Restoration Weekend Panel: FBI, Mueller and Trump

The spies who are above the law.

Editor's note: Below are the video and transcript of remarks given by a panel on "FBI, Mueller and Trump" at the David Horowitz Freedom Center's 2018 Restoration Weekend. The event was held Nov. 15th-18th at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida.




John Gilmore: Alright, ladies and gentleman, we've moved on to our next session which was originally scheduled for yesterday.  It's the FBI, Mueller and Trump.  Joining us today are J. Christian Adams, the election lawyer who served in the voting rights section at the US Department of Justice.  He is the author of Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Administration.  Also joining us is Victoria Toensing, a lawyer and partner with her husband, Joe, in the Washington law firm, diGenova and Toensing.  Also, here is Joe diGenova himself, an American attorney who served as the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia from 1983 to 1988.  Please give them a warm welcome.  Jay, why don't you go first and then Victoria, and then Joe.

J. Christian Adams: Good morning.  Thank goodness I get to go first.  If I had to follow Joe, it would be worse than following Milo in drag.  But of course, that gives him the opportunity to rebut anything I say, but that's how it goes.  It's great to be here.  It's always a pleasure to rejuvenate, restore, and be around such great folks.  David asked me – we originally were all going to talk about justice--but David asked me to talk a little bit about what I do, which is election law and focus on Florida and Broward and some of the overarching things that have been going on and then I'll touch on justice with an interesting vignette or two at the very end. 

For the last three years I have been locked in federal litigation with Brenda Snipes.  Yes, I have sat in depositions with her.  I have had her on the stand as my witness in a federal court trial down in Miami.  I've deposed her entire staff.  I've been in the office – I've probably spent about a total of a month with, Dr. Snipes, she insists, with Dr. Snipes in various court and discovery processes.  I can tell you from firsthand experience that that office is a complete shambles.  It's a mess.  I mean I just have a few examples for you.  We found voters who were registered that were born, their birthdate was when Grover Cleveland was President, and that's his first non-consecutive term.  Dr. Snipes, I got her to admit on the stand that aliens are registering and voting in Broward.  Felons are registered and voting in Broward.  And when she mailed out voter registration cards a couple of years ago, she put the name on the card but she used the wrong address, she used somebody else's address.  So, all of these voter registration cards are being mailed out to the wrong people. 

Now that's important.  It's not just crazy but it's important for federal law because that event of mailing a card triggers a time process under motor voter for how long you have to wait to remove somebody from the rolls.  Right?  So the chaos that is endemic to her office manifests itself in what you folks are seeing now.  But I want to stress something that this fight over election process, and this is election process, the machinery of elections, is a 365 day-a-year fight.  It is not something only in November.  It's something my organization, The Public Interest Legal Foundation, litigates around the country every month of the year in federal courts to try to get the situation better so you don’t have a mess like you have now in Florida where it looks like about 12,000 votes are going to decide the election.  It's important to understand that the Left places a heavy emphasis on process and you're watching it now.  You're watching how it works.  What I mean by process, the rules of the game.  What do you do with ballots that have funny markings?  Who gets to be in the room?  All of these mundane questions that I worry about all year round are questions the Left worries about all year round because they know that process drives policy. 

Their goal in an election is to get within the margin of litigation because once they're within the margin of litigation their mastery over process kicks in and so that's why what we've tried to do is push the calendar back and that's why we're fighting along the Rio Grande in federal court to clean up the voter rolls there, get noncitizens off the rolls.  We're cataloging noncitizen voting in Michigan, we call it motor voter mayhem.  Florida – Pennsylvania, we're suing the State of Pennsylvania because we asked for some documents related to noncitizens on the rolls.  I'll leave you with this on elections. 

Pennsylvania for 20 years had a glitch.  When you registered to vote under motor voter, remember, everybody knows what motor voter is now - often I talk to college students now and I can't say that.  Right?  Because motor voter was passed in '93, and when you register to get a driver's license, you register to vote.  Right?  Well in Pennsylvania, noncitizens, people who were saying they were noncitizens, were getting the little window on the computer, do you want to register to vote, and they were hitting yes.  And we know that somewhere in the neighborhood of anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 aliens have been registered to vote by PennDOT, that's the DMV, in Pennsylvania in the last 20 years.  So, we asked for those records from the State of Pennsylvania and they refused to give them to us.  So we are now in federal court in the middle district of Pennsylvania litigating that case. 

