In 2000, Bill and Hillary Clinton owed millions of dollars in legal debt. Since then, they’ve earned over $130 million. Where did the money come from?
In his New York Times bestselling books Extortion and Throw Them All Out, Schweizer detailed patterns of official corruption in Washington that led to congressional resignations and new ethics laws.
In Clinton Cash, he follows the Clinton money trail, revealing the connection between their personal fortune, their “close personal friends”, the Clinton Foundation, foreign nations, and some of the highest ranks of government.
Schweizer reveals the Clinton’s troubling dealings in Kazakhstan, Colombia, Haiti, and other places at the “wild west” fringe of the global economy. In this blockbuster exposé, Schweizer merely presents the troubling facts he’s uncovered. Meticulously researched and scrupulously sourced, filled with headline-making revelations, Clinton Cash raises serious questions of judgment, of possible indebtedness to an array of foreign interests, and ultimately, of fitness for high public office.” (Clinton Cash)
(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.
2001: GR: Quashes FBI investigation that might have prevented 9/11
Colleen Rowley (Credit: public domain)
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.”
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.
Scooter Libby (Credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
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.”
Ted Stevens (Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)
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.”
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.
We are pleased to include some of Jeff Carlson’s work in our Investigations Timeline and appreciate the awesome job he does gathering evidence and then making sense of the FBI/DOJ/FISA abuse scandals. He has saved us countless hours in research and his ability to keep names, dates and events organized is second to none.
I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank him for giving us special permission to republish some of his work, and love that we share a common goal to educate the masses the best way we can.
His blog is at themarketswork and is often published at The Epoch Times as well.
Here is a handy list he compiled of individuals with possible involvement or affiliation in Trump surveillance, the Steele Dossier and/or the Russia narrative.
Individuals have been placed into the following groups:
Resignations/Firings – Department of Justice (Non-FBI)
Resignations/Firings – FBI
FBI/DOJ Watch List
FBI – Assignments Away from FBI Headquarters
Other Notable Retirements
Intelligence Officials – United States
Intelligence Officials – Britain
Intelligence Officials – Australia
Devin Nunes – List of Individuals referred to Joint Task Force for open-setting interviews
Sea Island Meeting – Never Trump
Websites/Blogs – Lawfare, Just Security, Moscow Project
Think Tanks – Center for American Progress, Atlantic Council, Brookings Institution
Fusion GPS’ (Bean LLC) Principals and Key Staff
Christopher Steele Connections
Hakluyt – UK private Intelligence firm
Penn Quarter Group
Trump Tower Meeting
Individuals Relating to Magnitsky Act
Oleg Deripaska Connections
FISA Court Judges
Treat this post as a work in progress. Names will be added as we move forward.
To the extent you believe something to be materially wrong or missing, let me know. I will attempt to verify.
Conservative Treehouse has been very generous in allowing us to republish some of their work and we would like to thank them publicly for saving us countless hours in research, and for sharing in a common goal to awaken the masses the best way we can. They have a stellar research team that is doing deep dives into IG Reports, FBI Reports, Congressional testimonies, text messages, emails…where there is information or a document to be found, they’re on it.
They also have an excellent video production team and so I’d like to introduce some of their work that you will find peppered throughout our timelines. In this series of videos, CT reports on the DOJ OIG Horowitz Report and their findings on the Clinton email investigation and the Weiner laptop.
“This is the first of a series of reports on the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on the investigation of Hillary Clinton by the FBI and Justice Department. This report 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 September 2015.”
This is the second in a series of reports on the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on the investigation of Hillary Clinton by the FBI and Justice Department.
This is the third in a series of reports on the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on the investigation of Hillary Clinton by the FBI and Justice Department.
This is the fourth in a series of reports on the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on the investigation of Hillary Clinton by the FBI and Justice Department.
Peter Strzok, the FBI’s lead Investigator in the Clinton email investigation, never intended to investigate the laptop before the election. The evidence, in his own words, is in the report by the Inspector General. In addition, the IG report includes a jaw dropping contradiction regarding the investigation of the laptop. Strozk says one thing. The FBI’s computer experts say another. It calls into question the entirety of the laptop investigation.
The Nation publishes a photo of McCain and Rick Davis, celebrating his seventieth birthday in Montenegro in August 2006. On the same day, the Queen K, a mega yacht owned by Oleg Deripaska, is moored in the same bay. (Credit: The Nation
(…) “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.
Then Governor of Virginia Mark Warner, Senator John McCain, David Gergen and John Sununu are captured during the session ‘The Future of US Leadership’ at the Annual Meeting 2006 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 27, 2006. (Credit: Flickr)
(…) “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)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov receives a “reset” button from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Geneva Switzerland, March, 2009. (Credit: CNN)
“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)
James Comey states in a July 5, 2017 press conference, his agency will recommend the US Department of Justice (DoJ) not to press official charges against Hillary Clinton. (Credit: MSNBC)
“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 firedthis 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)
“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 as2009 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)
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton honor the victims of the Benghazi terrorist attacks at Andrews Air Force Base on September 14, 2012. (Credit: public domain)
“Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained more than 100 pages of previously classified “Secret” documents from the Department of Defense (DOD)and the Department of State revealing that DOD almost immediately reported that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was committed by the al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood-linked “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman” (BCOAR), and had been planned at least 10 days in advance. Rahman is known as the Blind Sheikh, and is serving life in prison for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and other terrorist acts. The new documents also provide the first official confirmation that shows the U.S. government was aware of arms shipments from Benghazi to Syria. The documents also include an August 2012 analysis warning of the rise of ISIS and the predicted failure of the Obama policy of regime change in Syria.
(…) A Defense Department document from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), dated September 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attack, details that the attack on the compound had been carefully planned by the BOCAR terrorist group “to kill as many Americans as possible.” The document was sent to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Obama White House National Security Council. The heavily redacted Defense Department “information report” says that the attack on the Benghazi facility “was planned and executed by The Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman (BCOAR).” The group subscribes to “AQ ideologies:”
The attack was planned ten or more days prior on approximately 01 September 2012. The intention was to attack the consulate and to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for U.S. killing of Aboyahiye ((ALALIBY)) in Pakistan and in memorial of the 11 September 2001 atacks on the World Trade Center buildings.
“A violent radical,” the DIA report says, is “the leader of BCOAR is Abdul Baset ((AZUZ)), AZUZ was sent by ((ZAWARI)) to set up Al Qaeda (AQ) bases in Libya.” The group’s headquarters was set up with the approval of a “member of the Muslim brother hood movement…where they have large caches of weapons. Some of these caches are disguised by feeding troughs for livestock. They have SA-7 and SA-23/4 MANPADS…they train almost every day focusing on religious lessons and scriptures including three lessons a day of jihadist ideology.”
The Defense Department reported the group maintained written documents, in “a small rectangular room, approximately 12 meters by 6 meters…that contain information on all of the AQ activity in Libya.”
(Azuz is again blamed for the Benghazi attack in an October 2012 DIA document.)
Hillary Clinton appears before a Senate committee to testify on the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya. (Credit: Jack Gruber/USA Today)
The DOD documents also contain the first official documentation that the Obama administration knew that weapons were being shipped from the Port of Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria. An October 2012 report confirms:
Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.
During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.
The DIA document further details:
The weapons shipped from Syria during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s and 125mm and 155mm howitzers missiles. The numbers for each weapon were estimated to be: 500 Sniper rifles, 100 RPG launchers with 300 total rounds, and approximately 400 howitzers missiles [200 ea – 125mm and 200ea – 155 mm.]
“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)
US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman, with his wife in Brussels, was investigated over claims he solicited prostitutes and minor children. (Credit: Zuma Press)
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)
“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 Todayfour 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 original Blumenthal email released by Guccifer and missing from Clinton’s emails. (Credit: Guccifer)
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)
“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)
“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)
Christopher Steele and Bruce Ohr (Credit: public domain)
“Judicial Watch announced today it received 339 pages of heavily redacted records from the U.S. Department of Justice which reveal that former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr remained in regular contact with former British spy and Fusion GPS contractor Christopher Steele after Steele was terminated by the FBI in November 2016 for revealing to the media his position as an FBI confidential informant.
The records show that Ohr served as a go-between for Steele by passing along information to “his colleagues” on matters relating to Steele’s activities. Ohr also set up meetings with Steele, regularly talked to him on the telephone and provided him assistance in dealing with situations Steele was confronting with the media.
The timeframe for the requested records is January 1, 2015, to December 7, 2017.
The emails between Bruce Ohr and Steele were heavily redacted, including some of the dates they were sent and received.
Just to let you know I shall be in DC at short notice on business from this PM till Saturday eve, staying at the Mayflower Hotel. If you are in town it would be good to meet up, perhaps for breakfast tomorrow morn? Happy to see Nellie too if she’s up for it. Please let me know. Best, Chris
Ohr: Dear Chris –
Nice to hear from you! Nellie and I would be up for breakfast tomorrow and can come into town. What would be a good time for you? Bruce
Steele: Thanks Bruce.
On me at the Mayflower Hotel, Conn Ave NW at 0900 should work but I’ll confirm the time for definite this eve if I may. Looking forward to seeing you. Chris
Ohr: Sounds good, but we won’t let you pay for breakfast! I’ll wait for your confirmation on time. Bruce
Steele: Let’s do 0900 then. See you in the lobby. Chris
Ohr: Very good. See you at 900.
On Saturday, July 30, 2016, Steele sends his thanks to Bruce Ohr for the meeting, “Great to see you and Nellie this morning:”
Ohr: Great to see you and Nellie this morning Bruce. Let’s keep in touch on the substantive issues/s. Glenn [Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson] is happy to speak to you on this if it would help. Best, Chris
On Friday, September 16, 2016, Steele and Ohr begin planning a meeting in the Capital Hilton:
Steele: Dear Bruce,
I hope you are well. I am probably going to visit Washington again in the next couple of weeks on business of mutual interest. I would like to see you again in person and therefore to coordinate diaries. So when are you planning to be in town please? Thanks and Best, Chris
P.S. I don’t think I have up to date cell or landline phone numbers for you. Grateful if you could send met them.
Ohr: Hi Chris –
It would be great to see you I DC. I’ll be out of town Sept 19-21 but should be here the rest of the time. My numbers are office 202 307 2510 and cell [Redacted] Let me know what works best for you.
Steele: Dear Bruce,
I have now arrived in DC and am staying at the Capital Hilton, 1101 16th Street NW. I don’t know my client-related programme yet but am keen to meet up with you. Might we provisionally say breakfast on Friday morn or even tomorrow morn if necessary? Look forward to hearing back from you. Best, Chris
Ohr: Hi Chris
Would tomorrow for breakfast still work for you? My calendar is pretty good tomorrow morning, not so good on Friday. An early breakfast Friday, say 8 am?, would work too. Should I come to your hotel? Bruce
Steele: Thanks Bruce.
