Paul Manafort

August 1, 2019 – Opinion: Here Are 5 Big Holes in Mueller’s Work

Robert Mueller testifies to congress on July 24, 2019. (Credit: Saul Loeb/Agence France Presse/Getty Images)

“Robert Mueller’s two-year, $25.2 million investigation was supposed to provide the definitive account of Donald Trump, Russia and the 2016 election. Yet even after he issued a 448-page report and testified for five hours before Congress, critical aspects remain unexplained, calling into question the basis for the probe and the decisions of those who conducted it.

Time and again in his report and his testimony, Mueller refused to address a wide range of fundamental issues, claiming they were beyond his purview. Some of the issues Mueller and his team did not clarify include whether the FBI had a sound predicate for opening a counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign; whether the FBI knowingly relied on false material; and the links between U.S. government agencies and key figures who fueled the most explosive claims of an illicit Trump-Russia relationship. Mueller claimed that he was prevented from answering critical questions due to ongoing Justice Department reviews, one by Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham and the other by Inspector General Michael Horowitz. In the meantime, here are some of the biggest mysteries that Mueller’s team left hanging in the air.

Who Is Joseph Mifsud, and Was He the Actual Predicate for the Russia Investigation?

Mueller’s pointed refusal to answer questions about Mifsud underscored that his team did not provide a plausible explanation for the incident that supposedly sparked the Russia investigation in July 2016. Mifsud is the mysterious Maltese professor who reportedly informed Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos that the Russian government had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Their conversation took place in , before the alleged hacking of Democratic Party emails was publicly known. (cont.)

What Was the Role of the Steele Dossier?

Christopher Steele: described as “Source #1” and “credible.”
(Credit: Victoria Jones/The Associated Press)

Mueller also refused to address another key driver of the Trump-Russia probe – the series of unverified and salacious opposition research memos against Trump secretly financed by the Clinton campaign and the DNC and  compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. Some Republicans believe the dossier was the real trigger of the FBI probe and that Mifsud was later used as an excuse by the FBI to cover that up once the dossier’s partisan origins were revealed. As he did with Mifsud, Mueller, who was FBI Director between 2001 and 2013, stonewalled the many Republican efforts to press him on this topic. (more)

Why Did the Mueller Team Invent the Polling Data Theory About Konstantin Kilimnik, and Omit His U.S. Ties?

Konstantin Kilimnik
(Credit: The Associated Press)

Mueller also refused to answer critical questions about his report’s portrayal of Konstantin Kilimnik. The longtime business associate of Trump’s one-time campaign manager, Paul Manafort, became central to the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory as a result of the Mueller team’s own innuendo. In January 2019, Mueller accused Manafort of lying about sharing Trump campaign polling data with Kilimnik during the 2016 campaign. According to Mueller, the FBI had assessed that Kilimnik has an unspecified “relationship with Russian intelligence.” In court, Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann repeated that ambiguous claim and tacked on a piece of tantalizing flourish: “This goes to the larger view of what we think is going on, and what we think is the motive here. This goes, I think, very much to the heart of what the special counsel’s office is investigating.” Weissmann’s comments fueled widespread speculation – and even confident assertions – that Kilimnik had passed on the polling data to the Russian government, which then put it to use for its supposed social media interference campaign targeting malleable swing-state voters. (cont.)

Why Did the Mueller Team Falsely Suggest That Trump Tower Moscow Was a Viable Project – and What Was the Role of FBI Informant Felix Sater?

Along with the discredited polling-data theory, House Democrats repeatedly played up the Mueller team’s indictment of Michael Cohen for lying to Congress about the failed effort to build a Trump Tower Moscow. In court filings, the Mueller team insinuated that the project was a viable and lucrative one. Because Cohen had lied to Congress and Trump had denied having business dealings in Russia, Rep. Joaquin Castro asked Mueller if he had assessed whether “President Trump could be vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians.” (cont.)

Was Specious Info Leaked to Justify the Absence of Trump-Kremlin Links?

