Oleg Deripaska

May 9, 2019 – Who Were the Mueller Report’s Hired Guns?

By: Paul Sperry, RealClearInvestigations

“Special Counsel Robert Mueller spent more than $732,000 on outside contractors, including private investigators and researchers, records show, but his office refuses to say who they were. While it’s not unusual for special government offices to outsource for services such as computer support, Mueller also hired contractors to compile “investigative reports” and other “information.”

The arrangement has led congressional investigators, government watchdog groups and others to speculate that the private investigators and researchers who worked for the special counsel’s office might have included Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS, the private research firm that hired Steele to produce the Russia collusion dossier for the Clinton campaign.

Robert Mueller arriving at the office: His report recycles dossier dirt. (Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press)

They suspect the dossier creators may have been involved in Mueller’s operation – and even had a hand in his final report – because the special counsel sent his team to London to meet with Steele within a few months of taking over the Russia collusion investigation in 2017. Also, Mueller’s lead prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, had shared information he received from Fusion with the media.

Raising additional suspicions, Mueller’s report recycles the general allegations leveled in the dossier. And taking a page from earlier surveillance-warrant applications in the Russia investigation, it cites as supporting evidence several articles – including one by Yahoo! News – that used Steele and Fusion as sources.

Mueller even kept alive one of the dossier’s most obscene accusations – that Moscow had “compromising tapes” of Trump with Russian hookers – by slipping into a footnote an October 2016 text Trump lawyer Michael Cohen received from a “Russian businessman,” who cryptically intimated, “Stopped flow of tapes from Russia.” Lawyers for the businessman, Giorgi Rtskhiladze (who is actually a Georgian-American), are demanding a retraction of the footnote, arguing Mueller omitted the part of his text where he said he did not believe the rumor about the tapes, for which no evidence has ever surfaced.

Mueller’s reliance on the Steele dossier is raising questions because it occurred long after FBI Director James B. Comey described the dossier as “salacious and unverified.”

U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said the report should be renamed “The Mueller Dossier,” because he says it contains a lot of similar innuendo. Even though Mueller failed to corroborate key allegations leveled in the dossier, Nunes said his report twists key facts to put a collusion gloss on events. He also asserted that it selectively quotes from Trump campaign emails and omits exculpatory information in ways that cast the campaign’s activities in the most sinister light.

A detail from the website of Steele’s private London firm, Orbis Business Intelligence.

Steele’s 17-memo dossier alleged that the Trump campaign was involved in “a well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” with the Russian government to rig the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor. It claimed this conspiracy “was managed on the Trump side by Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, who was using foreign policy adviser Carter Page and others as intermediaries.” Specifically, the dossier accused Page of secretly meeting with Kremlin officials in July 2016 to hatch a plot to release dirt on Hillary Clinton. And it accused Manafort of being corrupted by Russian President Vladimir Putin through his puppets in the Ukraine.

Likewise, Mueller’s report focuses on Manafort and Page and whether they “committed crimes by colluding with Russian government officials with respect to the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.”

Though the investigation did not establish that Page coordinated with the Russian government, the Mueller report implies there may be a kernel of truth to the dossier’s charges.

“In July 2016, Campaign foreign policy advisor Carter Page traveled in his personal capacity to Moscow and gave the keynote address at the New Economic School,” according to the section on him. “Page had lived and worked in Russia between 2003 and 2007. After returning to the United States, Page became acquainted with at least two Russian intelligence officers, one of whom was later charged in 2015 with conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of Russia.”

Carter Page at a news conference  in Moscow in 2016. (Credit: Pavel Golovkin/The Associated Press)

Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, heads to a news conference at RIA Novosti news agency in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Page said he was in Moscow on a visit to meet with businessmen and politicians.

Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow and his advocacy for pro-Russian foreign policy drew media attention,” Mueller’s narrative continued. “July 2016 was also the month WikiLeaks first released emails stolen by the GRU [Russian intelligence] from the DNC.”

“Page acknowledged that he understood that the individuals he has associated with were members of the Russian intelligence services,” the report added, implying that Page in the 2015 case (referenced above) knowingly cavorted with Russian spies, which echoes charges Steele made in his dossier.

But federal court records make it clear that Page did not know that those men were Russian agents.

Mueller also left out of his report a detail RealClearInvestigations has previously reported: that Page was a cooperating witness in the case in question, helping the FBI eventually put a Russian agent behind bars in 2016. Nor did Mueller see fit to include in his report another exculpatory detail revealed in agent Gregory Mohaghan’s complaint and reported earlier by RCI — namely, that the Russians privately referred to Page as “an idiot” who was unworthy of recruitment.

Excluding such details is curious, given that the Mueller report quotes from the same FBI complaint and cites it in its footnotes. Similarly, in its section dealing with Manafort, the Mueller report echoes the dossier’s claims that the Trump campaign chairman was in cahoots with the Kremlin, even though Mueller never charged him with  conspiring to collude with Russia.

A 2006 photo of Konstantin Kilimnik, a longtime employee of Paul Manafort who ran the Ukraine office of his lobbying firm. The Mueller report suggests he was one of Manafort’s Kremlin handlers. (Credit: The Associated Press)

The special prosecutor’s report indicated that one of Manafort’s Kremlin handlers was Konstantin Kilimnik.

“Manafort briefed Kilimnik on the state of the Trump Campaign and Manafort’s plan to win the election,” it said. “That briefing encompassed the Campaign’s messaging and its internal polling data. It also included discussion of ‘battleground’ states, which Manafort identified as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.”

Except that this wouldn’t have been an unusual conversation: Kilimnik was a longtime Manafort employee who ran the Ukraine office of his lobbying firm. Footnotes in Mueller’s report show that Manafort shared campaign information to impress a former business partner, Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who was suing him over financial losses. Mueller failed to tie the information exchange to Russian espionage. He also failed to mention that Deripaska is an FBI informant.

