June 2016

October 20, 2017 – Court filings reveal Fusion GPS made payments to three reporters

“Newly filed court documents confirm that Fusion GPS, the company mostly responsible for the controversial “Trump dossier” on presidential candidate Donald Trump, made payments to three journalists between June 2016 until February 2017.

The revelation could be a breakthrough for House Republicans, who are exploring whether Fusion GPS used the dossier, which was later criticized for having inaccurate information on Trump, to feed anti-Trump stories to the press during and after the presidential campaign. The three journalists who were paid by Fusion GPS are known to have reported on “Russia issues relevant to [the committee’s] investigation,” the House Intelligence Committee said in a court filing.

But the recipients’ names, the amounts, and purposes of those payments were either redacted from the documents that Fusion GPS filed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia or were not disclosed.”

(…) “Fusion GPS didn’t deny that some payments went to reporters, but argues that these payments were made to help the company with research.

“Fusion GPS is a research firm set up by former investigative journalists,” Fusion GPS’s lawyer, Josh Levy, said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. “As such, it sometimes works with contractors that have specialized skills seeking public information. Contractors are not permitted to publish any articles based on that work, and Fusion GPS does not pay journalists to write stories.”

(…) “But House Republicans still have their doubts. One of the documents filed by lawyers for the House Intelligence Committee said each of the three reporters who received payments had written about the Russia probe, which could indicate that reporters were using Fusion GPS’s work to write their stories.

“Additionally, the Committee seeks transactions related to three individual journalists, [names redacted], each of whom have reported on and/or been quoted in articles regarding topics related to the Committee’s investigation, some of which were published as recently as October 2017,” the committee wrote.

Additionally, a filing by lawyers for the House Intelligence Committee asserts that Fusion GPS “brokered meetings for dossier author Christopher Steele with at least five major media outlets in September 2016, including Yahoo news.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 11/21/2017) (Nunes Document, 10/20/2017)

July 22 – November 1, 2016: The mainstream media begins a concerted effort to paint Trump as a Manchurian Candidate, controlled by the Kremlin

(Credit: The New York Times, 7/22/2016)

The New York Times begins a mainstream media effort to paint Trump as a Manchurian Candidate on July 22, 2016. Paul Krugman cutely disguises the slur with “Siberian Candidate” instead.

Krugman writes,

“If elected, would Donald Trump be Vladimir Putin’s man in the White House? This should be a ludicrous, outrageous question. After all, he must be a patriot — he even wears hats promising to make America great again.

But we’re talking about a ludicrous, outrageous candidate. And the Trump campaign’s recent behavior has quite a few foreign policy experts wondering just what kind of hold Mr. Putin has over the Republican nominee, and whether that influence will continue if he wins.”

A few weeks later, on August 21, 2016, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, suggested that Donald Trump may be a “puppet” for Russia in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”

Mook told host George Stephanopoulos, “We need Donald Trump to explain to us the extent to which the hand of the Kremlin is at the core of his campaign,” and “There are real questions being raised about whether Donald Trump himself is just a puppet for the Kremlin in this race.”

 

 

A week later on August 26, 2016, Salon writes,

Last week, Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, said we should ask “real questions” about whether Donald Trump “is just a puppet for the Kremlin.” By that time, Audible.com was already giving away free audiobooks of “The Manchurian Candidate,” Richard Condon’s 1959 book (transformed into a classic thriller starring Angela Lansbury and Frank Sinatra in 1962 and a worse remake with Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep in 2004) about communists controlling an American presidential candidate.”

(Credit: Salon, 8/26/2016)

Precisely a month before Election day, 2016, The Atlantic publishes an article meant to discredit Trump and present him as a “Modern Manchurian candidate serving the interests of the Kremlin.” Former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta suggests Trump represents a threat to national security.

