1991 – Present: A mini-timeline highlighting some of Robert Mueller’s career as FBI director and now special counsel to the Trump/Russia collusion investigation
(Timeline editor’s note: With many thanks to Diana West for allowing us to republish her Robert Mueller timeline in its entirety. We believe it’s important to provide information on some of the more powerful officials who are/were in charge of the various investigations we are covering in this timeline. We also intend to include career timelines on James Comey and Rod Rosenstein.)
“Robert Mueller became Director of the FBI exactly one week before 9/11. No account of his Bureau tenure is complete without underscoring his shocking obstruction of efforts to bring to light information about key cells of the Saudi-centered conspiracy and terror attacks against the United States: in San Diego, explained here by Andrew Cockburn, and in Sarasota, explained here by Dan Christensen.
From the very start, FBI Director Mueller was not one to follow evidence where it leads. Instead, as the 9/11 record shows, he was one to divert others from where evidence leads.
1991:GR: As chief of DOJ Criminal Division, Mueller fails to prosecute the BCCI scandal aggressively
2001: GR: Quashes FBI investigation that might have prevented 9/11
Ret. FBI Special Agent Colleen Rowley elaborates: “Although he bore no personal responsibility for intelligence failures before the attack, since he only became FBI Director a week before, Mueller denied or downplayed the significance of warnings that had poured in yet were all ignored or mishandled during the spring and summer of 2001. Bush administration officials had circled the wagons and refused to publicly own up to what the 9/11 Commission eventually concluded, “that the system had been blinking red.” Failures to read, share or act upon important intelligence, which a FBI agent witness termed “criminal negligence” in later trial testimony, were therefore not fixed in a timely manner. (Actually some failures were never fixed.)
2001:GR: Concurs with decision to okay exit (escape?) of Saudi persons connected to Bin Laden. As noted above, Mueller misleads, deflects, blocks scrutiny of Saudi cells in San Diego and Sarasota.
2001: Paul Sperry reported at WorldNetDaily: “Despite a shortage of Arabic translators, the FBI turned down applications for linguist jobs from nearly 100 Arabic-speaking Jews in New York following the World Trade Center attacks.” The New York FBI office had solicited applications from a charity working with Arab Jews, but Washington “headquarters made the final cuts.”
2001: MH: Mueller’s FBI botches “the anthrax killer case, wasting more than $100 million in taxpayer dollars, destroying the lives of multiple suspects, and chasing bad leads using bad methods.”
2002 – 2008: MH on the Dr. Steven Hatfill Case
The FBI absolutely bungled its investigation into the Anthrax attacker who struck after the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Carl Cannon goes through this story well, and it’s worth reading for how it involves both Comey and his dear ‘friend’ and current special counsel Robert Mueller. The FBI tried in the media its case against Hatfill. Their actual case ended up being thrown out by the courts.
2003: Rep. Gohmert: The Framing of Scooter Libby
The entire episode was further revealed as a fraud when it was later made public that Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald, FBI Director Mueller, and Deputy Attorney Comey had very early on learned that the source of Plame’s identity leak came from Richard Armitage. But neither Comey nor Mueller nor Fitzgerald wanted Armitage’s scalp. Oh no. These so-called apolitical, fair-minded pursuers of their own brand of justice were after a bigger name in the Bush administration like Vice President Dick Cheney or Karl Rove. Yet they knew from the beginning that these two men were not guilty of anything.
Nonetheless, Fitzgerald, Mueller and Comey pursued Cheney’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby, as a path to ensnare the Vice President. According to multiple reports, Fitzgerald had twice offered to drop all charges against Libby if he would ‘deliver’ Cheney to him. There was nothing to deliver.
Is any of this sounding familiar? Could it be that these same tactics have been used against an innocent Gen. Mike Flynn? Could it be that Flynn only agreed to plead guilty to prevent any family members from being unjustly prosecuted and to also prevent going completely broke from attorneys’ fees? That’s the apparent Mueller-Comey-Special Counsel distinctive modus-operandi.
2004: MH: “Another black mark on Mueller’s record at the FBI was the pursuit of what the bureau dramatically claimed was an Israeli spy ring operating out of the Pentagon. … It turned out that the bureau had gone after a policy analyst who had chatted with American lobbyists at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Charges were also pursued against two AIPAC employees. Those charges were later dropped and the sentence of the first person was dropped from 13 years to 10 months of house arrest and some community service.”
2006: Rep. Louie Gohmert writes in his searing 48-page brief on Mueller: “…the Robert Mueller-led FBI took horrendously unjust actions to derail Curt Weldon’s re-election bid just weeks before the vote.” After an anonymously sourced national story appeared claiming that an investigation into illegal activities by Weldon and his daughter was underway, the FBI staged a 7am raid on the home of Weldon’s daughter. All of this generated negative headlines, and Weldon lost his re-election bid — but there was no follow-up — no questioning, no grand jury, no investigation, nothing. It was all theater staged to destroy an FBI and Clinton administration critic. Jack Cashill reports here.
Gohmert writes: “Please understand what former FBI officials have told me: the FBI would NEVER go after a member of Congress, House or Senate, without the full disclosure to and blessing of the FBI Director. Even if the idea on how to silence Curt Weldon did not come from Director Mueller himself, it surely had his blessing and encouragement, though and, at best, his silence and inaction.”
2008: Rep. Gohmert writes:
Mueller’s FBI [put Sen. Ted] Stevens in its cross-hairs, pushing to get an indictment that came 100 days before his election, and engaging in third world dictator-type tactics to help an innocent man lose his election, after which he lost his life.
As reported by NPR, after the conviction and all truth came rolling out of the framing and conviction of Senator Stevens, the new Attorney General Eric Holder, had no choice.
He “abandoned the Stevens case in April 2009 after uncovering new and ‘disturbing’ details about the prosecution…”
Unfortunately for Ted Stevens, his conviction came only eight days before his election, which tipped the scales on a close election.
… Under Director Mueller’s overriding supervision, the wrongdoer who helped manufacture the case stayed on and the whistleblower was punished. Obviously, the FBI Director wanted his FBI agents to understand that honesty would be punished if it revealed wrongdoing within Mueller’s organization.
2008: DW: Mueller’s FBI publishes Counterterrorism Analytical Lexicon. This lexicon is devoid of all words necessary to discuss, describe, understand and thus think about jihad, i.e., Islamic terrorism.
The words “Islam,” “Muslim,” “jihad,” “Muslim Brotherhood,” even “al-Qaeda” — all of which appear in the 9/11 Commission Report — have disappeared entirely from the lexicon of FBI analysis. Instead, agents must focus on the literally meaningless concept of “violent extremism.” As if that’s not mentally paralyzing enough, the FBI definition of violent extremism includes this: “An analytical judgment that an individual is a ‘violent extremist,’ ‘extremist,’ or ‘radical’ is not predication for any investigative action or technique.”
2008: DW: Mueller’s FBI misses the warning signals that Maj. Hassan was preparing for jihad violence in 2009. Too busy studying their see-no-Islam lexicons?
2010: DW: Hamas operative and HLF trial unindicted co-conspirator Kifah Mustapha gets FBI VIP treatment — invitations to top-secret National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and FBI training center at Quantico during a six-week “Citizen’s Academy” hosted by the FBI as part of its “outreach” to the Muslim community.
2010: DW: Mueller’s FBI rolls up “Ghost Stories,” a decade-long FBI counterintelligence operation targeting deep-cover Russian “illegals” attempting to bore into elite US political circles. In June 2010, mid-Russian “reset,” the FBI arrests ten Russian agents and hastily deports them because one Russian had gotten “too close” to a sitting cabinet official/future presidential candidate: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Thus, in 2010, without a single indictment or anything comparable, Mueller’s FBI did its part in deporting from American soil a network of high-value SVR operatives for political reasons; in 2018, without any expectation of prosecution, Mueller’s Special Counsel office indicted a network of Russian Internet hooligans on Russian soil, also for political reasons.
2010: DW: As Congress was considering the Uranium One sale, Mueller’s FBI allegedly hides from Congress evidence it had collected showing that Russian officials were engaged in a bribery scheme aimed at growing their atomic energy business inside the United States.
2012: DW: Mueller’s FBI purges 100s of documents in “islamophobia” purge. There would be a similar purge of military training docs and trainers under JCC Dempsey. Mueller attends announcement at a meeting at FBI HQ with Arab and Muslim groups. More on this purge at Judicial Watch:
2013: DW: Boston Marathan attack. As with the Ft. Hood attack, Mueller’s see-no-Islam FBI was unable to interpret information passed from Russia about the “radical” Chechin Muslim Tsarnaevs. Too busy studying see-no-Islam training materials?
September 4, 2013: Mueller’s last day at the FBI. Enter James Comey.
1999 – Flashback: Hilary Clinton/Campaign Fraud/Peter Paul/Stan Lee Scandal
January 27, 2006 – The same foreign lobbyists and Russians tied to Trump probe, are associated with McCain during his presidential run in 2008
(…) “In fact, McCain’s drama involved the same foreign lobbyist Paul Manafort; one of the same Russian oligarchs, Oleg Deripaska; the same Russian diplomat, Sergey Kislyak, and the same wily Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, that now dominate the current Trump controversy.
The FBI has said that there is no evidence to date that Trump ever met with a Russian figure banned from the United States.
McCain actually met twice with Deripaska, a Russian businessman and Putin ally whose visa was blocked by the United States amidst intelligence community concerns about his ties to Moscow. The meetings were arranged by Manafort and his lobbying firm partner Rick Davis, who later would become McCain’s campaign manager, according to interviews and documents. Deripaska, a metals magnet, is president of United Company RUSAL, and is considered to be one of the richest men in the world worth an estimated at $5.1 billion, according to Forbes.“My sense is that Davis and Manafort, who were already doing pro-Putin work against American national interests, were using potential meetings with McCain — who didn’t know this and neither did we until after the fact — as bait to secure more rubles from the oligarchs,” John Weaver, one of McCain’s top advisers at the time, told Circa in an interview this month.
(…) “In 2006, Davis and Manafort arranged two meetings with McCain and Deripaska in group settings while the senator was overseas on official congressional trips.
The first occurred in January 2006 in Davos, Switzerland, where McCain had traveled with fellow Republicans for a global economics conference.
When McCain and his other Senate colleagues, John Sununu and Saxby Chambliss, arrived at an apartment for drinks, Davis was present as a host with Deripaska by his side. A group of about three dozen then went to dinner, McCain and Deripaska included.”
(…) “Davis was McCain’s campaign manager in both 2000 and 2008. Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign manager for a brief time, resigned in August 2016, over questions of prior work with Ukrainian political parties.
During the 2008 campaign, the Davis Manafort firm disclosed through its U.S. partner Daniel J. Edelman Inc., that it was working for the political party in Ukraine supporting Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who was backed by Putin.
“Davis Manafort International LLC is directed by a foreign political party, the Ukraine Parties of Regions, to consult on the political campaign in Ukraine,” the January2008 ForeignAgent Registration Act filing showed.
The work included developing “a communications campaign to increase Prime Minister Yanukovych’s visibility in the U.S. and Europe,” the report added, indicating that Davis and Manafort were being paid a $35,000 a month retainer for the work that began in spring 2007.” (Read more: Circa, 6/21/2017)
2009 – 2010: FBI watches then acts as Russian spy moves closer to Hillary Clinton
“As Hillary Clinton was beginning her job as President Obama’s chief diplomat, federal agents observed as multiple arms of Vladimir Putin’s machine unleashed an influence campaign designed to win access to the new secretary of State, her husband Bill Clinton and members of their inner circle, according to interviews and once-sealed FBI records.
Some of the activities FBI agents gathered evidence about in 2009 and 2010 were covert and illegal.
A female Russian spy posing as an American accountant, for instance, used a false identity to burrow her way into the employ of a major Democratic donor in hopes of gaining intelligence on Hillary Clinton’s department, records show. The spy was arrested and deported as she moved closer to getting inside State, agents said.
Other activities were perfectly legal and sitting in plain view, such as when a subsidiary of Russia’s state-controlled nuclear energy company hired a Washington firm to lobby the Obama administration. At the time it was hired, the firm was providing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in pro bono support to Bill Clinton’s global charitable initiative, and it legally helped the Russian company secure federal decisions that led to billions in new U.S. commercial nuclear business, records show.
Agents were surprised by the timing and size of a $500,000 check that a Kremlin-linked bank provided Bill Clinton with for a single speech in the summer of 2010. The payday came just weeks after Hillary Clinton helped arrange for American executives to travel to Moscow to support Putin’s efforts to build his own country’s version of Silicon Valley, agents said.
There is no evidence in any of the public records that the FBI believed that the Clintons or anyone close to them did anything illegal. But there’s definitive evidence the Russians were seeking their influence with a specific eye on the State Department.
“There is not one shred of doubt from the evidence that we had that the Russians had set their sights on Hillary Clinton’s circle, because she was the quarterback of the Obama-Russian reset strategy and the assumed successor to Obama as president,” said a source familiar with the FBI’s evidence at the time, speaking only on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to speak to the news media.” (Read more: The Hill, 10/22/2017)
February 2009 – February 2013: China hacks Clinton’s private email server throughout her term as Secretary of State
“A Chinese-owned company operating in the Washington, D.C., area hacked Hillary Clinton’s private server throughout her term as secretary of state and obtained nearly all her emails, two sources briefed on the matter told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Chinese firm obtained Clinton’s emails in real time as she sent and received communications and documents through her personal server, according to the sources, who said the hacking was conducted as part of an intelligence operation.
The Chinese wrote code that was embedded in the server, which was kept in Clinton’s residence in upstate New York. The code generated an instant “courtesy copy” for nearly all of her emails and forwarded them to the Chinese company, according to the sources.
The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found that virtually all of Clinton’s emails were sent to a “foreign entity,” Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, said at a July 12 House Committee on the Judiciary hearing. He did not reveal the entity’s identity, but said it was unrelated to Russia.
Two officials with the ICIG, investigator Frank Rucker and attorney Janette McMillan, met repeatedly with FBI officials to warn them of the Chinese intrusion, according to a former intelligence officer with expertise in cybersecurity issues, who was briefed on the matter. He spoke anonymously, as he was not authorized to publicly address the Chinese’s role with Clinton’s server.
Among those FBI officials was Peter Strzok, who was then the bureau’s top counterintelligence official. Strzok was fired this month following the discovery he sent anti-Trump texts to his mistress and co-worker, Lisa Page. Strzok didn’t act on the information the ICIG provided him, according to Gohmert.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 8/27/2018)
- China hacks
- Chinese intelligence
- classified emails
- Clinton Email Investigation
- FBI Counterintelligence Division
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- foreign actors
- Frank Rucker
- House Judiciary Committee
- Janette McMillan
- Lisa Page
- Louie Gohmert
- Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General
- Peter Strzok
- secret email
- unsecured server
October 2010 – The FBI uncovers a Russian bribery plot before the Obama administration approves a controversial nuclear deal with Moscow
“Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.
Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.
They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.
The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.
Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefiting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.
The first decision occurred in October 2010, when the State Department and government agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, giving Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.” (Read more: The Hill, 10/17/17)
October 2012 – A State Department investigator accuses officials of using drugs, soliciting prostitutes, having sex with minors, and several investigations were influenced, manipulated or called off by senior officials
“CBS News‘ John Miller reports that according to an internal State Department Inspector General’s memo, [dated October 2012], several recent investigations were influenced, manipulated, or simply called off. The memo obtained by CBS News cited eight specific examples. Among them: allegations that a State Department security official in Beirut “engaged in sexual assaults” on foreign nationals hired as embassy guards and that members of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security detail “engaged prostitutes while on official trips in foreign countries” — a problem the report says was “endemic.”
The memo also reveals details about an “underground drug ring” was operating near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and supplied State Department security contractors with drugs.
Aurelia Fedenisn, a former investigator with the State Department’s internal watchdog agency, the Inspector General, told Miller, “We also uncovered several allegations of criminal wrongdoing in cases, some of which never became cases.”
In such cases, DSS agents told the Inspector General’s investigators that senior State Department officials told them to back off, a charge that Fedenisn says is “very” upsetting.
“We were very upset. We expect to see influence, but the degree to which that influence existed and how high up it went, was very disturbing,” she said.
In one specific and striking cover-up, State Department agents told the Inspector General they were told to stop investigating the case of a U.S. Ambassador who held a sensitive diplomatic post and was suspected of patronizing prostitutes in a public park.
The State Department Inspector General’s memo refers to the 2011 investigation into an ambassador who “routinely ditched … his protective security detail” and inspectors suspect this was in order to “solicit sexual favors from prostitutes.”
Sources told CBS News that after the allegations surfaced, the ambassador was called to Washington, D.C. to meet with Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy, but was permitted to return to his post.
Fedenisn says “hostile intelligence services” allow such behavior to continue. “I would be very surprised if some of those entities were not aware of the activities,” she said. “So yes, it presents a serious risk to the United States government.”
A draft of the Inspector General’s report on the performance of the DSS, obtained by CBS News, states, “Hindering such cases calls into question the integrity of the investigative process, can result in counterintelligence vulnerabilities and can allow criminal behavior to continue.” (Read more: CBS News, 6/10/2013)
The following day, Foreign Policy writes, “In a fast-developing story, U.S. ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman has been named as the diplomat accused of soliciting “sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children,” according to State Department documents obtained by NBC News. Gutman denied the allegations, in a statement to The Cable and other outlets.
“I am angered and saddened by the baseless allegations that have appeared in the press and to watch the four years I have proudly served in Belgium smeared is devastating,” he said. “At no point have I ever engaged in any improper activity.” (Read more: Foreign Policy, 6/11/2013)
On June 17, 2013, Foreign Policy writes, “The State Department investigator who accused colleagues last week of using drugs, soliciting prostitutes, and having sex with minors says that Foggy Bottom is now engaged in an “intimidation” campaign to stop her.
Last week’s leaks by Aurelia Fedenisn, a former State Department inspector general investigator, shined a light on alleged wrongdoing by U.S. officials around the globe. But her attorney Cary Schulman tells The Cable that Fedenisn has paid a steep price: “They had law enforcement officers camp out in front of her house, harass her children and attempt to incriminate herself.”
Fedenisn’s life changed dramatically last Monday after she handed over documents and statements to CBS News alleging that senior State Department officials “influenced, manipulated, or simply called off” several investigations into misconduct. The suppression of investigations was noted in an early draft of an Inspector General report, but softened in the final version.
Erich Hart, general counsel to the Inspector General, did not reply to a request for comment. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said last week that “we hold all employees to the highest standards. We take allegations of misconduct seriously and we investigate thoroughly.” She also announced that the department would request additional review by outside law enforcement officers on OIG inspection processes.” (Read more: Foreign Policy, 6/17/2013)
February 16, 2013 – Missing Clinton email claims Saudis financed Benghazi attacks
“Something that has gone unnoticed in all the talk about the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails is the content of the original leak that started the entire investigation to begin with. In March of 2013, a Romanian hacker calling himself Guccifer hacked into the AOL account of Sidney Blumenthal and leaked to Russia Today four e-mails containing intelligence on Libya that Blumenthal sent to Hillary Clinton.
For those who haven’t been following this story, Sidney Blumenthal is a long time friend and adviser of the Clinton family who in an unofficial capacity sent many “intelligence memos” to Hillary Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State. Originally displayed on RT.com in Comic Sans font on a pink background with the letter “G” clumsily drawn as a watermark, no one took these leaked e-mails particularly seriously when they came out in 2013. Now, however, we can cross reference this leak with the e-mails the State Department released to the public.
The first three e-mails in the Russia Today leak from Blumenthal to Clinton all appear word for word in the State Department release. The first e-mail Clinton asks to have printed and she also forwards it to her deputy chief of staff, Jake Sullivan. The second e-mail Clinton describes as “useful insight” and forwards it to Jake Sullivan asking him to circulate it. The third e-mail is also forwarded to Jake Sullivan. The fourth e-mail is missing from the State Department record completely.
This missing e-mail from February 16, 2013 only exists in the original leak and states that French and Libyan intelligence agencies had evidence that the In Amenas and Benghazi attacks were funded by “Sunni Islamists in Saudi Arabia.” This seems like a rather outlandish claim on the surface, and as such was only reported by conspiracy types and fringe media outlets. Now, however, we have proof that the other three e-mails in the leak were real correspondence from Blumenthal to Clinton that she not only read, but thought highly enough of to send around to others in the State Department. Guccifer speaks English as a second language and most of his writing consists of rambling conspiracies, it’s unlikely he would be able to craft such a convincing fake intelligence briefing. This means we have an e-mail from a trusted Clinton adviser that claims the Saudis funded the Benghazi attack, and not only was this not followed up on, but there is not any record of this e-mail ever existing except for the Russia Today leak.
Why is this e-mail missing? At first I assumed it must be due to some sort of cover up, but it’s much simpler than that. The e-mail in question was sent after February 1st, 2013, when John Kerry took over as Secretary of State, so it was not part of the time period being investigated. No one is trying to find a copy of this e-mail. Since Clinton wasn’t Secretary of State on February 16th, it wasn’t her job to follow up on it. (Read more: William Reynolds, 3/07/2016)
March 28, 2013 – Judicial Watch Obtains Emails Showing Podesta Group’s Work for Pro-Russia Ukrainian Political Party
“Judicial Watch today released new documents from the U.S. Department of State showing the Podesta Group working on behalf of the pro-Russia Ukrainian political group “Party of Regions.” The new documents also show longtime Obama and Clinton counselor John Podesta lobbying on behalf of his brother’s firm.
Judicial Watch obtained the documents in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the State Department filed on November 20, 2017, (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:17-cv-02489)). The lawsuit was filed after the State Department failed to respond to a September 13, 2017, FOIA request for:
- All records of communication between any official, employee, or representative of the Department of State and any principal, employee, or representative of Podesta Group, Inc.
- All records produced related to any meetings or telephonic communications between any official, employee, or representative of the Department of State and any principal, employee, or representative of Podesta Group, Inc.
- All records regarding the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine.
- The FOIA request covers the timeframe of January 1, 2012 to the present.
A March 28, 2013, email from now-Deputy Executive Secretary in the Office of the Secretary of State Baxter Hunt shows the Podesta Group, led by Tony Podesta, a Clinton bundler and brother of Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman John Podesta, represented the Party of Regions, a pro-Kremlin political party in Ukraine.
In the March 2013 email, to a number of officials including then-U.S. Foreign Service Officer John Tefft (who would go on to be U.S. Ambassador to Russia in 2014) and State Department director for the Office of Eastern Europe Alexander Kasanof, Hunt writes:
See below, I also stressed to them the need for GOU to take concrete steps to get new SBA with IMF and avoid PFC/loss of GSP. Podesta Group is noted among host of Ukraine lobbyists in article I’ll forward in article on low side.
- Ben Chang and Mark Tavlarides of the Podesta Group, which is representing the Party of Regions, told us they were working with Klyuyev on a visit he plans to make to Washington in early May. They are working to broaden the POR’s contacts on the Hill, including setting up a meeting for Klyuyev with Chris Smith, and have advised Kyiv to stop trying to justify their actions against Tymoshenko in Washington. They also noted that during his recent meeting with former EC President Prodi, HFAC Chairman Ed Royce said that Congress would not be enacting sanctions legislation against Ukraine.
The Party of Regions served as the pro-Kremlin political base for Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia in 2014.
Like Paul Manafort, who is currently under indictment in the errant special counsel Russia investigation, the Podesta Group had to retroactively file Foreign Agent Registration Act disclosures with the Justice Department for Ukrainian-related work. The filing states that the Podesta group provided for the nonprofit European Centre for a Modern Ukraine “government relations and public relations services within the United States and Europe to promote political and economic cooperation between Ukraine and the West. The [Podesta Group] conducted outreach to congressional and executive branch offices, members of the media, nongovernmental organizations and think tanks.” Unlike Manafort and his partner Rick Gates, the Mueller special counsel operation hasn’t indicted anyone from the Podesta Group. (Read more: Judicial Watch, 5/17/2018)
May 2014 – McCabe is accused of sexual discrimination, General Flynn supports the special agent who files the complaint
“The FBI launched a criminal probe against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn two years after the retired Army general roiled the bureau’s leadership by intervening on behalf of a decorated counterterrorism agent who accused now-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other top officials of sexual discrimination, according to documents and interviews.
Flynn’s intervention on behalf of Supervisory Special Agent Robyn Gritz was highly unusual, and included a letter in 2014 on his official Pentagon stationary, a public interview in 2015 supporting Gritz’s case and an offer to testify on her behalf. His offer put him as a hostile witness in a case against McCabe, who was soaring through the bureau’s leadership ranks.
The FBI sought to block Flynn’s support for the agent, asking a federal administrative law judge in May 2014 to keep Flynn and others from becoming a witness in her Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) case, memos obtained by Circa show. Two years later, the FBI opened its inquiry of Flynn.
The EEOC case, which is still pending, was serious enough to require McCabe to submit to a sworn statement to investigators, the documents show.
The deputy director’s testimony provided some of the strongest evidence in the case of possible retaliation, because he admitted the FBI opened an internal investigation into Gritz’s personal conduct after learning the agent “had filed or intended to file” a sex discrimination complaint against her supervisors. (Read more: Circa, 6/27/2017)
February 2015 – The Strange Case of McAuliffe & McCabe
“A useful timeline in the OIG report sketches the McCabe-McAuliffe saga—a swamp tale of a particular sort. In 2014, McCabe, a rising star at the FBI, is assistant director of the bureau’s Washington, DC, field office. His wife is a pediatrician in Virginia. Terry McAuliffe is governor.
In February 2015, Dr. McCabe receives a phone call from Virginia’s lieutenant governor. Would she consider running for a state senate seat?
Less than two weeks later, in March 2015, McCabe and his wife drive to Richmond for what they thought was a meeting with a Virginia state senator to discuss Dr. McCabe’s possible run for office.
In Richmond, according to the OIG report, they are told there had been “a change of plans” and that “Governor McAuliffe wanted to speak to Dr. McCabe at the Governor’s mansion.”
It’s around this time that a veteran FBI agent’s radar might start blinking.
McCabe and his wife meet with McAuliffe for 30 to 45 minutes, according to the OIG report. Fundraising was discussed. “Governor McAuliffe said that he and the Democratic Party would support Dr. McCabe’s candidacy.” McAuliffe asked McCabe about his occupation and “McCabe told him he worked for the FBI but they did not discuss McCabe’s work or any FBI business.” McCabe later described it to an FBI official as a “surreal meeting.”
After the meeting, the couple rode to a local event with the governor, then returned to the mansion with the governor to retrieve their car.
McCabe informed FBI ethics officials and lawyers about the meeting and consulted with them about his wife’s plans. No one raised strong objections. McCabe recused himself from all public corruption cases in Virginia and Dr. McCabe jumped into the race.
In July 2015, the FBI opened an investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s email practices.
Let’s pause to note here that while the official FBI investigation was opened in July 2015, Mrs. Clinton was known to be in hot water as far back as March 2015, when the State Department inspector general revealed her widespread use of a private, non-government email server.
Swamp cats will notice that March 2015 is also when Andrew and Jill McCabe got their surprise audience with McAuliffe, the longtime Clinton money man.
The McCabe fortunes rose in the autumn of 2015. Mr. McCabe was promoted to associate deputy director of the FBI. Dr. McCabe received $675,000 from two McAuliffe-connected entities for her state senate race. They were by far the biggest donations to her campaign.
In November 2015, Dr. McCabe lost her race.
In January 2016, the FBI opened an investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
On February 1, Mr. McCabe was promoted again, to deputy director of the FBI.
Despite the McAuliffe connection, the OIG report notes, there was no FBI re-evaluation of McCabe’s recusals following his promotions. Although recused from Virginia public corruption investigations, he retained a senior role in Clinton-related matters.
In May 2016, news broke that McAuliffe was under FBI investigation for campaign finance violations. CNN reported that investigators were scrutinizing “McAuliffe’s time as a board member of the Clinton Global Initiative” and Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang, a U.S. permanent resident who made large donations to both the McAuliffe 2013 gubernatorial campaign and to the Clinton Foundation.
On October 23, the Wall Street Journal revealed the McAuliffe-linked donations to Dr. McCabe’s campaign. At FBI headquarters, McCabe resists pressure from senior executives to recuse himself from all Clinton-related matters.
Finally, on November 1—a week before the presidential election—McCabe recused from the Clinton email and Clinton Foundation investigations.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 6/21/2018)
March – July, 2015: Did McCabe issue ‘Stand-Down’ order on FBI Clinton Email Investigation?
“Multiple former FBI officials, along with a Congressional official, say that while there may have been internal squabbling over the FBI’s investigation into the Clinton Foundation at the time, there was allegedly another “stand-down” order by McCabe regarding the opening of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email for official government business.
McCabe’s stand-down order regarding Clinton’s private email use happened after The New York Times first reported Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email Account at State Dept., Possibly Breaking Rules in March 2015 and before the official investigation was requested by the Justice Department toward the end of July 2015.
After The New York Times publication, the FBI Washington Field Office began investigating Clinton’s use of private emails and whether she was using her personal email account to transmit classified information. According to sources, McCabe was overseas when he became aware of the investigation and sent electronic communications voicing his displeasure with the agents.
“McCabe tried to steer people off the private email investigation and that appears to be obstruction and should be investigated,” said one former FBI official with knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the investigation. “Now if the information on the ‘stand-down’ order is obtained by the IG that could bring a whole lot of other troubles to McCabe.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 4/2018)
May 4, 2015 – Clinton Cash: The Official Documentary Movie
Clinton Cash investigates how Bill and Hillary Clinton went from being “dead broke” after leaving the White House to amassing a net worth of over $150 million, with over $2 billion in donations to their foundation. This wealth was accumulated during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as US Secretary of State through lucrative speaking fees and contracts paid for by foreign companies and Clinton Foundation donors.
September 2015 – The FBI structures the email investigation to deliver a predetermined outcome
“Within the Inspector General report into how the DOJ and FBI handled the Clinton email investigation, on Page #164, footnote #124 the outline is laid bare for all to witness. The Clinton classified email investigation was structured to deliver a predetermined outcome.
