October 3, 2019 – Former CIA director John Brennan to be interviewed by U.S. attorney John Durham
“Former CIA Director John Brennan said he is “concerned” about the Justice Department’s review of the origins of the Russia investigation.
The “investigation into the investigators” has been underway since the spring, and reports this week showed Attorney General William Barr has taken a more expansive role in it than previously known, pressing foreign leaders to cooperate with the DOJ.
During an interview Wednesday, Brennan said he is “supposedly” going to be interviewed by John Durham, the U.S. attorney tasked with leading the review. Brennan said by all accounts Durham is a man of “integrity” but added Barr has proven himself to be the “president’s attorney.”
“Given that Barr is now accompanying Durham on these things, it really makes me think that the hand of politics and of Trump are now being used to massage what this ongoing review quasi-investigation is. So I am concerned,” Brennan said on MSNBC.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 10/03/2019)
October 2, 2019 – Justice Department to question former CIA director John Brennan in ‘Spygate’ Inquiry
“The special prosecutor investigating the spy operation against the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump will question former CIA Director John Brennan, according to Brennan’s remarks aired on Oct. 2.
“I am supposedly going to be interviewed by Mr. Durham as part of this non-investigation,” Brennan said on MSNBC, referring to U.S. Attorney John Durham.
Attorney General William Barr assigned Durham, a career prosecutor, to investigate whether Obama administration officials who surveilled Trump’s campaign did so legitimately.
Brennan made the comments as news surfaced that Barr and Durham expanded their investigation overseas to Italy, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Roughly a week prior to Brennan’s comments, Barr and Durham spoke to senior Italian intelligence officials.
“I don’t understand the predication of this worldwide effort to try to uncover dirt, either real or imagined, that would discredit that investigation in 2016 into Russian interference,” Brennan said.
The Department of Justice didn’t respond to a request for additional information.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 10/03/2019)
September 09, 2019 – The Justice Department seeks McCabe’s text messages on FBI probe; former FBI agent Jeffrey Danik filed a FOIA two years ago for same communications
“The Department of Justice is seeking former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s text messages and according to government sources, those will play a significant role in understanding the FBI’s probe into both President Donald Trump’s campaign and the bureaus’ handling of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server to send government emails.
Lawmakers unsuccessfully attempted to get the text messages during the litany of Congressional investigations that have culminated in Attorney General William Barr appointing Connecticut prosecutor John Durham to investigate the FBI’s handling of the election probe. Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes, R-CA, said his committee was stymied by the FBI when they attempted to retrieve McCabe’s communications.
“The House Intelligence Committee tried to get the McCabe texts in the last Congress, but we were stonewalled,” Nunes told SaraACarter.com on Monday. “This is the kind of issue that really needs more transparency. There’s been too much unnecessary secrecy surrounding the entire Russia investigation- the American people deserve to know exactly what happened.”
The text messages between FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and his then lover FBI attorney Lisa Page were regarded as a trove of information for congressional investigators. Page and Strzok’s text messages were turned over and for the most part – other than the details of the pairs private romantic relationship- to lawmakers during the congressional probes. The lawmakers were able to read the texts as part of the ongoing investigations either in-camera or when certain portions were declassified and made public.
(…) Judicial Watch also sought the text messages earlier this year. The government watchdog group filed a motion in May to obtain McCabe’s text messages on behalf of FBI supervisory special agent Jeffery Danik.
Danik, who served 28 years in the FBI, filed a motion against the Department of Justice last year for refusing a Freedom of Information Act Request to turn over the texts, as well as McCabe’s FBI emails. Danik had originally filed a FOIA to obtain the communications two years ago.” (Read more: SaraACarter, 9/09/2019)
August 23, 2019 – Details behind Patrick Byrne’s allegations of FBI/DOJ “political espionage”
Former CEO Patrick Byrne has given four primary interviews where he outlines his knowledge of a 2015 and 2016 political espionage operation being run by the FBI.
After a review of the interviews, and extracting specific points therein, here’s an overview.
The substance of Mr. Byrne’s claims does seem to align with what we already know about the DOJ and FBI activity during the 2016 election cycle, including the FBI operations.
First, Patrick Byrne claims he has spoken to the DOJ on April 5th, 2019, and again on April 30th, 2019. Mr. Byrne states he told the DOJ all of the information he was aware of during those two interviews covering approximately seven hours of questioning.
