While the Democratic Party press tries to pump life into Bob Mueller’s going-nowhere-fast Russia investigation, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley continues to burrow into the real scandal: the corruption of the Department of Justice and the FBI by Barack Obama, the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign. Yesterday he and Lindsey Graham sent letters to the Democratic National Committee, Hillary for America (HFA), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former DNC Chairman Donna Brazile, HFA Chairman John Podesta, and HFA’s Chief Strategist, Joel Benenson. These letters request documents and information about the individuals’ and organizations’ relationship to the Fusion GPS fake dossier on Donald Trump.
This letter to Tom Perez, Chairman of the DNC, by way of Marc Elias at Perkins Coie, the law firm the DNC and HFA used to hire Fusion GPS, is typical:
This is the list of information requested:
1. Prior to the Washington Post’s article in October of 2017, who at the DNC was aware of Mr. Steele’s efforts on behalf of the DNC to compile and distribute allegations about Mr. Trump and the Russian government? Please list each individual who knew, when he or she first learned of his efforts, and how he or she learned. Please also provide all related documents.
2. Did anyone at the DNC receive copies of any of the memoranda comprising Mr. Steele’s dossier prior to its publication by Buzzfeed in January of 2017? If so, how and when? Please provide all related documents.
3. Regardless of whether they received copies of the actual memoranda, did anyone at the DNC otherwise receive information contained in the dossier prior to Buzzfeed publishing the dossier in January of 2017? If so, how and when? Please provide all related documents.
4. Did anyone at the DNC receive other memoranda written or forwarded by Mr. Steele regarding Mr. Trump and his associates that were not published as part ofthe Buzzfeed dossier? Ifso, how and when? Please provide all related documents.
5. Did anyone at the DNC distribute outside of the organization any of the dossier memoranda, information contained therein, or other information obtained by Mr. Steele? If so, please list who distributed the information, what was distributed, and to whom it was distributed. Please provide all related documents.
6. Did anyone at the DNC communicate with any government officials–whether in the executive, legislative or judicial branches–regarding the dossier memoranda, information contained therein, or other information obtained by Mr. Steele? If so, please list the parties involved in the communication, the content of the communication, and the date and means of the communication. Please provide all related documents.
7. Did anyone at the DNC instruct, request, suggest, or imply that any individuals should pass along information to Mr. Steele or his intermediaries? Please provide all related documents.
8. Did anyone at the DNC communicate with members of the press regarding the dossier memoranda, information contained therein, or other information obtained by Mr. Steele? If so, please list the parties involved in the communication, the content of the communication, and the date and means of the communication. Please provide all related documents.
9. Did anyone at the DNC inform Secretary Clinton of Mr. Steele’s efforts, whether by name or not, or of the allegations he was spreading? If so, who and when? Please provide all related documents.
10. Was anyone at the DNC aware of Mr. Steele’s contacts with the FBI or other government agencies prior to the 2016 election? If so, who? When and how did they become aware? Please provide all related documents.
11. Did anyone at the DNC encourage, whether directly or through intermediaries, Mr. Steele to initiate or continue contacts with the FBI or other government agencies? If so, who and when? Please provide all related documents.
12. For the period from March 2016 through January 2017, please provide all communications to, from, copying, or relating to: Fusion GPS; Bean LLC; Glenn Simpson; Mary Jacoby; Peter Fritsch; Tom Catan; Jason Felch; Neil King; David Michaels; Taylor Sears; Patrick Corcoran; Laura Sego; Jay Bagwell; Erica Castro; Nellie Ohr; Rinat Akhmetshin; Ed Lieberman; Edward Baumgartner; Orbis Business Intelligence Limited; Orbis Business International Limited.; Walsingham Training Limited; Walsingham Partners Limited; Christopher Steele; Christopher Burrows; Sir Andrew Wood, Paul Hauser;4 Oleg Deripaska; Cody Shearer; Sidney Blumenthal; Jon Winer; Kathleen Kavalec; Victoria Nuland; Daniel Jones; Bruce Ohr; Peter Strzok; Andrew McCabe; James Baker; Sally Yates; Loretta Lynch; John Brennan.
Grassley and Graham request responses to these questions by February 8. They are, obviously, good questions, but there is no way they will be answered. The DNC and the other parties to whom they were sent will stonewall, evade, obfuscate and lie. Congressional investigations are pretty much useless, not because the investigators are incompetent–they generally aren’t–but because they have no realistic way to compel truthful responses. Serving interrogatories and document requests in litigation, which is essentially what Grassley is doing here, works because the rules of civil procedure compel parties to respond, and a judge presides over every civil lawsuit. If a party refuses to answer, provides evasive and inadequate responses, or lies, the judge can impose a variety of meaningful sanctions.
Here, we simply have a letter requesting information. The Democrats to whom it is addressed will either ignore it, respond in risibly inadequate fashion, or lie. And there probably isn’t anything the Senate Judiciary Committee can do about it. Still, it is good to see that Grassley and Graham are at least trying to get at the truth with regard to what shapes up as the biggest scandal in American political history.