BY: MARGOT CLEVELAND | MARCH 07, 2023
Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2023/03/07/exclusive-house-democrats-lied-about-whistleblower-in-leak-to-corrupt-media/
House Democrats lied when they said an investigation into an FBI whistleblower’s claim of retaliation had been dismissed, according to a letter obtained exclusively by The Federalist. On the contrary, an investigation into Special Agent Steve Friend’s claims is ongoing.
Last week, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee leaked a “staff report” that contained numerous misrepresentations to The New York Times, Monday’s letter to Inspector General Michael Horowitz said. The letter — signed by Tristan Leavitt, the president of Empower Oversight, the legal services firm representing Friend — began by condemning the “Forward” from committee ranking member Jerry Nadler and subcommittee ranking member Stacey Plaskett that declared by fiat and without evidence: “[T]he three individuals we have met [including Friend] are not, in fact, ‘whistleblowers.’”
Friend is indeed a whistleblower, the letter said. Not only that, but throughout the report that Democrats crafted and peddled to multiple media outlets, they falsely and repeatedly claimed the Office of Inspector General (OIG) had rejected Friend’s whistleblower retaliation claims, Leavitt stressed. “These mischaracterizations in the Democrat staff report were subsequently parroted by multiple media outlets,” including CNN and The Washington Post.
Contrary to the Democrats’ claims, echoed by friendly media outlets, Leavitt’s letter says that Friend’s whistleblower retaliation complaint, originally filed in September 2022, remains pending with the DOJ’s inspector general. While Friend had also alleged “systematic abuses of the Constitution, laws, and policy by the FBI,” in December of 2022, those allegations were referred to the FBI’s Inspection Division. But in follow-up inquiries, the OIG made clear, according to Empower Oversight, that the referral did not apply to Friend’s whistleblower retaliation claims.
In fact, since then, “Special Agent Friend and Empower Oversight continued to furnish additional information” to the OIG, and the inspector general continues to receive and evaluate information, the letter said, explaining the attorneys’ understanding of the investigation’s status. Friend’s attorneys said they understood the OIG intended “to interview Friend in order to obtain a more complete understanding of his allegations and fully assess both his underlying disclosures as well as his retaliation claims.”
Yet some media, without seeking comment from the OIG, “uncritically repeated” Democrats’ false narrative that the inspector general had rejected Friend’s claims. Conversely, when other outlets sought comment and clarification on the status of Friend’s case, Horowitz remained silent.
“This suggests a disturbing situation in which your office’s silence is allowing its reputation for neutrality and objectivity to be hijacked by partisans and their media allies to leave a false impression with the public — all in the service of undermining a whistleblower for political purposes,” Leavitt wrote.
Given the inspector general’s silence, Empower Oversight requested an update on the status of his office’s investigation into Friend’s whistleblower retaliation complaint — something his attorneys should not have to request. But given the Democrats’ lies, apparently it’s necessary to correct the record.
Monday’s letter also chastised House Democrats for leaking excerpts of Friend’s deposition transcripts, “without authorization of the Committee.” This was in violation of the committee’s representation to Friend that it would treat the transcripts “confidentially,” the letter added.
The leaks will likely continue, however; and sadly, so will the blatant lies.
Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.
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