Emails Show Dossier-Connected Top Obama State Department Officials Set ‘Face-to-Face’ Meeting on ‘Russian Matter’ in NY in September 2016

Judicial Watch

 

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch and The Daily Caller News Foundation today released 84 pages of documents, including a September 2016 email exchange between then-Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Special Coordinator for Libya Jonathan Winer, a close associate of dossier author Christopher Steele, discussing a “face-to-face” meeting on a “Russian matter.”

(In June 2016 Nuland permitted a meeting between Steele and the FBI’s legal attaché in Rome. Nuland told CBS News that the State Department knew about the Steele dossier by July 2016.)

According to an op-ed Winer wrote for The Washington Post in 2018, also in September 2016, “Steele and I met in Washington and discussed the information now known as the “dossier… I prepared a two-page summary and shared it with Nuland, who indicated that, like me, she felt that the secretary of state needed to be made aware of this material.”

The documents obtained by Judicial Watch also show that State Department officials continued to use unsecure BlackBerry devices for the transmission of classified material more than a year after Hillary Clinton’s use of an unsecure, non-government email system was revealed.

Judicial Watch obtained the documents in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed on April 25, 2018, on behalf of itself and the Daily Caller News Foundation against the State Department after it failed to respond to three separate FOIA requests (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:18-cv- 00968)). The lawsuit seeks:

  • All records of communications between State Department officials, including former Secretary of State John Kerry, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, on the one hand, and British National Christopher Steele and/or employees or contractors of Steele’s company, Orbis Business Intelligence, on the other hand.
  • All records and/or memoranda provided by Christopher Steele and/or his firm Orbis Business Intelligence or by others acting on Steele’s/Orbis’s behalf, to State Department officials.
  • Any and all records in the custody of the State Department related to the provision of documents to British national Christopher Steele and/or his firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, or the receipt of documents from Steele or his firm. Time period is January 20, 2009 through the present.
  • All records created in 2016 by Jonathan M. Winer relating to research compiled by Christopher Steele.

A September 17, 2016, email exchange between Nuland and Winer – that was classified in the interest of national defense or foreign policy – discusses the political situation in Libya, but also brings up a “Russian matter:”

From: Winer, Jonathan
Sent: September 17, 2016 at 12:40:00 PM EDT
To: Nuland, Victoria J
Subject: Re: Libya Update

Would like to discuss this and a Russian matter.

From: Nuland, Victoria J
Sent: Saturday, September 17, 2016 1:31 PM
To: Winer, Jonathan
Subject: Re. Libya Update

In ny face to face?

From: Winer, Jonathan
Sent: September 17, 2016 at 1:56:05 PM EDT
To: Nuland, Victoria J
Subject: Re: Libya Update

Yes that was [sic] be good.

From: Nuland, Victoria J
Sent: Saturday, September 17, 2016 1:58 PM
To: Winer, Jonathan
Subject: Re. Libya Update

Good. I’ll reach out when im there Sunday. [Redacted]

Other emails show senior State Department personnel using unsecure BlackBerrys to transmit classified information even after the Clinton email scandal became public.

“The Obama State Department was central to the effort to target President Trump with the Russia smear,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These new emails further show that senior Obama State Department advanced the Russiagate hoax just before the 2016 presidential election.”

Judicial Watch recently released 16 pages of documents revealing that Nuland and Winer coordinated with then-House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s (D-MD) national security advisor Daniel Silverberg to work on Russia dossier materials provided by Christopher Steele.

In December 2018, Judicial Watch released documents revealing that Nuland was involved in the Obama State Department’s urgent gathering of classified Russia investigation information and disseminating it to members of Congress within hours of Donald Trump taking office.

In a related lawsuit, Judicial Watch is suing the State Department communications between Ambassador Nuland and employees of Fusion GPS, as well as top ranking Department of Justice, FBI, and State Department officials.

Judicial Watch recently released 41 pages of documents from the State Department revealing that Winer, played a key role in facilitating Steele’s access to other top government officials, prominent international business executives. Winer was even approached by a movie producer about making a movie about the Russiagate targeting of President Trump.

