Judicial Watch lawsuit forces declassification and release of “Electronic Communication” used to launch Obama Administration’s spy operation on President Trump’s 2016 campaign

(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch announced today that it received the “electronic communication” (EC) that officially launched the counterintelligence investigation, termed “Crossfire Hurricane,” of President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The document, which was written by former FBI official Peter Strzok and was obtained as the result of a Judicial Watch FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) lawsuit against the FBI and DOJ for: “The Electronic Communication that initiated the counterintelligence investigation of President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.” (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-02743)).

The redacted document details seeming third hand information that the Russian government “had been seeking prominent members of the Donald Trump campaign in which to engage to prepare for potential post-election relations should Trump be elected U.S. President.” The document also alleges Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, claimed to an unnamed party that “they (the Russians) could assist the Trump campaign with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton.”

The document notes, “It was unclear whether he [Papadopoulos] or the Russians were referring to material acquired publicly of [sic] through other means. It was unclear how Mr. Trump’s team reacted to the offer. We note the Trump team’s reaction could, in the end, have little bearing of what Russia decides to do, with or without Mr. Trump’s cooperation.”

The document is dated July 31, 2016. The text of the “electronic communication” is reprinted here.

“No wonder the DOJ and FBI resisted the public release of this infamous ‘electronic communication’ that ‘opened’ Crossfire Hurricane – it shows there was no serious basis for the Obama administration to launch an unprecedented spy operation on the Trump campaign,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We now have more proof that Crossfire Hurricane was a scam, based on absurd gossip and innuendo. This document is Exhibit A to Obamagate, the worst corruption scandal in American history. This document shows how Attorney General Barr and U.S. Attorney Durham are right to question the predicate this spy operation.”

Included with each of Judicial Watch’s July, 2019 FOIA requests to the FBI and DOJ was an April 2018 letter from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to the DOJ concerning a congressional subpoena for the same record.

The DOJ initially provided the Intelligence Committee a heavily redacted copy of the Electronic Communication it sought. Only after the Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena did the DOJ, on April 10, 2018, provide a less redacted version, which has not been released publicly.

The DOJ IG also referenced and quoted the EC in its December report on FISA abuse targeting President Trump and Carter Page. The IG report, FBI texts, and testimony show President Obama was aware of Crossfire Hurricane.

Judicial Watch had previously received a production of 144 pages of emails between Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page in which the Electronic Communication was discussed.

On July 31, 2016, Strzok sent an email under the subject line “Opening EC” to Jonathan Moffa, a deputy assistant director in the bureau’s Counterintelligence Division, Lisa Page and an unidentified FBI Office of General Counsel official.

Strzok: Hey just realized I need a succinct statement for the Opening EC. To open bidding I propose: [redacted]. Comments, please.

Moffa: I would recommend: [redacted].

Page: I like Jon’s additions and subtraction.

Strzok: Thanks. So: [redacted].

Source: Judicial Watch