Fusion GPS

September 12, 2019 – State Dept official Jonathan Winer used a personal email account to hide his communications with Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson

Senators Ron Johnson and Charles Grassley have a few questions that are put in a letter dated September 12, 2019, to State Department OIG Steve Linick who reviewed a meeting between State Dept officials and Christopher Steele. The review or lack thereof appears to have left them with more questions than answers. Here is a clipping of the relevant part of their letter:

(Grassley/Johnson/Linick Letter, 9/12/2019)

September 4, 2019 – Devin Nunes files a RICO lawsuit against Fusion GPS

“When we were investigating Fusion GPS, they were actively involved in working to smear me to obstruct justice, to derail our investigation — and so, I’m gonna hold these guys accountable, and this is just one of many steps we’re gonna continue to take,” continued Nunes.

Nunes filed a $9.9 million federal conspiracy lawsuit in the Eastern District of Virginia alleging that the Fusion GPS behind the anti-Trump Steele dossier coordinated with another group to file several fraudulent and harassing ethics complaints intended to derail his investigation.

The complaint named Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson and the nonprofit Campaign for Accountability (CfA) said the “smear” tactics kicked into action shortly after Simpson “lied” in his closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee in November 2017, as well as before the Senate Judiciary Committee in August 2017.

“The bank records produced by Fusion GPS revealed that the Clinton campaign, the DNC and Perkins Coie paid for Fusion GPS’ anti-Trump research,” Nunes’ complaint stated.” (Sara A. Carter, 9/05/2019)

August 30, 2019 – Flynn attorney Sidney Powell walks through the history of the DOJ, FBI and intelligence apparatus weaponization against Mr. Flynn

“In an explosive response filing today, which includes the phrase ”sunlight is the best disinfectant,” attorney Sidney Powell has outlined the soup-to-nuts construct of the malicious government action taken during their targeting her client Michael Flynn.

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

Clip from Attorney Sidney Powell’s filing on behalf of Lt. General Michael Flynn.

In the 19-pages (full pdf below), Ms. Powell walks through the history of the DOJ, FBI and intelligence apparatus weaponization against Mr. Flynn and lays out the background behind everything known to have happened in 2016, 2017 through today.

From the corrupt DOJ lawyers who were working with Fusion-GPS and Chris Steele, including Mr. Weissmann, Mr. Van Grack and Ms. Zainab Ahmad; to the 2015/2016 FISA database search abuses; to the CIA and FBI operation against Flynn including Nellie Ohr; to the schemes behind the use of DOJ official Bruce Ohr; to the corrupt construct of the special counsels office selections; to the specifics within the malicious conspiracy outlined by hiding FBI interview notes of Mike Flynn,… all of it…is a stunning filing that many CTH readers are well prepared to understand.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 8/30/2019)

 

August 11, 2019 – The 2018 DOJ and FBI coverup to protect the Senate Intelligence Committee

“In the first part of this research into the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) we outlined how the committee was engaged in the 2017 effort –with specific evidence of communication– to support Robert Mueller and the ‘soft coup‘ team. [See Here] When you understand what the group was doing in early 2017, you understand why the FBI had to use DOJ official Bruce Ohr as a go-between to contact with Chris Steele.

Now we move on to overlay several data-points that happened throughout 2018 that are connected to a much more troubling part of the overall issues.  In 2018 the DOJ and FBI covered-up the corruption evident during the 2017 pre-Mueller effort.

The problem for Attorney General Bill Barr is not only investigating what we don’t know, but rather navigating through what ‘We The People’ are already aware of…. A branch of the United States government (Legislative) was attempting a coup against the leader of another branch of government (Executive); by using the Senate Intelligence Committee and designated corrupt agents within the executive branch cabinet.

This 2017 and 2018 time period covers Robert Mueller as Special Counsel, Jeff Sessions as AG, Rod Rosenstein as Deputy, Chris Wray as FBI Director, David Bowditch as Deputy and Dana Boente as FBI legal counsel.  I’ll lay out the evidence, you can then determine who was powerful enough to have made these decisions.

As a result of a FOIA release in mid-December 2018, Judicial Watch revealed how the State Department was feeding “classified information” to multiple U.S. Senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee by the Obama administration immediately prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration:

The documents reveal that among those receiving the classified documents were Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Sen. Robert Corker (R-TN).

Judicial Watch obtained the documents through a June 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the State Department after it failed to respond to a February 2018 request seeking records of the Obama State Department’s last-minute efforts to share classified information about Russia election interference issues with Democratic Senator Ben Cardin (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:18-cv-01381)).