The current public statements Mr. Byrne is making are not with the approval of the DOJ or any investigators therein. His decision to go public with this information comes as a result of conversations with a life-long mentor and confidant, Warren Buffett. Mr. Byrne states he has known Warren Buffett since Byrne was a teenager and Mr. Buffett was in his mid-forties.
According to his CNN interview Byrne talked to Buffett in about how he could be a witness in the DOJ investigation authorized by Attorney General Bill Barr and being conducted by U.S. Attorney John Durham. After listening to the details, Buffett recommended Mr. Byrne go public with the story.
However, in order to go public Byrne would need to separate himself from his role as CEO of Overstock, the company Byrne founded. Mr. Byrne resigned yesterday, August 22nd.
Byrne explains he told Buffett about his April conversations with the DOJ and Buffett said it didn’t matter… Byrne still needed to go public with the story. It sounds like there are several motives for going public; perhaps one is personal safety.
To verify his April DOJ discussion, Byrne points to two references:
♦First, the movement of Maria Butina from harsh isolation in prison on May 9th, ten days after he delivered his testimony to the DOJ. According to Byrne Ms. Butina was moved to a very different White Collar facility based on his information.
♦The second reference point Byrne highlights is the May 13th DOJ appointment of John Durham to look into the origination of the Russia investigation events. Byrne says this too was a direct result of his two DOJ sessions April 5th and 30th.
If Byrne is accurate; and if his claims of him personally being an operative of the FBI with instructions to engage Ms. Butina inside the political espionage events structured by corrupt FBI officials are genuine; it would appear Special Counsel Robert Mueller facilitated throwing a bag over Ms Butina in an effort to keep the corrupt FBI intelligence operation hidden from the public. This would explain the Mueller demand for strict solitary isolation and confinement. (The reports are indeed troubling)
Again, if Byrne is correct, it would appear that extremely significant and exculpatory Brady material -evidence that could easily prove an entrapment defense- was intentionally withheld from Ms. Butina’s defense team. Alarmingly this points to ongoing corrupt officials that still remain inside the current DOJ. Ms. Butina was collateral damage.
A review of the time-frame details provided by Patrick Byrne in the four interviews shows his story told four times is consistent each time.
Here’s a brief review of the consistencies aspect:
After a cursory meeting in/around July 2015, Byrne claims in the period of September to December 2015 he reported contact with Russian national Ms. Maria Butina to the FBI as a precaution related to his security clearance.
Byrne claims he was asked to participate in an FBI intelligence operation and to introduce, and/or facilitate the introduction of, Ms. Butina to the campaigns of Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.
In December of 2015 Mr. Byrne became suspicious of the FBI motives because he warned FBI officials of a potential that his efforts, his reputation and those who trust him, may result in Butina gaining entry into campaign confidences. The FBI agents told Byrne that was exactly the intent; people high up in the FBI wanted Ms. Butina to gain deep access into the Trump campaign. Mr. Byrne became suspicious of a corrupt political motive, but didn’t say anything at the time.
Additionally Byrne’s assistance was requested for an investigation of a high-level government official, he later named as Hillary Clinton.[Sidebar: It’s noteworthy that during these FBI engagements Byrne was never requested to facilitate Ms. Butina into the Bernie Sanders campaign. The inference in that omission is the Dem primary was rigged, and the riggers saw no value wasting time on Bernie]
In/around Feb or March 2016 Byrne was told to focus Ms. Butina’s attention to the campaign of Donald Trump and to diminish any attention toward Rubio or Cruz.
The assistance of the investigation of the federal official (Hillary Clinton) ended in late June and early July of 2016. Immediately thereafter Ms. Clinton was publicly -and unusually- cleared by FBI Director James Comey on July 5th, 2016.
In/around this same June & July time-frame (2016), FBI agents requested Mr. Byrne to focus on developing a closer romantic relationship with Ms. Butina and to use his influence to target her to closer proximity with the Trump family and Trump campaign.
It was within these June and July 2016 engagements where FBI agents were apologetic about the requests and specifically mentioned their instructions were coming from three principle FBI officials Byrne described as “X, Y and Z”. Later Byrne identified FBI Director James Comey as “Z”.
