Examiner: Mark Meadows: DOJ exploring 'unbelievably unusual activity' in final months of Obama administration
Mark Meadows: DOJ exploring 'unbelievably unusual activity' in final months of Obama administration
June 25, 2019 01:50 PM
Rep. Mark Meadows said the Justice Department is examining irregularities in the intelligence community as part of its review of the origins of the Russia investigation.
Reacting to newly released documents on changes in U.S. procedures for sharing raw intelligence, Meadows said there was "unbelievably unusual activity" in the final months of the Obama administration.
"I can tell you that [U.S. Attorney] John Durham and Attorney General [William] Barr are going to get to the bottom of it," the North Carolina Republican said Monday evening on Fox News. "They are including in part of their surveillance — really looking at the intelligence community to make sure that justice is brought."
On Sean Hannity's show, before Meadows was brought on to speak along with colleague Rep. Jim Jordan, attorney Jay Sekulow discussed the latest findings by his conservative watchdog group, the American Center for Law and Justice.
The records obtained by the ACLJ showed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence under James Clapper pushing to increase access to raw signal intelligence before President Trump took office. The New York Times first reported the expanded access to intercepted communications in January 2017. Although Hannity and Sekulow played up the newly released records, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, as suspiciously timed and "rushed," the Times noted the discussions for such changes to remove bureaucratic barriers stretched back years dating back to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Still, Jordan said he suspects there was evidence of nefarious intent, tying the changes to an interview Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer did in January 2017 in which the New York Democrat warned then-incoming President Trump that intelligence officials "have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you."
"So this is one of those six ways," Jordan said, adding that the other "ways" include British ex-spy Christopher Steele's anti-Trump dossier the CIA's use of informants to make contact with members of the Trump campaign.
Barr tasked Durham, a U.S. attorney from Connecticut, with leading the inquiry focused on the origins of the counterintelligence investigation into Trump's campaign, which the FBI began in the summer of 2016. The DOJ review of the early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation is not a criminal inquiry, but should Durham find criminal activity he can take prosecutorial action.
Jordan noted how first Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is expected to wrap up his investigation into Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse and that could influence Durham's efforts. "The attorney general of the United States and U.S. Attorney John Durham are doing an investigation. And they have told us this is broader than just the FBI — they're going to look at all of this," Jordan said.
"First, Horowitz is going to come out. His report a year ago was very good," the Ohio Republican said. "Then we will see where Mr. Durham and Mr. Barr where their investigation and what they come back with."
The Justice Department's examination of the early stages of the counterintelligence investigation into Trump's campaign has been cheered by Republicans and criticized by Democrats. After Trump granted Barr sweeping powers to declassify secret information and instructed a handful of agencies to cooperate with his investigation, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff panned the effort as a "disturbing" scheme to politicize intelligence.
A DOJ letter written to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler outlining the scope of its investigation said the review is "broad in scope and multifaceted" and includes a look at actions both by the U.S. government and by foreigners.
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