0800 on Friday would still be better for me, at the hotel. More useful to all I think, after my scheduled meetings tomorrow. Thanks, Chris
Ohr: Chris –
Perfect. I’ll see you Friday at your hotel at 8 am. Bruce
“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.
Jill and Andrew McCabe in their campaign attire on March 7, 2015. (Credit: Sharyl Attkisson)
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.
Andrew McCabe (Credit: Graeme Jennings/Washington Examiner)
“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)
“Former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell said that he believes some foreign intelligence agencies possess the contents of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
“I think that foreign intelligence services, the good ones, have everything on any unclassified network that the government uses,” Morell said Friday in an interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show.
“I don’t think that was a very good judgment,” he added of Clinton’s decision to use the private server for official State Department business. “I don’t know who gave her that advice, but it was not good advice.”
Former National Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough (Credit: Getty Images)
“Two secret letters the FBI sent to the State Department have revealed for the first time that the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, and the classified emails sent through it, stemmed from a so-called “Section 811” referral from the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General (ICIG). The ICIG determined that classified, national security information in Clinton’s emails may have been “compromised” and shared with “a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.”
Section 811 of the Intelligence Authorization Act of 1995 “is the statutory authority that governs the coordination of counterespionage investigations between Executive Branch departments or agencies and the FBI.” A Section 811 referral is a report to the FBI about any unauthorized information that may have been disclosed to a foreign power.
A Section 811 referral “arises whenever there is a compromise of classified information — for whatever reason,” said Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. “It could include espionage, but it could also include negligence, inadvertence, or something else…. Section 811 does not assert a violation of criminal law.”
The two letters, dated October 23, 2015 and January 20, 2016, and marked “For Official Use Only,” were written by Peter Strzok and Charles H. Kable IV, the section chiefs of the FBI’s counterespionage section, and sent to Gregory B. Starr, the assistant secretary at the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. They were written while the FBI was investigating Clinton’s use of an unsecure, private email server and the dissemination of classified information.
A snippet from Peter Strzok’s letter proving he was aware Clinton’s emails may have been compromised by a foreign power.
“The potential compromise was identified when, as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request [by VICE News], the U.S. Department of State (DoS) and the ICIG reviewed electronic mail (email) communications from the private email accounts previously used by a former Secretary of State during her tenure at DoS,” Kable wrote. “An initial review of this material identified emails containing national security information later determined by the US Intelligence Community to be classified up to the Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information Level.”
The letters were turned over to VICE News in response to a FOIA lawsuit we filed against the FBI last year seeking, among other records, correspondence between the FBI and the State Department about Clinton’s private server and the FBI’s probe into it. The FBI had previously said that if it were to disclose the contents of these letters — even the identities of the senders and receivers — it would jeopardize its investigation.” (Read more: VICE News, 8/09/2016)(FBI Vault)
“Congressional investigators have gathered enough evidence to suggest that the FBI, under the Obama administration, ignored a major lead in the Clinton-email probe, according to transcripts of closed-door testimonies of several current and former bureau officials.
The office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General informed the FBI in 2015 that a forensic review of Hillary Clinton’s emails unearthed anomalies in the metadata of the messages. The evidence in the metadata suggested that a copy of every email Hillary Clinton sent during her tenure as the secretary of state was forwarded to a foreign third party.
The existence of the lead was first revealed during the public testimony of Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz in June last year. Horowitz acknowledged the existence of the specific lead and said he spoke about it to Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) Charles McCullough. Yet, despite the alarming nature of the referral, Horowitz’s 568-page report on the FBI’s handling the Clinton-email investigation made no mention of the lead or how the bureau handled it. The omission caught the attention of Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who pressed Horowitz for an explanation. Horowitz said he would get back to the committee with answers.
It’s unclear if Horowitz ever followed up on that promise. Meadows went on to question several current and former FBI officials about the lead, including Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bill Priestap, Jonathan Moffa, John Giacolone, and James Comey. In all of the interviews, transcripts of which were reviewed for this article, the officials claimed to remember nothing about the specific referral from the ICIG, suggesting that the lead was either suppressed or ignored by investigators.
During questioning, Meadows repeatedly suggested that Strzok, the former FBI official best known for being fired from the agency last year for his anti-Trump text messages, ignored the lead and never followed up with the ICIG regarding the referral. The bureau also didn’t interview anyone from the ICIG’s office, including Frank Rucker, the investigator who initially briefed the FBI team about the anomalies, according to the transcripts.
An official from the ICIG communications office didn’t respond to repeated requests for an interview with Rucker.
Meadows summed up what lawmakers have learned about the ICIG lead while questioning Comey on Dec. 17 last year. Comey served as the director of the FBI during the Clinton-email probe. He was one of the last witnesses interviewed by lawmakers shortly before the House judiciary and oversight committees wrapped up their review of actions taken and not taken by the FBI and the DOJ during the 2016 presidential election.
“Well, just to be clear, Mr. McCullough has indicated to Members of Congress that there was zero followup,” Meadows told Comey. “There are allegations they believe were largely ignored by the FBI.” (The Epoch Times, 1/29/2019)
(…) “Strzok was one of four officials briefed on the anomalies. He was transferred to FBI headquarters from the field office in Washington to work on the Clinton-email probe around two months after it was opened and, eventually, the investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. According to Meadows, Strzok called the ICIG office 10 minutes after Comey exonerated Clinton in July 2016 and asked to close out the inspector general’s referral.
The ICIG referred the Clinton-email case to the FBI on July 6, 2015, pursuant to the Intelligence Authorization Act, which requires agencies to advise the FBI “immediately of any information, regardless of its origin, which indicates that classified information is being, or may have been, disclosed in an unauthorized manner to a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power,” according to the Justice Department Inspector General’s report on the handling of the email case. The bureau officially opened the investigation on July 10, 2015.
Meadows confronted Strzok about the metadata anomalies in Clinton’s emails during a closed-door interview on June 27 last year.
“Sir, I am — I do not recall a meeting where the IC IG made any reference to changes in the metadata,” Strzok said. “What I can tell you, Congressman, is that our technical experts, any allegation of intrusion, any review of metadata that might be indicative of an act, was pursued by our technical folks, and I am very confident that they did that thoroughly and well. I am certainly unaware of anything that we did not pursue or had not pursued.”
McCullough told The Epoch Times that he did interact with the bureau after the initial meeting when he referred the Clinton-email case. He tasked Rucker to handle day-to-day interactions with the bureau. Rucker would go on to pass information to the FBI in several tranches.
Louie Gohmert (Credit: Getty Images)
It’s unclear whether the lead on metadata anomalies was passed along during the initial referral or as part of a separate meeting. According to a version of events put forth by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) during Strzok’s public testimony in June last year, Rucker passed on the referral during a meeting with four FBI officials. Jeanette McMillian, the legal counsel for the ICIG, also attended the meeting, according to Gohmert.
According to the transcripts, three of the four FBI officials briefed by the ICIG were Strzok, then-Executive Assistant Director John Giacalone, and then-Section Chief Dean Chappell. The identity of the fourth official remains unclear. Moffa, who was a lead analyst on the Clinton-email probe, told lawmakers during a closed-door interview on Aug. 24 last year that he met the ICIG together with Counterespionage Section Chief Charles Kable. Moffa said he and Kable met the ICIG two or three times during the early days of the investigation.
Lawmakers asked at least two of the four present at the meeting, Strzok and Giacalone, about their interactions with the ICIG. Both claim to not remember being told anything about anomalies in the metadata of Clinton’s emails and the possibility that a copy of every message was sent to a foreign actor. Giacalone told lawmakers he remembers a specific country of concern being discussed during either a face-to-face meeting or other communication.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/31/2019)
“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)
Starting in October 2015 and into the first three months of 2016:
Oct. 12, 2015: Louis Bladel was moved to the New York Field Office.
Dec. 9, 2015: Charles “Sandy” Kable was moved to the Washington Field Office.
Dec. 1, 2015: Randall Coleman, Assistant Director – head of Counterintelligence, was named as executive assistant director – Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch, and was replaced by Bill Priestap.
Feb. 1, 2016: Mark Giuliano retired as Deputy FBI Director and was replaced by Andrew McCabe.
Feb. 11, 2016: John Giacalone retired as Executive Assistant Director and was replaced by Michael Steinbach.
March 2, 2016: Gerald Roberts, Jr. was moved to the Washington Field Office.
Comey was the only known involved senior FBI leadership official who remained a constant during the entirety of the Clinton email investigation.
Strzok told lawmakers last year that the Clinton Mid-Year Exam was opened out of headquarters by then-Assistant Director Coleman. Strzok also noted that Section Chief Kable was involved in that effort. The FBI investigation into the Clinton emails was formally opened on July 10, 2015.
At this time, Strzok was an Assistant Special Agent in Charge at the Washington Field Office. The Assistant Director in Charge at the Washington Field Office during this period was Andrew McCabe, a position he assumed on Sept. 14, 2014.
Notably, on the same day, John Giacalone was appointed as the executive assistant director of the National Security Branch at FBI Headquarters, a position that had been held by McCabe prior to his move to head the Washington Field Office. Giacalone became the supervisor of Priestap’s predecessor, Coleman. Also on Sept. 14, Michael Steinbach replaced Giacalone as assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division. Steinbach would later replace Giacalone as the executive assistant director of the National Security Branch on Feb. 11, 2016, when Giacalone retired. With this appointment, Steinbach became Priestap’s direct supervisor.
Strzok said the decision to open the Clinton case at FBI headquarters as opposed to the Washington Field Office was made by senior executives at the FBI—certainly at or above Assistant Director Coleman’s level. At this time, Coleman was serving as the head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division—the same position Priestap would take over in January 2016.
On July 30, 2015, within weeks of the FBI’s opening of the Clinton investigation, McCabe was suddenly promoted to the No. 3 position within the FBI. With his new title of associate deputy director, McCabe was transferred to FBI headquarters from the Washington Field Office and his direct involvement in the Clinton investigation began.
Peter Strzok (Credit: Evan Vucci/The Associated Press)
Strzok would shortly rejoin his old boss. Approximately two months after opening the Clinton investigation, FBI headquarters reached out to the Washington Field Office, saying they needed greater staffing and resources “based on what they were looking at, based on some of the investigative steps that were under consideration.”
Strzok was one of the agents selected and, likely in September or early October 2015, he was assigned to the Mid-Year Exam team and transferred to FBI headquarters.
On Jan. 29, 2016, FBI Director Comey appointed McCabe as Deputy FBI Director, replacing the retiring Giuliano, and McCabe assumed the No. 2 position within the FBI after having held the No. 3 position for all of six months.
Strzok, in his comments to lawmakers, acknowledged that the newly formed investigative team was largely made up of personnel from the Washington Field Office and FBI headquarters.