The Atlantic – October 8, 2016

Last but not least, a week to the day before the 2016 Election, Vanity Fair publishes this article on November 1, 2016:

Vanity Fair – November 1, 2016

June 28, 2016 – A Strzok/Rybicki email refers to Clinton-Obama emails that are relevant to the issues raised about her private server

Peter Strzok (l) and James Rybicki. (Credit: public domain)

“Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson on Thursday formally sought “all email communications” between Hillary Clinton and former President Obama, saying the Justice Department was blocking their release — even though they could shed light on whether the former secretary of state discussed sensitive matters on her unsecured personal email system while she was overseas.

Johnson’s letter came as House Democrats approved procedures for their impeachment inquiry against President Trump, warning he may have endangered U.S. national security by allegedly withholding aid to Ukraine for political reasons. Earlier this month, a State Department report into Clinton’s use of a private email server for government business found dozens of people at fault and hundreds of security violations.

In a letter to the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Johnson, R-Wis., said summer 2016 communications from FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok to FBI Director James Comey’s Chief of Staff James Rybicki hinted at the existence of the Clinton-Obama messages that were relevant to the issues raised by her private server.

Johnson noted that on June 28, 2016, a week before Comey’s public statement declaring that “no reasonable prosecutor” would charge Clinton, Strzok wrote:

“Jim – I have the POTUS – HRC emails [Director Comey] requested at end of briefing yesterday. I hesitate to leave them, please let me know a convenient time to drop them off.”

“I write to request email communications between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama,” Johnson wrote, setting a deadline of Nov. 14, 2019. “In January 2018, I requested the Department of Justice (DOJ) produce emails Secretary Clinton sent to President Obama while she was located in the ‘territory of a sophisticated adversary.'”

He added: “Given that DOJ acknowledged that they ‘are not in a position’ to produce emails to the committee that contain ‘equities of other executive branch entities,’ I ask that, pursuant to the Presidential Records Act, you please provide all email communications between Secretary Clinton and President Obama.

The information was contained in a letter and interview transcripts sent by the majority staff on Johnson’s Homeland Security Committee to senior Senate Republicans including Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. The letter also noted that “neither the committees nor the FBI were able to confirm whether an intrusion into the server occurred.” (Read more: Fox News, 11/01/2019)

June 28, 2016 – Huma Abedin testifies she ‘didn’t experience the notion’ of Clinton’s private server…Justin Cooper testifies Abedin helped him set the server up

“In today’s story, we expose Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, when Former aide Justin Cooper said in a Judicial Watch deposition that he worked with Huma Abedin in 2009 to set up the unsecured private email account used by the former secretary of state.

Cooper’s statement contradicts Abedin’s claim in a 2016 deposition as she made a statement saying something completely different.” (The Epoch Times, 6/21/2019)

June 27, 2016 – A June 2018 DOJ OIG report says Loretta Lynch-Bill Clinton tarmac meeting was planned via Secret Service, FBI

“In 2016, Lynch — the U.S. attorney general under Barack Obama — secretly met for 30 minutes with Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac in Arizona. At the time, then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was being investigated by the FBI over her 30,000 deleted emails and her destroyed government-issued phones, which she and her team smashed with hammers.

Several days after the tarmac meeting, the DOJ (which was headed by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch) decided not to file any charges against Hillary for her unauthorized use of an unsecured, private email server to conduct government business and her mass-deletion of 30,000 emails.

Page 203 of the IG report suggests that Bill Clinton’s Secret Service detail had contacted Lynch’s FBI detail to set up the meeting when their planes were on the tarmac:

(Credit: DOJ OIG Report, June 2018)

As BizPac Review has reported, Lynch and Clinton claimed they only discussed grandchildren and golf during their rendezvous.

(Credit: New York Post)

(…) Furthermore, page 209 of the IG Report suggests that people nearby were instructed not to take any photos of the tarmac meeting: “The OPA Supervisor said that there was a photographer outside, and he recalled telling the photographer that Lynch would not be taking pictures. The OPA Supervisor said that he remembered telling the photographer that he (the photographer) needed to go back in his car.”

