More Shoes ‘to Drop’ Because the DOJ’s Hiding ‘Embarrassing Information’
Judicial Watch chief says Jim Comey went 'beyond the pale' in coordinating congressional testimony with FBI, special counsel
There will be “a fourth or a third or a fifth shoe to drop” as the Department of Justice (DOJ) keeps slow-walking the turnover of requested documents to Congress because “there’s embarrassing information at issue here,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton predicted Thursday on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”
The nonprofit government watchdog released new DOJ emails Thursday showing that high-ranking FBI officials advised former FBI Director James Comey, shortly after his firing, to coordinate with special counsel Robert Mueller ahead of Comey’s congressional testimony.
Judicial Watch only obtained the emails after filing two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, beginning in August 2017.
After asking for the FBI officials’ advice, Comey met with Mueller before his June 2017 testimony about Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. During the email exchange with the FBI officials, Comey asked to review the memos he wrote, which contained classified information detailing his private conversations with President Donald Trump. Comey asked a friend of his to leak these memos to the press after Trump fired him.
Fitton (pictured above left) told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that the emails Judicial Watch obtained show that Comey “was fired by the president, and within a day or so he is communicating with the FBI about upcoming testimony.”
Fitton said "typically there would be some coordination" going on, but he insisted that Comey's coordination with top FBI officials "was beyond the pale in terms of what government officials are typically allowed to say in such situations."
"Certainly if you're an FBI director and you're having meetings with the president of the United States, typically the agencies tell you you're not allowed to talk about it," Fitton said. "You're not allowed to talk about documents you created at the FBI about those conversations."
"Comey had … free reign during his testimony, and it was blessed both by the FBI, it looks like, and by Mr. Mueller," Fitton added.
Then-FBI chief of staff James Rybicki sent a draft of his response to Comey's request for advice to then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other senior bureau executives in which Rybicki recommended that Comey's counsel should "consult with special counsel Mueller to determine the timing of any such testimony."
"The Office of General Counsel stands ready to discuss with you in consultation with the Department of Justice and the special counsel, institutional privileges or prerogatives that may be presented by any such testimony," the draft continued.
Solomon Wisenberg (pictured above, right), former deputy independent counsel for Kenneth Starr's Whitewater-Lewinsky investigation of former President Bill Clinton, told Ingraham that he didn't "see any problem for Mueller" with Comey's communications.
"It's very clear that Comey has had a man crush on Mueller for quite some time and wants to wrap himself in Mueller's glory," Wisenberg said. "But I don't think there's anything wrong with Comey going to Mueller and saying, 'I'm going to testify. Do you have any problem with what I'm going to say or how I'm going to say it?'"
But the DOJ and FBI have had a difficult time handing over documents requested via FOIA, along with the subpoenaed documents that members of various congressional committees have demanded to see — as part of their reviews into the DOJ's and FBI's conduct during key investigations.
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) met with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Thursday to discuss his subpoenas for documents that DOJ officials claim would compromise national security interests if lawmakers read them. Nunes and other GOP lawmakers have threatened to hold top DOJ officials in contempt of Congress if they fail to reply in a more timely fashion.
"It takes threats, repeated threats" to get anywhere with the DOJ, attorney Harmeet Dhillon told Ingraham.
Dhillon (above, second from left), founder of the Dhillon Law Group Inc. and Republican National Committeewoman for California, said, "It's like those movies where the villains are chasing the train and they're throwing stuff off the back to try to delay them, you know."
"But eventually they're going to have to, you know, pay the piper and come forward with this information. They're doing it very slowly. There's clearly something they have to hide," Dhillon added.
Fitton complained that "this Justice Department takes the approach of the modified limited hangout, in terms of information releases," noting that Mueller "sat on" key information "for months" before the documents trickled out to lawmakers, Judicial Watch, and the public.
"There's going to be a fourth or a third or a fifth shoe to drop," Fitton warned. "And I don't believe that there's classified information at issue here. There's embarrassing information at issue here."
Wisenberg agreed, saying, "We've now seen too many instances where the Department of Justice and/or the FBI has said, 'We have to redact this because it could endanger national security and it's classified.'"
"And we have seen now, time after time, where it's been unredacted and it's just been embarrassing," Wisenberg said. "And when you do that two or three times, people are going to stop believing you. You lose all credibility."