‘I’ll make sure Andy tells Mike to keep these in his pocket’
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it received 186 pages of records from the Department of Justice that include emails documenting an evident cover up of a chart of potential violations of law by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Judicial Watch obtained the records through a January 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed after the DOJ failed respond to a December 4, 2017 FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00154)). Judicial Watch is seeking all communications between FBI official Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page.
The newly obtained emails came in response to a May 21 order by U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton to the FBI to begin processing 13,000 pages of records exchanged exclusively between Strzok and Page between February 1, 2015, and December 2017. The FBI may not complete review and production of all the Strzok-Page communications until at least 2020.
- Three days after then-FBI Director James Comey’s press conference announcing that he would not recommend a prosecution of Mrs. Clinton, a July 8, 2016 email chain shows that, the Special Counsel to the FBI’s executive assistant director in charge of the National Security Branch, whose name is redacted, wrote to Strzok and others that he was producing a “chart of the statutory violations considered during the investigation [of Clinton’s server], and the reasons for the recommendation not to prosecute…”
[Redacted] writes: I am still working on an additional page for these TPs that consist of a chart of the statutory violations considered during the investigation, and the reasons for the recommendation not to prosecute, hopefully in non-lawyer friendly terms …
Strzok forwards to Page, Jonathan Moffa and others: I have redlined some points. Broadly, I have some concerns about asking some our [sic] senior field folks to get into the business of briefing this case, particularly when we have the D’s [Comey’s] statement as a kind of stand alone document. In my opinion, there’s too much nuance, detail, and potential for missteps. But I get they may likely be asked for comment.
[Redacted] writes to Strzok, Page and others: The DD [Andrew McCabe] will need to approve these before they are pushed out to anyone. At the end of last week, he wasn’t inclined to send them to anyone. But, it’s great to have them on the shelf in case they’re needed.
[Redacted] writes to Strzok and Page: I’m really not sure why they continued working on these [talking points]. In the morning, I’ll make sure Andy [McCabe] tells Mike [Kortan] to keep these in his pocket. I guess Andy just didn’t ever have a moment to turn these off with Mike like he said he would.
Page replies: Yes, agree that this is not a good idea.
Neither these talking points nor the chart of potential violations committed by Clinton and her associates have been released.
- On May 15, 2016, James Rybicki, former chief of staff to Comey, sends FBI General Counsel James Baker; Bill Priestap, former assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division; McCabe; Page; and others an email with the subject line “Request from the Director.”
Rybicki writes: By NLT [no later than] next Monday, the Director would like to see a list of all cases charged in the last 20 years where the gravamen of the charge was mishandling classified information.
It should be in chart form with: (1) case name, (2) a short summary for content (3) charges brought, and (4) charge of conviction.
If need be, we can get it from NSD [National Security Division] and let them know that the Director asked for this personally.
Please let me know who can take the lead on this.
Page forwards to Strzok: FYSA [For your situational awareness]
Strzok replies to Page: I’ll take the lead, of course – sounds like an espionage section question… Or do you think OGC [Office of the General Counsel] should?
And the more reason for us to get feedback to Rybicki, as we all identified this as an issue/question over a week ago.
Page replies: I was going to reply to Jim [Rybicki] and tell him I can talked [sic] to you about this already. Do you want me to?
- A July 22, 2016, email exchange, among Strzok, Page, Moffa and other unidentified FBI and DOJ officials, shows that Beth Wilkinson, an attorney for several top Clinton aides during the server investigation, wanted a conference call with the DOJ/FBI and that she was “haranguing” the FBI/DOJ about the return of laptops in the FBI’s possession:
A Wilkinson Walsh attorney, emails [Redacted] FBI National Security Division Officials: We wanted to follow up on our conversation from a few days ago. We would like to schedule a time to speak with both you and [Redacted] early next week. Is there a time on Monday or Tuesday that could work on your end?
[Redacted] FBI National Security Division official emails: See below. I am flexible on Monday and Tuesday. [Redacted] can chime in with her availability. It is my understanding that Toscas [George Toscas, who helped lead Midyear Exam] may have called over to Jim or Trisha [former Principal Deputy General Counsel Trisha Anderson] regarding some high-level participation for at least the first few such calls. I am happy to discuss further but wanted to send you this so you could raise within the OGC [Office of the General Counsel] and give me a sense of scheduling options. I am around if you want to talk.
