May - 2016

May 17, 2016 – A Strzok email says “we know foreign actors obtained access” to some Clinton emails, including at least one “secret” message

Hillary Clinton and Peter Strzok (Credit: Getty Images)

“Foreign actors” obtained access to some of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails — including at least one email classified as “secret” — according to a new memo from two GOP-led House committees and an internal FBI email.”

(…) “The House committees, which conducted a joint probe into decisions made by the DOJ in 2016 and 2017, addressed a range of issues in their memo including Clinton’s email security.

“Documents provided to the Committees show foreign actors obtained access to some of Mrs. Clinton’s emails — including at least one email classified ‘Secret,'” the memo says, adding that foreign actors also accessed the private accounts of some Clinton staffers.

The memo does not say who the foreign actors are, or what material was obtained, but it notes that secret information is defined as information that, if disclosed, could “reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to the national security.”

The committees say that no one appears to have been held accountable either criminally or administratively.

Relatedly, Fox News has obtained a May 2016 email from FBI investigator Peter Strzok — who also is criticized in the House memo for his anti-Trump texts with colleague Lisa Page. The email says that “we know foreign actors obtained access” to some Clinton emails, including at least one “secret” message “via compromises of the private email accounts” of Clinton staffers.” (Strzok Email, 5/17/2016)  (Read more: Fox News, 6/14/2018)

May 15, 2016 – Financial analyst alleges major holes in Clinton Foundation records

(…) “The Clinton Foundation network is actually comprised of several different charities that all perform seemingly similar functions. Those include the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Clinton Climate Initiative and several more, all with varying degrees of overlapping finances.

Ortel said the foundations’ complex paper trails are littered with mistakes and repeat filings.

In November, the Clinton Health Access Initiative was forced to refile its tax returns after a review revealed big-ticket foreign donations that had been left off its Form 990 filing.

The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation has been removed from the website of a prominent nonprofit watchdog, Charity Navigator, because its “atypical business model can not be accurately captured” by methods used to size up traditional charities.

The pattern extends to smaller charities linked to the Clintons, Ortel noted. One organization founded by former President Bill Clinton, the American India Foundation, has problems that stretch around the country.

For example, the American India Foundation’s nonprofit status was revoked in Illinois in 2002, according to state records. This year, the charity was listed as “not in good standing.”

In Massachusetts, the foundation had its nonprofit status revoked in June 2014 and was not reinstated until March 22 of this year.

In March 2015, the charity held a gala in an Atlanta hotel, according to an event promotion.

But the American India Foundation was not then registered to solicit funds in the state of Georgia, correspondences shared with the Washington Examiner suggest. In fact, the only charity in the Clinton orbit that was registered in the Peach State as of October was the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation — even though the Clinton Global Initiative plans to hold its glitzy annual conference in Atlanta next month.

An official with the Georgia secretary of state’s office said the state government did not have an open investigation into potentially unregistered arms of the Clinton Foundation, although emails shared with the Examiner indicate inquiries about the charities were routed to a securities enforcement attorney in November of last year.

Sandra Miniutti (Credit: public domain)

Sandra Miniutti of Charity Navigator said the patchwork of nonprofit regulations across different states can sometimes trip up well-meaning charities.

“The current state registration system is complex, bureaucratic and out-of-date with the modern times,” Miniutti said. “It was conceived before the internet and technology made it easily for charities to solicit across state lines.”

Miniutti said nonprofits often tap outside firms to keep up with compliance issues.

“While we don’t condone non-compliance, it is not particularly surprising to hear of an organization accidentally being out of compliance,” she said.

Hal Moroz, a private attorney and former Georgia judge, said he referred some of Ortel’s findings on the violations of the foundation to the state attorney general’s office.

“This is a matter of great public interest because we have a major party presidential candidate who has been greatly enriched by the questionable activities of a foundation that was meant to serve charitable public interests,” Moroz said.

“The records of charities are open to public review and scrutiny, and this is so because there are certain tax advantages to registering under state and federal law as a charity and the citizens of the United States foot the bill for these tax advantages,” he added.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 5/16/2016)

May 10, 2016 – George Papadopoulos, Alexander Downer & the Opening of the FBI Investigation

By: Jeff Carlson (themarketswork.com)

“The New York Times provided us an introduction to FBI reasoning in launching the Trump-Russia Inquiry – drunken comments from George Papadopoulos:

During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016, George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Alexander Downer (Credit: The Australian)

About three weeks earlier, Mr. Papadopoulos had been told that Moscow had thousands of emails that would embarrass Mrs. Clinton, apparently stolen in an effort to try to damage her campaign.

The information that Mr. Papadopoulos gave to the Australians answers one of the lingering mysteries of the past year: What so alarmed American officials to provoke the F.B.I. to open a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign months before the presidential election?

The Papadopoulos/Downer meeting has been portrayed as a chance encounter in a bar. That does not appear to be the case. Papadopoulos was introduced to Downer through a chain of two intermediaries. Papadopoulos knew an Israeli embassy official in London named Christian Cantor who introduced Papadopoulos to Erika Thompson. Thompson was a counselor to Downer and served in Australia’s London embassy.

On May 4, 2016, Papadopoulos gave an interview to the London Times in which he stated then-UK Prime Minister David Cameron should apologize to Trump for negative comments. The interview was not well-received. According to the Daily Caller, Thompson reached out to Papadopoulos two days after the story appeared and said Downer wanted to meet with Papadopoulos. The meeting between Papadopoulos and Downer took place on May 10, 2016. Downer reportedly told Papadopoulos to “leave David Cameron alone.”

