Christopher Hitchens on Free Speech: To whom are you going to award the job of being the censor?

Excerpted from University of Toronto debate “Freedom of Speech includes the Freedom to Hate” held November 2006.

“To whom do you award the right to decide which speech is harmful or who is the harmful speaker? Or determine in advance what are the harmful consequences going to be, that we know enough about in advance to prevent? To whom would you give this job? To whom are you going to award the job of being the censor?”

Grassley Memo: Sen. Feinstein Refutes Criminal Referral of Christopher Steele

Analysis Refutes Criminal Referral of Christopher Steele

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released a minority view analysis on behalf of all Judiciary Committee Democrats of the Christopher Steele criminal referral sent last month by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). A classified memo that accompanied the criminal referral was declassified this week.

“The criminal referral of Christopher Steele has nothing to do with accountability,” Feinstein said. “Clearly its goals included undermining the FBI and Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, attacking Christopher Steele and deflecting attention from collusion and obstruction of justice investigations.”

 “Not a single revelation in the Steele dossier has been refuted. Unfortunately, the claims in the criminal referral rely on classified information, so it’s difficult to fully repudiate them here. However, as much as possible using unclassified information, the following points lay out the flaws in the criminal referral.”

The following analysis rebuts a series of claims in the Grassley-Graham criminal referral:

1. The criminal referral is not based on any allegation that Steele lied or misrepresented facts about Carter Page or what is included in the Steele dossier. In fact, neither provide any evidence that any of the information in Steele’s dossier is wrong. Instead, the referral is limited to a single baseless allegation: that Steele lied about his contacts with the press.

2. The criminal referral omits key facts. The Department of Justice has provided documents regarding its interactions with Mr. Steele to the Judiciary Committee both before and afterthe criminal referral was made. Despite this, the Majority did not modify the criminal referral and pressed forward with its original claims, which do not take into account the additional information provided after the initial January 4 referral.

Instead of providing a comprehensive analysis, the criminal referral selectively focuses on some facts while omitting others.

For example, the criminal referral includes incomplete and misleading allegations regarding an October 19, 2016, report that Mr. Steele received from a “friend of the Clintons.”[1]

The criminal referral alleges that Mr. Steele was using this additional reporting from “the Clinton friend” as the basis for his own work – implying there was no independent investigative work done by Steele. The criminal referral fails to address the fact that 14 of the 17 memos in the Steele dossier published by Buzzfeed were created by Mr. Steele before this October 19 report. It would have been impossible for Mr. Steele to include information that he received in an October 19 report from “a friend of the Clintons” in his 14 earlier reports, which date back to June 20, 2016.

3. The criminal referral fails to make a case that Christopher Steele lied to the FBI. The referral states that “it appears that either Mr. Steele lied to the FBI or the British court, or that the classified documents reviewed by the Committee contain materially false statements.”[2] These allegations are made regarding Mr. Steele’s interactions with the pressand whether he lied about those interactions to the FBI.
18 U.S.C. § 1001, the legal authority cited by the criminal referral, provides that: “[W]hoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation” shall be punished accordingly.

  • Importantly, the criminal referral fails to identify when, if ever, Mr. Steele was asked about and provided a materially false statement about his press contacts.
  • Tellingly, it also fails to explain any circumstances which would have required Mr. Steele to seek the FBI’s permission to speak to the press or to disclose if he had done so.

Grassley Memo: After House GOP Memo, FBI OKs Release of Unclassified Steele Referral

Rather, the criminal referral cites occasions where Mr. Steele spoke to the press at the end of September 2016. Specifically, it focuses on a Yahoo News article written by Michael Isikoff.

If Mr. Steele had been asked by the FBI about his contacts with Mr. Isikoff for this September article, and if he had spoken with this reporter, then he should have disclosed that fact.[3] But the criminal referral provides no evidence that Steele was ever asked about the Isikoff article, or if asked that he lied.

It is also important to note, that in October 2016, the FBI learned that Mr. Steele had disclosed “his relationship with the FBI” to a reporter, David Corn.[4] Because of this, the FBI then suspended its relationship with Mr. Steele and informed the FISA court of these developments in its renewal requests.[5]

  • The FBI made clear, however, that it still considered Steele’s reporting to be reliable regardless of his contacts with the press.[6]
  • The FISA court granted three renewals after having been informed of Steele’s contacts with the press.[7]

4. Christopher Steele is a respected and reliable expert on Russia. He served more than 20 years as an intelligence officer with the British intelligence service MI6, and worked in Moscow under diplomatic cover from 1990 to 1993.[8] Mr. Steele has a history of providing useful information that has assisted law enforcement in criminal investigations.
For example, in 2010, Mr. Steele gave information to the FBI that led to indictments of several officials from the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and the termination of the organization’s president, Sepp Blatter.[9] Citing U.S. officials, Reuters noted that Steele’s work on the FIFA matter “lent credence to his reporting on Trump’s entanglements in Russia.”[10]

Reports also indicate that between 2013 and 2016, Steele collaborated successfully with the FBI’s Eurasian Joint Organized Crime Squad on Russia- and Ukraine-related matters.[11]According to the Washington Post, “Steele was known for the quality of his past work and for the knowledge he had developed over nearly 20 years working on Russia-related issues for British intelligence.”[12]

5. Mr. Steele came forward voluntarily out of concern for U.S. national security. In early July 2016, Mr. Steele shared with the FBI what he viewed as alarming information about Russian interference in the 2016 election and a potentially compromised candidate. [13]

Specifically, Mr. Simpson testified under oath to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that Mr. Steele said, “I’m a former intelligence officer, and we’re your closest ally. You know, I have obligations, professional obligations. If there’s a national security emergency or possible national security issue, I should report it.” … “And I [Simpson] said: ‘So you’re telling me that you think this is serious enough that it needs to be reported to law enforcement, and that you’re confident enough in your sources, it’s your professional judgment and your professional obligation, that you should report this to the FBI?’ And he [Steele] said, ‘Yes.’”[14]

6. The criminal referral contains no new information. All the information in the criminal referral was already available to the FBI and the Department of Justice.

  • In fact, the referral relies on publicly available information and information that was provided to Congress from DOJ and the FBI.

