Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)

January 16, 2020 – Flynn’s lawyer: Documents show prosecutors knew they pressed him to lie

Sidney Powell (Credit: The Epoch Times)

“Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser to President Donald Trump, presented evidence that shows that prosecutors knowingly pressured him to lie, his lawyer said.

“This evinces the strong inference the prosecutors themselves conspired to cause Mr. Flynn to make false statements,” Flynn’s lawyer Sidney Powell said in a Jan. 16 court filing (pdf).

(…) The lobbying registration, filed under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by the Flynn-hired law firm Covington & Burling, pertained to a job that Flynn’s now-defunct consultancy, Flynn Intel Group (FIG), did for Alptekin’s firm Inovo.

Alptekin hired FIG in the summer of 2016 to do research and lobbying focused on an Islamic cleric living in exile in Pennsylvania, Fethullah Gulen. Gulen runs a group that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed for an attempted 2016 coup. Prosecutors said Flynn lied in the FARA forms about the extent the Turkish government was involved with the project.

In June 2019, after Flynn fired Covington and hired new lawyers, led by Powell, prosecutors asked Flynn to testify that he signed the lobbying forms intentionally knowing there were lies in them. He refused, saying he only learned about the issues with the forms in retrospect.

That angered the lead prosecutor, Brandon Van Grack, notes from a June 27, 2019 conference call indicate.

But Powell now argues that the prosecutors knew they were asking for a false statement. She filed with the court a draft of Flynn’s Statement of Offense, which shows that the words pertaining to the FARA registration, “FLYNN then and there knew” were cut from the final version.

Moreover, Powell submitted emails that indicate the words were cut by the prosecutors themselves after Flynn’s then-lawyers raised some objections to the draft.

“Point is, they knew that what they were demanding Flynn do was lie about himself and admit he did something that all along he said he didn’t,” Powell said in an email to The Epoch Times. (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/19/2020)  (Archive)

November 29, 2019 – The history of Flynn prosecutor Brandon Van Grack – from the Special Counsel’s Office to the prosecution of Flynn

“As a member of Team Mueller, Van Grack was involved in improperly obtaining Trump Transition Team emails/comms from GSA – including privileged materials.

He hid the extent of the intrusion from Trump Transition Team lawyers.

Van Grack confirmed that the Special Counsel’s Office had “failed to use an ‘ethical wall’ or ‘taint team’ and instead simply reviewed the privileged communications contained in the [Transition Team] materials.”

Van Grack “failed to correct the record or disclose that” they were in possession of and had accessed “a significant volume of privileged materials.

The failure was intentional; they wanted the privileged communications.

Deceptive edits of Trump lawyer John Dowd’s voicemail, produced to Van Grack, made its way to the Mueller Report.

They omitted the section where Dowd asked Flynn’s lawyers not to disclose “confidential information.”

HT @lastrefuge2

We reached out to John Dowd about the Van Grack/Mueller deception.

He called it “unfair and despicable”

Van Grack used a corrupt reading of FARA laws (since rejected by 2 courts) to target Mike Flynn Jr.

Not to prosecute Flynn Jr., but to force General Flynn to plea.

Flynn Jr. became an official target on 10/20/17. Flynn signed the plea deal on 11/30/17.

HT @lastrefuge2

Flynn Intel Group (FARA) case – overseen by Van Grack.

DOJ tells Judge that “Flynn was not a member of the alleged conspiracy”

DOJ then tries to label Flynn a co-conspirator. This was rejected by the Judge.

corrected HT: @TheLastRefuge2

Van Grack’s FARA case (prosecuted by EDVA) against Flynn Intel Group member Rafiekian was a disaster from the start.

It was Soon before trial and the DOJ couldn’t figure out how to instruct the jury on the FARA violation.

As the Rafiekian (Flynn Intel Group) case unraveled, they designated Flynn Jr. as a witness to intimidate Flynn.

