Fusion DoJ: It’s Getting Hard to Tell Where the Clinton Campaign Ends and the Federal Law Enforcement Apparatus BeginsPosted: December 14, 2017
James Freeman reports: Is animus toward President Donald Trump a prerequisite for landing a job with special counsel Robert Mueller ? Recent revelations in Washington also raise again the question of what former President Barack Obama knew about the decisions of his FBI Director James Comey to exonerate Hillary Clinton and investigate Mr. Trump in 2016.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
A top FBI agent and an FBI lawyer, who were involved in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email arrangement and the probe into Russian electoral meddling, exchanged texts disparaging then-candidate Donald Trump, including calling him an “idiot” and a “menace,” according to copies of the messages the Justice Department provided Congress.
Peter Strzok, 47 years old, was one of the highest-ranking agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He was removed from his post with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling this past summer after a Justice Department watchdog launched an inquiry into the texts.
The messages between Mr. Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page include one in which Ms. Page tells him in August 2016: “Maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace.”
The New York Times reports on another 2016 text:
On July 27, Ms. Page wrote, “She just has to win now. I’m not going to lie, I got a flash of nervousness yesterday about Trump.” That text message was sent after the Clinton investigation had been closed. Days later, the F.B.I. began investigating possible coordination between Russian officials and the Trump campaign.
Recently the Journal’s Kim Strassel noted the stone wall against congressional oversight that has been constructed by Mr. Mueller, his Department of Justice colleagues, and Mr. Mueller’s deputies, many of whom have demonstrated their political opposition to the President.
Is there really no way to run a special counsel’s office or a federal law enforcement agency without appointing liberal political activists—or at least people with close ties to the President’s adversaries—to senior roles? Fox News reports:
A co-founder of the opposition research firm Fusion GPS acknowledged in a new court document that his company hired the wife of a senior Justice Department official to help investigate then-candidate Donald Trump last year.
Sharyl Attkisson writes: The unexpected resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder follows a series of court rulings against his Department of Justice over its failure to produce documents related to the government’s “Fast and Furious” firearms operation.
Holder also has come under increasing congressional criticism for a tepid investigation of evidence that IRS officials deliberately targeted tea party and other conservative groups for greater scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.
Calling the government’s arguments for “even more time … unconvincing,” a federal judge this week refused to grant Holder’s Justice Department the additional time it requested to turn over a list of Operation Fast and Furious documents withheld under executive privilege exerted by President Obama.
The list is referred to as a “Vaughn index” and requires the Justice Department to justify document-by-document the reasons it hasn’t released the materials. This exercise alone often prompts the release of documents.
The Justice Department sought to delay the Vaughn index until one day before the Nov. 4 midterm elections. But the court ordered the index produced by Oct. 22 instead. The order comes in a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch. Read the rest of this entry »
BREAKING: Anticipating Midterm Losses, Eric Holder Rushes to Step Down as Attorney General to Help Confirmation EffortPosted: September 25, 2014
Holder most wants to be remembered for his record on civil rights. In reality, he will be remembered as a divisive, combative, arrogant, partisan hatchet man for the administration, in a period marked by selective enforcement, stonewalling, evasion, and contempt.
Two sources familiar with the decision tell NPR that Holder, 63, intends to leave the Justice Department as soon as his successor is confirmed, a process that could run through 2014 and even into next year. A former U.S. government official says Holder has been increasingly “adamant” about his desire to leave soon for fear that he otherwise could be locked in to stay for much of the rest of President Obama’s second term.
“…some of that early glow faded in part due to the politicized nature of the job and in part because of Holder’s own rhetoric, such as a 2009 Black History Month speech where he said the country was ‘a nation of cowards’…”
Holder already is one of the longest-serving members of the Obama Cabinet and ranks as the fourth-longest tenured AG in history. Hundreds of employees waited in lines, stacked three rows deep, in early February 2009 to witness his return to the Justice Department, where he previously worked as a young corruption prosecutor and as deputy attorney general — the second in command — during the Clinton administration.
“Even though the attorney general has his eyes on the door, the two sources say several more policy and enforcement initiatives are underway and could be announced soon.”
