There has been a great deal of consternation, directed toward AG Jeff Sessions surrounding the ongoing FISA abuse scandal and the larger issues of unlawful DOJ and FBI conduct in their political investigation of candidate Donald Trump. It is a matter of great division amid people who follow the details.
That said, AG Jeff Sessions revealed tonight in an interview with Shannon Bream, that he previously appointed a DOJ official to investigate the issues delivered by Chairman Bob Goodlatte (House Judiciary), prior to receiving the request for a Special Counsel from Chairman Goodlatte and Trey Gowdy. WATCH:
Transcript @00:15 (emphasis mine) “Well, I have great respect for Mr. Gowdy and Chairman Goodlatte, and we are going to consider seriously their recommendations. 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.
Also I am well aware we have a responsibility to insure the integrity of the FISA process, we’re not afraid to look at that. The inspector general, some think that our inspector general is not very strong; but he has almost 500
employers, employees, most of which are lawyers and prosecutors; and they are looking at the FISA process. We must make sure that it’s done properly, and we’re going to do that. And I’ll consider their request.”
Well, there you have it. There is already an appointed person, likely a prosecutor, from “outside of Washington”, in place prior to the recent request for a Special Counsel by Goodlatte and Gowdy. That was exactly what an objective analysis of the events previously outlined – and we previously noted.
Attorney Jeff Sessions is noting the existence of an outside prosecutor who has been in place for quite a while, exactly as we thought. All the evidence of this was/is clear if you follow the granular details closely. Here’s how we figure it out; and also the reason why no-one in Washington DC -including congress and the president- was previously aware.
♦#1) The DOJ Inspector General (Michael Horowitz) has an obligation to notify his superiors when he/she discovers illegal activity, or conduct that is likely unlawful, while conducting an internal investigation. The IG cannot sit on knowledge or evidence of likely criminal conduct, just because he/she is conducting an investigation. This is the same reason why IG Horowitz had to inform Special Counsel Robert Mueller in July of 2017 of the potentially unlawful conduct of members on his team (Lisa Page and Peter Strzok).
♦#2) The same people under investigation within the IG purview (FBI and DOJ officials) are transparently cooperating with the Inspector General. That cooperation, in combination with a likelihood of unlawful conduct, would require a DOJ official (prosecutor) to be assigned to negotiate and outline the DOJ legal terms of investigative compliance. The person negotiating the terms for cooperation would NOT be the Inspector General; because of the potential for criminal charges related to the investigated individuals, it would be the job of a DOJ career prosecutor to comply with legal needs.
♦#3) Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bruce and Nellie Ohr and Bill Priestap have quotes inside the HPSCI memos. Those quotes come from investigative interviews; no congressional committee has interviewed those persons. Those would be a few of the people in #2 above; and their testimony to Horowitz and a DOJ Prosecutor, would make them witnesses in a criminal investigation. That explains why they have not given interviews to congressional committees. The DOJ needs to keep the integrity of their testimony inside the investigative unit. (ie. in the control of the DOJ official from outside Washington that Jeff Sessions notes).
♦#4) President Trump is the chief executive over the DOJ and FBI; however, in this odd dynamic he is also the victim within the conspiracy as potentially outlined by the investigation. Therefore, again to protect the integrity of the investigation and witness testimony, the victim would be kept at arms length and not informed of the criminal investigation. That’s why POTUS Trump doesn’t know; and AG Sessions must keep distance from any discussion with the executive due to this separation.
♦#5) Cooperating witness testimony in a criminal investigation also means congress would not know of the details. Congress (Nunes, Gowdy and Goodlatte) wouldn’t even know a criminal investigation was opened. The prosecutor works parallel with, but separate from, the IG investigation. Congress would know of the IG, but not the prosecutor. This interview by AG Sessions is the first indication congress would have of a DOJ official already looking at the criminal issues.
♦#6) And the most transparent reason why we know there’s a DOJ prosecutor already on the case is because Jeff Sessions just said there was.
Here’s the U.S. Code explaining the power of the Inspector General – SEE HERE
Additionally on February 27th, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions held a press briefing to announce the opioid task force (video below). During the Q&A segment of the presser, Fox News Catherine Herridge asked AG Sessions if the FISA court abuses outlined by Chairman Devin Nunes, Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Chairman Chuck Grassley would be investigated by the DOJ.
Attorney General Sessions affirms the FISA court abuse by the DOJ and FBI will indeed be investigated and prosecuted and directed attention to Inspector General Michael Horowitz. [watch at 37:57 of video – prompted]
This February 27th mention by AG Jeff Sessions WAS NOT NEWS.