This was pure tactics – Flynn Jr. was never called as a witness.

Despite DOJ assertion that Flynn Intel Group member Rafiekian was acting as a foreign agent for Turkey…

Van Grack/EDVA never investigated whether the agreement was funded by the Turkish government.

The threat against Flynn – labeling him as a co-conspirator – came after he refused to agree to the false narrative set forth by Van Grack.

The Judge in the Rafiekian case disagreed: “Flynn has not disavowed what is in the statement of facts.”

The false charges claimed by Van Grack – that “Flynn had agreed to plead to a knowing and intentional false FARA filing” – was actually deleted from a draft of the Flynn Agreement.

This is important because Van Grack was telling Judge Sullivan in December 2018 that Flynn could be charged as a foreign agent under 18 USC 951.

Van Grack’s Section 951 theory was rejected by the Judge in the Rafiekian case.

“Such a reading is unwarranted . . . based on the plain language of Section 951.”

Judge Sullivan may have concerns about Van Grack’s Section 951 interpretation and VG’s claim Flynn could have been prosecuted.

If “there was no factual predicate for that FARA violation, then it should not have been mentioned at all as a potential ‘benefit’”

As to Van Grack’s conduct in the Flynn case…

They confused the FBI Agents’ notes (Strzok/Pientka)

As to the FARA charges, Van Grack would have known this likely created a non-consentable conflict of interest between Flynn and his prior counsel.

Conflicts disregarded; they needed the plea.

(Techno Fog, 11/29/2019)  (Archive)

July 28, 2019 – George Papadopoulos will head to Greece to retrieve $10K payment, federal investigators want to see the marked bills

“Former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos told Fox News‘ Maria Bartiromo in an exclusive interview that he is heading back to Greece to retrieve $10,000 that he suspects was dropped in his lap as part of an entrapment scheme by the CIA or FBI — and federal investigators want to see the marked bills, which he said are now stored in a safe.

[Timeline editor’s note: Oddly, the official video released by Bartiromo does not play the interview with Papadopoulos and instead offers the Nunes interview twice. With a little sleuthing, I managed to find a copy posted on an obscure YouTube page, and it appears to have been captured from a television. All other copies lead to the Bartiromo video that has been edited. So essentially, given the censorship we are currently experiencing, there’s no guarantee this video will remain on YouTube. For the sake of posterity, I have captured a screenshot of the interview that is now saved on my hard drive. lol]

Screenshot of Maria Bartiromo and George Papadopoulos on July 28, 2019. (Credit: Fox News)

Papadopoulos said on Sunday Morning Futures he was “very happy” to see Devin Nunes, R-Calif., grill Special Counsel Robert Mueller about the summer 2017 payment during last week’s hearings — even though Mueller maintained, without explanation, that the matter was outside the scope of his investigation.

“I was very happy to see that Devin Nunes brought that up,” Papadopoulos said. “A man named Charles Tawil gave me this money [in Israel] under very suspicious circumstances. A simple Google search about this individual will reveal he was a CIA or State Department asset in South Africa during the ‘90s and 2000s. I think around the time when Bob Mueller was the director of the FBI.

So, I have my theory of what that was all about,” Papadopoulos added. “The money, I gave it to my attorney in Greece because I felt it was given to me under very suspicious circumstances. And upon coming back to the United States I had about seven or eight FBI agents rummaging through my luggage looking for money.”

According to Papadopoulos, “the whole setup” by the “FBI likely, or even the special counsel’s office,” was intended to “bring a FARA [Foreign Agents Registration Act] violation against me.” The FARA statute played a key role in the prosecutions of former Trump aides, including Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort.” (Read more: Fox News, 7/28/2019)

April 11, 2017 – Judicial Watch: AP reporters push FBI to prosecute Manafort

(Credit: Judicial Watch)

The Associated Press, founded in 1846 as a cooperative association of newspapers, has enjoyed a reputation for independence and fairness over the years. Lately, however, it has come under criticism for what some see as a left/liberal bias.