This new structure resulted in some unusual reporting lines that went outside normal chains of command. Strzok, who did not normally fall under Priestap’s oversight, was now reporting directly to him. Priestap described the structure as being established by his predecessor, Randall Coleman, during his testimony:
“I don’t know why he [Coleman] set it up, but he set up a reporting mechanism that leaders of that team would report directly to him, not through the customary other chain of command. And I kept that on when I assumed responsibility,” Priestap said.
Sometime around September or October 2016, Strzok was promoted to Deputy Assistant Director, a position that came under Priestap’s normal line authority. By this time the Clinton email case was formally closed and Strzok had already opened the counterintelligence investigation into then-candidate Trump on July 31, 2016.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/31/2019)
“In congressional testimonies reviewed by the Epoch Times, both Bruce and Nellie Ohr testified separately to congressional investigators last year that they had minimal contact with each other about their work, which could have posed an inherent conflict of interest.
Newly released documents and emails obtained by Judicial Watch, however, show that Nellie emailed Bruce dozens of times about Russia-related topics between October 2015 and September 2016. Nellie also routinely included several other DOJ officials in these communications.
The emails also indicate that both Nellie and Bruce were in contact with Nellie’s boss, Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson.
Bruce Ohr (l) Glenn Simpson (c) and Nellie Ohr (Credit: public domain)
Nellie told congressional investigators in her Oct. 19, 2018, closed-door testimony, that part of her work for Fusion GPS was to research the Trump 2016 presidential campaign, including campaign associate Carter Page, early campaign supporter Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, campaign manager Paul Manafort, as well as Trump’s family members, including some of his children.
In court documents filed on Dec. 12, 2017, Simpson referred to Nellie Ohr as a “former government official expert” who was hired “to help our company with its research and analysis of Mr. Trump.”
Prior to her work for Fusion GPS, Nellie had worked as an independent contractor for the CIA for as many as six years.
Email communications between her and Bruce Ohr show that she routinely sent Bruce articles on Russia—most carrying a similar negative slant.
The emails continued throughout the duration of Nellie’s employment with Fusion GPS and usually contained a brief, often one-line commentary from Nellie. An example from page 319: “Lesin’s death (This looks “fishy”…) See the 6 November notes…”
The responses Nellie received were minimal and often non-existent, but she continued to forward emails to Bruce, along with several other DOJ officials, during her employment with Fusion GPS. The result was a steady stream of negative articles, and brief commentary on Russia being fed into the DOJ through her husband that almost certainly were the result of her work for Fusion GPS.
Bruce, however, had previously testified that he and Nellie typically did not discuss details of their work with each other.
“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 Newsearlier 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 late2015, according to federal court records.
Denis Katsyv (Credit: public domain)
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)
“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.
(…) “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.
An aerial view of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), located in the suburbs of Cheltenham, England. (Credit: public domain)
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 Guardianreported 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)
“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.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (center) sits next to retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn (left), Jill Stein (right) as they attend an exhibition marking the 10th anniversary of RT (Russia Today) television news channel in Moscow, Russia, December 10, 2015. (Credit: Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Reuters)
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)
“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)
(…) “The FBI relied in large part on allegations contained in the so-called Steele dossier in obtaining a FISA warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The author of the dossier, former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, as well as the company he was hired by, Fusion GPS, were both feeding information to the FBI through different channels.
A key conduit for Steele to the FBI was high-ranking DOJ official Bruce Ohr.
Asked if he was familiar with Ohr, Priestap told lawmakers, “I think I’ve seen Bruce Ohr, but I don’t think I’ve ever been in a meeting with Bruce Ohr.” Priestap also said he never worked with Ohr on a counterintelligence investigation, which would include the FBI’s investigation into Trump-Russia collusion:
Ms. Shen: So you have never worked with Bruce Ohr on a counterintelligence —
Mr. Priestap: I have not, no.
Priestap appeared to be completely unaware of the role that Ohr played in the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation into the Trump campaign—or of Ohr’s meetings with the FBI.
In either late September or early October 2016, Ohr had another meeting—this time with Strzok, Page, and two or three DOJ career officials from the criminal division: Bruce Swartz, Zainab Ahmad, and Andrew Weissman (Ohr testified that he was unsure whether Weismann was at this or a later meeting).
On Nov. 21, 2016, Ohr had an additional meeting with Strzok and Page where he was introduced to FBI agent Joe Pientka, who would become Ohr’s FBI handler. Pientka was also present with Strzok during the Jan. 24, 2017, interview of then-national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
On the following day, Nov. 22, 2016, Ohr met alone with Pientka. Ohr would continue to relay his communications with Steele to Pientka. Unbeknownst to Ohr, Pientka was transmitting all the information directly to Strzok for use in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation Priestap was overseeing.” (The Epoch Times, 1/31/2019)
“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)
(…) “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.
Sir Richard Dearlove (Credit: Reuters)
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.
Former director of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan (Credit: GCHQ)
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 unpaidadvisor.
CIA director John Brennan, visits Hakluyt’s New York office in January, 2018. Hakluyt retains close ties to the British Intelligence Agencies MI6 and GCHQ, as well as the intelligence agencies of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, also known as the Five-Eyes Alliance. (Credit: public domain)
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)
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:
John Brennan (Credit: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)
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.
Click on the infographic at The Epoch Times to enlarge.
“A member of the Ukrainian parliament accused in his home country of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election was identified in congressional testimony in October as a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS.
Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign.
“I recall … they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian,” Ohr said when asked who Fusion GPS’s sources were, according to portions of Ohr’s testimony confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Ohr, whose husband is Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, testified that she was not aware of Leshchenko’s source information, but that she knew he was providing information to Fusion GPS, where she worked between late 2015 and the 2016 election.
(…) Nellie Ohr did not describe the Leshchenko-Fusion GPS source relationship in greater detail, so it is not clear whether the Ukrainian lawmaker was paid, how he transmitted information to Fusion or with whom at the firm he maintained contact.
(…) Nellie Ohr testified that Leshchenko also provided Fusion GPS with information on Manafort.
Leshchenko, a member of Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau, is widely credited with publishing a so-called “black ledger” that purported to show that Manafort received $12.7 million in illicit cash payments through 2012 from then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Manafort worked as a public relations consultant for Yanukovych and his political party from 2004 through 2014, when Yanukovych was forced out of office.
Leshchenko was a prominent media presence during and after the 2016 campaign, leveling allegations against Manafort and making it clear that he sought to portray Trump as a “pro-Russian candidate.”
“A Trump presidency would change the pro-Ukrainian agenda in American foreign policy,” Leshchenko told the Financial Times days after publicizing the black ledger on Aug. 14, 2016. “For me, it was important to show not only the corruption aspect, but that he is [a] pro-Russian candidate who can break the geopolitical balance in the world.”
“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)
“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)
“In either late 2015 or early 2016, the IC inspector general, Chuck McCullough, sent Frank Rucker and Janette McMillan to meet with the FBI in order to detail the anomaly that had been uncovered. That meeting was attended by four individuals, including Strzok, then-Executive Assistant Director John Giacalone, and then-Section Chief Dean Chappell. The identity of the fourth individual remains unknown, though Moffa, who also met with the IG at various times, is a possible candidate. Charles Kable, who also met with the ICIG at several points, is another possible candidate.
Priestap testified that he had not been briefed on the Clinton server anomaly by Strzok, noting “this would have been a big deal.”
“I am not aware of any evidence that demonstrated that. I’m also not aware of any evidence that my team or anybody reporting to me on this had advised me that there were anomalies that couldn’t be accounted for. I don’t recall that,” he said.
Priestap’s admission that this was all new information to him, prompted an observation from Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) that Strzok appeared to be exercising significant investigative control:
Mr. Meadows: “It sounds like Peter Strzok was kind of driving the train here. Would you agree with that?”
Mr. Priestap: “Peter and Jon, yeah.”
As Meadows noted during testimony, this matter still had to be officially “closed out” by the FBI before the official closing of the Clinton investigation. Strzok personally called the IC inspector general within minutes of Comey’s July 5, 2016, press conference on the Clinton investigation, telling him that the FBI would be sending a “referral to close it out.”
Meadows seemed genuinely surprised that Strzok had apparently kept this information successfully hidden from Priestap, noting, “I’m a Member from North Carolina, and you’re saying that I have better intel than you do?” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/31/2019)
Matthew Axelrod (l), Andrew McCabe (c) and Sally Yates (Credit: public domain)
“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)
“Some of the information that passed through Hillary Clinton’s private email server was so sensitive that high-level officials examining the account had to get special security clearance before they could proceed with their probe, NBC’s Ken Dilanian reported on Tuesday.
That is according to an intelligence official familiar with the probe into the former secretary of state’s “homebrew” server, which is being led by the intelligence community’s inspector general, Charles McCullough.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has also been looking into whether classified material was mishandled during Clinton’s tenure at the State Department from 2009 to 2013.
SAPs are designed to safeguard information deemed more sensitive than even “top secret.”
“The special access program in question was so sensitive that McCullough and some of his aides had to receive clearance to be read in on it before viewing the sworn declaration about the Clinton emails,” Dilanian reported.” (Read more: Business Insider, 1/21/2016)
“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 indicatedthis 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.
John Brennan (l) and Trey Gowdy (Credit: CSpan)
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)
“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 21order 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.
James Baker (Credit: public domain)
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.
“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]?”
“As Page noted during her testimony, “there were lots and lots and lots of disagreements between the FBI and the department.” One issue of ongoing contention was Clinton’s actual email server:
“There was a great deal of discussion between the FBI and the department with respect to whether to proceed, obtain the server which housed the bulk of Secretary Clinton’s emails, pursuant to consent or pursuant to a subpoena or other compulsory process.”
Additionally, access to the laptops of Clinton’s aides and personal lawyers was an area of particular contention:
“There were, I think, months of disagreement with respect to obtaining the Mills and Samuelson laptops. So Heather Mills and—Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson were both lawyers who engaged in the sorting. Once it had been identified that Secretary Clinton had these emails—I’m guessing it’s pursuant to the FOIA request, but I don’t really know—she—well, our understanding is that she asked her two lawyers to take the bulk of the 60,000 emails and to sort out those which were work-related from those which were personal and to produce the work-related ones to the State Department.
“They did so. That 30,000 is sort of the bulk of the emails that we relied on in order to do the investigative technique, although we found other emails a jillion other places. We, the FBI, felt very strongly that we had to acquire and attempt to review the content of the Mills and Samuelson laptops because, to the extent the other 30,000 existed anywhere, that is the best place that they may have existed.”
“And notwithstanding the fact that they had been deleted, you know, we wanted at least to take a shot at using, you know, forensic recovery tools in order to try to ensure that, in fact, the sorting that occurred between—or by Mills and Samuelson was done correctly.”
According to Page, the ongoing dispute with the DOJ ran from “February/March-ish of 2016” to June of 2016. Page also noted one other critical factor in the investigation: “the FBI cannot execute a search warrant without approval from the Justice Department.”
