Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Bill Priestap, the high-ranking FBI official responsible for overseeing both the Clinton email investigation and the agency’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign

To save you a lot of time reading all of the below or the article on Enoch Times, all of the information can be summed up by saying that although Bill Priestap was over these investigations he did know shit about what was going on. Basically he was getting paid on the tax payers dollar without looking at probably the two biggest investigations under his purview. 

"Priestap On the Clinton Email Fraud

Priestap said it was his understanding the entire team had been personally chosen, and he was unaware of precisely who had controlled the selection process:

Mr. Priestap: “[It’s] my understanding it was the first, that people were hand selected.”

Mr. Baker: “Do you have any understanding of who did that hand selection?”

Mr. Priestap: “No.”

Priestap said the decision would have to be made “at least at the assistant director level, where I sit.” Priestap also noted that if a field office resisted the agent’s move, the decision “could be elevated further.”

The Affair Notification

It was Priestap that sat down with Strzok and Page and told them he’d heard rumors about their ongoing affair. Priestap noted during his June 5 interview that he had this discussion “about a year ago,” placing the meeting in mid-2017. Priestap was informed of the possibility of the affair by one of Strzok’s two co-managers in the Clinton email investigation—either Moffa or FBI lawyer Sally Moyer:

Mr. Priestap: “I spoke to Deputy Director McCabe about it. I also spoke to both Pete and Lisa about it. I felt I owed it to them. Lisa did not report to me, but I felt that they ought to be aware of what was being said. I didn’t ask them if it was true, but they needed to know that that impression was out there.

“And I don’t remember my exact words. But what I was trying to communicate is this better not interfere with things, if you know what I mean. Like, to me, the mission is everything. And so, we all have our personal lives, what have you. I’m not the morality police.”

The Insurance Policy

Mr. Baker: “There is a reference — again, these are the texts that have sort of become famous or widely reported — there is a reference to an insurance policy. And the innuendo was that there was something held in abeyance should Mr. Trump actually win the election. Do you have any thought or any idea what the insurance policy was?”

Mr. Priestap: “I do not. No, I know of the text, I mean, I saw in the media, the text that you’re referring to, but I’m at a loss for what they were referring to. I was not aware of the Counterintelligence Division or the FBI having this insurance policy thing.”

Priestap was asked whether he had received a readout of that particular meeting. While acknowledging he did indeed receive readouts of meetings, he testified there were none pertaining to this specific meeting, noting that he would have remembered seeing one if it had existed:

Mr. Priestap: “Somebody talking about an insurance policy, I would have asked, ‘What the heck do you mean by that?'”

Priestap indicated that not only would he have been alarmed by the discussion, but he would have required additional explanation as to what was actually being discussed, and why.

The Clinton Server Anomalies

The Clinton email server investigation originated from an assessment contained within a June 29, 2015, memo from the inspectors general of the Intelligence Community and the State Department, which detailed the existence of “hundreds of potentially classified emails.”

Priestap’s admission that this was all new information to him, prompted an observation from Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) that Strzok appeared to be exercising significant investigative control:

Mr. Meadows: “It sounds like Peter Strzok was kind of driving the train here. Would you agree with that?”

Mr. Priestap: “Peter and Jon, yeah.”

Priestap’s London Trips

Rep. Jordan: “What was the second trip? Later in 2016 you go to your second trip. What is that?”

Mr. Priestap: “I’m not at liberty to talk about that one. It had nothing to do, that trip, with the Midyear Exam investigation. Actually, the first one didn’t either, but the second one had nothing to do with –”

Rep. Jordan: “What did it have to do with?”

Mr. Priestap: “I’m not at liberty to discuss that today.”

Despite having the appearance throughout his testimony of a cooperative witness, Priestap adamantly refused to discuss the nature of his UK trips:

Rep. Jordan: “Was your second trip then concerning the Trump-Russia investigation, the other counter — a second counterintelligence investigation launched by the FBI?”

Mr. Priestap: “Sir, again, I’m just not at liberty to go into the purpose of my second trip.”

Priestap did volunteer that “all three trips, to the best of my recollection, were for three different purposes. Completely, completely different purposes.”

Notably, Priestap ruled out ever having met key players in the Spygate scandal, including Christopher Steele, Joseph Mifsud, Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, and Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson.

Priestap Refuses to Discuss Crossfire Hurricane

Ms. Shen: “Can you describe the extent of your involvement in the FBI’s investigation of whether there was any coordination between people associated with the Trump campaign and the Russians?”

Mr. Priestap: “Yeah. I’m sorry. I’m not at liberty to discuss that today.”

