2016 Election

December 9, 2019 – IG Report: The FBI doctored evidence to falsely paint Carter Page as a Russian spy

Kevin Clinesmith (Credit: public domain)

“A wide-ranging investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general (IG) found that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) deliberately doctored evidence it presented to the nation’s top spy court in order to gain authority to spy on a key Trump affiliate.

The 476-page report from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that the FBI falsely claimed to the FISA Court not only that Carter Page was a Russian agent, but also falsely claimed that an unnamed intelligence agency had told the FBI that Page was “not a source” in their efforts to surveil and curtail Russian intelligence efforts.

Page, who had previously been an informant and witness for the United States in a federal espionage case against a Russian intelligence official, was targeted by the Obama FBI as a Russian spy helping Putin to steal the election from Hillary Clinton in 2016. According to the IG report, before the FBI and DOJ went to the FISA Court to apply for a warrant to spy on Page, an unnamed U.S. intelligence agency had told the FBI that Carter Page had previously assisted that agency’s efforts against Russian spies. Although exculpatory information about potential spy targets is required in spy warrant applications, Obama’s FBI and DOJ deliberately withheld that information from the spy court in order to paint Page in the worst possible light.

Carter Page (Credit: public domain)

The FBI’s malfeasance in the matter did not stop there. Ahead of an application to renew the spy warrant in 2017, a top FBI lawyer doctored evidence from the unnamed agency which confirmed that contrary to FBI claims that he was a Russian spy, Page had in fact assisted the United States in its efforts to counter Russian operations. An e-mail from the agency that clearly stated Page was “a source” for them was doctored by Kevin Clinesmith, a top FBI national security lawyer, to give the opposite impression to the federal spy court.

“The [Office of General Counsel] Attorney altered and sent the e-mail to a [supervisory special agent], who thereafter relied on it to swear out the third FISA application,” the IG report notes. Upon learning that a top FBI lawyer doctored evidence against a former Trump campaign affiliate to justify spying on him, the IG referred the attorney to DOJ for criminal prosecution.

Text messages from that same lawyer after the 2016 election revealed that he was an anti-Trump activist. “Viva la Resistance!” he texted on November 22, 2016, while in the midst of investigating Trump. He would later be terminated from the Mueller probe for conduct which a previous IG report said “brought discredit” to the FBI. Of FBI documents he approved authorizing spying on Trump campaign, Clinesmith wrote: “[M]y god damned name is all over the legal documents investigating his staff.”

“[W]ho knows if that breaks to him what he is going to do,” Clinesmith continued, apparently worried about the ramifications of his illicit behavior against the Trump campaign. It is unclear whether he doctored evidence against Trump to protect his own career and reputation or simply because of anti-Trump animus. At the time, Clinesmith worked under James Baker, the FBI General Counsel who was a close confidant of fired former director James Comey. Baker was one of a slew of former deputies who resigned or were fired as the Russia collusion hoax imploded.” (Read more: The Federalist, 12/10/2019)  (Archive)

November 21, 2019 – Former FBI lawyer allegedly alters document in Carter Page FISA application; Rod Rosenstein once testified to FISA alterations

Michael Horowitz (Credit: public domain)

“An FBI official is under criminal investigation after allegedly altering a document related to 2016 surveillance of a Trump campaign adviser, several people briefed on the matter told CNN.

The possibility of a substantive change to an investigative document is likely to fuel accusations from President Donald Trump and his allies that the FBI committed wrongdoing in its investigation of connections between Russian election meddling and the Trump campaign.

The finding is expected to be part of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s review of the FBI’s effort to obtain warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide. Horowitz will release the report next month.

Horowitz turned over evidence on the allegedly altered document to John Durham, the federal prosecutor appointed early this year by Attorney General William Barr to conduct a broad investigation of intelligence gathered for the Russia probe by the CIA and other agencies, including the FBI. The altered document is also at least one focus of Durham’s criminal probe.

