As if conservative Americans didn’t already have enough reasons to think the country’s premier law enforcement agency was corrupted by partisan politics, Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz may have provided a bombshell on Tuesday night.
Appearing on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Gaetz claimed to have received confirmation from a law firm closely tied to the Hillary Clinton campaign that it had provided a secure workspace to the FBI in a relationship that goes back more than a decade.
Now, according to Fox News, Gaetz and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio are demanding answers from the FBI about how this happened.
Gaetz told Carlson in response to a letter he and fellow Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio had written to Perkins Coie to inquire about this unusual arrangement, attorneys from the law firm admitted that “the FBI has maintained a quote ‘secure work environment’ within Perkins Coie offices.”
Gaetz explained, “We got a report from a whistleblower that we confirmed through multiple admissions, including this letter showing that the Democrat Party’s law firm, the law firm that received $42 million from the Democratic Party, has this co-located workspace that they operate in concert with the FBI. Why in the world would that be the case? Why would [FBI Director] Christopher Wray allow it to continue?
“Then you also have to ask yourself why within the last 12 months was the person on behalf of Perkins Coie operating at that work site Michael Sussmann himself!” Gaetz said.
Michael Sussmann, a former partner at Perkins Coie, was found not guilty of lying to the FBI on Tuesday by a jury composed of three Hillary Clinton donors, an AOC donor, and others who had what, in a just world, would be considered disqualifying conflicts of interests.
Special counsel John Durham’s team was tasked with proving Sussmann lied when he allegedly told then-FBI General Counsel James Baker in a September 2016 meeting that he wasn’t working on behalf of a client when he provided data he claimed showed nefarious communications between the Trump organization and Russia’s Alfa Bank.
Gaetz continued, “Now, we learn that for four years after that lie, Michael Sussmann was in fact operating this secure work environment. What reason would there be for that? And what leverage would the Perkins Coie law firm have over the FBI, given this work they’re doing together?”
Carlson asked Gaetz, “This is not normal, correct?”
“I have spoken to former federal prosecutors on the Judiciary Committee, and throughout the country, and I’ve not heard any describe a relationship like this with a private law firm,” Gaetz replied. “And especially because Michael Sussmann was an election lawyer. Why in the world would an election lawyer be operating this facility in this way?
“Our concern is that politically motivated dirt was being converted into politically motivated investigations. That’s why Jim Jordan and I are making demands for answers on Christopher Wray immediately.
“It’s my hope certainly, that we shut this facility down. The Democrat Party shouldn’t have this special access, special portal to the FBI, especially knowing what we do now — that they were often trying to take this opposition research, and then use that for law enforcement counterintelligence purposes,” Gaetz noted.
These are strong allegations and they are certainly intriguing, but they also raise a lot of questions. Perkins Coie is well known for their representation of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign. What exactly were the FBI and the law firm working on? What was Michael Sussmann’s role? Was Sussmann mentioned in the letter? We simply don’t have enough information to form any definitive conclusions.
In a June 1 letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray provided to Fox News, Gaetz and Jordan wrote: “We have learned that since March 2012, the FBI approved and facilitated a Secure Work Environment at Perkins Coie’s Washington, D.C., office, which continues to be operational. In a letter dated May 25, 2022, the law firm confirmed and acknowledged the arrangement.”
“We have been informed that former Perkins Coie partner Michael Sussmann had access to this Secure Work Environment, and during the course of his recent trial, it was disclosed he had special badge access to FBI headquarters.”
According to Fox, Gaetz and Jordan’s letter “gives Wray until June 15 to provide information on the workspace, including an explanation as to why the FBI approved it in the first place, as well as all documents and communications referring or relating to the establishment, maintenance, and accreditation of the workspace.”
In response to a comment request from The Washington Examiner, an FBI spokesperson issued the following response: “The FBI complies with the law and security policies and works with the Department of Justice to serve classified, Court-authorized legal process necessary to support national security investigations.
“In certain instances, the FBI coordinates with non-government, third-party entities, such as law firms, that represent service providers which receive these classified Court orders. This includes providing access to private attorneys which represent the service providers in satisfaction of their legal rights. As part of this, the FBI ensures that any storage of classified orders meets stringent security protocols required for such documents,” the statement said.
That sure doesn’t sound like a denial to me.
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