January 17, 2020 – John Durham is investigating a ‘strong paper trail’ during the months before Mueller appointment
“A trail of documents has reportedly led Attorney General William Barr’s handpicked federal prosecutor to focus his inquiry into the origins of the Russia investigation on the first several months of President Trump’s tenure.”
John Durham is zeroing in on the period spanning from January 2017, when Trump took office, to May of that year. A “strong” paper trail, has led the investigation into possible misconduct by federal law enforcement and intelligence officials to that time frame.
Barr and Durham have traveled around the world for the investigation, and Durham’s team has already asked witnesses about possible anti-Trump bias among former FBI officials. The secretive DOJ inquiry includes scrutiny of former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI special agent Peter Strzok, and British ex-spy Christopher Steele.
Little else is known about the investigation other than that Durham is exploring whether a crime was committed by Kevin Clinesmith, a former FBI lawyer who was found by the Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to have altered a document during the FBI’s efforts to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant renewal to continue wiretapping onetime Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The period of time under scrutiny by Durham also covers a leak to reporters that federal prosecutors in D.C. are investigating. The Russian intelligence document under scrutiny, word of which made its way into press reports in the spring of 2017, factored into former FBI Director James Comey’s handling of the FBI investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email server, and Comey himself appears to be the focus of that inquiry. Comey was fired in May 2017, after which Mueller was appointed special counsel to lead the Russia investigation.
Barr says, “We have to be careful about the way we collect evidence. And we have to make sure that we have enough evidence to justify our actions. And we’re not going to cut corners in that respect,” . “You know, there’s some people who think this thing is going to drop in a few weeks. That’s not the case. I see this, perhaps, reaching an important watershed perhaps in the late spring, early summer.” (Read more: The Washington Examiner, 1/17/2020) (Archive)
- Admiral Mike Rogers
- Bill Barr
- Carter Page
- criminal inquiry
- DOJ OIG FISA Report
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- FISA Abuse
- FISA Title-1 surveillance warrant
- James Comey
- January 2020
- John Durham
- Kevin Clinesmith
- media leaks
- Mueller Special Counsel Investigation
- National Security Agency (NSA)
- paper trail
January 17, 2020 – The Comey Coverup Unravels
“In a curious report on Thursday evening, the New York Times carefully averts its eyes from everything that’s interesting. Even Adam Schiff has acknowledged that James Comey’s actions in 2016 may represent the most important and significant Russian influence on the election. (Hoist your shot glass. This will be the umpteenth time I’ve quoted Mr. Schiff on this matter in this column.)
Surely one of the most consequential pieces of intelligence ever received by U.S. agencies was, as we now learn, received in early 2016 from a Dutch counterpart. This is the dubious Russian intelligence that set off Mr. Comey’s multiple interventions in the last presidential race, culminating in an improper act that may have inadvertently elected Donald Trump. Even at the time Mr. Comey’s FBI colleagues considered the intelligence, which indicated questionable actions by the Justice Department to fix the Hillary email investigation, to be false, possibly a Russian plant.
The Times adds the unsurprising revelation that Mr. Comey himself is suspected in the illegal leak that, in early 2017, alerted the media to this untold aspect of his 2016 actions, before the matter disappeared again behind a veil of official secrecy. Yet bizarrely, the paper plays down its scoop, suggesting that any inquiry into a “years-old” leak now can only be a political hit job by an “ambitious” Justice Department attorney seeking to please President Trump.
First of all, I doubt this subject pleases Mr. Trump—it re-raises the question of whether his election was an accident caused by Mr. Comey. Second, the information is obviously important. The scandal hiding in plain sight is our intelligence establishment’s misuse of its authority to muck around in the 2016 election.
