Trump campaign

March 22, 2017 – Devin Nunes holds a press conference claiming the Trump transition team was under ‘incidental’ surveillance

“The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday that some of the communications of the Trump transition team were “monitored” after the election as part of an “incidental collection.”

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said these surveillance operations produced “dozens” of reports which eventually unmasked several individuals’ identities and were “widely disseminated.”

Nunes would not confirm if Trump’s own communications were specifically monitored, saying only that it was “possible” that the president’s communications were picked up.

Nunes said none of the reports he had read mentioned Russia, and he was unsure whether the surveillance occurred at Trump Tower, as Trump has suggested.

He said he believes the intelligence collections were done legally, but he is concerned because they were apparently not related to the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the presidential election and because they were “widely disseminated” across the intelligence community.

Nunes said he told House Speaker Paul Ryan earlier Wednesday and was set to tell Trump and the White House later in the afternoon.” (Read more: Fox News, 3/22/2017)

March 18, 2017 – Steele writes to Ohr voicing concern about Comey’s upcoming testimony and hopes ‘important firewalls’ will hold

Christopher Steele (l) and Bruce Oh. (Credit: public domain)

“In March 2017, two days before former FBI Director James Comey testified to lawmakers that the bureau had an open counterintelligence investigation into President Trump’s campaign, former British spy Christopher Steele sent an urgent message to Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr hoping that “important firewalls will hold” when Comey testified.

The text message from Steele, who compiled the infamous unverified dossier on Trump, was sent on March 18, 2017 to Ohr and obtained by SaraACarter.com from a government source, familiar with the ongoing investigation.

Ohr was demoted twice by the Department of Justice for not disclosing that his wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS, the now-embattled research firm which paid Steele for the documents. Ohr has been deposed for questioning by the House Judiciary Committee and is expected to speak to lawmakers behind closed doors on Aug. 28.

In the text, Steele writes Ohr, “Hi! Just wondering if you had any news? Obviously, we’re a bit apprehensive given scheduled appearance at Congress on Monday. Hoping that important firewalls will hold. Many thanks.”

Ohr writes back later that day, saying “Sorry, no new news. I believe my earlier information is still accurate. I will let you know immediately if there is any change.”

It is not certain, based on the limited communications obtained by Congress between the pair, what Ohr was referring to when he discussed “earlier information” that he delivered to Steele.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 8/15/2018)

January 11, 2017 – Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire

Michael Avenatti and Alexandra Chalupa have dinner in August 2018. (Credit: Facebook)

“Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.

A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.

The Ukrainian efforts had an impact on the race, helping to force Manafort’s resignation and advancing the narrative that Trump’s campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia. But they were far less concerted or centrally directed than Russia’s alleged hacking and dissemination of Democratic emails.

(…) Ukraine, on the other hand, has traditionally enjoyed strong relations with U.S. administrations. Its officials worry that could change under Trump, whose team has privately expressed sentiments ranging from ambivalence to deep skepticism about Poroshenko’s regime while sounding unusually friendly notes about Putin’s regime.

Poroshenko is scrambling to alter that dynamic, recently signing a $50,000-a-month contract with a well-connected GOP-linked Washington lobbying firm to set up meetings with U.S. government officials “to strengthen U.S.-Ukrainian relations.”

Revelations about Ukraine’s anti-Trump efforts could further set back those efforts. (Read more: Politico, 1/11/2017)

January 06, 2017 – Intel chiefs present Trump with Russian operatives claims of Russian efforts to compromise him

James Comey (l), John Brennan (c) and James Clapper testify about “World Wide Cyber Threats” during an open hearing of the House (Select) Intelligence Committee on September 10, 2015. (Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.

The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible. The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump.

The classified briefings last week were presented by four of the senior-most US intelligence chiefs — Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers.

One reason the nation’s intelligence chiefs took the extraordinary step of including the synopsis in the briefing documents was to make the President-elect aware that such allegations involving him are circulating among intelligence agencies, senior members of Congress and other government officials in Washington, multiple sources tell CNN.

