Mueller Report

December 26, 2019 – Judicial Watch sues the CIA and DOJ for the communications of Eric Ciaramella

Eric Ciaramella’s name appears in William Taylor’s transcript and is mistakenly released by the House Intelligence Committee.

“Judicial Watch announced today that it filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against both the DOJ and CIA for communications of CIA employee Eric Ciaramella, who reportedly worked on Ukraine issues while on detail to both the Obama and Trump White Houses.

The lawsuit against the DOJ was filed after it failed to respond to November 2019 FOIA requests seeking communications between Ciaramella and former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI Attorney Lisa Page, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and/or the Special Counsel’s Office (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-03809)).

Judicial Watch filed suit against the CIA after it failed to respond to  FOIA requests seeking all of Ciaramella’s emails from June 1, 2016, to November 12, 2019 (Judicial Watch v. Central Intelligence Agency (No. 1:19-cv-03807)).

Ciaramella’s name appears in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the 2016 presidential election, in reference to two emails Ciaramella sent to then-Chief of Staff John Kelly and other officials, describing a meeting between President Trump, Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Foreign Minister Sergey Kislyak:

In the morning on May 10, 2017, President Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office.468 

###

468… (5/9/17 White House Document, “Working Visit with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia”) … (5/10/17 Email, Ciaramella to Kelly et al.). The meeting had been planned on May 2, 2017, during a telephone call between the President and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the meeting date was confirmed on May 5, 2017, the same day the President dictated ideas for the Comey termination letter to Stephen Miller…. (5/10/17 Email, Ciaramella to Kelly et al.).

Information about this phone call was subsequently leaked to The New York Times.

Ciaramella is widely reported as the person who filed the whistleblower complaint that triggered the impeachment proceedings. His name reportedly was “raised privately in impeachment depositions, according to officials with direct knowledge of the proceedings, as well as in at least one open hearing held by a House committee not involved in the impeachment inquiry.”

“There is significant public interest, thanks to the Obama Spygate scandal and the related abusive impeachment of President Trump, in what Eric Ciaramella was up to,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “CIA operative Ciaramella is documented to be involved in the Russia collusion investigation and was a key CIA operative on Ukraine in the both the Obama and Trump White Houses. Our lawsuits are designed to break through the unprecedented cover-up of his activities.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 12/26/2019)  (Archive)

November 29, 2019 – The history of Flynn prosecutor Brandon Van Grack – from the Special Counsel’s Office to the prosecution of Flynn

“As a member of Team Mueller, Van Grack was involved in improperly obtaining Trump Transition Team emails/comms from GSA – including privileged materials.

He hid the extent of the intrusion from Trump Transition Team lawyers.

Van Grack confirmed that the Special Counsel’s Office had “failed to use an ‘ethical wall’ or ‘taint team’ and instead simply reviewed the privileged communications contained in the [Transition Team] materials.”

Van Grack “failed to correct the record or disclose that” they were in possession of and had accessed “a significant volume of privileged materials.

The failure was intentional; they wanted the privileged communications.

Deceptive edits of Trump lawyer John Dowd’s voicemail, produced to Van Grack, made its way to the Mueller Report.

They omitted the section where Dowd asked Flynn’s lawyers not to disclose “confidential information.”

HT @lastrefuge2

We reached out to John Dowd about the Van Grack/Mueller deception.

He called it “unfair and despicable”

Van Grack used a corrupt reading of FARA laws (since rejected by 2 courts) to target Mike Flynn Jr.

Not to prosecute Flynn Jr., but to force General Flynn to plea.

Flynn Jr. became an official target on 10/20/17. Flynn signed the plea deal on 11/30/17.

HT @lastrefuge2

Flynn Intel Group (FARA) case – overseen by Van Grack.

DOJ tells Judge that “Flynn was not a member of the alleged conspiracy”

DOJ then tries to label Flynn a co-conspirator. This was rejected by the Judge.

corrected HT: @TheLastRefuge2

Van Grack’s FARA case (prosecuted by EDVA) against Flynn Intel Group member Rafiekian was a disaster from the start.