Winer was implicated in working with Steele and Clinton associate Sidney Blumenthal to circulate the anti-Trump dossier.

Judicial Watch Sues for Secret FBI Chart of Potential Violations of Law by Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Judicial Watch

 

Also suing for Comey’s Talking Points On Clinton Email Decision

(Washington, DC) — Judicial Watch announced today it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Justice seeking draft copies of FBI charts containing information on potential “statutory violations” committed by Hillary Clinton in the former secretary of State’s use of a non-secure, non-government email server to conduct government business.

Judicial Watch is also suing for draft copies of talking points prepared by the FBI for its officials to use following then-Director James Comey’s July 2016 press conference during which he recommended against prosecuting Clinton for mishandling classified information.

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia after the DOJ failed to respond to a December 3, 2018, FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-00800)). Judicial Watch seeks:

  1. All final and draft copies of talking points prepared by the FBI for its Executive Assistant Directors (EADs) relating to the “Mid-Year Exam” investigation (“MYE Talking Points) following the July 5, 2016 James Comey press conference in which he indicated he would not recommend prosecuting Hillary Clinton.
  2. All final draft copies of a one-page version of the aforementioned MYE Talking Points created for FBI Special Agents-in-Charge (SACs).
  3. All final and draft copies of charts of the “statutory violations considered during the investigation [of Hillary Clinton’s server], and the reasons for the recommendation not to prosecute.”

Judicial Watch recently uncovered DOJ records in a related lawsuit showing that three days after then-FBI Director James Comey’s press conference announcing that he would not recommend a prosecution of Clinton. On July 8, 2016,  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…”

Neither these talking points nor the chart of potential violations committed by Clinton and her associates have been released.

“Judicial Watch will continue pressing for the secret FBI chart of potential Hillary Clinton crimes,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “The FBI should focus on this Clinton ‘matter’ now that it is unencumbered by the corrupt  partisanship of Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, etc.”

Judicial Watch Sues for ‘Coup’ Documents

Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Top DOJ Officials considered asking Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment in order to remove President Trump and discussed recording meetings with him

 

Judicial Watch

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice for all records of communication of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the Office of the Attorney General Jeff Sessions, or the Office of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussing the 25th Amendment or presidential fitness. Additionally, the lawsuit seeks all recordings made by any official in the Office of the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General of meetings in the Executive Office of the President or Vice President.

The suit was filed after the Justice Department failed to respond to three separate FOIA requests dated September 21, 2018 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-00388)). The lawsuit seeks all written and audio/visual records of any FBI/DOJ discussions regarding the 25th Amendment and plans to secretly record President Trump in the Oval Office.

On February 14, 2019, former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe stated in an interview with CBS that “there were conversations about the possibility of removing Trump under the 25th Amendment and confirming that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had offered to wear a wire around the president.”

After President Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey, reportedly top DOJ officials discussed whether to recruit cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office.

President Trump recently tweeted: “The biggest abuse of power and corruption scandal in our history, and it’s much worse than we thought. Andrew McCabe (FBI) admitted to plotting a coup (government overthrow) when he was serving in the FBI, before he was fired for lying & leaking.”

It was reported in September 2018 that Deputy Attorney General, Rod J. Rosenstein, suggested that he secretly record President Trump in the White House in an effort to invoke the 25th Amendment and have President Trump removed. Judicial Watch’s immediate follow-up FOIA requests were ignored.

“It is no surprise that we are facing an immense cover-up of senior FBI and DOJ leadership discussions to pursue a seditious coup against President Trump,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This effort to overthrow President Trump is a fundamental threat to our constitutional republic so Judicial Watch will do everything it can in the courts to expose everything possible about this lawlessness.”

