Donald Trump Jr.
October 11, 2019 – Judicial Watch: Former Ukrainian ambassador Marie Yovanovitch testimony reveals she ordered State Dept. subordinates to monitor journalists, Trump allies
“Judicial Watch is investigating if prominent conservative figures, journalists and persons with ties to President Donald Trump were unlawfully monitored by the State Department in Ukraine at the request of ousted U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, an Obama appointee. Yovanovitch testified “in secret” to the House impeachment inquiry against Trump on Friday, October 11, 2019. Her “secret” testimony was leaked to the New York Times during the hearing.
Judicial Watch has obtained information indicating Yovanovitch may have violated laws and government regulations by ordering subordinates to target certain U.S. persons using State Department resources. Yovanovitch reportedly ordered monitoring keyed to the following search terms: Biden, Giuliani, Soros, and Yovanovitch. Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the State Department and will continue gathering facts from government sources.
Prior to being recalled as ambassador to Ukraine in the spring Yovanovitch reportedly created a list of individuals who were to be monitored via social media and other means. Ukraine embassy staff made the request to the Washington D.C. headquarters office of the department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. After several days, Yovanovitch’s staff was informed that the request was illegal and the monitoring either ceased or was concealed via the State Department Global Engagement Center, which has looser restrictions on collecting information.
“This is not an obscure rule, everyone in public diplomacy or public affairs knows they can’t make lists and monitor U.S. citizens unless there is a major national security reason,” according to a senior State Department official. If the illicit operation occurred, it seems to indicate a clear political bias against the president and his supporters. Yovanovitch, a career diplomat who has also led American embassies in Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, was appointed ambassador to Ukraine by Obama in 2016. She was recalled by the State Department in May and remains a State Department employee in Washington D.C.
(…) The prominent conservative figures — journalists and persons with ties to President Donald Trump — allegedly unlawfully monitored by the State Department in Ukraine at the request of ousted U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch include:
Donald Trump Jr.
Michael McFaul (Obama’s ambassador to Russia)
Judicial Watch continues its investigation of these matters and will update its reporting as the situation unfolds.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 10/18/2019)
UPDATE: The Yovanovitch transcript was released and she was questioned about Crowdtangle during her deposition against President Trump on October 11, 2019. She claims to be unaware of the software while pointing to the State Department as being responsible for monitoring social media accounts.
The discussion begins on page 92 of the Yovanovich transcript:
- Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
- Dan Bongino
- Department of State
- Donald Trump
- Donald Trump Jr.
- George Soros
- Global Engagement Center
- illegal spying
- Jack Posobiec
- Joe Biden
- John Solomon
- Judicial Watch
- Laura Ingraham
- Marie Yovanovitch
- media leak
- Michael McFaul
- October 2019
- Pamella Geller
- political bias
- Rudy Giuliani
- Ryan Saavedra
- Sara Carter
- Sean Hannity
- Sebastian Gorka
July 30, 2019 – The DNC loses their racketeering suit against the Trump campaign, Russian Federation and Wikileaks and others
“Hours before the Democratic presidential debates, a federal judge dismissed the Democratic National Committee’s lawsuit that accused the Trump campaign, the Russian Federation, WikiLeaks and others of interfering in the 2016 elections.
“The primary wrongdoer in this alleged criminal enterprise is undoubtedly [sic] the Russian Federation, the first named defendant in the case and the entity that surreptitiously and illegally hacked into the DNC’s computers and thereafter disseminated the results of its theft,” wrote U.S. District Judge John Koeltl, a Clinton appointee.
Before weighing the evidence against Russia, however, Koeltl found that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act foreclosed him from holding it liable for the DNC server hack.
The DNC blamed a host of secondary actors in a conspiracy, including Russian-linked Maltese academic Joseph Mifsud; oligarchs Emin and Aras Agalarov; and Trump family members and campaign figures like Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos and Roger Stone.
Finding these claims likewise unconvincing, Koeltl ruled that the U.S. Constitution protected them from liability related to disseminating stolen emails.
“The First Amendment prevents such liability in the same way it would preclude liability for press outlets that publish materials of public interest despite defects in the way the materials were obtained so long as the disseminator did not participate in any wrongdoing in obtaining the materials in the first place,” the 81-page opinion states.