The documents reveal the Obama State Department urgently gathering classified Russia investigation information and disseminating it to members of Congress within hours of Donald Trump taking office.  (read more)

The impeachment program was a plan, an insurance policy of sorts; a coordinated effort between corrupt politicians in the Senate and hold-over allies in the executive; however, because she didn’t want to participate in this – Senator Dianne Feinstein abdicated her vice-chair position to Senator Mark Warner.  [Background Here]

This is the pre-cursor to utilizing Robert Mueller.  A plan that was developed soon after the  election.  The appointment of a special counsel was always the way they were going to hand-off and continue the investigation into Trump; but they needed a reason for it.

The continued exploitation of the Steele Dossier was critical; thus they needed Chris Steele to be solid.  And the continued manipulation of the media was also critical; thus they needed Fusion-GPS to continue.  [Dan Jones paid both]

While Mark Warner was communicating with Adam Waldman and Dan Jones as a conduit to Chris Steele, the FBI/DOJ team was communicating through Bruce Ohr to Chris Steele (and by extension to Nellie Ohr and Fusion GPS).

Part of Warner’s role was to weaponize the Legislative branch to advance the ‘Muh Russia conspiracy’, a fundamental necessity if a special counsel was going to have justification.

The SSCI, and the security protocols within it, were structurally part of the plan; hence the rapid information from Obama’s State Dept. to the SSCI and Senate participants in the last moments prior to departing.

♦ On March 17th, 2017, the Senate Intelligence Committee took custody of the FISA application used against Carter Page.   We know the FISA court delivered the read and return Top-Secret Classified application due to the clerk stamp of March 17, 2017.

(Page FISA Application, Link)

The FISA application (original and first renewal) was delivered to Senate Security Director James Wolfe.  Senator Mark Warner entered the basement SCIF shortly after 4:00pm on March 17, 2017, the day it was delivered (texts between Warner and Waldman):

Now, when SSCI Security Officer James Wolfe was indicted (unsealed June ’18), we could see the importance of the March 17th date again:

(Wolfe Indictment Link)

We can tell from the description within the indictment FBI investigators are describing the FISA application.  Additionally Wolfe exchanged 82 text messages with his reporter/girlfriend Ali Watkins.  The FISA application is 83 pages with one blank page.

The logical conclusion was that Wolfe text Ali Watkins 82 pictures of the application.

FBI Investigators applied for, and received a search warrant for the phone records of journalist Ali Watkins.  Ms. Watkins was notified in February 2018, three months after Wolfe was questioned by FBI investigators in December 2017.

However, despite the overwhelming (public) circumstantial evidence that Wolfe leaked the FISA application, he was never charged with leaking classified information.  Wolfe was only charged with lying three times to federal authorities, and he pled down to one count of lying to the FBI.

CTH made the case in mid 2018 that someone at the DOJ had influenced a decision not to charge Wolfe with the leaking of the FISA application; despite the FBI and DOJ having direct evidence of Wolfe leaking classified information.

The logical reason for the DOJ not to charge Wolfe with the FISA leak was because that charge could ensnare a Senator on the powerful committee, likely Mark Warner.

Remember, the SSCI has intelligence oversight of the DOJ, DOJ-NSD, FBI and all associated counterintelligence operations. Additionally, when the FBI was investigating Wolfe for leaking classified documents, according to their court filings they had to inform the committee of the risk Wolfe represented.  Who did they have to inform?.. Chairman Burr and Vice-Chair Warner.

D’oh. Think about it.  A gang-of-eight member (Warner), who happened -as a consequence of the jaw dropping implications- to be one of only two SSCI members who was warned by the FBI that Wolfe was compromised…. and he’s the co-conspirator.  The ramifications cannot be overstated.  Such a criminal charge would be a hot mess.

Thus, the perfect alignment of interests for a dropped charge and DC cover-up.

Then, in an act of serendipity, James Wolfe himself bolstered that suspicion when he threatened to subpoena members of the SSCI as part of his defense. [See Here]

(…) Attorneys for James A. Wolfe sent letters to all 15 senators on the committee, notifying them that their testimony may be sought as part of Mr. Wolfe’s defense, according to two people familiar with the matter.

(…) Mr. Wolfe’s defense lawyers are considering calling the senators as part of the proceedings for a variety of reasons, including as potential character witnesses and to rebut some of the allegations made by the government in the criminal complaint, these people say.  (link)

Immediately after threatening to subpoena the SSCI (July 27, 2018), the DOJ cut a deal with Wolfe and dropped the charges down to a single charge of lying to investigators.  However, someone doing the investigative legwork wasn’t happy with that decision.