Notably, Page, an experienced lawyer, thought the legal case could be made that the Mills and Samuelson laptops should be made available for forensic examination. As she noted, the frustration within the FBI came, in part, from the DOJ’s “unwillingness to explain their reasoning.”
Page noted that the issue regarding the laptops rose to “the head of the OEO, the Office of Enforcement Operations, which is the unit at the Justice Department that would have to approve a warrant on a lawyer—because, of course, these were all lawyer laptops. It rose to that individual, it rose to George Toscas, over the course of this three months or so.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/11/2019)
“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.
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.
Denis Katsyv (Credit: public domain)
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.
“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 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)
“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)
Daniel Jones appears in an interview with the Guardian on September 9, 2016. (Credit: The Guardian)
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 recentarticle in the Washington Postrevealed 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)
Clinton accepts the Democratic nomination for the presidency on July 27, 2017. (Credit: Thomson Reuters)
“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)
“A 2016 DOJ criminal investigation was suppressed and buried by the DOJ/FBI that involved a major NY Democratic power broker, the Clintons and the Clinton Foundation.
The investigation revolved around the illegal sale of controlled US Homeland Security technology to Russia and China in the years before the 2016 election by a company named AGT International.
The DOJ terminated its internal investigation in 2016 despite clear and irrefutable evidence of criminal activity and hid it from the public!
In Part I of our series we discussed the Clinton Foundation and the donations to the Foundation from the COB (Martin L. Edelman) and CEO (Mati Kochavi) of AGT International as well as from Sheikhs in the UAE. These donations in the millions of dollars were for favors from the Clintons, in return the Clintons helped promote AGT International.
In Part II of our series we discussed the illegal actions that AGT International took to generate revenues around the globe. Highly sensitive US defense technology and ITAR regulated products were provided to China, Russia and other countries in the name of sales growth. These actions were beyond criminal, they were treasonous.
(Below is an AGT International internal post about its premier defense software from its company 4D Security Solutions.)
In Part III of our series we discussed the investigation that the FBI/DOJ started into AGT International and the Clinton Foundation but then terminated and covered up before the 2016 Presidential election despite irrefutable crimes!
In Part IV of our series we discussed the activities by individuals associated with AGT International in obtaining entrance to a highly sensitive US Intel facility circumventing the access controls in place that prevent illegal entries to the site.
In Part V of our series we discussed the efforts by AGT International to obtain top secret US Intel for the sole purpose of selling/sharing it with the Russians. AGT International personnel used the information as a means to entice sales from US adversaries. AGT International offered Russians the ability to conduct counter-Intel operations (e.g. cell phone intercepts, object and vehicle tracking, etc.). All of this information provided to the Russians was highly classified and never should have been placed in their hands. This information was provided by AGT International senior managers like Gadi Lenz, a US national who also held a CTO executive position at the US based defense contractor 4D Security Solutions.
The image below shows an AGT International C4I system deployed in Liaoyuan China. The system among other things was designed to automatically track and create a detailed pattern of motion of vehicles belonging to western embassies.
In Part VI of our series we showed the shady efforts AGT International took to obtain contracts in the US and abroad. AGT International utilized its COB (Martin Edelman) and the Clintons to gain access to highly placed Law Enforcement Agents (LEA’s) and former Federal and political figures in in the US and used bribes around the world to initiate contracts.
In Part VII of our series we provided evidence that AGT International hid its employees identities in the US market by using aliases for all its employees at 3i-MIND and other subsidiaries.
AGT International management sent an email to the employees at 3i-MIND and noted that “since the blog will be used in the US as well, we are and we will not be allowed identifying ourselves using our real names.” This poorly written comment provides evidence that the company encouraged its employees to hide their identities in the US.
Today in Part VIII of our series we’ll provide evidence that AGT International assisted a group of Chinese officials to inconspicuously enter the US without properly identifying the real purpose of their visit, which was to obtain highly sensitive and classified US Homeland security information and sensitive operational information.
On June 5, 2012, AGT International announced in its company newsletter that it had just signed an agreement in Guangzhou, China, with a group of Chinese and Singapore individuals to implement its highly classified and sophisticated ‘safe city’ system in the world’s largest metropolitan area.
“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?
Mary B. Jacoby (Credit: public domain)
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.
“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)
“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)
James Comey (Credit: Michael Reynolds/European Press Agency)
“Transcripts reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee reveal that former FBI Director James Comey began drafting an exoneration statement in the Clinton email investigation before the FBI had interviewed key witnesses. Chairman Chuck Grassley and Senator Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, requested all records relating to the drafting of the statement as the committee continues to review the circumstances surrounding Comey’s removal from the Bureau.
“Conclusion first, fact-gathering second—that’s no way to run an investigation. The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy,” the senators wrote in a letter today to the FBI.
Last fall, following allegations from Democrats in Congress, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) began investigating whether Comey’s actions in the Clinton email investigation violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits government employees from using their official position to influence an election. In the course of that investigation, OSC interviewed two FBI officials close to Comey: James Rybicki, Comey’s Chief of Staff, and Trisha Anderson, the Principal Deputy General Counsel of National Security and Cyberlaw. OSC provided transcripts of those interviews at Grassley’s request after it closed the investigation due to Comey’s termination.
Both transcripts are heavily redacted without explanation. However, they indicate that Comey began drafting a statement to announce the conclusion of the Clinton email investigation in April or May of 2016, before the FBI interviewed up to 17 key witnesses including former Secretary Clinton and several of her closest aides. The draft statement also came before the Department entered into immunity agreements with Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson where the Department agreed to a very limited review of Secretary Clinton’s emails and to destroy their laptops after review. In an extraordinary July announcement, Comey exonerated Clinton despite noting “there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information.”
In their letter, the two chairmen requested all drafts of Comey’s statement closing the Clinton investigation, all related emails and any records previously provided to OSC in the course of its investigation.
OSC is the permanent, independent investigative agency for personnel matters in the federal government and is not related to Robert Mueller’s temporary prosecutorial office within the Justice Department.
“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.”
Michael Horowitz & Sally Yates (Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP, Pete Marovich/Getty)
“The Justice Department took steps Tuesday to restore the access of some government watchdogs to sensitive internal records, but officials called on Congress to enact a permanent, wider fix.
The inspector general offices for 72 agencies across the federal government charged that legal policy changes made by the Obama administration over the last several years had curtailed their access to records, harmed a wide range of investigations and compromised their independence.
At least 20 investigations into topics such as sexual abuse at the Peace Corps and fatal shootings by the Drug Enforcement Administration were slowed, hindered, or sometimes closed as a result of the changes, the inspectors general said.
Justice Department officials said Tuesday that a new directive and an accompanying legal opinion would address some of those concerns.
In a memo dated Monday, Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates said that responding to investigations by the Justice Department’s inspector general “is of the highest priority” for the department, and she directed officials to provide timely access to all the material requested.
That includes grand jury documents, wiretapping records and other confidential materials that a controversial Justice Department legal opinion last year concluded could be withheld in some circumstances. Ms. Yates’s memo was first reported by The Associated Press.
In December, a congressional spending bill signed by President Obama threatened to cut off funding if records were improperly withheld from the inspectors general for the Justice Department and five others covered by the bill: the Commerce Department, NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Legal Service Corporation.
A legal opinion last week by the Justice Department’s office of legal counsel — replacing the one that came out last year — said that because of that funding measure, all material must now be turned over to those watchdogs through the end of the fiscal year in September.
In a telephone interview, Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general and leader of the governmentwide association of inspectors general, said it was unfortunate that it had taken the threat of a cutoff in funding by Congress for his office to see its full access to investigative records restored for now.
From a Wikileaks email sent by Alexandra Chalupa to Luis Miranda, Communications Director of the DNC:
Open World is a supposedly non-partisan Congressional agency.
Michael Isikoff is the same journalist Christopher Steele leaked to in September 2016:
The Carter Page FISA application extensively cited a September 23, 2016, Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, which focused on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow. This information was used to corroborate the Steele Dossier.
Steele leaked to Isikoff who wrote the article for Yahoo News. The Isikoff article was then used to help obtain a Title I FISA grant to gather information on Page. This search was then leaked by Steele to David Corn at Mother Jones.
Isikoff accompanied Chalupa to a reception at the Ukrainian Embassy immediately after the Library of Congress event.
Remember when we learned last week that Michael Isikoff’s Fusion GPS-supplied “reporting” was used as evidence to confirm supposed veracity of TrumpRussia dossier?
He was simultaneously recruited by DNC/Clinton to dig up anti-Trump dirt.
“The New York Times provided us an introduction to FBI reasoning in launching the Trump-Russia Inquiry – drunken comments from George Papadopoulos:
During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016, George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Alexander Downer (Credit: The Australian)
About three weeks earlier, Mr. Papadopoulos had been told that Moscow had thousands of emails that would embarrass Mrs. Clinton, apparently stolen in an effort to try to damage her campaign.
The information that Mr. Papadopoulos gave to the Australians answers one of the lingering mysteries of the past year: What so alarmed American officials to provoke the F.B.I. to open a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign months before the presidential election?
The Papadopoulos/Downer meeting has been portrayed as a chance encounter in a bar. That does not appear to be the case. Papadopoulos was introduced to Downer through a chain of two intermediaries. Papadopoulos knew an Israeli embassy official in London named Christian Cantor who introduced Papadopoulos to Erika Thompson. Thompson was a counselor to Downer and served in Australia’s London embassy.
On May 4, 2016, Papadopoulos gave an interview to the London Times in which he stated then-UK Prime Minister David Cameron should apologize to Trump for negative comments. The interview was not well-received. According to the Daily Caller, Thompson reached out to Papadopoulos two days after the story appeared and said Downer wanted to meet with Papadopoulos. The meeting between Papadopoulos and Downer took place on May 10, 2016. Downer reportedly told Papadopoulos to “leave David Cameron alone.”
We know Papadopoulos mentioned “thousands of emails” in his FBI Interview regarding his April 26, 2016 meeting with Mifsud. That comment is noted in the July 28, 2017Affidavit and the October 5, 2017Statement of the Offense. However, there is nothing regarding comments made to Alexander Downer in either document.
What does Alexander Downer have to say about the May 10, 2016 meeting. From a news.com.au article:
“We had a drink and he (Papadopoulos) talked about what Trump’s foreign policy would be like if Trump won the election.”
He (Trump) hadn’t got the nomination at that stage. During that conversation he (Papadopoulos) mentioned the Russians might use material that they have on Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the election, which may be damaging.
On April 28, 2018, Downer gave an interview toThe Australian. The story, which I’ve read, is behind a paywall – but the Daily Caller provides some details:
“We didn’t know anything about Trump and Russia and we had no particular focus on that,’’ Downer says of the Papadopoulos meeting. “For us we were more interested in what Trump would do in Asia” Downer told The Australian. “He [Papadopoulos] didn’t say dirt; he said material that could be damaging to her. No, he said it would be damaging. He didn’t say what it was.”
