On April 4, 2019, Judicial Watch, the non-profit government watchdog organization, pursued its own probe of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election by filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI.
The justice oversight group asked to see messages about the “Trumped up” Russian collusion story pertaining to the 2016 election exchanged between top officials in the Obama administration as well as several members of the Trump administration in early 2017.
The list of politicians and law enforcement personnel included in the legal action is no surprise to anyone who has followed the sordid and ultimately inconclusive 22-month, multi-million dollar, taxpayer-funded FBI inquiry, led by Robert Mueller:
- Former Attorneys General Loretta Lynch, Sally Yates, Dana Boente and Jeff Sessions
- Deputy Attorneys General Sally Yates, Dana Boente, and Rod Rosenstein
- Former FBI Directors James Comey and Andrew McCabe
- Former FBI Deputy Directors Mark F. Giuliano and Andrew McCabe
- The Office of General Counsel
On May 21, 2018, Judicial Watch submitted two separate FOIA requests to provide DOJ and FBI communications “including emails (whether on .gov or non-.gov email accounts), text messages or instant chats, of officials in the offices of the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General regarding possible Russian involvement and/or interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign” sent between January 2016 through May 2017.
In June 2018, the FBI claimed that all such records encompassed by the Judicial Watch request were “exempt from disclosure, claiming that release would result in interference with law enforcement proceedings.”
In July 2018, the DOJ said it needed more time to respond to the Judicial Watch request for information. The DOJ declined to meet the FOIA request by the due date on April 21, 2019. These actions – or inactions – laid the groundwork for the current Judicial Watch lawsuit against the two top federal organizations.
Through their extensive research, Judicial Watch discovered information that Bill and Hillary Clinton funded the “dodgy” and fictional dossier authored by former British M1-6 officer and Russia analyst Christopher Steele hired by Glenn Simpson, founder of Fusion GPS. As this writer reported in October 2017, Fusion GPS is a Washington, D.C. research firm run by former Wall Street Journal reporters associated with the Democratic Party. At that time, it was public knowledge that:
“Steele himself admitted to a London court that many of the charges he documented are unverified. He blames BuzzFeed for publishing his secret anti-Trump work, saying it was never meant to go public.”
Judicial Watch also determined that the unverified dossier was used to obtain FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign; uncovered politically biased messages against President Trump between former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page; and explored the relationship between FBI official Bruce Ohr, his wife Nellie Ohr, and Fusion GPS.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said:
“Americans deserve to know the truth about what the corrupted DOJ and FBI leadership were saying when they were ginning up the bogus Russia investigation. It’s no wonder the DOJ and FBI are stonewalling. Once again, Judicial Watch is in the lead in investigating the worst corruption scandal in American history – the abusive targeting of President Trump by the Obama administration and the Deep State.”
On June 12, 2019, Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation published 16 pages of State Department documents which showed “former Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Special Coordinator for Libya Jonathan Winer coordinating 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.”
Jonathan Winer is the former deputy secretary of the US State Department who turned over the Steele dossier to his department. “Mr. Winer said he shared the dossier charges in a two-page summary with career diplomat Victoria Nuland who said she planned to share it with [then-Secretary of State John] Kerry.”
On July 18, Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation published another 84 pages of documents that included “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 allowed Steele to meet with the FBI’s legal attaché in Rome. Nuland told CBS News that the State Department knew about the Steele dossier by July 2016.
Another email exchange between Nuland and Winer that occurred on September 17, 2016, had been “classified in the interest of national defense or foreign policy.” Winer, writing to Nuland with the email subject “Libya Update,” said:
“Would like to discuss this and a Russian matter.”
According to Fitton, “The Obama State Department was central to the effort to target President Trump with the Russia smear. These new emails further show that senior Obama State Department advanced the Russiagate hoax just before the 2016 presidential election.”
Another 16 pages of documents published by Judicial Watch demonstrate 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.”
Finally, 41 pages of documents released by Judicial Watch implicate Winer as colluding with Steele and Hillary Clinton’s associate Sidney Blumenthal to spread the dodgy dossier. In addition, Winer “played a key role in facilitating Steele’s access to other top government officials [and] prominent international business executives.”
Among those top executives was a movie producer who discussed making a movie about “the Russiagate targeting of President Trump” with Winer.
The 2016 election Russia-Trump collusion story may be entertaining for top Democrats but the tale has turned more serious for them as the wheels of justice grind, slowly and inexorably, onward.
Will those wheels flatten Obama, the Clintons, the DOJ, and the FBI? Only time will tell.