It’s unknown how significant a role the altered document played in the FBI’s investigation of Page and whether the FISA warrant would have been approved without the document. The alterations were significant enough to have shifted the document’s meaning and came up during a part of Horowitz’s FISA review where details were classified, according to the sources. (Read more: CNN, 11/21/2019)  (Archive)

November 21, 2019 – Giuliani explains “massive pay-for-play” Soros-Ukraine scheme facilitated by US diplomats

“Rudy Giuliani claims that US diplomats have been acting to further the interests of billionaire George Soros in Ukraine in what he described as a “massive pay-for-play” scheme which included falsifying evidence against President Trump.

“The anti-corruption bureau is a contradiction,” Giuliani told Glenn Beck, regarding Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), which Joe Biden helped establish when he was the Obama administration’s point-man on Ukraine.

As a bit of background, in December of 2018, a Ukrainian court ruled that NABU director Artem Sytnyk “acted illegally” when he revealed the existence of Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s name to journalist and politician Serhiy Leshchenko in a “black ledger” containing off-book payments to Manafort by Ukraine’s previous administration. The ruling against Sytnyk and Leshchenko was later overturned on a technicality.

In DecemberThe Blaze obtained audio of Sytnyk bragging about helping Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US election.

“They took all the corruption cases away from the prosecutor general, they gave it to the anti-corruption bureau, and they got rid of all the cases that offended Soros, and they included all the cases against Soros’ enemies,” Giuliani told Beck.

The Soros Connection

“One of the first cases they dismissed was a case in which his [Soros’s] NGO, AntAC, was supposed to have embezzled a lot of money, but not only that, collected dirty information on Republicans to be transmitted, gotten by Ukrainians, to be transmitted to this woman Alexandra Chalupa and other people who worked for the Democratic National Committee,” Giuliani continued.

“The first case that [former prosecutor Yuri] Lutsenko tanked was that case at the request of the ambassador,” he added. (Read more: Zero Hedge, 11/21/2019)  (Archive) 

November 15, 2019 – John Solomon asks 15 questions of former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch

After nearly two years of reporting on Ukraine issues, here are 15 questions I think could be most illuminating to everyday Americans if the ambassador answered them.

U.S. Embassy Kiev (Credit: public domain)

Ambassador Yovanovitch, at any time while you served in Ukraine did any officials in Kiev ever express concern to you that President Trump might be withholding foreign aid assistance to get political investigations started? Did President Trump ever ask you as America’s top representative in Kiev to pressure Ukrainians to start an investigation about Burisma Holdings or the Bidens?

What was the Ukrainians’ perception of President Trump after he allowed lethal aid to go to Ukraine in 2018?

In the spring and summer of 2019, did you ever become aware of any U.S. intelligence or U.S. treasury concerns raised about incoming Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and his affiliation or proximity to certain oligarchs? Did any of those concerns involve what the IMF might do if a certain oligarch who supported Zelensky returned to power and regained influence over Ukraine’s national bank?

Back in May 2018, then-House Rules Committee chairman Pete Sessions wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggesting you might have made comments unflattering or unsupportive of the president and should be recalled. Setting aside that Sessions is a Republican and might even have donors interested in Ukraine policy, were you ever questioned about his concerns? At any time have you or your embassy staff made comments that could be viewed as unsupportive or critical of President Trump and his policies?

John Solomon reported at The Hill and your colleagues have since confirmed in testimony that the State Department helped fund a nonprofit called the Anti-Corruption Action Centre of Ukraine that also was funded by George Soros’ main charity. That nonprofit, also known as AnTac, was identified in a 2014 Soros foundation strategy document as critical to reshaping Ukraine to Mr. Soros’ vision. Can you explain what role your embassy played in funding this group and why State funds would flow to it? And did anyone consider the perception of mingling tax dollars with those donated by Soros, a liberal ideologue who spent millions in 2016 trying to elect Hillary Clinton and defeat Donald Trump?

In March 2019, Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko gave an on-the-record, videotaped interview to The Hill alleging that during a 2016 meeting you discussed a list of names of Ukrainian nationals and groups you did not want to see Ukrainian prosecutors target. Your supporters have since suggested he recanted that story. Did you or your staff ever do anything to confirm he had recanted or changed his story, such as talk to him, or did you just rely on press reports?

