Trump Russia Investigation

October 29, 2019 – Judicial Watch obtains emails between Bruce Ohr, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page —DOJ is still withholding a majority of these communications

(Graphic Credit: Truthfeed)

“Judicial Watch announced today it received through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit 13 pages out of 42 responsive pages of communications between former FBI official Peter Strzok and DOJ official Bruce Ohr that the DOJ claimed previously it could not find.

(…) In the lawsuit, Judicial Watch challenged the DOJ’s extraordinary claim that there were no records of communications between Strzok and Ohr in light of the preeminent role both individuals played in the anti-Trump collusion investigation. In addition, Ohr himself testified before Congress that he did, in fact, meet and communicate with Strzok.

The documents show contact between Ohr and Strzok in the weeks after the 2016 presidential election, during the presidential transition, and in the days following President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page arranges a November 21, 2016, meeting from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at FBI headquarters. “Required attendees” include Ohr, Strzok, and FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Jonathan Moffa.

On November 29, 2016, Ohr attempts to arrange a meeting between Strzok, Page, himself, and Deputy Assistant Attorney General (Criminal Division) Bruce Swartz.

Ohr writes to Strzok and Page under the subject Meeting with Bruce Swartz: “Thanks again for taking the time to chat today. As I mentioned, I would like to set up a short meeting for us with Bruce Swartz. Would next Monday at 5:30 p.m. work? Also, is there any chance you guys could come over to our building?”

Page responds: “Unfortunately, Pete is briefing HPSCI [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] from 5-6:30 on Monday. Just about any other time that day would work. And we’re happy to come to you (especially because Bruce S. always has good snacks…)” [smile emoticon]

Ohr responds to Page: “No problem – is 6:30 (or later) that day too late? Otherwise we may be into the next week. I will ensure the snacks are up to snuff!”

Page writes to Ohr at 5:46 p.m.: “Unfortunately, it is. Have a flight later that night. Sorry about that.”

Ohr responds at 6:32 p.m.: “Got it. I’ll find a few dates/times for the week after and shoot them to you.”

A meeting with importance classified as “high” is scheduled for December 5, 2016. Strzok, Ohr and Swartz are scheduled to meet from 5:30 to 6 p.m. at Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) 2213, and later is canceled.

On January 4, 2017, a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) official in the Office of Special Measures [a unit within FinCEN set up to sanction foreign and domestic financial institutions] forwards to Ohr an unclassified but fully redacted FinCEN document, which Ohr then forwards to Strzok on February 1, 2017.

Ohr writes to Strzok: “Pete – As we discussed. I will forward the classified document as well, as well as one more unclassified document.”

January 30, 2017, FinCEN sent protected information and its password to [Redacted].

On February 1, 2017, at 2:11 pm Lisa Holtyn, Ohr’s assistant, sends to members of Bruce Ohr’s former team at Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) password protected information from FinCEN, saying “I’ll send the password separately.” Minutes later, she sends the same email to Bruce Ohr. Seconds after that, Ohr forwards the email to Strzok, followed by the password.

“Ohr and Strzok clearly were working regularly with each other during the time the illicit Spygate operation heated up against President Trump,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It speaks volumes that Judicial Watch was forced to drag the DOJ and FBI into court in order to force the agency to admit to documents they’ve obviously had all along.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 10/29/2019)  (Archive)

Sarah Carter writes in August 2018:

(…) “Ohr stated during his hours-long testimony that the FBI failed to disclose this pertinent information to the nation’s secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) when it sought an application to spy on Page. The FBI also failed to disclose that when it sought the application, it was using senior Justice Department official, Bruce Ohr as a cut-out for a source the bureau had terminated.

Ohr had also communicated with senior members of the FBI, including former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, FBI attorney Lisa Page, and former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, at the bureau but stated that his superiors at the Justice Department were not aware that he was being used as a source for the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign, according to sources who spoke to SaraACarter.com.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 8/31/2018)

October 6, 2019 – In a single statement on MSNBC, John Brennan turns the foundation of American jurisprudence on its head

Apparently, the presumption of innocence is but a quaint memory now.

Brennan clarifies his true opinion of due process in an interview with Lawrence O’Donnell:

People are innocent, you know until alleged to be involved in some kind of criminal activity.”

This  also caught the attention of Glenn Greenwald and he tweets a video clip of Brennan’s recent comment as well as an additional example of his distorted opinion of our most basic rights:

September 17, 2019 – Trump directs ODNI, DoJ and FBI to immediately declassify materials

The White House Press Secretary released the following statement on September 17, 2019:

At the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency, the President has directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to provide for the immediate declassification of the following materials: (1) pages 10-12 and 17-34 of the June 2017 application to the FISA court in the matter of Carter W. Page; (2) all FBI reports of interviews with Bruce G. Ohr prepared in connection with the Russia investigation; and (3) all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Carter Page FISA applications.

In addition, President Donald J. Trump has directed the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr.

(whitehouse.gov/briefing, 9/17/2019)

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.