Mueller’s team worked closely with dossier author Steele, a long-retired British intelligence officer who worked for the Clinton campaign. Mueller’s investigators went to London to consult with Steele for at least two days in September 2017 while apparently using his dossier as an investigative road map and central theory to his collusion case. Steele now runs a private research and consulting firm in London, Orbis Business Intelligence.

It’s not clear if Mueller’s office paid Steele, but recently released FBI records show the bureau previously made a number of payments to him, and at one point during the 2016 campaign offered him $50,000 to continue his dossier research. Steele was also paid through the Clinton campaign, earning $168,000 for his work on the dossier.

Paul Manafort at court last year with wife Kathleen. (Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press)

Expenditure statements show that the Special Counsel’s Office outsourced “investigative reports” and “information” to third-party contractors during Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian “collusion” during the 2016 presidential election.

Over the past few months, Mueller’s office has rejected several formal requests from RealClearInvestigations for contract details, including who was hired and how much they were paid.

Washington-based Judicial Watch suspects Mueller’s office may have farmed out work to the private Washington research firm Fusion GPS or its subcontractor Steele, both of whom were paid by the Clinton camp during the 2016 presidential election. Several law enforcement and Hill sources who spoke with RCI also believe Steele and Fusion GPS were deputized in the investigation.

The government watchdog group has requested that the Justice Department turn over the contracting records, along with all budget requests Mueller submitted to the attorney general during his nearly two-year investigation. It’s also requested all communications between the Special Counsel’s Office and the private contractors it used.

A Judicial Watch spokesman said its Freedom of Information Act request is pending.

Glenn Simpson (Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/The Associated Press)

Special counsel spokesman Peter Carr declined comment when asked specifically if Mueller’s team hired or collaborated with Fusion GPS or any of its subcontractors. Mueller took over the FBI’s Russia probe in May 2017, whereupon he hired many of the agents who handled Steele and pored over his dossier.

For the first reporting period ending Sept. 30, 2017, and covering just four months, the Special Counsel’s Office reported paying $867 to unnamed contractors for “investigative reports/information,” along with $3,554 in “miscellaneous” payments to contractors.

In the next reporting period ending March 31, 2018, the office stopped breaking out investigative reports and information as a separate line item, lumping such contractual services under the category “Other,” which accounted for a total of $10,812, or more than 4% of the total spending on outside contracts.

For the six months ending Dona – the latest reporting period for which there is data – Mueller’s office showed a total of $310,732 in payments to outside contractors. For the first time, it did not break out such expenses into subcategories, though it noted that the lion’s share of the $310,000 was spent on “IT services.”

Mueller concluded his investigation and delivered his final report in March. The next expenditure report, for the period October 2018-March 2019, will cover contract work directly tied to compiling the report.

Asked if the contracting details were classified, Carr demurred. If the information is not deemed classified, it must be made public, Judicial Watch maintains.

Republican critics on the Hill say Mueller’s written narrative was slanted to give the impression there still might be something to the dossier’s most salacious allegations, even though Mueller found no evidence corroborating them or establishing that Trump or his campaign coordinated or cooperated with Russian meddling in the election.

“Whoever wrote the report leaves you with the idea there’s still something to all the allegations of collusion that were first promoted by the dossier,” said a witness who was interviewed by Mueller’s investigators late in the probe and is referenced in the report.

Donald Trump Jr., right, with his father: The Mueller report gives the miss-impression that the president’s oldest son was collaborating with WikiLeaks. (Credit: Evan Vucci/The Associated Press)

In a section on Donald Trump Jr., moreover, the report gives the misimpression that the president’s oldest son was collaborating with WikiLeaks on the release of the Clinton campaign emails.

“Donald Trump Jr. had direct electronic communications with WikiLeaks during the campaign period,” it stated.

In fact, Trump got an unsolicited message through his Twitter account from WikiLeaks. He described the outreach as “weird” in an email to senior Trump campaign staff at the time. Other contemporaneous messages make it clear he had no advance knowledge about any Clinton emails released by WikiLeaks.

The FBI first began receiving memos from Steele’s dossier in early July 2016 and used the documents as the foJeundation for its October 2016 application for a warrant to wiretap the private communications of Page. These milestones are missing from the Mueller report’s chronology of events. In fact, neither Steele nor his dossier is mentioned by name anywhere in the first half of the report dealing with collusion, though their allegations are hashed out.

Some Mueller critics are focused on the role played by his top prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, a Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter with longstanding ties to Steele and Fusion GPS.

Andrew Weissmann, now a senior fellow at NYU Law. (Credit: NYU Law)

“Weissman had a lot to do with the way the report was written,” said author Jerome Corsi, who, as a friend of Trump confidant Roger Stone, was targeted by Mueller. “That’s why it’s basically a political document.”

Corsi said he spent more than 40 hours with Mueller’s prosecutors and investigators, who grilled him about possible ties to WikiLeaks but never charged him with a crime.

Formerly a top Justice Department official under Obama, Weissmann not only donated to Clinton’s presidential campaign but also attended her election-night party in New York City in November 2016. Three months earlier, he was briefed on Steele’s dossier and other dirt provided by the Clinton contractor and paid FBI informant. In early 2017, Weissmann helped advance the Russia collusion narrative by personally sharing Steele’s and Fusion’s dirt on Trump and his advisers with Washington reporters.

In an April 2017 meeting he arranged at his office, Weissmann gave guidance to four Associated Press reporters who were investigating Manafort, according to internal FBI  documents.