(…) Sources tell CNN that these same allegations about communications between the Trump campaign and the Russians, mentioned in classified briefings for congressional leaders last year, prompted then-Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to send a letter to FBI Director Comey in [August], in which he wrote, “It has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government — a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States.” (Read more: CNN, 1/12/2017)

January 3, 2017 – Jay Sekulow: Obama administration’s anti-Trump actions revealed in newly disclosed documents

Jay Sekulow and Evelyn Farkas (Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

“In March 2017 CTH first highlighted statements by Evelyn Farkas that described a coordinated effort from within the Obama administration to push political opposition research, gathered by the intelligence community, into the media.

Jay Sekulow now discovers documents that highlight the Obama administration’s efforts in their last days in office.  This effort backstops Farkas’s earlier statements.  First, from Sekulow:

(Via Fox Op-ed) – Stunning new information just released by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) shows that the Obama administration stepped up efforts – just days before President Trump took office – to undermine Trump and his administration.

The ACLJ, where I serve as chief counsel, has obtained records that show the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, under Director James Clapper, eagerly pushed to get new procedures as part of an anti-Trump effort. The procedures increased access to raw signals intelligence before the conclusion of the Obama administration, just days before President Trump was inaugurated.

By greatly expanding access to classified information by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats, the Obama administration paved the way for a shadow government to leak classified information – endangering our national security and severely jeopardizing the integrity and reputation of our critical national security apparatus – in an attempt to undermine President Trump.

The documents confirmed what we suspected: the Office of the Director of National Intelligence rushed to get the new “procedures signed by the Attorney General before the conclusion of this administration,” referring to the Obama administration.

Robert Litt (Credit: Linked In)

The documents also reveal that Robert Litt, who worked in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, told the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense’s Director of Intelligence Strategy, Policy, & Integration: “Really want to get this done … and so does the Boss.” Presumably “the Boss” is a reference to Director Clapper.

And documents the ACLJ received that were produced by the National Security Agency show that NSA officials discussed that they “could have a signature from the AG as early as this week, certainly prior to the 20th of Jan.” In other words, certainly before President Trump’s inauguration. (more from Sekulow)

Overlay Sekulow’s January 2017 documents with the statements from Evelyn Farkas and a clear picture emerges.  Here’s Farkas from March 28, 2017:

 

[TRANSCRIPT]  “I was urging my former colleagues, and, and frankly speaking the people on the Hill [Democrat politicians], it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, get as much information as you can – get as much intelligence as you can – before President Obama leaves the administration.”

“Because I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior [Obama] people who left; so it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy, um, that the Trump folks – if they found out HOW we knew what we knew about their, the Trump staff, dealing with Russians – that they would try to compromise those sources and methods; meaning we no longer have access to that intelligence.”

“So I became very worried because not enough was coming out into the open and I knew that there was more.  We have very good intelligence on Russia; so then I had talked to some of my former colleagues and I knew that they were also trying to help get information to [Democrat politicians].”

With the help of MSNBC, simultaneous to her admission of first-hand specific knowledge of the administration spying on candidate and president-elect Trump, Ms. Evelyn Farkas outed herself as the key source for a March 2017 New York Times report which discussed President Obama officials leaking classified information to media.

Considerable irony jumps to the forefront when you recognize, the New York Times tried on March 1st, 2017, to protect Evelyn Farkas as the source of their reporting by stating:

“More than a half-dozen current and former officials described various aspects of the effort to preserve and distribute the intelligence, and some said they were speaking to draw attention to the material and ensure proper investigation by Congress. All spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing classified information, nearly all of which remains secret.” (link)

D’oh.”

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

(Conservative Treehouse, 6/25/2019)

January, 2017 – The DOJ/FBI intelligence operation against Lt. General Michael Flynn

(…) “On January 3rd, 2017, the new congressional year began.  SSCI Vice-Chair Dianne Feinstein abdicated her position within the Gang-of-Eight, and turned over the reigns to Senator Mark Warner.  Warner was now the vice-chair of the SSCI and a Go8 member.

On January 6th, 2017, the Obama White House published the Intelligence Community Assessment, and declared:

We assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. All three agencies agree with this judgment. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence.  (pdf link)

It is not coincidental the ICA was “high confidence” by Brennan and Clapper; and less confidence by Mike Rogers (NSA).

