communications from the past, present, and future, including those of U.S. citizens not specifically targeted in the FISA authorized warrant.
To obtain these warrants, FBI and DOJ officials submitted an unverified dossier prepared by Christopher Steele to the FISA Court, failing to disclose that Christopher Steele was hired by the firm Fusion GPS, which was hired by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign to prepare this dossier and that the source was unreliable and was soon thereafter going to be terminated as a source.
The FISA Court was not informed that Christopher Steele was actively opposed to the election of Donald Trump, that he was the unnamed source cited in the media reports that the FBI used to corroborate his dossier, and that Fusion GPS had been hired to perform previous anti-Trump research efforts in 2015.
The Woods Procedures, which are the FBI’s mandatory vetting process required for all FISA warrant applications instituted to ensure that all the facts contained in an application are accurate and verified to clearly support probable cause for a warrant, were not followed.
Former Director Comey admitted in sworn testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 8, 2017, that material contained in the Steele dossier was known to be both ‘‘salacious’’ and ‘‘unverified’’.
Since FISA warrant applications are rarely turned down, are almost never subject to appeal, and are presented in closed court with no public record where the Government is not challenged by any defense, it is imperative that the Government take extra care to validate the information being utilized to build their case before they take the extraordinary step of waiving rights of a U.S. citizen without his or her knowledge or the opportunity to present a defense.
At the FISA Court, the Government has a responsibility not only to provide its best evidence in support of its case, but also to provide the best evidence against its case.
These deeply flawed and questionable FISA warrant applications utilizing illicit sources and politically biased intelligence were approved by DOJ and FBI officials at the highest levels before being submitted to the FISA Court.
It was further not disclosed to the FISA court that the wife of fourth-ranking DOJ official Bruce Ohr worked for Fusion GPS and that Christopher Steele directly transmitted the dossier and other information through Bruce Ohr for submission to the FISA court.
To this day there does not appear to be any evidence that President Trump colluded with the Russians to win the 2016 election. The initial FBI probe into the Trump Campaign and alleged collusion with Russia was launched in July 2016, based on questionable and insufficient intelligence and biased motivations.
The DOJ, FBI, or both appear to have planted at least one person into Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign to infiltrate and surveil the campaign.
Text messages exchanged between FBI Agent Strzok and FBI Counsel Lisa Page, during the period of August 16, 2015, to May 17, 2017, contain serious evidence of political bias and the improper handling of investigations within the agency.
Whereas the texts contain egregious evidence of bias against President Trump, including Lisa Page stating ‘‘Trump should go f himself’’ and Peter Strzok stating ‘‘F TRUMP’’.
Those text messages were not stored within the FBI archive system, an egregious oversight blamed on a technical glitch, and even after these messages were partially recovered by the Bureau’s Inspector General in January 2018, many unanswered questions remain regarding impropriety and bias.
Former Director Comey prepared a series of seven memoranda containing classified information, including notes on his conversations with President Trump.
Comey admitted in sworn testimony to the Senate Committee on Intelligence on June 8, 2017, that he had leaked this content to a personal friend and encouraged that friend to share the material with the press in order to trigger a Special Counsel investigation.
An investigation conducted by the Senate Judiciary Committee later revealed that the personal friend of Director Comey was Professor Daniel Richman of Columbia Law School and that Director Comey provided him with four of the seven memoranda.
Director Comey’s actions are a clear violation of non-disclosure agreements he signed as a condition of his appointment and a clear violation of FBI protocols regarding the dissemination of sensitive information outside of the Bureau which are based on provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a).
In March 2018, former FBI Deputy Director McCabe was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions who noted that Deputy Director McCabe ‘‘lacked candor—including under oath—on multiple occasions’’ and had partaken
in ‘‘unauthorized disclosure to the news media’’, among other violations noted in a report issued by the Office of the DOJ Inspector General after a wide-reaching investigation into Deputy Director McCabe’s conduct.
A myriad of DOJ and FBI personnel have been fired or demoted, or have resigned, including FBI Director Comey, Deputy Director McCabe, Chief of Staff to the Director James Rybicki, FBI General Counsel James Baker, FBI Agent Strzok, FBI Counsel Page, FBI Special Agent Josh Campbell, DOJ Senior Official Ohr, FBI Assistant Director Michael Kortan, and Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik.
The DOJ has failed to timely comply with several related document requests by Congress.
Providing Members of Congress with heavily redacted versions of some but not all of the documents demanded and offering Members limited in-person viewing of these documents is an inadequate response to repeated requests after months of delay by the DOJ.
As I prepare to introduce my colleagues for their remarks, in conclusion, I would just like to point out that while many in the media and American public have been trying to bring down the President of the United States without evidence that President Trump colluded with Russia to win election, there is a ton of actual evidence of real misconduct that those same people in the media and American public have been attempting to completely sweep under the rug.
I believe in equal scales of justice. That no one is above the law. That includes anyone regardless of last name and that even includes people at the highest levels of the DOJ and FBI especially when misconduct is committed in the performance of their duties while trying to take down elected officials and candidates. No official at the Justice Department can ever allow their own personal bias to overwhelm their own objectivity and responsible performance of their duties.
A second special counsel must be appointed and transparency and accountability is demanded for these great, legendary, historic agencies. With that they are sure to move forward stronger than ever before.”