In the absence of evidence tying the Trump campaign to the Kremlin – and a preponderance of leads involving key figures actually tied to the West – U.S. intelligence officials helped cast a pall of suspicion through misleading, and sometimes false, media leaks. In January 2017, then-FBI Director James Comey briefed President-elect Trump on the Steele Dossier’s most explosive allegation: that the Russians had a tape of him with prostitutes in a Moscow Ritz-Carlton hotel room. Comey’s briefing to Trump was leaked to the press, leading to the dossier’s publication by BuzzFeed and cementing the story atop the news cycle for the more than two years since.” (cont.)

(Read more: RealClearInvestigations, 8/01/2019) 

July 30, 2019 – The DNC loses their racketeering suit against the Trump campaign, Russian Federation and Wikileaks and others

Judge John G. Koeltl (Credit: NYU Law)

“Hours before the Democratic presidential debates, a federal judge dismissed the Democratic National Committee’s lawsuit that accused the Trump campaign, the Russian Federation, WikiLeaks and others of interfering in the 2016 elections.

“The primary wrongdoer in this alleged criminal enterprise is undoubtedly [sic] the Russian Federation, the first named defendant in the case and the entity that surreptitiously and illegally hacked into the DNC’s computers and thereafter disseminated the results of its theft,” wrote U.S. District Judge John Koeltl, a Clinton appointee.

Before weighing the evidence against Russia, however, Koeltl found that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act foreclosed him from holding it liable for the DNC server hack.

The DNC blamed a host of secondary actors in a conspiracy, including Russian-linked Maltese academic Joseph Mifsud; oligarchs Emin and Aras Agalarov; and Trump family members and campaign figures like Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos and Roger Stone.

Finding these claims likewise unconvincing, Koeltl ruled that the U.S. Constitution protected them from liability related to disseminating stolen emails.

“The First Amendment prevents such liability in the same way it would preclude liability for press outlets that publish materials of public interest despite defects in the way the materials were obtained so long as the disseminator did not participate in any wrongdoing in obtaining the materials in the first place,” the 81-page opinion states.

Citing precedent from the the Pentagon Papers case, Koeltl held that treating WikiLeaks as an accomplice “would render any journalist who publishes an article based on stolen information a co-conspirator in the theft.”

“If WikiLeaks could be held liable for publishing documents concerning the DNC’s political financial and voter-engagement strategies simply because the DNC labels them ‘secret’ and trade secrets, then so could any newspaper or other media outlet,” the opinion states. “But that would impermissibly elevate a purely private privacy interest to override the First Amendment interest in the publication of matters of the highest public concern. The DNC’s published internal communications allowed the American electorate to look behind the curtain of one of the two major political parties in the United States during a presidential election. This type of information is plainly of the type entitled to the strongest protection that the First Amendment offers.”

WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange argued last year that the DNC’s lawsuit threatened freedom of the press. Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the American Civil Liberties Union echoed those concerns in a friend-of-the-court brief.” (Read more: Courthouse News, 7/30/2019)

July 28, 2019 – George Papadopoulos will head to Greece to retrieve $10K payment, federal investigators want to see the marked bills

“Former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos told Fox News‘ Maria Bartiromo in an exclusive interview that he is heading back to Greece to retrieve $10,000 that he suspects was dropped in his lap as part of an entrapment scheme by the CIA or FBI — and federal investigators want to see the marked bills, which he said are now stored in a safe.

[Timeline editor’s note: Oddly, the official video released by Bartiromo does not play the interview with Papadopoulos and instead offers the Nunes interview twice. With a little sleuthing, I managed to find a copy posted on an obscure YouTube page, and it appears to have been captured from a television. All other copies lead to the Bartiromo video that has been edited. So essentially, given the censorship we are currently experiencing, there’s no guarantee this video will remain on YouTube. For the sake of posterity, I have captured a screenshot of the interview that is now saved on my hard drive. lol]

Screenshot of Maria Bartiromo and George Papadopoulos on July 28, 2019. (Credit: Fox News)

Papadopoulos said on Sunday Morning Futures he was “very happy” to see Devin Nunes, R-Calif., grill Special Counsel Robert Mueller about the summer 2017 payment during last week’s hearings — even though Mueller maintained, without explanation, that the matter was outside the scope of his investigation.