John Spiropoulos delivers the first video in a series of reports on the Department of Justice Inspector General’s review into the investigation of Hillary Clinton. This segment focuses on DOJ’s legal interpretation that virtually assured Clinton would not be prosecuted. And that, as the IG reports states, the FBI and DOJ knew that “by September2015.″ (Conservative Treehouse,6/25/2018)
“The Fix Was In”
Late October, 2015 – Natalia Veselnitskaya is granted special permission by Loretta Lynch to bypass a visa and enter the United States
“The Russian lawyer who penetrated Donald Trump’s inner circle was initially cleared into the United States by the Justice Department under “extraordinary circumstances” before she embarked on a lobbying campaign last year that ensnared the president’s eldest son, members of Congress, journalists and State Department officials, according to court and Justice Department documents and interviews.
This revelation means it was the Obama Justice Department that enabled the newest and most intriguing figure in the Russia-Trump investigation to enter the country without a visa.
(…) “In an interview with NBC News earlier this week, Veselnitskaya acknowledged her contacts with Trump Jr. and in Washington were part of a lobbying campaign to get members of Congress and American political figures to see “the real circumstances behind the Magnitsky Act.”
That work was a far cry from the narrow reason the U.S. government initially gave for allowing Veselnitskaya into the U.S. in late 2015, according to federal court records.
During a court hearing in early January 2016, as Veselnitskaya’s permission to stay in the country was about to expire, federal prosecutors described how rare the grant of parole immigration was as Veselnitskaya pleaded for more time to remain in the United States.
“In October the government bypassed the normal visa process and gave a type of extraordinary permission to enter the country called immigration parole,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Monteleoni explained to the judge during a hearing on Jan. 6, 2016.
“That’s a discretionary act that the statute allows the attorney general to do in extraordinary circumstances. In this case, we did that so that Mr. Katsyv could testify. And we made the further accommodation of allowing his Russian lawyer into the country to assist,” he added.” (Read more: The Hill, 7/12/2017)
November 2015 – Employment of Nellie Ohr by Fusion GPS Raises New Questions
“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, 2017, unsealed 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)
- Andrew McCabe
- Andrew Weissmann
- Bruce Ohr
- Christopher Steele
- Clinton/DNC/Steele Dossier
- Dan Coats
- Department of Justice
- FISA Title-1 surveillance warrant
- Fusion GPS
- Jeff Carlson
- Lisa Page
- Mueller team
- Nellie Ohr
- November 2015
- NSA database queries
- Peter Strzok
- private contractors
- Trump opposition research
- U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC)
Late 2015 – The investigations into Donald Trump and his campaign began much earlier, in Great Britain
(…) “Late 2015: According to several former and current western intelligence sources who spoke to this reporter, the investigations into President Donald Trump and his campaign began much earlier than has been reported and for that matter, it did not begin in the United States but rather across the Atlantic Ocean, in Great Britain.
Intelligence community counterparts in Great Britain, specifically GCHQ, which is similar to America’s NSA, had already begun looking into what they alleged was contact between Russians and some members of the Trump campaign and played “an early, prominent role” according to these sources. But whether that information was requested by the U.S. as assistance to an investigation here or whether the British began the investigation on their own is still not clear.
The Guardian reported that British Intelligence sources shared its signals intelligence on people connected to Trump campaign with the United States. However, The Guardian also reports that Germany, Poland, and Estonia also shared communications related to members of the Trump campaign with the United States. Great Britain, which is part of what is called the “Five-Eyes” alliance includes the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand and the countries often shared signals intelligence, raw communications between targets they were investigating.
If what we are being told is true, who inside the U.S. and British intelligence agencies were aware that members of the Trump campaign had their communications intercepted by British intelligence, purportedly investigating the Russians? Was it the U.S. who asked the British to assist in a counterintelligence investigation or did the British do this on their own as claimed in The Guardian? If this did occur, how directly involved were CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in the information being shared by our allies? And how often had American political communications, unknown to the public, been intercepted by foreign governments for political purposes?
Moreover, if members of an administration collect information from allies based on overseas communications between opposition, what happens to that intelligence? How is it safeguarded from abuse and who or what agency has the oversight authority to ensure it is a legitimate counterintelligence investigation? Congressional oversight is always after-the-fact and lawmakers have been hampered by roadblocks set up by the DOJ, FBI and former senior officials of the Obama administration, who either have withheld documentation, evaded answering questions or lied.
If what the British and western intelligence officials are saying is true, then the investigation into the Trump campaign began much earlier than the FBI’s claims at the end of July 2016. More importantly, our allies may have been collecting more communications than we’re aware of on Trump campaign officials and volunteers. What we do know is that National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn; Carter Page, a short time foreign policy volunteer for the campaign; Paul Manafort, a short-term campaign chair and George Papadopoulos, a young short-term foreign policy advisor were all caught up in the spying dragnet.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 6/01/2(018) (The Guardian, 4/13/2017)
December 10, 2015 – Admiral Michael Flynn is one of several guest speakers at Russia Today’s (RT) 10th anniversary gala in Moscow
“Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, made the baseless insinuation that Donald Trump compromised national security by inviting a man with Russian ties to his intelligence briefing.
Appearing on ABC News’ “This Week,” Mook said Trump was accompanied to his first intelligence briefing on Aug. 17 by “someone who’s on the payroll of the Russia Times, which is a basically a propaganda arm of the Kremlin.” Mook claimed this “gentleman” — whom he did not name — “was sitting two seats away from Vladimir Putin” at RT’s 10th anniversary gala in December, and he demanded that Trump disclose “whether his advisers are having meetings with the Kremlin.”
Who is this mysterious, unnamed gentleman? The Clinton campaign told us Mook was referring to retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who until two years ago was director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama.
Flynn is not “on the payroll of the Russia Times.” He was merely one of many speakers at RT’s anniversary conference on Dec. 10, 2015, in Moscow. RT is a Russian government-funded TV station once known as Russia Today.
Mook made his misleading assertion about Flynn shortly after he claimed that “real questions being raised about whether Donald Trump himself is just a puppet for the Kremlin.” Host George Stephanopoulos questioned Mook about that claim — which has been part of the Clinton campaign’s attacks on Trump ever since it was reported that Russia was likely behind the successful attacks on computer servers at the Democratic National Committee and the release of DNC emails.
Stephanopoulos: You’re saying he’s a puppet for the Kremlin?
Mook: Well, real questions are being raised about that. We — again, there’s a web of financial ties to the Russians that he refuses to disclose. We’ve seen over the last few week, him parroted Vladimir Putin in his own remarks. We saw the Republican Party platform changed. She saw Donald Trump talk about leaving NATO and leaving our Eastern European allies vulnerable to a Russian attack. The gentleman he brought with him to his security briefing just last week is someone who’s on the payroll of the Russia Times, which is a basically a propaganda arm of the Kremlin. He was sitting two seats away from Vladimir Putin at their 10th anniversary gala.
There are a lot of questions here. And we need Donald Trump to disclose all of his financial ties and whether his advisers are having meetings with the Kremlin.
However, Paul Manafort, who until last week was Trump’s campaign chairman, did have business dealings with Russian-aligned leaders in Ukraine, as uncovered by the New York Times. With Manafort gone, Mook redirected the campaign’s guilt-by-association attack on Trump by questioning Flynn’s associations with the Kremlin.”
(…) “In an Aug. 15 article, Flynn told the Washington Post that his speaking engagement was arranged by his speaker’s bureau and that he was paid for it. He said he was introduced to Putin, but did not speak to him.
The Clinton campaign provided no evidence that Flynn is “on the payroll” of RT or that he is “having meetings with the Kremlin,” as Mook alleged. It forwarded us a Politico story from May that said Flynn “makes semi-regular appearances on RT as an analyst.” Politico wrote that Flynn is “presumably” paid for those TV appearances, but the retired lieutenant general told the Post that he is not paid by RT or any other TV stations, because “I want to be able to speak freely about what I believe.” (Read more: FactCheck, 8/23/2016)
December 2015 – Dem Chief of Staff tries to expose suspected theft ring on Capitol Hill, was met with resistance“Rep. Yvette Clarke’s deputy chief of staff came into the office on a Saturday in December 2015 and caught the New York Democrat’s part-time IT aide, Abid Awan, rummaging through the congresswoman’s work area with new iPods and other equipment strewn around the room, according to a House document and interviews with Hill staff.
Wendy Anderson told Abid to get out of the office, the document said. She told Capitol Hill investigators that she soon suspected Clarke’s chief of staff, Shelley Davis, was working with Abid on a theft scheme, multiple House staffers with knowledge of the situation told The Daily Caller News Foundation. They also said that Anderson pushed for Abid’s firing.”
(…) “House Chief Administrative Officer Phil Kiko testified in a public hearing in April that “the House IG discovered evidence of procurement fraud and irregularities [and] numerous violations of House security policies” by the Awans. The alleged procurement fraud included submitting suspicious invoices to bill equipment to House offices.”
(…) “Speaker of the House Paul Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong told TheDCNF the Capitol Police “requested that the shared employees be allowed to continue to use their IT credentials until February 2017 because they didn’t want to tip off the employees.”
But Anderson soon concluded that the investigation was compromised because another high-level staffer based in New York was feeding information about authorities’ activities to Abid, a House staffer Anderson spoke with in detail about the situation told TheDCNF.
“Her district office chief, a female, was actively going against Wendy,” the staffer said. “She was good friends with Omar and was feeding him information. Clarke would tell this person and the woman was backdooring stuff to Omar. She was undermining the investigation.” Anderson told that to House investigators as well, the staffer said.” (Read more: Daily Caller, 6/24/2018)
December 28, 2015 – A text message between Strzok and Page seeks approval for double agents
“Newly unredacted text messages, sent between top FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, suggest that the agency initiated an offensive counterintelligence operation against the Trump campaign as early as December 2015.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee released 500 pages of documents and texts on June 4, the bulk of which consists of messages between Page and Strzok. One message, which was previously redacted, shows that FBI agents were working to recruit double agents as early as Dec. 28, 2015.
According to Chris Farrell, a former counterintelligence officer who ran double-agent operations for the U.S. Army, “oconus” stands for “outside the continental United States,” while “lures” refers to people used as bait to snag a potential double agent.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 6/07/2018)
Late December 2015 – The key foreign intelligence players behind Spygate
(…) “The intelligence agencies initiated reports that Donald Trump was colluding with Russia, they nurtured them and helped them grow, and then they spread the word to the press and key government officials. Reportedly, they even tried to use these reports to force Trump to step down prior to his inauguration. Although the corporate press accuses Trump of conspiring with Russia to stop Hillary Clinton, the reverse now seems to be the case: the Obama administration intelligence agencies worked with Clinton to block “Siberian candidate” Trump.
The template was provided by ex-MI6 Director Richard Dearlove, Halper’s friend and business partner. Sitting in winged chairs in London’s venerable Garrick Club, according toThe Washington Post, Dearlove told fellow MI6 veteran Christopher Steele, author of the famous “golden showers” opposition research dossier, that Trump “reminded him of a predicament he had faced years earlier, when he was chief of station for British intelligence in Washington and alerted US authorities to British information that a vice presidential hopeful had once been in communication with the Kremlin.”
Apparently, one word from the Brits was enough to make the candidate in question step down. When that didn’t work with Trump, Dearlove and his colleagues ratcheted up the pressure to make him see the light. A major scandal was thus born – or, rather, a very questionable scandal.
Besides Dearlove, Steele, and Halper, a bon-vivant known as “The Walrus” for his impressive girth, other participants include:
- Robert Hannigan, former director Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, UK equivalent of the NSA.
- Alexander Downer, top Australian diplomat.
- Andrew Wood, ex-British ambassador to Moscow.
- Joseph Mifsud, Maltese academic.
- James Clapper, ex-US Director of National Intelligence.
- John Brennan, former CIA Director (and now NBC News analyst).
A few things stand out about this august group. One is its in-bred quality. After helping to run an annual confab known as the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar, Dearlove and Halper are now partners in a private venture calling itself “The Cambridge Security Initiative.” Both are connected to another London-based intelligence firm known as Hakluyt & Co. Halper is also connected via two books he wrote with Hakluyt representative Jonathan Clarke and Dearlove has a close personal friendship with Hakluyt founder Mike Reynolds, yet another MI6 vet. Alexander Downer served a half-dozen years on Hakluyt’s international advisory board, while Andrew Wood is linked to Steele via Orbis Business Intelligence, the private research firm that Steele helped found, and which produced the anti-Trump dossier, and where Wood now serves as an unpaid advisor.
Everyone, in short, seems to know everyone else. But another thing that stands out about this group is its incompetence. Dearlove and Halper appear to be old-school paranoids for whom every Russian is a Boris Badenov or a Natasha Fatale. In February 2014, Halper notified US intelligence that Mike Flynn, Trump’s future national security adviser, had grown overly chummy with an Anglo-Russian scholar named Svetlana Lokhova whom Halper suspected of being a spy – suspicions that Lokhova convincingly argues are absurd. (Read more: Consortium News, 5/31/2018)
- Alexander Downer
- Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
- Christopher Steele
- December 2015
- Five-Eyes Alliance
- Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)
- Hakluyt & Co.
- illegal spying
- James Clapper
- John Brennan
- Jonathan Clarke
- Joseph Mifsud
- Mike Reynolds
- Robert Hannigan
- Sir Andrew Wood
- Sir Richard Dearlove
- Stefan Halper
- Trump campaign
December 2015 – January 2017: Spygate, the true story of collusion – how America’s most powerful agencies were weaponized against Trump
Although the details remain complex, the structure underlying Spygate—the creation of the false narrative that candidate Donald Trump colluded with Russia, and the spying on his presidential campaign—remains surprisingly simple:
1. CIA Director John Brennan, with some assistance from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, gathered foreign intelligence and fed it throughout our domestic Intelligence Community.
2. The FBI became the handler of Brennan’s intelligence and engaged in the more practical elements of surveillance.
3. The Department of Justice facilitated investigations by the FBI and legal maneuverings, while providing a crucial shield of nondisclosure.
4. The Department of State became a mechanism of information dissemination and leaks.
5. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee provided funding, support, and media collusion.
6. Obama administration officials were complicit, and engaged in unmasking and intelligence gathering and dissemination.
7. The media was the most corrosive element in many respects. None of these events could have transpired without their willing participation. Stories were pushed, facts were ignored, and narratives were promoted.
Let’s start with a simple premise: The candidacy of Trump presented both an opportunity and a threat.
Initially not viewed with any real seriousness, Trump’s campaign was seen as an opportunistic wedge in the election process. At the same time, and particularly as the viability of his candidacy increased, Trump was seen as an existential threat to the established political system.
The sudden legitimacy of Trump’s candidacy was not welcomed by the U.S. political establishment. Here was a true political outsider who held no traditional allegiances. He was brash and boastful, he ignored political correctness, he couldn’t be bought, and he didn’t care what others thought of him—he trusted himself.
Governing bodies in Britain and the European Union were also worried. Candidate Trump was openly challenging monetary policy, regulations, and the power of special interests. He challenged Congress. He challenged the United Nations and the European Union. He questioned everything.
Brennan became the point man in the operation to stop a potential Trump presidency. It remains unclear whether his role was self-appointed or came from above. To embark on such a mission without direct presidential authority seems both a stretch of the imagination and particularly foolhardy.
Brennan took unofficial foreign intelligence compiled by contacts, colleagues, and associates—primarily from the UK, but also from other Five Eyes members, such as Australia.
Individuals in official positions in UK intelligence, such as Robert Hannigan—head of the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ, Britain’s equivalent of the National Security Agency)—partnered with former UK foreign intelligence members. Former MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove, former Ambassador Sir Andrew Wood, and private UK intelligence firm Hakluyt all played a role.
2016 – 2017: President Obama’s team sought NSA intel on thousands of Americans during the 2016 election
“The Obama administration distributed thousands of intelligence reports with the unredacted names of U.S. residents during the 2016 election.
During his final year in office, President Obama’s team significantly expanded efforts to search National Security Agency intercepts for information about Americans, distributing thousands of intelligence reports across government with the unredacted names of U.S. residents during the midst of a divisive 2016 presidential election.
The data, made available this week by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, provides the clearest evidence to date of how information accidentally collected by the NSA overseas about Americans was subsequently searched and disseminated after President Obama loosened privacy protections to make such sharing easier in 2011 in the name of national security. A court affirmed his order.
The revelations are particularly sensitive since the NSA is legally forbidden from directly spying on Americans and its authority to conduct warrantless searches on foreigners is up for renewal in Congress later this year. And it comes as lawmakers investigate President Trump’s own claims that his privacy was violated by his predecessor during the 2016 election.
(…) “The searches ultimately resulted in 3,134 NSA intelligence reports with unredacted U.S. names being distributed across government in 2016, and another 3,354 reports in 2015. About half the time, U.S. identities were unredacted in the original reports while the other half were unmasked after the fact by special request of Obama administration officials.
Among those whose names were unmasked in 2016 or early 2017 were campaign or transition associates of President Trump as well as members of Congress and their staffers, according to sources with direct knowledge.
The data kept by ODNI is missing some information from one of the largest consumers of NSA intelligence, the FBI, and officials acknowledge the numbers are likely much higher when the FBI’s activity is added.” (Read more: Circa, 5/3/2017)
2016 – 2017: Bruce Ohr’s texts and emails reveal Steele’s deep ties to DOJ, FBI
“A trove of emails and handwritten notes from Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr exposes the continuous contact and communication between the DOJ attorney and anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele, according to notes and documents obtained by SaraACarter.com. The emails and notes were written between 2016 and 2017.
The notes and emails also reveal that Ohr was in communication with Glenn Simpson, the founder of the embattled research firm Fusion GPS, which was paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC to hire Steele.
In one of Ohr’s handwritten notes listed as “Law enforcement Sensitive” from May 10, 2017, he writes “Call with Chris,” referencing Steele. He notes that Steele is “very concerned about Comey’s firing, afraid they will be exposed.” This call occurred months after FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee and revealed for the first time that the FBI had an open counterintelligence investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign and alleged collusion with Russia.”
(…) “The documents from March 2017, reveal how concerned Steele is with Grassley’s committee and the letter from the senator’s office seeking answers from Steele on the dossier.
In June 2017, Steele tells Ohr, “We are frustrated with how long this re-engagement with the Bureau and Mueller is taking. Anything you can do to accelerate the process would be much appreciated. There are some new, perishable, operational opportunities which we do not want to miss out on.”
In October 2017, Steele notes that he is concerned about the stories in the media about the bureau delivering information to Congress “about my work and relationship with them. Very concerned about this. People’s lives may be endangered.”
And in November 2017, Steele, who is trying to engage with Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel, writes to Ohr saying, “we were wondering if there was any response to the questions I raised last week.”
Ohr responds by saying, “I have passed on the questions (apparently to the special counsel) but haven’t gotten an answer yet.”
Steele then says, “I am presuming you’ve heard nothing back from your SC (special counsel) colleagues on the issues you kindly put to them from me. We have heard nothing from them either. To say this is disappointing would be an understatement! Certain people have been willing to risk everything to engage with them in an effort to help them reach the truth. Also, we remain in the dark as to what work has been briefed to Congress about us, our assets and previous work.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 8/16/2018)
January 8, 2016 – A McCabe email is at odds with Comey’s concerns ahead of publication of the dossier
“Comey wrote in a January 7, 2017 email to FBI leadership that he told Trump that he was providing the briefing about the dossier because “media like CNN had [the dossier] and were looking for a news hook.”
“I said it was inflammatory stuff that they would get killed for reporting straight up from the source reports,” Comey continued.
On January 8, 2017 then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe wrote to senior FBI leadership that “CNN is close to going forward with the sensitive story … The trigger for them [CNN] is they know the material was discussed in the brief and presented in an attachment.”
McCabe, who was Lisa Page’s boss, also emailed then-deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and then-principal deputy Attorney General Matthew Axelrod, saying, “Just an FYI, and as expected, it seems CNN is close to running a story about the sensitive reporting.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 9/14/2018)
2016 – Samantha Power sought to unmask Americans on almost daily basis, sources say
“Samantha Power, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was ‘unmasking’ at such a rapid pace in the final months of the Obama administration that she averaged more than one request for every working day in 2016 – and even sought information in the days leading up to President Trump’s inauguration, multiple sources close to the matter told Fox News.
Two sources, who were not authorized to speak on the record, said the requests to identify Americans whose names surfaced in foreign intelligence reporting, known as unmasking, exceeded 260 last year. One source indicated this occurred in the final days of the Obama White House.
The details emerged ahead of an expected appearance by Power next month on Capitol Hill. She is one of several Obama administration officials facing congressional scrutiny for their role in seeking the identities of Trump associates in intelligence reports – but the interest in her actions is particularly high.
In a July 27 letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said the committee had learned “that one official, whose position had no apparent intelligence-related function, made hundreds of unmasking requests during the final year of the Obama Administration.”
The “official” is widely reported to be Power.
During a public congressional hearing earlier this year, Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina pressed former CIA director John Brennan on unmasking, without mentioning Power by name.
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 but I’m not — I could not answer with any confidence.
Gowdy continued, asking: On either January 19 or up till noon on January 20, did you make any unmasking requests?
Brennan: I do not believe I did.
Gowdy: So 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.
Brennan later corrected the record, confirming he was at CIA headquarters on January 20. “I went there to collect some final personal materials as well as to pay my last respects to a memorial wall. But I was there for a brief period of time and just to take care of some final — final things that were important to me,” Brennan said.” (Read more: Fox News, 9/20/2017)
January 30, 2016 – Strzok-Page emails show FBI officials using unsecured devices for sensitive data
“Judicial Watch announced today that it has received 47 pages of records from the Department of Justice, including email exchanges between fired FBI official Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page revealing that FBI officials used unsecured devices in discussing how the U.S. could improve the sharing of sensitive data with the European Union top executive governing commission.
The documents also reveal that high-ranking FBI officials were not properly read-in to top secret programs.
(…) “The newly obtained emails came in response to a May 21 order by U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton to the FBI to begin processing 13,000 pages of records exchanged exclusively between Strzok and Page between February 1, 2015, and December 2017. The FBI refuses to timely process the records and will not complete review and production of all the Strzok-Page materials until at least 2020.
In a January 30, 2016 email exchange sent entirely over unsecure devices, top former FBI officials including General Counsel Jim Baker, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Strzok, Page, unidentified individuals from the DOJ’s National Security Division and NSA General Counsel Glenn Gerstell, discuss a draft document with the subject line: “Revised IC Safe Harbor Letter (from [redacted] using [redacted] iPad).”
Baker notes in the exchange that he is attempting to work on the document using his smartphone: “So it is not possible to read the redlines on my smartphone. If you are still at the office, can you please save the redline version as a PDF and then resend? Thanks.”
Also, in the exchange, Strzok writes to Page:
IC Safe Harbor refers to a European Commission data-sharing arrangement with the United States that allowed for the transfer of personally identifiable information from the EU to the U.S. The arrangement was invalidated by the European Court of Justice after disclosures of NSA surveillance operations by Edward Snowden. The court ordered that a new, stronger version of the arrangement be reached by January 31, 2016.
Five hundred million Yahoo! accounts reportedly were hacked in 2014. And, “a different attack in 2013 compromised more than 1 billion accounts. The two attacks are the largest known security breaches of one company’s computer network.” According to IT experts, the iPad is also notoriously insecure from hacking.
In a February 5, 2016, email Strzok indicates to Page that at least two, and possibly more, top FBI officials had not been properly “read-in” to top secret, compartmented programs. Those included McCabe and Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Bill Preistap. It is indicated Page needs some read-ins as well.
February 25, 2016 – Texts show Strzok and Page were worried about being too tough on Hillary Clinton during email investigation
“FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were concerned about being too tough on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the bureau’s investigation into her email practices because she might hold it against them as president, text messages released on Thursday indicated.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley released new messages between bureau officials Page and Strzok, who were having an affair and exchanged more than 50,000 texts with each other during the election.
“One more thing: she might be our next president,” Page texted Strzok on Feb 25, 2016, in the midst of the presidential campaign, in reference to Clinton.
“The last thing you need [is] going in there loaded for bear,” she continued. “You think she’s going to remember or care that it was more [DOJ] than [FBI]?”
March – September, 2016: The Russian trail leads To the Podesta Group
“The media’s focus on Trump’s Russian connections ignores the much more extensive and lucrative business relationships of top Democrats with Kremlin-associated oligarchs and companies. Thanks to the Panama Papers, we know that the Podesta Group (founded by John Podesta’s brother, Tony) lobbied for Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank. “Sberbank is the Kremlin, they don’t do anything major without Putin’s go-ahead, and they don’t tell him ‘no’ either,” explained a retired senior U.S. intelligence official. According to a Reuters report, Tony Podesta was “among the high-profile lobbyists registered to represent organizations backing Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.” Among these was the European Center, which paid Podesta $900,000 for his lobbying.
That’s not all: The busy Podesta Group also represented Uranium One, a uranium company acquired by the Russian government which received approval from Hillary Clinton’s State Department to mine for uranium in the U.S. and gave Russia twenty percent control of US uranium. The New York Times reported Uranium One’s chairman, Frank Guistra, made significant donations to the Clinton Foundation, and Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 for one speech from a Russian investment bank that has “links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.” Notably, Frank Giustra, the Clinton Foundation’s largest and most controversial donor, does not appear anywhere in Clinton’s “non-private” emails. It is possible that the emails of such key donors were automatically scrubbed to protect the Clinton Foundation.
Let’s not leave out fugitive Ukrainian oligarch, Dymtro Firtash. He is represented by Democratic heavyweight lawyer, Lanny Davis, who accused Trump of “inviting Putin to commit espionage” (Trump’s quip: If Putin has Hillary’s emails, release them) but denies all wrongdoing by Hillary.
Lobbying for Russia is a bi-partisan activity. Gazprombank GPB, a subsidiary of Russia’s third largest bank, Gazprombank, is represented by former Sen. John Breaux, (D., La.), and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R., Miss.), as main lobbyists on “banking laws and regulations, including applicable sanctions.” The Breaux-Lott client is currently in the Treasury Department list of Russian firms prohibited from debt financing with U.S. banks. (Read more: Forbes, 2/18/2017)
March 4, 2016 – Strzok and Page texts are favorable toward Clinton, not so favorable toward Trump, at same time both are being investigated by FBI
“FBI agent Peter Strzok praised Hillary Clinton and said he would vote for her for president while also leading the investigation into her possible mishandling of classified information.
In March 2016, Strzok sent his mistress Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer, text messages saying that “Hillary should win 100,000,000 – 0.”
And asked who he would vote for in the election, Strzok told Page: “I suppose Hillary.”
Strzok and Page also sent messages disparaging Trump, calling him an “idiot.”
(…) “Strzok and Page’s politically-charged texts continued as he transitioned from the Clinton investigation to the Russia probe.
On July 27, 2016, Page wrote of Clinton, “She just has to to win now.”
“I’m not going to lie, I got a flash of nervousness yesterday about Trump,” she said.
According to various news reports, Strzok was picked to lead the Russia investigation at around the time that message was sent.
It was revealed earlier this month that Strzok is the FBI official who watered down the language in a statement prepared for Comey. Instead of using the legal term “grossly negligent” to describe Clinton’s email activities, Strzok inserted the phrase “extremely careless.”
Strzok also appears to have gone much easier on Clinton aides that he interviewed in the email probe than he did on Trump associates he met with during the Russia investigation.
Abedin and Mills, the two Clinton aides, appear to have given misleading statements in their interviews about what they knew about Clinton’s use of a private email server. But neither faced charges for the false statements.
In contrast, former national security adviser Michael Flynn was charged for lying to the FBI during an interview in January. Strzok was one of the agents who conducted the interview.” (Read more: Daily Caller, 12/12/2016) (Strzok/Page Text Documents)
March 7 – October 31, 2016: Fusion GPS bank records show Russia-related payments to law firm representing Prevezon Holdings, sought to limit impact on Magnitsky sanctions
The records show that Fusion was also paid $523,651 by the law firm BakerHostetler between March 7, 2016 and Oct. 31, 2016.
Fusion worked for BakerHostetler to investigate Bill Browder, a London-based banker who helped push through the Magnitsky Act, a sanctions law vehemently opposed by the Kremlin.
BakerHostetler represented Prevezon Holdings and its owner, a Russian businessman named Denis Katsyv.
Katsyv and Prevezon sought to limit the impact of the Magnitsky sanctions.
Glenn Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and Fusion GPS founding partner, compiled the research for the anti-Browder project. He worked closely with Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who also showed up at the infamous Trump Tower meeting held on June 9, 2016.
Simpson’s research ended up in the Trump Tower meeting in the form of a four-page memo carried by Veselnitskaya. She also shared Simpson’s work with Yuri Chaika, the prosecutor general of Russia.
Simpson told the House Intelligence Committee earlier this week that he did not know that Veselnitskaya provided the Browder information to Chaika or to Donald Trump Jr., the Trump campaign’s point-man in the Trump Tower meeting.
Simpson testified that he did not know that Veselnitskaya had visited Trump Tower until it was reported in the press earlier this year.
March 9 2016: NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers discovers FBI contractors doing FISA-702 “About Queries”
“November 2015 through April 2016 FISA-702(17) “About Queries”, returns from searches, were identified by NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers, being conducted by the intelligence community (FBI), by “contractors” and “individuals” for reasons that: •were unauthorized; •were directly related to U.S. persons; •and had nothing to do with National Security; •and were conducted by people who did not request FISA Court Approval.
Director Mike Rogers discovered FBI contractors doing FISA-702 “About Searches” that resulted in returns providing information on Americans. Those results were passed on to people outside government.
Pg 83. “FBI gave raw Section 702–acquired information to a private entity that was not a federal agency and whose personnel were not sufficiently supervised by a federal agency for compliance minimization procedures.” (2017 FISA Court Opinion)
Someone inside the FBI was giving FISA-702 search results on U.S. individuals to a private entity that had nothing to do with government. Those 702 (American Citizen) results were not “minimized” and exposed the private data of the American citizen(s).
In addition, NSA Director Mike Rogers, who is also in charge of Cyber Command, discovered people within the intelligence community were doing “searches” of the NSA and FBI database that were returning information that had nothing to do with “Foreign Individuals”.
Rogers requested a full FISA-702 Compliance Review.