Our overwhelming CTH circumstantial evidence that Wolfe leaked the FISA application went from a strong suspicion, to damn certain (after the plea deal) when the DOJ included a sentencing motion in mid-December 2018.

On December 15th, 2018 the DOJ filed a response to the Wolfe defense teams’ own sentencing memo (full pdf), and within the DOJ response they included an exhibit (#13) written by the FBI [redacted] special agent in charge, which specifically says: “because of the known disclosure of classified information, the FISA application”… Thereby admitting, albeit post-plea agreement, that Wolfe did indeed leak the damn FISA:

(link to document)

Right there, in that FBI Special Agent description is the bombshell admission that James Wolfe leaked the Carter Page FISA application to his concubine Ali Watkins at Buzzfeed.

We know the special agent who wrote exhibit #13 in the December filing was Special Agent Brian Dugan, Asst. Special Agent in Charge, Washington Field Office.  The same investigator who originally signed the affidavit in the original indictment.

So with hindsight there was absolutely no doubt that James Wolfe leaked the 83-page Carter Page FISA application on March 17, 2017.  Period.  It’s all documented with circumstantial and direct evidence; including the admissions from the FBI agent in charge.

So, why was James Wolfe allowed to plea to a single count of lying to investigators?” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 8/11/2019)

August 8, 2019 – Bruce Ohr 302 reports released

“Bruce Ohr is a DOJ official who was interviewed by the FBI during the DOJ/FBI collaborative effort to target president-elect Donald Trump after the 2016 election.

Mr. Ohr was interviewed on 12 different occasions between November 22nd 2016 and May 15th 2017.  Judicial Watch has finally received the copies of the FBI investigative notes, aka “302 reports.”

The last interview of Bruce Ohr (May 15th, 2017) took place two days prior to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller.  Throughout the interviews (full pdf below) Bruce Ohr was acting as the go-between delivering information from his wife Nellie Ohr at Fusion GPS and one of Fusion’s contract investigators, Christopher Steele.

The 302 reports are heavily redacted (sources and methods); however, we already know the majority of names underneath the redactions.  Here are the *302 investigative notes:

(Conservative Treehouse, 8/08/2019)

July 28, 2019 – Rep. John Ratcliffe says it is clear crimes were committed by government officials in the Obama administration

“With the Justice Department conducting a review of that operation, Rep. John Ratcliffe said during a Fox News interview Sunday that he trusts Attorney General William Barr and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to provide answers.

And while Ratcliffe said he does not want to prematurely accuse any specific person of a crime — as Democrats have done with President Trump — he stressed that it is clear crimes were committed by people during the Obama administration, including government officials.

“I think the first thing we need to do is make sure we don’t do what the Democrats have done,” the Texas Republican told host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday Morning Futures. “They accused Donald Trump of a crime and then they try and reverse engineer a process to justify that accusation. So I’m not going to accuse any specific person of any specific crime, I just want there to be a fair process to get there. What I do know as a former federal prosecutor is that it does appear that there were crimes committed during the Obama administration.”

(…) Ratcliffe recommended three leads for the “investigation of the investigators.”

The first related to former national security adviser Michael Flynn. “You talked earlier about Michael Flynn. His phone call with the Russian ambassador was a highly classified NSA intercept. Someone in the Obama administration leaked that call to the Washington Post. That’s a felony,” he said.

Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed in February 2018 that the Justice Department was investigating that leak, and that he was overseeing the inquiry himself. “I am directing it personally and we’re pursuing it aggressively,” Sessions said at the time.

Ratcliffe suggested investigators also look into conflicting congressional testimony between Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. Fusion GPS was the opposition research firm behind British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s dossier, which was full of unverified claims about Trump’s ties to Russia and was used extensively by the FBI in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to justify surveillance of Page. Ohr acted as an unofficial back channel between Steel and the FBI. “Glenn Simpson from Fusion GPS in talking about the Steele dossier, said under oath that he and Bruce Ohr did not meet until after the election. Bruce Ohr said under oath that they met three months before the election. One of them is not telling the truth. We need a process to identify that,” Ratcliffe said.