With the Flynn Dec. 29, 2016, transcript in hand, the DOJ and FBI began aiding the Logan Act narrative with Obama intelligence officials supporting the Russia Conspiracy claims and decrying anyone who would interfere or counter the official U.S. position.

On January 14th, 2017, the content of the communication between Flynn and Kislyak was leaked to the Washington Post by an unknown entity. Likely the leak came from the FBI’s counterintelligence operation; the same unit previously carrying out the 2016 campaign spying operations. [Andrew McCabe is highly suspected]

The FBI CoIntel group (Strzok, McCabe etc.), and the DOJ-NSD group (Yates, McCord etc.) were the largest stakeholders in the execution of the insurance policy phase because they were the epicenter of spygate, fraudulent FISA presentations and the formation of the Steele Dossier.

The media leak of the Flynn conversation with Kislyak was critical because the DOJ/FBI were pushing a political narrative. This was not about legality per se’, this effort was about establishing the framework for a preexisting investigation, based on a false premise, that would protect the DOJ and FBI.  The investigation they needed to continue evolved into the Mueller special counsel.  This was all insurance.

The Flynn-Kislyak leak led to Vice-President Mike Pence being hammered on January 15th, 2017, during a CBS Face the Nation interview about Trump campaign officials in contact with Russians.  Pence was exceptionally unprepared to answer the questions and allowed the media to blend questions about campaign contacts with necessary, and entirely appropriate, transition team contacts.

Sunday January 15th, 2017 – VP-elect Mike Pence appears on Face The Nation. [Transcript Here]

Mike Pence appears on CBS Face the Nation. (Credit: CBS)

JOHN DICKERSON: But there’s a distinction between that feeling about the press and legitimate inquiry, as you say, that the Senate Intelligence Committee is doing.

Just to button up one question, did any advisor or anybody in the Trump campaign have any contact with the Russians who were trying to meddle in the election?

MIKE PENCE: Of course not. And I think to suggest that is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that have swirled around the candidacy. (link)

*NOTE* The incoming administration was under a false-narrative siege created by the media.  At the time (early Jan, 2017) ‘any contact’ with Russians was evidence of meddling/election-collusion with Russians.  VP-elect Mike Pence poorly answered the question from Dickerson from a very defensive position.

The toxic media environment and Mike Pence speaking poorly during a Face The Nation interview now became a much bigger issue.

Once Vice-President Mike Pence made the statement that Flynn had no contact with anyone from Russia etc. any contradictory statement from Flynn would make Pence appear compromised.  Michael Flynn is now contrast against Pence’s false point without clarification.  As National Security Advisor Flynn was interviewed by the FBI on January 24th, nine days after Pence made his comments.

During this ambush interview, disguised as a meeting, FBI Agent Peter Strzok and FBI Agent Joe Pientka were contrasting Vice-President-elect Pence’s statements to CBS against the known action of Mike Flynn.  [Flynn has three options: either (1) Flynn contradicts Pence, or (2) he tells a lie; or (3) Flynn explains Pence misspoke, those were his options.]

How Flynn responded to the line of inquiry, and explained/reconciled the difference between Pence’s statement on Jan 15th and what actually took place on December 29th, 2016, is why the FBI ended up with the initial conclusion that Flynn wasn’t lying.

It is within this dynamic where the FD-302 reports, written by Strzok and Pientka, then became the subject of political manipulation by Asst. FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

The FBI knew the content of the Flynn call with Sergey Kislyak because they were listening in.  The FBI were intercepting those communications.  So when Pence said no-one had any contact on January 15th, the FBI crew IMMEDIATELY knew they had an issue to exploit.

We see the evidence of the FBI knowing they had an issue to exploit, and being very nervous about doing it, in the text messages between Lisa Page and FBI Agent Peter Strzok who would end up doing the questioning of Flynn.

The day before the Flynn interview:

January 23, 2017, the day before the Flynn interview, Lisa Page says: “I can feel my heart beating harder, I’m so stressed about all the ways THIS has the potential to go fully off the rails.” Weird!

