Well, famous last words. In my latest post on 19 September, I opined that it was “probably irrelevant” to the accusation against Brett Kavanaugh that Debra Katz, the lawyer of Kavanaugh’s accuser Christine Blasey Ford, had attended a 2015 Hillary Clinton fundraising event coordinated by Hillary staffer Amanda Renteria.
I was wrong. Not only is it relevant; it’s relevant through exactly the Renteria-involved episode I made reference to in the post. The episode was alleged contact between Renteria – at the time Hillary’s national political director – and Loretta Lynch in 2016. The topic of the alleged contact was a supposed assurance given by Lynch to the Hillary campaign, through Renteria, that Lynch wouldn’t let the probe of Hillary’s emails “go too far.”
The minor part I was right about is that Debra Katz doesn’t seem to be especially connected, in the terms of the drama itself, to anyone in the hydra-headed Hillary drama. (There, too, I may turn out to be misunderestimating the cast of players, but that’s what it looks like right now.)
Her connection to Hillary, and to Democrats in general, appears to be as a loyal donor and productive, mid-level fundraiser, which puts her at events with a lot of meaningful names. Her work as an activist attorney and connection with a Soros-funded nonprofit bespeak an archetype and a network as well, certainly placing her in the orbit of other Soros-funded activists. Those activists would include the ones linked to Hillary Clinton who formed the anti-Kavanaugh efforts launched immediately after his nomination was announced
For the rest, however, simply pulling the thread on the Renteria-Lynch allegation – which received a form of substantiation from DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz in testimony to the Senate in June 2018 (more below) – lays open the entire Swamp attack on Kavanaugh, and connects it to the Hillary cover-up cast. The likelihood is high that it goes further afield as well, through the multifarious enterprise of the various players.
The key node, it appears, is Dianne Feinstein. She has a first- or second-order connection with everyone else who was involved in the Clinton-Lynch nexus, and who is now involved in the anti-Kavanaugh campaign.
I don’t know that I think Feinstein is a string-puller in her own right. To me she looks tired and uneasy, slow of response, rather like an 85-year-old woman being occupied by chickens that have come home to roost.
But in any case – others may read that differently – the overlap is remarkable. The impetus for the major efforts against Kavanaugh is coming from people with one or more of the following characteristics: Hillary loyalist; participant – demonstrated or alleged – in arranging favorable treatment for Hillary with Loretta Lynch; and/or a career connection to Feinstein.
The Christine Blasey Ford allegations against Brett Kavanaugh are being advanced through Feinstein. And Feinstein has been instrumental in compromising the Senate probe of Loretta Lynch, in precisely the matter that this all maps back to: covering up Hillary Clinton’s misuse of private email for national security correspondence.
Significantly, one of the people involved in that – the one whose name many readers probably haven’t heard yet – is connected to everything I just outlined. She participated in the Lynch-Clinton arrangements in 2016. She was hired by Feinstein as deputy general counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee staff in January 2017 and remained through February 2018, even though Feinstein said in the interim that Lynch needed to answer probing questions about her actions in 2016. Hiring a participant in those actions to help investigate them set up an obvious conflict of interest.
And now the individual in question is deputy chief counsel for the far-left activist group Demand Justice (created in early 2018), which is spearheading the protest effort against Brett Kavanaugh.
Who is this person? Her name is Paige Herwig. She worked in the DOJ and then the Obama White House from 2011 to 2015, then went back to DOJ and worked in Loretta Lynch’s office as general counsel until January 2017.
On that basis alone, Herwig should not have been on the Judiciary Committee staff with involvement in investigating Lynch’s actions from 2016 regarding the Hillary emails.
But in June 2016, immediately after the media got wind of the infamous tarmac meeting between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch, Herwig also participated in deliberating emergency talking points within the DOJ, to explain away the obviously improper meeting. This information came out with a FOIA release of internal DOJ documents (requested by the American Center for Law and Justice) in August 2017.
Jordan Sekulow pointed out at the ACLJ website what a conflict of interest this became when Herwig moved to the Senate committee staff:
But it gets even worse. We’ve also learned that Paige Herwig, Counselor to AG Lynch, was directly editing the still redacted talking points. Herwig is now the Deputy General Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary for Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein – the committee that is now investigating the Lynch matter. Before becoming Counselor to AG Lynch, Herwig was Special Assistant and Associate Counsel to President Obama.
The conflict of interest is astounding. Committee staff who are supposedly investigating this situation were the same people creating the talking points – Obama loyalists investigating themselves.