Let me shift to the Justice Department where I worked and have covered, and you've heard me talk about that here a number of years, and I'm just going to give you a couple of vignettes and Joe and Victoria have some fantastic information about what's going on with the Mueller investigation.

One of the things that has caused a problem is the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and you all have heard that name throughout this conference and on television.  Rod Rosenstein, I had some sources in his orbit, and he has hired and has had working for him his top deputies, absolute leftists.  These are political slots.  These are deputy slots in his office.  For example, Sujit Raman.  Sujit Raman is a deputy in Rod Rosenstein's office.  He has thrown his weight around preventing the Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the President to have their agenda fully implemented.  Well, Sujit Raman is a Soros Fellow.  He won a Soros Fellowship, and mind you, this is a political appointee.  He was the head at Harvard Law of the Minority Student Alliance.  Of course, any time you hear the work alliance matched with Harvard Law, you know there's trouble.  But probably the worst thing that's happened is the division within the department where you have a spokesperson named Sara Isgur Flores at the Department in the Office of Public Affairs who is now working with the Deputy's office, Rod Rosenstein, to place news stories and leak information about Matt Whitaker, the acting attorney general.  To his detriment, all of that wave of bad press that Matt Whitaker got two weeks ago was because of internal dissention within the Department out of Rod Rosenstein's office and a swampy Office of Public Affairs.  With that, I want to leave plenty of time for Joe and Vicky and I thank you very much for your time and attention.

Victoria Toensing: Good morning.  I like to talk about something that's current and so I thought I would focus on something that is in the news this week and that is whether the President is answering Mueller's questions.  And, I want to explain to you why Mueller has had to back off from demanding an interview with the president.  OLC which is the Office of Legal Counsel has issued two opinions, one by a Democratic President Clinton, and one by a Republican President Nixon, and both of those opinions say unequivocally that the President is constitutionally immune from being indicted while he is president.  Sort of makes you want to scratch your head about those Democratic senators who said they were against Brett Kavanaugh because he thought the president couldn't be indicted while he was president.  They didn't read the OLC opinions, all those on the Judiciary Committee. 

Well, the fact that the president cannot be indicted while president, and these opinions go on for about a total of 75 pages, but one of the key things they point out is that we have a national election and 13 people, a prosecutor, and 12 jurors from off the street would be able to undo a national election.  No way.  So, they're going through all kinds of constitutional and policy rationale for it, and I'm sure you can Google it and read it if you’re of interest to do that, but here's what flows from that.  Bob Mueller works for the Department of Justice.  He has to obey all those OLC opinions.  He has to conform with them, unlike Ken Starr, who I think is still in the room who I don't know what they wrote when they wrote the Independent Counsel Statute and Joe served under that too, so this isn't anything personal about Joe or Ken, but they made like a mouse and a chicken and who knows what kind of animal it was because it really wasn't under the executive.  They allowed him to perform actions that were legislative and there were so many problems with that act.  Thank God it's gone and God bless Nino Scalia for pointing it out to all of us.

Because Mueller has to follow the OLC opinions, you've got a very big problem with separating the powers.  I was just pointing out that the Independent Counsel was a strange animal.  How can somebody with the authority of the Executive Branch use a subpoena, that powerful weapon, and then as people contemplate, the media contemplates, turn all that information over to Congress which is a legislative animal, and impeachment is purely legislative.  So there's a separation of powers issue right there.  But it's also an abuse – oh, and by the way, let me just mention the special counsel regulations do not allow him to release the information to anyone but Rod Rosenstein, and now, Matt Whitaker.  So, there's no provision for the information that's been gathered through the Grand Jury to be made public.  That would also be an abuse of the Grand Jury.  The Grand Jury can only be used to indict or return a bill.  If the president can't be indicted, why could Mueller use a subpoena to subpoena him to provide information? 

 About 6 months ago, there were a series of questions that Mueller had posed to the then counsel for Trump and they were very interesting questions.  Joe and I just happened to get a copy of them.  There were two basic things.  One of them was asking things about, well, why did you fire Flynn and why did you fire Comey, as if that's what he's investigating.  Well, that's article 2 authority.  The president can fire somebody for no reason, any reason, whatever reason he wants to.  That's in his constitutional authority.  Now a president can obstruct justice if he tells a witness to lie or if he tosses out documents but not exercising his constitutional authority.  By the way, if firing Comey was a crime, then Rod Rosenstein who recommended the President do so, was a co-conspirator.  I don't know why the media hasn't brought that up. 

