by Tom Fitton –
… Used Personal Email For Official Business
Jacob “Jake” Sullivan, Hillary Clinton’s senior advisor and deputy chief of staff when she was secretary of state, has now answered our questions under oath.
We have released the transcript of this court-ordered deposition in which he admits that both he and Clinton used her unsecure non-government email system to conduct official State Department business. A full transcript of the deposition is available here.
Our court-ordered discovery centered upon whether Clinton intentionally attempted to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by using a non-government email system and whether the State Department adequately searched for records responsive to our FOIA request.
In the questioning, Sullivan admitted that he had used his personal Gmail account at times for State Department business but denied that he had sent classified information to Secretary Clinton’s unsecured personal system.
After we pointed out that on January 26, 2010, Sullivan sent a classified email with the subject line “call sheet,” Sullivan testified: “When I sent this email, my best judgment was that none of the material in it was classified, and I felt comfortable sending the email on an unclassified system. The material has subsequently been upclassified but at the time that I sent it, I did not believe that it was classified.”
Sullivan said in the deposition that he had not been concerned about Clinton’s use of a non-government email account, because it was not part of his job:
Like Secretary Clinton has said herself, I wish she had used a State Department account. It wasn’t really part of my job to be thinking about Secretary Clinton’s emails so I don’t think I sort of fell down directly in my job, but do I wish I had thought of it during the time we were at State. Of course. I mean, what human being at this point wouldn’t have thought of that?
Sullivan’s deposition is part of United States District Judge Royce C. Lamberth’s order for senior officials — including Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap – to respond under oath to our questions.
A video of the Sullivan deposition exists but is under seal after the Justice Department and State Department, which opposed any discovery, objected to their public release. The court denied release of the video depositions for now and left the door open for reconsideration.
[T]he Court does not foreclose future releases of audiovisual recordings – in this or other cases. Judicial Watch may move to unseal portions of these recordings relied upon in future court filings. So too may it use the video recordings at trial, consistent with the Federal Rules of Evidence.
Judge Lamberth made the ruling in our July 2014 FOIA lawsuit filed after the U.S. Department of State failed to respond to a May 13, 2014 FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)). We are seeking:
Copies of any updates and/or talking points given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency concerning, regarding, or related to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Any and all records or communications concerning, regarding, or relating to talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency.
What this means is that a federal court wants answers on the Clinton email scandal, and Sullivan is just one of many witnesses we will question under oath. It is shameful that the Justice and State Departments continue to try to protect Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration on the email scandal.
You will recall that U.S District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ordered Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides, as well as E.W. Priestap, to be deposed or answer written questions under oath. The court ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”
Previously we released interrogatory responses given under oath by E.W. (Bill) Priestap, assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division, in which he stated that agency found Clinton email records in the Obama White House, specifically, the Executive Office of the President.
What Were Anti-Trump Conspirators
Strzok and Ohr Saying to Each Other?
We have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Justice for communications between two of the pivotal players in the Deep State, anti-Trump collusion – former FBI official Peter Strzok and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-01082)).
We sued after submitting two similar July 20, 2018, FOIA requests to Justice and the FBI. The FBI failed to respond, while the Justice Department claimed to find no records of communications between Strzok and Ohr. The lawsuit seeks:
All records of communication between FBI official Peter Strzok and Bruce Ohr, in either his role as Associate Deputy Attorney General or Director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, including but not limited to emails (whether on .gov or non-.gov email accounts, and whether using their real names or aliases), text messages, encrypted app messages and/or instant chats.
The time frame for the requested records is January 2016 to July 20, 2018.
We are challenging the Justice Department’s extraordinary claim that there are no records of communications between Strzok and Ohr in light of the preeminent role both individuals played in the Deep State effort to undermine the Trump campaign and administration. In addition, Ohr himself testified before Congress that he did, in fact, meet and communicate with Strzok.