###

Federal Court Orders Discovery on Clinton Email, Benghazi Scandal: Top Obama-Clinton Officials, Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes to Respond to Judicial Watch Questions Under Oath

Seven Other Top State Department/Clinton Aides Must also Respond to Judicial Watch Queries

 

Judicial Watch

(Washington, DC) — Judicial Watch announced today that United States District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that discovery can begin in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides will now be deposed under oath. Senior officials — including Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap — will now have to answer Judicial Watch’s written questions under oath. The court rejected the DOJ and State Department’s objections to Judicial Watch’s court-ordered discovery plan. (The court, in ordering a discovery plan last month, ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”)

Judicial Watch’s discovery will seek answers to:

  • Whether Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a non-government email system;
  • whether the State Department’s efforts to settle this case beginning in late 2014 amounted to bad faith; and
  • whether the State Department adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s FOIA request.

Discovery is scheduled to be completed within 120 days. The court will hold a post-discovery hearing to determine if Judicial Watch may also depose additional witnesses, including Clinton and her former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills.

Judge Lamberth ordered written responses under oath to Judicial Watch’s questions from Obama administration senior officials Rice, Rhodes and Sullivan, and former FBI official Priestap. Rice and Rhodes will answer interrogatories under oath on the Benghazi scandal. Rejecting the State and Justice Department objections to discovery on the infamous Benghazi talking points, Judge Lamberth reiterated:

Yet Rice’s talking points and State’s understanding of the attack play an unavoidably central role in this case: information about the points’ development and content, as well as their discussion and dissemination before and after Rice’s appearances could reveal unsearched, relevant records; State’s role in the points’ content and development could shed light on Clinton’s motives for shielding her emails from FOIA requesters or on State’s reluctance to search her emails.

Judicial Watch also may serve interrogatories on Monica Hanley, a former staff member in the State Department’s Office of the Secretary, and on Lauren Jiloty, Clinton’s former special assistant.

According to Lamberth’s order, regarding whether Clinton’s private email use while Secretary of State was an intentional attempt to evade FOIA, Judicial Watch may depose:

  1. Eric Boswell, the former Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security.… Boswell’s March 2009 memo to Mills … discusses security risks Clinton’s Blackberry use posed more generally. And Boswell personally discussed the memo with Clinton. So, he plainly has relevant information about that conversation and about his general knowledge of Clinton’s email use. Judicial Watch may depose Boswell.
  2. Justin Cooper. the Clinton Foundation employee who created the clintonemail.com server. In its proposal, Judicial Watch noted Cooper’s prior congressional testimony “appears to contradict portions of the testimony provided by Huma Abedin in the case before Judge Sullivan.” … Cooper repeatedly told Congress that Abedin helped set-up the Clintons’ private server, e.g., Examining Preservation of State Department Federal Records: [before a Congressional hearing] Abedin testified under oath she did not know about the server until six years later.… Judicial Watch may depose Cooper.
  3. Clarence Finney, the former deputy director of State’s Executive Secretariat staff…. [T]his case’s questions hinge on what specific State employees knew and when they knew it. As the principal advisor and records management expert responsible for controlling Clinton’s official correspondence and records, Finney’s knowledge is particularly relevant. And especially given the concerns about government misconduct that prompted this discovery, Judicial Watch’s ability to take his direct testimony and ask follow-up questions is critical.

***

Judicial Watch seeks to go beyond cursory, second-hand testimony and directly ask Finney what he knew about Clinton’s email use. This includes asking about emails suggesting he knew about her private email use in 2014, and emails he received concerning a December 2012 FOIA request from Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington (CREW) regarding senior officials’ personal email use-topics State’s 30(b)(6) deposition in Judge Sullivan’s case never addressed. Judicial Watch may depose Finney.

4. Heather Samuelson. the former State Department senior advisor who helped facilitate State’s receipt of Hillary Clinton’s emails.… [T]his case turns on what specific government employees knew and when they knew it. Judicial Watch must be able to take their direct testimony and ask them follow-up questions. Judicial Watch may depose Samuelson.

5. Jacob Sullivan. Secretary Clinton’s former senior advisor and deputy Chief of Staff. The government does not oppose Sullivan’s deposition.

