Jeff Carlson

Introduction: Jeff Carlson

We are pleased to include some of Jeff Carlson’s work in our Investigations Timeline and appreciate the awesome job he does gathering evidence and then making sense of the FBI/DOJ/FISA abuse scandals. He has saved us countless hours in research and his ability to keep names, dates and events organized is second to none.

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank him for giving us special permission to republish some of his work, and love that we share a common goal to educate the masses the best way we can.

His blog is at themarketswork and is often published at The Epoch Times as well.

Here is a handy list he compiled of individuals with possible involvement or affiliation in Trump surveillance, the Steele Dossier and/or the Russia narrative.

Individuals have been placed into the following groups:

  • Resignations/Firings – Department of Justice (Non-FBI)
  • Resignations/Firings – FBI
  • FBI/DOJ Watch List
  • FBI – Assignments Away from FBI Headquarters
  • Other Notable Retirements
  • Intelligence Officials – United States
  • Intelligence Officials – Britain
  • Intelligence Officials – Australia
  • Obama Officials
  • Clinton Campaign/DNC
  • Devin Nunes – List of Individuals referred to Joint Task Force for open-setting interviews
  • Clinton Confidants
  • Perkins Coie
  • Sea Island Meeting – Never Trump
  • Websites/Blogs – Lawfare, Just Security, Moscow Project
  • Think Tanks – Center for American Progress, Atlantic Council, Brookings Institution
  • Crowdstrike
  • Fusion GPS’ (Bean LLC) Principals and Key Staff
  • Fusion Affiliations
  • Christopher Steele Connections
  • Hakluyt – UK private Intelligence firm
  • Penn Quarter Group
  • Papadopoulos Related
  • Trump Tower Meeting
  • Individuals Relating to Magnitsky Act
  • Oleg Deripaska Connections
  • Mueller Team
  • Congress
  • FISA Court Judges
  • Print Reporters

Treat this post as a work in progress. Names will be added as we move forward.

To the extent you believe something to be materially wrong or missing, let me know. I will attempt to verify.

Work. In. Progress.

(A Listing of Participants, Jeff Carlson, 5/01/2018)

February 4-27, 2014 – The Obama administration’s involvement in the 2014 Ukrainian coup

(…) “On or shortly before Feb. 4, 2014, Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs in the Obama State Department, had a conversation with the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, which was intercepted and leaked.

In the call, Nuland and Pyatt appeared to be discussing the ouster of Yanukovych and the installation of opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk as prime minister.

Nuland favored opposition leader Yatsenyuk over his main rivals Vitali Klitschko and Oleh Tyahnybok, telling Pyatt: “I think Yats is the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the … what he needs is Klitschko and Tyahnybok on the outside.”

Toward the end of the conversation, then-Vice President Biden was discussed as being willing to help cement the changeover in Ukraine:

Geoffrey Pyatt: “We want to try to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing. The other issue is some kind of outreach to Yanukovych, but we probably regroup on that tomorrow as we see how things start to fall into place.”

Victoria Nuland: “So, on that piece Geoff, when I wrote the note [Biden’s national security adviser Jake] Sullivan’s come back to me VFR [direct to me], saying you need Biden, and I said probably tomorrow for an atta-boy and to get the deets [details] to stick. So Biden’s willing.”

Nuland and Pyatt met with Ukrainian opposition leaders Klitschko and Yatsenyuk, along with then-President Yanukovych, just days later on Feb. 7, 2014.

Events then moved swiftly. On Feb. 22, 2014, Yanukovych was removed as president of Ukraine and fled to Russia. On Feb. 27, 2014, Yatsenyuk, the candidate favored by Nuland, was installed as prime minister of Ukraine. Klitschko was left out. Notably, Yatsenyuk would later resign in April 2016 amid corruption accusations. (Read more: The Epoch Times, 4/26/2019)

April 18, 2014 – Hunter Biden is appointed to the Burisma board, four days later Joe Biden addresses the Ukrainian Parliament offering support and money

(…) In April, Biden would get personally involved, as would his son, Hunter. On April 18, 2014, Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of directors for Burisma–one of the largest natural gas companies in Ukraine.

VP Joe Biden addresses the Ukrainian parliament, April 22, 2014. (Credit: The Associated Press)

Four days later, on April 22, 2014, Vice President Biden traveled to Ukraine, offering his political support and $50 million in aid for Yatsenyuk’s shaky new government. Poroshenko, a billionaire politician, was elected as president of Ukraine on May 25, 2014.

Biden became close to both men and helped Ukraine obtain a four-year, $17.5 billion IMF package in March 2015.

In October 2016, Foreign Policy wrote a lengthy article, “What Will Ukraine Do Without Uncle Joe,” which described Biden’s role in the removal of Ukraine’s general prosecutor, Victor Shokin. Shokin, the choice of Poroshenko, was portrayed as fumbling a major corruption case and “hindering an investigation into two high-ranking state prosecutors arrested on corruption charges.”

The United States pushed for Shokin’s removal, and Biden led the effort by personally threatening to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees. In an interview with The Atlantic, Biden recalled telling Poroshenko: “Petro, you’re not getting your billion dollars. It’s OK, you can keep the [prosecutor] general. Just understand—we’re not paying if you do.” Shokin was removed by Poroshenko shortly thereafter, in early 2016.

But according to reporting by The Hill, at the time of his firing, Shokin had been investigating Burisma. Shokin’s investigation into Burisma had previously been disclosed in June 2017, by Front News International.

Burisma is owned by Nikolai Zlochevsky (also known as Mykola Zlochevsky), the former minister of ecology for Ukraine. According to Front News, Zlochevsky issued a “special permit for the extraction of a third of the gas produced in Ukraine” to his own company, Burisma.

According to the Ukrainian nonprofit Anti Corruption Action Center, Zlochevsky owns 38 permits held by 14 different companies—with Burisma accounting for the majority with 33 of the permits. Zlochevsky left Ukraine after Yanukovych fled to Russia during the Ukrainian Revolution known as Euromaidan.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 4/26/2019)

October 14, 2014 – The National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) is formed in Ukraine, with Joe Biden and the FBI’s help

(…) “Following the successful overthrow of Yanukovych, Joe Biden had a direct hand in the formation of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), as he personally “pushed for the creation of an independent anti-corruption bureau to combat graft,” according to an Oct. 30, 2016, article by Foreign Policy.

NABU was formally established in October 2014 in response to pressure from not only the U.S. State Department and Biden, but also by the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission.

FBI instructors train NABU special forces in SWAT tactics in July 2016. (Credit: public domain)

Despite the international push, the fledgling anti-corruption unit took more than a year to actually become a functioning unit. During this time, NABU officials began establishing a relationship with the FBI. In early 2016, NABU Director Sytnyk announced that his bureau was very close to signing a memorandum of cooperation with the FBI and by February 2016, the FBI had a permanent representative onsite at the NABU offices.

On June 5, 2016, Sytnyk met with U.S. Ambassador Pyatt to discuss a more formalized relationship with the FBI and, on June 30, 2016, NABU and the FBI entered into a memorandum of understanding that allowed for an FBI office onsite at NABU offices to focus on international money laundering cases. The relationship was renewed for an additional two years in June 2017.

NABU has repeatedly refused to make the memorandum of understanding with the FBI public and went to court in 2018 to prevent its release. After receiving an unfavorable opinion from the Kyiv District Administrative Court, NABU appealed the ruling, which was overturned in its favor by the Sixth Administrative Court of Appeal.

Sytnyk, along with parliamentarian Leshchenko, became the subject of an investigation in Ukraine and in December 2018, a Kyiv court ruled that both men “acted illegally when they revealed that Manafort’s surname and signature were found in the so-called black ledger of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions,” the Kyiv Post reported on Dec. 12, 2018.

The court noted the material was part of a pre-trial investigation and its release “led to interference in the electoral processes of the United States in 2016 and harmed the interests of Ukraine as a state.”

Leshchenko had publicly adopted a strong anti-Trump stance, telling the Financial Times in August 2016 that “a Trump presidency would change the pro-Ukrainian agenda in American foreign policy” and that it was “important to show not only the corruption aspect but that he is [a] pro-Russian candidate who can break the geopolitical balance in the world.” Leschenko noted that the majority of Ukrainian politicians were “on Hillary Clinton’s side.”

In December 2017, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Lutsenko accused Sytnyk of allowing the FBI to conduct illegal operations in Ukraine, claiming that the “U.S. law enforcers were allegedly invited without the permission required and in breach of the necessary procedures.” Lutsenko continued by asking, “Who actually let the foreign special service act in Ukraine?”

Taras Chornovil, a Ukrainian political analyst, also questioned the FBI’s activities, writing that “some kind of undercover operations are being conducted in Ukraine with direct participation (or even under control) of the FBI. This means the FBI operatives could have access to classified data or confidential information.”

Lutsenko called for an audit of NABU, claiming to “possess information of interest to the auditors” and was pushing for Sytnyk’s resignation, along with that of Nazar Kholodnitskiy, the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAP). According to reporting by Euromaidan Press, Lutsenko’s efforts failed “thanks to the reaction from Ukraine’s American partners.”

Michael Carpenter, an adviser to Joe Biden, personally issued a public warning to Lutsenko and others pushing for Sytnyk’s removal, stating, “If the Rada votes to dismiss the head of the Anticorruption Committee and the head of the NABU, I will recommend cutting all U.S. government assistance to #Ukraine, including security assistance.”

Sytnyk remains in his position as NABU’s director.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 4/26/2019)

2015-2017: A mini-timeline: The Uncovering – Mike Rogers’ investigation, Section 702 FISA abuse & the FBI

John Carlin (Credit: Heratch Photography)

“John Carlin was an Assistant Attorney General – and Head of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division (NSD).

On September 27, 2016, Carlin announced his resignation. He formally left the NSD on October 15, 2016. Carlin had been named Acting Assistant Attorney General in March 2013 and was confirmed in the spring of 2014.

Carlin had previously served as chief of staff to then-FBI Director Robert S. Mueller.

Carlin was replaced with Mary McCord – who would later accompany Acting Attorney General Sally Yates to see White House Counsel Don McGahn regarding General Michael Flynn.

Carlin announced his resignation exactly one day after he filed the Government’s proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications. His signature can be found on page 31.

(…) At the time Carlin’s sudden resignation went mostly unnoticed.

But there was more to the story.

Here is the official explanation as provided by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence:

After submitting its 2016 Certifications in September 2016, the Department of Justice and ODNI learned, in October 2016, about additional information related to previously reported compliance incidents and reported that additional information to the FISC. The NSA also self-reported the information to oversight bodies, as required by law. These compliance incidents related to the NSA’s inadvertent use of U.S. person identifiers to query NSA’s “upstream” Internet collection acquired pursuant to Section 702.

The FISA Court was more direct in a 99-page April 26, 2017 unsealed FISA Court Ruling.

On October 24, 2016the government orally apprised the Court of significant non-compliance with the NSA’s minimization procedures involving queries of data acquired under Section 702 using U.S. person identifiers. The full scope of non-compliant querying practices had not been previously disclosed to the Court. Two days later, on the day the Court otherwise would have had to complete its review of the certifications and procedures, the government made a written submission regarding those compliance problems…and the Court held a hearing to address them.

The government reported that it was working to ascertain the cause(s) of those compliance problems and develop a remedial plan to address them. Without further information about the compliance problems and the government’s remedial efforts, the Court was not in a position to assess whether the minimization procedures would comply with the statutory standards and were consistent with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment.

But that still doesn’t begin to describe the breadth and scope of what occurred.

It wasn’t the Obama Administration that self-disclosed before the FISA Court on October 24 and 26, 2016.

Admiral Mike Rogers testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee in April 2016, on the nation’s cyber infrastructure. (Credit: CSpan)

It was National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers. And he deserves a medal for his efforts.

Here’s what actually happened:

On January 7, 2016, the NSA Inspector General, George Ellard, released a report on NSA Controls & FISA compliance. Starting on page ii:

Agency controls for monitoring query compliance have not been completely developed.

The Agency has no process to reliably identify queries performed using selectors associated with 704 and 705(b) targets.

The rest of the highlights are fully redacted. But more information lay within the report (pages 6-7):

We identified another [redacted] queries that were performed outside the targeting authorization periods in E.O. 12333 data, which is prohibited by the E.O. 12333 minimization procedures. We also identified queries performed using USP selectors in FAA §702 upstream data, which is prohibited by the FAA §702 minimization procedures.

Downstream collection involves the government acquiring data from the companies providing service to the user – like Google or Facebook.

However, some Section 702 collection is obtained via “upstream” collection.

In simple parlance, upstream collection means the NSA accesses the high capacity fiber optic cables that carry Internet traffic and copies all the data flowing through those cables.

The agency is then supposed to filter out any “wholly domestic” communications that are between Americans located in the U.S.

Data collected “incidentally” on U.S. Citizens is generally not destroyed. It is minimized. As we will see later, this became a problem.

Intelligence Agencies can then search the data using “To”, “From” or “About” queries on a target of Section 702 collection.

“About” queries are particularly worrisome.

They occur when the target is neither the sender nor the recipient of the collected communication – but the target’s selector, such as an email address, is being passed between two other communicants.

For more information see FISA Surveillance – Title I & III and Section 702.

“About” queries were abruptly halted by NSA Director Mike Rogers on October 20, 2016. This was formally announced by the NSA on April 28, 2017.

The events leading to this decision are described in this post.

This brings us to a table from the Inspector General’s Report.

Table 3 (page 7) shows four types of violations. The most frequent violation – 5.2% of the total – came from Section 702 upstream “About” queries.”

The Inspector General’s Report is heavily redacted – but even a casual reading indicates there were significant compliance and control issues within the NSA regarding the use of Section 702 data.

It’s unclear if NSA Director Rogers discovered the 702 violations and reported them in early 2015, or if it was the Inspector General who found them. Either way, Rogers became aware of Section 702 violations sometime in 2015.

Following NSA Inspector General Ellard’s report, Rogers implemented a tightening of internal rules at the NSA.

However, the NSA Inspector General’s report and Roger’s tightening of internal rules did not halt the Query Compliance Problems.

Outside Agencies – specifically the DOJ’s National Security Division and the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division – were still routinely violating Section 702 procedures.

In 2015, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz (not to be confused with NSA IG Ellard) specifically requested oversight of the National Security Division. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates responded with a 58-page Memorandum, that effectively told the Inspector General to go pound sand.

As noted earlier, John Carlin was the Head of the DOJ’s National Security Division and was responsible for filing the Government’s proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications.

This filing would be subject to intense criticism from the FISA Court following disclosures made by NSA Director Rogers. Significant changes to the handling of raw FISA data would result.

Bill Priestap remains the Head of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division – appointed by FBI Director Comey in December 2015. See FBI Counterintelligence Head Bill Priestap – A Cooperating Witness.

Here is a summary of events taken from the FISA Court Ruling and Senate Testimony.

(Read more: themarketswork, 4/05/2018) (Archive)

(Republished in part with permission)

March 19, 2015 – Ukrainian oligarch, Victor Pinchuk’s ties to Serhiy Leshchenko and the Clintons

On April 11, 2019, Greg Craig, Obama’s former White House counsel and a partner at law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, was indicted for lying about and concealing his work in Ukraine. Craig, who reportedly worked closely with Manafort, was paid more than $4 million to produce an “independent” report justifying Ukraine’s trial and conviction of the former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko. Notably, Craig’s name was not included in the “Black Ledger” leak from Leshchenko and Sytnyk.

The indictment notes that “a wealthy private Ukrainian” was fully funding the report. In a recent YouTube video, Craig publicly stated that “it was Doug Schoen who brought this project to me, and he told me he was acting on behalf of Victor Pinchuk, who was a pro-western, Ukrainian businessman who helped to fund the project.”

“The Firm understood that its work was to be largely funded by Victor Pinchuk,” Skadden wrote in recent FARA filings.

Pinchuk put out a statement on Jan. 21, denying any financial involvement:

“Mr. Pinchuk was not the source of any funds used to pay fees of Skadden in producing their report into the trial and conviction of Yulia Tymoshenko. He was in no way responsible for those costs. Neither Mr. Pinchuk nor companies affiliated with him have ever been a client of Skadden. Mr. Pinchuk and his team had no role in the work done by Skadden, including in the preparation or dissemination of the Skadden report.”

Pinchuk is the founder of Interpipe, a steel pipe manufacturer. He owns Credit Dnipro Bank, several ferroalloy plants and a media empire. He is married to Elena Pinchuk, the daughter of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.

Pinchuk has been accused of profiting immensely from the purchase of state-owned assets at severely below-market prices through political favoritism.

Between April 4 and April 12, 2016, Ukrainian parliamentarian Olga Bielkova had four meetings, with Samuel Charap (International Institute for Strategic Studies), Liz Zentos (National Security Council), Michael Kimmage (State Department), and David Kramer (McCain Institute).

FARA documents filed by Schoen showed that he was paid $40,000 a month by Pinchuk (page 5)—in part to arrange these meetings.

Schoen attempted to arrange another 72 meetings with congressmen and media (page 10). It’s unknown how many of these meetings, if any, took place.

In September 2013, Pinchuk pays Clinton to appear at a YES event promoting Ukrainian membership of the European Union, break with Russia, and regime change in Kiev and Moscow. (Credit: Pinchuk Foundation)

Schoen also helped Pinchuk establish ties with the Clinton Foundation. The Wall Street Journal reported on March 19, 2015, how Schoen connected Pinchuk with senior Clinton State Department staffers in order to pressure former Ukrainian President Yanukovych to release Tymoshenko–a political rival of Yanukovych–from jail. And the relationship between Pinchuk and the Clintons continued. According to the Kyiv Post:

“Clinton and her husband Bill, the 42nd U.S. president, have been paid speakers at the annual YES and other Pinchuk events. They describe themselves as friends of Pinchuk, who is known internationally as a businessman and philanthropist.”

Although exact numbers aren’t clear, reports filed by the Clinton Foundation indicate that as much as $25 million of Pinchuk’s donations went to the Clinton organization.

Pinchuk also has ties to Leshchenko, the Ukrainian MP who leaked the information on Manafort. Leshchenko had been a frequent speaker at the Ukrainian Breakfast, a traditional private event held at Davos, Switzerland, and hosted by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation and has also been pictured with Pinchuk at multiple other events.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 4/26/2019)

November 2015 – Employment of Nellie Ohr by Fusion GPS Raises New Questions

Bruce and Nellie Ohr (Credit: public domain)

“One of the bombshell admissions from a closed-door testimony by DOJ official Bruce Ohr was that his wife, Nellie Ohr, was working for opposition research firm Fusion GPS already in late 2015.

Previously, it had been reported that Nellie Ohr was hired to find dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump in the spring of 2016.

“Ohr testified that Fusion approached his wife for a job and that she began working for the research firm in late 2015,” the Daily Caller reported.

In addition to the new time-frame for Nellie Ohr’s employment, Bruce Ohr also confirmed that former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, FBI Agent Peter Strzok, and FBI Special Counsel Lisa Page all knew he was talking to former British MI6 spy, Christopher Steele, who compiled the now-infamous opposition research dossier on Trump, which was used as the core evidence of an application for a [Title 1] Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to surveil Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.

More importantly, Ohr also informed Justice Department prosecutor Andrew Weissmann about his dossier-related work and interactions with Steele. Ohr made these internal disclosures before Weissmann joined special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The Mueller Team has known of Ohr’s involvement with the Steele Dossier from the start of their formal investigation.

These events are likely intertwined. To understand why, we need to revisit an April 26, 2017unsealed FISA Court Ruling, that was declassified by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

There is a staggering amount of information contained within the ruling, including these two disclosures:

“NSA estimates that approximately eighty-five percent of those queries, representing [Redacted] queries conducted by approximately [Redacted] targeted offices, were not compliant with the applicable minimization procedures.”

“The FBI had disclosed raw FISA information, including but not limited to Section 702-acquired information, to a [Redacted] … is largely staffed by private contractors … the [Redacted] contractors had access to raw FISA information that went well beyond what was necessary to respond to the FBI’s requests.”

The Court said these practices had been going on since at least November 2015 and noted that “there is no apparent reason to believe the November 2015-April 2016 period coincided with an unusually high error rate.”

The FISA Court also pointed out that the government could not say how, when, or where the non-compliant information was used. Once an individual had access to the information, it could no longer be traced or tracked.

What the FISA Court disclosed is alarming in its simplicity.

Illegal NSA Database searches were endemic. Private contractors, employed by the FBI, were given full access to the NSA Database. Once in their possession, the FISA Data could not be traced.

Which brings us back to the original question: What was Nellie Ohr doing in 2015? And who were the FBI’s private contractors? (Much more: themarketswork, 9/02/2018)

December 21, 2015 – Bill Priestap is unaware a key conduit for Steele to the FBI is DOJ official, Bruce Ohr

(…) “The FBI relied in large part on allegations contained in the so-called Steele dossier in obtaining a FISA warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The author of the dossier, former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, as well as the company he was hired by, Fusion GPS, were both feeding information to the FBI through different channels.

A key conduit for Steele to the FBI was high-ranking DOJ official Bruce Ohr.

Asked if he was familiar with Ohr, Priestap told lawmakers, “I think I’ve seen Bruce Ohr, but I don’t think I’ve ever been in a meeting with Bruce Ohr.” Priestap also said he never worked with Ohr on a counterintelligence investigation, which would include the FBI’s investigation into Trump-Russia collusion:

Ms. Shen: So you have never worked with Bruce Ohr on a counterintelligence —

Mr. Priestap: I have not, no.

Priestap appeared to be completely unaware of the role that Ohr played in the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation into the Trump campaign—or of Ohr’s meetings with the FBI.

On July 30, 2016, Ohr had a breakfast meeting with Steele. In the days immediately following this meeting, Ohr met with McCabe and Page in McCabe’s FBI office.

In either late September or early October 2016, Ohr had another meeting—this time with Strzok, Page, and two or three DOJ career officials from the criminal division: Bruce Swartz, Zainab Ahmad, and Andrew Weissman (Ohr testified that he was unsure whether Weismann was at this or a later meeting).

On Nov. 21, 2016, Ohr had an additional meeting with Strzok and Page where he was introduced to FBI agent Joe Pientka, who would become Ohr’s FBI handler. Pientka was also present with Strzok during the Jan. 24, 2017, interview of then-national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

On the following day, Nov. 22, 2016, Ohr met alone with Pientka. Ohr would continue to relay his communications with Steele to Pientka. Unbeknownst to Ohr, Pientka was transmitting all the information directly to Strzok for use in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation Priestap was overseeing.” (The Epoch Times, 1/31/2019)

Late December 2015 – Brennan’s role in disseminating “unofficial” foreign intelligence to the FBI

John Brennan (Credit: Twitter)

“In late 2015, Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) was involved in collecting information regarding then-candidate Donald Trump and transmitting it to the United States. The GCHQ is the UK equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

Brennan appears to have played an instrumental role in passing on unofficial foreign intelligence—primarily from the UK, but also from other Five Eyes members, such as Australia—to the FBI.

Brennan stated that during a May 23, 2017, congressional testimony:

“I made sure that anything that was involving U.S. persons, including anything involving the individuals involved in the Trump campaign, was shared with the [FBI],” Brennan said in his testimony.

Brennan also stated that it was his intelligence that helped establish the FBI investigation:

“I was aware of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons that raised concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals were cooperating with the Russians, either in a witting or unwitting fashion, and it served as the basis for the FBI investigation to determine whether such collusion [or] cooperation occurred,” Brennan said.

According to The NY Times, one area of specific focus for Durham is the Intelligence Community Assessment, or ICA, which was the last of three reports produced by Brennan and Clapper and was released on Jan. 6, 2017.

The final report, “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections,” significantly propelled the allegation that Trump had colluded with Russia into the public sphere. Notably, Adm. Mike Rogers, who at the time was director of the National Security Agency, publicly dissented from the findings of the ICA, assigning it only a moderate confidence level.

Justice Department (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz recently determined that, despite repeated assurances by members of the Intelligence Community to the contrary, “unverified information from Steele’s dossier”—referring to the opposition research paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee—was used “in an interagency assessment of Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 elections.”

Horowitz did note that the CIA was somewhat reluctant to include Christopher Steele’s reporting in their assessments but that “the FBI, including [Director James] Comey and [Deputy Director Andrew] McCabe, sought to include the reporting in the ICA [intelligence community assessment].”

