April 24, 2020 | Judicial Watch
Emails Suggest Obama FBI Knew McCain Leaked Trump Dossier
Mexican Hospital Overrun by COVID-19 Closes Near Busy U.S. Crossing
Court Orders Maryland to Release Complete Voter Registration Records
Our Campaign for Clean Elections
Emails Suggest Obama FBI Knew McCain Leaked Trump Dossier
We are getting more insight into the thinking of the corrupt FBI officials involved in the plot against Donald Trump – in particular what they knew and when they knew about the smear/leak operation using the shady “dossier.” Our new understanding comes from 138 pages of emails between former FBI official Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page.
These include an email dated January 10, 2017, in which Strzok said that the version of the dossier published by BuzzFeed was “identical” to the version given to the FBI by McCain and had “differences” from the dossier provided to the FBI by Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson and Mother Jones reporter David Corn. January 10, 2017, is the same day BuzzFeed published the anti-Trump dossier by former British spy Christopher Steele.
The emails also show Strzok and other FBI agents mocking President Trump a few weeks before he was inaugurated. In addition, the emails reveal that Strzok communicated with then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe about the “leak investigation” tied to the Clinton Foundation (the very leak in which McCabe was later implicated).
We received the records in our January 2018 FOIA lawsuit filed after the DOJ failed to respond to a December 2017 request for all communications between Strzok and Page (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00154)).
The FBI has only processed the records at a rate of 500 pages per month and has refused to process text messages. At this rate, the production of these communications will not be completed until at least late 2021. The FBI is now using the coronavirus as an excuse to shut down the production of any further records.
On January 10, 2017, Strzok, under the subject “RE: Buzzfeed published some of the reports,” writes: “Our internet system is blocking the site. I have the pdf via iPhone, but it’s 25.6MB. Comparing now. The set is only identical to what [Sen. John] McCain had (it has differences from what was given to us by Corn and Simpson).”
Strzok sent the email to Page and several top-ranking FBI officials, including Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Assistant Director for the Counterintelligence Division Bill Priestap, Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Jon Moffa, Assistant Director for Public Affairs Michael Kortan, General Counsel James Baker, and Director James Comey’s Chief of Staff James Rybicki.
Earlier, on January 10, 2017, BuzzFeed published a version of the dossier that Strzok said was “identical” to what McCain’s office had turned over to the FBI. Strzok sent the BuzzFeed-related email at 7:48 PM. At 8:23 PM on the same day, Strzok forwards to Page and several FBI officials an article by the UK outlet The Guardian titled “FBI chief given dossier by John McCain alleging secret Trump-Russia contacts.”
David Corn was one of Steele’s media contacts. Fusion GPS paid Steele, via funds from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, to write the dossier. In testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in August 2017, Simpson said he was not aware of any version of the Steele dossier being given to the FBI.
While acknowledging he had given the dossier to the FBI, McCain had denied being the source of the BuzzFeed dossier report. But court filings unsealed in March 2019 show the Arizona Republican senator and an associate had shared the dossier with several media outlets.
Former State Department official and McCain associate David Kramer said in a December 13, 2017, deposition that the dossier was given to him by Steele and he then provided it to journalists at outlets including CNN, BuzzFeed and The Washington Post. The details were first reported by The Daily Caller.
The new records also include a December 22, 2016, email in which Strzok asks then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe if the FBI had opened a “leak investigation” into Clinton Foundation media reports. Strzok writes: “I received word via Jen that tomorrow morning Mike S [presumably Executive Assistant Director Michael Steinbach] wants to talk about whether we have opened a leak investigation into the publicity surrounding the C Foundation. He said he’d like to discuss, as the D [Director James Comey] ‘would like to do something.’ I need guidance as to how/if you’d like me to detail the media pull we conducted. As you may recall, we have not detailed that activity other than to you and Bill.” McCabe’s reply to Strzok is redacted.
McCabe was fired from the FBI in March 2018 for leaking to the media and lacking “candor.” A February 2018 DOJ inspector general report concluded “that McCabe’s disclosure of the existence of an ongoing investigation … violated the FBI’s and the Department’s media policy and constituted misconduct.” McCabe was referred for prosecution but the Justice Department declined.