♦Strzok replies: “I know. I just talked with John, we’re getting together as soon as I get in to finish that write up for Andy (MCCABE) this morning.” Strzok agrees with Page about being stressed that “THIS” could go off the rails… (Strzok’s meeting w Flynn the next day)

[We’re not sure who “John” is, but we know “Bill” is Bill Priestap, FBI Deputy Director in charge of Counterintelligence. And “Jen” is Jennifer Boone, FBI counterproliferation division]

So it’s the day before they interview Flynn.  Why would Page & Strzok be stressed about “THIS” potentially going off the rails?  The answer is simple: they knew the content of the phone call between Mike Flynn and Sergey Kislyak because they were listening in, and they were about to exploit the Pence statement to CBS.  In essence they were admitting to monitoring Flynn, that’s why they were so nervous.  They were planning and plotting with Andrew McCabe about how they were going to exploit the phone-tap and the difference in public statements by VP Mike Pence.

There’s a good possibility Flynn was honest but his honesty contradicted Pence’s national statement on CBS; and Flynn likely tried to dance through a needle without being overly critical of VP-elect Pence misspeaking.   Remember, the alternative: if Flynn is brutally honest, the media now runs with a narrative about Vice-President Pence as a national liar.  

  • Wednesday January 25th, 2017,  –  The Department of Justice, National Security Division, (at this timeframe Mary McCord was head of the DOJ-NSD) – received a detailed readout from the FBI agents who had interviewed Flynn. Yates said she felt “it was important to get this information to the White House as quickly as possible.”
  • Thursday January 26th – (morning) Yates called White House Counsel Don McGahn first thing that morning to tell him she had “a very sensitive matter” that had to be discussed face to face. McGahn agreed to meet with Yates later that afternoon.
  • Thursday January 26th – (afternoonSally Yates traveled to the White House along with a senior member of the DOJ’s National Security Division, “who was overseeing the matter”, that is Mary McCord.  This was Yates’ first meeting with McGahn in his office, which also acts as a sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF).

Yates said she began their meeting by laying out the media accounts and media statements made by Vice President Mike Pence and other high-ranking White House officials about General Flynn’s activity “that we knew not to be the truth.

According to Sally Yates testimony, she and Mary McCord presented all the information to McGahn so the White House could take action that they deemed appropriate.  When asked by McGahn if Flynn should be fired, Yates answered, “that really wasn’t our call.”

Yates also said her decision to notify the White House counsel had been discussed “at great length.”  According to her testimony: “Certainly leading up to our notification on the 26th, it was a topic of a whole lot of discussion in DOJ and with other members of the intel community.”

Friday January 27th – (morning)  White House Counsel Don McGahn called Yates in the morning and asked if she could come back to his office.

Friday January 27th – (late afternoon) According to her testimony, Sally Yates returned to the White House late that afternoon.  One of McGahn’s topics discussed was whether Flynn could be prosecuted for his conduct.

Specifically, according to Yates, one of the questions *McGahn asked Yates: “Why does it matter to DOJ if one White House official lies to another?” She explained that it “was a whole lot more than that,” and reviewed the same issues outlined the prior day.

[*If you consider that McGahn was trying to thread the needle between Mike Pence’s poorly worded response to CBS, and Michael Flynn’s FBI questioning that came after Pence’s statement, McGahn would see the no-win situation Flynn was in during that inquisition.]

McGahn then expressed his concern that taking any action might interfere with the FBI investigation of Flynn, and Yates said it wouldn’t: “It wouldn’t really be fair of us to tell you this and then expect you to sit on your hands,” Yates claims to have told McGahn.

McGahn asked if he could look at the underlying evidence of Flynn’s conduct, and she said they would work with the FBI over the weekend and “get back with him on Monday morning.”

Friday January 27th, 2017 – (evening) In what appears to be only a few hours later, President Trump is having dinner with FBI Director James Comey where President Trump asked if he was under investigation. Trump was, but to continue the auspices of the ongoing investigation, Comey lied and told him he wasn’t.