While Brennan has publicly denied using the dossier for the ICA, he did attach a two-page summary of the dossier to the intelligence community assessment that he, along with Clapper and Comey, delivered to President Barack Obama on Jan. 5, 2017.

According to Horowitz, former FBI Director James Comey said that Brennan and Clapper “thought it was important enough and consistent enough that it ought to be part of the package in some way, and so they had come up with this idea to make an [appendix].”

Brennan has claimed that he didn’t see the dossier until “later” in 2016. He also stated in his congressional testimony that the CIA didn’t rely on the Steele dossier and that it “was not in any way used as a basis for the intelligence community assessment that was done.”

However, this claim was countered during the July 16, 2018 testimony of former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, when the following discussion took place regarding Brennan’s August 2016 briefing of then-Sen. Harry Reid:

Rep. Mark Meadows: “We have documents that would suggest that in that briefing the dossier was mentioned to Harry Reid and then, obviously, we’re going to have to have conversations. Does that surprise you that Director Brennan would be aware of [the dossier]?”

Lisa Page: “Yes, sir. Because with all due honesty, if Director Brennan – so we got that information from our source, right? The FBI got this information from our source. If the CIA had another source of that information, I am neither aware of that nor did the CIA provide it to us if they did.”

(Read more: Jeff Carlson/themarketswork, 2/13/2020)  (Archive)

December 2015-2016: The various UK and Australian intelligence officials involved in Spygate and Russiagate

“Luke Harding, a journalist for The Guardian, reported on the early involvement of UK intelligence, noting that Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) was engaged in collecting information and transmitting it to the United States beginning in late 2015.

Additionally, in the summer of 2016, Robert Hannigan, then-head of GCHQ, traveled to Washington to personally meet with then-CIA Director John Brennan. The BBC reported that Brennan’s involvement may have gone back to April 2016.

 

Robert Hannigan, Richard Dearlove and Andrew Wood

Brennan appears to have used the foreign intelligence to launch an interagency investigation of the Trump campaign. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper personally confirmed foreign intelligence involvement during congressional testimony on May 18, 2017.

Steele reportedly met with a number of UK officials regarding his dossier and investigation of Trump, including former MI6 head Richard Dearlove, who is also Steele’s former boss, and Andrew Wood, the former British ambassador to Russia.

Chris Burrows, Alex Younger and Andrew Parker

Dearlove advised Steele and his partner, Chris Burrows, to work with a “top British government official” to pass information to the FBI.

The Telegraph reported that Steele met with Charles Farr, the former chairman of Britain’s Joint Intelligence Committee, on two separate occasions to inform him of the events and information contained within his dossier. The two men, both former MI6 agents, had known each other for decades. The first meeting was reported as being in mid-November 2016, one week after the 2016 presidential election.

Alex Younger, the MI6 chief, and Andrew Parker, the MI5 director general, were then briefed about the dossier—before Trump was made aware of its existence by Comey.

Additionally, Alexander Downer, the Australian diplomat, met with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos in May 2016, in a meeting established through a chain of two intermediaries.

Charles Farr, Christopher Steele and Alexander Downer

Information allegedly relayed by Papadopoulos during the meeting—that the Russians had damaging information on Hillary Clinton—appears nearly identical to information later contained in the first memo from Steele that the FBI obtained in early July 2016.

Downer’s conversation with Papadopoulos was reportedly disclosed to the FBI on July 22, 2016, through channels with the Australian government. Details from the conversation between Downer and Papadopoulos were then used by the FBI to open its counterintelligence investigation on July 31, 2016.” (Read more: themarketswork, 7/06/2019)  (Archive)

Late 2015 – Early 2016: ICIG McCullough sends a team to the FBI to detail the anomaly that was found on Clinton’s server

Charles McCullough (Credit: Fox News)

“In either late 2015 or early 2016, the IC inspector general, Chuck McCullough, sent Frank Rucker and Janette McMillan to meet with the FBI in order to detail the anomaly that had been uncovered. That meeting was attended by four individuals, including Strzok, then-Executive Assistant Director John Giacalone, and then-Section Chief Dean Chappell. The identity of the fourth individual remains unknown, though Moffa, who also met with the IG at various times, is a possible candidate. Charles Kable, who also met with the ICIG at several points, is another possible candidate.

Priestap testified that he had not been briefed on the Clinton server anomaly by Strzok, noting “this would have been a big deal.”

“I am not aware of any evidence that demonstrated that. I’m also not aware of any evidence that my team or anybody reporting to me on this had advised me that there were anomalies that couldn’t be accounted for. I don’t recall that,” he said.

Priestap’s admission that this was all new information to him, prompted an observation from Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) that Strzok appeared to be exercising significant investigative control:

Mr. Meadows: “It sounds like Peter Strzok was kind of driving the train here. Would you agree with that?”

Mr. Priestap: “Peter and Jon, yeah.”

As Meadows noted during testimony, this matter still had to be officially “closed out” by the FBI before the official closing of the Clinton investigation. Strzok personally called the IC inspector general within minutes of Comey’s July 5, 2016, press conference on the Clinton investigation, telling him that the FBI would be sending a “referral to close it out.”

Meadows seemed genuinely surprised that Strzok had apparently kept this information successfully hidden from Priestap, noting, “I’m a Member from North Carolina, and you’re saying that I have better intel than you do?” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/31/2019)

January 19, 2016 – The Obama administration pressures Ukraine to Investigate Manafort

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko (l) and Joe Biden pose for the media prior to meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 20, 2016. (Credit: Michel Euler/Reuters)

“In January 2016, top Ukrainian corruption prosecutors and officials from Obama’s National Security Council (NSC), FBI, State Department and Department of Justice (DOJ) met in Washington, according to an April 26 article by The Hill.

The meeting, which was reportedly billed as “training,” apparently also touched on two other matters—the revival of a closed investigation into payments to U.S. figures from Ukraine’s Russia-backed Party of Regions and the closure of an ongoing Ukrainian investigation into Burisma.

According to The Hill’s reporting, the Ukrainian Embassy confirmed that meetings were held, but said it “had no record that the Party of Regions or Burisma cases came up in the meetings.”

A Jan. 22, 2016, NABU press release confirmed that NABU Director Artem Sytnyk was in Washington from Jan. 19 to 21.

At the same time as the NABU meeting with Obama officials, Vice President Biden also met with senior Ukrainian officials. On Jan. 21, 2016, Biden met with Poroshenko, the president of Ukraine. According to the White House release, the two leaders agreed “to continue to move forward on Ukraine’s anti-corruption agenda.”

Biden shakes hands with Ukraine Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman in Biden’s ceremonial office in Washington DC, June 15, 2016. (Credit: The Associated Press)

Just six days earlier, on Jan 15, 2016, Biden had met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, promising to commit $220 million in new assistance to Ukraine that year.

Notably, several months later, Sytnyk and Ukrainian Member of Parliament Serhiy Leshchenko would publicly disclose the contents of the Ukrainian “black ledger” to the media, which implicated Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort. The revelation would force Manafort from the campaign.

Leshchenko also served as a source for various individuals, including journalist Michael Isikoff and Democratic National Committee (DNC) operative Alexandra Chalupa. In addition, Leshchenko served as a direct source of information for Fusion GPS—and its researcher, former CIA contractor Nellie Ohr.

Another Ukrainian-related meeting also took place in January 2016 when Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American, informed an unknown senior DNC official that she believed there was a Russian connection with the Trump campaign. Notably, this theme would be picked up by the Clinton campaign in the summer of 2016. Chalupa also told the official to expect Manafort’s involvement in the Trump campaign.

Alexandra Chalupa (Credit: public domain)

How Chalupa knew to expect Manafort’s involvement with the Trump campaign in January remains unknown, but her forecast proved prescient, as Manafort reached out to the Trump campaign shortly after, on Feb. 29, 2016, through a mutual acquaintance, Thomas J. Barrack Jr. According to Manafort, he and Trump hadn’t been in communication for years until the Trump campaign responded to Manafort’s offer.

As The Epoch Times previously reported, on May 30, 2016, Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr sent an email to her husband, high-ranking DOJ official Bruce Ohr, and three other DOJ officials to alert them of the discovery of the “Reported Trove of Documents on Ukrainian Party of Regions’ ‘Black Cashbox.’” It was this discovery that led to Manafort’s resignation from the Trump campaign in August 2016.

On Aug. 14, 2016, The New York Times published an article alleging that payments to Manafort had been uncovered from the Party of Regents’ “black box”—the 400-page handwritten ledger released by Leshchenko. The article proved to be a fatal blow for Manafort, who resigned from the Trump campaign just days later. (Read more: The Epoch Times, 4/26/2019)

April 18, 2016 – NSA Director Rogers shuts down all outside contractor access to raw FISA information, particularly contractors working for the FBI

(…) “In March of 2016, NSA Director Rogers became aware of improper access to raw FISA data (Page 83 of Court Ruling).

In April of 2016, Rogers directed the NSA’s Office of Compliance to conduct a “fundamental baseline review of compliance associated with 702” (Senate testimony & Page 83-84 of Court Ruling).

On April 18, 2016, Rogers shut down all outside contractor access to raw FISA information – specifically outside contractors working for the FBI. The discovery that outside contractors were accessing raw FISA data is probably the event that precipitated Rogers ordering a full compliance review (Page 84 of Court Ruling).

On April 18, 2016, both the FBI and DOJ’s NSD become aware of Rogers’ compliance review. They may have known earlier but they were certainly aware after outside contractor access was halted. (Read more: themarketswork.com, 4/05/2018)

May 3, 2016 – DNC Alexandra Chalupa writes to DNC Luis Miranda, about Isikoff, Manafort, and “a big Trump component that will hit in the next few weeks”

From a Wikileaks email sent by Alexandra Chalupa to Luis Miranda, Communications Director of the DNC:

(Credit: Wikileaks)

Two points.

Open World is a supposedly non-partisan Congressional agency.

Michael Isikoff is the same journalist Christopher Steele leaked to in September 2016:

The Carter Page FISA application extensively cited a September 23, 2016, Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, which focused on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow. This information was used to corroborate the Steele Dossier.

Steele leaked to Isikoff who wrote the article for Yahoo News. The Isikoff article was then used to help obtain a Title I FISA grant to gather information on Page. This search was then leaked by Steele to David Corn at Mother Jones.

Isikoff accompanied Chalupa to a reception at the Ukrainian Embassy immediately after the Library of Congress event.

Remember when we learned last week that Michael Isikoff’s Fusion GPS-supplied “reporting” was used as evidence to confirm supposed veracity of TrumpRussia dossier?

He was simultaneously recruited by DNC/Clinton to dig up anti-Trump dirt.

h/t Wikileaks https://t.co/k4A46mnH0H pic.twitter.com/5lxZDQICLW

— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) February 6, 2018

(Read more: themarketswork.com, 3/09/2018)

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 30, 2016 – Nellie Ohr sends an email titled “Reported Trove of Documents on Ukrainian Party of Regions’ ‘Black Cashbox’

Nikolai Holmov (Credit: Twitter)

“On May 30, 2016, Nellie Ohr sent an email to Bruce Ohr, Holtyn, Ivana Nizich, and Joe Wheatley—then both trial attorneys in the DOJ’s Organized Crime and Gang Section. Nizich had previously worked for Bruce Ohr. The email held a subject line that read “Reported Trove of Documents on Ukrainian Party of Regions’ ‘Black Cashbox.’” Within the email was the text from an article penned the day before by Nikolai Holmov, a blogger at Odessatalk, with the title bolded and enlarged. It also contained a link to the underlying article.

“Documentation regarding that Party of Regions’ ‘chyornaya kasse’ has now seemingly found its way to NABU, the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau,” the article stated.

The article contained a tweet that led to another article, in Russian, from May 28, 2016, providing further details on the “chyornaya kasse” or black box ledger:

“On Saturday, published in the Weekly Mirror, Ukraine, an interview was made public with the former First Deputy Head of the Security Service of Ukraine Viktor Trepak, who claims that he handed over documents confirming illegal payments of cash by the Party of Regions to a number of former and current senior officials. According to him, we are talking about the so-called “black bookkeeping” of the Party of Regions with total payments of about $2 billion.”

Trepak reportedly claimed his information regarding the more than $2 billion fund implicated “officials of the highest level, ministers and heads of departments, people’s deputies, famous politicians, public figures, representatives of international organizations, judges, including the highest judicial instances.”

(UPDATE) Interestingly, when one goes to Holmov’s Twitter feed, the last retweet sent (as of publication of this article) was on Jan. 11, 2019. It is a retweet of an announcement from Mark Galeotti that he was “joining the pre-eminent security think tank @RUSI_org as a Senior Associate Fellow.” Galeotti, as previously mentioned, had been referenced with some frequency in Ohr’s emails. In addition to being the author of numerous articles, Galeotti penned an article for Tablet Magazine, titled, “The ‘Trump Dossier,’ or How Russia Helped America Break Itself.”

Some questions raised in Holmov’s article would later prove prescient. “Have copies of these documents made their way to other, perhaps foreign security services? To what end?” he asked. “If there are foreign personalities involved, are those relevant documents to be shared with those nations—and when?”

Holmov addressed the motivations of the person responsible for disclosing the ledger, noting, “Not all informants are informants for cash reward—there are other (and perhaps more dangerous) motivators.”

He also wondered about the timing, observing that the documents had “not just appeared from nowhere. Somebody has kept it, knowing it to be what it is, for quite some time. Thus why now has it come to light and been given to the authorities?”

Interestingly, Holmov noted that no names or specifics have been made public “for now” as any such disclosure “could very well impede subsequent investigations by NABU.”  A Ukrainian court later determined that a NABU official played a role in the leaking of documents to The New York Times.

Nellie’s May 30, 2016, email would prove prophetic. It alerted officials within the Justice Department of a discovery that would have far-reaching implications for Manafort—and the Trump campaign—months before the news reached a national level. (Read more: themarketswork, 4/11/2019)  (Archive)

June 20, 2016 – Michael Gaeta, former member of the FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime unit, becomes Christopher Steele’s dossier handler

Franco Roberti, (l) Italy’s chief anti-mafia and anti-terrorism prosecutor, and Michael Gaeta, (r) an FBI agent and current Assistant Legal Attaché at the US Embassy, for “A Roundtable Discussion: The Challenges of Transnational Organized Crime Today” on October 25, 2016. (Credit: John Cabot.edu)

“A little-known FBI unit played an outsized role in allowing controversial claims by a former British MI6 spy about Donald Trump to reach the highest levels of the FBI and State Department.

The Eurasian Organized Crime unit, which was headed by Michael Gaeta at the time, specializes in investigating criminal groups from Georgia, Russia, and Ukraine.

Gaeta, an FBI agent and assistant legal attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, has known the former spy, Christopher Steele—who authored the controversial dossier on then-candidate Donald Trump—since at least 2010, when Steele provided assistance in the FBI’s investigation into the FIFA corruption scandal, over concern that Russia might have been engaging in bribery to host the 2018 World Cup.

(…) Steele would complete his first memo on June 20, 2016, and send it to Fusion via enciphered mail.

It is at this point that Steele reportedly began to reconnect with his old FBI contacts from the Eurasian serious-crime division:

“In June, Steele flew to Rome to brief the FBI contact with whom he had cooperated over FIFA,” The Guardian reported. “His information started to reach the bureau in Washington.”

It’s not entirely clear if Steele met with the head of the Eurasian division, Gaeta, or another FBI agent. Either way, Steele met with Gaeta shortly thereafter in London.

The purpose of the London visit was clear. Steele was personally handing the first memo in his dossier to Gaeta for ultimate transmission back to the FBI and the State Department.

Victoria Nuland (Credit: CBS, Face the Nation)

For this visit, the FBI sought permission from the office of Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. Nuland, who had been the recipient of many of Steele’s reports, gave permission for the more formal meeting. On July 5, 2016, Gaeta traveled to London and met with Steele at the office’s of Steele’s firm, Orbis.

Nuland provided this version of events during a Feb. 4, 2018appearance on Face the Nation:

“In the middle of July, when he [Steele] was doing this other work and became concerned, he passed two to four pages of short points of what he was finding and our immediate reaction to that was, this is not in our purview. This needs to go to the FBI if there is any concern here that one candidate or the election as a whole might be influenced by the Russian Federation. That’s something for the FBI to investigate.”

In September 2016, Steel would travel back to Rome to meet with the FBI Eurasian squad once again. It’s likely that the meeting contained several other FBI officials as well:

“In September, Steele went back to Rome. There, he met with an FBI team. Their response was one of ‘shock and horror,’ Steele said,” according to The Guardian. “The bureau asked him to explain how he had compiled his reports, and to give background on his sources. It asked him to send future copies.”

According to a House Intelligence Committee minority memo, Steele’s reporting didn’t reach the FBI counterintelligence team until mid-September 2016—the same time as Steele’s September trip to Rome.

There’s one other central figure in the Trump–Russia investigation who had meaningful overlap with the FBI’s Eurasian squad: former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe:

“McCabe began his career as a special agent with the FBI in 1996,” the FBI states on its website. “He first reported to the New York division, where he investigated a variety of organized crime matters. In 2003, he became the supervisory special agent of the Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force.”

McCabe remained with the Eurasian squad until 2006, when he was moved to FBI headquarters in Washington.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 9/29/2018)

July 5, 2016 – Michael Gaeta travels to London, meets with Christopher Steele and is referred to as his “FBI handler”

Lisa Page references Christopher Steele’s FBI handler during her testimony July 13, 2018:

An Orbis Business Intelligence ad that states, “”We provide strategic advice, mount intelligence-gathering operations and conduct complex, often cross-border investigations.” (Credit: public domain)

“When the FBI first receives the reports that are known as the dossier from an FBI agent who is Christopher Steele’s handler in September of 2016 at that time, we do not know who—we don’t know why these reports have been generated.”

Steele’s handler is almost certainly Michael Gaeta, head of the FBI’s Eurasian Crime Squad. Gaeta, an FBI agent and also assistant legal attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, has known the former MI6 spy since at least 2010, when Steele provided assistance in the FBI’s investigation into the FIFA corruption scandal over concern that Russia might have been engaging in bribery to host the 2018 World Cup.

On July 5, 2016, Gaeta traveled to London and met with Steele at the offices of Steele’s firm, Orbis. For this visit, the FBI sought permission from the office of Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. Nuland, who had been the recipient of many of Steele’s reports, gave permission for the more formal meeting.

Nuland provided this version of events during a Feb. 4, 2018, appearance on CBS News’ “Face the Nation”:

“In the middle of July, when he [Steele] was doing this other work and became concerned, he passed two to four pages of short points of what he was finding and our immediate reaction to that was, this is not in our purview. This needs to go to the FBI if there is any concern here that one candidate or the election as a whole might be influenced by the Russian Federation. That’s something for the FBI to investigate.”

In September 2016, Steele would travel back to Rome to meet with the FBI Eurasian squad again. It was at this meeting that Steele gave a copy of his dossier—what there was of it at that time—to the FBI counterintelligence team investigators.

One individual who had previous involvement with the Eurasian Crime Squad was former FBI Deputy Director McCabe:

“McCabe began his career as a special agent with the FBI in 1996,” the FBI states on its website. “He first reported to the New York division, where he investigated a variety of organized crime matters. In 2003, he became the supervisory special agent of the Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force.”

McCabe remained with the Eurasian squad until 2006, when he was moved to FBI headquarters in Washington.

The question that has yet to be answered was who, exactly, did Gaeta give the dossier to and when. Was it transmitted to FBI leadership? If so, why did the counterintelligence team have to travel to Rome in September to get their first copy from Steele?

And finally, potentially the biggest question: Did Brennan receive a copy of the dossier via Gaeta—or whomever he transmitted a copy to—in the summer of 2016 following Gaeta’s return?” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/11/2019)

July 31, 2016 – August 2019: The FBI agent who interviews Gen. Flynn, Joseph Pientka, plays a critical role in Trump campaign investigation

This is the only known photo of Joseph Pientka (far left) found in the Washingtonian and dated in 2007. (Credit: Vincent Ricard)

(…) In a report released in December by Horowitz on the FBI’s FISA abuse during its investigation into the Trump campaign, the role of an unidentified FBI supervisory special agent (SSA)—described in Horowitz’s report as “SSA 1”—was featured prominently throughout. The description of events and dates match the public information on Pientka’s actions, and on Dec. 13, Pientka was confirmed by Fox News as being “SSA 1.”

The inspector general report noted that all the participating members of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team were selected by Strzok, Pientka, and “the Intel Section chief,” who is almost certainly intelligence analyst Jonathan Moffa, who, according to July 16, 2018, testimony from Lisa Page, worked on both the Clinton and Trump investigations with Strzok.

On page xviii of the inspector general report, it was disclosed that Pientka was running the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign as its supervisor. Pientka also was the agent who provided defensive briefings to the Trump and Clinton campaigns in August 2016.

“We learned during the course of our review that in August 2016, the supervisor of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, SSA 1 [Pientka], participated on behalf of the FBI in a strategic intelligence briefing given by Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to candidate Trump and his national security advisors, including Michael Flynn, and in a separate strategic intelligence briefing given to candidate Clinton and her national security advisors,” the report states.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), during congressional testimony given by Horowitz, noted that the FBI used this meeting as an opportunity to effectively spy on the Trump campaign and gather further information—a characterization that Horowitz agreed with. Horowitz also said in his testimony he was concerned about this practice:

Sen. Graham: “So when we get defensively briefed tomorrow, would it be okay for FBI agents to open up 302s on what we said?”

Mr. Horowitz: “We have very significant concerns about that.”

Horowitz noted in his report that Pientka was specifically selected to “provide the FBI briefings, in part, because Flynn, who was a subject in the ongoing Crossfire Hurricane investigation, would be attending the Trump campaign briefing.”

Just prior to this defensive briefing, on Aug. 1, 2016, Strzok and Pientka “traveled to the European city to interview the FFG [Friendly Foreign Government] officials who met with Papadopoulos in May 2016.” The IG report noted that “during the interview they learned that Papadopoulos did not say that he had direct contact with the Russians.”

It also appears that Pientka was in charge of selecting the Confidential Human Sources (CHS) that were used against George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, Paul Manafort, and Flynn:

“In determining how to use CHSs in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, SSA 1 and the case agents told the OIG that they focused their CHS operations on the predicating information and the four named subjects,” the inspector general report states.

The report describes “a consensually recorded meeting in August 2016 between Carter Page and an FBI CHS.” The IG noted that Pientka and “Case Agent 1 told the OIG that this meeting was important for the investigation.” But it appears that important information from this meeting was left out of the Page FISA application.

In footnote 197, the IG noted that “Page’s comment about his lack of a relationship with Manafort was relevant to one of the allegations in the Steele reporting that was relied upon in the Carter Page FISA applications, but information about the August 2016 CHS meeting was not shared with the OI attorneys handling the FISA applications until June 2017.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 12/30/2019)  (Archive)

August 4, 2016 – Did the CIA attempt to withhold information from FBI about their source inside the Kremlin?

John Brennan (Credit: Twitter)

The NY Times notes that over the last several months, “Durham and his team have examined emails among a small group of intelligence analysts from multiple agencies, including the C.I.A., F.B.I., and National Security Agency, who worked together to assess the Russian operation.”

Durham has reportedly interviewed these analysts and has specifically focused on information that the CIA reportedly attempted to withhold from other agencies—including the identity and placement of a CIA source inside the Kremlin.

The article noted that intelligence analysts at the NSA wanted to know more about the “identity and placement” of a specific Russian source, in order “to weigh the credibility of his information.” But, according to the article, the CIA “was initially reluctant to share details about the Russian’s identity but eventually relented.”

Information about the alleged Russian CIA spy was first reported in September 2019 by the NY Times and was the focus of an article by The Epoch Times.

The New York Times noted in the article that the source was “outside of Mr. Putin’s inner circle, but saw him regularly and had access to high-level Kremlin decision-making — easily making the source one of the agency’s most valuable assets.”

But the article also noted that there were some doubts within the CIA. Following the refusal of extraction in late 2016, some officials within the CIA “wondered whether the informant had been turned and had become a double agent, secretly betraying his American handlers.”

The CIA’s Russian source was apparently highly regarded by Brennan, who felt the identity of the source was so important that, according to the NY Times article, he “kept information from the operative out of President Barack Obama’s daily brief in 2016.”

“Instead, Mr. Brennan sent separate intelligence reports, many based on the source’s information, in special sealed envelopes to the Oval Office,” according to the article.

But the nature of the source raises some significant questions. If, for example, the source was indeed so highly placed, why then was the United States so seemingly ill-informed regarding many of Russia’s foreign policy actions, particularly in Syria or Crimea, when Russia forcibly annexed the peninsula from Ukraine?

