Judicial Watch Sues for 'Dossier' Communications Among Clapper, Brennan, and CNN

By Michael W. Chapman | March 27, 2019 | 5:42pm EDT
Judicial Watch President Tom
Fitton. (YouTube)

(CNSNews.com) -- The government watchdog group Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday, seeking all records of communication about the Clinton-DNC-financed Trump "dossier" among former National Intelligence Director James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, and the cable news outlet CNN.

The infamous dossier was one of the primary documents used to launch the special counsel investigation of collusion between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign -- collusion that did not occur, according to the special counsel's report.

James Clapper, the chief intelligence official in the Obama administration, has admitted that he discussed the salacious and unfounded claims in the dossier with CNN reporter Jake Tapper, and may have discussed it with other journalists as early as January 2017. Clapper later signed on to be an analyst at CNN in August 2017. The dossier was written by ex-British spy Christopher Steele.

James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence in the Obama administration. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“Judicial Watch is again in court trying to get the truth about the Obama gang's illegal leaks and conspiracy targeting President Trump,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Clapper and Brennan were key proponents of the big lie, exposed by the Mueller report, that President Trump colluded with the Russians."

"Judicial Watch FOIA litigation is the best hope for getting full accountability on this attack on our constitutional republic," said Fitton. 

In its lawsuit -- Judicial Watch v. Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Central Intelligence Agency -- Judicial Watch is seeking,

* All records of communications [emails, text messages, instant chats] between the office of the Director of Central Intelligence and representatives of CNN; DCI John Brennan and DNI James Clapper regarding the collection of memos known as the “Steele Dossier:” and between DCI John Brennan and DNI James Clapper regarding CNN.

The timeframe for the records request is May 2016 through May 2017. 

Former CIA Director John Brennan.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

As reported by Judicial Watch in a March 27 press release, "Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee" stated in a March 2018 report that, “Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, now a CNN national security analyst, provided inconsistent testimony to the Committee about his contacts with the media, including CNN.” And, “when questioned by the Committee … Clapper admitted that he confirmed the existence of the dossier to the media."

Clapper eventually disclosed that he did speak with CNN's Jake Tapper and other journalists about the Clinton-DNC-funded dossier in January 2017, prior to the presidential inauguration of Donald J. Trump. For their reporting on the dossier, four CNN reporters were given the Merriman Smith Award by the White House Correspondents Association. 

CNN reporter Jake Tapper.  (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Those four reporters are Jake Tapper, Carl Bernstein, Evan Perez, and Jim Sciutto. 

Former CIA Director John Brennan, a virulent critic of President Trump, told NBC News in February 2018 that the dossier “did not play any role whatsoever in the intelligence community assessment that was done and was presented to then-President Obama and then President-elect Trump." 

However, historian and author Victor Davis Hanson, a Trump supporter, reported in June 4, 2018 that Brennan "served as a stealthy conduit" to make sure the dossier was widely distributed. 

“Brennan, in May 2017, as an ex-CIA director, again almost certainly did not tell the truth to Congress when he testified in answer to Rep. Trey Gowdy’s [R-S.C.] questions that he neither knew who had commissioned the Steele dossier nor had the CIA relied on its contents for any action," said Hanson

"Yet both the retired National Security Agency director, Michael Rogers, and the former director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, have conceded that the Steele dossier — along with the knowledge that it was a Clinton-campaign-funded project — most certainly did help shape the Obama intelligence communality interagency assessments and actions, often under the urging of Brennan himself," said Hanson. 

John Brennan served as CIA director under President Obama from 2013 to 2017.  James Clapper was the U.S. director of National Intelligence from 2010 to 2017. 

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