STEFANIK: So since, in your opening statement, you confirmed that there is a counter-intelligence investigation currently open and you also referenced that it started in July. When did you notify the DNI, the White House, or senior congressional leadership?
COMEY: It’s a good question. Congressional leadership, some time recently. They were briefed on the nature of the investigation in some detail as I said. Obviously the Department of Justice has been aware of it all along. The DNI, I don’t know what the DNI’s knowledge of it was because we didn’t have a DNI until Mr. Coats took office and I briefed him his first morning in office.
Note: The DNI claim was a lie. James Clapper was Obama’s DNI.
STEFANIK: So just to drill down on this, if — if the open investigation began in July and the briefing of congressional leadership only occurred recently, why was there no notification prior to the recent — to the past month?
COMEY: I think our decision was it was a matter of such sensitivity that we wouldn’t include it in the quarterly briefings.
STEFANIK: So when you state our decision is that your decision? Is that usually your decision what gets briefed in those quarterly updates?
COMEY: No, it’s usually the decision of the head of our counter- intelligence division.
STEFANIK: And just again, to get the detailed — on the record, why was the decision made not to brief senior congressional leadership until recently when the investigation had been open since July? A very serious investigation — why was that decision to wait months?
COMEY: Because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Bill Priestap is the head of the FBI’s Counter-Intelligence Division.
Priestap is not a household name, but he held a pivotal role in the FBI’s exoneration of Clinton, the subsequent Trump-Russia Investigation and surveillance of the Trump Campaign.
Per Comey’s testimony, Priestap was the individual responsible for making the decision not to inform Congressional leadership – the Gang of Eight – about the July 2016 FBI investigation.
At the time, I made the following comments:
I am almost speechless that the FBI’s Director of Counter-Intelligence, Bill Priestap, would make such a decision – or could make such a decision.
The FBI is a division of the DOJ. It is not a fourth branch of the government. Since when does an official within the FBI get to decide when information is disseminated to only certain members of the National Security Council – not all of them – while at the same time refusing to disclose to Congressional leadership?
The Gang of Eight are briefed on classified intelligence matters by the Executive Branch and are responsible for Congressional oversight of all Intelligence Agencies. They are the “Checks and Balances” for the Intelligence aspect of our government. Anything intelligence-related must be shown to this committee. If there is a U.S. covert operation, these members know of it and approved it.
Bill Priestap’s name would come up again – in relation to Michael Flynn. Excerpt from an earlier timeline:
December 29 2016 – General Michael Flynn speaks to the Russian Ambassador.
Jan 12 2017 – Mike Flynn’s Dec 29 2016 call is leaked to Washington Post.
January 19 2017 – The New York Times reports that the FBI, CIA, NSA and Treasury Department are monitoring several associates of the Trump campaign suspected of Russian ties.
January 19 2017 – Obama’s top intelligence and law-enforcement deputies meet to talk about Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak.
January 23 2017 – Acting Attorney General Sally Yates increases pressure on FBI Director Comey regarding Mike Flynn – telling Comey that Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail.
January 23 2017 – The FBI reports nothing unlawful in the content of Flynn’s call.
January 24 2017 – Mike Flynn is interviewed at the White House by the FBI. It is during this interview that Flynn supposedly lies to the FBI – despite having his calls already cleared by the FBI. The surprise – and unscheduled – interview is conducted by Peter Strzok.
January 25 2017 – The Department of Justice receives a detailed briefing on Flynn’s interview from the FBI.
January 26 2017 – AG Sally Yates contacts White House Counsel McGahn who agrees to meet with Yates the same day.
January 26 2017 – Sally Yates meets with McGahn. She also brings Bill Priestap, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division.
Yates later testifies the meeting surrounds General Flynn’s phone calls and his FBI Interview. She also testifies that Flynn’s call and subsequent interview “was a topic of a whole lot of discussion in DOJ and with other members of the intel community.”
Bill Priestap later presents the FBI’s contributions to the early 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment, or ICA – Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent Elections – to the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 21, 2017.
Sally Yates was Deputy Attorney General prior to January 20, 2017, and Acting Attorney General from January 20, 2017, after Lynch left office upon President Trump’s inauguration.
Yates’ boss was Attorney General Loretta Lynch until Yates became Acting Attorney General. On January 30, 2017, President Trump fired Yates for refusing to enforce the Travel Ban.
Bill Priestap is Assistant Director, FBI Counter Intelligence.
Priestap’s boss is FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. McCabe’s boss was FBI Director James Comey.
The FBI Director (Comey) reports to the Attorney General (Lynch/Yates).
Now, consider the following timeline:
- April 2016 – Clinton Campaign begins paying Fusion GPS.
- April/May 2016 – Fusion GPS hires Christopher Steele.
- May 2016 – Fusion GPS hires Nellie Ohr, wife of DOJ Assoc. Deputy AG Bruce Ohr,
- May 2016 – Trump becomes presumptive GOP Nominee.
- June 2016 – FBI Agent Peter Strzok – and possibly DOJ’s Bruce Ohr – meet with Christopher Steel.
- Late June 2016 – First draft of Trump Dossier shared w/Fusion GPS & possibly FBI’s Strzok.
- June/July 2016 – First FISA request made. It is denied.
- July 2 2016 – FBI Agent Strzok interviews Hillary Clinton.
- July 5 2016 – FBI Director Comey exonerates Clinton.
- July 19, 2016 – Trump officially becomes GOP Nominee.
- Late July – Second draft of Trump Dossier shared with FBI.
