June 2017

June 22, 2017 – Grassley, Feinstein, Graham and Whitehouse write to former AG Lynch with questions about the Russian intel that alleges she made private assurances to Clinton aide, Amanda Renteria

Bill meets Loretta on the Phoenix airport tarmac, June 27, 2016.(Credit: ABC News)

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham, and Ranking Member Sheldon Whitehouse sought information about alleged political interference by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch during the FBI’s investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. The bipartisan inquiry comes as the Judiciary Committee is examining the circumstances surrounding the removal of James Comey as FBI Director.

In April 2017The New York Times reported that the FBI came into possession of a batch of hacked documents, one of which was said to be authored by a “Democratic operative who expressed confidence that Ms. Lynch would keep the Clinton investigation from going too far.” Chairman Grassley then requested a copy of the document from the Justice Department, which has failed to respond. A month laterThe Washington Post reported similar facts and provided further details about individuals involved in these communications. The Post reported that the email in question, sent by then-chair of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Leonard Benardo of the Open Society Foundations, indicated that Lynch had privately assured Clinton campaign staffer Amanda Renteria that the FBI’s investigation wouldn’t “go too far.”

Comey was reportedly concerned that the communication would raise doubts about the investigation’s independence and began discussing plans to announce the end of the Clinton email investigation rather than simply referring it to the Department for a prosecutorial decision. Comey’s extraordinary action to announce the end of the investigation was a break from Justice Department protocol and was later cited as justification for his removal from the FBI.

In their letters to Benardo, Open Society Foundations’ General Counsel Gail Scovell, Renteria, and former Attorney General Lynch, the Senators seek details about the reported communication, copies of any related documents and whether the FBI contacted them to investigate the alleged communication.

The reports come amidst numerous allegations of political inference in controversial and high-profile investigations spanning the current and previous administrations. The Senate Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over the FBI and Justice Department and is obliged to oversee any potential misconduct or inappropriate political influence at these agencies.

The full text of the letters can be found at the following links:

Letter to Mr. Leonard Benardo
Letter to Ms. Gail Scovell
Letter to Ms. Renteria
Letter to former Attorney General Loretta Lynch

(Senate Judiciary Press, 6/23/2017)

June 13, 2017 – FOIA documents show evidence of a Weissmann/Mueller entrapment scheme against George Papadopoulos

“Recently release FOIA documents into the special counsel team of Robert Mueller reveal the remarkable trail of a 2017 entrapment scheme conducted by Prosecutor Andrew Weissmann to target George Papadopoulos.

(Hat Tip to Undercover Huber and Rosie Memos who have been reviewing documents.)

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

Before digging into the details it is important to note this is a DOJ/FBI entrapment operation being conducted in 2017 by the special counsel; this is not prior to the 2016 election. The detail surrounds a series of events previously discussed {Go Deep} where George Papadopoulos was approached by a known CIA operative named Charles Tawil.

In 2017 George Papadopoulos and his wife Simona were approached in Greece by a known CIA/FBI operative, Charles Tawil.  Mr. Tawil enlisted George as a business consultant, under the auspices of energy development interests, and invited him to Israel.

On June 8th, 2017, in Israel under very suspicious circumstances, where Papadopoulos felt very unnerved, Mr. Tawil hands him $10,000 in cash for future consultancy based on a $10k/month retainer.

On June 9th, 2017, according to his book, Papadopoulos and Tawil fly back to Cyprus.

In interviews Papadopoulos said he was uncomfortable with the way the encounters had taken place.  He became suspect of Tawil’s motives; something didn’t feel right.  Instead of keeping the cash, Papadopoulos gave the money to an attorney in Greece before traveling back to the U.S. on July 27th, 2017.

Upon arrival at Dulles airport on July 27th, 2017, Robert Mueller had FBI agents waiting.  Papadopoulos was stopped and his bags were searched; however, he did not have the cash because he smartly left it in Greece with his lawyer.  Papadopoulos was detained overnight by FBI agents, and questioned.