It was Soon before trial and the DOJ couldn’t figure out how to instruct the jury on the FARA violation.

As the Rafiekian (Flynn Intel Group) case unraveled, they designated Flynn Jr. as a witness to intimidate Flynn.

This was pure tactics – Flynn Jr. was never called as a witness.

Despite DOJ assertion that Flynn Intel Group member Rafiekian was acting as a foreign agent for Turkey…

Van Grack/EDVA never investigated whether the agreement was funded by the Turkish government.

The threat against Flynn – labeling him as a co-conspirator – came after he refused to agree to the false narrative set forth by Van Grack.

The Judge in the Rafiekian case disagreed: “Flynn has not disavowed what is in the statement of facts.”

The false charges claimed by Van Grack – that “Flynn had agreed to plead to a knowing and intentional false FARA filing” – was actually deleted from a draft of the Flynn Agreement.

This is important because Van Grack was telling Judge Sullivan in December 2018 that Flynn could be charged as a foreign agent under 18 USC 951.

Van Grack’s Section 951 theory was rejected by the Judge in the Rafiekian case.

“Such a reading is unwarranted . . . based on the plain language of Section 951.”

Judge Sullivan may have concerns about Van Grack’s Section 951 interpretation and VG’s claim Flynn could have been prosecuted.

If “there was no factual predicate for that FARA violation, then it should not have been mentioned at all as a potential ‘benefit’”

As to Van Grack’s conduct in the Flynn case…

They confused the FBI Agents’ notes (Strzok/Pientka)

As to the FARA charges, Van Grack would have known this likely created a non-consentable conflict of interest between Flynn and his prior counsel.

Conflicts disregarded; they needed the plea.

(Techno Fog, 11/29/2019)  (Archive)

October 6, 2019 – In a single statement on MSNBC, John Brennan turns the foundation of American jurisprudence on its head

Apparently, the presumption of innocence is but a quaint memory now.

Brennan clarifies his true opinion of due process in an interview with Lawrence O’Donnell:

People are innocent, you know until alleged to be involved in some kind of criminal activity.”

This  also caught the attention of Glenn Greenwald and he tweets a video clip of Brennan’s recent comment as well as an additional example of his distorted opinion of our most basic rights:

August 1, 2019 – Opinion: Here Are 5 Big Holes in Mueller’s Work

Robert Mueller testifies to congress on July 24, 2019. (Credit: Saul Loeb/Agence France Presse/Getty Images)

“Robert Mueller’s two-year, $25.2 million investigation was supposed to provide the definitive account of Donald Trump, Russia and the 2016 election. Yet even after he issued a 448-page report and testified for five hours before Congress, critical aspects remain unexplained, calling into question the basis for the probe and the decisions of those who conducted it.

Time and again in his report and his testimony, Mueller refused to address a wide range of fundamental issues, claiming they were beyond his purview. Some of the issues Mueller and his team did not clarify include whether the FBI had a sound predicate for opening a counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign; whether the FBI knowingly relied on false material; and the links between U.S. government agencies and key figures who fueled the most explosive claims of an illicit Trump-Russia relationship. Mueller claimed that he was prevented from answering critical questions due to ongoing Justice Department reviews, one by Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham and the other by Inspector General Michael Horowitz. In the meantime, here are some of the biggest mysteries that Mueller’s team left hanging in the air.

Who Is Joseph Mifsud, and Was He the Actual Predicate for the Russia Investigation?

Mueller’s pointed refusal to answer questions about Mifsud underscored that his team did not provide a plausible explanation for the incident that supposedly sparked the Russia investigation in July 2016. Mifsud is the mysterious Maltese professor who reportedly informed Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos that the Russian government had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Their conversation took place in , before the alleged hacking of Democratic Party emails was publicly known. (cont.)

What Was the Role of the Steele Dossier?

