Trump Russia collusion
August 1, 2019 – John Solomon reports Durham and Horowitz have interviewed Joseph Mifsud and obtained an audio-taped deposition
(…) “Solomon told Sean Hannity that Western asset Joseph Mifsud has already testified and the Durham investigators have already obtained a taped deposition of his testimony.
Last week former US Attorney Joe diGenova also reported that US Attorney John Durham and IG Horowitz have already interviewed Joseph Mifsud.
John Solomon: I can report absolutely that the Durham investigators have now obtained an audio-taped deposition of Joseph Mifsud where he describes his work, why he targeted Papadopoulos, who directed him to do that, what directions he was given and why he set that entire process of introducing George Papadopoulos to Russia in motion in March of 2016. Which is really the flashpoint the start point of this whole Russia collusion narrative.
August 1, 2019 – Opinion: Here Are 5 Big Holes in Mueller’s Work
“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?
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?
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.)
July 30, 2019 – Secret McCabe texts with MI-5 counterpart emerge, spotlighting UK’s early role In Russiagate
“Newly surfaced text messages between Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and his counterpart at MI-5, the UK’s domestic security service, have cast new light on Britain’s role in the FBI’s 2016 ‘Russiagate’ investigation, according to The Guardian.
Two of the most senior intelligence officials in the US and UK privately shared concerns about “our strange situation” as the FBI launched its 2016 investigation into whether Donald Trump’s campaign was colluding with Russia, The Guardian has learned.
Text messages between Andrew McCabe, the deputy director of the FBI at the time, and Jeremy Fleming, his then counterpart at MI5, now the head of GCHQ, also reveal their mutual surprise at the result of the EU referendum, which some US officials regarded as a “wake-up call”, according to a person familiar with the matter. –The Guardian
McCabe and Fleming’s texts were “infrequent and cryptic,” but “occurred with some regularity” after the June 2016 Brexit referendum.
In his text message about the August 2016 meeting, Fleming appeared to be making a reference to Peter Strzok, a senior FBI official who travelled to London that month to meet the Australian diplomat Alexander Downer. Downer had agreed to speak with the FBI about a Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, who had told him that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee in the race. –The Guardian
In 2017, The Guardian reported that Britain’s spy agencies had played a key role in alerting their American counterparts of communications between members of the Trump campaign and “suspected Russian agents,” which was passed along to the US in what was characterized as a “routine exchange of information.” (Read more: Zero Hedge, 7/30/2019)
July 23, 2019 – Durham’s team reaches out to Mifsud to review a deposition he gave last year that suggests he was instructed to put Papadopoulos in touch with Russians
“While most of the political world focused its attention elsewhere, special prosecutor John Durham’s team quietly reached out this summer to a lawyer representing European academic Joseph Mifsud, one of the earliest and most mysterious figures in the now closed Russia-collusion case.
An investigator told Swiss attorney Stephan Roh that Durham’s team wanted to interview Mifsud, or at the very least review a recorded deposition the professor gave in summer 2018 about his role in the drama involving Donald Trump, Russia and the 2016 election.
(…) For those who don’t remember, Mifsud is a Maltese-born academic with a VIP Rolodex who frequented Rome and London for years and engaged at the highest levels of Western diplomatic and intelligence circles.
Mueller’s team alleges that Mifsud is the person who fed a story in spring 2016 to Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos about Moscow possessing purloined emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was the earliest known contact in the now-debunked collusion narrative and the seminal event that the FBI says prompted it on July 31, 2016, to open its probe into the Trump campaign.
Mueller concluded that Mifsud was a person with extensive Russia ties who planted the story about the Clinton emails in Moscow and then lied about his dealings with Papadopoulos when interviewed by the FBI in 2017. Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Mifsud.
(…) Conservative defenders of President Trump, including former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), have raised recent concerns that Mueller’s portrayal of the Mifsud-Papadopoulos contacts doesn’t add up.
Roh told me the information he is preparing to share with Durham’s team from his client will accentuate those concerns.
Mifsud was a “longtime cooperator of western intel” who was asked specifically by his contacts at Link University in Rome and the London Center of International Law Practice (LCILP) — two academic groups with ties to Western diplomacy and intelligence — to meet with Papadopoulos at a dinner in Rome in mid-March 2016, Roh told me.
A May 2019 letter from Nunes to U.S. intelligence officials corroborates some of Roh’s account, revealing photos showing that the FBI conducted training at Link in fall 2016 and that Mifsud and other Link officials met regularly with world leaders, including Boris Johnson, elected today as Britain’s new prime minister.
