Michael Isikoff

August 8, 2019 – Bruce Ohr documents undercut FBI claims In Carter Page’s FISA applications

Christopher Steele, Bruce Ohr and Glenn Simpson (Credit: public domain)

“Transcripts of Justice Department official Bruce Ohr’s interviews with the FBI could open the bureau to new scrutiny over claims government officials made in applications to spy on Carter Page.

During a Nov. 22, 2016 interview with the FBI, Ohr discussed meetings between dossier author Christopher Steele, Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson and Yahoo! News reporter Michael Isikoff, who two months earlier had published an article that alleged that Page was under FBI investigation for contacts in Russia.

The potential problem for the FBI is that the bureau said in four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications against Page that investigators did not believe that Steele was a source for Isikoff’s story.

The FBI relied heavily on Steele’s unverified dossier to argue to the FISA court that Page was working as an agent of Russia. The applications also cite Isikoff’s article and at least one other news report about Page.

“OHR met [redacted] in Washington, D.C. in late September, possibly close to the time when the Yahoo news article was published on September 23, 2016,” read the heavily-redacted Ohr notes, which were released on Thursday.

“Simpson and [redacted] could have met with Yahoo or Michael Isikoff jointly, but OHR does not know if they did.”

In four FISA applications — which the FBI submitted in October 2016, January 2017, April 2017, and June 2017 — the FBI “does not believe that Source #1,” who has been identified as Steele, “directly provided this information to the identified news organization that published the September 23rd News Article.”

It is unclear if the redacted portion of the footnote adds further context to possible contacts between Steele, Simpson and Isikoff.

March 20, 2019 – The director of Ukraine’s anti-corruption bureau, Artem Sytnyk, admits to helping Clinton’s campaign by sabotaging Trump’s

Artem Sytnyk (Credit: BBC)

“The Blaze has released an audio recording that they recently obtained that appears to show Artem Sytnyk, Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, admitting that he tried to boost the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton by sabotaging then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign.

The connection between the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Ukrainian government was veteran Democratic operative Alexandra Chalupa, “who had worked in the White House Office of Public Liaison during the Clinton administration” and then “went on to work as a staffer, then as a consultant, for Democratic National Committee,” Politico reported.

Chalupa was working directly with the Ukrainian embassy in the United States to raise concerns about Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and, according to Politico, she indicated that the Embassy was working “directly with reporters researching Trump, Manafort and Russia to point them in the right directions.”

The Ukrainian embassy political officer who worked at the embassy at the time, Andrii Telizhenko, stated that the Ukrainians “were coordinating an investigation with the Hillary team on Paul Manafort with Alexandra Chalupa” and that “the embassy worked very closely with” Chalupa.

The Blaze highlighted an email from WikiLeaks from Chalupa to Louis Miranda at the DNC:

“Hey, a lot coming down the pipe. I spoke to a delegation of 68 investigative journalists from Ukraine last night at the Library of Congress, the Open World Society forum. They put me on the program to speak specifically about Paul Manafort. I invited Michael Isikoff, who I’ve been working with for the past few weeks, and connected him to the Ukrainians. More offline tomorrow, since there was a big Trump component you and Lauren need to be aware of that will hit in the next few weeks. Something I’m working on that you should be aware of.”

The Blaze then reported that Sytnyk, who eventually “was tried and convicted in Ukraine for interfering in the U.S. presidential election in 2016,” released a “black ledger” on Manafort during the 2016 presidential election that eventually led to Manafort’s downfall.

(Read more: The Daily Wire, 10/07/2019)

December 16, 2018 – Michael Isikoff, first to report allegations from the Steele dossier, says the salacious allegation are “likely false”

Michael Isikoff (Credit: public domain)

The investigative reporter who broke the first story based on allegations from Christopher Steele offered a surprising assessment of the former British spy’s infamous dossier, which alleges a vast conspiracy of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

“Would you agree that a lot of what’s in the Steele dossier has been somewhat vindicated?” Mediaite columnist John Ziegler asked Michael Isikoff, a co-author of the book “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story on Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump.”

