December 06, 2019
Did Obama-Appointed Ukraine Ambassador Intervene to Help Anti-Trump Ukraine Group?
Judicial Watch Sues for Key Docs Of Deep State Official At Center of Latest Coup Attack on Trump
Court Tells FBI It Can’t Hide Records about FBI-Clinton Lawyer Meeting on Russia
As the coup abuse against President Trump accelerates, Judicial Watch focuses on the real Ukraine collusion scandal. We just sued the State Department for documents related to a reported “untouchables list” given by former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch to Ukraine Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko in late 2016 (Judicial Watch vs. U.S. Department of State) (No. 1:19-cv-03563).
Lutsenko recently told The New York Times that Yovanovitch “pressed him not to prosecute anti-corruption activists.” Lutsenko previously reportedly said the do-not-prosecute list included a founder of the Ukraine group Anti-Corruption Action Centre (AntAC), which was funded by George Soros foundations and the U.S. federal government, and two members of the Ukrainian Parliament who vocally supported the Soros group’s agenda:
The implied message to Ukraine’s prosecutors was clear: Don’t target AntAC in the middle of an American presidential election in which Soros was backing Hillary Clinton to succeed another Soros favorite, Barack Obama, Ukrainian officials said.
Recently, Rudy Giuliani stated that AntAC “was co-funded by the Obama administration and far-left billionaire financier George Soros,” and “was ironically under investigation for alleged corruption, namely a ‘misplaced’ $4.4 million in U.S. funds designated to ‘fight corruption inside the former Soviet republic,’ during the 2016 presidential election in America.”
Amb. Yovanovitch, who was recalled from her Ukraine post in May of this year by President Donald Trump, was a key witness for Democrats last month in their public impeachment hearings. Yovanovitch denied providing any do-not-prosecute “list.”
We filed our FOIA lawsuit here in DC after the State Department failed to respond to our September 24, 2019, FOIA request for:
- All records of communication between the Department of State and any representative of the Ukrainian government regarding any actual or proposed investigation or prosecution of the AntAC; the International Renaissance Foundation [Open Society Foundations’ office in Ukraine]; and/or Transparency International.
- All records concerning any meeting or telephonic conversation between former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko.
- All records related to the list of individuals and entities provided to Lutsenko by Yovanovitch in late 2016.
Amb. Yovanovitch is on our radar for a number of issues. On October 9, 2019, we filed a FOIA request for State Department records related to the possibly illegal collection of information by Yovanovitch on prominent conservative figures, journalists and persons with ties to President Donald Trump.
Reports suggest that the Ukrainian Embassy was a hotbed of anti-Trump, Deep State activism and tried to promote and protect leftist allies in Ukraine and the United States. As the coup attack on President Trump continues, this new federal lawsuit is designed to get to the real truth of the Deep State’s games in Ukraine.
It’s all too easy for our intelligence agencies, acting behind their curtains of secrecy, to abuse their power. Fortunately, Judicial Watch takes them to court to get to the truth. One Deep State player in particular was likely up to no good, and we’re going to find out.
We have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department for communications records of Michael K. Atkinson – former Assistant Attorney General in DOJ’s National Security Division (NSD) from 2016 to 2018 and currently Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (ICIG).
The records we are seeking are regarding Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Anthony Weiner, the Twenty-Fifth Amendment and/or presidential impeachment. We’re also seeking all emails and text messages of Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) and members of Schiff’s staff.
We sued after the Justice Department failed to respond to our October 1, 2019, FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-03566)). We asked for:
- All emails (whether on .gov or non-.gov email accounts) and text messages sent to or from former Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General Michael K. Atkinson regarding Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Anthony Weiner, the Twenty-Fifth Amendment, and/or presidential impeachment.
- All emails and text messages between former Senior Counsel Atkinson and Representative Adam Schiff or any member of Mr. Schiff’s staff.
- All travel requests, travel authorizations and expense reports of former Senior Counsel Atkinson
- All calendar entries of former Senior Counsel Atkinson.
- All SF50s and SF52s of former Senior Counsel Atkinson.
The NSD falls under the direct supervision of the assistant attorney general.
During Atkinson’s tenure at NSD, he was senior legal counsel, first to NSD head John Carlin (Robert Mueller’s former chief of staff when Mueller directed the FBI) and later to acting NSD head Mary McCord. McCord accompanied then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates to see White House Counsel Don McGahn regarding Michael Flynn.
During the period Atkinson was legal advisor to Carlin and later McCord, the FISA court found there was “significant non-compliance with the NSA’s minimization procedures involving queries of data,” otherwise known as spying, under the Obama Administration. Additionally, during this period, DOJ-NSD was working in coordination with the FBI Counterintelligence Unit on Operation Crossfire Hurricane, which included former FBI officials Bill Priestap, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. Page was the intermediary between FBI Counterintelligence and DOJ-NSD.
Since becoming Inspector General, Atkinson also has come under scrutiny for his handling of the so-called “whistleblower” complaint raising concerns about President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, which became the basis for the ongoing impeachment proceedings against Trump:
- Atkinson changed the standing practice of requiring whistleblowers to present firsthand information in order to have their complaint considered both “credible” and “of urgent concern” for submission under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act.
