We discovered last year that Jeff Sessions had authorized U.S. Attorney John Huber to work with the Inspector General’s office, but we did not know exact dates and scope of the original Huber investigation. Thanks to a FOIA request, some details now fill in.
A left-leaning watchdog group, American Oversight, filed a FOIA request in 2017 looking for any communication that might show former AG Jeff Sessions giving instructions to DOJ officials to target Hillary Clinton for investigations.
Ironically, and perhaps serendipitously, the American Oversight FOIA request was submitted on November 22nd, 2017, the exact date Sessions’ chief-of-staff Matt Whitaker was sending a letter to Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber. Had they waited a day, what AO were looking for would have surfaced. However, with the Sessions-Huber communication falling outside the FOIA request window, the DOJ response was delayed until yesterday.
The Sessions letter was an attachment to a email sent by Whitaker to Huber at 5:21pm on November 22nd, 2017. The AG letter to Huber requests Huber to review issues raised by the House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, and return with advice. Here’s the letter:
CONTEXT – in 2017 House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte was conducting oversight and receiving testimony from witnesses concerning a possibility the DOJ and FBI had intentionally manipulated their investigations to protect Hillary Clinton. Goodlatte wrote to AG Sessions about his concerns.
At the request of AG Jeff Sessions, Asst. AG Stephen Boyd sent a responsive letter back to belay Goodlatte’s concerns explaining what ongoing review processes were in place:
The November 13th, 2017, response letter to Goodlatte was also copied to John Huber as an outline to specify the review parameters of what AG Jeff Sessions was requesting from Utah’s U.S. Attorney.
Within the November 22nd, 2017, letter to Huber, Attorney General Jeff Sessions requested: a review Chairman Goodlatte’s concerns; take note of the Boyd response letter; initiate the requested review; and recommend further appropriate action, if any, Huber might deem necessary.
“Your review need not include matters that you determine are within the scope of the investigation being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.”
So we can reasonably infer that John Huber saw the unredacted Rosenstein ‘scope memo‘ defining the parameters of what Mueller was supposed to investigate.
In broad terms Jeff Sessions was asking John Huber if the U.S. Attorney saw any reason to initiate a new or deeper investigation, and/or if any “matters would merit the appointment of a Special Counsel.”
It has been sixteen months since that letter, so we can assume Huber did not identify a need for another ‘special counsel’; and/or it would have been just an absolute mess to have two special counsels investigating both ends of the same corrupt enterprise.
Four months after this November 2017 instruction to John Huber, in March 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions faced even stronger congressional demands from Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy and again House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte. Now people were getting frustrated.
By March 2018 most of the “spygate” corruption was visible; Lisa Page and Peter Strzok text messages were in the public domain; numerous Senior FBI and DOJ officials were fired, quit, demoted and outed within a bigger conspiracy afoot. The existence of DOJ-IG Michael Horowitz’s internal investigations was now widely known; congress was demanding a special counsel, and the public was looking for answers from the Attorney General…. The basic theme: what the f**k are you doing?
On March 29th, 2018, Jeff Sessions wrote to Senator Grassley, Trey Gowdy and Bob Goodlatte telling them of the November 2017 review he initiated, and publicly informing them for the first time of U.S. Attorney John Huber working with IG Horowitz.
Within that letter from Sessions, a very defensive Attorney General notes the prior November 2017 response to congress and his request for Huber to review all issues. Read the full letter below. (Note: this is the letter TTP is dependent upon):
Summary: We know when John Huber was assigned to the corruption review (November 22, 2017); and we know the first scope of that review was Clinton issues (working with Horowitz); and we know the outcome the Horowitz/Huber review (on Clinton issues and FBI misconduct) resulted in a disappointing IG report, no criminal referrals [McCabe referral only related to media leaks and lying], and no special counsel.
We also know the IG/Huber review later expanded (March 2018) to cover FISA abuse.
However, we do not know what aspects of the FISA abuse the IG has investigated, if anything, or what accountability outcomes there may be, if any.
It still appears the Mueller probe is the impediment to the public releases of declassified documents and evidence; and we do not know what Huber and Horowitz have been doing for a year on the FISA abuse issues.
However, if Rod Rosenstein is actually leaving the DOJ in the middle of this month; and if he actually does leave; perhaps that indicates Mueller’s investigative roadblock is about to end… timed with the ides of March.