Democratic National Committee (DNC)

October 11, 2016 – State official Kathleen Kavalec’s notes quote Christopher Steele saying,“the Russians have succeeded in placing an agent inside the DNC.”

From Kathleen Kavalec’s notes: “[Steele] undertook the investigation into the Russia/Trump connection at the behest of an institution he declined to identify that had been hacked. [Steele said his client] is keen to see this information come to light prior to November 8 [Election Day].” (Credit: Sinclair Broadcast Group)

“A recently released State Department memo revealed that dossier author Christopher Steele met with Kathleen Kavalec, then-deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs, on Oct. 11, 2016, just 10 days prior to the FBI obtaining a FISA warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page on Oct. 21, 2016.

(…) As noted in a May 10, 2019, letter sent by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Inspector General Michael Horowitz, “Ms. Kavalec’s contacts with Steel may have been the most significant and memorialized communications with him by a U.S. government official prior to the issuance of the Carter Page FISA warrant.”

In his letter, Graham attributes the following statement to Steele, which has received significant media attention:

“Ms. Kavalec met with Steele ten days prior to the issuance of the initial Carter Page FISA warrant and was told by Steele that he was ‘keen to see this information [the dossier] come to light prior to November 8.’”

It would seem likely that the “institution” Steele is referring to is the Democratic National Committee, whose claims of its servers being hacked by Russia have been widely reported. If indeed it was the DNC that wished to have the information come out prior to the 2016 presidential election, this would seem a far larger issue than personal wishes on the part of Steele.

Notably, we know from an Oct. 24, 2017response letter sent by Perkins Coie that the law firm engaged Fusion GPS “to assist in its representation of the DNC and Hillary for America” in April 2016. Fusion, in turn, hired Steele.

Kavalec, in her typed notes, also refers to leaks stemming from the alleged hack of the DNC emails. She quotes Steele as saying, “According to their source, while there will continue to be leaks of DNC material, ‘all the best stuff’ has already been leaked and there will not be any bombshells coming.”

In other words, Steele and his source claim to have direct knowledge of precisely what WikiLeaks had in their possession.

Steele also told Kavalec of “a technical/human operation run out of Moscow targeting the election.” In Kavalec’s notes, she disputes some of the details asserted by Steele—indicating these were both researched, and disproven.

Item 3 from Kavalec’s notes is short but also a potential bombshell. The only thing written is “the Russians have succeeded in placing an agent inside the DNC.” It doesn’t appear that the FBI has ever investigated this, nor is there any additional detail or clarity provided in Kavalec’s notes.

This item, combined with Kavalec’s dispute of earlier details, presents a problem for the FBI. Either Steele is a credible witness for the FBI, or he isn’t. If the FBI took his information seriously, there should have been parallel investigations of these other, equally serious claims. If this information was quickly proven false, why did the FBI use Steele as a primary source of evidence for the Page FISA?

The FBI told the FISA court that Steele’s “reporting has been corroborated and used in criminal proceedings and the FBI assesses [Steele] to be reliable.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 5/14/2019)

Late September, 2016 – A second dossier, compiled by Cody Shearer and Sidney Blumenthal, was given to Christopher Steele

Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer are long-time Clinton confidants and colleagues. (Credit: public domain)

“A copy of the little-publicized second dossier in the Trump-Russia affair, acquired by RealClearInvestigations, raises new questions about the origins of the Trump investigation, particularly about the role of Clinton partisans and the extent to which the two dossiers may have been coordinated or complementary operations.

The second dossier — two reports compiled by Cody Shearer, an ex-journalist and longtime Clinton operative — echoes many of the lurid and still unsubstantiated claims made in the Steele dossier, and is receiving new scrutiny. On Sunday, Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a TV interview that his panel is shifting its investigative focus concerning the origins of the Russia investigation from the FBI to the State Department. This probe will include the Shearer dossier.

Jonathan Winer (Credit: U.S. State Department)

In late September 2016, Sidney Blumenthal, a close Clinton confidant and colleague of Shearer’s, passed Shearer’s dossier on to State Department official Jonathan M. Winer, a longtime aide to John Kerry on Capitol Hill and at Foggy Bottom.

