Did The FBI Give Trump And Hillary Different Counterintelligence Briefings in 2016?

Posted: Oct 23, 2019 2:16 AM
Did The FBI Give Trump And Hillary Different Counterintelligence Briefings in 2016?

Source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The FBI has had a rough go of it—and it’s entirely their fault. Its former director, James Comey, decided to leak the contents of his meetings to a friend with instructions to turn them over to The New York Times in the hopes of launching a special counsel probe. Mission accomplished. And the Department of Justice’s inspector general raked him over the coals for deviating from a long-standing policy on this front.

Former FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok was one of the key people who signed off on the initial investigation into Trump-Russia collusion supposedly in July of 2016. Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an extramarital affair, exchanged tens of thousands of texts—the vast majority of which were anti-Trump. It embarrassed the FBI’s image of integrity and impartiality, especially when it was handling two of the most politically sensitive investigations in recent memory: Russian collusion and Hillary Clinton’s email server. The two were worried that the bureau was going too hard on the former first lady. There’s the discussion of the “insurance policy” that they had with Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the bureau who like Comey, was fired for cause. He had lied to investigators about leaking sensitive information to The Wall Street Journal

That "insurance policy" is allegedly the unverified and now thoroughly debunked Trump dossier (aka Steele dossier) compiled by ex-MI6 spook Christopher Steele who was contracted by the research firm Fusion GPS after they were hired by the Clinton campaign and the Democrats to get dirt on Trump. It was an opposition research file. And it was used to secure FISA spy warrants on former foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign, Carter Page. Yeah, remember when he was patient zero for this Red fever that has engulfed the Left? The errors in the dossier could be corrected by a simple Google search. That’s a huge red flag that this document was never verified before being presented as credible evidence before the FISA court. The DOJ of a sitting president used a piece of political propaganda to spy on those working with a rival. That’s disconcerting, to say the least. 

So, given the FBI’s bias, the fact that they were investigating Trump during the 2016 cycle, and the reports that the counterintelligence briefings the bureau gave to Trump being the Republican nominee for president were being used as information gathering rendezvous, what were they actually telling the now-president? They gave Hillary a briefing as well. Were the two different? Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) want to know and have given the FBI until October 30 to honor their request to turn over the documents related to these briefings to see if there was indeed a tale of two briefings. Here’s the letter they sent to FBI Director Chris Wray: 

The Honorable Christopher A. Wray


Federal Bureau of Investigation

935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20535

Dear Director Wray:

With the approach of the 2020 presidential election, we write to request information regarding how the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) plans to provide counterintelligence defensive briefings to candidates and senior campaign officials. On September 20, 2017, the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote to the FBI about defensive briefings provided to the Trump campaign. In response, on October 26, 2017, the FBI described defensive briefings as “an essential [] counterintelligence tool,” yet also explained that it “does not maintain a specific policy governing when such briefings are to be provided.”  

During the 2016 presidential election, “the FBI provided a counterintelligence defensive briefing to then-candidate Trump and other senior campaign officials.” The FBI also reported that it provided “[s]imilar briefings … to then-candidate Hillary Clinton and the two Vice Presidential candidates prior to the November election,” as well as briefings for both campaigns’ staff. We now know that, at the time of the August 2016 FBI counterintelligence defensive briefing to then-candidate Trump, the FBI also had an open counterintelligence investigation concerning the Trump campaign. In light of this and other information, there are significant questions regarding the similarity of those briefings for the 2016 candidates and whether those briefings were provided in a manner consistent with past practice.

The Department of Homeland Security has made clear that “[a] secure and resilient electoral process is a vital national interest.” An essential part of that process is ensuring that all candidates for office are treated fairly and are fully and equally prepared to address any potential security and counterintelligence concerns.  The apparent absence of any policy, procedure, or practice for conducting defensive briefings undermines that process by risking the appearance of bias or, at worst, causing actual prejudice to a candidate for office.  For these reasons, we respectfully request that the FBI please provide the following information by no later than October 30, 2019:

Does the FBI have established policies, procedures, and practices for providing counterintelligence defensive briefings?  If yes, please produce all relevant documents, and please provide a written description of any policy, procedure, or practice not otherwise set forth in those documents.  If not, please provide a written explanation for not having established such policies or procedures, and please address whether the FBI has any intention of changing that practice.

How does the FBI determine which candidates for federal office and senior campaign staff will receive a defensive briefing?

How does the FBI decide which employees will provide counterintelligence defensive briefings to candidates and senior campaign staff?

How does the FBI address conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest with regard to the FBI team who will prepare and provide the counterintelligence defensive briefings?

What policies or procedures preclude the FBI from using counterintelligence defensive briefings as an opportunity to further an investigation into the individual(s) receiving the briefing?

How does the FBI determine the extent of the information it will share with a candidate and senior campaign staff during a counterintelligence defensive briefing?

Please provide a list and description of each defensive briefing that the FBI has provided to a candidate for federal office and senior campaign officials from the 2008 elections through 2016.  In the description, please address what role, if any, other U.S. government agencies served in preparing for or providing those briefings.

Please explain how the FBI works with other U.S. government agencies in preparing for and delivering counterintelligence defensive briefings.

According to the FBI, it provided then-candidate Trump and Clinton “[s]imilar [defensive] briefings.”[7]  Please provide all documents related to the preparation for and presentation of those briefings, including a list of all FBI personnel involved in preparing for and providing the briefings.

In addition to those requests, please provide the Committees a briefing on these topics by no later than November 6, 2019. 

We anticipate that your written reply and some responsive documents will be unclassified.  Please send all unclassified material directly to the Committees.  In keeping with the requirements of Executive Order 13526, if any of the responsive documents do contain classified information, please segregate all unclassified material within the classified documents, provide all unclassified information directly to the Committees, and provide a classified addendum to the Office of Senate Security.  Although the Committees comply with all laws and regulations governing the handling of classified information, they are not bound, absent their prior agreement, by any handling restrictions.

Thank you advance for your assistance in this matter.  Should you have any questions, please contact Joshua Flynn-Brown of Chairman Grassley’s Committee staff at (202) 224-4515 and Brian Downey of Chairman Johnson’s staff at (202) 224-4751. 


Charles E. Grassley


Committee on Finance

Ron Johnson


Committee on Homeland Security

and Governmental Affairs


Senator Richard Shelby


Senate Committee on Appropriations

The Honorable Michael E. Horowitz

Inspector General     

Department of Justice

It’s sad that the FBI, the nation’s preeminent investigative body, has succumbed to deep state antics. I guess there has been some sort of accountability, as Strzok was fired over his texts, one of which—and possibly the most damning—was this insinuation that they would “stop” the Trump presidency. Page resigned. McCabe and Comey were also terminated. But that doesn’t mean their minions who we don’t know are gone. They’re probably still there carrying on the resistance. Trump has broken the minds of many in liberal America. You’d think that government workers, who really shouldn’t harbor any bias since their career is implementing the policy of whatever administration is in charge, would be immune to the noise. Granted, those who cannot handle a change in the administration do what many have done before: get a new job or resign. Well, post-2016, leading your own mini-rebellion is taking over the hallways of some of the most powerful institutions in the nation. And it’s unsettling that one of them also happens to be the nation’s domestic intelligence arm. Oh yes, I know there are more—but that’s an ongoing saga that will be entering a new chapter once the DOJ IG report is released on the alleged FISA abuses that occurred under the Obama administration, with a focus on that 2016 cycle.