July - 2017

July 26, 2017 – FBI conducts predawn raid of former Trump campaign chairman Manafort’s home

Paul Manafort’s apartment building. (Credit: Getty Images)

“FBI agents raided the home in Alexandria, Va., of President Trump’s former campaign chairman, arriving in the pre-dawn hours late last month and seizing documents and other materials related to the special counsel investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

The raid, which occurred without warning on July 26, signaled an aggressive new approach by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team in dealing with a key figure in the Russia inquiry. Manafort has been under increasing pressure as the Mueller team looked into his personal finances and his professional career as a highly paid foreign political consultant.

Using a search warrant, agents appeared the day Manafort was scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee and a day after he met voluntarily with Senate Intelligence Committee staff members.

The search warrant requested documents related to tax, banking and other matters. People familiar with the search said agents departed the Manafort residence with a trove of material, including binders prepared ahead of Manafort’s congressional testimony.

Investigators in the Russia inquiry have previously sought documents with subpoenas, which are less intrusive and confrontational than a search warrant. With a warrant, agents can inspect a physical location and seize any useful information. To get a judge to sign off on a search warrant, prosecutors must show that there is probable cause that a crime has been committed.” (Read more: Washington Post, August 9, 2017)

July 24, 2017 – Intel vets challenge ‘Russia Hack’ evidence

In a memo to President Trump, a group of former U.S. intelligence officers, including NSA specialists, cite new forensic studies to challenge the claim of the key Jan. 6 “assessment” that Russia “hacked” Democratic emails last year. 

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job?

Executive Summary

Then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (right) talks with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, with John Brennan and other national security aides present.(Credit: Office of Director of National Intelligence)

Forensic studies of “Russian hacking” into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computer. After examining metadata from the “Guccifer 2.0” July 5, 2016 intrusion into the DNC server, independent cyber investigators have concluded that an insider copied DNC data onto an external storage device.

Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack. Of equal importance, the forensics show that the copying was performed on the East coast of the U.S. Thus far, mainstream media have ignored the findings of these independent studies [see here and here].

Independent analyst Skip Folden, who retired after 25 years as the IBM Program Manager for Information Technology, US, who examined the recent forensic findings, is a co-author of this Memorandum. He has drafted a more detailed technical report titled “Cyber-Forensic Investigation of ‘Russian Hack’ and Missing Intelligence Community Disclaimers,” and sent it to the offices of the Special Counsel and the Attorney General. VIPS member William Binney, a former Technical Director at the National Security Agency, and other senior NSA “alumni” in VIPS attest to the professionalism of the independent forensic findings.

The recent forensic studies fill in a critical gap. Why the FBI neglected to perform any independent forensics on the original “Guccifer 2.0” material remains a mystery – as does the lack of any sign that the “hand-picked analysts” from the FBI, CIA, and NSA, who wrote the “Intelligence Community Assessment” dated January 6, 2017, gave any attention to forensics.” (Read more: Consortium News, 7/24/2017)

July – September: Released Text Messages And Emails Show Mueller Team’s Cozy Relationship With Press

  • Released messages document how Mueller’s spokesman took dozens of meetings with reporters over three months in 2017.
  • Reporters from nearly every major media outlet have been jockeying for influence and favoritism within the special counsel’s office.
  • One awkward exchange illustrates a reporter from CNN trashing an article written by White House correspondent Jim Acosta.

Peter Carr (Credit: public domain)

“Hundreds of pages of emails and text messages released from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) special counsel’s office through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request show an ongoing relationship between Robert Mueller’s team and the press, according to an investigation by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The documents, released in September, span months of communication and include messages from reporters ranging from a variety of outlets, including TheDCNF, The Washington Post and BuzzFeed.

While the vast majority of correspondences between Mueller’s spokesman Peter Carr and a variety of journalists ends with a “no comment,” the messages expose Mueller’s team was willing to meet with a number of reporters in private meetings and over the phone.

Coordinating such meetings cuts against the narrative that the special counsel has been hesitant to give information to the press, instead opting to give information only through public announcements and statements.

Adam Goldman (Credit: public domain)

The New York Times ran a story in August poking fun at the secrecy of the special counsel, with one reporter writing that Carr’s “‘no comment’ replies have become a running dark joke among the Washington press corps.”

But on July 21st, 2017, Adam Goldman from TheNYT sent an email to Carr about arranging a “touch base” meeting, according to documents provided by the DOJ.

That meeting was later rescheduled, but it is just one in a pattern of meetings and private calls from reporters jockeying for opportunities to solicit information from an investigation that has been labeled as “leak proof” from the press.

Ironically, Vox was one of those exact outlets that proclaimed Mueller’s team as immune to leaks — despite one of its reporters communicating extensively with Carr via text.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 9/20/2018)

July 18th, 2017 – Why Did DOJ Deputy Asst. AG Rod Rosenstein Reauthorize FISA Warrant on July 18th, 2017? – Mueller and Rosenstein Timeline

Rod Rosenstein (Credit: The Associated Press)

“One of the most frequent questions about Deputy Asst. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein circles around his decision to reauthorize the FISA Title-1 surveillance warrant used against Carter Page and by extension the Trump campaign. In this outline we take the timeline and overlay new information that helps to understand what was going on:

  • Why did Rosenstein renew that sketchy FISA warrant July 18th, 2017?
  • Why did Mueller request clarity two weeks later on August 2nd, 2017?
  • It appears Special Counsel Robert Mueller began his investigation of Russian interference and the possibility of Trump campaign collusion, right where the FBI counterintelligence operation left-off.  This is additionally supported by reviewing the original investigative instructions as outlined by Rod Rosenstein the day Robert Mueller was appointed as Special Counsel.

    The key phrase here is: to serve as Special Counsel to oversee the previously-confirmed FBI investigation of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election…  Here, Rosenstein is clearly instructing Robert Mueller to pick-up the former Counterintelligence Investigation previously headed by FBI Asst. Director of Counterintelligence Bill Priestap, and his #2 FBI Agent Peter Strzok.”

    (…) “It was ten months before the Special Counsel was assigned when Page and Strzok were messaging each-other about the “insurance policy” discussed in Andrew McCabe’s office. The Page/Strzok messages were on August 18th, 2016.

    That “insurance policy” is widely believed to have been short-hand to describe an effort to conduct surveillance on candidate Trump, which could later ensure a strategic plan to disrupt and possibly eliminate Trump if elected, via the Russia collusion narrative.

    That plan needed legal FBI authority to conduct surveillance – which could be used to weaponize intelligence. That plan culminated in the Carter Page Title-1 FISA warrant as the deployment mechanism, on October 21st, 2016.

    Apparently, without knowledge of the underlying sketchy context inside the application (Steele Dossier) of the FISA Title-1 surveillance warrant, on July 18th, 2017, Asst. AG Rod Rosenstein renews the FISA warrant as the 3rd continuance of an investigative tool. This time to be used by Robert Mueller.  And with this intensely broad and intrusive surveillance authority Mueller’s investigative unit now has the legal authority to capture the records of everyone within two-hops of Carter Page.  That includes the entire Trump campaign and likely almost all of the Trump administration.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/04/2018)