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by WorldTribune Staff, January 7, 2019
Via their consistent stonewalling of a congressional investigation into their alleged abuses of power during the 2016 campaign, the FBI and Department of Justice “have succeeded in the most significant coverup in American political history,” a columnist wrote.
For nearly two years, the FBI and DOJ refused to produce the documents and provide access to the witnesses that would, “in all likelihood, prove that the major abuses of power and crimes had been committed,” Jed Babbin wrote for The American Spectator on Jan. 7.
“Since Watergate, the Washington wisdom has always held that it’s not the crime, it’s the coverup that sinks a politician. But that’s only the case when the coverup fails,” Babbin wrote.
“But what if the coverup succeeds? It’s horribly simple. The crimes are never uncovered and the perpetrators are never brought to justice no matter how serious their crimes may be. That is precisely what has happened because of the FBI and Justice Department’s coverup of their abuses of power and illegal actions during the 2016 election.”
The investigations into FBI and DOJ abuses in the 2016 election, which died when Democrats assumed control of the House last week, had been spearheaded by then-House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chairman Devin Nunes, then-chairman of the Judiciary Committee Rep. Bob Goodlatte, and then-chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee Rep. Trey Gowdy.
Babbin noted that “The two important products of those investigations were the 18 January 2017 memo declassified by President Trump and released by Nunes and the newly released 28 December 2018 letter from Goodlatte and Gowdy addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, and DoJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz.”
“If this is the first you’ve heard of the 28 December letter, that’s because it’s been studiously ignored by the media.”
The key facts revealed by the Nunes memo were:
- That the FBI used, as the factual basis for the Foreign Intelligence Act Surveillance Court (FISA) warrant applications, information from the Christopher Steele dossier, a compilation of anti-Trump information that the FBI had not verified. The FBI nevertheless swore to the truth of that information to obtain surveillance warrants on Carter Page, a one-time Trump campaign advisor.
- That in the process of obtaining the search warrants the FBI failed to inform the FISA court that the Steele dossier was bought and paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
“The Nunes memo showed that the actions of the FBI and Justice Department, sometimes in conjunction with the Obama White House, were worse than Watergate,” Babbin wrote.
The Dec. 28 letter from Goodlatte and Gowdy to McConnell, Babbin noted, will almost certainly be the last effort “to expose the facts of this scandal.”
The Goodlatte-Gowdy letter “is as revealing as was the Nunes memo,” Babbin wrote. “The two outgoing committee chairmen chose to focus on the importance of decisions made and not made by the FBI and DOJ, the bias of some agents and attorneys involved, and the evidently disparate treatment of the Clinton email investigation and the counter-intelligence investigation of the Trump campaign.”
Babbin continued: “Under 18 US Code Section 793(f) it is a felony to handle classified information in a ‘grossly negligent’ manner. The Goodlatte-Gowdy letter flatly says that the FBI and DOJ read elements into the ‘gross negligence’ law that do not exist. In then-FBI director James Comey’s 5 July 2016 televised statement exonerating Clinton, the FBI read into the law a higher level of scienter – intent and knowledge of the unlawfulness of conduct – than the law required.”
The Goodlatte-Gowdy letter also says “there is little or no evidence investigators made any effort to identify evidence that could have satisfied the FBI-devised scienter element that is not in the law,” Babbin wrote. “We should remember Comey’s televised statement in which he said that ‘no reasonable prosecutor’ would have brought a case against Clinton under the gross negligence law. He also said that the decision not to do so was unanimous among those involved.”
Babbin continued: “That was one of Comey’s biggest lies. As the Goodlatte-Gowdy letter points out, FBI General Counsel James Baker told them that he did believe a case could be made and the recommendation not to charge Clinton wasn’t unanimous. Goodlatte and Gowdy point out that Comey’s exoneration memo was drafted before all of the relevant witnesses had been interviewed. What they fail to mention is that the FBI and DOJ were handing out immunity from prosecution agreements to Clinton staffers as freely as if the agreements were Halloween candy.”
The Goodlatte-Gowdy letter also “points out that the Comey exoneration memo was changed before it was issued, but fails to specify the biggest change,” Babbin wrote. “Originally a part of the memo said that Clinton and her staff handled classified information in a ‘grossly negligent’ manner. Comey changed that to read ‘extremely careless,’ clearly to prevent the law from being applied. The only difference between the two phrases is that one appears in the statute and one doesn’t, but Comey nevertheless stated that there was no prosecutable case.”
Comey also, according to the letter, “overlooked evidence that foreign actors had accessed Clinton’s emails, and probably those of her staffers, including at least one containing ‘Secret’ information. That information, too, was excised from Comey’s draft exoneration memo for the purpose of helping Clinton,” Babbin wrote.
“The only conclusion possible – which Goodlatte and Gowdy do not state – is that Comey’s FBI intentionally gave Clinton a pass when they should have recommended to the Justice Department that she be prosecuted.”
Babbin concluded: “The only avenue that was left to find the truth was for President Trump to have ordered the documents declassified and provided to Congress. But he never acted and now the investigations are closed. The Senate won’t reopen them, nor will acting AG Whitaker or IG Horowitz. The only hope resides in U.S. Attorney for Utah John Huber, an Obama appointee, who then-AG Jeff Sessions tasked to investigate FBI misconduct in the election. Those who place their hopes in Huber will be disappointed.
“The stain on our system of justice and the 2016 election created by the abuses of power and probable crimes committed by FBI and DoJ officials during and after the 2016 presidential campaign will not be erased. Their coverup has succeeded.”