7. The facts about Carter Page are not disputed. As has been widely reported, the FBI was aware of Page’s extensive connections to Russia several years before he joined the Trump campaign. In fact, the FBI determined in 2013 that Russian intelligence operatives had been attempting to recruit him and warned Mr. Page about this.[15] That same year, Mr. Page reportedly described himself as an “informal advisor to the staff of the Kremlin.”[16] Page continued to cultivate Russian investments and business[17] – something that the FBI believed could be used by Russia to cultivate him as a source.[18]
On March 21, 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump named Page to his foreign policy team.[19] In July 2016, and with the approval of Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski, Mr. Page traveled to Moscow to speak at the New Economic School.[20] During his trip, Mr. Page emailed the Trump campaign about “some incredible insights and outreach I’ve received from a few Russian legislators and senior members of the Presidential Administration here.” [21]

That same month, Mr. Steele reported that Russia and the Trump campaign “had a mutual interest in defeating Democratic presidential candidate HILLARY CLINTON, whom President PUTIN apparently both hated and feared.” Mr. Steele reported that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was using “foreign policy advisor, Carter PAGE, and others as intermediaries” between the campaign and Russia and that Mr. Page had meetings with Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and Presidential Administration official Igor Divyekin.[22]

During his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. Page denied meeting with Mr. Sechin or Mr. Divyekin. He did admit, however, that he met with Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Arkady Dvorkovich.[23] He also admitted meeting with Andrey Baranov – a close associate of Mr. Sechin.[24] And, in December 2016, after the election, Mr. Page went back to Moscow and again met with high-ranking Russian officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich and Rosneft executive Andrey Baranov.[25]

None of these facts are disputed in the Grassley-Graham criminal referral.

CONCLUSION

In June 2016, Mr. Steele began uncovering information indicating that Russia was interfering in the U.S. presidential election, and that the Trump campaign might be assisting Russia in its efforts.[26] Under any circumstances, the right thing to do would be to go to law enforcement and turn over this information. And that is exactly what Mr. Steele did.

Steele’s reporting was deemed reliable by the FBI. The FISA court granted three renewals of the FISA warrant on Carter Page after learning of Mr. Steele’s contacts with the press, a fact that did not cause the FBI to question the reliability of his underlying reporting.

The President’s decision to declassify and release the Nunes memo has confirmed that the Russia investigation started because of another Trump campaign foreign policy advisor – George Papadopoulos – who was told in April that Russia had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of thousands of emails.[27] Unlike Mr. Steele, Mr. Papadopoulos did not affirmatively share what he had learned with the FBI.

This Committee should dedicate its resources and attention to getting to the bottom of exactly what Russia did during the 2016 election and who was involved – not attacking voluntary sources and the nation’s leading law enforcement agencies.

###

 


[1] Memorandum from Hon. Charles E. Grassley and Hon. Lindsey O. Graham to Hon. Rod J. Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, Jan. 4, 2018, at 6 (hereinafter “Grassley/Graham Memo”).

[2] Grassley/Graham Memo, at 1.

[3]United States v. Worthington, 822 F.2d 315, 310 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 944 (1987) (A false or fictitious statement or representation is an assertion that is untrue when made or when used, and that is known by the person making it to be untrue); see also United States v. Anderson, 579 F.2d 455 (8th Cir.), cert. denied, 439 U.S. 980 (1978); United States v. Race, 632 F.2d 1114 (4th Cir. 1980) (If a defendant’s statement, or the government’s question requiring an answer, is ambiguous, it is incumbent on the government to negate any reasonable interpretation that could make the defendant’s statement factually correct).

[4]Memorandum from HPSCI Majority Staff to HPSCI Majority Members, “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Jan. 18, 2018, at 2 (hereinafter “Nunes Memo”).

[5] Nunes Memo, Jan. 18, 2018, at 2-3; Grassley/Graham Memo, at 4.

[6] Grassley/Graham Memo, at 4.

[7] Grassley/Graham Memo, at 4; Nunes Memo, Jan. 18, 2018, at 1.

[8] Vanity Fair, “How Ex-Spy Christopher Steele Compiled His Explosive Trump-Russia Dossier,” Apr. 2017; see also The Guardian, “How Trump walked into Putin’s web,” Nov. 15, 2017.

[9] Washington Post, “The British spy behind the Trump dossier helped the FBI bust FIFA,” Jan. 13, 2017.

[10] Reuters, “Former MI6 spy known to U.S. agencies is author of reports on Trump in Russia,” Jan. 12, 2017.

[11] Business Insider, “Congressional and FBI investigators are homing in on the Trump-Russia dossier,” Oct. 5, 2017.

[12] Washington Post, “FBI once planned to pay former British spy who authored controversial Trump dossier,” Feb. 28, 2017.

[13] Senate Judiciary Committee Interview of Glenn Simpson, Aug. 22, 2017, at 159, 164-65, 167.

[14] HPSCI Interview of Glenn Simpson, Nov. 14, 2017, at 60-61.

[15] New York Times, “Russian Spies Tried to Recruit Carter Page Before He Advised Trump,” Apr. 4, 2017.

[16] Time, “Carter Page Touted Kremlin Contacts in 2013 Letter,” Feb. 4, 2018.

[17] Bloomberg, “Trump’s New Russia Adviser Has Deep Ties to Kremlin’s Gazprom,” Mar. 30, 2016.

[18] Complaint at 13, U.S. v. Evgeny Buryakov, CA No. 15-cr-00073 (filed Jan. 23, 2015).

[19] Washington Post, “A transcript of Donald Trump’s meeting with the Washington Post editorial board,” Mar. 21, 2016.

[20] HPSCI Interview of Carter Page, Nov. 2, 2017, at 19; see also Politico, “Trump campaign approved adviser’s trip to Moscow,” Mar. 7, 2017.

[21] HPSCI Interview of Carter Page, Nov. 2, 2017, at 40.

[22] Company Intelligence Reports, 2016/094 and 2016/095, July 2016; Senate Judiciary Committee Interview of Glenn Simpson, at 235-36.

[23] HPSCI Interview of Carter Page, Nov. 2, 2017, at 12.

[24] Id. at 105.

[25] Id. at 119.

[26] Company Intelligence Reports, June 20, 2016 through Dec. 13, 2016.

[27] Nunes Memo, Jan. 18, 2018, at 4.