Citing precedent from the the Pentagon Papers case, Koeltl held that treating WikiLeaks as an accomplice “would render any journalist who publishes an article based on stolen information a co-conspirator in the theft.”
“If WikiLeaks could be held liable for publishing documents concerning the DNC’s political financial and voter-engagement strategies simply because the DNC labels them ‘secret’ and trade secrets, then so could any newspaper or other media outlet,” the opinion states. “But that would impermissibly elevate a purely private privacy interest to override the First Amendment interest in the publication of matters of the highest public concern. The DNC’s published internal communications allowed the American electorate to look behind the curtain of one of the two major political parties in the United States during a presidential election. This type of information is plainly of the type entitled to the strongest protection that the First Amendment offers.”
WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange argued last year that the DNC’s lawsuit threatened freedom of the press. Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the American Civil Liberties Union echoed those concerns in a friend-of-the-court brief.” (Read more: Courthouse News, 7/30/2019)
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.)
- Andrew Weissmann
- Carter Page
- Christopher Steele
- Clinton campaign
- Clinton/DNC/Steele Dossier
- Devin Nunes
- Donald Trump Jr.
- Edward Baumgartner
- Fusion GPS
- Glenn Simpson
- Gregory Mohaghan
- House Intelligence Committee
- Jerome Corsi
- Konstantin Kilimnik
- May 2019
- Michael Cohen
- Mueller Report
- Nellie Ohr
- Oleg Deripaska
- Paul Manafort
- private contractors
- Robert Mueller
- Russia collusion
October 19, 2018 – Nellie Ohr tells Congress that one of her tasks at Fusion GPS was to research Trump’s family
“The wife of a Justice Department official who worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign told Congress in 2018 that one of her tasks at the opposition research firm was to research President Donald Trump’s children, including their business activities and travel.
(…) Ohr, a trained Russian linguist, also detailed some of the topics she worked on for Fusion GPS, which was hired by the law firm that represented the Clinton campaign and DNC to investigate Trump.
One area of focus was Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, President Trump’s two oldest children.
“But in terms of actually performing research, did you begin to break out President Trump’s family in terms of Melania Trump, all of his children? Were you doing independent research based off of each family member?” one lawmaker asked Ohr.
“I did some,” Ohr said. “As I recall, I did some research on all of them, but not into much depth.”
“How about Donald Trump Jr.? Did you do more in-depth research on Donald Trump Jr. than some of the others?” she was asked.
“I’m afraid it was relatively superficial. It was,” adding that, “I looked into some of his travels and you know not sure how much detail I remember, at this point.”
“I looked into some of her travels,” said Ohr.
The goal was “to see whether they were involved in dealings and transactions with people who had had suspicious pasts.”
Nellie Ohr also testified that she investigated any links between Russian oligarchs and the Trump real estate empire.
It is unclear whether Ohr shared any information that she gathered working for Fusion GPS with her husband, who served as associate deputy attorney general until he was reassigned in December 2017. There is also no indication that Ohr’s research of the Trump children wound up in the dossier, which the FBI used to obtain surveillance warrants against Carter Page.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 1/30/2019)
September 28, 2018 – House Intel Cmte. votes to release the transcripts of 53 interviews re Russiagate, including high-level Obama officials
“The House Intelligence Committee voted on Sept. 28 to release the transcripts of 53 interviews conducted during the committee’s investigation of Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election.
The interviews include high-level officials of the Obama administration, such as former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice.
The list (pdf) also includes people from President Donald Trump’s circle, including his son, Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner, and former campaign chair Corey Lewandowski.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 9/28/2018)
July 27, 2018 – Lanny Davis, a Lie and the Mainstream Media – A mini-timeline on a busted fake news story
September 19, 2017 and October 25, 2017: In closed-door meetings with the House and Senate intelligence committees, Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, testifies that he had no foreknowledge of the Trump Tower meeting and didn’t know if Trump did either. (Axios, 8/23/2018) (Michael Cohen opening statement)
The Plot Begins
July 5, 2018: Maggie Haberman reports Michael Cohen hires ex-Clinton lawyer, Lanny Davis – Mr. Cohen has made moves to separate himself from Mr. Trump (The New York Times, 7/05/2018)
The Media – hot off the press!