Christopher Steele: described as “Source #1” and “credible.”
(Credit: Victoria Jones/The Associated Press)

Mueller also refused to address another key driver of the Trump-Russia probe – the series of unverified and salacious opposition research memos against Trump secretly financed by the Clinton campaign and the DNC and  compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. Some Republicans believe the dossier was the real trigger of the FBI probe and that Mifsud was later used as an excuse by the FBI to cover that up once the dossier’s partisan origins were revealed. As he did with Mifsud, Mueller, who was FBI Director between 2001 and 2013, stonewalled the many Republican efforts to press him on this topic. (more)

Why Did the Mueller Team Invent the Polling Data Theory About Konstantin Kilimnik, and Omit His U.S. Ties?

Konstantin Kilimnik
(Credit: The Associated Press)

Mueller also refused to answer critical questions about his report’s portrayal of Konstantin Kilimnik. The longtime business associate of Trump’s one-time campaign manager, Paul Manafort, became central to the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory as a result of the Mueller team’s own innuendo. In January 2019, Mueller accused Manafort of lying about sharing Trump campaign polling data with Kilimnik during the 2016 campaign. According to Mueller, the FBI had assessed that Kilimnik has an unspecified “relationship with Russian intelligence.” In court, Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann repeated that ambiguous claim and tacked on a piece of tantalizing flourish: “This goes to the larger view of what we think is going on, and what we think is the motive here. This goes, I think, very much to the heart of what the special counsel’s office is investigating.” Weissmann’s comments fueled widespread speculation – and even confident assertions – that Kilimnik had passed on the polling data to the Russian government, which then put it to use for its supposed social media interference campaign targeting malleable swing-state voters. (cont.)

Why Did the Mueller Team Falsely Suggest That Trump Tower Moscow Was a Viable Project – and What Was the Role of FBI Informant Felix Sater?

Along with the discredited polling-data theory, House Democrats repeatedly played up the Mueller team’s indictment of Michael Cohen for lying to Congress about the failed effort to build a Trump Tower Moscow. In court filings, the Mueller team insinuated that the project was a viable and lucrative one. Because Cohen had lied to Congress and Trump had denied having business dealings in Russia, Rep. Joaquin Castro asked Mueller if he had assessed whether “President Trump could be vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians.” (cont.)

Was Specious Info Leaked to Justify the Absence of Trump-Kremlin Links?

In the absence of evidence tying the Trump campaign to the Kremlin – and a preponderance of leads involving key figures actually tied to the West – U.S. intelligence officials helped cast a pall of suspicion through misleading, and sometimes false, media leaks. In January 2017, then-FBI Director James Comey briefed President-elect Trump on the Steele Dossier’s most explosive allegation: that the Russians had a tape of him with prostitutes in a Moscow Ritz-Carlton hotel room. Comey’s briefing to Trump was leaked to the press, leading to the dossier’s publication by BuzzFeed and cementing the story atop the news cycle for the more than two years since.” (cont.)

(Read more: RealClearInvestigations, 8/01/2019) 

July 25, 2019 – WSJ Editorial: What Mueller Was Trying to Hide

By Kimberly Strassel

A CSpan subtitle refers to the Mueller hearing on July 24, 2019, as an Obstruction of Justice Investigation by the House Judiciary Committee. (Credit: CSpan3)

(…) “The most notable aspect of the Mueller report was always what it omitted: the origins of this mess. Christopher Steele’s dossier was central to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe, the basis of many of the claims of conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. Yet the Mueller authors studiously wrote around the dossier, mentioning it only in perfunctory terms. The report ignored Mr. Steele’s paymaster, Fusion GPS, and its own ties to Russians. It also ignored Fusion’s paymaster, the Clinton campaign, and the ugly politics behind the dossier hit job.

Mr. Mueller’s testimony this week put to rest any doubt that this sheltering was deliberate. In his opening statement he declared that he would not “address questions about the opening of the FBI’s Russia investigation, which occurred months before my appointment, or matters related to the so-called Steele Dossier.” The purpose of those omissions was obvious, as those two areas go to the heart of why the nation has been forced to endure years of collusion fantasy.