Milo Event at UCLA Cancelled after Open Letter to Bruin Republicans from Conservative Professor

Open Letter to the Bruin Republicans Who Invited Milo Yiannopoulos to UCLA (Update: Milo Canceled)

Courtesy Facebook 2.14.18

Attention:

To all of those concerned,

As many of you are aware, The Bruin Republicans at UCLA had announced earlier on Tuesday, February 13 that we would be hosting Milo Yiannopoulos on Monday, February 26. The decision to host Milo has polarized the leadership of the organization between those wishing to move forward with the event and those who wish to cancel it. In order for an organization to be able to function properly, it must do so with the unequivocal support of all its members. This does not mean that we all must agree 100% on all issues but we must have at least a clear majority. Consequently, we have decided not to move forward with the event.

For those of you who have already purchased tickets, refund information will be posted on our website within the upcoming days. We would like to make it clear that any public backlash to this event has nothing to do with our cancellation and that we have been more than willing to stand up to both protesters and administrative figures as evidenced by our Ben Shapiro event last quarter. We would like to thank Milo and his team for their hard work and effort in supporting this event, and we wish them nothing but the best.

Sincerely,
Bruin Republicans at UCLA


Milo had already announced the event on Facebook and through his website, dangerous.com:

MILO Announces Feb. 26 Speech at UCLA: ‘Ten Things I Hate About Mexico’

On Tuesday, MILO announced his highly-anticipated return to the American college campus with a Feb. 26 debut at UCLA.

The topic of the speech will be “10 Things I Hate About Mexico.”

UCLA is the first stop of MILO’s new college tour after activists rioted and destroyed the campus at UC Berkeley last February as MILO prepared to speak.


MILO’S response to the cancellation via Facebook:

I despair at the trajectory of Californian universities. Even the students who describe themselves as Republicans seem hopelessly lost and weak.

Californian professors are engaged in the systematic extermination of free speech on campus. They have made the mere discussion of populist, nationalist conservative ideas impossible.

I will never stop arranging talks in California. I don’t care how much money or how much time it takes. Unlike previous generations of conservative and libertarian activists I refuse to simply hand over the keys to the wacko left. In the meantime I urge parents to reconsider sending your kids to these schools. They’re not getting educated — they’re getting indoctrinated.

In a second, longer Facebook post, Milo elaborated:

Against the wishes of its own members, the board of the Bruin Republicans has caved to intense pressure from the UCLA faculty and one of its advisors and voted to cancel the event, less than 24 hours after putting tickets on sale. This follows UCLA faculty members placing op eds in multiple news outlets over the past 24 hours.

Student members were not in agreement but multiple votes were taken at the insistence of a small group of Milo sceptics on the board until finally the group voted to cancel. (Repeating referenda until you get the result you want while intimidating your opponents? Robert Mugabe would be proud.)

Students informed Milo Inc of the decision Wednesday night. They told us they had been threatened by other members of the Bruin Republicans with expulsion from the board if they did not cancel the event.

In two years, and dozens of colleges, I have never seen students crumble this quickly before. And all because I wanted to tell a few jokes about MS-13. It’s shameful. 60 million people in America voted for Donald Trump and their point of view is being exterminated from public life — with the help of so-called Republicans on campus. This is why the Left wins and will continue to win the big cultural victories: conservatives in this country have no stomach for the fight.

Milo Inc had spent tens of thousands of dollars in staff time and planning for the event, which has been on the books for three months. Milo Inc asked repeatedly if the Bruin Republicans were getting cold feet and were told that the event would proceed. The multiple rounds of voting were taken after the event had been confirmed and tickets had gone on sale, violating the agreement the Bruin Republicans had with Milo Inc.

It’s shameful that UCLA’s faculty would apply such enormous pressure to students. Professors know students are easily intimidated and will fold quickly. A faculty advisor to the Bruin Republicans, Gabriel Rossman, in an op ed for the Weekly Standard, threatened to cut all ties with the Bruin Republicans unless they cancelled my show. It’s intimidation, plain and simple. This is a new front in the Left’s war on campus conservatism: applying pressure in the media while pretending to respect free speech to bully students into canceling the most popular — and therefore the most dangerous — conservative speakers.

I’m not even far-right, or all that controversial. I’m a gay Jewish immigrant married to an African-American who talks about free speech. But because I’m effective, and popular, and because unlike other conservative speakers I persuade moderates, the censors go crazy any time my name is mentioned. And so do the snobs of the Republican establishment who can’t understand how someone as gauche and attention seeking as me could possibly be popular.

A MILO talk makes money for college students, because we share the profits of ticket sales with our host organization. Most speakers leave their hosts $20,000 poorer when they leave. But I leave them richer.

I was planning to show up dressed as my genderqueer social justice alter ego Styrm (that’s Storm with a y) to explain how importing Mexican patriarchy would hurt marginalized communities in America. But I guess another university will get to enjoy the show — and the profits — instead.

—-

Tickets for my February 23 speech in Phoenix, AZ are available atdangerous.com/phoenix. Tickets for my speech in Washington DC during CPAC, “A Night for Freedom,” are available at dangerous.com/dc.

————-

Dr. Rossman originally published his open letter in the Weekly Standard:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/open-letter-to-the-bruin-republicans-who-invited-milo-yiannopoulos-to-ucla/article/2011582

* * *
An open letter to the Bruin Republicans,

I was very glad to meet everyone at a recent lunch. You seem to be a great group of students with serious aspirations and a strong interest in conservatism. As you will recall, in my remarks I expressed the hope that you would follow the traditional debating society model of the Harvard Republicans rather than the epater les SJWsperformance art model of the University of Colorado Republicans as described in Binder and Wood’s Becoming Right. You will also recall a very specific corollary I mentioned: Do not invite Milo Yiannopoulos. It was for this reason that I was surprised when I learned Tuesday that you were doing exactly that, and for a talk entitled “10 Things I Hate About Mexico.”

One thing I left out of my remarks about the impact of the ideological skew of academia is that the dearth of conservative faculty means a lack of mentorship for conservative students. Which is part of the reason you see students at places such as University of Colorado engaging in ill-conceived political theater that can be amusing and provocative—but is ultimately counter-productive.

