In New Letter To Justice Department, Leader Schumer Calls For Investigation Into Reports Acting Intel Chief Grenell Failed To Disclose Prior Work As Foreign Agent

February 26, 2020

Leader Schumer Says That Reports That Acting Director Of National Intelligence Grenell Failed To Report To DOJ Work For Numerous Foreign Entities—Including Vladimir Plahotniuc, A Moldovan Official Who Was Recently Sanctioned By The U.S.—Must Be Investigated Immediately

Leader Schumer Emphasizes That Acting DNI Grenell’s Oversight Of And Access To The Most Sensitive Nat’l Security Intel + Alleged Failure To Report Work For Foreign Entities Could Leave Him Vulnerable To Blackmail And Other Liability

Leader Schumer To DOJ National Security Division: Investigate Reports Of Acting DNI Grenell’s Undisclosed Work As Foreign Agent And Refer For Enforcement If Necessary

Washington, D.C. – Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today released a letter sent to Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers requesting that the Department of Justice’s National Security Division immediately investigate reports that Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Richard Grenell did not disclose his past work as a foreign agent, in possible violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.  Leader Schumer’s letter comes amid public reporting that prior to Acting DNI Grenell’s service in the Trump administration, he did not register with or report to DOJ his work in support of a number of foreign entities—including the government of Hungary and Vladimir Plahotniuc, a Moldovan government official who last month was sanctioned by the U.S. government for corruption and who has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In the letter, Leader Schumer notes that, if the aforementioned reports are accurate, Acting DNI Grenell may be subject to potential liability, and—alarmingly—may be vulnerable to blackmail in his new position. Leader Schumer writes that Acting DNI Grenell may have also misled Congress during his nominations hearing to be U.S. Ambassador to Germany when asked about his writing on foreign policy and any compensation he received for his work related to Moldova.

Leader Schumer emphasizes that the Department of Justice’s National Security Division must investigate these possible violations and determine whether Acting DNI Grenell violated the law, as any illegal activity would disqualify him from serving as the Director of National Intelligence or in any other position of public trust.

Leader Schumer’s letter to Assistant Attorney General Demers can be found here and below:

Dear Assistant Attorney General Demers:

I write to request that your office immediately investigate reports that Richard Grenell did not disclose his past work as a foreign agent in possible violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.  According to public reporting, Mr. Grenell, prior to his service in this administration, did not register with or report to the Justice Department his work in support of a number of foreign entities, including the government of Hungary and Vladimir Plahotniuc, a Moldovan government official who last month was sanctioned by the U.S. government for corruption and who has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As you know, Mr. Grenell has been named Acting Director of National Intelligence, a position with broad statutory authority to oversee the U.S. intelligence community and access to America's most sensitive national security information.  If the reports regarding the nature of Mr. Grenell's undisclosed work with foreign entities are accurate, he may be subject to potential civil and criminal liability as well as vulnerable to blackmail in his new position in the Intelligence Community. It also appears that Mr. Grenell may have misled Congress during his confirmation hearing to be U.S. Ambassador to Germany when asked about his writing on foreign policy and any compensation he received for his work related to Moldova.

Therefore it is imperative that your office determine as soon as possible whether Mr. Grenell has violated the law. If so, he should be referred for enforcement action consistent with Justice Department policies and without regard to any political considerations. Any illegal activity would obviously disqualify him from serving as the Director of National Intelligence or in any other position of public trust.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator

cc:  Brandon L Van Grack
      Director, FARA Registration Unit

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