According to Winer’s account in a Feb. 8, 2018 Washington Post op-ed, he shared the contents of the Shearer dossier with the author of the first dossier, ex-British spy Christopher Steele, who submitted part of it to the FBI to further substantiate his own investigation into the Trump campaign.  Steele was a subcontractor working for the Washington, D.C.-based communications firm Fusion GPS, which was hired by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee to compile opposition research on her Republican opponent.” (Read more: RealClearInvestigations, 4/26/2018)

September 19, 2016 – Top FBI official, James Baker meets with DNC lawyer, Michael Sussmann, who then leaks to media

Michael Sussman (Credit: Perkins Coie)

“Former FBI General Counsel James Baker met with the Democratic party’s top lawyer, Michael Sussmann, to discuss the ongoing investigation by the bureau into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties with Russia. This meeting happened prior to the FBI’s initial warrant to spy on short-term campaign volunteer Carter Page, sources close to the investigation have told SaraACarter.com. Moreover, information provided by Baker, who gave extensive testimony Wednesday to lawmakers behind closed doors, coincides with the House Intelligence Committee’s final Russia report that suggests Sussmann was also leaking unverified information on the Trump campaign to journalists around the same time he met with Baker, according to the report and sources close the investigation.

These sources say this new information from Baker exposes the bureau’s failure to inform the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) that the evidence used to spy on Page was partisan and unverified. It further reveals the extensive role and close connection Sussmann, a cybersecurity and national security lawyer with Perkins Coie, had with the now-embattled research firm, Fusion GPS. The Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton Campaign retained Fusion GPS through Perkins Coie during the 2016 election to investigate alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Fusion GPS then hired former British spy, Christopher Steele, who compiled the unverified dossier during the summer and fall of 2016. In 2017, this reporter first published that Baker was purportedly under a Department of Justice criminal investigation for allegedly leaking classified national security information to the media.  At the time, the bureau would not comment on Baker and would not confirm or deny any investigation. Baker, who resigned from the bureau in May, was the FBI’s top counsel and a close advisor to former Director James Comey.

James Baker (Credit: CSpan2)

In 2016, the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid $9.1 million to the law firm, according to reports. Sussmann, however, is also connected to CrowdStrike.  CrowdStrike is the private cybersecurity that was retained by Perkins Coie for the DNC to investigate the breach of its server after it was discovered that it had been hacked in April 2016. Although the FBI has conducted its own investigation into the breach of the server the Democratic National Committee never gave the FBI permission to access the server itself.

“These parallels between the law firm and CrowdStrike also need to be investigated,” said a former FBI official familiar with the security firm. “All of these connections aren’t coincidences and it smells to high heaven.”

According to lawmakers, he explained in detail how the Russia probe was handled by bureau officials in an “abnormal way” and detailed his meeting with Sussmann. Fox News first reported Baker’s testimony quoting Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) who said, “some of the things that were shared were explosive in nature.”  Meadows, who attended the deposition of Baker, told SaraACarter.com he would not elaborate on the specifics of the interview, but said, “Mr. Baker’s testimony provided a number of new facts that needed further exploration.”  Meadows expects more information in the future and follow-up interviews.

Baker was forthcoming about what he knew and what took place during the investigation, multiple sources said. The information regarding the meeting between Baker and Sussmann would indicate that the FBI was more than likely aware that the law firm was hired by the DNC to investigate alleged connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, but withheld that information from the secret FISC when it sought the warrant to spy on short-term campaign volunteer Page in October.” (Read more: Sara Carter, 10/03/2018)

Jeff Carlson of themarketswork.com pinpoints the possible date of Sussman and Baker’s meeting in the footnotes of a House Intelligence Committee report, to September 2016.