As one of the few conservative faculty at UCLA, and one of a very few who knows the campus club, I feel obligated to provide some mentorship here: I strongly urge you to rescind your invitation to Yiannopoulos. Allow me to explain why.

The most important reason not to host such a talk is that it is evil on the merits. Your conscience should tell you that you never want anything to do with someone whose entire career is not reasoned argument, but shock jock performance art. In the 1980s conservatives made fun of “artists” who defecated on stage for the purpose of upsetting conservatives. Now apparently, conservatives are willing to embrace a man who says despicable things for the purpose of “triggering snowflakes.” The change in performance art from the fecal era to the present is yet another sign that no matter how low civilization goes, there is still room for further decline.

I want to be clear that my point here is not that some people will be offended, but that the speaker is purely malicious.

Many speakers and many speeches will offend people, especially given the sense among many on the campus left that they are entitled to complete isolation from ideas with which they disagree.

This is different.

Looking at the fall quarter calendar, I see Richard Sander, Rafael Dagnesses, Keith Fink, and Ben Shapiro recently gave talks sponsored by your group. Lots of people disagree with these speakers, and I disagree with some of them about certain points, but none of them are malicious.

I can understand why some people were offended by Heather Mac Donald’s ideas when she spoke on campus last year. But reasonable people can disagree about whether all Americans, and especially African Americans, on net benefit from aggressive policing. More to the point, Mac Donald expresses her pro-police position without animus, so sponsoring her talk was an entirely legitimate and honorable thing to do.

If the Bruin Republicans were considering a talk with a journalist or scholar giving a temperate and reasoned lecture on “ten reasons why Mexico’s social development lags,” then it could be a very reasonable event to host, even if people were offended by it.

I would also caution you to expect that speakers who take ideas seriously are often repelled by association with deliberately offensive speakers. For instance, when the organizers of “Free Speech Week” at Berkeley circulated a list of (proposed) speakers, Charles Murray told the Chronicle of Higher Education that he “would never under any circumstances appear at an event that included Milo Yiannopoulos.” Obviously, Murray is someone whose ideas many people find offensive, but he expresses them without hatred and so declines to appear with someone he (correctly) considers a “despicable asshole.” Likewise, I know many conservative writers, but I imagine an invitation would be much less attractive to them (nor would I extend it) if they had to bring Lysol to clean the podium from the prior occupant.

There are other reasons not to associate yourselves with Yiannopoulos. Whether or not anyone notices, you want to be on the side of the person getting attacked for being a Jew (such as Ben Shapiro, who you have hosted before), not the person who mocks that Jew by dressing midgets in kippahs (and on a separate occasion debases “America the Beautiful” by singing it to an audience of giggling Nazis as they throw sieg heils).

The merits are more important than appearances, of course, but the fact is that people will notice if the Bruin Republicans host someone offering nothing more than alt-right camp and this is a secondary reason not to do so.

You need to ask yourselves, what is your goal as an organization? If you’re in it for the lulz and just want to see the world burn, then I guess go ahead and bring in a vapid provocateur.

But if your mission is to spread conservative ideas, you should recognize that hosting Yiannopoulos will only render your organization and our ideas toxic. The left often suspects that principled conservative positions are actually born of racism. Conservatives have traditionally pushed back against this criticism. Here at UCLA, that will be a much less tenable argument for Bruin Republicans to make if they host a talk by someone whose sole recommendation is that his offensiveness to others ishis big idea.

My understanding of the proposed Yiannopoulos event is that it is intended in part to be a fundraiser. Remember the question Jesus asks in the synoptic gospels, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” In the case of the Bruin Republicans, the question is not poignant but pathetic: What does it profit a club to cover the costs of an event—and maybe get enough to cover an end-of-year party—if they lose their integrity and reputation.

I am a strong believer in freedom of political speech. However, there is a distinction between tolerating speech and sponsoring speech. Neither I, nor you, nor Chancellor Block have the right to say that Milo Yiannopoulos cannot give a speech on campus.

But neither does that mean that I, or you, or Chancellor Block needs to actively invite him and actively promote his childish provocations. If he wants to stand on Bruin Walk ranting with the other creeps and lunatics, he can do so. I believe people have the right to do all sorts of things in the privacy of their own homes, but that doesn’t mean that I would invite them to do them in my living room for an audience of me and my dinner guests.

If you go through with hosting Yiannopoulos, I will vociferously support your rightto do so—and the duty of the UCPD to use force if necessary to maintain order and prevent a heckler’s veto. However, I must just as vehemently and publicly disagree with your decision to host him.

Specifically, should the event go forward, I will decline to have any association with the Bruin Republicans until it has experienced a complete turnover in membership. I hope that will not be the case and that I can continue to support you.

Sincerely,

Gabriel Rossman

Gabriel Rossman is an associate professor of sociology at UCLA.

Orrin Hatch Introduces Bill to Protect Free Speech on College Campuses

Feb 07 2018

Washington, D.C.— Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the senior Republican in the United States Senate, introduced the FREE Act, legislation to protect free speech on college campuses.

Justice Department Files Statement of Interest in California College Free Speech Case

“My proposal would require public colleges and universities to provide clear guidance on their efforts to protect free speech and the free exchange of all ideas,” Hatch said. “Students on campus should know that any regulation of speech remains content-neutral, apolitical, and narrowly tailored. They should be able to trust that their campuses will foster free speech, not stifle it.”

https://www.scribd.com/document/371020657/Free-Right-to-Expression-in-Education-Act-sponsored-by-Republican-Sen-Orrin-Hatch#from_embed

He wrote more about this critical issue and how his legislation would help bolster free speech in an op-ed this afternoon in National Review:

 Protecting Free Speech Where It Matters Most, on the College Campus

By Senator Orrin G. Hatch

 http://www.nationalreview.com/article/456164/free-speech-college-campuses-legislation-ensure-it