In the Fox MacCallum interview Byrne named James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Bill Priestap, John Carlin (DOJ-NSD) and Peter Strzok. Mr. Byrne said the specific instructions were coming to the agents from Special Agent Peter Strzok as he relayed the requests of those above him [X, Y and Z (Comey)].
This FBI contact structure highlights an arms-length operation; perhaps intentionally constructed to create plausible deniability for those above the directly instructing agents.
In essence, these rank-and-file FBI agents were asking Patrick Byrne to be a civilian handler of a Russian national, and instructing him to carry out a covert counterintelligence operation. The FBI agents were apologetic about asking a civilian to take on such a role.
♦ Ms. Maria Butina is described as a young Russian idealist, who had strong connections to high powered Russian oligarchs.
The purpose of Butina coming to the U.S., as explained by Byrne, was for her to engage with influential Americans for contacts that could provide geopolitical value to the oligarchs.
Patrick Byrne was seen as important to Ms. Butina due to his connections to the emerging financial structures of crypto-currency and block-chain. Byrne is a libertarian who believes in small government, and is somewhat of a disruptor in the business world. Ms. Butina wanted to introduce Byrne to her friends in Russia.
While it was not outlined in any of the four interviews, alternative currency options to the U.S. dollar have been an ongoing effort of Russian interests for a while. Russia considers global trade attached to the dollar as geopolitical problem; and they have been working for years on alternative currencies for trade (and their own wealth) that can avoid U.S. sanctions and the reach of the U.S. treasury.
♦ As a Russian national with specific Russian interests that are not in alignment with U.S. national interests, Maria Butina would be defined by the U.S. intelligence community as an ‘agent of a foreign power’. Her status would mean unrestricted monitoring by the U.S. intelligence community would be entirely legal.
However, because of this ‘foreign agent’ status Ms. Butina could also be valuable as a virus to infect anyone the U.S. intelligence apparatus would wish to target domestically. This motive appears to be the reason for the FBI to tell Mr. Byrne where to send Ms. Butina.
Conducting FISA-702(16)(17) database searches and surveillance on U.S. persons who would meet with Butina would be justifiable and legal.
Extended contact with any U.S. person could likely lead to a Title-1 surveillance warrant through the FISA court. However, even without the warrant, 702 searches would be valid just from brief contact.
As we have shown FISA-702(“16” to-from) and (“17” about) queries were off the charts during the time-frame of November 2015 through May 2016. Per the FISA audit conducted by NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers, after the flags noted by the database compliance officer, 85% of the search returns were unauthorized and unmasked.
The time-frames here are too coincidental to be accidental. [Judge Collyer Report]
Update: On August 23, 2019, CNN includes James Comey and Andrew McCabe’s response to Mr. Byrne’s claims:
Byrne’s story, as told to CNN anchor Chris Cuomo on “Cuomo Prime Time,” and in earlier interviews broadcast on Fox Business News and Fox News, also includes allegations that top officials in the Obama administration, including James Comey, the former FBI director, approved of the bureau’s requests of him.
It has not been verified by the agencies, and spokespeople for the Justice Department and FBI declined to comment. Reached Thursday evening by CNN, Comey called Byrne’s claim “ridiculous.”
“The FBI doesn’t work that way,” Comey said.
Former FBI deputy director and CNN contributor Andrew McCabe said he hadn’t heard of Byrne until the former CEO revealed his relationship with Butina.
“His allegation that his potential cooperation with the FBI was somehow discussed at the highest levels certainly never happened when I was there,” McCabe, who held the No. 2 role at the agency beginning in 2016 until his firing in 2018, said Friday on CNN’s “New Day.”
McCabe said it was “certainly possible” that Byrne volunteered information about Butina to the FBI, but disputed the claim that agents would have told Byrne to “engage in a romantic relationship with a suspected Russian intelligence agent.”
“That is simply not the sort of thing that the FBI does,” McCabe said.”
- Andrew McCabe
- August 2019
- Bill Priestap
- Department of Justice
- Donald Trump
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- Hillary Clinton
- James Comey
- John Carlin
- John Durham
- Marco Rubio
- Maria Butina
- media interview
- Mueller Special Counsel Investigation
- Patrick Byrne
- Peter Strzok
- political espionage
- Russian spy
- Ted Cruz
- William Barr
August 4, 2019 – George Papadopoulos and Stefan Halper’s secret informant transcripts reveal a FBI sting operation
(…) “Maria Bartiromo segued into a discussion of George Papadopoulos and the secret informant transcripts; from recordings that were part of the FBI sting operation using U.S. intelligence asset Stefan Halper; and are now being held in evidence by U.S. Attorney John Durham and Inspector General Michael Horowitz. [Background] Keep in mind Gowdy has seen these transcripts.