Regarding whether the State Department’s settlement attempts that began in late 2014 amounted to “bad faith,” Judicial Watch was granted depositions from the State Department under Rule 30(b)(6); Finney; John Hackett, the former deputy director of State’s Office of Information Programs & Services; Gene Smilansky, an attorney-advisor within State’s Office of the Legal Advisor; Samuelson; and others.

Judicial Watch was also granted interrogatories on whether the State Department adequately searched for responsive records, as well as several document requests.

“In a major victory for accountability, Judge Lamberth today authorized Judicial Watch to take discovery on whether the Clinton email system evaded FOIA and whether the Benghazi scandal was one reason for keeping Mrs. Clinton’s email secret,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Today, Judicial Watch issued document requests and other discovery to the State Department about the Clinton email scandal. Next up, we will begin questioning key witnesses under oath.”

The court-ordered discovery is the latest development in Judicial Watch’s July 2014 FOIA lawsuit filed after the U.S. Department of State failed to respond to a May 13, 2014 FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)). Judicial Watch seeks:

  • Copies of any updates and/or talking points given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency concerning, regarding, or related to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
  • Any and all records or communications concerning, regarding, or relating to talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency.

The Judicial Watch discovery plan was in response to a December 6, 2018, ruling by Judge Lamberth.

Incredibly, Justice Department attorneys admit in a filing opposing Judicial Watch’s limited discovery that “Counsel for State contacted the counsel of some third parties that Plaintiff originally included in its draft discovery proposal to obtain their client’s position on being deposed.” This collusion occurred despite criticism from the Court that the DOJ engaged in “chicanery” to cover up misconduct and that career employees in the State and Justice Departments may have “colluded to scuttle public scrutiny of Clinton, skirt FOIA, and hoodwink this Court.”

Judicial Watch countered that “[t]he government’s proposal, which is really nothing more than an opposition to [Judicial Watch’s] plan, demonstrates that it continues to reject any impropriety on its part and that it seeks to block any meaningful inquiry into its ‘outrageous misconduct.’”

This Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit led directly to the disclosure of the Clinton email system in 2015.

###

Judicial Watch Lawsuit Seeks Records on Hillary Clinton’s Security Clearance

Judicial Watch

(Washington, DC) — Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. State Department requesting all records regarding the security clearance status of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and four of her top aides during her tenure at the State Department.

Clinton’s security clearance reportedly was withdrawn at her request on August 30 – which is nine days after Judicial Watch filed an August 21 FOIA request seeking information on the former Secretary of State’s security clearance status.

Judicial Watch filed its lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (1:18-cv-02496)) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the State Department failed to respond to the August 21 FOIA request seeking:

Any and all records concerning, regarding, or relating to the security clearance status of Clinton, Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, Jacob Sullivan and Phillipe Reines.

In a September 21 letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, Acting Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Charles S. Faulkner said that, at her request, Clinton’s security clearance was “administratively withdrawn” on August 30.

The letter added that, on September 20, security clearances were “administratively withdrawn” for Clinton aide Cheryl Mills and four other redacted names who “had been granted access to classified information through a request made by Secretary Clinton designating them as researchers.” The letter also suggests that Mrs. Clinton and her aides may have been cited for “valid security incidents.”

An October 12 news release from the Senate Judiciary Committee said that the news on Clinton’s security clearance was part of an update from the State Department of “its ongoing review of the mishandling of classified information related to the use of Clinton’s non-government email server…. Department authorities are continuing to review tens of thousands of documents for classified content.”

“The State Department needs to provide the full truth on the security clearances of Hillary Clinton and her top aides and why the agency allowed Mrs. Clinton to keep her clearance despite her mishandling of classified information and related false statements,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said.

Weekly Update: JW Exposes New Strzok Emails

Peter Strzok Insisted on Retaining His Ability to Leak Information
Judicial Watch Forces FBI To Take Steps to Preserve Comey Records
Judicial Watch Investigates Leftist Attacks on Israel

 

Judicial Watch

Peter Strzok Insisted on Retaining His Ability to Leak Information

We’ve learned something new about the disgraced former FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok. When he was being moved over to Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel Operation, Strzok insisted on retaining the clandestine perks of his job.