Mr. Mueller claimed he couldn’t answer questions about the dossier because it “predated” his tenure and is the subject of a Justice Department investigation. These excuses are disingenuous. Nearly everything Mr. Mueller investigated predated his tenure, and there’s no reason the Justice Department probe bars Mr. Mueller from providing a straightforward, factual account of his team’s handling of the dossier.

If anything, Mr. Mueller had an obligation to answer those questions, since they go to the central failing of his own probe. As Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz asked Mr. Mueller, how could a special-counsel investigation into “Russia’s interference” have any credibility if it failed to look into whether the Steele dossier was itself disinformation from Moscow? Mr. Steele acknowledges that senior Russian officials were the source of his dossier’s claims of an “extensive conspiracy.” Given that no such conspiracy actually existed, Mr. Gaetz asked: “Did Russians really tell that to Christopher Steele, or did he just make it up and was he lying to the FBI?”

Mr. Mueller surreally responded: “As I said earlier, with regard to Steele, that is beyond my purview.”

So it went throughout the whole long day. Republicans asked basic questions about the report’s conclusions or analysis, and Mr. Mueller dodged and weaved and refused to avoid answering questions about the FBI’s legwork, the dossier’s role and Fusion’s involvement. Ohio Rep. Steve Chabot asked how the report could have neglected to mention Fusion’s ties to a Russian company and lawyer. Mr. Mueller: “Outside my purview.” California Rep. Devin Nunes asked several questions about one of the men at the epicenter of the “collusion” conspiracy—academic Joseph Mifsud, whom former FBI Director Jim Comey has tried to paint as a Russian agent. Mr. Mueller: “I am not going to speak to the series of happenings as you articulated them.”

Then again, how could he? The Mueller team, rather than question the FBI’s actions, went out of its way to build on them. That’s how we ended up with tortured plea agreements for process crimes from figures like former Trump aide George Papadopoulos and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. They were peripheral figures in an overhyped drama, who nonetheless had to be scalped to legitimize the early actions of Mr. Comey & Co. Mr. Mueller inherited the taint, and his own efforts were further tarnished. That accounts for Mr. Mueller’s stonewalling.” (Read more: The Wall Street Journal, 7/25/2019)

July 24, 2019 – Rep. Mike Turner questions Bob Mueller on his mythical power to ‘exonerate’ Trump and points to the media’s use of the word before the hearing ends

(Credit: MSNBC screenshot)

“A House Republican pulled out a screengrab from Wednesday’s CNN coverage of Robert Mueller’s hearing as part of a demonstration to argue that the special counsel cannot legally prove exoneration.

Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) was questioning Mueller on the legal concept of exoneration, arguing it doesn’t exist and that neither Mueller or Attorney General Bill Barr could “exonerate” someone.

“The report states, accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it does not exonerate him,” Turner said. “There’s no office of exoneration at the Attorney general’s office, no certificate at the bottom of his desk. Mr. Mueller, would you agree with me that the Attorney General does not have the power to exonerate?”

Mueller frequently declined to discuss the question, saying, “I’m not prepared to deal with a legal discussion in that arena.” (Read more: Mediaite, 7/24/2019)

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All of Rep. Turner’s questions for Robert Mueller can be seen here:

July 3, 2019 – Key Mueller witness, George Nader, is indicted on child sex-trafficking charges

George Nader (Credit: Getty Images)

“George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman who was a key witness in the special counsel’s probe, was charged earlier in July with transporting a 14-year-old European boy to the U.S. for sex, according to an indictment unsealed Friday.

Nader was charged on three counts, including a charge for possessing child pornography and one for traveling with a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity. He is accused of transporting the teenage boy from Europe to his home in the U.S. in 2000.

The indictment, which was handed down July 3, comes on top of one unsealed in June against Nader, who was a longtime adviser to the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates. Nader played a key role in setting up a meeting in January 2017 between defense contractor Erik Prince and the head of Russia’s direct investment fund in the Seychelles.

Nader also met during the presidential transition period with Jared Kushner, and worked closely with Elliot Broidy, a former top Republican fundraiser who is reportedly under investigation for bribery and money laundering. In August 2016Nader offered help to the Trump campaign during a meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. and Prince.

Nader, 60, was interviewed multiple times during the special counsel’s investigation, all but one time under a proffer agreement with prosecutors. Nader is mentioned approximately 120 times in the special counsel’s report, but there is no mention of his long history of alleged child sex crimes.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 7/19/2019)

In April, 2018, al-Jazeera reports, “Nader has used his international visits to import child pornography since at least 1985, according to court testimony from one of his defence attorneys, pled guilty to child pornography charges in 1991 and has been convicted of committing sex acts with 10 underage boys in Europe.” (al-Jazeera, 4/06/2018)

June 25, 2019 – Congress issues a subpoena to Robert Mueller and he agrees to testify

Robert Mueller (Credit:Kevin Dietsch/UPI)

“Special Counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to testify before Congress on July 17 on his report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the House Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee announced Tuesday night.

In a joint statement, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said that Mueller had agreed to testify in an open session.

“Americans have demanded to hear directly from the Special Counsel so they can understand what he and his team examined, uncovered, and determined about Russia’s attack on our democracy, the Trump campaign’s acceptance and use of that help, and President Trump and his associates’ obstruction of the investigation into that attack,” they said.

The committees issued subpoenas Tuesday to compel Mueller’s testimony, according to the joint statement. The decision to compel Mueller to testify is a landmark move that will put an end to a months-long saga on Capitol Hill where lawmakers have for weeks fought to get access to information about whether President Trump obstructed justice. (Read more: The Daily Beast, 6/25/2019)

June 24, 2019 – DOJ confirms Flynn defense team never received a transcript of Flynn/Kislyak phone call

“When General Michael Flynn entered into the seemingly coerced plea agreement with the special counsel team and prosecutor Brandon Van Grack (November 30, 2017), he gave up the right to defense discovery in his case.  In hindsight this will likely be viewed a mistake.

Lt. General Michael Flynn and his new attorney, Sidney Powell. (Credit: Megan Meneiro/Courthouse News)

(h/t Techno Fog) During a court appearance today by new attorney Ms. Sidney Powell, the topic of needing a classified security clearance -to review documents- was raised.  The DOJ responded to the assertion by saying no classified information was provided to the prior Flynn defense team, therefore Ms. Powell doesn’t need not carry that concern.

However, by admitting the DOJ provided no classified information to the defense, the prosecution is simultaneously admitting they never provided Flynn with a copy of the phone call transcript (December 29, 2016) between President-elect Trump’s incoming National Security Advisor and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.  The content of that phone call lies at the heart of the FBI interview that took place on January 24th, 2017.

Judge Emmet Sullivan originally asked for the Flynn/Kislyak transcript; however, the prosecution said it was irrelevant to their case.  The judge accepted the non-production.

It is suspected Flynn may have been under a FISA surveillance warrant which seems confirmed by the Weissmann/Mueller report. The FBI intercepted, recorded, and later transcribed the December 29, 2016, conversation.

This is why the issue of how the FBI agents write the 302 summary of the Flynn January 24, 2017, interview becomes such an important facet.

On June 6, 2019, the DOJ released the FBI agent report (FD-302) written after their interview of Michael Flynn on Jan 24th, 2017. (Full pdf below) From prior testimony we know that FBI Agent Peter Strzok did the questioning and FBI Agent Joe Pientka took notes.

Lt. General Michael Flynn (Credit: public domain)

For some reason, within the DOJ release of the report they are continuing to redact the name Joe Pientka. [Could be due to ongoing employment]

It’s worth noting according to Mark Meadows the Office of Inspector General Michael Horowitz has interviewed Joe Pientka extensively; prior attempts by congress to gain testimony from Pientka were blocked by the FBI and Rod Rosenstein.

FBI Agent Joseph Pientka was never interviewed by the joint House judiciary and oversight committees (Goodlatte and Gowdy). The reason, as explained by Meadows, was simple; Pientka was on Weissmann and Mueller’s special counsel team. Congress was not allowed to interfere in the Mueller probe. In hindsight this looks like Weissmann, Mueller & Rosenstein strategically using the investigation as a shield from sunlight.

The interview took place on January 24, 2017. The report was written Jan 24th, 2017. The wording was then deliberated by the small group, approved by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and entered into the record on February 15th, 2017. (Read much more: Conservative Treehouse, 6/24/2019)

June 20, 2019 – The Justice Department allows Congress to view the Rosenstein Scope Memos

Byron York has put down the crustless triangle sandwich and white wine spritzer long enough to finally discover the October 20th, 2017, scope memo written by Rod Rosenstein that authorized Weissman and Mueller to target Michael Flynn Jr.

(…)  The Justice Department has recently allowed members of some congressional committees to view the scope memos, and out of that has come the news that there was a third scope memo to Mueller. Dated Oct. 20, 2017, its contents remain a secret. But its very existence suggests something was going on behind the scenes in the relationship of Mueller and his supervisors at the Justice Department. (read more)

York continues… “At the moment, the third scope memo, like most of the second scope memo, remains a secret.“…  Good grief, seriously?  Funny how AG Barr is now letting congress look at the scope memos, meanwhile -despite the authorization to release provided by President Trump- the public is blocked from them.  I digress.

The October 20th, 2017, Rosenstein scope memo was specifically so that Weissmann and Mueller could target specific people for maximum political damage; including the targeting of Michael Flynn Jr. to generate leverage so that Flynn Sr. would have to accept a plea or see his family crushed under the weight of the weaponized special counsel.

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

The original authorization for the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller was May 17th, 2017. However, the released Weissmann/Mueller report shows there were two additional scope memos authorizing specific targeting of the Mueller probe. The second  scope memo was August 2nd, 2017, (outlined here), and is an important part of the puzzle that helps explain the corrupt original purpose of the special counsel.

The third scope memo was issued by Rod Rosenstein to Robert Mueller on October 20th, 2017. The transparent intent of the third scope memo was to provide Weissmann and Mueller with ammunition and authority to investigate specific targets, for specific purposes. One of those targets was General Michael Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn Jr.

As you review the highlighted portion below, found on pages 12 and 13 of the Weissmann report, read slowly and fully absorb the intent; the corruption is blood-boiling:

This third scope memo allowed Weissmann and Mueller to target tangentially related persons and entities bringing in Michael Cohen, Richard Gates, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn Jr. Additionally and strategically (you’ll see why), this memo established the authority to pursue “jointly undertaken activity“.

With Paul Manafort outlined as an investigative target in the original authorization and the second scope memo, the third scope memo authorizes expansion to his business partner Richard Gates and their joint businesses. This memo also permits the investigation of Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen and all of his interests; and in ultimate weasel sunlight, Rosenstein authorizes an investigation of his boss, AG Jeff Sessions.

Before getting to more targets, notice the underlined passage about starting with a lot of investigative material because the special counsel was picking up a Russian interference investigation that had been ongoing for “nearly 10 months.”

I would also note that our CTH research indicates all of the illegally extracted FISA-702(16)(17) database search results would be part of this pre-existing investigative file available immediately to Weissmann and Mueller. However, in order to use the search-query evidence, Weissmann and Mueller would need to backfill some alternate justification; or find another way to “rediscover” the preexisting results….. I digress

The four identified targets within the original July 2016 investigation, “Operation Crossfire Hurricane”, were George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and Carter Page. (See HPSCI report):

General Flynn was under investigation from the outset in mid-2016. The fraudulent FBI counterintelligence operation, established by CIA Director John Brennan, had Flynn as one of the early targets when Brennan handed the originating electronic communication“EC” to FBI Director James Comey.” (Read more: The Conservative Treehouse, 6/20/2019)