Certainly, what we have just learned about its dealings with anti-Trump partisans in the Justice Department does nothing to improve our perception of the news service.

We have released two sets of heavily redacted FBI documents – 28 pages and 38 pages –about an April 11, 2017, “off-the-record” meeting set up by then-Chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Fraud Section Andrew Weissmann.

Andrew Weissmann, right, was a prosecutor in the special counsel’s office, along with Jeannie Rhee and Rush Atkinson.. (Credit: Tom Brenner/The New York Times).

The meeting included representatives of the DOJ, the FBI and the Associated Press in which AP reporters provided information on former Trump Campaign Director Paul Manafort, including the numeric code to Manafort’s storage locker.

Two months later, in early June, Weissmann was hired to work on Robert Mueller’s special counsel operation against President Trump. Weissman then reportedly spearheaded the subsequent investigation and prosecution of Manafort.

Included among the new documents are two typed write-ups of the meeting’s proceedings and handwritten notes taken during the meeting by two FBI special agents.

According to a June 11, 2017FBI write-up:

The purpose of the meeting, as it was explained to SSA [supervisory special agent, redacted] was to obtain documents from the AP reporters that were related to their investigative reports on Paul Manafort.

No such documents were included in the documents released to us.

During the meeting, the AP reporters provided the FBI information about a storage locker of Manafort (the Mueller special counsel operation raided the locker on May 26, 2017):

The AP reporters advised that they had located a storage facility in Virginia that belonged to Manafort…The code to the lock on the locker is 40944859. The reporters were aware of the Unit number and address, but they declined to share that information.

The reporters shared the information that “payments for the locker were made from the DM Partners account that received money from the [Ukraine] Party of Regions.”

The Associated Press logo. (Credit: public domain)

The notes suggest the AP pushed for criminal prosecution of Manafort:

AP believes Manafort is in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), in that Manafort send [sic] internal U. S. documents to officials in Ukraine AP has documentation proving this, as well as Manafort noting his understanding doing so would get him into trouble.

AP asked about the U.S. government charging Manafort with violating Title 18, section 1001 for lying to government officials, and have asked if the FBI has interviewed Manafort. FBI and DOJ had no comment on this question.

Also, according to the FBI write-up, “The AP reporters asked about FARA [Foreign Agents Registration Act] violations and they were generally told that they are enforceable.”

Although, according to the FBI write-up, “no commitments were made [by DOJ] to assist the reporters,” Andrew Weissmann asked the AP to contact foreign authorities to follow up: [A]fter the meeting was started and it was explained to the reporters that there was nothing that the FBI could provide to them, the reporters opted to ask a series of questions to see if the FBI would provide clarification. No commitments were made to assist the reporters in their further investigation into the life and activities of Paul Manafort and the AP reporters understood that the meeting would be off the record.

They [AP reporters] reiterated what they had written in their article, which was a response from the Cypriot Anti-Money Laundering Authority (MOKAS) that they [MOKAS] had fully responded to Department of Treasury agents in response to [Treasury’s] request. The AP reporters were interested in how this arrangement worked and if the U.S. had made a formal request. FBI/DOJ did not respond, but Andrew Weissman [sic] suggested that they ask the Cypriots if they had provided everything to which they had access or if they only provided what they were legally required to provide.

The AP reporters asked if we [DOJ/FBI] would be willing to tell them if they were off based [sic] or on the wrong traack [sic] and they were advised that they appeared to have a good understanding of Manafort’s business dealings.

The reporters asked about any DOJ request for the assistance of foreign governments in the U.S. Government’s investigation of Manafort:The AP reporters asked if there had been any official requests to other countries. FBI/DOJ declined to discuss specifics, except to state that the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty requests are negotiated by diplomats, so they should remain at that level.