And if this asset was indeed so highly placed, how is it that Russia was able to hack the DNC’s servers and extract their emails without the CIA’s advance knowledge of the alleged Russian activities?

June 2017 article from The Washington Post had previously touched on the existence of a “Russian source,” noting that Brennan had received “an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.”

The Post noted that “the intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives—defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.”

This was the same information that Brennan reportedly conveyed “in special sealed envelopes to the Oval Office.” However, as the Post noted, “despite the intelligence the CIA had produced, other agencies were slower to endorse a conclusion that Putin was personally directing the operation and wanted to help Trump.”

There is another significant problem, as well. The Mueller report, after two lengthy years of investigation, concluded there was no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, thereby proving a key part of the alleged Russian activities incorrect.” (Read more: Jeff Carlson/themarketswork, 2/13/2020)  (Archive)

September 26, 2016: John Carlin, the former NSD head who enables the FBI’s Carter Page FISA warrant

John Carlin (Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi/The National Law Journal)

John Carlin was an Assistant Attorney General – and Head of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division (NSD).

On September 27, 2016, Carlin announced his resignation. He formally left the NSD on October 15, 2016. Carlin had been named Acting Assistant Attorney General in March 2013 and was confirmed in the spring of 2014.

Carlin had previously served as chief of staff to then-FBI Director Robert S. Mueller.

Carlin was replaced with Mary McCord – who would later accompany Acting Attorney General Sally Yates to see White House Counsel Don McGahn regarding General Michael Flynn.

Carlin announced his resignation exactly one day after he filed the Government’s proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications. His signature can be found on page 31.

This filing would be subject to intense criticism from the FISA Court following disclosures made by NSA Director Rogers. Significant changes to the handling of raw FISA data would result.

Section 702 is part of the broader FISA Act and permits the government to target for surveillance foreign persons located outside the United States for the purpose of acquiring foreign intelligence information.

Instead of issuing individual court orders, Section 702 requires the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to provide the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) with annual certifications that specify categories of foreign intelligence information the government is authorized to acquire pursuant to Section 702.

The Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence must also certify that Intelligence Community elements will follow targeting procedures and minimization procedures that are approved by the FISC as part of the annual certification.

The National Security Division and Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) are jointly required to routinely review all Intelligence Agency U.S. person queries of content to ensure the Section 702 queries satisfy the legal standard.

The NSD – with notice to the ODNI – is required to report any incidents of Agency noncompliance or misconduct to the FISA Court.

Again, John Carlin was Head of the NSD.

At the time Carlin’s sudden resignation went mostly unnoticed.

But there was more to the story.

Here is the official explanation as provided by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence:

After submitting its 2016 Certifications in September 2016, the Department of Justice and ODNI learned, in October 2016, about additional information related to previously reported compliance incidents and reported that additional information to the FISC. The NSA also self-reported the information to oversight bodies, as required by law. These compliance incidents related to the NSA’s inadvertent use of U.S. person identifiers to query NSA’s “upstream” Internet collection acquired pursuant to Section 702.

The FISA Court was more direct in a 99-page April 26, 2017 unsealed FISA Court Ruling.

On October 24, 2016, the government orally apprised the Court of significant non-compliance with the NSA’s minimization procedures involving queries of data acquired under Section 702 using U.S. person identifiers. The full scope of non-compliant querying practices had not been previously disclosed to the Court. Two days later, on the day the Court otherwise would have had to complete its review of the certifications and procedures, the government made a written submission regarding those compliance problems…and the Court held a hearing to address them.

Here’s what actually happened:
(Read more: themarketswork.com, 5/21/2018)

September 26, 2016 – NSD head John Carlin files 2016 Section 702 certifications and fails to disclose the FBI’s use of private contractors and an IG report critical of queries

The DOJ’s NSD maintains oversight of the intelligence agencies’ use of Section 702 authority. The NSD and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) jointly conduct reviews of the intelligence agencies’ Section 702 activities every 60 days. The NSD—with notice to the ODNI—is required to report any incidents of agency noncompliance or misconduct to the FISA court.

Instead of issuing individual court orders, Section 702 requires the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to provide the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) with annual certifications that specify categories of foreign intelligence information the government is authorized to acquire, pursuant to Section 702.

John Carlin (Credit: PBS)

The Attorney General and the DNI must also certify that Intelligence Community agencies will follow targeting procedures and minimization procedures that are approved by the FISC as part of the certification.

On Sept. 26, 2016, NSD head John Carlin filed the government’s proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications. Carlin knew the general status of Rogers’s compliance review. The NSD was part of the review.

In his filing, Carlin failed to disclose a Jan. 7, 2016inspector general report that was highly critical of agency controls for monitoring query compliance. Carlin also failed to disclose the FBI’s use of private contractors and Rogers’s ongoing compliance review.

On Sept. 27, 2016, the day after he filed the annual certifications, Carlin announced his resignation, which would become effective on Oct. 15, 2016.

On Oct. 4, 2016, a standard follow-up court hearing was held (Page 19), with Carlin present. Again, he made no disclosure of FISA abuse or other related issues. This lack of disclosure would be noted by the court later in the April 2017 ruling:

“The government’s failure to disclose those IG and OCO reviews at the October 4, 2016 hearing [was ascribed] to an institutional “lack of candor.”

On Oct. 15, 2016, Carlin formally left the NSD. (Read more: The Epoch Times, 6/18/2019)  (Archive)

October 11, 2016 – State official Kathleen Kavalec’s notes quote Christopher Steele saying,“the Russians have succeeded in placing an agent inside the DNC.”

From Kathleen Kavalec’s notes: “[Steele] undertook the investigation into the Russia/Trump connection at the behest of an institution he declined to identify that had been hacked. [Steele said his client] is keen to see this information come to light prior to November 8 [Election Day].” (Credit: Sinclair Broadcast Group)

“A recently released State Department memo revealed that dossier author Christopher Steele met with Kathleen Kavalec, then-deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs, on Oct. 11, 2016, just 10 days prior to the FBI obtaining a FISA warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page on Oct. 21, 2016.

(…) As noted in a May 10, 2019, letter sent by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Inspector General Michael Horowitz, “Ms. Kavalec’s contacts with Steel may have been the most significant and memorialized communications with him by a U.S. government official prior to the issuance of the Carter Page FISA warrant.”

In his letter, Graham attributes the following statement to Steele, which has received significant media attention:

“Ms. Kavalec met with Steele ten days prior to the issuance of the initial Carter Page FISA warrant and was told by Steele that he was ‘keen to see this information [the dossier] come to light prior to November 8.’”

It would seem likely that the “institution” Steele is referring to is the Democratic National Committee, whose claims of its servers being hacked by Russia have been widely reported. If indeed it was the DNC that wished to have the information come out prior to the 2016 presidential election, this would seem a far larger issue than personal wishes on the part of Steele.

Notably, we know from an Oct. 24, 2017response letter sent by Perkins Coie that the law firm engaged Fusion GPS “to assist in its representation of the DNC and Hillary for America” in April 2016. Fusion, in turn, hired Steele.

Kavalec, in her typed notes, also refers to leaks stemming from the alleged hack of the DNC emails. She quotes Steele as saying, “According to their source, while there will continue to be leaks of DNC material, ‘all the best stuff’ has already been leaked and there will not be any bombshells coming.”

In other words, Steele and his source claim to have direct knowledge of precisely what WikiLeaks had in their possession.

Steele also told Kavalec of “a technical/human operation run out of Moscow targeting the election.” In Kavalec’s notes, she disputes some of the details asserted by Steele—indicating these were both researched, and disproven.

Item 3 from Kavalec’s notes is short but also a potential bombshell. The only thing written is “the Russians have succeeded in placing an agent inside the DNC.” It doesn’t appear that the FBI has ever investigated this, nor is there any additional detail or clarity provided in Kavalec’s notes.

This item, combined with Kavalec’s dispute of earlier details, presents a problem for the FBI. Either Steele is a credible witness for the FBI, or he isn’t. If the FBI took his information seriously, there should have been parallel investigations of these other, equally serious claims. If this information was quickly proven false, why did the FBI use Steele as a primary source of evidence for the Page FISA?

The FBI told the FISA court that Steele’s “reporting has been corroborated and used in criminal proceedings and the FBI assesses [Steele] to be reliable.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 5/14/2019)

October 20, 2016 – The Uncovering – Mike Rogers’ Investigation, Section 702 FISA Abuse & the FBI

Dr. George Ellard (Credit: National War College)

(…) “On January 7, 2016, the NSA Inspector General, George Ellard, released a report on NSA Controls & FISA compliance. Starting on page ii:

Agency controls for monitoring query compliance have not been completely developed.

The Agency has no process to reliably identify queries performed using selectors associated with 704 and 705(b) targets.

The rest of the highlights are fully redacted. But more information lay within the report (pages 6-7):

We identified another [redacted] queries that were performed outside the targeting authorization periods in E.O. 12333 data, which is prohibited by the E.O. 12333 minimization procedures. We also identified queries performed using USP selectors in FAA §702 upstream data, which is prohibited by the FAA §702 minimization procedures.

Downstream collection involves the government acquiring data from the companies providing service to the user – like Google or Facebook.

However, some Section 702 collection is obtained via “upstream” collection.

In simple parlance, upstream collection means the NSA accesses the high capacity fiber optic cables that carry Internet traffic and copies all the data flowing through those cables.

The agency is then supposed to filter out any “wholly domestic” communications that are between Americans located in the U.S.

Data collected “incidentally” on U.S. Citizens is generally not destroyed. It is minimized. As we will see later, this became a problem.

Intelligence Agencies can then search the data using “To”, “From” or “About” queries on a target of Section 702 collection.

“About” queries are particularly worrisome.

They occur when the target is neither the sender nor the recipient of the collected communication – but the target’s selector, such as an email address, is being passed between two other communicants.

For more information see, FISA Surveillance – Title I & III and Section 702.”

(…) “About” queries were abruptly halted by NSA Director Mike Rogers on October 20, 2016. This was formally announced by the NSA on April 28, 2017.

The events leading to this decision are described in this post.

Which brings us to a table from the Inspector General’s Report.

Table 3 (page 7) shows four types of violations. The most frequent violation – 5.2% of the total – came from Section 702 upstream “About” queries.


The Inspector General’s Report is heavily redacted – but even a casual reading indicates there were significant compliance and control issues within the NSA regarding the use of Section 702 data.

It’s unclear if NSA Director Rogers discovered the 702 violations and reported them in early 2015, or if it was the Inspector General who found them. Either way, Rogers became aware of Section 702 violations sometime in 2015.

Admiral Mike Rogers (Credit: public domain)

Following NSA Inspector General Ellard’s report, Rogers implemented a tightening of internal rules at the NSA.

However, the NSA Inspector General’s report and Roger’s tightening of internal rules did not halt the Query Compliance Problems.

Outside Agencies – specifically the DOJ’s National Security Division and the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division – were still routinely violating Section 702 procedures.

In 2015, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz (not to be confused with NSA IG Ellard) specifically requested oversight of the National Security Division. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates responded with a 58 page Memorandum, that effectively told the Inspector General to go pound sand.

As noted earlier, John Carlin was the Head of the DOJ’s National Security Division and was responsible for filing the Government’s proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications.

This filing would be subject to intense criticism from the FISA Court following disclosures made by NSA Director Rogers. Significant changes to the handling of raw FISA data would result.

Bill Priestap remains the Head of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division – appointed by FBI Director Comey in December 2015. See: FBI Counterintelligence Head Bill Priestap – A Cooperating Witness.”

(…) “On October 20 2016, Rogers was briefed by the NSA compliance officer on findings from the 702 NSA compliance audit. The audit had uncovered numerous “About” Query violations (Senate testimony).

On October 21, 2016, Rogers shut down all “About Query” activity. He reported his findings to the DOJ (Senate testimony & inferences from Court Ruling).

On October 21 2016, the DOJ & FBI seek and receive a Title I FISA probable cause order authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISA Court. At this point, the FISA Court is unaware of the Section 702 violations.

On October 24, 2016, Rogers verbally informed the FISA Court of his findings (Page 4 of Court Ruling). (Read more: themarketswork, 4/05/2018)

(Timeline editor’s note: Jeff Carlson at themarketswork.com, has done a remarkable job of reading the fine print and highlighting key details from Senate testimony, the NSA Inspector General’s report, and the FISC report that followed NSA Director Mike Rogers disclosure of 702 violations. This is a snippet of Carlson’s very informative piece and he has been kind enough to allow me to post far more than what Fair Use would normally allow. Please don’t miss the rest of his easy to understand, in-depth report.)

October 21, 2016 – An unusual intervention is made by McCabe and Yates with Carter Page’s FISA Application

(…) “Trisha Anderson, the principal deputy general counsel for the FBI and head of the bureau’s National Security and Cyber Law Branch, approved the application for a warrant to spy on Page before it went to FBI Director James Comey. During her Aug. 31 testimony, she described the FISA application process as being a linear path and noted there is a specific “system called FISAMS within the Bureau that tracks in a linear fashion all the approvals on a FISA.”

Andrew McCabe and Sally Yates (Credit: The Associated Press and ABC News)

Yet, despite the rigid description provided by Baker and Anderson, it appears the linearity process was not adhered to in the case of the Page FISA. According to Anderson, pre-approvals for the Page FISA were provided by both McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, before the FISA application was ever presented to her for review.

“[M]y boss and my boss’ boss had already reviewed and approved this application. And, in fact, the Deputy Attorney General, who had the authority to sign the application, to be the substantive approver on the FISA application itself, had approved the application.  And that typically would not have been the case before I did that,” said Anderson.

Anderson told investigators that the Page FISA “was handled a little bit differently in that sense, in that it received very high-level review and approvals — informal, oral approvals — before it ever came to me for signature.”

The unusual preliminary review and approval from both McCabe and Yates appear to have had a substantial impact on the normal review process, leading other individuals like Anderson to believe that the Page FISA was more vetted than, perhaps, it really was. It is not known why McCabe and Yates both chose to insert themselves at an early stage into the Page FISA process.” (Read more: Epoch Times, 2/11/2019)

October 24, 2016 – Admiral Mike Rogers informs the FISA court of numerous NSA database “about queries” violations

Admiral Mike Rogers testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee in April 2016, on the nation’s cyber infrastructure. (Credit: CSpan)

(…) On Oct. 20, 2016, [Admiral Mike] Rogers was briefed by the NSA compliance officer on findings from the 702 NSA compliance audit. The audit had uncovered a large number of issues, including numerous “about query” violations (Senate testimony).

Rogers shut down all “about query” activity on Oct. 21, 2016. “About queries” are particularly worrisome, since they occur when the target is neither the sender nor the recipient of the collected communication—but the target’s “query,” such as an email address, is being passed between two other communicants.

On the same day, the DOJ and FBI sought and received a Title I FISA warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. At this point, the FISA court still was unaware of the Section 702 violations.

Sometime between Oct. 21 and Oct. 24, 2016, Rogers reported his findings to the DOJ. From there, he presented his findings to the FISA court (Senate testimony & inferences from court ruling):

Adm. Mike Rogers: I was briefed on something like October the 20th … I then, from memory, went to the Department of Justice and then on to the FISA court at the end of October—I think it was something like the 26th of October—and we informed the court: We have a compliance issue here and we’re concerned that there’s an underlying issue with the technical solution we put in place.

Sen. James Lankford: So you reported initially to the court, this is an issue, or the court initially came to you and said, we have an issue?

Rogers: I went to the court and said, we have an issue.

Rogers’s recollection was correct. On Oct. 24, 2016, Rogers verbally informed the FISA court of his findings (Page 4 of court ruling):

“On October 24, 2016, the government orally apprised the Court of significant non-compliance with the NSA’s minimization procedures involving queries of data acquired under Section 702 using U.S. person identifiers. The full scope of non-compliant querying practices had not been previously disclosed to the Court.”

Rogers appeared formally before the FISA court on Oct. 26, 2016, and presented the written findings of his audit (Page 4, 14 & 19 of Court Ruling & Senate testimony).“Two days later, on the day the Court otherwise would have had to complete its review of the certifications and procedures, the government made a written submission regarding those compliance problems… and the Court held a hearing to address them.”

“The government reported that the NSA IG and OCO were conducting other reviews covering different time periods, with preliminary results suggesting that the problem was widespread during all periods under review.”

The FISA court was unaware of the FISA “query” violations until they were presented to the court by then-NSA Director Rogers. (Read more: The Epoch Times, 6/18/2019)  (Archive)

December 2016 – Lisa Page travels to London on official business with Strzok and three other unnamed individuals

“Page noted that she only traveled abroad once while she worked for McCabe, in December 2016, on official business in London. Strzok traveled with her, as did three other unnamed individuals. One individual that Page specified as not being part of the trip was Bill Priestap, the FBI’s head of counterintelligence. Page was prohibited by FBI counsel for detailing the purpose of her visit.” (Read more: Epoch Times, 1/21/2019)

December 29, 2016 – March 30, 2017: A timeline of General Michael Flynn events

General Michael Flynn (Credit: Congressional Quarterly/Roll Call)

December 29 2016General Michael Flynn speaks to the Russian Ambassador. The conversation takes place the same day that outgoing President Barack Obama imposes sanctions against Russia for suspected hacking of Democrats’ emails during the election.

The conversation is recorded by intelligence agencies and later reviewed by the FBI. Recording or releasing Americans’ conversations is prohibited without written approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA). The existence of recorded conversations and the contents of the conversation are barred from public release by classification rules and privacy laws.

December 29 2016 – Obama announces sanctions on Russia.

December 30 2016 – Russian leader Vladimir Putin addresses Obama’s sanctions by not expelling any U.S. officials. Putin’s lack of retaliatory action prompts some to later conclude that Flynn relayed a message regarding the sanctions in his December 29th conversation with the Russian Ambassador.

January 3 2017 – Loretta Lynch signs Section 2.3 of Executive Order 12333 – Procedures for the Availability or Dissemination of Raw Signals Intelligence Information by the NSA – into effect. This order is significant. As I note in, The Suspicious Timing of Obama’s NSA Data-Sharing Order:

Prior to the formal signing of Section 2.3 it appears that there existed more latitude within the White House in regards to collection of information on the Trump Campaign. However, once signed into effect, Section 2.3 granted broad latitude in regards to inter-agency sharing of information. By the time the new order was signed, the information was already in the Obama White House’s possession.

The new order, had it been implemented earlier, might have restricted White House access to information regarding the Trump Team. Once signed, it granted broad latitude to inter-agency sharing of information already held.

Importantly, the transcript of Flynn’s call was already in the possession of the Obama White House.

January 4 2017Mike Flynn informs transition White House Counsel Don McGahn that he is under federal investigation for work as a paid lobbyist to Turkey.

Jan 12 2017 –  Mike Flynn’s Dec 29 2016 call is leaked to Washington Post. The article portrays Flynn as undermining Obama’s Russian sanctions.

Jan 15 2017 – VP Pence appears on Face the nation to defend Flynn’s calls – five days before the inauguration of President Trump.

January 19 2017 – The New York Times reports, on the eve of Inauguration Day, that several agencies — the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the Treasury Department are monitoring several associates of the Trump campaign suspected of Russian ties.

January 19 2017 – Obama’s top intelligence and law-enforcement deputies meet to talk about Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak, according to a Feb 13 article in the Washington Post.

January 20 2017 – Inauguration.

January 23 2017Acting Attorney General Sally Yates increases pressure on FBI Director Comey regarding Mike Flynn – telling Comey that Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail.

January 23 2017 – The Washington Post reports that the FBI intercepted a conversation in late December 2016 between Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The intercept is supposedly part of routine spying on the ambassador.

January 23 2017 – The FBI reports nothing unlawful in content of Flynn call. Having listened to the tapes, the FBI clears General Michael Flynn of any wrongdoing in his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn did not violate the Logan Act by attempting to influence US foreign policy.

January 24 2017 – Mike Flynn is interviewed at the White House by the FBI. It is during this interview that Flynn supposedly lies to the FBI – despite having his calls already cleared by the FBI. The surprise – and unscheduled – interview is conducted by Peter Strzok.

January 25 2017 –  The Department of Justice receives a detailed briefing on Flynn from the FBI.

January 26 2017 – Yates contacts White House Counsel McGahn who agrees to meet with Yates the same day.

January 26 2017 – Sally Yates meets with McGahn. She also brings Mary McCord – Acting Assistant Attorney General – and Head of the DOJ’s National Security Division.

Yates later testifies the meeting surrounds General Flynn’s phone calls and his FBI Interview. She also testifies that Flynn’s call and subsequent interview “was a topic of a whole lot of discussion in DOJ and with other members of the intel community.”

January 27 2017 – McGahn calls Yates and asks if she can come back to his office.

January 27 2017 – Yates returns to the White House without McCord. McGahn asks to examine the FBI’s evidence on Flynn. Yates says she will respond by Monday.

To my knowledge, Yates fails to provide McGahn with the FBI’s evidence on Flynn.

A timeline of these multi-day events can be found here. The timeline comes from Yates’s full testimony which can be viewed here. Yates’s testimony specific to Mike Flynn can be seen here.

Sally Yates became Acting Attorney General on January 20, 2017, after Loretta Lynch left office upon President Trump’s inauguration. On January 30, 2017, President Trump fired Yates for refusing to enforce the Travel Ban.

January 27 2017 – (evening) President Trump has dinner with FBI Director James Comey. President Trump asks Director Comey if he is under investigation, BUT President Trump does not ask about the Flynn investigation at this meeting.

January 30 2017President Trump fires Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to enforce the Travel Ban.

February 2 2017 – Details of conversations between President Trump, the Australian Prime Minister, and the Mexican President are leaked – portraying the calls as contentious. Both Australia and Mexico denied the calls were contentious.

February 8 2017 – In an interview with the Washington Post, Michael Flynn denies having discussed sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

February 8 2017Jeff Sessions is confirmed as Attorney General.

February 9 2017 – The New York Times and the Washington Post publish articles claiming that General Michael Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December of 2016.

The articles are confusing and some details contradictory.

February 13 2017 – The Washington Post reports that Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned the White House in January that General Michael Flynn may be vulnerable to Russian blackmail, due to his conversations with Ambassador Kislyak.

February 13 2017 – Mike Flynn resigns as National Security Advisor after it was revealed he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about phone conversations he had with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States.

February 14 2017 – The New York Times reports that members of the Trump campaign had “repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials” – according to four anonymous sources. The Trump campaign denies the claims – and the Times admits that there is “no evidence” of cooperation or collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

February 15 2017 – Former intelligence officer John Schindler, now a journalist, tweets about escalating hostility in the Intelligence Community to Trump’s Presidency.

March 1 2017 – the NYT inadvertently reported on why the Obama Administration wanted a last minute January 3, 2017 rule change that allowed for intra-agency sharing of globally intercepted personal communications. In a piece titled “Obama Administration Rushed to Preserve Intelligence of Russian Hacking“, it was made clear that the Obama Administration was sharing information broadly and at low levels of security classification:

In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians — across the government.

For more on this important detail, see: The Suspicious Timing of Obama’s NSA Data-Sharing Order.

March 30 2017 – Mike Flynn offers to testify in exchange for immunity. He makes the offer to the FBI and the House and Senate intelligence Communities. There are no takers of his offer.

Per Flynn’s lawyer:

General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit.

The Washington feeding frenzy was stunning at this point in time. The Obama/Clinton Russia-Trump narrative was in full swing.

Fast-forward to today so we can add a further twist to the whole mess:

This was immediately scoffed at – but ask yourself, why would the White House risk making this statement without proof.

Then this video from January 13, 2017, suddenly surfaced:

Flynn knew his calls were being recorded. He engaged in nothing illegal on these calls. Flynn knew he had done nothing illegal.

Flynn had no legal obligation to speak with the FBI.

But he did so anyway.

(Read much more: themarketswork.com, 12/03/2017)

(Reposted with special permission.)

January 3, 2017 – Obama signs an executive order that dramatically expands government officials’ access to Americans private information

On Jan. 3, 2017, another section of Executive Order 12333, Section 2.3 Procedures for the Availability or Dissemination of Raw Signals Intelligence Information by the NSA [National Security Agency], was signed into effect by the Obama administration. James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, signed off on Section 2.3 on Dec. 15, 2016, and the order was finalized when Attorney General Loretta Lynch signed it on Jan. 3, 2017.