“In the House Intelligence Committee’s final Report on Russian Active Measures, mention is made of a meeting between James Baker and an unknown party in footnote 43, on page 57. This is a particularly heavily redacted portion but the following details are available:

“In September 2016 [redacted] shared similar information in a one-on-one meeting with FBI General Counsel James Baker. HPSCI, Executive Session of [redacted], Dec. 18, 2017. Around the same time as his meeting with FBI, [redacted] shared the information with journalists, [redacted] of Slate, who published an article at the end of October. HPSCI, Executive Session of [redacted] Dec. 18, 2017; [redacted] “Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia?,” Slate, Oct. 31, 2016. Candidate Clinton promoted the [redacted] article to her social media followers the same day it was published.” (Intelligence.house (pdf)

(Read more: The Epoch Times, 10/04/2018)

Additional Update:

“On Sept. 19, FBI General Counsel James Baker met with Perkins Coie partner Michael Sussmann, who had sought out the meeting. Baker told Congressional lawmakers in an Oct. 3, 2018, testimony—a transcript of which was reviewed for this article—that Sussmann presented him with “a stack of material I don’t know maybe a quarter inch half inch thick something like that clipped together, and then I believe there was some type of electronic media, as well, a disk or something.”

The information that Sussmann gave to Baker was related to what Baker described as “a surreptitious channel of communications” between the Trump Organization and “a Russian organization associated with the Russian Government.”

Baker was describing alleged communications between Alfa Bank and a server in the Trump Tower. These allegations, which were investigated by the FBI and proven to be false, were widely covered in the media.

Baker’s testimony also shows that Sussmann was speaking with the media at the same time he had approached Baker, who noted that Sussmann had also provided the info to the media and had told him that “the New York Times was aware of this.”

Baker testified that the FBI approached The New York Times and convinced them to hold off on their reporting while the FBI investigated Sussmann’s information.” (Read more: Epoch Times, 1/24/2019)

WikiLeaks could release up to 100,000 pages of new material related to Clinton before the presidential election.

This is according to an interview with WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange. “We have tens of thousands, possibly as many as a hundred thousand, pages of documents of different types, related to the operations that Hillary Clinton is associated with.”

Wikileaks Cartoon (Credit: Latmfe / Wikileaks)

This WikiLeaks cartoon has been prominently featured on the WikiLeaks website.  (Credit: Latuff / WikiLeaks)

WikiLeaks released almost 20,000 Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails just before the July Democratic presidential convention. He says regarding new releases, “There are some, several … in response to the DNC publications, a lot of people have been inspired by the impact, and so they have stepped forward with additional material.”

He adds, “It’s quite a complex business to sort things, to index them, make sure they’re presentable, to see what the top initial angles are that come out. We’re a small shop. We’re here around the clock. We understand quite much the time pressures that people have, and how significant it is to try and get that out. We worked like hell to get the DNC publication out before the DNC, the day before the DNC.”

“I am very confident we’re going to get this material out before, long before, the day of the [November 2016 presidential] election.” (The Washington Examiner, 9/8/2016)

Putin denies that Russia was involved in the DNC hack.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says in an interview about accusations of Russian government in the hacking of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails: “Listen, does it even matter who hacked this data? The important thing is the content that was given to the public …. There’s no need to distract the public’s attention from the essence of the problem by raising some minor issues connected with the search for who did it. … But I want to tell you again, I don’t know anything about it, and on a state level Russia has never done this.”

However, an internal probe conducted by CrowdStrike Inc. traced the source of the hack to two Russian hacking groups connected with Russian intelligence, “Cozy Bear” and “Fancy Bear.”

John Lewis (Credit: public domain)

James Lewis (Credit: public domain)

James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, claims that Russia has engaged in state hacking in the past and that Putin’s denials are “not credible.”

Putin continues: “You know how many hackers there are today? They act so delicately and precisely that they can leave their mark — or even the mark of others — at the necessary time and place, camouflaging their activities as that of other hackers from other territories or countries. It’s an extremely difficult thing to check, if it’s even possible to check. At any rate, we definitely don’t do this at a state level.” (Bloomberg News, 9/1/2016)

Whoever hacked DNC and other Democrat-related emails in the last year may have also targeted Republicans.

The Daily Beast reports that cybersecurity experts believe the hacker or hackers who stole emails from the DNC (Democratic National Committee) are behind a website known as DCLeaks. The site went public in June 2016 to little media attention. But the site contains emails from hundreds of Republican and Democratic US politicans, including staffers to Republican Senators John McCain and Linsey Graham, plus staffers to former Republican Repesentative Michelle Bachmann.  An unnamed “an individual close to the investigation of the Democratic Party hacks” says the evidence is growing that both parties have been targeted. “Everyone is sweating this right now. This isn’t just limited to Democrats.”