There is also executive privilege.  Go back to the important case law and that was during the Clinton Administration.  There was a Secretary of Agriculture, Espy, he was being investigated for taking gifts.  The Clinton Whitehouse at the same time did their own investigation while an independent counsel was doing its own investigation, and of course, after the indictment and the trial starts, the independent counsel wants whatever the Whitehouse gathered on the Espy matter and the Clinton Whitehouse said executive privilege.  So, the DC Circuit handed down this case law and that is that in order to get evidence from the Whitehouse or the president, there must be a demonstrated specific need for evidence at a criminal trial, and that's interpreted to mean that the evidence must be material and that it's not available elsewhere with due diligence. 

I do just want to very quickly mention another series of questions that were in a strange category from Mueller and that was, "What did the President think about when he saw Comey testify?  What did the President think about when he heard about Sally Yates doing whatever?"  Being king is now to be investigated?  I went to Catholic grade school.  I know that back then we were taught by the nuns you go to the confessional and you say, "Bless me Father, I have sinned, I had impure thoughts."  But I thought those were the only kind of thoughts that could be viewed by any kind of entity as having a problem.  So, here's the deal in why you're seeing Mueller back off and why you're seeing Jay Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani prevailing, and that is there's no criminal trial.  How does that fit the Espy case.  The only questions that are going to be answered are going to be in writing and they are going to be about any conduct occurring before the inaugural, because that's when Donald Trump was a private citizen, not the President of the United States, exercising his constitutional authority.

Joe diGenova: Good morning.  Thank you all.  Great to be here.  Sorry we're a day late but we're not a dollar short, I can assure you.  The FBI used to spy on the Russians.  This time they spied on us.  This is not your mother's FBI.  Believe me, this is not your mother's FBI.  This is an agency entrusted by our laws, by the people of the United States, with immense power, and because of that it is to be run correctly.  It is not a fraternity, it is not a sorority.  It is not a place for James Comey to do séances about what to do next about investigations.  Let me be very clear.  James Comey is a very sick, mentally disturbed person.  In a single news conference on July 5, 2016, he destroyed almost a hundred years of law enforcement independence in the federal government, he lied to the American people, he covered up for a Democratic candidate for president, and in the course of doing so, he should have been fired the next day by Loretta Lynch and Barack Obama but they couldn't, and the reason they couldn't fire him was because he had so much on them just like Jay Edgar Hoover, they couldn't touch him.  When you get to that point in a democracy, you got a problem and we have a very big problem. 

The guy who replaced Comey permanently, Christopher Ray, is an empty suit.  He may not be as dangerous as Comey but he is weak, uninspiring.  He is not a leader.  He is an avoider of conflict.  He is a George W. Bush special.  He is useless.  He is someone who never should have been appointed but we're stuck with him until we get rid of him.  It is too lengthy a process to explain to you what James Comey did but I want you to keep this theme in mind that Victoria and I developed 18 months ago. 

There was a brazen plot, a brazen plot, to exonerate Hilary Clinton by the senior FBI, DOJ, CIA officials in order to get her elected and if she was not elected, the plot then turned into a plot to frame Donald Trump once he became President of the United States.  It is still underway and that is because the House has not been cleaned.  The President has been ill served by almost everyone around him.  If he had fired James Comey on inauguration day, we wouldn't be where we are today but he was advised by a group of wise men and women that firing Comey would look bad.  Well how the hell does it look now. 

The process by which crimes have been committed against this president if outlined beautifully in something that – I want you to write this down, I am going to give you two things that you've got to read.  This is your homework assignment and you better do it because if you don’t, you're not going to understand what happened.  This is an article in something called The Markets Work, October 12, 2018.  The title of the article is Spygate:  The True Story of Collusion by Jeff Carlson.  In a compendium of information, you have laid out for you the conspiracy started by John Brennen and ending with Susan Rice in the Whitehouse, beginning in 2016 and ending up shortly before inauguration day with meetings in the Whitehouse with President Obama, Vice President Biden, Susan Rise, John Brennen, James Comey, and of course the inestimable Sally Yates.  This is the single best piece of writing on the conspiracy to frame Donald Trump.  We don't call it Spygate in our household.  We call it Framegate.  This was a criminal conspiracy led by people in the DOJ of Obama and the FBI to defenestrate the current President of the United States and for them I say this isn't 1956 Hungary like they wish it was.  They wish it was. 