The documents also include several emails in which Strzok forwards Russiagate-related news articles to Page and other FBI officials. On January 1, 2017, Strzok forwarded to Moffa and another unidentified official a New York Times article titled “Trump Promises Revelation on Hacking.” The article discusses President-elect Donald Trump’s skepticism about U.S. intelligence assessments of Russian hacking relating to the 2016 election. Strzok cut and pasted a quote from the article in which Trump said, “I don’t care what they say, no computer is safe. I have a boy who’s 10 years old; he can do anything with a computer. You want something to really go without detection, write it out and have it sent by courier.” The article mentions that Trump said new information would be coming out the following Tuesday. Strzok then says in his cover note, “I think the Tuesday surprise is all the stuff [redacted] told him during the CI [counterintelligence] briefing. He DID mention the stuff about his son and the computer password …” A redacted FBI agent replies to Strzok, but the reply is also redacted. Another FBI agent then responds, “To be accurate he called it a code word not a password. Ha!” Strzok replies, “Funnies.”
On December 15, 2016, Strzok forwards to Page an article from the Daily Mail reporting that a former British diplomat, Craig Murray, claimed to have received emails that were stolen from the DNC and John Podesta. Murray said he received the emails near the grounds of American University in Washington, DC. The article says the emails were from an inside DNC source, not Russians. Strzok writes in his cover note to Page, “Shaddy sh*t at AU…;)”.
On December 21, 2016, Strzok forwards to Page a link to a Defense One article about Russian efforts to interfere in the U.S. presidential election. Strzok cut and pasted a quote from former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell in which Morell says, “To me, and this is to me not an overstatement, this is the political equivalent of 9/11.”
On December 26, 2016, Strzok forwards to Moffa and an unidentified Washington Field Office agent a Bloomberg article titled “Trump Aide Partnered with Firm Run by Man with Alleged KGB Ties.” The article reports that Trump adviser Gen. Michael Flynn, having partnered in 2016 with Subu Kota, a man who pleaded guilty in 1996 to selling stolen biotech material to an FBI agent posing as a Russian spy. Strzok forwards the article to Page, saying, “See, look, I’m sharing… ;)”
On January 4, 2017, Strzok forwards to Page a 14-page white paper by the Capital Research Center entitled “Conducting Foreign Relations Without Authority: The Logan Act.” He had previously sent the same file to Office of General Counsel attorney Trisha Anderson and to Priestap.
In a January 4, 2017, email thread a redacted official in the FBI’s Operational Technology Division emails Strzok and Page: “The AD [Assistant Director] of Cyber is apparently bringing up the idea of [redacted]. [Redacted] just messaged me after being pinged by SF [likely the FBI’s San Francisco office]. He asked why this was coming up again, and he wants to talk to me about it next week. Any recommendation on how to deal with this?” Pages replies, “Why don’t you let Pete or Bill or I reach out to the AD of Cyber to let him know how we got here [redacted]. It might then be worth [redacted].” The official responds, “Perfect. That works for me and you can mention that OTD brought it to you. My initial recommendation was for the AD to reach out to you two, but I can only assume that message did not reach him.”
On January 9, 2017, in an email with the subject line “USIC report,” [U.S. Intelligence Community] Strzok tells Page and a redacted official “Per D’s request on Friday, NYO received a single copy of the influence report from ODNI’s [redacted]; it is being maintained in the CD SAC’s safe for PEOTUS [president-elect of the United States]/senior staff.”
On January 10, 2017, Strzok emails Page, Moffa, Priestap and Jennifer Boone to say, “Per Rich [presumably Richard Quinn, formerly with the public affairs office], CNN to publish C material today between 4 and 5. Page replies: “We have lots of details from kortan [Asst Dir Michael Kortan of public affairs]. He will brief at the 3:45.” Strzok responds: “Can I maybe get a read out vis a vis relationship with Brits etc?”
The significance of these new emails is that Strzok and his Obama FBI colleagues knew almost immediately that McCain likely leaked the infamous dossier. The emails also show that senior FBI officials had contempt for President Trump and gossiped about its counterintelligence briefing to him. The FBI under Comey and McCabe was a train wreck and, given the ongoing cover-up of these docs, the agency hasn’t improved much.
This latest records release adds to the volume of material we’ve already uncovered on the Strzok/Page machinations. Here is some of our previous work in this area.
In February 2020, we uncovered an August 2016 email in which Strzok says that Clinton, in her interview with the FBI about her email controversy, apologized for “the work and effort” it caused the bureau and she said she chose to use it “out of convenience” and that “it proved to be anything but.” Strzok said Clinton’s apology and the “convenience” discussion were “not in” the FBI 302 report that summarized the interview.
Also in February, we made public Strzok-Page emails showing their direct involvement in the opening of Crossfire Hurricane, the bureau’s investigation of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The records also show additional “confirmed classified emails” were found on Clinton’s unsecure non-state.gov email server “beyond the number presented” in then-FBI Director James Comey’s statements; Strzok and Page questioning the access the DOJ was granting Clinton’s lawyers; and Page revealing that the DOJ was making edits to FBI 302 reports related to the Clinton Midyear Exam investigation. The emails detail a discussion about “squashing” an issue related to the Seth Rich controversy.
In January 2020, we uncovered Strzok-Page emails that detail special accommodations given to the lawyers of Clinton and her aides during the FBI investigation of the Clinton email controversy.
In November 2019, we revealed Strzok-Page emails that show the attorney representing three of Clinton’s aides were given meetings with senior FBI officials.
Also in November, we uncovered emails revealing that after Clinton’s statement denying the transmission of classified information over her unsecure email system, Strzok sent an email to FBI officials citing “three [Clinton email] chains” containing (C) [classified] portion marks in front of paragraphs.”
The coup cabal’s house of cards is looking more fragile by the day, thanks in large measure to Judicial Watch.
Mexican Hospital Overrun by COVID-19 Closes Near Busy U.S. Crossing
President Trump rightly restricted border crossings on our Mexican and Canadian borders to control the coronavirus contagion. Our Corruption Chronicles blog reveals the threat to our health still lurking on our southern border.
COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire in Mexican cities along the United States border, yet transit between the countries has increased dramatically, flouting State Department travel restrictions issued to keep the virus from spreading. A few weeks ago Judicial Watch reported that southern border crossings are hotbeds of traffic that are jeopardizing the health of federal agents charged with screening the influx and potentially spreading the virus to American communities. The problem is only getting worse, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sources, who say traffic is so bad that wait times in some crossings can take up to six hours. That is because thousands in border states, especially Arizona, are taking daily jaunts to Mexico to have lunch or dinner, shop, visit family and get haircuts in the middle of the pandemic. Many return to the U.S. the same day, creating a gridlock that must be screened by CBP officers.
In the Mexican city of Sonora, near the southwest Arizona town of San Luis, COVID-19 is so rampant that an overwhelmed hospital was shut down not far from the jam-packed San Luis border crossing. Mexican media reports that a nurse died at the facility, Hospital de San Luis Rio Colorado, and more than 30 doctors and nurses are sick with the virus. At least 20 doctors may also be infected. Nevertheless, the San Luis crossing remains among the busiest along the southern border, with consistently lengthy wait times. “It’s crazy busy,” said veteran CBP agent Patricia Cramer, who also serves as president of the Arizona chapter of the agency’s employee union. In the last few days wait times have spiked up to six hours, according to agents who man the hectic crossing. This week the shortest wait time has been over two hours, according to records provided to Judicial Watch by agents in the sector. “That hospital that got closed is near the busiest port along the southern border,” said Cramer who has been in contact with the mayor of San Luis, a working-class town of about 34,000 adjacent to the Colorado River. “He is very worried,” she said. “His town is going to get hit hard.”
In El Paso, Texas, nine CBP officers have tested positive for COVID-19 and, though traffic in that sector has been lighter than in Arizona, officials say there should be no cross border traffic considering a big COVID-19 outbreak in nearby Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. This week Mexican officials report 140 COVID-19 case in Ciudad Juárez and 33 deaths. “Juárez is right across the border from us and they’ve had more than 30 deaths,” said longtime CBP officer John Monahan, who serves as president of the El Paso CBP union. “The border needs to be shut down for a period of time,” Monahan insists. “It defeats the purpose if you let people cross back and forth over and over again.” Like many of his colleagues at the agency Monahan is calling on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to curb the flow of cross border traffic during the health crisis. “I don’t think DHS cares about our health and safety,” he said. “Agents are scared and there’s a lot of anxiety.”
Under COVID-19 protocols Mexican nationals are not allowed to go back and forth via land crossings for non-essential travel, but those with legal U.S. residency (green cards) and citizens cannot be stopped. Cramer and her fellow agents are calling on elected officials to help curb the non-essential cross border
traffic, which they say is a threat to the nation’s health and safety. That is precisely why DHS issued travel restrictions for land ports of entry and ferries between the U.S. and Mexico during the pandemic. The document published in the Federal Register states that the risk of continued transmission and spread of COVID-19 between the U.S. and Mexico poses a “specific threat to human life or national interests” and therefore officials in both countries have mutually determined that non-essential travel between the nations “poses additional risk of transmission and spread of COVID-19.” Essential travel is defined as American citizens and lawful residents returning to the U.S., medical purposes, military or diplomatic duties and lawful cross-border trade.
Court Orders Maryland to Release Complete Voter Registration Records
As the Left assaults election integrity with national pushes for unsecure “vote by mail”, mass ballot harvesting, and an end to voter ID, your Judicial Watch methodically works to ensure our elections are cleaner.
A federal court ordered the State of Maryland to produce the voter list for Montgomery County that includes the registered voters’ date of birth. This ruling is the latest victory for us in the lawsuit we filed on July 18, 2017, against Montgomery County and the Maryland State Boards of Elections under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA).
We filed suit for the Maryland voter list data after discovering that there were more registered voters in Montgomery County than citizens over the age of 18 who could legally register (Judicial Watch vs. Linda H. Lamone, et al. (No. 1:17-cv-02006)).
Ruling in our favor, Judge Hollander said:
Judicial Watch need not demonstrate its need for birth date information in order to facilitate its effort to ensure that the voter rolls are properly maintained. Nevertheless, it has put forward reasonable justifications for requiring birth date information, including using birth dates to find duplicate registrations and searching for voters who remain on the rolls despite “improbable” age.
In order to avoid turning over the dates of birth for Maryland voters, the Maryland Administrator of Elections, Linda Lamone, directed her staff to remove date of birth as a field on the voter registration application. Judge Hollander ruled that Lamone could not do this, saying:
Because full voter birth dates appear on completed voter registration applications, the Administrator may not bypass the Act by unilaterally revising the Application.
Organizations such as Judicial Watch have the resources and expertise that few individuals can marshal. By excluding these organizations from access to voter registration lists, the State law undermines Section 8(i)’s efficacy. Accordingly, [Maryland election law] is an obstacle to the accomplishment of the NVRA’s purposes. It follows that the State law is preempted in so far as it allows only Maryland registered voters to access voter registration lists.
The judge at the time also asked us and Maryland to brief the issue of access to birth dates “more fully,” and reserved her ruling on that point. This recent ruling resolves the last remaining issue in the case, allowing us access to full voter registration files for Montgomery County registrants.
The dispute over the voter registration list arose from an April 11, 2017, notice letter sent to Maryland election officials, in which we explained that Montgomery County had an impossibly high registration rate – over 100 percent of its age-eligible citizenry. The letter threatened a lawsuit if the problems with Montgomery County’s voter rolls were not fixed. The letter also requested access to Montgomery County voter registration lists in order to evaluate the efficacy of any “programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of Maryland’s official eligible voter lists during the past 2 years.”
Democrat Maryland officials, in response, went so far as to accuse us of being an agent of Russia, an allegation they later dropped.
New federal data released in summer 2019 showed that the number of Montgomery County’s voter registrations still appeared to be over 100 percent of its age-eligible citizenry.
Maryland politicians fought tooth and nail to keep us from uncovering the full truth about their dirty election rolls. This latest court victory will allow us to ensure that Maryland and Montgomery County are removing voters who have moved or died long ago.
As you know, we are the national leader in enforcing the National Voters Registration Act. Attorney Robert Popper is the director of our Election Integrity initiative. We recently filed a lawsuit against North Carolina and two of its counties for failing to clean their voter rolls. According to our analysis of voter registration data, many of North Carolina’s 100 counties have large numbers of ineligible voters on their rolls. We have also alleged that the States’ own data shows that North Carolina has nearly one million inactive voters on its rolls.
In 2018, the Supreme Court upheld a voter roll cleanup program that resulted from our settlement of a federal lawsuit with Ohio. California settled an NVRA lawsuit with Judicial Watch and last year began the process of removing up to 1.6 million inactive names from Los Angeles County’s voter rolls. Kentucky also began a cleanup of hundreds of thousands of old registrations last year after it entered into a consent decree to end another Judicial Watch lawsuit.