Among other things, they discussed rumors that Manafort used “some of the money from shell companies to buy expensive suits.” A month later, Weissmann became the lead prosecutor handling the Manafort case for Mueller. His February 2018 indictment of Manafort highlights, among other things, the Trump adviser’s taste for expensive suits.

Attempts to reach Weissmann for comment were unsuccessful.

Edward Baumgartner: worked for Fusion GPS
Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. (Credit: YouTube screen grab)

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said there are signs Mueller may have hired “researchers” like Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, who worked with Steele on the dossier, along with Edward Baumgartner and Nellie Ohr, who have worked for Fusion GPS, which originally hired Steele in June 2016 after contracting with the Clinton campaign.

“I ran into Glenn at the 2017 Aspen Security [Forum], and I distinctly remember him leaning in and claiming he was working for the government,” said one associate, who wished to remain anonymous.

Congressional investigators say Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, has been feeding Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate investigative tips regarding Trump and his associates, including Manafort.

In 2017, for instance, he urged Democrats specifically to look into the bank records of Deutsche Bank, which has financed some of Trump’s businesses, because he suspected some of the funding may have been laundered through Russia.

Around the time Simpson began coordinating with Democratic investigators looking into Trump’s bank records, Mueller subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for financial records for Manafort and other individuals affiliated with Trump.

Simpson did not return calls and emails seeking comment.

Founded by the journalist-turned-opposition researcher, Fusion has rehired Steele to continue his anti-Trump work with millions of dollars in left-wing funding from The Democracy Integrity Project, a Washington-based nonprofit started in 2017 by former FBI analyst Daniel Jones, who also worked for Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

In March 2017, Jones met with FBI agents to provide them data he collected from IT specialists he hired to analyze web traffic between servers maintained by the Trump Organization and a Russian bank mentioned in the dossier. The traffic turned out to be innocuous marketing emails, or spam. (RealClearInvestigations, 5/09/2019)

(This and all other original articles created by RealClearInvestigations may be republished for free with attribution. These terms do not apply to outside articles linked on the site.)

December 2, 2018 – Senator Mark Warner says the Senate Intel Committee is ‘working closely’ with Robert Mueller

“Today on Face The Nation Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) Vice-Chairman Mark Warner describes how his committee is working with Robert Mueller; including: (a) several criminal referrals (Cohen was one); and (b) the sharing of congressional transcripts so Mueller (the team, not the person) can cross reference statements given to him with testimony given to the SSCI.

Tell me again how letting SSCI Security Director, James Wolfe, off the hook for leaking classified intelligence to the media, including the Carter Page FISA application, was not to cover for SSCI members instructing Mr. Wolfe to carry out those leaks.

For several years, and with increased urgency at each discovery/admission, CTH has been highlighting how the SSCI was part of the 2015, 2016, 2017 plan to eliminate Donald Trump (Spygate), and later remove President Trump (insurance policy).

The most recent series of events by Robert Mueller is a quid-pro-quo to cover for the SSCI involvement. This is not confirmational bias against the SSCI; this is factual evidence of the SSCI’s corruption. Please understand the basic issue here. The SSCI is complicit with the overall scheme – and Robert Mueller, via a plan of mutual benefit and coordination, is trying to protect that from surfacing.

(…) “Remember, those SSCI Senators (Vice-Chair Mark Warner, Dianne Feinstein and senior staffer Dan Jones etc.) were coordinating with Fusion GPS and the Clinton campaign allies; and were direct participants in “Spygate” and the insurance policy known as the special counsel.

This is one of the reasons why it is likely, damned near certain, that senior SSCI senators instructed James Wolfe to leak information, including the March 17th copy of the Carter Page FISA application, and that is why Rosenstein and Mueller let James Wolfe plea to a much lesser one-count crime of lying.

Remember when SSCI senator Dianne Feinstein released the transcript of Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson’s testimony so that all of downstream participants could coordinate their stories? Oh, how quickly we forget.

It is near certain that Feinstein gave up her Senate Intelligence Vice-Chair position following the 2016 presidential election because there was an inherent political risk for any intelligence-oversight Democrat in relation to the FBI’s Trump operation, “spygate”. Feinstein’s staffer, Dan Jones, then paid Fusion-GPS $50 million to continue the efforts.

Remember Oleg Deripaska’s lawyer/lobbyist Adam Waldman having secret text messages with new SSCI Vice-Chairman Mark Warner relaying communication from Christopher Steele that Senator Warner wanted to keep quiet?

Adam Waldman texting Senator Warner about Chris Steele and outlining how Feinstein’s former senior staffer Dan Jones was coming to see him.

(link)

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is as corrupt and complicit within the entire Spygate fiasco as the DOJ and FBI. That’s why Mueller and Rosenstein (small group) are working to protect the Senators and staff just like they protect the corrupt officials in the DOJ and FBI. Mueller’s entire operation is structured around this type of scheming cover-up.

This is Deep State (via Mueller/Rosenstein) fighting President Trump; and trying to blunt the declassification weapon he holds. Nothing more.

(Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 12/03/2018)

May 14, 2018 – Mueller may have a conflict — and it leads directly to a Russian oligarch

Oleg Deripaska (Credit: Bildrechte/dpa)

“In 2009, when Mueller ran the FBI, the bureau asked Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska to spend millions of his own dollars funding an FBI-supervised operation to rescue a retired FBI agent, Robert Levinson, captured in Iran while working for the CIA in 2007.”

(…) “Deripaska’s efforts came very close to success,” said David McGee, a former federal prosecutor who represents Levinson’s family. “We were told at one point that the terms of Levinson’s release had been agreed to by Iran and the U.S. and included a statement by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointing a finger away from Iran. At the last minute, Secretary Clinton decided not to make the agreed-on statement.”

(…) “The FBI had three reasons for choosing Deripaska for a mission worthy of a spy novel. First, his aluminum empire had business in Iran. Second, the FBI wanted a foreigner to fund the operation because spending money in Iran might violate U.S. sanctions and other laws. Third, agents knew Deripaska had been banished since 2006 from the United States by State over reports he had ties to organized crime and other nefarious activities. He denies the allegations, and nothing was ever proven in court.

The FBI rewarded Deripaska for his help. In fall 2009, according to U.S. entry records, Deripaska visited Washington on a rare law enforcement parole visa. And since 2011, he has been granted entry at least eight times on a diplomatic passport, even though he doesn’t work for the Russian Foreign Ministry.”

(…) “Mueller’s indictment of Manafort makes no mention of Deripaska, even though prosecutors have evidence that Manafort contemplated inviting his old Russian client for a 2016 Trump campaign briefing. Deripaska said he never got the invite and investigators have found no evidence it occurred. There’s no public evidence Deripaska had anything to do with election meddling.”

(…) “Two months before Trump was elected president, Deripaska was in New York as part of Russia’s United Nations delegation when three FBI agents awakened him in his home; at least one agent had worked with Deripaska on the aborted effort to rescue Levinson. During an hour-long visit, the agents posited a theory that Trump’s campaign was secretly colluding with Russia to hijack the U.S. election.

Deripaska laughed but realized, despite the joviality, that they were serious,” the lawyer said. “So he told them in his informed opinion the idea they were proposing was false. ‘You are trying to create something out of nothing,’ he told them.” The agents left though the FBI sought more information in 2017 from the Russian, sources tell me. Waldman declined to say if Deripaska has been in contact with the FBI since Sept, 2016.” (Read more: The Hill, 5/14/2018)

April 25, 2017 – May 15, 2017: Mark Warner, Chris Steele’s lawyer/lobbyist, Adam Waldman, and the importance of Dan Jones

When Dianne Feinstein stepped down as Vice-Chair from the Senate Intel Committee after the 2016 election, it was Senator Mark Warner who took her place.  This puts Warner on the Gang-of-Eight in 2017.  Coincidentally, the Gang-of-Eight conduct all oversight over DOJ and FBI covert and counterintelligence operations…. including those covert actions that took place in 2016.

(Text Messages Between Feinstein’s replacement, Mark Warner, and Chris Steele’s lawyer/lobbyist, Adam Waldman, noting the importance of Dan Jones)

Senator Mark Warner was also the guy caught text messaging with DC Lawyer Adam Waldman in the spring of 2017 (his first assignment).   Waldman was the lawyer for the interests of Christopher Steele – the claimed “author” of the dossier.

While he was working as an intermediary putting Senator Warner and Christopher Steele in contact with each-other.  Simultaneously Adam Waldman was also representing the interests of…wait for it…Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

Derispaska was the Russian person approached by Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok and asked to assist in creating dirt on the Trump campaign, via Paul Manafort.

You see, Senator Mark Warner has a vested interest in making sure that no-one ever gets to the bottom of the 2016 political weaponization, spying and surveillance operation.

Senator Mark Warner was a participant in the execution of the “insurance policy” trying to remove President Trump via the Russian Collusion narrative.

Senator Feinstein’s 2016 senior staffer (with Gang-of-Eight security clearance) was Dan Jones.  It was revealed that Dan Jones contracted with Christopher Steele to continue work on the Russia conspiracy narrative after the 2016 election, and raised over $50 million toward the ideological goals of removing President Trump. {See Here}

Staffer Dan Jones surfaces in the text messages from Feinstein’s replacement on the Gang-of-Eight, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman, Mark Warner {See Here}

Senator Warner was texting with Adam Waldman about setting up a meeting with Chris Steele.  Waldman is a lobbyist/lawyer with a $40,000 monthly retainer to represent the U.S. interests of Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

Senator Mark Warner was trying to set up a covert meeting.  In the text messages Adam Waldman is telling Senator Warner that Chris Steele will not meet with him without a written letter (request) from the Senate Intelligence Committee.  Senator Warner didn’t want the Republican members to know about the meeting.  Chris Steele knew this was a partisan political set-up and was refusing to meet unilaterally with Senator Warner.   His lawyer Adam Waldman was playing the go-between:

That “Dan Jones”, mentioned above, talking with Chris Steele and told to go to see Senator Warner, is the former senate staffer Dan Jones, who was previously attached to Dianne Feinstein.

Simultaneously, while working to connect Senator Warner to Christopher Steele, Adam Waldman is representing Oleg Deripaska:

(Source Link) 

Oleg Deripaska was a source of intelligence information within the John Brennan intelligence community efforts throughout 2016. This is the same intersection of  characters that circle around CIA/FBI intelligence asset Stefan Halper.

John Solomon – […] Deripaska also appears to be one of the first Russians the FBI asked for help when it began investigating the now-infamous Fusion GPS “Steele Dossier.” Waldman, his American lawyer until the sanctions hit, gave me a detailed account, some of which U.S. officials confirm separately.

Two months before Trump was elected president, Deripaska was in New York as part of Russia’s United Nations delegation when three FBI agents awakened him in his home; at least one agent had worked with Deripaska on the aborted effort to rescue Levinson.

During an hour-long visit, the agents posited a theory that Trump’s campaign was secretly colluding with Russia to hijack the U.S. election. (more)

(Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 3/20/2019)

April 11, 2017 – Judicial Watch: AP reporters push FBI to prosecute Manafort

(Credit: Judicial Watch)

The Associated Press, founded in 1846 as a cooperative association of newspapers, has enjoyed a reputation for independence and fairness over the years. Lately, however, it has come under criticism for what some see as a left/liberal bias.