“I was very happy to see that Devin Nunes brought that up,” Papadopoulos said. “A man named Charles Tawil gave me this money [in Israel] under very suspicious circumstances. A simple Google search about this individual will reveal he was a CIA or State Department asset in South Africa during the ‘90s and 2000s. I think around the time when Bob Mueller was the director of the FBI.

So, I have my theory of what that was all about,” Papadopoulos added. “The money, I gave it to my attorney in Greece because I felt it was given to me under very suspicious circumstances. And upon coming back to the United States I had about seven or eight FBI agents rummaging through my luggage looking for money.”

According to Papadopoulos, “the whole setup” by the “FBI likely, or even the special counsel’s office,” was intended to “bring a FARA [Foreign Agents Registration Act] violation against me.” The FARA statute played a key role in the prosecutions of former Trump aides, including Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort.” (Read more: Fox News, 7/28/2019)

June 20, 2019 – The Justice Department allows Congress to view the Rosenstein Scope Memos

Byron York has put down the crustless triangle sandwich and white wine spritzer long enough to finally discover the October 20th, 2017, scope memo written by Rod Rosenstein that authorized Weissman and Mueller to target Michael Flynn Jr.

(…)  The Justice Department has recently allowed members of some congressional committees to view the scope memos, and out of that has come the news that there was a third scope memo to Mueller. Dated Oct. 20, 2017, its contents remain a secret. But its very existence suggests something was going on behind the scenes in the relationship of Mueller and his supervisors at the Justice Department. (read more)

York continues… “At the moment, the third scope memo, like most of the second scope memo, remains a secret.“…  Good grief, seriously?  Funny how AG Barr is now letting congress look at the scope memos, meanwhile -despite the authorization to release provided by President Trump- the public is blocked from them.  I digress.

The October 20th, 2017, Rosenstein scope memo was specifically so that Weissmann and Mueller could target specific people for maximum political damage; including the targeting of Michael Flynn Jr. to generate leverage so that Flynn Sr. would have to accept a plea or see his family crushed under the weight of the weaponized special counsel.

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

The original authorization for the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller was May 17th, 2017. However, the released Weissmann/Mueller report shows there were two additional scope memos authorizing specific targeting of the Mueller probe. The second  scope memo was August 2nd, 2017, (outlined here), and is an important part of the puzzle that helps explain the corrupt original purpose of the special counsel.

The third scope memo was issued by Rod Rosenstein to Robert Mueller on October 20th, 2017. The transparent intent of the third scope memo was to provide Weissmann and Mueller with ammunition and authority to investigate specific targets, for specific purposes. One of those targets was General Michael Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn Jr.

As you review the highlighted portion below, found on pages 12 and 13 of the Weissmann report, read slowly and fully absorb the intent; the corruption is blood-boiling:

This third scope memo allowed Weissmann and Mueller to target tangentially related persons and entities bringing in Michael Cohen, Richard Gates, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn Jr. Additionally and strategically (you’ll see why), this memo established the authority to pursue “jointly undertaken activity“.

With Paul Manafort outlined as an investigative target in the original authorization and the second scope memo, the third scope memo authorizes expansion to his business partner Richard Gates and their joint businesses. This memo also permits the investigation of Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen and all of his interests; and in ultimate weasel sunlight, Rosenstein authorizes an investigation of his boss, AG Jeff Sessions.

Before getting to more targets, notice the underlined passage about starting with a lot of investigative material because the special counsel was picking up a Russian interference investigation that had been ongoing for “nearly 10 months.”

I would also note that our CTH research indicates all of the illegally extracted FISA-702(16)(17) database search results would be part of this pre-existing investigative file available immediately to Weissmann and Mueller. However, in order to use the search-query evidence, Weissmann and Mueller would need to backfill some alternate justification; or find another way to “rediscover” the preexisting results….. I digress

The four identified targets within the original July 2016 investigation, “Operation Crossfire Hurricane”, were George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and Carter Page. (See HPSCI report):

General Flynn was under investigation from the outset in mid-2016. The fraudulent FBI counterintelligence operation, established by CIA Director John Brennan, had Flynn as one of the early targets when Brennan handed the originating electronic communication“EC” to FBI Director James Comey.” (Read more: The Conservative Treehouse, 6/20/2019)

