September 12, 2019 – Grassley and Johnson ask State OIG why he failed to issue report on his investigation into the meeting between Steele and State Dept officials, before the Carter Page FISA application
“U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, sent a letter to U.S. Department of State Inspector General Steve Linick today seeking an explanation as to why his office did not issue a report on its investigation into the October 2016 meeting between Christopher Steele and Orbis Intelligence employee Tatyana Duran, then-Deputy Assistant Secretary Kathleen Kavalec, and then-Special Envoy Jonathan Winer. The senators also seek to understand why the state department OIG did not interview all parties present at that October 2016 meeting.
“We write seeking to understand why the OIG did not issue a report on its investigation and did not interview employees who most likely have relevant information regarding the subject matter of the inquiry,” the senators wrote.
The senators asked the state department OIG about its failure to interview Mr. Winer in light of him introducing Mr. Steele to high-ranking state department officials with direct access to their counterparts at the FBI days before the FBI sought a FISA order to surveil a Trump campaign official.
The senators also learned the state department OIG discovered at least one department official, Mr. Winer, utilized non-official email accounts to conduct official department business, and they have requested an explanation as to why the OIG did not interview Mr. Winer about his use of personal email when he directed others to upload those emails to classified systems within the department. In addition, the senators learned that the state department OIG determined a department employee may have engaged in anti-Trump political conduct, in violation of the Hatch Act, and the OIG referred that individual to the Office of Special Counsel for Investigation. That Hatch Act investigation is ongoing.
The Office of Special Counsel is the permanent, independent investigative agency for personnel matters in the federal government and is not related to Robert Mueller’s temporary prosecutorial office within the justice department.
The full text of the letter can be viewed here.
Sens. Johnson and Grassley’s May 9, 2019, letters to the state department and the FBI can be viewed here.
September 12, 2019 – State Dept official Jonathan Winer used a personal email account to hide his communications with Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson
Senators Ron Johnson and Charles Grassley have a few questions that are put in a letter dated September 12, 2019, to State Department OIG Steve Linick who reviewed a meeting between State Dept officials and Christopher Steele. The review or lack thereof appears to have left them with more questions than answers. Here is a clipping of the relevant part of their letter:
March 19, 2019 – Trump pulls ambassador nomination of State Department official who communicated with Steele and Ohr
“A State Department official who was awaiting confirmation to be U.S. Ambassador to Albania communicated with the former British spy Christopher Steele and supplied information to a senior DOJ official after and before the 2016 presidential election.
Former State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Kathleen Ann Kavalec’s nomination was withdrawn recently by President Trump, according to a Senior White House official who spoke to SaraACarter.com.
Kavalec was awaiting to be confirmed as Ambassador to Albania, but information surfaced that she had personally met and was in communication with Steele before and after the 2016 presidential election. Kavalec, a long time State Department employee, worked under Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. She was also a supporter of former President Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, giving a small donation of $250 in 2012 to the Obama Victory Fund and another $250 to Clinton in 2016.
(…) Kavalec, as well as her colleague Jonathan Winer, a former assistant to former Secretary of State John Kerry, supplied information they had collected from Steele to Bruce Ohr, said sources familiar with the congressional investigations. Ohr is a senior Department of Justice official who was used as a backchannel for the FBI after Steele was removed from the bureau for shopping his dossier to the media in 2016. His wife, Nellie Ohr, was working in 2016 as a contractor for Fusion GPS, who was hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC to compile the anti-trump dossier.
(…) Emails obtained by this news site reveal Kavalec and Ohr had been in contact with Steele prior to and after the 2016 presidential election. The two had also communicated through email and meetings about Steele’s research on the anti-Trump dossier, according to the documents.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 3/19/2019)
November 22, 2016 – Bruce Ohr tells the FBI, “reporting on Trump ties to Russia were going to the Clinton campaign”
Judicial Watch released 34 pages of “302” report material from FBI interviews with Bruce Ohr on August 8, 2019.
In a FBI 302 report dated November 22, 2016, Bruce Ohr states, “reporting on Trump’s ties to Russia were going to the Clinton Campaign, Jon Winer at the U.S. State Department and the FBI.”
July – October, 2016: The Clinton machine floods the FBI with Trump-Russia dirt via State, Congress, Justice, and a top Democratic lawyer.