This was clear in 14 pages of documents we have received from the FBI. They show that Strzok demanded that he keep his high-level security authorizations when working with the Mueller Team. These documents also confirm that Strzok played a pivotal role in the flawed Hillary Clinton email investigation.

We received the records in response to our December 2017 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit that we filed after the FBI failed to respond to an August 17, 2017, FOIA request  (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Federal Bureau of Investigation (No. 1:17-cv-02682)). We were seeking:

  • All records regarding the assignment of FBI Supervisor Peter Strzok to the special counsel’s investigation led by former Director Robert Mueller.
  • All records related to the reassignment of FBI Supervisor Peter Strzok from the special counsel’s investigation to another position within the FBI.
  • This request includes, but is not limited to, any and all forms SF-50 and/or SF-52, as well as any and all related records of communication between any official, employee, or representative of the FBI and any other individual or entity.

A series of emails reveal Strzok’s insistence that he retain all the authorizations he held as a Deputy Assistant Director (DAD) in the counterintelligence division (CD), including his security clearance, after his reassignment to the special counsel’s office. In a July 13, 2017 email to numerous FBI officials, some of whose names are redacted, Strzok says:

Broadly, I need to be able to act at least in the capacity of my old CD DAD job – approve NSLs [national security letters], conduct [redacted] declassify information, [redacted] agent travel, requisitions, etc.  Of those, the most problematic and one of the most essential is declassification authority.

In response, FBI Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division William Priestap assures Strzok he will remain free to act just as he did while a deputy assistant director of the counterintelligence division and, further, that he will remain on the FBI’s books as a “floating DAD:”

In answer to your initial question, while assigned to the Special Counsel’s office, you will retain your CD DAD authorities, to include declassification authority.

Since you will take your non-transferrable declassification authority with you, CD will work to obtain another declassification authority slot for the DAD who is chosen to replace you.

Assuming the 7th floor approves, you will remain on CD’s books as a fourth (floating) DAD.  When you move on from your DAD position, your DAD slot will revert back to HRD.

These emails show that Strzok’s ‘assignment’ gave the Mueller Special Counsel operation special authorizations to target President Trump. We know Strzok can’t be trusted, and the Special Counsel should tell us if Strzok abused his special authorizations to target President Trump.

As Chris Farrell, our Director of Investigations and Research, told Lou Dobbs, “You notice that he’s emphatic about keeping his authority to declassify information. And the reason why he wants to declassify information? It’s so he can leak it.”

Strzok was reportedly removed from the Mueller investigative team in August 2017 and reassigned to a human resources position after it was discovered that he and FBI lawyer Lisa Page exchanged text messages during the Clinton investigation and campaign season that raise serious questions about his anti-Trump/pro-Clinton bias. They were also engaged in an extramarital affair.

Strzok oversaw the FBI’s interviews of former National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn. He changed former FBI Director James Comey’s language about Hillary Clinton’s actions regarding her illicit email server from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.” He also played a lead role in the FBI’s interview of Clinton and is suspected of being responsible for using the unverified dossier to obtain a FISA warrant in order to spy on President Trump’s campaign.

Judicial Watch Forces FBI To Take Steps to Preserve Comey Records

It’s a sad state of affairs when we can’t trust a Director of the FBI to do the right thing.

But that’s where we are. And so we asked the FBI to demand James Comey preserve government records he may have taken with him when he left the FBI director’s office.

In response, the FBI tells us it sent a letter to Comey requesting that he preserve federal records and return any agency records in his possession not already returned to the FBI. The letter was sent in response to our and the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) (our co-plaintiff and client) concerns that Mr. Comey kept government records on personal email accounts.

But the FBI refused to share the letter with us, so we followed up with a motion asking a federal court to issue an order for preservation. We argue that there is reason to be concerned that the responsive records could be lost or destroyed. We point out that in June 2018, the DOJ’s Inspector General stated, “We identified numerous instances in which Comey used a personal email account (a Gmail account) to conduct FBI business.”

