National Security Council (NSC)

October 31, 2019 – NSC official Tim Morrison, tells Schiff nothing illegal took place In Trump call to Ukrainian president

Tim Morrison,(r), National Security Council’s Russia and Europe Director, is escorted to a closed-door deposition in Washington, on Oct. 31, 2019. (Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

“Tim Morrison, a top official with the National Security Council, told lawmakers Thursday that he did not believe “anything illegal was discussed during the conversation” between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to the opening statement reviewed by SaraACarter.com.

Morrison, who is the outgoing senior director of European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council and a deputy assistant to the president, told lawmakers that the transcript of the call was accurate but he contended that some of the details provided by other witnesses did not coincide with his regarding certain aspects of the Ukrainian issue. House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff, D-CA, who has been criticized for his continued anti-Trump partisan rhetoric by Republicans, has been pushing for Trump’s impeachment.

Morrison told the closed-door panel of lawmakers Thursday that he reviewed the Memorandum of Conversation regarding the July 25 phone call that was released by the White House. He said he listened to the call, along with others. He noted it occurred from the Situation Room.

“To the best of my recollection, the MemCon accurately and completely reflects the substance of the call,” he said, regarding the transcript of Trump’s call with Zelensky.

He also said  he had “no reason to believe the Ukrainians had any knowledge of the review until August  28, 2019.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 10/31/2019)  (Deposition Transcript)

October 30, 2019 – Beltway talk suggests the alleged hearsay whistleblower is Eric Ciaramella

Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Michael Atkinson arrives for a closed-door hearing before the House Intelligence Committee in Washington, D.C., Oct. 4, 2019. (Credit: Eric Baradat/Agence France Presse/Getty Images)

(…) RealClearInvestigations is disclosing the name because of the public’s interest in learning details of an effort to remove a sitting president from office. Further, the official’s status as a “whistleblower” is complicated by his being a hearsay reporter of accusations against the president, one who has “some indicia of an arguable political bias … in favor of a rival political candidate” — as the Intelligence Community Inspector General phrased it circumspectly in originally fielding his complaint.

Federal documents reveal that the 33-year-old [Eric] Ciaramella, a registered Democrat held over from the Obama White House, previously worked with former Vice President Joe Biden and former CIA Director John Brennan, a vocal critic of Trump who helped initiate the Russia “collusion” investigation of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.

Further, Ciaramella (pronounced char-a-MEL-ah) left his National Security Council posting in the White House’s West Wing in mid-2017 amid concerns about negative leaks to the media. He has since returned to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

“He was accused of working against Trump and leaking against Trump,” said a former NSC official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

Also, Ciaramella huddled for “guidance” with the staff of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, including former colleagues also held over from the Obama era whom Schiff’s office had recently recruited from the NSC. (Schiff is the lead prosecutor in the impeachment inquiry.)

Alexandra Chalupa and Eric Ciaramella (Credit: public domain)

And Ciaramella worked with a Democratic National Committee operative who dug up dirt on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, inviting her into the White House for meetings, former White House colleagues said. The operative, Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American who supported Hillary Clinton, led an effort to link the Republican campaign to the Russian government. “He knows her. He had her in the White House,” said one former co-worker, who requested anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.

Documents confirm the DNC opposition researcher attended at least one White House meeting with Ciaramella in November 2015.  She visited the White House with a number of Ukrainian officials lobbying the Obama administration for aid for Ukraine.

(…) A CIA officer specializing in Russia and Ukraine, Ciaramella was detailed over to the National Security Council from the agency in the summer of 2015, working under Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser. He also worked closely with the former vice president.

Federal records show that Biden’s office invited Ciaramella to an October 2016 state luncheon the vice president hosted for Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Other guests included Brennan, as well as then-FBI Director James Comey and then-National Intelligence Director James Clapper.

Several U.S. officials told RealClearInvestigations that the invitation that was extended to Ciaramella, a relatively low-level GS-13 federal employee, was unusual and signaled he was politically connected inside the Obama White House.

Former White House officials said Ciaramella worked on Ukrainian policy issues for Biden in 2015 and 2016 when the vice president was President Obama’s “point man” for Ukraine. A Yale graduate, Ciaramella is said to speak Russian and Ukrainian, as well as Arabic. He had been assigned to the NSC by Brennan.

He was held over into the Trump administration, and headed the Ukraine desk at the NSC, eventually transitioning into the West Wing, until June 2017.

“He was moved over to the front office” to temporarily fill a vacancy, said a former White House official, where he “saw everything, read everything.”

The official added that it soon became clear among NSA staff that Ciaramella opposed the new Republican president’s foreign policies. “My recollection of Eric is that he was very smart and very passionate, particularly about Ukraine and Russia. That was his thing – Ukraine,” he said. “He didn’t exactly hide his passion with respect to what he thought was the right thing to do with Ukraine and Russia, and his views were at odds with the president’s policies.” (Read more: RealClearInvestigations, 10/30/2 019) (Archive)

October 29, 2019 – The “coup” against Trump is formalized…a resistance member shows up to testify at Trump’ impeachment inquiry, wearing a military uniform

“The word “coup” shifted to a new level of formalized meaning last week when members of the political resistance showed up to remove President Trump wearing military uniforms.

Not only did U.S. military leadership remain silent to the optics and purpose, but in the testimony of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman he admits to giving instructions to ignore the instructions from a sitting United States President.

In the absence of push-back from the Joint Chiefs, from this moment forth, the impression is tacit U.S. military support for the Vindman objective.

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official, testified before congressional committees conducting an impeachment inquiry on October 29, wearing a full military uniform.

To date, there has been no visible comment from U.S. military sanctioning Lt. Col. Vindman for his decision; or correcting the impression represented by Vindman’s military appearance.  The willful blindness is concerning, but it gets much worse.

Beyond the debate about the optics of the “coup“, within the testimony of Lt. Col Vindman, the witness readily admits to understanding the officially established policy of the President of The United States (an agreement between President Trump and President Zelenskyy), and stunningly admits that two weeks later he was giving countermanding instructions to his Ukrainian counterpart to ignore President Trump’s policies.

The coup against President Donald Trump went from soft, to hard.  Consider…

The testimony from Lt. Col. Vindman is available here.

Borrowing from Roscoe B Davis, here are some highlights:

Representative John Ratcliffe begins deconstructing Lt. Col Vindman, while his arrogant attorneys begin trying to interfere with the questioning.

(Vindman’s testimony with Congressman Ratcliffe continues on Conservative Treehouse linked here:)

This next section is very interesting and very important.

Congressman John Ratcliffe begins questioning Vindman from the perspective of an Article 92 violation, coupled with an Article 88 violation.  President Trump is Lt. Col Vindman’s superior.  President Trump sets foreign policy. 

Two weeks after President Trump has established an agreement with Ukraine President Zelenskyy, and established the policy direction therein, Lt. Col. Vindman is now giving contrary instructions to the Ukranian government.  Vindman’s lawyer recognizes where the questioning is going and goes absolutely bananas:

(Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 11/09/2019)

February 25, 2016 – The Obama administration is set to expand sharing data that the NSA intercepts

Obama meets with his National Security Council and wants more intelligence experts to see information intercepted by the National Security Agency. (Credit: Zach Gibson/The New York Times)

“The Obama administration is on the verge of permitting the National Security Agency to share more of the private communications it intercepts with other American intelligence agencies without first applying any privacy protections to them, according to officials familiar with the deliberations.

The change would relax longstanding restrictions on access to the contents of the phone calls and email the security agency vacuums up around the world, including bulk collection of satellite transmissions, communications between foreigners as they cross network switches in the United States, and messages acquired overseas or provided by allies.

The idea is to let more experts across American intelligence gain direct access to unprocessed information, increasing the chances that they will recognize any possible nuggets of value. That also means more officials will be looking at private messages — not only foreigners’ phone calls and emails that have not yet had irrelevant personal information screened out, but also communications to, from, or about Americans that the N.S.A.’s foreign intelligence programs swept in incidentally.

Civil liberties advocates criticized the change, arguing that it will weaken privacy protections. They said the government should disclose how much American content the N.S.A. collects incidentally — which agency officials have said is hard to measure — and let the public debate what the rules should be for handling that information.

“Before we allow them to spread that information further in the government, we need to have a serious conversation about how to protect Americans’ information,” said Alexander Abdo, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer.

Robert S. Litt, the general counsel in the office of the Director of National Intelligence, said that the administration had developed and was fine-tuning what is now a 21-page draft set of procedures to permit the sharing. (Read more: New York Times, 2/25/2016

February 8, 2018 – Adam Schiff recruits two former National Security Council aides who worked with the hearsay whistleblower

Abigail Grace (l), Adam Schiff (c), Sean Misko (r) (Credit: The Washington Examiner)

“House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff recruited two former National Security Council aides who worked alongside the CIA whistleblower at the NSC during the Obama and Trump administrations, the Washington Examiner has learned.

Abigail Grace, who worked at the NSC until 2018was hired in February, while Sean Misko, an NSC aide until 2017, joined Schiff’s committee staff in August, the same month the whistleblower submitted his complaint.

(…) Grace, 36, was hired to help Schiff’s committee investigate the Trump White House. That month, Trump accused Schiff of “stealing people who work at White House.” Grace worked at the NSC from 2016 to 2018 in U.S.-China relations and then briefly at the Center for a New American Security think tank, which was founded by two former senior Obama administration officials.

A Schiff aide commented in February: “We have hired staff for a variety of positions, including the committee’s oversight work and its investigation. Although none of our staff has come directly from the White House, we have hired people with prior experience on the National Security Council staff for oversight of the agencies, and will continue to do so at our discretion.” Schiff himself said, “If the president is worried about our hiring any former administration people, maybe he should work on being a better employer.”

Misko, 37, worked in the Obama administration as a member of the secretary of state’s policy planning staff under deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan, who became Hillary Clinton’s top foreign policy official during her 2016 presidential campaign. In 2015, Misko was the director for the Gulf states at the NSC, remaining there into the Trump administration’s first year.

A source familiar with Grace’s work at the NSC told the Washington Examiner, “Abby Grace had access to executive privilege information, and she has a duty not to disclose that information. She is not authorized to reveal that information.”

The same source said that Misko had not been trusted by Trump appointees. “There were a few times where documents had been signed off for final editing before they go to the national security adviser for signature,” the source said. “And he actually went in and made changes after those changes were already finished. So he basically tried to insert, without his boss’ approval. (Read more: The Washington Examiner, 10/11/2019) (Archive)

December 2018 – Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler and Nancy Pelosi hire members from the Lawfare Group as staff members and House General Counsel

After the 2018 mid-terms, and in preparation for the “impeachment” strategy, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler hired Lawfare group members to become House committee staff.

Chairman Schiff hired former SDNY U.S. Attorney Daniel Goldman (link), and Chairman Nadler hired  Obama Administration lawyer Norm Eisen and criminal defense attorney Barry Berke (link).  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi then hired Douglas Letter as House General Counsel – all are within the Lawfare network.

Nancy Pelosi announces Douglas N. Letter to be the new General Counsel of the House of Representatives on December 28, 2018. (Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

After Goldman, Eisen, Berke and Letter were hired in late 2018, Pelosi then went about changing the Rules of the House in January ’19.  Few were paying attention until recently.

Barry Berke, left and Norm Eisen, right – pictured exiting the HSCI scif with Jerry Nadler on the same day Pelosi’s “Impeachment Inquiry” Resolution was released on October 29, 2019.

In the last month many people have surmised that Pelosi and Schiff moved to utilize the Ukraine/NSC impeachment angle *after* the Mueller angle for impeachment ran into trouble. However, CTH research (widely criticized in 2018) doesn’t reflect the Whistle-blower impeachment plan as an ‘add-on’.  Instead, what we see is the use of the HPSCI; and the use of embeds within National Security Council staff; by design.  The Schiff events of today were always part of a prior planned design.

Daniel Goldman (Credit: MSNBC)

Only two committees hired Lawfare staff in 2018: Judiciary (Eisen & Berke) and HPSCI (Goldman).  This evidences a 2018 plan to use the Judiciary and HPSCI for the impeachment process as designed by the Lawfare contractors.  This design is also outlined in the year of public advice from the mother-ship, Lawfare.

They impeachment crew always planned to use the House Intelligence Committee; and they always planned to use activated sleeper cells within the National Security Staff.  None of this is organic; none of this current action was contingent upon a Trump phone call.  The whistle-blower approach was always going to be used; the only issue was: ‘how’?

That sets the context for the slick moves by Pelosi and Schiff’s Lawfare team.  The contracted legal staff within House Intelligence Committee produced a House “Impeachment Inquiry” resolution to be voted on tomorrow.

By all appearances, the impeachment crew is following a legal strategy.  Leading with Nadler (Mueller) in the HJC was part of that forethought.  Berke and Eisen would then go after the Mueller evidence (grand jury, 6e material).   Whether Judge Beryl Howell was/is in-on-it; and whether the DOJ staff tanked the oral arguments on purpose; is up for debate… but the plan was always thus.

Once, Barry Berke and Norm Eisen gained Judicial impeachment validation from a federal judge, that’s where Chairman Schiff and Daniel Goldman come in.  Goldman is the Lawfare contractor leading the questioning and framing the House impeachment inquiry approach through the use of the HPSCI rules that are useful in their secrecy.

The primary point is: none of this process-flow is accidental.  There is a design evident in an activity that is only visible in hindsight.

Why does this matter?

Because if we can see the visible House plan; and if we accept the deliberate process it has taken to carry it out; then why would we assume there isn’t a similar plan for the Senate?” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, October 30, 2019)

January 20, 2017 – 2018: James Comey planted spies in the White House to keep an eye on President Trump

(…) “Two U.S. officials briefed on the inspector general’s investigation of possible FBI misconduct said Comey was essentially “running a covert operation against” the president, starting with a private “defensive briefing” he gave Trump just weeks before his inauguration. They said Horowitz has examined high-level FBI text messages and other communications indicating Comey was actually conducting a “counterintelligence assessment” of Trump during that meeting in New York.

Anthony Ferrante speaks at the International Conference on Cyber Security at Fordham College, August 2019. (Credit: Chris Taggart)

In addition to adding notes of his meetings and phone calls with Trump to the official FBI case file, Comey had an agent inside the White House who reported back to FBI headquarters about Trump and his aides, according to other officials familiar with the matter.

Although Comey took many actions on his own, he was not working in isolation. One focus of Horowitz’s inquiry is the private Jan. 6, 2017, briefing Comey gave the president-elect in New York about material in the Democratic-commissioned dossier compiled by ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. Reports of that meeting were used days later by BuzzFeed, CNN, and other outlets as a news hook for reporting on the dossier’s lascivious and unsubstantiated claims.

Comey’s meeting with Trump took place one day after the FBI director met in the Oval Office with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to discuss how to brief Trump — a meeting attended by National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who would soon go to work for CNN.

Jordan Rae Kelly and Robert Mueller (Credit: public domain)

At the same time Comey was personally scrutinizing the president during meetings in the White House and phone conversations from the FBI, he had an agent inside the White House working on the Russia investigation, where he reported back to FBI headquarters about Trump and his aides, according to officials familiar with the matter. The agent, Anthony Ferrante, who specialized in cybercrime, left the White House around the same time Comey was fired and soon joined a security consulting firm, where he contracted with BuzzFeed to lead the news site’s efforts to verify the Steele dossier, in connection with a defamation lawsuit.

Knowledgeable sources inside the Trump White House say Comey carved out an extraordinary new position for Ferrante, which allowed him to remain on reserve status at the FBI while working in the White House as a cybersecurity adviser.

“In an unprecedented action, Comey created a new FBI reserve position for Ferrante, enabling him to have an ongoing relationship with the agency, retaining his clearances and enabling him to come back in [to bureau headquarters],” said a former National Security Council official who requested anonymity.

“Between the election and April 2017, when Ferrante finally left the White House, the Trump NSC division supervisor was not allowed to get rid of Ferrante,” he added, “and Ferrante continued working — in direct conflict with the no-contact policy between the White House and the Department of Justice.”

Through a spokeswoman at FTI Consulting, which maintains the BuzzFeed contract, Ferrante declined to comment.

Another FBI official, Jordan Rae Kelly, who worked closely with Mueller when he headed the bureau, replaced Ferrante upon his White House exit (though she signed security logs for him to continue entering the White House as a visitor while he was working for BuzzFeed). Kelly left the White House last year and joined Ferrante at FTI Consulting.

Working with Comey liaison Ferrante at the NSC in early 2017 was another Obama holdover — Tashina Gauhar, who remains a top national security adviser at the Justice Department.

In January 2017, Gauhar assisted former acting Attorney General Sally Yates in the Flynn investigation. Later, she helped Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein resist, initially, Trump’s order to fire Comey. Gauhar also took copious notes during her meetings with White House lawyers, which were cited by Mueller in the section of his report dealing with obstruction of justice.” (Read more: RealClearInvestigations, 7/22/2019)

The White House holds a high-level security meeting to discuss reports that the Russian government hacked into the DNC computer network.

The meeting takes place only one day before WikiLeaks publicly releases almost 20,000 Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails. However, when the Washington Post reports on this meeting a few days later, it will give no indication if US intelligence knew of the leak in advance and thus discussed that in the meeting or not. According to the Post, “Officials from various intelligence and defense agencies, including the National Security Council, the Department of Defense, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security, attended the White House meeting…” (The Washington Post, 7/24/2016)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alexandra Chalupa (Credit: public domain)

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

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

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

November, 2015 – Former US Attorney: Susan Rice orders spy agencies to produce ‘detailed spreadsheets’ involving Trump

Ben Rhodes, right, speaks as Susan Rice listens during the White House Daily Briefing on March 21, 2014. (Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“Former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice ordered U.S. spy agencies to produce “detailed spreadsheets” of legal phone calls involving Donald Trump and his aides when he was running for president, according to former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova.

“What was produced by the intelligence community at the request of Ms. Rice were detailed spreadsheets of intercepted phone calls with unmasked Trump associates in perfectly legal conversations with individuals,” diGenova told The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group Monday.

“The overheard conversations involved no illegal activity by anybody of the Trump associates, or anyone they were speaking with,” diGenova said. “In short, the only apparent illegal activity was the unmasking of the people in the calls.”

Other official sources with direct knowledge and who requested anonymity confirmed to TheDCNF diGenova’s description of surveillance reports Rice ordered one year before the 2016 presidential election.

Also on Monday, Fox News and Bloomberg News, citing multiple sources reported that Rice had requested the intelligence information that was produced in a highly organized operation. Fox said the unmasked names of Trump aides were given to officials at the National Security Council (NSC), the Department of Defense, James Clapper, President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, and John Brennan, Obama’s CIA Director.

Joining Rice in the alleged White House operations was her deputy Ben Rhodes, according to Fox.

Critics of the atmosphere prevailing throughout the Obama administration’s last year in office point to former Obama Deputy Defense Secretary Evelyn Farkas who admitted in a March 2 television interview on MSNBC that she “was urging my former colleagues,” to “get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves the administration.”

Farkas sought to walk back her comments in the weeks following: “I didn’t give anybody anything except advice.” (Read more: Daily Caller, 4/03/2017)

On April 4, 2017, “former national security adviser Susan Rice told MSNBC on Tuesday that allegations she “unmasked” associates of Donald Trump for political reasons while she served in the Obama administration were “absolutely false.” (Read more: Business Insider, 4/04/2017)