We know Papadopoulos mentioned “thousands of emails” in his FBI Interview regarding his April 26, 2016 meeting with Mifsud. That comment is noted in the July 28, 2017 Affidavit and the October 5, 2017 Statement of the Offense. However, there is nothing regarding comments made to Alexander Downer in either document.

What does Alexander Downer have to say about the May 10, 2016 meeting. From a news.com.au article:

“We had a drink and he (Papadopoulos) talked about what Trump’s foreign policy would be like if Trump won the election.”

He (Trump) hadn’t got the nomination at that stage. During that conversation he (Papadopoulos) mentioned the Russians might use material that they have on Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the election, which may be damaging.

On April 28, 2018, Downer gave an interview to The Australian. The story, which I’ve read, is behind a paywall – but the Daily Caller provides some details:

“We didn’t know anything about Trump and Russia and we had no particular focus on that,’’ Downer says of the Papadopoulos meeting. “For us we were more interested in what Trump would do in Asia” Downer told The Australian. “He [Papadopoulos] didn’t say dirt; he said material that could be damaging to her. No, he said it would be damaging. He didn’t say what it was.”

“By the way, nothing [Papadopoulos] said in that conversation indicated Trump himself had been conspiring with the Russians to collect information on Hillary Clinton. It was just that this guy, [Papadopoulos], clearly knew that the Russians did have material on Hillary Clinton — but whether Trump knew or not? He didn’t say Trump knew or that Trump was in any way involved in this. He said it was about Russians and Hillary Clinton; it wasn’t about Trump.”

Interestingly, the Schiff Memo appears to back this account up. From page two:

“Papadopoulos’ disclosure occurred against the backdrop of Russia’s aggressive covert campaign to influence our elections, which the FBI was already monitoring. We would later learn in Papadopoulos’ plea that the information the Russians could assist by anonymously releasing were thousands of Hillary Clinton emails.”

Despite initial reporting to the contrary, it appears neither “political dirt” nor Clinton emails were ever mentioned at the Papadopoulos/Downer meeting. Notably, Papadopoulos didn’t mention anything to indicate Trump knew of the Clinton information, or had any role in its collection or potential distribution.

There’s been some confusion over how Papadopoulos’ comments made their way to the FBI. Downer stated in his interview that he reported the conversation back to Australia almost immediately…” (Read much more: themarketswork.com, 8/15/2018)

May 3, 2016 – Donald Trump becomes the presumptive Republican presidential nominee

Donald Trump (Credit: Win McNamee/Reuters)

“Donald J. Trump became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee on Tuesday with a landslide win in Indiana that drove his principal opponent, Senator Ted Cruz, from the race and cleared the way for the polarizing, populist outsider to take control of the party.”

May 2, 2016 – Clinton fundraising leaves little for state parties

Hillary wins the Democratic party’s nomination for president. (Source: Times of Israel)

“In the days before Hillary Clinton launched an unprecedented big-money fundraising vehicle with state parties last summer, she vowed “to rebuild our party from the ground up,” proclaiming “when our state parties are strong, we win. That’s what will happen.”

But less than 1 percent of the $61 million raised by that effort has stayed in the state parties’ coffers, according to a Politico analysis of the latest Federal Election Commission filings.

The venture, the Hillary Victory Fund, is a so-called joint fundraising committee comprised of Clinton’s presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee and 32 state party committees. The setup allows Clinton to solicit checks of $350,000 or more from her super-rich supporters at extravagant fundraisers including a dinner at George Clooney’s house and a concert at Radio City Music Hall featuring Katy Perry and Elton John.

The victory fund has transferred $3.8 million to the state parties, but almost all of that cash ($3.3 million, or 88 percent) was quickly transferred to the DNC, usually within a day or two, by the Clinton staffer who controls the committee, Politico’s analysis of the FEC records found.” (Read more: Politico, 05/02/2016)

May 2, 2016 – Comey Drafted Conclusion in Clinton Probe Prior to Interviewing Key Witnesses

James Comey (Credit: Michael Reynolds/European Press Agency)

“Transcripts reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee reveal that former FBI Director James Comey began drafting an exoneration statement in the Clinton email investigation before the FBI had interviewed key witnesses.  Chairman Chuck Grassley and Senator Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, requested all records relating to the drafting of the statement as the committee continues to review the circumstances surrounding Comey’s removal from the Bureau.

“Conclusion first, fact-gathering second—that’s no way to run an investigation.  The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy,” the senators wrote in a letter today to the FBI.

Last fall, following allegations from Democrats in Congress, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) began investigating whether Comey’s actions in the Clinton email investigation violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits government employees from using their official position to influence an election.  In the course of that investigation, OSC interviewed two FBI officials close to Comey: James Rybicki, Comey’s Chief of Staff, and Trisha Anderson, the Principal Deputy General Counsel of National Security and Cyberlaw.  OSC provided transcripts of those interviews at Grassley’s request after it closed the investigation due to Comey’s termination.

Both transcripts are heavily redacted without explanation. However, they indicate that Comey began drafting a statement to announce the conclusion of the Clinton email investigation in April or May of 2016, before the FBI interviewed up to 17 key witnesses including former Secretary Clinton and several of her closest aides.  The draft statement also came before the Department entered into immunity agreements with Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson where the Department agreed to a very limited review of Secretary Clinton’s emails and to destroy their laptops after review.  In an extraordinary July announcement, Comey exonerated Clinton despite noting “there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information.”

In their letter, the two chairmen requested all drafts of Comey’s statement closing the Clinton investigation, all related emails and any records previously provided to OSC in the course of its investigation.

OSC is the permanent, independent investigative agency for personnel matters in the federal government and is not related to Robert Mueller’s temporary prosecutorial office within the Justice Department.

Full text of the letter from Grassley and Graham follows. (Read more: grassley.senate.gov, 8/31/2017)