And when she left the committee staff in early 2018, Herwig joined the dark-money-funded Demand Justice as deputy chief counsel.
Now Demand Justice is pouring money into protest efforts – including the women costumed in “Handmaid’s Tale” outfits – against Brett Kavanaugh. The group is headed by Brian Fallon, who was director of public affairs for the Justice Department from 2013 to 2015, going on from there to join the Hillary campaign in March 2015 and serve as her national press secretary throughout the election cycle.
Brent Scher at Washington Free Beacon reported that Fallon was featured in a panel presentation in April 2018 at a Democracy Alliance conference, one of the periodic gatherings of the biggest dark-money donors to left-wing causes. The panel moderator was Sarah Knight of Open Society, George Soros’ principal broker of political-activism funding. Demand Justice is sponsored by the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which is known to have received funding from the Soros-connected Tides Foundation, among others.
The likelihood that Demand Justice is Soros-funded is very high. As WFB says, its purpose as stated at the Democracy Alliance conference is as follows:
“Beginning in spring 2018, Fallon will serve as executive director of a new, nonprofit organization to oppose President Trump’s makeover of the federal judiciary,” his biography says.
This is the group Paige Herwig has joined, after working as minority staff on Dianne Feinstein’s committee in 2017. Hillary Clinton tweeted an endorsement of Demand Justice’s campaign to oppose the Kavanaugh nomination right after it was announced in late June 2018:
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 29, 2018
As the tweet indicates, Clinton’s group Onward Together vowed to partner with Demand Justice to fight Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
The third connection cycles back to Amanda Renteria. As Hillary’s national political director for the 2016 campaign, Renteria obviously occupied a top position. Renteria’s link to Feinstein was of somewhat older vintage, dating to 2004-2006, when Renteria worked on Feinstein’s senatorial staff. Renteria worked for Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) from 2006 to 2013, then took time off in 2014 to run for a congressional seat in California, a race she lost. She joined the Clinton campaign in 2015. It was in that role that she organized campaign events like the high-profile funding get-together at which Debra Katz – lawyer for Kavanaugh’s accuser Christine Blasey Ford – was an honored invitee.
The alleged contact between Renteria and Lynch in 2016, in which Lynch reportedly gave assurances that she (Lynch) would keep the FBI probe of Hillary from “going too far,” has been shrouded in mystery. As I wrote on Wednesday, James Comey has alluded to it several times, and it was reported on the basis of anonymous source information by both the New York Times and the Washington Post in the spring of 2017.
The story on this is said to have originated with Russian intelligence, meaning that Russian intelligence picked up on the contacts that were involved. The Lynch-Renteria contact was only one of them. Other individuals involved were said to include Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, then the chair of the Democratic National Committee.
The FBI became aware in early 2016 of the information said to have been compiled by the Russians through their intelligence apparatus. That’s how Comey described it, in testimony to Congress in 2017 and then in his book, A Higher Loyalty. In promoting the book in 2018, Comey reaffirmed his take on the supposed Russian intelligence: it indicated that Lynch had provided the assurances in question to Hillary’s campaign via Amanda Renteria. (Comey also made reference to the intelligence eventually being regarded as fake, but his story was inconsistent on that point.)
Although I said on Wednesday that I didn’t think much of Renteria’s name appearing in the Hillary funding-event memo that mentions Katz, there’s a reason to look more closely at that assessment. The reason is what has happened in 2018.
There have been two big developments, picked up on in June 2018. Paul Sperry wrote about them at the time, when the DOJ Inspector General’s report came out on IG Michael Horowitz’s inquiry into the DOJ/FBI conduct of the Hillary probe.
One development was a brief passage in Horowitz’s presentation to the Senate, in which he appeared to confirm that information from a highly classified source indicated exactly what Comey had been saying since 2017. Lynch had talked to Amanda Renteria about keeping a lid on the Hillary probe. Says Sperry:
The contents of the secret intelligence document — which purport to show that Lynch informed the Clinton campaign she’d make sure the FBI didn’t push too hard — were included in the inspector general’s original draft. But in the official IG report issued June 14, the information was tucked into a classified appendix to the report and entirely blanked out.
“The information was classified at such a high level by the intelligence community that it limited even the members [of Congress] who can see it, as well as the staffs,” Horowitz explained last week to annoyed Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight authority over Justice and the FBI.
That description would fit the profile of information gained by the U.S. through Russian intelligence – i.e., through reading the Russians’ most closely held internal reporting – to a T.