As a bonus, I’m going to suggest the FBI’s own pursuit of the collusion will-o’-the-wisp may have been occasioned by its hope of finding that the same fabricated Russian intelligence was in the hands of the Trump campaign, providing an ex post justification for Mr. Comey’s actions that he desperately would have wanted once fingers began pointing at him for Mrs. Clinton’s defeat. (I guess we can at least be glad he didn’t plant the information on Carter Page. )
Let’s call a spade a spade. The media is a big part of the coverup. When the Justice Department inspector general issued his damning report on Mr. Comey, not one media outlet in the Factiva database told its readers about the existence of its classified appendix except this column and Britain’s Daily Mail tabloid.” (Read more: The Wall Street Journal, 1/20/2020) (Archive)
January 16, 2020 – Federal prosecutors are investigating an earlier incident of leaking by James Comey re Loretta Lynch assuring Clinton would not be prosecuted
The New York Times just published a bombshell report that’s faintly reminiscent of the scoops that the Liberal paper of record used to publish during the spring and summer of 2017 when the Mueller probe was in its infancy.
Except this time, instead of the leak focusing on alleged wrongdoing by President Trump and his inner circle, the NYT is focusing on former FBI Director James Comey, who has increasingly been taken to task by the mainstream press in recent months for his botched handling of both the Clinton investigation and the origins of the probe in Russian interference (remember that?).”
According to veteran NYT reporter Adam Goldman (a reporter who won a Pulitzer in 2018 for his work bolstering the Russian interference narrative), federal prosecutors have launched an investigation into an earlier incident of leaking by former FBI Director James Comey.
(…) The latest investigation involves material that Dutch intelligence operatives siphoned off Russian computers and provided to the United States government. The information included a Russian analysis of what appeared to be an email exchange during the 2016 presidential campaign between Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat of Florida who was also the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee at the time, and Leonard Benardo, an official with the Open Society Foundations, a democracy-promoting organization whose founder, George Soros, has long been a target of the far right.
In the email, Ms. Wasserman Schultz suggested that then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch would make sure that Mrs. Clinton would not be prosecuted in the email case. Both Ms. Wasserman Schultz and Mr. Benardo have denied being in contact, suggesting the document was meant to be Russian disinformation.
That document was one of the key factors that drove Mr. Comey to hold a news conference in July 2016 announcing that investigators would recommend no charges against Mrs. Clinton. Typically, senior Justice Department officials would decide how to proceed in such a high-profile case, but Mr. Comey was concerned that if Ms. Lynch played a central role in deciding whether to charge Mrs. Clinton, Russia could leak the email.
(…) It’s believed that the investigation began in recent months, but it’s unclear whether a grand jury has been impaneled, or how many witness [sic] have been interviewed.” (Read more: Zero Hedge, 1/16/2020) (Archive)
December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report notes James Comey’s inconsistencies in his statements re Carter Page
(…) “Comey also told the IG that “he did not recall himself having any knowledge of Carter Page’s existence until the middle of 2016.” But, as the IG report stressed, Comey’s statements are called into question by “internal email communications” that reflect that in April 2016, the New York Field Office “prepared summaries of the information that ultimately led NYFO to open a counterintelligence investigation on Carter Page on April 6, 2016.” Those were provided to officials at headquarters “for a ‘Director’s note; and a separate ‘Director’s Brief’ to be held on April 27, 2016.”
Notwithstanding these inconsistencies, the IG report stressed, that the IG “was unable to question Comey further using classified details Lynch described to us because, as noted in Chapter One, Comey choose not to have his security clearances reinstated for our interview.”
The IG report then stresses twice more Comey’s lack of a security clearance as a reason investigators were unable to assess Comey’s level of knowledge of the facts misstated in the FISA applications. In discussing “the extent of FBI leadership’s knowledge as to each fact stated incorrectly or omitted from the FISA applications”—seven significant inaccuracies and omissions in total—the IG stressed that multiple factors made it difficult to assess the knowledge of the FBI hierarchy.
“These factors included, among other things,” the IG report noted, “limited recollections, the inability to question Comey or refresh his recollection with relevant, classified documentation because of his lack of a security clearance, and the absence of meeting minutes that would show the specific details shared with Comey and McCabe during briefings they received, beyond the more general investigative updates that we know they were provided.
