Russia probe

May 29, 2019 – Mueller, in first comments on Russia inquiry, declines to clear Trump

“Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, declined on Wednesday to clear President Trump of obstruction of justice in his first public characterization of his two-year investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mr. Mueller said, reading from prepared notes behind a lectern at the Justice Department at a hastily called public appearance.

He also noted that while Justice Department policy prohibits charging a sitting president with a crime, the Constitution provides for another remedy to formally accuse a president of wrongdoing — a clear reference to the ability of Congress to conduct impeachment proceedings.

Although it lasted less than 10 minutes, the news conference presented an extraordinary spectacle of a top federal law enforcement official publicly stating that the president’s conduct had warranted criminal investigation, even though it was impossible to indict him for any crimes. Mr. Mueller delivered his statement on his last day as special counsel, saying it was his final word on his investigation and he was returning to private life.

Democratic presidential candidates immediately seized on Mr. Mueller’s refusal to exonerate Mr. Trump to call for the president’s impeachment, intensifying pressure on Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has insisted impeachment proceedings would only play into Mr. Trump’s hands.

The president’s aides and allies tried to cast the event as not even newsworthy, just a summary of a 448-page report released weeks ago. Mr. Mueller “has closed his office and it’s time for everybody to move on,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary.” (Read more: The New York Times, 5/29/2019)

Read the full transcript of Mr. Mueller’s statement.

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)

October 3, 2018 – Top FBI lawyer Baker offers ‘explosive’ testimony on ‘abnormal’ handling of Russia probe into Trump campaign

James Baker (Credit: Fox News)

“Former top FBI lawyer James Baker gave “explosive” closed-door testimony on Wednesday detailing for congressional investigators how the Russia probe was handled in an “abnormal fashion” reflecting “political bias,” according to two Republican lawmakers present for the deposition.

Some of the things that were shared were explosive in nature,” Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., told Fox News. “This witness confirmed that things were done in an abnormal fashion. That’s extremely troubling.”

Meadows claimed the “abnormal” handling of the probe into alleged coordination between Russian officials and the Trump presidential campaign was “a reflection of inherent bias that seems to be evident in certain circles.” The FBI agent who opened the Russia case, Peter Strzok, FBI lawyer Lisa Page and others sent politically charged texts, and have since left the bureau.

Baker, who had a closely working relationship with former FBI Director James Comey, left the bureau earlier this year.

The lawmakers would not provide many specifics about the private transcribed interview, citing a confidentiality agreement with Baker and his attorneys. However, they indicated in broad terms that Baker was cooperative and forthcoming about the genesis of the Russia case in 2016, and about the surveillance warrant application for Trump campaign aide Carter Page in October 2016.” (Read more: Fox News, 10/03/2018)

June 26, 2018 – House Approves Resolution Demanding DOJ/FBI Docs

Jim Jordan (l) and Mark Meadows. (Credit: public domain)

“The House Judiciary Committee approved for the first time a resolution Tuesday demanding that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein turn over all requested documents regarding the FBI’s handling of the Russia investigation during the presidential election after seven days or face possible impeachment or contempt.

The decision to move forward with the resolution came after a year of battles with the Justice Department and FBI to turn over requested documents. The committee voted on party lines 15-11 to pass the resolution directing Rosenstein to comply within the next seven days or face the consequences.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who has been one of the lawmakers at the front lines of the committee’s investigation, said the resolution is the result of the frustration felt among lawmakers conducting oversight. He noted that it will be up to House Republican leaders to decide whether or not to take it to the full House for a vote.

“If they don’t comply with the resolution they know the remedies the House has, contempt and impeachment,” said Jordan. “If we don’t get that information entitled to us, everybody knows that we’ll do what we have to do to get it done.”

Jordan and Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., were the authors of the resolution. Both members have criticized Rosenstein and the FBI for failing to deliver documents. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-CA, has also been fighting the Justice Department for documents and has threatened as well to hold Rosenstein in contempt or impeachment if they are not produced.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 6/26/2018)

May 4, 2018 – Federal judge accuses Mueller’s team of lying, trying to target Trump: ‘C’mon man!’

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III (Credit: public domain)

“A federal judge on Friday harshly rebuked Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team during a hearing for ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort – suggesting they lied about the scope of the investigation, are seeking “unfettered power” and are more interested in bringing down the president.

“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort,” U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III told Mueller’s team. “You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead you to Mr. Trump and an impeachment, or whatever.”

Further, Ellis demanded to see the unredacted “scope memo,” a document outlining the scope of the special counsel’s Russia probe that congressional Republicans have also sought.

Manafort’s attorneys argue the special counsel does not have the power to indict him on the charges they have brought – and seemed to find a sympathetic ear with Ellis.

The Reagan-appointed judge asked Mueller’s team where they got the authority to indict Manafort on alleged crimes dating as far back as 2005.

The special counsel argues that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein granted them broad authority in his May 2017 letter appointing Mueller to this investigation. But after the revelation that the team is using information from the earlier DOJ probe, Ellis said that information did not “arise” out of the special counsel probe – and therefore may not be within the scope of that investigation.

“We don’t want anyone with unfettered power,” he said.

Mueller’s team says its authorities are laid out in documents including the August 2017 scope memo – and that some powers are actually secret because they involve ongoing investigations and national security matters that cannot be publicly disclosed.” (Read more: Fox News, 5/04/2018)

November 30, 2017 – Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI

LTG Michael Flynn (Credit: public domain)

“Former National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to a process crime of lying to FBI investigators about the content of a December 29th phone call with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. The conversation occurred the same day that then-president Barack Obama announced sanctions against Russia for its interference in the 2016 election.

This is the same misleading information that led to the White House firing Michael Flynn.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has charged Flynn with falsely telling FBI agents that he did not ask the ambassador “to refrain from escalating the situation” in response to the sanctions.

According to the plea, while being questioned by FBI agents on January 24, 2017, Flynn also lied when he claimed he could not recall a subsequent conversation with Kislyak, in which the ambassador told Flynn that the Putin regime had “chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of [Flynn’s] request.”

Furthermore, a week before the sanctions were imposed, Flynn had also spoken to Kislyak, asking the ambassador to delay or defeat a vote on a pending United Nations resolution. The criminal information charges that Flynn lied to the FBI by denying both that he’d made this request and that he’d spoken afterward with Kislyak about Russia’s response to it.

There was nothing wrong with the incoming national-security adviser’s having meetings with foreign counterparts or discussing such matters as the sanctions in those meetings. However, lying to the FBI is the process crime that has led to Flynn’s admissions. (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 12/1/2017)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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