And page 210 of the IG report states:
The Senior Counselor said that when she tried to go back on the plane, she was stopped by the head of Lynch’s security detail, who was at the door of the plane.

The Senior Counselor said that she told him that Lynch’s meeting with former President Clinton was not a good idea, and that she needed to get back on the plane, but he still would not let her on.”

Less than a week after the Lynch-Clinton tarmac meeting, then-FBI Director James Comey (whose boss was Loretta Lynch) announced that the FBI would not recommend an indictment against Hillary. Coincidence? (Read more: BizPac Review, 7/01/2018)

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)

June 21, 2016 – Bloomberg reports, “If the Democrats can show the hidden hand of Russian intelligence agencies, they believe that voter outrage will probably outweigh any embarrassing revelations”

Glen Caplin (Credit: Global Strategy Group)

Bloomberg News reports, “If the Democrats can show the hidden hand of Russian intelligence agencies, they believe that voter outrage will probably outweigh any embarrassing revelations [in Wikileaks pending release of DNC and Podesta emails], a person familiar with the party’s thinking said.”

In the same article, Clinton spokesperson Glen Caplin refuses to comment on details about recent hacking attacks or confirm if any of Clinton’s campaign staff got successfully hacked. However, Caplin does say, “What appears evident is that the Russian groups responsible for the DNC hack are intent on attempting to influence the outcome of this election.”

The DNC [Democratic National Committee] similarly won’t comment on details or confirm reports of successful attacks. However, the DNC issues a written statement that it believes recent leaks by Guccifer 2.0 are “part of a disinformation campaign by the Russians.”

The Russian government has denied any involvement. Bloomberg News, 6/21/2016)

June 20, 2016 – Christopher Steele submits his first of 16 pre-election reports to Fusion GPS

“Christopher Steele completes the first of 16 “pre-election reports,” submitting it to Fusion GPS Fusion GPS A Washington-based private intelligence firm founded in 2009 by former journalists. The firm was hired first by the Free Beacon, a conservative publication, and then by Perkins Coie, a law firm representing Hillary Clinton’s campaign, to do research on Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign. a few days later. The first report alleges that Russia has been cultivating Trump for five years and has compromising material from the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow. These 16 reports, plus one more written in December 2016, would come to be known as the Steele dossier.” (Daily Caller, 10/27/2017)

In Glenn Simpson’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on August 22, 2017, he claims the first “pre-election report” is useless and not believable. Yet it remains a part of the overall dossier. (Clinton Foundation Timeline, 6/20/2016)

June 20, 2016 – Michael Gaeta, former member of the FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime unit, becomes Christopher Steele’s dossier handler

Franco Roberti, (l) Italy’s chief anti-mafia and anti-terrorism prosecutor, and Michael Gaeta, (r) an FBI agent and current Assistant Legal Attaché at the US Embassy, for “A Roundtable Discussion: The Challenges of Transnational Organized Crime Today” on October 25, 2016. (Credit: John Cabot.edu)

“A little-known FBI unit played an outsized role in allowing controversial claims by a former British MI6 spy about Donald Trump to reach the highest levels of the FBI and State Department.

The Eurasian Organized Crime unit, which was headed by Michael Gaeta at the time, specializes in investigating criminal groups from Georgia, Russia, and Ukraine.

Gaeta, an FBI agent and assistant legal attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, has known the former spy, Christopher Steele—who authored the controversial dossier on then-candidate Donald Trump—since at least 2010, when Steele provided assistance in the FBI’s investigation into the FIFA corruption scandal, over concern that Russia might have been engaging in bribery to host the 2018 World Cup.

(…) Steele would complete his first memo on June 20, 2016, and send it to Fusion via enciphered mail.