The new order allowed for the other intelligence agencies to ask the NSA for access to specific surveillance simply by claiming the intercepts contain relevant information that would be useful to a particular mission. Crucially, privacy protection of the underlying raw data was specifically bypassed by the order.

As the New York Times noted at the time, “the new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws.”

On its face, the rule was supposedly put in place in order to reduce the risk that “the N.S.A. will fail to recognize that a piece of information would be valuable to another agency,” but in reality, it dramatically expanded government officials’ access to the private information of American citizens.

As noted by the NY Times, historically, “the N.S.A. filtered information before sharing intercepted communications with another agency, like the C.I.A. or the intelligence branches of the F.B.I. and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The N.S.A.’s analysts passed on only information they deemed pertinent, screening out the identities of innocent people and irrelevant personal information.”

However, with the Jan. 3, 2017, approval of Section 2.3, and the associated expansion of sharing globally intercepted communications, other intelligence agencies would  be able to search “directly through raw repositories of communications intercepted by the N.S.A. and then apply such rules for ‘minimizing’ privacy intrusions.”

The requirement for this broad latitude was fairly simple and spelled out in the executive order.

An “Intelligence Community element” may “intentionally select foreign communications of or concerning a U.S. person or a person in the United States if the element’s compliance organization or legal counsel confirms that” the targeted person is a “current FISA target” or has been determined to be “an agent of a foreign power or employee of a foreign power” and the “purpose of the selection is to acquire significant foreign intelligence or counterintelligence information.”

As of Oct. 21, 2016, although it wasn’t known to the public, Carter Page met these requirements.

When the order was signed, many wondered at the timing and questioned why there was a  pressing need to rush an order that allowed for significant expansion in the sharing of raw intelligence among agencies during the final days of the Obama administration.

An equally valid question was why was the order so overdue.

Section 2.3 was reported as being on “the verge” of finalization in late February 2016 as reported by the NY Times:

“Robert S. Litt, the general counsel in the office of the Director of National Intelligence, said that the administration had developed and was fine-tuning what is now a 21-page draft set of procedures to permit the sharing.”

It had been anticipated that the order would be finalized by early- to mid-2016.

Interestingly, the finalized version contained a provision relating to “Political Process” that hadn’t been in place in earlier versions of Section 2.3:

“3. (U) Political Process in the United States. [Any IC element that obtains access to raw SIGINT under these Procedures will] Not engage in any intelligence activity authorized by these Procedures, including disseminations to the White House, for the purpose of affecting the political process in the United States. The IC element will comply with the guidance applicable to NSA regarding the application of this prohibition. Questions about whether a particular activity falls within this prohibition will be resolved in consultation with the element’s legal counsel and the General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) (and the DoD’s Office of the General Counsel in the case of a DoD IC element).” [emphasis added]

If the above language had been implemented in early 2016 as originally scheduled, dissemination of any raw intelligence on or relating to the Trump campaign to officials within the Obama White House would likely have been made more difficult or prohibited.

In other words, prior to the signing of Section 2.3, it appears that greater latitude existed for officials in the Obama administration to gain access to information. But once the order was signed into effect, Section 2.3 granted greater latitude to interagency sharing of that information.” (Read more: themarketswork, 4/20/2020)  (Archive)

January 6, 2017 – Comey visits Trump at Trump Tower as part of a FBI counterintelligence investigation

The Trump Tower in New York City, December 2018. (Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(…) Comey told Horowitz that the information he obtained from his conversation with Trump “ought to be treated…[like] FISA derived information or information in a [counterintelligence] investigation.” In other words, his meeting with Trump had very direct surveillance overtones and intentions—and directly counters what he had testified to Congress.

According to his Congressional testimony, Comey had told Trump at the Jan. 6, 2017, meeting that he was not under investigation by the FBI, noting, “sir, we’re not personally investigating you.”

Prior to the meeting with Trump at Trump Tower, Comey met with FBI officials involved in the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation into the Trump campaign to discuss a strategy to obtain information and how to memorialize it right after the meeting.

Comey told the IG that in advance of his meeting with President-elect Trump, he “met with senior leaders of the FBI, including his Chief of Staff James Rybicki, then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, then-FBI General Counsel James Baker, and the supervisors of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.

According to the IG report, multiple FBI witnesses said the meeting was intended, in part, to see how President-elect Trump reacted to the allegations and whether he would reveal new information useful for their counterintelligence investigation.

(…) Comey’s meeting with Trump followed a formal briefing that Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and National Security Director James Clapper had provided to Obama just hours earlier regarding the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) on Russia hacking and election interference.

Comey outlined to the IG the details of the meeting that took place between only himself and Trump:

“At the conclusion of our session, the COS [Chief of Staff Priebus] asked whether there is anything we haven’t mentioned that they should know or that might come out. I said there was something that Clapper wanted me to speak to the PE [President-Elect] about alone or in a very small group…”

“…I then executed the session exactly as I had planned. I told him [President Trump] that I wanted to meet with him to tell him more about what is in the reports written by [redacted – likely Steele]. I said that the written reports themselves were [redacted] and the content known at IC senior level and that I didn’t want him caught cold by some of the detail…”

“I said the Russians allegedly had tapes involving him and prostitutes at the Presidential Suite at the Ritz Carlton in Moscow from about 2013…I said I wasn’t saying this was true, only that I wanted him to know both that it had been reported and that the reports were in many hands. I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook. I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the FBI has the material or [REDACTED] and that we were keeping it very close-hold.”

Notably, Comey only informed President Trump of the “salacious” details contained within the dossier. Comey would later tell CNN’s Jake Tapper that he did so “Because that was the part that the leaders of the intelligence community agreed he needed to be told about.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 9/02/2019)

January 6, 2017 – Clapper personally briefs CNN’s Jake Tapper about the Comey-Trump meeting, almost immediately after it occurs

John Clapper and Jake Tapper (Credit: The Associated Press/CNN)

“…Clapper had personally briefed Tapper about the Comey-Trump meeting almost immediately after it occurred. We know this from findings contained within the House’s Final Report on Russian Active Measures:

“It is important to note that Evan Perez, Jim Sciutto, Jake Tapper, and Carl Bernstein of CNN reported on January 12, 2016 [original publication was on January 10, 2017], that President-elect Trump was briefed on classified information indicating that the Russians have compromising personal or financial information that the Russians could use against President-elect Trump.”

“The Committee’s investigation revealed that President-elect Trump was indeed briefed on the contents of the Steele dossier and when questioned by the Committee, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper admitted that he confirmed the existence of the dossier to the media.”

Clapper at first denied leaking the information of the dossier and the Comey-Trump meeting, but ultimately acknowledged having done so:

“When initially asked about leaks related to the ICA in July 2017, former DNI Clapper flatly denied ‘discuss[ing] the dossier [compiled by Steele] or any other intelligence related to Russia hacking of the 2016 election with journalists.’ Clapper subsequently acknowledged discussing the ‘dossier with CNN journalist Jake Tapper,’ and admitted that he might have spoken with other journalists about the same topic.”

“Clapper’s discussion with Tapper took place in early January 2017, around the time IC leaders briefed President Obama and President-elect Trump, on ‘the Christopher Steele information,’ a two-page summary of which was ‘enclosed in’ the highly-classified version of the ICA.”

On Jan. 10, 2017, CNN published the article “Intel Chiefs Presented Trump With Claims of Russian Efforts to Compromise Him.” The allegations within the dossier were made public, and with reporting of the briefings by intelligence community leaders, instant credibility was given to the dossier’s assertions. Immediately following the CNN story, BuzzFeed published the Steele dossier, and the Trump–Russia conspiracy was pushed into the mainstream.

On the following day, Jan. 11, 2017, in a stunning display of hypocrisy, Clapper issued a formal statement where he noted his “profound dismay at the leaks” and denied that the leaks came from within the Intelligence Community.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 9/02/2019)

January 19, 2017 – Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk, joins the Atlantic Council’s Advisory Board who then partners with Burisma Holdings

(…) “In addition to being a Clinton Foundation donor, Pinchuk is also on the International Advisory Board of the Atlantic Council – a NATO-aligned American think tank specializing in the field of international affairs.

Pinchuk’s fellow Advisory Board members are industry leaders and former heads of state.

Their Board of Directors list is equally – if not more – impressive.

The Atlantic Council has been historically active in Ukraine through its Ukraine in Europe Initiative. More recently, on January 19, 2017, the Atlantic Council announced a partnership with Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Group.

A conference on the U.S.-Ukraine partnership, energy independence and security, as well as prospects for the Ukrainian economy was held on April 17, 2018. It was hosted by a globally recognized non-governmental U.S. think tank Atlantic Council and Ukraine’s largest private gas producer Burisma Group with support from the Kharkiv Regional Administration. The forum was attended by the Kharkiv Governor Yuliya Svitlychna, the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Roman Popadiuk, former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia Evelyn Farkas, President of U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC) Morgan Williams and Advisor to the Board of Directors at Burisma Group and Chairman of the Board at the Association of Ukrainian Gas Producers Vadym Pozharskyi. (Credit: 112 Ukraine News)

Hunter Biden, former VP Joe Biden’s son, sits on Burisma’s board.

Biden was placed on Burisma’s board after Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt held a phone conversation regarding the installation of Arseniy Yatsenyuk in place of then-President Yanukovych. Need for support from VP Biden was noted (more here):

On or before February 4, 2014 – Call between Pyatt and Nuland discussing removal of Yanukovych and installation of Yatsenyuk.

February 22, 2014 – Yanukovych was removed as President of Ukraine.

February 27, 2014 – Yatsenyuk was installed as Prime Minister of Ukraine. Yatsenyuk would resign in April 2016 amidst corruption accusations.

April 18, 2014 – Hunter Biden was appointed to the Board of Directors for Burisma – one of the largest natural gas companies in Ukraine.

April 22, 2014 – VP Biden travels to Ukraine and offers support and $50 million in aid for Yatsenyuk’s shaky new government.

The Atlantic Council, along with the Brookings Institute and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, were the subject of an unflattering portrayal in a New York Times article, Foreign Powers Buy Influence at Think Tanks:

More than a dozen prominent Washington research groups have received tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments in recent years while pushing United States government officials to adopt policies that often reflect the donors’ priorities, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

The think tanks do not disclose the terms of the agreements they have reached with foreign governments. And they have not registered with the United States government as representatives of the donor countries, an omission that appears, in some cases, to be a violation of federal law.

As a result, policymakers who rely on think tanks are often unaware of the role of foreign governments in funding the research.

The arrangements involve Washington’s most influential think tanks, including the Brookings Institution, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Atlantic Council.

Each is a major recipient of overseas funds, producing policy papers, hosting forums and organizing private briefings for senior United States government officials that typically align with the foreign governments’ agendas.

Some interesting connections run through the Atlantic Council.” (Read more: themarketswork, 3/11/2018)

March 20, 2017 – Ukrainian official Serhiy Leshchenko releases documents alleging Manafort tried to hide his “black ledger” payments

Trump and Manafort at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on July 21, 2016 [Credit: Rick Wilking/Reuters]

Manafort’s work in Ukraine was highlighted  in late July, and on Aug. 14, 2016, The New York Times reported that payments to Manafort had been uncovered from the Party of Regents’ black box:

“Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.”

Manafort’s name was reportedly listed in the 400-page ledger 22 times, although his actual signature wasn’t authenticated and any payments made to him remain unverified. The documents implicating Manafort had been released by Serhiy Leshchenko.

On March 20, 2017, Leshchenko released another set of documents, this time alleging to show that Manafort took steps to hide payments related to his work for former Ukrainian President Viktor F. Yanukovych. Leshchenko’s documents “included an invoice that appeared to show $750,000 funneled through an offshore account and disguised as payment for computers.”

In a strange twist, it was reported by Politico in late February 2017 that a hack of the phone belonging to one of Manafort’s daughters revealed a text containing a blackmail threat that Manafort has attributed to Leshchenko. It’s not known with any certainty who actually sent the text, which contains an attachment that references “the Yanukovych accounting book” and lists an email address for Leshchenko.

Leshchenko became the subject of an investigation in Ukraine and in December 2018, a Kyiv court ruled that Leshchenko, along with NABU Director Artem Sytnyk “acted illegally when they revealed that Manafort’s surname and signature were found in the so-called “black ledger” of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions,” the Kyiv Post reported on Dec. 12, 2018.

The court noted the material was part of a pre-trial investigation and its release “led to interference in the electoral processes of the United States in 2016 and harmed the interests of Ukraine as a state.”

The Hill recently reported that Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko stated that he was opening “a probe into alleged attempts by Ukrainians to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” Surprisingly, the report, which focuses on Sytnyk, makes no mention of Leshchenko—or of the December court ruling which determined that both Leshchenko and Sytnyk violated Ukrainian law.” (Read more: themarketswork, 4/11/2019)  (Archive)

April 26, 2017 – An unsealed FISC ruling reveals systematic abuses in accessing 702 data

“A damning 99-page unsealed ruling from the FISC, dated April 26, 2017, and issued by presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer, provided further insight into additional FISA abuse engaged in by the Intelligence Community in relation to Section 702 data and minimization procedures.

Section 702 permits the government to surveil foreign persons located outside the United States for the purpose of acquiring foreign intelligence information. Minimization procedures are intended to protect any U.S. person’s information that is incidentally acquired in the course of Section 702 collection.

The FISA court found that the government had been engaging in a long pattern of significant abuses that were revealed to the court by then-National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers.

“On October 24, 2016, the government orally apprised the Court of significant non-compliance with the NSA’s minimization procedures involving queries of data acquired under Section 702 using U.S. person identifiers. The full scope of non-compliant querying practices had not been previously disclosed to the Court,” the FISC ruling read.

The court noted the government’s failure to previously notify the court of these issues, referring to the government’s actions as exhibiting an institutional “lack of candor” while emphasizing that “this is a very serious Fourth Amendment issue.”

The litany of abuses described in the April 26, 2017, ruling was shocking and detailed the use of private contractors by the FBI in relation to Section 702 data. The FBI was specifically singled out by the FISC numerous times in the ruling:

“The improper access previously afforded the contractors has been discontinued. The Court is nonetheless concerned about the FBI’s apparent disregard of minimization rules and whether the FBI may be engaging in similar disclosures of raw Section 702 information that have not been reported.”

The FISA process has been the target of ongoing abuse from various elements within the intelligence community, and the processes and procedures that we have been told protect us appear to be routinely compromised at will.

As a result of the April 2017 FISC ruling, changes to the FISA process have been made. Nevertheless, a complete re-examination of the entire FISA system appears to be not only warranted, but perhaps necessary.” (Read more: Epoch Times, 2/11/2019)

May 11, 2017 – McCabe testifies “there has been no effort to impede our investigation to date” – 5 days later Rosenstein and McCabe discuss wearing a wire to secretly record Trump

From left, Andrew McCabe, Sen. Richard Burr, Sen. Mark Warner, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo greet each other before the start of the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday, May 11, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“On the morning of May 16, 2017, Rosenstein allegedly suggested to McCabe that he secretly record Trump. This remark was reported in a New York Times article that was sourced from memos from the now-fired McCabe. Rosenstein immediately issued a statement denying the accusations.

The alleged comments by Rosenstein occurred at a meeting where McCabe was “pushing for the Justice Department to open an investigation into the president.” Note that just five days earlier, on May 11, McCabe had publicly testified before Congress that there was no obstruction, stating, “There has been no effort to impede our investigation to date.”

Sen. Rubio: “Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. McCabe, can you without going into the specifics of any individual investigation, I think the American people want to know, has the dismissal of Mr. Comey in any way impeded, interrupted, stopped or negatively impacted any of the work, any investigation, or any ongoing projects at the Federal Bureau of Investigations?”

Mr. McCabe: “As you know, Senator, the work of the men and women of the FBI continues despite any changes in circumstance, any decisions. So there has been no effort to impede our investigation today. Quite simply put sir, you cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people, and upholding the Constitution.”

On the one hand, McCabe testified there was no obstruction from Trump, yet, just five days later, McCabe was attempting to convince Rosenstein to go along with his efforts to open an obstruction investigation into the president. Events suggest that McCabe’s efforts were met with alarm from Rosenstein, who responded by appointing Mueller as special counsel. Rosenstein may have also informed Trump of McCabe’s intentions.

At the same time that McCabe was attempting to open an obstruction investigation, Strzok and Page were texting about the lack of evidence of collusion. In a text that Strzok sent to Page, Strzok noted:

“You and I both know the odds are nothing. If I thought it was likely, I’d be there, no question. I hesitate, in part, because of my gut sense and concern there’s no big there there.”

Page was asked about this text during her July 2018 testimony by Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas). She initially answered, “So I think this represents that even as far as May of 2017, we still couldn’t answer the question.” After a brief consultation with her legal counsel, Page continued: “I think it’s a reflection of us still not knowing. I guess that’s as good as I can answer.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 2/18/2019)

May 15, 2017 – McCabe’s FBI tries to re-engage Christopher Steele after Comey is fired

Bruce Ohr (l) and Christopher Steele (Credit: Fox News)

“An Aug. 28, 2018, testimony before Congress by Ohr, which was reviewed for this article, sheds new light on McCabe’s involvement in the investigation. His testimony also illustrates how Steele and Simpson passed their information targeting Trump to the FBI, using Ohr as an unofficial back-channel.

(…) In May 2017, the FBI suddenly decided to reach out to Steele through Ohr. The re-engagement attempt came six months after Steele had been formally terminated by the FBI on Nov. 1, 2016.

The matter, which was discussed at several points during Ohr’s testimony, was highlighted during a review of some text messages between Ohr and Steele:

Q: “The next page, 2 months forward, 5-15, three-quarters of the way down. ‘Having now consulted my wife and business partner about the question we discussed on Saturday, I am pleased to say yes, we should go ahead with it.  Best, Chris.’”

Q: “Go ahead with what?”

Ohr: “The FBI had asked me a few days before, when I reported to them my latest conversation with Chris Steele, they had had would he—next time you talk with him, could you ask him if he would be willing to meet again.”

Q: “So this is the re-engagement?”

Ohr: “Yes.”

The texts that are being referenced were sent on May 15, 2017, and refer to a request that Ohr received from the FBI to ask Steele to re-engage with the FBI in the days after Comey had been fired on May 9.

Q: “So you have asked him will he re-engage with the FBI?”

Ohr: “Yes.”

Q: “And he says: ‘Talked with my wife; I’m in.’ You say: ‘Thanks. We’ll let them know and we will follow up.’”

Ohr: “Yes.”

Q: “‘Thanks again. I chatted with my colleagues and can give you an update when you have a minute.’ What was the update about? Was it about that subject?”

Ohr: “Yes.”

Q: “So that all happens on May 15?”

Ohr: “Yes.”

Several days prior, on May 12, 2017, Ohr and Steele exchanged a series of text messages published by John Solomon of The Hill, that appear to detail Ohr reaching out to Steele following the FBI’s request for re-engagement:

Ohr: “Thanks again for your time on Wednesday. Do you have time for a short follow up call sometime this weekend?”

Steele: “Yes, of course. Perhaps sometime tomorrow. When might suit?”

Ohr: “Would 3 pm your time work? I’m pretty open so just let me know. Thanks!”

Steele: “Fine, or possibly even at 2 pm our time if that works for you? Best”

Ohr: “2 pm your time is good. It will be quick. Thanks!”

The next text message is a response from Steele on May 15, 2017:

Steele: “B, having now consulted my wife and business partner about the question we discussed on Saturday I’m pleased to say yes, we should go ahead with it. Best C”

Ohr: “Thanks! I will let them know and we will follow up.”

Comey was fired by Trump on May 9, 2017. This appears to have been the precipitating event that led the FBI to suddenly attempt to re-establish contact with Steele through Ohr. This was the only time the FBI used Ohr to reach out to Steele.

Notably, McCabe was now the acting FBI director.

On the morning of May 16, 2017, Rosenstein reportedly suggested to Acting FBI Director McCabe that he secretly record Trump. This remark was reported in a New York Times article that was sourced from memos from the now-fired McCabe. Rosenstein immediately issued a statement denying the accusations.

An unidentified participant at the meeting, in comments to The Washington Post, framed the conversation somewhat differently, noting that Rosenstein responded sarcastically to McCabe, saying, “What do you want to do, Andy, wire the president?”

The comments by Rosenstein allegedly occurred at a meeting where McCabe was “pushing for the Justice Department to open an investigation into the president.” Note that just five days earlier, McCabe had publicly testified that there was no obstruction, stating “there has been no effort to impede our investigation to date.”

(…) Text messages to Ohr from Steele provide some hints and highlight an abrupt pullback by the FBI. In June 2017, Steele sent Ohr the following text:

“We are frustrated with how long this re-engagement with the Bureau and Mueller is taking. There are some new perishable operational opportunities we do not want to miss out on.”

Steele sent another text to Ohr on Nov. 18, 2017:

“I am presuming you’ve heard nothing back from your SC colleagues on the issue you kindly put to them for me. We have heard nothing from them either. To say this is disappointing would be an understatement.”

Ohr testified that “at some point during 2017, Chris Steele did speak with somebody from the FBI, but I don’t know who.”

(Read more: Epoch Times, 1/14/2019)

 

May 18, 2017 – Lisa Page joins Robert Mueller’s special counsel team

Lisa Page and Robert Mueller (Credit: public domain)

(…) “Page testified that she joined the team of special counsel Robert Mueller around May 18, 2017—and that FBI agent Peter Strzok was considered for inclusion shortly thereafter. Page’s role was to “bridge the gap and transition between what we as a team knew and the evidence that we had gathered to date on the collusion investigation and sort of imparting that knowledge to the new special counsel team,” she said.

Page, who acknowledged her personal relationship with Strzok at several points during the interview, noted that initially, Strzok wasn’t “brought over as the senior executive to run the investigation. Another individual was, and that was not successful. It was not a good match with Mr. Mueller. He did not really have the sufficient counterintelligence background to be effective.” That individual would later be identified as John Brown.

Page agreed to work for a 45-day trial period, but at the end of that time, she left to spend more time with her children, by her own account. Page left of her own volition and before Inspector General Michael Horowitz notified Mueller (and then-Acting FBI Director McCabe) of the texts between Page and Strzok. (The Epoch Times, 1/21/2019)

June 2017 – Priestap’s testimony about the Strzok/Page affair notification

President Trump mentions the Strzok/Page affair in a tweet. (Credit: Twitter)

(…) “It was Priestap that sat down with Strzok and Page and told them he’d heard rumors about their ongoing affair. Priestap noted during his June 5 interview that he had this discussion “about a year ago,” placing the meeting in mid-2017. Priestap was informed of the possibility of the affair by one of Strzok’s two co-managers in the Clinton email investigation—either Moffa or FBI lawyer Sally Moyer:

Mr. Priestap: “I spoke to Deputy Director McCabe about it. I also spoke to both Pete and Lisa about it. I felt I owed it to them. Lisa did not report to me, but I felt that they ought to be aware of what was being said. I didn’t ask them if it was true, but they needed to know that that impression was out there.

“And I don’t remember my exact words. But what I was trying to communicate is this better not interfere with things, if you know what I mean. Like, to me, the mission is everything. And so, we all have our personal lives, what have you. I’m not the morality police.”

According to Priestap, an affair was not technically against FBI policy—although he admitted that under certain circumstances it could become a blackmail concern, “if that was going on that potentially makes them vulnerable.” Priestap did not ask either Strzok or Page if the allegations were true. He simply placed them on notice that he was aware of the rumors.

Priestap said that he did not report the affair to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility but did feel that McCabe needed “to be aware that there’s talk this might be going on.” It is not clear if McCabe ever discussed the issue with either Strzok or Page.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/29/2019)

July 27, 2017 – The House Judiciary Committee makes a formal request to take a second look at the Clinton Foundation and email investigations

(Timeline editor’s note: While preparing this timeline entry, I discovered the links provided by Jeff Carlson to Rep. Goodlatte’s press release and letter, are no longer working links on the House Judiciary Committee website. I called Rep. Nadler’s office to ask why those documents are no longer available and they could not (or would not) give me an answer. With a little further searching, I was able to find the original letter in the Wayback Machine.) 

(A screenshot of my attempt to access Rep. Goodlatte’s press release and letter on the House Judiciary Committee website.)

“The House Judiciary Committee issued a press release on July 27, 2017, stating that a formal request for the appointment of a second Special Counsel has been made to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The actual letter may be viewed here.

The Judiciary Committee members were specific in their request. They are asking for investigation into the following:

The members call for the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate grave concerns such as former Attorney General Lynch’s directive to former FBI Director Comey to mislead the American people on the nature of the investigation into former Secretary Clinton; the FBI and Justice Department’s investigative decisions related to the Clinton email investigation, including the immunity deals given to potential co-conspirators; selected leaks of classified information that unmasked U.S. persons incidentally collected upon by the intelligence community; and the FBI’s reliance on “Fusion GPS” in its investigation of the Trump campaign, among many others issues.

Fourteen specific topics of investigation are noted – many of which were asked previously but remain unanswered:

  1. Then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch directing Mr. Comey to mislead the American people on the nature of the Clinton investigation;
  2. The shadow cast over our system of justice concerning Secretary Clinton and her involvement in mishandling classified information;
  3. FBI and DOJ’s investigative decisions related to former Secretary Clinton’s email investigation, including the propriety and consequence of immunity deals given to potential Clinton co-conspirators Cheryl Mills, Heather Samuelson, John Bentel and possibly others;
  4. The apparent failure of DOJ to empanel a grand jury to investigate allegations of mishandling of classified information by Hillary Clinton and her associates;
  5. The Department of State and its employees’ involvement in determining which communications of Secretary Clinton’s and her associates to turn over for public scrutiny;
  6. WikiLeaks disclosures concerning the Clinton Foundation and its potentially unlawful international dealings;
  7. Connections between the Clinton campaign, or the Clinton Foundation, and foreign entities, including those from Russia and Ukraine;
  8. Mr. Comey’s knowledge of the purchase of Uranium One by the company Rosatom, whether the approval of the sale was connected to any donations made to the Clinton Foundation, and what role Secretary Clinton played in the approval of that sale that had national security ramifications;
  9. Disclosures arising from unlawful access to the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) computer systems, including inappropriate collusion between the DNC and the Clinton campaign to undermine Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign;
  10. Post-election accusations by the President that he was wiretapped by the previous Administration, and whether Mr. Comey and Ms. Lynch had any knowledge of efforts made by any federal agency to unlawfully monitor communications of then-candidate Trump or his associates;
  11. Selected leaks of classified information related to the unmasking of U.S. person identities incidentally collected upon by the intelligence community, including an assessment of whether anyone in the Obama Administration, including Mr. Comey, Ms. Lynch, Ms. Susan Rice, Ms. Samantha Power, or others, had any knowledge about the “unmasking” of individuals on then candidate-Trump’s campaign team, transition team, or both;
  12. Admitted leaks by Mr. Comey to Columbia University law professor, Daniel Richman, regarding conversations between Mr. Comey and President Trump, how the leaked information was purposefully released to lead to the appointment of a special counsel, and whether any classified information was included in the now infamous “Comey memos”;
  13. Mr. Comey’s and the FBI’s apparent reliance on “Fusion GPS” in its investigation of the Trump campaign, including the company’s creation of a “dossier” of information about Mr. Trump, that dossier’s commission and dissemination in the months before and after the 2016 election, whether the FBI paid anyone connected to the dossier, and the intelligence sources of Fusion GPS or any person or company working for Fusion GPS and its affiliates; and
  14. Any and all potential leaks originated by Mr. Comey and provide to author Michael Schmidt dating back to 1993.

I have written previously about almost every one of these issues – including Comey’s TestimonyComey’s handling of the Clinton Investigation, the Clinton FoundationUranium OneUnmaskingObama’s Surveillance and the Russian Investigation.

They are all questions and topics that merit actual investigation.

The Committee’s questions fall into broader subgroups:

Hillary Clinton Investigation

Clinton Foundation

Surveillance

Unmasking of U.S. Citizens

FBI/Comey Collusion

Illegal Leaks

The final question pertains to Michael Schmidt, a New York Times reporter who has broken a number of stories on Trump-Russia as well as apparent leaks from Comey. You may find a complete listing of Schmidt’s articles here. Someone was whispering directly into his ear.

I’m not sure what will come from this letter – perhaps nothing – but the House Judiciary Committee’s timing is excellent. Attorney General Sessions has been under pressure for his recusal on the Russian Investigation along with his lack of prosecutorial zeal. If this request had come out a month ago, I would have noted it but not thought much else. At this particular juncture of events, I find myself marginally more hopeful that something – anything – might result from the Committee’s formal request.” (Read more: themarketswork.com, 7/29/2017)

December 13, 2017 – David Kramer’s deposition reveals he had contact with at least 14 members of the media regarding the Steele dossier

David Kramer, a longtime associate of the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), revealed in an unsealed deposition that he had contact with at least 14 members of the media regarding the Steele dossier—a collection of 17 memos containing unverified allegations against Donald Trump.

Additionally, Kramer gave a full copy of the unverified dossier to then-Senior Director for Russian Affairs at the National Security Council Celeste Wallander, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), and then-House Speaker Paul Ryan’s chief of staff, Jonathan Burks. Kramer also provided a briefing in early December 2016 on the dossier to both Wallander and Victoria Nuland, then the assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasian Affairs.

Kramer also provided ongoing updates to Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, former MI6 spy and dossier author Christopher Steele, and other members of the media regarding McCain’s meeting with FBI Director James Comey.

Steele had been hired by Simpson on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to produce the so-called Steele dossier on Trump.

David Kramer (Credit: McCain Institute)

Kramer, in his deposition, confirmed that he was BuzzFeed News’ source for the dossier. BuzzFeed published the dossier online in January 2017, resulting in a defamation lawsuit by Aleksej Gubarev, whose company XBT/Webzilla was mentioned in the dossier. The Epoch Times covered the court case in a previous article.

McCain famously denied ever providing a copy of the dossier to BuzzFeed, telling the Daily Caller on Oct. 18, 2017: “I gave it to no one except for the director of the FBI. I don’t know why you’re digging this up now.”

Kramer, who is an affiliated senior fellow at the McCain Institute, revealed in his deposition that he had been in contact with 14 journalists and producers about the dossier. These contacts included:

  • ABC News: Brian Ross, Matt Mosk
  • BuzzFeed: Ken Bensinger
  • CNN: Carl Bernstein
  • The Guardian: Julian Borger
  • McClatchy: Peter Stone, Greg Gordon
  • Mother Jones: David Corn
  • NPR: Bob Little, Rachel Martin
  • The Washington Post: Tom Hamburger, Rosalind Helderman, Fred Hiatt
  • The Wall Street Journal: Alan Cullison

Kramer, who doesn’t appear to have spoken with The New York Times, noted that both Simpson and Steele were speaking to the Times directly because “they felt it required investigation by a serious news outlet, and they seemed to have chosen The Times at that point.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 3/15/2019)

March 15, 2018 – Grassley/Graham letter raises 31 questions re FISA and the Clinton/DNC/Steele dossier

Lindsey Graham (l) and Chuck Grassley (Credit: public domain)

“The Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Chairman Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham joined the growing chorus of Republican Congressman calling for the appointment of a second Special Counsel.

The argument is fairly straightforward. From yesterday’s post:

Inspector Generals have no prosecutorial power. But they can refer individuals for prosecution.

IG’s can place federal employees under oath.

But IG’s lack subpoena power over non-federal employees. This means that federal employees who come under OIG investigation can stymie the process by simply resigning.

The DOJ Inspector General specifically lacks authority to investigate misconduct by DOJ attorney-prosecutors, who under the current arrangement answer only to Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

These limitations are meaningful – as noted by Congressman Trey Gowdy:

There are twenty-four witnesses outside the reach of the Inspector General…

Probably more. Consider the number of Obama Administration officials now out of federal employ.

However, as I noted previously, prosecutorial power may already be in place – as recently described by AG Jeff Sessions:

I have appointed a person outside of Washington, many years in the Department of Justice, to look at all the allegations that the House Judiciary Committee members sent to us – and we’re conducting that investigation.

And Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd in an earlier letter to House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte:

The Attorney General has directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues raised in your letters.

These senior prosecutors will report directly to the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General.

These senior prosecutors are separate from the Inspector General and his team. More here.

The full scope of Session’s Outside Prosecutor remains to be seen. It may prove significant. If prosecutorial scope is more limited, a Special Counsel will prove a likely remedy.” (Read more: themarketswork, 3/18/2018)  (Archive)  (Senate Judiciary Letter, 3/15/2018)

June 5, 2018 – Priestap’s testimony reveals the composition of the Mid-Year Exam team

(…) “Priestap revealed a surprising level of detail regarding the composition of the team involved in Mid-Year Exam. As Priestap described it, the team comprised three differing but intertwined elements: the filter team, the primary team, and the senior leadership team.

Rick Mains (Credit: Linked In)

Below Strzok and Moffa was a day-to-day investigative “filter” team of approximately 15 FBI agents and analysts that was overseen by Rick Mains, a supervisory special agent who reported directly to Strzok and Moffa. Joining the team were two DOJ lawyers from the Eastern District of Virginia and two attorneys from the DOJ’s National security Division (NSD) who, according to Priestap, were “heavily engaged.” According to testimony from Page, John Carlin, who ran the NSD, was receiving briefings on both investigations directly from McCabe.

The primary team was small, consisting only of Strzok, Moffa, Mains, and, to varying degrees, Moyer. Mains reported to Strzok and Moffa, who, in turn, along with Moyer, provided briefings to Priestap.

The senior leadership team was more fluid, consisting of higher-level officials who provided briefings and updates to Comey, McCabe, or both. In addition to Priestap, Strzok, and Moffa, frequent attendees included Moyer (“sometimes, but not always”); Page (“usually included”); deputy general counsel Trisha Anderson (“sometimes, but not always”); Comey’s chief of staff, Jim Rybicki (“most, if not all of these”); and general counsel Baker (“often in those meetings”).

According to Priestap, Mains was never involved in the senior leadership meetings. Priestap described Mains’ role as being “in charge of the investigative team, the working level, all the day-to-day stuff.”

“[While] we asked his opinion on all kinds of things, we didn’t want him to be tied up in all those other meetings because he needed to advance the investigation. Somebody’s got to ride herd on all the people doing the work,” he said.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/29/2019)

July 13, 2018 – Page denies bias, but says FBI focused more on Trump than Clinton

(Credit: Fox News)

“Page steadfastly maintained there was no bias present in either the Clinton-email investigation or the Trump–Russia investigation on the part of anyone within the FBI or the DOJ, and went to some lengths to illustrate that, in general, FBI personnel don’t like most of the people they tend to investigate.

At the same time, Page repeatedly and openly admitted to placing a greater emphasis and weight on the Trump–Russia investigation than the Clinton-email investigation:

“If you were weighing resources with respect to which poses a graver threat to national security, which is more, frankly, important, there is no doubt—at least in mine or anybody else’s mind that I know—that the Russia investigation posed an incredible threat to national security, and whether we got into the Weiner laptop simply did not.”

Page returned to this topic several times:

“The notion that there might be more emails that have not previously been seen that existed on Hillary Clinton’s email server just simply don’t even enter into the realm of the same room of seriousness. The Clinton investigation involved activities that had taken place three years prior. It’s an entirely historical investigation.”

“In the assessment of the Counterintelligence Division, they still don’t even come close to the threat posed if Russia had co-opted a member of a political campaign.”

Although Page admitted to a personal dislike for Trump, she also admitted to a less-than-favorable view of Hillary Clinton, noting that while she didn’t like then-candidate Trump, she “wasn’t particularly fond or favorable toward Secretary Clinton. Page summed her position up thusly: “I mean, given a Trump-Clinton race, yes, I was supporting Clinton, but I was not a particularly big fan of hers.” (The Epoch Times, 1/21/2019)

July 13, 2018 – Lisa Page testifies she was unaware of Brennan’s role in helping establish the FBI counterintelligence investigation

(…) “Page staunchly maintained that any briefings given to the White House were always about the “Russian active-measures effort” and were not in relation to “Crossfire Hurricane,” the FBI’s name for its counterintelligence investigation into the Trump–Russia allegations.

Brennan admitted during congressional testimony that his intelligence helped establish the FBI counterintelligence investigation:

“I was aware of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons that raised concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals were cooperating with the Russians, either in a witting or unwitting fashion, and it served as the basis for the FBI investigation to determine whether such collusion [or] cooperation occurred.”

This admission is important, particularly since Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) had previously disclosed that no official intelligence was used to open the FBI’s investigation.

Brennan’s role was highlighted again during testimony, as one representative questioning Page questioned her in relation to an Aug. 25, 2016, text message: “What are you doing after the CH brief?” CH almost certainly referred to “Crossfire Hurricane.”

Page was asked specifically about an event that occurred on the same day:

John Brennan (l) and Harry Reid (Credit: public domain)

“It’s the same day that Director Brennan is briefing Harry Reid, is why I ask. And so what you’re saying is you were unaware that Director Brennan was briefing Harry Reid that same day?”

Page said she was unaware of Brennan’s briefing to Reid. She was then asked the following:

“You give a brief on August the 25th. Director Brennan is giving a brief. It’s not a Gang of Eight brief. It is a one-on-one, from what we can tell, a one-on-one briefing with Harry Reid at that point. And it becomes apparent, based on your text messages and based on Director Comey’s emails, that you all are aware that that conversation took place. Were you aware that Director Brennan had a briefing with Harry Reid and that you expected a letter from Harry Reid?”

Page noted that she remembered the letter sent by Reid, but seemed confused as to Brennan’s involvement and possible knowledge of the Steele dossier. Worth noting is that while some within the FBI likely had parts of the dossier in July, the counterintelligence investigative team didn’t receive it until mid-September during a trip to Rome, where they met personally with Steele.

The representative, who was clearly aware of the disparity in timing, focused on precisely how Brennan might have been aware of the dossier in August:

Unidentified Representative: “So what you’re saying is, is that you had no knowledge of these potential unverified memos prior to the middle part of September in your investigation?”

Page: “That is correct, sir.”

Rep.: “OK. So on Aug. 30, you and Peter are going back and forth, and you go, ‘Here we go.’ If you’ll look at 9:44:50 on August the 30th, you go, ‘Here we go.’ And it’s referencing [the New York Times report] ‘Harry Reid Cites Evidence of Russian Tampering in the U.S. Vote and Seeks FBI Inquiry.’ Now, what happens is, and what I guess gives me a little bit of concern is, if you drop down, that if you drop down to the same day, August 30th, 9:45, it says, ‘The D’—which I assume means director—’said at the a.m. brief that Reid had called him and told him that he would be sending the letter.’

Page: “OK.”

Rep.: “So you get a brief that says, well, we got the letter, but it’s almost like it’s a coordinated effort between Harry Reid and the FBI director, because obviously, he’s briefing you.”

After a bit of back and forth, Page responded, “I don’t know what Harry Reid was told or why or what the purpose of Brennan [was.]”

The representative pressed on:

“Why would Director Brennan be aware of things that the FBI was not aware of at this particular point, when it actually would potentially involve, according to Peter Strzok’s word on January 10th of 2017, an unverified salacious set of memos?”

And then the big reveal:

Unidentified Representative: “We have documents that would suggest that in that briefing the dossier was mentioned to Harry Reid and then, obviously, we’re going to have to have conversations. Does that surprise you that Director Brennan would be aware [of the dossier]?”

Page: “Yes, sir. Because with all due honesty, if Director Brennan—so we got that information from our source, right? The FBI got this information from our source. If the CIA had another source of that information, I am neither aware of that nor did the CIA provide it to us if they did, because the first time we—”

Rep.: “We do know there are multiple sources.”

Page: “I do know that. I do know that the information ultimately found its way lots of different places, certainly in October of 2016.  But if the CIA as early as August, in fact, had those same reports, I am not aware of—I’m not aware of that and nor do I believe they provided them to us, and that would be unusual.”

Rep.: “Were you aware that Christopher Steele had conversations or multiple conversations with Fusion GPS and others outside of just working special intel for you?”

Page: “As of August of 2016, I don’t know who Christopher Steele is. I don’t know that he’s an FBI source. I don’t know what he does. I have never heard of him in all of my life. So let me just sort of be clear. When the FBI first receives the reports that are known as the dossier from an FBI agent who is Christopher Steele’s handler in September of 2016 at that time, we do not know who—we don’t know why these reports have been generated.  We don’t know for what purpose.”

A bit later in the discussion, the representative asked another question:

Rep.: “So you don’t know whether it’s a coordinated effort to get you those documents or not at that point in September?”

Page responds, “Coordinated by whom, sir?

Rep.: “Anybody, other than a confidential human source saying, ‘Listen, I’ve got reason to be concerned and bring it to you.’ It could be coordinated by the CIA. It could have been coordinated by Fusion GPS. You don’t know.”

Page: “At the time that we received the documentation, no. What we have is the preexisting relationship with the source and the reliability of his prior reporting.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/11/2019)

July 13, 2018 – Lisa Page notes who worked on both the Clinton email investigation and the Trump-Russia investigation

“The role of Moffa, currently a deputy assistant director at the FBI, may have been greater than previously understood. Page noted that most of the FBI personnel involved in the Clinton and the Trump–Russia investigations were separate from each other—they worked on one investigation or the other.

Strzok and Moffa, both from the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, worked on both investigations, as Page noted:

“Really, it’s the people that met with Jim Comey. Those are the only people that were really the same with respect to both teams. So it’s the same general counsel, the same deputy general counsel, me, Mr. McCabe, Dave Bowdich. The EAD for National Security Branch changed, but that was just because of regular personnel turnover.

“Bill Priestap was the same. Pete was the same. Jon Moffa was the same. But other than that, all of the rest of the personnel were, to the best of my knowledge—there could have been one or two—but all of the rest of the personnel on the Clinton team and the Russia team were different.” (The Epoch Times, 1/21/2019)

July 13, 2018 – Lisa Page discusses the DOJ influence over the FBI’s Clinton email investigation

(Credit: State of the Nation)

(…) “Page also repeatedly noted a tension between the FBI and DOJ, noting that the DOJ was far more cautious in their approach to matters and was ultimately responsible for the decision not to prosecute in the Clinton case.

Another aspect that developed in the dynamic between the DOJ and the FBI was pressure from the department to place additional people into the FBI’s investigation. Page noted that “as soon as the planning started to begin to interview some of the more high-profile witness, not just Mrs. Clinton but also Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, and her sort of core team, the department wanted to change the sort of structure and the number of people who were involved.”

In particular, David Laufman, a deputy assistant attorney general and head of counterintelligence for the DOJ’s National Security Division at the time, pushed extensively to be present for the higher profile interviews. As Page noted, this quickly spiraled into a problem for the FBI:

“Once we started talking about including David, then the U.S. Attorney’s Office also wanted to participate in the interviews, although they had participated in virtually none by that point. And so, then the U.S. Attorney’s Office was pushing to have the AUSAs [Assistant U.S. Attorney], who were participating in the Clinton investigation, also participate.”

“And so now, all of a sudden, we were going from our standard two and two to this burgeoning number of people.”

Apparently, Laufman felt so strongly that he went to his boss, George Toscas, the deputy assistant attorney general in the National Security Division, who then approached McCabe directly.

The DOJ’s ongoing influence was felt in other ways as well. Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, both fact witnesses, were allowed to attend Clinton’s interview as her attorneys. As Page admitted, “I would agree with you, that it is not typically appropriate or operationally necessary to have fact witnesses attend the interview.”

The decision to allow attendance of fact witnesses during Clinton’s interview came from the DOJ, although Page said she wasn’t certain who had made the decision. She noted that the FBI protested the move but were overridden, so the decision must have come from a senior level within the DOJ.” (The Epoch Times, 1/21/2019)

July 13, 2018 – Lisa Page testimony reveals the DOJ prevented the FBI from pursuing gross negligence charges against Clinton

(…) “Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer who served as special counsel to Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe during the time of the Clinton investigation, noted during her testimony in July 2018, that the DOJ was intimately involved in the investigation.

“Everybody talks about this as if this was the FBI investigation, and the truth of the matter is there was not a single step, other than the July 5th statement, there was not a single investigative step that we did not do in consultation with or at the direction of the Justice Department,” Page told congressional investigators on July 13, 2018.

Comey had also hinted at the influence exerted by the DOJ over the Clinton investigation in his July recommendation, stating that “there are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent.”

Intent is a requirement of several statutes the FBI was looking into. But intent is specifically not a factor under the charge of gross negligence—contained within 18 U.S. Code § 793(f)—a fact that was brought up by Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) during Page’s testimony:

John Ratcliffe (Credit: CSpan)

Rep. Ratcliffe: Okay. And that’s — I think, when you talk about intent, that’s certainly true under part of 18 793(f), but it sounds like you all just blew over gross negligence.

Ms. Page: We did not blow over gross negligence. We, in fact — and, in fact, the Director — because on its face, it did seem like, well, maybe there’s a potential here for this to be the charge. And we had multiple conversations, multiple conversations with the Justice Department about charging gross negligence.

Page made clear during her testimony that the DOJ had decided that due to “constitutional vagueness” a charge of gross negligence would not be supported without accompanying proof of intent—a seemingly oxymoronic position:

Rep. Ratcliffe: Okay. So let me if I can, I know I’m testing your memory, but when you say advice you got from the Department, you’re making it sound like it was the Department that told you: You’re not going to charge gross negligence because we’re the prosecutors and we’re telling you we’re not going to —

Ms. Page: That is correct.

Rep. Ratcliffe: — bring a case based on that.

Trouble Defining Intent

The word “intent” drove the entirety of the FBI’s investigation into the Clinton email server.

It appears, however, that there were differing understandings of the word “intent” within the FBI. Trisha Anderson, the No. 2 lawyer at the FBI, told investigators that what she viewed as intent was “an email that the Secretary sent saying, I set up this server for the purpose of sending unclassified information for my convenience, even though I know it’s not a secure system.”

Page viewed the situation somewhat differently, agreeing they were looking for “an intent to do an act which is in violation of the law’s central command.” As she told investigators, the FBI “couldn’t find any indicia of knowledge that she knew that these [classified emails] shouldn’t be traversing her server.”

In Anderson’s understanding, she was looking for a prosecutable reason behind the establishment of the server itself. Page, however, was looking at whether Clinton knew which emails should not have traveled through the private server.

Meanwhile, Bill Priestap, head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division and who was officially in charge of the Clinton investigation, said during testimony that he thought the “number of instances is absolutely a proper consideration” in establishing intent.

According to Ryan Breitenbach, who was the House Majority Counsel at the time of Priestap’s interview, the State Department had identified 22 top-secret emails and 1,300 classified emails on Clinton’s email server. As Breitenbach noted to Priestap during testimony, “I think there might be many who would question whether people in this room would still be in this room if we had hit 1,300 emails on our personal Gmail service.”

DOJ Not Willing to Charge This

Michael Steinbach (Credit: CSpan)

Priestap was shown an email sent from an unknown individual in the FBI general counsel’s office to Priestap’s former boss, Michael Steinbach, which contained a chart of “available statutes for prosecuting the former Secretary of State.” Gross Negligence was specifically excluded from the chargeable statutes available to the FBI. Priestap, who had not previously seen the document, expressed concerns that this might have hindered the work of FBI investigators.

Mr. Breitenbach: We see in this chart that DOJ is not willing to charge this, meaning 18 U.S.C. 793(f). My question is going back to those draft affidavits. If DOJ is not willing to charge this statute, why would the FBI in an affidavit use this statute as predication to obtain a search warrant if this statute is never going to be prosecuted?

Mr. Priestap: So I — I don’t know who put this together and used this language.

Mr. Breitenbach: Well, someone in the FBI general counsel’s office.

Mr. Priestap: Yeah. No. No. I trust you. But I don’t know why they, again, put it together. I don’t know why they used this language, ‘DOJ not willing to charge this.’

My attitude is that if there is a Federal criminal statute still on the books, then, you know — and we think there may or might be a violation of that, we still have to work to uncover whether, in fact, there was.

The prosecutive history of a particular statute isn’t going to affect — I sure hope it does not affect the fact-finder’s work.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 2/25/2019)

July 13, 2018 – Lisa Page testifies about the The FBI’s Verification File and the Dragon FISA

(Credit: A. Hunter/Washington Times)

“Page testified that as soon as they received the Steele dossier in September, they “set about trying to prove or disprove every single factual statement in the dossier.” Page noted that “to the best of my knowledge, we were never able to disprove any statement in it.”

This seems somewhat odd given that Comey told congressional investigators the Steele dossier still wasn’t verified as of May 2017. Additionally, her assertion doesn’t appear to address the generally debunked claim that Cohen was in Prague.

In response to Page’s comments, clarification was requested.

Unidentified Representative: “Ms. Page, are you talking about the Woods file?”

Page: “I’m not talking about the Woods file. I’m talking about a separate effort that was undertaken in order to try to verify for investigative purposes, not for purposes of the FISA, but a separate effort undertaken to try to validate the allegations contained within the Steele reporting.”

It quickly became apparent that this document hasn’t been seen by congressional investigators. One representative, who noted he has seen the Woods file, was clearly unaware of this file’s existence.

This discussion quickly led into another area—an Oct. 18, 2016, email from Strzok containing the subject line “Re: Dragon FISA.”

Page quickly noted that she couldn’t discuss the matter in an unclassified setting—but would be able to discuss the matter with congressional investigators in a classified setting.

“The Dragon FISA was referenced in an article by John Solomon in The Hill:

“In one email exchange with the subject line ‘Crossfire FISA,’ Strzok and Lisa Page discussed talking points to get then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to persuade a high-ranking DOJ official to sign off on the warrant.”

“Crossfire Hurricane” was one of the code names for four separate investigations the FBI conducted related to Russia matters in the 2016 election.

“At a minimum, that keeps the hurry the F up pressure on him,” Strzok emailed Page on Oct. 14, 2016, less than four weeks before Election Day.

Four days later, the same team was emailing about rushing to get approval for another FISA warrant for another Russia-related investigation code-named “Dragon.”

At this point, the potential subject of the Dragon FISA remains unknown. (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/11/2019)

July 13, 2018 – Lisa Page testifies she was unaware the ICIG briefed top bureau officials on an anomaly found embedded in Clinton’s server that sent a copy of her emails to a third party

On August 29, 2018, The Daily Caller News Foundation reports, “The FBI refuses to disclose whether or not it met with senior members of the Intelligence Community Inspector General on the subject of foreign intrusion of former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s private server.

An FBI spokeswoman refused to confirm if Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) officials — including Frank Rucker, its chief investigator — briefed top bureau officials about evidence of penetration of Clinton’s private server by a Chinese government intelligence operation. “We have no comment,” she told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Earlier Wednesday, an FBI spokesman released what appeared to be a categorical statement about the Clinton server: “The FBI has not found any evidence the servers were compromised,” the FBI stated.

The statement does not address a central aspect of The DCNF’s reporting, which was that the ICIG briefed top bureau officials on three separate occasions to warn the FBI of an “anomaly” they found in 30,000 in-bound and outgoing emails. The report is based on an intelligence official with direct knowledge of the matter. The anomaly showed a code embedded in Clinton’s server was producing in real time a “courtesy copy” to a third party.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 8/29/2018)

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page arrives for a closed door hearing with the House Judiciary and House Oversight committees, Friday, July 13, 2018. (Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press)

On January 11, 2019, Jeff Carlson writes of his exclusive access to the July 13, 2018 transcript of Lisa Page’s testimony to a joint congressional committee and she is asked why the FBI didn’t meet with Mr. Rucker and the ICIG team to further investigate the “anomaly” found embedded in Clinton’s private server:

“During one exchange, one of the representatives questioning her noted, “We have information from the inspector general of the intelligence community … that there were anomalies that would suggest that there were copies of every email going to a third party. … Is this news to you

Page admitted it was and noted it was “completely baffling to me.”

She was then asked the obvious question: “Why would the investigative team not have had multiple interviews with Mr. Rucker, who brought it to the FBI’s attention originally?”

Page responded by saying the following:

“My understanding is that the IC IG [Intelligence Community Inspector General] did refer the existence of the server to the FBI, but that was because of the existence of classified information on that server, not because of any anomalous activity, not because of potential intrusion activity. Because it’s not my understanding that the IC IG conducted any sort of forensic analysis like that.”

The questioning continued:

“So what you’re telling me, it would surprise you to know today that, if there were anomalies, that the inspector general’s forensic team found those before it was referred to the FBI?”

Page responded:

“To the extent that a foreign government or even a criminal outlet had had access to Secretary Clinton’s private email server, that would have been something we cared very much about. And it’s my understanding that there was no evidence that would have supported that kind of conclusion.”
(Read more: Epoch Times, 1/11/2019)

July 13, 2018 – Lisa Page testifies about the Insurance Policy

(…) “Another issue that was brought up several times was the famous Strzok text regarding the “Insurance Policy”:

“I want to believe the path you threw out in Andy’s office—that there is no way he gets elected—but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

Page confirmed that “Andy” referred to Deputy FBI Director McCabe. Page was reminded that the text was sent just 15 days after the FBI opened its counterintelligence investigation on July 31, 2016. While Page attempted to provide an explanation, it came across as less than convincing:

“What this text reflects is our sort of continuing check-in almost with respect to how quickly to operate, what types of tools to use, trying to be as quiet as possible about it because we knew so little about what—whether this was true or not true or what was going to come, because this is, as you said, so nascent in the investigation, and then ultimately trying to balance that against my view, in this case, which was we don’t need to go at a total breakneck speed, because so long as he doesn’t become president, there isn’t the same threat to national security, right.”

Perhaps realizing she’d been less than perfectly clear, Page attempted to clarify her position, noting, “This reflects, ‘Let’s be reasonable, let’s not, you know, throw the kitchen sink at this because he’s probably not going to be elected, and so then, we don’t have quite as horrific a national security threat than we do if he gets elected.’”

In fairness to Page, at a later point in the interview, she did manage to provide a somewhat more coherent explanation:

“He’s making an analogy here so my suggestion is, let’s not, you know, throw the baby out with the bathwater, let’s sort of be a little bit more cautious with respect to our investigative steps because if he’s not president, this plays as less of a threat to our national security.

“And he is saying, no, we have to, you know, do what we have to do in order to get to the bottom of this because it is like an insurance policy. There is no actual insurance policy. He is making an analogy.” (The Epoch Times, 1/11/2019)

July 13, 2018 – Lisa Page discusses a possible obstruction case

Lisa Page (Credit: Fox News)

(…) “Still another issue mentioned with some frequency were two potentially related texts:

“And we need to open the case we’ve been waiting on now while Andy is acting”; and

“We need to lock in [redacted] in a formal, chargeable, way.”

Again, Page confirms that “Andy” is indeed a reference to McCabe. Notably, that text was sent the day after Comey had been fired by Trump. Unfortunately, a certain level of clarity remains lacking as FBI counsel was limited to noting that “the decision to open the case was not about who was occupying the director’s chair.” She continued in a somewhat confusingly with, “if I was able to explain in more depth why the director firing precipitated this text, I would.”

One representative kept pursuing the question from multiple angles, asking, “Was that a fear that someone other than McCabe would eventually be put into that slot?” Page again consulted with counsel and noted she couldn’t answer that question.

The representative made the logical observation, “Well, that leads at least some of us to conclude that it may have been an obstruction-of-justice case.” Page responded, “That’s a reasonable inference, sir, but I cannot, sort of, confirm that that’s what we are referring to.”

The dialogue continued:

Unidentified Representative: “So the firing of Jim Comey was the precipitating event, as opposed to the occupant of the director’s office?”

Page: “Yes, that’s correct.”

Rep.: “Well, other than obstruction, what could it have been?”

Page: “I can’t answer that, sir. I’m sorry.”

Rep.: “Is there anything other than obstruction that it could have been?”

Page: “I can’t answer.”

Page maintained that the second text was a separate matter from the first—but time may have been a factor as it occurred in the days preceding Mueller’s appointment as special counsel. Page also claimed not to know exactly what it pertained to:

“My suspicion is, we have either been interviewing some witness or have been getting kind of closer to some target, either we’ve already had interviews or we haven’t.

“What this is suggesting is, like, we need to start thinking about locking in whomever in a way that might be able to support charges. … My suspicion is that we have somebody who we think is lying. … To the extent we want to be able to charge them for lying, we need to lock them in in a formal way, in a way in which we will be able to support those charges.”

The issue of obstruction came up several times, including a notable exchange that took place during the second day of testimony:

Unidentified Representative: “Were there discussions about opening an obstruction-of-justice case or any other case against Donald Trump prior to the firing of Jim Comey on May 9th of 2017, as reflected in the Comey memos?”

FBI legal counsel: “Congressman, to the extent that goes into the equities of the ongoing investigation that the special counsel is now conducting, I will instruct the witness not to answer.”

Normally, this line of questioning ends with inferences having to be made, but, in this case, what appears to be an honest error on the part of Page hinted firmly at the true answer:

Rep.: “I don’t want any of the details. I just want to know whether there was a discussion about the possibility of opening that prior to the firing of the director.”

Page: “Obstruction of justice was not a topic of conversation during the timeframe you have described.”

Rep.: “OK. Then—”

Page: “I think. One second, sir.”

[Discussion off the record.]

Page: “Sir, I need to—I need to take back my prior statement.”

Rep.: “Which one?”

Page: “Whatever the last thing I just said was. Sorry. That there were no discussions of obstruction, yeah. That is—I need to take that statement back.”

Rep.: “So there were?”

Page: “Well, I think that I can’t answer this question without getting into matters which are substantively before the special counsel at this time.”

Rep.: “Well, I think you’ve just answered it by not answering it. Was Andy McCabe privy to those same conversations?”

Page: “I can’t answer this substantively, sir. I’m sorry.”

Rep.: “Well, were these related to some charges, whether obstruction or other charges, potentially against Donald Trump?”

Page: “I can’t—I can’t answer that question, sir, without getting into the substance of matters that are now before the special counsel.”

Rep.: “Again, I think you’re answering it by not answering it.”

At a later point in testimony, this issue was potentially further clarified:

Rep.: “Comey has admitted that he told the president, I think, that he wasn’t under investigation during that timeframe.”

Page: “That is not inconsistent, sir. … Somebody could not be under investigation, but there still could be discussions about potential criminal activity, and that is totally consistent with FBI policies and would not be unusual with respect to any investigation.”

This provides a perfect explanation as to why Comey refused to tell the press that Trump wasn’t under investigation—and the nature of the text messages.

The FBI hadn’t placed Trump under any formal investigation—but they were keeping their ability to do so open, and Acting FBI Director McCabe may have been planning to initialize a formal investigation before a permanent director could be appointed.

A question worth asking: What happens if an interim FBI director opens a formal investigation into a sitting president during a highly politically charged time? Is it then difficult, perhaps impossible, to appoint someone other than McCabe as a new FBI director, especially given Comey’s recent firing? (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/11/2019)

July 13, 2018 – Lisa Page testimony on FISA briefings, Brennan, and White House knowledge

(…) “At several points, Page noted a frustration on the part of the FBI in relation to the speed with which the DOJ was moving in the FISA spy warrant-application process.

When questioned about the need to move swiftly, Page noted, “There was an operational reason that we were pushing to get the FISA up, which I am not at liberty to discuss.” Upon further questioning, Page tried to provide slightly more clarity: “We had an operational reason that we wanted to get this thing up quickly with respect to the subject himself.”

According to Page’s testimony, she first learned of plans to obtain a FISA warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page approximately a month before the FISA was granted on Oct. 21, 2016.

Stuart Evans testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss the reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance on June 27, 2017. (Credit: CSpan)

Page disclosed that Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stu Evans was the person within the DOJ who was in charge of the entire FISA process, but notably, the FBI chose not to tell Evans that they had opened a counterintelligence investigation:

“We were so concerned about the fact that we were opening this investigation and we were so concerned about leaks that we were literally individually making decisions about who to tell and who not to tell, because we were trying to keep it so closely held.”

According to Page, the only DOJ official they told was Toscas, the deputy assistant attorney general in the National Security Division. Without forewarning to the FBI, Toscas informed Evans in August 2016—possibly earlier—of the FBI’s newly opened investigation.

The text in question was from Aug. 10, 2016, and was paraphrased by one of the congressional representatives:

George Toscas (Credit: Fox News)

“I remember what it was, Toscas already told Stu Evans everything. Sally called to set up a meeting.”

“Sally” is affirmed in the conversation as referring to Deputy AG Sally Yates.

Page was emphatic that this discussion didn’t have anything to do with the actual FISA but instead reflected the FBI’s concern that increasing numbers of people were learning of their investigation.

Notably, Toscas reported to Carlin, the head of the NSD, whose actions before the FISA court in relation to his presentation of the government’s proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications, strongly suggest he was also aware of the FBI’s investigation. Carlin appears to have been aware of the FBI’s later FISA preparations, as well.

The congressional representative then asked the following question:

“What you’re saying is when the director briefed the White House 2 days prior to that, on August the 8th, or prepared for it, actually briefed him on the 10th, that it had nothing to do with any campaign. Even though George Toscas and Stu Evans knew about it.”

Normally, when a member of the FBI uses the word “director,” they would be referring to the FBI director. In this case, while not made absolutely clear in the transcript, it appears “director” refers to CIA Director John Brennan, who had been discussed in the preceding comments relating to Brennan’s briefing of Reid.

From Brennan’s congressional testimony, we know that he had briefed the White House at some point in early August 2016, prior to Aug. 11:

“In consultation with the White House, I personally briefed the full details of our understanding of Russian attempts to interfere in election to congressional leadership, specifically Senators Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr; and to Representatives Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Devon Nunes and Adam Schiff between 11 August and 6 September.”

Page responded to the question: “Sir, I would be shocked. I would truly be stunned to discover that the director had briefed the president on the substance of our investigation or even the existence of our investigation. I would be—I can’t say it didn’t happen, I wasn’t there, but I would be stunned to discover that.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/11/2019)

July 13, 2018 – Lisa Page on John Carlin’s role

John Carlin and John Brennan speak at the Center for Strategic & International Studies on September 19, 2016. (Credit: YouTube)

(…) “John Carlin was an assistant attorney general and head of the DOJ’s National Security Division (NSD). He had previously served as chief of staff to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Carlin announced his resignation the day after he filed the government’s proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications. This filing would be subject to intense criticism from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) following disclosures made by then-National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers. Significant changes to the handling of raw FISA data would result.

Carlin was succeeded by Mary McCord–who would later accompany acting AG Sally Yates to see White House counsel Don McGahn about Trump’s national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn.

Page was asked at several points regarding influence from political appointees. At one point in the discussion, she singled out Carlin—and what she had to say proved interesting:

“I do know that at least John Carlin, for example, who is a political appointee, was kept abreast of the sort of investigative activity that was going on. And the only reason I know this is because when there was conflicts between us and DOJ, John might call over to—John Carlin might call over to Andy McCabe, and sort of make his team’s pitch, and then Andy would, you know, sort of the back-and-forth would go on. So it is clear that John had, was getting some sort of briefing, but he was not, it was, it never occurred by the FBI, which is, in my view, atypical.”

In response to a question asking who was McCabe’s direct counterpart at the DOJ on the investigation, Page responded, “it would have been John. It was either John Carlin or George Toscas who would have, who would have reached out to Mr. McCabe.”

The congressional staffer who was doing this particular line of questioning appeared to attempt to mitigate the information just revealed by Page:

“Numerous witnesses have confirmed to us that George Toscas, a career prosecutor, was in charge of the day-to-day operation of DOJ on this investigation. And that Carlin and other political folks above him had briefings certainly, so they had knowledge but didn’t have input in the investigation.”

“Do you have any personal knowledge of John Carlin, Loretta Lynch, Sally Yates, or other political appointees at the DOJ issuing orders on how to conduct the Midyear investigation?” Page was asked.

Page answered that she had “no personal knowledge of that.” Despite the attempts to shift the conversation, these admissions are notable.

Carlin was a very senior official within the DOJ. He was also Toscas’s boss. It was Toscas who was contacted by New York prosecutors (possibly former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara) involved in the Anthony Weiner investigation regarding the Clinton emails found on Weiner’s computer. In response, Toscas contacted McCabe, his counterpart at the FBI, ultimately forcing McCabe to inform Comey of the existence of Clinton emails on Weiner’s laptop.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/21/2018)

July 21, 2018 – Some various observations of the newly released redacted Carter Page FISA applications

The Carter Page FISA Applications are out.

Importantly, The released version appears to be from the FISA Court. Note the stamp of the Court Clerk on the first page.

Although heavily redacted, much information appears to be contained within.

You should consider the redactions acts of self-preservation by the DOJ rather than reflections of National Security concerns.

You can find the Page FISA Applications herehere and here. Embedded version below.

The first link is to the FBI Vault (you can download). The second link is to the New York Times pdf version. The third is a Scrib’d upload courtesy of the Conservative Treehouse.

For any who doubted assertions the Steele Dossier was the primary means to obtain the Page FISA Warrant doubt no longer.

As we’ve long-said, the Steele Dossier was a primary component of evidence the FBI presented to the FISA Court.

The four FISA Judges are now known with certainty. We’d previously narrowed down the list:

This next bit will ultimately prove important:

Other recognizable names were involved:

A suspicion – which I share:

Before you proceed, a reminder:

This is an excellent observation:

Source # 1 is Christopher Steele. Steele was paid by the FBI:

From the second page of the FISA Application:

There are indeed contradictions:

And some circular evidence-gathering:

Wait, what:

The subject of the FISA Application, Carter Page, had a reaction:

I’ll close it out with this:

The Carter Page FISA Documents:

2016 FISA Application on Carter Page by The Conservative Treehouse on Scribd

(Jeff Carlson, themarketswork.com, 7/21/2018)

August 21, 2018 – Trisha Anderson testifies the FBI director signs 15 to 20 FISA applications each day, all within 20 minutes

(…) “The signing process by the FBI director appears to be more of an official act than any sort of actual review. Anderson testified that each day, the director might receive 15 to 20 FISAs to sign, with each containing large amounts of documentation.

“[They’re] very thick. It’s not unusual for the Director to receive a stack this tall. I’m indicating about a foot and a half between my hands here, for the benefit of the reporter,” she said.

Anderson testified that the director was allotted 20 minutes in which to review the entirety of the day’s FISA applications—not 20 minutes per FISA.

Mr. Baker (House Majority Investigative Counsel): “And you said just a minute ago — I thought you said that the Director has 20 minutes set aside to review all the FISAs?”

Ms. Anderson: “Approximately, yes.”

(Read more: Epoch Times, 2/11/2019)

August 21, 2018 – Trish Anderson and Sally Moyer testify there is no fact checking of FISA applications by senior staff

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

“Even during normal circumstances, Anderson noted that she did not view it as her primary responsibility to provide any verification or fact-checking of the FISA applications. According to Anderson, FISAs would typically return from DOJ inspection with a cover note that “summarized the FISA,” and unless an issue had been identified by the cover note, she typically wouldn’t read the actual application “because of the time pressures involved and the sort of very-last-stop-in-the-process nature of the review.” Anderson also testified that the only way she would be aware of the legal predicate for probable cause would be through the DOJ cover note.

Anderson told investigators that her direct supervisor, Baker, had personally read and reviewed the Page FISA, lending her additional confidence in the review process. However, according to Baker, he had only read the “factual section” relating to probable cause and had not read or reviewed any other section, including the Woods file.

The Woods file, which provides facts supporting the allegations made in a FISA application, is attached to every application and is provided by the originating FBI agent in each case.

Baker, during questioning as to why the FBI failed to disclose the political motivations of dossier author Steele to the FISC, testified that this fact should have been vetted during lower levels of preparation.

“So the people filing the FISA application and the people who checked the Woods file to verify that the way this works is that they would not have had any information that was derogatory about Source #1 at the time that this was submitted,” Baker said.

“That there might exist in the files of the FBI or in somebody’s memory some interaction that might be derogatory and that it didn’t make it into the files I don’t know that that happened or didn’t happen. That kind of thing in theory, in theory could happen. So, but the people responsible for this FISA should have believed that that was accurate at the time and should have had documentation to support that assertion.”

Sally Moyer (Credit: Patsy Lynch/Daily Mail)

However, Sally Moyer, who was a unit chief at the Office of General Counsel, told lawmakers that only the originating agent and the supervisory special agent in the field actually look at the Woods file during the preparation of a FISA application:

Mr. Somers: “So you don’t — do you review the Woods’ file?”

Ms. Moyer: “No.”

Mr. Somers: “Did you review the Woods’ file in the Carter Page application?”

Ms. Moyer: “No.”

Mr. Somers: “Okay.  So beyond the case agent, who looks at a Woods’ file?”

Ms. Moyer: “The supervisory special agent in the field.”

Mr. Somers: “In the field. But no one else out of the field of that chain looks at a Woods’ file in general?”

Ms. Moyer: “That is correct, except both of those individuals sign the Woods’ form indicating that the facts are true and accurate and that they have documents to support those facts.”

Moyer told investigators that “the person that’s signing the application is relying on the individuals who have signed the Woods form that they have the Woods file.” Moyer stipulated that in some cases, the supervisory special agent at FBI headquarters who is signing off on an application might choose to review the Woods file, but that it was not done for the Page FISA.

Mr. Somers: “Do you know if that happened in the case of the Carter Page?”

Ms. Moyer: “I don’t think it did in this case.”

(Read more: Epoch Times, 2/11/2019)

August 31, 2018 – Senior FBI attorney Trisha Anderson, did not read Carter Page Title 1 FISA warrant application before signing off on it

Trisha Anderson (Credit: public domain)

Congressional testimony by Trisha Anderson highlights unusual process used by FBI and DOJ to obtain FISA warrant on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Trisha Anderson, the Principal Deputy General Counsel for the FBI and head of the National Security and Cyber Law Branch, signed off on a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) application on former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page—before it went to FBI Director James Comey—despite admitting not having read it.

Anderson, whose division was also assigned the Mid-Year Exam—the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server—was responsible for legal oversight of the FBI’s FISA process, and provided a final sign-off before FISA applications were sent to the FBI Director level. Anderson, who supervised the FBI attorneys involved in FISA applications, including the Page FISA, characterized her role as being “involved at a supervisory level within the legal chain of command.”

Although she did not voluntarily reveal the information, she admitted during questioning that she was the individual responsible at the senior executive service (SES) level for signing off on the original Carter Page FISA application:

Mr. Breitenbach: You had mentioned earlier that all FISAs have to be signed off, have an approver at an SES level. In OGC? Or is that anywhere inside the FBI?

Ms. Anderson: In NSLB, in my particular branch.

Mr. Breitenbach: In NSLB?

Ms. Anderson: Yeah. Uh-huh.

Mr. Breitenbach: Okay. Who was that SES approver for the Carter Page FISA?

Ms. Anderson: My best recollection is that I was for the initiation.

In her Aug. 31, 2018, testimony, a transcript of which was reviewed for this article, Anderson described her role in the FISA process as “a backstop” whereby she would serve as “a last check in the process to ensure that all necessary elements of the FISA package were present and that it met the basic requirements of probable cause.”

However, there appears to be significant latitude in the “backstop” review process. According to Anderson, the Department of Justice (DOJ) attached a “cover note” that identified potential issues, if any, for her to review with every FISA application. If no issues were identified by the DOJ, then according to Anderson, there would be no need for her to read the FISA application:

Ms. Anderson: [So] there typically would be a cover note that would summarize the FISA. That cover note is generated by DOJ. And because of the time pressures involved and the sort of very-last-stop-in-the-process nature of the review, the SES review, that’s done, I wouldn’t read a FISA unless there were some sort of issue that was identified based on the cover note.

Mr. Breitenbach: You are, though, reviewing for the sufficiency of probable cause —

Ms. Anderson: After many people have reviewed that assessment. And so, as I mentioned, this was essentially a backstop to all of the other processes and the rigor that had been applied by DOJ attorneys and by FBI investigative and legal personnel.

Despite its politicized nature and obvious sensitivity, it appears that no issues were identified in relation to the Page FISA as Anderson testified that she had not read the FISA application, only the DOJ cover note:

Mr. Breitenbach: Does that mean you read the FISA —

Ms. Anderson: No.

(…)

Mr. Breitenbach: Okay. So you did not read the FISA, but you would’ve been familiar then with at least part of the FISA with regard to the legal predication for probable cause in the FISA in order to be able to sign it?

Ms. Anderson: I would be familiar based on the cover note, yes.

Mr. Breitenbach: On the cover note. Okay. So —

Ms. Anderson: In the case of the Carter Page FISA, I was generally familiar with the facts of the application —

Mr. Breitenbach: Okay.

Ms. Anderson: — before I signed that cover note.

Anderson claimed that in the case of the Page FISA, her approval was “more administrative in nature” because “all necessary approvals, including up through and including the leadership of the FBI and the leadership of the Department” had been obtained by the time the Page FISA came to her desk for sign-off.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 2/07/2019)

August 31, 2018 – Testimony by FBI lawyer Trisha Anderson reveals extensive role in Trump, Clinton investigations

(Credit: The Epoch Times)

“A key player in the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of Donald Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign was Trisha Anderson, who, at the time, was the No. 2 lawyer at the agency’s Office of General Counsel.

