There is a particular coordination of events that has been visible since December 2017 when the first evidence of the FBI and DOJ operations against the Trump campaign surfaced. In the past six months a great deal of granular timing relates to this coordination. In January 2017 the DOJ IG began investigating FBI and DOJ conduct during the Clinton investigation in 2015 and 2016.
Toward the end of 2017 a joint House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight Committee venture was established to look into the FBI/DOJ handling of the Clinton investigation, and the Trump counterintelligence investigation. Judiciary Chairman Goodlatte and Oversight Chairman Gowdy established the joint-oversight venture and then little happened as they awaited the completion of the OIG internal review.
Between the Fall of 2017 and May 2018 the final stages of the DOJ-OIG investigative inquires took place. In this period DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz was joined with federal prosecutor John Huber. Horowitz focused on the ongoing internal investigation, while Huber received evidence carved out that holds value for criminal prosecutions.
During the period of January through May 2018 all congressional witness testimony from the FBI and DOJ participants to oversight committees was filtered through the need for U.S. Attorney John Huber to retain the integrity of criminal evidence. Toward that end, testimony from multiple witnesses, sought by congress upon members of the DOJ and FBI, was cancelled. Some of that testimony was cancelled at the last minute as the DOJ negotiated with congress and likely explained the reasoning therein. Example:
You will note that despite the initial agreements (Jan 4th), none of these interviews actually took place. In the weeks and months that followed, while the FBI Inspection Division (INSD), Inspector General (OIG), and U.S. Attorney Huber interviews were ongoing, several of those formerly scheduled congressional witnesses left their positions.
However, the 17-month-long Inspector General investigation into the FBI and DOJ handling of the Clinton classified email investigation is now complete. The IG draft report was sent to the principals on May 16th and is currently under review.
Allowing approximately two weeks +/- for draft report feedback, the much anticipated IG final report is likely to be made public in the week after Memorial day, within the first week of June.
So now what happens?…. Against the timing of the IG report being released, today we see Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy scheduling interviews with key FBI officials immediately thereafter:
A joint investigation run by the Judiciary and the Oversight and Government Reform committees has set three witness interviews for June, including testimony from Bill Priestap, the assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, and Michael Steinbach, the former head of the FBI’s national security division.
Multiple congressional sources confirmed Priestap’s interview. Steinbach confirmed to The Hill that he would be appearing. (more)
Neither the timing, nor the participants or sequencing, are accidental.
The first witness testimony after the IG report is released will be Bill Priestap. According to The Hill: “Priestap will appear in the first week of June, Giacalone in the second and Steinbach in the final week of the month, according to the congressional source.”
FBI Asst. Director of Counterintelligence, Bill Priestap, is central to all of the activity that was happening in both the Clinton investigation and the Trump investigation. Bill Priestap was FBI Agent Peter Strzok’s immediate boss. However, as noted in the text messages Strzok often worked around Priestap at the behest of the person giving him political instructions – FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
Bill Priestap was the FBI official who was involved in changes to the wording used by James Comey during his July 2016 speech to remove the word “President” and replace it with “another senior government official”:
Despite being demoted and reassigned, Peter Strzok is still employed within the FBI in some capacity. Unlike Strzok, the position of Bill Priestap was never impacted by the investigation and he continued to keep his position, responsibilities, and ongoing role throughout. Bill Priestap remains the FBI Director of Counterintelligence today.
Bill Priestap will have specific knowledge of the events contained within the upcoming IG report on how the FBI and DOJ handled the Hillary Clinton investigation; and Priestap will have similar knowledge surrounding the still ongoing IG investigation on FISA abuse and the activities of those who participated in “SpyGate” against the Trump campaign.