May 16, 2019 – The “Steele” dossier source who falsely claimed there was a Russian Consulate in Miami was ALSO  a source for the Moscow “pee tape”

A partial Twitter thread by independent researcher, Undercover Huber @JohnWHuber:

“The “Steele” dossier source who falsely claimed there was a Russian Consulate in Miami was ALSO  a source for the Moscow “pee tape” AND **the key source** alleging an “extensive conspiracy” between the Trump campaign & Russia involving Manafort and Page 🚨

Christopher Steele tells State Dept. Official Kathleen Kavalec on Oct 11 2016 that a “human/technical operation run out of Moscow targeting the election” is “hacking” and “recruiting” and “payments to those recruited are made out of the Russian Consulate in Miami.”

Kavalec (likely after a cursory search) says “It is important to note there is no Russian Consulate in Miami.” 🚨

This is critical to the credibility of Steele’s source for this “payments to hackers” allegation: if they’re wrong about “Miami” what *else* are they wrong about? 🤔

N.B: Kavalec was right: at the time, the Russian Consulate in Florida was 450 km away from Miami, in Tampa (apparently in the same building as the US Commerce Dept.) – literally a 60 second Google search would have shown that this allegation about payments from “Miami” was false.

(FYI: These notes from Kavalec are immediately forwarded to Stephen Laycock in FBI Counterintelligence, who then passes them on to Peter Strzok (note: the Page FISA is generated out of the Counterespionage section [CD4] of the Counterintelligence division, which Strzok supervises.)

Here is the part of Steele’s dossier about the “Miami” payments to “cyber operators” (i.e. hackers) “based in the U.S.” and it is attributed to…

…”SOURCE E” 🚨

(“Miami” is not mentioned anywhere else in the dossier except attributed to Source E)

Source E  also “confirms” the Trump/hookers “pee tape” allegations and provides an introduction to a Ritz-Carlton hotel employee for validation of this kompromat allegation.

Steele even tells Kavalec that he’s only “persuaded the story about the prostitutes is accurate” *BECAUSE OF SOURCE E*. The same guy who doesn’t know where the Russian Consulate is in Florida? Yep, he’s the Pee Tape confirmation.

Reminder: Intel sources called Steele “meticulous” with a “formidable record.”

Back to Source E. He is *also* the primary source for “Steele’s” explosive claim of a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation between [Trump] and the Russian leadership”, which is managed by Paul Manafort via @carterwpage, including the DNC hacking/release to Wikileaks. 🚨

 

 

That allegation of a conspiracy involving Page and members of the Trump campaign to interfere in the election in “coordination” with Russia is what the FBI/DOJ swore they believed to the FISA court. “Conspiracy” is also the exact word needed to implicate potential federal crimes.

 

Some conclusions:

  • The FBI should have known there was no Russian Consulate in Miami *themselves*, when they attempted to verify the dossier claims
  • Even if the FBI didn’t try and properly verify the dossier (likely), Kavalec told the FBI this fact explicitly *BEFORE THE FISA*
  • So, Steele’s SOURCE E for the “Miami” payments is giving Steele FALSE information, either mistakenly, or worse: deliberately
  • The next logical source verification step once the FBI realizes this is to check all of the *other* allegations made by SOURCE E as they’re also suspect

There is no evidence that the FBI/DOJ even tried to verify the dossier before the FISA, and no evidence they even informed the FISC that SOURCE E was potentially unreliable after the first FISA was sought.

And it gets worse… (Read more: Undercover Huber, 5/16/2019)

(Timeline editor’s note: We believe there are several timeline entries that suggest Cody Shearer could be Source E. You can find his tag archive HERE:)

May 14, 2019 – Devin Nunes on the importance of exposing the real origins of the Russia narrative

“Devin Nunes appears on Fox News to discuss why the origin of the Russia narrative is important.  The scale and scope of the fraudulent construct is now a strongly enmeshed narrative, toxic to the systems of cohesive government:

If you read the Weissmann/Mueller report carefully one aspect stands out strongly; the Mueller investigation was fully committed to The Steele Dossier. An inordinate amount of the report is focused on justifying their investigative validity and purpose in looking at the claims within the Steele Dossier.