This why the issue of how the FBI agents write the 302 summary of the Flynn interview becomes such an important facet.   We see that dynamic again playing out in the messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok; with Andrew McCabe providing the guidance.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 4/29/2019)

December 12, 2016 – CIA director Brennan selects FBI Peter Strzok to work on the Joint Analysis Report (JAR) and help write the Intel Community Assessment (ICA)

March 26, 2019 – “Last week Fox News journalist Catherine Herridge announced she had received 40 pages of text messages between former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and his FBI Lawyer Lisa Page. [See Here]  These text communications have not been seen by congress, and were not released during prior requests for documents.  Herridge, released and wrote about two of the pages. [See Here]

Today, Herridge releases two more pages….  She’s awesome, and likely slow in the overall release to absorb the import; and for good reason.  Herridge’s release today highlights an important meeting as discussed within the texts:

In a Dec. 12, 2016, text reviewed by Fox News, Page wrote to McCabe: “Btw, [Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper told Pete that he was meeting with [CIA Director John] Brennan and Cohen for dinner tonight. Just FYSA [for your situational awareness].”

Herridge’s angle is questioning why Peter “Pete” Strzok would be told about a meeting between CIA Director John Brennan, ODNI James Clapper and Deputy CIA Director David Cohen.  Current officials cannot explain the context of this December 12th, 2016 meeting and why “Pete” would know about it.

However, there’s an aspect to the background of this time-frame that Catherine Herridge is overlooking…. bear with me.

This meeting takes place on December 12th, 2016.  This is in the epicenter of the time when the Obama intelligence officials, specifically Clapper and Brennan – along with DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, were hastily putting together something called the JAR “Joint Analysis Report”, on Russian activity in the 2016 election.

The Joint Analysis Report: aka GRIZZLY STEPPE – Russian Malicious Cyber Activity”  was released on December 29th, 2016, to coincide with President Obama kicking out Russian diplomats as punishment for the content therein which outlined malicious Russian activity in the 2016 election.

We’ve been talking about the JAR from the day it was initially released.  This specific report is total garbage. [Read it Here]  The “Russian Malicious Cyber Activity – Joint Analysis Report” is pure nonsense. This is the report that generated the “17 intelligence agencies” narrative and talking points.  The JAR outlines nothing more than vague and disingenuous typical hacking activity that is no more substantive than any other hacking report on any other foreign actor.  But the “17 Intel Agencies” narrative stuck like glue.

(…)  There’s no doubt the intended outcome was to create confusion and begin selling a narrative to undermine the incoming President-elect Trump administration. No-one expected him to win; Trump’s victory sent a shock-wave through the DC system the professional political class were reacting to it.  The emotional crisis inside DC made manipulating them, and much of the the electorate, that much easier.

Understanding the JAR was used to validate the Russian sanctions and expulsion of the 35 Russian diplomats; and understanding that some coordination and planning was needed for the report therein; and understanding that Brennan and Clapper would need someone to author the material; that’s where Peter “Pete” Strzok comes in.

Remember, CIA Director John Brennan enlisted FBI Agent Peter Strzok to write much of the follow-up within the ICA report, another sketchy construct.  Paul Sperry wrote a great article about it (emphasis mine):

(…) In another departure from custom, the report is missing any dissenting views or an annex with evaluations of the conclusions from outside reviewers. “Traditionally, controversial intelligence community assessments like this include dissenting views and the views of an outside review group,” said Fred Fleitz, who worked as a CIA analyst for 19 years and helped draft national intelligence estimates at Langley. “It also should have been thoroughly vetted with all relevant IC agencies,” he added. “Why were DHS and DIA excluded?”

Fleitz suggests that the Obama administration limited the number of players involved in the analysis to skew the results. He believes the process was “manipulated” to reach a “predetermined political conclusion” that the incoming Republican president was compromised by the Russians.

“I’ve never viewed the ICA as credible,” the CIA veteran added.

A source close to the House investigation said Brennan himself selected the CIA and FBI analysts who worked on the ICA, and that they included former FBI counterespionage chief Peter Strzok.

Strzok was the intermediary between Brennan and [former FBI Director James] Comey, and he was one of the authors of the ICA,” according to the source.  (read more)

Now does the picture from within Catherine Herridge’s story make more sense?

Peter “Pete” Strzok knew about the December 12th meeting between Brennan, Clapper and Cohen, because Clapper told Strzok of the meeting.  Likely this discussion surrounded the need for Pete’s help in constructing the JAR; which would be the underlying evidence President Obama would use to expel the Russians….  Which is to say, give increased validity to the manufactured premise there was Russian interference.  There wasn’t. (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, March 26, 2019)

Fast forward two months: “Trey Gowdy appears on Fox News to discuss the current ‘investigative’ status and reports of Brennan -vs- Comey on the use of the Steele Dossier within the 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment or ICA.

Gowdy is one of the few people, along with John Ratcliffe, who has seen the full and unredacted FISA application used against Carter Page.

Regarding the use of the Steele Dossier within the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment; as Gowdy notes there is a likelihood both Brennan and Comey are both correct. (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/14/2019)

July – October, 2016: The Clinton machine floods the FBI with Trump-Russia dirt via State, Congress, Justice, and a top Democratic lawyer.

(…) “Between July and October 2016, Clinton-connected lawyers, emissaries and apologists made more than a half-dozen overtures to U.S. officials, each tapping a political connection to get suspect evidence into FBI counterintelligence agents’ hands, according to internal documents and testimonies I reviewed and interviews I conducted.

(…) Ex-FBI general counsel James Baker, one of the more senior bureau executives to be targeted, gave a memorable answer when congressional investigators asked how attorney Michael Sussmann from the Perkins Coie law firm, which represented the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party, came to personally deliver him dirt on Trump.

“You’d have to ask him why he decided to pick me,” Baker said last year in testimony that has not yet been released publicly. The FBI’s top lawyer turned over a calendar notation to Congress, indicating that he met Sussmann on Sept. 19, 2016, less than two months before Election Day.

(…) Baker’s detailed account illustrates how a political connection — Sussmann and Baker knew each other — was leveraged to get anti-Trump research to FBI leaders.

“[Sussmann] told me he had cyber experts that had obtained some information that they thought they should get into the hands of the FBI,” Baker testified.

“I referred this to investigators, and I believe they made a record of it,” he testified, adding that he believed he reached out to Peter Strzok, the agent in charge of the Russia case, or William Priestap, the head of FBI counterintelligence.

“Please come get this,” he recalled telling his colleagues. Baker acknowledged it was not the normal way for counterintelligence evidence to enter the FBI.

But when the bureau’s top lawyer makes a request, things happen in the rank-and-file.

The overture was neither the first nor the last instance of Clinton-connected Trump dirt reaching the FBI.

(…) During a trip to Washington later that month, Steele reached out to two political contacts with the credentials to influence the FBI.

Then-senior State Department official Jonathan Winer, who worked for then-Secretary John Kerry, wrote that Steele first approached him in the summer with his Trump research and then met again with him in September. Winer consulted his boss, Assistant Secretary for Eurasia Affairs Victoria Nuland, who said she first learned of Steele’s allegations in late July and urged Winer to send it to the FBI.

(If you need further intrigue, Winer worked from 2008 to 2013 for the lobbying and public relations firm APCO Worldwide, the same firm that was a contractor for both the Clinton Global Initiative and Russia’s main nuclear fuel company that won big decisions from the Obama administration.) (Read much more: The Hill, 1/22/2019)

 

October 2016 – An attorney for the Clinton campaign and DNC, Michael Sussmann, gave the FBI documents for the Russia probe

Perkins Coie Washington, D.C. offices. (Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi/The National Law Journal)

“A top lawyer working with the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign contacted the FBI’s general counsel in late 2016 and provided documents for the Russia probe as federal investigators prepared a surveillance warrant for Trump campaign aide Carter Page, sources close to a congressional investigation told Fox News, citing new testimony.

The FBI official who was contacted, James Baker, revealed the exchange to congressional investigators during a closed-door deposition Wednesday. He said Perkins Coie lawyer Michael Sussmann initiated contact with him and provided documents as well as computer storage devices on Russian hacking. The sources said Baker described the contact as unusual and the “only time it happened.”

Perkins Coie was a key player in the funding of the controversial anti-Trump dossier, which Republicans have long suspected helped fuel the FBI’s investigation. The DNC and Clinton campaign had hired opposition research firm Fusion GPS in April 2016, through Perkins Coie, to dig into Trump’s background. Fusion, in turn, paid British ex-spy Christopher Steele to compile the dossier, memos from which were shared with the FBI in the summer of 2016.

Michael Sussmann (Credit: Chalet Reports)

Sussmann’s contact with Baker suggests another connection between the early stages of the FBI’s Russia probe and those working with the DNC and Clinton campaign. Sussmann’s bio on the Perkins Coie website describes him as a former senior Justice Department official with extensive national security and cybersecurity experience: “[Sussmann] is engaged on some of the most sophisticated, high-stakes matters today, such as his representation of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in their responses to Russian hacking in the 2016 presidential election.”

Asked about Baker’s statements, however, a Perkins Coie spokesperson said Sussmann’s contact was not connected to the firm’s representation of the DNC or Clinton campaign.

The spokesperson said in a statement:

“Prior to joining Perkins Coie, Michael Sussmann served as a cybercrime prosecutor in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice during both Republican and Democratic administrations. As a result, Sussmann is regularly retained by clients with complex cybersecurity matters.

“When Sussmann met with Mr. Baker on behalf of a client, it was not connected to the firm’s representation of the Hillary Clinton Campaign, the DNC or any Political Law Group client.”

Separately, two Republican lawmakers said after Baker’s deposition that he gave “explosive” closed-door testimony detailing how the Russia probe was handled in an “abnormal fashion” reflecting “political bias.” (Read more: Fox News, 10/04/2018)

October 11, 2016 – DOJ and FBI officials hide a State Dept email that memorializes Christopher Steele’s political motives

“If ever there were an admission that taints the FBI’s secret warrant to surveil Donald Trump’s campaign, it sat buried for more than 2 1/2 years in the files of a high-ranking State Department official.

Kathleen Kavalec (Credit: BizPacReview)

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec’s written account of her Oct. 11, 2016, meeting with FBI informant Christopher Steele shows the Hillary Clinton campaign-funded British intelligence operative admitted that his research was political and facing an Election Day deadline.

And that confession occurred 10 days before the FBI used Steele’s now-discredited dossier to justify securing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and the campaign’s ties to Russia.

Steele’s client “is keen to see this information come to light prior to November 8,” the date of the 2016 election, Kavalec wrote in a typed summary of her meeting with Steele and Tatyana Duran, a colleague from Steele’s Orbis Security firm. The memos were unearthed a few days ago through open-records litigation by the conservative group Citizens United.

Kavalec’s notes do not appear to have been provided to the House Intelligence Committee during its Russia probe, according to former Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). “They tried to hide a lot of documents from us during our investigation, and it usually turns out there’s a reason for it,” Nunes told me. Senate and House Judiciary investigators told me they did not know about them, even though they investigated Steele’s behavior in 2017-18.

One member of Congress transmitted the memos this week to the Department of Justice’s inspector general, fearing its investigation of FISA abuses may not have had access to them.

Nonetheless, the FBI is doing its best to keep much of Kavalec’s information secret by retroactively claiming it is classified, even though it was originally marked unclassified in 2016.

The apparent effort to hide Kavalec’s notes from her contact with Steele has persisted for some time.

State officials acknowledged a year ago they received a copy of the Steele dossier in July 2016, and got a more detailed briefing in October 2016 and referred the information to the FBI.

But what was discussed was not revealed. Sources told me more than a year ago that Kavalec had the most important (and memorialized) interaction with Steele before the FISA warrant was issued, but FBI and State officials refused to discuss it, or even confirm it.” (Read more: The Hill, 5/07/2019) (Kavalec Memo)

 

“On May 10, 2019, against the backdrop of documents from the state department, Senator Lindsey Graham sends a letter to both OIG Michael Horowitz and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seeking additional information about State Department contact with Christopher Steele.  (Source Link – Senate Judiciary)

Additionally, the FBI has apparently reversed course on the self-serving redactions they put in place when the Kavalec Memo was released.  A less redacted version is linked here.

Apparently the Russian “mole” in the DNC didn’t warrant the investigative curiosity of the FBI.  Instead, they took the sketchy dossier info and called Carter Page an “agent of a foreign power”….  Go figure.” (Conservative Treehouse, 5/10/2019)