(…) “Between July and October 2016, Clinton-connected lawyers, emissaries and apologists made more than a half-dozen overtures to U.S. officials, each tapping a political connection to get suspect evidence into FBI counterintelligence agents’ hands, according to internal documents and testimonies I reviewed and interviews I conducted.
(…) Ex-FBI general counsel James Baker, one of the more senior bureau executives to be targeted, gave a memorable answer when congressional investigators asked how attorney Michael Sussmann from the Perkins Coie law firm, which represented the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party, came to personally deliver him dirt on Trump.
“You’d have to ask him why he decided to pick me,” Baker said last year in testimony that has not yet been released publicly. The FBI’s top lawyer turned over a calendar notation to Congress, indicating that he met Sussmann on Sept. 19, 2016, less than two months before Election Day.
(…) Baker’s detailed account illustrates how a political connection — Sussmann and Baker knew each other — was leveraged to get anti-Trump research to FBI leaders.
“[Sussmann] told me he had cyber experts that had obtained some information that they thought they should get into the hands of the FBI,” Baker testified.
“I referred this to investigators, and I believe they made a record of it,” he testified, adding that he believed he reached out to Peter Strzok, the agent in charge of the Russia case, or William Priestap, the head of FBI counterintelligence.
“Please come get this,” he recalled telling his colleagues. Baker acknowledged it was not the normal way for counterintelligence evidence to enter the FBI.
But when the bureau’s top lawyer makes a request, things happen in the rank-and-file.
The overture was neither the first nor the last instance of Clinton-connected Trump dirt reaching the FBI.
(…) During a trip to Washington later that month, Steele reached out to two political contacts with the credentials to influence the FBI.
Then-senior State Department official Jonathan Winer, who worked for then-Secretary John Kerry, wrote that Steele first approached him in the summer with his Trump research and then met again with him in September. Winer consulted his boss, Assistant Secretary for Eurasia Affairs Victoria Nuland, who said she first learned of Steele’s allegations in late July and urged Winer to send it to the FBI.
(If you need further intrigue, Winer worked from 2008 to 2013 for the lobbying and public relations firm APCO Worldwide, the same firm that was a contractor for both the Clinton Global Initiative and Russia’s main nuclear fuel company that won big decisions from the Obama administration.) (Read much more: The Hill, 1/22/2019)
September 26, 2016 – December 10, 2016 – Top Hoyer aide, Daniel Silverberg, coordinates Clinton/DNC/Steele dossier work with key State Dept officials, Victoria Nuland and Jonathan Winer
“Daniel Silverberg, then-House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer’s national security adviser, coordinated “work on Russia dossier materials provided by Christopher Steele” with Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Special Envoy for Libya Jonathan Winer, according to newly released documents made public June 12 by Judicial Watch.
A series of emails between Sept. 26, 2016, and Dec. 10, 2016, demonstrate that Winer shared “Russia-related information” he obtained from Steele—whom he described as his “old O friend”—with Nuland, who then shared it with Silverberg.
Winer delayed a previously scheduled meeting with the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) in order to share the information with Nuland, according to Judicial Watch.
Multiple references in the emails to additional telephone calls and other contacts with unnamed or redacted parties, as well as discussion of “a possible working group meeting,” suggest an active response by Silverberg to the Steele dossier information he was provided by Nuland and Winer.”
September 19, 2016 – Fusion GPS founder has contact with State Department official during 2016 Campaign
“One of the co-founders of the opposition research firm that commissioned the Steele dossier was in contact with a State Department official in the days before a news article was published laying out allegations contained in the salacious anti-Trump report.
Emails obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation show that Glenn Simpson, an executive at Fusion GPS, contacted Jonathan Winer, who then served as State’s special envoy for Libya, on Sept. 19 and Sept. 22, 2016. That was days ahead of the publication of a Yahoo! News article that was the first story to cite information gathered by Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored the dossier.
Winer, a longtime aide to former Secretary of State John Kerry, was a source for that article, which laid out Steele’s allegations about Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser who would become the target of FBI surveillance.
The emails, which were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed on TheDCNF’s behalf by Judicial Watch, show for the first time that Simpson had direct contact with a State Department official.