The third area of interest, Ratcliffe said, is former FBI Director James Comey’s memos on his interactions with Trump before he was fired in May 2017. “Where it all started, Jim Comey. He admitted that he leaked his confidential conversations with the president to a reporter. Did that include classified information? We need a fair processes to find out answers to that,” Ratcliffe said.” (Read more:  Washington Examiner, 7/28/2019)

July 25, 2019 – WSJ Editorial: What Mueller Was Trying to Hide

By Kimberly Strassel

A CSpan subtitle refers to the Mueller hearing on July 24, 2019, as an Obstruction of Justice Investigation by the House Judiciary Committee. (Credit: CSpan3)

(…) “The most notable aspect of the Mueller report was always what it omitted: the origins of this mess. Christopher Steele’s dossier was central to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe, the basis of many of the claims of conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. Yet the Mueller authors studiously wrote around the dossier, mentioning it only in perfunctory terms. The report ignored Mr. Steele’s paymaster, Fusion GPS, and its own ties to Russians. It also ignored Fusion’s paymaster, the Clinton campaign, and the ugly politics behind the dossier hit job.

Mr. Mueller’s testimony this week put to rest any doubt that this sheltering was deliberate. In his opening statement he declared that he would not “address questions about the opening of the FBI’s Russia investigation, which occurred months before my appointment, or matters related to the so-called Steele Dossier.” The purpose of those omissions was obvious, as those two areas go to the heart of why the nation has been forced to endure years of collusion fantasy.

Mr. Mueller claimed he couldn’t answer questions about the dossier because it “predated” his tenure and is the subject of a Justice Department investigation. These excuses are disingenuous. Nearly everything Mr. Mueller investigated predated his tenure, and there’s no reason the Justice Department probe bars Mr. Mueller from providing a straightforward, factual account of his team’s handling of the dossier.

If anything, Mr. Mueller had an obligation to answer those questions, since they go to the central failing of his own probe. As Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz asked Mr. Mueller, how could a special-counsel investigation into “Russia’s interference” have any credibility if it failed to look into whether the Steele dossier was itself disinformation from Moscow? Mr. Steele acknowledges that senior Russian officials were the source of his dossier’s claims of an “extensive conspiracy.” Given that no such conspiracy actually existed, Mr. Gaetz asked: “Did Russians really tell that to Christopher Steele, or did he just make it up and was he lying to the FBI?”

Mr. Mueller surreally responded: “As I said earlier, with regard to Steele, that is beyond my purview.”

So it went throughout the whole long day. Republicans asked basic questions about the report’s conclusions or analysis, and Mr. Mueller dodged and weaved and refused to avoid answering questions about the FBI’s legwork, the dossier’s role and Fusion’s involvement. Ohio Rep. Steve Chabot asked how the report could have neglected to mention Fusion’s ties to a Russian company and lawyer. Mr. Mueller: “Outside my purview.” California Rep. Devin Nunes asked several questions about one of the men at the epicenter of the “collusion” conspiracy—academic Joseph Mifsud, whom former FBI Director Jim Comey has tried to paint as a Russian agent. Mr. Mueller: “I am not going to speak to the series of happenings as you articulated them.”

Then again, how could he? The Mueller team, rather than question the FBI’s actions, went out of its way to build on them. That’s how we ended up with tortured plea agreements for process crimes from figures like former Trump aide George Papadopoulos and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. They were peripheral figures in an overhyped drama, who nonetheless had to be scalped to legitimize the early actions of Mr. Comey & Co. Mr. Mueller inherited the taint, and his own efforts were further tarnished. That accounts for Mr. Mueller’s stonewalling.” (Read more: The Wall Street Journal, 7/25/2019)

May 22, 2019 – Conservative group files suit to force FEC to rule on whether Clinton campaign, DNC broke law to get dossier

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is facing a lawsuit for its inaction on a complaint filed against Hillary Clinton‘s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

The right-leaning Coolidge Reagan Foundation filed a lawsuit — obtained exclusively by IJR — on Wednesday morning in the hopes of getting a ruling that would force the FEC to address the complaint it filed on August 1, 2018.

Its original complaint with the FEC requested an investigation into Hillary for America — the official name of Clinton’s campaign — and the DNC for their role in obtaining and financing the anti-Donald Trump dossier penned by former British spy Christopher Steele.

By law, if the FEC does not rule on a filed complaint within 120 days, the party that filed the complaint has the authority to sue the commission. Almost 300 days have passed since the Coolidge Reagan Foundation filed that original complaint, and nothing has happened.

The original FEC complaint alleged that Hillary for America and the DNC breached campaign finance law by issuing a false report with the intention of misleading the American people. The complaint notes that campaign expenditure forms show that the DNC and Hillary for America paid their mutual legal advisers at Perkins Coie, LLP for “legal services,” but the law firm turned around and paid Fusion GPS for the Steele dossier.