According to Bartiromo those transcripts include FBI wire-taps of Halper attempting to get Papadopulos to accept assistance from Russia (delivering Clinton emails), and George Papadopoulos absolutely refusing to accept any engagement therein. Confirming that outline, Gowdy notes there are more recordings (and transcripts) of a similar nature, where the FBI was attempting to bait other Trump campaign officials.” (Read much more: Conservative Treehouse, 8/04/2019)
August 1, 2019 – John Solomon reports Durham and Horowitz have interviewed Joseph Mifsud and obtained an audio-taped deposition
(…) “Solomon told Sean Hannity that Western asset Joseph Mifsud has already testified and the Durham investigators have already obtained a taped deposition of his testimony.
Last week former US Attorney Joe diGenova also reported that US Attorney John Durham and IG Horowitz have already interviewed Joseph Mifsud.
John Solomon: I can report absolutely that the Durham investigators have now obtained an audio-taped deposition of Joseph Mifsud where he describes his work, why he targeted Papadopoulos, who directed him to do that, what directions he was given and why he set that entire process of introducing George Papadopoulos to Russia in motion in March of 2016. Which is really the flashpoint the start point of this whole Russia collusion narrative.
July 26, 2019 – DOJ’s Russia probe review focusing on ‘smoking gun’ tapes of meeting with George Papadopoulos
“The Justice Department’s internal review of the Russia investigation is zeroing in on transcripts of recordings made by at least one government source who met with former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos overseas in 2016, specifically looking at why certain “exculpatory” material from them was not presented in subsequent applications for surveillance warrants, according to two sources familiar with the review.
The sources also said the review is taking a closer look at the actual start date of the original FBI investigation into potential collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians, as some allege the probe began earlier than thought. Both components are considered key in the review currently being led by Attorney General Bill Barr and U.S. Attorney from Connecticut John Durham –– an effort sure to draw more attention in the coming weeks and months now that Robert Mueller’s testimony is in the rearview.
The recordings in question pertain to conversations between government sources and Papadopoulos, which were memorialized in transcripts. One source told Fox News that Barr and Durham are reviewing why the material was left out of applications to surveil another former Trump campaign aide, Carter Page.
“I think it’s the smoking gun,” the source said.
“These recordings have exculpatory evidence,” the other source added. “It is standard tradecraft to record conversations with someone like Papadopoulos—especially when they are overseas and there are no restrictions.” (Read more: Fox News, 7/26/2019)
July 23, 2019 – Durham’s team reaches out to Mifsud to review a deposition he gave last year that suggests he was instructed to put Papadopoulos in touch with Russians
“While most of the political world focused its attention elsewhere, special prosecutor John Durham’s team quietly reached out this summer to a lawyer representing European academic Joseph Mifsud, one of the earliest and most mysterious figures in the now closed Russia-collusion case.
An investigator told Swiss attorney Stephan Roh that Durham’s team wanted to interview Mifsud, or at the very least review a recorded deposition the professor gave in summer 2018 about his role in the drama involving Donald Trump, Russia and the 2016 election.
(…) For those who don’t remember, Mifsud is a Maltese-born academic with a VIP Rolodex who frequented Rome and London for years and engaged at the highest levels of Western diplomatic and intelligence circles.
Mueller’s team alleges that Mifsud is the person who fed a story in spring 2016 to Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos about Moscow possessing purloined emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was the earliest known contact in the now-debunked collusion narrative and the seminal event that the FBI says prompted it on July 31, 2016, to open its probe into the Trump campaign.
Mueller concluded that Mifsud was a person with extensive Russia ties who planted the story about the Clinton emails in Moscow and then lied about his dealings with Papadopoulos when interviewed by the FBI in 2017. Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Mifsud.
(…) Conservative defenders of President Trump, including former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), have raised recent concerns that Mueller’s portrayal of the Mifsud-Papadopoulos contacts doesn’t add up.
Roh told me the information he is preparing to share with Durham’s team from his client will accentuate those concerns.
