Judicial Watch's Weekly Update: New Evidence of State Department Efforts to Undermine Trump
Documents Reveal State Department Efforts to Undermine TrumpWe have made public 90 pages of heavily redacted U.S. Department of State documents showing Obama State Department officials’ efforts to disseminate classified information to multiple U.S. Senators immediately prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
The information, which included raw intelligence, purported to show “malign” Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Among the senators receiving the classified documents were Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Sen. Robert Corker (R-TN).
We obtained the documents through our June 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the State Department after it failed to respond to a February 2018 request seeking records of the Obama State Department’s last-minute efforts to share classified information about Russia election interference issues with Democratic Senator Ben Cardin (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:18-cv-01381)).
A January 13, 2017, email from Hera Abbasi, a former congressional advisor in the State Department’s Bureau of Legislative Affairs, suggests that the intelligence community was providing “raw intel” to Sen. Warner. Such an exchange almost certainly would have been coordinated by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI): “Yes, that is correct. Warner/raw intel stuff is going thru IC channels.” (Abbasi previously worked in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and was a 2017 Next Generation National Security Fellow at the liberal Center for a New American Security. Abbasi donated $725 to the Clinton campaign and Act Blue during the 2016 election cycle.)
The documents we uncovered show early in the process of gathering and clearing classified information – beginning a day after Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) formally asked Secretary of State John Kerry for “intelligence products” and “raw intelligence” on Russian involvement in the 2016 election – Assistant Secretary of State Julia Frifield brings Senior Advisor and Investigations Counsel Zachary Schram into the loop in a January 5, 2017, email chain, in which she says Schram would help “figure out the best way to get these to the Hill.” Frifield was an Obama appointee who previously served as Maryland Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski’s Chief of Staff. (Frifield contributed $2,700 to the 2016 Clinton campaign.)
On January 11, 2017, former State Department Senior Congressional Advisor Katherine Harris sends an email to Abbasi; Naz Durakoglu, who was a senior advisor to the Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs; Kathleen Kavalec, and others: “If we are not going through our standard CDP [Collection Due Process] process, others in H need to weigh in on how to move these to the Hill.”
In emails written on January 10 and 11, 2017, from Abbasi to Durakoglu and Kavalec, Abassi expresses the need to get the documents cleared “as soon as possible (ASAP).”
On January 17, 2017, three days before Trump’s inauguration, Kavalec emails Abbasi, Durakoglu and others emphasizing, again, that getting the documents to Cardin and Warner is a priority and urges the process to be sped up:
Agree this is a priority… and I don’t see why lengthy reviews are required. I would suggest we send up the things that can go immediately, and if there is any concern about specific internal documents, those be adjudicated separately and sent up as a follow-on.
In a January 18, 2017, email from Naz Durakoglu to Elizabeth Lawrence, Abbasi, Kerem Bilge, and others regarding the processing of the request, Durakoglu writes, “there is a time sensitivity to these docs.” Shedding additional light on possible irregularities in the release process, a January 17, 2017, email reveals that ODNI, then led by James Clapper, was involved in clearing cables for release to the Hill. State Department official Cody Walsh emails Schram and Lauren Gills that the ODNI is “fine” with the State Department “sharing … cables with the Hill.”
On January 13, 2017, at 10:27 a.m., Durakoglu emails more than a dozen State Department employees, invoking the name of then-State Department Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland to reiterate the need to accelerate the process of getting materials prepared to go to the Hill: “Hi All. This is a priority for our Assistant Secretary…Is there anything we can do to better facilitate the process?”
Two minutes later, Durakoglu emails Kerem Bilge and two others: “Where are we on clearances? Do I need to ask Toria to raise with Julia? The clock is ticking.” Durakoglu, at the time, was a senior adviser to Nuland. Durakoglu currently works for The Atlantic Council. She contributed $1,600 to the Clinton campaign in 2016.