However, while noting the IG’s inability to determine the “extent of FBI leadership’s knowledge,” the report highlighted reasons to believe such knowledge existed: “As the FBI’s senior leaders, Comey and McCabe would have had greater access to case information than Department leadership and also more interaction with senior [Counterintelligence Division] officials and the investigation team. Further, as described in Chapter Three, [Counterintelligence Division] officials orally briefed the Crossfire Hurricane cases to FBI senior leadership throughout the investigation. McCabe received more briefings than Comey, but both received oral briefings of the team’s investigative activities.” (Read more: The Federalist, 12/09/2019) (Archive)
December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report writes McCabe pushed the “Golden Showers” hoax and Comey approved its inclusion in the intel report
“An email proves disgraced ex-FBI Director James Comey personally approved an FBI effort to have the wild and unsubstantiated “golden showers” claim about President Trump included in the material to be considered for publication in the U.S. Intelligence Community’s official report on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The Comey email, which has not received media attention until now, was revealed inside the Justice Department’s recently released 476-page Inspector General report on the FBI’s Russia collusion investigation.
The IG report further discloses a separate email in which Andrew McCabe, who served under Comey as the FBI’s deputy director, specifically wanted dossier author Christopher Steele’s unverified “pee” charges against Trump to be included in the body of the January 6, 2017, U.S. Intelligence Community report, known as the ICA, assessing alleged Russian interference efforts.
McCabe opposed a CIA compromise to only reference Steele’s controversial dossier in an appendix of the ICA report, with McCabe arguing for it to be included in the body of the report where it would clearly get more attention.
(…) In an email to Strzok, McCabe and others, Comey described a phone call he had with then Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, writing that he told Clapper to include the Steele reports.
“Looks okay to me,” Comey wrote, approving of the FBI submission that encompassed Steele’s dossier charges.
Comey’s email continued:
FYI: During a secure call last night on this general topic, I informed the DNI that we would be contributing the [Steele] reporting (although I didn’t use that name) to the IC [Intelligence Community] effort. I stressed that we were proceeding cautiously to understand and attempt to verify the reporting as best we can, but we thought it important to bring it forward to the IC effort.
Comey went on to document that he vouched for Steele’s so-called sources while admitting that he didn’t tell Clapper about FBI efforts to verify the claims. The FBI at the time could not verify the charges.
I told him the source of the material, which included salacious material about the President-Elect, was a former [REDACTED] who appears to be a credible person with a source and sub-source network in position to report on such things, but we could not vouch for the material. (I said nothing further about the source or our efforts to verify).”
December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report reveals James Comey and Loretta Lynch contradictions
(…) “The IG report also stressed Comey’s lack of a security clearance in discussing inconsistencies between his and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s statements to the IG. The report noted that “Lynch told the OIG that after one of her weekly security meetings at FBI Headquarters in the spring of 2016, Comey and McCabe pulled her aside and provided information about Carter Page, which Lynch believed they learned from another member of the Intelligence Community.”
Lynch further stated that Comey and McCabe informed her that “Russian intelligence reportedly planned to use Page for information and to develop other contacts in the United States, and that they were interested in his affiliation with the campaign.” According to the IG report, Lynch’s “understanding was that this information from Comey and McCabe was ‘preliminary’ in that they did not state that any decisions or actions needed to be taken that day.”
Lynch added that “they discussed the possibility of providing a defensive briefing to the Trump campaign, but she believed it was ‘preliminary’ and ‘something that might happen down the road,’” but that “she did not recall receiving any further updates on this issue following this conversation.”
The IG report noted that “Lynch’s recollection of what Comey and McCabe told her is consistent with information referenced in connection with the 2015 [Southern District of New York] indictment and subsequent conviction of a Russian intelligence officer referenced earlier in this chapter.” However, “Comey told the OIG that he did not recall having such a conversation with Lynch and that he did not think it was possible for such a conversation to have occurred in the spring of 2016 because the FBI did not receive the [Friendly Foreign Government] information concerning Papadopoulos until late July.” (Read more: The Federalist, 1/06/2020) (Archive)
December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report reveals Baker, Comey, Strzok and Bruce Ohr contradictions
(…) “For instance, according to the IG report, Baker said “he obtained more information regarding Ohr’s interactions with Steele during a Crossfire Hurricane leadership meeting with Comey and McCabe in spring 2017.” Baker further stated that “he learned that Ohr was providing to the FBI information that Ohr had received from Steele,” and, in Baker’s view, “this [was] not good.”