As an outcome of that review, the DOJ/FBI compliance officer noted FISA violations. Again, the FISA Court (page 84):
We do not know how many FISA-702 violations took place prior to NSA Mike Rogers initiating the full FISA-702 review in April 2016. Nor do we know who the insider FBI individuals were; or what results were passed on; or what was done with the results.
However, given the nature of what was taking place at the time (March, April, May, 2016) it appears likely this was part of the DOJ/FBI/Fusion-GPS collision to gather information on the candidacy of Donald Trump.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 1/14/2018)
March 29, 2016 – Manafort joins the Trump campaign
“The Trump campaign announced it had brought on Manafort, a veteran political strategist, to help the real estate mogul prevent delegates from bolting and choosing another nominee at the Republican National Convention in July. Although Trump led the Republican field in both votes and delegates, he was still unpopular among many Republicans, and it was unclear if he would end up with the necessary delegates to prevent a floor fight at the convention. Manafort was picked in part because he was instrumental in Gerald Ford’s successful floor fight at the 1976 convention.
“Paul is a great asset and an important addition as we consolidate the tremendous support we have received in the primaries,” Trump said in a statement on March 29, 2016.
Manafort quickly got to work, ensuring the Trump campaign had a presence during the selection process and showing up to the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting in April.”
(…) “Manafort was later promoted from convention manager to campaign chairman and chief strategist. Manafort told ABC News that the Republican establishment was gathering behind Trump and acknowledging his likely nomination. “There’s a growing number of people supporting us,” he said. “They all recognize now that we definitely can win.”
One month later, Manafort’s influence within the campaign appeared even more cemented after Trump fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, with whom Manafort had a well-documented power struggle.” (Fortune, 3/22/2017)
March 2016 – Former Feinstein staffer, Daniel Jones, and his possible early involvement with Fusion GPS during 2016 elections
“In a March 8, 2018, op-ed for The Daily Caller titled “The Ever-Changing ‘Russia Narrative’ Is False Public Manipulation,” Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska noted how “the disintegration of evidence-based journalism permits a surprisingly small number of individuals to destroy bilateral or multilateral relations.”
Deripaska then described an unusual meeting that took place on March 16, 2017, between his lawyer and a former intelligence staffer for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) named Dan Jones:
“Daniel Jones—himself a team member of Fusion GPS, self-described former FBI agent and, as we now know from the media, an ex-Feinstein staffer—met with my lawyer, Adam Waldman, and described Fusion as a ‘shadow media organization helping the government,’ funded by a ‘group of Silicon Valley billionaires and George Soros.’”
At the time, Deripaska’s op-ed was largely ignored, or at least not viewed with great sincerity. Political commentary from Russian oligarchs isn’t in the greatest demand, domestically.
But just one week later, the House final report on Russia was made public. On page 112 of the report, there is a reference to “post-election anti-Trump research by Steele and/or Fusion GPS” along with a footnote. Contained in the footnote on page 113, is the following:
“In late March 2017, Jones met with FBI regarding PQG [Penn Quarter Group], which he described as ‘exposing foreign influence in Western elections.’ [redacted—likely Jones] told FBI that PQG was being funded by 7 to 10 wealthy donors located primarily in New York and California, who provided approximately $50 million. [redacted—likely Jones] further stated that PQG had secured the services of Steele, his associate [redacted—likely Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson], and Fusion GPS to continue exposing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.”
This footnote, and its potential significance, was first highlighted in an April 27 article by The Federalist.
Jones, who had previously worked as a senior intelligence staffer for Feinstein, founded PQG in the spring of 2016.
In his interview with the FBI, Jones made mention of “7 to 10 wealthy donors located primarily in New York and California, who provided approximately $50 million” in funding to PQG. But unlike Deripaska, Jones makes no known reference to financial involvement from George Soros.
However, a recent article in the Washington Post revealed that at least some of the money received by Jones’ PQG did come from Soros through an intermediary. Michael Vachon, a spokesman for Soros, disclosed to Washington Post reporter David Ignatius that Soros had made a grant to the Democracy Integrity Project which, in turn, used Fusion GPS as a contractor.
Jones isn’t referred to by name in the article—he is described only as “an associate of Fusion.” Nor is the underlying identity of Democracy Integrity Project disclosed in the Washington Post article.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 10/01/2018)
April, 2016 – Clinton and the DNC pay for the Clinton/DNC/Steele dossier via Perkins Coie
“There has been much confusion in the media — and thereby, the public — about who funded the infamous Trump dossier. Some outlets have incorrectly reported that Republicans began financing the dossier before the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee took over last Spring.
But that is incorrect. Democrats are solely responsible for the dossier, which was passed around by their research firm, Fusion GPS, to Beltway reporters and select lawmakers during the heat of the presidential campaign.
Here is the definitive timeline of how it all transpired.
Oct. 2015: It was reported late Friday that the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website funded by GOP mega-donor Paul Singer, hired Fusion GPS to investigate Trump. Free Beacon’s editor said Friday that the research was standard opposition research and that it was not tied to the dossier work that would follow several months later. It is not clear what, if anything, Singer knew about Free Beacon’s hiring of Fusion. The hedge fund manager was Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s biggest backer.
Feb. 20, 2016: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush drops from the Republican primary.
Early March: Fusion GPS approached Perkins Coie, the law firm for the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee. Perkins Coie general counsel revealed this week that Fusion offered to continue Trump opposition research it had started while working for a Republican candidate.
March 15: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio drops from the Republican primary after losing to Trump in his home state.
April: Perkins Coie, using money from the Clinton campaign and DNC, hires Fusion GPS. Marc Elias, a Perkins Coie partner and general counsel for both the campaign and DNC, would serve as the bagman.
That month, Federal Election Commission records show that the Clinton campaign paid Perkins Coie a total of $150,000 for legal services. The DNC paid the firm around $107,000. It is unclear how much of that went to Fusion GPS. Both the campaign and DNC would pay Perkins Coie hundreds of thousands more dollars throughout the campaign. (Read more: The Daily Caller, 10/28/2017) (Perkins Coie Letter, 10/24/2017)
April 19, 2016 – Mary Jacoby, wife of Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS), appears on White House visitor logs
“Remember, previous media reporting -in conjunction with Clinton campaign admissions- have confirmed the DNC and Clinton Campaign financed Fusion-GPS through their lawyers within Perkins Coie. Fusion then sub-contracted with retired British MI6 agent Christopher Steele to write the dossier.
The dates here are important because they tell a story.
The origin of the Clinton effort with Fusion-GPS was April 2016. That’s the same month Fusion hired Nellie Ohr, wife of DOJ Deputy Bruce Ohr, to gather opposition research on candidate Trump. It would be most likely that Nellie Ohr was in contact with Christopher Steele. DOJ Deputy Attorney Bruce Ohr was later demoted for his unreported contacts with Christopher Steele and Fusion-GPS founder Glenn Simpson.
However, there was another event in this April 2016 timeline which enhances the trail of the Dossier origination. [Hat Tip Katica] Check this out:
On April 19, 2016 Mary Jacoby shows up on White House visitor logs meeting with President Obama officials. In April 2016 the Clinton Campaign and DNC hired Fusion-GPS to organize the Russia research, that later became known as the “Steele Dossier.”
“The wife of Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS), Mary B. Jacoby, with years of Russia-angled reporting –including Donald Trump– visits the White House in April 2016, at the same time as the DNC and Clinton hire Fusion GPS to conduct the opposition research on Donald Trump, surrounding Russia?
April: Mary Jacoby, wife of Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, visits the White House. The Clinton Campaign and DNC then hire Fusion GPS to conduct ‘Opposition Research’, with a Russian emphasis. Fusion GPS then hires Nellie Ohr who specializes in Russian-centric counterintelligence. Nellie Ohr then contacts MI6 agent Christopher Steele to write a Russian Dossier. A month later, May 2016: Nellie Ohr’s husband inside the DOJ, Bruce Ohr, is then working with FBI counterintelligence head Peter Strzok. By June 2016: Peter Strzok, Bruce Ohr and DOJ Attorney Lisa Page then apply for a FISA warrant.
April 25, 2016 – August 22, 2017 – Obama’s official campaign organization pays nearly a million dollars to the same law firm that funneled money to Fusion GPS
“Former president Barack Obama’s official campaign organization has directed nearly a million dollars to the same law firm that funneled money to Fusion GPS, the firm behind the infamous Steele dossier. Since April of 2016, Obama For America (OFA) has paid over $972,000 to Perkins Coie, records filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show.
The Washington Post reported last week that Perkins Coie, an international law firm, was directed by both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to retain Fusion GPS in April of 2016 to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump. Fusion GPS then hired Christopher Steele, a former British spy, to compile a dossier of allegations that Trump and his campaign actively colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election. Though many of the claims in the dossier have been directly refuted, none of the dossier’s allegations of collusion have been independently verified. Lawyers for Steele admitted in court filings last April that his work was not verified and was never meant to be made public.
OFA, Obama’s official campaign arm in 2016, paid nearly $800,000 to Perkins Coie in 2016 alone, according to FEC records. The first 2016 payments to Perkins Coie, classified only as “Legal Services,” were made April 25-26, 2016, and totaled $98,047. A second batch of payments, also classified as “Legal Services,” were disbursed to the law firm on September 29, 2016, and totaled exactly $700,000. Payments from OFA to Perkins Coie in 2017 totaled $174,725 through August 22, 2017.
FEC records as well as federal court records show that Marc Elias, the Perkins Coie lawyer whom the Washington Post reported was responsible for the payments to Fusion GPS on behalf of Clinton’s campaign and the DNC, also previously served as a counsel for OFA. In Shamblin v. Obama for America, a 2013 case in federal court in Florida, federal court records list Elias as simultaneously serving as lead attorney for both OFA and the DNC.” (Read more: The Federalist, 10/29/2017)
April 26, 2016 – During a meeting in London, Professor Mifsud tells Papadopoulos the Russians have obtained “dirt” on Clinton
“In London, Papadopoulos met an unidentified Russian academic (referred to as “the Professor”), who claimed to have significant ties to Putin-regime officials and who took an interest in Papadopoulos only because he boasted of having Trump-campaign connections. There appears to be no small amount of puffery on all sides: Papadopoulos suggesting to the Russians that he could make a Trump meeting with Putin happen, and suggesting to the campaign that he could make a Putin meeting with Trump happen; the Professor putting Papadopoulos in touch with a woman who Papadopoulos was led to believe was Putin’s niece (she apparently is not); and lots and lots of talk about potential high- and low-level meetings between Trump-campaign and Putin-regime officials that never actually came to pass.
In the most important meeting, in London on April 26, 2016, the Professor told Papadopoulos that he (the Prof) had just learned that top Russian-government officials had obtained “dirt” on then-putative Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The dirt is said to include “thousands of emails” — “emails of Clinton.” The suggestion, of course, was that the Russians were keen to give this information to the Trump campaign.
This may raise the hopes of the “collusion with Russia” enthusiasts. But there are two problems here.
First, Papadopoulos was given enough misinformation that we can’t be confident (at least from what Mueller has revealed here) that the Professor was telling Papadopoulos the truth. Remember, by April 2016, it had been known for over a year that Hillary Clinton had used a private email system for public business and had tried to delete and destroy tens of thousands of emails. The Russians could well have been making up a story around that public reporting in order further to cultivate the relationship with Papadopoulos (whom they appear to have seen as potentially useful). Note that the Professor suggested the Russians had Clinton’s own emails. But the emails we know were hacked were not Clinton’s — they were the DNC’s and John Podesta’s (Hillary is on almost none of them). So, Papadopoulos’s Russian interlocutors could well have been weaving a tale based on what had been reported, rather than on what was actually hacked and ultimately released by WikiLeaks.
Second, and more significant: If the proof, at best, implies that the Russians acquired thousands of Clinton emails and then had to inform a tangential Trump campaign figure of this fact so he could pass it along to the campaign, that would mean Trump and his campaign had nothing to do with the acquisition of the emails.” (Read more: National Review, 10/31/2017)
May 2, 2016 – Comey Drafted Conclusion in Clinton Probe Prior to Interviewing Key Witnesses
“Transcripts reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee reveal that former FBI Director James Comey began drafting an exoneration statement in the Clinton email investigation before the FBI had interviewed key witnesses. Chairman Chuck Grassley and Senator Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, requested all records relating to the drafting of the statement as the committee continues to review the circumstances surrounding Comey’s removal from the Bureau.
“Conclusion first, fact-gathering second—that’s no way to run an investigation. The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy,” the senators wrote in a letter today to the FBI.
Last fall, following allegations from Democrats in Congress, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) began investigating whether Comey’s actions in the Clinton email investigation violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits government employees from using their official position to influence an election. In the course of that investigation, OSC interviewed two FBI officials close to Comey: James Rybicki, Comey’s Chief of Staff, and Trisha Anderson, the Principal Deputy General Counsel of National Security and Cyberlaw. OSC provided transcripts of those interviews at Grassley’s request after it closed the investigation due to Comey’s termination.
Both transcripts are heavily redacted without explanation. However, they indicate that Comey began drafting a statement to announce the conclusion of the Clinton email investigation in April or May of 2016, before the FBI interviewed up to 17 key witnesses including former Secretary Clinton and several of her closest aides. The draft statement also came before the Department entered into immunity agreements with Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson where the Department agreed to a very limited review of Secretary Clinton’s emails and to destroy their laptops after review. In an extraordinary July announcement, Comey exonerated Clinton despite noting “there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information.”
In their letter, the two chairmen requested all drafts of Comey’s statement closing the Clinton investigation, all related emails and any records previously provided to OSC in the course of its investigation.
OSC is the permanent, independent investigative agency for personnel matters in the federal government and is not related to Robert Mueller’s temporary prosecutorial office within the Justice Department.
May 3, 2016 – Donald Trump becomes the presumptive Republican presidential nominee
“Donald J. Trump became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee on Tuesday with a landslide win in Indiana that drove his principal opponent, Senator Ted Cruz, from the race and cleared the way for the polarizing, populist outsider to take control of the party.”
May 4, 2016 – Strzok and Page text “Now the pressure really starts to finish MYE (Mid Year Exam)…”
At the same time Donald Trump becomes the presumed Republican presidential nominee, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page feel an added pressure to end the Clinton email investigation.
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.
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.
“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 17, 2016 – A Strzok email says “we know foreign actors obtained access” to some Clinton emails, including at least one “secret” message
“Foreign actors” obtained access to some of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails — including at least one email classified as “secret” — according to a new memo from two GOP-led House committees and an internal FBI email.”
(…) “The House committees, which conducted a joint probe into decisions made by the DOJ in 2016 and 2017, addressed a range of issues in their memo including Clinton’s email security.
“Documents provided to the Committees show foreign actors obtained access to some of Mrs. Clinton’s emails — including at least one email classified ‘Secret,'” the memo says, adding that foreign actors also accessed the private accounts of some Clinton staffers.
The memo does not say who the foreign actors are, or what material was obtained, but it notes that secret information is defined as information that, if disclosed, could “reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to the national security.”
The committees say that no one appears to have been held accountable either criminally or administratively.
Relatedly, Fox News has obtained a May 2016 email from FBI investigator Peter Strzok — who also is criticized in the House memo for his anti-Trump texts with colleague Lisa Page. The email says that “we know foreign actors obtained access” to some Clinton emails, including at least one “secret” message “via compromises of the private email accounts” of Clinton staffers.” (Strzok Email, 5/17/2016) (Read more: Fox News, 6/14/2018)
June, 2016 – Clinton operative, Cody Shearer, coincidentally, is another source claiming Trump engaged in sexually compromising acts
“Clinton operatives pushed a dossier during the 2016 presidential campaign that appeared to be a classic “rope-a-dope” scheme being peddled by purported Russian spies, according to a person who was briefed on the documents by one of the Clinton insiders during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The dossier in question was written by Cody Shearer, a notorious Clinton fixer. It was passed to the Department of State by Sidney Blumenthal, a friend of Shearer’s and another Clinton operative.
The eight-page document eventually made its way to the FBI through Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote a dossier of his own.
While the FBI is reportedly investigating the claims made in the Shearer memos, one person who discussed the document with Shearer during the campaign says it appeared at the time to be a ruse.
According to the source, who spoke to The Daily Caller News Foundation on condition of anonymity, Shearer claimed that members of Russia’s spy service, the FSB, had video tape of Trump engaged in sexually compromising acts.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 5/01/2018)
June 2016 – Peter Strzok says he can’t recall changing Clinton’s exoneration statement on his computer
“FBI official Peter Strzok testified Thursday that he can’t recall using his work computer to soften the wording of a statement exonerating Hillary Clinton of mishandling classified information.
Strzok conceded during a joint hearing of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees that metadata indicates his computer made the change, but said he can’t remember doing it.
The June 2016 edit changed “grossly negligent,” a term that carries legal liability under the Espionage Act, to “extremely careless.
(…) “My recollection, sir, is that somebody within our office of general counsel did, it was one of the attorneys, I don’t remember which one,” Strzok said. “It was a legal issue that one of the attorneys brought up.”
After a meeting, the change was made on Strzok’s computer.
“I don’t recall specifically when it happened,” he testified.
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., noted that metadata indicated that Strzok’s computer made the change.
“I am aware as well of that metadata,” Strzok said. “My recollection is of working on the draft with a group of us in my office because it was the largest office and taking the inputs of probably five or ten different people.”
Sensenbrenner asked Strzok to confirm that his computer made the change.
“Based on my subsequent review of that metadata, I believe that to be true,” Strzok said.”
June 2016 – The FBI applies for and is denied the first FISA warrant that names Trump, the second is ‘re-drawn more narrowly’ and it’s granted
“Two separate sources with links to the counter-intelligence community have confirmed to Heat Street that the FBI sought, and was granted, a FISA court warrant in October, giving counter-intelligence permission to examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.
Contrary to earlier reporting in the New York Times, which cited FBI sources as saying that the agency did not believe that the private server in Donald Trump’s Trump Tower which was connected to a Russian bank had any nefarious purpose, the FBI’s counter-intelligence arm, sources say, re-drew an earlier FISA court request around possible financial and banking offenses related to the server. The first request, which, sources say, named Trump, was denied back in June, but the second was drawn more narrowly and was granted in October after evidence was presented of a server, possibly related to the Trump campaign, and its alleged links to two banks; SVB Bank and Russia’s Alfa Bank. While the Times story speaks of metadata, sources suggest that a FISA warrant was granted to look at the full content of emails and other related documents that may concern US persons.
The FBI agents who talked to the New York Times, and rubbished the ground-breaking stories of Slate ( Franklin Foer) and Mother Jones (David Corn) may not have known about the FISA warrant, sources say, because the counter-intelligence and criminal sides of the FBI often work independently of each other employing the principle of ‘compartmentalization’.
The FISA warrant was granted in connection with the investigation of suspected activity between the server and two banks, SVB Bank and Alfa Bank. However, it is thought in the intelligence community that the warrant covers any ‘US person’ connected to this investigation, and thus covers Donald Trump and at least three further men who have either formed part of his campaign or acted as his media surrogates. The warrant was sought, they say, because actionable intelligence on the matter provided by friendly foreign agencies could not properly be examined without a warrant by US intelligence as it involves ‘US Persons’ who come under the remit of the FBI and not the CIA. Should a counter-intelligence investigation lead to criminal prosecutions, sources say, the Justice Department is concerned that the chain of evidence have a basis in a clear warrant.
In June, when the first FISA warrant was denied, the FBI was reportedly alarmed at Carter Page’s trip to Moscow and meetings with Russian officials, one week before the DNC was hacked. Counter intelligence agencies later reported to both Presidential candidates that Russia had carried out this hack; Donald Trump said publicly in the third debate that ‘our country has no idea’ if Russia did the hacking. The discovery of the Trump Tower private Russian server, however, communicating with Alfa Bank, changed matters, sources report. (Read more: Heat Street, 11/07/2016)
(Timeline editor’s note: We do not consider Louise Mensch to be a credible source, however, we do find it interesting she was the first “journalist” to report on the FISA warrant, the day before the 2016 election.)
June – July, 2016: The first two FISA applications submitted by the DOJ, are rejected by the FISA court
“Last April, the CIA director was shown intelligence that worried him. It was – allegedly – a tape recording of a conversation about money from the Kremlin going into the US presidential campaign.
It was passed to the US by an intelligence agency of one of the Baltic States. The CIA cannot act domestically against American citizens so a joint counter-intelligence taskforce was created.
The taskforce included six agencies or departments of government. Dealing with the domestic, US, side of the inquiry, were the FBI, the Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Justice. For the foreign and intelligence aspects of the investigation, there were another three agencies: the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Agency, responsible for electronic spying.
Lawyers from the National Security Division in the Department of Justice then drew up an application. They took it to the secret US court that deals with intelligence, the FISA court, named after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They wanted permission to intercept the electronic records from two Russian banks.
Their first application, in June, was rejected outright by the judge. They returned with a more narrowly drawn order in July and were rejected again. Finally, before a new judge, the order was granted, on 15 October, three weeks before election day.” (Read more: BBC, 1/12/2017)
June – November, 2016: Nellie Ohr, wife of Associate Deputy AG Bruce Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 election
“Contacted by Fox News, investigators for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) confirmed that Nellie H. Ohr, wife of the demoted official, Bruce G. Ohr, worked for the opposition research firm last year. The precise nature of Mrs. Ohr’s duties – including whether she worked on the dossier – remains unclear but a review of her published works available online reveals Mrs. Ohr has written extensively on Russia-related subjects. HPSCI staff confirmed to Fox News that she was paid by Fusion GPS through the summer and fall of 2016.
Fusion GPS has attracted scrutiny because Republican lawmakers have spent the better part of this year investigating whether the dossier, which was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee,
(…) “Until Dec. 6, when Fox News began making inquiries about him, Bruce Ohr held two titles at DOJ. He was, and remains, director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force; but his other job was far more senior. Mr. Ohr held the rank of associate deputy attorney general, a post that gave him an office four doors down from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The day before Fox News reported that Mr. Ohr held his secret meetings last year with the founder of Fusion GPS, Glenn Simpson, and with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled the dossier, the Justice Department stripped Ohr of his deputy title and ousted him from his fourth floor office at the building that DOJ insiders call “Main Justice.” (Read more: Fox News, 12/11/2017)
June 9, 2016 – Donald Trump Jr. meets with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower
“Before Trump Jr. was set to meet with the Russian lawyer as his father campaigned for the presidency, Trump Jr. was told Veselnitskaya’s potentially damning information about Clinton was from the Kremlin, according to emails he released.
Trump Jr. has maintained that Veselnitskaya did not have any information to share and instead wanted to discuss other matters, such as the Magnitsky Act which enacts sanctions on certain Russian officials as punishment for human rights violations.
“After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton,” Trump Jr. said in a statement.
“Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered,” Trump Jr. continued.
Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort also attended the meeting, along with a translator.
Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who set up the meeting, was also in attendance, as well as Rinat Akhmetshin, a prominent Russian-American lobbyist, Ike Kaveladze, a business associate of a Moscow-based developer and a translator.
A spokesperson for Trump’s outside legal team said Trump “was not aware of and did not attend the meeting.” Trump Jr. said he “wouldn’t have wasted his time” by telling him about the meeting. (Read more: Fox News, 5/16/2018)
June 9, 2016 – Fusion GPS co-founder, Glenn Simpson, met with Russian lawyer Veselnitskaya, before and after her meeting with Donald Trump Jr.
“The co-founder of Fusion GPS, the firm behind the unverified Trump dossier, met with a Russian lawyer before and after a key meeting she had last year with Trump’s son, Fox News has learned. The contacts shed new light on how closely tied the firm was to Russian interests, at a time when it was financing research to discredit then-candidate Donald Trump.”
(…) “The June 2016 Trump Tower meeting involving Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya occurred during a critical period. At that time, Fox News has learned that bank records show Fusion GPS was paid by a law firm for work on behalf of a Kremlin-linked oligarch while paying former British spy Christopher Steele to dig up dirt on Trump through his Russian contacts.
But hours before the Trump Tower meeting on June 9, 2016, Fusion co-founder and ex-Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson was with Veselnitskaya in a Manhattan federal courtroom, a confidential source told Fox News. Court records reviewed by Fox News, email correspondence and published reports corroborate their presence together. The source told Fox News they also were together after the Trump Tower meeting.”
(…) “NBC News first reported that Veselnitskaya and Simpson were both at a hearing centered around another Fusion client, Russian oligarch Denis Katsyv. His company, Prevezon Holdings, was sanctioned against doing business in the U.S. for its alleged role in laundering more than $230 million. Fox News obtained audio records from that hearing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
The wrongdoing had been uncovered by Russian lawyer and whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky, who was beaten to death in a Russian prison in 2009 after being arrested for probing Prevezon and other companies with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In December 2012, the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act was passed into U.S. law, freezing Russian assets and banning visas for sanctioned individuals. Fusion’s Simpson is believed to have been working with Veselnitskaya and Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Soviet counter-intelligence officer turned Russian-American lobbyist, to overturn the sanctions.” (Read more: Fox News, 11/7/2017)
June 10, 2016 – Peter Strzok softened Comey language on Clinton email actions
(…) “Peter Strzok, a former deputy to the assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI, also was confirmed to have changed former FBI Director James Comey’s early draft language about Hillary Clinton’s actions regarding her private email server from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.”
The language being edited was important because classified material that’s been mishandled for “gross negligence” calls for criminal consequences, analysts point out.”
(…) “The wording change came to light last month after newly reported memos to Congress showed that a May 2016 draft of Comey’s statement closing out the email investigation accused the former secretary of state of being “grossly negligent.” A June 2016 draft stated Clinton had been “extremely careless.”
The modified language was final when Comey announced in July 2016 that Clinton wouldn’t face any charges in the email investigation.” (Read more: Fox News, 12/4/2017)
June – November, 2016: A UK court document reveals Fusion GPS hires ex MI6 agent, Christopher Steele
June 20, 2016 – Christopher Steele submits his first of 16 pre-election reports to Fusion GPS
“Christopher Steele completes the first of 16 “pre-election reports,” submitting it to Fusion GPS Fusion GPS A Washington-based private intelligence firm founded in 2009 by former journalists. The firm was hired first by the Free Beacon, a conservative publication, and then by Perkins Coie, a law firm representing Hillary Clinton’s campaign, to do research on Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign. a few days later. The first report alleges that Russia has been cultivating Trump for five years and has compromising material from the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow. These 16 reports, plus one more written in December 2016, would come to be known as the Steele dossier.” (Daily Caller, 10/27/2017)
In Glenn Simpson’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on August 22, 2017, he claims the first “pre-election report” is useless and not believable. Yet it remains a part of the overall dossier. (Clinton Foundation Timeline, 6/20/2016)
June 24, 2016 – Steele sends a courier by plane to Washington to hand-deliver a copy of the dossier
“On June 24, 2016, Steele’s fifty-second birthday, Simpson called, asking him to submit the dossier. The previous day, the U.K. had voted to withdraw from the E.U., and Steele was feeling wretched about it. Few had thought that Brexit was possible. An upset victory by Trump no longer seemed out of the question. Steele was so nervous about maintaining secrecy and protecting his sources that he sent a courier by plane to Washington to hand-deliver a copy of the dossier. The courier’s copy left the sources redacted, providing instead descriptions of them that enabled Fusion to assess their basic credibility. Steele feared that, for some of his Russian sources, exposure would be a death sentence.
Steele also felt a duty to get the information to the F.B.I. Although Trump has tweeted that the dossier was “all cooked up by Hillary Clinton,” Steele approached the Bureau on his own. According to Simpson’s sworn testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, Steele told him in June, 2016, that he wanted to alert the U.S. government, and explained, “I’m a former intelligence officer, and we’re your closest ally.” Simpson testified that he asked to think about it for a few days; when Steele brought it up again, Simpson relented. As Simpson told the Senate Judiciary Committee, “Let’s be clear. This was not considered by me to be part of the work we were doing. This was like you’re driving to work and you see something happen and you call 911.” Steele, he said, felt “professionally obligated to do it.” Simpson went along, he testified, because Steele was the “national-security expert,” whereas he was merely “an ex-journalist.” (Read more: The New Yorker, 3/12/2018)
June 27, 2016 – A June 2018 DOJ OIG report says Loretta Lynch-Bill Clinton tarmac meeting was planned via Secret Service, FBI
“In 2016, Lynch — the U.S. attorney general under Barack Obama — secretly met for 30 minutes with Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac in Arizona. At the time, then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was being investigated by the FBI over her 30,000 deleted emails and her destroyed government-issued phones, which she and her team smashed with hammers.
Several days after the tarmac meeting, the DOJ (which was headed by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch) decided not to file any charges against Hillary for her unauthorized use of an unsecured, private email server to conduct government business and her mass-deletion of 30,000 emails.
Page 203 of the IG report suggests that Bill Clinton’s Secret Service detail had contacted Lynch’s FBI detail to set up the meeting when their planes were on the tarmac:
As BizPac Review has reported, Lynch and Clinton claimed they only discussed grandchildren and golf during their rendezvous.
(…) Furthermore, page 209 of the IG Report suggests that people nearby were instructed not to take any photos of the tarmac meeting: “The OPA Supervisor said that there was a photographer outside, and he recalled telling the photographer that Lynch would not be taking pictures. The OPA Supervisor said that he remembered telling the photographer that he (the photographer) needed to go back in his car.”
And page 210 of the IG report states:
“The Senior Counselor said that when she tried to go back on the plane, she was stopped by the head of Lynch’s security detail, who was at the door of the plane.
The Senior Counselor said that she told him that Lynch’s meeting with former President Clinton was not a good idea, and that she needed to get back on the plane, but he still would not let her on.”
Less than a week after the Lynch-Clinton tarmac meeting, then-FBI Director James Comey (whose boss was Loretta Lynch) announced that the FBI would not recommend an indictment against Hillary. Coincidence? (Read more: BizPac Review, 7/01/2018)
July 1, 2016 – Strzok email suggests Clinton email investigation decision made in April 2016
“Judicial Watch today released 16 pages of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) documents related to the June 2016 tarmac meeting between former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton showing involvement of the FBI’s former Chief of Counterespionage Peter Strzok.”