Horowitz’s demeanor in touching on the matter (under questioning from Louisiana Republican John Kennedy, whose voice we hear in the video below) appears correct and without ulterior motive. He’s just an apolitical professional answering the question posed to him by the senator.
If James Comey’s story may have been politically motivated, and seemed to shift a bit over time, what came from Horowitz in June 2018 seems to indicate reliably that the Russian intelligence in question does exist.
That’s one development. The other is also a point made by Paul Sperry – and it brings us full circle to Dianne Feinstein.
As mentioned earlier, in mid-2017, Feinstein was calling for Loretta Lynch to answer tough questions about her actions on the Hillary probe in 2016.
A year later, Feinstein had changed her tune. Sperry again, in June 2018:
On Thursday, [Senator Chuck] Grassley announced he wants to subpoena Lynch to testify before his committee about her role in the Clinton email probe. But he said he has to first convince the top Democrat on the panel, Dianne Feinstein, who seems disinclined to support issuing a subpoena. “The ranking member refused to agree to compel” Lynch to testify, Grassley said in a statement earlier in the week.
Under Judiciary Committee rules, the chairman and the ranking member must both agree on the use of subpoenas.
Hill sources say Feinstein’s reluctance may owe to her close relationship with one of Lynch’s top aides at the Justice Department. During the 2016 campaign, Paige Herwig served as counselor to the attorney general, and after Lynch left the department in January 2017, Herwig became Feinstein’s deputy general counsel. Herwig is now working with Clinton’s former press secretary on a campaign to oppose Trump’s judicial nominees.
Feinstein is also close to Renteria, who worked as a Feinstein staffer last decade.
There is a lot to unpack here, and I’ll be looking at it in future posts. In the meantime, however, the intertwined threads show that the same people are involved in the Hillary orbit, including the “exoneration” sequence from 2016, and the over-the-top campaign against Kavanaugh (which, don’t forget, includes Feinstein receiving the letter from his accuser, Ms. Ford, in July, and sitting on it until just a few days before the committee vote was scheduled this week).
Here’s the troubling thing the seemingly less meaningful Renteria connection does. If there is indeed Russian intelligence on Renteria and Lynch relating to the Hillary campaign, and if that intelligence got to the FBI and was a key consideration for James Comey in 2016, that infuses pretty much everything related to this whole situation – Hillary’s enduring motives, Lynch’s actions, Feinstein’s actions, the opposition to Kavanaugh – with new meaning.
Besides putting in a different light all aspects of a “Russia” connection to the 2016 election, it also raises the stakes on Amanda Renteria’s other links. And she has them. As a California political figure, she’s been tracked in the last couple of years by Katy Grimes at the Flash Report, whose 02 July article on the Horowitz hearing is must-reading. Grimes reminds us that after the 2016 election, Renteria joined newly appointed California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as his chief of operations.
Becerra was appointed by Jerry Brown to replace Kamala Harris after she won the Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer in the 2016 election. Becerra had been a U.S. representative from Los Angeles since 1993. And as Grimes points out, he was knee-deep (or eyeball-deep) in the Awan scandal in the House:
Becerra has his own troubles in D.C. as he was up to his eyeballs in the House Democratic Caucus Awan Brothers Congressional IT Scandal. Then-Rep. Xavier Becerra was the caucus chairman when he gave a fake server to the cops in order to obstruct their investigation. “The executive director of the Democratic Caucus was Sean McCluskie, who was Becerra’s chief of staff and is now chief deputy attorney general of California,” Daily Caller reporter Luke Rosiak reported in 2017. “The Awans and their associates collected more than $5 million in pay from congressional offices, often drawing chief-of-staff level pay though there is reason to believe many didn’t even show up. The House’s internal probe found they logged into servers they had no affiliation with, used members’ usernames, covered their tracks, and persisted even after being fired.”
Grimes suggests it was odd to park both Becerra and Renteria in the California AG organization, since neither of them was an obvious choice for the job. And she has a point.
Renteria also made a strange, quixotic, last-minute run in the gubernatorial primary in 2018 (which went nowhere).
The state Democratic Party was blindsided by this move, and had no idea why Renteria was opposing herself to Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, the anointed successor to Jerry Brown. At most, her candidacy may have helped to deny the Democrats a two-Democrat gubernatorial race, splitting the Democratic vote just enough to enable Republican John Cox to come in second in the primary, and advance to the general election in November. (In a ridiculously large primary field, Renteria wasn’t the only rogue Democrat to contribute to that effect.)
In any case, it’s of more than merely superficial interest that all these threads, Swampy as they are, intertwine. There’s more to come.