Repeatedly, the investigative unit references their mandate based around the Steele Dossier, and the mid-summer 2016 origin of the FBI counterintelligence operation.

Why? Why was/is Crossfire Hurricane (July ’16) and the Steele Dossier (Oct. ’16) so important to the principle intelligence apparatus, and the Mueller team (’17, ’18, ’19)?

I believe former NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers has told us the answer. In early 2016 Rogers caught on to a massive and pre-existing weaponization of government surveillance and the use of collected NSA metadata for political spy operations. Everything, that comes AFTER March 2016 is one big blanket cover-up operation….. ALL OF IT.

The Russian election interference narrative; the use of Joseph Mifsud, Stefan Halper, the London and Australian embassy personnel; Erika Thompson, Alexander Downer, U.S. DIA officials; everything around Crossfire Hurricane; and everything after to include the construct of the Steele Dossier; all of it was needed for the creation of an ‘after-the-fact‘ plausible justification to cover-up what Mike Rogers discovered in early 2016, AND the downstream unmasked records that existed in the Obama White House SCIF.

Fusion GPS was not hired in April 2016 to research Donald Trump. The intelligence community was already doing surveillance and spy operations. They already knew everything about the Trump campaign. The Obama intelligence community needed Fusion GPS to give them a justification for pre-existing surveillance and spy operations.

That’s why the FBI, and later the Mueller team, are so strongly committed to, and defending, the formation of the Steele Dossier and its dubious content.

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

On Pages #11 and #12 of the Weissmann/Mueller report, the special counsel team outlines the purpose and intent of the probe as delivered by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Within these pages Mueller outlines the August 2nd Scope Memo that has previously been hidden and remains redacted through today.

Read the highlighted portion carefully to understand the scope of the instructions. Note the careful wording “the Special Counsel had been authorized since his appointment to investigate allegations”… This means from Day #1 of the special counsel, the scope of the probe was always to investigate the claims within the Ohr/Steele Dossier:

The August 2nd Scope Memo additionally authorized the investigation of “certain other matters” specifically relating to Manafort (financial crimes), and Papadopolous and Flynn (FARA violations).

These paragraphs tell us a great deal about what originated the purpose of the FBI investigation and the continued purpose of the special counsel. Remember, the special counsel was a continuance of the FBI counterintelligence operation which officially began on July 31st, 2016. [The unofficial beginning was much earlier]

Understanding now that Mueller is saying from Day One he was investigating the Steele Dossier; here’s where we all need to question the assumptions.

Why is the Steele Dossier so important?” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/14/2019)

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.)

May 3, 2019 – Opinion: How US and Foreign Intel Agencies Interfered in a US Election

By Larry C. Johnson
Sic Semper Tyrannis 

The preponderance of evidence makes this very simple–there was a broad, coordinated effort by the Obama Administration, with the help of foreign governments, to target Donald Trump and paint him as a stooge of Russia.

The Mueller Report provides irrefutable evidence that the so-called Russian collusion case against Donald Trump was a deliberate fabrication by intelligence and law enforcement organizations in the United States and the United Kingdom and organizations aligned with the Clinton Campaign.

The New York Times reported that a man with a long history of working with the CIA, and a female FBI informant, traveled to London in September of 2016 and tried unsuccessfully to entrap George Papadopolous. The biggest curiosity is that U.S. intelligence or law enforcement officials fully briefed British intelligence on what they were up to. Quite understandable given what we now know about British spying on the Trump Campaign.

The Mueller investigation of Trump “collusion” with Russia prior to the 2016 Presidential election focused on eight cases:

    • Proposed Trump Tower Project in Moscow
    • George Papadopolous
    • Carter Page
    • Dimitri Simes
    • Veselnetskya Meeting at Trump Tower (June 16, 2016)
  • Events at Republican Convention
  • Post-Convention Contacts with Russian Ambassador Kislyak
  • Paul Manafort

One simple fact emerges–of the eight cases or incidents of alleged Trump Campaign interaction with the Russians investigated by the Mueller team, the proposals to interact with the Russian Government or with Putin originated with FBI informants, MI-6 assets or people paid by Fusion GPS, and not Trump or his people.

There is not a single instance where Donald Trump or any member of his campaign team initiated contact with the Russians for the purpose of gaining derogatory information on Hillary or obtaining support to boost the Trump campaign. Not one.

Simply put, Trump and his campaign were the target of an elaborate, wide ranging covert action designed to entrap him and members of his team as an agent of Russia.

Let’s look in detail at each of the cases.”  (Read more: Sic Semper Tyrannis, 5/03/2019)

April 19, 2019 – Opinion: Mueller/Rosenstein and the entire apparatus were trying to provoke Trump in all manners to enhance the obstruction case

The *methods* the team used were always focused on trying to goad Trump into firing, or interfering, thereby creating more obstruction fuel.

Everything Mueller and Rosenstein were doing in late 2017 and throughout 2018 was intended to drag-out the Russia conspiracy narrative as long as possible, even though there was no actual Trump-Russia investigation taking place and Robert Mueller *DID* interview President Trump about the obstruction case. Rod Rosenstein was there for the deposition…. Only President Trump didn’t know his remarks were being recorded and transcribed.

Robert Mueller Did Interview President Trump Regarding Obstruction Case

What, you think that over-the-top broadcast (leaked to CNN) raid on Roger Stone with heavily armed SWAT teams was a mistake? Oh hell no… Team Mueller/Rosenstein were trying to get Trump to lash out. It was strategic and purposefully agressive, just like the Manafort raid.

Every action was taken by the Mueller special counsel in order to get Trump to respond to the heavy-handed tactics. It was always “obstruction” bait. Intentional provocation…. It was purposefully over-the-top. They were goading the President.

People still don’t appreciate just how sinister and Machiavellian this was. It was the obstruction case they hoped would build the impeachment outcome.

This was always the objective….. all the way back to May of 2017.

The obstruction case was based on the updated Scope Memo written by Rosenstein on August 2nd, 2017. Everything they were doing was to create that obstruction case. That’s why we are not allowed to see the scope memo.

The scope memo outlines the same targets that originally existed within Crossfire Hurricane and the Steele Dossier: Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen. This was how they hoped to get to Trump.

Mueller targeted these individuals on other issues, any issues, because he needed to shut them down, hide the fraudulent origin of the original operation…. and thereby protect his obstruction investigation… For Mueller’s purposes:

  1. The Obstruction investigation, building toward the impeachment narrative, was always the original goal of Mueller and Rosenstein. Therefore…
  2. The Obstruction investigation needed the precursor of the Trump-Russia investigation to remain standing; However…
  3. The structure of the Trump-Russia investigation, the underlying evidence to support the effort, is predicated on the “Steele Dossier”. Therefore…
  4. Mueller needed to protect the Steele Dossier from scrutiny and deconstruction.

Remember, because there was no Trump-Russia collusion/conspiracy, it was always the “obstruction” investigation that could lead to the desired result by Mueller’s team of taking down President Trump through impeachment.

The “obstruction case” was the entirety of the case they were trying to make from August 2017 through to March 2019.

New scope memo. New FBI Team Leader. New approach. New goals. Mueller’s goals. What he was enlisted to produce. etc.

The Mueller targets would generate pressure points against President Trump. If they could not deliver direct evidence against Trump (on any criminal angle) they could be used to bait Trump into taking actions that would assist the obstruction case.

Obstruction was always the impeachment long-game, and their political plan needed the 2018 mid-term election and the House of Representatives in Pelosi’s hands to work.

 

This is why DAG Rod Rosenstein pressured Trump in September of 2018 not to declassify the underlying SpyGate/FISA documents.

Rosenstein knew sunlight would have undermined the Russia narrative, and worse…. it might have upended the goal of winning the House (a key part of their long-term plan); so Rosenstein informed Trump declassification would be impeding the Mueller investigation.

Along the road toward building the obstruction case, Mueller and Rosenstein needed to retain the illusion of a “Russian Interference Investigation.

The need to keep up the “Muh Russia” appearances is why Mueller and Rosenstein had to pause every six months and throw out a few phony, structurally silly, Russia indictments.

Robert Mueller, Andrew Weissmann and Rod Rosenstein knew the people they accused would never show up to defend themselves. The Russian interference indictments were for appearances only, and always came with a specific disclaimer:

This disclaimer is purposeful for two reasons. Number one: there was no Trump-Russia collusion/conspiracy; and number two: saying it satiated their target, President Trump.

While President Trump’s legal team were asking what was taking so long, the real program was for Mueller’s team to build the ‘obstruction’ case, which would be the launching point for the impeachment.

Andrew Weissmann & team were continually trying to bait/provoke President Trump into making statements, or taking action that could be added to the ‘obstruction’ file; while Mueller is telling Trump’s legal team they were only a subject-witness in the Russia investigation.

The entire Mueller team were working to goad President Trump into something Mueller could then color/construe as obstruction and then open House impeachment grounds; and they were having fun doing it.

The manner of the pre-dawn raid on Paul Manafort, and the way they treated him, along with the manner of the raid on Michael Cohen was all done purposefully hoping to draw a reaction from Trump, which they would add to the obstruction file.

Once Rosenstein and Mueller had the mid-term election goal secure (Dec ’18), then they set about enhancing the impeachment narrative with even stronger ‘obstruction‘ provocations.

The outrageous manner of arrest of Roger Stone is an example. The scale of it; heavily armed swat teams, tanks etc; and the fact that Weissmann enlisted CNN for the purpose of intentionally broadcasting the outrageous nature of the arrest, was by design.

After the 2018 election the type of provocations increased. From all appearances they had no intention of not continuing to ramp up the provocation.

All designed to make Trump lash out and give the appearance needed for obstruction.

The reason why Mueller’s team ended up stopping the scheme is because William Barr showed up and refused to participate. This would explain why a disgruntled Weissmann and Mueller team punted on the obstruction decision to AG William Barr.

It was their last desperate effort, amid a failure to construct a solid legal case, to politicize the possibility and innuendo, and force Barr to be the one to say: “no obstruction.”

(Read more: The Last Refuge/Conservative Treehouse, 4/19/2019)

(Editor’s note: republished with permission, photos courtesy of Conservative Treehouse)

April 18, 2019 – Konstantin Kilimnik, a key figure the Mueller report links to Russia, was a State Department intel source

Konstantin Kilimnik (Credit: public domain)

“In a key finding of the Mueller report, Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Kilimnik, who worked for Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is tied to Russian intelligence.

But hundreds of pages of government documents — which special counsel Robert Mueller possessed since 2018 — describe Kilimnik as a “sensitive” intelligence source for the U.S. State Department who informed on Ukrainian and Russian matters.

Why Mueller’s team omitted that part of the Kilimnik narrative from its report and related court filings is not known. But the revelation of it comes as the accuracy of Mueller’s Russia conclusions face increased scrutiny.

The incomplete portrayal of Kilimnik is so important to Mueller’s overall narrative that it is raised in the opening of his report. “The FBI assesses” Kilimnik “to have ties to Russian intelligence,” Mueller’s team wrote on page 6, putting a sinister light on every contact Kilimnik had with Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman.

What it doesn’t state is that Kilimnik was a “sensitive” intelligence source for State going back to at least 2013 while he was still working for Manafort, according to FBI and State Department memos I reviewed.

Kilimnik was not just any run-of-the-mill source, either.

He interacted with the chief political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, sometimes meeting several times a week to provide information on the Ukraine government. He relayed messages back to Ukraine’s leaders and delivered written reports to U.S. officials via emails that stretched on for thousands of words, the memos show.

The FBI knew all of this, well before the Mueller investigation concluded.

John Solomon tweets about the Manafort Ledger. (Credit: Twitter)

Alan Purcell, the chief political officer at the Kiev embassy from 2014 to 2017, told FBI agents that State officials, including senior embassy officials Alexander Kasanof and Eric Schultz, deemed Kilimnik to be such a valuable asset that they kept his name out of cables for fear he would be compromised by leaks to WikiLeaks.” (Read more: The Hill, 6/06/2019)