The other thing you need to read is a very lengthy difficult to read judicial opinion, written by Judge Collier, who is the chief judge of the FISA Court.  I'm sure everybody in this room knows what the FISA Court is.  They're the ones who issue all the special warrants to spy on Americans who have contact with foreign nationals and also people who are the Americans who accidentally come in contact with people.  Bottom line is this. 

On April 26, 2017, shortly after the President's inauguration, Judge Collier of the FISA court wrote a 99-page opinion most of which you cannot see because it's all blacked out because it's all about how they intercept communications of Americans and foreign nationals.  But in the middle of that opinion, she states categorically that the FBI, and the NSA, and the DOJ, these are senior Obama Administration officials, broke federal law, by illegally giving information about Americans that were intercepted overseas by us and other intelligent services, that information was given illegally to contractors working for the FBI.  That information led to the unmasking of people and as a result of the unmasking, illegally unmasking, that information, some of it was leaked to the press, all of which are federal crimes. 

That opinion even though it's turgid, it's difficult, just take your time, read the little pieces that you can, you'll get enough out of it, it will make your stomach turn.  And here's what's great about what Jason Chaffetz said earlier.  This justice department has done absolutely nothing about that.  Rod Rosenstein is the most fundamentally dishonest politically corrupt DOJ official who has ever been in that office.  He is an individual who should be removed as soon as we have a new attorney general.  Thank God the supervision of the Mueller matter has been removed from him.  Rod Rosenstein has done more damage to this president than any Democrat on Capitol Hill.  He has stolen two years of Donald Trump's presidency because he wanted to cover his fanny and appoint Robert Mueller the special prosecutor.  I could talk for hours about these clowns, but at any rate, listen, Donald Trump's going to make it through this but it won't be because he got help from anybody in his Justice Department. 

Audience Question: There was a moment recently where Rod Rosenstein could have been fired.  What happened? 

Toensing: That was political.  The people around the president were saying, "You're going to raise all kinds of political problems before the midterms.  Wait until after the midterms, put in somebody over Rosenstein, and that takes care of the problem.  I mean he might as well be just sitting in a little corner room by himself right now as far as this whole investigation's going on because it was taken care of.

diGenova: The reason you can't fire him now is, now that they've stripped away the supervision of the Mueller investigation from him and given it to Matt Whitaker, now, Whitaker has been the subject of assaults and attacks by Democrats.  He should recuse himself.  He's not legally qualified to be acting attorney general.  You name it, they'll say it.  Rosenstein is the Frankenstein monster.  By the way, it's Rosenstein.  I know there's a big debate in the Jewish community about it.  Is it Stein?  Is it Steen?  Can you guys all get together and figure it out and make an announcement to the general public?  Such BS, I can't believe it. 

Anyway, the bottom line is this:  He'll be gone, but it's just going to take a little time.  He's been defrocked.  That's what matters most, but let me just reiterate this one more time.  He is the most fundamentally dishonest, conniving, sniveling individual who has ever held that high office.  He deserves to be drawn and quartered.

Toensing: Let me just add one more thing.  There's supposed to be a crime when a special counsel is appointed, and Rod did not name the crime and, indeed, in the authorization, there is no crime mentioned. 

Audience Question: Maybe I missed something, but who led this operation, and what was, exactly, the core motivation, and did President Obama know about it?

diGenova: Oh, the plot against the President of the United States, and to save Hillary Clinton, was led by a number of people:  James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page.  You know their names.  John Brenan was the head of the CIA; James Clapper, who was the head of the Office of National Intelligence; and then there were people in the Department of Justice, an amazing bunch of people who simply believed that it was more important that Donald Trump not be president than it was to follow the rule of law.  And here's the interesting part of this:  Not only was Sally Yates involved, and John Carlin, a name you don't know, who was the head of the National Security Division and who, by the way, when you read that April 26, 2017 opinion, that opinion was written after John Carlin, the head of the National Security Division resigned on very short notice.  He's the guy that was responsible for filing all the certifications that the law was being obeyed, and he knew that it wasn't being obeyed.  Now, why isn't he being investigated?  And the answer to that is the current occupants of the Justice Department didn't want to do it.  These are our guys.  These are the Republicans.  These are the people who are supposed to believe in the rule of law:  Rosenstein and, God bless him, I love him, he's a wonderful guy, Jeff Sessions – good man, wrong job, he really blew it bigtime. 

Toensing: And I might add that none of this could have been carried out successfully without the participation of the media. 

Audience Question: Two questions, and they're sort of similar, the process for getting rid of Rosenstein, if it happens, when and how will it happen; and the same thing for Brenda Snipes by, I suppose, the new governor, and how that's going to occur.