(…) Stanley said Papadopoulos arrived on a Lufthansa flight from Munich that touched down at about 7 p.m. on July 27, and the FBI intercepted him as soon as he got off the plane.

“He was arrested [detained] before he got to Customs and he was then held at the airport before being brought to a law enforcement office,” Stanley recalled. (link)

According to Politico:

When he was arrested [detained] at Dulles Airport on July 27 after coming off a flight from Munich, prosecutors had no warrant for him and no indictment or criminal complaint. The complaint would be filed the following morning and approved by Howell in Washington.

And when prosecutors filed the complaint the next day they got a spoken order from Howell to seal it, but followed up with a written request that they could take to the magistrate in Alexandria, where they showed up almost an hour later than she expected.

All of it suggests something of a scramble, rather than a carefully prepared plan to take Papadopoulos into custody. (more)

Here’s where the recent revelations come in.  According to Andrew Weissmann’s schedule on June 13th, 2017, he was in conversations surrounding the basis of a Cyprus Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT):

So overlaying the timeline:

  • 6/8/17 US intelligence asset Charles Tawil gives George $10K cash in Israel
  • 6/9/17 George Papadopoulos flies to Cyprus w $10K
  • 6/13/17 Andrew Weissmann starts series of “Cyprus MLAT” meetings with FBI
  • 6/13/17 Andrew Weissmann phone call w/ FBI Money Laundering and Asset Recovery “MLARS” section of FBI.

It would appear Weissmann was well aware of the Cyprus “Tawil operation” and engaged in communication regarding Cyprus.  Additionally, he was discussing “Money Laundering and Asset Recovery” w/ FBI.  [MLARS Link]

Taken in combination with hindsight of the search for the cash, and lack of a pre-existing warrant at the airport, this is clear evidence of a coordinated operation to entrap Papadopoulos.

Remember, the preferred approach toward targeting Paul Manafort, Mike Flynn and George Papadopoulos surrounded FARA (Foreign Agent Registration Act) lobbying violations.  Papadopoulos has stated the special counsel threatened him with charges of acting as a unregistered agent for Israel.  There’s a clear picture here.

#1) Papadopoulos was lured to Israel and paid in Israel to give the outline of a FARA premise (ie. Papadopoulos is an agent of Israel).  #2) Bringing $10,000 (or more) in cash into the U.S., without reporting, is a violation of U.S. treasury laws.  Add into that aspect the FARA violation and the money can be compounded into #3) laundering charges.

(A “laundering” charge applies if the money is illegally obtained.  The FARA violation would be the *illegal* aspect making the treasury charges heavier. Note: the use of the airport baggage-check avoids the need for a search warrant.)

Andrew Weissmann was conducting an entrapment scheme that would have ended up with three violations of law: (1) Treasury violation; (2) FARA violation; (3) Money laundering…. All it needed was Papadopoulos to carry the undeclared cash into the U.S.

However, because Papadopoulos suspected something, and left the money in Greece with his lawyers, upon arrival at the airport the operation collapsed in reverse.  No money means no treasury violation, no laundering and no evidence of the consultancy agreement (which would have been repurposed in the DOJ filing to mean lobbying for Israel via Mr. Tawil who would have become a confidential informant and witness).

That operational collapse is why the FBI agents were “scrambling” at the airport and why they had no pre-existing criminal complaint.  The entrapment’s success was contingent upon the cash.

Lastly, to repeat, this entire scenario was constructed by the DOJ/FBI team operation in 2017.  The members of the Special Counsel were running the entrapment operation; the FBI agents were participating in the operation.  This is not *investigating* criminal conduct; this is manufacturing criminal conduct.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was in charge of the Mueller Special Counsel.

The only way DAG Rosenstein and Robert Mueller didn’t know about the operation is if they both claim that Andrew Weissmann was completely rogue and in control over the FBI agents.