FIRE names America’s 10 worst colleges for free speech: 2018

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 12, 2018 — Each year, colleges across the country find dubious ways to silence student and faculty expression. In the last year, administrators became embroiled in litigation for telling a student he couldn’t hand out Spanish-language copies of the U.S. Constitution outside a free speech zone, continued a years-long effort to ban a group from campus due to its political viewpoint, and even investigated a professor for a satirical tweet — eventually driving him to resign.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has identified America’s 10 worst colleges for free speech, published today with detailed descriptions on FIRE’s website.
This year’s list includes the following institutions, in no particular order:
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, N.Y.)
  • Drexel University (Philadelphia, Pa.)
  • Harvard University (Cambridge, Mass.)
  • Los Angeles Community College District (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • Fordham University (New York, N.Y.)
  • Evergreen State College (Olympia, Wash.)
  • Albion College (Albion, Mich.)
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.)
  • University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, Calif.)
  • Texas State University (San Marcos, Texas)
The institutions on FIRE’s annual list of worst colleges include one university that threatened the funding and editorial process of its independent student newspaper, another that erected fences around campus to keep peaceful student demonstrators out of sight of donors, and yet another that put a student through a months-long investigation and a four-hour hearing for a joke. (That student is still waiting to learn his fate!)
“College administrators, and sometimes even students, are going to greater and greater lengths to justify muzzling expression on campus,” said FIRE Executive Director Robert Shibley. “This type of censorship makes for a sterile environment where lively debate and discussion can’t thrive. The public deserves to know which colleges will defend free expression — and which ones will go to seemingly any length to silence it.”
For the first time, FIRE also awarded a Lifetime Censorship Award to one university that threatens the free speech rights of its students and faculty so often that it deserves individual infamy: DePaul University.
DePaul earned the 2018 Lifetime Censorship Award in recognition of its decade-long rap sheet of suppressing speech at every turn. From denying recognition to a student organization criticizing marijuana laws, to forcing the DePaul Socialists, Young Americans for Freedom, and College Republicans to pay for security in order to host speakers at their meetings and events, to forbidding a group from using the slogan “Gay Lives Matter,” DePaul has staked out a leadership position in stifling campus expression.
FIRE’s 2018 list includes both public and private institutions. Public colleges and universities are bound by the First Amendment. Private colleges on this list are not required by the Constitution to respect student and faculty speech rights, but explicitly promise to do so.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending liberty, freedom of speech, due process, academic freedom, legal equality, and freedom of conscience on America’s college campuses.

FISA Memo: Everything You Need to Know: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy statement and video

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy statement on the declassification of a memo prepared by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence majority:

“It is Congress’s constitutional duty and responsibility to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch.  The American people deserve to know the facts and have a transparent and open government—even when it comes to the delicate balance between security and privacy. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) provides our government with the ability to utilize surveillance resources to protect American citizens. Because of the sensitivity of this process, it is imperative the American people have the utmost faith that applications to obtain warrants against American citizens are based on ironclad facts that provide strong evidence of a threat to the country. In this case, the Intelligence Committee’s FISA memo makes clear that the full disclosure of facts to the court did not occur. Most notably, it was omitted that the author of an unverified political document disclosed to the court was an ardent and paid-political opponent of President Trump. Protecting against this type of politicization of the intelligence process is a primary reason why the Intelligence Committee in the House of Representatives was created. As the committee prepares for the release of the minority memo, we must recommit that despite political differences, our single greatest responsibility is to protect the American people. Our law enforcement agencies do that dutifully every day and this oversight work ensures they will be able to continue to do that every day moving forward.”  

Video Transcript

REP. TREY GOWDY: You have a right to know what happened with this FISA process and whether reforms are warranted.

REP. DEVIN NUNES: The American citizens that are represented before this court, have to be protected. And the only place that can protect them is the U.S. Congress.

NEWS CLIP 1: It has been the talk of Washington for weeks and today Republicans released a memo

NEWS CLIP 2: The memo reveals partisan bias at the Justice Department.

NEWS CLIP 3: Grassley and Graham confirmed the information and went further. Revealing that information was passed from British spy Christopher Steele through an intermediary close to the Clinton’s, and then to the State Department.

REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE: The Republican memo fairly raises questions about why certain facts were never disclosed to the FISA court.

NUNES: Political dirt was used by the FBI, and they knew it was political dirt to open a counter-intelligence investigation into the other campaign.

GOWDY: This dossier was paid for by the Democrat National Committee and Hillary Clinton.  They hired a political opposition research firm, who hired Christopher Steele, who wrote it. See how easy and straightforward that is? It tells you the source with clarity and specificity. Now contrast that with the way it was presented to the court. For reasons the Democrats never can explain, the FISA application went to great lengths to avoid identifying a material point about the financial source behind the dossier.

NEWS CLIP 4: Neither the initial FISA application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts.

GOWDY: The Democrats claim Chris Steele was a reliable source.  But he wound up being dismissed as a source by the FBI for two different reasons. And in addition to that, Steele’s reliability isn’t really the seminal issue.  He didn’t know of the facts firsthand. He repeated what sources in Russia were telling him. So for that matter, a parrot could have been the source. If all you are going to do is repeat back what nameless, faceless people in another country are telling you, your experience and expertise aren’t nearly as important as the reliability of the people you are listening to.

RATCLIFFE: The DOJ and FBI had four opportunities to disclose these facts in the original FISA application in each of three subsequent renewal applications over a nearly year-long period—but never did. Now the Democrats on the intelligence committee, who opposed the release of our Republican memo, have since prepared their own “counter” memo.

GOWDY: Every single Republican on the House Intelligence Committee voted to release the Democrat memo. Every, single one. On the other hand, not a single, solitary Democrat voted to release the Republican memo. Not, a single one.

The lead Democrat most responsible for the drafting of the Democrat memo is Rep. Adam Schiff. Rep. Schiff didn’t have much interest in finding out how much of the dossier was used, whether it was vetted before it was used, whether it was vetted for that matter after it was used, or who paid for it. Keep in mind they went to court to keep you from finding out who paid for the dossier.

RATCLIFFE: The American people will learn that the Democrats memo attacks Republicans for questioning the integrity of DOJ lawyers like Bruce Ohr and FBI agents like Peter Strozk, who have either been demoted or removed. The Democrats memo also defends the integrity of Christopher Steele as a reliable and credible source even though the FBI and Department of Justice terminated him.

NEWS CLIP 5: In September of 2016, Christopher Steele admitted to Justice Department official Bruce Ohr his feelings against then candidate Trump. Steele said he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being President.”  