“By the way, nothing [Papadopoulos] said in that conversation indicated Trump himself had been conspiring with the Russians to collect information on Hillary Clinton. It was just that this guy, [Papadopoulos], clearly knew that the Russians did have material on Hillary Clinton — but whether Trump knew or not? He didn’t say Trump knew or that Trump was in any way involved in this. He said it was about Russians and Hillary Clinton; it wasn’t about Trump.”
Interestingly, the Schiff Memo appears to back this account up. From page two:
“Papadopoulos’ disclosure occurred against the backdrop of Russia’s aggressive covert campaign to influence our elections, which the FBI was already monitoring. We would later learn in Papadopoulos’ plea that the information the Russians could assist by anonymously releasing were thousands of Hillary Clinton emails.”
Despite initial reporting to the contrary, it appears neither “political dirt” nor Clinton emails were ever mentioned at the Papadopoulos/Downer meeting. Notably, Papadopoulos didn’t mention anything to indicate Trump knew of the Clinton information, or had any role in its collection or potential distribution.
There’s been some confusion over how Papadopoulos’ comments made their way to the FBI. Downer stated in his interview that he reported the conversation back to Australia almost immediately…” (Read much more: themarketswork.com, 8/15/2018)
Hillary Clinton and Peter Strzok (Credit: Getty Images)
“Foreign actors” obtained access to some of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails — including at least one email classified as “secret” — according to a new memo from two GOP-led House committees and an internal FBI email.”
(…) “The House committees, which conducted a joint probe into decisions made by the DOJ in 2016 and 2017, addressed a range of issues in their memo including Clinton’s email security.
“Documents provided to the Committees show foreign actors obtained access to some of Mrs. Clinton’s emails — including at least one email classified ‘Secret,'” the memo says, adding that foreign actors also accessed the private accounts of some Clinton staffers.
The memo does not say who the foreign actors are, or what material was obtained, but it notes that secret information is defined as information that, if disclosed, could “reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to the national security.”
The committees say that no one appears to have been held accountable either criminally or administratively.
Relatedly, Fox News has obtained a May 2016 email from FBI investigator Peter Strzok — who also is criticized in the House memo for his anti-Trump texts with colleague Lisa Page. The email says that “we know foreign actors obtained access” to some Clinton emails, including at least one “secret” message “via compromises of the private email accounts” of Clinton staffers.” (Strzok Email, 5/17/2016)(Read more: Fox News, 6/14/2018)
“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)
“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.”
“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.)
Former CIA director John Brennan testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in May 2017. (Credit: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
“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)
“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)
“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)
Glenn Simpson (Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/The Associated Press)
“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)
(…) “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)
“In his final report in a three-part series, Guccifer 2’s West Coast Fingerprint, the Forensicator discovers evidence that at least one operator behind the Guccifer 2.0 persona worked from the West Coast of the United States.
The Forensicator’s earlier findings stated that Guccifer 2.0’s NGP-VAN files were accessed locally on the East Coast, and in another analysis they suggested that a file published by Guccifer 2.0 was created in the Central time zone of the United States. Most recently, a former DNC official refuted the DNC’s initial allegations that Trump opposition files had been ex-filtrated from the DNC by Russian state-sponsored operatives.
So, if Guccifer 2.0’s role was negated by the statements of the DNC’s own former “official” in a 2017report by the Associated Press, why do we now return our attention to the Guccifer 2.0 persona, as we reflect on the last section of new findings from the Forensicator?
The answer: Despite almost two years having passed since the appearance of the Guccifer 2.0 persona, legacy media is still trotting out the shambling corpse of Guccifer 2.0 to revive the legitimacy of the Russian hacking narrative. In other words, it is necessary to hammer the final nail into the coffin of the Guccifer 2.0 persona.
As previously noted, In his final report in a three-part series, the Forensicator discusses concrete evidence that at least one operator behind the Guccifer 2.0 persona worked from the West Coast of the United States. He writes:
“Finally, we look at one particular Word document that Guccifer 2 uploaded, which had “track changes” enabled. From the tracking metadata we deduce the timezone offset in effect when Guccifer 2 made that change — we reach a surprising conclusion: The document was likely saved by Guccifer 2 on the West Coast, US.”
The Forensicator spends the first part of his report evaluating indications that Guccifer 2.0 may have operated out of Russia. Ultimately, the Forensicator discards those tentative results. He emphatically notes:
“The PDT finding draws into question the premise that Guccifer 2 was operating out of Russia, or any other region that would have had GMT+3 timezone offsets in force. Essentially, the Pacific Timezone finding invalidates the GMT+3 timezone findings previously described.”
The Forensicator’s new West Coast finding is not the first evidence to indicate that operators behind the Guccifer 2.0 persona were based in the US. Nine months ago, Disobedient Mediareported on the Forensicator’s analysis, which showed (among other things) that Guccifer 2.0’s “ngpvan” archive was created on the East Coast. While that report received the vast majority of attention from the public and legacy media, Disobedient Media later reported on another analysis done by the Forensicator, which found that a file published by Guccifer 2.0 (on a different occasion) was probably created in the Central Timezone of the US.
Adding to all of this, UK based analyst and independent journalist Adam Carter presented his own analysis which also showed that the Guccifer 2.0 Twitter persona interacted on a schedule which was best explained by having been based within the United States.” (Read more: Disobedient Media, 5/29/2018)
Franco Roberti, (l) Italy’s chief anti-mafia and anti-terrorism prosecutor, and Michael Gaeta, (r) an FBI agent and current Assistant Legal Attaché at the US Embassy, for “A Roundtable Discussion: The Challenges of Transnational Organized Crime Today” on October 25, 2016. (Credit: John Cabot.edu)
“A little-known FBI unit played an outsized role in allowing controversial claims by a former British MI6 spy about Donald Trump to reach the highest levels of the FBI and State Department.
The Eurasian Organized Crime unit, which was headed by Michael Gaeta at the time, specializes in investigating criminal groups from Georgia, Russia, and Ukraine.
Gaeta, an FBI agent and assistant legal attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, has known the former spy, Christopher Steele—who authored the controversial dossier on then-candidate Donald Trump—since at least 2010, when Steele provided assistance in the FBI’s investigation into the FIFA corruption scandal, over concern that Russia might have been engaging in bribery to host the 2018 World Cup.
(…) Steele would complete his first memo on June 20, 2016, and send it to Fusion via enciphered mail.
It is at this point that Steele reportedly began to reconnect with his old FBI contacts from the Eurasian serious-crime division:
“In June, Steele flew to Rome to brief the FBI contact with whom he had cooperated over FIFA,” The Guardian reported. “His information started to reach the bureau in Washington.”
It’s not entirely clear if Steele met with the head of the Eurasian division, Gaeta, or another FBI agent. Either way, Steele met with Gaeta shortly thereafter in London.
The purpose of the London visit was clear. Steele was personally handing the first memo in his dossier to Gaeta for ultimate transmission back to the FBI and the State Department.
Victoria Nuland (Credit: CBS, Face the Nation)
For this visit, the FBI sought permission from the office of Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. Nuland, who had been the recipient of many of Steele’s reports, gave permission for the more formal meeting. On July 5, 2016, Gaeta traveled to London and met with Steele at the office’s of Steele’s firm, Orbis.
Nuland provided this version of events during a Feb. 4, 2018, appearance on Face the Nation:
“In the middle of July, when he [Steele] was doing this other work and became concerned, he passed two to four pages of short points of what he was finding and our immediate reaction to that was, this is not in our purview. This needs to go to the FBI if there is any concern here that one candidate or the election as a whole might be influenced by the Russian Federation. That’s something for the FBI to investigate.”
In September 2016, Steel would travel back to Rome to meet with the FBI Eurasian squad once again. It’s likely that the meeting contained several other FBI officials as well:
“In September, Steele went back to Rome. There, he met with an FBI team. Their response was one of ‘shock and horror,’ Steele said,” according to The Guardian. “The bureau asked him to explain how he had compiled his reports, and to give background on his sources. It asked him to send future copies.”
There’s one other central figure in the Trump–Russia investigation who had meaningful overlap with the FBI’s Eurasian squad: former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe:
“McCabe began his career as a special agent with the FBI in 1996,” the FBI states on its website. “He first reported to the New York division, where he investigated a variety of organized crime matters. In 2003, he became the supervisory special agent of the Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force.”
“Christopher Steele completes the first of 16 “pre-election reports,” submitting it to Fusion GPSFusion GPSA 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)
“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)
“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:
(Credit: DOJ OIG Report, June 2018)
As BizPac Review has reported, Lynch and Clinton claimed they only discussed grandchildren and golf during their rendezvous.
(Credit: New York Post)
(…) 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)
“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, 2016email 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)
“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.”
Rachel Rojas (Credit: YouTube)
In a July 1, 2016email 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)
Bruce Ohr (l) and Christopher Steele (Credit: public domain)
“The then-No. 4 Department of Justice (DOJ) official briefed both senior FBI and DOJ officials in summer 2016 about Christopher Steele’s Russia dossier, explicitly cautioning that the British intelligence operative’s work was opposition research connected to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and might be biased.
Ohr’s briefings, in July and August 2016, included the deputy director of the FBI, a top lawyer for then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and a Justice official who later would become the top deputy to special counsel Robert Mueller.
At the time, Ohr was the associate attorney general. Yet his warnings about political bias were pointedly omitted weeks later from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant that the FBI obtained from a federal court, granting it permission to spy on whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia to hijack the 2016 presidential election.
Ohr’s activities, chronicled in handwritten notes and congressional testimony I gleaned from sources, provide the most damning evidence to date that FBI and DOJ officials may have misled federal judges in October 2016 in their zeal to obtain the warrant targeting Trump adviser Carter Page just weeks before Election Day.” (Read more: The Hill, 1/16/2019)
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 (Credit: CNN)
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)
“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.”
James Comey (Credit: Jim Watson/Agence France Presse/Getty Images
(…) “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)
Lisa Page references Christopher Steele’s FBI handler during her testimony July 13, 2018:
An Orbis Business Intelligence ad that states, “”We provide strategic advice, mount intelligence-gathering operations and conduct complex, often cross-border investigations.” (Credit: public domain)
“When the FBI first receives the reports that are known as the dossier from an FBI agent who is Christopher Steele’s handler in September of 2016 at that time, we do not know who—we don’t know why these reports have been generated.”
Steele’s handler is almost certainly Michael Gaeta, head of the FBI’s Eurasian Crime Squad. Gaeta, an FBI agent and also assistant legal attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, has known the former MI6 spy since at least 2010, when Steele provided assistance in the FBI’s investigation into the FIFA corruption scandal over concern that Russia might have been engaging in bribery to host the 2018 World Cup.
