Andrew Weissmann

August 30, 2019 – Flynn attorney Sidney Powell walks through the history of the DOJ, FBI and intelligence apparatus weaponization against Mr. Flynn

“In an explosive response filing today, which includes the phrase ”sunlight is the best disinfectant,” attorney Sidney Powell has outlined the soup-to-nuts construct of the malicious government action taken during their targeting her client Michael Flynn.

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

Clip from Attorney Sidney Powell’s filing on behalf of Lt. General Michael Flynn.

In the 19-pages (full pdf below), Ms. Powell walks through the history of the DOJ, FBI and intelligence apparatus weaponization against Mr. Flynn and lays out the background behind everything known to have happened in 2016, 2017 through today.

From the corrupt DOJ lawyers who were working with Fusion-GPS and Chris Steele, including Mr. Weissmann, Mr. Van Grack and Ms. Zainab Ahmad; to the 2015/2016 FISA database search abuses; to the CIA and FBI operation against Flynn including Nellie Ohr; to the schemes behind the use of DOJ official Bruce Ohr; to the corrupt construct of the special counsels office selections; to the specifics within the malicious conspiracy outlined by hiding FBI interview notes of Mike Flynn,… all of it…is a stunning filing that many CTH readers are well prepared to understand.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 8/30/2019)

 

August 1, 2019 – Opinion: Here Are 5 Big Holes in Mueller’s Work

Robert Mueller testifies to congress on July 24, 2019. (Credit: Saul Loeb/Agence France Presse/Getty Images)

“Robert Mueller’s two-year, $25.2 million investigation was supposed to provide the definitive account of Donald Trump, Russia and the 2016 election. Yet even after he issued a 448-page report and testified for five hours before Congress, critical aspects remain unexplained, calling into question the basis for the probe and the decisions of those who conducted it.

Time and again in his report and his testimony, Mueller refused to address a wide range of fundamental issues, claiming they were beyond his purview. Some of the issues Mueller and his team did not clarify include whether the FBI had a sound predicate for opening a counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign; whether the FBI knowingly relied on false material; and the links between U.S. government agencies and key figures who fueled the most explosive claims of an illicit Trump-Russia relationship. Mueller claimed that he was prevented from answering critical questions due to ongoing Justice Department reviews, one by Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham and the other by Inspector General Michael Horowitz. In the meantime, here are some of the biggest mysteries that Mueller’s team left hanging in the air.

Who Is Joseph Mifsud, and Was He the Actual Predicate for the Russia Investigation?

Mueller’s pointed refusal to answer questions about Mifsud underscored that his team did not provide a plausible explanation for the incident that supposedly sparked the Russia investigation in July 2016. Mifsud is the mysterious Maltese professor who reportedly informed Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos that the Russian government had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Their conversation took place in , before the alleged hacking of Democratic Party emails was publicly known. (cont.)

What Was the Role of the Steele Dossier?

Christopher Steele: described as “Source #1” and “credible.”
(Credit: Victoria Jones/The Associated Press)

Mueller also refused to address another key driver of the Trump-Russia probe – the series of unverified and salacious opposition research memos against Trump secretly financed by the Clinton campaign and the DNC and  compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. Some Republicans believe the dossier was the real trigger of the FBI probe and that Mifsud was later used as an excuse by the FBI to cover that up once the dossier’s partisan origins were revealed. As he did with Mifsud, Mueller, who was FBI Director between 2001 and 2013, stonewalled the many Republican efforts to press him on this topic. (more)

Why Did the Mueller Team Invent the Polling Data Theory About Konstantin Kilimnik, and Omit His U.S. Ties?

Konstantin Kilimnik
(Credit: The Associated Press)

Mueller also refused to answer critical questions about his report’s portrayal of Konstantin Kilimnik. The longtime business associate of Trump’s one-time campaign manager, Paul Manafort, became central to the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory as a result of the Mueller team’s own innuendo. In January 2019, Mueller accused Manafort of lying about sharing Trump campaign polling data with Kilimnik during the 2016 campaign. According to Mueller, the FBI had assessed that Kilimnik has an unspecified “relationship with Russian intelligence.” In court, Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann repeated that ambiguous claim and tacked on a piece of tantalizing flourish: “This goes to the larger view of what we think is going on, and what we think is the motive here. This goes, I think, very much to the heart of what the special counsel’s office is investigating.” Weissmann’s comments fueled widespread speculation – and even confident assertions – that Kilimnik had passed on the polling data to the Russian government, which then put it to use for its supposed social media interference campaign targeting malleable swing-state voters. (cont.)

Why Did the Mueller Team Falsely Suggest That Trump Tower Moscow Was a Viable Project – and What Was the Role of FBI Informant Felix Sater?

Along with the discredited polling-data theory, House Democrats repeatedly played up the Mueller team’s indictment of Michael Cohen for lying to Congress about the failed effort to build a Trump Tower Moscow. In court filings, the Mueller team insinuated that the project was a viable and lucrative one. Because Cohen had lied to Congress and Trump had denied having business dealings in Russia, Rep. Joaquin Castro asked Mueller if he had assessed whether “President Trump could be vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians.” (cont.)

Was Specious Info Leaked to Justify the Absence of Trump-Kremlin Links?

In the absence of evidence tying the Trump campaign to the Kremlin – and a preponderance of leads involving key figures actually tied to the West – U.S. intelligence officials helped cast a pall of suspicion through misleading, and sometimes false, media leaks. In January 2017, then-FBI Director James Comey briefed President-elect Trump on the Steele Dossier’s most explosive allegation: that the Russians had a tape of him with prostitutes in a Moscow Ritz-Carlton hotel room. Comey’s briefing to Trump was leaked to the press, leading to the dossier’s publication by BuzzFeed and cementing the story atop the news cycle for the more than two years since.” (cont.)

(Read more: RealClearInvestigations, 8/01/2019) 

June 24, 2019 – DOJ confirms Flynn defense team never received a transcript of Flynn/Kislyak phone call

“When General Michael Flynn entered into the seemingly coerced plea agreement with the special counsel team and prosecutor Brandon Van Grack (November 30, 2017), he gave up the right to defense discovery in his case.  In hindsight this will likely be viewed a mistake.

Lt. General Michael Flynn and his new attorney, Sidney Powell. (Credit: Megan Meneiro/Courthouse News)

(h/t Techno Fog) During a court appearance today by new attorney Ms. Sidney Powell, the topic of needing a classified security clearance -to review documents- was raised.  The DOJ responded to the assertion by saying no classified information was provided to the prior Flynn defense team, therefore Ms. Powell doesn’t need not carry that concern.

However, by admitting the DOJ provided no classified information to the defense, the prosecution is simultaneously admitting they never provided Flynn with a copy of the phone call transcript (December 29, 2016) between President-elect Trump’s incoming National Security Advisor and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.  The content of that phone call lies at the heart of the FBI interview that took place on January 24th, 2017.

Judge Emmet Sullivan originally asked for the Flynn/Kislyak transcript; however, the prosecution said it was irrelevant to their case.  The judge accepted the non-production.

It is suspected Flynn may have been under a FISA surveillance warrant which seems confirmed by the Weissmann/Mueller report. The FBI intercepted, recorded, and later transcribed the December 29, 2016, conversation.

This is why the issue of how the FBI agents write the 302 summary of the Flynn January 24, 2017, interview becomes such an important facet.

On June 6, 2019, the DOJ released the FBI agent report (FD-302) written after their interview of Michael Flynn on Jan 24th, 2017. (Full pdf below) From prior testimony we know that FBI Agent Peter Strzok did the questioning and FBI Agent Joe Pientka took notes.

Lt. General Michael Flynn (Credit: public domain)

For some reason, within the DOJ release of the report they are continuing to redact the name Joe Pientka. [Could be due to ongoing employment]

It’s worth noting according to Mark Meadows the Office of Inspector General Michael Horowitz has interviewed Joe Pientka extensively; prior attempts by congress to gain testimony from Pientka were blocked by the FBI and Rod Rosenstein.

FBI Agent Joseph Pientka was never interviewed by the joint House judiciary and oversight committees (Goodlatte and Gowdy). The reason, as explained by Meadows, was simple; Pientka was on Weissmann and Mueller’s special counsel team. Congress was not allowed to interfere in the Mueller probe. In hindsight this looks like Weissmann, Mueller & Rosenstein strategically using the investigation as a shield from sunlight.

The interview took place on January 24, 2017. The report was written Jan 24th, 2017. The wording was then deliberated by the small group, approved by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and entered into the record on February 15th, 2017. (Read much more: Conservative Treehouse, 6/24/2019)

June 20, 2019 – The Justice Department allows Congress to view the Rosenstein Scope Memos

Byron York has put down the crustless triangle sandwich and white wine spritzer long enough to finally discover the October 20th, 2017, scope memo written by Rod Rosenstein that authorized Weissman and Mueller to target Michael Flynn Jr.

(…)  The Justice Department has recently allowed members of some congressional committees to view the scope memos, and out of that has come the news that there was a third scope memo to Mueller. Dated Oct. 20, 2017, its contents remain a secret. But its very existence suggests something was going on behind the scenes in the relationship of Mueller and his supervisors at the Justice Department. (read more)

York continues… “At the moment, the third scope memo, like most of the second scope memo, remains a secret.“…  Good grief, seriously?  Funny how AG Barr is now letting congress look at the scope memos, meanwhile -despite the authorization to release provided by President Trump- the public is blocked from them.  I digress.

The October 20th, 2017, Rosenstein scope memo was specifically so that Weissmann and Mueller could target specific people for maximum political damage; including the targeting of Michael Flynn Jr. to generate leverage so that Flynn Sr. would have to accept a plea or see his family crushed under the weight of the weaponized special counsel.

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

The original authorization for the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller was May 17th, 2017. However, the released Weissmann/Mueller report shows there were two additional scope memos authorizing specific targeting of the Mueller probe. The second  scope memo was August 2nd, 2017, (outlined here), and is an important part of the puzzle that helps explain the corrupt original purpose of the special counsel.

The third scope memo was issued by Rod Rosenstein to Robert Mueller on October 20th, 2017. The transparent intent of the third scope memo was to provide Weissmann and Mueller with ammunition and authority to investigate specific targets, for specific purposes. One of those targets was General Michael Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn Jr.

As you review the highlighted portion below, found on pages 12 and 13 of the Weissmann report, read slowly and fully absorb the intent; the corruption is blood-boiling:

This third scope memo allowed Weissmann and Mueller to target tangentially related persons and entities bringing in Michael Cohen, Richard Gates, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn Jr. Additionally and strategically (you’ll see why), this memo established the authority to pursue “jointly undertaken activity“.

With Paul Manafort outlined as an investigative target in the original authorization and the second scope memo, the third scope memo authorizes expansion to his business partner Richard Gates and their joint businesses. This memo also permits the investigation of Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen and all of his interests; and in ultimate weasel sunlight, Rosenstein authorizes an investigation of his boss, AG Jeff Sessions.

Before getting to more targets, notice the underlined passage about starting with a lot of investigative material because the special counsel was picking up a Russian interference investigation that had been ongoing for “nearly 10 months.”

I would also note that our CTH research indicates all of the illegally extracted FISA-702(16)(17) database search results would be part of this pre-existing investigative file available immediately to Weissmann and Mueller. However, in order to use the search-query evidence, Weissmann and Mueller would need to backfill some alternate justification; or find another way to “rediscover” the preexisting results….. I digress

The four identified targets within the original July 2016 investigation, “Operation Crossfire Hurricane”, were George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and Carter Page. (See HPSCI report):

General Flynn was under investigation from the outset in mid-2016. The fraudulent FBI counterintelligence operation, established by CIA Director John Brennan, had Flynn as one of the early targets when Brennan handed the originating electronic communication“EC” to FBI Director James Comey.” (Read more: The Conservative Treehouse, 6/20/2019)

May 31, 2019 – Sidney Powell discusses DOJ in the Lawfare era: “guilty until proven innocent”

Not enough people understand the role of the Lawfare group in the corruption and political weaponization of the DOJ, FBI and larger intelligence community.

Benjamin Wittes (Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

What Media Matters is to corrupt left-wing media, the Lawfare group is to the corrupt DOJ and FBI.

All of the headline names around the seditious conspiracy against Donald Trump assemble within the network of the Lawfare group.

Three days after the October 21st, 2016, FISA warrant was obtained, Benjamin Wittes outlined the insurance policy approach.

FBI Director James Comey, FBI Legal Counsel James Baker, Comey memo recepient Daniel Richman, Deputy AG Sally Yates, Comey friend Benjamin Wittes, FBI lead agent Peter Strzok, FBI counsel Lisa Page, Mueller lead Andrew Weissmann and the Mueller team of lawyers, all of them -and more- are connected to the Lawfare group; and this network provides the sounding board for all of the weaponized approaches, including the various new legal theories as outlined within the Weissmann-Mueller Report.

The Lawfare continuum is very simple.  The corrupt 2015 Clinton exoneration; which became the corrupt 2016 DOJ/FBI Trump investigation; which became the corrupt 2017 DOJ/FBI Mueller probe; is currently the 2019 “impeachment” plan.  Weissmann and Mueller delivering their report evolved the plan from corrupt legal theory into corrupt political targeting.  Every phase within the continuum holds the same goal.

The current “impeachment strategy” is planned-out within the Lawfare group.

After the 2018 mid-terms, and in preparation for the “impeachment” strategy, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler hired Lawfare Group members to become committee staff. Chairman Schiff hired former SDNY U.S. Attorney Daniel Goldman (link), and Chairman Nadler hired  Obama Administration lawyer Norm Eisen and criminal defense attorney Barry Berke (link), all are within the Lawfare network.

Remember, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller didn’t come into this process as an ‘outsider’, and Mueller didn’t select his team. The corrupt Lawfare team inside government (FBI Counsel James Baker, DOJ Deputy Andrew Weissmann, FBI Deputy McCabe etc.) already knew Mueller.  The team had established personal and professional connections to Mueller, and they brought him in to lead the team.

When you realize that Robert Mueller didn’t select the team; rather the preexisting team selected their figurehead, Robert Mueller; then results make sense.  Robert Mueller can never be allowed to testify to congress because if questioned he actually has very little understanding of what took place.

A disconcerting aspect to the Lawfare dynamic is how current U.S. Attorney General William Barr has knowledge of this.  Barr knows and understands how the Lawfare network operates. Barr is from this professional neighborhood. Like Mueller, Barr also knows these people.

“As a matter of law. In other words, we didn’t agree with the legal analysis- a lot of the legal analysis in the report. It did not reflect the views of the department. It was the views of a particular lawyer or lawyers.

AG BILL BARR

Under Eric Holder, Sally Yates, Loretta Lynch, Tom Perez, Robert Mueller, James Comey and Andrew McCabe, the focus of the DOJ and FBI became prismatic toward politics and tribalism.  All of the hired senior lawyers and officials had to be aligned with the political intents of the offices.

(CIA Director John Brennan brought the same political goals to an intelligence apparatus that held a preexisting disposition of alignment, see Mike Morell: “I ran the CIA now I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton.”)

Their agencies were used against their ideological enemies in large operations like Fast-n-Furious, IRS targeting, Gibson Guitar etc.  And also smaller operations: Henry Louis Gates, George Zimmerman, Darren Wilson, Ferguson, Baltimore etc.  All of these activist Lawfare examples were pushed and promoted by an allied media.

Many of the ‘weaponized’ approaches use radical legal theory (ex. disparate impact), and that ties into the purposes and methods of the Lawfare Group.  The intent of Lawfare is described in the name: to use Law as a tool in Warfare.  The ideology that binds the group is the ideological outlook and purpose: using the legal system to target political opposition.

The Lawfare group ensures you have the right to remain guilty until they verify your politics and determine your alignment with the tribe.  If accepted, your disposition shifts to innocent and you receive a pass to avoid any legal jeopardy…

When special counsel Robert Mueller formally closed the Russia investigation on May 29th, he opened the door to wide-ranging speculation as to the intent behind his statement. In the eyes of Former Texas Prosecutor Sidney Powell, Mueller’s words stood the rule of law and the presumption of innocence on their heads. (Conservative Treehouse, 6/01/2019)

May 14, 2019 – Devin Nunes on the importance of exposing the real origins of the Russia narrative

“Devin Nunes appears on Fox News to discuss why the origin of the Russia narrative is important.  The scale and scope of the fraudulent construct is now a strongly enmeshed narrative, toxic to the systems of cohesive government:

If you read the Weissmann/Mueller report carefully one aspect stands out strongly; the Mueller investigation was fully committed to The Steele Dossier. An inordinate amount of the report is focused on justifying their investigative validity and purpose in looking at the claims within the Steele Dossier.

Repeatedly, the investigative unit references their mandate based around the Steele Dossier, and the mid-summer 2016 origin of the FBI counterintelligence operation.

Why? Why was/is Crossfire Hurricane (July ’16) and the Steele Dossier (Oct. ’16) so important to the principle intelligence apparatus, and the Mueller team (’17, ’18, ’19)?

I believe former NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers has told us the answer. In early 2016 Rogers caught on to a massive and pre-existing weaponization of government surveillance and the use of collected NSA metadata for political spy operations. Everything, that comes AFTER March 2016 is one big blanket cover-up operation….. ALL OF IT.

The Russian election interference narrative; the use of Joseph Mifsud, Stefan Halper, the London and Australian embassy personnel; Erika Thompson, Alexander Downer, U.S. DIA officials; everything around Crossfire Hurricane; and everything after to include the construct of the Steele Dossier; all of it was needed for the creation of an ‘after-the-fact‘ plausible justification to cover-up what Mike Rogers discovered in early 2016, AND the downstream unmasked records that existed in the Obama White House SCIF.

Fusion GPS was not hired in April 2016 to research Donald Trump. The intelligence community was already doing surveillance and spy operations. They already knew everything about the Trump campaign. The Obama intelligence community needed Fusion GPS to give them a justification for pre-existing surveillance and spy operations.

That’s why the FBI, and later the Mueller team, are so strongly committed to, and defending, the formation of the Steele Dossier and its dubious content.

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

On Pages #11 and #12 of the Weissmann/Mueller report, the special counsel team outlines the purpose and intent of the probe as delivered by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Within these pages Mueller outlines the August 2nd Scope Memo that has previously been hidden and remains redacted through today.

Read the highlighted portion carefully to understand the scope of the instructions. Note the careful wording “the Special Counsel had been authorized since his appointment to investigate allegations”… This means from Day #1 of the special counsel, the scope of the probe was always to investigate the claims within the Ohr/Steele Dossier:

The August 2nd Scope Memo additionally authorized the investigation of “certain other matters” specifically relating to Manafort (financial crimes), and Papadopolous and Flynn (FARA violations).

These paragraphs tell us a great deal about what originated the purpose of the FBI investigation and the continued purpose of the special counsel. Remember, the special counsel was a continuance of the FBI counterintelligence operation which officially began on July 31st, 2016. [The unofficial beginning was much earlier]

Understanding now that Mueller is saying from Day One he was investigating the Steele Dossier; here’s where we all need to question the assumptions.

Why is the Steele Dossier so important?” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/14/2019)

May 9, 2019 – Who Were the Mueller Report’s Hired Guns?

By: Paul Sperry, RealClearInvestigations

“Special Counsel Robert Mueller spent more than $732,000 on outside contractors, including private investigators and researchers, records show, but his office refuses to say who they were. While it’s not unusual for special government offices to outsource for services such as computer support, Mueller also hired contractors to compile “investigative reports” and other “information.”

The arrangement has led congressional investigators, government watchdog groups and others to speculate that the private investigators and researchers who worked for the special counsel’s office might have included Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS, the private research firm that hired Steele to produce the Russia collusion dossier for the Clinton campaign.

Robert Mueller arriving at the office: His report recycles dossier dirt. (Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press)

They suspect the dossier creators may have been involved in Mueller’s operation – and even had a hand in his final report – because the special counsel sent his team to London to meet with Steele within a few months of taking over the Russia collusion investigation in 2017. Also, Mueller’s lead prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, had shared information he received from Fusion with the media.

Raising additional suspicions, Mueller’s report recycles the general allegations leveled in the dossier. And taking a page from earlier surveillance-warrant applications in the Russia investigation, it cites as supporting evidence several articles – including one by Yahoo! News – that used Steele and Fusion as sources.

Mueller even kept alive one of the dossier’s most obscene accusations – that Moscow had “compromising tapes” of Trump with Russian hookers – by slipping into a footnote an October 2016 text Trump lawyer Michael Cohen received from a “Russian businessman,” who cryptically intimated, “Stopped flow of tapes from Russia.” Lawyers for the businessman, Giorgi Rtskhiladze (who is actually a Georgian-American), are demanding a retraction of the footnote, arguing Mueller omitted the part of his text where he said he did not believe the rumor about the tapes, for which no evidence has ever surfaced.

Mueller’s reliance on the Steele dossier is raising questions because it occurred long after FBI Director James B. Comey described the dossier as “salacious and unverified.”

U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said the report should be renamed “The Mueller Dossier,” because he says it contains a lot of similar innuendo. Even though Mueller failed to corroborate key allegations leveled in the dossier, Nunes said his report twists key facts to put a collusion gloss on events. He also asserted that it selectively quotes from Trump campaign emails and omits exculpatory information in ways that cast the campaign’s activities in the most sinister light.

A detail from the website of Steele’s private London firm, Orbis Business Intelligence.

Steele’s 17-memo dossier alleged that the Trump campaign was involved in “a well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” with the Russian government to rig the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor. It claimed this conspiracy “was managed on the Trump side by Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, who was using foreign policy adviser Carter Page and others as intermediaries.” Specifically, the dossier accused Page of secretly meeting with Kremlin officials in July 2016 to hatch a plot to release dirt on Hillary Clinton. And it accused Manafort of being corrupted by Russian President Vladimir Putin through his puppets in the Ukraine.

Likewise, Mueller’s report focuses on Manafort and Page and whether they “committed crimes by colluding with Russian government officials with respect to the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.”

Though the investigation did not establish that Page coordinated with the Russian government, the Mueller report implies there may be a kernel of truth to the dossier’s charges.

“In July 2016, Campaign foreign policy advisor Carter Page traveled in his personal capacity to Moscow and gave the keynote address at the New Economic School,” according to the section on him. “Page had lived and worked in Russia between 2003 and 2007. After returning to the United States, Page became acquainted with at least two Russian intelligence officers, one of whom was later charged in 2015 with conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of Russia.”

Carter Page at a news conference  in Moscow in 2016. (Credit: Pavel Golovkin/The Associated Press)

Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, heads to a news conference at RIA Novosti news agency in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Page said he was in Moscow on a visit to meet with businessmen and politicians.

Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow and his advocacy for pro-Russian foreign policy drew media attention,” Mueller’s narrative continued. “July 2016 was also the month WikiLeaks first released emails stolen by the GRU [Russian intelligence] from the DNC.”

“Page acknowledged that he understood that the individuals he has associated with were members of the Russian intelligence services,” the report added, implying that Page in the 2015 case (referenced above) knowingly cavorted with Russian spies, which echoes charges Steele made in his dossier.

But federal court records make it clear that Page did not know that those men were Russian agents.

Mueller also left out of his report a detail RealClearInvestigations has previously reported: that Page was a cooperating witness in the case in question, helping the FBI eventually put a Russian agent behind bars in 2016. Nor did Mueller see fit to include in his report another exculpatory detail revealed in agent Gregory Mohaghan’s complaint and reported earlier by RCI — namely, that the Russians privately referred to Page as “an idiot” who was unworthy of recruitment.

Excluding such details is curious, given that the Mueller report quotes from the same FBI complaint and cites it in its footnotes. Similarly, in its section dealing with Manafort, the Mueller report echoes the dossier’s claims that the Trump campaign chairman was in cahoots with the Kremlin, even though Mueller never charged him with  conspiring to collude with Russia.

A 2006 photo of Konstantin Kilimnik, a longtime employee of Paul Manafort who ran the Ukraine office of his lobbying firm. The Mueller report suggests he was one of Manafort’s Kremlin handlers. (Credit: The Associated Press)

The special prosecutor’s report indicated that one of Manafort’s Kremlin handlers was Konstantin Kilimnik.

“Manafort briefed Kilimnik on the state of the Trump Campaign and Manafort’s plan to win the election,” it said. “That briefing encompassed the Campaign’s messaging and its internal polling data. It also included discussion of ‘battleground’ states, which Manafort identified as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.”

Except that this wouldn’t have been an unusual conversation: Kilimnik was a longtime Manafort employee who ran the Ukraine office of his lobbying firm. Footnotes in Mueller’s report show that Manafort shared campaign information to impress a former business partner, Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who was suing him over financial losses. Mueller failed to tie the information exchange to Russian espionage. He also failed to mention that Deripaska is an FBI informant.

Mueller’s team worked closely with dossier author Steele, a long-retired British intelligence officer who worked for the Clinton campaign. Mueller’s investigators went to London to consult with Steele for at least two days in September 2017 while apparently using his dossier as an investigative road map and central theory to his collusion case. Steele now runs a private research and consulting firm in London, Orbis Business Intelligence.

It’s not clear if Mueller’s office paid Steele, but recently released FBI records show the bureau previously made a number of payments to him, and at one point during the 2016 campaign offered him $50,000 to continue his dossier research. Steele was also paid through the Clinton campaign, earning $168,000 for his work on the dossier.

Paul Manafort at court last year with wife Kathleen. (Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press)

Expenditure statements show that the Special Counsel’s Office outsourced “investigative reports” and “information” to third-party contractors during Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian “collusion” during the 2016 presidential election.

Over the past few months, Mueller’s office has rejected several formal requests from RealClearInvestigations for contract details, including who was hired and how much they were paid.

Washington-based Judicial Watch suspects Mueller’s office may have farmed out work to the private Washington research firm Fusion GPS or its subcontractor Steele, both of whom were paid by the Clinton camp during the 2016 presidential election. Several law enforcement and Hill sources who spoke with RCI also believe Steele and Fusion GPS were deputized in the investigation.

The government watchdog group has requested that the Justice Department turn over the contracting records, along with all budget requests Mueller submitted to the attorney general during his nearly two-year investigation. It’s also requested all communications between the Special Counsel’s Office and the private contractors it used.

A Judicial Watch spokesman said its Freedom of Information Act request is pending.

Glenn Simpson (Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/The Associated Press)

Special counsel spokesman Peter Carr declined comment when asked specifically if Mueller’s team hired or collaborated with Fusion GPS or any of its subcontractors. Mueller took over the FBI’s Russia probe in May 2017, whereupon he hired many of the agents who handled Steele and pored over his dossier.

For the first reporting period ending Sept. 30, 2017, and covering just four months, the Special Counsel’s Office reported paying $867 to unnamed contractors for “investigative reports/information,” along with $3,554 in “miscellaneous” payments to contractors.

In the next reporting period ending March 31, 2018, the office stopped breaking out investigative reports and information as a separate line item, lumping such contractual services under the category “Other,” which accounted for a total of $10,812, or more than 4% of the total spending on outside contracts.

For the six months ending Dona – the latest reporting period for which there is data – Mueller’s office showed a total of $310,732 in payments to outside contractors. For the first time, it did not break out such expenses into subcategories, though it noted that the lion’s share of the $310,000 was spent on “IT services.”

Mueller concluded his investigation and delivered his final report in March. The next expenditure report, for the period October 2018-March 2019, will cover contract work directly tied to compiling the report.

Asked if the contracting details were classified, Carr demurred. If the information is not deemed classified, it must be made public, Judicial Watch maintains.

Republican critics on the Hill say Mueller’s written narrative was slanted to give the impression there still might be something to the dossier’s most salacious allegations, even though Mueller found no evidence corroborating them or establishing that Trump or his campaign coordinated or cooperated with Russian meddling in the election.

“Whoever wrote the report leaves you with the idea there’s still something to all the allegations of collusion that were first promoted by the dossier,” said a witness who was interviewed by Mueller’s investigators late in the probe and is referenced in the report.

Donald Trump Jr., right, with his father: The Mueller report gives the miss-impression that the president’s oldest son was collaborating with WikiLeaks. (Credit: Evan Vucci/The Associated Press)

In a section on Donald Trump Jr., moreover, the report gives the misimpression that the president’s oldest son was collaborating with WikiLeaks on the release of the Clinton campaign emails.

“Donald Trump Jr. had direct electronic communications with WikiLeaks during the campaign period,” it stated.

In fact, Trump got an unsolicited message through his Twitter account from WikiLeaks. He described the outreach as “weird” in an email to senior Trump campaign staff at the time. Other contemporaneous messages make it clear he had no advance knowledge about any Clinton emails released by WikiLeaks.

The FBI first began receiving memos from Steele’s dossier in early July 2016 and used the documents as the foJeundation for its October 2016 application for a warrant to wiretap the private communications of Page. These milestones are missing from the Mueller report’s chronology of events. In fact, neither Steele nor his dossier is mentioned by name anywhere in the first half of the report dealing with collusion, though their allegations are hashed out.

Some Mueller critics are focused on the role played by his top prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, a Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter with longstanding ties to Steele and Fusion GPS.

Andrew Weissmann, now a senior fellow at NYU Law. (Credit: NYU Law)

“Weissman had a lot to do with the way the report was written,” said author Jerome Corsi, who, as a friend of Trump confidant Roger Stone, was targeted by Mueller. “That’s why it’s basically a political document.”

Corsi said he spent more than 40 hours with Mueller’s prosecutors and investigators, who grilled him about possible ties to WikiLeaks but never charged him with a crime.

Formerly a top Justice Department official under Obama, Weissmann not only donated to Clinton’s presidential campaign but also attended her election-night party in New York City in November 2016. Three months earlier, he was briefed on Steele’s dossier and other dirt provided by the Clinton contractor and paid FBI informant. In early 2017, Weissmann helped advance the Russia collusion narrative by personally sharing Steele’s and Fusion’s dirt on Trump and his advisers with Washington reporters.

In an April 2017 meeting he arranged at his office, Weissmann gave guidance to four Associated Press reporters who were investigating Manafort, according to internal FBI  documents.

Among other things, they discussed rumors that Manafort used “some of the money from shell companies to buy expensive suits.” A month later, Weissmann became the lead prosecutor handling the Manafort case for Mueller. His February 2018 indictment of Manafort highlights, among other things, the Trump adviser’s taste for expensive suits.

Attempts to reach Weissmann for comment were unsuccessful.

Edward Baumgartner: worked for Fusion GPS
Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. (Credit: YouTube screen grab)

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said there are signs Mueller may have hired “researchers” like Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, who worked with Steele on the dossier, along with Edward Baumgartner and Nellie Ohr, who have worked for Fusion GPS, which originally hired Steele in June 2016 after contracting with the Clinton campaign.

“I ran into Glenn at the 2017 Aspen Security [Forum], and I distinctly remember him leaning in and claiming he was working for the government,” said one associate, who wished to remain anonymous.

Congressional investigators say Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, has been feeding Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate investigative tips regarding Trump and his associates, including Manafort.

In 2017, for instance, he urged Democrats specifically to look into the bank records of Deutsche Bank, which has financed some of Trump’s businesses, because he suspected some of the funding may have been laundered through Russia.

Around the time Simpson began coordinating with Democratic investigators looking into Trump’s bank records, Mueller subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for financial records for Manafort and other individuals affiliated with Trump.

Simpson did not return calls and emails seeking comment.

Founded by the journalist-turned-opposition researcher, Fusion has rehired Steele to continue his anti-Trump work with millions of dollars in left-wing funding from The Democracy Integrity Project, a Washington-based nonprofit started in 2017 by former FBI analyst Daniel Jones, who also worked for Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

In March 2017, Jones met with FBI agents to provide them data he collected from IT specialists he hired to analyze web traffic between servers maintained by the Trump Organization and a Russian bank mentioned in the dossier. The traffic turned out to be innocuous marketing emails, or spam. (RealClearInvestigations, 5/09/2019)

(This and all other original articles created by RealClearInvestigations may be republished for free with attribution. These terms do not apply to outside articles linked on the site.)

March 19, 2019 – Zainab Ahmad is leaving Mueller’s special counsel team

Zanaib Ahmad (Credit: Pari Dukovic/The New Yorker)

“A Justice Department official who worked on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s case is leaving the special counsel’s office, a spokesman for Robert Mueller said Monday.

“Zainab Ahmad has concluded her detail with the Special Counsel’s Office but will continue to represent the office on specific pending matters that were assigned to her during her detail,” special counsel spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement, first reported by Yahoo! News.

(…) Ahmad and Weissmann recently came under scrutiny over their interactions during the 2016 campaign with Justice Department official Bruce Ohr.

It recently emerged that Ohr testified to Congress on Aug. 28, 2018, that he briefed Ahmed, Weissmann and FBI officials in September 2016 about his interactions with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the anti-Trump dossier.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 3/19/2019)

March 15, 2019 – Lawmakers request documents from DOJ regarding top special counsel prosecutor, Andrew Weissman

Former Asst. U.S. Attorney Andy Weissmann speaks outside the Federal Court House in Houston, TX after bringing charges against former Enron CFO Andrew Fastow October 2, 2002. (Credit: Fox News)

“Republican lawmakers want answers regarding Special Counsel prosecutor Andrew Weissmann who is expected to soon be leaving his post at the Department of Justice, but significant questions still linger about his knowledge and connections with one of the FBI’s top sources into the Russia Trump probe.

Reps. Mark Meadows, R-NC, and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio want answers from the DOJ. They have requested documents, communications and have sent multiple detailed questions regarding Weismann, and his colleague DOJ prosecutor Zainab Ahmad. According to the letter, the Justice Department has been asked to respond to their request by 5 p.m. EST (today) Friday.

The concern is based on the recent information provided in testimony by senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. Ohr had told lawmakers that he had met with Weissmann and Ahmad in the summer of 2016 and warned them that the anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele was not properly vetted. Ohr also told the prosecutors about Steele’s vehement bias against Trump.

(…) The lawmakers are also seeking information on how the Department of Justice and special counsel possibly handled the situation and if Weissmann and Ahmad disclosed their meeting with Ohr.

  • identify all actions taken by Weissmann and Ahmad, including disclosures, to apprise the Department or the Special Counsel’s Office of their role in the events Bruce Ohr testified to about supplying the FBI with information relating to the Trump campaign;
  • Explain all actions taken by Weissmann and Ahmad after learning Steele, Simpson, and Nellie Ohr were providing Bruce Ohr information for the purpose of relaying it to the FBI;
  • Provide all documents and communications referring or relating to disclosures made by Weissmann and Ahmad as part of their appointments to the Special Counsel’s Office;
  • Provide all documents and communications related to the process that the Department used to evaluate prosecutors’ and investigators’ independence to serve the Special Counsel’s Office

(Read more: Sarah Carter, 3/15/2019)

March 14, 2019 – Top Mueller prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, steps down

“One of the most prominent members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russia’s attack on the 2016 presidential election will soon leave the office and the Justice Department, two sources close to the matter tell NPR.

Andrew Weissmann, the architect of the case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, will study and teach at New York University and work on a variety of public service projects, including his longstanding interest in preventing wrongful convictions by shoring up forensic science standards used in courts, the sources added.

The departure is the strongest sign yet that Mueller and his team have all but concluded their work. (Read more: NPR, 3/14/2019)