[Redacted] FBI National Security Division official writes: In the meantime, I’ll tell Hal that we will certainly schedule a call and will get back to him as to timing. Since he knows Beth [Wilkinson] personally, it could be useful to have Jim on the phone if she is going to be haranguing us re: the laptops.
[Redacted] FBI Office of the General Counsel writes: More…I guess this is [Redacted’s] rationale for why we need to have the GC on the call to discuss the fact that we will be following all of our legal obligations and FBI policies/procedures with regard to the disposition of the materials in this case.
Strzok writes: You are perfectly competent to speak to the legal obligations and FBI policy/procedures. We should NOT be treating opposing counsel this way. We would not in any other case.
- In an April 12, 2016, email exchange initiated by an email from Strzok to [Redacted] within the Justice Department’s National Security Division (NSD), Strzok asks the NSD official if he’d like to add anything to the agenda of a meeting to occur three days later between FBI and DOJ attorneys.
[Redacted] NSD official responds: Would like to see what you have on your agenda so we could see what we might want to add on our end. I will mention to [Redacted]. Also interested in understanding FBI OGC’s analysis of the privilege and ethics issues we are facing.
Strzok forwards to Page: Pretty nonresponsive.…
Page responds: Why provide them an agenda? I wouldn’t do that until you have a sense of how Andy [McCabe] wants to go. So no. We’ll talk about what we’re going to talk about and then they can talk about what they want to talk about. Also, seriously Pete. F him. OGC needs to provide an analysis? We haven’t done one. But they seem to be categorical that it’s just impossible, I’d just like to know why.
And now I’m angry before bed again.?
Total indulgence, there’s a TV in here. Here’s hoping I can find something to sufficiently melt my brain???
Strzok replies: Because I want to make this productive! Why NOT provide them an agenda!?!? We all talk about what we want to talk about and that’s a waste of time.
They haven’t done one either (legal analysis)
Assume noble intent.
How do we maximize this use of time?
Page writes: I’m ignoring all this and going to bed.
Strzok and Page were discussing a meeting that the Justice Department and FBI were about to have concerning, among other things, “privilege and ethics issues we are facing.”
- On July 12, 2016, Eugene Kiely, the director of FactCheck.org, emailed the FBI about inconsistencies he’d identified between Comey’s congressional testimony and statements by Clinton and her campaign about her deletion of emails. Kiely noted that Comey testified to the House that Clinton did not give her lawyers any instructions on which of her emails to delete, whereas Clinton herself told the press that she made the decision on which emails should be deleted. Kiely also pointed out that Comey said in his testimony that there were three Clinton emails containing classification “portion markings,” whereas the State Department had said there were only two Clinton emails with classification markings. Kiely’s inquiry set off an internal discussion at the top of the FBI on how to respond to his questions.
Strzok writes: “We’re looking into it and will get back to you this afternoon; the answer may require some tweaking, the question is whether this is the forum to do it.” The email is addressed to FBI intelligence analyst Moffa; Rybicki; Michael Kortan, FBI assistant director for public affairs, now retired; Lisa Page and others.
Strzok’s suggested press response is fully redacted, but included is his deferral to the “7th floor as to whether to release to this reporter or in another manner.”
When asked “should we provide any additional information to FactCheck.org or would any updates more appropriately be give [sic] directly to Congress?” Strzok defers to “Jim/Lisa [Page]” and [Redacted].
- In response to a March 29, 2016, article in The Hill, forwarded by Strzok to Page, reporting that Judge Royce Lamberth ordered limited discovery for Judicial Watch in its lawsuit against the State Department for Clinton’s emails (related to the Benghazi attack) – and thus opening Clinton up to possible depositions by Judicial Watch – Page responds simply: “Oh boy.”
“Judicial Watch caught the FBI in another cover-up to protect Hillary Clinton,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These records show that the FBI is hiding a chart detailing possible violations of law by Hillary Clinton and the supposed reasons she was not prosecuted.”
Judicial Watch recently released 215 pages of records from the DOJ revealing former FBI General Counsel James Baker discussed the investigation of Clinton-related emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop with Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall. Baker then forwarded the conversation to his FBI colleagues. The documents also further describe a previously reported quid pro quo from the Obama State Department offering the FBI more legal attaché positions if it would downgrade a redaction in an email found during the Hillary Clinton email investigation “from classified to something else.”