A few days after the March dinner, Roh added, Mifsud received instructions from Link superiors to “put Papadopoulos in contact with Russians,” including a think tank figure named Ivan Timofeev and a woman he was instructed to identify to Papadopoulos as Vladimir Putin’s niece.
Mifsud knew the woman was not the Russian president’s niece but, rather, a student who was involved with both the Link and LCILP campuses, and the professor believed there was an effort underway to determine whether Papadopoulos was an “agent provocateur” seeking foreign contacts, Roh said.
The evidence, he told me, “clearly indicates that this was not only a surveillance op but a more sophisticated intel operation” in which Mifsud became involved.” (Read more: The Hill, 7/23/2019)
- 2016 Election
- Clinton emails
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- George Papadopoulos
- Ivan Timofeev
- John Durham
- Joseph Mifsud
- July 2019
- Link Campus University Rome
- London Academy of Diplomacy (LAD)
- Stephan Roh
- The London Centre for International Law Practice (LCILP)
- Trump campaign
- Trump Russia collusion
June 4, 2019 – Trump’s campaign lawyers cite the Mueller report in their fight against the DNC lawsuit
“Lawyers for President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign asked a judge Tuesday to penalize the Democratic National Committee for alleging in a lawsuit a conspiracy between the campaign and Russia, saying special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings revealed the “doomed effort to prove a falsehood.”
But lawyers for the Democratic Party responded by saying Mueller’s report confirms and bolsters their claims by detailing the campaign’s repeated suspicious interactions with Russian agents, proving the campaign participated in Russia’s election interference.
The arguments on both sides were included in the Trump campaign’s filing in Manhattan federal court, where a judge is considering the merits of the DNC’s April 2018 lawsuit against the Trump campaign, Russia, WikiLeaks and Trump’s son and son-in-law. The lawsuit sought unspecified damages, alleging a conspiracy to cheat Democrats.
In seeking sanctions Tuesday including legal costs, Donald J. Trump for President Inc. contended that Mueller “definitively refuted the notion that the Campaign conspired or in any way coordinated with Russia.
The 448-page Mueller report was released on April 18, though nearly 40% of the report’s pages had redactions.
“The assumption, of course, was that the Special Counsel would substantiate the DNC’s claims,” the Trump campaign lawyers wrote. “Suffice it to say, that assumption did not pan out.”
The campaign’s lawyers said the report “debunks any such conclusion by walking through the vast body of evidence that his Office collected and establishing that none of this evidence showed that the Campaign formed any sort of agreement with Russia.”
They said the report shows the DNC can never prove its key allegations, “yet has refused to accept this reality.”
“The DNC has thus made clear that it wants to proceed with a politically motivated sham case, tying up the resources of this Court and the Campaign — and inevitably burdening the President himself — all in a doomed effort to prove a falsehood,” the lawyers wrote.” (Read more: The Associated Press, 6/05/2019)
May 12, 2019 – President Trump Calls Out FBI Director Christopher Wray: “the director is protecting the coup gang”…and then there’s Dana Boente
“President Trump indicates he is well aware of the intents and motives of FBI Director Christopher Wray covering for the illegal coup effort:
President Trump may have been aware of Chris Wray’s corrupt disposition prior to today; however, this is the first visible indication he understands the internecine organization of it. Hopefully we can start the countdown clock to Wray’s exit.
Next up, Chris Wray’s #1 strategic hire, current FBI Legal Counsel Dana Boente.
In 2015 the DOJ-OIG (office of inspector general) requested oversight of the DOJ National Security Division. It was Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates who responded with a lengthy 58 page legal explanation saying, essentially, ‘nope – not allowed.’ (PDF HERE) All of the DOJ is subject to oversight, except the DOJ-NSD.
When John Carlin resigned as Asst. Attorney General in charge of the DOJ National Security Division in October 2016 he was replaced by Principal Deputy Asst. Attorney General and Chief of Staff, Mary McCord. After President Trump took office on January 20th, 2017, Sally Yates was Acting AG and Mary McCord was in charge of the DOJ-NSD.
Yates and McCord were the two Main Justice officials who then engaged with White House Counsel Don McGahn on January 26th, 2017, regarding the General Flynn FBI interview conducted on January 24th. The Trump-Russia Collusion Conspiracy was the headline.
On January 30th, 2017, Sally Yates was fired for refusing to defend the Trump travel ban from extremist countries. Yates was replaced on January 31st by the U.S. Attorney from the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA), Dana Boente.
With his shift to Main Justice Dana Boente was Acting Attorney General, and Mary McCord was Asst. AG in charge of the DOJ-NSD. Boente was in the Acting AG position from Jan 31st, 2017, until Jeff Sessions was confirmed on February 8th, 2017.
