Mueller team

December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report reveals the Mueller team knew Joseph Mifsud denied telling Papadopoulos the Russians could help Trump and failed to inform the FISA court

(Credit: Rebecca Zisser/Axios)

(…) “Mueller’s team also knew, by July 2017 at the latest, that Joseph Mifsud—the Maltese professor who supposedly tipped then-Trump aide George Papadopoulos to the Russians having dirt on Hillary Clinton—had denied telling Papadopoulos that the Russians could assist the Trump campaign by leaking negative information on Clinton. Prior to the special counsel’s appointment, the FBI had interviewed Papadopoulos and Mifsud, but it would be the special counsel’s office that indicted Papadopoulos in late July 2017, charging him with lying to the FBI.

By that time, then, the special counsel’s team must have reviewed the notes from the Papadopoulos and Mifsud interviews. Yet Mueller did nothing at that point to ensure the FISA court learned of Mifsud’s denials. The IG found the omission of “Joseph Mifsud’s denials to the FBI that he supplied Papadopoulos with the information Papadopoulos shared with the FFG (suggesting that the campaign received an offer or suggestion of assistance from Russia)” was a significant omission.

In short, the special counsel’s team proved itself equally incompetent in investigating and screening the “intel” used to obtain the Page surveillance orders, and in failing to accurately and fully inform the FISA court (FISC) of the evidence gathered by the FBI. As the IG noted:

“…that so many basic and fundamental errors were made on four FISA applications by three separate, hand-picked teams, on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations that was briefed to the highest levels within the FBI and that FBI officials expected would eventually be subjected to close scrutiny, raised significant questions regarding the FBI chain of command’s management and supervision of the FISA process.”

That also means Mueller and his chain of command.” (Read more: The Federalist, 1/06/2020) (Archive)

December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report shows the Mueller team replicated FBI abuses

“Shortly after the release of the special counsel report last year, I posited that Robert Mueller’s failure to investigate whether Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election by feeding dossier author Christopher Steele disinformation established that Mueller was either incompetent or a political hack. Now, with the release of the inspector general’s report on FISA abuse, we know the answer: He was both.

(…) As the IG report noted, “on May 17, 2017, the Crossfire Hurricane cases were transferred to the Office of the Special Counsel,” and the FBI agents and analysts then began working with the special counsel. A little more than a month later, the FBI asked the Department of Justice to seek a fourth extension of the Page surveillance order. That fourth renewal obtained under Mueller’s leadership included the 17 significant inaccuracies and omissions the IG identified.

(Timeline editor’s note: It is our understanding there are not 17 individual significant inaccuracies that were found in each FISA application. Instead, it is a grand total of  significant inaccuracies in all of the Page FISA applications, combined.)

(…) Most significantly, in June 2017, the FBI’s office of general counsel falsely represented that Page had not been a source for another federal agency, when, in reality, Page had been approved as an “operational contact” and the FBI’s attorney had been told so in an email. Yet the final surveillance renewal application failed to inform the FISA court that, while Page had connections with individuals connected to Russian intelligence, he had provided information about those contacts to another agency as an approved source.

(…) Not only did Mueller’s team continue to push the same inaccuracies and omissions to the FISA court in the June 2017 renewal, the FISA court was not informed of the many mistakes and omissions for another year—even though the special counsel’s investigation should have uncovered many of the errors contained in the applications early on in the probe.

(…) Mueller’s team also knew, by July 2017 at the latest, that Joseph Mifsud—the Maltese professor who supposedly tipped then-Trump aide George Papadopoulos to the Russians having dirt on Hillary Clinton—had denied telling Papadopoulos that the Russians could assist the Trump campaign by leaking negative information on Clinton. Prior to the special counsel’s appointment, the FBI had interviewed Papadopoulos and Mifsud, but it would be the special counsel’s office that indicted Papadopoulos in late July 2017, charging him with lying to the FBI.

(…) It also wasn’t mere incompetence on display: The special counsel’s office also engaged in much of the same misconduct the IG identified. For instance, emblematic of Mueller’s complicity in misconduct Horowitz identified is the fact that the special counsel continued to use Bruce Ohr as a conduit to feed “intel” to the FBI from Steele after Steele was terminated as a confidential human source.

(…) That the special counsel’s team engaged with Ohr without notifying to Ohr’s superiors shouldn’t surprise, though, as that was the M.O. of Mueller’s pit bull, lawyer Andrew Weissmann. The IG report exposed this reality, in detail. Specifically, the IG report explained that shortly after Trump was elected president:

…between November 16, 2016 and December 15, 2016, Ohr participated in several meetings that were attended, at various times, by some or all of the following individuals: Swartz, Ahmad, Andrew Weissmann (then Section Chief of CRM’s Fraud Section), Strzok, and Lisa Page. The meetings involving Ohr, Swartz, Ahmad, and Weissmann focused on their shared concern that the [Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section] MLARS was not moving quickly enough on the Manafort criminal investigation and whether there were steps they could take to move the investigation forward. The meetings with Strzok and Page focused primarily on whether the FBI could assess the case’s relevance, if any, to the FBI ‘s Russian interference investigation. MLARS was not represented at any of these meetings or told about them, and none of attendees had supervisory responsibility over the MLARS investigation….