AP reporters told the FBI about payments in the “black ledger,” a Ukrainian record of allegedly illegal off-the-books payments:The reporters advised that their next report, which was scheduled to come out in the next day or so after the meeting, would focus on confirming, to the extent that they could payments in the so called “black ledger” that were allegedly made to Manafort.

The impression that their sources give is that Manafort was not precise about his finances, specifically as it related to the “black ledger.” The AP reporters calculated that he received $60 to $80 million from his work in Ukraine, during the time period the ledger was kept. According to their review of the ledger, it appears that there is a slightly lesser amount documented based on all of the entries. The AP reporters accessed a copy of the ledger online, describing it as “public” document (Agent’s note – the ledger has been published in its entirety by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, after it was given to them by Sergei Leshenko, Ukrainian RADA member [Ukrainian parliament] and investigative reporter.)

Paul Manafort arrives in court on June 27, 2019 in New York, where he pleaded not guilty to mortgage fraud charges. He is serving a 7½ -year term in a federal prison in Pennsylvania for federal bank and tax fraud convictions. (Credit: Seth Wenig/The Associated Press)

The AP reporters discussed an extensive list of issues, companies, and individuals that they felt should be investigated for possible criminal activity, including a $50,000 payment to a men’s clothing store; a 2007 meeting with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska; Loav Ltd., which was possibly incorporated by Manafort; NeoCom, which the AP reporters implied was incorporated solely to cover up money laundering; and other matters.

The reporters described an “internal U.S. work product that had been sent to Ukraine.” The reporters described it as an “internal White House document.” The FBI report stated that it “was not clear if the document was classified.”

Evidently referring to these documents, Manafort’s lawyers alleged that Weissmann provided guidance and leaked grand jury testimony to the AP reporters investigating Manafort.

(…)  Under Mueller, Weissmann became known as “the architect of the case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort,” which produced no evidence of collusion between Manafort, the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. It indicted Manafort on unrelated charges.

In an October 2017 article describing Weissmann as Mueller’s “Pit Bull,” The New York Times wrote, “He is a top lieutenant to Robert S. Mueller III on the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible links to the Trump campaign. Significantly, Mr. Weissmann is an expert in converting defendants into collaborators — with either tactical brilliance or overzealousness, depending on one’s perspective.” Weissman oversaw the pre-dawn home raid of Manafort in what one former federal prosecutor described as “textbook Weissmann terrorism.” Weissmann reportedly also attended Hillary Clinton’s Election Night party in New York.

In May 2019, we uncovered 73 pages of records from the DOJ containing text messages and calendar entries of Weissmann showing he led the hiring effort for the investigation that targeted President Trump.

In December 2017, we made public two productions of DOJ documents showing strong support by top DOJ officials for former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ refusal to enforce President Trump’s Middle East travel ban executive order. In one email, Weissmann applauds Yates, writing: “I am so proud. And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respects.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 10/22/2019) (Video)

February 20, 2015 – Victor Pinchuk faces ruin – as he gives $40,000 away monthly in Washington; US and EU refuse lifebuoy

“Victor Pinchuk, the Ukrainian oligarch who took sides for the European Union (EU) against Russia, is running out of money, company officials admitted last week in a confidential briefing.

Pinchuk has been forced to provide his company with $20 million in emergency cash to stave off insolvency, but bondholders and banks owed more than $1 billion have not been paid. Although company officials admit that Interpipe, their pipemaking business in Dniepropetrovsk, has not been attacked directly by the fighting in Donbass, they say they are now cut off from supplies of scrap steel for smelters, electricity, and coal from Lugansk and Donetsk. As a result, Pinchuk is now planning to lay off at least 3,000 workers – one-fifth of his Dniepropetrovsk workforce. A brewing worker rebellion and bankruptcy action by unpaid bondholders are part of what one Interipe executive calls Pinchuk’s “fundamental risk”.