- July 6, 2018: Another warning shot? Trump’s ex-lawyer hires Clinton ally (Chicago Sun Times, 7/6/2018)
- July 6, 2018: “Tell Early, Tell It All, Tell It Yourself”: Can the Clinton Defense Save Michael Cohen? Cohen’s new attorney, Lanny Davis, thinks the truth will set his clients free—which could be bad news for Donald Trump. (Vanity Fair, 7/06/2018)
- July 17, 2018: All eyes on Lanny Davis as Trump’s performance smells of treason (Baltimore Post Examiner, 7/17/2018)
- July 25, 2018 – Michael Cohen is no longer a ‘punching bag’ for Donald Trump’s defense strategy, Lanny Davis says – He also said Cohen “has more truth to tell.” (CNBC, July 25, 2018)
Two days later, more of Cohen’s “truths” are told to CNN and the Washington Post, anonymously, of course. Gee, who could this source be?
It was the natural progression of the plan for this fake news story in order to continue the Russiagate narrative and their efforts to impeach Trump.
July 27, 2018: CNN and the Washington Post report that Cohen was willing to testify to special counsel Robert Mueller that Trump knew of the Trump Tower meeting in advance. (CNN, 7/27/2018) When The New York Post called Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, at the time to confirm the report, Davis spoke as an anonymous source and said it was accurate. (The New York Post, 8/23/2018)
July 27, 2018: The Washington Post – using an “anonymous source” they now admit was Davis, peddled the same story that “Cohen had told associates that he witnessed an exchange in which Trump Jr. told his father about an upcoming gathering in which he expected to get information about Clinton,” however the Post didn’t say Trump Jr. told Sr. it was the Russians.
WaPo has since updated the original article. (Washington Post, 7/27/2018)
August 21, 2018 – The Senate Intelligence committee finally responds to the CNN report because it conflicts with Cohen’s previous testimony. We’re curious as to why it took them nearly a month to respond.
“…What we can say is that we recently re-engaged with Mr. Cohen and his team following press reports that suggested he had advance knowledge of the June 2016 meeting between campaign officials and Russian lawyers at Trump Tower. Mr. Cohen had testified before the Committee that he was not aware of the meeting prior to its disclosure in the press last summer. As such, the Committee inquired of Mr. Cohen’s legal team as to whether Mr. Cohen stood by his testimony. They responded that he did stand by his testimony.
We hope that today’s developments and Mr. Cohen’s plea agreement will not preclude his appearance before our Committee as needed for our ongoing investigation.” (Senate Intelligence Committee, 8/21/2018)
The next day, Davis taunts Trump, obviously unaware of the Intel committee’s press release.
- August 22, 2018: Cohen’s lawyer claims the flip happened because of the Trump-Putin meeting (Vox, 8/22/2018)
- August 22, 2018: Lanny Davis: Michael Cohen Has Information About Trump That Would Be “Of Interest” To Special Counsel Mueller (Real Clear Politics, 8/22/2018)
- August 22, 2018: Michael Cohen Lawyer Lanny Davis Begs for GoFundMe Donations to ‘Truth Fund’ (Newsweek, 8/22/2018)
- August 22, 2018: “I believe that Mr. Cohen has direct knowledge that would be of interest to Mr. Mueller that suggests — I’m not sure it proves — that Mr. Trump was aware of Russian government agents hacking illegally, committing computer crimes, to the detriment of the candidate who he was running against, Hillary Clinton,” Davis said in a Wednesday interview with PBS NewsHour.
Davis finally catches up and realizes the lie has placed his client in the precarious position of having to reappear before the Senate Intelligence committee and explain his now questionable testimony. Only then does Davis backpedal from his “confident assertions” that Cohen would share information with Mueller’s investigators.
