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Former senior FBI official who oversaw Clinton email probe had ‘dozens of unauthorized’ contact with media

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Former senior FBI official and acting director of the Counterterrorism Division, Michael Steinbach, “had dozens of unauthorized contacts with members of the media before he resigned” reports The New York Post.

Among the “number of high-profile investigations in the lead-up to the 2016 election” that he oversaw, the probe into Hillary Clinton’s email server was one of them. Steinbach had “27 in-person meetings with reporters from 2014 to 2017 and also attended two black-tie dinners in Washington as a guest of a reporter, according to the report from DOJ’s Office of Inspector General obtained by The Post.”

The OIG report was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and states Steinbach was “soliciting” a reporter from an unspecified outlet for a ticket to the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in 2015. That same night he attended the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association dinner.

The New York Post reports on the OIG report obtained through the FOIA:

“Lots of [redacted] reporters here. May have to branch out!” Steinbach wrote to the unidentified reporter in a text message on the night of the 2015 dinner. 

“Absolutely not!!! But curious to know who you’ve met so far?” the reporter responded, adding: “well they will never be as good as me! and don’t you get the big head! ;)”

“But they are promising the WH Correspondents dinner,” Steinbach responded. 

A year later, Steinbach attended the White House Correspondents’ dinner and a reception party as a guest of a reporter — and boasted about it in a text to an unidentified CNN reporter. 

“I put you on the map and now you’re cheating on me with [redacted],” the CNN reporter wrote in a text message to Steinbach. 

“I kept waiting for my invite from you,” Steinbach responded. 

After the $300-a-ticket event, Steinbach sent an email to a reporter with the subject “Great Night” that included a photo of an unidentified person standing with the journalist in front of the White House Correspondents’ Association banner. 

“Thanks for hanging out with us last night [redacted] and I had a great time. And also thank you for giving us a lift. That was nice. I know it has been [sic] very busy year but when it slows down and as the weather gets nicer, we would love to grab [sic] or drinks with you and [redacted] either in the city somewhere or at our house,” the email read, in part. 

In addition to the dinners, Steinbach had numerous lunches with journalists in Washington from 2014 to 2017, including at restaurants Asia Nine, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, Elephant & Castle and Oyamel Cocina Mexicana. 

 “The OIG notes that it was unable to determine who paid for the drinks or meals during these social engagements,” the report states. 

As part of the investigation, the Inspector General’s Office interviewed an “FBI senior official” regarding policies for contact with the media. 

 The official told investigators that Steinbach told them that then-Director James Comey “was trying to change the way the FBI dealt with the media.”

The senior official said, “I think Director Comey, more than any director I ever heard, fully understood the concept that we’re only as good as our ability to listen to information with people,” the report states.  

“And when you take your credentials out, it needs to mean something. And the only way to do that is to have the trust. And the only way to get the trust is to have good will and the media is part of that, right?” they added. 

 Steinbach, who did not respond to a request for comment, resigned from the FBI in February 2017 and declined to be interviewed in the OIG probe. 

The report notes the watchdog concluded that Steinbach violated federal regulations and FBI protocol and its findings would be delivered to the FBI. 

“Prosecution was declined,” the report adds.

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Anonymous Official Admits FBI Acted ‘Outside of Scope’ Seizing Trump Passports

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Screenshot 2020 06 16 11.44.20

Oops! They did it again. The Department of Justice (DOJ) admits the FBI acted outside of what was authorized by the court during the raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

A DOJ official told Just the News Monday that the agency did indeed act “outside the scope” of the search warrant when it seized former President Trump’s passports.

“Occasionally a warrant collection can grab things outside the scope authorized by the court and the department is now following a procedure we would for any person affected this way” the anonymous official told Just The News.

John Solomon was interviewed by Fox News’ Sean Hannity, during which he discussed the information he received from the agents. “I have confirmed from two different sources that the Justice Department called President Trump’s defense lawyers today confirming that they did take his three passports,” Solomon continued. “They are making arrangements to send it back saying they are obligated to return it it’s outside the scope of the subpoena. They have also informed Trump defense lawyers, the Justice Department has, over the last few days that there’s likely privileged materials that the FBI collected that now have to be segregated and returned to the president.”

“This is remarkable,” Solomon said. “I talked to a lot have FBI people today who told me this warrant was already remarkably broad, can basically go in and get anything that looked like a presidential record, to then collect something like a passport which most agents can recognize quickly, or privileged documents, raised concerns amongst career FBI officials.”

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