Senate Judiciary Committee

Luke Rosiak | Investigative Reporter

  • The former Senate aide accused of doxxing Republicans during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing allegedly possessed troves of information, including Senate data, court proceedings indicate.
  • The suspect is the son of a wealthy family with ties to Dianne Feinstein, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat. Republicans suggested she timed a leak about sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh to harm his confirmation chances.
  • The court barred the media from hearing details about the alleged breach, and now a plea deal that could prevent the truth from ever emerging appears to be in the works.

A former Senate aide charged with doxxing Republican senators and extorting a witness comes from an elite family with ties to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

Prosecutors signaled Tuesday that they might give the aide, Jackson Cosko, a plea deal that would prevent the facts of the case from ever being learned publicly.

During Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s September 2018 confirmation hearing, Cosko — a former IT aide who once managed Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan’s office computer accounts — allegedly posted to Wikipedia the home addresses of Republican senators who supported the Supreme Court justice.

“I own EVERYTHING,” Cosko told a Hassan aide who caught him in the act, according to prosecutors. “If you tell anyone I will leak it all. Emails signal conversations gmails.”

Information revealed in court since then suggested that might not have been a bluff. U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan on Jan. 24 said Cosko allegedly possessed terabytes of information, including Senate data so sensitive that it could not be discussed in open court.

“He downloaded more information than was originally understood. There is no combination of conditions that could ensure the safety of the community,” Hogan said in December 2018.

Prosecutors underscored that he was a flight risk and that they had concerns he would engage in obstruction of justice.

Note found in Jackson Cosko's apartment / Court documents

Note found in Jackson Cosko’s apartment / Court documents

Cosko — a supporter of Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders — is the son of an enormously wealthy and politically connected California family with ties to Feinstein. Republicans suggested the California Democrat leaked a letter soon before Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing that alleged the Supreme Court justice sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford.

The suspect’s father, Greg Cosko, is the CEO of Hathaway Dinwiddie, a massive construction company that built a university building named after Feinstein’s husband. He serves on the board of San Francisco State University alongside Willie Brown, the California politician who said he helped make the career of California’s other Democratic senator, Kamala Harris, with an illicit affair.

As former chairman of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Greg Cosko hobnobbed with then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Feinstein and others. The elder Cosko’s adult son appears to have made inroads in Washington via an internship with Feinstein.

Jackson Cosko appeared to have absconded with vast troves of data months before the confirmation hearing, and even allegedly had Senate letterhead. Even after he was caught, he continued to make threats, Hogan said.

“There’s been some complex discovery with terabytes of information. The defendant is cooperating but the government isn’t convinced that he is fully cooperative. Some of what was provided under discovery is Senate information. The Senate is subject to a privilege called speech and debate,” he said at a January court date before closing the proceedings to the public.

The speech and debate clause gives congressmen a form of limited immunity against lawsuits and criminal prosecution, and congressmen sometimes use it to try to prevent their information from being used as evidence in court cases.

At December and January court dates, Hogan barred The Daily Caller News Foundation from the courtroom as lengthy proceedings went on, even though Cosko’s mother was allowed to stay. The judge assured that what was said would become public eventually.

But this week, prosecutors said they intend to resolve the case with a plea deal, likely shielding the extent of the alleged breach of the Senate forever. They canceled a court date set for Thursday, writing, “The parties are in discussions to resolve the case and require additional time for that purpose.”

Asked if that meant the evidence of major crimes discussed behind closed doors would never be unsealed, prosecutor Tejpal S. Chawla said “we’ll see.”

Democrats had numerous opportunities to prevent Cosko from his alleged breach on the Senate’s IT systems. Notwithstanding their stated indignation about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, Hassan hired Cosko despite an existing felony record.

Months before Republican senators were doxxed during the Kavanaugh hearing, Hassan asked Cosko to resign, though she has refused to say on what grounds. It’s not clear if the former aide’s so-called superuser credentials were deactivated. (House Provided ‘No Supervision’ Of IT Aides, Missed Red Flags, But Members Block Proposed Reforms)

Congressional officials previously told TheDCNF that IT aides have the “keys to the kingdom” and the ability to see all the computer files in an office.

Compounding matters, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee picked up Cosko after he was booted from Hassan’s office. The Texas Democrat’s office refused to say whether she checked with Hassan as a reference or did a criminal background check.

Feinstein was previously accused of having a Chinese spy working in her California office, but allowed him to retire and covered it up. He was never criminally charged — helpful in avoiding media attention — and she never discussed it publicly until it leaked out years later. Even then, she refused to name him and falsely characterized him as simply a driver. He is still working in the U.S.

Luke Rosiak is the author of the new book Obstruction of Justice: How the Deep State Risked National Security to Protect the Democrats.

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Molly Prince | Politics Reporter

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri is expressing concerns over confirming Neomi Rao to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, saying his review of some of her academic writings raise questions about her judicial philosophy.

Other conservatives vigorously contest Hawley’s reading of Rao’s work, even threatening retaliation if he undermines her confirmation prospects.

Hawley, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is particularly concerned that Rao’s scholarly writings suggest support for a legal position called substantive due process, which calls on courts to protect rights not named in the Constitution. Conservatives have long opposed the principle.

Substantive due process has most notably been applied to advance abortion rights through the courts. The Missouri senator confirmed to Axios on Sunday that he is “only going to support judicial nominees who have a strong record on life.”

“To me, [a strong record on life] means … someone whose record indicates that they have respect for what the Supreme Court itself has called the interests of the unborn child — someone whose record indicates they will protect the ability of states and local governments to protect the interests of the unborn child to the maximum extent,” Hawley told Axios. “Somebody who will not extend the doctrines of Roe v. Wade and [Planned Parenthood v.] Casey, which I believe are deeply incompatible with the Constitution.”

“I have heard directly from at least one individual who said Rao personally told them she was pro-choice,” he continued. “I don’t know whether that’s accurate, but this is why we are doing our due diligence.” (RELATED: Ted Cruz Slams Senate Democrats For Holding A ‘Theological Court Of Inquisition’ Over Trump Nominees)

Hawley’s inquiries in Rao’s jurisprudence have rallied some of her conservatives allies to swiftly reiterate their support of her confirmation, including Americans for Prosperity, the Faith and Freedom Coalition and the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN).

A JCN strategist said the organization plans to spend at least $500,000 on a TV, radio and digital campaign in Missouri to stress the importance of conservative judicial confirmations.

(Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

(Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Former Attorney General Edwin Meese, who served under President Ronald Reagan, also endorsed Rao’s confirmation.

“I have had the privilege of knowing Professor Neomi Rao, and have observed her work, since she first started teaching at the Scalia Law School at George Mason University,” Meese said in a statement. “She has made it her life’s work to support the Constitution as it is written, and she understands the proper judicial role in our society and what that requires of judges when they are interpreting the Constitution and the laws.”

“I have no doubt that she will uphold the rule of law and not legislate from the bench,” Meese added. (RELATED: Judicial Nominee Neomi Rao Renounces College Writings About Date Rape)

It’s not clear if other Republican lawmakers share Hawley’s concern about Rao’s legal views. A spokesmen for Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee, another member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Lee has not seen anything in Rao’s past writings that gives him pause.

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