Donald Trump

November 19, 2018 – Opinion: Questions grow about FBI vetting of Christopher Steele’s Russia expertise

Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with Hillary Clinton during the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016, in St Louis, Missouri. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By: John Solomon

(…) “Both the DOJ’s inspector general and multiple committees in Congress are investigating whether the FBI properly handled the Trump-Russia collusion case or whether it fell prey to political pressure and shoddy investigative work, as congressional Republicans and President Trump himself claim.

The FBI has an obligation to submit only verified information to support a FISA warrant.

If the FBI failed to perform the sort of due diligence required to ensure that Steele’s expertise on Russia was reliable and that his dossier was verified, it would mark a massive failure in the FISA process.

There are growing warning signs that the FBI may have rushed its due diligence on Steele’s Russia work product, perhaps in part because it had enjoyed an earlier successful relationship in a corruption case involving European soccer.

My sources tell me that FBI counterintelligence analyst Jon Moffa recently told congressional investigators in a transcribed interview that the bureau was still trying to verify the Steele dossier when it was submitted as evidence for the FISA warrant.

“Our work on verifying facts of the FISA would have been — facts of the reporting would have been ongoing at the time the FISA was generated,” Moffa told House investigators, according to the transcript.

Moffa’s statement isn’t the only red flag.

From my earlier reporting, we know that former FBI lawyer Lisa Page told Congress this past summer that in May 2017seven months after the FISA warrant was issued, and nine months after the Russia probe was started — the FBI had not corroborated the main allegation in Steele’s dossier about collusion between Moscow and the Trump.

And former FBI Director James Comey testified in June 2017 that the dossier was considered unverified and salacious.

Yet it was used as evidence to justify the FBI spying on the campaign of a duly-elected GOP presidential nominee’s campaign, even though it started as political opposition research paid for by the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.” (Read more: The Hill, 11/19/2018)

November 7, 2018 – Trump fires Jeff Sessions and appoints Matthew Whitaker as new acting attorney general

Matthew Whitaker (Credit: public domain)

“President Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday, replacing him with a loyalist who has echoed the president’s complaints about the special counsel investigation into Russia’s election interference and will now take charge of the inquiry.

Mr. Sessions delivered his resignation letter to the White House at the request of the president, who tapped Matthew G. Whitaker, Mr. Sessions’s chief of staff, as acting attorney general, raising questions about the future of the inquiry led by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

Mr. Whitaker, a former college football tight end and United States attorney in Iowa, and a onetime Senate candidate in that state, has previously questioned the scope of the investigation. In a column for CNN last year, he wrote that Mr. Mueller would be going too far if he examined the Trump family’s finances. “This would raise serious concerns that the special counsel’s investigation was a mere witch hunt,” Mr. Whitaker wrote, echoing the president’s derisive description of the investigation. Mr. Mueller has subpoenaed the Trump Organization for documents related to Russia.” (Read more: The New York Times, 11/07/2018)

September 11, 2018 – Ex-NSA Director disputes report that Trump asked him to push back on collusion probe

Admiral Michael Rogers appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 5, 2016. (Credit: CSpan3)

Former National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers on Tuesday disputed a report published in May 2017 alleging that President Donald Trump asked him to push back against the FBI’s collusion investigation.

“I’ve never had a discussion with collusion with the president of the United States,” Rogers said at an event held at George Mason University, according to CBS News.

“I’ve never been directed to do anything, coerced — any time I had a discussion I felt I was able to say, ‘Hey, here’s my view on that.’”

The Washington Post reported May 22, 2017, that Trump separately asked Rogers and Dan Coats, the director of the office of national intelligence, to push back against the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

The alleged request came after then-FBI Director James Comey testified that the bureau was investigating whether members of the Trump team conspired with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Citing multiple anonymous sources, WaPo reported that Rogers refused to comply with Trump’s request. The newspaper also reported that a senior NSA official wrote a memo detailing the interaction between Trump and Rogers.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 9/12/2018)

July 27, 2018 – Lanny Davis, a Lie and the Mainstream Media – A mini-timeline on a busted fake news story

Michael Cohen leaves Federal court, Aug. 21, 2018, in New York. (Credit: ABC News)

The Fact

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.

The Lie

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)

The Bust

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.

(Credit: CNN)

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, 2018CNN Is Standing By Its Trump Tower Story Despite Contradictions (The Daily Caller, 8/27/2018)

Lanny Davis talks to members of the media during a news conference on Jan. 10, 2015, in Philadelphia. (Credit: Joseph Kaczmarek/The Associated Press)

“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?)

April 13, 2018 – Comey admits he didn’t inform President Trump the Steele Dossier was funded by Clinton and the DNC

“In his interview with George Stephanopoulos, fired FBI Director James Comey says that he did not inform President Trump that the Steele Dossier was funded by the DNC because it “wasn’t necessary for my goal.”

STEPHANOPOULOS: Did you tell him that the Steele dossier had been financed by his political opponents?

COMEY: No. I didn’t — I didn’t think I used the term “Steele dossier.” I just talked to him about additional material.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Did — but did he have a right to know that?

COMEY: That it had been financed by his political opponents? I don’t know the answer to that.

I — it wasn’t necessary for my goal, which was to alert him that we had this information.”

(Read more: Real Clear Politics, 4/13/2018)

April 12, 2018 – Rosenstein tells Trump he is not a target of Mueller’s investigation

(Credit: Daily Beast)

“U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told President Donald Trump last week that he is not a target of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, according to a source familiar with the probe.

After the April 12 conversation with Rosenstein, Trump told advisers that he was not inclined to seek the ouster of either man since he is not the target of Mueller’s probe.”

