August 1, 2019 – Opinion: Here Are 5 Big Holes in Mueller’s Work
“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?
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?
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.)
July 25, 2019 – WSJ Editorial: What Mueller Was Trying to Hide
By Kimberly Strassel
(…) “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
“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)
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, 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 2016, Nader 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
“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.
(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.
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)
- 302 reports
- Andrew McCabe
- Andrew Weissmann
- Brandon Van Grack
- FD 302 manipulations
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- FISA warrant
- House Judiciary Committee
- House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
- Joe Pientka
- June 2019
- Lt. General Michael Flynn
- Mueller Report
- Rod Rosenstein
- security clearance
- Sergey Kislyak
- Sidney Powell
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.
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)
- Andrew Weissmann
- Crossfire Hurricane
- electronic communication memo (EC)
- FBI counterintelligence investigation
- George Papadopoulos
- John Brennan
- June 2019
- Lt. General Michael Flynn
- Michael Cohen
- Michael Flynn Jr.
- Mueller Report
- Paul Manafort
- Richard Gates
- Robert Mueller
- Rod Rosenstein
- Roger Stone
- scope memos
- William Barr
June 12, 2019 – Devin Nunes compares the Mueller report to the Clinton/DNC/Steele dossier
“Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, sharply criticized the Mueller report during a June 12 hearing, saying the report failed to address key players and irregularities in the FBI’s investigation and contained selectively edited information.
Nunes also called out his Democratic counterparts, saying that former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report did debunk many of the false claims of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia that had been perpetuated by Democrats, including members of the House Intelligence Committee.
Witnesses at the hearing—titled “Lessons from the Mueller Report: Counterintelligence Implications of Volume 1″—included Robert Anderson and Stephanie Douglas, described by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) as former executives from the FBI’s counterintelligence division. Left out of Schiff’s description was the fact that both witnesses had worked under former FBI Director Mueller prior to his role as special counsel.
(…) Nunes, who referred to the Mueller report as “the Mueller dossier,” noted that it “either debunked many of their favorite conspiracy theories or did not even find them worth discussing.” Nunes then provided a specific list:
- “Mueller’s finding that Michael Cohen did not travel to Prague to conspire with Russians.
- No evidence that Carter Page conspired with Russians.
- No mention of Paul Manafort visiting Julian Assange in London.
- No mention of secret communications between a Trump Tower computer server and Russia’s Alfa Bank.
- And no mention of former NRA lawyer Cleta Mitchell or her supposed knowledge of a scheme to launder Russian money through the NRA for the Trump campaign. Insinuations against Mitchell originated with Fusion GPS chief Glenn Simpson and were first made public in a document published by Democrats on this committee.”
June 4, 2019 – Trump’s campaign lawyers cite the Mueller report in their fight against the DNC lawsuit
“Lawyers for President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign asked a judge Tuesday to penalize the Democratic National Committee for alleging in a lawsuit a conspiracy between the campaign and Russia, saying special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings revealed the “doomed effort to prove a falsehood.”
But lawyers for the Democratic Party responded by saying Mueller’s report confirms and bolsters their claims by detailing the campaign’s repeated suspicious interactions with Russian agents, proving the campaign participated in Russia’s election interference.
The arguments on both sides were included in the Trump campaign’s filing in Manhattan federal court, where a judge is considering the merits of the DNC’s April 2018 lawsuit against the Trump campaign, Russia, WikiLeaks and Trump’s son and son-in-law. The lawsuit sought unspecified damages, alleging a conspiracy to cheat Democrats.
In seeking sanctions Tuesday including legal costs, Donald J. Trump for President Inc. contended that Mueller “definitively refuted the notion that the Campaign conspired or in any way coordinated with Russia.
The 448-page Mueller report was released on April 18, though nearly 40% of the report’s pages had redactions.
“The assumption, of course, was that the Special Counsel would substantiate the DNC’s claims,” the Trump campaign lawyers wrote. “Suffice it to say, that assumption did not pan out.”
The campaign’s lawyers said the report “debunks any such conclusion by walking through the vast body of evidence that his Office collected and establishing that none of this evidence showed that the Campaign formed any sort of agreement with Russia.”
They said the report shows the DNC can never prove its key allegations, “yet has refused to accept this reality.”
“The DNC has thus made clear that it wants to proceed with a politically motivated sham case, tying up the resources of this Court and the Campaign — and inevitably burdening the President himself — all in a doomed effort to prove a falsehood,” the lawyers wrote.” (Read more: The Associated Press, 6/05/2019)
May 31, 2019 – Devin Nunes: “It’s all a fraud” – Deceptive edits found in Mueller Report
“Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) on Saturday called for the immediate release of “all backup and source information” for the Mueller report after internet sleuth @almostjingo (Rosie Memos) discovered that the special counsel’s office deceptively edited content which was then cited as evidence of possible obstruction.
“It’s all a fraud” tweeted Nunes, replying to a tweet by @JohnWHuber (Undercover Huber), who also posted a comparison between the Mueller report and a newly released transcript of a November 2017 voicemail message left by former Trump lawyer John Dowd, in which he asked former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s attorney for a “heads up” if Flynn was planning on saying anything that might damage the president.
Mueller’s team omitted key context suggesting that Dowd was trying to strongarm Flynn and possibly obstruct justice by shaping witness testimony, while the actual voicemail reveals that Dowd was careful not to tread into obstruction territory in what was a friendly and routine call between lawyers.
Dowd qualifies his request by saying “without you having to give up any…confidential information” in order to determine “If, on the other hand, we have, there’s information that…implicates the President, then we’ve got a national security issue, or maybe a national security issue, I don’t know… some issue, we got to-we got to deal with, not only for the President but for the country.”
Mueller’s deceptive edits beg the question; what else may have been manipulated by the special counsel to make Trump look guilty? When reached for comment by attorney ‘Techno Fog’ (@Techno_Fog), Dowd said of the edits: “It is unfair and despicable. It was a friendly privileged call between counsel – with NO conflict. I think Flynn got screwed.”
Dowd told Fox News: “During the joint defense relationship, counsel for the president provided to Flynn’s counsel documents, advice and encouragement to provide to SC [the special counsel] as part of his effort to cooperate with the SC,” adding “SC never raised or questioned the president’s counsel about these allegations despite numerous opportunities to do so.”
Flynn pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russians and is currently awaiting sentencing.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department has resisted a court order to release the transcripts of Flynn’s conversations with Russian officials, including former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
This raises at least two questions. First, did the DOJ give Flynn the transcripts?And second, did the DOJ violate a previous court order from Judge Emmett Sullivan to produce evidence during discovery?”