Adams: Look.  The governor has the power, even though, if you were watching the interviews of Governor Scott, you wouldn’t know it, the governor has the power to remove Brenda Snipes.  That's how Brenda Snipes got her job.  You're going to love this from the trial.  I asked Dr. Snipes, I said, "So, you got your job because your predecessor was incompetent, didn't you?"  Answer:  "Yes."  And she said the office was just run like a mess, and so, I said, "Okay.  So, how many of those people from that old office did you remove?"  She said, "None."  So, all the same people work.  The governor has the power to do it.  People have been urging the governor to remove her for over a year.  It just didn't happen, for reasons I probably don't need to explain; and then we need to make sure, when DeSantis removes her, that he gets the support he needs for doing so. 

diGenova: Rod Rosenstein is a political appointee.  He can be removed in a second.

Toensing: But, practically, he cannot right now.  There's only an acting attorney general.  If I'm the president, I want to wait until I've got my more senators, starting in January, to not have a problem with confirmation of somebody, and only then would you want to find somebody to replace the deputy attorney general.

Gilmore: I need to jump in here just for a moment.  Just a minute, Mike.  Somebody from the audience was being very helpful.  If you were interested in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decision that Joe referenced, you can go to, and you're going to have to search once you get there, but it's dated April 26, 2017, and you should be able to find the PDF version of the opinion that Joe referenced.  Yes, ma'am.

Audience Question: Will the conspirators you've been talking about ever see justice?

diGenova: Well, the answer is probably not. And the reason is that we had an opportunity to deal with this when President Trump was elected; and, regrettably, and I just have to say this, I'm very sorry because I served as a United States Attorney with Jeff Sessions under President Regan.  Jeff Sessions said, "I will never touch anything involving Hillary Clinton", and that's exactly what Jason Chaffetz told you about.  We said, "You don't have to touch Hillary Clinton.  Touch the people around her."  "No, I don't want to do that.  It's going to look too political."  So, that means that all of the people in the Obama Justice Department who violated the law, who destroyed the underpinnings of the United States Constitution, who destroyed federal law enforcement the next 10 to 20 years will get off Scot-free. 

Pat Caddell's Question: Thank you all for everything you do, all of you; and thank Jeb Bush for appointing that woman, which tells you everything you want to know about the Bushes in Broward County and why all of these people keep reappearing, as they are in the Trump Justice Department, and so on.  But I want to ask about an obscure thing that the media laughed off, and nobody seems to pick up on, that from my own experiences I find deeply scary, which was abusing-- putting the FBI informant inside a presidential campaign of an opposite party, which, in my view, is unprecedented in American history; and, as someone who has been involved in a half dozen or more presidential campaigns, it scares the hell out of me, and nothing seems to have been done or followed up on it.  Am I right, or wrong, or does that also go in the trash bin?

diGenova: Well, Pat, this is a spectacular question, and I want to thank you for asking it.  There are so many parts to this story that sometimes you miss them.  What Pat is talking about is that, in Trump Tower, at the Trump Headquarters in Manhattan, there was a spy – at least one, perhaps two.  The names of two people have come forward, a person who was a former member of Congress and a person who used to work for John McCain.  Those two people have been identified.  I'm not going to give you their names because it'd be unfair to them unless it's absolutely established.  Bottom line is this:  The FBI had not only an informant but a spy inside the Trump campaign. 

Now, let me tell you something.  This is really important.  Admiral Rogers, remember I told you about him?  He was the head of NSA when he discovered all this illegal spying going on.  Admiral Rogers, right after the election, went to Trump Tower without telling anybody, and he briefed President Elect Trump about the illegal spying on him, his campaign, and generally, by the FBI.  The next day, Trump moved his entire campaign operation to New Jersey because he knew that there was surveillance at Trump Tower.  This all should have been investigated by Sessions, and he refused to do it.

Toensing: And let me add he Tweeted out as only The Trump can do, "I have been wiretapped by the FBI", and he was mocked all over the press.

diGenova: And, in fact, there were wiretaps there, and there were also wiretaps overseas by British Intelligence.  It's called GCHQ.  It's the equivalent of our NSA.  At the request of John Brennan, the NSA of the UK intercepted electronic communications by American citizens illegally, without telling its own government, the UK government, and then shared that information with the FBI; and, by the way, all of the intercepts showed no illegal activity. 

Gilmore: Ladies and gentlemen, do what Jeb Bush says:  please clap.