The Justice Department and the FBI have failed to meet deadlines for the delivery of specific documents about FBI activities prior to the official investigation into Russian meddling, reports Fox News citing a “source close to the discussions.”
“The DOJ gave the committee some, but not all, of the outstanding documents, so they are not in compliance,” an Intelligence Committee spokesperson told Fox.
If DOJ records reveal that the FBI was actively working against the Trump campaign prior to events which officially precipitated Operation Crossfire Hurricane – especially during the period in which they engaged informant Stefan Halper to conduct espionage on multiple Trump aides, it will have wide ranging implications on the FBI’s version of how the counterintelligence operation began. Without the documents, congressional investigators won’t be able to piece together the timeline of events, or whether the FBI followed agency protocols during that period.
While FBI headquarters authorized the official counterintelligence operation on July 31, 2016 – John Solomon of The Hill reported in June that efforts to spy on and possibly entrap Trump campaign aides began much earlier.
The bridge to the Russia investigation wasn’t erected in Moscow during the summer of the 2016 election.
It originated earlier, 1,700 miles away in London, where foreign figures contacted Trump campaign advisers and provided the FBI with hearsay allegations of Trump-Russia collusion, bureau documents and interviews of government insiders reveal. These contacts in spring 2016 — some from trusted intelligence sources, others from Hillary Clinton supporters — occurred well before FBI headquarters authorized an official counterintelligence investigation on July 31, 2016. –The Hill
Another red flag from The Hill was noted by retired assistant FBI director for intelligence, Kevin Brock, who supervised an agency update to their longstanding bureau rules governing the use of sources while working under then-director Robert Mueller. These rules prohibit the FBI from directing a human source to perform espionage on an American until a formal investigation has been opened – paperwork and all.
Brock sees oddities in how the Russia case began. “These types of investigations aren’t normally run by assistant directors and deputy directors at headquarters,” he told me. “All that happens normally in a field office, but that isn’t the case here and so it becomes a red flag. Congress would have legitimate oversight interests in the conditions and timing of the targeting of a confidential human source against a U.S. person.” -The Hill
The records were requested by three House GOP committee chairmen; Trey Gowdy on Oversight, Devin Nunes from Intelligence and Bob Goodlatte on Judiciary – while the Friday deadline was set by a House resolution after a subpoenas and letters issued as far back as August of last year failed to do the trick.
The source said House staffers — who reviewed records Thursday at the Justice Department (DOJ) because lawmakers were out of town for the holiday recess — concluded that Justice and the FBI have still not provided information and records about FBI activities before the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 elections officially opened on July 31 of that year. –Fox News
“The House Judiciary Committee has been in contact daily with the Justice Department to ensure they produce all the documents subpoenaed by the committee earlier this year,” said a Republican aide to the House Judiciary Committee. “The Justice Department has produced more documents over the past weeks and has requested more time to produce additional documents. This request seems to be reasonable, and we expect the department to comply with the terms of the subpoena.”
Last weekend a Justice Department official emphasized that the FBI and DOJ had advised both chambers’ intelligence committees that records previously limited to congress’s “Gang of Eight” were now available to the rest of congress and cleared staff. They were originally reported to have included documents concerning the FBI’s use of informants during the election.
“What put this in motion? And of course, was what put this into motion, was something that is politically motivated, or was it based on legit law enforcement evidence?” said former George W. Bush Deputy Assistant Attorney General Thomas Dupree. “Based on hearing and the back-and-forth we have seen over the last few months, we are in an extremely unusual, and in my view disturbing, situation, where the has been a complete breakdown and a fracture of trust.”
Meanwhile, the face of the noncompliant DOJ is none other than Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein – who recommended former FBI Director Jim Comey’s firing, appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and signed off on at least one FISA warrant renewal for Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
That said, Fox notes that “those who have worked with Rosenstein emphasize he is in a difficult position because it is not routine to provide records from ongoing investigations.”
We’re kind of beyond what’s routine…