The Coolidge Reagan Foundation argues that Hillary for America and the DNC used Perkins Coie, LLP as a “strawman” organization to distance themselves from Fusion GPS and Steele and submitted a false FEC complaint in the process:

Steele compiled the dubious and largely unverifiable information he received from foreign sources of questionable credibility into a “dossier” concerning Trump. Steele provided the dossier, through [his employer] Orbis, Fusion GPS, and Perkins Coie, to [Hillary for America] and the DNC.”

(Read more: IJR, 5/22/2019)

May 14, 2019 – Devin Nunes on the importance of exposing the real origins of the Russia narrative

“Devin Nunes appears on Fox News to discuss why the origin of the Russia narrative is important.  The scale and scope of the fraudulent construct is now a strongly enmeshed narrative, toxic to the systems of cohesive government:

If you read the Weissmann/Mueller report carefully one aspect stands out strongly; the Mueller investigation was fully committed to The Steele Dossier. An inordinate amount of the report is focused on justifying their investigative validity and purpose in looking at the claims within the Steele Dossier.

Repeatedly, the investigative unit references their mandate based around the Steele Dossier, and the mid-summer 2016 origin of the FBI counterintelligence operation.

Why? Why was/is Crossfire Hurricane (July ’16) and the Steele Dossier (Oct. ’16) so important to the principle intelligence apparatus, and the Mueller team (’17, ’18, ’19)?

I believe former NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers has told us the answer. In early 2016 Rogers caught on to a massive and pre-existing weaponization of government surveillance and the use of collected NSA metadata for political spy operations. Everything, that comes AFTER March 2016 is one big blanket cover-up operation….. ALL OF IT.

The Russian election interference narrative; the use of Joseph Mifsud, Stefan Halper, the London and Australian embassy personnel; Erika Thompson, Alexander Downer, U.S. DIA officials; everything around Crossfire Hurricane; and everything after to include the construct of the Steele Dossier; all of it was needed for the creation of an ‘after-the-fact‘ plausible justification to cover-up what Mike Rogers discovered in early 2016, AND the downstream unmasked records that existed in the Obama White House SCIF.

Fusion GPS was not hired in April 2016 to research Donald Trump. The intelligence community was already doing surveillance and spy operations. They already knew everything about the Trump campaign. The Obama intelligence community needed Fusion GPS to give them a justification for pre-existing surveillance and spy operations.

That’s why the FBI, and later the Mueller team, are so strongly committed to, and defending, the formation of the Steele Dossier and its dubious content.

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

On Pages #11 and #12 of the Weissmann/Mueller report, the special counsel team outlines the purpose and intent of the probe as delivered by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Within these pages Mueller outlines the August 2nd Scope Memo that has previously been hidden and remains redacted through today.

Read the highlighted portion carefully to understand the scope of the instructions. Note the careful wording “the Special Counsel had been authorized since his appointment to investigate allegations”… This means from Day #1 of the special counsel, the scope of the probe was always to investigate the claims within the Ohr/Steele Dossier:

The August 2nd Scope Memo additionally authorized the investigation of “certain other matters” specifically relating to Manafort (financial crimes), and Papadopolous and Flynn (FARA violations).

These paragraphs tell us a great deal about what originated the purpose of the FBI investigation and the continued purpose of the special counsel. Remember, the special counsel was a continuance of the FBI counterintelligence operation which officially began on July 31st, 2016. [The unofficial beginning was much earlier]

Understanding now that Mueller is saying from Day One he was investigating the Steele Dossier; here’s where we all need to question the assumptions.

Why is the Steele Dossier so important?” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/14/2019)

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.

Robert Mueller arriving at the office: His report recycles dossier dirt. (Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press)

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.

A detail from the website of Steele’s private London firm, Orbis Business Intelligence.

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 at a news conference  in Moscow in 2016. (Credit: Pavel Golovkin/The Associated Press)

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.

A 2006 photo of Konstantin Kilimnik, a longtime employee of Paul Manafort who ran the Ukraine office of his lobbying firm. The Mueller report suggests he was one of Manafort’s Kremlin handlers. (Credit: The Associated Press)

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.

Paul Manafort at court last year with wife Kathleen. (Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press)

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.

Glenn Simpson (Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/The Associated Press)

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.

Donald Trump Jr., right, with his father: The Mueller report gives the miss-impression that the president’s oldest son was collaborating with WikiLeaks. (Credit: Evan Vucci/The Associated Press)

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.

Andrew Weissmann, now a senior fellow at NYU Law. (Credit: NYU Law)

“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.

Edward Baumgartner: worked for Fusion GPS
Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. (Credit: YouTube screen grab)

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)

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