Oh, wait, what does the Mueller report say about the FBI agents and their chain-of-legal guidance and command? (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/11/2019)

June 11, 2017 – Lindsey Graham mentions the document proving Clinton-Lynch collusion: Comey “never mentioned it was a fake”

Lindsey Graham (Credit: Face the Nation/CBS)

“Sen. Lindsey Graham tells ‘Face The Nation‘ host John Dickerson that in his classified testimony, former FBI director James Comey never said that alleged documents proving collusion between the Clinton campaign and Barack Obama’s Justice Department was fake, and that Russia might still have copies.

The story has been floating around Washington that James Comey made the decision to go public with the FBI’s information about the Clinton email scandal because he was aware that the Russians might have a document implicating Attorney General Loretta Lynch in inappropriate communications with the Clinton campaign. It has since been argued by the Clinton campaign that this document is a forgery (meaning that Comey acted on a piece of Russian propaganda), but Sen. Graham makes the case in this interview that there is no evidence the document is a fake. He invites Comey to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee to explain:

LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well, I want to know, is it true what Comey said? Did you create an atmosphere there that people believed that you could not fairly render judgment on the president’s interactions with Comey? I want to hear from Loretta Lynch, did you say, “Please call it a matter, not an investigation?”

And I want Comey to come to our committee, because I know on two separate occasions, he has told members of the House and the Senate that the main reason he jumped into the election last year and took over the job of attorney general is because he believed there were emails between the Democratic National Committee and the Department of Justice that compromised the Department of Justice, and he thought the Russians were going to release these emails. That’s why he jumped in and took over Loretta Lynch’s job. I want to know, is that true?

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, now, though, that email, there’s been some reporting that that was a fake email, or doctored–

LINDSEY GRAHAM: When he told the House and Senate as late–as early as a month ago, he never mentioned it was fake. I don’t know if it’s fake or not. But the F.B.I. called me about this, John, and said that they wanted to brief me because I’ve got some of this wrong.

I saw the Washington Post story. I doubt if it’s fake. Maybe it is. But I don’t want to be briefed by myself. I want Democrats and Republicans on the judiciary to be briefed together. Our committee has been together and we’re going to stay together.”

(Read more: RealClearPolitics, 6/11/2017)

In May 2017, The Washington Post refers to the email  and writes:

“The document, obtained by the FBI, was a piece of purported analysis by Russian intelligence, the people said. It referred to an email supposedly written by the then-chair of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), and sent to Leonard Benardo, an official with the Open Society Foundations, an organization founded by billionaire George Soros and dedicated to promoting democracy.

The Russian document did not contain a copy of the email, but it described some of the contents of the purported message.

In the supposed email, Wasserman Schultz claimed Lynch had been in private communication with a senior Clinton campaign staffer named Amanda Renteria during the campaign. The document indicated Lynch had told Renteria that she would not let the FBI investigation into Clinton go too far, according to people familiar with it.”

(Read more: The Washington Post, 5/24/2017)

June 9, 2017 – The State Department is reviewing Clinton’s mishandling of classified information, yet she and her aides retain their security clearances

“The State Department confirmed that it is continuing to review the mishandling of classified information that passed through Secretary Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized email server as she and seven former aides retain access to sensitive information.  In a recent letter from the State Department to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, the Department outlined its procedures for safeguarding and addressing potential mishandling of classified material and answered questions raised by Grassley in March.

In the letter, the State Department confirmed that it initiated a review of the mishandling of classified information in the unauthorized server matter following the conclusion of the FBI investigation. That review is ongoing and could result in loss of security clearances for violators of the department’s protocols guarding sensitive material.

A snippet of the State Department letter sent to Senator Grassley on May 23, 2017.

The State Department also indicated that Clinton may still access materials that were originated, reviewed, signed or received by her during her tenure at the department, which includes classified information. The State Department had previously informed the Judiciary Committee that seven of Clinton’s former aides were designated as “research assistants,” which allows them to take their State Department-issued clearance with them after their official service at the department concludes, and to retain access to specified information originated by Clinton during her tenure as secretary.

Often, during the course of reviews into mishandling of classified information, security clearances of individuals responsible for a potential breach are suspended. (Senate Judiciary Committee, 6/09/2017)

June 8, 2017 – Opinion: Coleen Rowley – Comey and Muller: Russiagate’s Mythical Heroes

Coleen Rowley (Credit: public domain)

Shortly after former FBI Director Robert Mueller was announced as the special counsel for the Russia investigation, the screeching hordes of America’s “always wrong about everything” punditry class cheered in near unison, lauding the man as some sort of second coming. This sort of thing should always be seen as a red flag, and thanks to an excellent article written by retired FBI special agent Coleen Rowley, everyone can now know exactly why.

But first, who is Coleen Rowley?

Coleen Rowley, a retired FBI special agent and division legal counsel whose May 2002 memo to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller exposed some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures, was named one of TIME magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. Her 2003 letter to Robert Mueller in opposition to launching the Iraq War is archived in full text on the NYT and her 2013 op-ed entitled “Questions for the FBI Nominee” was published on the day of James Comey’s confirmation hearing.

It’s important to be aware of that background as you read the following excerpts from the excellent post published at CounterPunch titled, Comey and Mueller: Russiagate’s Mythical Heroes:

“Mainstream commentators display amnesia when they describe former FBI Directors Robert Mueller and James Comey as stellar and credible law enforcement figures. Perhaps if they included J. Edgar Hoover, such fulsome praise could be put into proper perspective.

Although these Hoover successors, now occupying center stage in the investigation of President Trump, have been hailed for their impeccable character by much of Official Washington, the truth is, as top law enforcement officials of the George W. Bush Administration (Mueller as FBI Director and James Comey as Deputy Attorney General), both presided over post-9/11 cover-ups and secret abuses of the Constitution, enabled Bush-Cheney fabrications used to launch wrongful wars, and exhibited plain vanilla incompetence.” (Read more: Liberty Blitzkrieg, 6/09/2017)

June 7, 2017 – The day before Comey testifies to congress, the FBI visits his home and collects four memos “as evidence”

A recent FOIA release from Judicial Watch (full pdf below) reveals that two of Mueller’s initial FBI agents, based on dates and redactions – likely Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka, visited James Comey on June 7th, 2017, to retrieve a collection of his memos.

(However, a word of caution, one of the memos was titled “last night at 6:30pm” and is being widely misinterpreted to have been written the night before (June 6th, 2017) when that is not accurate.  It is likely that memo relates to the January dinner in the White House with President Trump that held the same sentence.)

If we ignore the misinterpreted “last night” memo aspect (dinner with potus in January ’17), here’s what we can learn from this FOIA release:

♦First, the memos were picked up while FBI agent’s Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka were lead FBI agents that transferred into the Mueller team.  Therefore it’s likely they were the two who traveled to Comey’s house for this effort.

♦Second, the memos were picked up June 7th, 2017, the day before James Comey appeared before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, June 8th, 2017 [See Link].

It was during this June 8th SSCI committee testimony where Comey first revealed the scope of his memo keeping.  Keep in mind, all prior research shows SSCI Chairman Richard Burr and SSCI Vice-Chair Mark Warner were part of the corrupt effort against President Trump.  Their committee was where leaker James Wolfe (sleeping with journalist Ali Watkins) was operational.  The SSCI was part of the aggregate coup effort.

WARNER: I think that’s a very important statement you just made. Then, unlike your dealings with presidents of either parties in your past experience, in every subsequent meeting or conversation with this president, you created a written record. Did you feel that you needed to create this written record of these memos, because they might need to be relied on at some future date?

COMEY: Sure. I created records after conversations that I think I did it after each of our nine conversations. If I didn’t, I did it for nearly all of them especially the ones that were substantive. I knew there might come a day when I would need a record of what had happened, not just to defend myself, but to defend the FBI and our integrity as an institution and the Independence of our investigative function. That’s what made this so difficult is it was a combination of circumstances, subject matter and the particular person.

WARNER: I think that is very significant. I think others will probably question that. Now, the chairman and I have requested those memos. It is our hope that the FBI will get this committee access to those memos so again, we can read that contemporaneous rendition so that we’ve got your side of the story. – Transcript Link

(Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Understanding the timeline; and overlaying the ideological intents and purposes; it would make sense that Robert Mueller and the ‘small group’ would want to exploit the memo content (hell, they likely knew all about it as soon as written), and simultaneously keep those memos buried and under their ‘small group’ control.

By taking custody of the memos, the Mueller investigative team would be able to block any outside inquiry.  That’s the motive for the FBI visit to James Comey on June 7th, 2017.  Comey could then talk about the memos the next day while knowing the ‘small group’ would use the “ongoing investigation” to keep them hidden from review.

Senators Mark Warner, Richard Burr and the media would be able to frame discussion of the memos to undermine President Trump, while knowing the memos would be kept out of public review.  With hindsight go back and review the SSCI testimony; this approach appears to have been pre-planned.

Now lets overlay the Archey Declarations” against the FOIA release.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 7/31/2019)

June 2017 – Priestap’s testimony about the Strzok/Page affair notification

President Trump mentions the Strzok/Page affair in a tweet. (Credit: Twitter)

(…) “It was Priestap that sat down with Strzok and Page and told them he’d heard rumors about their ongoing affair. Priestap noted during his June 5 interview that he had this discussion “about a year ago,” placing the meeting in mid-2017. Priestap was informed of the possibility of the affair by one of Strzok’s two co-managers in the Clinton email investigation—either Moffa or FBI lawyer Sally Moyer:

Mr. Priestap: “I spoke to Deputy Director McCabe about it. I also spoke to both Pete and Lisa about it. I felt I owed it to them. Lisa did not report to me, but I felt that they ought to be aware of what was being said. I didn’t ask them if it was true, but they needed to know that that impression was out there.

“And I don’t remember my exact words. But what I was trying to communicate is this better not interfere with things, if you know what I mean. Like, to me, the mission is everything. And so, we all have our personal lives, what have you. I’m not the morality police.”

According to Priestap, an affair was not technically against FBI policy—although he admitted that under certain circumstances it could become a blackmail concern, “if that was going on that potentially makes them vulnerable.” Priestap did not ask either Strzok or Page if the allegations were true. He simply placed them on notice that he was aware of the rumors.

Priestap said that he did not report the affair to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility but did feel that McCabe needed “to be aware that there’s talk this might be going on.” It is not clear if McCabe ever discussed the issue with either Strzok or Page.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/29/2019)

June 5-13, 2017 – Special Counsel prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, leads the hiring effort for the Mueller team

Andrew Weissmann (Credit: public domain)

“According to 73 pages of records obtained by Judicial Watch, Mueller special counsel prosecutor Andrew Weissmann led the hiring effort for the team that investigated the Trump campaign.

Notably, Weissman attended Hillary Clinton’s election night party in 2016, and wrote a positive email to former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates when she refused to defend the Trump administration’s travel ban. And as you will see below, he was on a mission to recruit a politically biased fleet of lawyers for the Mueller probe.

“These documents show Andrew Weissmann, an anti-Trump activist, had a hand in hiring key members of Mueller’s team – who also happened to be political opponents of President Trump,” said Judicial Watch President, Tom Fitton. “These documents show that Mueller outsourced his hiring decisions to Andrew Weissmann. No wonder it took well over a year to get this basic information and, yet, the Deep State DOJ is still stonewalling on other Weissmann documents!”

Weissman’s calendar shows that he began interviewing people for investigator jobs on the Mueller operation almost immediately after it was announced that he had joined the team in early June.

On June 5, 2017, he interviewed former Chief of the Public Corruption Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York Andrew Goldstein. Goldstein was a Time magazine reporter. Goldstein contributed a combined $3,300 to Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012. His wife, Julie Rawe, was a reporter and editor for Time for 13 years, until 2013. He became a lead prosecutor for Mueller.

The next day, on June 6, 2017 Weissmann had a meeting with “FARA [Foreign Agents Registration Act] counsel.”

Weissmann interviewed another prosecutor, Kyle Freeny, from the DOJ Money Laundering Section for the team on June 7, 2017. She contributed a total of $500 to Obama’s presidential campaigns and $250 to Hillary Clinton’s. She was later detailed to the Mueller investigation.

He interviewed a trial attorney who worked with him in the Criminal Fraud Section, Rush Atkinson, on June 9, 2017. Records show that Atkinson donated $200 to Clinton’s campaign in 2016. He is a registered Democrat and contributed $200 to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. Atkinson also became part of the Mueller team.

Weissmann interviewed DOJ Deputy Assistant Attorney General Greg Andres for the team on June 13, 2017. Andres donated $2,700 to the campaign for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in 2018 and $1,000 to the campaign for David Hoffman (D) in 2009. Andres is a registered Democrat. His wife, Ronnie Abrams, a U.S. district judge in Manhattan, was nominated to the bench in 2011 by Obama. He joined the Mueller team in August 2017. –Judicial Watch

(Read more: Zero Hedge, 5/14/2019)

June 4, 2017 – Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann offers to drop Ukrainian oligarch’s bribery charges for dirt on Trump

Dymtro Firtash (Credit: Wikipedia)

“The ink was still drying on special counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment papers when his chief deputy, the famously aggressive and occasionally controversial prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, made a bold but secret overture in early June 2017.

Weissmann quietly reached out to the American lawyers for Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash with a tempting offer: Give us some dirt on Donald Trump in the Russia case, and Team Mueller might make his 2014 U.S. criminal charges go away.

(…) At first blush, one might ask, “What’s the big deal?” It’s not unusual for federal prosecutors to steal a page from Monty Hall’s “Let’s Make a Deal” script during plea negotiations.

But Weissmann’s overture was wrapped with complexity and intrigue far beyond the normal federal case, my sources indicate.

At the time, pressure was building inside the DOJ and the FBI to find smoking-gun evidence against Trump in the Russia case because the Steele dossier — upon which the early surveillance warrants were based — was turning out to be an uncorroborated mess. (“There’s no big there there,” lead FBI agent Pete Strzok texted a few days before Weissmann’s overture.)

Likewise, key evidence that the DOJ used to indict Firtash on corruption charges in 2014 was falling apart. Two central witnesses were in the process of recanting testimony, and a document the FBI portrayed as bribery evidence inside Firtash’s company was exposed as a hypothetical slide from an American consultant’s PowerPoint presentation, according to court records I reviewed.

In other words, the DOJ faced potential embarrassment in two high-profile cases when Weissmann made an unsolicited approach on June 4, 2017, that surprised even Firtash’s U.S. legal team. (Read more: The Hill, 7/22/2019)

June 1, 2017 – Elizabeth Lee Beck, attorney suing the DNC, receives an odd call from Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s Florida office

A bit of humorous news just came in regarding the ongoing lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee. According to a court filing, a “highly irregular” incident occurred on Thursday afternoon.

Just before 5p on Thursday, Elizabeth Lee Beck’s office received a mysterious phone call. A caller with a voice that “sounded robotic and genderless – along the lines of the voice changers used when television show interviews are kept anonymous” asked a secretary for details in the DNC fraud lawsuit. Beck’s office is the law firm bringing the suit against the DNC for their fraudulent practices during the 2016 primaries. The secretary provided the caller with publicly available information about the case, and the caller ended the call with “okey dokey.”

The caller obviously went to great lengths to conceal their identity when probing for information about the case. However, a small detail was missed: caller ID. The call came in from 305-936-5724. With a little internet sleuthing (like a simple Google search), it was revealed that the number comes from Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’ Aventura, FL office.

 (Read more: Trofire, 6/02/2017)