Despite having no specific experience in counterintelligence before coming to the FBI, Anderson was, in some manner, involved in virtually all of the significant events of the investigation.

Anderson told members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees in August last year during closed-door testimony that she was one of only about 10 people who had known about the Trump–Russia investigation prior to its official opening.

A transcript of Anderson’s testimony, which was reviewed for this article, reveals that she had read all of the FBI’s FD302 forms detailing information that the author of the Steele dossier, former British spy Christopher Steele, had provided to high-ranking Department of Justice (DOJ) official Bruce Ohr.

Anderson also told lawmakers that she personally signed off on the original application for a warrant to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page without having read it. The FBI relied heavily on the unverified information in the Steele dossier—which was paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee—to obtain the FISA warrant.

Anderson also was part of a small group of FBI personnel who got to read then-FBI Director James Comey’s memos about conversations he had with President Donald Trump.

Besides the investigation into Trump, Anderson also was involved in the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton for sending classified information using a private server.

Anderson’s testimony reveals that she received the original referral from the inspectors general for both the State Department and Intelligence Community on Clinton after hundreds of classified emails had been found on her server.

Her testimony also raises questions as to whether then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict of interest.

Lawmakers also questioned Anderson about whether she advised Comey against making a public announcement that the FBI had reopened its investigation into Clinton following findings on the laptop of former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) because Comey would have been “responsible for getting Donald Trump elected.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 3/08/2019) (Trisha Anderson transcript, 8/31/2018)

October 3rd & 18th, 2018 – Transcripts of former top FBI lawyer details a belief Clinton should have been charged for her “alarming, appalling” mishandling of classified info

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

“[James] Baker served as the FBI’s general counsel when the bureau investigated the Trump campaign and Hillary Clinton’s use of an unauthorized private email server. During two days of testimony on Oct. 3 and Oct. 18, he told lawmakers that he believed even toward the end of the Clinton investigation that she should have been charged over her “alarming, appalling” mishandling of classified information.

He argued with others, including then-FBI Director James Comey, about the issue all the way toward the end of the investigation, but was ultimately persuaded that Clinton should be exonerated.

“My original belief … after having conducted the investigation and towards the end of it, then sitting down and reading a binder of her materials, I thought that it was alarming, appalling, whatever words I said, and argued with others about why they thought she shouldn’t be charged,” Baker told lawmakers.

As of October 2018, nearly two years after the Clinton probe concluded, Baker still believed that the conduct of the former secretary of state and her associates was “appalling” with regard to the handling of classified information.

(…) As general counsel, Baker advised senior FBI leaders on the legal aspects of key investigations and served as the liaison with the Department of Justice (DOJ). In testimony, he detailed a series of unusual steps he took in the Trump-Russia investigation, including serving as the conduit between Perkins Coie—the firm working for the Clinton 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC)—and the FBI.

Baker left his position as general counsel in early January 2018 and then resigned from the FBI in early May 2018.” (Read more: Epoch Times, 1/18/2019)

October 19, 2018 – Nellie Ohr testifies that Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian politician, served as “a source of information”

Nellie Ohr and Serhiy Leshchenko (Credit: public domain)

“Eight months before Fusion GPS hired Steele, Simpson had hired Nellie Ohr to work for his firm as a researcher in October 2015.

Nellie Ohr told congressional investigators that part of her work for Fusion GPS was to research the Trump 2016 presidential campaign, including campaign associate Carter Page, early campaign supporter Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, and campaign manager Paul Manafort, as well as Trump’s family members, including some of his children.

Email communications between her and her husband, Bruce, show that she routinely sent him and several other DOJ officials articles on Russia. The emails continued through the duration of Nellie’s employment with Fusion GPS.

Nellie Ohr told congressional investigators that Serhiy Leshchenko, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, served as “a source of information” and acknowledged that she then used that information in following up and formulating her opposition research.

Leshchenko, along with Artem Sytnyk, the director of Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau, was responsible for publicly disclosing the contents of the Ukrainian “black ledger,” which implicated Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, to the media.

Leshchenko also served as a source for various individuals, including journalist Michael Isikoff and DNC operative Alexandra Chalupa.” (Read more: themarketswork, 7/06/2019)  (Archive)

November 29, 2018 – A Clinton Foundation donor is charged for defrauding military contracts, illegal commerce and money laundering

Abdul Huda Farouki (Credit: Patrick McMullan}

(…) “In a Nov. 29 DOJ press release, three executives including Abul Huda Farouki were charged “for their roles in a scheme to defraud U.S. military contracts in Afghanistan, engaging in illegal commerce in Iran, and laundering money internationally.” Farouki was the CEO of Anham, a defense contractor based in the United Arab Emirates

This wasn’t the first time Farouki or his company have been involved in allegations of misconduct. In a 2013 article by The Daily Caller, headlined “Clinton Donors Get a Pass on Shady Contracting,” Farouki and his company were highlighted:

“In June 2011, the Defense Department’s Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) released a scathing report on a defense contracting company called Anham. The title of the report and its conclusion were the same: ‘Poor Government Oversight of Anham and Its Subcontracting Procedures Allowed Questionable Costs to Go Undetected.’”

The article then asked a simple question: Given prior violations, how was Anham able to secure an $8 billion contract in Afghanistan that “allowed it to illegally ship supplies through two Iranian border crossings and a seaport controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard?”

Huma Abedin appears to Farouki’s right at a Tomorrow’s Youth Organization Gala event in Washington, DC on October 21, 2010. (Credit: public domain)

The $8 billion contract, along with the illegal shipment of supplies, being cited in the 2013 article appear to be exactly the same violations being alleged in the 2018 DOJ indictment. So why weren’t Farouki and his company charged with these same, known violations back in 2013?

The answer may lie within Farouki’s many connections to the Democratic Party. The Daily Caller notes that Farouki is a longtime donor to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and donated to Obama for America in 2008. But Farouki’s closest ties lie with the Clintons and their Foundation.

Farouki, a member of the now-shuttered Clinton Global Initiative, participated in annual CGI meetings since the group’s formation in 2005 through at least 2010 and made multiple donations to the Clinton Foundation. Farouki also made donations to Terry McAuliffe and has been photographed with Huma Abedin. (Read more: The Epoch Times/Jeff Carlson, 11/30/2018)

A list of individuals with possible involvement or affiliation in Trump Surveillance, Steele Dossier and/or the Russia Narrative

Individuals have been placed into the following groups:

  • Resignations/Firings – Department of Justice (Non-FBI)
  • Resignations/Firings – FBI
  • FBI/DOJ Watch List
  • FBI – Assignments Away from FBI Headquarters
  • Other Notable Retirements
  • Intelligence Officials – United States
  • Intelligence Officials – Britain
  • Intelligence Officials – Australia
  • Obama Officials
  • Clinton Campaign/DNC
  • Devin Nunes – List of Individuals referred to Joint Task Force for open-setting interviews
  • Clinton Confidants
  • Perkins Coie
  • Sea Island Meeting – Never Trump
  • Websites/Blogs – Lawfare, Just Security, Moscow Project
  • Think Tanks – Center for American Progress, Atlantic Council, Brookings Institution
  • Crowdstrike
  • Fusion GPS’ (Bean LLC) Principals and Key Staff
  • Fusion Affiliations
  • Christopher Steele Connections
  • Hakluyt – UK private Intelligence firm
  • Penn Quarter Group
  • Papadopoulos Related
  • Trump Tower Meeting
  • Individuals Relating to Magnitsky Act
  • Oleg Deripaska Connections
  • Mueller Team
  • Congress
  • FISA Court Judges
  • Print Reporters

Treat this post as a work in progress. Names will be added as we move forward.

To the extent you believe something to be materially wrong or missing, let me know. I will attempt to verify.

Work. In. Progress.

Resignations/Firings – Department of Justice (Non-FBI):

  • John Carlin – Assistant Attorney General – Head of DOJ’s National Security Division – announced resignation on September 27, 2016 after filing the Government’s proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications on September 26, 2016. The filing does not disclose known FISA Abuses. Carlin is aware NSA Rogers is conducting a compliance review which will uncover the FISA Abuse. The 2016 certifications are scheduled for Court approval on October 26, 2016. Trump surveillance originated under Carlin’s tenure.
  • Sally Yates – Deputy Attorney General & Acting Attorney General (replacing Loretta Lynch – 10 days) – fired January 30, 2017. Complicit in Flynn Surveillance and surveillance of Trump Campaign.
  • Mary McCord – Acting Assistant Attorney General – Acting Head of DOJ’s National Security Division (replacing John Carlin) – announced resignation on April 17, 2017 – Left on May 11, 2017. Complicit in Flynn Surveillance and surveillance of Trump Campaign.
  • Peter Kadzik – Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs. Resigned January 2017. On May 19, 2015, Kadzik sent Podesta an email appearing to tip off Clinton Campaign about the Justice Department’s review of Clinton’s emails.
  • Bruce Ohr  – Former Associate Deputy Attorney General. Ohr was demoted twice. Stripped of Associate Deputy Attorney General title on December 6, 2017. Removed as head of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force January 8, 2018. Unofficial liaison between Fusion GPS and FBI/DOJ. Wife – Nellie Ohr – worked at Fusion. Long-standing ties to both Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson/Fusion GPS. Simpson and Bruce & Nellie Ohr have known each other since at least 2010. Ohr has been described as a long-time friend of Steele with a relationship going back to at least 2006 (includes Ohr’s wife Nellie). Ohr texted and emailed extensively with Steele beginning in January 2016 (likely started earlier). See here, here and here. Oleg Deripaska was discussed in emails between Ohr and Steele. Ohr appears to have a significant role in Dossier creation – see here and here.
  • David Laufman – DOJ National Security Division, Deputy Asst. Attorney General in charge of counterintelligence – resigned on February 7, 2018. Laufman “played a leading role in the Clinton email server and Russian hacking investigations.”
  • Rachel Brand – Associate Attorney General – number three official behind Deputy AG Rosenstein – resigned February 9, 2018. Takes top legal position at Walmart. Brand “played a critical role in Congress’ re-authorization” of section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
  • Matthew Axelrod – Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General. May have been individual who had phone call with Deputy FBI Director McCabe re: Clinton Foundation. From IG McCabe Report: “A senior Justice Department official called Mr. McCabe to voice his displeasure at finding that New York FBI agents were still openly pursuing the Clinton Foundation probe during the election season. The Justice Department official was “very pissed off,” according to one person close to McCabe, and pressed him to explain why the FBI was still chasing a matter the department considered dormant…” Axelrod resigned on January 30, 2017 when AG Sally Yates was fired.
  • Preet Bharara – U.S. District Attorney. Involved in Prevezon Case. Used as threat by AG Lynch re: Weiner email/Clinton email case. Fired by President Trump on March 11, 2017.

Resignations/Firings – FBI:

  • James Comey – FBI Director – fired May 9, 2017. Oversaw all FBI operations – including exoneration of Clinton and Trump-Russia Investigation. Reported to AG Lynch.
  • Andrew McCabe – Deputy FBI Director – on December 23, 2017 announced retirement effective March 22, 2018. Forced to resign active position on January 29, 2018. Fired on March 16, 2018. Involved in all aspects. Subject of IG Report – will be featured in future ones. Reported to Comey.
  • Peter Strzok – Deputy Assistant Director of FBI’s Counterintelligence – forced off Mueller’s team – demoted August 16, 2017 to FBI’s Human Resources. IG Horowitz discovered texts July 27, 2017. Strzok involved in all facets of Clinton exoneration. Working member of “Insurance Policy” group. Strzok was fired on August 13, 2018.
  • Lisa Page – FBI/DOJ Lawyer – forced off Mueller’s team – demoted August 16, 2017. IG Horowitz discovered texts July 27, 2017. Working member of “Insurance Policy” group. Page resigned/fired May 4, 2018.
  • James Baker – FBI General Counsel – demoted and reassigned on December 20, 2017. Working member of “Insurance Policy” group. Senior-most legal counsel at FBI. Baker resigned/fired May 4, 2018. Took position at Lawfare.
  • James Rybicki – Chief of Staff to FBI Director James Comey & successor Chris Wray – resigned/forced out January 23, 2018. Working member of “Insurance Policy” group.
  • Josh Campbell – Special Assistant to James Comey – resigned on February 2, 2018. Writes op-ed in New York Times on why he is leaving but does not disclose in op-ed that he was Special Assistant to Comey – or that he had been offered lucrative CNN job. Takes job with CNN on February 5, 2018.
  • Michael Kortan – FBI Asst. Director Public Affairs – resigned on February 8, 2018 – effective February 15, 2018. Kortan served as assistant director for public affairs, an influential job that controlled media access.
  • Greg Brower (FBI) – Assistant Director for the Office of Congressional Affairs. FBI’s liaison with Congress. Listed by Devin Nunes as one of the individuals he wants to interview. Resigned suddenly on March 30, 2018.
  • James Turgal (FBI) – Executive Assistant Director for Information and Technology Branch. Retired from FBI sometime prior to January 9, 2018.
  • Michael B. Steinbach (FBI) – Executive Assistant Director for the National Security Branch. Was FBI’s top national security official. Some reports state Steinbach replaced John Giacalone who quit over frustration with Clinton Investigation. Other reports say it was McCabe who replaced Giacalone. Steinbach claims to have personally handled the Clinton Email Investigation. Retired from FBI in February 2017.
  • Bill Priestap – Assistant Director – Head of FBI Counterintelligence – Holds same position. Strzok’s boss – reported directly to McCabe. More here, here and here.

FBI/DOJ Watch List:

  • Bruce Ohr is a former Associate Deputy Attorney General. Ohr was demoted twice. Stripped of Associate Deputy Attorney General title on December 6, 2017. Removed as head of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force January 8, 2018. Unofficial liaison between Fusion GPS and FBI/DOJ. Wife – Nellie Ohr – worked at Fusion. Long-standing ties to both Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson/Fusion GPS. Simpson and Bruce & Nellie Ohr have known each other since at least 2010. Ohr has been described as a long-time friend of Steele with a relationship going back to at least 2006 (includes Ohr’s wife Nellie). Ohr texted and emailed extensively with Steele beginning in January 2016 (likely started earlier). See here, here and here. Oleg Deripaska was discussed in emails between Ohr and Steele. Ohr appears to have a significant role in Dossier creation – see here and here.
  • David Bowditch (FBI)Replaced Andrew McCabe as Acting Deputy FBI Director. Bowditch’s name is featured in emails and Strzok texts.
  • Trisha Anderson (DOJ)adviser in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, was previously an attorney at Attorney General Eric Holder’s former firm, Covington & Burling. Attended two April 25, 2016 White House meetings with FBI Counsel James Baker and several DOJ FISA lawyersTashina Guahar, Christopher Hardee, Brad Wiegmann. Anderson’s name appears in Strzok/Page texts.
  • Sally Moyer (FBI) – Attorney. Listed by Devin Nunes as one of the individuals he wants to interview.
  • Dana Boente (DOJ/FBI) – FBI General Counsel – Appointed on January 23, 2018 – replacing James Baker who was demoted and reassigned. Acting Head of DOJ’s National Security Division until January 23, 2018 and the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Replaced Mary McCord in NSD Role. Was briefly Acting Deputy Attorney General until Rosenstein appointed.
  • Edward O’Callaghan (DOJ) – became Acting Assistant Attorney General and Acting Head of DOJ’s National Security Division on January 27, 2018, replacing Dana Boente.
  • Jonathan Moffa (FBI) – Copied on Comey’s Draft Statement exonerating Clinton of Email Scandal. Mentioned in Strzok/Page texts. Surprisingly hard to find any information on Moffa.
  • Michael Gaeta (FBI) – Ran FBI’s Eurasian organized crime unit in New York. Has known Steele previously. Led the 2013 FBI investigation of Russian mafia boss, Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov. For two years ending in 2013, the FBI had a court-approved warrant to eavesdrop on Tokhtakhounov’s money-laundering network that operated out of unit 63A in Trump Tower. Gaeta was the FBI Agent sent to London to meet with Christopher Steele and obtain first copy of Dossier. Gaeta’s trip approved by State’s Victoria Nuland. Gaeta may have given copy of Dossier to Nuland before anyone else.
  • Joe Pientka – FBI Agent – Counterintelligence Division. Pientka potentially identified by Grassley as second FBI Agent (Strzok the other) present at Flynn Interview.
  • George Toscas – (DOJ) – Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the National Security Division. Toscas contacted by NY Prosecutors (possibly Preet Bharara) about Weiner investigation re: HRC/Huma emails on Weiner computer. Toscas contacts FBI, forcing McCabe to tell Comey of emails.
  • Randy Coleman (FBI) – Executive Assistant Director, oversight of all FBI domestic and international cyber operations and investigations concerning cyber matters.
  • Brian Brooks (FBI) – Assistant Director of the Operational Technology Division. Recently promoted by FBI Director Chris Wray.
  • Tashina Guahar (DOJ)Deputy Assistant Attorney General. National Security Division. FISA lawyer. Appears in Strzok Texts as “Tash”.
  • Norman “Christopher” Hardee (DOJ) – Chief Counsel for Policy, National Security Division. FISA lawyer.
  • Brad Wiegmann (DOJ) – Deputy Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division – Office of Law and Policy. FISA lawyer.
  • John T. Lynch (DOJ) – Chief, Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section – Criminal Division.
  • Alan Rozenshtein (DOJ) – Attorney Advisor with the Office of Law and Policy in the National Security Division. Resigned April 2017. Visiting professor. Writes for Lawfare.
  • Iris Lan (DOJ) – Associate Deputy Attorney General. Previously U.S. Attorney at Southern District of New York.
  • James Tranor (FBI) – Assistant Director of the Cyber Division. Mentioned in Strzok Texts. Retired October 2016.
  • Bryan Paarman (FBI) – Deputy Assistant Director of Counterterrorism. Mentioned in Strzok texts re: Clinton MYE. Extensive international experience. 2004-2007 Senior FBI representative and accredited diplomat in the US Embassies in Tbilisi, Georgia and Kyiv, Ukraine.
  • Robert Anderson (FBI) – Former Executive Assistant Director under Mueller. Principal at the Chertoff Group’s global Strategic Advisory Services. Mentioned in Strzok texts re: Clinton MYE.

FBI – Assignments Away from FBI Headquarters:

  • Stephen Laycock – Special Agent in charge of the Counterintelligence Division for the Washington Field Office. Previously Section Chief of the Eurasia Section in the Counterintelligence Division at FBI Headquarters.
  • Charles McGonigal – Special Agent in charge of the Counterintelligence Division for the New York Field Office. Previously Section Chief of the Cyber-Counterintelligence Coordination Section at FBI Headquarters.
  • Gerald Roberts – Special Agent in charge of the Intelligence Division of the Washington Field Office. Previously Section Chief of the Terrorist Financing Operations Section in the Counterterrorism Division at FBI Headquarters.
  • Charles Kable – Special Agent in charge of the Counterintelligence Division at the Washington Field Office. Previously Section Chief of the Counterespionage Section at FBI Headquarters.
  • Louis Bladel – Special Agent in charge of the Counterintelligence Division of the New York Field Office. Previously Section Chief of the Counter-Proliferation Center at FBI Headquarters. Retired 2016.

The individuals listed above had been Section Chiefs at FBI Headquarters. Comey transferred each to field offices.

Note: The names of James Turgal, Randy Coleman, Brian Brooks came from a request for all documents and communications from Senator Ron Johnson. Other names on Johnson’s request were previously known.

Other Notable Retirements:

  • Chuck Rosenberg – Former Acting Head of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Twice served as Chief of Staff to former FBI Director James Comey. Abruptly resigned September 30, 2017.

State Department:

  • John Kerry – Former Secretary of State. Received copy of Dossier from Nuland.
  • Victoria Nuland – Former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Gave green light to FBI Agent Gaeta’s meeting w/Steele in July 2016. Received copy of Steele Dossier in July 2016. May have seen Dossier prior to FBI Leadership. Gave Dossier to FBI, Kerry. Nuland had known Steel since 2014 through Jonathan Winer. Lied about bilateral talks with Iran.
  • Evelyn Farkas – Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia. Farkas detailed in interview how the Obama Administration gathered and disseminated intelligence on the Trump Team. Farkas is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.
  • Kathleen Kavalec – Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs. Served under Nuland.
  • Jonathan Winer – Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Law Enforcement and former Special Envoy for Libya. Received copy of Shadow Dossier from Blumenthal. Also received copy of Steele Dossier in September 2016. Has known Steele for some years.
  • Robert Otto – State Department – Bureau of Intelligence and Research specializing in Russia. Received emails from Nellie and Bruce Ohr since at least March 2016 relating to Natalia Veselnitskaya. Otto’s wife is Anne Jablonski. Jablonski worked for CIA (CIA’s top Russian organized crime expert) until forced resignation in May 2008. Jablonski was CIA handler for retired FBI Agent Robert Levinson who was kidnapped and remains missing in Iran. Oleg Deripaska would be enlisted in 2009 by then-FBI Director Robert Mueller for help in obtaining the release of Levinson. Andrew McCabe recruited Deripaska for the attempt. Clinton State Department killed the deal.
  • Elizabeth DibbleChargé d’affaires & former Deputy Chief of the Mission in London – received tip on Papadopoulos via Downer (h/t @JohnWHuber).
  • Jonathan Finer – Chief of Staff and Director of Policy Planning for former Secretary John Kerry.
  • Lewis Lukens – Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in London – also likely involved in Downer interactions.
  • Thomas Williams – Deputy Chief of Mission – State Department.

Intelligence Officials – United States:

  • Richard H. Ledgett Jr – Deputy Director of the NSA. Abruptly retired in April 2017. His retirement is noted in Lawfare.

Intelligence Officials – Britain:

  • Robert Hannigan – Britain’s GCHQ Head. Personally flew to DC to meet with CIA Director John Brennan. Hannigan’s U.S. Counterpart was NSA Rogers – not Brennan. Hannigan would abruptly retire days after President Trump’s Inauguration. More here.
  • Sir Andrew Wood – Former British Ambassador to Russia. Briefed John McCain on Steele Dossier. May have worked on behalf of Fusion and/or Orbis.
  • Richard Dearlove – Former MI6 Head (1999-2004). Was Christopher Steele’s boss. Had known Steele and Burrows personally. Steel and Burrows would meet Dearlove in early Fall 2016. Dearlove advised Steele and Burrows to work discreetly with a top British government official to pass along information to the FBI.
  • Christopher Steele – Orbis Partner – author of Steele Dossier. Employed as contractor by Fusion GPS. Former British intelligence officer with MI6 from 1987 until his retirement in 2009. Steele’s Dossier used by FBI to obtain FISA Warrant on Carter Page. Referred to DOJ by Grassley for potential violations of 18 USC 1001. Steele has known Fusion’s Simpson since at least 2009. Bruce Ohr has been described as a long-time friend of Steele with a relationship going back to at least 2006 (includes Ohr’s wife Nellie). Steele had extensive documented contact with Bruce Ohr starting in January 2016 (likely started earlier). Contact would continue through at least all of 2017. See here, here and here. Steele maintains contacts with British Intelligence, Sir Richard Dearlove and UK Intelligence firm Hakluyt. Steele appears to have been represented by Adam Waldman. Steele also appears to have lobbied on behalf of Oleg Deripaska – who was discussed in emails between Ohr and Steele. Steele Timeline here.

For more intelligence connections see section on UK private intelligence firm Hakluyt.

Intelligence Officials – Australia:

  • Alexander Downer – Australia’s top diplomat in Britain. Met with George Papadopoulos in London. Papadopoulos stated “Russia had dirt on Hillary”. Months later Australia informed U.S. This would be used as excuse for FBI’s July 2016 Counterintelligence Investigation. Downer previously arranged one of the largest foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation – $25 million from the Australian government.

Downer sits on the Board of Chinese Telco Huawei. U.S. intelligence experts have deemed Huawei a security threat to the US and other nations. Downer has said that Huawei should not be considered a potential national security risk.

Downer was on the Advisory Board of Hakluyt (private UK intelligence firm) from 2008-2014. He reportedly still maintains contact with Hakluyt officials. Downer probably knows UK’s Dearlove. More on Downer here.

I anticipate the listing of Intelligence Officials – particularly U.S. and British – to grow moving forward. For more intelligence connections see section on UK private intelligence firm Hakluyt.