This earlier admission is exactly what those who have followed closely will note has seemed to be the direction since mid-year 2017. As AG Sessions affirms, IG Horowitz is NOT limited in scope. Horowitz is investigating *all* avenues of politicization within the DOJ and FBI and abuse therein; this includes FISA abuse. Add this to General Sessions’ answer today about the appointment of a DOJ official from outside Washington, and you can clearly see the IG and appointed prosecutor have been working together for quite some time.
Likely since the time when IG Horowitz informed the AG and AAG that he may have discovered significant evidence of unlawful conduct within the DOJ and FBI. That would be around July/August 2017.
More visibility of the prosecutor is clear within the timeline:
January 4th, 2018, an agreement was finally made between House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and DOJ Asst. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for complete disclosure of all unredacted documents AND a list of witnesses who Nunes wanted the HPSCI to question.
Included in those names was: FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who exchanged anti-Trump text messages during an affair and previously worked on the special counsel’s Russia probe; FBI general counsel James Baker, who was reassigned; FBI head of counterintelligence Bill Priestap, whom ex-FBI boss James Comey testified made the decision not to brief Congress about the Russia case during last year’s election; and Bruce Ohr, a DOJ official reassigned after concealing meetings with figures involved in the dossier.
The January 4th agreement between Devin Nunes and Rod Rosenstein was made after a great deal of back-and-forth. Chairman Nunes then documented the agreement in a letter.
On January 8th, Bruce Ohr was demoted for the second time. [AND DOJ officials scheduled Bruce Ohr to be available to Devin Nunes on January 17th]
On January 9th, the DOJ provided the unredacted DOJ/FBI documents requested to Chairman Nunes; the documents the DOJ produced surrounded the Clinton-Steele Dossier and the FISA Title-1 application. The documents were assigned to a SCIF in the basement of the House. Those documents become the basis for Chairman Nunes to outline his memo; essentially a declassification request to the White House written by Trey Gowdy.
As a result of the agreement between Rod Rosenstein and Devin Nunes, one member from each side of the HPSCI aisle (one Democrat and one Republican) was permitted to review the original FISA application documents which included the Clinton-Steele dossier use therein.
Trey Gowdy and Adam Schiff were the two Intel committee members who reviewed. (Remember, this is January 9th, 2018) [Only Gowdy, Schiff, Ratcliffe and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte reviewed the original FISA documents]
A week later, January 16th, 2018, Chairman Nunes postponed the witness interview with DOJ official Bruce Ohr scheduled for the next day, January 17th.
Instead, on January 18th, 2018, the HPSCI voted to allow all members of the House to review the Nunes-Gowdy Memo created after the DOJ provided the documents (January 9th). [January 18th THROUGH February 2nd was #ReleaseTheMemo]
Now remember, throughout this time none of those prior agreed-upon FIVE witnesses (Strzok, Page, Priestap, Baker, Ohr) have been interviewed. Everyone’s attention shifted from witness testimony to the Memo; and as Democrat Eric Swalwell stated, no witness was interviewed. Period. [<- key point].
So to summarize so far: during January all the DOJ documents arrived, the HPSCI (Nunes) memo was written, released, declassified and released to the public on February 2nd, 2018 – but no witnesses testified. [Nunes Memo – Link]
So the question becomes:
How does the exact testimony (including quotes) of Bruce Ohr, and Bill Priestap become part of the Nunes Memo if neither Bruce Ohr or Bill Priestap was ever interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee?
Who is doing the interrogations of Bill Priestap and Bruce Ohr?
It’s not the HPSCI. It’s not the House Judiciary Committee and it’s not the Senate (Chuck Grassley). [Remember Grassley is relying on responsive FD-302’s provided by the FBI.]
See where this is going? The investigative unit of the IG is providing congress with transcripts of testimony from IG investigators (DOJ and FBI employees within the OIG); with the review, control and approval of the DOJ outside prosecutor.
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz has interviewed these witnesses, likely with his appointed DOJ prosecutor, and extracted testimony. This explains why Devin Nunes changed his approach after discussion with AAG Rod Rosenstein and was no longer in a hurry to interview the FIVE? (Strzok, Page, Ohr, Baker and Priestap).
Let me remind everyone that each of the aforementioned names is still within the system. Unlike Mike Kortan, David Laufman, Sally Yates, James Rybicki or Andrew McCabe, none of the five (Strzok, Page, Ohr, Baker, Priestap) have been removed. Peter Strzok is in FBI HR; Lisa Page is doing something; Bruce Ohr and James Baker are holding down chairs somewhere; and Bill Priestap is still Asst. FBI Director in charge of counterintelligence.