Five years later, violence erupted between police and protesters in Ferguson, Mo., after a white policeman killed an unarmed black 18-year-old. And this time, the White House dispatched Holder to speak his piece, in effect jump-starting that conversation and helping to settle nerves in the frayed community.
“For instance, Holder sent a memo to U.S. attorneys Wednesday urging them not to use sentencing enhancements known as “851” tools to gain leverage in plea negotiations with defendants — in essence, threatening defendants into avoiding trial with huge amounts of prison time.”
Another huge controversy — over his decision to try the Sept. 11 plotters in a New York courthouse in the shadow of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center — prompted venomous reaction from lawmakers, New York City officials and some victims’ families. Read the rest of this entry »
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) turns 106 years old today. Before the FBI was established in 1908, investigations went through the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice lacked internal investigators for years, and any investigators needed were often hired detectives or Secret Services personnel.
Attorney General Charles Bonaparte wanted more control over investigations and disliked pulling personnel from other places that didn’t report to him. Bonaparte appointed special investigative agents within the Department of Justice in early 1908 to circumvent this issue. On July 26 of the same year he ordered agents to report to their chief examiner. This date marks the establishment of the bureau.
Then-president Theodore Roosevelt and Attorney General Bonaparte both suggested the FBI become a permanent bureau before their terms were over. The FBI has indeed followed countless investigations since its establishment. Although in its early years the FBI tackled mostly financial crimes, it has investigated gangsters, mobs and acts of terror and continues to do so. Read the rest of this entry »
Attorney General Eric Holder disputed a Government Accountability Office report on his use of Justice Department airplanes for personal trips, saying it overstated the number of trips he took and failed to recognize that some trips were job-related.
“My staff keeps telling me to take it easy, you know, well, this is one that gets me,” Holder told Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing. “There was this notion that we’ve taken — I think it was described as hundreds of personal trips. That was wrong. GAO counted flights, not round trips. And we looked at it and figured out from the time period that they were looking, we took not hundreds, but 27 personal, four combined — official and nonpersonal trips — and none of the trips that I took or that the [FBI] director took ever had an impact on the mission capability of those airplanes.”
The Daily Caller‘s Robby Soave reports: Education experts decried a new memo from the Departments of Justice and Education that instructs public schools throughout the country to cease punishing disruptive students if they fall into certain racial categories, such as black or Hispanic.
“It’s ridiculous to assign quotas for discipline based on race…If we did that, for one thing, we’d have to believe that Asian students are severely under-disciplined.”
The letter, released on Wednesday, states that it is a violation of federal law for schools to punish certain races more than others, even if those punishments stem from completely neutral rules. For example, equal numbers of black students and white students should be punished for tardiness, even if black students are more often tardy than white students.
So little changes that the DOJ says it’s “an entirely inaccurate description.”
Hans A. von Spakovsky observes: The hysterical fears about the effects of a government “shutdown” being voiced by many in Washington, such as Senator Tom Harkin (D., Iowa), who claims it is “as dangerous as the break-up of the Union before the Civil War,” are almost comical.
The truth from the experience of prior shutdowns, applicable federal laws, Justice Department legal opinions, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directives, is that crucial government services and benefits would continue without interruption even if Congress fails to agree on a continuing resolution (CR) or President Obama vetoes it. That includes all services essential for national security and public safety — such as the military and law enforcement — as well as mandatory government payments such as Social Security and veterans’ benefits.
In fact, as the Justice Department said in a legal opinion in 1995, “the federal government will not be truly ‘shut down’ . . . because Congress has itself provided that some activities of Government should continue.” Any claim that not passing a CR would result in a “shutting down” of the government “is an entirely inaccurate description,” according to the Justice Department. Read the rest of this entry »
Glenn Reynolds writes: Last week, stung by reactions to phone-snooping on reporters (and, in at least one case, a reporter’s parents), the Justice Department issued new guidelines for dealing with the media when investigating leaks. Many people are cheering these guidelines, but I’m not sure they’re good enough. Read the rest of this entry »
Overestimating His Relevance, Misreading His Audience, Eric Holder Makes Unwelcome, Misleading Pronouncements to Further Poison Public Discussion and Inflame Social Climate Following Florida’s Martin Zimmerman Verdict.