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Senators John McCain (left) and Linsey Graham (right) (Credit: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

The cybersecurity company ThreatConnect has been investigating the recent hacks of US political targets, and they call DCLeaks a “Russian-backed influence outlet.” In particular, they have linked it to Fancy Bear (a.k.a. APT 28), a hacking group also accused of hacking the DNC, an believed by many to be working for the Russian government. “DCLeaks’ registration and hosting information aligns with other Fancy Bear activities and known tactics, techniques, and procedures.” They also claim that the hacker or hacking group known as Guccifer 2.0, who claims to be behind the hacking of the DNC emails that WikiLeaks publicly posted in July 2016, is linked to DCLeaks.
The Daily Beast reports that “researchers, at ThreatConnect and elsewhere, also now believe that Guccifer 2.0 was WikiLeaks’ source and that the group is acting as a front for the Russian government.” (The Daily Beast, 8/12/2016)

August 9, 2016 – Julian Assange on Seth Rich

Julian Assange seems to suggest on Dutch television program Nieuwsuur that Seth Rich was the source for the Wikileaks-exposed DNC emails and was murdered.

July, 2016 – 2017: New emails and memos confirm Bruce Ohr communicated extensively with Christopher Steele

Glenn Simpson (l) Christopher Steele (c) and Bruce Ohr (Credit: Washington Examiner)

“Hundreds of pages of previously unreported emails and memos provide the clearest evidence yet that a research firm, hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to find dirt on and defeat Donald Trump, worked early and often with the FBI, a Department of Justice (DOJ) official and the intelligence community during the 2016 presidential election and the early days of Trump’s presidency.”

(…) “Ohr’s own notes, emails and text messages show he communicated extensively with Steele and with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson. Those documents have been turned over in recent weeks to investigative bodies in Congress and the DOJ, but not reviewed outside the investigative ranks until now.

They show Ohr had contact with Steele in the days just before the FBI opened its Trump-Russia probe in summer 2016, and then engaged Steele as a “confidential human source” assisting in that probe.

They also confirm that Ohr later became a critical conduit of continuing information from Steele after the FBI ended the Brit’s role as an informant.

“B, doubtless a sad and crazy day for you re- SY,” Steele texted Ohr on Jan. 31, 2017, referencing President Trump’s firing of Sally Yates for insubordination.

Steele’s FBI relationship had been terminated about three months earlier. The bureau concluded on Nov. 1, 2016, that he leaked information to the news media and was “not suitable for use” as a confidential source, memos show.

The FBI specifically instructed Steele that he could no longer “operate to obtain any intelligence whatsoever on behalf of the FBI,” those memos show.

Yet, Steele asked Ohr in the Jan. 31 text exchange if he could continue to help feed information to the FBI: “Just want to check you are OK, still in the situ and able to help locally as discussed, along with your Bureau colleagues.”

“I’m still here and able to help as discussed,” Ohr texted back. “I’ll let you know if that changes.”

Steele replied, “If you end up out though, I really need another (bureau?) contact point/number who is briefed. We can’t allow our guy to be forced to go back home. It would be disastrous.” Investigators are trying to determine who Steele was referring to.”

(Read more including docs: The Hill, 8/07/2018)

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper shows reluctance to blame Russia for recent hacks on US political entities.

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Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (Credit: public domain)

Clapper says the US government is not “quite ready yet” to “make a public call” about who is responsible for the hacking on the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) computer network that resulted in almost 20,000 emails being released by WikiLeaks. However, he hints that one of “the usual suspects” is likely to blame. He also says, “We don’t know enough [yet] to … ascribe a motivation, regardless of who it may have been.”

Yahoo News reports that there is a vigorous debate inside the Obama administration about whether to publicly blame the Russian government for the hacking. One unnamed senior law enforcement official says the Russians are “most probably” involved, but investigation is ongoing.

Clapper is said to be amongst a faction who is resisting publicly blaming the Russians, since it is the kind of activity that intelligence agencies regularly engage in, including the US at times. Clapper also publicly comments, “[I’m] taken aback a bit by … the hyperventilation over this,” He adds in a sarcastic tone, “I’m shocked somebody did some hacking. That’s never happened before.” (Yahoo News, 7/29/2016)