It doesn’t go unnoticed the media are transparently not following up on Peter, Lisa, Bruce Jim or Bill. No satellite trucks in front of their houses etc.; no pounding on their doors for comment etc. Nothing.
Further, ask yourself why Inspector General Michael Horowitz (or someone thereabouts) began to advance upon the entire ‘Trump operation’ with releases of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page text messages? Why them? Surely, other collaborative communication was also captured, yet we only heard of Page and Strzok. Why?
The text message release was strategic. It was intended to substantiate the entire enterprise, put the ‘small group on notice’ and flush out the co-conspirators. The downstream exits of Kortan, Laufman, Rybicki, McCabe et al are evidence therein.
Additionally, the OIG (Horowitz) would want to keep the testimony of Page, Strzok, Ohr, Baker and Priestap away from the Democrat politicians, well known leakers, within the House Intelligence Committee (ie. Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff) until he was certain their usefulness as witnesses was exhausted.
The reason for this is transparently simple. The OIG is a division inside the Department of Justice. During an internal investigation if the IG becomes aware of unlawful activity he/she is obligated to inform the AG (Sessions) or AAG (Rosenstein). He can’t ignore it and he cannot delay notification of it. Unlawful activity must be reported.
The IG does not have legal or prosecutorial authority – the IG must immediately refer unlawful activity to the proper authority; essentially to his boss. A DOJ prosecutor is then assigned to work with the IG (as Jeff Sessions confirmed today) and essentially creates a parallel investigation focused only on the law-breaking part.
[That prosecutor could, likely would, then begin a Grand Jury proceeding; and no-one outside the AG, AAG, and the ‘outside’ prosecutor’s office would know.]
The prior testimony/statements to the IG by the fab-five would explain why AAG Rod Rosenstein was negotiating with Devin Nunes; would explain why Rosenstein was reluctant to allow testimony; and would also explain why Nunes came away from those negotiations with wind in his investigative sails.
The DOJ (Rod Rosenstein) needs to wall-off the politics (Nunes/Congress) from the ongoing criminal investigation (DOJ-OIG-Prosecutor) to preserve the integrity of his advancing and assembling case (including criminal witness testimony).
As soon as he understood this was going on, and after a review of the FISA documents – Nunes dropped his demand for immediate testimony by the fab-five to the HPSCI mid-January. [A record is already established]
As a person familiar with such specific investigative measures recently shared:
“They are sat down, told to not do anything, say anything or discuss anything UNTIL they get an attorney. At which time, the attorney is handed a letter from the investigating unit. That letter says in essence, this is how screwed you are. If you want to be less screwed you will sign this letter of cooperation and assist us. When we don’t need you, you sit there. When we do we will call you and you will provide what we need. Any deviation from this agreement lands you in jail for the full term.”
Additionally regarding Bruce and Nellie Ohr:
“The Republican memo states they turned over all their work and testified to someone that Bruce Ohr met with Christopher Steele and Steele was saying he didn’t want Trump in office. They didn’t testify to a Congressional committee, so it had to be the IG.”
The already existing “outside DOJ official” outlined by AG Sessions, is the person who would be constructing the witness agreements with approval of his DOJ bosses, Rosenstein and Sessions.
All of the news and information coming forward, including the lack of follow-up attention by the Democrats regarding the minority HPSCI memo, aligns with a very specific set of facts. Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, James Baker, Bill Priestap, Bruce Ohr and likely Nellie Ohr, have cut some kind of deal with the outside prosecutor for process leniency in exchange for cooperation with the IG and DOJ prosecutor.
Thereby the Fab-Five have provided the IG investigative team and the DOJ prosecutor with sworn statements and testimony which is highlighted in investigative communication between the DOJ and Chairman Nunes; and we see snippets surfacing in the Nunes memo. That perspective explains everything seen and not seen.
It is likely the final investigative summary from the Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General (DOJ-OIG), Michael Horowitz, is going to be very encompassing. It is also likely to be immediately followed-up by actions, perhaps immediate indictments, from the DOJ Prosecutor who Jeff Sessions brought in from outside Washington.
There is no need for a “Special Counsel” when a DOJ Prosecutor is already working with IG Horowitz. The “outside prosecutor” can begin issuing subpoenas for Grand Jury testimony and statements by the officials no longer within the DOJ/FBI, just as soon as the IG report is finished.