- Late July 2016 – FBI begins counter-intelligence investigation into Russia and Trump.
- August 2016 – Strzok sends “insurance policy” text referencing Deputy FBI Director McCabe (see below).
- August/September 2016 – CIA Director Brennan meets with Gang of Eight suggesting Russia is helping Trump.
- Late Summer/Fall 2016 – Trump Dossier shopped.
- September 2016 – Second FISA request made. This request is granted. No evidence is found but surveillance continues – ostensibly for national security reasons.
- October 2016 – The Obama administration is now monitoring an opposing presidential campaign using federal intelligence services.
And this (extremely) compressed summation:
Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr and FBI Agent Peter Strzok both have ties to Fusion GPS and Richard Steele. Strzok personally helps to exonerate Clinton in the email investigation. Ohr has known Steele since 2006. Ohr’s wife was employed by Fusion GPS. Ohr provides the Trump Dossier to Strzok who uses it to start the FBI Investigation into Russia and the Trump Campaign in July 2016 (per March 20, 2017 testimony by Comey). The Dossier is later used – at least in part – to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on the Trump Campaign.
The two individuals with direct supervisory authority over Bruce Ohr and Peter Strzok:
Sally Yates and Bill Priestap, respectively.
Bruce Ohr reported directly to Yates. Peter Strzok reported directly to Bill Priestap.
I find it implausible to believe that Yates and Priestap were unaware of the activities of Ohr and Strzok.
The timeline – and severity – of events support this contention.
To recap – Bill Priestap:
- Was – per Comey – the individual responsible for making the decision not to inform Congressional leadership – the Gang of Eight – about the July 2016 FBI investigation.
- Was directly involved in the surveillance and investigation of Michael Flynn.
- Oversaw the activities of FBI Agent Strzok. Strzok was involved in all facets of the Clinton investigation and interviewed Flynn.
- Gave approval for the use of the Trump Dossier.
- Gave approval of background documents used in FISA warrant preparation.
- Was responsible for preparing and presenting the FBI’s Russian Assessment.
Priestap was either directly responsible – or directly oversaw those who were responsible – for every facet of the Clinton Investigation, the Trump Dossier creation and the Trump-Russia Investigation.
Based on the magnitude of the information – and the manner in which the information was used – I find it equally implausible to believe that Yates and Priestap wouldn’t inform their bosses – Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (and almost certainly FBI Director James Comey).
Bill Priestap’s boss, FBI Deputy Director McCabe has been encountering his own series of troubles as I have noted several times.
McCabe was already under investigation relating to Conflict of Interest charges in the Clinton Email Investigation:
Virginia Governor and longtime Clinton confidant Terry McAuliffe donated $467,500 to the 2015 Senate campaign of Andrew McCabe’s wife, Dr. Jill McCabe. The Virginia Democratic Party donated an additional $207,788 for a grand total of $675,288. This equated to more than a third of Dr. McCabe’s campaign funds.
McAuliffe met with the McCabe’s on March 7, 2015 – the purpose of the meeting was to convince Dr. McCabe to run for office – her first run at any public office.
Clinton’s private server was uncovered by the New York Times on March 2, 2015 – five days before McAuliffe’s first meeting with the McCabe’s.
At the time of McAuliffe’s first meeting with the McCabe’s, Andrew McCabe was running the FBI’s Washington, D.C. field office. It was McCabe’s office that provided personnel and resources to the Clinton email investigation.
Then, the discovery of a Strzok text message appeared to indicate collusion with Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe to alter or influence the 2016 Presidential election by utilizing the Trump Dossier:
I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s [Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe] office that there’s no way he [Trump] gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.
Strzok’s almost certainly referencing the fabricated Trump Dossier. “It’s like an insurance policy”.
Strzok appears to be discussing a plan to use the Trump Dossier to obtain a FISA Warrant. The matter seems to have been discussed with Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe – in McCabe’s office.
McCabe was a no-show for scheduled Congressional testimony.
Facing a Congressional subpoena, McCabe agreed to closed-door testimony that went on for nine hours.
McCabe was accompanied by top FBI lawyer James Baker. Baker is already under investigation for leaking classified information.
Immediately following McCabe’s testimony, Baker was “reassigned” (fired) and McCabe announced his retirement:
Under investigation for leaking classified information.
Illegally moved Trump Dossier through McCabe’s Office.
Selected Strzok for Mueller’s Team.
Guided Strzok’s Clinton edits from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.”
— Jeff Carlson, CFA (@themarketswork) December 23, 2017
Wow, “FBI lawyer James Baker reassigned,” according to @FoxNews.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2017
How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2017
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2017
I suspect that McCabe’s chances of maintaining employment for 90 days are…slim.
Consider the following.
Individuals directly below Priestap (Strzok) and directly above Priestap (McCabe) have been ensnared and exposed by the Inspector General’s Investigation.
Strzok is off Mueller’s team and has been demoted. He is on the verge of being subpoenaed by Congress.
McCabe is racing to retire with full benefits in 90 days. Per President Trump’s reaction, McCabe is likely to be fired imminently. McCabe is also on the verge of being subpoenaed by Congress.
So where is Bill Priestap?
And why aren’t you hearing his name daily?
Because someone has almost certainly been speaking with him.
Perhaps the Inspector General has some answers.
The good folks at theconservativetreehouse have a great thread on twitter which covers Priestap’s involvement.
1. Get to know this name: Bill Priestap pic.twitter.com/cu0e1ji295
— TheLastRefuge (@TheLastRefuge2) December 15, 2017
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