Now that both the New York Times and The Hill have confirmed that Lutsenko stands by his account and has not recanted, how do you respond to his concerns? And setting aside the use of the word “list,” is it possible that during that 2016 meeting with Mr. Lutsenko you discussed the names of certain Ukrainians you did not want to see prosecuted, investigated or harassed?

Your colleagues, in particular Mr. George Kent, have confirmed to the House Intelligence Committee that the U.S. embassy in Kiev did, in fact, exert pressure on the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office not to prosecute certain Ukrainian activists and officials. These efforts included a letter Mr. Kent signed urging Ukrainian prosecutors to back off an investigation of the aforementioned group AnTac as well as engaged in conversations about certain Ukrainians like Parliamentary member Sergey Leschenko, journalist Vitali Shabunin and NABU director Artem Sytnyk. Why was the US. Embassy involved in exerting such pressure and did any of these actions run afoul of the Geneva Convention’s requirement that foreign diplomats avoid becoming involved in the internal affairs of their host country?

Marie Yovanovitch (Credit: U.S. Embassy, Ukraine)

On March 5 of this year, you gave a speech in which you called for the replacement of Ukraine’s top anti-corruption prosecutor. That speech occurred in the middle of the Ukrainian presidential election and obviously raised concerns among some Ukrainians of internal interference prohibited by the Geneva Convention. In fact, one of your bosses, Under Secretary David Hale, got questioned about those concerns when he arrived in country a few days later. Why did you think it was appropriate to give advice to Ukrainians on an internal personnel matter and did you consider then or now the potential concerns your comments might raise about meddling in the Ukrainian election or the country’s internal affairs?

If the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States suddenly urged us to fire Attorney General Bill Bar or our FBI director, would you think that was appropriate?

At any time since December 2015, did you or your embassy ever have any contact with Vice President Joe Biden, his office or his son Hunter Biden concerning Burisma Holdings or an investigation into its owner Mykola Zlochevsky?

At any time since you were appointed ambassador to Ukraine, did you or your embassy have any contact with the following Burisma figures: Hunter Biden, Devon Archer, lawyer John Buretta, Blue Star strategies representatives Sally Painter and Karen Tramontano, or former Ukrainian embassy official Andrii Telizhenko?

John Solomon obtained documents showing Burisma representatives were pressuring the State Department in February 2016 to help end the corruption allegations against the company and were invoking Hunter Biden’s name as part of their effort. Did you ever subsequently learn of these contacts and did anyone at State — including but not limited to Secretary Kerry, Undersecretary Novelli, Deputy Secretary Blinken or Assistant Secretary Nuland — ever raise Burisma with you?

What was your embassy’s assessment of the corruption allegations around Burisma and why the company may have hired Hunter Biden as a board member in 2014?

In spring 2019 your embassy reportedly began monitoring briefly the social media communications of certain people viewed as supportive of President Trump and gathering analytics about them. Who were those people? Why was this done? Why did it stop? And did anyone in the State Department chain of command ever suggest targeting Americans with State resources might be improper or illegal? (John Solomon, 11/15/2019)  (Archive)

November 10, 2019 – People’s Deputy of Ukraine Andriy Derkach, releases documents that prove NABU leaked information to the US Embassy

Andriy Derkach (Credit: Interfax-Ukraine)

(Chrome translated)

“People’s Deputy of Ukraine Andriy Derkach, initiator of a criminal case on interference in the US elections, released documents from which it follows that the first deputy director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) Gizo Uglava for several years provided the US Embassy in Kiev with information that negatively affected the course events in Ukraine and the USA.

At a press conference at the Interfax-Ukraine agency on Wednesday, he made public the documents received from investigative journalists, including correspondence between NABU officers and representatives of diplomatic missions of foreign states in the framework of criminal proceedings opened under article 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine “High Treason”. In particular, the documents that the people’s deputy possesses indicate that Uglava, through her assistant Polina Chizh, transmitted information to the US Embassy, ​​which, he said, is an important part of the “puzzle” of interference in US elections and international corruption.

According to Derkach, he has already transferred these documents to the State Bureau of Investigation (GBR) and the Prosecutor General of Ukraine. The parliamentarian also initiated the creation of a temporary investigative commission of the Verkhovna Rada, and filed a petition for the court to resume the investigation of interference in the election in the United States by divulging pre-trial investigation.

“According to the correspondence, repeatedly, starting from July 14, 2017, from the electronic mailbox of the assistant to the first deputy of NABU Gizo Uglavy [and] Polina Chizh, the lists of criminal proceedings were sent to the legal specialist of the anti-corruption program of the US Department of Justice of the US Embassy in Ukraine Anna Emelyanova, that NABU detectives do, “Derkach said.

Gizo Uglava (l) and Polina Chyz (Credit: public domain and Karlheinz Wedhorn/DOD)

Derkach issued a letter in which Polina Chizh, a NABU employee, received an order from Anna Emelyanova, an employee of the US Embassy, ​​to provide information on the case of Nikolai Zlochevsky, the former Minister of Ecology and owner of the Burisma Group.

The MP also announced the amount of funds transferred to the representatives of the Burisma Group, among which Hunter Biden also appears. According to documents, Burisma paid at least $ 16.5 million in favor of Hunter Biden, Alexander Kwasniewski, Alan Apter and Devon Archer.

At the same time, Derkach claims that international corruption of this magnitude could not take place without the participation of the fifth president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. “International corruption of this magnitude, as well as interference in the election of the US president, could not have occurred without the participation of Petro Poroshenko,” he said.” (Read more: Interfax/Ukraine)  (Archive)

November 8, 2019 – Judicial Watch conducts a review of WH visitor logs to learn who the hearsay whistleblower and DNC operative Alexandra Chalupa met

“We have conducted an in-depth analysis of Obama-era White House visitor logs, and we have learned a good deal about the people who controversial CIA employee Eric Ciaramella met with while assigned to the White House.

Ciaramella reportedly was detailed to the Obama White House in 2015 and returned to the CIA during the Trump administration in 2017.

Real Clear Investigations named Ciaramella as possibly being the whistleblower whose complaint sparked impeachment proceedings against President Trump. As reported by the Examiner, Fox News’ legal analyst Gregg Jarrett indicated that a key takeaway was the “reported direct relationship” Ciaramella had with former President Barack Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan and national security adviser Susan Rice, as well as the “Democratic National Committee operative who dug up dirt on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.”

The visitor logs also reveal Alexandra Chalupa, a contractor hired by the DNC during the 2016 election, who coordinated with Ukrainians to investigate President Trump and his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, visited the White House 27 times.

The White House visitor logs revealed the following individuals met with Eric Ciaramella while he was detailed to the Obama White House:

  • Daria Kaleniuk: Co-founder and executive director of the Soros-funded Anticorruption Action Center (AntAC) in Ukraine. She visited on December 9, 2015

The Hill reported that in April 2016, during the U.S. presidential race, the U.S. Embassy under Obama in Kiev, “took the rare step of trying to press the Ukrainian government to back off its investigation of both the U.S. aid and (AntAC).”

  • Gina Lentine: Now a senior program officer at Freedom House, she was formerly the Eurasia program coordinator at Soros funded Open Society Foundations. She visited on March 16, 2016.
  • Rachel Goldbrenner: Now an NYU law professor, she was at that time an advisor to then-Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. She visited on both January 15, 2016 and August 8, 2016.
  • Orly Keiner: A foreign affairs officer at the State Department who is a Russia specialist. She is also the wife of State Department Legal Advisor James P. Bair. She visited on both March 4, 2016 and June 20, 2015.
  • Nazar Kholodnitzky: The lead anti-corruption prosecutor in Ukraine. He visited on January 19, 2016.

On March 7, 2019The Associated Press reported that the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch called for him to be fired.

  • Michael Kimmage: Professor of History at Catholic University of America, at the time was with the State Department’s policy planning staff where he specialized in Russia and Ukraine issues. He is a fellow at the German Marshall Fund. He was also one of the signatories to the Transatlantic Democracy Working Group Statement of Principles. He visited on October 26, 2015.
  • James Melville: Then-recently confirmed as Obama’s Ambassador to Estonia, visited on September 9, 2015.

On June 29, 2018Foreign Policy reported that Melville resigned in protest of Trump.

  • Victoria Nuland: who at the time was assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs met with Ciaramella on June 17, 2016.

(Judicial Watch has previously uncovered documents revealing Nuland had extensive involvement with the Clinton-funded dossier. Judicial Watch also released documents revealing that Nuland was involved in the Obama State Department’s “urgent” gathering of classified Russia investigation information and disseminating it to members of Congress within hours of Trump taking office.)

  • Artem Sytnyk: the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Bureau director visited on January 19, 2016.

On October 7, 2019, the Daily Wire reported leaked tapes show Sytnyk confirming that the Ukrainians helped the Clinton campaign.

The White House visitor logs revealed the following individuals met with Alexandra Chalupa, then a DNC contractor:

  • Charles Kupchan: From 2014 to 2017, Kupchan served as special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs on the staff of the National Security Council (NSC) in the Barack Obama administration. That meeting was on November 9, 2015.
  • Alexandra Sopko: who at the time was a special assistant and policy advisor to the director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, which was run by Valerie Jarrett. Also listed for that meeting is Alexa Kissinger, a special assistant to Jarrett. That meeting was on June 2, 2015.
  • Asher Mayerson: who at the time was a policy advisor to the Office of Public Engagement under Jarrett had five visits with Chalupa including December 18, 2015, January 11, 2016, February 22, 2016, May 13, 2016, and June 14, 2016. Mayerson was previously an intern at the Center for American Progress. After leaving the Obama administration, he went to work for the City of Chicago Treasurer’s office.

Mayerson met with Chalupa and Amanda Stone, who was the White House deputy director of technology, on January 11, 2016.

On May 4, 2016, Chalupa emailed DNC official Luis Miranda to inform him that she had spoken to investigative journalists about Paul Manafort in Ukraine.

Spreadsheets of visitor records are grouped alphabetically by last name and available here: (Read more: Judicial Watch, 11/08/2019)

October 30, 2019 – Beltway talk suggests the alleged hearsay whistleblower is Eric Ciaramella

Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Michael Atkinson arrives for a closed-door hearing before the House Intelligence Committee in Washington, D.C., Oct. 4, 2019. (Credit: Eric Baradat/Agence France Presse/Getty Images)

(…) RealClearInvestigations is disclosing the name because of the public’s interest in learning details of an effort to remove a sitting president from office. Further, the official’s status as a “whistleblower” is complicated by his being a hearsay reporter of accusations against the president, one who has “some indicia of an arguable political bias … in favor of a rival political candidate” — as the Intelligence Community Inspector General phrased it circumspectly in originally fielding his complaint.

Federal documents reveal that the 33-year-old [Eric] Ciaramella, a registered Democrat held over from the Obama White House, previously worked with former Vice President Joe Biden and former CIA Director John Brennan, a vocal critic of Trump who helped initiate the Russia “collusion” investigation of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.

Further, Ciaramella (pronounced char-a-MEL-ah) left his National Security Council posting in the White House’s West Wing in mid-2017 amid concerns about negative leaks to the media. He has since returned to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

“He was accused of working against Trump and leaking against Trump,” said a former NSC official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

Also, Ciaramella huddled for “guidance” with the staff of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, including former colleagues also held over from the Obama era whom Schiff’s office had recently recruited from the NSC. (Schiff is the lead prosecutor in the impeachment inquiry.)

Alexandra Chalupa and Eric Ciaramella (Credit: public domain)

And Ciaramella worked with a Democratic National Committee operative who dug up dirt on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, inviting her into the White House for meetings, former White House colleagues said. The operative, Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American who supported Hillary Clinton, led an effort to link the Republican campaign to the Russian government. “He knows her. He had her in the White House,” said one former co-worker, who requested anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.

Documents confirm the DNC opposition researcher attended at least one White House meeting with Ciaramella in November 2015.  She visited the White House with a number of Ukrainian officials lobbying the Obama administration for aid for Ukraine.

(…) A CIA officer specializing in Russia and Ukraine, Ciaramella was detailed over to the National Security Council from the agency in the summer of 2015, working under Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser. He also worked closely with the former vice president.

Federal records show that Biden’s office invited Ciaramella to an October 2016 state luncheon the vice president hosted for Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Other guests included Brennan, as well as then-FBI Director James Comey and then-National Intelligence Director James Clapper.

Several U.S. officials told RealClearInvestigations that the invitation that was extended to Ciaramella, a relatively low-level GS-13 federal employee, was unusual and signaled he was politically connected inside the Obama White House.

Former White House officials said Ciaramella worked on Ukrainian policy issues for Biden in 2015 and 2016 when the vice president was President Obama’s “point man” for Ukraine. A Yale graduate, Ciaramella is said to speak Russian and Ukrainian, as well as Arabic. He had been assigned to the NSC by Brennan.

He was held over into the Trump administration, and headed the Ukraine desk at the NSC, eventually transitioning into the West Wing, until June 2017.

“He was moved over to the front office” to temporarily fill a vacancy, said a former White House official, where he “saw everything, read everything.”

The official added that it soon became clear among NSA staff that Ciaramella opposed the new Republican president’s foreign policies. “My recollection of Eric is that he was very smart and very passionate, particularly about Ukraine and Russia. That was his thing – Ukraine,” he said. “He didn’t exactly hide his passion with respect to what he thought was the right thing to do with Ukraine and Russia, and his views were at odds with the president’s policies.” (Read more: RealClearInvestigations, 10/30/2 019) (Archive)

September 27, 2019 – The Trump-Zelensky transcript contradicts the whistleblower complaint in three notable instances

“The Trump-Zelensky transcript contradicts the whistleblower complaint in three notable instances, raising questions about the credibility of the whistleblower and his or her purported White House sources.

First, WB claims that his sources told him that after “an initial exchange of pleasantries” Trump “used the remainder of the call to advance his personal interests.” The transcript shows that the leaders discussed meetings in Poland and DC before ending the call.

 

Second, WB claims that aside from the cases “purportedly dealing with the Biden family and the 2016 US election … no other ‘cases’ were discussed.” But the transcript shows that Trump and Zelensky talked of a potential probe of Marie Yovanovitch. (misspelled as Ivanovich)

Zelensky: “if you have any additional information that you can provide to us, it would be very helpful for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country” in regards to Yovanovitch.

In the transcript, Yovanovitch’s name is misspelled “Ivanovich” and Zelensky appears to have misstated her title as “Ambassador to the United States from Ukraine.”

WB claims the loading of the call transcript onto a secure system amounted to an abuse of that system since the “the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective.” The transcript was labeled (properly) “SECRET/ORCON/NOFORN.”

The “SECRET/ORCON/NOFORN.” label was appropriate since the call contained Trump’s views on foreign nations, including Germany, a key U.S. ally. Unauthorized disclosure of such information has the potential to harm national security.

Pelosi kicked off impeachment before the White House released the transcript of the call and before the complaint was made public. As a result, she may not have been aware that the complaint is based on hearsay, some of which has now been contradicted by the call transcript.” (Ivan Pentchoukov @IvanPentchoukov/Twitter, 9/27/2019)

September 14, 2019 – Opinion: Scott Ritter probes Russian informant, Oleg Smolenkov’s role as a CIA asset and the use of his data by Brennan

Reports that the CIA conducted an emergency exfiltration of a long-time human intelligence source who was highly placed within the Russian Presidential Administration sent shock waves throughout Washington, D.C. The source was said to be responsible for the reporting used by the former director of the CIA, John Brennan, in making the case that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered Russian intelligence services to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election for the purpose of tipping the scales in favor of then-candidate Donald Trump. According to CNN’s Jim Sciutto, the decision to exfiltrate the source was driven in part by concerns within the CIA over President Trump’s cavalier approach toward handling classified information, including his willingness to share highly classified intelligence with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a controversial visit to the White House in May 2017.

On closer scrutiny, however, this aspect of the story falls apart, as does just about everything CNN, The New York Times and other mainstream media outlets have reported. There was a Russian spy whose information was used to push a narrative of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election; this much appears to be true. Everything else that has been reported is either a mischaracterization of fact or an outright fabrication designed to hide one of the greatest intelligence failures in U.S. history — the use by a CIA director of intelligence data specifically manipulated to interfere in the election of an American president.

The consequences of this interference has deleteriously impacted U.S. democratic institutions in ways the American people remain ignorant of — in large part because of the complicity of the U.S. media when it comes to reporting this story.

Oleg Smolenkov (Credit: public domain)

This article attempts to set the record straight by connecting the dots presented by available information and creating a narrative shaped by a combination of derivative analysis and informed speculation. At best, this article brings the reader closer to the truth about Oleg Smolenkov’s role as a CIA asset; at worst, it raises issues and questions that will help in determining the truth.

(…) Every Russian diplomat assigned to the United States is screened to ascertain his or her susceptibility for recruitment. The FBI does this from a counterintelligence perspective, looking for Russian spies. The CIA does the same, but with the objective of recruiting a Russian source who can remain in the employ of the Russian government, and thereby provide the CIA with intelligence information commensurate to their standing and access. Turning a senior Russian diplomat is difficult; recruiting a junior Russian diplomat like Oleg Smolenkov less so. Someone like Smolenkov would be viewed not so much by the limited access he provided at the time of recruitment, but rather his potential for promotion and the increased opportunity for more essential access provided by such.

The responsibility within the CIA for recruiting Russian diplomats living in the United States falls to the National Resources Division, or NR, part of the Directorate of Operations, or DO — the clandestine arm of the CIA. In a perfect world, the CIA domestic station in Washington, D.C., would coordinate with the local FBI field office and develop a joint approach for recruiting a Russian diplomat such as Smolenkov. The reality is, however, that the CIA and the FBI have different goals and objectives when it comes to the Russians they recruit. As such, Smolenkov’s recruitment was most likely a CIA-only affair, run by NR but closely monitored by the Russian Operations Group of the Agency’s Central Eurasia Division, who would have responsibility for managing Smolenkov upon his return to Moscow.

The precise motive for Smolenkov to take up the CIA’s offer of recruitment remains unknown. He graduated from one of the premier universities in Russia, the Maurice Thorez Moscow State Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages, and he married his English language instructor. Normally a graduate from an elite university such as Maurice Thorez has his or her pick of jobs in the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Defense or the security services. Smolenkov was hired by the Foreign Ministry as a junior linguist, assigned to the Second European Department, which focuses on Great Britain, Scandinavia and the Baltics, before getting assigned to the embassy in Washington.”  (Read more: Consortium News, 9/14/2019)

August 20, 2019 – Indicted Russian firm, Concord Management and Consulting, challenges Mueller’s meddling accusations that are, ‘at best misleading and at worst demonstrably false’

Attorneys Eric Dubelier, second from right, and Katherine Seikaly, second from left, representing Concord Management and Consulting LLC on May 9, 2018. (Credit: Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press)

“The Russian consulting firm accused of bankrolling social media meddling in the 2016 presidential election spent less than $5,000 on candidate ads and rallies that would be subject to government auditing, the company argues in a court filing.

The motion from Concord Management and Consulting LLC challenges the federal government’s assertion that it spent huge sums of Russian money on social media aimed at disrupting the American political process.

Concord is charged with failing to file with the Federal Election Commission. The firm says some of the online ads listed in an indictment brought by special counsel Robert Mueller cost less than $10 each and added up to $2,930. Conjured-up rallies cost another $1,833 in payroll.

The 2018 indictment accuses Concord of funding the Internet Research Agency. That is the Russian troll farm in St. Petersburg that bought the internet ads, did social media spoofing and set up rallies against candidate Hillary Clinton and for Donald Trump.

“The allegation in the Indictment claiming that IRA spent thousands of dollars each month to purchase advertisements is at best misleading and at worst demonstrably false because the discovery indicates that many of the advertisements took place after the 2016 presidential election or did not involve any clearly identifiable candidate,” Concord attorney Eric A. Dubelier argued in a Monday filing in U.S. District Court.

In its filing, Concord cited cost figures based on evidence from U.S. prosecutors. The indictment listed ads that were required to be reported in campaign finance reports to the FEC.

The filing’s main argument has to do with the identities of defendants. It claims the government refuses to say which company employees violated FEC laws. Only one Concord employee is listed: its head, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a food service mogul close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.” (Read more: The Washington Times, 8/20/2019)