In December 2019, we provided notice to 19 large counties in five states that it intended to sue unless they took steps to comply with the NVRA by removing ineligible registrations from their rolls. In addition to North Carolina and Pennsylvania, Judicial Watch sent letters to counties in California, Virginia, and Colorado. Our 2019 study of election data found at least 2.5 million “extra” names on voting rolls across the country.
Our Campaign for Clean Elections
Judicial Watch’s work to protect and promote cleaner elections is wide, broad and successful. Micah Morrison, our chief investigative reporter, summarizes Judicial Watch’s historic efforts for election integrity:
With the presidential race heating up, election integrity is back in the news. Cheaters gonna cheat and there’s lots of ways to steal an election—dirty voter rolls, mail-in voting, and “ballot harvesting” are three areas ripe for abuse.
Judicial Watch is the national leader in election integrity education and litigation. The very notion of voter fraud is steeped in partisan bickering, but Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton insists electoral abuse is not “a Right-Left issue” at all. The Right may be leading the fight on election fraud, but “if you’re a Leftist Democrat trying to take on an incumbent in a corrupt jurisdiction,” Fitton says, “voter fraud can keep you from gaining traction as well.”
Judicial Watch is cleaning up dirty voter rolls across the nation. States are required by the National Voter Registration Act to remove so-called “inactive voters” from registration rolls if they do not respond to an address confirmation notice and then fail to vote in the next two general federal elections. Many “inactive voters” do this because, well, they’re dead. Or they have moved away.
Why does this matter? Leaving the names of inactive voters on registration rolls creates opportunities for fraud, such as dead people voting or double voting. Critics argue that these concerns are overblown, but sometimes it only takes a few votes to swing an election.
And dirty voter roll numbers are not small. Here’s what we have uncovered:
In North Carolina, a Judicial Watch investigation revealed nearly one million inactive voters on its rolls. That’s about 17% percent of North Carolina’s total voter registration. Earlier this month, we sued North Carolina to clean up its act.
Recently in Maryland, a federal judge ordered Montgomery County to turn over its voter rolls to Judicial Watch for analysis. Judicial Watch asked for the rolls after it determined that county registrations had exceeded 100% of its age-eligible citizenry. Read more about the Maryland case here.
We uncovered 1.6 million inactive voters on California voting rolls. In 2017, we sued California and Los Angeles County to force a cleanup. Our investigation found that Los Angeles County had more voter registrations on its rolls than actual voting age citizens in the county, and that the entire state had a voter registration rate of 101% of age-eligible citizens. Last year, California capitulated, settling our lawsuit and agreeing to remove inactive voters from its rolls.
We’ve been working to clean up Ohio voting rolls since 2012. In 2018, a Supreme Court decision upheld an Ohio voter-roll cleanup that resulted from settlement of a Judicial Watch lawsuit. The lawsuit found that the number of people listed on voter registration rolls in three Ohio counties exceeded 100% of the total voting age population.
We took on Kentucky. Our investigation found that 48 Kentucky counties—40% of the state total—had more registered voters than citizens over the age of 18. Statewide, we noted, the registration rate was higher than 100% of its age-eligible population. We sued and won: a federal court directed Kentucky to clean up its rolls. Indiana also agreed to clean up its rolls after Judicial Watch launched an investigation. In February, we announced that our investigation in Iowa found 18,000 extra names on voter rolls. Eight Iowa counties had more voter registrations than voting age citizens. “Dirty voting rolls can mean dirty elections,” Tom Fitton noted. Iowa was apoplectic, but offered no evidence that our count was incorrect.
And in a major new development, Judicial Watch announced in January that we found at least another 2.5 million extra names on voter rolls across the country. A Judicial Watch analysis of data released by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission found that there are 378 counties in the U.S. that have more voter registrations than citizens old enough to vote. The 378 counties had a combined 2.5 million extra registrants over the 100%-registered mark. We’ve notified 19 counties in five states—California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Colorado, and Virginia—that we intended to sue unless they take steps to clean up their voter rolls.
Meanwhile, for more on our efforts to clean up dirty voter rolls, here’s a discussion with Tom Fitton and Judicial Watch Election Integrity Initiative Director Bob Popper.
With your support we will be relentless in our pursuit of clean and fair elections.
Until next week …