A former Justice Department official who is discussed throughout the inspector general’s report on FISA abuse added his name Monday to a petition calling on William Barr to resign as attorney general.
David Laufman, who served as chief of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence and export control section through 2018, said Monday that he joined more than 2,000 former Justice Department employees who signed the petition, which was started by the anti-Trump activist group, Protect Democracy.
“Proud to join over 2000 of my fellow Justice Dept. alumni in expressing our alarm over recent actions by Attorney General Barr, and the vital importance of protecting the rule of law and the impartial, nonpartisan administration of justice,” wrote Laufman. (RELATED: CNN And MSNBC Analysts Sign Petition Urging William Barr To Resign)
The petition blasted Barr intervening in federal prosecutors’ recommendation that the Trump confidante serve between 87 months and 108 months in prison for obstructing a congressional investigation and witness tampering.
Barr said Thursday that he thought Stone deserves prison time, but that the initial recommendation was “very excessive.”
Proud to join over 2000 of my fellow Justice Dept. alumni in expressing our alarm over recent actions by Attorney General Barr, and the vital importance of protecting the rule of law and the impartial, nonpartisan administration of justice https://t.co/WwzVfeoNd5
— David Laufman (@DavidLaufmanLaw) February 17, 2020
Laufman, who appears frequently on MSNBC and CNN, often to criticize the Trump administration, played a key role in both the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the Trump-Russia probe.
He conducted interviews alongside disgraced former FBI agent Peter Strzok during the Clinton email investigation. Laufman and Strzok interviewed Clinton herself July 2, 2016. They also conducted interviews with Clinton aides Human Abedin and Cheryl Mills in which the pair appear to have made inconsistent statements about their knowledge of Clinton’s private email server.
The Justice Department inspector general’s report on FISA abuse said Laufman helped arrange a key meeting for FBI and Justice Department officials that would raise significant concerns about the reliability of Christopher Steele, the former British spy whose dossier the FBI used to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against Carter Page.
The inspector general report said Laufman arranged a meeting in January 2017 for Steele’s main source for information in the dossier. Laufman sat in on part of the interview.
Steele’s source disputed much of what was attributed to him in the dossier. The source, who has not been identified, told FBI agents and DOJ officials that Steele embellished or misrepresented information in the dossier that suggested a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian government, according to the inspector general report.
The inspector general report blasted the FBI and Justice Department for failing to disclose the potentially derogatory information on Steele to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The Justice Department deemed the two FISA warrants that were authorized following that meeting to be invalid, largely because of the failure to disclose the information from Steele’s source.
It is unclear what Laufman knew about what Steele’s source said in the meeting. He is not accused of wrongdoing in the report.
Laufman also told the inspector general that he never saw the FBI’s summary of the interview, and that he did not know enough about the dossier to know whether Steele’s source contradicted the document.
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