Lost in the chaos of mass shooting tragedies, Jeffrey Epstein’s death, the China trade war, and Trump’s curated media storm surrounding those and other events was the filing of three new lawsuits. They shine another spotlight on Trump’s efforts to obstruct the Russia investigation, require public servants to place personal loyalty to Trump over country, and abuse presidential power by punishing those who resist him.
Lawsuit #1: Strzok Sues Justice Department
Abuse of Power: On Aug. 6, 2019, Peter Strzok, who spent more than 20 years as a career professional at the FBI, sued the Justice Department for firing him wrongfully because of “unrelenting pressure from President Trump and his political allies in Congress and the media.” The campaign included “constant tweets and other disparaging statements by the President as well as direct appeals from the President” to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Trump-Russia Backstory: In July 2016, Strzok was deputy assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division. He signed off on the document officially launching the Trump-Russia investigation and then helped lead it. The mere discharge of his job responsibilities made him a future Trump target.
Lawsuit #2: The House Judiciary Committee Sues McGahn
Abuse of Power: On Aug. 7, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee sued to enforce its subpoena against Don McGahn, who is currently following White House orders to defy Congress. The lawsuit described him as the most important witness in Congress’ investigation to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment against Trump.
Trump-Russia Backstory: Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report cited McGahn’s interviews with Mueller more than any other witness: 157 times. McGahn was a first-hand observer of key episodes when Trump attempted to block the Russia investigation, including:
- Trump’s response when he learned that then-National Security Adviser Mike Flynn had lied to the FBI;
- The termination of FBI Director James Comey;
- Trump’s order that McGahn fire Mueller;
- Trump’s effort to get McGahn to deny that he’d ever ordered him to fire Mueller;
- Trump’s effort to get McGahn to prepare a false record hiding the fact that he’d ordered him to fire Mueller; and
- Trump’s effort to get then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to unrecuse himself from the Russia investigation and limit the scope of Mueller’s investigative.
Although Trump ordered McGahn not to testify, McGahn’s attorney William A. Burck now says,“Don does not believe he witnessed any violation of law.” More than 1,000 former federal prosecutors who served in Democratic and Republican administrations reviewed the facts and disagree with his irrelevant belief.
Lawsuit #3: McCabe Sues Justice Department
Abuse of Power: On Aug. 8, 2019, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe sued the Justice Department for firing him wrongfully because he refused “to pledge allegiance to a single man” — Donald Trump.
McCabe claims that FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions demoted him for political reasons and that, “in response to Trump’s requests, pressures, and influence, they initiated and accelerated pretextual disciplinary proceedings in order to satisfy Trump’s unlawful desire” to remove him before his announced retirement date — thereby depriving McCabe of his full retirement benefits.
Trump-Russia Backstory: McCabe was among the handful of senior FBI officials in whom then-Director James Comey confided after Trump sought Comey’s personal loyalty and tried to interfere with the FBI’s ongoing Trump-Russia investigation. As a corroborating witness for Comey’s version of those events, he’s Trump’s enemy.
After Comey’s firing, McCabe opened the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Trump. So as with Strzok, the mere discharge of his job responsibilities also made McCabe a Trump target.
Mueller’s report does not include any findings relating to that counterintelligence probe. But this underreported passage alludes to them:
“From its inception, the [Special Counsel’s] Office recognized that its investigation could identify foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information relevant to the FBI’s broader national security mission… For more than the past year, the FBI also embedded personnel at the Office who did not work on the Special Counsel’s investigation, but whose purpose was to review the results of the investigation and to send — in writing — summaries of foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information to FBIHQ and FBI Field Offices.” [Vol. I, p. 13]
What evidence do those summaries contain? To this day, the public doesn’t know. But we do know that Trump tried to stop the Russia investigation, punished those who pursued it, and still panders to Putin. The FBI’s counterintelligence evidence and findings might explain why — and that should trouble every American.
Here’s a complete list of the latest updates to the Trump-Russia Timeline at Dan Rather’s News & Guts and at Just Security:
DEC. 10, 2015: Flynn Receives Money From RT (revision of previous entry)
JULY 29, 2019: Trump Retweets Papadopoulos
JULY 30, 2019: Court Dismisses DNC Suit Against Wikileaks and Trump Campaign
JULY 30-31, 2019: Trump Misstates Reasons for Court Dismissal of DNC Case
AUG. 1, 2019: Trump Rebuffs Suggestions of Russian Election Interference; Trump and Putin Discuss Need for New US Ambassador to Russia
AUG. 1, 2019: Judge Refuses to Dismiss Stone’s Indictment
AUG. 2-8, 2019: Ratcliffe Withdraws as Trump’s DNI Nominee; Sue Gordon Retires as Deputy Director; Trump Names Joseph Maguire Acting Director
AUG. 2, 2019: Majority of House Democrats Favor Impeachment; Pelosi Responds
AUG. 6, 2019: Strzok Sues Justice Department and FBI
AUG. 7, 2019: House Sues To Enforce McGahn’s Subpoena
AUG. 8, 2019: McCabe Sues Justice Department and FBI
AUG. 8, 2019: Nadler: “This Is Formal Impeachment Proceedings”
A truly insightful article.
You are most welcome.