But Comey told the IG “he had no knowledge of Ohr’s communications with members of the Crossfire Hurricane investigative team and only discovered Ohr’s association with Steele and the Crossfire Hurricane investigation when the media reported on it.” Comey’s claims, though, conflicted with both Baker’s statements, and “notes taken by Strzok during a November 23, 2016 Crossfire Hurricane update meeting” that Comey attended.
Those notes referenced “a discussion at the meeting concerning ‘strategy for engagement [with Handling Agent 1] and Ohr’ regarding Steele’s reporting.” Strzok also told the IG that “he believed he informed FBI leadership that Ohr approached the FBI concerning his relationship with Steele and that Ohr relayed Steele’s information regarding Russia to the team.”
However, as the IG report explained, “because Strzok’s notes of the meeting were classified at the time we interviewed Comey, and Comey chose not to have his security clearances reinstated for his OIG interview, we were unable to show him the notes and ask about the reference in them to Steele and Ohr.” (Read more: The Federalist, 1/06/2020) (Archive)
October 25, 2019 – Lee Smith: Deep State used ‘criminal conspiracy’ to stop Flynn’s audit of intelligence agencies
“A multifaceted “criminal conspiracy” to destroy former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was launched by persons across the national security state apparatus to prevent audits of intelligence agencies’ operations, said Lee Smith, author of The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in U.S. History, in a Friday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with host Rebecca Mansour and special guest host Rick Manning.
“General Flynn’s lawyer, Sydney Powell, has done a fantastic job of unearthing a whole bunch of new information which clarifies what we’ve known — what we’ve suspected — for quite a long time, that large parts of the intelligence community targeted General Flynn,” Smith stated.
Smith added, “Sydney Powell has brought forth a whole bunch of important information … about how they tinkered with the FBI’s interviews. They also ambushed General Flynn in the White House for an interview, and we know how that went down. It was James Comey who asked his deputy director Andy McCabe to send agents down there to go after General Flynn.
Smith remarked, “Keep in mind, this is a very, very large operation against General Flynn that started long before Donald Trump was elected, and this was the other terrific thing that Sydney Powell has done with her work.”
“Stefan Halper, who was identified by the Washington Post and the New York Times as the confidential human source who was sent to spy on the Trump campaign,” noted Smith. “Now, what Sydney Powell has found, is that he had a handler at the Pentagon. So we’re talking about the Department of Justice, we’re talking about the FBI, but we’re also talking about the Pentagon. We are talking about a number of different agencies involved in targeting General Flynn.” (Read more: Breitbart, 10/25/2019)
October 9, 2019 – FBI agent: We found ‘ten times’ as many Hillary emails as James Comey publicly claimed
“According to a new book, FBI agents claimed the discovery of thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop was an “oh s***” moment, with one admitting there were “ten times” as many as former FBI Director James Comey has admitted to publicly.
The book, titled ‘Deep State: Trump, the FBI, and the Rule of Law,’ written by James B. Stewart, paints a picture of an agency stunned by the findings.
Thousands of additional emails were discovered after investigators found them on devices used by Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin. The agents had been probing the former Democrat congressman’s explicit texts with a 15-year-old girl.
“The agents called the discovery an ‘oh s***’ moment as they combed through Weiner’s iPhone, iPad and laptop,” Stewart writes.
(…) Stewart writes that an FBI agent – described as “determined” – was dismayed that the agency under Comey’s direction wasn’t pushing to complete the investigation.
“I’m telling you that we have potentially ten times the volume that Director Comey said we had on the record,” the agent told Stewart. “Why isn’t anybody here?”
September 17, 2019 – Trump directs ODNI, DoJ and FBI to immediately declassify materials
The White House Press Secretary released the following statement on September 17, 2019:
At the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency, the President has directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to provide for the immediate declassification of the following materials: (1) pages 10-12 and 17-34 of the June 2017 application to the FISA court in the matter of Carter W. Page; (2) all FBI reports of interviews with Bruce G. Ohr prepared in connection with the Russia investigation; and (3) all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Carter Page FISA applications.
In addition, President Donald J. Trump has directed the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr.