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January 6, 2017 – The DOJ OIG report on Comey’s memos details plans to ambush Trump with Moscow sex allegation

(L-R) James Comey, John Brennan, James Clapper, and Adm. Michael Rogers testify about “worldwide cyber threats” during an open hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on September 10, 2015. (Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(…) “On Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, Comey, along with CIA head John Brennan, national intelligence chief James Clapper, and NSA Director Mike Rogers, met with Trump in Trump Tower in New York. Together, they briefed the president-elect on the findings of the intelligence community investigation into Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

But the group, and especially Comey, had bigger plans than that. Before the meeting, they agreed that after briefing Trump on Russian efforts, the others would leave and Comey would stay to brief Trump alone about the Steele Moscow sex allegation.

Comey and top FBI officials prepared meticulously for the moment. The IG report says Comey had a planning meeting with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, chief of staff James Rybicki, general counsel James Baker, and “the supervisors of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.” (It is unclear who was in that last group, although the now-famous FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page played large roles in the investigation.)

The IG report says the group “agreed that the briefing needed to be one-on-one so that Comey could present the ‘salacious’ information in the most discreet and least embarrassing way.” But however it was presented, the FBI leaders worried that Trump might “perceive the one-on-one briefing as an effort to hold information over him like a ‘Hoover-esque type of plot.'” That was a reference to the FBI’s notorious founding director J. Edgar Hoover, who relished keeping (and using) embarrassing secrets on top political leaders.

The group discussed how Trump might react. In particular, they considered whether he would “make statements about or provide information of value to the pending Russia interference investigation” known as “Crossfire Hurricane.”

Perhaps Trump would say something incriminating. The FBI officials made plans for Comey, immediately after leaving the meeting, to write down everything he could remember about whatever Trump said. Comey also wanted to discuss Trump’s reactions with top aides immediately. Comey told the inspector general it was “important for FBI executive managers to be ‘able to share in [Comey’s] recall of the salient details of those conversations.'” Bureau officials also wanted to be able to respond if Trump publicly “misrepresent[ed] what happened in the encounter.”

So, preparations were made. “Comey said he had a secure FBI laptop waiting for him in his FBI vehicle and that when he got into the vehicle, he was handed the laptop and ‘began typing as the vehicle moved,'” the report says. He worked on his account as the FBI car took him to the New York field office, where aides had set up a secure video teleconference with Rybicki, McCabe, Baker, and the “Crossfire Hurricane” supervisors. Comey continued to work on his memo after that and sent the group a final version the next day, Saturday, Jan. 7.

In his memoir, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, Comey wrote that at the Trump Tower briefing he assured the president-elect, “We are not investigating you, sir.” At the moment Comey said those words, he had the “Crossfire Hurricane” team ready for a secure video conference on Trump’s response to the Steele dossier allegation.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 8/29/2019)

March 18, 2018 – Glenn Simpson thinks Sergei Millian is a “big talker” who overstated his links to Trumpworld

Sergei Millian (Credit: Twitter)

“The veracity of the Steele dossier is once again a topic of intense debate following the Justice Department’s release of secret warrants that the FBI used to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The four applications, which were obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), show that the bureau relied heavily on the dossier, which was funded by the Clinton campaign and DNC, to obtain the warrants, which accused Page of being a secret Kremlin agent.

But not only do many of the allegations in the dossier remain unverified, there is reason to doubt the credibility of a major source for the 35-page document, including for claims that the Kremlin has blackmail material on President Donald Trump and about Page’s alleged involvement in a collusion conspiracy.

According to the recent book “Russian Roulette, Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, believed that Millian was a “big talker” who overstated his links to Trumpworld.

“Had Millian made something up or repeated rumors he had heard from others to impress Steele’s collector? Simpson had his doubts. He considered Millian a big talker,” write authors Michael Isikoff and David Corn, who are good friends with Simpson.

Millian is both Source D and Source E in the dossier, according to The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. In the 35-page document, Source D alleged that the Russian government is blackmailing Donald Trump with video of a sexual tryst with prostitutes at a Moscow hotel room. Source E described an alleged “well-developed conspiracy of co-operation between them and the Russian leadership.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 7/24/2018)

January 6, 2017 – Comey’s Trump Tower meeting is part of a FBI counterintelligence investigation

The Trump Tower in New York City, December 2018. (Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(…) Comey told Horowitz that the information he obtained from his conversation with Trump “ought to be treated…[like] FISA derived information or information in a [counterintelligence] investigation.” In other words, his meeting with Trump had very direct surveillance overtones and intentions—and directly counters what he had testified to Congress.

According to his Congressional testimony, Comey had told Trump at the Jan. 6, 2017, meeting that he was not under investigation by the FBI, noting, “sir, we’re not personally investigating you.”

Prior to the meeting with Trump at Trump Tower, Comey met with FBI officials involved in the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation into the Trump campaign to discuss a strategy to obtain information and how to memorialize it right after the meeting.

Comey told the IG that in advance of his meeting with President-elect Trump, he “met with senior leaders of the FBI, including his Chief of Staff James Rybicki, then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, then-FBI General Counsel James Baker, and the supervisors of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.

According to the IG report, multiple FBI witnesses said the meeting was intended, in part, to see how President-elect Trump reacted to the allegations and whether he would reveal new information useful for their counterintelligence investigation.

(…) Comey’s meeting with Trump followed a formal briefing that Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and National Security Director James Clapper had provided to Obama just hours earlier regarding the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) on Russia hacking and election interference.

Comey outlined to the IG the details of the meeting that took place between only himself and Trump:

“At the conclusion of our session, the COS [Chief of Staff Priebus] asked whether there is anything we haven’t mentioned that they should know or that might come out. I said there was something that Clapper wanted me to speak to the PE [President-Elect] about alone or in a very small group…”

“…I then executed the session exactly as I had planned. I told him [President Trump] that I wanted to meet with him to tell him more about what is in the reports written by [redacted – likely Steele]. I said that the written reports themselves were [redacted] and the content known at IC senior level and that I didn’t want him caught cold by some of the detail…”

“I said the Russians allegedly had tapes involving him and prostitutes at the Presidential Suite at the Ritz Carlton in Moscow from about 2013…I said I wasn’t saying this was true, only that I wanted him to know both that it had been reported and that the reports were in many hands. I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook. I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the FBI has the material or [REDACTED] and that we were keeping it very close-hold.”

Notably, Comey only informed President Trump of the “salacious” details contained within the dossier. Comey would later tell CNN’s Jake Tapper that he did so “Because that was the part that the leaders of the intelligence community agreed he needed to be told about.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 9/02/2019)

June 24, 2016 – Steele sends a courier by plane to Washington to hand-deliver a copy of the dossier

“On June 24, 2016, Steele’s fifty-second birthday, Simpson called, asking him to submit the dossier. The previous day, the U.K. had voted to withdraw from the E.U., and Steele was feeling wretched about it. Few had thought that Brexit was possible. An upset victory by Trump no longer seemed out of the question. Steele was so nervous about maintaining secrecy and protecting his sources that he sent a courier by plane to Washington to hand-deliver a copy of the dossier. The courier’s copy left the sources redacted, providing instead descriptions of them that enabled Fusion to assess their basic credibility. Steele feared that, for some of his Russian sources, exposure would be a death sentence.

Steele also felt a duty to get the information to the F.B.I. Although Trump has tweeted that the dossier was “all cooked up by Hillary Clinton,” Steele approached the Bureau on his own. According to Simpson’s sworn testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, Steele told him in June, 2016, that he wanted to alert the U.S. government, and explained, “I’m a former intelligence officer, and we’re your closest ally.” Simpson testified that he asked to think about it for a few days; when Steele brought it up again, Simpson relented. As Simpson told the Senate Judiciary Committee, “Let’s be clear. This was not considered by me to be part of the work we were doing. This was like you’re driving to work and you see something happen and you call 911.” Steele, he said, felt “professionally obligated to do it.” Simpson went along, he testified, because Steele was the “national-security expert,” whereas he was merely “an ex-journalist.” (Read more: The New Yorker, 3/12/2018)