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)

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 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)

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 4, 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.

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)

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)

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)

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)

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 6, 2017 – Comey’s Trump Tower meeting is 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)

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)