- After receiving the complaint and a recommendation from Atkinson that it be referred to Congress, the DNI refused to forward the complaint because, based on an opinion of the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel, “The complaint submitted to the ICIG does not involve an ‘urgent concern.’” In testimony before Congress, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, said the complaint was essentially “hearsay” and not “corroborated by other folks.”
- After the existence of the whistleblower was leaked to the press, Atkinson told Congress he was unaware the whistleblower had first gone around him to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and his staff with his complaint before submitting it to the IG’s office.
After listening to Atkinson testify about the whistleblower behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee on October 4, ranking Republican committee member Republican Devin Nunes (R-CA) said of him:
[The ICIG is] either totally incompetent or part of the deep state, and he’s got a lot of questions he needs to answer because he knowingly changed the form and the requirements in order to make sure that this whistleblower complaint got out publicly. So, he’s either incompetent or in on it … he’s either a quack or he’s lying … and he’s going to have more to answer for, I can promise you, because we are not going to let him go; he is going to tell the truth about what happened.
Rep. Adam Schiff has yet to release Atkinson’s testimony.
Atkinson has been a key Deep State official involved with questionable and abusive investigations of President Trump. As Adam Schiff keeps Atkinson’s testimony on the impeachment attack on President Trump secret, we’re going to court for transparency under the law.
The Justice Department wanted to pretend that a meeting between an FBI official and a Clinton lawyer didn’t happen, telling Judicial Watch that they would “neither confirm nor deny” it. And the DOJ wanted a U.S. District Court to go along. U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg wasn’t having any of it.
The judge denied the effort to block the release of communications between former FBI General Counsel James Baker and Michael Sussmann, a Perkins Coie law partner and former DOJ attorney, who reportedly met with Baker to share information targeting Donald J. Trump during the presidential campaign.
While at Perkins Coie, Sussmann represented the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the time Perkins Coie secretly paid for the development of the anti-Trump dossier the DOJ used to obtain FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign. The court specifically rejected the FBI’s argument that it needed to protect the “privacy” of Hillary Clinton’s lawyer.
Baker testified before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees that he received documents as well as computer storage devices on Russian hacking from Sussmann. The Mueller report, however, concluded that there was no evidence that the Trump campaign improperly colluded with Russia.
In March 2019, Judicial Watch filed suit after the FBI failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated October 5, 2018 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-00573)). The lawsuit seeks:
- Any and all records of communication between former FBI General Counsel James Baker and former Department of Justice attorney and current Perkins Coie Partner Michael Sussmann.
- Any and all records created in preparation for, during, and/or pursuant to any meeting between Mr. Baker and Mr. Sussmann.
- Any and all calendars, agendas, or similar records, either in paper or electronic format, documenting the schedule and activities of Mr. Baker.
The FBI would neither confirm nor deny the existence of records. Judicial Watch successfully argued that:
[T]he sworn testimony of Baker, the former FBI general counsel, confirms that Sussmann was sharing the same documents with the media.… Rather than privacy, this confirms that Sussmann was seeking to obtain attention for his activities. Hence, this is far from a typical case … Sussmann had no expectation of ‘personal privacy,’ as he was actively seeking publicity for himself and the information he wanted to share.
In any event, the public interest in disclosure of the existence of records is manifest.
Judge Boasberg ruled:
“[A]ny risk of invasion [of privacy] evaporated once Baker publicly testified that he had received documents from Sussmann, as well as met with and spoken to him on multiple occasions in 2016.”
In October, Baker testified before the U.S. House Judiciary and Oversight committees in October 2018, where he stated: “It was like — my recollection was it was a stack of material I don’t know maybe a quarter inch half inch thick something like that clipped together, and then I believe there was some type of electronic media, as well, a disk or something.”
In his testimony Baker acknowledged that Sussmann’s information related to the FBI’s Trump–Russia investigation. He also testified that Sussmann had shared the same information with the media, stating that Sussmann had told him “some elements of the press had this information as well and were going to publish something about it.”
In August, another federal court judge rejected FBI efforts to protect of the privacy of Clinton spy Christopher Steele and ordered the FBI to conduct a search for certain records about Steele’s work with the FBI during the Mueller investigation.
The FBI is corruptly trying to keep secret documents to protect those behind the Russiagate smears of President Trump. Two federal courts have now rejected the FBI’s desperate attempts to hide the details of its anti-Trump conspiracy with Hillary Clinton’s Fusion GPS-FBI spy operation. Why is Director Wray allowing the corrupt cover up the FBI’s Russiagate collusions with the Clinton gang?
Judicial Watch previously obtained heavily redacted copies of FISA warrants used by the Obama-era DOJ to spy on the Trump campaign, which seem to confirm the FBI and DOJ misled the courts in withholding the material information that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC were behind the “intelligence” used to persuade the courts to approve the FISA warrants that targeted the Trump team. One of the FISA warrant renewals was granted in June 2017 and did not expire until September 2017, some eight months after President Trump assumed office.
I’ll be sure to let you know about any major revelations as more documents come in.
Until next week …