Democratic National Committee (DNC)

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)

US intelligence hasn’t found proof that the Russian government is responsible for WikiLeaks getting recently hacked emails.

The Washington Post reports that “Intelligence officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an issue under investigation, said there is little doubt that agents of the Russian government hacked the Democratic National Committee [DNC], and the White House was informed months ago of [Russia’s] culpability.” However, days after WikiLeaks posted almost 20,000 DNC emails, the Post adds, “The intelligence community, the officials said, has not reached a conclusion about who passed the emails to WikiLeaks.”

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Former NSA director Keith Alexander, testifying before Congress in 2013. (Credit: The Associated Press)

One unnamed US official says, “We have not drawn any evidentiary connection to any Russian intelligence service and WikiLeaks — none.”

Former NSA Director Keith Alexander says, “Determining with confidence who was behind it — if the Russians were the hackers, seeing them pass that data to WikiLeaks — is probably much more difficult than attributing it to the initial hacker. That’s a tough one — especially because there are different ways of passing that information, not all electronic.”

Furthermore, even if Russia is behind the leaks to WikiLeaks, the motivation is unclear. A key question is if Russia is attempting to influence the November 2016 US presidential election. Michael Hayden, former director of both the NSA and the CIA, states, “Frankly, I don’t think they’re motivated by thinking they can affect the election itself.” He thinks the Russians may be flexing their muscles “to demonstrate that they can — not necessarily to make [Donald] Trump win or Hillary [Clinton] lose.”

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Leo Taddeo (Credit: Twitter)

Leo Taddeo, a former FBI agent who worked with cybersecurity operations, says, “This is not [Russian leader Vladimir] Putin trying to help Trump. I think they were messaging Hillary Clinton, telling her that they can get in the way of her election if she doesn’t show some flexibility in her position toward them.”

Representative Adam Schiff (D) believes that if Russia is ultimately responsible, the Obama administration “should make it known publicly and forcefully. Even if they’re not able to lay out the evidence because it would disclose sources and methods, they should make the attribution.” (The Washington Post, 7/27/2016)