By Neil Munro
The nation’s top law-enforcement officer told an African-American sorority Monday that he would lead an effort to change Americans’ beliefs and judgments about race, following George Zimmerman’s Sunday acquittal in the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Attorney General Eric Holder blamed racial attitudes for the killing.
“We are resolved, as you are, to combat violence involving or directed at young people, to prevent future tragedies, and to deal with the underlying attitudes, mistaken beliefs and stereotypes that serve as the basis for these too-common incidents,” Holder told the long-scheduled meeting of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
Martin was a 17 year-old black youth in Florida.
“I believe that this tragedy provides yet another opportunity for our nation to speak honesty about the complicated and emotionally charged issues that this case has raised,” Holder said, while pointing his finger for emphasis.
“We must not, as we have too often in the past, let this opportunity pass,” he said, reminding listeners of the episode in 2009 when he called Americans “a nation of cowards” for not talking about race in the way he wished.
However, Holder did not use the speech as an opportunity to explain beliefs that he believes are mistaken, nor to offer data that shows suspect attitudes and stereotypes are either commonplace or incorrect.
Holder was appointed as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer in 2009 by President Barack Obama.
Holder’s effort to blame racial misunderstanding for the initial shooting is unjustified, said several lawyers.
“State prosecutors… tried to prove that throughout their entire case and there was no evidence of it,” said Hans Von Spakovsky, a former justice department lawyer now at the centrist Heritage Foundation.
“The jury didn’t buy it,” he told the The Daily Caller.
Moreover, “FBI reports are now also out in the public domain and the FBI itself admitted there was no racial animus,” he added.
Attorney General Eric Holder has missed the deadline set by Republicans to personally explain questionable testimony he gave on reporter surveillance, as lawmakers threaten to subpoena Holder if necessary.
The deadline set by House Judiciary Committee Republicans was close-of-business on Wednesday. An aide told FoxNews.com they have “not received a response.”
The Justice Department earlier this week penned a response to the Republican leaders of the committee. But it was authored by a lower-level official, and committee leaders complained it did not address their concerns.
“A letter from a subordinate that fails to answer many of our questions does not suffice,” Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., wrote in a letter sent Tuesday.
The committee wants Holder to explain his May 15 testimony.
At the time, the attorney general said under oath he knew nothing of the “potential prosecution” of the press. Days later, it emerged that Holder was involved in his department’s successful effort to obtain Fox News reporter James Rosen’s personal emails — the DOJ sought access to the documents by arguing Rosen was a likely criminal “co-conspirator” in a leak case.
The Justice Department explained Monday in a letter to GOP committee leaders that the investigation never escalated into any prosecution of the reporter.
“The Attorney General’s testimony before the Committee on May 15, 2013, with respect to the Department’s prosecutions of the unauthorized disclosure of classified information was accurate and consistent with these facts,” the letter said.
Yet the letter also acknowledged that Holder “was consulted and approved the application for the search warrant.” And, while Republican leaders of the House Judiciary Committee demanded an explanation from Holder himself, the letter was signed not by him but by a “principal deputy assistant attorney general.”
The Justice Department, though, was not expected to provide any other paperwork to the committee on Wednesday — which puts the question to GOP leaders whether they will aggressively pursue the issue.
Earlier in the week, Sensenbrenner said his committee is prepared to compel Holder to explain if he doesn’t make the Wednesday deadline.
“I think we ought to subpoena the attorney general to come back and answer those questions specifically,” he told Fox News on Sunday, when asked what happens if Holder misses the deadline.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., agreed.
He told Fox News on Monday that Holder “absolutely” should return to the committee to explain his May
Via Fox News
- Eric Holder Ignores Lawmakers’ Deadline to Explain Inconsistent Testimony on Reporter Surveillance (theblaze.com)
- ‘SOMETHING TO HIDE’?: GOP Rejects DOJ Explanation of Holder Testimony (foxnews.com)
- Eric Holder Ignores Lawmakers’ Deadline To Explain Inconsistent Testimony on Reporter Surveillance (patdollard.com)
- House Judiciary Committee Investigating Whether Holder Lied To Congress (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- Republicans want direct response from Holder on leak probe (cnn.com)
- Republicans slam Dept. of Justice’s defense of Eric Holder as ‘insulting’ (washingtontimes.com)
- King: Holder in Precarious Position by Defying House Judiciary Committee Deadline (freebeacon.com)