(…) “Under Justice Department policy, a target is someone who is believed to have committed a crime and is likely to face charges, while a subject is someone whose conduct is within the scope of an investigation, said Lisa Kern Griffin, a former federal prosecutor and a professor at Duke University School of Law.

The Washington Post reported earlier this month that Trump is a subject of the probe.

Griffin said the assurance from Rosenstein is not significant because the president could yet become a target of the investigation.

“It is possible to progress from being a subject to being a target if the necessary substantive and structural support emerges later,” she said.” (Read more: Reuters, April 19, 2018)

December 21, 2017 – Julian Assange’s Christmas Present

“…Throughout the months of November and December Wikileaks and Anonymous Scandinavia were throwing out teaser videos regarding a big Christmas present coming. The videos featured the 12 days of Christmas, and with each video there was a new disclosure of the corruption being exposed within the U.S. government. On December 21, 2017 Julian retweeted Wikileaks tweet regarding a CryptoKitties donation to Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton. The names of the offspring to these CryptoKitties is equally intriguing, which align with the video teasers.

This is where it gets interesting and begins to connect everything together. Notice the regulations Wikileaks put into the CryptoKitty being “gifted” to Donald J. Trump, which states:

These unique CryptoKitties are valued at several thousand dollars, meaning that President Trump will have to declare Wikileaks’ gift under 5 U.S.C. § 7432 and regulation GSA FMR B-41. Trump’s Tender Tabby will become federal property to be enjoyed by future presidents via custodians at the US National Archives.

As we can see above, the current minimal value of $390 was established in the Federal Management Regulation Bulletin B-41 for a Foreign gift and decoration minimal value. Wikileaks stated that the CryptoKitties are valued at several thousand dollars, and would therefore be considered a Foreign gift that President Trump would be required to declare, and will therefore become Federal property. But why would it go into NARA and be enjoyed by the public? Because Cryptocurrency can carry data with it, and by claiming it would go into NARA, they just validated that it in fact is data.

So what does this mean exactly? Based on all of the above, this most likely means that Wikileaks transferred (gifted) very sensitive material to President Trump. What is curious is that they stated they were gifting Hillary Clinton a CryptoKitty as well, which would be quite humorous if it was an exact duplicate, being as she is already privy to the information and much of it is likely incriminating evidence against her and her corrupt cronies. It is also quite genius of Julian Assange and the Wikileaks team.

One would suspect much of this incriminating evidence will be exposed long before this material reaches NARA, after President Trump is no longer in office. But if it shouldn’t, the information will eventually be made available for the public to see.” (CoreysDigs, 12/25/2017)

October 24, 2017 – Trump urges CIA director Mike Pompeo to meet with former NSA official, William Binney

Former technical director of the National Security Agency (NSA) William Binney (Credit: Thomas Peter/Reuters)

“CIA Director Mike Pompeo met late last month with a former U.S. intelligence official who has become an advocate for a disputed theory that the theft of the Democratic National Committee’s emails during the 2016 presidential campaign was an inside job, rather than a hack by Russian intelligence.

Pompeo met on October 24 with William Binney, a former National Security Agency official-turned-whistleblower who co-authored an analysis published by a group of former intelligence officials that challenges the U.S. intelligence community’s official assessment that Russian intelligence was behind last year’s theft of data from DNC computers. Binney and the other former officials argue that the DNC data was “leaked,” not hacked, “by a person with physical access” to the DNC’s computer system.

In an interview with The Intercept, Binney said Pompeo told him that President Donald Trump had urged the CIA director to meet with Binney to discuss his assessment that the DNC data theft was an inside job. During their hour-long meeting at CIA headquarters, Pompeo said Trump told him that if Pompeo “want[ed] to know the facts, he should talk to me,” Binney said.

A senior intelligence source confirmed that Pompeo met with Binney to discuss his analysis, and that the CIA director held the meeting at Trump’s urging. The Intercept’s account of the meeting is based on interviews with Binney, the senior intelligence source, a colleague who accompanied Binney to CIA headquarters, and others who Binney told about the meeting. A CIA spokesperson declined to comment. “As a general matter, we do not comment on the Director’s schedule,” said Dean Boyd, director of the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs.” (The Intercept, 11/07/2017)

Late May, 2017 – Andrew McCabe wrote a confidential memo recounting details on the firing of James Comey

Andrew McCabe (Credit: Bill Clark/Getty Images)

“The former acting F.B.I. director, Andrew G. McCabe, wrote a confidential memo last spring recounting a conversation that offered significant behind-the-scenes details on the firing of Mr. McCabe’s predecessor, James B. Comey, according to several people familiar with the discussion.

Mr. Comey’s firing is a central focus of the special counsel’s investigation into whether President Trump tried to obstruct the investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia. Mr. McCabe has turned over his memo to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

In the document, whose contents have not been previously reported, Mr. McCabe described a conversation at the Justice Department with the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, in the chaotic days last May after Mr. Comey’s abrupt firing. Mr. Rosenstein played a key role in the dismissal, writing a memo that rebuked Mr. Comey over his handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton.

But in the meeting at the Justice Department, Mr. Rosenstein added a new detail: He said the president had originally asked him to reference Russia in his memo, the people familiar with the conversation said. Mr. Rosenstein did not elaborate on what Mr. Trump had wanted him to say.

To Mr. McCabe, that seemed like possible evidence that Mr. Comey’s firing was actually related to the F.B.I.’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, and that Mr. Rosenstein helped provide a cover story by writing about the Clinton investigation.

One person who was briefed on Mr. Rosenstein’s conversation with the president said Mr. Trump had simply wanted Mr. Rosenstein to mention that he was not personally under investigation in the Russia inquiry. Mr. Rosenstein said it was unnecessary and did not include such a reference. Mr. Trump ultimately said it himself when announcing the firing.” (Read more: New York Times, 5/30/2018)