Certainly, what we have just learned about its dealings with anti-Trump partisans in the Justice Department does nothing to improve our perception of the news service.

We have released two sets of heavily redacted FBI documents – 28 pages and 38 pages –about an April 11, 2017, “off-the-record” meeting set up by then-Chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Fraud Section Andrew Weissmann.

Andrew Weissmann, right, was a prosecutor in the special counsel’s office, along with Jeannie Rhee and Rush Atkinson.. (Credit: Tom Brenner/The New York Times).

The meeting included representatives of the DOJ, the FBI and the Associated Press in which AP reporters provided information on former Trump Campaign Director Paul Manafort, including the numeric code to Manafort’s storage locker.

Two months later, in early June, Weissmann was hired to work on Robert Mueller’s special counsel operation against President Trump. Weissman then reportedly spearheaded the subsequent investigation and prosecution of Manafort.

Included among the new documents are two typed write-ups of the meeting’s proceedings and handwritten notes taken during the meeting by two FBI special agents.

According to a June 11, 2017FBI write-up:

The purpose of the meeting, as it was explained to SSA [supervisory special agent, redacted] was to obtain documents from the AP reporters that were related to their investigative reports on Paul Manafort.

No such documents were included in the documents released to us.

During the meeting, the AP reporters provided the FBI information about a storage locker of Manafort (the Mueller special counsel operation raided the locker on May 26, 2017):

The AP reporters advised that they had located a storage facility in Virginia that belonged to Manafort…The code to the lock on the locker is 40944859. The reporters were aware of the Unit number and address, but they declined to share that information.

The reporters shared the information that “payments for the locker were made from the DM Partners account that received money from the [Ukraine] Party of Regions.”

The Associated Press logo. (Credit: public domain)

The notes suggest the AP pushed for criminal prosecution of Manafort:

AP believes Manafort is in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), in that Manafort send [sic] internal U. S. documents to officials in Ukraine AP has documentation proving this, as well as Manafort noting his understanding doing so would get him into trouble.

AP asked about the U.S. government charging Manafort with violating Title 18, section 1001 for lying to government officials, and have asked if the FBI has interviewed Manafort. FBI and DOJ had no comment on this question.

Also, according to the FBI write-up, “The AP reporters asked about FARA [Foreign Agents Registration Act] violations and they were generally told that they are enforceable.”

Although, according to the FBI write-up, “no commitments were made [by DOJ] to assist the reporters,” Andrew Weissmann asked the AP to contact foreign authorities to follow up: [A]fter the meeting was started and it was explained to the reporters that there was nothing that the FBI could provide to them, the reporters opted to ask a series of questions to see if the FBI would provide clarification. No commitments were made to assist the reporters in their further investigation into the life and activities of Paul Manafort and the AP reporters understood that the meeting would be off the record.

They [AP reporters] reiterated what they had written in their article, which was a response from the Cypriot Anti-Money Laundering Authority (MOKAS) that they [MOKAS] had fully responded to Department of Treasury agents in response to [Treasury’s] request. The AP reporters were interested in how this arrangement worked and if the U.S. had made a formal request. FBI/DOJ did not respond, but Andrew Weissman [sic] suggested that they ask the Cypriots if they had provided everything to which they had access or if they only provided what they were legally required to provide.

The AP reporters asked if we [DOJ/FBI] would be willing to tell them if they were off based [sic] or on the wrong traack [sic] and they were advised that they appeared to have a good understanding of Manafort’s business dealings.

The reporters asked about any DOJ request for the assistance of foreign governments in the U.S. Government’s investigation of Manafort:The AP reporters asked if there had been any official requests to other countries. FBI/DOJ declined to discuss specifics, except to state that the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty requests are negotiated by diplomats, so they should remain at that level.

AP reporters told the FBI about payments in the “black ledger,” a Ukrainian record of allegedly illegal off-the-books payments:The reporters advised that their next report, which was scheduled to come out in the next day or so after the meeting, would focus on confirming, to the extent that they could payments in the so called “black ledger” that were allegedly made to Manafort.

The impression that their sources give is that Manafort was not precise about his finances, specifically as it related to the “black ledger.” The AP reporters calculated that he received $60 to $80 million from his work in Ukraine, during the time period the ledger was kept. According to their review of the ledger, it appears that there is a slightly lesser amount documented based on all of the entries. The AP reporters accessed a copy of the ledger online, describing it as “public” document (Agent’s note – the ledger has been published in its entirety by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, after it was given to them by Sergei Leshenko, Ukrainian RADA member [Ukrainian parliament] and investigative reporter.)

Paul Manafort arrives in court on June 27, 2019 in New York, where he pleaded not guilty to mortgage fraud charges. He is serving a 7½ -year term in a federal prison in Pennsylvania for federal bank and tax fraud convictions. (Credit: Seth Wenig/The Associated Press)

The AP reporters discussed an extensive list of issues, companies, and individuals that they felt should be investigated for possible criminal activity, including a $50,000 payment to a men’s clothing store; a 2007 meeting with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska; Loav Ltd., which was possibly incorporated by Manafort; NeoCom, which the AP reporters implied was incorporated solely to cover up money laundering; and other matters.

The reporters described an “internal U.S. work product that had been sent to Ukraine.” The reporters described it as an “internal White House document.” The FBI report stated that it “was not clear if the document was classified.”

Evidently referring to these documents, Manafort’s lawyers alleged that Weissmann provided guidance and leaked grand jury testimony to the AP reporters investigating Manafort.

(…)  Under Mueller, Weissmann became known as “the architect of the case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort,” which produced no evidence of collusion between Manafort, the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. It indicted Manafort on unrelated charges.

In an October 2017 article describing Weissmann as Mueller’s “Pit Bull,” The New York Times wrote, “He is a top lieutenant to Robert S. Mueller III on the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible links to the Trump campaign. Significantly, Mr. Weissmann is an expert in converting defendants into collaborators — with either tactical brilliance or overzealousness, depending on one’s perspective.” Weissman oversaw the pre-dawn home raid of Manafort in what one former federal prosecutor described as “textbook Weissmann terrorism.” Weissmann reportedly also attended Hillary Clinton’s Election Night party in New York.

In May 2019, we uncovered 73 pages of records from the DOJ containing text messages and calendar entries of Weissmann showing he led the hiring effort for the investigation that targeted President Trump.

In December 2017, we made public two productions of DOJ documents showing strong support by top DOJ officials for former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ refusal to enforce President Trump’s Middle East travel ban executive order. In one email, Weissmann applauds Yates, writing: “I am so proud. And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respects.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 10/22/2019) (Video)

March 30, 2017 – Senator Mark Warner contacts lobbyist for Russian oligarch, seeking access to dossier author, Christopher Steele

“Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee who has been leading a congressional investigation into President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, had extensive contact last year with a lobbyist [Adam Waldman] for a Russian oligarch [Oleg V. Deripaska], who was offering Warner access to former British spy and dossier author Christopher Steele, according to text messages obtained exclusively by Fox News.

“We have so much to discuss u need to be careful but we can help our country,” Warner texted the lobbyist, Adam Waldman, on March 22, 2017.

“I’m in,” Waldman, whose firm has ties to Hillary Clinton, texted back to Warner.”

 

(…) Secrecy seemed very important to Warner as the conversation with Waldman heated up March 29, when the lobbyist revealed that Steele wanted a bipartisan letter from Warner and the committee’s chairman, North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, inviting him to talk to the Senate intelligence panel.

Throughout the text exchanges, Warner seemed particularly intent on connecting directly with Steele without anyone else on the Senate Intelligence Committee being in the loop — at least initially. In one text to the lobbyist, Warner wrote that he would “rather not have a paper trail” of his messages.

(…) “Waldman noted repeatedly that Steele was concerned about leaks and was “spooked” by all of the attention he had received around the world. Steele, he said, was skittish about talking to Warner.

Warner texted back on March 30: “We want to do this right private in London don’t want to send letter yet cuz if we can’t get agreement wud rather not have paper trail.”

 

(…) “Over the course of four months between February and May 2017, Warner and Waldman also exchanged dozens of texts about possible testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee from Deripaska, Waldman’s primary Russian billionaire client.” (Credit: Fox News, 2/28/2018) (Link to text messages)

January, 2017 to Present: Former top staffer for Sen. Dianne Feinstein may be directing the post-election efforts of Fusion GPS

Daniel J. Jones (Credit: The Guardian)

“New evidence suggests that a former top staffer for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) may be directing the post-election efforts of Fusion GPS, a Democrat-linked political opposition research firm, to vindicate a series of memos alleging illegal collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and Russian officials.

Congressional documents and recently leaked texts between Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and a registered foreign agent for a Russian aluminum oligarch indicate that Daniel J. Jones is intimately involved with ongoing efforts to retroactively validate a series of salacious and unverified memos produced by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent, and Fusion GPS. The dossier, which declassified documents show was used as a basis for securing secret wiretaps on Trump campaign affiliates, was reportedly jointly funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.”

(…) “The former Feinstein staffer’s participation in ongoing efforts to retroactively validate the dossier was first publicly hinted at in January in several inquiry letters from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to various Democratic party leaders who were likely responsible for funding Fusion GPS’s 2016 dossier work, including John Podesta, Donna Brazile, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

“Understanding the extent of the DNC’s knowledge of, and interactions with, Mr. Steele and others involved in Fusion GPS’s work is essential to this inquiry,” the two senators wrote.

“In light of this, by February 8, 2018, please answer the following questions and provide the following requested documents.” The twelfth item the lawmakers requested, which appears to be the first time Jones’s name was publicly mentioned in connection with the dossier, was all communications between the letters’ recipients and a host of characters involved with the dossier and its financing, creation, and dissemination:

“For the period from March 2016 through January 2017, please provide all communications to, from, copying, or relating to: Fusion GPS; Bean LLC; Glenn Simpson; Mary Jacoby; Peter Fritsch; Tom Catan; Jason Felch; Neil King; David Michaels; Taylor Sears; Patrick Corcoran; Laura Sego; Jay Bagwell; Erica Castro; Nellie Ohr; Rinat Akhmetshin; Ed Lieberman; Edward Baumgartner; Orbis Business Intelligence Limited; Orbis Business International Limited.; Walsingham Training Limited; Walsingham Partners Limited; Christopher Steele; Christopher Burrows; Sir Andrew Wood, Paul Hauser;4 Oleg Deripaska; Cody Shearer; Sidney Blumenthal; Jon Winer; Kathleen Kavalec; Victoria Nuland; Daniel Jones; Bruce Ohr; Peter Strzok; Andrew McCabe; James Baker; Sally Yates; Loretta Lynch; John Brennan.”

The grouping of the names is a story in itself: the first 15 names (through Nellie Ohr) are those of Fusion GPS’s principals and key staff in 2016; the next 12 (through Deripaska) are connected to Steele and a Russian oligarch sanctioned by the United States, the next two (Shearer and Blumenthal) are longtime Clinton hangers-on who reportedly wrote and disseminated their own dossier of unverified allegations; the next three are key Obama-era State Department officials who likely spread allegations about the Trump campaign throughout the government; then Jones; the next six are top Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or Department of Justice (DOJ) officials who used the dossier to secure secret wiretaps on Trump affiliates; and the final name belongs to Obama’s CIA director.” (Read more: The Federalist, 2/20/2018)

September 2016 – The FBI visits Oleg Deripaska and asks him to outline Paul Manafort as a tool of the Kremlin

A new John Solomon article today, based on an interview with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, is essentially confirming a May 2018 article where it was presumed that Oleg had hired Christopher Steele at the same time Steele was working with Nellie Ohr and Fusion GPS to write the Trump dossier.  Here’s the interview:

The report on the FBI contacting Oleg Deripaska in September 2016 for help to structure a narrative of Russian involvement in the Trump Campaign via Paul Manafort has some ramifications.

♦In 2009 the FBI, then headed by Robert Mueller, requested the assistance of Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska in an operation to retrieve former FBI officer and CIA resource Robert Levinson who was captured in Iran two years earlier.  The agent assigned to engage Deripaska was Andrew McCabe; the primary FBI need was financing and operational support.  Deripaska spent around $25 million and would have succeeded except the U.S. State Department, then headed by Hillary Clinton, backed out.

♦In September of 2016 Andrew McCabe is now Deputy Director of the FBI, when two FBI agents approached Deripaska in New York – again asking for his help.  This time the FBI request was for Deripaska to outline Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort as a tool of the Kremlin.  Deripaska once hired Manafort as a political adviser and invested money with him in a business venture that went bad. Deripaska sued Manafort, alleging he stole money. However, according to the 2018 article, despite Deripaska’s disposition toward Manafort he viewed the request as absurd.  He laughed the FBI away, telling them: “You are trying to create something out of nothing.”

Was the DOJ/FBI trying to use Deripaska to frame candidate Donald Trump? Was this part of their 2016 insurance policy?

John Solomon reports that Deripaska wanted to testify to congress in 2017, without any immunity request, but was rebuked.    Who blocked his testimony?

(…) Did Robert Mueller omit any mention of Oleg Deripaska from his 2017 Manafort indictment purposefully? Was Deripaska’s denial of any information about Manafort actually Brady material that Mueller and Weissmann intentionally kept from Manafort’s defense team?   And/or was Robert Mueller hoping to hide his prior professional work relationship with Deripaska?” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 7/02/2019)

September 2016 – August 10, 2018 – Opinion: Conservative Treehouse details the true Russian collusion during the 2016 Election

(…) “In essence, Christopher Steele was interested in getting Oleg Deripaska a new VISA to enter the U.S.  Steele was very persistent on this endeavor and was soliciting Bruce Ohr for any assistance.  This also sets up a quid-pro-quo probability where the DOJ/FBI agrees to remove travel restrictions on Deripaska in exchange for cooperation on ‘other matters.’

Now we skip ahead a little bit to where Deripaska gained an entry visa, and one of Oleg Deripaska’s lawyers and lobbyists Adam Waldman was representing his interests in the U.S. to politicians and officials.  In May of 2018, John Solomon was contacted by Adam Waldman with a story about how the FBI contacted Deripaska for help in their Trump Russia investigation in September of 2016.

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

Keep in mind, this is Waldman contacting Solomon with a story.

Waldman told Solomon a story about how his client Oleg Deripaska was approached by the FBI in September of 2016 and asked for help with information about Paul Manafort and by extension Donald Trump.  Within the backstory for the FBI and Deripaska was a prior connection between Robert Mueller and Deripaska in 2009.

Again, as you read the recap, remember this is Waldman contacting Solomon.  Article Link Here – and my summary below:

In 2009 the FBI, then headed by Robert Mueller, requested the assistance of Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska in an operation to retrieve former FBI officer and CIA resource Robert Levinson who was captured in Iran two years earlier.  The agent assigned to engage Deripaska was Andrew McCabe; the primary FBI need was financing and operational support.  Deripaska spent around $25 million and would have succeeded except the U.S. State Department, then headed by Hillary Clinton, backed out.

In September of 2016 Andrew McCabe is now Deputy Director of the FBI, when two FBI agents approached Deripaska in New York – again asking for his help.  This time the FBI request was for Deripaska to outline Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort as a tool of the Kremlin.  Deripaska once hired Manafort as a political adviser and invested money with him in a business venture that went bad. Deripaska sued Manafort, alleging he stole money. However, according to the article, despite Deripaska’s disposition toward Manafort he viewed the request as absurd. He laughed the FBI away, telling them: “You are trying to create something out of nothing.”

This story, as told from the perspective of Adam Waldman, Deripaska’s lawyer/lobbyist, is important because it highlights a connection between Robert Mueller and Oleg Deripaska; a connection Mueller and the DOJ/FBI never revealed on their own.

I wrote about the ramifications of the Solomon story HERE.  Again, hopefully most will review; because there’s a larger story now visible with the new communication between Christopher Steele and Bruce Ohr.

It is likely that Oleg’s 2016 entry into the U.S. was facilitated as part of a quid-pro-quo; either agreed in advance, or, more likely, planned by the DOJ/FBI for later use in their 2016 Trump operation; as evidenced in the September 2016 FBI request.  Regardless of the planning aspect, billionaire Deripaska is connected to Chris Steele, a source for Chris Steele, and likely even the employer of Chris Steele.

The FBI used Oleg Deripaska (source), and Oleg Deripaska used the FBI (visa).

Here’s where it gets interesting….

In that May article John Solomon reports that Deripaska wanted to testify to congress last year (2017), without any immunity request, but was rebuked. Who blocked his testimony?

(…) “Now, think about this….  Yes, with Oleg Deripaska in the picture there was indeed Russian meddling in the 2016 election; only, it wasn’t the type of meddling currently being sold.  The FBI/DOJ were using Russian Deripaska to frame their Russian conspiracy narrative. It is almost a certainty that Deripaska was one of Chris Steeles sources for the dossier.

Now, put yourself in Deripaska’s shoes and think about what happens AFTER candidate Donald Trump surprisingly wins the election.

All of a sudden Deripaska the asset becomes a risk to the corrupt Scheme Team (DOJ/FBI et al); especially as the DOJ/FBI then execute the “insurance policy” effort against Donald Trump and eventually enlist Robert Mueller.

It is entirely possible for a Russian to be blackmailing someone, but it ain’t Trump vulnerable to blackmail; it’s the conspiracy crew within the DOJ and FBI.  Deripaska now has blackmail material on Comey, McCabe and crew.

After the 2017 (first year) failure of the “insurance policy” it now seems more likely President Trump will outlive the soft coup.  In May 2018, Oleg tells Waldman to call John Solomon and tell him the story from a perspective favorable to Deripaska.

As the story is told, in 2017, Oleg [Deripaska] was more than willing to testify to congress…likely laughing the entire time. But the corrupt participants within congress damned sure couldn’t let Deripaska testify.  Enter corrupt (SSCI) Vice-Chairman, Mark Warner:

Senator Mark Warner (l) and Senator Richard Burr confer at a Senate Intelligence Committee meeting. (Credit: public domain)

The Russians (Deripaska) really do have leverage and blackmail…but it ain’t over Trump. Oleg has blackmail on Comey,  McCabe and conspiracy crew.  Oleg Deripaska must be kept away from congress and away from exposing the scheme.

Guess who else must be controlled and/or kept away from congress?

Julian Assange.

Assange has evidence the Russians didn’t hack the DNC.

Between Deripaska’s first-hand knowledge of the DOJ/FBI work on both the Dossier and the DOJ/FBI intention for his use as a witness; and Julian Assange’s first-hand knowledge of who actually took the DNC email communication…well, the entire Russian narrative could explode in their faces.

Control is needed.

You can almost hear the corrupt U.S. intelligence officials calling their U.K. GCHQ partners in Britain and yelling at them to do something, anything, and for the love of God, shut down Assange’s access to the internet STAT.  Yeah, funny that.

Now, who moves into position to control Julian Assange?

BREAKING: US Senate Intelligence Committee calls editor @JulianAssange to testify. Letter delivered via US embassy in London. WikiLeaks’ legal team say they are “considering the offer but the conditions must conform to a high ethical standard”. Also: https://t.co/pPf0GTjTlp pic.twitter.com/gQIUstbGbq

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 8,2018

Apparently the SSCI wants to interview WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, in a closed session.  Signed by none-other than our corrupt-o-crats Richard Burr and Mark Warner.  Yeah, funny that.

Lest anyone need a reminder, the most corrupt part of congress is the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI). The SSCI is the center of the deepest part of the Deep State swamp. The SSCI never, ever, E.V.E.R…does anything that does not protect and advance the self-interest of the corrupt Washington DC professional political class.” (Read much more: Conservative Treehouse, 8/10/2018)

March 2016 – Former Feinstein staffer, Daniel Jones, and his possible early involvement with Fusion GPS during 2016 elections

“In a March 8, 2018, op-ed for The Daily Caller titled “The Ever-Changing ‘Russia Narrative’ Is False Public Manipulation,” Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska noted how “the disintegration of evidence-based journalism permits a surprisingly small number of individuals to destroy bilateral or multilateral relations.”

Daniel Jones appears in an interview with the Guardian on September 9, 2016. (Credit: The Guardian)

Deripaska then described an unusual meeting that took place on March 16, 2017, between his lawyer and a former intelligence staffer for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) named Dan Jones:

“Daniel Jones—himself a team member of Fusion GPS, self-described former FBI agent and, as we now know from the media, an ex-Feinstein staffer—met with my lawyer, Adam Waldman, and described Fusion as a ‘shadow media organization helping the government,’ funded by a ‘group of Silicon Valley billionaires and George Soros.’”

At the time, Deripaska’s op-ed was largely ignored, or at least not viewed with great sincerity. Political commentary from Russian oligarchs isn’t in the greatest demand, domestically.

But just one week later, the House final report on Russia was made public. On page 112 of the report, there is a reference to “post-election anti-Trump research by Steele and/or Fusion GPS” along with a footnote. Contained in the footnote on page 113, is the following:

“In late March 2017, Jones met with FBI regarding PQG [Penn Quarter Group], which he described as ‘exposing foreign influence in Western elections.’ [redacted—likely Jones] told FBI that PQG was being funded by 7 to 10 wealthy donors located primarily in New York and California, who provided approximately $50 million. [redacted—likely Jones] further stated that PQG had secured the services of Steele, his associate [redacted—likely Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson], and Fusion GPS to continue exposing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.”

This footnote, and its potential significance, was first highlighted in an April 27 article by The Federalist.

Jones, who had previously worked as a senior intelligence staffer for Feinstein, founded PQG in the spring of 2016.

In his interview with the FBI, Jones made mention of “7 to 10 wealthy donors located primarily in New York and California, who provided approximately $50 million” in funding to PQG. But unlike Deripaska, Jones makes no known reference to financial involvement from George Soros.

However, a recent article in the Washington Post revealed that at least some of the money received by Jones’ PQG did come from Soros through an intermediary. Michael Vachon, a spokesman for Soros, disclosed to Washington Post reporter David Ignatius that Soros had made a grant to the Democracy Integrity Project which, in turn, used Fusion GPS as a contractor.

Jones isn’t referred to by name in the article—he is described only as “an associate of Fusion.” Nor is the underlying identity of Democracy Integrity Project disclosed in the Washington Post article.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 10/01/2018)