On January 31, 2017, one day after Yates was removed as DAG, Ahmad, by then an Acting CRM Deputy Assistant Attorney General, after consulting with Swartz and Weissmann, sent an email to Lisa Page, copying Weissmann, Swartz, and Ohr, requesting a meeting the next day to discuss ‘a few Criminal Division related developments.’ The next day, February 1, Swartz, Ohr, Ahmad, and Weissmann met with Strzok, Lisa Page, and an FBI Acting Section Chief. None of the attendees at the meeting could explain to us what the ‘Criminal Division related developments’ were, and we did not find any.

Meeting notes reflect, among other things, that the group discussed the Manafort criminal investigation and efforts that the Department could undertake to investigate attempts by Russia to influence the 2016 elections. MLARS was not represented at, or told about, the meeting.

(Read more: The Federalist, 1/06/2020)  (Archive)

November 22, 2019 – FBI lawyer referred for criminal prosecution by Horowitz was primary FBI attorney on Trump-Russia case

Kevin Clinesmith (Credit: Facebook)

“A former FBI attorney reportedly referred for criminal prosecution by Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz—for allegedly altering an email connected to the surveillance warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page—was assigned in early 2017 as “the primary FBI attorney assigned” to the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into alleged Russian election interference.

The lawyer, who has been identified as Kevin Clinesmith in media reports, had been incorrectly portrayed by many members of the media as a “low-level” or junior member of the FBI’s legal team.

Text messages obtained by Horowitz, covered in a June 2018 report, showed that Clinesmith had a strong bias against Trump, texting “Viva le resistance” following Trump’s election as well as: “my god damned name is all over the legal documents investigating his staff.”

Clinesmith worked on both the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the Trump-Russia investigation. He would also later become a member of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and was one of the FBI officials—along with FBI Agent Peter Strzok—who was removed by Mueller after IG Horowitz discovered FBI text messages expressing political bias against Trump.

The New York Times reported on Nov. 22, that Clinesmith was removed from the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation in February 2018 and resigned from the FBI “about two months ago.”

Clinesmith has reportedly been referred for criminal prosecution by Horowitz for altering “an email that officials used to prepare to seek court approval to renew the wiretap”—also known as the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) renewal—on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, the New York Times reported.

(…) According to the NYT article, the “paperwork associated with the renewal applications contained information that should have been left out, and vice versa.” Clinesmith reportedly altered an email that “was a factor during the wiretap renewal process.”

Clinesmith allegedly “took an email from an official at another federal agency that contained several factual assertions, then added material to the bottom that looked like another assertion from the email’s author, when it was instead his own understanding.”

This altered email was then included in a package that was prepared for another FBI official to read in “preparation for signing an affidavit,” that was to be submitted to the FISA Court “attesting to the facts and analysis” in the application. ” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 11/24/2019)  (Archive)

November 5, 2019 – DOJ prosecutors overseeing the Flynn case, Jessie K. Liu and Brandon Van Grack, admit to “mistakenly” attributing wrong notes to wrong FBI agents

Prosecutor Brandon Van Grack sends a letter to Flynn’s defense team today containing a stunning, almost impossible to comprehend, admission of a mistake central to the claims of the prosecution.  In March 2018 the FBI presented notes taken by agents Pientka and Strzok, now they say they made a ‘mistake’.

For almost two years the DOJ misidentified, misattributed, and never corrected that the authors of the Flynn interview notes were actually reversed.  All of the notes attributed to FBI Agent Peter Strzok actually were taken by FBI Agent Joseph Pientka, and vice-versa:

What kind of f**kery is this?  The DOJ never confirmed the authorship of the FBI notes that are central to the FD-302, upon which the entire prosecution claim of Flynn lying to investigators is based? …Seriously?

The entire FBI case against Flynn; meaning the central element that he lied to FBI investigators (he didn’t); is predicated on the FD-302 interview reports generated by the two FBI agents; later discovered to have been edited, shaped and approved by Andrew McCabe….  And for almost two years the entire outline of their documented evidence has been misattributed?

C’mon man.  This is sketchy as heck.

Obviously what triggered this re-review of the notes was a smart sur-surreply from the defense that highlighted how Peter Strzoks notes were far too neat, organized and well constructed to have been written during an actual interview. [SEE HERE]

For the prosecution to now reverse course and say the agent attribution was transposed, is either the biggest screw-up in a high profile case…. OR, the prosecution now needs to reverse the note-takers due to the exact, and common sense, reasons highlighted by the defense.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 11/05/2019)  (Archive)

UPDATE:

Michael Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, appears on Fox Late Night to discuss the stunning letter from the DOJ that for the past two years they have attributed the wrong notes to the wrong FBI agent. – Conservative Treehouse

October 8, 2019 – DNI Declassifies FISA Judge James Boasberg 2018 Ruling – FBI conducts “tens of thousands” of unauthorized NSA database queries

“There is a lot to unpack in a decision today by the Director of National Intelligence to declassify (with redactions) a 2018 FISA court ruling about ongoing unauthorized database search queries by FBI agents/”contractors” in the period covering 2017/2018.

BACKGROUND: In April 2017 the DNI released a FISA report written by Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer that showed massive abuse, via unauthorized searches of the NSA database, in the period of November 2015 through May 2016. Judge Collyer’s report specifically identified search query increases tied to the 2016 presidential primary.  Two years of research identified this process as the DOJ/FBI and IC using the NSA database to query information related to political candidates, specifically Donald Trump.

Judge James Boasberg (Credit: public domain)

Now we fast-forward to Judge Boasberg in a similar review (full pdf below), looking at the time period of 2017 through March 2018.

The timing here is an important aspect.

It is within this time-period where ongoing DOJ and FBI activity transfers from the Obama administration (Collyer report) into the Trump administration (Boasberg report).

It cannot be overemphasized as you read the Boasberg opinion, or any reporting on the Boasberg opinion, that officials within DOJ and FBI are/were on a continuum.  Meaning the “small group” activity didn’t stop after the election but rather continued with the Mueller and Weissmann impeachment agenda.

Remember, the 2016 ‘insurance policy’ was to hand Mueller the 2016 FBI investigation so they could turn it into the 2017 special counsel investigation. Mueller, Weissmann and the group then used the ‘Steele Dossier’ as the cornerstone for the special counsel review.  The goal of the Mueller investigation was to construct impeachment via obstruction. The same players transferred from “crossfire hurricane” into the Mueller ‘obstruction‘ plan.

Within Judge Boasberg’s review of the 2017 activity, he outlines an identical set of FISA violations from within the FBI units and “contractors” as initially outlined by Judge Collyer a year earlier.  Judge Boasberg wrote his opinion in October 2018 and that opinion was declassified today (October 8th, 2019). Boasberg is reviewing 2017 through March 2018.  [Main link to all legal proceedings here]

(Via Wall Street Journal)  The intelligence community disclosed Tuesday that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court last year found that the FBI’s pursuit of data about Americans ensnared in a warrantless internet-surveillance program intended to target foreign suspects may have violated the law authorizing the program, as well as the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.

The court concluded that the FBI had been improperly searching a database of raw intelligence for information on Americans—raising concerns about oversight of the program, which as a spy program operates in near-total secrecy.

(…)  The court ruling identifies tens of thousands of improper searches of raw intelligence databases by the bureau in 2017 and 2018 that it deemed improper in part because they involved data related to tens of thousands of emails or telephone numbers—in one case, suggesting that the FBI was using the intelligence information to vet its personnel and cooperating sources. Federal law requires that the database only be searched by the FBI as part of seeking evidence of a crime or for foreign intelligence information.

In other cases, the court ruling reveals improper use of the database by individuals. In one case, an FBI contractor ran a query of an intelligence database—searching information on himself, other FBI personnel and his relatives, the court revealed.  (more)

As with the Collyer report, I am going line-by-painstaking-line through the Boasberg report (yeah, swamped); and what is clear is that in 2017 the FBI ‘bad actors’ and ‘contractors’ were continuing to try and subvert the safeguards put into place by former NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers.   The 2017 non-compliance rate is similar to the 2016 review.

Judge Boasberg touches on the April 2017 Judge Collyer report.  Here is the carefully worded DNI explanation of the connective tissue (emphasis mine):

(…)  The FISC also concluded that the FBI’s querying and minimization procedures, as implemented, were inconsistent with Section 702 and the Fourth Amendment, in light of certain identified compliance incidents involving queries of Section 702 information.

These incidents involved instances in which personnel either misapplied or misunderstood the query standard, such that the queries were not reasonably likely to return foreign intelligence information or evidence of a crime. Some of these instances involved queries concerning large numbers of individuals.

While stating that the Government had taken “constructive steps” to address the identified issues, the FISC held that these steps did not fully address the statutory and Fourth Amendment concerns raised by the compliance incidents.

(…) Additionally, the FISC considered the scope of certain new restrictions regarding “abouts” communications that were enacted in the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017. “Abouts” collection is the acquisition of communications that contain a reference to, but are not to or from, a Section 702 target. As the NSA explained in April 2017 (see NSA’s April 28, 2017 Statement), the NSA stopped acquiring any upstream internet communications that are solely “about” a foreign intelligence target and, instead, limited its Section 702 collection to only those communications that are directly “to” or “from” a foreign intelligence target.

NSA’s 2018 Targeting Procedures contained the same limitation. Although the Government did not seek to resume “abouts” collection, the FISC, with assistance from amici, reviewed whether the “abouts” restrictions applied to any other types of Section 702 acquisitions currently being conducted. While the FISC held that the “abouts” restrictions apply across Section 702 acquisitions, it found that current Section 702 acquisitions did not implicate the “abouts” restrictions. (read more)

(Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 10/09/2019) (Archive)

Here is the October 2018 Boasberg Opinion:

September 10, 2019 – Attorney Sidney Powell argues General Flynn’s case should be dismissed over ‘egregious government misconduct’

General Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell (Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

“An attorney for Michael Flynn said in federal court Tuesday she may seek a dismissal of charges against the former national security adviser, citing “egregious conduct and suppression” of exculpatory information in the case.

Prosecutors handling the case had a surprise of their own, telling Judge Emmet Sullivan that they are now reserving the option of recommending jail time for Flynn, instead of just probation. Prosecutors with the special counsel’s team last year recommended that Flynn receive probation without jail time because of his substantial cooperation in several investigations.

But Flynn’s situation has changed dramatically since then. He no longer has to meet with the special counsel’s team since the Russia probe has ended. And in Junehe hired a new legal team that has aggressively challenged the government’s investigation of Flynn.

Flynn’s defense attorney, Sidney Powell, told Judge Emmet Sullivan that the legal team has no plans to pull out of a plea deal that Flynn struck with the special counsel on Dec. 1, 2017. Instead, Powell is questioning the basis of the government’s case against Flynn and may seek to have charges thrown out altogether. (Read more: The Daily Caller, 9/10/2019)

August 31, 2019 – The Archey Declarations prove Comey/McCabe “small group” hid information from FBI investigators until they could get Mueller appointed

“There are two sets of documents that outline a precise picture.  Robert Mueller’s lead FBI Agent David Archey made sworn declarations to the court, without knowledge of FBI “whistleblower” information provided to DOJ Inspector General, Michael Horowitz.

There is a distinct conflict within the IG report on James Comey (and memos) (Available Here) and the David Archey declarations (Available Here).  However, beyond the conflict, there’s an even more alarming picture of how Robert Mueller was deployed when all the information is overlaid on a timeline.   A very clear picture emerges; very clear.

In June 2017 CNN (and other media) filed a FOIA suit to gain the Comey memos.  As the lawsuit progressed through a lengthy battle -where the Mueller team did not want to turn over those memos- Mueller’s lead FBI agent, David Archey, made sworn declarations to the court.  Those statements became known as the “Archey Declarations.”  Inside those declarations, agent Archey provided a specific outline of the FBI and the memos.

Note the date – Agent Archey states the “investigative team” came into full possession of the Comey memos: on or by May 12th, 2017.”

The “investigative team” would be Andrew McCabe, Bill Priestap, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and then James Baker as lead counsel for the group.  The “Director’s staff” would be James Rybicki, who is identified by Archey as having “maintained” possession of the memos.

So this “small group”, particularly James Rybicki, is the center of the team.  This team is also confirmed by the IG Horowitz report. This team had the memos on May 12th, 2017.

Now we move into the aspect where the motives and ideology become clear when we look at the IG custodial record of the memos, as outlined by the Supervisory Special Agent in charge of Comey’s documents within the IG report, compared to the Archey declarations.

The FBI Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) in charge of Comey’s document retrieval is the “whistleblower” who eventually went to the IG.  I’ll explain why and how below; and to make understanding easier we shall use “SSA Whistleblower” to describe him.

♦ On May 10th, the Comey memos were not in Comey’s office [per IG report].  At the time of the search and review of Comey’s office, there were no hard copies found by SSA Whistleblower.

Now, keep in mind “by May 12th” James Rybicki had all the Comey memos in his possession, per Mueller team FBI Agent David Archey.

♦ On May 12th, SSA Whistleblower went to James Comey’s house along with James Rybicki and Deputy FBI Director David Bowditch.

(IG Report – Comey Memos – Page 34) 

During this May 12th visit, James Comey never told SSA Whistleblower he had the memos in his personal safe.  James Rybicki was also present for this retrieval visit and also never told SSA Whistleblower that he was holding the memos in his FBI HQ office.

♦ On May 15th, three days later, James Rybicki then tells SSA Whistleblower he knows the location of the Comey memos; and Rybicki informs SSA Whistleblower he has additional relevant material.

(IG Report – Comey Memos-Page 38) 

From the IG Report: “Rybicki told the SSA that he did not tell anyone about the Memos during the May 10 inventory because he understood that process to only include Comey’s office.”   Very sketchy.

At this point, SSA Whistleblower had to suspect something sketchy was happening.  Keep in mind the following day May 16th, 2017, Comey sent memo content to his friend Daniel Richman with instructions to leak to the New York Times. (Article published 5:00 pm May 16, 2017)

If Rybicki didn’t inform SSA Whistleblower on May 15 about the Comey memos, then SSA Whistleblower would have found out from leaked media reports the next day May 16.

If Rybicki didn’t tell SSA Whistleblower about the memos on May 15, then it would have looked like the ‘small group’ was hiding and leaking the memos.  An intellectually honest review of the timing, and considering Rybicki had indeed been hiding the memos, leads to the conclusion Rybicki knew the NYT leak was coming; Rybicki was coordinating with James Comey; Rybicki/Comey were trying to avoid team scrutiny. [Further evidence of this surfaces in the Mueller contact timeline.]

By May 16th, 2017, SSA Whistleblower, had to see the sketchy nature of how this was unfolding.   As a result this scenario from the IG report now makes sense:

If we overlay the FBI “small group” contact with Robert Mueller an even more clear picture emerges.

“Crossfire Hurricane” – During 2016, after the November election and throughout the transition period and into 2017, the FBI had a counterintelligence investigation ongoing against Donald Trump. FBI Director James Comey’s memos were part of this time period as the FBI small group was gathering evidence.  Then Comey was fired…

♦ Tuesday, May 9th – James Comey was fired at approximately 5:00 pm EST.  Later we discover Rod Rosenstein first contacted Robert Mueller about the special counsel appointment less than 15 hours after James Comey was fired.

♦ Wednesday, May 10th – From congressional testimony, we know DAG Rod Rosenstein called Robert Mueller to discuss the special counsel appointment on Wednesday, May 10th, 2017, at 7:45 am. [See Biggs questions to Mueller at 2:26 of video]

According to his own admissions (NBC and CBS), Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe immediately began a criminal ‘obstruction’ investigationWednesday, May 10th; and he immediately enlisted Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

A few hours after the Rosenstein-Mueller phone call, James Comey’s office was being searched by the SSA Whistleblower per the IG report on Comey’s memos.

(IG Report – Comey Memos – Page 33) 

♦Thursday, May 11th – Andrew McCabe testified to congress. With the Comey firing fresh in the headlines.  McCabe testified there had been no effort to impede the FBI investigation.

Also on Thursday, May 11th, 2017, The New York Times printed an article, based on information seemingly leaked by James Comey, about a dinner conversation between the President and the FBI Director.   The “Loyalty” article [link].  The IG report shows: [Daniel] Richman confirmed to the OIG that he was one of the sources for the May 11 article, although he said he was not the source of the information in the article about the Trump Tower briefing“.

♦Friday, May 12th –  Andrew McCabe met with DAG Rod Rosenstein to discuss the ongoing issues with the investigation and firing.  Referencing the criminal ‘obstruction’ case McCabe had opened just two days before.  According to McCabe:

“[Rosenstein] asked for my thoughts about whether we needed a special counsel to oversee the Russia case. I said I thought it would help the investigation’s credibility. Later that day, I went to see Rosenstein again. This is the gist of what I said: I feel strongly that the investigation would be best served by having a special counsel.” (link)

According to Andy Biggs questioning of Mueller, on this same day, May 12th, evidence shows Robert Mueller met “in person” with Rod Rosenstein.  This is the same day when SSA Whistleblower went to James Comey’s house to retrieve FBI material and both Rybicki and Comey never informed the agent about the memos:

(IG Report-Comey Memos-Page 34)

May 12th, is the date noted by David Archey when FBI investigators had assembled all of the Comey memos as evidence.  However, no-one in the FBI outside the “small group” knows about them.

Saturday, May 13th, 2017, another meeting between Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller, this time with AG Jeff Sessions also involved. [Per Andy Biggs]

♦ Sunday, May 14th –  Comey transmitted copies of Memos 2, 4, and 6, and a partially redacted copy of Memo 7 to Patrick Fitzgerald, who was one of Comey’s personal attorneys.  Fitzgerald received the email and PDF attachment from Comey at 2:27 p.m. on May 14, 2017, per the IG report.

♦ Monday, May 15th, McCabe states he and Rosenstein conferred again about the Special Counsel approach. McCabe: “I brought the matter up with him again after the weekend.”

On this same day was when James Rybicki called SSA Whistleblower to notify him of Comey’s memos. The memos were “stored” in a “reception area“, and in locked drawers in James Rybicki’s office.

(IG Report-Comey Memos-Page 38)

♦Tuesday May 16th – Per the IG report: “On the morning of May 16, Comey took digital photographs of both pages of Memo 4 with his personal cell phone. Comey then sent both photographs, via text message, to Richman”

On this same day, Rod Rosenstein takes Robert Mueller to the White House for a meeting in the oval office between President Trump, VP Pence, Robert Mueller, and Rod Rosenstein.    While they were meeting in the oval office, the following story was published by the New York Times (based on Comey memo leaks to Richman):

Also during the approximate time of this Oval Office meeting, Peter Strzok texts with Lisa Page about information relayed to him by Tashina Guahar (main justice) on behalf of Rod Rosenstein (who is at the White House).

Later that night, after the Oval Office meeting – According to the Mueller report, additional events on Tuesday May 16th, 2017:

Interesting that Tashina Gauhar was taking notes presumably involved in the May 16, 2017 meeting between, Lisa PageRod Rosenstein, and Andrew McCabe. 

This meeting at Main Justice appears to be happening in the evening (“later that night”) after the visit to the White House with Robert Mueller.  This meeting appears to be Lisa Page, Rod Rosenstein and Andrew McCabe; along with Tashina Gauhar taking notes.

Why is Tuesday, May 16th, 2017, date of additional importance?

♦ Wednesday May 17th, 2017:  Rod Rosenstein and Andrew McCabe go to brief the congressional “Gang-of-Eight”: Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Devin Nunes, Adam Schiff, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, Richard Burr and Mark Warner.

(…) “On the afternoon of May 17, Rosenstein and I sat at the end of a long conference table in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol. We were there to brief the so-called Gang of Eight—the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate and the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Rosenstein had, I knew, made a decision to appoint a special counsel in the Russia case.”

(…) “After reminding the committee of how the investigation began, I told them of additional steps we had taken. Then Rod took over and announced that he had appointed a special counsel to pursue the Russia investigation and that the special counsel was Robert Mueller.” (link)

Immediately following this May 17, 2017, Go8 briefing, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein notified the public of the special counsel appointment.

What is clear from a review of all the related and released information is the FBI small group (McCabe, Page, Strzok, Rybicki, Baker) were hiding the ongoing FBI investigation from other FBI officials (including the SSA Whistleblower), inside the department after Comey was fired.

McCabe launched a “criminal investigation” (obstruction) on May 10th, and Rosenstein was in immediate contact with Robert Mueller about being a special counsel after conversations with the FBI small group. The small group was then releasing information to their media allies, and hiding the releases from FBI agents outside the small group; until they no longer needed to do so (May 15).

On May 15th, it appears the SSA was finally notified of the Comey memos because the small group already knew Robert Mueller was going to be appointed.

Comey, his lawyers and Lawfare allies, together with the small group, coordinated to leak and publish the NYT article (May 16th) the day Mueller was interviewing President Trump in the oval office. They knew Mueller was going to be appointed the following day, May 17th.  The NYT leak was cover and ammunition for Rod Rosenstein to fulfill his role.

This is the Special Counsel as the insurance policy deployed.

Everything was a set up by the small group; exclusively executed by the small group; kept hidden from other FBI agents and officials; Mueller’s visit with President Trump was part of that investigative effort.

This overall conspiracy/plan is why the SSA turned to the Inspector General and requested Whistleblower protection.  This is also why IG Horowitz was motivated to carve out the Comey memos in his report.  KEY POINT – OIG Michael Horowitz has outlined the Special Counsel appointment as fraudulently predicated.

(Conservative Treehouse, 8/31/2019)

(Republished with permission.)

August 28, 2019 – Jeff Carlson: Highlights from the IG Report on Comey’s Memos

(Credit: Lazaro Gamio/Axios)

Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz has released a report on former FBI Director James Comey’s leaking of personal memos to his attorneys, a personal friend, and the media.

Comey had told the IG that he believed the memos shared with his attorneys did not contain any classified information.

However, the IG noted that specifically: “Memos 1 and 3 contained information classified at the ‘SECRET’ level, and that Memos 2 and 7 contained small amounts of information classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level—although Comey redacted all classified information in Memo 7 before sending to his attorneys.”

The IG report also noted that “Comey considered Memos 2 through 7 to be his personal documents.”

Comey maintained copies of Memos 2 through 7 at his personal residence—a fact that he failed to report to the FBI. Comey also provided James Rybicki, his chief of staff, with a copy of these same memos to maintain at FBI headquarters.

On May 14, 2017, Comey provided electronic copies of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to one of his personal attorneys, who subsequently shared the memos with two additional attorneys several days later on May 17, 2017. Memo 2 contained six words, four of which were names of specific countries that the FBI later deemed to be classified.

Leak to the Media

On May 16, Comey provided a copy of Memo 4 to Daniel Richman who was a “close personal friend” in addition to being one of Comey’s attorneys. Comey directed Richman to “share the contents of Memo 4, but not the Memo itself, with a specific reporter for The New York Times.”

Richman did have a security clearance at this time, but there appears to be no demonstrable “need to know” that is also a requirement for gaining access to classified information.

This memo contained information that was deemed by the FBI to be “For Official Use Only” but did not contain any classified information. The IG noted: “We found no evidence that Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the Memos to members of the media.”

The same day that Comey’s two additional attorneys gained access to his memos—May 17, 2017—former FBI Agent Peter Strzok sent a text to former FBI lawyer Lisa Page noting, “F’in Pamela Brown knows there were two phone call memos.” Brown, a reporter for CNN, had reported on the existence of Comey Memos the night prior during a segment with Anderson Cooper but had yet to mention the phone call memos.

The Strzok text regarding Brown is notable for two reasons. One, Strzok was clearly familiar with the contents of Comey’s Memos, and two, Brown had to have learned of the “phone call Memos” from a source other than Richman—who had only received a copy of Memo 4, which detailed a physical meeting and did not mention any “phone call Memos.” It is not known who provided Brown with the additional information.

Notably, the FBI “first learned that Comey had shared Memo 4 with Richman while watching Comey’s public testimony before SSCI [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence] on June 8, 2017.” Nor did Comey inform the FBI that he had shared Memos 2, 4, 6 and 7 with his personal attorneys. It was only after the FBI questioned Richman regarding Memo 4 that the FBI learned that Comey had also provided the additional memos to his attorneys.

Comey Kept Memos at His Home

The June 8, 2017, date is particularly notable because only the day before, on June 7, 2017, did Comey provide the copy of his memos that he kept in his home safe to the FBI at the request of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Although the existence of the Comey Memos were well-known by this time, it does not appear that FBI personnel knew that Comey kept his own memo copies at home—until he turned them over.

The IG report highlighted Comey’s retention of his memos at his personal residence, noting: “We found it particularly concerning that Comey did not tell anyone from the FBI that he had retained copies of the Memos in his personal safe at home, even when his Chief of Staff, the FBI’s Associate Deputy Director, and three SSAs [Supervisory Special Agents] came to Comey’s house on May 12, 2017, to inventory and remove all FBI property.” Why Comey chose to not disclose this information to the FBI remains unknown.

According to the IG report, “[O]n June 7, 2017, Comey provided the SSA who came to his home with Comey’s signed originals of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7, which were the only Memos that Comey said he had retained at his residence.” Notably, the “SSA said he had been advised ahead of time that Comey had Memos to give to him.” The report does not disclose who advised the SSA, but it may have been Special Counsel Mueller.

Comey told the IG that “he voluntarily gave his signed originals of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to the SSA at his house that day, not because he had concerns that they contained classified information, but “because Special Counsel [Robert Mueller] asked for them.”

How the Special Counsel came to learn that Comey had a personal copy of his memos at his house remains unknown, particularly as it appears that no one else within the FBI was aware of this fact until Comey turned the memos over.

Comey had previously viewed the FBI copies of his memos that had already been officially classified by the FBI on June 7, 2017, in preparation for his June 8 testimony. As a result, Comey was now aware of what the FBI deemed “SECRET” or “CONFIDENTIAL.” As the IG report noted, “By not immediately reporting that he had provided Memo 2 to his attorneys when Comey first learned that the FBI had designated a small portion of Memo 2 as classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level, Comey violated FBI policy.”

Lisa Page Obtains Memos Ostensibly for McCabe

Others within the FBI also had copies of Comey’s Memos. According to the IG’s report, “Page told the OIG that McCabe also allowed her to look at Memos 2, 3, and 4, but asked her not to share them with anybody. Page told the IG that “she decided to make and keep copies of these Memos because they were ‘just of the nature that [she] felt like there should be one other copy somewhere else.’” Page claimed not to know “if others in the FBI were keeping copies of the Memos.”

However, it appears that Page attempted to hide her possession of Comey’s Memos from other officials within the FBI. On May 10, 2017, Comey’s former chief of staff James Rybicki was contacted by Page who requested “a full set of the Memos.” Rybicki, who told the IG that Page said her request was made on behalf of Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, then made three copies of Comey’s Memos—one for himself, one for Page to pass along to McCabe, and one for FBI General Counsel James Baker. Notably, May 10, 2017, may have been the date that McCabe opened an investigation into President Donald J. Trump.

Page told the IG a somewhat different version of events, noting that “she did not think McCabe had asked her to assemble copies of the memos; she said she thought she did it on her own because she “knew that it needed to get done.” Additionally, Rybicki told the IG “that he was ‘surprised’ when he learned that Page already had copies of some of the Memos because he ‘didn’t think anybody maintained a copy’ other than him, and didn’t know how she got them.”

Comey told the IG that he considered “Memos 2 through 7 to be his personal documents,” but this assertion was roundly dismissed by other FBI officials. According to the IG report, “All of the FBI senior leaders interviewed by the OIG stated that the Memos were official government records.” McCabe told the IG that Comey’s Memos served as a “record of [Comey’s] official engagement with the President.” Baker said the memos were “related to official business” and that “they were discussed in the office in connection with [Comey’s] official responsibilities.” Rybicki said he had “treated the Memos as FBI records.” The FBI’s Director of Counterintelligence Bill Priestap characterized the memos as documents “produced by the Director in his capacity as Director … they’re FBI work product.”

Whistleblower Provided IG Memos

Interestingly, “shortly after Comey’s removal, a set of the seven Memos was provided to the OIG by a Department employee, who claimed whistleblower status,” the IG revealed in the report. The number of individuals within the FBI who had access to Comey’s Memos was comprised of a very small group. The IG noted that the whistleblower “viewed the Memos as extremely sensitive documents and was concerned that there should be a separate set deposited somewhere for safekeeping.” This means that the IG obtained possession of the Comey Memos very early on—since mid-May 2017.

Additionally, the IG revealed that it was then-Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who referred the matter of Comey’s Memos to the Office of the Inspector General for review in July 2017. McCabe may have been unaware that the IG already was in possession of Comey’s Memos via the unknown whistleblower.

Genesis of Comey’s Memos

In regards to the genesis of the Memos, Comey told the IG that it was his Jan. 27, 2017, dinner with President Trump that prompted him to begin the process of maintaining Memos detailing his interactions with the president. However, Comey had already written an earlier memo regarding a meeting with President Trump on Jan. 6, 2017, where Comey provided the president with details of the “salacious” information from the Steele dossier. Comey also told Congress a slightly different story, testifying on June 8, 2017, that he began creating memos from his very first interaction with President Trump, based on a “gut feeling.”

The IG report provides some intriguing details surrounding the Jan. 6, 2017, meeting, and the manner in which that meeting was pre-determined to be fully documented by Comey.

“Witnesses interviewed by the OIG also said that they discussed Trump’s potential responses to being told about the ‘salacious’ information, including that Trump might make statements about, or provide information of value to, the pending Russian interference investigation.

“Multiple FBI witnesses recalled agreeing ahead of time that Comey should memorialize his meeting with Trump immediately after it occurred. Comey told the OIG that, in his view, it was important for FBI executive managers to be ‘able to share in [Comey’s] recall of the … salient details of those conversations.’ Comey also said that an additional concern, shared by the members of his management team, was that if the briefing became ‘a source of controversy’ it would be important to have a clear, contemporaneous record because Trump might ‘misrepresent what happened in the encounter.’”

It appears from the IG’s report that President Trump had no knowledge that Comey was transcribing their interactions. The FBI’s General Counsel, James Baker, told the IG that “it was his understanding that the small group of people who had access to the Memos ‘really didn’t want anyone to know the Director … was recording at this level of detail his interactions with the President’ because any perception that Comey was ‘keeping … book’ on the President would upset any effort to have an effective and ongoing working relationship.”

It should also be noted that Comey failed to keep any memos of his meetings with Obama and other Obama-era officials.

Memo 3 was one of those deemed to contain information classified at the “SECRET” level. In regards to this particular memo, Comey told the IG that he gave one copy to Rybicki, with instructions for Rybicki to show it to McCabe and Baker, while keeping the other copy in his desk drawer—located in his secure office. On May 10, 2017, the day immediately following Comey’s firing, a Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) was assigned to inventory the contents of Comey’s office. As noted in the IG report, “According to the inventory, no hard copies of any of the Memos were found in Comey’s office.”

Five days later, on May 15, 2017, following a conversation with Comey, Rybicki notified the SSA that there “were additional documents belonging to Comey stored in the reception area near the former Director’s office.” Among these documents were six of the original Comey Memos. According to the IG, this was the first time the SSA learned of the existence of the Comey Memos. Rybicki told the SSA that “he did not tell anyone about the Memos during the May 10 inventory because he understood that process to only include Comey’s office.”

Comey Violated FBI Policy

The IG found that “Comey’s actions violated Department or FBI policy, or the terms of Comey’s FBI Employment Agreement” and concluded that “Comey’s retention, handling, and dissemination of certain Memos violated Department and FBI policies, and his FBI Employment Agreement.”

The IG recognized that the “responsibility to protect sensitive law enforcement information falls in large part to the employees of the FBI who have access to it through their daily duties” and pointedly noted that “Comey failed to live up to this responsibility.”

The IG’s report also noted, “By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees—and the many thousands more former FBI employees—who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information.”

The IG provided a copy of his findings to the DOJ for a prosecutorial decision regarding Comey’s conduct. The DOJ declined prosecution. It is not known when the IG’s findings were first submitted to the DOJ. The IG then prepared this more comprehensive report that focused on whether Comey’s actions violated Department of FBI policy.

It was previously reported that the DOJ had declined prosecution of Comey. According to a source for Fox News, “Everyone at the DOJ involved in the decision said it wasn’t a close call,” one official said. “They all thought this could not be prosecuted.”

To underscore the difficulties the DOJ faced in pursuing a successful prosecution is the fact that Comey’s Memos were only classified by the FBI after Comey had leaked them. Additionally, the IG found no proof that “Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the Memos to members of the media.”

A failed prosecution at this juncture would prove problematic to the overall investigation of Spygate. The IG’s pending report on FISA abuse is far more important and potentially significantly more damning. (themarketswork.com, 8/30/2019)

(Republished with permission.)

July 10, 2019 – Flynn’s lawyers: Mueller team wants false testimony, possibly retaliates when rebuked

Michael Flynn and new attorney, Sidney Powell. (Credit: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

“Prosecutors from the team of special counsel Robert Mueller wanted Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to testify to something that isn’t true, Flynn’s lawyers said. When he refused, they tried to label him a co-conspirator in a case where they previously said he was only a witness.

A federal judge denied the prosecutors’ move, saying the government didn’t present enough evidence to introduce Flynn’s statement as one of a co-conspirator.

Flynn, former national security adviser to President Donald Trump, is expected to face a light sentence after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI and after extensively cooperating with the Mueller team and the Justice Department. He was also expected to testify on another case of making false statements on foreign lobbying registration forms.

In his November 2017 guilty plea, he said that the forms submitted by lawyers for his now-defunct lobbying company, Flynn Intel Group (FIG), contained false and misleading statements. The prosecutors, however, recently asked him to testify that he signed those forms knowing about the falsities and intending for them.

He refused.

“Mr. Flynn cannot give that testimony because it is not true,” Flynn’s recently hired lawyers, Jesse Binnall, Sidney Powell, and William Hodes, said in a July 8 court filing.

They said Flynn only acknowledged in his plea the falsities “with some hindsight.” At the time of signing the forms, in March 2017, Flynn only read the cover letter and didn’t know about or intend for anything false in them, they said.

“Mr. Flynn trusted his former counsel who held themselves out as experts in this area of law,” the filing stated.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 7/10/2019)