When Jeff Sessions became AG, Dana Boente became Acting Deputy AG, a role he would retain until Rod Rosenstein was confirmed on April 25th, 2017. [Mary McCord remained head of the DOJ-National Security Division]
On March 2nd, 2017, Dana Boente was one of the small group who participated in a conversation that led to the recusal of Jeff Sessions from anything related to the 2016 election. This recusal included the ongoing FBI counterintelligence investigation known as Crossfire Hurricane, which was later picked up by Robert Mueller.
The other attendees for the recusal decision-making meeting (see above schedule) included Sessions’ chief of staff Jody Hunt; Criminal Chief in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, Jim Crowell; Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG) in the Department of Justice National Security Division Tash Gauhar (FISA lawyer); and Associate Deputy Attorney General Scott Schools. [Note: Tash Gauhar was lawyer for FBI Clinton case; and Scott Schools was part of drafting Clinton exoneration letter.]
The Main Justice group influenced Jeff Sessions to recuse.
With AG Jeff Sessions recused on March 2, 2017, FBI Director James Comey now reported to Acting Deputy AG Dana Boente. [Technically, Boente is still EDVA U.S. Attorney and is only ‘acting’ as Deputy AG] Additionally, on March 31st, 2017, President Trump signs executive order 13787 making the U.S. EDVA Attorney the 3rd in line for DOJ succession.
Question: If Dana Boente was appointed “Acting Attorney General” on January 31st, 2017 (he was), then why did Don McGahn need to draw up XO 13787 on March 31st, 2017… especially after confirmed AG Jeff Sessions was already in place Feb 9th?
The answer likely has to do with a sign-off needed for FISA.
See the issue?
How does somebody (unknown) advise White House Counsel Don McGahn to draw up an executive order so that Boente can sign a FISA…. without telling Don McGahn the reason why AG Sessions can’t sign off on the FISA? See the issue now?
In the period between March 2nd and April 25th – With AG Sessions recused, and without a Deputy AG confirmed, Dana Boente is simultaneously:
- U.S. Attorney for EDVA
- Acting Deputy AG.
- Acting AG for all issues related to Sessions recusal.
It is James Comey and Dana Boente who sign the April 2017 FISA renewal for Carter Page.
This dynamic would later become important as notes Boente took from conversations with James Comey became evidence for Mueller’s expanded obstruction investigation. (March 2, 2017 Mary McCord is still head of DOJ-NSD.)
Somehow Acting Deputy AG Dana Boente’s personal and handwritten notes were mysteriously leaked to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/12/2019)
- Carter Page
- Christopher Wray
- Crossfire Hurricane
- Dana Boente
- Department of Justice
- DOJ National Security Division
- Don McGahn
- Donald Trump
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- FISA Title-1 surveillance warrant
- James Comey
- Jeff Sessions
- Jim Crowell
- Jody Hunt
- John Carlin
- Lt. General Michael Flynn
- Mary McCord
- May 2019
- Mueller Special Counsel Investigation
- Robert Mueller
- Sally Yates
- Scott Schools
- Tash Gauhar
- Trump Russia collusion
April 18, 2019 – The Mueller Report richly cites liberal media that pushed Trump-Russia collusion
“Special counsel Robert Mueller relied on the media to feed his Russian election interference report, citing scores of stories mostly from news outlets that promoted the debunked Trump-Kremlin election conspiracy.
Mr. Mueller’s staff of Democrat-aligned prosecutors favored The New York Times over other publications. The 448-page report cited The Times more than 60 times, mostly in footnotes for articles that weave through the report’s main narrative.
The report refers to The Washington Post, another Trump-critic news site, at least 40 times. CNN, principally an anti-Trump network, has about a dozen citations. NBC News has about 10 story mentions, and its anchor, Lester Holt, is the lone journalist to appear in the report’s personalities glossary for his May 2017 interview with President Trump.
During the 22-month investigation, The Times, The Post and other mainstream media generally gave Mr. Mueller uncritical and favorable coverage, conservatives say.
“The media stoked this, so it makes sense they’d have a steady diet of liberal reporting,” Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign media adviser, told The Washington Times.
For more than two years, The New York Times suggested a Kremlin conspiracy in its stories and editorials and won a Pulitzer Prize — as did The Post. The Times focused on listing Russian contacts with Trump associates. Some purported Trump links, such as a line of communication with Kremlin intelligence, didn’t occur.
Volume I of the Mueller report, the section on Russian election interference, features news media citations to set the atmosphere in Washington.