(…) “In a previously unseen email, on July 1, 2016, Strzok forwarded to Bill Priestap, assistant director of FBI counterintelligence, and other FBI officials an article in The New York Times titled then “ Lynch to Remove Herself From Decision Over Clinton Emails, Official Says.” Priestap comments on it, saying: “The meeting in PX is all over CNN TV news this morning …” Strzok replies: “Timing’s not ideal in that it falsely adds to those seeking the ‘this is all choreographed’ narrative. But I don’t think it’s worth changing … later won’t be better.” Priestap responds “Agreed.”
In November 2017, Judicial Watch revealed 29 pages of FBI documents showing officials were concerned about a leak that Bill Clinton delayed his aircraft taking off in order to “maneuver” a meeting with the attorney general. The resulting story in the Observer was discussed in this production of documents. The Strzok email was absent from this production.
Another Strzok email suggest the decision on the Clinton email matter has been under discussion since April 2016—three months before then-FBI Director James Comey announced he would recommend no prosecution.
On July 3, 2016, an email with the subject line “Must Read Security Article” someone from the FBI’s Security Division (SECD) forwards the article in the Observer and reveals concern:
I believe that the source quoted in the article is one of the local Phoenix LEO’s [law enforcement officers]. Needless to say that I have contacted the Phoenix office and will contact the local’s [sic] who assisted in an attempt to stem any further damage. This is exactly why our Discretion and Judgement are the foundation of the AG’s trust in our team, which is why we can never violate that trust, like the source did in this article.” [Emphasis in original]
A July 1, 2016, email from an unidentified official in the FBI Security Division sent to officials m in several FBI offices with the subject line “Media Reports***Not for Dissemination***”, sent in the wake of the tarmac meeting, an FBI official warns his colleagues (with emphasis) “Our job is to protect the boss from harm and embarrassment.” [Emphasis in original] He emphasizes that FBI officials should ask themselves “What issues are currently being reported in the media? And what actions/interactions/situations that the Director may be in could impact them.” The official then cites an example of a public relations disaster near-miss when Comey’s plane “literally just missed Clinton’s plane” when they flew into the White Plains, NY airport (HPN) a few months earlier, and saying, “Imagine the optics and the awkward situation we would have put the Director in we would have been at the FBO at the same time as Secretary Clinton.”
In a July 1, 2016 email exchange FBI Section Chief Rachel Rojas warns a colleague to “stay away” from discussion of the Clinton Lynch tarmac meeting following publication of the meeting, unless they hear from a “higher up”. The colleague responds the next day, telling Rojas not to worry because, “I know better <winking.>” He/she adds that “it was DOJ opa [Office of Public Affairs] who threw us under the bus.” Rojas replies “Doj is likely overwhelmed so in [sic] hoping it wasn’t intentional. I know it wasn’t you guys because I know you have great judgement. Nothing good would come from that. Her staff should have avoided that scenario. The bu[reau] will be fine but obviously disappointed on how this is happening. Unfortunately, she’s taking heat from all over the place and I feel bad for her. I know she didn’t want this on her plate or for this to happen.” The colleague then concludes by saying that he/she thought the leaker was “a Phoenix cop assisting with the motorcade.”
“These emails are astonishing, no wonder the FBI hid them from Judicial Watch and the court,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “They show anti-Trump, pro-Clinton FBI Agent Peter Strzok admitting the decision not to prosecute the Clinton email issue was made back in April 2016 – long before even Hillary Clinton was interviewed. And the new emails show that the FBI security had the political objective of protecting then-Director Comey from ‘embarrassment’—which is, frankly, disturbing.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 6/07/2018)
July 1, 2016 – Newly released FBI emails re Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting, reveals an unnamed official in the FBI security division who writes, “Our job is to protect the boss from harm and embarrassment.”
“Judicial Watch today released 16 pages of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) documents related to the June 2016 tarmac meeting between former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton showing involvement of the FBI’s former Chief of Counterespionage Peter Strzok.
The FBI originally informed Judicial Watch they could not locate any records related to the tarmac meeting. However, in a related FOIA lawsuit, the Justice Department located emails in which Justice Department officials communicated with the FBI and wrote that they had communicated with the FBI. As a result, by letter dated August 10, 2017, the FBI stated, “Upon further review, we subsequently determined potentially responsive documents may exist. As a result, your [FOIA] request has been reopened …” This is the second batch of documents the FBI produced since telling Judicial Watch they had no tarmac-related records.
(…) “On July 3, 2016, an email with the subject line “Must Read Security Article” someone from the FBI’s Security Division (SECD) forwards the article in the Observer and reveals concern:
A July 1, 2016, email from an unidentified official in the FBI Security Division sent to officials in several FBI offices with the subject line “Media Reports***Not for Dissemination***”, sent in the wake of the tarmac meeting, an FBI official warns his colleagues (with emphasis) “Our job is to protect the boss from harm and embarrassment.” [Emphasis in original] He emphasizes that FBI officials should ask themselves “What issues are currently being reported in the media? And what actions/interactions/situations that the Director may be in could impact them.” The official then cites an example of a public relations disaster near-miss when Comey’s plane “literally just missed Clinton’s plane” when they flew into the White Plains, NY airport (HPN) a few months earlier, and saying, “Imagine the optics and the awkward situation we would have put the Director in we would have been at the FBO at the same time as Secretary Clinton.”
In a July 1, 2016 email exchange FBI Section Chief Rachel Rojas warns a colleague to “stay away” from discussion of the Clinton Lynch tarmac meeting following publication of the meeting, unless they hear from a “higher up”. The colleague responds the next day, telling Rojas not to worry because, “I know better <winking.>” He/she adds that “it was DOJ opa [Office of Public Affairs] who threw us under the bus.” Rojas replies “Doj is likely overwhelmed so in [sic] hoping it wasn’t intentional. I know it wasn’t you guys because I know you have great judgement. Nothing good would come from that. Her staff should have avoided that scenario. The bu[reau] will be fine but obviously disappointed on how this is happening. Unfortunately, she’s taking heat from all over the place and I feel bad for her. I know she didn’t want this on her plate or for this to happen.” The colleague then concludes by saying that he/she thought the leaker was “a Phoenix cop assisting with the motorcade.”
(…) “These emails are astonishing, no wonder the FBI hid them from Judicial Watch and the court,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.” “…the new emails show that the FBI security had the political objective of protecting then-Director Comey from ‘embarrassment’—which is, frankly, disturbing.” (Read more:Judicial Watch, 6/07/2018)
July 1, 2016 – Strzok/Page texts suggest they and Loretta Lynch knew Clinton wouldn’t face charges
CNN Transcript: […] “New this morning, lawmakers on Capitol Hill getting their hands on a new batch of text messages between two FBI officials who worked, albeit briefly, for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team. We’re talking about 400 pages of text.[10:50:09] Joining me now, CNN justice reporter Jessica Schneider. Jessica, what are you learning?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, well, these texts of course have become — they’ve become the focus for Republican lawmakers who have repeatedly criticized the FBI. So this latest batch was partially released over the weekend by Homeland Security chair Ron Johnson. They’re texts between FBI agent Peter Strzok, who worked on the Clinton e-mail server investigation and then the Russia probe until he was pulled off this summer for anti-Trump texts. And they were between him and an FBI lawyer Lisa Page with whom Strzok was having a romantic relationship.
So in that handful of texts that were released this weekend, there is this one from July 1st, 2016. It was about then Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s decision to accept the FBI’s decision on the Clinton matter when she essentially recused herself after she met with Bill Clinton on board her plane.
So here it is. You see Peter Strzok, he texts, “The timing looks like hell, will appear to be choreographed.” That’s when the attorney for the FBI, Lisa Page, she eventually texted back, “And, yes, it’s a real profile in courage since she knows no charges will be brought.”
So in releasing that text message, Senator Johnson, he wrote to the DOJ in response, he said it appears by those texts that Attorney General Lynch knew that no charges would be brought when she made her announcement to let the FBI handle the investigation. (CNN, 1/22/2018)
July 6, 2016 – The Intelligence community’s Inspector General, Charles McCullough, explains how serious Clinton’s unprotected server really is
“Jason Chaffetz, Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, asked the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, Charles McCullough, “Can you provide this committee, in a secure format, the classified emails?”
“I cannot provide a certain segment of them because the agency that owns the information for those emails has limited the distribution on those,” McCullough explained. “They are characterizing them as OrCon, ‘originator control,’ so I can’t give them to even Congress without getting the agency’s permission to provide them.”
“Which agency?” Chaffetz interjected.
“I can’t say that in an open hearing sir,” McCullough replied.
Chaffetz, in disbelief, responded, “So you can’t even tell me which agency won’t allow us, as members of Congress, to see something that Hillary Clinton allowed somebody without a security clearance, in a non-protected format to see. That’s correct?”
The chairman then asked McCullough if he can generally tell the committee what the emails were about.
“We shouldn’t get into the details of these emails in an open hearing,” McCullough responded.
“I don’t want to violate that but the concern is it was already violated by Hillary Clinton,” Chaffetz told the IG. “It was her choice and she set it up and she created this problem and she created this mess. We shouldn’t have to go through this, but she did that.”
McCullough responded with the final nail into how serious these emails were, telling the congressional committee that, “This is the segment of emails that I had to have people in my office read-in to particular programs to even see these emails. We didn’t posses the required clearances.“
“So even the Inspector General for ODNI [Office of the Director of National Intelligence] didn’t have the requisite security clearances?” Chaffetz clarified.
“That’s correct. I had to get read-ins for them,” McCullough said.
July 7, 2016 – Carter Page speaks at the New Economic School in Moscow and was the catalyst for the FBI investigation
(…) “That trip last July was a catalyst for the F.B.I. investigation into connections between Russia and President Trump’s campaign, according to current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials.
It is unclear exactly what about Mr. Page’s visit drew the F.B.I.’s interest: meetings he had during his three days in Moscow, intercepted communications of Russian officials speaking about him, or something else.
After Mr. Page, 45 — a Navy veteran and businessman who had lived in Moscow for three years — stepped down from the Trump campaign in September, the F.B.I. obtained a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court allowing the authorities to monitor his communications on the suspicion that he was a Russian agent.”
(…) “In his talk at the New Economic School in Moscow, Mr. Page criticized American policy toward Russia in terms that echoed the position of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, declaring, “Washington and other Western capitals have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change.” His remarks accorded with Mr. Trump’s positive view of the Russian president, which had prompted speculation about what Mr. Trump saw in Mr. Putin — more commonly denounced in the United States as a ruthless, anti-Western autocrat.
Mr. Page’s relationship with Mr. Trump appears to have been fleeting. According to former Trump campaign officials, the two men have never met, though Mr. Page has said he attended some meetings where Mr. Trump was present.” (Read more: New York Times, 4/19/2017)
July 11, 2016 – Stefan Halper meets Carter Page at a symposium held at Cambridge
“(Stefan) Halper met campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page at a July 2016 symposium held at Cambridge regarding the upcoming election, Page told TheDCNF. The pair remained in contact for several months.
Halper’s intentions are unclear, while a source familiar with the investigations into Russian meddling told TheDCNF Halper’s name popped up on investigators’ radar. There is no indication of any wrongdoing on his part, and it is not clear if he has been in touch with investigators.”
(…) “Page is also a prominent figure in the investigation due to allegations made against him in the infamous Steele dossier. Page’s trip to Moscow in early July 2016 is a central piece of the dossier. Christopher Steele, the author of the Democrat-funded report, alleges Page met secretly with two Kremlin insiders as part of the Trump campaign’s collusion effort.
Page attended the Cambridge event Halper set up, four days after that trip to Moscow.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 3/26/2018)
July 12, 2016 – Metro NY FBI agents signed Non-Disclosure Agreement for matters involving Hillary’s emails
“A former FBI chief told the New York Post that such a requirement is “very, very unusual.”
While FBI agents are typically required to sign vanilla non-disclosure agreements as part of their security clearances, law enforcement sources say they’ve never heard of a “Case Briefing Acknowledgment,” the agreement agents investigating Clinton were reportedly required to sign.
“FBI agents believe there was an inside deal put in place after the Loretta Lynch/Bill Clinton tarmac meeting,” a source told the Post.” (Read more: The Federalist, 07/13/2016)
July 15, 2016 – Cambridge Prof With CIA, MI6 ties met with Carter Page during campaign and beyond
“Days after Carter Page’s high-profile trip to Moscow in July 2016, the Trump campaign adviser had his first encounter with Stefan Halper, a University of Cambridge professor with CIA and MI6 contacts.
…”Page’s relationship with Halper tracks closely with the period when the Trump adviser was under heavy scrutiny from the federal government.
By the time he joined the campaign in March 2016, Page was already known to the FBI, though not because of any criminal activity. FBI agents interviewed him in 2013 as part of an investigation into a Russian spy ring operating in New York. Page said he met with one of the Russians and provided him with academic papers he had written.
The FBI put Page back on its radar at around the time he joined the Trump campaign. In late-spring 2016, top government officials, including then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and then-FBI Director James Comey, discussed whether to alert the Trump campaign to Page’s past interactions with the Russian spy ring. But government officials decided against providing the information.
Page’s visit to Moscow, where he spoke at the New Economic School on July 8, 2016, is said to have piqued the FBI’s interest even further. Page and Halper spoke on the sidelines of an election-themed symposium held at Cambridge days later. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6 and a close colleague of Halper’s, spoke at the event.
Page was invited to the event in June by a University of Cambridge doctoral candidate.
Page would enter the media spotlight in September 2016 after Yahoo! News reported that the FBI was investigating whether he met with two Kremlin insiders during that Moscow trip.
It would later be revealed that the Yahoo! article was based on unverified information from Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the dossier regarding the Trump campaign. Steele’s report, which was funded by Democrats, also claimed Page worked with Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on the collusion conspiracy.” (Read more: Daily Caller, 5/17/2018)
July 15, 2016 – From the Dossier to Papadopoulos, Obama’s State Department had early role in Trump-Russia probe
(…) “State Department officials obtained and reviewed parts of the infamous Steele dossier by mid-July 2016, well before FBI headquarters had access to the document. The U.S. embassy in London was also an early recipient of information about former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos that the FBI would use to justify opening its counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016. And in a little-noticed Senate hearing on Wednesday, it was revealed that dossier author Christopher Steele briefed State Department officials at Foggy Bottom in October 2016.”
(…)”Three diplomats — Victoria Nuland, Jonathan Winer and Elizabeth Dibble — appear to be key to the State Department’s role in handling Trump-related Russia information.
The State Department’s involvement in the Russia matter first came to light only in December 2017, nearly a year after the publication of the Steele dossier.
That’s because Winer, a former Senate aide to former Secretary of State John Kerry, disclosed in a little-noticed MSNBC documentary that he met with Steele during the summer of 2016.
Nuland came forward to acknowledge that she received and handled information from Steele in an interview on Feb. 4. Winer then wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post on Feb. 8 asserting that he was being unfairly targeted by Nunes.
Winer and Nuland suggested in their disclosures that they determined Steele’s reports were too hot for the State Department to handle. They have both claimed they referred the information to the FBI, which was better suited to verify Steele’s still-unverified allegations.
But there is plenty of evidence that the State Department did not merely refer Trump-Russia information to the FBI.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr revealed in a hearing on Wednesday that State Department visitor logs showed Steele visited Foggy Bottom just weeks before the 2016 election.” (Read more: Daily Caller, 6/22/2018)
July 22, 2016 – The IRS launches an investigation of the Clinton Foundation
“IRS Commissioner John Koskinen referred congressional charges of corrupt Clinton Foundation “pay-to-play” activities to his tax agency’s exempt operations office for investigation, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.
The request to investigate the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation on charges of “public corruption” was made in a July 15 letter by 64 House Republicans to the IRS, FBI and Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They charged the foundation is “lawless.”
The initiative is being led by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican who serves as the vice chairwoman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which oversees FTC. The FTC regulates public charities alongside the IRS.
The lawmakers charged the Clinton Foundation is a “lawless ‘pay-to-play’ enterprise that has been operating under a cloak of philanthropy for years and should be investigated.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 07/26/2016)
July 22 – November 1, 2016: The mainstream media begins a concerted effort to paint Trump as a Manchurian Candidate, controlled by the Kremlin
The New York Times begins a mainstream media effort to paint Trump as a Manchurian Candidate on July 22, 2016. Paul Krugman cutely disguises the slur with “Siberian Candidate” instead.
“If elected, would Donald Trump be Vladimir Putin’s man in the White House? This should be a ludicrous, outrageous question. After all, he must be a patriot — he even wears hats promising to make America great again.
But we’re talking about a ludicrous, outrageous candidate. And the Trump campaign’s recent behavior has quite a few foreign policy experts wondering just what kind of hold Mr. Putin has over the Republican nominee, and whether that influence will continue if he wins.”
A few weeks later, on August 21, 2016, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, suggested that Donald Trump may be a “puppet” for Russia in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”
Mook told host George Stephanopoulos, “We need Donald Trump to explain to us the extent to which the hand of the Kremlin is at the core of his campaign,” and “There are real questions being raised about whether Donald Trump himself is just a puppet for the Kremlin in this race.”
A week later on August 26, 2016, Salon writes,
“Last week, Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, said we should ask “real questions” about whether Donald Trump “is just a puppet for the Kremlin.” By that time, Audible.com was already giving away free audiobooks of “The Manchurian Candidate,” Richard Condon’s 1959 book (transformed into a classic thriller starring Angela Lansbury and Frank Sinatra in 1962 and a worse remake with Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep in 2004) about communists controlling an American presidential candidate.”
Precisely a month before Election day, 2016, The Atlantic publishes an article meant to discredit Trump and present him as a “Modern Manchurian candidate serving the interests of the Kremlin.” Former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta suggests Trump represents a threat to national security.
Last but not least, a week to the day before the 2016 Election, Vanity Fair publishes this article on November 1, 2016:
July 25, 2016 – The FBI lauches a probe into the hacking of the DNC
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched a probe into the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails, the bureau announced Monday.
“The FBI is investigating a cyber intrusion involving the DNC and are working to determine the nature and scope of the matter,” the agency said in a statement. “A compromise of this nature is something we take very seriously, and the FBI will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace.”
The publication of the approximately 20,000 emails showed a DNC favorable to Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, leading Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to announce her resignation on Sunday, effective at the end of the party’s convention this week.” (Read more: Politico, 7/25/2016)
July 25, 2016 – Peter Strzok/Lisa Page texts reveal a friendship with FISA court judge Rudolph Contreras
For those following the increasingly curious case against General Mike Flynn, events take another unusual turn today. Congressional investigators have shared a set of unredacted text messages between FBI Agent Peter Strzok and his cohort DOJ Attorney Lisa Page which reveal a personal friendship between Agent Strzok and Flynn’s initial presiding judge Rudolph Contreras.
On November 30th, 2017, Mike Flynn signed a guilty plea; ostensibly admitting lying to investigators. The plea was accepted by Judge Rudolph Contreras; who is also a FISA court judge. Six days later, December 7th, 2017, Judge Contreras “was recused” from the case without explanation.
The case was reassigned to DC District Judge Emmet Sullivan. The Contreras recusal always seemed sketchy. The key question was: if the conflict existed on December 7th, wouldn’t that same conflict have existed on November 30th, 2017?
Apparently DOJ lawyer Lisa Page was unaware that “Rudy” was a FISA court judge until July 25th, 2016, when she posited a question to her small group co-conspirator FBI agent Peter Strzok.
Today questions about the conflict seem to have been answered. Text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page reveal the FBI agent and Judge Contreras were close personal friends.
Contreras was appointed to the FISA Court court in May 2016. The FISA court approved a Title-1 Surveillance Warrant against Trump campaign aide Carter Page on October 26th, 2016, essentially placing the entire Trump campaign under FBI surveillance. That surveillance was then used against incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
The FBI agent questioning Michael Flynn in January 2017 was Peter Strzok. The judge presiding over the sketchy Flynn plea, an outcome of that interview, was Strzok’s friend Judge Rudolph “Rudy” Contreras. Therein lies the conflict.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 3/16/2018)
July 26, 2016 – Christopher Steele files another dossier memo claiming the Kremlin was behind the DNC hacking
“On July 26, 2016, after WikiLeaks disseminated the D.N.C. e-mails, Steele filed yet another memo, this time claiming that the Kremlin was “behind” the hacking, which was part of a Russian cyber war against Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Many of the details seemed far-fetched: Steele’s sources claimed that the digital attack involved agents “within the Democratic Party structure itself,” as well as Russian émigrés in the U.S. and “associated offensive cyber operators.”
Neither of these claims has been substantiated, and it’s hard to imagine that they will be. But one of the dossier’s other seemingly outlandish assertions—that the hack involved “state-sponsored cyber operatives working in Russia”—has been buttressed. According to Special Counsel Mueller’s recent indictment of thirteen Russian nationals, Kremlin-backed operatives, hiding behind fake and stolen identities, posed as Americans on Facebook and Twitter, spreading lies and fanning ethnic and religious hatred with the aim of damaging Clinton and helping Trump. The Kremlin apparently spent about a million dollars a month to fund Internet trolls working round-the-clock shifts in a run-down office building in St. Petersburg. Their tactics were similar to those outlined in Steele’s Charlemagne investigation, including spreading falsehoods designed to turn voters toward extremism. The Russian operation also involved political activism inside the U.S., including the organizing of bogus pro-Trump rallies.” (Read more: The New Yorker, 3/12/2018)
July 27, 2016 – Trump: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,”
“Former CIA Director Leon Panetta blasted Donald Trump Wednesday night from the stage of the Democratic National Convention, calling his recent comment that Russia should “find” Hillary Clinton’s emails “irresponsible” and “inconceivable.”
Panetta’s comments were largely disrupted by the crowd chanting “No more war,” but he continued his remarks.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump urged Russian agents to “find” Clinton’s emails and release them, an unprecedented move by a candidate for president encouraging such a foreign breach.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” the GOP presidential nominee said at a news conference in Miami on Wednesday. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
Trump was referring to the ongoing controversy surrounding the private server Clinton used while secretary of state.” (Read more: NPR, 7/27/2016)
The following day, the New York Times reports Trump was encouraging Russia and “essentially urging a foreign adversary to conduct cyberespionage against a former secretary of state.” (Read more: New York Times, 7/28/2016)
July 28 – August 5, 2016: The Strzok-Page Texts and the Origins of the Trump-Russia Investigation
By Andrew C. McCarthy
“Peter Strzok and Lisa Page’s texts shine a highly redacted light on how the Trump-Russia investigation began.
It was July 31, 2016. Just days earlier, the Obama administration had quietly opened an FBI counterintelligence investigation of Russian cyber-espionage — hacking attacks — to disrupt the 2016 election. And not random, general disruption; the operating theory was that the Russians were targeting the Democratic party, for the purpose of helping Donald Trump win the presidency.
FBI special agent Peter Strzok was downright giddy that day.
The Bureau had finally put to bed “Mid Year Exam.” MYE was code for the dreaded investigation of Hillary Clinton’s improper use of a private email system to conduct State Department business, which resulted in the retention and transmission of thousands of classified emails, as well as the destruction of tens of thousands of government business records. Strzok and other FBI vets dreaded the case because it was a go-through-the-motions exercise: Everyone working on it knew that no one was going to be charged with a crime; that Mrs. Clinton was going to be the next president of the United States; and that the FBI’s goal was not to be tarnished in the process of “investigating” her — to demonstrate, without calling attention to the suffocating constraints imposed by the Obama Justice Department, that the Bureau had done a thorough job, and that there was a legal rationale for letting Clinton off the hook that might pass the laugh test.
That mission was accomplished, Strzok and his colleagues believed, with Director James Comey’s press conference on July 5, outlining the evidence and recommending against charges that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring. Now, having run the just-for-show interview of Hillary Clinton on July 2 — long after Comey’s press statement that there would be no charges was in the can — Strzok was on the verge of a big promotion: to deputy assistant director of counterintelligence.
Even better: Now, he was working a real case — the Trump-Russia case. He was about to fly to London to meet with intelligence contacts and conduct secret interviews.
Not so secret, though, that he could contain himself.
As was his wont several times a day, Strzok texted his paramour, Lisa Page, the FBI lawyer in the lofty position of counsel to Deputy Director Andrew McCabe — which made Page one of the relative handful of Bureau officials who were in on the new probe. Late Sunday night, as he readied for his morning flight, Strzok wrote to Page, comparing the investigations of Clinton and Trump.
“And damn this feels momentous. Because this matters. The other one did, too, but that was to ensure that we didn’t F something up. This matters because this MATTERS.
July 30, 2016 – FBI probe of Trump-Russia ties begin
“Christopher Steele, a former British MI-6 intelligence officer who specialized in Russian operations, had been hired as an investigator by an opposition research firm. According to one of the sources, it was Steele who first alerted FBI agents on July 5 to evidence he had compiled that advisers to the Trump campaign and Kremlin officials were in contact about the 2016 election.”
(…) “The early contact between Steele and the bureau now appears to have set in motion a chain of events that led to Monday’s extraordinary testimony by Comey that the bureau has been actively investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin since “late July” — or more than three months before Election Day.
“I’ve been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” Comey told members of the House Intelligence Committee in a prepared opening statement. “That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”
(…) “It is not a cloud that is likely to be lifted any time soon. Comey said there was no timetable on the probe, that he couldn’t predict how long it would take, and wouldn’t commit to giving any “updates” to the Congress about the status of the probe. When asked directly by Rep. Teri Sewell, D-Ala., “Was Donald Trump under investigation during the campaign?” Comey responded: “I’m not going to answer that.” He added quickly that the members shouldn’t draw any “inferences” from his answer.” (Read more: Yahoo News, 3/20/2017)
July 2016 – Bruce Ohr’s efforts to secretly reshape the Trump probe, starts earlier, long before Trump wins the election
“Within the massive assembly of documents, emails, text messages, congressional testimony and portions of media reports a clear timeline emerged. Part of that timeline was based on the fact that certain events had to have taken place – at specific times – in order to reconcile the downstream activity.
The key point of the graphic, which ran counter to all MSM reporting, was a trail of circumstantial evidence showing Bruce Ohr had to have been in contact with Christopher Steele much earlier than anyone realized. SEE BELOW:
A new report today from John Solomon backs up this timeline with the first-hand testimony of DOJ Official Bruce Ohr.
(…) “For much of the past year, many in Congress have labored under the notion that Ohr, then the No. 4 Department of Justice (DOJ) official, began assisting the FBI’s probe into Russia election collusion only after Trump won the 2016 election.
Lawmakers’ belief was rooted in reports showing Ohr’s first documented interview with FBI agents occurred in November 2016, and in testimony from Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, who mentioned Ohr’s involvement in the probe as starting after Thanksgiving 2016.
But now, based on Ohr’s own account in a closed-door congressional interview and other contemporaneous documents, congressional investigators have learned that Ohr made his first contact with the FBI about Trump-Russia collusion evidence in late July and early August 2016. And his approach was prompted by information he got from his friend, the former British intelligence agent Steele.
Ohr’s account to Congress and his contemporaneous notes show he had multiple contacts with Steele in July 2016. One occurred just before Steele visited the FBI in Rome, another right after Steele made the contact.
A third contact occurred July 30, 2016, exactly one day before the FBI and its counterintelligence official, Peter Strzok, opened the Trump probe officially.
Steele met with Ohr and Ohr’s wife, Nellie, in a Washington hotel restaurant for breakfast. At the time, Nellie Ohr and Steele worked for the same employer, Simpson’s Fusion GPS opposition research firm, and on the same project to uncover Russia dirt on Trump, according to prior testimony to Congress.
(…) “According to my sources, Ohr called then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe the same day as his Steele breakfast and met with McCabe and FBI lawyer Lisa Page on Aug. 3 to discuss the concerns about Russia-Trump collusion that Steele had relayed.
Ohr disclosed to lawmakers that he made another contact with the FBI on Aug. 15, 2016, talking directly to Strzok.
Within a month of Ohr passing along Steele’s dirt, the FBI scheduled a follow-up meeting with the British intelligence operative — and the path was laid for the Steele dossier to support a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to surveil Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
Just as important, Ohr told Congress he understood Steele’s information to be raw and uncorroborated hearsay, the sort of information that isn’t admissible in court. And he told FBI agents that Steele appeared to be motivated by a “desperate” desire to keep Trump from becoming president.” (Read more:The Hill, 9/6/2018)
This account by congressional sources to Solomon about the testimony of Bruce Ohr matches our prior research. It was the initial chapters of the Steele Dossier, a work product of both Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele, that were given to Bruce Ohr, who then subsequently relayed that information to the FBI (McCabe, Page and Strzok) without disclosing the conflict within the source material coming from his wife.
♦Here’s how it comes together: Nellie Ohr started working for Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS) in/around October or November of 2015. Nellie Ohr had “contractor access” to the FISA database (NSA and FBI) as a result of her prior and ongoing clearance relationship with the CIA and open source research group.
Nellie, Bruce and Glenn Simpson worked together previously in 2010.
It was Nellie’s original 2015 political opposition research that Glenn Simpson was pitching and selling as political opposition research to any interested purchaser.
Several months later, when it became clear that Donald Trump was the likely GOP candidate who would win the primary (March/April 2016), Hillary Clinton signed-on to purchase the opposition research from Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS.
Keep in mind, simultaneous to this moment in March and April 2016, NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers intervened to stop contractor access to the FISA-702(16)(17) database. From the time Nellie Ohr began working for Fusion GPS in November 2015, through April 2016 there were thousands of unlawful database queries and extractions; 85% of them were unlawful.
Now, Nellie and Glenn Simpson had a problem. They needed to have a way to launder unlawfully extracted FISA search results. Nellie Ohr was familiar with Christopher Steele from her husband Bruce’s prior working relationship with Steele in the FIFA corruption case.
So Fusion GPS (Glenn Simpson and Nellie Ohr) reached out to Christopher Steele. As a former intelligence officer, and conveniently not in the U.S. (plausible deniability improves), Steele could then receive the Nellie research, wash it with his own research from ongoing relationships with Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska,… here comes the hookers and pee tapes…. and begin packaging it as the “dossier”.
When you understand what was going on, some of the irreconcilable issues surrounding the dossier make sense. [Example Here] This is the Big Effen Deal.
The unlawful FISA extracted intelligence/research was laundered through the use of the dossier. The information was then cycled back to Bruce Ohr, thereby using Christopher Steele to remove Nellie’s fingerprints from the origination. That’s why Bruce Ohr never initially told the FBI -the end user of the dossier- about his wife working for Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson.
