Fusion GPS

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)

(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.)

May 3, 2019 – Opinion: How US and Foreign Intel Agencies Interfered in a US Election

By Larry C. Johnson
Sic Semper Tyrannis 

The preponderance of evidence makes this very simple–there was a broad, coordinated effort by the Obama Administration, with the help of foreign governments, to target Donald Trump and paint him as a stooge of Russia.

The Mueller Report provides irrefutable evidence that the so-called Russian collusion case against Donald Trump was a deliberate fabrication by intelligence and law enforcement organizations in the United States and the United Kingdom and organizations aligned with the Clinton Campaign.

The New York Times reported that a man with a long history of working with the CIA, and a female FBI informant, traveled to London in September of 2016 and tried unsuccessfully to entrap George Papadopolous. The biggest curiosity is that U.S. intelligence or law enforcement officials fully briefed British intelligence on what they were up to. Quite understandable given what we now know about British spying on the Trump Campaign.

The Mueller investigation of Trump “collusion” with Russia prior to the 2016 Presidential election focused on eight cases:

    • Proposed Trump Tower Project in Moscow
    • George Papadopolous
    • Carter Page
    • Dimitri Simes
    • Veselnetskya Meeting at Trump Tower (June 16, 2016)
  • Events at Republican Convention
  • Post-Convention Contacts with Russian Ambassador Kislyak
  • Paul Manafort

One simple fact emerges–of the eight cases or incidents of alleged Trump Campaign interaction with the Russians investigated by the Mueller team, the proposals to interact with the Russian Government or with Putin originated with FBI informants, MI-6 assets or people paid by Fusion GPS, and not Trump or his people.

There is not a single instance where Donald Trump or any member of his campaign team initiated contact with the Russians for the purpose of gaining derogatory information on Hillary or obtaining support to boost the Trump campaign. Not one.

Simply put, Trump and his campaign were the target of an elaborate, wide ranging covert action designed to entrap him and members of his team as an agent of Russia.

Let’s look in detail at each of the cases.”  (Read more: Sic Semper Tyrannis, 5/03/2019)

March 28, 2019 – Nellie Ohr’s full transcript is released

(…) “Beginning in September 2015, Ohr began working for Fusion GPS. Ohr told investigators that she “read an article in the paper that mentioned Glenn Simpson. And I remembered because he had been a Wall Street Journal reporter working on things like Russian crime and corruption, so I recognized the name. I was underemployed at that time and I was looking for opportunities.”

When later questioned as to her previous knowledge of Simpson, Ohr stated, “I had been at a conference that he was at. I don’t recall directly talking with him at that conference, and I don’t know whether he knew who, you know, who I was other than the fact that I attended that conference.”

Ohr acknowledged to congressional investigators that Simpson was acquainted with her husband, Bruce Ohr. (read more)

The implication here is that Nellie Ohr approached Fusion-GPS owner Glenn Simpson for a job; essentially to work on political opposition research files Fusion-GPS was assembling in 2015. This is distinctly different from Glenn Simpson seeking out Nellie Ohr, and opens the entire background to larger ramifications.

Our research has always indicated that Nellie’s work product was transmitted to Christopher Steele as part of an intelligence laundry process. Chris Steele laundered Nellie’s information, provided second verification where possible, formatted into an official intelligence file, and returned that file -now named the Steele Dossier- to the FBI.

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

However, if it becomes verified that it was CIA contracted (former or current) Nellie Ohr who approached Simpson, then it becomes possible, perhaps likely, the intelligence information (seeds carried by Nellie), originated from the CIA.

Nellie Ohr petitioning Glenn Simpson for a job would be an explosive change in the dynamic.  However, it could further explain some other unusual side-issues including why Nellie suddenly started using a HAM radio.

First, this revelation would imply that an inside government effort from the CIA was likely the origination of material that Nellie would “discover” while working for Fusion.  Under this possibility the laundry process would have two washes.

The first wash was from some unknown CIA intelligence sources to Nellie Ohr…. The second wash was from Nellie Ohr to Christopher Steele (the second wash we always knew).

Second, whether Glenn Simpson knew of Nellie’s intent, or was likely willfully blind, is another question.  I tend to think it didn’t really matter.  Simpson hired Nellie to get valuable oppo-research he could turn into a commodity.