The concluding, unredacted section of an otherwise heavily redacted email sent on Friday, January 13, 2017, by former Foreign Service Officer Kerem Bilge to numerous State employees indicates the intense time pressure under which State officials were operating to beat the Inauguration-Day deadline:
**** Please clear the action memo by noon TUESDAY [Jan. 17].
**** Please clear on the actual package of documents, if you have not done so already, by noon TUESDAY [Jan. 17].[Emphasis in original]
I want to get the whole package into the EUR front office today. This means we can get it out of EUR and to M [Undersecretary for Management] on Wednesday [Jan. 18], then H can courier it to the Hill on Thursday [Jan 19].
In a January 18, 2017, email, as time was running out, Elizabeth Lawrence described getting the package of cables to Cardin and Warner as “urgent:” “This is an urgent package from EUR that they’re trying to get to the Hill ASAP. Please review so we can get it up to M.” (Lawrence is a career foreign service officer, now the Consul in New Delhi, and was previously a Foreign Policy Advisor to Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin. A D.C.-based State Department employee with her name is on record as having donated a cumulative total of $1,000 to the Clinton campaign in 2016.) The final batch of cables was stored in Kavalec’s safe.
President Trump was inaugurated less than 24 hours later. These documents show how the Obama State Department, staffed by Clinton donors, improperly, and perhaps illegally, rushed classified information to their anti-Trump allies in the U.S. Senate. The Obama State Department was central to the conspiracy to smear President Trump with Russiagate lies and innuendo.
The Justice Department must expand any Spygate criminal investigation to include this agency.
We previously released documents showing classified information was researched and disseminated to multiple U.S. Senators by the Obama administration immediately prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration. The documents reveal that among those receiving the classified documents were Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Sen. Robert Corker (R-TN). A January 19, 2017, email from Durakoglu, sums it up: “We made the deadline! Thank you everyone for what was truly a Department-wide effort!”
We also previously released an 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 May 2019, we uncovered documents showing a conversation between Kavalec and former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, discussing the targeting of Donald Trump with Steele dossier material.
In June, we made public documents revealing that State Department “Special Coordinator for Libya” Jonathan 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.
We also uncovered documents showing Nuland and 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 Steele.
Revealed: DOJ Discussions on Rosenstein Wearing Wire to Get Trump
If you had any doubts that top Justice Department officials were plotting to remove President Donald Trump, and that Rod Rosenstein was involved, you need to read the latest emails we have uncovered.
We have released 14 pages of records from the Department of Justice showing officials’ efforts in responding to media inquiries centering on talks within the DOJ/FBI allegedly invoking the 25th Amendment to “remove” President Donald Trump from office and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein offering to wear a “wire” to record his conversations with the president.
The records show that, following a September 21, 2018, report on Rosenstein suggesting he would wear a wire to secretly record Trump and his discussions on using the 25th Amendment, Rosenstein sought to ensure the media would have “difficulty” finding anyone in the DOJ to comment and a concerted effort within the DOJ to frame the reporting as “inaccurate” and “factually incorrect.”
The records show DOJ officials had also discussed characterizing Rosenstein’s reported offer of wearing a wire to record Trump as merely “sarcastic.”
Additionally, the records show DOJ Public Affairs officer Sarah Isgur Flores, after conferring with other top DOJ officials and Rosenstein’s office about her email exchange with New York Times reporter Adam Goldman, waited 12 hours to forward the email exchange to DOJ Chief of Staff Matthew Whitaker. Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had referred to Whitaker as the president’s “eyes and ears” in the DOJ.
We obtained the records through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit 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.
The records we obtained include a September 21, 2018, email from Assistant U.S. Attorney (DOJ/NSD) Harvey Eisenberg to Rosenstein informing the DAG that Washington Post reporter Ellen Nakashima had called inquiring about a New York Times report on the 25thAmendment/wire discussion, Rosenstein responds: “Thanks! Hopefully we are being successful, and the reporters are having difficulty finding anybody to comment about things. [Remainder of email redacted.]” Apparently in response to the redacted portion of Rosenstein’s reply, Eisenberg responds, “I’m aware. Besides letting you know, [redacted]. My best to you and the family.” Rosenstein replies, “I don’t mean about me. [Redacted.]” The emails also detail the DOJ’s response to the initial story as it was being prepared by the New York Times. On September 20, 2018, the Times’ Goldman emails DOJ’s Flores that he and fellow reporter Mike Schmidt were working on a story and wanted a DOJ response to certain questions, including that at a May 16, 2017, meeting of senior federal law enforcement officials, Rosenstein offered to wear a “wire” to record his conversations with Trump. “He also said McCabe could wear a wire.”