The timing of the disclosures could not be worse for Pinchuk, or for Dniepropetrovsk — until now the bastion of Igor Kolomoisky, Pinchuk’s commercial rival and governor of the region. Pinchuk was the target in the US last week as US newspapers opened investigations into the flow of money Pinchuk has directed to the Clinton Foundation, and to lobbying for commercial and political favours from Hillary Clinton and State Department officials directing the Kiev administration.

(…) In the US Pinchuk has employed a lobbyist named Douglas Schoen (below) since 2011 at $40,000 per month. The cash comes from both his Pinchuk Foundation, based in Kiev, and EastOne, his asset holding operating in London, Kiev, and Cyprus. Schoen, who is based in New York, is a pollster for the Democratic Party in the US and for US Government agencies abroad. He is also a booster for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign; that’s what the Rupert Murdoch media call a “political analyst”.

Schoen’s latest filing for Pinchuk with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) unit of the US Department of Justice reveals that during the last six months of 2014, Schoen’s monthly stipend remained undiminished at $40,000.

However, compared to the FARA filings in 2011 and 2012, Schoen now claims his efforts are “philanthropic work”, with “no payments attributable to lobbying work this period”. To the question: “During this 6 month reporting period, did you prepare, disseminate or cause to be disseminated any informational materials?” Schoen ticked the No box.

In fact, the promotional materials were written or delivered at lectures and in the press by Steven Pifer, a former US ambassador to Ukraine (below, left), and Anders Aslund (right), a propaganda specialist. Their stipends Pinchuk pays at the Washington think-tanks, Brookings Institution and the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE). In acknowledgement, Pinchuk is listed as a member of the “international advisory council” at Brookings, and a board director at PIIE. For more details, read this.

When Schoen last admitted to the Justice Department that he was lobbying on Pinchuk’s tab, he revealed that he was focusing on Hillary Clinton and State Department officials, Melanne Verveer and Tom Melia. Schoen reported to the Justice Department that he had asked Clinton to meet and endorse Areny Yatseniuk, now the Ukrainian prime minister, and to back other schemes for “the democratization and free and fair elections in the Ukraine. “

Melia is deputy assistant secretary at the State Department, responsible for Ukraine at the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour. Both Melia (left) and his superior, Victoria Nuland (right), were active in preparing Yatseniuk’s takeover of power in Kiev on February 22, 2014. Pinchuk hosted the last outing together of Aslund, Pifer, Melia and Schoen at the Kiev session of the Yalta European Strategy (YES), another Pinchuk philanthropy, in Kiev last September.

What the distinction between lobbying and philanthropy means is that Pifer and Aslund do the lobbying for Pinchuk, and he puts money in their pockets through the think-tanks. Then Schoen reports to the Justice Department that he is receiving $40,000 per month from Pinchuk for doing nothing reportable at all.

Thomas Weihe

Last week, when three Washington Post reporters were investigating money Pinchuk had given the Clinton Foundation, they missed the $6 million difference between what Pinchuk said he had given, and the smaller number the Clinton Foundation said it had received. The Post investigation also failed to detect that the origin of the Pinchuk funds may have been a Russian insurance company fraud. Read more.

The Post reporters, who didn’t open the FARA files of lobbyist and philanthropist Schoen, reported that Interpipe had “has faced formal complaints in the United States for unfair trade practices. Spokesmen for the Clintons and Pinchuk waved away any suggestion of a conflict between the donor’s regulatory concerns and the charitable contributions to the foundation. ‘No assistance with any business issues has now or ever been sought from the Clinton Foundation or its principals,’ said Thomas Weihe (right), a spokesman for the Kiev-based Pinchuk Foundation. He said Pinchuk supported the Clinton effort because of the foundation’s record and the ‘unique capacity of its principals to promote the modernization of Ukraine.’”

(Read more: John Helmer, 2/20/2015)   (Archive)

(Reposted in part, with permission)