The filing comes in an April 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed after the DOJ failed to respond to our May 2017 request and DCNF’s February 2018 request (Judicial Watch and The Daily Caller News Foundation v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00967)). The lawsuit is seeking:

  • All records written or ordered written by Comey summarizing his conversations with any of the following individuals: Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Senator Chuck Schumer, Representative Nancy Pelosi, and Senator John McCain.
  • All records that identify and describe all meetings between former FBI Director James Comey and President Barack Obama.

It is incredible that it took our prodding of the FBI for it to ask Mr. Comey to return federal records – over a year after he was fired. Mr. Comey continues to be protected by the FBI and DOJ. It is outrageous that the agencies oppose a simple preservation order to make sure no Comey records are lost or destroyed.

Judicial Watch Investigates Leftist Attacks on Israel

President Barack Obama’s prejudice against Israel is still reverberating in the halls of power in Washington. We’re trying to expose one aspect of that with a Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

We want all records of communications regarding anti-Israel group Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’ (BDS) efforts to lobby the Obama administration to adopt policies to harm companies doing business with Israel (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Defense (No. 1:18-cv-01721)).

We sued after all three agencies failed to respond to nearly identical April 23, 2018, FOIA requests seeking:

All emails to or from current or former officials in the [DOD, DHS, or State] Office of the Secretary containing the phrase “boycott divestment and sanctions.”

All emails to or from current or former officials in the [DOD, DHS, or State] Office of the Secretary containing both the terms “BDS” and “Israel.”

Here is the background. In February 2016 President Obama signed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 into law. It compels U.S. trade partners to cut ties to the BDS movement and protects Israel territories from illegal discrimination. But Obama announced:

Certain provisions of this Act, by conflating Israel and “Israeli-controlled territories,” are contrary to longstanding bipartisan United States policy, including with regard to the treatment of settlements.  Moreover, consistent with longstanding constitutional practice, my Administration will interpret and implement the provisions in the Act that purport to direct the Executive to seek to negotiate and enter into particular international agreements (section 414(a)(1)) or to take certain positions in international negotiations with respect to international agreements with foreign countries not qualifying for trade authorities procedures (sections 108(b), 414(a)(2), 415, and 909(c)) in a manner that does not interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct diplomacy.

Shortly after Obama signed the act, the Customs and Border Protection Bureau restated the West Bank Country of Origin Marking Requirement rules requiring labeling of goods as being from the “West Bank,” despite the fact that it is not a sovereign country. The Jerusalem Post later reported the restated rules were a result of several complaints filed by activists wanting the United States to follow policy guidelines distinguishing goods produced from Israel and the West Bank.

Proponents of the West Bank country-of-origin marking requirements claim it stems from “longstanding bipartisan U.S. policy” toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. First put in place in 1995 under the Clinton administration, the rule is to preserve the distinction between the goods produced in State of Israel and the good produced in the territories it controls over the Green Line.

The BDS movement is endorsed by the PLO and other anti-Israel groups encouraging an economic and cultural boycott of Israel.  It has gained the support of radical leftwing groups here in the United States.

Americans deserve to know if the Obama-era agenda of supporting anti-Israel radicals in subverting U.S. law is ongoing. These entrenched bureaucrats of the Deep State clearly require lawsuits to compel observance of FOIA law.

Until next week…

Obama Family Vacations, Campaigning Cost Taxpayers New Total over $114 Million

President Trump Travel Expenses are Now at $10,381,792.35

 

JUDICIAL WATCH

(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force and the Secret Service in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and two FOIA lawsuits for travel expenses by the families of former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump.

The total for Obama travel is $9,028,346.90 for this production of documents. Added to the previously released costs, the known total for travel expenses for the Obamas is now $114,691,322.17.

The total for President Trump’s travels in this production is $2,821,367.34. Added to the previously released costs, the known travel costs are now $10,381,792.35.