In a second request for comment, Goldman alleges that in a separate conversation between Rosenstein and McCabe, they discussed using the 25th Amendment “to remove President Trump” and “Rosenstein said that he may be able to get (then-Attorney General Jeff) Sessions and Kelly to go along with the plan.”
In a third request for comment, Goldman said he’d learned that Rosenstein in a May 12, 2017, conversation at the DOJ Command Center “appeared ‘upset’ and ‘emotional’ over the Comey firing.”
In a fourth request for comment, Goldman said that in a May 14, 2017, conversation with McCabe, “Rosenstein asked McCabe to reach out to Comey to seek advice about appointing a special counsel. McCabe believed that was a bad idea.”
In a fifth and final request for which he sought DOJ comment, Goldman wrote, “Rosenstein considered appointing (former Deputy Attorney General) Jim Cole as the special counsel.”
On Sept 20, 2018, Flores forwarded the Goldman email to “Annie” and “Bill” — apparently White House Deputy Counsel Annie Donaldson and White House Communications Director Bill Shine — telling Donaldson, “Boss calling Don re the below – if you think appropriate, share with Don [presumably referring to White House Counsel Don McGahn]”. She tells Shine, “We’ve sent a response from the DAG that’s below and had someone in the room dispute the ‘wire’ part noting the dag was being sarcastic.” She then includes the DAG response, which reads, “The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect. I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the Department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me be clear about this: based on my personal dealings with the President, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”
Shine thanks Flores and asks her to “share with Elliott ASAP.” Flores responds that if Shine is directing her to share with Elliott, “I don’t think I know who that is referring to.” Flores sent that response at 10:09 PM on September 20, but Flores waits until 10:00 a.m. the next day to forward the entire exchange to DOJ Chief of Staff Whitaker, saying: “Should have sent this to you last night.”
In a mostly redacted email exchange on the evening of September 20, 2018, shows the efforts of officials in the Public Affairs and DAG’s office to produce a response to the impending news article. DOJ Official Bradley Weinsheimer forwarded to Flores the “DAG response” to the allegations in the article, saying “DAG has cleared this, which is what we just discussed.” He then provides the official DAG response about the allegations over Rosenstein wanting to invoke the 25th Amendment against Trump as being “inaccurate and factually incorrect.” Deputy Attorney General’s office official Ed O’Callaghan responds, “Think good.” The rest of his response is redacted under (b)(5) – deliberative process.
In the final draft of the official DAG response approved by O’Callaghan, the statement is changed from “Based on my dealings with the President, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment” to “Based on my personal dealings with the President, there is no basis to invoke the 25thAmendment.”
It is remarkable that we have done more to investigate the DOJ/FBI’s discussions about overthrowing President Trump than the DOJ or Congress. These documents essentially confirm the coup discussions about wearing a wire when speaking with President Trump and plans to remove him under the 25h Amendment. North Carolina Frees Hundreds of Illegal Immigrants Wanted by Feds What is going on in North Carolina? Our Corruption Chronicles blog has been following developments, and now has the latest:
Weeks after Judicial Watch reported that the sheriff of North Carolina’s biggest county released numerous violent illegal immigrant criminals from custody, new federal stats reveal that the problem is statewide. Nearly 500 offenders with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers have been discharged into communities throughout the Tar Heel State this fiscal year,
which doesn’t end until next month so the number is likely to grow. A Charlotte news outlet obtained the latest figures from ICE, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In the article a senior DHS source condemns North Carolina law enforcement officials, reminding them that they are obstructing federal law and endangering the American public. So far 489 illegal aliens with ICE detainers have been discharged from North Carolina jails in the last ten months, including those charged with serious crimes such as homicide, kidnapping, arson and sex offenses.