On April 25, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) submitted a letter to Attorney General William Barr about text messages from Strzok to former FBI lawyer Lisa Page “that may show potential attempts by the FBI to conduct surveillance of President-elect Trump’s transition team.”
We know that Peter Strzok was deeply involved in both running the Hillary server investigation cover-up by the FBI and in creating the counterintelligence “investigation” of false claims of Trump-Russian collusion. It’s doubtful that Ohr’s meetings with Strzok over a matter of national importance happened without a scrap of communication. It’s past time the Justice Department begins acting in good faith, stops the game playing, abides by the law and produces the documents.
We’re Suing Over Federal
Purchases of Human Abortion Tissue
The FDA is using your tax dollars to purchase fetal tissue sold by abortion clinics, and we are investigating.
We have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) seeking Food and Drug Administration (FDA) documents about the purchase and use of human fetal tissue obtained from abortion clinics that was used by FDA researchers in “humanized mice” testing.
We sued in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department Health and Human Services(No. 1:19-cv-00876)) after HHS failed to respond adequately to a September 28, 2018, FOIA request for:
1. All contracts and related documentation between FDA and Advanced Biosciences Resources (ABR) for the provision of human fetal tissue to be used in humanized mice research.
2. All records reflecting the disbursement of funds to ABR for the provision of human fetal tissue to be used in humanized mice research.
3. All guidelines and procedural documents provided to ABR by FDA relating to the acquisition and extraction of human fetal tissue for its provision to the FDA for humanized mice research.
4. All communications between FDA officials and employees and representatives of ABR related to the provision by ABR to the FDA of human fetal tissue for the purpose of humanized mice research.
Here’s what’s going on. On July 25, 2018, the FDA signed a contract to acquire human fetal tissue to transplant into “humanized mice” so that the mice would have a human immune system.
The Trump administration in September 2018 halted the FDA’s contract with Advanced Biosciences Resources, which sold fetal tissue it obtained from abortion clinics to the FDA for use in animal testing. Additionally, HHS said in a statement on September 24, 2018, that it was “conducting an audit of all acquisitions involving human fetal tissue to ensure conformity with procurement and human fetal tissue research laws and regulations.”
Members of Congress, in a September 17, 2018, letter to FDA Commission Scott Gottlieb, raised concern over the FDA’s signing on July 25, 2018, of a $15,900 contract with ABR. It was the eighth contract between FDA and ABR since 2012.
In the letter, the Congress members noted that separate 2016 investigations by the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives and the Senate Judiciary Committee found that ABR paid abortion clinics $60 per “single aborted fetus” and sold the body parts to researchers at fees of $325 per “specimen” (brain, eyes, liver, thymus and lungs).
Why are U.S. taxpayer dollars being used to contract with a company alleged to have trafficked in baby body parts? We are demanding a full accounting of the procedures as well as the funds used in this disturbing experimentation.
Bruce Ohr Email Raises Possible Ethics
Concerns Tied to Russia Testimony
If we knew what Bruce and Nellie Ohr knew, we could pretty much complete a big patch of the jigsaw puzzle that is the coup attempt against President Trump.
Now we know a bit more. We have received 33 pages of records from the Department of Justice showing that former senior DOJ official Bruce Ohr in his January 2018 preparation to testify to the Senate and House intelligence committees wrote to a lawyer about “possible ethics concerns.” Bruce Ohr forwarded the email to his wife Nellie Ohr, who had been hired by Fusion GPS, the Hillary Clinton campaign-Democratic National Committee vendor who compiled the anti-Trump Dossier.
We obtained the records through our August 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the Justice Department after it failed to respond to a May 29, 2018, FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-01854)). Judicial Watch seeks:
All records from the Office of the Deputy Attorney General relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.
All records from the office of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce G. Ohr relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications (including those of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Ohr) about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.
All records from the office of the Director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications (including those of former Organized Crime Task Force Director Bruce Ohr) about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.