Judicial Watch obtained new Obama travel records from the Secret Service as the result of a May 2017 FOIA lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (No. 1:17-cv-01007)). Judicial Watch’s lawsuit produced the following travel records showing a total of $9,028,346.90 for Obama travel:

A pair of Obama family vacations the weekend of February 14, 2014, cost the Secret Service $272,192.91:

  • Michelle Obama’s annual trip to Aspen with her daughters – where she shut down the airport for an hour – cost $6,970 in air/rail, $5,614.99 in car rentals and $76,078.30 in hotels for a total of $88,663.29
  • President Obama’s annual golfing trip to Palm Springs included a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and cost $10,951 in air/rail, $10,166.79 in car rentals and $162,411.80 in hotels for a total of $183,529.62

Michelle Obama made two North Carolina trips in 2016 to campaign for Hillary Clinton. Air Force expenses total $40,902.40. In both trips, she took a C-40C military jet operating at $5,312 per hour.

  • Michelle Obama flew to Charlottesville then to Raleigh on October 4 for 2.1 hours at a total of $11,155.20
  • Michelle Obama flew roundtrip to Belville and then Salem on October 26 and 27 for a total of 5.6 hours at $29,747.20.

In July 2017, Judicial Watch filed a separate FOIA lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, for the Air Force and Secret Service travel expenditures for the Trump family during April 2017 and Obama family between January 2009 and January 2017 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Dept. of Defense and Dept. of Homeland Security (No. 1:17-cv-01341)).

Air Force and Secret Service records show President Obama’s annual trips to Chicago cost $7,444,780.78

  • During fiscal year 2015, Obama flew 9 hours at an operating cost of $206,337 per hour for a total of $1,857,033
  • During fiscal year 2016, Obama flew 5 hours at an operating cost of $180,118 per hour for a total of $900,590
  • During fiscal year 2017, Obama flew 6.2 hours at an operating cost of $142,380 per hour for a total of $882,756
  • Secret Service records show a total of $3,804,401.78 in costs between 2011 and 2016 for the Chicago trips. The Secret Service spent $3,372,399.07 in hotels, $423,428.28 in car rentals and $8,574.50 in miscellaneous expenses.

Secret Service showed expenses for Obama’s post-presidency travels of $1,913,702.21 including: $936,742.56 in hotels; $159,393.40 in air/rail; $2,684.11 in car rentals; $819.70 in overtime; and $814,062.44 in miscellaneous expenses. The destinations of these trips were withheld under “privacy” and “law enforcement” exemptions.

Air Force documents showed two of President Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Lago cost $1,124,802:

  • President Trump flew to Mar-a-Lago to meet with China’s President Ji Jinping between April 6-9 for 4.1 hours at an operating cost of $142,380 per hour for a total of $583,758
  • President Trump flew to Mar-a-Lago to celebrate Easter between April 14-16 for 3.8 hours at an operating cost of $142,380 per hour for a total $541,044

Judicial Watch obtained Air Force records through a FOIA request showing that President Trump’s visits to his Bedminster, NJ, golf resort and a Pennsylvania rally cost $603,107.40:President Trump flew to a rally in Harrisburg, PA on April 29 to celebrate his 100th day in office. He flew 1.1 hours at an operating cost of $142,380 for a total of $156,618;

  • President Trump flew to the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ between May 5-8, where he tweeted that he was saving money by not going to New York and causing a disruption. He flew 1.5 hours at an operating cost of $142,380 and .7 hours on a C-32A military jet at $15,994 for a total of $224,765.80;
  • President Trump flew to Bedminster between June 9-11 for 1.4 hours at an operating cost of $142,380 per hour for a total of $199,332 and;
  • Melania Trump flew to Bedminster July 14-16 in a military C-32A jet for 1.4 hours at an operating cost of $15,994 for a total of $22,391.60

“It shouldn’t require federal lawsuits to  prod the Secret Service and Air Force to produce information about the costs of presidential travel – whether the travel is necessary or not, it’s a massive amount of money,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We will continue to monitor this spending while taxpayers continue to pay the bills for presidential travel.”