The new data does not break down which county jail the perpetrators were released from, but we know from previous disclosures that Mecklenburg County, the state’s largest, is notorious for protecting illegal aliens from the feds. In fact, when the current sheriff, Garry McFadden got elected in 2018, he immediately ended a program known as 287(g) that notifies ICE of jail inmates in the country illegally. The program enhances the safety and security of communities by creating partnerships with state and local law enforcement agencies to identify and remove aliens who are amenable to removal from the United States. It is a mutually beneficial agreement, ICE says, that identifies, arrests and serves warrants and detainers of incarcerated foreign-born criminals. The program has identified and removed from the U.S. gang members, sex offenders and murderers and has reduced the number of criminal offenders that are released back into communities. “Federal, state and local officers working together provide a tremendous benefit to public safety through increased law enforcement communication and overall community policing effectiveness,” according to ICE. But Mecklenburg County proudly offers illegal aliens sanctuary and evidently that includes violent offenders. ICE recently disclosed that McFadden’s agency has freed more than 20 serious criminals, including rapists, child molesters, kidnappers, burglars, and those charged with gun-related and drug crimes. Most of the illegal immigrants are from Central America and Mexico, but a few are from India,
Afghanistan, Liberia and Sri Lanka. Among them is Oscar Pacheco-Leonardo, a previously deported Honduran charged with rape and child sex offenses. Thankfully, ICE arrested him last month during a targeted enforcement operation because Mecklenburg County law enforcement officials released him from custody despite his violent history. The federal agency accused Mecklenburg County of releasing a serious public safety threat onto the streets of Charlotte where he was free to potentially harm others for nearly two months until his capture by ICE. “The Mecklenburg County sheriff’s decision to restrict cooperation with ICE serves as an open invitation to aliens who commit criminal offenses that Mecklenburg County is a safe haven for persons seeking to evade federal authorities, and residents of Mecklenburg County are less safe today than last year due these policies,” the agency’s regional director said in a statement.
Incredibly, a growing number of local municipalities offer illegal immigrants sanctuary and refuse to cooperate with federal authorities, even when it involves dangerous criminals. Just a few months ago Judicial Watch reported that various California law enforcement agencies released 16 illegal immigrants with criminal records during a three-month period. Some were arrested and released multiple times by the same local law enforcement agency after committing felonies. In all of the cases, ICE issued detainers but local police ignored the federal agency to protect the illegal alien from deportation, instead freeing the perpetrator back into the community. Offenders include Mexican, Honduran and Salvadoran nationals charged with murder, rape, assault with a deadly weapon, spousal abuse, driving under the influence of alcohol, possession of illegal drugs and other serious crimes. One 23-year-old Honduran man was booked and released in San Francisco ten times in less than a year for crimes ranging from burglary, vehicle theft and driving without a license. In each of the arrests, ICE issued a detainer but the San Francisco Police Department disregarded it and let the man go. “On Watch With Chris Farrell” Addresses the Second Amendment
A special edition of “On Watch with Chris Farrell” with an expert panel will be broadcast on the One America News Network on both Saturday and Sunday at 5 pm ET.
This week’s discussion focuses on the attacks on your Second Amendment rights. American companies are caving-in to pressure from the anti-gun crowd. Some presidential candidates are talking about gun buy-back schemes. And, San Francisco recently labeled the NRA a “domestic terrorist organization.”
This week’s guests are Cam Edwards, the former NRATV host, and now the new editor of the website Bearing Arms; Dr. John R. Lott Jr., a world-recognized expert on guns and crime and founder of the Crime Prevention Research Center; and Rachel Bovard, senior director of policy at the Conservative Partnership Institute. Watch One America News this Saturday and Sunday at 5 pm ET
. Check local listings for show times in your area https://www.oann.com/wheretowatch/