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The Hillary Investigation

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Long-awaited OIG report Recommends Criminal Prosecution of FBI and DOJ Figures

May 19th 2018

Capitol Hill

The long-expected report by the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice has moved into its final phase. DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz has found, according to the Wall Street Journal, "reasonable grounds" to believe that federal laws were broken by the FBI and DOJ it their probes of Hillary Clinton. Horowitz has referred findings of possible criminal misconduct to John Huber - Utah's top federal prosecutor who was paired with Horowitz by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. 

Horowitz has also forwarded copies of the draft report to the FBI and DOJ for their review by the end of this week. The OIG report will then go from the Office of the Inspector General to both investigative committees of Congress and  Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and is expected within weeks. According to the Wall Street Journal, Horowitz will then respond within a “few days.” 

“Those invited to review the report were told they would have to sign nondisclosure agreements in order to read it, people familiar with the matter said. They are expected to have a few days to craft a response to any criticism in the report, which will then be incorporated in the final version to be released in coming weeks,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

President Trump has continued to question the necessity of the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into supposed collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. On Thursday, the president tweeted: "Congratulations America...the only collusion was that done by Democrats who were unable to win an election despite the spending of far more money!"

The WSJ report also noted on Twitter that both DOJ and the FBI had been pursuing former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn even before his December 2016 phone call with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and on the basis of photos of Flynn taken at a December 2015 Moscow event with Russian leader Vladimir Putin and American leftist Jill Stein.

WSJ journalist Paul Sperry tweeted on Thursday, “BREAKING: [fmr. FBI Director James Comey/[fmr. Deputy Attorney General Attorney Sally] Yates targeted Gen. Flynn in C.I. investigation a year before he communicated with Russian ambassador in Dec. 2016 as a transition official--and the trigger was Flynn sitting at same table with [Vladimir] Putin at Dec 2015 Moscow event, even though  Green Party's Jill Stein also at table.” Sperry also suggested that Yates has become “suddenly animated and agitated,” as evidenced by her Twitter activity, speeches and statements condemning President Trump. When the relevant congressional committees have reviewed the OIG report, the House and Senate Judiciary Committees will use it to supplement their respective investigations, thus resulting in hearings with the goal of demanding an investigation by a Special Counsel. While DOJ can a Special Counsel at any point, if a request from Congress for a Special Counsel is ignored, Congress can pass legislation to force an the appointment.  

Early on Thursday, President Trump tweeted, “Wow, word seems to be coming out that the Obama FBI 'SPIED ON THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN WITH AN EMBEDDED INFORMANT,'" in reference to reports published last week. “[Fmr. FBI official] Andrew McCarthy says, 'There’s probably no doubt that they had at least one confidential informant in the campaign.' If so, this is bigger than Watergate!," the president concluded. A report in National Review alleged that the federal government under the Obama administration surveilled the Trump campaign. The president accused former President Barack Obama himself of engaging in surveillance at Trump Tower just before the 2016 election. “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped,' in Trump Tower just before victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!" the president tweeted in March 2017.

Stefan Halper: Embedded informant?

Andrew McCarthy of the National Review wrote on Monday that an informant based in the UK, with ties to the FBI and the CIA, met with Trump campaign volunteers George Papadopoulos and Andrew Page. McCarthy did not identify the informant, but in a Monday report by Daily Caller, Page confirmed that he met with Stefan Halper in London during the summer of 2016. Halper is a veteran of several Republican administrations and is also a professor at Cambridge University who has ties with the FBI, CIA, and British intelligence. He has also been familiar with Bill Clinton since the 1970s, having become acquainted with him during their university studies in England. This would appear to corroborate a NYT report on Wednesday that current and former government officials informed the paper that “at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos.” Papadopoulos has since pleaded guilty to charges that he lied to the FBI.

Stefan Halper

According to a federal government website, Stefan Halper received multiple contracts from the Defense Department that added up to a total of $1,058,161. Halper received contracts $411,575 on September 27, 2016 (IGF::OT::IGF EXERCISE OPTION PERIOD DIRECT LABOR), $244,960 on September 24, 2015 (RUSSIA-CHINA RELATIONSHIP STUDY. IGF::OT::IGF), $204,000 on July 29, 2014 ( IGF::OT::IGF  RESEARCH AND STUDIES - THE YEAR 2030), and $197,626 on May 30, 2012 (DIRECT LABOR). Two of these contracts began during the 2015-2016 presidential campaign season. The contract for $411,575 was for a period of 18 months and ended on March 29, 2018.

Crossfire Hurricane

A New York Times story apparently confirms that an FBI operation with the codename “Crossfire Hurricane” began on August 2, 2016 to investigate Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, which ultimately provided the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into supposed collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. NYT reported that Crossfire Hurricane “obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena.” The NYT report claimed that at least one “government informant” met several times with Page and Papadopoulos. The paper also said that elements of the FBI were worried that if surveillance of the Trump campaign were to be exposed, it would serve to “only reinforce his claims that the election was being rigged against him.”

On May 17, President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani responded to the revelations of a possible government informant, saying that the president’s legal counselors may seek to “challenge the legitimacy” of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. Speaking on Fox & Friends, Giuliani referred to the NYT article about Trump campaign aides Page and Papadopoulos and their meetings with the informant. “I think we’re going to have to look into whether we can challenge the legitimacy of this entire investigation,” Giuliani said. “Maybe the special counsel never should have been appointed.” Giuliani claimed that the Trump campaign was under FBI surveillance and that he had tried to identify who the informant may have been. .

Background on Michael Horowitz

Michael Horowitz was appointed as head of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in April 2012 after the Obama administration had hindered an OIG investigation into the so-called “Fast and Furious” gun-trafficking scandal that involved erstwhile Attorney General Eric Holder. Horowitz struggled with the Obama administration over powers that had been wrested from his office after the various Inspectors General for all government agencies were forced to request information while conducting investigations, as opposed to the authority to demand it. It was thus that Holder and others were able to stymie OIG requests or deny them outright.

Horowitz’s office then prepared in March 2015 a report to Congress titled “Open and Unimplemented IG Recommendations” that showed Congress that the Obama administration had wasted billions of dollars by ignoring OIG recommendations. The Inspector General Empowerment Act, signed by then-President Obama on December 16, 2016, allowed the OIG access to all information that the target agency possesses, including internal documentation and data, as well as whatever was externally collected and documented. In 2017, Horowitz created the Oversight.gov website and a Twitter account to communicate his agency’s findings to the public.

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