Mifsud was a “longtime cooperator of western intel” who was asked specifically by his contacts at Link University in Rome and the London Center of International Law Practice (LCILP) — two academic groups with ties to Western diplomacy and intelligence — to meet with Papadopoulos at a dinner in Rome in mid-March 2016, Roh told me.
A May 2019 letter from Nunes to U.S. intelligence officials corroborates some of Roh’s account, revealing photos showing that the FBI conducted training at Link in fall 2016 and that Mifsud and other Link officials met regularly with world leaders, including Boris Johnson, elected today as Britain’s new prime minister.
A few days after the March dinner, Roh added, Mifsud received instructions from Link superiors to “put Papadopoulos in contact with Russians,” including a think tank figure named Ivan Timofeev and a woman he was instructed to identify to Papadopoulos as Vladimir Putin’s niece.
Mifsud knew the woman was not the Russian president’s niece but, rather, a student who was involved with both the Link and LCILP campuses, and the professor believed there was an effort underway to determine whether Papadopoulos was an “agent provocateur” seeking foreign contacts, Roh said.
The evidence, he told me, “clearly indicates that this was not only a surveillance op but a more sophisticated intel operation” in which Mifsud became involved.” (Read more: The Hill, 7/23/2019)
- 2016 Election
- Clinton emails
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- George Papadopoulos
- Ivan Timofeev
- John Durham
- Joseph Mifsud
- July 2019
- Link Campus University Rome
- London Academy of Diplomacy (LAD)
- Stephan Roh
- The London Centre for International Law Practice (LCILP)
- Trump campaign
- Trump Russia collusion
July 5, 2019 – Reluctant witnesses in FISA abuse probe agree to talk to DOJ inspector general
“Key witnesses sought for questioning by Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz early in his investigation into alleged government surveillance abuse have come forward at the 11th hour, Fox News has learned.
Sources familiar with the matter said at least one witness outside the Justice Department and FBI started cooperating — a breakthrough that came after Attorney General William Barr ordered U.S. Attorney John Durham to lead a separate investigation into the origins of the bureau’s 2016 Russia case that laid the foundation for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
While the investigative phase of the inspector general’s long-running probe is said to be complete, the sources said recent developments required some witnesses to be reinterviewed. And while Barr testified that he expected the report into alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuse to be ready in May or last month, multiple sources said the timeline has slipped.
(…) A spokesman for Horowitz would not comment on the report’s status. But during largely unrelated testimony in November, Horowitz offered some guidance for the timeline of the FISA abuse probe in response to questions from GOP Rep. Jim Jordan.
“What I can say is given the volume of documents we’ve had and the number of witnesses it looks like we’ll need to interview, we are likely to be in the same sort of general range of documents and witnesses as the last report,” Horowitz said, referring to his team’s review of the Clinton email case. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we are in that million or so plus range of documents and a hundred-ish or so interviews. The last review, as you know, took us about … 16 months or so.” (Read more: Fox News, 7/05/2019)
June 23, 2019 – Nunes threatens ninth criminal referral, says Trump-Russia conspiracy peddlers are ‘possessed’
“Rep. Devin Nunes threatened to send a ninth criminal referral regarding the Trump-Russia investigation to the Justice Department if he does not receive information he requested about British ex-spy Christopher Steele, and accused those who still push the Russian collusion conspiracy of being “possessed.”
The California Republican sent letters Friday to FBI Director Christopher Wray and U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is conducting a review of the origins of the Russia inquiry. He asked about records the Bureau received in October 2016 that show a top official at the State Department undermining Steele’s credibility. Steele authored a dossier, filled with salacious and unverified claims about President Trump’s ties to Russia, that was used by the FBI to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or FISA warrants to wiretap onetime Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
In a Fox News interview on Sunday, Nunes said someone at the FBI appears to have been “determined to hide” then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec’s notes from both the FISA court and Congress. In the last session, when Nunes was chairman, the House Intelligence Committee conducted its own investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“So they have until Friday to get it to us, and if they don’t, we will make our ninth criminal referral,” Nunes told host Maria Bartiromo. “Basically, we won’t know exactly who at the FBI obstructed justice, but — Durham or the Department of Justice should be able to figure it out because there’s e-mails that went around, and somebody decided not to give it to the Congress.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 6/23/2019)