The emails do not mention the dossier or Steele, but they do show that Simpson was desperate to speak with Winer, a Democratic attorney who also served in the State Department during the Clinton administration.
Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, sent an email on Sept. 19, 2016 asking Winer if he was in town.
(…) Congressional investigators have looked into Winer and the State Department’s role in handling the Steele information and other intelligence used in the FBI investigation of the Trump campaign. Republicans have long been puzzled over information that flowed through Foggy Bottom prior to making its way to FBI investigators.
Victoria Nuland, who served as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, approved a July 5, 2016, meeting between FBI Agent Michael Gaeta and Steele in Rome. Fusion GPS had hired Steele just weeks earlier to investigate President Donald Trump’s possible ties to Russia. The ex-MI6 officer wrote his first of 17 dossier memos on June 20, 2016. That document alleged that the Kremlin had blackmail material on Trump. (Read more: The Daily Caller, 3/04/2019)
September 17, 2016 – Obama State Dept officials Victoria Nuland and Jonathan Winer plan a face-to-face meeting on the “Russia matter”
“Judicial Watch and The Daily Caller News Foundation today released 84 pages of documents, including a September 2016 email exchange between then-Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Special Coordinator for Libya Jonathan Winer, a close associate of dossier author Christopher Steele, discussing a “face-to-face” meeting on a “Russian matter.”
According to an op-ed Winer wrote for The Washington Post in 2018, also in September 2016, “Steele and I met in Washington and discussed the information now known as the “dossier… I prepared a two-page summary and shared it with Nuland, who indicated that, like me, she felt that the secretary of state needed to be made aware of this material.”
A September 17, 2016, email exchange between Nuland and Winer – that was classified in the interest of national defense or foreign policy – discusses the political situation in Libya, but also brings up a “Russian matter:”
From: Nuland, Victoria J
Sent: Saturday, September 17, 2016 1:31 PM
To: Winer, Jonathan
Subject: Re. Libya Update
In ny face to face?
From: Winer, Jonathan
Sent: September 17, 2016 at 1:56:05 PM EDT
To: Nuland, Victoria J
Subject: Re: Libya Update
Yes that was [sic] be good.
From: Nuland, Victoria J
Sent: Saturday, September 17, 2016 1:58 PM
To: Winer, Jonathan
Subject: Re. Libya Update
Good. I’ll reach out when im there Sunday. [Redacted]
Other emails show senior State Department personnel using unsecure BlackBerrys to transmit classified information even after the Clinton email scandal became public.” (Read more: Judicial Watch 7/18/2019)
2014 – 2017: State Dept. official, Jonathan Winer, plays a key role in facilitating dossier author Christopher Steele’s access to other top government officials and business executives
“Judicial Watch today released 43 pages of documents from the U.S. Department of State revealing that State Department “Special Coordinator for Libya” Jonathan Winer played a key role in facilitating dossier author Christopher Steele’s access to other top government officials, prominent international business executives. Mr. Winer was even approached by a movie producer about making a movie about the Russiagate targeting of President Trump.
In an email on December 11, 2014, Winer places pressure on his colleague, Nina Miller to assist Steele by getting “O Reports” [likely Orbis] to Toria [Victoria] Nuland and Paul Jones ASAP.” Nuland at the time was the State Department Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs; Jones the European and Eurasian Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary.
From: Winer, Jonathan
Sent: Thu, 11 Dec 2014 17:41:32 +0000
To: Miller, Nina A
Subject: Please get “O Reports” to Toria Nuland and Paul Jones ASAP – they are time [sp]
I know you have other burdens, but this one needs to get done if you can as soon as possible.
In a series of emails on November 20, 2014, Winer openly acts as a liaison for Steele, attempting to set up meetings for “Chris” and referencing “Three Orbis Reports” in the subject line of the email. This meeting was scheduled to be with Marialuisa Fotheringham, office manager to the principal deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European and Eurasian affairs and, again, Paul W. Jones.
In a series of emails on November 20, 2014, Winer negotiates a time with Ariuna Namsrai, APCO Worldwide’s senior director and managing director for Russia, CIS and Central Asia for her to meet Christopher Steele at “lunch or dinner.” APCO bills itself as one of the world’s leading advisory and advocacy communications consultancies.