GOWDY: After all, we have FISA only because you consented to have it. With that consent comes the obligation of those entrusted with power to exercise that power judiciously and to answer legitimate questions when you have them. And asking questions of those in positions of power used to be something everyone could agree on.

Strzok-Page FBI Text Messages & Chairman Johnson’s Interim Report

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released a majority staff report Wednesday titled “The Clinton Email Scandal And The FBI’s Investigation Of It,” along with text messages between two agents that shed light on the investigation. The report details the congressional investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server and the oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s involvement with their investigation of Secretary Clinton’s private server.

The report outlines how information available to the committee at this time raises serious questions about how the FBI applied the rule of law in its investigation. The majority staff report found that:

  • The FBI did not use a grand jury to compel testimony and obtain the vast majority of evidence, choosing instead to offer immunity deals and allow fact witnesses to join key interviews.
  • There were substantial edits to former FBI Director James Comey’s public statement that served to downplay the severity of Secretary Clinton’s actions, and that the first draft of the memo was distributed for editing two months before key witnesses were interviewed.
  • Director Comey stated that he had not consulted with the Justice Department or White House, when text messages among FBI agents involved in the investigation suggest otherwise. Two key investigators discuss an “insurance policy” against the “risk” of a Trump presidency, and “OUR task.”
  • Messages discuss “unfinished business,” “an investigation leading to impeachment,” and “my gut sense and concern there’s no big there there.” The messages strongly underscore the need to obtain still-missing text messages and other information regarding the FBI’s actions and investigations into the Clinton email scandal and Russian involvement in the November 2016 election.
  • Senior FBI officials—likely including Deputy Director Andrew McCabe— knew about newly discovered emails on a laptop belonging to former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner for almost a month before Director Comey notified Congress.

The full report can be found here.

The FBI text messages can be found here.

The letters Chairman Johnson has sent to various agencies and source documents can be found here.

###

Nunes Memo Critically Analyzed by Representative Jerrold Nadler, NY (D)

House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Nadler Shares Analysis of Nunes Memo

Feb 5, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Saturday, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) sent a legal analysis of the “Nunes memo” to his Democratic colleagues. You can view it here and below.

To Democratic Subscribers

House Judiciary Committee Analysis of the Nunes Memo

Sending Office: Committee on the Judiciary – Minority Staff

February 3, 2018

Dear Democratic Colleague:

On Friday, House Republicans released the so-called “Nunes memo,” a set of deeply misleading talking points drafted by the Republican staff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.  House Republicans did so over the objections of the Department of Justice, the Director of the FBI, the Director of National Intelligence, and several Senate Republicans, among others.

You may have heard President Trump describe the allegations in the Nunes memo as a “disgrace.”  He thinks “a lot of people should be ashamed.”  President Trump is right, in his way.  This embarrassingly flawed memo is a disgrace.  House Republicans should be ashamed.

Although I have had the benefit of reading the materials that form the basis for the Nunes memo, most members have not—including, reportedly, Chairman Nunes.  Accordingly, I am forwarding the legal analysis below for use by your office based on my review the Nunes memo and on outside sources.

Please let my staff know if we can provide your office with any additional guidance.

Sincerely,
Jerrold Nadler
Ranking Member
House Committee on the                                                                              Judiciary

 

I.          The FISA court found probable cause to believe that Carter Page is an agent of a foreign power.  Nothing in the Nunes memo rules out the possibility that considerable evidence beyond the Steele dossier helped the court reach that conclusion.

We should not lose sight of a critical and undisputed fact: the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court found probable cause to believe that Carter Page—a member of the Trump campaign’s foreign policy team—was an agent of the Russian government.

The Nunes memo states that, “[o]n October 21, 2016, DOJ and FBI sought and received a FISA probable cause order . . . authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page.”  To obtain an order to conduct surveillance under Title I of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the government must provide “a statement of the facts and circumstances” demonstrating probable cause that “the target of the electronic surveillance is . . . an agent of a foreign power.”

The central allegation of the Nunes memo is that the government committed a fraud when it obtained an order to conduct surveillance of Carter Page, a member of President Trump’s foreign policy team during the campaign.  The memo claims that “[t]he ‘dossier’ compiled by Christopher Steele . . . formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application,” but that the government failed to disclose “the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts.”

If not for this misrepresentation to the court, the story goes, there never would have been a Russia investigation.  This claim is deliberately misleading and deeply wrong on the law.

First, the Nunes memo appears to concede that the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to the Russian government was well underway before the government applied for an order to conduct surveillance of Carter Page.  In its final paragraph, the Nunes memo states: “[t]he Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016.”  The statement refers to George Papadopoulos, another member of the Trump campaign’s foreign policy team.  There is no reason to dispute the Nunes memo’s assertion that the FBI was actively investigating the Trump campaign months before they approached the court about Carter Page.

Second, there is already a well-established body of law dealing with allegations that “material and relevant information was omitted” from the application to the court—and, in the case of Carter Page, that law appears to fall almost entirely on the side of the government.  In Franks v. Delaware (1978), the U.S. Supreme Court held that a court may only void a search warrant if the government “knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard for the truth,” included false information or excluded true information that was or would have been critical to the court’s determination of probable cause.  The Nunes memo alleges nothing that would even come close to meeting this standard.  Indeed, we have every indication that the government made its application to the court in good faith.

So, to be clear: Carter Page was, more likely than not, an agent of a foreign power.  The Department of Justice thought so.  A federal judge agreed.  That consensus, supported by the facts, forms the basis for the warrant issued by the FISA court.  The Russian government waged a massive campaign to discredit our election.  Carter Page appears to have played a role in that effort.  The FBI has a responsibility to follow these facts where they lead.  The Nunes memo would have us sweep this all under the rug.  And for what, exactly?

II.        Christopher Steele is a recognized expert on Russia and organized crime.

Through several acts of willful omission, the Nunes memo alleges the FISA application is tainted because Christopher Steele “was a longtime FBI source who was paid over $160,000 by the DNC and the Clinton campaign . . . to obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.”  The Nunes memo would have us believe the Russia investigation was a Democratic plot from the outset.  That is simply ridiculous.

The Nunes memo does not show that the government relied solely, or even substantially, on the information provided to the FBI by Christopher Steele when it made its application to the court.  It does not show that Steele’s work was compromised by the source of funding.  It does not show that Fusion GPS—the firm that hired Steele to do this work—was any more or less diligent when it worked for Democratic clients than when it worked for Republicans.  And, amazingly, the Nunes memo does not provide a single shred of evidence that any aspect of the Steele dossier is false or inaccurate in any way.

We have no idea if Christopher Steele even knew the source of his funding when Fusion GPS first hired him to research Donald Trump’s connections to the Russian government.  In fact, Fusion GPS initiated the project on behalf of the conservative Washington Free Beacon, not the DNC.  The firm’s task was to provide credible research, and they hired an expert for the job—a retired British intelligence officer, experienced in Russian affairs and well-known to the FBI as a useful source of valuable intelligence in earlier investigations.

Nothing about the source of Steele’s funding or his later opinions about Donald Trump speak to the credibility of his work, or its inclusion in the FISA application.  The Nunes memo gives us no reason to doubt the court’s determination of probable cause to believe that Carter Page was an agent of the Russian government—particularly given Page’s later admissions to the press about his interactions with Russian officials.

And nothing about the payment from the DNC is unethical or improper.  Christopher Steele is one of the world’s leading experts on Russian organized crime.  His job was to uncover the facts.  Many feared during the election that the Trump campaign had been compromised by the Russian government.  Two guilty pleas and two indictments later, those fears seem well justified.

III.       The Nunes memo provides no credible basis whatsoever for removing Rod Rosenstein as Deputy Attorney General.

The Nunes memo makes a point of stating that a number of officials, including Deputy Attorney General, “signed one or more FISA applications on behalf of DOJ.”  Because Attorney General Jeff Sessions is recused from any investigation related to the 2016 campaigns, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein directly oversees the Special Counsel’s investigation.  The Deputy Attorney General has become a target for those attempting to interfere with that investigation.  President Trump has refused to rule out using the Nunes Memo as pretext for dismissing the DAG.  “You figure that one out,” he said when asked about the Deputy Attorney General on Friday.

Whatever one thinks of the merits of the Nunes memo—and it is clearly not a serious document—the memo provides no basis whatsoever to justify the removal of Rod Rosenstein as Deputy Attorney General from his critical and trusted position.   The Nunes memo focuses largely on process that transpired before the Deputy Attorney General took office.  There is no reason to believe that he reviewed or approved any FISA application for submission to the court except according to normal process and procedures.

The Nunes memo leaves out a critical point in this area as well.  Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, when seeking a renewal of a surveillance order, the government is required to provide the court “a statement of the facts concerning all previous applications . . . involving any of the persons, facilities, or places specified in the application.”  That requirement includes a description of the intelligence received so far and its value to the underlying case.  Although he was not involved in the initial application, the Deputy Attorney General could not have signed an application to renew surveillance on Carter Page if the government was unable to show that it had already gathered valuable evidence under existing orders and expected that collection to continue.  Under these circumstances, any decision not to approve the renewal would have appeared to have been politically motivated.

If the President is looking to fire Mr. Rosenstein, he will have to look outside the Nunes memo for his pretext.

IV.       The Nunes memo shows that House Republicans are now part and parcel to an organized effort to obstruct the Special Counsel’s investigation.

On January 24, 2018, the Department of Justice wrote to warn the House Intelligence Committee that releasing the memo would be “extraordinarily reckless.”  On January 29, the FBI issued a statement citing “grave concerns” with inaccuracies and omissions in that document.  On January 30, the Majority twice blocked our request to move the House Judiciary Committee into closed session, where we would have been free to discuss our own concerns with the plan to make this information public without context, without meaningful input from the FBI, and without providing Members with access to the source materials.  On February 1, I wrote to Chairman Goodlatte asking for him to call the FBI Director and other officials from the Department of Justice to brief us on an emergency basis—before the Nunes memo was made public—but my request was again ignored.

House Republicans do not speak up when President Trump attacks the press, smears career investigators by name, or demands loyalty from the leadership of the Department of Justice and the FBI.  They have taken no significant steps to understand how the Russian government worked to undermine our last election.  They show little interest in protecting our next election from foreign attack—even though President Trump’s hand-picked intelligence chiefs warn us that the threat is very real.

Until now, we could only really accuse House Republicans of ignoring the President’s open attempts to block the Russia investigation.

But with the release of the Nunes memo—a backhanded attempt to cast doubt on the origins of the Special Counsel’s investigation—we can only conclude that House Republicans are complicit in the effort to help the President avoid accountability for his actions and for the actions of his campaign.

In the end, who could possibly benefit from the release of this shoddy work?

Only Donald Trump, who will use these half-truths to further interfere with the Special Counsel, and Vladimir Putin, who now has a clear view of how our intelligence community attempted to interrupt his operations in the United States.

 

Additional Background

            Christopher Steele served as an intelligence officer with British intelligence service MI6 from 1987 until his retirement in 2009.  From 1990 to 1992, he worked under diplomatic cover as an MI6 agent in the Embassy of the United Kingdom to Russia.  By 2006, Steele headed the Russia Desk at MI6.  He remains one of the world’s foremost experts on Russia—and, in particular, connections between the Russian government and organized crime.

In September 2015, the conservative Washington Free Beacon retained the services of Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research on Donald Trump.  When President Trump emerged as the Republican candidate, the Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee hired Fusion GPS for the same services.  As part of this project, Christopher Steel produced what became known as the Steele dossier.

            Carter Page was known to the United States government for his involvement with the Russian government long before he joined the Trump campaign.  Court documents show that Russian intelligence operatives attempted to recruit Page in 2013.  One spy thought that Page was “an idiot” who wants to “rise up” and “earn lots of money.”

Then-candidate Donald Trump named Page a part of the Trump campaign’s foreign policy team on March 21, 2016.  In July 2016, with the explicit approval of the Trump campaign, Page traveled to Moscow to give a speech on “the future of the world economy” and to meet with Russian officials.  Despite several public accounts of these meetings, Page would later deny any contact with the Russian government.  By August 2016—when it had become apparent that the Russian government was working to undermine the election—the Trump campaign began to distance itself from Carter Page.

Later reports show that, in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Page admitted to meeting with Russian officials and to briefing at least one “senior person” on the Trump campaign about those meetings.

None of this information relies upon the Steele dossier.