Simpson wouldn’t necessarily care how Nellie found the information, and he knew her background in the intelligence research community. The commodity was always the Trump-research file; which was then sold to the Clinton campaign after the contract with the DNC was made through Perkins Coie.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 3/28/2019)

March 8, 2019 – House Republican, Doug Collins, releases Bruce Ohr’s unredacted transcript

Doug Collins (Credit: public domain)

“Georgia Rep. Doug Collins unilaterally released a 268-page transcript Friday of a deposition that Justice Department official Bruce Ohr gave to Congress in August.

Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, took the unusual step by reading a statement on the House floor and providing a link to the Ohr transcript in the public record. The representative said his patience with the Justice Department “has grown thin.”

Ohr served in 2016 and 2017 as a back channel between the FBI and Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored the anti-Trump dossier alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, worked as a contractor for Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that hired Steele.

Bruce Ohr was interviewed on Aug. 28, 2018 by a task force of members from the House Judiciary and House Oversight Committees.

Collins said Friday that he plans to release additional transcripts from interviews conducted by the task force. Lawmakers have also interviewed Nellie Ohr and FBI and Justice Department officials such as former FBI general counsel James Baker and former FBI attorney Lisa Page.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 3/08/2019)

February 28, 2019 – Judge orders release of Christopher Steele deposition

The Arseniy Yatsenyuk Open Ukraine Foundation invites David Kramer to present his book “Back to Containment: Dealing with Putin’s Regime.” (Credit: YouTube screenshot)

“A federal judge in Florida on Thursday ordered the release of depositions given by former British spy Christopher Steele and a longtime associate of late Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain in a lawsuit filed against BuzzFeed regarding Steele’s anti-Trump dossier.

U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro overruled requests by Steele and David Kramer, the former McCain associate, to keep depositions they gave in the BuzzFeed lawsuit under seal. Ungaro dismissed a lawsuit filed against BuzzFeed on Dec. 19, 2018, by Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian businessman accused in the dossier of using his companies to hack into DNC computers.

The depositions by Steele and Kramer, a former Department of State official, are likely to shed light on how the dossier was compiled and disseminated to U.S. government officials and the press. Ungaro ordered the documents’ release for March 14.

Kramer, a former State Department official, provided the dossier to a BuzzFeed reporter Dec. 28, 2016, several weeks after meeting with Steele in London.

Steele was hired in June 2016 by opposition research firm Fusion GPS to investigate then-candidate Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. He produced 17 separate memos dated between June 20, 2016, and Dec. 13, 2016, alleging a vast conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Kremlin to influence the election.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 2/28/2019)

January 23, 2019 – Opinion: FBI Special Agent Joseph Pientka Is the DOJ’s Invisible Man

Christopher Steele and Bruce Ohr (Credit: public domain)

(…) “The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [FISC] was not alerted to the fact that much of the information in the surveillance warrant on Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page was being provided by paid political propagandists employed by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

To continue receiving Trump-Russia collusion propaganda from opposition research firm Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele—who had been hired by Fusion GPS on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC—the FBI established a back-channel through former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr at the Department of Justice. After every meeting with Steele, Ohr would sit down for an interview with FBI Special Agent Joseph Pientka, who would fill out official FD-302 interview forms to pass on the information within the FBI.

(…) It seems something spooked the SpyGate plotters into presenting an appearance of drawing back from Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS while still surreptitiously using that political propaganda shop as a source for their ongoing investigations.

This back-channel allowed the FBI to hide Fusion GPS’s—and the Clinton campaign’s–role in providing much of the “evidence” being used to drive these politically-motivated investigations of Trump and his associates.

So why Bruce Ohr? Because he was a top official inside the Department of Justice and close to the DOJ’s National Security Division [NSD].

The point was to launder Fusion GPS’s Trump-Russia allegations through Ohr to Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and lead agent on the Trump case, Peter Strzok, so it could be claimed the information was coming from a legitimate intelligence source instead of from paid political propagandists working for Hillary Clinton.

This means it’s highly likely that when Bruce Ohr’s personal notes from his meetings with Fusion GPS are compared with the official FD-302 interview forms that Agent Pientka filled out following his interviews with Ohr, they are not going to match when it comes to what the stated source was for the Trump-Russia information.