On July 5, 2016, Gaeta traveled to London and met with Steele at the offices of Steele’s firm, Orbis. For this visit, the FBI sought permission from the office of Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. Nuland, who had been the recipient of many of Steele’s reports, gave permission for the more formal meeting.
Nuland provided this version of events during a Feb. 4, 2018, appearance on CBS News’ “Face the Nation”:
“In the middle of July, when he [Steele] was doing this other work and became concerned, he passed two to four pages of short points of what he was finding and our immediate reaction to that was, this is not in our purview. This needs to go to the FBI if there is any concern here that one candidate or the election as a whole might be influenced by the Russian Federation. That’s something for the FBI to investigate.”
In September 2016, Steele would travel back to Rome to meet with the FBI Eurasian squad again. It was at this meeting that Steele gave a copy of his dossier—what there was of it at that time—to the FBI counterintelligence team investigators.
One individual who had previous involvement with the Eurasian Crime Squad was former FBI Deputy Director McCabe:
“McCabe began his career as a special agent with the FBI in 1996,” the FBI states on its website. “He first reported to the New York division, where he investigated a variety of organized crime matters. In 2003, he became the supervisory special agent of the Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force.”
McCabe remained with the Eurasian squad until 2006, when he was moved to FBI headquarters in Washington.
The question that has yet to be answered was who, exactly, did Gaeta give the dossier to and when. Was it transmitted to FBI leadership? If so, why did the counterintelligence team have to travel to Rome in September to get their first copy from Steele?
And finally, potentially the biggest question: Did Brennan receive a copy of the dossier via Gaeta—or whomever he transmitted a copy to—in the summer of 2016 following Gaeta’s return?” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/11/2019)
“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.
Carter Page was not the only Trump campaign adviser invited to a July 2016 event at the University of Cambridge, the storied British institution where “Spygate” is believed to have originated.
The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned that an invitation to attend the campaign-themed event was extended to Stephen Miller, another Trump campaign adviser who currently serves in the White House. Miller did not attend the event, which featured former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as a keynote speaker.
J. D. Gordon, the director of the campaign’s national security advisory committee, told TheDCNF he believes the invitation from Cambridge to Miller was sent in May 2016. That’s a month before a graduate assistant of FBI informant Stefan Halper sent an invitation to Page to visit the campus.
“The invitation was to Stephen Miller who could not attend,” Gordon, a former Pentagon spokesman, told TheDCNF. “In the midst of our policy office search for a surrogate, Carter Page informed me that he had also been invited and would like to attend.”
Gordon said he told Page the campaign preferred he did not attend the Cambridge conclave.
“Though since he wasn’t planning to make public remarks, conduct media interviews or otherwise represent the campaign, he was not required to fill in one of our request forms.”
Gordon said Miller, a former Senate aide to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, passed the Cambridge request to John Mashburn, a campaign policy adviser. Mashburn gave it to Gordon.
The three-day Cambridge conclave was where Page first met Halper, a former Cambridge professor who turns out to have also been working for the FBI as part of a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign.
Page, an energy consultant, has said Halper, a veteran of three Republican administrations, offered advice about the campaign during a brief chat on the sidelines of the event.
The pair met numerous times over the course of the next 14 months, Page told TheDCNF. He visited Halper’s farm in Virginia and met with the 73-year-old academic in Washington, D.C. They stayed in contact through September 2017, the same month the U.S. government’s surveillance warrants against Page expired.
Carter Page speaks at the New Economic School in Moscow on July 7, 2016.(Credit: Anton Denisov/Sputnik/The Associated Press)
(…) “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)
“(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.
“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.
“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)
Victoria Nuland, Jonathan Winer and Elizabeth Dibble (Credit: public domain)
(…) “State Department officials obtained and reviewed parts of the infamous Steele dossier by mid-July2016, well before FBI headquarters had access to the document. The U.S. embassy in London was also anearly recipient of information about former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos that the FBI would use to justify opening its counterintelligence investigation in late July2016. 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)
“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)
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.”
“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.”
(Credit: Salon, 8/26/2016)
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.
The Atlantic – October 8, 2016
Last but not least, a week to the day before the 2016 Election, Vanity Fair publishes this article on November 1, 2016:
“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)
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)
“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)
Donald Trump addresses a news conference in Miami, FL on July 27, 2016. (Credit: CNBC)
“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)
“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.
(…) “Page contradicts Ohr’s testimony regarding when she first knew about former British spy Christopher Steele’s dossier. She claims in her testimony that she did not know about the dossier in August 2016, however, Ohr’s testimony reveals that he delivered Steele’s information to the bureau shortly after meeting with Steele. In fact, he met with former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and specifically, Page at the bureau to deliver the information.
(Clipped from Lisa Page testimony to the House Oversight Committee on July 13, 2018)
Ohr reveals this during an exchange with then-Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Trey Gowdy, R-SC.
“Why? Why did you meet with them,” asks Gowdy.
“To pass the latest information that I had received,” Ohr responds.
“How did you find out who to meet with? Who did you call to find out,” questions Gowdy.
Ohr explains that prior to that meeting with McCabe and Page he had met with Steele on July 30, 2016.
“After the July 30th meeting with Chris Steele, I wanted to provide the information he had given me to the FBI. I reached out for Andrew McCabe, at that time, Deputy Director of the FBI and somebody who had previously led the organized crime, Russian organized crime squad in New York and who I had worked with in the past, and asked if he could meet with me,” he said. “I went to his office to provide the information, and Lisa Page was there. So I provided the information to them. And some point after that, I think, I was given Peter Strzok, or somehow put in contact with Peter Strzok.”
Gowdy then asks when exactly did Ohr meet Strzok and Page.
An independent researcher on Twitter who goes by the pseudonym, UndercoverHuber, went a step further and read Strzok and Page’s text messages on July 30, 2016, just a few hours after Page and McCabe met with Ohr and received the first bit of information from Christopher Steele on the Clinton/DNC/Steele dossier:
(…) Ohr’s testimony: “I went to his [McCabe’s] office to provide the information”
“Lisa Page was there”
“So I provided the information to them”
(After that Ohr is put in touch with Strzok, running the Trump/Russia case.)
The investigation was opened the next day, July 31, 2016.
Or at least it was *marked* July 31. Here’s Strzok texting to Page about exactly what “good faith date” they can put on the “LHM” (Letter Head Memo) for the opening case file for the Trump/Russia case.
Bruce Swartz (l) Andrew Weissmann (c) and Zainab Ahmad (Credit: Flickr/Jeff Mitchell, Reuters/public domain)
“Details about Justice Department official Bruce Ohr’s meetings with the author of the salacious anti-Trump dossier were shared by Ohr with his expansive circle of contacts inside the department — including senior FBI leadership and officials now assigned to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Ohr gave a closed-door transcribed interview last August  sharing details of his 2016 meetings with British ex-spy Christopher Steele, who authored the dossier later used to secure a surveillance warrant for a Trump campaign aide. The interview was part of the Republican-led House Oversight and Judiciary Committee probes.
In a series of questions about his meetings with Steele, including one on July 30, 2016, and who he shared the information with, Fox News has confirmed the Ohr transcript stated: “Andy McCabe, yes and met with him and Lisa Page and provided information to him. I subsequently met with Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, and eventually (an FBI agent). And I also provided this information to people in the criminal division specifically Bruce Swartz, Zainab Ahmad, Andrew Weissmann.” (Read more: Fox News, 1/16/2019)
“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 McCabethe 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.
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.
“Deputy FBI Director Andy McCabe and his legal counsel Lisa Page were in possession of the key Steele dossier allegations on Sat Jul 30 2016, one day BEFORE the FBI opened an investigation into Trump on Sun Jul 31 2016.
(…) Ohr’s testimony: “I wanted to provide the information he [Steele] had given me to the FBI”
And “I reached out to McCabe”
Page/McCabe/Ohr met on a Saturday at the office at very short notice, with Ohr coming almost straight from the Steele meeting to meet with the Deputy Director of the FBI and his legal counsel.
(…) Ohr’s testimony: “I went to his [McCabe’s] office to provide the information”
“Lisa Page was there”
“So I provided the information to them”
(After that Ohr is put in touch with Strzok, running the Trump/Russia case.)
The investigation was opened the next day, July 31, 2016.
Or at least it was *marked* July 31. Here’s Strzok texting to Page about exactly what “good faith date” they can put on the “LHM” (Letter Head Memo) for the opening case file for the Trump/Russia case.
“On July 30, 2016, Bruce and Nellie Ohr met with Steele and an unknown associate of Steele’s. Almost immediately, Ohr would initiate a meeting with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to detail his conversation with Steele. Also present at the meeting was McCabe’s counsel, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who would play a key role in the counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign.” (The Epoch Times, 1/14/2019)
“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.”
Glenn Simpson (l) Christopher Steele (c) and Bruce Ohr (Credit: Washington Examiner)
“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.”
Former Australian Ambassador to the UK, Alexander Downer (Credit: public domain)
“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)
John Brennan and Barack Obama (Credit: Pete Souza/White House)
“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)
John Brennan (Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/The Associated Press)
“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)
“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)
“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 Newsthe 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)
John Brennan (l) and Robert Hannigan. (Credit: Agence France Presse/Getty Images)
(…) “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)
“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.
“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.
“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)
“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)
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.
“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)
“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)
Samantha Power (Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
“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 indicatedthis 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)
Lisa Monaco (Credit: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/The Associated Press)
“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)
(…) “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.
(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)
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 Mayarticle 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:
Senator Mark Warner (l) and Senator Richard Burr confer at a Senate Intelligence Committee meeting. (Credit: public domain)
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?
Apparently the SSCI wants to interview WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, in a closed session. Signed by none-other than our corrupt-o-crats Richard Burr and Mark Warner. Yeah, funny that.
Lest anyone need a reminder, the most corrupt part of congress is the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI). The SSCI is the center of the deepest part of the Deep State swamp. The SSCI never, ever, E.V.E.R…does anything that does not protect and advance the self-interest of the corrupt Washington DC professional political class.” (Read much more: Conservative Treehouse, 8/10/2018)
“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)
Hillary Clinton (L) is applauded by Brookings Institution President Strobe Talbott before she delivers remarks about the Obama administration’s national security strategy at the Brookings Institution May 27, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
“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)
“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.
James Baker (Credit: CSpan2)
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 Newsfirst 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)
“On Sept. 19, FBI General Counsel James Baker met with Perkins Coie partner Michael Sussmann, who had sought out the meeting. Baker told Congressional lawmakers in an Oct. 3, 2018, testimony—a transcript of which was reviewed for this article—that Sussmann presented him with “a stack of material I don’t know maybe a quarter inch half inch thick something like that clipped together, and then I believe there was some type of electronic media, as well, a disk or something.”
The information that Sussmann gave to Baker was related to what Baker described as “a surreptitious channel of communications” between the Trump Organization and “a Russian organization associated with the Russian Government.”