Ms. Shen: “Are you a part of that investigation?”

Mr. Priestap: “Sorry. I’m just not –”

Ms. Shen: “Okay.”

Mr. Priestap: “– at liberty to discuss that.”

The pattern of staunch refusal by Priestap was notable in relation to other testimonies we have reviewed. In congressional interviews with other individuals, varying levels of discussion pertaining to Crossfire Hurricane was allowed. In Priestap’s case, protection from discussion extended to activities that may have preceded the actual opening of Crossfire Hurricane:

Rep. Jordan: “Well, let’s go back to the second visit then. Is the second visit, was it about the Trump-Russia investigation, the one in 2016?”

Mr. Ettinger [counsel for Priestap]: “You can answer.”

Mr. Priestap: “I’m not at liberty to talk about the topic of the second visit.”

Special Counsel Investigation

Dana Boente, who replaced Baker as the FBI’s general counsel, noted that in order for Priestap to discuss his London trips further, approval from the special counsel would be required because of an active criminal investigation:

Mr. Boente: “We would also need to talk to special counsel about that.”

Rep. Meadows: “And why would that be?”

Mr. Boente: “Because he has an active investigation, an active criminal investigation.”

Rep. Meadows: “So by your suggesting that he needs to talk to counsel, we’re assuming that the matter that he met in London is the very fact that is under special counsel’s review?”

Mr. Boente: “You can make your assumptions, but we can’t go into those things without talking to special counsel. I’m just trying to be helpful, sir.”

Rep. Meadows: “So let me get back to this –”

Mr. Boente: “Congressman, I’m sorry. We will make the dates of AD Priestap’s travel available to you, travel records. That is not a problem.”

It appears that at least one of Priestap’s three London trips has, in some manner, fallen under the purview of the special counsel’s criminal investigation.

Both the Clinton email investigation and the Trump–Russia investigation were classified as counterintelligence investigations from their inception, although Priestap was unaware who made the decision to classify the Clinton case as such versus a criminal investigation.

Priestap Did Not Discuss Crossfire Hurricane

Mr. Priestap: “I’m sorry if there’s confusion there. What I’m referring to is it’s my understanding that somebody communicated with the staff up here and they told us to focus on the four bullet points.”

Rep. Meadows: “I don’t know who’s giving you that advice. I mean –”

Mr. Ettinger [counsel for Priestap]: “I can tell you it was — I was sent this letter with the four bullet points to talk on this. So this is what I talked to –”

Rep. Meadows: “But that’s not — but that’s not mutually exclusive of other areas.”

Mr. Ettinger [counsel for Priestap]: “I’m telling you what I was told in order to prepare Mr. Priestap, and what he had cleared through the OGC.”

Rep. Meadows: “So, are you saying he’s not cleared to talk about that, Mr. –”

Mr. Boente: “Depends on how far we go, sir.”

Section 792 & the Weiner Search Warrants

During Page’s testimony, there was a significant amount of discussion regarding “gross negligence” and “intent.”

Page repeatedly noted that what they were looking for was intent on the part of Clinton to mishandle classified information. Page also addressed the issue of why the term “gross negligence” was removed from Comey’s draft letter that exonerated Clinton, saying, “We neither had sufficient evidence to charge gross negligence, nor had it ever been done, because the Department [DOJ] viewed it as constitutionally vague.”

Page also told lawmakers: “We had multiple conversations with the Justice Department about bringing a gross negligence charge. And that’s, as I said, the advice that we got from the department was that they did not think—that it was constitutionally vague and not sustainable.”

The applicable statute applying to gross negligence in the handling of national defense information is 18 U.S.C. 793(f). During Priestap’s testimony, the use or nonuse of this statute in relation to the Clinton email case was discussed.

Despite DOJ unwillingness to pursue the statute, the FBI actually utilized that same statute while obtaining a search warrant in the Clinton email case. Priestap appeared to be unaware of the search warrant:

Mr. Breitenbach: “You don’t remember whether there were search warrants obtained in the case, other than the Weiner laptop?”

Mr. Priestap: “There certainly could have been, but I don’t remember.”

Mr. Breitenbach: “I can stipulate that we have seen drafts of search warrants submitted to the Eastern District of Virginia to obtain material in the Hillary Clinton case.”

Mr. Priestap: “Okay.”

Mr. Breitenbach: “Based on those search warrants, the predication in the search warrants were listed the statute of 18 U.S.C. 793(f).”

Priestap defined predication as the “information necessary to meet a legal standard to take certain investigative action…legal justification.”