Volume II, the section on potential obstruction of justice, uses media stories to show what Mr. Trump was hearing as he talked inside the White House of ousting Mr. Mueller and tweeted complaints about the special counsel’s “18 angry Democrats.” It was a common Trump insult for Mr. Mueller’s hand-picked staff of Democratic Party donors.” (Read more: The Washington Times, 5/05/2019)
March 25, 2019 – Glenn Greenwald on Russia collusion conspiracy: “this is the saddest media spectacle I have ever seen since I began practicing journalism”
“Offering one of the most scathing responses to the Mueller report summary released Sunday night, Glenn Greenwald, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and founding editor of the Intercept, appeared on Democracy Now! Monday, where he lambasted the mainstream press for helping to perpetuate the “total fraud” that was the Russia collusion narrative.
The Intercept editor, who lives in Brazil with his partner, has been one of the most consistent voices speaking out about the mainstream press’s indulgence in “Russia collusion” conspiracy porn, blaming Rachel Maddow and her ilk for helping to discredit the broader media by spewing alarmist propaganda about the Mueller probe, and getting their audience’s hopes up for a major reveal that might ultimately end with Trump being driven from office…possibly in handcuffs.
(…) “This is the saddest media spectacle I have ever seen since I began practicing journalism in 2005 and what makes it even sadder is to watch all the people who invested their journalistic credibility into what proved to be a complete and total fraud and scam continue to try and cling to some vestige of credibility by continuing to spin conspiracy theories that are even more reckless and more unhinged than those we’ve been subjected to for the past three years.” (Read more: Zero Hedge, 3/25/2019)
March 25, 2019 – Former CIA director John Brennan admits he received “bad information” that lead to conspiracy indictments
“Former CIA Director John Brennan’s recent admission he received “bad information” that led him to inaccurately predict conspiracy indictments in the Mueller probe is raising questions about claims he made to Congress about contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians.
Brennan told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in May 2017 the CIA provided the FBI with information on contacts between Russian officials and Trump campaign figures.
Brennan said he was “concerned” about the contacts because of known Russian efforts to “suborn” Trump campaign associates.
“It raised questions in my mind … whether or not the Russians were ever able to gain cooperation of those individuals,” Brennan said in the May 23, 2017 testimony.
“I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign,” he added, noting he had not seen evidence of collusion between the Trump associates and Russians.
Brennan did not identify the Trump officials or add any other details about the alleged contacts, other than that they occurred in 2016.
Whatever contacts there might have been did not involve a conspiracy to influence the 2016 presidential election, as special counsel Robert Mueller has determined.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 3/27/2019)
Brennan was selling collusion from both inside the White House and out.
March 24, 2019 – Devin Nunes: No rest until Mueller scope memo is released and the ‘dirty cops’ are rounded up
Rep. Devin Nunes isn’t celebrating special counsel Robert Mueller’s submission of his final report to the Justice Department.
(…) “I don’t think Republicans or any American should be celebrating anything to do with Mueller. Okay? It’s fine. He’s not going to indict anymore people. There are a whole bunch of indictments that are awful. What happened to these people is terrible,” Nunes, R-Calif, said Saturday evening on Fox News. “We need to see the origins of this investigation. We don’t even know what Robert Mueller was supposed to be looking at.”
The classified scope memorandum was issued by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in August 2017, months after he appointed Mueller to lead the Russia investigation without citing a crime. A heavily redacted version of the August memo has already been released to the public. Allies of President Trump, including Nunes, have called for full disclosure of that memo, as well as of documents related to investigatory efforts looking into Trump’s inner circle, including FISA warrants that targeted onetime campaign aide Carter Page.
Over the course of two Fox News interviews Friday and Saturday, Nunes said time is running out for the “dirty cops” at the FBI and career officials at the Justice Department, whom he said are part of a collusion effort between the former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and Russia, to target Trump dating back to the 2016 election cycle.
While Nunes was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee last year, the GOP-led found no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. Democrats argued the probe was concluded prematurely, and with the committee now being led by chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif, a revamped investigation into Trump and his inner orbit is underway.
Upon the submission of Mueller’s report, Nunes declared Friday it was the beginning of “the unraveling of the biggest scandal in American history, the biggest political scandal in American history.” On Saturday, Nunes teased his soon-to-be submitted criminal referrals and reiterated his faith in Barr to clean house at the DOJ and FBI.
“We are working on a criminal referral, so many of the dirty cops, people will find out who actually we believe those dirty cops are. We’ll be sending that to Attorney General Barr among other names I think people will be surprised at,” Nunes said.”