Back on July 22nd, the day after the July 21st surprise release of the Carter Page FISA Title-1 surveillance application, I wrote: “Oh My, This is Either A Sting -OR- The Most Corrupt U.S. Dept of Justice in History” (link). The issue surrounded the seemingly transparent connection between the James Wolfe indictment and the FISA application.
Three months later, when James Wolfe accepted a single-count guilty plea offer around lying to federal investigators, the answer seemed obvious, at least to me. Despite the evidence of leaking “top secret” classified documents within the Wolfe indictment DAG Rosenstein initially charged 3 counts of lying; and offered a lower guilty plea on one count.
Along with tenuous congressional testimony; a refusal to comply with document production; and a never-ending defense of the Mueller investigation; Rosenstein gives all appearances of an administrative state weasel. However, there are solid and reasonable people who genuinely believe both Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller are doing a good, and fair, job for President Trump.
Jeff Carlson over at Marketswork does solid research and analysis. His position on Rosenstein is far more favorable than mine; and in the interests of intellectual honesty, he could be correct [Here] and [here] and especially [Here], and I could be entirely wrong.
To shorten the Carlson view, he essentially points out that neither Mueller or Rosenstein have ever taken direct positions against the President, and both have made statements claiming there is no evidence of Trump colluding or coordinating with Russia, writ large.
Carlson also points out that President Trump has spoken warmly about Rosenstein (frequently and recently), and continues to provide the Deputy AG with visible and vocal support.
Additionally, President Trump took Rosenstein’s advice and cancelled the declassification request after their meeting; seemingly another data-point toward a view that Rosenstein, at least from Trump’s perspective, is working toward his goals.
My own opinion on Rosenstein is far more cynical. However, with no-one really knowing which direction this is going, it is only fair to share an entirely different possibility. I hope I’m wrong. Therefore here’s a counter-perspective to my own cynicism.
It would be dishonest not to admit that my own history of researching politics could be clouding my perspective and judgement. Any time I have dropped the cynical view, and looked at DC swamp activity with optimism, that favorable outlook has burned me and I’ve victimized myself through my own desire to find virtue where none exists.
So it is important to share with readers, my gut instinct -driven by experience- is always to look cynically toward anything that seems altruistically optimistic.
A recent example will help explain.
I was guilty of being hopeful the June 2018 Inspector General report on FBI misconduct surrounding the Clinton investigation would have revealed the scale and scope of wrongdoing. I was hopeful that President Trump’s appointed DOJ and FBI leadership would be able to cut through the malfeasance, resulting in the delivery and support of an honest review of political bias we all know exists.
Alas, when the final version of the IG report was made public, and more stunningly when Christopher Wray held a press conference a few hours later, I realized it was a gross mistake to have projected and outlined optimism.
You might remember FBI Director Christopher Wray immediately said there was “no evidence of bias”; then, moments later, informing everyone that all 25,000 senior FBI officials would go through bias training.
Immediately after watching this I thought to myself:
How can the current IG investigation into FISA fraud and FISA Court abuse, outline corruption, malfeasance, manipulation and fraud upon the court, if the DOJ/FBI and currently expressed IG position is that there’s no signs of political bias within the institution?
The results of the second IG investigation (FBI bias), seemed to principally forewarn of the likely result of the next IG investigation into FISA abuse.
Indeed, the FISC abuse is directly related to “spygate” and the 2016 election; and that is directly related to the FBI bias and the weaponization of the FISA process. On June 14th, I immediately withdrew all assumptions, and began looking at each granule thereafter through a much more cynical lens.
However, as stated, there are intelligent people –like Jeff Carlson– who believe Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is indeed working for the cause of justice, on behalf of President Donald Trump. Therefore, here are some data points that would likely be critical to that position – if it is correct.
On August 4th, 2017, AG Jeff Sessions announces he is putting DAG Rod Rosenstein in charge of a leak investigation. [SEE HERE] Sometime in October, 2017, AG Jeff Sessions hires Matt Whitaker to be his chief-of-staff.
♦On October 30th, 2017, the FBI informed Senate Intelligence Committee Security officer James Wolfe, they were conducting a leak investigation [Link]. On December 15th, 2017, the FBI confronted Wolfe with evidence of his leaking.
After initially signing a sworn statement denying the activity; when confronted with the evidence, Wolfe admitted he lied & that he leaked information to his girlfriend, journalist Ali Watkins. James Wolfe quietly resigned from the SSCI before the end of December, 2017.
♦On February 9th of 2018, while the Wolfe indictment was still under seal – and no-one in the public knew what took place within the SSCI in December, a set of text messages between SSCI Vice-Chairman Mark Warner and a lawyer/lobbyist named Adam Waldman mysteriously surfaced. [SEE HERE] The texts showed Warner was trying to set up a covert meeting with Trump Dossier author, Christopher Steele.
♦On February 13, 2018 James Wolfe’s girlfriend Ali Watkins received a statutory notification that her email and telephone data was retrieved by the DOJ as part of their ongoing investigation into classified leaks. The date of the capture was February 1 through July 31, 2017; and would therefore include the time-frame when the Carter Page FISA application was delivered to the SSCI and leaked by Wolfe on March 17th, 2017.
It’s important to remember that we don’t find out about any of this activity at the time it was happening. None of this was public information in March, October or December 2017; or in February 2018. It is only in hindsight, after the Wolfe indictment was unsealed, June 2018, that we can put the dates and documents together.
(1) The Wolfe Indictment. (2) The Warner Texts. (3) The Watkins notification. (4) The FISA application. Alone they don’t mean much, and they all came out separately. But put them together and a clear picture emerges.
The FISA Application was delivered to James Wolfe at the SSCI on March 17th, 2017. SSCI Vice-Chair Mark Warner reviewed the FISA application at 4:02pm the same day. James Wolfe then leaked the content of that FISA to his journalist girlfriend Ali Watkins on the same day.
Later, in October 2017, Wolfe was notified of a leak investigation. On December 15th, 2017 Wolfe was questioned about the leaks. Unbeknownst to him the DOJ had already secured one-end of the communication network [DOJ FISA Subpoena of his girlfriends documents] which busted him in the lies.
After Wolfe was busted in December, someone gained authorization to retrieve Vice-Chairman Mark Warner’s text messages, and those became public in February 2018. (Remember, at the time they become public, we don’t know about the Wolfe indictment)
Question: Knowing there was a sealed indictment waiting in the wings, why weren’t Senator Mark Warner’s texts held as substantiating evidence?
It is my suspicion, the interview with James Wolfe (December ’17), is what tipped off the FBI to go look at the text messages of Senator Warner; which we see in Feb. ’18. It is my suspicion Warner instructed Wolfe to leak the content of the classified FISA application to Wolfe’s media sources; and when confronted Wolfe informed the FBI that’s how it went down.
To bolster my suspicion, prior to his October 2018 plea deal, what did James Wolfe immediately position as his defense?
WASHINGTON (July 27th, 2018) —Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee have been notified they may be asked for testimony as part of the criminal trial of a veteran Senate staffer accused of lying to the FBI while working for the panel.
Attorneys for James A. Wolfe sent letters to all 15 senators on the committee, notifying them that their testimony may be sought as part of Mr. Wolfe’s defense, according to two people familiar with the matter. [Wall Street Journal]
Additionally, Wolfe’s lawyers tried –and failed– to get a gag order put on his case.
This is a factual data-set, along with my suspicions as to how/why the FBI went looking into Warner’s text messages. James Wolfe plead guilty to one-count of lying to the FBI; and no-one has yet made any public comments about it.
Is there a solid framework for an honorable Rod Rosenstein view within this data-set?