Judicial Watch filed suit against the Justice Department for documents related to James Comey's new book, as holdovers from the Obama administration at the DOJ and FBI continue to thwart the Trump administration and members of Congress who are attempting to drain the swamp.
On April 17, Judicial Watch, the public watchdog legal group, announced that it had just filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department for FBI prepublication review and other records about former FBI Director James Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership. The book was released, amidst much media hoopla, on April 17 (see our coverage here and here) and the former FBI chief fired by President Trump has been doing the revenge circuit, blasting the president in a heavy schedule of interviews with all of the media outfits Trump has dissed as “Fake News.”
Judicial Watch filed the suit after the Justice Department failed to produce any records in response to a March 16, 2018, FOIA request, which had sought: 1) “All records of communications between the FBI and former FBI director James Comey relating to an upcoming book [A Higher Loyalty] to be authored by Mr. Comey”; and 2) “All records, including but not limited to forms completed by former FBI director James Comey, relating to the requirement for prepublication review by the FBI of any book to be authored by Comey with the intent to be published or otherwise publicly available.”
Judicial Watch notes that Comey reportedly received an advance in excess of $2 million for his book, and observes further that former FBI agents and officials intending to write books concerning their tenure are customarily required to submit the entire transcript for pre-publication review.
“James Comey illegally took and then leaked material from his FBI memos in order to get a Special Counsel appointed to target President Trump,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And so now Judicial Watch is asking questions about whether James Comey is getting special treatment from the FBI to use these ill-gotten FBI documents in his book.”
This is the second Judicial Watch lawsuit on the Comey book deal. Shortly after Comey signed to write his book, in August 2017, Judicial Watch sent a FOIA request seeking FBI documents related to the deal and coordination on his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. In January 2017, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit against the Justice Department for failing to respond to these requests.
On April 15, 2018, in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos about his book, Comey admitted to leaking conversations with President Trump in order to get a special prosecutor appointed, saying, “Look, it’s true … I gave that unclassified memo to my (friend), who was also acting as my lawyer, but this wasn’t a lawyer task, and asked him to give it to a reporter.”
However, as we reported on April 19 ("James Comey: Should He Be on Tour … or on Trial?"), according to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Comey leaked at least four memos, and at least one of those is classified. We noted that the Department of Justice and FBI have been extremely uncooperative with Senator Grassley and other Republican members of Congress who have been repeatedly requesting Comey-related documents for the past year. The DOJ/FBI officialdom have been hiding the requested documents behind the claim that they are classified, and therefore protected for national security reasons. But the same DOJ/FBI officials have been exceedingly accommodating with James Comey.
He has not been reproved or penalized for removing documents from the Bureau (in violation of regulations, and, most likely also in violation of law), leaking them to the press, sharing them with colleagues, quoting them in his book, and discussing them on national television interviews. Comey has been allowed, and is being allowed, to do all of that, with the apparent benediction of the powers that be at the DOJ and FBI. He and his allies in the media and the Democratic Party are being given full leeway to utilize Comey’s FBI memos to attack and undermine the Trump administration, but Senator Grassley and other members of Congress (as well as the American people) are denied access. As Senator Grassley has explained, when he wants to read these memos, he is required to go to a secure room, a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) at the Office of Senate Security. Can’t make copies, can’t make notes. And he’s chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee! You can’t have it both ways: The memos are too sensitive for Congress and the American people to see, but it’s fine for a fired employee to expropriate them, profit from them, weaponize them, and blab about them on global television in an orchestrated campaign to undermine the man who fired him.
The “Stein Effect”: Obama-Clinton Fifth Column in the Federal Bureacracy
The DOJ/FBI’s repeated stonewalling of Republican members of Congress who are trying to pry loose documents pertaining to many cases of corruption, malfeasance, and abuse in the Obama-Clinton era has driven many Trump supporters — as well as conservatives and constitutionalists, in general — past the point of mere exasperation. “Who’s running DOJ, anyway?” “Where’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions in all of this?” “Did Trump win the election or not?” “Is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein working for President Donald Trump, or still serving Barack Obama?” Those are the types of questions that many people have been asking for the past year. The “Resistance” within the federal bureaucracy is widespread, affecting virtually every agency, but the DOJ and FBI are especially critical choke points that the imbedded Left refuse to yield. Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, and Sally Yates may no longer occupy offices at Justice, but their lieutenants and cadres still do.
What we are witnessing could be called the “Stein Effect.” Rob Stein is the mastermind and co-founder (along with George Soros) of Democracy Alliance (see here and here), the billionaire club that channels untold millions of dollars into left-wing AstroTurf movements, as well as into the campaigns of radical Democrat candidates for local, state, and national office. Before heading up Democracy Alliance, Stein was Chief of Staff of the Washington Office of the Clinton-Gore Transition and senior strategist to the Democratic National Committee. While on a panel at the Democratic National Convention in 2008, Stein explained to the assembled DNC faithful the crucial importance of capturing the White House. He said:
The reason it is so important to control government is because government is the source of enormous power. One president in this country, when he or she takes office … appoints 5,000 people to run a bureaucracy, non-military non-postal service of 2 million people, who hire 10 million outside outsource contractors — a workforce of 12 million people — that spends 3 trillion dollars a year. That number is larger than the gross domestic product of all but four countries on the face of the earth.
When Donald Trump pledged he would “Drain the Swamp,” it was understood that he meant to evict the swamp creatures, particularly those ideologues who, like Rob Stein, view the bureaucracy as a strategic weapon for Marxian conquest. The president has made some notable strides in that direction, but as is obvious from the constant obstruction he faces from the entrenched bureaucrats, on many levels, the fetid swamp is far from drained. In their e-mails, anti-Trump/pro-Clinton FBI activists Peter Strzok and Lisa Page revealed they are part of a “secret society,” a conspiracy of employees within the DOJ and FBI. Over at the federal Consumer Protection Financial Bureau (CFPB), there is a secret resistance force that calls itself “Dumbledore’s Army,” a reference to the Harry Potter book series. And that’s just the tip of the manure pile; we have the same predicament at State, Defense, Education, Health & Human Services, Labor, Energy, EPA, etc. The federal bureaucracy is a veritable Augean Stables, and it will take a genuinely Herculean, sustained effort to clean out the deeply imbedded subversives.
Some members of Congress are stepping up to the plate. As The New American’s C. Mitchell Shaw reported on April 19, 11 members of the House of Representatives, led by Represetative Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) have sent the Department of Justice and the FBI a criminal referral calling for criminal investigations of former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Hillary Clinton, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and others. However, Attorney General Sessions has been AWOL on so many critical issues over the past year-and-half that it is unlikely he will proceed with the aggressive investigative and prosecutorial action necessary. And Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is actively working with Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the Deep State effort to overthrow the president. Although firing Rosenstein would undoubtedly result in a Vesuvius-sized eruption amongst the anti-Trump political and chattering classes, it is an action that is long overdue, and one that is unavoidable, if there is to be any chance of cleaning up the DOJ and FBI. With Rosenstein gone, perhaps Sessions would step up to the job, but more likely than not, President Trump will need to replace him too.