In a series of emails on January 13-14, 2015, with the subject line “Morocco immediate need,” Winer introduces Steele to Marc Ginsberg, former Ambassador to Morocco under Bill Clinton, former APCO Worldwide Senior Vice President and Managing Director and former CEO of One Voice Movement Foundation.
Winer writes to Ginsberg: “Marc, Chris Steele is a friend of mine who has a very, very high end business intelligence service based in London. He formerly worked for the UK government.”
Ginsberg replies to Winer: “I spoke to Chris… complicated!”
(…) On July 13, 2015, while trying to schedule a dinner in London with Steele, Winer discloses to Steele from an unsecure BlackBerry that he is scheduled to have a Secure Video Teleconference Call [SVTC] with “higher ranked people than I am at the NSC.” Steele later confirms their dinner appointment, and says, “I shall wait for you on the park bench in the main square facing the front of the embassy building.”
In an email exchange on November 20, 2014, Winer attempts to introduce Steele to Nelson Cunningham, President of McLarty Associates, an international consulting firm co-founded by former Clinton White House Counselor Thomas ‘Mack’ McLarty. In the email to Nelson, Winer describes Steele as “An old friend of mine,” and “a former senior British intelligence officer focusing on former Soviet Union with a number of US and European private sector clients these days…”
In an email on January 12, 2017, Hollywood producer Eric Hamburg forwards an article about the Steele dossier to Winer, asking him if he would be interested in working on a movie about it.
Hamburg writes: “Dear Jonathan, I have been meaning to write to you, and just came across this article which mentions your name… Let’s do a movie about this!
I was wondering if you have decided what your next position will be after leaving government. I’d like to keep in touch and get together next time I’m in Washington. I’m currently working on a mini-series about Watergate for ABC with John Dean.”
(…) In February 2018, Winer wrote an op-ed claiming anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele and Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal approached him with separate dossiers. Winer wrote: “In the summer of 2016, Steele told me that he had learned of disturbing information regarding possible ties between Donald Trump, his campaign and senior Russian officials.” Also, “While talking about that hacking, Blumenthal and I discussed Steele’s reports. He showed me notes gathered by a journalist I did not know …”
May 19, 2014 – November 2015: Documents reveal an extensive relationship between dossier author Steele and top Obama State Dept. officials re Russia-Ukraine policy and sanctions
“Judicial Watch and The Daily Caller News Foundation today released 146 pages of State Department documents revealing that former British spy and dossier author Christopher Steele had an extensive and close working relationship dating back to May of 2014 with high-ranking Obama State Department officials.
The documents obtained by Judicial Watch in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit show that, from May 2014 to November 2015, Steele filed dozens of reports with his close associate at State, Special Coordinator for Libya Jonathan Winer, who would then pass them to Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. The reports focused mainly on the Russia-Ukraine crisis and U.S. sanctions on Russia.
The documents show that Steele’s work was also distributed to State Department Coordinator for Sanctions Policy Daniel Fried and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Paul Jones, whose focus in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs was on Russia and Ukraine policy.
The documents are Orbis Business Intelligence reports that Steele provided to the State Department. Steele, a former MI6 spy, co-founded Orbis in 2009.
An early Steele report was passed by Winer to Nuland on May 19, 2014. It discusses Russia-Ukraine policy. Winer writes: “Toria, another piece that is not in my lane but which I wished to pass on to you. My friend Chris Steele (Orbis Intelligence, former MI-6 Russia expert), provided me the enclosed memo yesterday, describing a recent conversation (redacted) on Russian Ukraine policy. As I was provided it from a person in private sector, I am treating it as low side.”
In a November 20, 2014 email exchange, Winer offers to introduce Principle Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Paul Jones to Steele while Steele was to be in town, and he provides Jones and Nuland with three Steele reports, discussing: “Ukraine looking towards [redacted]”; “Ukraine economy shrinking due to loss of East [redacted]”; and “President Putin’s current priorities [redacted]”. Winer writes to Jones: Paul, if you are still free, does 3 pm work to meet with Chris Steele? I would pick him up downstairs, get him to your office, and sit in. Will be sending you another Orbis report regardless in a few minutes, it just arrived but I haven’t had chance to open it and manicure it yet.”