“No,” Isikoff responded in an interview released Saturday.

“You would not?” asked Ziegler.

“No,” Isikoff repeated.

Isikoff’s views about the dossier are significant because of his central role in advancing the narrative that the Russian government conspired with Trump associates.

Isikoff is the journalist who wrote the Sept. 23, 2016 article at Yahoo! News laying out Steele’s allegations that Trump campaign adviser Carter Page met secretly in Moscow with two Kremlin insiders. Isikoff’s co-author, David Corn, is the only other reporter to have written about Steele’s claims prior to the 2016 election.

Isikoff and Corn are two of a small handful of reporters who met during the campaign with Steele. The former British spy put the dossier together while working for Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm that investigated Trump on behalf of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

The FBI cited both the dossier and Isikoff’s article in four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants to spy on Page. Republicans have accused the FBI of abusing the FISA process by relying heavily on the unverified Steele dossier and failing to reveal that the Clinton team and DNC funded the salacious report.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 12/17/2018)

March 18, 2018 – Glenn Simpson thinks Sergei Millian is a “big talker” who overstated his links to Trumpworld

Sergei Millian (Credit: Twitter)

“The veracity of the Steele dossier is once again a topic of intense debate following the Justice Department’s release of secret warrants that the FBI used to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The four applications, which were obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), show that the bureau relied heavily on the dossier, which was funded by the Clinton campaign and DNC, to obtain the warrants, which accused Page of being a secret Kremlin agent.

But not only do many of the allegations in the dossier remain unverified, there is reason to doubt the credibility of a major source for the 35-page document, including for claims that the Kremlin has blackmail material on President Donald Trump and about Page’s alleged involvement in a collusion conspiracy.

According to the recent book “Russian Roulette, Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, believed that Millian was a “big talker” who overstated his links to Trumpworld.

“Had Millian made something up or repeated rumors he had heard from others to impress Steele’s collector? Simpson had his doubts. He considered Millian a big talker,” write authors Michael Isikoff and David Corn, who are good friends with Simpson.

Millian is both Source D and Source E in the dossier, according to The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. In the 35-page document, Source D alleged that the Russian government is blackmailing Donald Trump with video of a sexual tryst with prostitutes at a Moscow hotel room. Source E described an alleged “well-developed conspiracy of co-operation between them and the Russian leadership.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 7/24/2018)

February 2, 2018 – Isikoff is stunned that his Carter Page article was used to justify spy warrant

Michael Isikoff (Credit: MSNBC)

Investigative journalist Michael Isikoff said Friday that he was surprised to find out that an article he wrote about Carter Page prior to the election was used to obtain a spy warrant against the former Trump campaign adviser.

The revelation, which was made in a memo released by the House Intelligence Committee on Friday, “stuns me,” Isikoff said in an episode of his podcast, “Skullduggery.”

The four-page memo alleges that the DOJ and FBI submitted inaccurate and incomplete information in a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant against Page. The spy warrant was granted on Oct. 21, 2016.

One “essential” part of the application was the uncorroborated Steele dossier, according to the memo. And an article that Isikoff wrote for Yahoo! News on Sept. 23, 2016 that was based directly on the dossier was “cited extensively” in the application.

Isikoff was shocked, he said, because his very article was based on information that came from Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the dossier. He said it was “a bit beyond me” that the FBI would use his article in the FISA application. (Read more: The Daily Caller, 2/03/2018)

October 11, 2016 – State Dept. official Kathleen Kavalec’s notes also mention Alfa Bank, Sergei Millian and Carter Page

Sergei Millian attends one of President Trump’s Inauguration Balls on January 20, 2017. (Credit: Facebook)

“The final item covered in Kavalec’s notes from the Oct. 11, 2016, meeting with Steele concerns Sergei Millian, who has been reported as being a source in the dossier. Kavalec specifies that “Per Steele, Millian is connected to Simon Kukes (who took over management of Yukos when Khodorkovsky was arrested).”

On Nov. 21, 2016, Kavalec would reference Millian again in a follow-up email that was sent to DOJ official Bruce Ohr:

“Just re-looking at my notes from my convo with Chris Steele, I see that Chris said Kukes has some connections to Serge [misspelled] Millian,” she wrote.

The mentions of Alfa Bank, Millian, and Carter Page were particularly noteworthy because of ongoing and concurrent events.

Alfa Bank Allegations

On Sept. 19, 2016, FBI General Counsel James Baker met with Perkins Coie partner Michael Sussmann. Baker told congressional lawmakers in an Oct. 3, 2018, testimony that Sussmann presented him with documents and electronic media.

The information that Sussmann gave to Baker was related to alleged communications between Alfa Bank and a server in Trump Tower. These allegations, which were investigated by the FBI and proven false, were widely covered in the media.

Baker’s testimony also shows that Sussmann was speaking with the media about Alfa Bank at the same time he had approached Baker, who noted that Sussmann told him that “The New York Times was aware of this.”  Several significant articles regarding Alfa Bank would be published on Oct. 31, 2016.

Carter Page Reveals Steele in Letter to FBI

The more fascinating sequence of events concerns Carter Page. On Sept. 23, 2016, Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News published his infamous article “U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin,” concerning Page.

Steele was the source for Isikoff’s article, but nowhere in that article is Steele referenced.

Two days later, on Sept. 25, Page sent a letter to FBI Director James Comey:

“I am writing to request the FBI’s prompt end of the reported inquiry regarding my personal trip to Russia in July 2016 – an investigation which has been widely mentioned in the media.”

In the letter, Page noted that “the source of these accusations is nothing more than completely false media reports.” Page closed with an offer to meet with the FBI:

“Although I have not been contacted by any member of your team in recent months, I would eagerly await their call to discuss any final questions they might possibly have in the interest of helping them put these outrageous allegations to rest.”

Page had previously met with the FBI on March 2, 2016, in relation to the case of Russian spy Evgeny Buryakov. Page was assisting in the case and met with FBI and SDNY prosecutors just nine days before Buryakov pleaded guilty. Page would not meet with the FBI again until March 2017, in a series of five meetings. He has never been charged with any crime.

On Oct. 28, 2016, Page sent another letter. By this time, he was under active surveillance, as the FISA warrant had been obtained on Oct. 21, 2016. Page references the Isikoff article and refers to it as being “almost entirely attributable to the ‘Hillary for America’ campaign.”

A bit later in his letter, Page dropped this bomb:

“I have learned from a reliable source that a law firm close to the Clinton campaign has hired a London-based private investigator to investigate my trip to Russia.”

Page was aware that DNC law firm Perkins Coie had hired—through Fusion GPS—Christopher Steele. What happened next is particularly interesting. On Oct. 31, 2016, Mother Jones’ David Corn published an article headlined “A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump.”

In that article, Corn noted that “in recent months,” Steele had “provided the bureau with memos based on his recent interactions with Russian sources.” Corn also stated that he had “reviewed that report and other memos this former spy wrote.”

Steele, who was not actually named, was referred to as “a former senior intelligence officer for a Western country who specialized in Russian counterintelligence.” A bit later in the article, Corn got more specific:

“In June, the former Western intelligence officer—who spent almost two decades on Russian intelligence matters and who now works with a US firm that gathers information on Russia for corporate clients—was assigned the task of researching Trump’s dealings in Russia and elsewhere, according to the former spy and his associates in this American firm.”

This is the first public reference to Steele, and with hindsight, the description is obvious. It also falls directly in line with the description provided by Page in his Oct. 28, 2016, letter.

All of which raises a question: Why did Steele decide to effectively go public at this time? Corn’s article outed Steele’s existence and led to his termination as a source for the FBI in the first days of November 2016. (Read more: The Epoch Times, 5/14/2019)

September 23, 2016 – Michael Isikoff writes about allegations against Trump adviser, Carter Page

Michael Isikoff (Credit: Charlie Rose Show)

“U.S. intelligence officials are seeking to determine whether an American businessman identified by Donald Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers has opened up private communications with senior Russian officials — including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Republican nominee becomes president, according to multiple sources who have been briefed on the issue.

The activities of Trump adviser Carter Page, who has extensive business interests in Russia, have been discussed with senior members of Congress during recent briefings about suspected efforts by Moscow to influence the presidential election, the sources said. After one of those briefings, Senate minority leader Harry Reid wrote FBI Director James Comey, citing reports of meetings between a Trump adviser (a reference to Page) and “high ranking sanctioned individuals” in Moscow over the summer as evidence of “significant and disturbing ties” between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin that needed to be investigated by the bureau.

Some of those briefed were “taken aback” when they learned about Page’s contacts in Moscow, viewing them as a possible back channel to the Russians that could undercut U.S. foreign policy, said a congressional source familiar with the briefings but who asked for anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject. The source added that U.S. officials in the briefings indicated that intelligence reports about the adviser’s talks with senior Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin were being “actively monitored and investigated.”

A senior U.S. law enforcement official did not dispute that characterization when asked for comment by Yahoo News. “It’s on our radar screen,” said the official about Page’s contacts with Russian officials. “It’s being looked at.” (Read more: Yahoo News, 9/23/2016)

September 23, 2016 – The problem with Michael Isikoff’s article about Carter Page

Michael Isikoff (Credit: MSNBC)

“The FBI, Justice Department and a federal surveillance court were all apparently unaware that the Sept. 23, 2016 article, written by Michael Isikoff, was based on the infamous and unverified Steele dossier. Numerous reporters, pundits and even a former CIA Moscow station chief have also been fooled into thinking that Isikoff’s article corroborated parts of the dossier.

The confusion is due in part to Isikoff’s report, which was published at Yahoo! News.

A veteran reporter who has worked inside the Beltway for decades, Isikoff used vague sourcing in his Carter Page article. He also failed to disclose that his information was the fruit of an anti-Trump opposition research campaign funded by Democrats.

He also did not acknowledge that his source — former British spy Christopher Steele — had already given the FBI the information he used in the article.”

(…) “Isikoff met Steele in September 2016 at a Washington, D.C. hotel. The pair were introduced by Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS and an “old friend” of Isikoff. The opposition research firm had been hired by the Clinton campaign and DNC to investigate Donald Trump. Fusion hired Steele to look into Trump’s ties to Russia.”

(…) “He did not disclose that Steele, his source, had provided information about Page to the FBI, sparking the very same investigation that Isikoff would confirm in his reporting. Steele began sharing information with the Bureau in July 2016. He provided updates on his findings through the summer and into Fall 2016.

And instead of referring to Steele as a private investigator, which he was, Isikoff described Steele as the more official sounding “well-placed Western intelligence source.”

Isikoff also withheld Steele and Simpson’s political affiliations even though he acknowledged on Friday that he was aware that the pair were working for Democrats. Isikoff did say that he was unaware that Simpson was working for the Clinton campaign and DNC.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 2/05/2018)

May 4, 2016 – DNC Alexandra Chalupa writes to DNC Luis Miranda, about Isikoff, Manafort, and “a big Trump component that will hit in the next few weeks”

From a Wikileaks email sent by Alexandra Chalupa to Luis Miranda, Communications Director of the DNC:

(Credit: Wikileaks)

Two points.

Open World is a supposedly non-partisan Congressional agency.

Michael Isikoff is the same journalist Christopher Steele leaked to in September 2016:

The Carter Page FISA application extensively cited a September 23, 2016, Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, which focused on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow. This information was used to corroborate the Steele Dossier.

Steele leaked to Isikoff who wrote the article for Yahoo News. The Isikoff article was then used to help obtain a Title I FISA grant to gather information on Page. This search was then leaked by Steele to David Corn at Mother Jones.

Isikoff accompanied Chalupa to a reception at the Ukrainian Embassy immediately after the Library of Congress event.

Remember when we learned last week that Michael Isikoff’s Fusion GPS-supplied “reporting” was used as evidence to confirm supposed veracity of TrumpRussia dossier?

He was simultaneously recruited by DNC/Clinton to dig up anti-Trump dirt.

h/t Wikileaks https://t.co/k4A46mnH0H pic.twitter.com/5lxZDQICLW

— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) February 6, 2018

(Read more: themarketswork.com, 3/09/2018)

January 19, 2016 – The Obama administration pressures Ukraine to Investigate Manafort

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko (l) and Joe Biden pose for the media prior to meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 20, 2016. (Credit: Michel Euler/Reuters)

“In January 2016, top Ukrainian corruption prosecutors and officials from Obama’s National Security Council (NSC), FBI, State Department and Department of Justice (DOJ) met in Washington, according to an April 26 article by The Hill.

The meeting, which was reportedly billed as “training,” apparently also touched on two other matters—the revival of a closed investigation into payments to U.S. figures from Ukraine’s Russia-backed Party of Regions and the closure of an ongoing Ukrainian investigation into Burisma.

According to The Hill’s reporting, the Ukrainian Embassy confirmed that meetings were held, but said it “had no record that the Party of Regions or Burisma cases came up in the meetings.”

A Jan. 22, 2016, NABU press release confirmed that NABU Director Artem Sytnyk was in Washington from Jan. 19 to 21.

At the same time as the NABU meeting with Obama officials, Vice President Biden also met with senior Ukrainian officials. On Jan. 21, 2016, Biden met with Poroshenko, the president of Ukraine. According to the White House release, the two leaders agreed “to continue to move forward on Ukraine’s anti-corruption agenda.”

Biden shakes hands with Ukraine Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman in Biden’s ceremonial office in Washington DC, June 15, 2016. (Credit: The Associated Press)

Just six days earlier, on Jan 15, 2016, Biden had met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, promising to commit $220 million in new assistance to Ukraine that year.

Notably, several months later, Sytnyk and Ukrainian Member of Parliament Serhiy Leshchenko would publicly disclose the contents of the Ukrainian “black ledger” to the media, which implicated Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort. The revelation would force Manafort from the campaign.

Leshchenko also served as a source for various individuals, including journalist Michael Isikoff and Democratic National Committee (DNC) operative Alexandra Chalupa. In addition, Leshchenko served as a direct source of information for Fusion GPS—and its researcher, former CIA contractor Nellie Ohr.

Another Ukrainian-related meeting also took place in January 2016 when Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American, informed an unknown senior DNC official that she believed there was a Russian connection with the Trump campaign. Notably, this theme would be picked up by the Clinton campaign in the summer of 2016. Chalupa also told the official to expect Manafort’s involvement in the Trump campaign.

Alexandra Chalupa (Credit: public domain)

How Chalupa knew to expect Manafort’s involvement with the Trump campaign in January remains unknown, but her forecast proved prescient, as Manafort reached out to the Trump campaign shortly after, on Feb. 29, 2016, through a mutual acquaintance, Thomas J. Barrack Jr. According to Manafort, he and Trump hadn’t been in communication for years until the Trump campaign responded to Manafort’s offer.

As The Epoch Times previously reported, on May 30, 2016, Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr sent an email to her husband, high-ranking DOJ official Bruce Ohr, and three other DOJ officials to alert them of the discovery of the “Reported Trove of Documents on Ukrainian Party of Regions’ ‘Black Cashbox.’” It was this discovery that led to Manafort’s resignation from the Trump campaign in August 2016.

On Aug. 14, 2016, The New York Times published an article alleging that payments to Manafort had been uncovered from the Party of Regents’ “black box”—the 400-page handwritten ledger released by Leshchenko. The article proved to be a fatal blow for Manafort, who resigned from the Trump campaign just days later. (Read more: The Epoch Times, 4/26/2019)