Baker was describing alleged communications between Alfa Bank and a server in the Trump Tower. These allegations, which were investigated by the FBI and proven to be false, were widely covered in the media.
Baker’s testimony also shows that Sussmann was speaking with the media at the same time he had approached Baker, who noted that Sussmann had also provided the info to the media and had told him that “the New York Times was aware of this.”
Baker testified that the FBI approached The New York Times and convinced them to hold off on their reporting while the FBI investigated Sussmann’s information.” (Read more: Epoch Times, 1/24/2019)
“One of the co-founders of the opposition research firm that commissioned the Steele dossier was in contact with a State Department official in the days before a news article was published laying out allegations contained in the salacious anti-Trump report.
Emails obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation show that Glenn Simpson, an executive at Fusion GPS, contacted Jonathan Winer, who then served as State’s special envoy for Libya, on Sept. 19 and Sept. 22, 2016. That was days ahead of the publication of a Yahoo! Newsarticle that was the first story to cite information gathered by Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored the dossier.
Winer, a longtime aide to former Secretary of State John Kerry, was a source for that article, which laid out Steele’s allegations about Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser who would become the target of FBI surveillance.
The emails, which were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed on TheDCNF’s behalf by Judicial Watch, show for the first time that Simpson had direct contact with a State Department official.
The emails do not mention the dossier or Steele, but they do show that Simpson was desperate to speak with Winer, a Democratic attorney who also served in the State Department during the Clinton administration.
Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, sent an email on Sept. 19, 2016 asking Winer if he was in town.
Former assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland speaks during a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine, April 27, 2016. (Credit: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters)
(…) Congressional investigators have looked into Winer and the State Department’s role in handling the Steele information and other intelligence used in the FBI investigation of the Trump campaign. Republicans have long been puzzled over information that flowed through Foggy Bottom prior to making its way to FBI investigators.
Victoria Nuland, who served as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, approved a July 5, 2016, meeting between FBI Agent Michael Gaeta and Steele in Rome. Fusion GPS had hired Steele just weeks earlier to investigate President Donald Trump’s possible ties to Russia. The ex-MI6 officer wrote his first of 17 dossier memos on June 20, 2016. That document alleged that the Kremlin had blackmail material on Trump. (Read more: The Daily Caller, 3/04/2019)
Imran Awan (Credit: Bonnie Jo Mount/Washington Post)
“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.
“The FBI, Justice Department and a federal surveillance court were all apparently unaware that the Sept. 23, 2016article, 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)
“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)
The cyber division of the FBI. (Credit: public domain)
(…) “Only a few hours after the New York office of the FBI took possession of the Weinerlaptop, 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 entiretenure 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.
(…) “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)
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.
James Comey: “The FBI left no stones unturned.” (Credit: Salt Serkan Gurbuz / ZUMA Wire)
“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.”
Lisa Page: “Whatever.” (Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press)
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.
Michael Horowitz: “Pressure from New York was key to reopening email case.” (Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta/The Associated Press)
“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.)
This “Flash” memo was published three days after Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, offered Illinois state officials assistance in securing election systems. (Credit: Yahoo News)
(…) “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 Journalreported in December 2016 that DHS was itself behind hacking attempts of Georgia’s election database.” (Read more: Consortium News, 8/28/2018)
Long-time Clinton confidant and colleague of Cody Shearer, Sidney Blumenthal and Hillary Clinton (Credit: public domain)
“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.
Jonathan Winer (Credit: U.S. State Department)
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: 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.
Screenshot from Christopher Steele’s testimony to a London court.
“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.
“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?”
Christopher Steele (Credit: Victoria Jones/The Associated Press)
“In the fall of 2016, a little more than a month before Donald Trump was elected president, Christopher Steele had theundivided 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 briefingmaterial 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)
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.
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.
“Just nine days before the FBI applied for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to surveil a top Trump campaign aide, bureau officials were battling with a senior Justice Department official who had “continued concerns” about the “possible bias” of a source pivotal to the application, according to internal text messages obtained by Fox News.
The 2016 messages, sent between former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, also reveal that bureau brass circulated at least two anti-Trump blog articles, including a Lawfare blog post sent shortly after Election Day that called Trump possibly “among the major threats to the security of the country.”
Another article, sent by Page in July 2016 as the FBI’s counterintelligence probe into Russian election interference was kicking off, flatly called Trump a “useful idiot” for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Page told McCabe that then-FBI Director James Comey had “surely” read that piece. Both articles were authored in whole or part by Benjamin Wittes, a Comey friend.
Further, the texts show that on Sept. 12, 2016, Page forwarded to McCabe some “unsolicited comments” calling then-GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy a “total d–k.” Gowdy, at the time, was grilling FBI congressional affairs director Jason Herring at a hearing on the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email investigation.
But perhaps the most significant Page-McCabe communications made plain the DOJ’s worries that the FISA application to surveil Trump aide Carter Page was based on a potentially biased source — and underscored the FBI’s desire to press on.” (Read more: Fox News, 3/22/2019)
“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 promotedOct. 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 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.”
Perkins Coie Washington, D.C. offices. (Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi/The National Law Journal)
“A top lawyer working with the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign contacted the FBI’s general counsel in late 2016 and provided documents for the Russia probe as federal investigators prepared a surveillance warrant for Trump campaign aide Carter Page, sources close to a congressional investigation told Fox News, citing new testimony.
The FBI official who was contacted, James Baker, revealed the exchange to congressional investigators during a closed-door deposition Wednesday. He said Perkins Coie lawyer Michael Sussmann initiated contact with him and provided documents as well as computer storage devices on Russian hacking. The sources said Baker described the contact as unusual and the “only time it happened.”
Perkins Coie was a key player in the funding of the controversial anti-Trump dossier, which Republicans have long suspected helped fuel the FBI’s investigation. The DNC and Clinton campaign had hired opposition research firm Fusion GPS in April 2016, through Perkins Coie, to dig into Trump’s background. Fusion, in turn, paid British ex-spy Christopher Steele to compile the dossier, memos from which were shared with the FBI in the summer of 2016.
Michael Sussmann (Credit: Chalet Reports)
Sussmann’s contact with Baker suggests another connection between the early stages of the FBI’s Russia probe and those working with the DNC and Clinton campaign. Sussmann’s bio on the Perkins Coie website describes him as a former senior Justice Department official with extensive national security and cybersecurity experience: “[Sussmann] is engaged on some of the most sophisticated, high-stakes matters today, such as his representation of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in their responses to Russian hacking in the 2016 presidential election.”
Asked about Baker’s statements, however, a Perkins Coie spokesperson said Sussmann’s contact was not connected to the firm’s representation of the DNC or Clinton campaign.
The spokesperson said in a statement:
“Prior to joining Perkins Coie, Michael Sussmann served as a cybercrime prosecutor in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice during both Republican and Democratic administrations. As a result, Sussmann is regularly retained by clients with complex cybersecurity matters.
“When Sussmann met with Mr. Baker on behalf of a client, it was not connected to the firm’s representation of the Hillary Clinton Campaign, the DNC or any Political Law Group client.”
Separately, two Republican lawmakers said after Baker’s deposition that he gave “explosive” closed-door testimony detailing how the Russia probe was handled in an “abnormal fashion” reflecting “political bias.” (Read more: Fox News, 10/04/2018)
“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)
The IG report on how the FBI handled the Clinton investigation revealed that dozens of FBI officials were actually taking bribes from the media for information:
IG REPORT – We identified numerous FBI employees, at all levels of the organization and with no official reason to be in contact with the media, who were nevertheless in frequent contact with reporters. Attached to this report as Attachments E and F are two link charts that reflect the volume of communications that we identified between FBI employees and media representatives in April/May and October 2016. We have profound concerns about the volume and extent of unauthorized media contacts by FBI personnel that we have uncovered during our review.
DOJ IG Horowitz testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on June 14, 2018. (Credit: public domain)
(…) We do not believe the problem is with the FBI’s policy, which we found to be clear and unambiguous. Rather, we concluded that these leaks highlight the need to change what appears to be a cultural attitude among many in the organization. (link to pdf – page Xii of executive summary)
Later it was revealed that Andrew Weissmann, Robert Mueller’s #1 special counsel prosecutor, was coordinating investigative efforts with the full support of four AP reporters who were giving Weissmann tips. That is information from journalists, provided to Weissmann, for use in his court filings and submitted search warrants.
Christopher Steele (l) and Michael Cohen (credit: Getty Images)
“Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the dossier, makes several claims about Cohen in his 35-page report. The most jarring allegation is that Cohen visited Prague in August 2016 to meet with Kremlin officials to discuss paying off computer hackers.
The Prague allegation has been one of the most hotly debated claims made in the dossier, which was funded by the Clinton campaign and DNC. Cohen has vehemently denied the charge, including as recently as December, well after he began cooperating with the special counsel’s investigation into possible Trump campaign collusion. Steele’s defenders claim that the Prague claim is still an open question and that much of the dossier has been verified.
The dossier does contain some clear inaccuracies about Cohen and members of his family, specifically in a memo that Steele wrote on Oct. 18, 2016. But those false claims have largely flown under the radar during the dossier debate because they were one of only a couple of sections of the dossier that BuzzFeed redacted prior to publishing it on Jan. 10, 2017.
An unredacted version was unsealed earlier this month in a lawsuit that was filed against BuzzFeed by another target of the dossier.
In the memo, Steele alleged that Cohen’s wife was born in Russia and that her father was a leading property developer in Moscow.
“Speaking separately to the same compatriot in mid-October 2016, a Kremlin insider with direct access to the leadership confirmed that a key role in the secret TRUMP campaign/Kremlin relationship was being played by the Republican candidate’s personal lawyer Michael COHEN. COHEN had a wife of Russian origin, whose father, Efim SHUSTERMAN, was a leading Moscow property developer,” reads the memo.
(A snippet from the Clinton/DNC/Steele dossier.)
“It appears that SHUSTERMAN has a country house (dacha) in the settlement of Barvikha, west of Moscow. This village is reserved for the residences of the top leadership and their close associates.”
BuzzFeedacknowledged in its initial report on Jan. 10, 2017 that some claims in the dossier were inaccurate. The site specifically pointed to the misspelling of the Russian bank, Alfa Bank, as well as the claim that Barvikha is reserved for wealthy Russians. The site did not acknowledge the inaccurate claims about Cohen’s family.
Contrary to what the Steele memo claims, Cohen’s father-in-law is named Fima Shusterman, not Efim. He was also born in Ukraine and not Russia, as The New York Times and other outlets have reported. He left Soviet-controlled Ukraine for the United States in 1975, initially working as a taxi driver. Shusterman reportedly built a taxi medallion business worth millions of dollars. He has faced legal problems in the past, having been convicted in 1993 of tax evasion.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 2/25/2019)
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.
The full FISA Court Ruling on the notifications from the NSA is below. And to continue the story we are pulling out a specific section [page 83, pdf] CRITICAL to understanding what was going on:
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)
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.
Table 3 (page 7) shows four types of violations. The most frequent violation – 5.2% of the total – came from Section 702 upstream “About” queries.
The Inspector General’s Report is heavily redacted – but even a casual reading indicates there were significant compliance and control issues within the NSA regarding the use of Section 702 data.
It’s unclear if NSA Director Rogers discovered the 702 violations and reported them in early 2015, or if it was the Inspector General who found them. Either way, Rogers became aware of Section 702 violations sometime in 2015.
Admiral Mike Rogers (Credit: public domain)
Following NSA Inspector General Ellard’s report, Rogers implemented a tightening of internal rules at the NSA.
However, the NSA Inspector General’s report and Roger’s tightening of internal rules did not halt the Query Compliance Problems.
Outside Agencies – specifically the DOJ’s National Security Division and the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division – were still routinely violating Section702 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.
(…) “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.
(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.)
(…) “Trisha Anderson, the principal deputy general counsel for the FBI and head of the bureau’s National Security and Cyber Law Branch, approved the application for a warrant to spy on Page before it went to FBI Director James Comey. During her Aug. 31 testimony, she described the FISA application process as being a linear path and noted there is a specific “system called FISAMS within the Bureau that tracks in a linear fashion all the approvals on a FISA.”
Andrew McCabe and Sally Yates (Credit: The Associated Press and ABC News)
Yet, despite the rigid description provided by Baker and Anderson, it appears the linearity process was not adhered to in the case of the Page FISA. According to Anderson, pre-approvals for the Page FISA were provided by both McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, before the FISA application was ever presented to her for review.
“[M]y boss and my boss’ boss had already reviewed and approved this application. And, in fact, the Deputy Attorney General, who had the authority to sign the application, to be the substantive approver on the FISA application itself, had approved the application. And that typically would not have been the case before I did that,” said Anderson.
Anderson told investigators that the Page FISA “was handled a little bit differently in that sense, in that it received very high-level review and approvals — informal, oral approvals — before it ever came to me for signature.”
The unusual preliminary review and approval from both McCabe and Yates appear to have had a substantial impact on the normal review process, leading other individuals like Anderson to believe that the Page FISA was more vetted than, perhaps, it really was. It is not known why McCabe and Yates both chose to insert themselves at an early stage into the Page FISA process.” (Read more: Epoch Times, 2/11/2019)
(…) “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)
“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 pm 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 10:00 pm 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 6letter 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)
“A former top FBI lawyer acknowledged he was personally involved in the warrant application to surveil then-Trump campaign aide Carter Page and confirmed other “unusual” steps taken in the FBI’s Russia probe in 2016, during a closed-door congressional interview.
“I was aware of the [Russia] investigation,” James Baker told House investigators in October. Fox News has confirmed details of the transcript which is still under government review before its public release.
Baker said he was briefed on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant “as time went by” and recalled how he got involved early in the process. The warrant relied heavily on the unverified anti-Trump dossier, which was financed by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign via the law firm Perkins Coie.
“I don’t want to see it at the end, like when it is about to go to the director [for] certification, because then it is hard to make changes then,” Baker told House investigators when Republicans controlled the chamber. “So I wanted to see it when it was gelled enough but before it went through the process and before it went to the director. I wanted to see it and I wanted to read it because I knew it was sensitive.”
Fox News confirmed the Baker transcript also includes the following exchange with investigators regarding his involvement in the surveillance application:
Question: “So that is why you took the abnormal or unusual step in this particular situation because it was sensitive?”
Question: “So you actually got involved because you want to make sure that, what?”
“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 Newsreported that US intelligence officials were probing the links between Page and senior Russian officials. (Page has called accusations against him “garbage.”) On Monday, NBC Newsreported 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)
(…) “Between July and October 2016, Clinton-connected lawyers, emissaries and apologists made more than a half-dozen overtures to U.S. officials, each tapping a political connection to get suspect evidence into FBI counterintelligence agents’ hands, according to internal documents and testimonies I reviewed and interviews I conducted.
(…) Ex-FBI general counsel James Baker, one of the more senior bureau executives to be targeted, gave a memorable answer when congressional investigators asked how attorney Michael Sussmann from the Perkins Coie law firm, which represented the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party, came to personally deliver him dirt on Trump.
“You’d have to ask him why he decided to pick me,” Baker said last year in testimony that has not yet been released publicly. The FBI’s top lawyer turned over a calendar notation to Congress, indicating that he met Sussmann on Sept. 19, 2016, less than two months before Election Day.
“Please come get this,” he recalled telling his colleagues. Baker acknowledged it was not the normal way for counterintelligence evidence to enter the FBI.
But when the bureau’s top lawyer makes a request, things happen in the rank-and-file.
The overture was neither the first nor the last instance of Clinton-connected Trump dirt reaching the FBI.
(…) During a trip to Washington later that month, Steele reached out to two political contacts with the credentials to influence the FBI.
Then-senior State Department official Jonathan Winer, who worked for then-Secretary John Kerry, wrote that Steele first approached him in the summer with his Trump research and then met again with him in September. Winer consulted his boss, Assistant Secretary for Eurasia Affairs Victoria Nuland, who said she first learned of Steele’s allegations in late July and urged Winer to send it to the FBI.
(…) “In essence, after the FBI claimed to have broken off formal use of Chris Steele; and long after Robert Mueller took over the investigation; Ohr remained an intermediary between Chris Steele and Robert Mueller’s special counsel team.
Obviously this begs the question: if the special counsel was simply investigating the truth of the dossier, why would Robert Mueller want/need an intermediary as opposed to directly being in contact with, and questioning, the dossier author directly?
Judicial Watch announced today it received 339 pages of heavily redacted records from the U.S. Department of Justice which reveal that former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr remained in regular contact with former British spy and Fusion GPS contractor Christopher Steele after Steele was terminated by the FBI in November 2016 for revealing to the media his position as an FBI confidential informant.
The records show that Ohr served as a go-between for Steele by passing along information to “his colleagues” on matters relating to Steele’s activities. Ohr also set up meetings with Steele, regularly talked to him on the telephone and provided him assistance in dealing with situations Steele was confronting with the media.
(…) The documents also show that Nellie Ohr sent numerous emails and reports to Bruce Ohr and other Justice Department officials on Russia issues.
“These smoking gun documents show that Christopher Steele, a Hillary Clinton operative and anti-Trump foreign national, secretly worked hand-in-glove with the Justice Department on its illicit targeting of President Trump,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
“These documents leave no doubt that for more than a year after the FBI fired Christopher Steele for leaking, and for some 10 months after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, Bruce Ohr continued to act as a go-between for Steele with the FBI and Justice Department. The anti-Trump Russia investigation, now run by Robert Mueller, has been thoroughly compromised by this insider corruption.” (read more)
Tom Fitton’s likely accurate (highlighted) statement above; showcasing a compromised intent; would explain why Mueller’s team would need an intermediary.
Nellie Ohr and Chris Steele were the authors of the Clinton-financed dossier. The dossier was the primary evidence for the entire corrupt investigative enterprise. The dossier is the lynch-pin of evidence that validated the Title-1 FISA warrant used against Carter Page and all campaign officials therein.
As a direct result of the origination, Mueller’s later mandate from Rosenstein is based on that dossier. As a result, inside that dynamic there is a motive for Mueller’s team to stay away from discovering anything that might invalidate the dossier if they wanted to: (a) continue the appearance of legality for the prior exploitation; and (b) continue extending the investigation that is dependent on the dossier.
If things went sideways, direct contact with the central witness and dossier author removes plausible deniability. Indirect contact, via an intermediary (Bruce Ohr), allows retention of plausible deniability and continuance of dossier use.
A lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch has unearthed an email [full pdf] from Clinton Lawyer David Kendall to FBI chief legal counsel James Baker on the day the FBI was forced to re-open the Clinton email investigation due to the Weiner laptop.
With the passage of time the inherent issues have become somewhat clouded, and most people have forgotten many of the inherent issues that showcased how the FBI and DOJ had decided in advance not to prosecute Hillary Clinton. However, the key takeaway from this latest FOIA finding is that Clinton lawyers directly contacted the FBI team that was investigating the Weiner laptop. (Note: read email chain bottom to top)
The Weiner laptop emails were originally discovered by New York investigators and reported to the FBI office in Washington DC on September 28th, 2016. However, the FBI never took action to review the emails until a month later on October 28th.
It was DOJ officials within SDNY (Southern District of New York) who called Main Justice (DOJ in DC) and asked about a needed search warrant a month later that kicked off the review.
Let’s look at the Page/Strzok messages and remind ourselves of what was going on.
Here are the messages from Lisa Page and Peter Strzok surrounding the original date that New York officials notified Washington DC FBI. It’s important to note the two different entities: DOJ -vs- FBI.
According to the September 28, 2016, messages from FBI Agent Peter Strzok it was the SDNY in New York telling Andrew McCabe in DC about the issue. Pay close attention to the convo:
Notice: “hundreds of thousands of emails turned over by Weiner’s attorney to SDNY”. This is not an outcome of a New York Police Dept. raid on Anthony Weiner. This is Weiner’s attorney going to the U.S. attorney and voluntarily turning over the laptop and by extension the emails. The emails were not turned over to the FBI in New York, the actual emails were turned over to the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District, Preet Bahara.
The SDNY then called the FBI Mid-Year-Exam team in Washington DC, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was notified, and then nothing happened for over three weeks.
On October 21, 2016, a phone call kicks off additional inquiry. This is the call referenced by James Comey in the Bret Baier interview.
Someone from New York called “Main Justice” (the DOJ National Security Division in DC) and notified DOJ-NSD Deputy Asst. Attorney General George Toscas of the Huma Abedin/Hillary Clinton emails via the “Weiner investigation.”
George Toscas “wanted to ensure information got to Andy“, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe…. so he called FBI Agent Peter Strzok…. who told George Toscas “we know”.
Peter Strzok then tells Bill Priestap. Of course, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe already knew about the emails since, more than three weeks earlier.
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 a second internal FBI discussion about McCabe needing to recuse himself because of the optics of his doing nothing.
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, the FBI begin leaking to the media to frame a specific narrative. The issue of them sitting on the laptop for three weeks and doing nothing is a potentially damning detail.
Important to note here: at no time is there any conversation -or hint of a conversation- that anyone is reviewing the content of the laptop 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”.
Within this “tight group” at FBI, as Comey puts it, there is not a single mention of a person who is sitting somewhere looking through the reported “600,000” Clinton emails that was widely reported by media. There’s absolutely ZERO evidence of anyone looking at emails or scouring through laptop data…. and FBI Agent Peter Strzok has no staff under him who he discusses assigned to such a task…. and Strzok damned sure ain’t doing it.
It’s still October 27th, 2016, the day before James Comey announces his FBI decision to re-open the Clinton investigation. Jim Rybicki is 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: