October 2016

October 31, 2016 – David Corn writes the first article that quotes Christopher Steele about the Kremlin having compromising information about Trump

David Corn (Credit: MSNBC)

“On Friday, FBI Director James Comey set off a political blast when he informed congressional leaders that the bureau had stumbled across emails that might be pertinent to its completed inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s handling of emails when she was secretary of state. The Clinton campaign and others criticized Comey for intervening in a presidential campaign by breaking with Justice Department tradition and revealing information about an investigation—information that was vague and perhaps ultimately irrelevant—so close to Election Day. On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid upped the ante. He sent Comey a fiery letter saying the FBI chief may have broken the law and pointed to a potentially greater controversy: “In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government…The public has a right to know this information.”

Reid’s missive set off a burst of speculation on Twitter and elsewhere. What was he referring to regarding the Republican presidential nominee? At the end of August, Reid had written to Comey and demanded an investigation of the “connections between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign,” and in that letter he indirectly referred to Carter Page, an American businessman cited by Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers, who had financial ties to Russia and had recently visited Moscow. Last month, Yahoo News reported that US intelligence officials were probing the links between Page and senior Russian officials. (Page has called accusations against him “garbage.”) On Monday, NBC News reported that the FBI has mounted a preliminary inquiry into the foreign business ties of Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chief. But Reid’s recent note hinted at more than the Page or Manafort affairs. And a former senior intelligence officer for a Western country who specialized in Russian counterintelligence tells Mother Jones that in recent months he provided the bureau with memos, based on his recent interactions with Russian sources, contending the Russian government has for years tried to co-opt and assist Trump—and that the FBI requested more information from him.

Does this mean the FBI is investigating whether Russian intelligence has attempted to develop a secret relationship with Trump or cultivate him as an asset? Was the former intelligence officer and his material deemed credible or not? An FBI spokeswoman says, “Normally, we don’t talk about whether we are investigating anything.” But a senior US government official not involved in this case but familiar with the former spy tells Mother Jones that he has been a credible source with a proven record of providing reliable, sensitive, and important information to the US government.

In June, the former Western intelligence officer—who spent almost two decades on Russian intelligence matters and who now works with a US firm that gathers information on Russia for corporate clients—was assigned the task of researching Trump’s dealings in Russia and elsewhere, according to the former spy and his associates in this American firm. This was for an opposition research project originally financed by a Republican client critical of the celebrity mogul. (Before the former spy was retained, the project’s financing switched to a client allied with Democrats.) “It started off as a fairly general inquiry,” says the former spook, who asks not to be identified. But when he dug into Trump, he notes, he came across troubling information indicating connections between Trump and the Russian government. According to his sources, he says, “there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit.” (Read more: Mother Jones, 10/31/2016)

October 31, 2016 – Clinton and Podesta tweets suggest foreknowledge of a Slate article, stating Trump is covertly communicating with Russia, just days before the election

Within days of the 2016 election, Clinton campaign manager, John Podesta, posts a tweet on October 31st, 2016 at 4:44 PM, and includes a link to an article by Slate:

However, the article wasn’t published at the time of Podesta’s tweet. The Slate article is published at 5:36 PM on October 31, 2016, an hour after Podesta’s tweet.

At the exact same time Slate’s article is published, Clinton tweets with an attached statement about the Slate article by Jake Sullivan who writes, “in response to a new report from Slate showing that the Trump organization has a secret server registered to Trump Tower that has been covertly communicating with Russia.”

How is it possible that Podesta and Clinton’s tweets and an attached written statement by Jake Sullivan, could quote the Slate article that was not yet public?

Ironically, on the same day, the New York Times publishes a story that debunks the Alfa Bank/Trump/covert Russia communications conspiracy.

(…) “F.B.I. officials spent weeks examining computer data showing an odd stream of activity to a Trump Organization server and Alfa Bank. Computer logs obtained by The New York Times show that two servers at Alfa Bank sent more than 2,700 “look-up” messages — a first step for one system’s computers to talk to another — to a Trump-connected server beginning in the spring. But the F.B.I. ultimately concluded that there could be an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam, for the computer contacts.” (The New York Times, 10/31/2016)

October 28, 2016 – Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall, emails Baker requesting a call “ASAP” about the Comey letter

Clinton attorney David Kendall (l), enters the hearing room with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a House hearing of the Select Committee on Benghazi, on Thursday, October 22, 2015. (Credit: Mike Sacks/The National Law Journal)

“On October 28, 2016, the day that Comey sent a letter to Congress regarding the FBI’s discovery that the Weiner laptop contained Clinton’s emails. Hillary Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall, within hours, email’s Baker requesting a call “ASAP” about the Comey letter. Baker describes his follow-up call to senior FBI officials:

“I received the email below from David Kendall and I called him back. Before doing so I alerted DOJ via email that I would do that.

[Redacted paragraph]

He said that our letter was “tantalizingly ambiguous” and made statements that were “inchoate and highly ominous” such that what we had done was worse than transparency because it allows people to make whatever they want out to make out of the letter to the prejudice of Secretary Clinton.

I told him that I could not respond to his requests at this time but that I would discuss it with others and get back to him.

I suggest that we have some kind of follow up meeting or phone call with this group either this evening or over the weekend to address this and probably other issues/questions that come up in the next 24 hours. Sound reasonable?”

Baker’s heads up on the Kendall call was sent to:

The emails show that a conference call for the above senior officials was set up for the next day by Peter Strzok. (Two days before the election, on November 6, Comey sent a second letter reporting that the FBI’s review of the Weiner laptop material would not change his “conclusion” that Hillary Clinton should not be prosecuted.) (Judicial Watch, 2/11/2019)

October 27, 2016 – Strzok’s ‘fingerprints’ are on Comey’s notification to Congress about the Weiner laptop

“We have added two new pieces to the giant jigsaw puzzle showing the effort to undermine President Trump. They show more of the workings of the disgraced former FBI Director James Comey and fired FBI official Peter Strzok.

We have released 424 pages of FBI records, including an email revealing that Strzok created the initial draft of the October 2016 letter Comey sent to Congress notifying lawmakers of the discovery of Hillary Clinton emails on the laptop of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner.

Another email suggests that the FBI had not yet completed its review of Clinton’s emails by the time Comey sent a second letter to Congress on November 6, 2016, reconfirming his belief that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be charged with a crime.”

(…) “The documents reveal that on October 27, 2016, Peter Strzok emailed other senior FBI officials a draft notice letter from Comey to Congress about the Weiner laptop discovery and the reopening of the Clinton investigation. The emails indicated that Strzok and another official Jon (Last Name Unknown) authored the notification to Congress. The notification, according the DOJ IG, came a full month after the emails were discovered by the FBI on the Weiner laptop.

 

According to the documents, at 11:04 pm on Saturday, November 5, 2016, FBI Chief of Staff James Rybicki sent Comey an email containing a redacted draft document which he referred to as a “New Proposal” saying: “Folks, Per our 10:00 pm conversation, below is a revised straw man for discussion. Again, we could use this if the review when completed supports our conclusions. My comments again in ALL CAPS and bold italics.”

Rybicki’s “New Proposal … straw man” apparently refers to a draft of Comey’s letter to Congress concerning the FBI’s review of the 650,000 Clinton emails found on Weiner’s laptop. At the time of the Rybicki email, Comey was preparing his letter informing Congress of the FBI’s findings, and according to page 390 of the June 2018 report from the DOJ Office of the Inspector General, the deliberations regarding the letter began on the afternoon of November 3 and concluded “very early on November 6.”

 

 

Despite Rybicki’s email suggesting late on November 5 that the review of the new emails had not been completed, Comey’s November 6 letter to Congress stated, “[W]e reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State. Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.”

Comey’s “conclusions” in July were that no charges should be filed against Clinton, despite her repeatedly having sent classified information over her unsecured, non-State-Department server. Comey later admitted that he had drafted his July exoneration more than a month earlier.

 

RealClearInvestigations’ reporter Paul Sperry recently reported that “only 3,077 of the 694,000 emails [found on the Weiner laptop] were directly reviewed for classified or incriminating information. Three FBI officials completed that work in a single 12-hour spurt the day before Comey again cleared Clinton of criminal charges.”

These new documents provide more details of the corrupt and dishonest FBI investigation of the incredible revelations that Clinton’s classified and other emails were present on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. When will the Sessions DOJ and Wray FBI finally begin an honest investigation of Hillary Clinton’s national security crimes?” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 9/07/2018)

October 26, 2016 – McCabe and other NY FBI officials “got ripped” by Loretta Lynch in a conference call about leaks re Eric Garner

The DOJ OIG report on Andrew McCabe released in February, 2018, describes the following:

McCabe told the OIG that during the October 2016 time frame, it was his “perception that there was a lot of information coming out of likely the [FBI’s] New York Field Office” that was ending up in the news. McCabe told the OIG that he “had some heated back-and-forths” with the New York Assistant Director in Charge (“NY-ADIC”) over the issue of media leaks.

A print version of the article was published in the WSJ on Monday, October 24, 2016.

(…) On October 26, 2016, McCabe and NY-ADIC participated in what McCabe described as “a hastily convened conference call with the Attorney General who delivered the same message to us” about leaks, with specific focus being on leaks regarding the high-profile investigation by FBI’s New York Field Office into the death of Eric Garner. McCabe told us that he “never heard her use more forceful language.” NY-ADIC confirmed that the participants got “ripped by the AG on leaks.”

According to NY-ADIC’s testimony and an e-mail he sent to himself on October 31, McCabe indicated to NY-ADIC and a then-FBI Executive Assistant Director (“EAD”) in a conversation after Attorney General Lynch disconnected from the call that McCabe was recusing himself from the CF Investigation. According to NY-ADIC’s e-mail, McCabe told them “he may make a more formal decision at a later time.” NY-ADIC stated during his OIG interview: “I think [McCabe] couched it as like, hey, this is not final . . . I don’t know, I think he says he still has to talk about it.” NY-ADIC stated that he clarified with McCabe that unless McCabe told him otherwise, NY-ADIC would begin reporting to EAD on the CF Investigation.

McCabe, however, told the OIG that he did not recall such a conversation. He said, “I suppose it’s possible that I may have referred to the concept if that was being discussed generally at the time. But I would not have said to [NY-ADIC], like, I’m thinking about recusing.” (DOJ OIG Report, February, 2018)

October 24, 2016 – Clinton Foundation Corruption | Charles Ortel and Stefan Molyneux

“Hillary Clinton likes to claim that the Clinton Foundation has given away ninety percent of money received to charity and is highly rated by charity research companies – but both claims are misleading at best or disturbingly false at worst. Charles Ortel joins Stefan Molyneux to discuss the arguments and evidence which show the fraud and illegality of the Clinton Foundation operations including the pillaging of Haiti and the new revelations brought about through Wikileaks. Charles Ortel is an investor and writer who graduated from Horace Mann School, Yale College and Harvard Business School. Mr. Ortel has been one of the leading voices in exposing the corruptions of the Clinton Foundation.”

October 26, 2016 – The DoJ in D.C. announces it is launching a civil rights probe into Eric Garner’s death

“The federal investigation into the death of Eric Garner is under new scrutiny two years after the Department of Justice announced that it was launching a civil rights probe.

The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C., is reviewing the case, according to sources familiar with the investigation. The case has been primarily handled by the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, New York.

“This is kind of like doing due diligence on the investigation,” said Richard Frankel, an ABC contributor and former FBI agent who oversaw the federal Garner investigation when the feds first came in.

Garner died on July 17, 2014, after being placed in a chokehold by Officer David Pantaleo during an arrest for selling un-taxed cigarettes in New York City.

(…) Pantaleo’s attorney, Stuart London, told ABC News that the DOJ should accept the recommendation not to indict Pantaleo “rather than impair the integrity of the investigation by allowing politics to replace the rule of law.”

“This matter has been thoroughly investigated by a state grand jury as well as experienced FBI agents and assistant U.S. attorneys. The recommendation is apparently that there was no civil rights violation. It is unprecedented to continue shopping for new FBI agents who support a predetermined result,” he said in a statement.” (Read more: ABC News, 10/26/2016)

October 24, 2016 – Former State Department IT official, John Bentel, pleads the Fifth Amendment more than 90 times in his deposition

John Bentel (Credit: public domain)

“A former State Department IT aide invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and refused to answer more than 90 questions Monday during the final deposition in a lawsuit over Hillary Clinton’s private emails.

John Bentel, former Director of Information Resource Management of the executive secretariat, would not answer questions about whether the Clintons had paid his legal fees or offered him financial incentives, according to Judicial Watch, the conservative-leaning group that brought the suit.

A federal judge in August ordered Bentel to testify under oath because “the record, in this case, appears to contradict his sworn testimony before the Benghazi Committee.”

Bentel told the House Select Committee on Benghazi in June 2015 that he had no knowledge of Clinton’s private email server.

However, the State Department inspector general later discovered that Bentel “told employees in his office that Secretary Clinton’s email arrangement had been approved by the State Department’s legal staff and also instructed his subordinates not to discuss the Secretary’s email again,” according to the court order.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 10/24/2016)  (Archive)

October 21, 2016 – An unusual intervention is made by McCabe and Yates with Carter Page’s FISA Application

(…) “Trisha Anderson, the principal deputy general counsel for the FBI and head of the bureau’s National Security and Cyber Law Branch, approved the application for a warrant to spy on Page before it went to FBI Director James Comey. During her Aug. 31 testimony, she described the FISA application process as being a linear path and noted there is a specific “system called FISAMS within the Bureau that tracks in a linear fashion all the approvals on a FISA.”

Andrew McCabe and Sally Yates (Credit: The Associated Press and ABC News)

Yet, despite the rigid description provided by Baker and Anderson, it appears the linearity process was not adhered to in the case of the Page FISA. According to Anderson, pre-approvals for the Page FISA were provided by both McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, before the FISA application was ever presented to her for review.

“[M]y boss and my boss’ boss had already reviewed and approved this application. And, in fact, the Deputy Attorney General, who had the authority to sign the application, to be the substantive approver on the FISA application itself, had approved the application.  And that typically would not have been the case before I did that,” said Anderson.

Anderson told investigators that the Page FISA “was handled a little bit differently in that sense, in that it received very high-level review and approvals — informal, oral approvals — before it ever came to me for signature.”

The unusual preliminary review and approval from both McCabe and Yates appear to have had a substantial impact on the normal review process, leading other individuals like Anderson to believe that the Page FISA was more vetted than, perhaps, it really was. It is not known why McCabe and Yates both chose to insert themselves at an early stage into the Page FISA process.” (Read more: Epoch Times, 2/11/2019)

October 21, 2016 – The FBI likely withheld exculpatory evidence in their Carter Page FISA court application

George Papadopoulos (l), Stefan Halper (c) and Carter Page. (Credit: public domain)

(…) “Page and Papadopoulos, who barely knew each other, met separately in August and September 2016 with Stefan Halper, the American-born Cambridge University professor who, the FBI told Congress, worked as an undercover informer in the Russia case.

Papadopoulos was the young aide that the FBI used to justify opening a probe into the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016, after he allegedly told a foreign diplomat that he knew Russia possessed incriminating emails about Hillary Clinton.

Page, a volunteer campaign adviser, was the American the FBI then targeted on Oct. 21, 2016, for secret surveillance while investigating Democratic Party-funded allegations that he secretly might have coordinated Russia’s election efforts with the Trump campaign during a trip to Moscow.

To appreciate the significance of the two men’s interactions with Halper, one must understand the rules governing the FBI when it seeks a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant such as the one secured against Page.

First, the FBI must present evidence to FISA judges that it has verified and that comes from intelligence sources deemed reliable. Second, it must disclose any information that calls into question the credibility of its sources. Finally, it must disclose any evidence suggesting the innocence of its investigative targets.

Thanks to prior releases of information, we know the FBI fell short on the first two counts. Multiple FBI officials have testified that the Christopher Steele dossier had not been verified when its allegations were submitted as primary evidence supporting the FISA warrant against Page.

Likewise, we know the FBI failed to tell the courts that Steele admitted to a federal official that he was desperate to defeat Trump in the 2016 election and was being paid by Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to gather dirt on the GOP candidate. Both pieces of information are the sort of credibility-defining details that should be disclosed about a source.” (Read more: The Hill, 3/14/2019)