Priestap was shown an email sent from an unknown individual in the FBI general counsel’s office to Priestap’s former boss, Michael Steinbach, which contained a chart of “available statutes for prosecuting the former Secretary of State.” Priestap had not previously seen the document and expressed concerns that the language used might have hindered the work of FBI investigators:

Mr. Breitenbach: “We see in this chart that DOJ is not willing to charge this, meaning 18 U.S.C. 793(f). My question is going back to those draft affidavits. If DOJ is not willing to charge this statute, why would the FBI in an affidavit use this statute as predication to obtain a search warrant if this statute is never going to be prosecuted?”

Mr. Priestap: “So I — I don’t know who put this together and used this language.”

Mr. Breitenbach: “Well, someone in the FBI general counsel’s office.”

Mr. Priestap: “Yeah. No. No. I trust you.

“But I don’t know why they, again, put it together. I don’t know why they used this language, ‘DOJ not willing to charge this.’

“My attitude is that if there is a Federal criminal statute still on the books, then, you know — and we think there may or might be a violation of that, we still have to work to uncover whether, in fact, there was.

“The prosecutive history of a particular statute isn’t going to affect — I sure hope it does not affect the fact-finder’s work.”

It has been repeatedly noted in testimony from Page and Baker that the DOJ had no intention of pursuing “gross negligence” charges in the Clinton case. Page appeared to indicate that because of the DOJ’s position, there was no reason for the FBI to pursue evidence related to this specific statute.

“Let’s assume things are going swimmingly and, in fact, all 17 of those witnesses admit, ‘We did it, it was on purpose, we totally wanted to mishandle classified information,’ gross negligence would still have been off the table because of the department’s assessment that it was vague. We would have other crimes to now charge, but gross negligence would not have been among them,” Page said in her testimony.

Priestap did not appear to have the same clarity from the DOJ regarding the ability to pursue gross negligence charges. Indeed, despite Page’s testimony that gross negligence was effectively off the investigative table, Priestap appeared to have an entirely different perspective, noting that it was his understanding that the gross negligence standard had not been met—as opposed to not pursued—in the Clinton case. As Priestap noted, “I don’t know why they used this language, ‘DOJ not willing to charge this.’”

Comey’s Notification of Congress

During his March 2017 testimony, FBI Director Comey was questioned by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) regarding the requirements for notifying Congress and the executive branch of an FBI counterintelligence investigation:

Rep. Stefanik: “Broadly, when the FBI has any open counter-intelligence investigation, what are the typical protocols or procedures for notifying the DNI, the White House, and senior Congressional leadership?”

Mr. Comey: “There is a practice of a quarterly briefing on sensitive cases to the chair and ranking of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. And the reason I hesitate is, thanks to feedback we’ve gotten, we’re trying to make it better. And that involves a briefing of the Department of Justice, I believe the DNI [Director of National Intelligence], and the — some portion of the National Security Council at the White House…”

Comey was asked when he notified the DNI, the White House, or senior congressional leadership:

Mr. 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.”

Stefanik then asked Comey why, if the FBI opened their investigation on July 31, 2016, did Comey wait until March 2017 to notify Congress. Comey stated that “it was a matter of such sensitivity that we wouldn’t include it in the quarterly briefings.”

Comey was then asked whose decision it was. Note the following use of the word “usually” by both parties:

Rep. Stefanik: “So when you state our decision is that your decision? Is that usually your decision what gets briefed in those quarterly updates?”

Mr. Comey: “No, it’s usually the decision of the head of our counter-intelligence division.”

According to Priestap, this was not entirely accurate, depending on how you view Comey’s use of semantics. Priestap stated that “Mr. Comey was involved in those notifications, I was not.” Priestap continued, “I don’t instruct Mr. Comey, nor did I ever instruct him to do anything.”"

Who is Bill Priestap

"When Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released his report on the origins of the Russia investigation, he revealed that it was Priestap who made the ultimate decision to launch the probe, which was known within the FBI as “Crossfire Hurricane.”"

FBI Man's Testimony Points to Wrongdoing Well Beyond Spying

Bill Priestap's "testimony contains extensive indications of wrongdoing, including that the FBI and DoJ targeted Trump and did so with information it made no effort to verify. It paints a portrait of the Obama-era bureau as one that was unconcerned with political interference in investigations and was willing to enlist the help of close foreign allies to bring down its target. And, perhaps presaging a defense to Barr’s claim that American officials had spied on the Trump campaign, it showcases the euphemisms that can be used to disguise “spying.”"

Why was Bill Priestap in London in the middle of May?

Bill Priestap in London