It is at this point that Steele reportedly began to reconnect with his old FBI contacts from the Eurasian serious-crime division:

“In June, Steele flew to Rome to brief the FBI contact with whom he had cooperated over FIFA,” The Guardian reported. “His information started to reach the bureau in Washington.”

It’s not entirely clear if Steele met with the head of the Eurasian division, Gaeta, or another FBI agent. Either way, Steele met with Gaeta shortly thereafter in London.

The purpose of the London visit was clear. Steele was personally handing the first memo in his dossier to Gaeta for ultimate transmission back to the FBI and the State Department.

Victoria Nuland (Credit: CBS, Face the Nation)

For this visit, the FBI sought permission from the office of Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. Nuland, who had been the recipient of many of Steele’s reports, gave permission for the more formal meeting. On July 5, 2016, Gaeta traveled to London and met with Steele at the office’s of Steele’s firm, Orbis.

Nuland provided this version of events during a Feb. 4, 2018appearance on Face the Nation:

“In the middle of July, when he [Steele] was doing this other work and became concerned, he passed two to four pages of short points of what he was finding and our immediate reaction to that was, this is not in our purview. This needs to go to the FBI if there is any concern here that one candidate or the election as a whole might be influenced by the Russian Federation. That’s something for the FBI to investigate.”

In September 2016, Steel would travel back to Rome to meet with the FBI Eurasian squad once again. It’s likely that the meeting contained several other FBI officials as well:

“In September, Steele went back to Rome. There, he met with an FBI team. Their response was one of ‘shock and horror,’ Steele said,” according to The Guardian. “The bureau asked him to explain how he had compiled his reports, and to give background on his sources. It asked him to send future copies.”

According to a House Intelligence Committee minority memo, Steele’s reporting didn’t reach the FBI counterintelligence team until mid-September 2016—the same time as Steele’s September trip to Rome.

There’s one other central figure in the Trump–Russia investigation who had meaningful overlap with the FBI’s Eurasian squad: former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe:

“McCabe began his career as a special agent with the FBI in 1996,” the FBI states on its website. “He first reported to the New York division, where he investigated a variety of organized crime matters. In 2003, he became the supervisory special agent of the Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force.”

McCabe remained with the Eurasian squad until 2006, when he was moved to FBI headquarters in Washington.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 9/29/2018)

June 2016 – State Department official, George Kent, intervenes when the Obama admin tries to partner with Burisma Holdings

George Kent (Credit: Greg Nash/The Hill)

“A State Department official who served in the U.S. embassy in Kiev told Congress that the Obama administration tried in 2016 to partner with the Ukrainian gas firm that employed Hunter Biden but the project was blocked over corruption concerns.

George Kent, the former charge d’affair at the Kiev embassy, said in testimony released Thursday that the State Department’s main foreign aid agency, known as USAID, planned to co-sponsor a clean energy project with Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian gas firm that employed Hunter Biden as a board member.

At the time of the proposed project, Burisma was under investigation in Ukraine for alleged corruption. Those cases were settled in late 2016 and early 2017. Burisma contested allegations of corruption but paid a penalty for tax issues.

Kent testified he personally intervened in mid-2016 to stop USAID’s joint project with Burisma because American officials believed the corruption allegations against the gas firm raised concern.

“There apparently was an effort for Burisma to help cosponsor, I guess, a contest that USAID was sponsoring related to clean energy. And when I heard about it I asked USAID to stop that sponsorship,” Kent told lawmakers.

When asked why he intervened, he answered: “Because Burisma had a poor reputation in the business, and I didn’t think it was appropriate for the U.S. Government to be co-sponsoring something with a company that had a bad reputation.

(…) Kent’s newly released testimony also confirmed several other elements of my earlier reporting about Ukraine, including that the U.S. embassy exerted pressure on Ukrainian prosecutors not to pursue certain investigations.” (Read more: John Solomon Reports, 11/07/2019) (Deposition Transcript)