On January 3, 2018, Bruce Ohr emailed Justice Department ethics lawyer Cynthia Shaw, and advised her that the Senate and House intelligence committees had requested to interview him about investigations into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. He noted that a number of press reports had come out about his “alleged” connections to Christopher Steele. He asked her a question that is largely redacted but sought information about “possible ethics concerns.” He forwarded this email to his wife Nellie:
Thank you for taking the time to chat with me this morning. As requested, here is a short description of my question:
As you may have heard, the Senate intelligence committee and House intelligence committee requested to interview me in connection with their investigations of possible Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Shortly after receiving the Senate request, a series of stories broke in the press about my alleged connections to Chris Steele, the author of the so-called Trump dossier. [Redacted]
My question has to do with [redacted]. Are there any guidelines for [redacted] in order to satisfy any possible ethics concerns?
Shaw’s response is largely redacted:
Can you obtain [redacted]
The new documents also reveal a close relationship between Fusion GPS employee Nellie Ohr and DOJ Russia experts Lisa Holtyn, Joseph Wheatley and Ivana Nizich.
On May 11, 2016, Nellie Ohr received an email invitation to attend a Hudson Institute “Kleptocracy Archive Launch.” Notably, Fusion GPS principal Glenn Simpson, listed as “a Senior Fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center” who “now works frequently on Russian corporate crime and criminal organizations,” was to be a panelist.
Nellie forwarded the invitation to top Bruce Ohr aide Lisa Holtyn and husband/wife DOJ lawyers Joseph Wheatley and Ivana Nizich. Holtyn, Wheatley, and Nizich all worked for the DOJ’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), which investigated Russian cartels and other Russian syndicated crime matters.
On April 29, 2016, Holtyn, who worked in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section, Criminal Division of the Justice Department, emailed an unidentified individual in the Criminal Investigative Division of the FBI:
I asked Bruce and he didn’t know him, but is going to see if Nellie does.
I was wondering if maybe we knew him through some sort of Glenn Simpson or John Picarelli-sponsored event. If he hadn’t referred to you as [redacted] it wouldn’t have bothered me so much, but knowledge of that particular nickname implies a certain degree of familiarity not available on the Internet. [John Picarelli] is current Acting Deputy Director of the Department of Homeland Security and then-Justice Department Program Manager for Transnational Issues.]
The unidentified FBI employee emailed Holtyn back: “It does. I’m baffled.”
An April 25, 2016, email shows Nellie Ohr inviting Lisa Holtyn to another Hudson Institute Russia talk.
An email on the following day shows Nellie Ohr declining an invitation by Holtyn to go to a film.
A March 28, 2016, email with the subject line “email intro” shows Holtyn introducing Nellie Ohr to a husband/wife pair of prosecutors at the Department of Justice in the Criminal Division (“CRM”) named Joe Wheatley and Ivana Nizich.
We previously released other DOJ documents that detail numerous contacts with Russiagate figure Christopher Steele and many other communications between Nellie Ohr and Ohr’s DOJ colleagues.
Bruce Ohr was the conflicted center of the Clinton-DNC effort to launder fraudulent Russia material into the Justice Department and FBI. These documents show that Bruce Ohr was aware enough to look for advice – or look for cover – on ethics issues. His wife, Fusion GPS employee Nellie Ohr, had chummy relationships with various Justice Department officials, which illustrates perfectly why it was so easy for Fusion GPS to sell its anti-Trump Dossier scam.
What’s the Deal on
Meeting with AP Reporters?
It’s well known that the Deep State coup against Donald Trump was aided through leaks to a willing media. And it’s well known that Robert Mueller’s chief attack dog in the special counsel’s office, Andrew Weissman, appeared to have had difficulty recognizing the boundaries of propriety.
We aim to find out how those two things come together.
We have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice for records of a meeting set up by then-Chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Fraud Section Andrew Weissmann between the DOJ, FBI and reporters from The Associated Press (AP), in which Weissmann allegedly provided guidance to reporters investigating Paul Manafort, and which may have led to the raid of Manafort’s storage locker (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-00879)).