The relevant legal standard for evaluating the FISA application is laid out in Franks v. Delaware.  “[t]here is, of course, a presumption of validity with respect to the affidavit supporting the search warrant.”  438 U.S. 154, 171.

 

Ben Shapiro Event at University of Minnesota Facing Hurdles According to YAF

Feb 26, 2018

Ben Shapiro will speak at a free event on campus. More details will be posted as the event approaches.

This event will be live streamed at 7:00 pm CT / 8:00 ET. Please click here to register to watch.

University of Minnesota Twin Cities
100 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN

YAF, sponsor of the event, now claims the university is denying venue requests to isolate the conservative event.

The Department of Justice recently filed a “Statement of Interest” in attempts to hinder YAF events, in particular with regard to USC Berkeley’s handling of YAF’s Ben Shapiro event last September.

In filing the Statement of Interest, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand provided the following statement:

“This Department of Justice will not stand by idly while public universities violate students’ constitutional rights.”

Justice Department Files Statement of Interest in California College Free Speech Case

Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) is an ideologically conservative youth activism organization that was founded in 1960 as a coalition between traditional conservatives and libertarians on American college campuses. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and the chapter affiliate of Young America’s Foundation.

Grassley Memo: After House GOP Memo, FBI OKs Release of Unclassified Steele Referral

Note: The law being referred to in memo concerns:

falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;

 makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation;  or

 makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry.

——-

Feb 05, 2018

FBI Required Redactions of Unclassified Material; Grassley Seeks Full Declassification Review
     WASHINGTON – The Federal Bureau of Investigation signed off on an unclassified version of the criminal referral by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham only after the White House declassified a House Intelligence Committee (HPSCI) Majority memo largely based on the same underlying documents.  Grassley is now calling on the FBI to update the classification of the referral to allow complete disclosure of important context from the documents on which it is based.
     “Seeking transparency and cooperation should not be this challenging.  The government should not be blotting out information that it admits isn’t secret, and it should not take dramatic steps by Congress and the White House to get answers that the American people are demanding. There are still many questions that can only be answered by complete transparency.  That means declassifying as much of the underlying documents as possible,” Grassley said.
      On January 4, Grassley and Graham referred Christopher Steele, the author of an unverified “Trump dossier,” to the FBI for further investigation after reviewing Justice Department documents that conflicted with Steele’s sworn statements in British court about the distribution of his research.  At the time of the referral, the existence of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications described in the HPSCI memo was still classified.  Grassley had sought the FBI’s cooperation to confirm that portions of the referral derived from sources other than the applications were unclassified. Following weeks of consultation, the FBI asked the committee to redact additional material despite confirming that it was, in fact, not classified, and only approved the release of the unclassified, heavily-redacted version of the referral after the White House formally declassified the House memo.
     While the HPSCI Majority memo is no longer classified, the underlying text of the FISA applications that it references is still controlled by the Executive Branch.  The Grassley-Graham referral contains verbatim quotes from the FISA applications that are not included in the HPSCI memo.  Specifically, the referral quotes the government’s description of Steele’s statements to the FBI about his contacts with the media. Those quotes remain redacted in the version currently approved for public release.  Friday evening, Grassley formally requested the FBI to update the classification of the referral and remove the extensive redactions to allow a more complete understanding and better inform the public debate.  That letter follows:
February 2, 2018
VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION
The Honorable Christopher A. Wray
Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20535
The Honorable Rod J. Rosenstein
Deputy Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Dear Director Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein:
     Pursuant to Section 3.5 of Executive Order 13526, I am writing to formally demand a Mandatory Declassification Review of the classified criminal referral Chairman Graham and I sent to the FBI and Justice Department regarding Christopher Steele’s potential violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1001.[1]
     On January 4, 2018, Senator Graham and I sent a classified memo to the Justice Department and the FBI.  The eight-page memo referred for further investigation materially inconsistent statements reportedly made by Christopher Steele, the author of the anti-Trump dossier funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign during the 2016 Presidential election.  On January 19, 2018, an FBI Congressional liaison, Greg Brower, sent a letter claiming that a few of the paragraphs marked as unclassified in our memo contained classified information.  A redacted copy of Mr. Brower’s letter is attached for reference.
     As I explained in a speech on the Senate floor, the FBI’s claims mischaracterize and misstate what those paragraphs actually say.  Nonetheless, on January 29, I wrote to Director Wray and Inspector General Horowitz, raising my objections to the FBI’s classification claims, but attaching a further redacted version of the referral that addressed FBI’s concerns.  On February 2, 2018, Mr. Brower stated that the FBI had no concerns with the public release of that further redacted version, which is attached to this letter.
     Today, the President formally declassified a memorandum drafted by the majority staff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI).[2]  Much of the information in the declassified HPSCI memorandum overlaps with the information in the criminal referral made by Senator Graham and me.  That information has now been declassified and can no longer properly be deemed as classified in our criminal referral.  Accordingly, I ask that you immediately review the classified referral in light of today’s declassification and provide a declassified version of it to the Committee with the declassified version by no later than February 6, 2018.
      Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.  Please contact Patrick Davis of my staff at (202) 224-5225 if you have any questions.
     Sincerely,
     Charles E. Grassley
     Chairman
     Committee on the Judiciary
     Enclosures: As stated.
cc:       The Honorable Michael E. Horowitz
Inspector General
United States Department of Justice
The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
Ranking Member
Committee on the Judiciary
Director, Office of Information Policy
United States Department of Justice
1425 New York Ave, NW
Suite 11050
Washington, DC 20530

 

Heavy redacted memorandum: Referral of Christopher Steele for Potential Violation of 18 U.S. C. § 1001 

https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2018-02-02%20CEG%20LG%20to%20DOJ%20FBI%20(Unclassified%20Steele%20Referral).pdf

For more on the importance of the Grassley memo, see:

The Grassley Letter Everyone Is Ignoring Is Way More Important Than the Nunes Memo

It debunks the idea of an anti-Trump FBI conspiracy, while making a stronger argument that the Carter Page wiretap was unwarranted.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/02/09/the-grassley-letter-everyone-is-ignoring-is-way-more-important-than-the-nunes-memo-216956

Grassley Memo: Sen. Feinstein Refutes Criminal Referral of Christopher Steele