For Pientka to write down on the 302 forms that this information on Trump-Russia he was being given by Ohr was still coming from the Fusion GPS boys after the FBI had supposedly severed all ties with them would have defeated the entire reason for going to the trouble of establishing a backchannel in the first place.

Investigative journalist John Solomon of The Hill has stated in his reports that he has been shown Ohr’s handwritten notes that he made during his talks with Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele. So in his own notes, Ohr made it clear who he was talking to and where he was getting these allegations from.

So now the $56,000 question: What do the FD-302 forms Pientka filled out actually say about where the Trump-Russia allegations came from? Do the interview forms admit the allegations were coming from a politically motivated propaganda shop, or do they claim the information came from politically neutral intelligence sources?

I’ve no doubt that at some time in the past year and a half, the DOJ Inspector General’s office sat Pientka down for extensive and detailed interviews about his dual roles in both the Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn affair (he and Strzok interviewed Flynn), and with the Fusion GPS back-channel to the FBI. What he told them must have been incredibly sensitive, since nobody has publicly seen or heard from Pientka all this time, even though House and Senate committees have requested that the DOJ produce him for testimony.  Whatever Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz’s investigators discovered in their interviews with Pientka, they are keeping a very tight lid on it.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/23/2019)

December 16, 2018 – Michael Isikoff, first to report allegations from the Steele dossier, says the salacious allegation are “likely false”

Michael Isikoff (Credit: public domain)

The investigative reporter who broke the first story based on allegations from Christopher Steele offered a surprising assessment of the former British spy’s infamous dossier, which alleges a vast conspiracy of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

“Would you agree that a lot of what’s in the Steele dossier has been somewhat vindicated?” Mediaite columnist John Ziegler asked Michael Isikoff, a co-author of the book “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story on Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump.”

“No,” Isikoff responded in an interview released Saturday.

“You would not?” asked Ziegler.

“No,” Isikoff repeated.

Isikoff’s views about the dossier are significant because of his central role in advancing the narrative that the Russian government conspired with Trump associates.

Isikoff is the journalist who wrote the Sept. 23, 2016 article at Yahoo! News laying out Steele’s allegations that Trump campaign adviser Carter Page met secretly in Moscow with two Kremlin insiders. Isikoff’s co-author, David Corn, is the only other reporter to have written about Steele’s claims prior to the 2016 election.

Isikoff and Corn are two of a small handful of reporters who met during the campaign with Steele. The former British spy put the dossier together while working for Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm that investigated Trump on behalf of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

The FBI cited both the dossier and Isikoff’s article in four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants to spy on Page. Republicans have accused the FBI of abusing the FISA process by relying heavily on the unverified Steele dossier and failing to reveal that the Clinton team and DNC funded the salacious report.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 12/17/2018)

December 3, 2018 – Grassley accuses Fusion GPS founder, Glenn Simpson, of giving ‘extremely misleading’ testimony

Glenn Simpson (l) and Chuck Grassley (Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/The Associated Press)

“Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is drawing parallels between the false testimony that former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen gave to Congress in 2017 and the “extremely misleading” statements made by the founder of the firm that commissioned the infamous Steele dossier.

“I hope that the Justice Department is handling all these instances of false statements to Congress with the same level of seriousness they treated Mr. Cohen’s,” Grassley, an Iowa Republican, wrote Monday in a letter to Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

Cohen pleaded guilty on Nov. 29 in the special counsel’s investigation to lying to Congress in 2017 about the extent of his attempts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen admitted he lied about how long he worked on the project, which was ultimately scuttled in June 2016.

Grassley accused Glenn Simpson, a co-founder of Fusion GPS, of possibly lying during his Aug. 22, 2017 testimony when he claimed that his firm was not working for a client to investigate President Donald Trump after the 2016 election.

“So you didn’t do any work on the Trump matter after the election date, that was the end of your work?” Simpson was asked in his deposition.

“I had no client after the election,” said Simpson.

“As we now know, that was extremely misleading, if not an outright lie,” Grassley asserted in his letter to Blumenthal.

Grassley noted that a former Senate staffer named Daniel Jones told the FBI in March 2017 that he hired Fusion GPS and former British spy Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier, after the election to continue an investigation into Trump’s possible ties to Russia. (Read more: Daily Caller, 12/04/2018)