Just over two months after the meeting, Weissmann was appointed to be Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s top aide in the now-defunct Russia collusion investigation. Under Mueller, Weissmann became known as “the architect of the case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort,” which produced no evidence of collusion between Manafort, the Trump campaign, and Russian operatives. It indicted Manafort on unrelated charges.
Our suit was filed after the FBI failed to respond to a July 5, 2018, FOIA request for:
• All records concerning the April 2017 meeting between Department of Justice and FBI personnel and representatives of The Associated Press. This request includes all notes, reports, memoranda, briefing materials, or other records created in preparation for, during, and/or pursuant to the meeting.
• All records of communication between any representative of the Department of Justice and any of the individuals present at the aforementioned meeting.
Weissmann reportedly arranged a meeting with “DOJ and FBI officials and four Associated Press reporters on April 11, 2017, just over a month before Mueller was appointed special counsel.” At a hearing in June 2017 a special agent testified that “the FBI may have conducted a May 2017 raid of a storage locker that Manafort was renting based on a tip from AP reporters. He also said that the purpose of the meeting was for the DOJ and FBI to obtain information from The AP.”
We have previously uncovered documents that show Weissmann had an anti-Trump animus. A Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit uncovered a supportive email sent by Weissmann to former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates praising her refusal to enforce President Trump’s Middle East travel ban executive order. Weissmann applauds Yates writing: “I am so proud. And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respects.”
The liberal media and then-soon-to-be Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann seem to have colluded in an effort to target the Trump team. And rather than comply with the Freedom of Information Act, the DOJ has ignored our request. The illegal secrecy at the DOJ suggests the agency has something to hide about its abusive targeting of President Trump.
We’re Helping a Watchdog Group
Get Information on DC’s Transit System
We at Judicial Watch live and work in the District of Columbia, but this is also your city. It’s your national capital, and its mass transportation hub, Metro, is a mess.
We’re helping a local watchdog group gather information on this embarrassment. We have filed a Public Access to Records Policy lawsuit against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (“Metro”) and its General Manager, Paul Wiedefeld, on behalf of Unsuck DC Metro for an unredacted version of their Customer Satisfaction Tracking Study (Unsuck DC Metro v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and Paul Wiedefeld (No. 1:19-cv-01242)).
Unsuck DC Metro (@UnsuckDCMetro) is a citizens’ watchdog over the DC area’s public transit Metro system. “Over the years, various general managers have promised transparency but, in fact, Metro has become increasingly opaque. A taxpayer-funded organization withholding information, such as the questions on the customer satisfaction survey, from the public on dubious grounds is unacceptable. If local politicians won’t hold Metro accountable and truly transparent, perhaps this lawsuit will,” Unsuck DC Metro said.
We sued after WMATA denied an Unsuck DC Metro April 26, 2018, open records request for Metro’s customer satisfaction survey by providing a version of the survey with 28 of 29 pages completely blacked out and redacted.
Metro has had safety, management, financial, and declining ridership problems. DC Metro has been called “the worst in the world.” Services have been drastically cut so that three years’ worth of maintenance can be done. Meanwhile, fares are increasing and ridership is declining.
A collision in 2009 between two trains killed nine people. In 2015 a woman died of smoke inhalation during an electrical malfunction.
In October 2018, Metro asked for an additional $87 million of taxpayer dollars, which would push its operation expenditure to $1.0794 billion.
The Metro board’s chairman Jack Evans and General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld said recently that the system was in such poor shape that segments of rail lines could shut down for weeks at a time for maintenance, and that much more additional funding is needed.”
Metro’s leaders have not offered a solution to the system’s ridership decline.
DC’s Metro system is a mess and untold millions of federal and local tax dollars have gone to support this failing, corrupt and unsafe transit operation system. Metro is so out of it that it won’t even release its most recent Ridership Survey to the public! In our experience, this illegal secrecy means Metro has something to hide.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton