August 2018

August 31, 2018 – Testimony by FBI lawyer Trisha Anderson reveals extensive role in Trump, Clinton investigations

(Credit: The Epoch Times)

“A key player in the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of Donald Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign was Trisha Anderson, who, at the time, was the No. 2 lawyer at the agency’s Office of General Counsel.

Despite having no specific experience in counterintelligence before coming to the FBI, Anderson was, in some manner, involved in virtually all of the significant events of the investigation.

Anderson told members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees in August last year during closed-door testimony that she was one of only about 10 people who had known about the Trump–Russia investigation prior to its official opening.

A transcript of Anderson’s testimony, which was reviewed for this article, reveals that she had read all of the FBI’s FD302 forms detailing information that the author of the Steele dossier, former British spy Christopher Steele, had provided to high-ranking Department of Justice (DOJ) official Bruce Ohr.

Anderson also told lawmakers that she personally signed off on the original application for a warrant to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page without having read it. The FBI relied heavily on the unverified information in the Steele dossier—which was paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee—to obtain the FISA warrant.

Anderson also was part of a small group of FBI personnel who got to read then-FBI Director James Comey’s memos about conversations he had with President Donald Trump.

Besides the investigation into Trump, Anderson also was involved in the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton for sending classified information using a private server.

Anderson’s testimony reveals that she received the original referral from the inspectors general for both the State Department and Intelligence Community on Clinton after hundreds of classified emails had been found on her server.

Her testimony also raises questions as to whether then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict of interest.

Lawmakers also questioned Anderson about whether she advised Comey against making a public announcement that the FBI had reopened its investigation into Clinton following findings on the laptop of former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) because Comey would have been “responsible for getting Donald Trump elected.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 3/08/2019) (Trisha Anderson transcript, 8/31/2018)

August 31, 2018 – The Justice department admits the FISC never held hearings on the Title 1 FISA application for Carter Page

(Credit: A. Hunter/Washington Times)

“Judicial Watch revealed that the Justice Department admitted in a court filing that the FISA Court never held hearings on the FISA applications for former Trump advisor Carter Page.

Judicial Watch said that, in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, the Justice Department (DOJ) admitted in a court filing that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court held no hearings on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) spy warrant applications targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign part-time advisor who was the subject of four controversial FISA warrants.

“It is disturbing that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance courts rubber-stamped the Carter Page spy warrants and held not one hearing on these extraordinary requests to spy on the Trump team,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement.

In the filing the Justice Department finally revealed that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court held no hearings on the Page FISA spy warrants, first issued in 2016 and subsequently renewed three times:

National Security Division FOIA consulted Office of Intelligence … to identify and locate records responsive to [Judicial Watch’s] FOIA request…. [Office of Intelligence] determined … that there were no records, electronic or paper, responsive to [Judicial Watch’s] FOIA request with regard to Carter Page. [Office of Intelligence] further confirmed that the [Foreign Surveillance Court] considered the Page warrant applications based upon written submissions and did not hold any hearings.

In February, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a memo criticizing the FISA targeting of Carter Page. The memo details how the “minimally corroborated” Clinton-DNC dossier was an essential part of the FBI and DOJ’s applications for surveillance warrants to spy on Page.

Judicial Watch recently filed a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking the transcripts of all hearings related to the surveillance of Carter Page.” (Read more: Conservative Daily News, 9/01/2018)

August 31, 2018 – Justice Department discloses no FISA Court hearings held on Carter Page warrants

Judicial Watch today announced that in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, the Justice Department (DOJ) admitted in a court filing last night that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court held no hearings on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) spy warrant applications targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign part-time advisor who was the subject of four controversial FISA warrants.

In the filing the Justice Department finally revealed that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court held no hearings on the Page FISA spy warrants, first issued in 2016 and subsequently renewed three times:

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

(…) “In February, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a memo criticizing the FISA targeting of Carter Page. The memo details how the “minimally corroborated” Clinton-DNC dossier was an essential part of the FBI and DOJ’s applications for surveillance warrants to spy on Page.

Judicial Watch recently filed a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking the transcripts of all hearings related to the surveillance of Carter Page.

“It is disturbing that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance courts rubber-stamped the Carter Page spy warrants and held not one hearing on these extraordinary requests to spy on the Trump team,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Perhaps the court can now hold hearings on how justice was corrupted by material omissions that Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the DNC, a conflicted Bruce Ohr, a compromised Christopher Steele, and anti-Trumper Peter Strzok were all behind the ‘intelligence’ used to persuade the courts to approve the FISA warrants that targeted the Trump team.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 8/31/2018)

August 30, 2018 – An internal Fusion GPS report undercuts Clinton/Steele dossier allegation against Russian executive

Edward Baumgartner (Credit: Twitter/Business Insider)

“In an effort to bolster the Steele dossier, Fusion GPS, the firm that commissioned the infamous report, tapped one of its contractors to investigate a Russian businessman accused of hacking Democrats’ computer systems.

But that contractor, a Russia expert named Edward Baumgartner, came back with something that was perhaps disappointing to Fusion GPS. According to an internal Fusion GPS report obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation, Baumgartner’s Russian sources painted the Russian, Aleksej Gubarev, in largely positive terms. Unlikely, the sources claimed, had Gubarev taken part in the hacking operation, as former British spy Christopher Steele claimed in his dossier.

“Our interviews of people familiar with Gubarev paint a picture of a relatively well-known person in the IT sector with an entirely positive reputation as a successful self-made entrepreneur,” reads the five-page report, which was provided as evidence in a lawsuit that Gubarev filed against BuzzFeed News.

“Our sources were uncertain about Gubarev’s alleged ties to the hacking and collection of compromising material on Trump. Their lack of certainty is entirely understandable given the highly secretive nature of intelligence work, on the one hand, and the technical difficulty of establishing someone’s potential ties to hacking.”

A lawyer for Gubarev pressed Fusion GPS co-founder Peter Fritsch about the Baumgartner report during an Aug. 30, 2018, deposition. Fritsch confirmed Baumgartner, a Fusion GPS contractor who speaks Russian, filed the report, which is labeled “PRIVILEGED & CONFIDENTIAL.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 3/15/2019)

August 30, 2018 – The State Department revokes Hillary Clinton’s security clearance at her request

Hillary Clinton (Credit: The Associated Press)

“Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security clearance has been revoked at her request, the State Department told lawmakers, according to a letter made public Friday.

Clinton’s clearance was withdrawn on Aug. 30, according to a letter from the State Department to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), which he released.

Five others associated with Clinton, including longtime aide Cheryl Mills, also had their clearances revoked on Sept. 20, according to the letter. The aides were known as “research assistants,” which allowed them to keep their clearances after their time at the department concluded.

The move comes almost a year after Grassley asked the department to investigate and review whether Clinton’s aides still had security clearance.” (Read more: Politico, 10/12/2018)

August 29, 2018 – Bruce Ohr names Andrew McCabe, FBI officials tied to Peter Strzok among his Trump dossier contacts: Reports

Rep. John Ratcliffe speaks about Bruce Ohr’s testimony to Congress with Sean Hannity. (Credit: Fox News)

“Sources told Fox News that Ohr’s contacts included Peter Strzok, the former FBI agent who acknowledged meeting with Ohr in congressional testimony last month. Strzok once played a leading role in Mueller’s inquiry and was recently fired from the bureau over anti-Trump text messages he sent a colleague with whom he was having an affair.

Fox News also reported that Ohr claimed to have met with former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, Strzok’s onetime mistress, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and Joe Pientka, an FBI agent who reportedly interviewed former national security adviser Michael Flynn with Strzok.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., noted that Ohr additionally mentioned Andrew Weissmann, who was the chief of the DOJ’s criminal fraud division, according to the Washington Post. Fox News‘ Catherine Herridge reported Thursday that Weissmann was “kept in the loop” about the dossier, Steele, and Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that commission the dossier.

During his testimony in a closed-door testimony before the joint task force of the Judiciary and Oversight committees, Ratcliffe claims Ohr said at least one of these officials signed off on a FISA warrant application seeking the authority to spy on Page. To this individual, Ratcliffe advised: “I would retain a really good lawyer.”

Of the officials who have been identified in reports, McCabe was the only one known to have signed off one of them.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 8/30/2018)

August 29, 2018 – The day after Ohr’s testimony, congress seeks to question his wife

(Credit: Fox News)

“Numerous congressional sources are telling SaraACarter.com that after Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr’s explosive closed-door testimony on Tuesday, lawmakers are gearing up to call his wife, Nellie Ohr, in for questioning regarding her work with the now-embattled research firm, Fusion GPS. Congress is also seeking access to Bruce Ohr’s text messages and emails with top FBI officials.”

(…) “Nellie Ohr, a Russia expert who was hired by Fusion GPS in 2016 to investigate the Trump campaign, received multiple large sum payments from the research firm, according to a U.S. official, with direct knowledge of the payments.

The payments from the DNC and Clinton campaign were made through the law firm Perkins Coie, which represented both clients. The research firm also hired former British spy Christopher Steele, who was friends with the Ohrs and who compiled the now infamous and unverified anti-Trump dossier. Steele was not only paid by Fusion GPS for his work but according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch, he was also being paid by the FBI from Jan. 1. 2016 to Nov. 1, 2016.

The U.S. official did not disclose the amount of money paid to Bruce Ohr’s wife through Simpson’s firm, but said it “was not chump change, that much I can say.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 8/28/2018)

August 28, 2018 – Ohr discusses Steele’s anti-Trump bias

(Credit: public domain)

(…) “Steele’s biases against then-candidate Trump have been reported in the media. Ohr testified that he relayed these to the FBI prior to the election.

“Prior to the election, when I spoke with Chris Steele, I got the sense he was very alarmed by this information, which I think he believed to be true. And so I definitely got the impression he did not want Donald Trump to win the election,” Ohr said in his testimony.

“I don’t recall the exact words. I definitely had a very strong impression that he did not want Donald Trump to win, because he believed his information he was giving me was accurate, and that he was, as I said, very concerned, or he was desperate, which is what I then told the FBI,” Ohr said.

Ohr later testified that he informed the FBI of Steele’s bias, along with details of his wife’s employment with Fusion GPS—and Fusion’s political mandate—prior to the Oct. 21, 2016, FISA application made on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page:

Q: “So the record is clear, what the Department of Justice and the FBI was aware of prior to the first FISA application was your relationship with Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson, your wife’s relationship with Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson, Mr. Steele’s bias against Donald Trump, Mr. Simpson’s bias against Donald Trump, your wife’s compensation for work for Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS, correct?”

Ohr: “Right. So just, again, to reiterate, when I spoke with the FBI, I told them my wife was working for Fusion GPS. I told them Fusion GPS was doing research on Donald Trump. You know, I don’t know if I used the term opposition research, but certainly that was my—what I tried to convey to them. I told them this is the information I had gotten from Chris Steele. At some point, and I don’t remember exactly when, I don’t think it was the first conversation, I told them that Chris Steele was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected.”

It turns out that Ohr personally told Deputy FBI Director McCabe of his concerns about possible bias during the initial August 2016 meeting:

Q: “So in August of 2016, you tell Andy McCabe that you’re concerned because your wife works for Fusion GPS and that’s where you’re getting the information?”

Ohr: “I wanted Mr. McCabe to know that there was a possible, you know—that the—”

Q: “Conflict of interest—”

Ohr: “—of interest or appearance thereof, yeah.”

Q: “So there’s a possible conflict of interest in August of 2016 before a FISA warrant is actually initiated?”

Ohr: “I think I did not mean to say conflict of interest. What I would say is that in evaluating any information that I transmitted to the FBI, I wanted the FBI to be aware of any possible bias—”

Q: “So you believe there was the possibility of bias?”

Ohr: “Yes.”

(Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/14/2019)

August 28, 2018 – Bruce Ohr testifies his wife wrote a separate dossier about Russians for Fusion GPS and he passed it on to the FBI

Bruce and Nellie Ohr (Credit: public domain)

“And now we learn, from testimony that is still being kept secret from the public, that Ohr admitted to Congress last year that he also took Russia information that his wife, Nellie, assembled against Trump on a computer drive and delivered that to the FBI in 2016 — a revelation that has raised fresh concerns in Congress about a possible conflict of interest.

Nellie Ohr worked for Fusion GPS and, for a time, worked on the same Clinton-financed Russian research project as Steele, according to the testimony.

DOJ ethics rules forbid department officials from working in cases where a spouse has a financial interest, a prohibition that Bruce Ohr said he knew about when he forwarded his wife’s evidence to the FBI.

The way Ohr described it, his wife’s research was like an additional dossier assembled from Fusion GPS research to augment what Steele was separately providing the FBI.

“She (Nellie Ohr) provided me with a memory stick that included research she had done for Fusion GPS on various Russian figures,” Ohr told congressional investigators.

“And the reason she provided that information to me is, my understanding was, it related to some of the same — it related to the FBI’s Russia investigation. And she gave me that stick to give to the FBI.”

Ohr’s revelation about his wife adds yet another example of people connected to the Clinton machine flooding the FBI with anti-Trump Russia research during the 2016 election.

Steele’s dossier was the opening salvo. A document sent to the State Department by Clinton proteges Cody Shearer and Sidney Blumenthal was another. A thumb drive given by Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussman to FBI general counsel James Baker was a third. Simpson’s thumb drive given to Bruce Ohr was a fourth. And Nellie Ohr’s thumb drive would be a fifth. At least three of those work products — those from Steele, Shearer/Blumenthal and Nellie Ohr — resemble what many people might consider a dossier.” (Read more: The Hill, 2/21/2019)