Bruce Ohr meets with Christopher Steele, receives the laundered intelligence product within the dossier, informs Andrew McCabe and Lisa Page and then passes the intelligence information along to FBI Agent Peter Strzok.
Does this explain now why Glenn Simpson, Chris Steele, Nellie Ohr and Bruce Ohr were having breakfast together on July 30th, 2016?
Through this process, what few recognize is that much of the material inside the Steele Dossier is actually research intelligence material unlawfully extracted from the FBI and NSA database; most likely in majority an assembly by Nellie Ohr.
This explains why Paul Wood said: “I have spoken to one intelligence source who says Mueller is examining ‘electronic records’ that would place Cohen in Prague.” Likely Mueller has Nellie’s database research mistake on Michael Cohen, and he got it from Christopher Steele.
Remember the New York Times article, right before the testimony by Bruce Ohr, where the intelligence community was trying to say that Nellie Ohr had nothing to do with the Dossier? (screen grab below)
Remember that ridiculous attempt to distance Nellie Ohr from the dossier?
Now do you see why the intelligence community needed to try, via their buddies in the New York Times, to cloud the importance of Nellie Ohr?
Kim Strassel – (…) Congressional sources tell me that Mr. Ohr revealed Tuesday that he verbally warned the FBI that its source had a credibility problem … Mr. Ohr said, moreover, that he delivered this information before the FBI’s first application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for a warrant against Trump aide Carter Page, in October 2016. (Wall Street Journal, 8/30/2018)
Of course Bruce Ohr delivered it before October 21st, 2016. He gained the foundational material from Chris Steele in June and July 2016, passed it along to Peter Strzok, and his wife was key in providing Steele the source information.
This is also why Bruce Ohr never put his wife’s income source on his annual compliance forms. Nellie Ohr’s income was an outcome of her database access.
July 31, 2016 – A Clinton supporter is the source behind the Trump Tower/Alfa Bank connections
“After news broke that the Democratic National Committee had been hacked, a group of prominent computer scientists went on alert. The group of individuals, led by a Hillary supporter, started snooping around the Trump Tower computers to allegedly see if these servers had also been hacked.
This group was led by Indiana University professor, Jean Camp. Professor Camp, according to Circa, was a staunch Hillary supporter:
(…) Some techies uncovered that the the Trump Tower servers began to be bombarded with the same exact invalid look-up requests that use the words “trump” and “alfa” together, which were automatically placed in the servers’ log file by the server. According to the New York Times, computer logs showed that two servers at Alfa Bank sent more than 2,700 “look-up” messages to the Trump servers.
At about the same time, the FBI received a complaint from “cyberexperts” about a possible Trump-Alfa Bank connection, which led the FBI to investigate into a Trump-Alfa Bank connection. According to the New York Times:
In classified sessions in August and September of 2016, intelligence officials also briefed congressional leaders on the possibility of financial ties between Russians and people connected to Mr. Trump. They focused particular attention on what cyber experts said appeared to be a mysterious computer back channel between the Trump Organization and the Alfa Bank, which is one of Russia’s biggest banks and whose owners have longstanding ties to Mr. Putin.
At about the same time that the FBI began its investigation, Christopher Steele began pushing the now debunked claim that Trump was connected to Alfa Bank. In mid-September Steele submitted his memos, and at least one of these included the Trump-Alfa Bank connection. Steele submitted these memos to the press and to the FBI.
We know that the FBI received a copy because at this time the FBI sought and received a FISA warrant related to Russia-linked bank, using the Steele dossier as evidence. This is the only plausible piece of evidence that the FBI could have used. Before this time, the FBI was turned down by the FISA court but on this occasion, a warrant was granted. (As McCabe said: The FISA warrants would not have been granted without the Steele dossier.)
The FBI had no other evidence on the Trump – Russia bank connection and as time went by they had no additional evidence. The New York Times then reported:
Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government. And even the hacking into Democratic emails, F.B.I. and intelligence officials now believe, was aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump.”
July, 2016 – 2017: New emails and memos confirm Bruce Ohr communicated extensively with Christopher Steele
“Hundreds of pages of previously unreported emails and memos provide the clearest evidence yet that a research firm, hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to find dirt on and defeat Donald Trump, worked early and often with the FBI, a Department of Justice (DOJ) official and the intelligence community during the 2016 presidential election and the early days of Trump’s presidency.”
(…) “Ohr’s own notes, emails and text messages show he communicated extensively with Steele and with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson. Those documents have been turned over in recent weeks to investigative bodies in Congress and the DOJ, but not reviewed outside the investigative ranks until now.
They show Ohr had contact with Steele in the days just before the FBI opened its Trump-Russia probe in summer 2016, and then engaged Steele as a “confidential human source” assisting in that probe.
They also confirm that Ohr later became a critical conduit of continuing information from Steele after the FBI ended the Brit’s role as an informant.
“B, doubtless a sad and crazy day for you re- SY,” Steele texted Ohr on Jan. 31, 2017, referencing President Trump’s firing of Sally Yates for insubordination.
Steele’s FBI relationship had been terminated about three months earlier. The bureau concluded on Nov. 1, 2016, that he leaked information to the news media and was “not suitable for use” as a confidential source, memos show.
The FBI specifically instructed Steele that he could no longer “operate to obtain any intelligence whatsoever on behalf of the FBI,” those memos show.
Yet, Steele asked Ohr in the Jan. 31 text exchange if he could continue to help feed information to the FBI: “Just want to check you are OK, still in the situ and able to help locally as discussed, along with your Bureau colleagues.”
“I’m still here and able to help as discussed,” Ohr texted back. “I’ll let you know if that changes.”
Steele replied, “If you end up out though, I really need another (bureau?) contact point/number who is briefed. We can’t allow our guy to be forced to go back home. It would be disastrous.” Investigators are trying to determine who Steele was referring to.”
July 31, 2016 – The official beginning of the FBI’s Trump/Russia investigation codenamed “Crossfire Hurricane”
“The FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia was originally known as “Crossfire Hurricane” before it was widely known to the public and even the bureau itself, officials told The New York Times.
The case, named after a Rolling Stones lyric, was used by only the small group of agents sent to interview the Australian ambassador to the United Kingdom, who had evidence of possible collusion between Russia and a Trump adviser.
Five agents embarked to London in the summer of 2016 for a rare interview with the diplomat after deliberations between American and Australian officials, where they gathered information that would provide the basis for the Russia probe that is still ongoing.
The Times previously reported that a young foreign policy aide on the Trump campaign, George Papadopoulos, revealed he knew of hacked Democratic Party emails to Australian Ambassador Alexander Downer over late-night drinks in London.
Downer reportedly notified U.S. intelligence officials of his run-in with Papadopoulos after the emails, which contained damaging information about 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton just as the aide had said, began to leak to the public.
From there, the tight group of FBI agents went forward in interviewing Trump associates, which was kept secret for fear of leaks that could sway the campaign.
The official look into the Trump campaign reportedly began just days after the bureau closed its investigation into Clinton for her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of State.” (Read more: The Hill, 5/16/2018)
August 4, 2016 – Brennan briefs Obama on Putin’s attempts to discredit the U.S. presidential race
“Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides. [The aides names were revealed in a video within linked article. They are: Avril Haines, Denis McDonough and Susan Rice.]A
Inside was 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.
But it went further. 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.”
(…) “The material was so sensitive that CIA Director John O. Brennan kept it out of the President’s Daily Brief, concerned that even that restricted report’s distribution was too broad. The CIA package came with instructions that it be returned immediately after it was read. To guard against leaks, subsequent meetings in the Situation Room followed the same protocols as planning sessions for the Osama bin Laden raid.
It took time for other parts of the intelligence community to endorse the CIA’s view. Only in the administration’s final weeks in office did it tell the public, in a declassified report, what officials had learned from Brennan in August — that Putin was working to elect Trump. (Read more: Washington Post, 6/23/2017)
August 4, 2016 – CIA director Brennan convenes a secret task force at CIA headquarters
“Brennan first alerts the White House to the Putin intelligence and later briefs Obama in the Oval Office convened a secret task force at CIA headquarters composed of several dozen analysts and officers from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI.
The unit functioned as a sealed compartment, its work hidden from the rest of the intelligence community. Those brought in signed new non-disclosure agreements to be granted access to intelligence from all three participating agencies.
They worked exclusively for two groups of “customers,” officials said. The first was Obama and fewer than 14 senior officials in government. The second was a team of operations specialists at the CIA, NSA and FBI who took direction from the task force on where to aim their subsequent efforts to collect more intelligence on Russia.” (Read more: Washington Post, 6/23/2017)
August 6, 2016 – Strzok/Page text suggest Strzok is “meant to protect the country from that menace”
In another cryptic exchange dated August 6, 2016, Strzok and Page discuss an unnamed “menace.”
“Maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace,” Page writes.
“I can protect our country at many levels, not sure if that helps,” Strzok replies.
August 9, 2016 – In response to Brennan’s warnings, Rice, Haines and Monaco convene meetings in the Situation Room in response to Brennan’s warnings
“National security adviser Susan Rice, deputy national security adviser and former deputy director of the CIA under Brennan, Avril Haines, and White House homeland-security adviser Lisa Monaco convened meetings in the Situation Room to weigh the mounting evidence of Russian interference and generate options for how to respond. At first, only four senior security officials were allowed to attend: Brennan, Clapper, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and FBI Director James B. Comey. Aides ordinarily allowed entry as “plus-ones” were barred.
Gradually, the circle widened to include Vice President Biden and others. Agendas sent to Cabinet secretaries — including John F. Kerry at the State Department and Ashton B. Carter at the Pentagon — arrived in envelopes that subordinates were not supposed to open. Sometimes the agendas were withheld until participants had taken their seats in the Situation Room.”
(…) “They were concerned that any pre-election response could provoke an escalation from Putin. Moscow’s meddling to that point was seen as deeply concerning but unlikely to materially affect the outcome of the election. Far more worrisome to the Obama team was the prospect of a cyber-assault on voting systems before and on Election Day.
They also worried that any action they took would be perceived as political interference in an already volatile campaign. By August, Trump was predicting that the election would be rigged. Obama officials feared providing fuel to such claims, playing into Russia’s efforts to discredit the outcome and potentially contaminating the expected Clinton triumph.
Before departing for an August vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, Obama instructed aides to pursue ways to deter Moscow and proceed along three main paths: Get a high-confidence assessment from U.S. intelligence agencies on Russia’s role and intent; shore up any vulnerabilities in state-run election systems; and seek bipartisan support from congressional leaders for a statement condemning Moscow and urging states to accept federal help.” (Read more: Washington Post, 6/23/2017)
August 9, 2016 – The most damaging text between Strzok and Page suggests they will stop Trump from becoming president
“It was the most damaging of all the damaging texts exchanged between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. On Aug. , 2016, in the second week of the Trump-Russia investigation on which both were working, Page texted Strzok to say, “He’s not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Strzok responded, “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”
(…) “The Justice Department gave Congress Page’s “not ever going to become president” text months ago, when it produced thousands of texts to Hill investigators. But lawmakers — and the public — did not learn of the explosive second part of the exchange — Strzok’s “We’ll stop it” answer — until last Thursday, when Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on the Clinton email investigation was that given to Congress.
Why wasn’t that given to Congress?” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., asked on Fox News the day the Horowitz report was released. “Why did I find out about that today at noon?”
(…) “There had been a flaw in the FBI’s collection system, Horowitz said. Searching for the missing texts, Horowitz took possession of Strzok’s and Page’s phones and “undertook a series of steps to seek to exploit, to extract the missing text messages from the phones.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 6/20/2018)
August 2016 – Head of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan, flies to Washington and briefs John Brennan on an alleged stream of illicit communications between Trump’s team and Moscow
(…) “Steele believed that the Russians were engaged in the biggest electoral crime in U.S. history, and wondered why the F.B.I. and the State Department didn’t seem to be taking the threat seriously. Likening it to the attack on Pearl Harbor, he felt that President Obama needed to make a speech to alert the country. He also thought that Obama should privately warn Putin that unless he stopped meddling the U.S. would retaliate with a cyberattack so devastating it would shut Russia down.
Steele wasn’t aware that by August, 2016, a similar debate was taking place inside the Obama White House and the U.S. intelligence agencies. According to an article by the Washington Post, that month the C.I.A. sent what the paper described as “an intelligence bombshell” to President Obama, warning him that Putin was directly involved in a Russian cyber campaign aimed at disrupting the Presidential election—and helping Trump win. Robert Hannigan, then the head of the U.K.’s intelligence service the G.C.H.Q., had recently flown to Washington and briefed the C.I.A.’s director, John Brennan, on a stream of illicit communications between Trump’s team and Moscow that had been intercepted. (The content of these intercepts has not become public.) But, as the Post noted, the C.I.A.’s assessment that the Russians were interfering specifically to boost Trump was not yet accepted by other intelligence agencies, and it wasn’t until days before the Inauguration that major U.S. intelligence agencies had unanimously endorsed this view.”
(…) “In early September, 2016, Obama tried to get congressional leaders to issue a bipartisan statement condemning Russia’s meddling in the election. He reasoned that if both parties signed on the statement couldn’t be attacked as political. The intelligence community had recently informed the Gang of Eight—the leaders of both parties and the ranking representatives on the Senate and House Intelligence Committees—that Russia was acting on behalf of Trump. But one Gang of Eight member, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, expressed skepticism about the Russians’ role, and refused to sign a bipartisan statement condemning Russia. After that, Obama, instead of issuing a statement himself, said nothing.
Steele anxiously asked his American counterparts what else could be done to alert the country. One option was to go to the press. Simpson wasn’t all that worried, though. As he recalled in his subsequent congressional testimony, “We were operating under the assumption at that time that Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, and so there was no urgency to it.” (Read more: The New Yorker, 3/12/2018)
- Barack Obama
- Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
- Christopher Steele
- Clinton/DNC/Steele Dossier
- Gang of Eight
- Glenn Simpson
- Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)
- House Intelligence Committee
- illicit communications
- John Brennan
- Robert Hannigan
- Russian cyber attacks
- Senate Intelligence Committee
- Trump campaign
August 15, 2016 – Strzok/Page text message says ‘We Can’t Take That Risk’ — discusses ‘Insurance Policy’ Against Trump presidency
“Two FBI officials who worked on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation exchanged text messages last year in which they appear to have discussed ways to prevent Donald Trump from being elected president.
“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok wrote in a cryptic text message to Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer and his mistress.
“It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40,” Strzok wrote in the text, dated Aug. 15, 2016.
August 15, 2016 – In response to Brennan’s warnings, Jeh Johnson floats the idea of designating state voting mechanisms as “critical infrastructure”
“Jeh Johnson, the homeland-security secretary, was responsible for finding out whether the government could quickly shore up the security of the nation’s archaic patchwork of voting systems. He floated the idea of designating state mechanisms “critical infrastructure,” a label that would have entitled states to receive priority in federal cybersecurity assistance, putting them on a par with U.S. defense contractors and financial networks.
On Aug. 15, Johnson arranged a conference call with dozens of state officials, hoping to enlist their support. He ran into a wall of resistance.
The reaction “ranged from neutral to negative,” Johnson said in congressional testimony Wednesday.
Brian Kemp, the Republican secretary of state of Georgia, used the call to denounce Johnson’s proposal as an assault on state rights. “I think it was a politically calculated move by the previous administration,” Kemp said in a recent interview, adding that he remains unconvinced that Russia waged a campaign to disrupt the 2016 race. “I don’t necessarily believe that,” he said.
Stung by the reaction, the White House turned to Congress for help, hoping that a bipartisan appeal to states would be more effective.” (Read more: Washington Post, 6/23/2017)
August 19, 2016 – Manafort resigns as Trump campaign manager
“The Trump campaign announced Manafort was resigning from the campaign, nearly 5 months after he joined.
“I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process,” Trump said in a statement. “Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success.”
The Trump campaign provided no reason for Manafort’s resignation. But in the days immediately leading up to the announcement, the New York Times reported investigators were looking into $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments to Manafort from former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, and the Associated Press reported he helped a pro-Russian party in Ukraine funnel money to lobbying firms in Washington, D.C.
“I think my father didn’t want to be distracted by whatever things Paul was dealing with,” Trump’s son Eric told Fox News after the resignation. “Paul was amazing, and, yes, he helped us get through the primary process, he helped us get through the convention. He did a great job with the delegates. But, again, my father didn’t want to have the distraction looming over the campaign.”
Shortly before Manafort’s resignation, Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, now senior advisers to the White House, were brought on as the campaign’s chief executive and campaign manager, and ultimately led Trump to an unexpected victory in November. (Fortune, 3/22/2017)
August 25, 2016 – CIA director John Brennan briefs Harry Reid and other “Gang of Eight” members on Russia’s efforts to help Trump
“The C.I.A. told senior lawmakers in classified briefings last summer that it had information indicating that Russia was working to help elect Donald J. Trump president, a finding that did not emerge publicly until after Mr. Trump’s victory months later, former government officials say.”
(…) “The former officials said that in late August — 10 weeks before the election — John O. Brennan, then the C.I.A. director, was so concerned about increasing evidence of Russia’s election meddling that he began a series of urgent, individual briefings for eight top members of Congress, some of them on secure phone lines while they were on their summer break.
It is unclear what new intelligence might have prompted the classified briefings. But with concerns growing both internally and publicly at the time about a significant Russian breach of the Democratic National Committee, the C.I.A. began seeing signs of possible connections to the Trump campaign, the officials said. By the campaign’s final weeks, Congress and the intelligence agencies were racing to understand the scope of the Russia threat.
In an Aug. 25 briefing for Harry Reid, then the top Democrat in the Senate, Mr. Brennan indicated that Russia’s hackings appeared aimed at helping Mr. Trump win the November election, according to two former officials with knowledge of the briefing.
The officials said Mr. Brennan also indicated that unnamed advisers to Mr. Trump might be working with the Russians to interfere in the election. The F.B.I. and two congressional committees are now investigating that claim, focusing on possible communications and financial dealings between Russian affiliates and a handful of former advisers to Mr. Trump. So far, no proof of collusion has emerged publicly.” (Read more: New York Times, 4/06/2017)
August 26, 2016 – More Strzok/Page texts that express anger at Trey Gowdy and smelling Trump support at Walmart
In the early morning of August 26, 2016, Strzok sends Page a text expressing anger at Trey Gowdy and says, “he’s really starting to p*ss me off.”
(Trey Gowdy appeared on Fox News the previous evening, discussing the Clinton team’s use of BleachBit to destroy her emails.) (Fox News, 8/26/2016)
Later that day, Strzok writes: “Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support…”
August 27, 2016 – In response to Brennan’s briefing, Senator Harry Reid writes to Comey, calling for the FBI to open an investigation into Russian influence over Trump
On August 27, 2016, Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, responds to Brennan’s recent briefing by writing a letter to FBI director, James Comey, expressing concerns that Trump is an “unwitting agent” of the Kremlin and that Russia is attempting to influence the presidential election. He then requests that the F.B.I. open an investigation.
August 29, 2016 – Harry Reid cites evidence of Russian tampering in US vote, and seeks FBI inquiry
“In a letter to the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey Jr., Mr. Reid wrote that the threat of Russian interference “is more extensive than is widely known and may include the intent to falsify official election results.” Recent classified briefings from senior intelligence officials, Mr. Reid said in an interview, have left him fearful that President Vladimir V. Putin’s “goal is tampering with this election.”
(…) “Mr. Reid’s accusation that Russia is seeking not only to influence the election with propaganda but also to tamper with the vote counting goes significantly beyond anything the Obama administration has said in public.
While intelligence agencies have told the White House that they have “high confidence” that Russian intelligence services were behind the hacking of the Democratic committee, the administration has not leveled any accusations against Mr. Putin’s government. Asked about that in the interview, Mr. Reid said he was free to say things the president was not.
But Mr. Reid argued that the connections between some of Donald J. Trump’s former and current advisers and the Russian leadership should, by itself, prompt an investigation. He referred indirectly in his letter to a speech given in Russia by one Trump adviser, Carter Page, a consultant and investor in the energy giant Gazprom, who criticized American sanctions policy toward Russia.
“Trump and his people keep saying the election is rigged,” Mr. Reid said. “Why is he saying that? Because people are telling him the election can be messed with.” Mr. Trump’s advisers say they are concerned that unnamed elites could rig the election for his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Reid argued that if Russia concentrated on “less than six” swing states, it could alter results and undermine confidence in the electoral system. That would pose challenges, given that most states have paper backups, but he noted that hackers could keep people from voting by tampering with the rolls of eligible voters.” (Read more: New York Times, 8/29/2016)
August 31 or September 1, 2016: Secret FBI source for Russia investigation, Sam Clovis, met with Trump advisor, Carter Page, during campaign
“In late summer, the professor met with Trump campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis for coffee in Northern Virginia, offering to provide foreign-policy expertise to the Trump effort. In September, he reached out to George Papadopoulos, an unpaid foreign-policy adviser for the campaign, inviting him to London to work on a research paper.”
(…) “In late August 2016, the professor reached out to Clovis, asking if they could meet somewhere in the Washington area, according to Clovis’s attorney, Victoria Toensing.
“He said he wanted to be helpful to the campaign” and lend the Trump team his foreign-policy experience, Toensing said.
Clovis, an Iowa political figure and former Air Force officer, met the source and chatted briefly with him over coffee, on either Aug. 31 or Sept. 1, at a hotel cafe in Crystal City, she said. Most of the discussion involved him asking Clovis his views on China.
“It was two academics discussing China,” Toensing said. “Russia never came up.”
The professor asked Clovis if they could meet again, but Clovis was too busy with the campaign. After the election, the professor sent him a note of congratulations, Toensing said.
Clovis did not view the interactions as suspicious at the time, Toensing said, but now is unsettled that the professor never mentioned his contacts with other Trump aides.” (Read more: Washington Post, 5/18/2018)
September 2016 – January 20, 2017: Samantha Power unmasks Americans on almost daily basis
“Samantha Power, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was ‘unmasking’ at such a rapid pace in the final months of the Obama administration that she averaged more than one request for every working day in 2016 – and even sought information in the days leading up to President Trump’s inauguration, multiple sources close to the matter told Fox News.
Two sources, who were not authorized to speak on the record, said the requests to identify Americans whose names surfaced in foreign intelligence reporting, known as unmasking, exceeded 260 last year. One source indicated this occurred in the final days of the Obama White House.
The details emerged ahead of an expected appearance by Power next month on Capitol Hill. She is one of several Obama administration officials facing congressional scrutiny for their role in seeking the identities of Trump associates in intelligence reports – but the interest in her actions is particularly high.” (Read more: Fox News, 9/20/2017)
Early September, 2016 – In response to Brennan’s warnings, Johnson, Comey and Monaco warn congress about a possible Russian attack on the election
“In early September, Johnson, Comey and Monaco arrived on Capitol Hill in a caravan of black SUVs for a meeting with 12 key members of Congress, including the leadership of both parties.
The meeting devolved into a partisan squabble.
“The Dems were, ‘Hey, we have to tell the public,’” recalled one participant. But Republicans resisted, arguing that to warn the public that the election was under attack would further Russia’s aim of sapping confidence in the system.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) went further, officials said, voicing skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the White House’s claims. Through a spokeswoman, McConnell declined to comment, citing the secrecy of that meeting.
Key Democrats were stunned by the GOP response and exasperated that the White House seemed willing to let Republican opposition block any pre-election move.
On Sept. 22, two California Democrats — Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Adam B. Schiff — did what they couldn’t get the White House to do. They issued a statement making clear that they had learned from intelligence briefings that Russia was directing a campaign to undermine the election, but they stopped short of saying to what end.
A week later, McConnell and other congressional leaders issued a cautious statement that encouraged state election officials to ensure their networks were “secure from attack.” The release made no mention of Russia and emphasized that the lawmakers “would oppose any effort by the federal government” to encroach on the states’ authorities.” (Read more: Washington Post, 6/23/2017)
September 2016 – August 10, 2018 – Opinion: Conservative Treehouse details the true Russian collusion during the 2016 Election
(…) “In essence, Christopher Steele was interested in getting Oleg Deripaska a new VISA to enter the U.S. Steele was very persistent on this endeavor and was soliciting Bruce Ohr for any assistance. This also sets up a quid-pro-quo probability where the DOJ/FBI agrees to remove travel restrictions on Deripaska in exchange for cooperation on ‘other matters.’
Now we skip ahead a little bit to where Deripaska gained an entry visa, and one of Oleg Deripaska’s lawyers and lobbyists Adam Waldman was representing his interests in the U.S. to politicians and officials. In May of 2018, John Solomon was contacted by Adam Waldman with a story about how the FBI contacted Deripaska for help in their Trump Russia investigation in September of 2016.
Keep in mind, this is Waldman contacting Solomon with a story.
Waldman told Solomon a story about how his client Oleg Deripaska was approached by the FBI in September of 2016 and asked for help with information about Paul Manafort and by extension Donald Trump. Within the backstory for the FBI and Deripaska was a prior connection between Robert Mueller and Deripaska in 2009.
Again, as you read the recap, remember this is Waldman contacting Solomon. Article Link Here – and my summary below:
♦In 2009 the FBI, then headed by Robert Mueller, requested the assistance of Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska in an operation to retrieve former FBI officer and CIA resource Robert Levinson who was captured in Iran two years earlier. The agent assigned to engage Deripaska was Andrew McCabe; the primary FBI need was financing and operational support. Deripaska spent around $25 million and would have succeeded except the U.S. State Department, then headed by Hillary Clinton, backed out.
♦In September of 2016 Andrew McCabe is now Deputy Director of the FBI, when two FBI agents approached Deripaska in New York – again asking for his help. This time the FBI request was for Deripaska to outline Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort as a tool of the Kremlin. Deripaska once hired Manafort as a political adviser and invested money with him in a business venture that went bad. Deripaska sued Manafort, alleging he stole money. However, according to the article, despite Deripaska’s disposition toward Manafort he viewed the request as absurd. He laughed the FBI away, telling them: “You are trying to create something out of nothing.”
This story, as told from the perspective of Adam Waldman, Deripaska’s lawyer/lobbyist, is important because it highlights a connection between Robert Mueller and Oleg Deripaska; a connection Mueller and the DOJ/FBI never revealed on their own.
I wrote about the ramifications of the Solomon story HERE. Again, hopefully most will review; because there’s a larger story now visible with the new communication between Christopher Steele and Bruce Ohr.
It is likely that Oleg’s 2016 entry into the U.S. was facilitated as part of a quid-pro-quo; either agreed in advance, or, more likely, planned by the DOJ/FBI for later use in their 2016 Trump operation; as evidenced in the September 2016 FBI request. Regardless of the planning aspect, billionaire Deripaska is connected to Chris Steele, a source for Chris Steele, and likely even the employer of Chris Steele.
The FBI used Oleg Deripaska (source), and Oleg Deripaska used the FBI (visa).
Here’s where it gets interesting….
In that May article John Solomon reports that Deripaska wanted to testify to congress last year (2017), without any immunity request, but was rebuked. Who blocked his testimony?
(…) “Now, think about this…. Yes, with Oleg Deripaska in the picture there was indeed Russian meddling in the 2016 election; only, it wasn’t the type of meddling currently being sold. The FBI/DOJ were using Russian Deripaska to frame their Russian conspiracy narrative. It is almost a certainty that Deripaska was one of Chris Steeles sources for the dossier.
Now, put yourself in Deripaska’s shoes and think about what happens AFTER candidate Donald Trump surprisingly wins the election.
All of a sudden Deripaska the asset becomes a risk to the corrupt Scheme Team (DOJ/FBI et al); especially as the DOJ/FBI then execute the “insurance policy” effort against Donald Trump and eventually enlist Robert Mueller.
It is entirely possible for a Russian to be blackmailing someone, but it ain’t Trump vulnerable to blackmail; it’s the conspiracy crew within the DOJ and FBI. Deripaska now has blackmail material on Comey, McCabe and crew.
After the 2017 (first year) failure of the “insurance policy” it now seems more likely President Trump will outlive the soft coup. In May 2018, Oleg tells Waldman to call John Solomon and tell him the story from a perspective favorable to Deripaska.
As the story is told, in 2017, Oleg [Deripaska] was more than willing to testify to congress…likely laughing the entire time. But the corrupt participants within congress damned sure couldn’t let Deripaska testify. Enter corrupt (SSCI) Vice-Chairman, Mark Warner:
The Russians (Deripaska) really do have leverage and blackmail…but it ain’t over Trump. Oleg has blackmail on Comey, McCabe and conspiracy crew. Oleg Deripaska must be kept away from congress and away from exposing the scheme.
Guess who else must be controlled and/or kept away from congress?
Assange has evidence the Russians didn’t hack the DNC.
Between Deripaska’s first-hand knowledge of the DOJ/FBI work on both the Dossier and the DOJ/FBI intention for his use as a witness; and Julian Assange’s first-hand knowledge of who actually took the DNC email communication…well, the entire Russian narrative could explode in their faces.
You can almost hear the corrupt U.S. intelligence officials calling their U.K. GCHQ partners in Britain and yelling at them to do something, anything, and for the love of God, shut down Assange’s access to the internet STAT. Yeah, funny that.
Now, who moves into position to control Julian Assange?
Sept. 2, 2016 – Stefan Halper first contacts George Papadopoulos by email
“Halper first contacted Papadopoulos by email. In a Sept. 2, 2016, message sent to Papadopoulos’s personal email account, he offered the Trump aide $3,000 to write a policy paper on issues related to Turkey, Cyprus, Israel and the Leviathan natural gas field. Halper also offered to pay for Papadopoulos’s flight and a three-night stay in London.
Papadopoulos accepted the proposal, flew to England, and met with Halper and one of his assistants. He delivered the paper electronically Oct. 2 and received payment days later, according to documents TheDCNF reviewed.”
(…) “Papadopoulos questioned Halper’s motivation for contacting him, according to a source familiar with Papadopoulos’ thinking. That’s not just because of the randomness of the initial inquiry but because of questions Halper is said to have asked during their face-to-face meetings in London.
According to a source with knowledge of the meeting, Halper asked Papadopoulos: “George, you know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?”
Papadopoulos told Halper he didn’t know anything about emails or Russian hacking, the source said and spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. The professor did not follow up on the line of inquiry.
(…) “Halper’s activities are all the more eye-catching because Papadopoulos and Page are central figures in the Russia investigation. Papadopoulos, 30, pleaded guilty in October 2017 to lying to the FBI about contacts he had during the campaign with Russian nationals and a London-based professor with links to the Russian government.
That professor, Joseph Mifsud, told Papadopoulos in April 2016 he learned the Russians had possession of “thousands” of Clinton-related emails. That conversation would later spark the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the presidential campaign. It is not known whether Papadopoulos told anyone on the Trump campaign about Mifsud’s remarks.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 3/25/2018)
September 14, 2016 – Christopher Steele provided information to longtime Clinton crony, Strobe Talbott
“Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous anti-Trump dossier, disclosed information from his Trump-Russia investigation to a longtime Clinton crony because of his position on a State Department advisory board, according to court documents filed on Tuesday.
According to the court filing, Steele told a court in the United Kingdom on Aug. 1 that he provided Strobe Talbott, the Clinton insider, with anti-Trump research because of his position on the Foreign Affairs Policy Board, an independent advisory board set up in 2011 by then-Sec. of State Hillary Clinton.
(…) The Steele document was revealed on Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by three Russian bankers who have sued Steele in the U.K. and U.S. over the dossier. A Sept. 14, 2016 memo in the dossier alleges links between the founders of the bank, Alfa Bank, and the Kremlin. They have sued Steele and Fusion GPS for defamation.
Steele disclosed the link to Talbott in response to a series of questions posed in the U.K. ligation.
(…) Talbott also has a familial link to another dossier that was handled by Steele and Winer. Talbott’s brother-in-law is Cody Shearer, a longtime Clinton fixer who conducted a private investigation of his own into Trump during the campaign.
Shearer’s dossier contains some allegations similar to Steele’s report, including that Russians had blackmail material on Trump. Shearer passed his report to Winer through Sidney Blumenthal, another longtime Clinton insider. Winer then shared the Shearer memos with Steele, who provided them to the FBI.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 12/11/2018)
September 2016 – Top FBI official, James Baker meets with DNC lawyer, Michael Sussmann, who then leaks to media
“Former FBI General Counsel James Baker met with the Democratic party’s top lawyer, Michael Sussmann, to discuss the ongoing investigation by the bureau into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties with Russia. This meeting happened prior to the FBI’s initial warrant to spy on short-term campaign volunteer Carter Page, sources close to the investigation have told SaraACarter.com. Moreover, information provided by Baker, who gave extensive testimony Wednesday to lawmakers behind closed doors, coincides with the House Intelligence Committee’s final Russia report that suggests Sussmann was also leaking unverified information on the Trump campaign to journalists around the same time he met with Baker, according to the report and sources close the investigation.
These sources say this new information from Baker exposes the bureau’s failure to inform the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) that the evidence used to spy on Page was partisan and unverified. It further reveals the extensive role and close connection Sussmann, a cybersecurity and national security lawyer with Perkins Coie, had with the now-embattled research firm, Fusion GPS. The Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton Campaign retained Fusion GPS through Perkins Coie during the 2016 election to investigate alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Fusion GPS then hired former British spy, Christopher Steele, who compiled the unverified dossier during the summer and fall of 2016. In 2017, this reporter first published that Baker was purportedly under a Department of Justice criminal investigation for allegedly leaking classified national security information to the media. At the time, the bureau would not comment on Baker and would not confirm or deny any investigation. Baker, who resigned from the bureau in May, was the FBI’s top counsel and a close advisor to former Director James Comey.
In 2016, the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid $9.1 million to the law firm, according to reports. Sussmann, however, is also connected to CrowdStrike. CrowdStrike is the private cybersecurity that was retained by Perkins Coie for the DNC to investigate the breach of its server after it was discovered that it had been hacked in April 2016. Although the FBI has conducted its own investigation into the breach of the server the Democratic National Committee never gave the FBI permission to access the server itself.
“These parallels between the law firm and CrowdStrike also need to be investigated,” said a former FBI official familiar with the security firm. “All of these connections aren’t coincidences and it smells to high heaven.”
According to lawmakers, he explained in detail how the Russia probe was handled by bureau officials in an “abnormal way” and detailed his meeting with Sussmann. Fox News first reported Baker’s testimony quoting Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) who said, “some of the things that were shared were explosive in nature.” Meadows, who attended the deposition of Baker, told SaraACarter.com he would not elaborate on the specifics of the interview, but said, “Mr. Baker’s testimony provided a number of new facts that needed further exploration.” Meadows expects more information in the future and follow-up interviews.
Baker was forthcoming about what he knew and what took place during the investigation, multiple sources said. The information regarding the meeting between Baker and Sussmann would indicate that the FBI was more than likely aware that the law firm was hired by the DNC to investigate alleged connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, but withheld that information from the secret FISC when it sought the warrant to spy on short-term campaign volunteer Page in October.” (Read more: Sara Carter, 10/03/2018)
Jeff Carlson of themarketswork.com pinpoints the possible date of Sussman and Baker’s meeting in the footnotes of a House Intelligence Committee report, to September 2016.
“In the House Intelligence Committee’s final Report on Russian Active Measures, mention is made of a meeting between James Baker and an unknown party in footnote 43, on page 57. This is a particularly heavily redacted portion but the following details are available:
“In September 2016 [redacted] shared similar information in a one-on-one meeting with FBI General Counsel James Baker. HPSCI, Executive Session of [redacted], Dec. 18, 2017. Around the same time as his meeting with FBI, [redacted] shared the information with journalists, [redacted] of Slate, who published an article at the end of October. HPSCI, Executive Session of [redacted] Dec. 18, 2017; [redacted] “Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia?,” Slate, Oct. 31, 2016. Candidate Clinton promoted the [redacted] article to her social media followers the same day it was published.” (Intelligence.house(pdf
September 20, 2016 – A House IG investigation finds Imran Awan made ‘unauthorized access’ to congressional servers
“The Department of Justice found “no evidence” that former Democratic IT aide Imran Awan violated cybersecurity laws, prosecutors said Thursday, but the House of Representatives’ internal watchdog reported that the Pakistani native made “unauthorized access” to congressional servers.
Prosecutors said police interviewed approximately 40 witnesses, reviewed relevant communications and examined a number of related devices, but couldn’t find anything they could charge Imran with regarding cybersecurity. Details of the investigation were included in a plea deal with Imran surrounding unrelated bank fraud.
But a pair of presentations by House Inspector General Theresa Grafenstine detail a number of rules Imran and his family allegedly broke surrounding cybersecurity rules. The watchdog is a past chair of ISACA, an international IT association.
Grafenstine found that Imran made “unauthorized access” to congressional servers in a way that suggested he was trying to “conceal” his activity and that his unusual activity suggested a server could be used for “nefarious purposes.”
A source allowed The Daily Caller News Foundation to review and transcribe the IG’s PowerPoint presentation, but was not given a copy for fear that metadata could reveal the source’s identity.
Below is that transcription in full.
September 23, 2016 – The problem with Michael Isikoff’s article about Carter Page
“The FBI, Justice Department and a federal surveillance court were all apparently unaware that the Sept. 23, 2016 article, written by Michael Isikoff, was based on the infamous and unverified Steele dossier. Numerous reporters, pundits and even a former CIA Moscow station chief have also been fooled into thinking that Isikoff’s article corroborated parts of the dossier.
The confusion is due in part to Isikoff’s report, which was published at Yahoo! News.
A veteran reporter who has worked inside the Beltway for decades, Isikoff used vague sourcing in his Carter Page article. He also failed to disclose that his information was the fruit of an anti-Trump opposition research campaign funded by Democrats.
He also did not acknowledge that his source — former British spy Christopher Steele — had already given the FBI the information he used in the article.”
(…) “Isikoff met Steele in September 2016 at a Washington, D.C. hotel. The pair were introduced by Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS and an “old friend” of Isikoff. The opposition research firm had been hired by the Clinton campaign and DNC to investigate Donald Trump. Fusion hired Steele to look into Trump’s ties to Russia.”
(…) “He did not disclose that Steele, his source, had provided information about Page to the FBI, sparking the very same investigation that Isikoff would confirm in his reporting. Steele began sharing information with the Bureau in July 2016. He provided updates on his findings through the summer and into Fall 2016.
And instead of referring to Steele as a private investigator, which he was, Isikoff described Steele as the more official sounding “well-placed Western intelligence source.”
Isikoff also withheld Steele and Simpson’s political affiliations even though he acknowledged on Friday that he was aware that the pair were working for Democrats. Isikoff did say that he was unaware that Simpson was working for the Clinton campaign and DNC.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 2/05/2018)
September 23, 2016 – Michael Isikoff writes about allegations against Trump adviser, Carter Page
“U.S. intelligence officials are seeking to determine whether an American businessman identified by Donald Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers has opened up private communications with senior Russian officials — including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Republican nominee becomes president, according to multiple sources who have been briefed on the issue.
The activities of Trump adviser Carter Page, who has extensive business interests in Russia, have been discussed with senior members of Congress during recent briefings about suspected efforts by Moscow to influence the presidential election, the sources said. After one of those briefings, Senate minority leader Harry Reid wrote FBI Director James Comey, citing reports of meetings between a Trump adviser (a reference to Page) and “high ranking sanctioned individuals” in Moscow over the summer as evidence of “significant and disturbing ties” between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin that needed to be investigated by the bureau.
Some of those briefed were “taken aback” when they learned about Page’s contacts in Moscow, viewing them as a possible back channel to the Russians that could undercut U.S. foreign policy, said a congressional source familiar with the briefings but who asked for anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject. The source added that U.S. officials in the briefings indicated that intelligence reports about the adviser’s talks with senior Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin were being “actively monitored and investigated.”
A senior U.S. law enforcement official did not dispute that characterization when asked for comment by Yahoo News. “It’s on our radar screen,” said the official about Page’s contacts with Russian officials. “It’s being looked at.” (Read more: Yahoo News, 9/23/2016)
September 26, 2016 – The DOJ OIG Report describes a “trove” of emails covering Clinton’s entire tenure as SoS, are on the Weiner laptop
(…) “Only a few hours after the New York office of the FBI took possession of the Weiner laptop, on September 26, 2016, the FBI computer expert discovered it contained more than 140,000 emails involving Hillary Clinton. They were from multiple domain names: State.gov, Clintonemail.com, ClintonFoundation.org, HillaryClinton.com and Blackberry devices. The agent had what he told the inspector general was an “oh shit moment” — recognizing that he had found evidence important to the most important investigation — and he immediately reported it up the chain.
According to the inspector general’s report of June 14, specifically Chapters IX-XI, the treasure “trove” of emails covered Mrs. Clinton’s entire tenure as Secretary of State.
(…) “Indeed, according to the inspector general, 39 high-ranking FBI agents knew of it, along with the New York office and people in the New York U.S. Attorney’s office. The New York FBI informed them all during a secure video-conference on September 28 — chaired by Andrew McCabe.
One agent said the announcement of finding hundreds of thousands of Clinton emails on Weiner’s laptop was “like dropping a bomb in the middle of the meeting.”
The New York agent Sweeney followed up with two calls to McCabe later that evening — after McCabe did not call him as promised.
So . . . what did McCabe, Comey and Strzok do? They sat on it until police officers in New York and FBI agents in New York threatened to expose them. (Read more: The Daily Caller, 6/20/2018)
September 27, 2016 – DOJ OIG reporting of Clinton-related emails on Weiner laptop to Southern District of New York (SDNY)
On page 276 of the DOJ OIG report:
September 28, 2016 – DOJ OIG reports Comey doesn’t recall much about Clinton’s emails on Weiner’s laptop and worries he’s crazy for not remembering
Pages 280 – 282 of the DOJ OIG report:
September 28 – November 6, 2016 – Did the FBI investigate the emails on the Abedin/Clinton laptop?
(…) “Mr. Comey is questioned about the announcement of re-opening of the Hillary Clinton email investigation on October 28th, 2016. In his response to why there was a delay between the FBI being notified by New York on September 28th, and waiting until October 28th, James Comey revealed a very important nugget.
The New York U.S. Attorney (SDNY) called Main Justice in DC to ask about why they were not receiving authority for a search warrant. We knew that call took place on October 21st, 2016. Now we know “why” and who New York called at DOJ HQ.
Baier: “Did you know that Andrew McCabe, your deputy, had sat on that revelation about the emails”?
Comey: “Yeah, I don’t know that, I don’t know that to be the case. I do know that New York and FBI headquarters became aware that there may be some connection between Weiner’s laptop and the Clinton investigation, weeks before it was brought to me for decision – and as I write in the book I don’t know whether they could have moved faster and why the delay”
Baier: “Was it the threat that New York Agents were going to leak that it existed really what drove you to the ‘not conceal’ part?
Comey: “I don’t think so. I think what actually drove it was the prosecutors in New York who were working the criminal case against Weiner called down to headquarters and said ‘are we getting a search warrant or not for this’? That caused, I’m sorry, Justice Department Headquarters, to then call across the street to the FBI and poke the organization; and they start to move much more quickly. I don’t know why there was, if there was slow activity, why it was slow for those first couple of weeks.”
(…) “In his Bret Baier interview FBI Director James Comey says this call is about a search warrant. There is no indication the call is actually about a search warrant.
However, that phone call kicks off an internal debate about the previously closed Clinton email investigation; and Andrew McCabe sitting on the notification from New York for over three weeks – kicks off an internal FBI discussion about McCabe needing to recuse himself.
Now it’s October 27th, 2016, James Comey chief-of-staff Jim Rybicki wants McCabe to recuse himself. But Rybicki is alone on an island. Lisa Page is furious at such a suggestion, partly because she is McCabe’s legal counsel and if McCabe is recused so too is she.
At the same time as they are debating how to handle the Huma Abedin/Hillary Clinton emails, they are leaking to the media to frame a specific narrative.
Important to note here, that at no time is there any conversation -or hint of a conversation- that anyone is reviewing the content of the emails. The discussions don’t mention a single word about content… every scintilla of conversation is about how to handle the issues of the emails themselves. Actually, there’s not a single person mentioned in thousands of text messages that applies to an actual person who is looking at any content.
Quite simply: there is a glaringly transparent lack of an “investigation”.
(…) “It’s still October 27th, 2016, the day before James Comey announces his FBI decision to re-open the Clinton investigation. Jim Rybicki still saying McCabe should be recused from input; everyone else, including FBI Legal Counsel James Baker, is disagreeing with Rybicki and siding with Lisa Page.
Meanwhile the conversation has shifted slightly to “PC”, probable cause. Read:
(…) “The team is now saying if there was no probable cause when Comey closed the original email investigation in July 2016 (remember the very tight boundaries of review), then there’s no probable cause in October 2016 to reopen the investigation regardless of what the email content might be.
This appears to be how the “small group” or “tight team” justify doing nothing with the content received from New York. They received the emails September 28th and it’s now October 27th, and they haven’t even looked at it. Heck, they are debating if there’s even a need to look at it.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 4/28/2018)
On November 6, 2016, Comey clears Clinton for having her State Department emails on the Abedin/Weiner laptop, two days before the election. (CNN, 11/7/2016)
September 28, 2016 – DOJ OIG reports Peter Strzok can’t recall much about the Weiner laptop and doesn’t think the new Clinton emails are ‘all that noteworthy’
On page 279 of the DOJ IG Horowitz report, a meeting occurs between Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok and Bill Priestap after Clinton’s emails were discovered on Weiner’s laptop. When Strzok is questioned by the IG team about Clinton’s emails found on Weiner’s laptop, his notes on the event appear to be more helpful than his memory.
September 28 – November 6, 2016: Despite Comey assurances, the Weiner Laptop emails were never examined
“When then-FBI Director James Comey announced he was closing the Hillary Clinton email investigation for a second time just days before the 2016 election, he certified to Congress that his agency had “reviewed all of the communications” discovered on a personal laptop used by Clinton’s closest aide, Huma Abedin, and her husband, Anthony Weiner.”
(…) “FBI officials in New York assumed that the bureau’s brass would jump on the discovery, particularly since it included the missing emails from the start of Clinton’s time at State. In fact, the emails dated from the beginning of 2007 and covered the entire period of Clinton’s tenure as secretary and thereafter. The team leading the Clinton investigation, codenamed “Midyear Exam,” had never been able to find Clinton’s emails from her first two months as secretary.
By Oct. 4, the Weiner case agent had finished processing the laptop, and reported that he found at least 675,000 emails potentially relevant to the Midyear case (in fact, the final count was 694,000). “Based on the number of emails, we could have every email that Huma and Hillary ever sent each other,” the agent remarked to colleagues. It appeared this was the mother lode of missing Clinton emails. But Strzok remained uninterested. “This isn’t a ticking terrorist bomb,” he was quoted as saying in the recently issued inspector general’s report. Besides, he had bigger concerns, such as, “You know, is the government of Russian trying to get somebody elected here in the United States?”
Strzok and headquarters sat on the mountain of evidence for another 26 days. The career New York agent said all he was hearing from Washington was “crickets,” so he pushed the issue to his immediate superiors, fearing he would be “scapegoated” for failing to search the pile of digital evidence. They, in turn, went over Strzok’s head, passing their concerns on to career officials at the National Security Division of the Justice Department, who in turn set off alarm bells at the seventh floor executive suites of the Hoover Building.
The New York agent has not been publicly identified, even in the recent IG report, which only describes him as male. But federal court filings in the Weiner case reviewed by RCI list two FBI agents present in court proceedings, only one of whom is male – John Robertson. RCI has confirmed that Robertson at the time was an FBI special agent assigned to the C-20 squad investigating “crimes against children” at the bureau’s New York field office at 26 Federal Plaza, which did not return messages.
The agent told the inspector general that he wasn’t political and didn’t understand all the sensitive issues headquarters may have been weighing, but he feared Washington’s inaction might be seen as a cover-up that could wreak havoc on the bureau.
“I don’t care who wins this election,” he said, “but this is going to make us look really, really horrible.”
Once George Toscas, the highest-ranking Justice Department official directly involved in the Clinton email investigation, found out about the delay, he prodded headquarters to initiate a search and to inform Congress about the discovery.
By Oct. 21, Strzok had gotten the word. “Toscas now aware NY has hrc-huma emails,” he texted McCabe’s counsel, Lisa Page, who responded, “whatever.”
Four days later, Page told Strzok – with whom she was having an affair – about the murmurs she was hearing from brass about having to tell Congress about the new emails. “F them,” Strzok responded, apparently referring to oversight committee leaders on the Hill.
The next day, Oct. 26, the New York agent finally was able to brief Strzok’s team directly about what he had found on the laptop. On Oct. 27, Comey gave the green light to seek a search warrant.
“This decision resulted not from the discovery of dramatic new information about the Weiner laptop, but rather as a result of inquiries from the Weiner case agent and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office [in New York],” Horowitz said in his recently released report on the Clinton investigation.
Former prosecutors say that politics is the only explanation for why FBI brass dragged their feet for a month after the New York office alerted them about the Clinton emails.
“There’s no rational explanation why, after they found over 300,000 Clinton emails on the Wiener laptop in late September, the FBI did nothing for a month,” former deputy Independent Counsel Solomon “Sol” L. Wisenberg said in a recent interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham. “It’s pretty clear there’s a real possibility they did nothing because they thought it would hurt Mrs. Clinton during the election.”
Horowitz concurred. The IG cited suspicions that the inaction “was a politically motivated attempt to bury information that could negatively impact the chances of Hillary Clinton in the election.”
He noted that on Nov. 3, after Comey notified Congress of the search, Strzok created a suspiciously inaccurate “Weiner timeline” and circulated it among the FBI leadership.
The odd document, written after the fact, made it seem as if New York hadn’t fully processed the laptop until Oct. 19 and had neglected to fill headquarters in on details about what had been found until Oct. 21. In fact, New York finished processing on Oct. 4 and first began reporting back details to top FBI executives as early as Sept. 28.” (Read much more: RealClearInvestigations, 8/23/2018)
(Timeline editor’s note: This is just an excerpt from a much more in-depth report on what happened to the Weiner laptop. Please be sure to read it in its entirety.)
September 28, 2016 – DOJ OIG reports Andrew McCabe can’t recall details about Clinton’s emails on Weiner’s laptop
Page 277 of the OIG DOJ report:
September 29, 2016 – The Department of Homeland Security creates a deceptive tale of Russia hacking US voter sites
(…) “On Sept. 29, 2016, a few weeks after the hacking of election-related websites in Illinois and Arizona, ABC News carried a sensational headline: “Russian Hackers Targeted Nearly Half of States’ Voter Registration Systems, Successfully Infiltrated 4.” The story itself reported that “more than 20 state election systems” had been hacked, and four states had been “breached” by hackers suspected of working for the Russian government. The story cited only sources “knowledgeable” about the matter, indicating that those who were pushing the story were eager to hide the institutional origins of the information.
Behind that sensational story was a federal agency seeking to establish its leadership within the national security state apparatus on cybersecurity, despite its limited resources for such responsibility. In late summer and fall 2016, the Department of Homeland Security was maneuvering politically to designate state and local voter registration databases and voting systems as “critical infrastructure.” Such a designation would make voter-related networks and websites under the protection a “priority sub-sector” in the DHS “National Infrastructure Protection Plan, which already included 16 such sub-sectors.
DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and other senior DHS officials consulted with many state election officials in the hope of getting their approval for such a designation. Meanwhile, the DHS was finishing an intelligence report that would both highlight the Russian threat to U.S. election infrastructure and the role DHS could play in protecting it, thus creating political impetus to the designation. But several secretaries of state—the officials in charge of the election infrastructure in their state—strongly opposed the designation that Johnson wanted.
On Jan. 6, 2017—the same day three intelligence agencies released a joint “assessment” on Russian interference in the election—Johnson announced the designation anyway.
Media stories continued to reflect the official assumption that cyber attacks on state election websites were Russian-sponsored. Stunningly, The Wall Street Journal reported in December 2016 that DHS was itself behind hacking attempts of Georgia’s election database.” (Read more: Consortium News, 8/28/2018)
Late September, 2016 – A second dossier, compiled by Cody Shearer and Sidney Blumenthal, was given to Christopher Steele
“A copy of the little-publicized second dossier in the Trump-Russia affair, acquired by RealClearInvestigations, raises new questions about the origins of the Trump investigation, particularly about the role of Clinton partisans and the extent to which the two dossiers may have been coordinated or complementary operations.
The second dossier — two reports compiled by Cody Shearer, an ex-journalist and longtime Clinton operative — echoes many of the lurid and still unsubstantiated claims made in the Steele dossier, and is receiving new scrutiny. On Sunday, Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a TV interview that his panel is shifting its investigative focus concerning the origins of the Russia investigation from the FBI to the State Department. This probe will include the Shearer dossier.
In late September 2016, Sidney Blumenthal, a close Clinton confidant and colleague of Shearer’s, passed Shearer’s dossier on to State Department official Jonathan M. Winer, a longtime aide to John Kerry on Capitol Hill and at Foggy Bottom.
According to Winer’s account in a Feb. 8, 2018 Washington Post op-ed, he shared the contents of the Shearer dossier with the author of the first dossier, ex-British spy Christopher Steele, who submitted part of it to the FBI to further substantiate his own investigation into the Trump campaign. Steele was a subcontractor working for the Washington, D.C.-based communications firm Fusion GPS, which was hired by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee to compile opposition research on her Republican opponent.” (Read more: RealClearInvestigations, 4/26/2018)
Late September, 2016 – Christopher Steele, following instructions from Fusion GPS, briefs reporters on the dossier
Late September: In London court filings, Christopher Steele is identified as Second Defendant and testifies to following instructions from Fusion GPS, and briefing reporters at several news outlets about the dossier. Steele briefed The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, The New Yorker and Yahoo! News.
October 1-15, 2016: Email exchanges between Comey, FBI and DOJ officials, suggests they are aware of intel concerns about reliability of main evidence, before obtaining Title 1 FISA warrant
“Just before Thanksgiving, House Republicans amended the list of documents they’d like President Trump to declassify in the Russia investigation. With little fanfare or explanation, the lawmakers, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), added a string of emails between the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to their wish list.
Sources tell me the targeted documents may provide the most damning evidence to date of potential abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), evidence that has been kept from the majority of members of Congress for more than two years.<
The email exchanges included then-FBI Director James Comey, key FBI investigators in the Russia probe and lawyers in the DOJ’s national security division, and they occurred in early to mid-October, before the FBI successfully secured a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The email exchanges show the FBI was aware — before it secured the now-infamous warrant — that there were intelligence community concerns about the reliability of the main evidence used to support it: the Christopher Steele dossier.
The exchanges also indicate FBI officials were aware that Steele, the former MI6 British intelligence operative then working as a confidential human source for the bureau, had contacts with news media reporters before the FISA warrant was secured.” (Read more: The Hill, 12/05/2018)
October 2016 – Comey Directs Strzok To Focus On Trump-Russia Over Hillary Investigation – ‘Our Top Priority’
“FBI Assistant Director Peter Strzok testified Thursday that former FBI Director James Comey directed him to focus his time and resources on the Russian election interference investigation over Hillary Clinton’s use of classified information.
In a fiery joint Judiciary and Oversight Committee hearing, Strzok was asked by Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler why he thought it was important to “prioritize” the Russia investigation in October 2016 over the recent reopening of the Clinton case due to the discovery of emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.
“The first reason I did it is because the director told me to,” Strzok said, referring to Comey, “The director said it was our top priority.
Strzok continued, “When you look at an allocation of resources based on the threat to national security, the Russia influence investigations were of much greater impact than a mishandling of classified information investigation.”
Nadler clarified, “The first reason was the director told you to?”
“Yes, sir,” Strzok said.”
October 2016 – Christopher Steele meets with four American officials in Rome, who raise the prospect of paying Steele to continue gathering intelligence after Election Day
“In the fall of 2016, a little more than a month before Donald Trump was elected president, Christopher Steele had the undivided attention of the FBI.
For months, the British former spy had been working to alert the Americans to what he believed were disturbing ties Trump had to Russia. He had grown so worried about what he had learned from his Russia network about the Kremlin’s plans that he told colleagues it was like “sitting on a nuclear weapon.”
He was now being summoned to Rome, where he spent hours in a discreet location telling four American officials — some of whom had flown in from the United States — about his findings.
The Russians had damaging information about Trump’s personal behavior and finances that could be used to pressure the GOP nominee. What’s more, the Kremlin was now carrying out an operation with the Trump campaign’s help to tilt the U.S. election — a plot Steele had been told was ordered by President Vladimir Putin.
The FBI investigators treated Steele as a peer, a Russia expert so well-trusted that he had assisted the Justice Department on past cases and provided briefing material for British prime ministers and at least one U.S. president. During intense questioning that day in Rome, they alluded to some of their own findings of ties between Russia and the Trump campaign and raised the prospect of paying Steele to continue gathering intelligence after Election Day, according to people familiar with the discussion.” (Read more: Washington Post, 2/06/2018)
October 3, 2016 – The FBI’s Executive Assistant Director, Randy Coleman, documents his review of the Weiner laptop
On page 283, the DOJ OIG reports Randall Coleman, Executive Asst Director of FBI HQ’s Criminal, Cyber, Response & Services Branch receives a call from Assistant Director (AD), Bill Sweeney with updates on the Weiner laptop. By this time, September 28, 2016, they discovered 347,000 emails that were Clinton/Abedin related and considered “connected with the Mid Year investigation.” When the laptop was transferred to FBI Headquarters, Randy Coleman was in charge of reviewing the computer.
This is where things get weird…Mr. Coleman’s “memorandum for record” clearly states he was not to read the Clinton/Abedin emails found on Weiner’s laptop. From the memorandum:
Our question is, who did examine the hundreds of thousands of additional Clinton emails that were identified by NYO and confirmed by Coleman? Where are they now? Have they been officially archived? Were there classified documents included? The official word has been they are duplicates of the emails we already know about, but there apparently are hundreds of thousands more emails that are still unaccounted for.
There is also a discrepancy with the date of Coleman’s “memorandum for record” mentioned in the DOJ OIG report that says it is dated November 7, 2016. The FBI recently released the memorandum and it is dated October 3, 2016. We have chosen to date this timeline entry using the date on the original memorandum.
October 4, 2016 – FBI Executive Assistant Director (EAD) Randy Coleman’s notes re Weiner’s laptop mention Hillary Clinton, the Foundation and Crime Against Children
On page 294 of the DOJ OIG report, the IG team reviews an unusual entry in EAD Randy Coleman’s notes that understandably raises eyebrows and leaves room for speculation. What does “Crime Against Children” mean in the context of Coleman’s notes? One would normally presume it would be related to Weiner sexting with the 15 year old girl. A researcher suggested they could be counting Anthony Weiner’s son as a victim and that is a possibility as well. But the plural use of the word “children” written directly below the notation of Hillary Clinton and the Foundation also implies it could mean something else. The IG team appears, somewhat, to have tried getting to the bottom of it, but Comey had a convenient case of amnesia and the other FBI officials questioned, also gave similar responses.
October 14, 2016 – Hours after FBI found classified Clinton emails on Weiner laptop, Peter Strzok’s wife is promoted to Director of SEC Enforcement
“Hours after the FBI found classified Hillary Clinton emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop, the wife of the FBI agent running the high-profile probe was promoted to a powerful position in the Securities and Exchange Commission, FBI sources said.
This case keeps getting worse for the FBI and embattled agent Peter Strzok, the lead investigator on the Clinton probe. His wife Melissa Hodgman was promoted to deputy director of SEC’s Enforcement Division literally hours after Strzok and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe were debriefed about the Clinton emails found on Weiner’s computer.
The FBI’s original warrant for Weiner’s laptop was issued in late September 2016 and a subsequent warrant was issued on Oct. 30, 2016 so that the FBI could use Huma Abedin’s & Hillary’s classified emails as evidence in the re-opened Clinton probe.
Hodgman was promoted Oct. 14, 2016, literally hours after investigators started to examine the laptop’s contents for Clinton emails and assorted files, federal sources confirm.
Federal sources said the FBI field office in New York, who handled the original Weiner warrant for then-US Attorney Preet Bharara, reported to Strzok and McCabe that they had found evidence pertaining to the Hillary Clinton email case on Oct. 12, 2016, federal sources said.
About 36 hours later, Hodgman was promoted in the SEC.
The Wall Street Journal’s reporting on the laptop case confirms the early October timeline divulged to True Pundit by FBI sources.
“The latest development began in early October when New York-based FBI officials notified Andrew McCabe, the bureau’s second-in-command, that while investigating Mr. Weiner for possibly sending sexually charged messages to a teenage minor, they had recovered a laptop. Many of the 650,000 emails on the computer, they said, were from the accounts of Ms. Abedin, according to people familiar with the matter.”
Two weeks after Hodgman’s appointment, the FBI secured a subsequent search warrant to use Hillary and Huma emails from the 650,000 warehoused on the computer as evidence.”
(…) “Perhaps Hodgman’s promotion was merely happenstance?
“There are no coincidences here,” one FBI source told True Pundit. “Not with this crew. They wanted his wife in that SEC slot for a reason.”
Enter the Clinton Foundation.” (Read more: The True Pundit, 12/14/2017)
October 15, 2016 – John Carlin, Justice Department top national security official, resigns
“The Justice Department’s top national security official is leaving his position next month, the department announced Tuesday.
John Carlin, who has led the department’s national security division since 2014, will be leaving government on October 15.
The department did not reveal what Carlin, 43, plans to do next, but it said he would take some time off and spend time with his family.
“John Carlin has been a trusted and tireless leader of the Justice Department’s National Security Division,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “He is wholly devoted to the department’s most important mission — protecting our country against acts of terrorism and other national security threats — and he has set a high standard by relentlessly pursuing those who seek to harm our people and threaten our assets.”
Carlin’s exit leaves the Obama administration without one of its most vocal advocates for publicly identifying and blaming foreign government hackers for cyber attacks on American institutions. His departure comes as the administration weighs whether and how to respond to a Democratic National Committee cyberbreach that U.S. officials believe was committed by the Russians. (Read more: CBS News, September 26, 2016)
October 20, 2016 – During a presidential debate, Strzok writes: “I am riled up. Trump is a f*cking idiot, is unable to provide a coherent answer.”
October 20, 2016 – NSA director Admiral Mike Rogers requests a full NSA compliance audit of FISA-702 use
Admiral Mike Rogers became NSA director in April 2014.
Sometime in early 2016 Admiral Rogers became aware of “ongoing” and “intentional” violations of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), Section 702(17) surveillance. Specifically item #17 which includes the unauthorized upstream data collection of U.S. individuals within NSA surveillance through the use of “About Query”.
Section 702 – Item #17 “About Queries” are specifically the collection of electronic messaging, emails and upstream phone call surveillance data of U.S. persons.
The public doesn’t discover this issue, and Director Rogers action, until May 2017 when we learn that Rogers told the FISA court he became aware of unlawful surveillance and collection of U.S. persons.
Put into context, with the full back-story, it appears that 2016 surveillance was the political surveillance now in the headlines; the stuff Chairman Nunes is currently questioning. The dates here are important as they tell a story.
As a result of Rogers suspecting FISA 702(17) surveillance activity was being used for reasons he deemed unlawful, in mid 2016 Rogers ordered the NSA compliance officer to run a full audit on 702 NSA compliance.
Again, 702 is basically spying on Americans; the actual “spying” part is 702. Item 17 is “About Queries“, which allows user queries or searches of content (messaging, email and phone conversations) based on any subject matter put into the search field.
The NSA compliance officer identified several strange 702 “About Queries” were being conducted. These were violations of the fourth amendment (search and seizure), ie searches, privacy violations, and surveillance without a warrant. Admiral Rogers was briefed by the compliance officer on October 20th, 2016.
Admiral Mike Rogers ordered the “About Query” activity to stop, reported the activity to the DOJ, and then went to the FISA court.
On October 26th, 2016, full FISA court assembled, NSA Director Rogers personally informed the court of the 702(17) violations. Additionally, and as an outcome of the NSA systems inability to guarantee integrity, Rogers also stopped “About Query” permanently.
(Things to note: ♦Note the sequencing; ♦note that Rogers a career military person, followed the chain of command; ♦note the dates as they align with the Trump FISA application from the FBI and DOJ-NSD, (ie. early October 2016); ♦and note amid this sequence/time-line the head of DOJ-National Security Divsion, John P Carlin resigns.]
IMPORTANT – WATCH the first two and a half minutes of this video:
At the same time Christopher Steele was assembling his dossier information (May-October 2016), the NSA compliance officer was conducting an internal FISA-702 review as initiated by NSA Director Mike Rogers.
The NSA compliance officer briefed Admiral Mike Rogers on October 20th 2016.
On October 26th 2016, Admiral Rogers informed the FISA Court of numerous unauthorized FISA-702(17) “About Query” violations.
Subsequent to that FISC notification Mike Rogers stopped all FISA-702(17) “About Queries” permanently. They are no longer permitted.
Pg 83. “FBI gave raw Section 702–acquired information to a private entity that was not a federal agency and whose personnel were not sufficiently supervised by a federal agency for compliance minimization procedures.”
Please pay close attention to this section, pg 84, (Note the date April 18th):
Notice how it was FBI “private contractors” that were conducting the unauthorized FISA-702 Queries via access to information on FBI storage systems.
We have been tipped off that one of the FBI contractors in question was, unbelievably, Fusion-GPS.
It is almost certain this early 2016 series of FISA-702 compliance violations was the origin of NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers concern.
Mike Rogers discovery becomes the impetus for him to request the 2016 full NSA compliance audit of FISA-702 use. It appears Fusion-GPS was the FBI contracted user identified in the final FISA court opinion/ruling on page 83.
Note the dates from the FISC opinion (above) – As soon as the FBI discovered Mike Rogers was looking at the searches, the FBI discontinued allowing their sub-contractor access to the raw FISA information. Effective April 18th, 2016.” (Read much more: Conservative Treehouse, 1/11/2018)
(Republished with special permission.)
October 20, 2016: The Uncovering – Mike Rogers’ Investigation, Section 702 FISA Abuse & the FBI
(…) “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.
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 – Andrew McCarthy writes about the “critical first FISA application, the basis for the warrant granted against Carter Page”
By: Andrew C. McCarthy
“In a word, the Grassley-Graham memo is shocking. Yet, the press barely notices.
(…) “The Grassley-Graham memo corroborates the claims in the Nunes memo: The Obama Justice Department and FBI used anonymously sourced, Clinton-campaign generated innuendo to convince the FISA court to issue surveillance warrants against Carter Page, and in doing so, they concealed the Clinton campaign’s role. Though the Trump campaign had cut ties with Page shortly before the first warrant was issued in October 2016, the warrant application was based on wild allegations of a corrupt conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Moreover, the warrant meant the FBI could seize not only Page’s forward-going communications but any past emails and texts he may have stored — i.e., his Trump campaign communications.”
(…) “Last Friday, the Nunes memo asserted that the FBI and Justice Department had significantly relied on the unverified Steele dossier to obtain FISA warrants on Page. In the week that followed, House Intelligence Committee Democrats and their media echo chamber bleated about how things had been taken out of context, with some suggesting that there was plenty of other evidence to establish probable cause that Page was acting as a Russian agent. (See my column last Sunday responding to claims by Representative Jerrold Nadler, here.) It was even implied that Nunes & Co. had deceptively reported committee testimony by the FBI’s then deputy director Andrew McCabe that the Steele dossier was essential to this probable-cause showing.
We’re not hearing much of that now. No wonder. Here’s the Grassley-Graham memo on the critical first FISA application, the basis for the warrant granted on October 21, 2016:
The bulk of the application consists of allegations against Page that were disclosed to the FBI by Mr. Steele and are also outlined in the Steele dossier. The application appears to contain no additional information corroborating the dossier allegations against Mr. Page, although it does cite to a news article that appears to be sourced to Mr. Steele’s dossier.
We’ll come to the news article — the stupefying circular attempt to corroborate Steele with Steele. For the moment, suffice it to say that the senators have confirmed the Nunes memo’s account, except with much more information than House Republicans were able to include. Information such as this:
When asked at the March 2017 briefing [of Judiciary Committee leaders] why the FBI relied on the dossier in the FISA applications absent meaningful corroboration — and in light of the highly political motives surrounding its creation — then-Director [James] Comey stated that the FBI included the dossier allegations about Carter Page in the FISA applications because Mr. Steele himself was considered reliable due to his past work with the Bureau. (Emphasis added.)
On this score, Grassley and Graham quote directly from the warrant applications: “Based on [Steele’s] previous reporting history with the FBI whereby [Steele] provided reliable information to the FBI, the FBI believes [Steele’s] reporting to be credible.” (Emphasis added.)
I cannot stress enough how irregular this is. It is why there is abundant reason to demand that the judge explain his or her rationale for granting the warrant.
As I outlined at greater length last week (here, in section C), in applying for a warrant, the government must establish the reliability of the informants who witnessed the alleged facts claimed to support a probable-cause finding. Steele was not one of those witnesses. He is not the source of the facts. He is the purveyor of the sources — anonymous Russians, much of whose alleged information is based on hearsay, sometimes multiple steps removed from direct knowledge. Steele has not been in Russia since his cover as a British spy was blown nearly 20 years ago. He has sources, who have sources, who have sources . . . and so on. None of his information is better than third-hand; most of it is more attenuated than that.
For purposes of justifying a warrant, it does not matter that, in a totally unrelated investigation (involving corruption at FIFA, the international soccer organization), the FBI judged that the hearsay information provided by Steele, then a British agent, checked out. In his anti-Trump research, Steele could not verify his sources. Furthermore, he was now a former foreign intelligence officer who was then working for private clients — which is the advocacy business, not the search-for-truth business.” (Read more: National Review, 2/10/2018)
October 27, 2016 – Strzok’s ‘fingerprints’ are on Comey’s notification to Congress about the Weiner laptop
“We have added two new pieces to the giant jigsaw puzzle showing the effort to undermine President Trump. They show more of the workings of the disgraced former FBI Director James Comey and fired FBI official Peter Strzok.
We have released 424 pages of FBI records, including an email revealing that Strzok created the initial draft of the October 2016 letter Comey sent to Congress notifying lawmakers of the discovery of Hillary Clinton emails on the laptop of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner.
Another email suggests that the FBI had not yet completed its review of Clinton’s emails by the time Comey sent a second letter to Congress on November 6, 2016, reconfirming his belief that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be charged with a crime.”
(…) “The documents reveal that on October 27, 2016, Peter Strzok emailed other senior FBI officials a draft notice letter from Comey to Congress about the Weiner laptop discovery and the reopening of the Clinton investigation. The emails indicated that Strzok and another official Jon (Last Name Unknown) authored the notification to Congress. The notification, according the DOJ IG, came a full month after the emails were discovered by the FBI on the Weiner laptop.
According to the documents, at 11:04 p.m. on Saturday, November 5, 2016, FBI Chief of Staff James Rybicki sent Comey an email containing a redacted draft document which he referred to as a “New Proposal” saying: “Folks, Per our 1000pm conversation, below is a revised straw man for discussion. Again, we could use this if the review when completed supports our conclusions. My comments again in ALL CAPS and bold italics.”
Rybicki’s “New Proposal … straw man” apparently refers to a draft of Comey’s letter to Congress concerning the FBI’s review of the 650,000 Clinton emails found on Weiner’s laptop. At the time of the Rybicki email, Comey was preparing his letter informing Congress of the FBI’s findings, and according to page 390 of the June 2018 report from the DOJ Office of the Inspector General, the deliberations regarding the letter began on the afternoon of November 3 and concluded “very early on November 6.”
Despite Rybicki’s email suggesting late on November 5 that the review of the new emails had not been completed, Comey’s November 6 letter to Congress stated, “[W]e reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State. Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.”
Comey’s “conclusions” in July were that no charges should be filed against Clinton, despite her repeatedly having sent classified information over her unsecured, non-State-Department server. Comey later admitted that he had drafted his July exoneration more than a month earlier.
RealClearInvestigations’ reporter Paul Sperry recently reported that “only 3,077 of the 694,000 emails [found on the Weiner laptop] were directly reviewed for classified or incriminating information. Three FBI officials completed that work in a single 12-hour spurt the day before Comey again cleared Clinton of criminal charges.”
These new documents provide more details of the corrupt and dishonest FBI investigation of the incredible revelations that Clinton’s classified and other emails were present on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. When will the Sessions DOJ and Wray FBI finally begin an honest investigation of Hillary Clinton’s national security crimes?” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 9/07/2018)
October 31, 2016 – David Corn writes the first article that quotes Christopher Steele about the Kremlin having compromising information about Trump
“On Friday, FBI Director James Comey set off a political blast when he informed congressional leaders that the bureau had stumbled across emails that might be pertinent to its completed inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s handling of emails when she was secretary of state. The Clinton campaign and others criticized Comey for intervening in a presidential campaign by breaking with Justice Department tradition and revealing information about an investigation—information that was vague and perhaps ultimately irrelevant—so close to Election Day. On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid upped the ante. He sent Comey a fiery letter saying the FBI chief may have broken the law and pointed to a potentially greater controversy: “In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government…The public has a right to know this information.”
Reid’s missive set off a burst of speculation on Twitter and elsewhere. What was he referring to regarding the Republican presidential nominee? At the end of August, Reid had written to Comey and demanded an investigation of the “connections between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign,” and in that letter he indirectly referred to Carter Page, an American businessman cited by Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers, who had financial ties to Russia and had recently visited Moscow. Last month, Yahoo News reported that US intelligence officials were probing the links between Page and senior Russian officials. (Page has called accusations against him “garbage.”) On Monday, NBC News reported that the FBI has mounted a preliminary inquiry into the foreign business ties of Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chief. But Reid’s recent note hinted at more than the Page or Manafort affairs. And a former senior intelligence officer for a Western country who specialized in Russian counterintelligence tells Mother Jones that in recent months he provided the bureau with memos, based on his recent interactions with Russian sources, contending the Russian government has for years tried to co-opt and assist Trump—and that the FBI requested more information from him.
Does this mean the FBI is investigating whether Russian intelligence has attempted to develop a secret relationship with Trump or cultivate him as an asset? Was the former intelligence officer and his material deemed credible or not? An FBI spokeswoman says, “Normally, we don’t talk about whether we are investigating anything.” But a senior US government official not involved in this case but familiar with the former spy tells Mother Jones that he has been a credible source with a proven record of providing reliable, sensitive, and important information to the US government.
In June, the former Western intelligence officer—who spent almost two decades on Russian intelligence matters and who now works with a US firm that gathers information on Russia for corporate clients—was assigned the task of researching Trump’s dealings in Russia and elsewhere, according to the former spy and his associates in this American firm. This was for an opposition research project originally financed by a Republican client critical of the celebrity mogul. (Before the former spy was retained, the project’s financing switched to a client allied with Democrats.) “It started off as a fairly general inquiry,” says the former spook, who asks not to be identified. But when he dug into Trump, he notes, he came across troubling information indicating connections between Trump and the Russian government. According to his sources, he says, “there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit.” (Read more: Mother Jones, 10/31/2016)
November 9, 2016 – Peter Strzok text mentions the first meeting of the “secret society”
“Reps. Trey Gowdy and John Ratcliffe join FNC’s Martha McCallum to talk about another newly released text message between FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. This time, Strzok implies a “secret society” of federal agents worked to prevent Donald Trump from becoming president.
(…) “Ratcliffe continued: “We learned today about information that in the immediate aftermath of his election, there may have been a ‘secret society’ of folks within the Department of Justice and the FBI, to include Page and Strzok, working against him. I’m not saying that actually happened, but when folks speak in those terms, they need to come forward to explain the context.”
About the “secret society,” Gowdy said: “You have this insurance policy in Spring 2016, and then the day after the election, what they really didn’t want to have happen, there is a text exchange between these two FBI agents, these supposed to be fact-centric FBI agents saying, ‘Perhaps this is the first meeting of the secret society.’ So I’m going to want to know what secret society you are talking about, because you’re supposed to be investigating objectively the person who just won the electoral college. So yeah — I’m going to want to know.” (Read more: RealClearPolitics, 1/22/2018)
November 18, 2016 – McCain sends David Kramer to meet with Steele and obtain a copy of the dossier
“In mid-November, the documents took another route into Washington that ultimately led to them being mentioned in the joint intelligence report on Russian interference that was delivered to President Obama and President-elect Trump. On 18 November, the annual Halifax International Security Forum opened in the Canadian city, bringing together serving and former security and foreign policy officials from around the world.
Senator John McCain, a hawkish Republican, was there and was introduced to a former senior western diplomat [Sir Andrew Wood], who had seen the documents, knew their source and thought him highly reliable. McCain decided the implications were sufficiently alarming to dispatch a trusted emissary, a former US official, [David Kramer] to meet the source and find out more.
The emissary hastily arranged a transatlantic flight and met the source at the airport as arranged.
The emissary flew back within 24 hours and showed McCain the documents, saying it was hard to impossible to verify them without a proper investigation. McCain said he was reluctant to get involved, lest it be perceived as payback for insulting remarks Trump had made about him during his rambunctious campaign.” (Read more: The Guardian, 1/12/2017)
It was later revealed in British court records, the names of the “former senior western diplomat” to be Sir Andrew Wood and the McCain “emissary” is David Kramer. (Read more: Fox News, 12/12/2017)
December 2016 – March 2017: FBI/CIA spy, Stefan Halper, interacted with the media on multiple occasions
“While working as a spy for the FBI, Stefan Halper interacted on multiple occasions with the media, both on the record and, according to a University of Cambridge researcher, as an anonymous background source.
Those media interactions, which occurred between December 2016 and March 2017, could be cause for concern for the FBI, according to two retired senior bureau officials who worked closely with confidential informants during their careers.
“This is something that is highly irregular and not something that I would have ever tolerated with any of the folks working for me,” retired FBI investigator and CNN analyst James Gagliano told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The road is fraught with peril when somebody is speaking off the cuff or speaking to the media and putting themselves in a position where that can then be used as discovery material when we do bring a case.”
Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund President Ron Hosko, a former assistant director of the FBI’s criminal investigative division, added that an informant’s interactions with the press could create circular reporting that would serve to make their information “appear more valuable or more true” than it actually is.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 5/30/2018)
December 7, 2016 – Associate Deputy AG Bruce Ohr is demoted amid probe of contacts with Trump dossier firm“A senior Justice Department official was demoted this week amid an ongoing investigation into his contacts with the opposition research firm responsible for the anti-Trump “dossier,” the department confirmed to Fox News.
Until Wednesday morning, Bruce G. Ohr held two titles at DOJ: associate deputy attorney general, a post that placed him four doors down from his boss, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein; and director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), a program described by the department as “the centerpiece of the attorney general’s drug strategy.”
Ohr will retain his OCDETF title but has been stripped of his higher post and ousted from his office on the fourth floor of “Main Justice.”
Initially senior department officials could not provide the reason for Ohr’s demotion, but Fox News has learned that evidence collected by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., indicates that Ohr met during the 2016 campaign with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored the “dossier.”
(…) “Additionally, House investigators have determined that Ohr met shortly after the election with Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS – the opposition research firm that hired Steele to compile the dossier with funds supplied by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. By that point, according to published reports, the dossier had been in the hands of the FBI, which exists under the aegis of DOJ, for some five months, and the surveillance on Carter Page, an adviser to the Trump campaign, had started more than two months prior.” (Read more: Fox News, 12/7/2016)
December 9, 2016 – John McCain passes dossier alleging secret Trump-Russia contacts to Comey
“Senator John McCain passed documents to the FBI director, James Comey, last month alleging secret contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow and that Russian intelligence had personally compromising material on the president-elect himself.
The material, which has been seen by the Guardian, is a series of reports on Trump’s relationship with Moscow. They were drawn up by a former western counter-intelligence official, now working as a private consultant. BuzzFeed on Tuesday published the documents, which it said were “unverified and potentially unverifiable”.
The Guardian has not been able to confirm the veracity of the documents’ contents, and the Trump team has consistently denied any hidden contacts with the Russian government.” (Read more: The Guardian, 1/11/2017)
December 12, 2016 – US Intel vets dispute Russia hacking claims because the evidence should be there and is absent
“As the hysteria about Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election grows, a key mystery is why U.S. intelligence would rely on “circumstantial evidence” when it has the capability for hard evidence, say U.S. intelligence veterans.
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Allegations of Hacking Election Are Baseless
A New York Times report alluding to “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” leading the CIA to believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin “deployed computer hackers with the goal of tipping the election to Donald J. Trump” is, sadly, evidence-free. This is no surprise, because harder evidence of a technical nature points to an inside leak, not hacking – by Russians or anyone else.
Monday’s Washington Post reports that Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has joined other senators in calling for a bipartisan investigation of suspected cyber-intrusion by Russia. Reading our short memo could save the Senate from endemic partisanship, expense and unnecessary delay.
In what follows, we draw on decades of senior-level experience – with emphasis on cyber-intelligence and security – to cut through uninformed, largely partisan fog. Far from hiding behind anonymity, we are proud to speak out with the hope of gaining an audience appropriate to what we merit – given our long labors in government and other areas of technology. And corny though it may sound these days, our ethos as intelligence professionals remains, simply, to tell it like it is – without fear or favor.
We have gone through the various claims about hacking. For us, it is child’s play to dismiss them. The email disclosures in question are the result of a leak, not a hack. Here’s the difference between leaking and hacking:
Leak: When someone physically takes data out of an organization and gives it to some other person or organization, as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning did.
Hack: When someone in a remote location electronically penetrates operating systems, firewalls or any other cyber-protection system and then extracts data.
All signs point to leaking, not hacking. If hacking were involved, the National Security Agency would know it – and know both sender and recipient.
In short, since leaking requires physically removing data – on a thumb drive, for example – the only way such data can be copied and removed, with no electronic trace of what has left the server, is via a physical storage device.
Awesome Technical Capabilities
Again, NSA is able to identify both the sender and recipient when hacking is involved. Thanks largely to the material released by Edward Snowden, we can provide a full picture of NSA’s extensive domestic data-collection network including Upstream programs like Fairview, Stormbrew and Blarney. These include at least 30 companies in the U.S. operating the fiber networks that carry the Public Switched Telephone Network as well as the World Wide Web. This gives NSA unparalleled access to data flowing within the U.S. and data going out to the rest of the world, as well as data transiting the U.S.
In other words, any data that is passed from the servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) or of Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) – or any other server in the U.S. – is collected by the NSA. These data transfers carry destination addresses in what are called packets, which enable the transfer to be traced and followed through the network.
Packets: Emails being passed across the World Wide Web are broken down into smaller segments called packets. These packets are passed into the network to be delivered to a recipient. This means the packets need to be reassembled at the receiving end.
To accomplish this, all the packets that form a message are assigned an identifying number that enables the receiving end to collect them for reassembly. Moreover, each packet carries the originator and ultimate receiver Internet protocol number (either IPV4 or IPV6) that enables the network to route data.
When email packets leave the U.S., the other “Five Eyes” countries (the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) and the seven or eight additional countries participating with the U.S. in bulk-collection of everything on the planet would also have a record of where those email packets went after leaving the U.S.
These collection resources are extensive [see attached NSA slides 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]; they include hundreds of trace route programs that trace the path of packets going across the network and tens of thousands of hardware and software implants in switches and servers that manage the network. Any emails being extracted from one server going to another would be, at least in part, recognizable and traceable by all these resources.
The bottom line is that the NSA would know where and how any “hacked” emails from the DNC, HRC or any other servers were routed through the network. This process can sometimes require a closer look into the routing to sort out intermediate clients, but in the end sender and recipient can be traced across the network.
The various ways in which usually anonymous spokespeople for U.S. intelligence agencies are equivocating – saying things like “our best guess” or “our opinion” or “our estimate” etc. – shows that the emails alleged to have been “hacked” cannot be traced across the network. Given NSA’s extensive trace capability, we conclude that DNC and HRC servers alleged to have been hacked were, in fact, not hacked.
The evidence that should be there is absent; otherwise, it would surely be brought forward, since this could be done without any danger to sources and methods. Thus, we conclude that the emails were leaked by an insider – as was the case with Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. Such an insider could be anyone in a government department or agency with access to NSA databases, or perhaps someone within the DNC.” (Read more: Consortium News, December 12, 2016)
December 12, 2016 – Clapper says CIA is wrong on Russia and Clinton leaks
“The overseers of the U.S. intelligence community have not embraced a CIA assessment that Russian cyber attacks were aimed at helping Republican President-elect Donald Trump win the 2016 election, three American officials said on Monday.
While the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) does not dispute the CIA’s analysis of Russian hacking operations, it has not endorsed their assessment because of a lack of conclusive evidence that Moscow intended to boost Trump over Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, said the officials, who declined to be named.
The position of the ODNI, which oversees the 17 agency-strong U.S. intelligence community, could give Trump fresh ammunition to dispute the CIA assessment, which he rejected as “ridiculous” in weekend remarks, and press his assertion that no evidence implicates Russia in the cyber attacks.
Trump’s rejection of the CIA’s judgment marks the latest in a string of disputes over Russia’s international conduct that have erupted between the president-elect and the intelligence community he will soon command.
An ODNI spokesman declined to comment on the issue.
“ODNI is not arguing that the agency (CIA) is wrong, only that they can’t prove intent,” said one of the three U.S. officials. “Of course they can’t, absent agents in on the decision-making in Moscow.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, whose evidentiary standards require it to make cases that can stand up in court, declined to accept the CIA’s analysis – a deductive assessment of the available intelligence – for the same reason, the three officials said.” (Read more: Reuters, 12/12/2016)
December 13, 2016 – Christopher Steele gives his final report to Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger and Paul Ryan’s chief of staff, Jonathan Burks
(…) “In his testimony, Comey again pushed the fiction that Republicans opposed to Trump first paid for the dossier. Congressional Republicans are right that Comey is trying to muddy the waters—the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee funded Steele’s work.
But credit Comey for underscoring, and maybe not accidentally, a larger truth—the operation that sought to defraud the American voter had bipartisan support all along. Court documents released in December show that Steele gave his final report to Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s chief of staff, Jonathan Burks.
How is it possible that so many people knew and said nothing? Everyone knows it’s impossible to sustain a real conspiracy that size. People in the know talk and the press makes it public. But they did talk—all the time. But the conversations, implicit confessions, of FBI agents and other U.S. officials were hidden by colleagues who classified their talk, or deleted it, like FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page’s text messages.
The press didn’t report it because the press is part of the operation, the indispensable part. None of it would have been possible, and it certainly wouldn’t have lasted for two years, had the media not linked arms with spies, cops, and lawyers to relay a story first spun by Clinton operatives.
Starting with a relatively small group consisting of Steele, Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, and senior FBI, DOJ, CIA, and State Department officials, the dossier operation gained momentum and adherents, senior officials across the political spectrum, a large part of the press corps, then the many millions of Americans it wound into a frenzied madness. Thus, much of the dossier operation was improvised.
But the core component appears to be the result of a carefully constructed plan requiring technical and legal know-how. Interviews with current and former U.S. officials provide fresh insight into how Clinton-funded operatives and senior law enforcement figures orchestrated a media campaign and weaponized the dossier to obtain the October 21, 2016 warrant on Page.” (Read more: The Federalist, 1/02/2019)
- Adam Kinzinger
- Carter Page
- Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
- Christopher Steele
- Clinton campaign
- Clinton/DNC/Steele Dossier
- December 2016
- Department of Justice
- Department of State
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- FISA Title-1 surveillance warrant
- Fusion GPS
- Glenn Simpson
- James Comey
- Jonathan Burks
- Lisa Page
- media collusion
- Paul Ryan
- Peter Strzok
- text messages
December 15, 2016 – Peter Strzok-Lisa Page texts discuss others ‘leaking like mad’ ahead of Russia investigation: Report
“New text messages between ex-FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page reveal others were “leaking like mad” in the run-up to the Trump-Russia collusion probe, according to new communications between the former lovers obtained exclusively by Fox News.
A lengthy exchange dated Dec. 15, 2016 appears to reveal a potential leak operation for “political” purposes.
“Oh, remind me to tell you tomorrow about the times doing a story about the rnc hacks,” Page texted Strzok.
“And more than they already did? I told you Quinn told me they pulling out all the stops on some story…” Strzok replied.
A source told Fox News “Quinn” could be referring to Richard Quinn, who served as the chief of the Media and Investigative Publicity Section in the Office of Public Affairs. Quinn could not be reached for comment.
Strzok again replied: “Think our sisters have begun leaking like mad. Scorned and worried, and political, they’re kicking into overdrive.”
(…) “The “leaking like mad” text came on the same day that several news outlets reported that U.S. intelligence officials said they were convinced that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved, and approved Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Days before, the New York Times published an article titled “Russian Hackers Acted to Aid Trump in Election, U.S. Says,” citing “senior administration officials.”
A story published by the New York Times on Jan. 10, 2017, suggested that Russian hackers “gained limited access” to the Republican National Committee. Jan. 10, 2017 is also the same day BuzzFeed News published the infamous anti-Trump dossier.
Following the text about “sisters leaking,” Strzok wrote to Page:
“And we need to talk more about putting C reporting in our submission. They’re going to declassify all of it…”
Page replied: “I know. But they’re going to declassify their stuff, how do we withhold…”
“We will get extraordinary questions. What we did what we’re doing. Just want to ensure everyone is good with it and has thought thru all implications,” Strzok wrote. “CD should bring it up with the DD.” (Read more: Fox News, 9/13/2018)
December 19, 2016 – Strzok text to Page: “It will make your head spin to realize how many stories we played a major role in! Sheesh, this has been quite a year…”
(…) “A former senior U.S. intelligence official told SaraACarter.com that Strzok, who was also “playing partisan politics was then worried that sharing information with the other agencies would be used by the Obama administration for political purposes is the real height of hypocrisy and his boss Comey was just the same. What needs to happen is an investigation outside the DOJ into this whole mess.”
The disagreement between the FBI and the Intelligence Community Assessment didn’t stop the FBI from wanting to attach the unverified dossier to the report. And that was disputed by James R. Clapper, then director of national intelligence, and then CIA Director John O. Brennan, who both objected stating that the dossier was unconfirmed information from a former British spy and not vetted U.S. intelligence.
Brennan has stated on the record that he did not see the dossier until December 2016. A spokesman for Brennan told this reporter in an interview earlier this year that “former FBI Director Comey has said publicly that he wanted to make sure President Obama and Trump knew about the dossier. Comey decided to attach it to the IC Assessment. There was even talk of including it as part of the IC Assessment but Brennan (and Clapper) in fact were the ones who didn’t allow the dossier to be part of it, and they didn’t allow that because they said the information wasn’t verified intelligence and that wasn’t what the IC Assessment was about.”
In early December 2016, Strzok and Page texted that there were some conflicts between classified intelligence and the information that was already in the hands of White House officials. And they were both concerned that information would leak.
“Man, our intel submission is going to be a BOMB,” said Strzok in a text on Dec. 18, 2016.
“Oh god, why do you say that?” said Page. “Was planning to try to go in early to reach it before our mtg with Jim,“ referencing the FBI Chief of Staff James Rybicki.
“Oh it’s fine. You’ve heard it all. I’m just saying the C (classified) portion is absolutely different from the bulk of the stuff in the community. And the community and especially the WH will jump all over it since it’s what they WANT to say and they can attribute it to us, not themselves,” Strzok texted back. “All the benefit, none of the political risk. We get all of that.”
On December 19, 2016, Strzok and Page boast about the number of stories they had a hand in shaping. Page sends a text at 20:17 saying, “And this. It will make your head spin to realize how many stories we played a personal role in. Sheesh, this has been quite a year…NYTimes: The most-read stories of 2016 (with a link).”
Strzok responds “Jesus, I want to take people out for a drink. I want to take YOU out for a drink. I hope this upcoming presidency doesn’t fill my years with regret wondering what we might have done differently.”
Then page responds to Strzok with a “sad” emoji face. (Read more: Sara Carter, 9/20/2018)
December 29, 2016 – March 30, 2017: A timeline of General Michael Flynn events
December 29 2016 – General 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 2017 – Mike 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 2017 – Acting 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.
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 2017 – President 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 2017 – Jeff Sessions is confirmed as Attorney General.
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.
Now we go nuclear. IC war going to new levels. Just got an EM fm senior IC friend, it began: “He will die in jail.”https://t.co/e6FxCclVqT
— John Schindler (@20committee) February 15, 2017
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:
— The Hill (@thehill) December 2, 2017
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:
Obama State Dept: We have no problem with General Flynn and the incoming administration contacting foreign officials pic.twitter.com/FwZDaHU8lO
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) December 2, 2017
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.
(Reposted with special permission.)
Early January 2017 – James Clapper leaks details about dossier to CNN, then lies about it to Congress
(…) “In one of the findings within the 253-page report, the House intelligence committee wrote that Clapper leaked details of a dossier briefing given to then-President-elect Donald Trump to CNN’s Jake Tapper, lied to Congress about the leak, and was rewarded with a CNN contract a few months later.
“Clapper flatly denied discussing the dossier [compiled by Steele] or any other intelligence related to Russia hacking of the 2016 election with journalists,’” the committee found.
When asked directly whether he had ever discussed the dossier with any journalists, Clapper replied that he had not, according to a transcript of the proceedings:
MR. ROONEY: Did you discuss the dossier or any other intelligence related to Russia hacking of the 2016 election with journalists?
MR. CLAPPER: No.
The former DNI later changed his story after he was confronted specifically about his communications with Jake Tapper of CNN.
“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,” the report continued. “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,” or intelligence community assessment.” (Read more: The Federalist, 04/27/2018)
January 3, 2017 – Schumer says Trump is ‘really dumb’ for attacking intelligence agencies
“New Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump is “being really dumb” by taking on the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia’s cyber activities.
“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
“So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”
Trump said Tuesday evening that an intelligence briefing on Russia’s cyber activities “was delayed until Friday” and suggested that intelligence agencies weren’t prepared. NBC News reported, however, that the briefing was always planned for Friday.
“The ‘Intelligence’ briefing on so-called ‘Russian hacking’ was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!” the president-elect wrote on Twitter.”
January 6, 2017 – Comey writes in a memo that pressure from CNN prompted his dossier briefing with Trump
“Former FBI Director James Comey wrote in a newly released memo that pressure from news outlets — “CNN in particular” — convinced him to brief then-President-Elect Donald Trump on the infamous Steele dossier during a meeting at Trump Tower on Jan. 6, 2017.
“I said media like CNN had [the dossier] and were looking for a news hook,” Comey wrote in a memo just after briefing Trump about the salacious allegations in the dossier.
“I said it was inflammatory stuff that they would get killed for reporting straight up from the source reports,” he added.
Four days after that meeting, CNN published a story revealing the existence of a salacious report alleging the Russian government had compromised Trump. The CNN story was referring to what’s now known as the dossier — an unverified 35-page report written by former British spy Christopher Steele.
CNN found its news hook: the very same meeting Comey said was necessary because of pressure from CNN.
CNN’s bombshell report created another news hook but for another news outlet. Hours after the CNN story went live, BuzzFeed News published the entire 35-page dossier, which was later revealed to be funded by the Clinton campaign and DNC.
The report has cast a cloud over the Trump presidency ever since, even though Trump has vehemently denied its allegations.
The Republican has reportedly fumed he believes Comey set him up. Comey’s briefing was used as a pretext to publish the dossier, which alleges the Russian government is blackmailing Trump with video of him using prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room in 2013, the president argued.
The leaker of the Comey briefing to Trump has not been identified, though only a small number of government officials would have been aware of the meeting and of what Comey told Trump.
Joining Comey were James Clapper, John Brennan and Adm. Mike Rogers, the directors of the Office of National Intelligence, the CIA and the National Security Agency, respectively.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 4/19/2018)
January 6 – 10, 2017: Senator Ron Johnson has questions for “Sensitive Matters Team” – New emails show FBI and DOJ discussing dossier briefing for CNN release
“The footnotes in a letter from Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson outline a series of previously unknown emails between top FBI and DOJ officials as they discuss the Steele Dossier and prepare for a release by CNN.
The emails show that hours before FBI Director James Comey briefed President-Elect Trump on the dossier, Comey’s chief-of-staff James Rybicki e-mailed staff that Director Comey “is coming into HQ briefly now for an update from the sensitive matter team.”
On January 8th, 2017, two days after the Comey briefing, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe wrote an e-mail to top FBI officials (James Comey, James Rybicki, David Bowdich and Michael Kortan), with the subject: “Flood is coming.”
47 minutes later Andrew McCabe then emails across the street to Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and her deputy assistant Matthew Axelrod. Andrew McCabe uses the subject line “News” in his e-mail to alert the Main Justice officials.
The letter from Senator Johnson then goes on to outline how CNN reported breaking news of the dossier on January 10th, using the ‘hook’ created by a leak of the briefing Comey gave to president-elect Trump. CNN headlined their report: “Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him.” A few hours later, BuzzFeed News published the contents of the “Steele dossier.”
Within the letter Senator Johnson asks Director Chris Wray to provide a list of all members of the “sensitive matters team” referenced by James Rybicki. Additionally, Johnson requests Wray to provide all details about how FBI officials “first learned that media outlets, including CNN, may have possessed the Steele dossier.”
From the footnotes we can see the emails were first obtained by the Justice Department Office of Inspector General (Michael Horowitz) and turned over to the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
What makes this interesting is the emails are: all post-election; all seemingly unrelated to any of the three known primary IG investigative inquiries; and all provided by the OIG to congress, without prior request (that we know of). Much like the Page/Strzok text message release, this email release seems specifically intended to spur further congressional inquiry, and broaden the general public awareness.
Why would IG Horowitz send these to congress? Well, there’s not much he can do with them. All of the outlined participants/recipients are no longer within the DOJ or FBI except David Bowditch (now Asst. Director under Wray); however, they do provide an expanded awareness and understanding of the post-election ‘small group‘ activity.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/22/2018)
- Andrew McCabe
- Chris Wray
- Clinton/DNC/Steele Dossier
- David Bowdich
- Department of Justice
- DOJ OIG Report
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- James Comey
- James Rybicki
- Matthew Axelrod
- Michael Horowitz
- Michael Kortan
- Ron Johnson
- Sally Yates
- Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee
- sensitive matters team
January 6, 2017 – Comey’s statement for the record on his first briefing with President-elect Trump re Russian meddling
Statement for the Record
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
James B. Comey
June 8, 2017
Chairman Burr, Ranking Member Warner, Members of the Committee
Thank you for inviting me to appear before you today. I was asked to testify today to describe for you my interactions with President-Elect and President Trump on subjects that I understand are of interest to you. I have not included every detail from my conversations with the President, but, to the best of my recollection, I have tried to include information that may be relevant to the Committee.
January 6 Briefing
“I first met then-President-Elect Trump on Friday, January 6 in a conference room at Trump Tower in New York. I was there with other Intelligence Community (IC) leaders to brief him and his new national security team on the findings of an IC assessment concerning Russian efforts to interfere in the election. At the conclusion of that briefing, I remained alone with the President Elect to brief him on some personally sensitive aspects of the information assembled during the assessment.
The IC leadership thought it important, for a variety of reasons, to alert the incoming President to the existence of this material, even though it was salacious and unverified. Among those reasons were: (1) we knew the media was about to publicly report the material and we believed the IC should not keep knowledge of the material and its imminent release from the President-Elect; and (2) to the extent there was some effort to compromise an incoming President, we could blunt any such effort with a defensive briefing.
The Director of National Intelligence asked that I personally do this portion of the briefing because I was staying in my position and because the material implicated the FBI’s counter-intelligence responsibilities. We also agreed I would do it alone to minimize potential embarrassment to the President-Elect. Although we agreed it made sense for me to do the briefing, the FBI’s leadership and I were concerned that the briefing might create a situation where a new President came into office uncertain about whether the FBI was conducting a counter-intelligence investigation of his personal conduct.
It is important to understand that FBI counter-intelligence investigations are different than the more-commonly known criminal investigative work. The Bureau’s goal in a counter-intelligence investigation is to understand the technical and human methods that hostile foreign powers are using to influence the United States or to steal our secrets. The FBI uses that understanding to disrupt those efforts. Sometimes disruption takes the form of alerting a person who is targeted for recruitment or influence by the foreign power. Sometimes it involves hardening a computer system that is being attacked. Sometimes it involves “turning” the recruited person into a double-agent, or publicly calling out the behavior with sanctions or expulsions of embassy-based intelligence officers. On occasion, criminal prosecution is used to disrupt intelligence activities.
Because the nature of the hostile foreign nation is well known, counterintelligence investigations tend to be centered on individuals the FBI suspects to be witting or unwitting agents of that foreign power. When the FBI develops reason to believe an American has been targeted for recruitment by a foreign power or is covertly acting as an agent of the foreign power, the FBI will “open an investigation” on that American and use legal authorities to try to learn more about the nature of any relationship with the foreign power so it can be disrupted.
In that context, prior to the January 6 meeting, I discussed with the FBI’s leadership team whether I should be prepared to assure President-Elect Trump that we were not investigating him personally. That was true; we did not have an open counter-intelligence case on him. We agreed I should do so if circumstances warranted. During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on President Elect Trump’s reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance.
I felt compelled to document my first conversation with the President-Elect in a memo. To ensure accuracy, I began to type it on a laptop in an FBI vehicle outside Trump Tower the moment I walked out of the meeting. Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward. This had not been my practice in the past. I spoke alone with President Obama twice in person (and never on the phone) — once in 2015 to discuss law enforcement policy issues and a second time, briefly, for him to say goodbye in late 2016. In neither of those circumstances did I memorialize the discussions. I can recall nine one-on-one conversations with President Trump in four months — three in person and six on the phone.” (Read more: CNN, 6/8/2017)
In a Comey interview with George Stephanopolous on April 13, 2018, he admits to not telling Trump the Steele Dossier was paid for by his political opponents, Clinton and the DNC. (YouTube clip, 4/13/2018)
January 6, 2017 – Emails Show FBI Brass Discussed Dossier Briefing Details With CNN
(…) “Comey claimed that he was compelled to brief Trump on the dossier because “CNN had [it]” and was “looking for a news hook.”
Hours before Comey briefed Trump, FBI chief of staff James Rybicki e-mailed staff that Comey “is coming into HQ briefly now for an update from the sensitive matter team.” Just as the same officials dubbed the Clinton e-mail investigation the “mid-year exam” and the anti-Trump counterintelligence investigation “Crossfire Hurricane,” they also used various phrases using “sensitive” to refer obliquely to the dossier.
Two days after the briefing, on January 8, 2017, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, who earlier this year was fired and then referred for criminal prosecution by the DOJ inspector general for repeatedly lying about media leaks, wrote an e-mail to top FBI officials with the subject, “Flood is coming.”
“CNN is close to going forward with the sensitive story,” McCabe wrote to Comey, Rybicki, and two others. “The trigger for them is they know the material was discussed in the brief and presented in an attachment.” He did not detail how he came to know what CNN’s “trigger” was for publishing the dossier briefing story.
Although the January 10 story from CNN also claimed that Trump was presented with a two-page summary of the dossier, which was not part of the official intelligence community assessment given to Trump, Comey himself later claimed that he did not give the two-page document to Trump, raising questions about whether McCabe himself was a source for CNN’s assertion that Trump had been given the entire two-page document during the briefing.
Shortly after sending his e-mail to Comey and other FBI officials, McCabe e-mailed then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and her deputy, Matthew Axelrod. McCabe used the subject line “News” in his e-mail to the DOJ officials.
“Just as an FYI, and as expected,” McCabe wrote, “it seems CNN is close to running a story about the sensitive reporting.” It is not clear how McCabe came to be so familiar with CNN’s understanding of the dossier, its briefing, or how close CNN was to reporting on the matter.
In a Monday letter to FBI director Christopher Wray, Sen. Johnson, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, asked the director to provide a list of all members of the “sensitive matters team” referenced by Rybicki in his January 6 e-mail. Johnson also requested that Wray provide all details about how FBI officials “first learned that media outlets, including CNN, may have possessed the Steele dossier.” (Read more: The Federalist, 5/22/2018)
January 10, 2017 – Buzzfeed publishes the Clinton/DNC/Steele dossier
“A dossier making explosive — but unverified — allegations that the Russian government has been “cultivating, supporting and assisting” President-elect Donald Trump for years and gained compromising information about him has been circulating among elected officials, intelligence agents, and journalists for weeks.
The dossier, which is a collection of memos written over a period of months, includes specific, unverified, and potentially unverifiable allegations of contact between Trump aides and Russian operatives, and graphic claims of sexual acts documented by the Russians. BuzzFeed News reporters in the US and Europe have been investigating various alleged facts in the dossier but have not verified or falsified them. CNN reported Tuesday that a two-page synopsis of the report was given to President Obama and Trump.
Now BuzzFeed News is publishing the full document so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government.
The document was prepared for political opponents of Trump by a person who is understood to be a former British intelligence agent. It is not just unconfirmed: It includes some clear errors. The report misspells the name of one company, “Alpha Group,” throughout. It is Alfa Group. The report says the settlement of Barvikha, outside Moscow, is “reserved for the residences of the top leadership and their close associates.” It is not reserved for anyone, and it is also populated by the very wealthy.” (Read more: Buzzfeed, 1/10/2017)
January 10, 2017 – Intel chiefs present Trump with Russian operatives claims of Russian efforts to compromise him
“Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.
The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible. The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump.
The classified briefings last week were presented by four of the senior-most US intelligence chiefs — Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers.
One reason the nation’s intelligence chiefs took the extraordinary step of including the synopsis in the briefing documents was to make the President-elect aware that such allegations involving him are circulating among intelligence agencies, senior members of Congress and other government officials in Washington, multiple sources tell CNN.
(…) Sources tell CNN that these same allegations about communications between the Trump campaign and the Russians, mentioned in classified briefings for congressional leaders last year, prompted then-Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to send a letter to FBI Director Comey in [August], in which he wrote, “It has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government — a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States.” (Read more: CNN, 1/12/2017)
January 10, 2017 – A Peter Strzok email reveals there are three versions of the dossier
(…) “We know from public testimony that dossier author and former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele shared his findings with the FBI in summer and fall 2016 before he was terminated as a confidential source for inappropriate media contacts.
And we learned that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) provided a copy to the FBI after the November 2016 election — out of a sense of duty, his office says.
Now, memos the FBI is turning over to Congress show the bureau possessed at least three versions of the dossier and its mostly unverified allegations of collusion.
Each arrived from a different messenger: McCain, Mother Jones reporter David Corn, Fusion GPS founder (and Steele boss) Glenn Simpson.
That revelation is in an email that disgraced FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok wrote to FBI executives around the time BuzzFeed published a version of the dossier on Jan. 10, 2017.
“Our internal system is blocking the site,” Strzok wrote of the document posted on BuzzFeed. “I have the PDF via iPhone but it’s 25.6MB. Comparing now. The set is only identical to what McCain had. (it has differences from what was given to us by Corn and Simpson.)”
The significance of Strzok’s email is obvious to investigators who reviewed it in recent days. The FBI is supposed to be immune to manipulation by circular information flows, especially with sensitive investigations such as evaluating whether a foreign power tampered with an American election.
Yet, in this case, the generally same information kept walking through the FBI’s door for months — recycled each time by a new character with ties to Hillary Clinton or hatred for Trump — until someone decided they had to act.
That someone was Strzok, whose own anti-Trump bias was laid bare by his personal text messages. He first opened a case on Russia-Trump collusion on July 31, 2016 after the first flow of information, then escalated to get a warrant targeting a former Trump adviser in October after a second flurry of allegations.
The pattern is so troubling that one investigator said this to me: “The dossier and its related dirt was on a circular flight path aboard a courier service called ‘Air Clinton,’ and the FBI kept signing for the packages.” (Read more: The Hill, 7/10/2018)
January 10, 2017 – Strzok seeks to capitalize on news reports about dossier, text message suggests
“A newly revealed text message suggests that former FBI official Peter Strzok sought to capitalize on news reports in January 2017 that President Donald Trump had been briefed about allegations in the infamous Steele dossier.
Strzok wanted to use a CNN report related to the dossier as a reason to interview witnesses as part of the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government, according to the text message.
“Sitting with Bill watching CNN. A TON more out,” Strzok, a former FBI counterintelligence official, texted to FBI lawyer Lisa Page on Jan. 10, 2017.
“Hey let me know when you can talk. We’re discussing whether, now that this is out, we use it as a pretext to go interview some people,” continued Strzok, according to a CNN report published Friday.
Just before Strzok sent the message, CNN had reported that top government officials, including then-FBI Director James Comey, briefed then-President-Elect Trump on Jan. 6, 2017 about some of the salacious allegations in the dossier, which was authored by former British spy Christopher Steele and financed by Democrats.
Hours after CNN reported about the briefing, BuzzFeed News published the unverified dossier in full.
It is not clear why Strzok needed the CNN report as a pretext to conduct interviews.
Strzok took part in some of those interviews as the FBI’s lead investigator on the probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government. He and another FBI agent interviewed then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn on Jan. 24, 2017. Flynn has since pleaded guilty to lying in that interview about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 9/14/2018)
January 12, 2017 – Justice Department’s internal watchdog to investigate FBI’s handling of Clinton email inquiry
“The Justice Department inspector general’s office said on Thursday it would open an investigation into the decision in October by James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, to inform Congress about a new review in the Hillary Clinton email investigation — a move Mrs. Clinton has said cost her the election.
The inquiry is not a blow for Mr. Comey only. It also draws negative attention again to the F.B.I. on an issue that agents had hoped was behind them.
The inspector general’s office said the investigation had come in response to complaints from members of Congress and the public about actions by the F.B.I. and the Justice Department during the campaign that might be seen as politically motivated.
Chief among those actions was the decision by Mr. Comey to write two letters on the email matter within 11 days of the election, creating a wave of damaging news stories about the controversy late in the campaign. In the end, the new emails that the F.B.I. reviewed — which came up during an unrelated inquiry into Anthony D. Weiner, the estranged husband of a top Clinton aide, Huma Abedin — proved irrelevant.
But the inspector general, Michael Horowitz, said he would also be examining other issues, including whether the deputy director of the F.B.I., whose wife ran as a Democrat for the Virginia State Senate, should have recused himself from any involvement in the Clinton email investigation. Another issue is whether a top Justice Department official gave information to the Clinton campaign.” (Read more: New York Times, 01/12/2017)
January 19, 2017 – Ex-FBI lawyer Lisa Page ‘interned’ ‘under Clinton,’ texts reveal
Ex-FBI lawyer Lisa Page, whose Trump-bashing texts made it clear who she backed in the 2016 presidential election, refers in a newly revealed message to serving as an intern “under Clinton.”
Page, who exchanged tens of thousands of texts with disgraced FBI official Peter Strzok, revealed the information in one message among a new batch exclusively obtained by Fox News.
“Get inspired and depressing reading that article about how Obama approached the mail room,” Page wrote Strzok on Jan. 19, 2017 – the last day of the Obama administration. “Needless to say, it was very different when I interned there under Clinton.”
The article they were discussing was a Jan. 17, 2017 story in the New York Times Magazine entitled “To Obama With Love, and Hate, and Desperation,” which described eight years of mail that poured through the mailroom.
In the text message exchange, Strzok tried to engage Page in a discussion about her time in the internship.
“How was it different?” he replied.
“Will have to talk in person,” answered Page. “It’s hard to describe. More of a rote have to respond to the mail exercise.”
It was not clear who exactly Page interned for or what she did. Page, 39, attended American University in Washington in the late 1990s, studying public affairs and earning her bachelor’s degree in 2000. (Read more: Fox News, 9/14/2018)
January 19, 2017 – Documents reveal Obama State Department urgently provides classified ‘Russiagate’ documents to multiple senators immediately ahead of Trump inauguration
“Judicial Watch today released two sets of heavily redacted State Department documents, 38 pages and 48 pages, showing classified information was researched and disseminated to multiple U.S. Senators by the Obama administration immediately prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration. The documents reveal that among those receiving the classified documents were Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Sen. Robert Corker (R-TN).
Judicial Watch obtained the documents through a June 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the State Department after it failed to respond to a February 2018 request seeking records of the Obama State Department’s last-minute efforts to share classified information about Russia election interference issues with Democratic Senator Ben Cardin (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:18-cv-01381)).
The documents reveal the Obama State Department urgently gathering classified Russia investigation information and disseminating it to members of Congress within hours of Donald Trump taking office.
- In a Thursday, January 5, 2017, email chain then-State Department Congressional Advisor Hera Abassi indicates that then-Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland’s bureau was attempting to get Russian investigation related documents to the office of Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) office as quickly as possible. (In June 2016 Nuland permitted a meeting between Steele and the FBI’s legal attaché in Rome. Nuland told CBS News that the State Department knew about the Steele dossier by July 2016.)
In the email, with the subject line “For Immediate Review – Call Sheet for S Call with Senator Warner,” Abassi writes:
“I told Cardin’s folks … that the process is long. Can we ensure that there are no holdups on our end?”
Minutes later, Abassi confirms that Nuland was fully aware of the information that the State Department was providing to members of Congress alleging Russia interference information:
“This is definitely on EUR A/S radar!”
- Leaving no doubt that the State Department officials knew they were transmitting classified information, in a Wednesday, January 18, 2017, email with the subject line “Cables/M,” Former Foreign Service Officer Kerem Bilge writes to State Department Congressional advisor Hilary Johnson and others: “Highest class is SECRET/NOFORN.”
“FYI – so we can keep the SECRET/NOFORN header, and should declassify it 25 years from tomorrow.
“I forwarded the fully cleared version to the two of you on the high side [Editor’s Note: “high side” is State Department term for high security classification system], but let me know if there’s anything else you need from me on this.
“Note: we’ll need to make sure there is someone in Senate security tomorrow who can accept these.”
- On Wednesday, January 18, 2017, Johnson confirms that classified documents were sent to Senator Corker in addition to Senator Cardin. “Flagging that I sent you a high side request for clearance of the draft transmittal letter to send documents to Senators Corker and Cardin.”
Additionally, involved in providing classified information to members of the Senate was Naz Durakoglu, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs. In an email dated Thursday, January 19, 2017, with the subject line “Signed, sealed, delivered” Durakoglu apparently confirms that Obama State Department officials were eager to provide the classified material before Trump was sworn into office: “We made the deadline!” Durakoglu states [Emphasis added] “Thank you everyone for what was truly a Department-wide effort!”
January 20, 2017 – Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, resigns
“Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Thursday that he has submitted his resignation to President Barack Obama and will not stay on past the transition to Donald Trump.
Clapper offered the news during his opening statement in a rare open hearing of the House Intelligence Committee after the panel’s ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff of California, said he had heard rumors that the spy chief might stay on into the Trump administration.
That’s not going to happen, Clapper said. “I submitted my letter of resignation last night, which felt pretty good,” he said. “I got 64 days left, and I think I’d have a hard time with my wife anything past that.”
Clapper, a retired Air Force lieutenant general who took on the intelligence director role in 2010, had long said he would be done after this year. He will finish out his term at noon on Jan. 20, his office said afterward.” (Read more: Politico, 11/17/2016)
January, 2017 to Present: Former top staffer for Sen. Dianne Feinstein may be directing the post-election efforts of Fusion GPS
“New evidence suggests that a former top staffer for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) may be directing the post-election efforts of Fusion GPS, a Democrat-linked political opposition research firm, to vindicate a series of memos alleging illegal collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and Russian officials.
Congressional documents and recently leaked texts between Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and a registered foreign agent for a Russian aluminum oligarch indicate that Daniel J. Jones is intimately involved with ongoing efforts to retroactively validate a series of salacious and unverified memos produced by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent, and Fusion GPS. The dossier, which declassified documents show was used as a basis for securing secret wiretaps on Trump campaign affiliates, was reportedly jointly funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.”
(…) “The former Feinstein staffer’s participation in ongoing efforts to retroactively validate the dossier was first publicly hinted at in January in several inquiry letters from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to various Democratic party leaders who were likely responsible for funding Fusion GPS’s 2016 dossier work, including John Podesta, Donna Brazile, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
“Understanding the extent of the DNC’s knowledge of, and interactions with, Mr. Steele and others involved in Fusion GPS’s work is essential to this inquiry,” the two senators wrote.
“In light of this, by February 8, 2018, please answer the following questions and provide the following requested documents.” The twelfth item the lawmakers requested, which appears to be the first time Jones’s name was publicly mentioned in connection with the dossier, was all communications between the letters’ recipients and a host of characters involved with the dossier and its financing, creation, and dissemination:
“For the period from March 2016 through January 2017, please provide all communications to, from, copying, or relating to: Fusion GPS; Bean LLC; Glenn Simpson; Mary Jacoby; Peter Fritsch; Tom Catan; Jason Felch; Neil King; David Michaels; Taylor Sears; Patrick Corcoran; Laura Sego; Jay Bagwell; Erica Castro; Nellie Ohr; Rinat Akhmetshin; Ed Lieberman; Edward Baumgartner; Orbis Business Intelligence Limited; Orbis Business International Limited.; Walsingham Training Limited; Walsingham Partners Limited; Christopher Steele; Christopher Burrows; Sir Andrew Wood, Paul Hauser;4 Oleg Deripaska; Cody Shearer; Sidney Blumenthal; Jon Winer; Kathleen Kavalec; Victoria Nuland; Daniel Jones; Bruce Ohr; Peter Strzok; Andrew McCabe; James Baker; Sally Yates; Loretta Lynch; John Brennan.”
The grouping of the names is a story in itself: the first 15 names (through Nellie Ohr) are those of Fusion GPS’s principals and key staff in 2016; the next 12 (through Deripaska) are connected to Steele and a Russian oligarch sanctioned by the United States, the next two (Shearer and Blumenthal) are longtime Clinton hangers-on who reportedly wrote and disseminated their own dossier of unverified allegations; the next three are key Obama-era State Department officials who likely spread allegations about the Trump campaign throughout the government; then Jones; the next six are top Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or Department of Justice (DOJ) officials who used the dossier to secure secret wiretaps on Trump affiliates; and the final name belongs to Obama’s CIA director.” (Read more: The Federalist, 2/20/2018)
January 23, 2017 – The day before the Flynn interview Peter Strzok says: “I can feel my heart beating harder, I’m so stressed about all the ways THIS has the potential to go fully off the rails.” Weird!”
♦ Strzok replies: “I know. I just talked with John, we’re getting together as soon as I get in to finish that write up for Andy [McCabe] this morning.” Strzok agrees with Page about being stressed that “THIS” could go off the rails…(Strzok’s meeting w Flynn the next day)
♦Why would Page & Strzok be stressed about “THIS” potentially going off the rails if everything was by the book?
BECAUSE IT WASN’T!
It was a conspiracy to entrap Gen Mike Flynn. All Strzok needed was an excuse to speak w Flynn. Everything in the 302 was likely fabricated.
♦February 14th, 2017, there is another note about the FBI reports filed from the interview.
Peter Strzok asks Lisa Page if FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is OK with his report: “Also, is Andy good with F-302?”
Lisa Page replies: “Launch on F 302”.
And we know from their discussions of manipulating FBI reports a year earlier, inside the Hillary Clinton investigation – that Peter Strzok has withheld information, and manipulated information, through use of the 302 reports:
January 23, 2017 – The director of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan, resigns
“The director of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan, is to stand down early for personal reasons, mainly health issues involving his wife and other family members.
Hannigan only took over at the UK’s surveillance agency in November 2014 to oversee a more open approach after revelations by the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden put GCHQ on the defensive in 2013.
His sudden resignation – he informed staff just hours before making this decision public – prompted speculation that it might be related to British concerns over shared intelligence with the US in the wake of Donald Trump becoming president.
But the GCHQ press release stressed his decision was exclusively for family reasons. As well as his ill wife, Hannigan has two elderly parents to look after. He will remain in post until a successor is appointed.” (Read more: The Guardian, 1/23/2017)
January 24, 2017 – FBI recommended Michael Flynn not have lawyer present during interview, did not warn of false statement consequences
“Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who arranged the bureau’s interview with then-national security adviser Michael Flynn at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017 — the interview that ultimately led to Flynn’s guilty plea on one count of making false statements — suggested Flynn not have a lawyer present at the session, according to newly-filed court documents. In addition, FBI offic