Obama Officials:

  • Loretta Lynch – Former Attorney General. Tarmac Meeting with Bill Clinton just prior to FBI’s exoneration of HRC. Strzok Texts suggest that Lynch was aware Comey would not recommend criminal charges in the Clinton investigation prior to Attorney General Lynch’s announcement that she would accept whatever recommendation the FBI made.
  • Valerie Jarrett – Senior Advisor to Obama. Some have asserted Jarrett was behind plot to destroy Trump. Continued to work w/Obama post-election.
  • Susan Rice – National Security Advisor to Obama. “Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign.” Rice sent herself an email documenting secret January 5, Oval Office meeting discussing Dossier with herself, Obama and FBI Director Comey. Rice’s email is the only known documentation of the meeting.
  • Bruce Ohr is a former Associate Deputy Attorney General. Ohr was demoted twice. Stripped of Associate Deputy Attorney General title on December 6, 2017. Removed as head of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force January 8, 2018. Unofficial liaison between Fusion GPS and FBI/DOJ. Wife – Nellie Ohr – worked at Fusion. Long-standing ties to both Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson/Fusion GPS. Simpson and Bruce & Nellie Ohr have known each other since at least 2010. Ohr has been described as a long-time friend of Steele with a relationship going back to at least 2006 (includes Ohr’s wife Nellie). Ohr texted and emailed extensively with Steele beginning in January 2016 (likely started earlier). See here, here and here. Oleg Deripaska was discussed in emails between Ohr and Steele. Ohr appears to have a significant role in Dossier creation – see here and here.
  • Denis McDonough – WH Chief of Staff. Strzok Texts suggest coordination between McDonough, then-Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, and CIA Director John Brennan.
  • Ben Rhodes – Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications. Personally involved in structuring disastrous Iran Nuclear Deal. Structured Echo Chambers w/press.
  • Samantha Power – Former UN Ambassador. Named as person who unmasked hundreds of names. Testified that others used her name in unmasking requests.
  • Victoria Nuland – Former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Gave green light to FBI Agent Gaeta’s meeting w/Steele in July 2016. Received copy of Steele Dossier in July 2016. May have seen Dossier prior to FBI Leadership. Gave Dossier to FBI, Kerry. Nuland had known Steel since 2014 through Jonathan Winer. Lied about bilateral talks with Iran.
  • Evelyn Farkas – Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia. Farkas detailed in interview how the Obama Administration gathered and disseminated intelligence on the Trump Team. Farkas is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.
  • Kathleen Kavalec – Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs. Served under Nuland.
  • John Kerry – Former Secretary of State. Received copy of Dossier from Nuland.
  • Lisa Monaco – White House Homeland Security Adviser. Defended the Obama Administration’s response to Russian Interference.
  • Jonathan Winer – Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Law Enforcement and former Special Envoy for Libya. Received copy of Shadow Dossier from Blumenthal. Also received copy of Steele Dossier in September 2016. Has known Steele for some years.
  • Robert Otto – State Department – Bureau of Intelligence and Research specializing in Russia. Received emails from Nellie and Bruce Ohr since at least March 2016 relating to Natalia Veselnitskaya. Otto’s wife is Anne Jablonski. Jablonski worked for CIA (CIA’s top Russian organized crime expert) until forced resignation in May 2008. Jablonski was CIA handler for retired FBI Agent Robert Levinson who was kidnapped and remains missing in Iran. Oleg Deripaska would be enlisted in 2009 by then-FBI Director Robert Mueller for help in obtaining the release of Levinson. Andrew McCabe recruited Deripaska for the attempt. Clinton State Department killed the deal.
  • Bob BauerWhite House Counsel to President Obama during 2010 and 2011. In 2013, Obama named Bauer to be Co-Chair of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. Bauer was a Partner at Perkins Coie for 35 years until his retirement on May 15, 2018. Bauer was General Counsel to Obama for America, Obama’s campaign organization, in 2008 and 2012, and served as General Counsel to the Democratic National Committee. Bob has also served as co-counsel to the New Hampshire State Senate in the trial of Chief Justice David A. Brock (2000); general counsel to the Bill Bradley for President Committee (1999-2000); and counsel to the Democratic Leader in the trial of President William Jefferson Clinton (1999). Bauer has been an extensive contributor at Lawfare and Just Security.

Please visit Jeff Carlson’s webpage for a complete list of names.

February 25, 2019 – DOJ prevented the FBI from pursuing gross negligence charges against Clinton

“The DOJ required the FBI to establish evidence of intent in regards to Clinton—even though the gross negligence statute explicitly does not require this.

This meant that the FBI would have needed to find a smoking gun, such as an email or an admission from Clinton.

The word “intent” drove the entirety of the FBI’s investigation.

Anderson viewed intent as “an email that the Secretary sent saying, I set up this server for the purpose of sending unclassified information for my convenience, even though I know it’s not a secure system.”

According to House Majority Counsel at the time of Priestap’s interview, the State Department had identified 22 top-secret emails and 1,300 classified emails on Clinton’s email server.

Included within Clinton’s emails was “classified information up to the Special Access Program level.”

The classification level of SAPs is so high that Anderson refused to define her understanding of SAPs in the unclassified interview setting before congressional investigators

An email sent from an unknown individual in the FBI general counsel’s office to Priestap’s former boss, Michael Steinbach, contained a chart of available statutes for prosecuting Clinton.

Gross Negligence was specifically excluded.

Lisa Page appeared to indicate during her testimony that because of the DOJ’s position, there was no reason for the FBI to even pursue evidence related to the specific statute of gross negligence.

Under Anderson’s understanding of the DOJ’s standard, the extreme volume of emails was not a factor, nor was the classification level of the emails, as long as those being investigated were able to say they simply didn’t know any documents were actually classified.

Despite this, not everyone within the FBI agreed w/the DOJ.

FBI General Counsel James Baker:

“I thought these folks should know that this stuff is classified, that it was alarming what they were talking about, especially some of the most highly classified stuff.”

Page, Baker, and Anderson all testified that the gross negligence statute was rarely, if ever used, as part of their explanation for the DOJ’s unwillingness to pursue, but this logic was repeatedly challenged by then-majority House counsel Breitenbach.

Breitenbach:

“If part of that rationale was that it had never been used, then, by extension, one might presume that other statutes that are on the books, if they aren’t being used, should not be ever considered as predication for a prosecution.”

Anderson, the #2 lawyer at the FBI, was asked about her understanding of the difference between gross negligence and extreme carelessness.

Anderson answered that she didn’t “know exactly what the precise difference is between extremely careless and gross negligence.”

Which begs the question of why Anderson, among others, felt compelled to push Comey to change the language within his statement from the legal term of gross negligence to the non-legal term of extremely careless.

According to Anderson’s testimony, the FBI never even looked into negligence due to the DOJ’s legal position:

The issue at the heart of the Clinton email investigation was summarized by Breitenbach:

“The Department of Justice made a decision that intent was required, even though we have a statute on the books that does not require intent that [only] requires gross negligence.”

Absent a major error on her part, it appears that Clinton was effectively in the clear from the outset of the FBI investigation due to the DOJ’s decision to require intent.17)

Postscript:

With the exceptions of Moffa, Evans, and Hickey, every individual from the FBI and DOJ mentioned in the article has either been fired or has resigned.

Most have been the subject of congressional interviews.
(Jeff Carlson@themarketswork, 2/25/2019)   (Full Article: The Epoch Times, 2/25/2019)

(Republished in part with permission)

August 28, 2019 – Jeff Carlson: Highlights from the IG Report on Comey’s Memos

(Credit: Lazaro Gamio/Axios)

Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz has released a report on former FBI Director James Comey’s leaking of personal memos to his attorneys, a personal friend, and the media.

Comey had told the IG that he believed the memos shared with his attorneys did not contain any classified information.

However, the IG noted that specifically: “Memos 1 and 3 contained information classified at the ‘SECRET’ level, and that Memos 2 and 7 contained small amounts of information classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level—although Comey redacted all classified information in Memo 7 before sending to his attorneys.”

The IG report also noted that “Comey considered Memos 2 through 7 to be his personal documents.”

Comey maintained copies of Memos 2 through 7 at his personal residence—a fact that he failed to report to the FBI. Comey also provided James Rybicki, his chief of staff, with a copy of these same memos to maintain at FBI headquarters.

On May 14, 2017, Comey provided electronic copies of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to one of his personal attorneys, who subsequently shared the memos with two additional attorneys several days later on May 17, 2017. Memo 2 contained six words, four of which were names of specific countries that the FBI later deemed to be classified.

Leak to the Media

On May 16, Comey provided a copy of Memo 4 to Daniel Richman who was a “close personal friend” in addition to being one of Comey’s attorneys. Comey directed Richman to “share the contents of Memo 4, but not the Memo itself, with a specific reporter for The New York Times.”

Richman did have a security clearance at this time, but there appears to be no demonstrable “need to know” that is also a requirement for gaining access to classified information.

This memo contained information that was deemed by the FBI to be “For Official Use Only” but did not contain any classified information. The IG noted: “We found no evidence that Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the Memos to members of the media.”

The same day that Comey’s two additional attorneys gained access to his memos—May 17, 2017—former FBI Agent Peter Strzok sent a text to former FBI lawyer Lisa Page noting, “F’in Pamela Brown knows there were two phone call memos.” Brown, a reporter for CNN, had reported on the existence of Comey Memos the night prior during a segment with Anderson Cooper but had yet to mention the phone call memos.

The Strzok text regarding Brown is notable for two reasons. One, Strzok was clearly familiar with the contents of Comey’s Memos, and two, Brown had to have learned of the “phone call Memos” from a source other than Richman—who had only received a copy of Memo 4, which detailed a physical meeting and did not mention any “phone call Memos.” It is not known who provided Brown with the additional information.

Notably, the FBI “first learned that Comey had shared Memo 4 with Richman while watching Comey’s public testimony before SSCI [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence] on June 8, 2017.” Nor did Comey inform the FBI that he had shared Memos 2, 4, 6 and 7 with his personal attorneys. It was only after the FBI questioned Richman regarding Memo 4 that the FBI learned that Comey had also provided the additional memos to his attorneys.

Comey Kept Memos at His Home

The June 8, 2017, date is particularly notable because only the day before, on June 7, 2017, did Comey provide the copy of his memos that he kept in his home safe to the FBI at the request of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Although the existence of the Comey Memos were well-known by this time, it does not appear that FBI personnel knew that Comey kept his own memo copies at home—until he turned them over.

The IG report highlighted Comey’s retention of his memos at his personal residence, noting: “We found it particularly concerning that Comey did not tell anyone from the FBI that he had retained copies of the Memos in his personal safe at home, even when his Chief of Staff, the FBI’s Associate Deputy Director, and three SSAs [Supervisory Special Agents] came to Comey’s house on May 12, 2017, to inventory and remove all FBI property.” Why Comey chose to not disclose this information to the FBI remains unknown.

According to the IG report, “[O]n June 7, 2017, Comey provided the SSA who came to his home with Comey’s signed originals of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7, which were the only Memos that Comey said he had retained at his residence.” Notably, the “SSA said he had been advised ahead of time that Comey had Memos to give to him.” The report does not disclose who advised the SSA, but it may have been Special Counsel Mueller.

Comey told the IG that “he voluntarily gave his signed originals of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to the SSA at his house that day, not because he had concerns that they contained classified information, but “because Special Counsel [Robert Mueller] asked for them.”

How the Special Counsel came to learn that Comey had a personal copy of his memos at his house remains unknown, particularly as it appears that no one else within the FBI was aware of this fact until Comey turned the memos over.

Comey had previously viewed the FBI copies of his memos that had already been officially classified by the FBI on June 7, 2017, in preparation for his June 8 testimony. As a result, Comey was now aware of what the FBI deemed “SECRET” or “CONFIDENTIAL.” As the IG report noted, “By not immediately reporting that he had provided Memo 2 to his attorneys when Comey first learned that the FBI had designated a small portion of Memo 2 as classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level, Comey violated FBI policy.”

Lisa Page Obtains Memos Ostensibly for McCabe

Others within the FBI also had copies of Comey’s Memos. According to the IG’s report, “Page told the OIG that McCabe also allowed her to look at Memos 2, 3, and 4, but asked her not to share them with anybody. Page told the IG that “she decided to make and keep copies of these Memos because they were ‘just of the nature that [she] felt like there should be one other copy somewhere else.’” Page claimed not to know “if others in the FBI were keeping copies of the Memos.”

However, it appears that Page attempted to hide her possession of Comey’s Memos from other officials within the FBI. On May 10, 2017, Comey’s former chief of staff James Rybicki was contacted by Page who requested “a full set of the Memos.” Rybicki, who told the IG that Page said her request was made on behalf of Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, then made three copies of Comey’s Memos—one for himself, one for Page to pass along to McCabe, and one for FBI General Counsel James Baker. Notably, May 10, 2017, may have been the date that McCabe opened an investigation into President Donald J. Trump.

Page told the IG a somewhat different version of events, noting that “she did not think McCabe had asked her to assemble copies of the memos; she said she thought she did it on her own because she “knew that it needed to get done.” Additionally, Rybicki told the IG “that he was ‘surprised’ when he learned that Page already had copies of some of the Memos because he ‘didn’t think anybody maintained a copy’ other than him, and didn’t know how she got them.”

Comey told the IG that he considered “Memos 2 through 7 to be his personal documents,” but this assertion was roundly dismissed by other FBI officials. According to the IG report, “All of the FBI senior leaders interviewed by the OIG stated that the Memos were official government records.” McCabe told the IG that Comey’s Memos served as a “record of [Comey’s] official engagement with the President.” Baker said the memos were “related to official business” and that “they were discussed in the office in connection with [Comey’s] official responsibilities.” Rybicki said he had “treated the Memos as FBI records.” The FBI’s Director of Counterintelligence Bill Priestap characterized the memos as documents “produced by the Director in his capacity as Director … they’re FBI work product.”

Whistleblower Provided IG Memos

Interestingly, “shortly after Comey’s removal, a set of the seven Memos was provided to the OIG by a Department employee, who claimed whistleblower status,” the IG revealed in the report. The number of individuals within the FBI who had access to Comey’s Memos was comprised of a very small group. The IG noted that the whistleblower “viewed the Memos as extremely sensitive documents and was concerned that there should be a separate set deposited somewhere for safekeeping.” This means that the IG obtained possession of the Comey Memos very early on—since mid-May 2017.

Additionally, the IG revealed that it was then-Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who referred the matter of Comey’s Memos to the Office of the Inspector General for review in July 2017. McCabe may have been unaware that the IG already was in possession of Comey’s Memos via the unknown whistleblower.

Genesis of Comey’s Memos

In regards to the genesis of the Memos, Comey told the IG that it was his Jan. 27, 2017, dinner with President Trump that prompted him to begin the process of maintaining Memos detailing his interactions with the president. However, Comey had already written an earlier memo regarding a meeting with President Trump on Jan. 6, 2017, where Comey provided the president with details of the “salacious” information from the Steele dossier. Comey also told Congress a slightly different story, testifying on June 8, 2017, that he began creating memos from his very first interaction with President Trump, based on a “gut feeling.”

The IG report provides some intriguing details surrounding the Jan. 6, 2017, meeting, and the manner in which that meeting was pre-determined to be fully documented by Comey.

“Witnesses interviewed by the OIG also said that they discussed Trump’s potential responses to being told about the ‘salacious’ information, including that Trump might make statements about, or provide information of value to, the pending Russian interference investigation.

“Multiple FBI witnesses recalled agreeing ahead of time that Comey should memorialize his meeting with Trump immediately after it occurred. Comey told the OIG that, in his view, it was important for FBI executive managers to be ‘able to share in [Comey’s] recall of the … salient details of those conversations.’ Comey also said that an additional concern, shared by the members of his management team, was that if the briefing became ‘a source of controversy’ it would be important to have a clear, contemporaneous record because Trump might ‘misrepresent what happened in the encounter.’”

It appears from the IG’s report that President Trump had no knowledge that Comey was transcribing their interactions. The FBI’s General Counsel, James Baker, told the IG that “it was his understanding that the small group of people who had access to the Memos ‘really didn’t want anyone to know the Director … was recording at this level of detail his interactions with the President’ because any perception that Comey was ‘keeping … book’ on the President would upset any effort to have an effective and ongoing working relationship.”

It should also be noted that Comey failed to keep any memos of his meetings with Obama and other Obama-era officials.

Memo 3 was one of those deemed to contain information classified at the “SECRET” level. In regards to this particular memo, Comey told the IG that he gave one copy to Rybicki, with instructions for Rybicki to show it to McCabe and Baker, while keeping the other copy in his desk drawer—located in his secure office. On May 10, 2017, the day immediately following Comey’s firing, a Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) was assigned to inventory the contents of Comey’s office. As noted in the IG report, “According to the inventory, no hard copies of any of the Memos were found in Comey’s office.”

Five days later, on May 15, 2017, following a conversation with Comey, Rybicki notified the SSA that there “were additional documents belonging to Comey stored in the reception area near the former Director’s office.” Among these documents were six of the original Comey Memos. According to the IG, this was the first time the SSA learned of the existence of the Comey Memos. Rybicki told the SSA that “he did not tell anyone about the Memos during the May 10 inventory because he understood that process to only include Comey’s office.”

Comey Violated FBI Policy

The IG found that “Comey’s actions violated Department or FBI policy, or the terms of Comey’s FBI Employment Agreement” and concluded that “Comey’s retention, handling, and dissemination of certain Memos violated Department and FBI policies, and his FBI Employment Agreement.”

The IG recognized that the “responsibility to protect sensitive law enforcement information falls in large part to the employees of the FBI who have access to it through their daily duties” and pointedly noted that “Comey failed to live up to this responsibility.”

The IG’s report also noted, “By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees—and the many thousands more former FBI employees—who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information.”

The IG provided a copy of his findings to the DOJ for a prosecutorial decision regarding Comey’s conduct. The DOJ declined prosecution. It is not known when the IG’s findings were first submitted to the DOJ. The IG then prepared this more comprehensive report that focused on whether Comey’s actions violated Department of FBI policy.

It was previously reported that the DOJ had declined prosecution of Comey. According to a source for Fox News, “Everyone at the DOJ involved in the decision said it wasn’t a close call,” one official said. “They all thought this could not be prosecuted.”

To underscore the difficulties the DOJ faced in pursuing a successful prosecution is the fact that Comey’s Memos were only classified by the FBI after Comey had leaked them. Additionally, the IG found no proof that “Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the Memos to members of the media.”

A failed prosecution at this juncture would prove problematic to the overall investigation of Spygate. The IG’s pending report on FISA abuse is far more important and potentially significantly more damning. (themarketswork.com, 8/30/2019)

(Republished with permission.)

December 18, 2019 – The Horowitz Report & testimony provide historic condemnation of FBI’s surveillance actions—Jeff Carlson

Amidst the media spin about the recent Department of Justice IG report, what is the real bottom line? What does it mean for the FBI and its future?

Did Inspector General Horowitz really find that there was no bias in the opening of the Russia probe?

And, doing a deep dive into the Horowitz report and Horowitz’s testimony in the Senate hearing that followed, what’s the most important information that was revealed?

This is American Thought Leaders 🇺🇸, and I’m Jan Jekielek.

In this episode, we’ll sit down with Epoch Times columnist Jeff Carlson, a key contributor to The Epoch Times who was instrumental in our coverage of the Spygate scandal, and creation of The Epoch Times’ iconic Spygate poster. He is a CFA® Charterholder who worked for 20 years as an analyst and portfolio manager in the high-yield bond market.

CORRECTION: During a discussion (beginning at the 37:35 mark) of the two separate trips to Italy in August and late September 2019, that were made by AG Barr and US Attorney Durham, I mistakenly stated the year as being 2016. Both trips, along with AG Barr’s communications with officials in the UK and Australia, all occurred during 2019.

April 19, 2020 – John Brennan’s actions during the 2016 election – in his own words

John Brennan is nominated for the CIA director’s position and appears before the Senate Intelligence Committee for a hearing in 2013. (Credit: Jason Reed/Reuters)

By: Jeff Carlson @themarketswork

A John Brennan thread touching on some of his 2016 actions – mostly in his own words.

Brennan used unofficial intelligence from unofficial channels and then fed this information repeatedly into the FBI as a tactic to push the FBI into starting a Counterintelligence Investigation.

Brennan Testimony:

“Sometime this summer, there was information that the CIA had that was shared with the Bureau. But it wasn’t the only period of time where such information was shared with the Bureau.”

February 4, 2018 on Meet the Press:

“The CIA and the Intelligence Community had collected a fair amount of information in the summer of 2016 about what the Russians were doing on multiple fronts. And we wanted to make sure that the FBI had full access to that.”

Brennan Testimony:

“We were uncovering information intelligence about interactions and contacts between U.S. persons and the Russians. And as we came upon that, we would share it with the bureau.”

Brennan Testimony (Responding to Gowdy):

“I know that there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not U.S. persons were actively conspiring, colluding with Russian officials.”

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper personally confirmed foreign intelligence involvement during congressional testimony in May 2017:

Brennan Testimony:

“I made sure that anything that was involving U.S. persons, including anything involving the individuals involved in the Trump campaign was shared with the bureau [FBI].”

Brennan on Maddow:

“Any time we would incidentally collect information on a U.S. person, we would hand that over to the FBI…we were picking things up that was of great relevance to the FBI, and we wanted to make sure that they were there…”

Brennan established a Task Force to investigate:

Maddow: “So, it’s an intelligence-sharing operation…”

Brennan: “Right. We put together a Fusion Center at CIA that brought NSA and FBI officers together with CIA to make sure that those proverbial dots would be connected.”

February 4, 2018 on Meet the Press:

Brennan: “The FBI has a very close relationship with its British counterparts. And so the FBI had visibility into a number of things that were going on involving some individuals…”

Brennan’s “intelligence” served as the basis for the FBI Counterintelligence Investigation:

“I was aware of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons…and it served as the basis for the FBI investigation.”

Brennan stated that he briefed the Gang of Eight. Brennan had already informed the Obama WH:

“Through the so-called Gang-of-Eight process we kept congress apprised of these issues…In consultation with the White House, I personally briefed the full details.”

But there’s a problem. Devin Nunes told us on April 22, 2018:

“There was no intelligence that passed through the Five Eyes channels to our government…We now know that there was no official intelligence that was used to start this investigation.”

Brennan on his knowledge of the Steele Dossier:

Brennan: “I know that there were efforts made by the Bureau to try to understand whether or not any of the information in that was valid, but I don’t have any firsthand knowledge of it.”

Todd: “When did you first learn of the so-called Steele dossier and what Christopher Steele was doing?”

Brennan: “I had heard just snippets about it…I did not see it until later in that year. I think it was in December…it did not play any role whatsoever in the [ICA]”

But during a CNN Interview with Clapper a slightly different story was told:

Clapper: “Some of the substantive content of the dossier we were able to corroborate in our Intelligence Community assessment from other sources in which we had very high confidence.”

And Meadows indicated that Brennan knew of the dossier in Aug ’16 during Q&A of Lisa Page:

Meadows: “We have documents that would suggest that in that briefing the dossier was mentioned to Harry Reid…Does that surprise you that Director Brennan would be aware of [dossier]?”

Brennan’s ICA was used to continue pushing the Russia-collusion narrative following the election of President Trump.

Notably, Admiral Mike Rogers of the NSA publicly dissented from the findings of the ICA, assigning only a moderate confidence level.

Brennan, Clapper, and Comey attached a written summary of the Steele dossier to the classified briefing they gave Obama on the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) in early Jan 2017.

Gowdy asked Brennan about unmasking:

Gowdy: Have you ever requested that a U.S. person’s name be unmasked?

Brennan: Yes I have.

***

Gowdy: Do you recall any U.S. ambassadors asking that names be unmasked?

Brennan: I don’t know. Maybe it’s ringing a vague bell…

Gowdy: On either Jan 19th or up to noon on Jan 20th did you make any unmasking requests?

Brennan: I do not believe I did.

Gowdy: You did not make any requests on the last day that you were employed?

Brennan: No, I was not in the agency on the last day I was employed.

(Read more: Jeff Carlson, themarketswork/Twitter, 4/18/2020)  (Archive)  (The Epoch Times, 4/21/2020)

May 11, 2020 – The Epoch Times shares an infographic of their “Investigation Timeline of FISA Abuse”

“In its pursuit of establishing surveillance on the Trump campaign, the FBI turned its attention to Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in the spring of 2016, culminating in the issuance of a FISA warrant—which allows for some of the most intrusive spying methods on an American citizen.

As part of this process, the FBI relied extensively on the flawed Steele dossier, leading an FBI legal counsel to note that this was “essentially a single source FISA.”

(The Epoch Times, 5/11/2020)  (Archive)