August 23, 2018: Davis, speaking on the record, apologized for confirming something he did not know to be true. “I regret that I wasn’t clear enough to The Post. I should have been more clear. I could not independently confirm the information in the CNN story,” he said. “I’m sorry that I left that impression. I wasn’t at the meeting. The only person who could confirm that information is my client.” (The New York Post, 8/23/2018)
August 25, 2018: President Trump tweeted about Davis’s stunning 180 on the Cohen claims, writing: “Michaels Cohen’s attorney clarified the record, saying his client does not know if President Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting (out of which came nothing!). The answer is that I did NOT know about the meeting. Just another phony story by the Fake News Media!” — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2018
August 26, 2018, The Washington Post reported on Sunday that Davis said in an interview that he is “no longer certain about claims he made to reporters on background and on the record in recent weeks about what Cohen knows about Trump’s awareness of the Russian efforts.”
Davis told the Washington Post that he cannot confirm media reports that Cohen is prepared to tell special counsel Robert S. Mueller III that Trump had advance knowledge of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting –(Washington Post, 8/26/18)
August 27, 2018:- Lanny Davis Says He Was A Source For CNN’s Trump Tower Story (Buzzfeed, 8/27/2018)
August 27, 2018 – CNN Is Standing By Its Trump Tower Story Despite Contradictions (The Daily Caller, 8/27/2018)
“Davis also walked back an idea he widely circulated after Cohen’s guilty plea that Trump knew about Russian hacking of Democratic emails in advance – which he has mentioned numerous times in recent interviews, “repeatedly touting his client’s potential value to Mueller.”
Four days later and Davis takes it all back.
Asked Saturday how confident he was that Trump knew about the hacking before it became public, Davis said: “I am not sure. There’s a possibility that is the case. But I am not sure.”
Davis said that in discussing the hacking allegations last week, he should have emphasized his lack of certainty. He said he raised the idea that Cohen might have information about Trump’s knowledge because he had a strong feeling that might be the case. –WaPo
“I was giving an instinct that he might have something to say of interest to the special counsel” about hacking, Davis said. In retrospect, he said, “I am just not sure.”
In response to the Washington Post’s original July 27th article:
“I should have been more clear — including with you — that I could not independently confirm what happened,” Davis said, adding perhaps the most difficult four words for an attorney to utter: “I regret my error.”
In the past week, when asked directly by CNN’s Anderson Cooper whether there was information that Trump knew about his son’s meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya beforehand, Davis said, “No, there’s not.”
In a statement Saturday, a CNN spokeswoman said, “We stand by our story, and are confident in our reporting of it.” –WaPo
We wonder how many people donated to Cohen’s “GoFundMe” campaign assuming he had the goods?
We wonder if Podesta ever let Davis crisis manage Hillary Clinton’s email scandal?” (Zero Hedge, 8/28/2018)
“On my honor I give you my word I will not mention to anyone my involvement. ” — Michael Cohen lawyer Lanny J Davis to Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta https://t.co/8pydGMaYer pic.twitter.com/i7pfYdJbxL
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 24, 2018
A Good Explanation
(Timeline editor’s note: I decided to create a mini-timeline for this story because it is the most egregious example to date of how a fake story is born. I was reminded of the dozens of so-called journalists listed in the original email timeline, who were so ready and willing to tee-up stories in Clinton’s favor. Also, who can forget the MSM’s willingness to tout Donald Trump during the primary, at the Clinton campaign’s request?)
June 9, 2016 – Donald Trump Jr. meets with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower
“Before Trump Jr. was set to meet with the Russian lawyer as his father campaigned for the presidency, Trump Jr. was told Veselnitskaya’s potentially damning information about Clinton was from the Kremlin, according to emails he released.
Trump Jr. has maintained that Veselnitskaya did not have any information to share and instead wanted to discuss other matters, such as the Magnitsky Act which enacts sanctions on certain Russian officials as punishment for human rights violations.
“After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton,” Trump Jr. said in a statement.
“Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered,” Trump Jr. continued.
Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort also attended the meeting, along with a translator.
Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who set up the meeting, was also in attendance, as well as Rinat Akhmetshin, a prominent Russian-American lobbyist, Ike Kaveladze, a business associate of a Moscow-based developer and a translator.
A spokesperson for Trump’s outside legal team said Trump “was not aware of and did not attend the meeting.” Trump Jr. said he “wouldn’t have wasted his time” by telling him about the meeting. (Read more: Fox News, 5/16/2018)