(The Gateway Pundit, 8/01/2019)

July 30, 2019 – Secret McCabe texts with MI-5 counterpart emerge, spotlighting UK’s early role In Russiagate

Jeremy Fleming (r) with Prince Charles at GCHQ in July 2019. (Credit: Robert Weideman/European Pressphoto Agency)

“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 2017The 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 26, 2019 – DOJ’s Russia probe review focusing on ‘smoking gun’ tapes of meeting with George Papadopoulos

George Papadopoulos leaves federal prison on December 7, 2018, after serving 12 days. (Credit: public domain)

“The Justice Department’s internal review of the Russia investigation is zeroing in on transcripts of recordings made by at least one government source who met with former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos overseas in 2016, specifically looking at why certain “exculpatory” material from them was not presented in subsequent applications for surveillance warrants, according to two sources familiar with the review.

The sources also said the review is taking a closer look at the actual start date of the original FBI investigation into potential collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians, as some allege the probe began earlier than thought. Both components are considered key in the review currently being led by Attorney General Bill Barr and U.S. Attorney from Connecticut John Durham –– an effort sure to draw more attention in the coming weeks and months now that Robert Mueller’s testimony is in the rearview.

The recordings in question pertain to conversations between government sources and Papadopoulos, which were memorialized in transcripts. One source told Fox News that Barr and Durham are reviewing why the material was left out of applications to surveil another former Trump campaign aide, Carter Page.

“I think it’s the smoking gun,” the source said.

“These recordings have exculpatory evidence,” the other source added. “It is standard tradecraft to record conversations with someone like Papadopoulos—especially when they are overseas and there are no restrictions.” (Read more: Fox News, 7/26/2019)

July 25, 2019 – WSJ Editorial: What Mueller Was Trying to Hide

By Kimberly Strassel

A CSpan subtitle refers to the Mueller hearing on July 24, 2019, as an Obstruction of Justice Investigation by the House Judiciary Committee. (Credit: CSpan3)

(…) “The most notable aspect of the Mueller report was always what it omitted: the origins of this mess. Christopher Steele’s dossier was central to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe, the basis of many of the claims of conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. Yet the Mueller authors studiously wrote around the dossier, mentioning it only in perfunctory terms. The report ignored Mr. Steele’s paymaster, Fusion GPS, and its own ties to Russians. It also ignored Fusion’s paymaster, the Clinton campaign, and the ugly politics behind the dossier hit job.

Mr. Mueller’s testimony this week put to rest any doubt that this sheltering was deliberate. In his opening statement he declared that he would not “address questions about the opening of the FBI’s Russia investigation, which occurred months before my appointment, or matters related to the so-called Steele Dossier.” The purpose of those omissions was obvious, as those two areas go to the heart of why the nation has been forced to endure years of collusion fantasy.

Mr. Mueller claimed he couldn’t answer questions about the dossier because it “predated” his tenure and is the subject of a Justice Department investigation. These excuses are disingenuous. Nearly everything Mr. Mueller investigated predated his tenure, and there’s no reason the Justice Department probe bars Mr. Mueller from providing a straightforward, factual account of his team’s handling of the dossier.

If anything, Mr. Mueller had an obligation to answer those questions, since they go to the central failing of his own probe. As Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz asked Mr. Mueller, how could a special-counsel investigation into “Russia’s interference” have any credibility if it failed to look into whether the Steele dossier was itself disinformation from Moscow? Mr. Steele acknowledges that senior Russian officials were the source of his dossier’s claims of an “extensive conspiracy.” Given that no such conspiracy actually existed, Mr. Gaetz asked: “Did Russians really tell that to Christopher Steele, or did he just make it up and was he lying to the FBI?”

Mr. Mueller surreally responded: “As I said earlier, with regard to Steele, that is beyond my purview.”

So it went throughout the whole long day. Republicans asked basic questions about the report’s conclusions or analysis, and Mr. Mueller dodged and weaved and refused to avoid answering questions about the FBI’s legwork, the dossier’s role and Fusion’s involvement. Ohio Rep. Steve Chabot asked how the report could have neglected to mention Fusion’s ties to a Russian company and lawyer. Mr. Mueller: “Outside my purview.” California Rep. Devin Nunes asked several questions about one of the men at the epicenter of the “collusion” conspiracy—academic Joseph Mifsud, whom former FBI Director Jim Comey has tried to paint as a Russian agent. Mr. Mueller: “I am not going to speak to the series of happenings as you articulated them.”

Then again, how could he? The Mueller team, rather than question the FBI’s actions, went out of its way to build on them. That’s how we ended up with tortured plea agreements for process crimes from figures like former Trump aide George Papadopoulos and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. They were peripheral figures in an overhyped drama, who nonetheless had to be scalped to legitimize the early actions of Mr. Comey & Co. Mr. Mueller inherited the taint, and his own efforts were further tarnished. That accounts for Mr. Mueller’s stonewalling.” (Read more: The Wall Street Journal, 7/25/2019)

June 23, 2019 – Nunes threatens ninth criminal referral, says Trump-Russia conspiracy peddlers are ‘possessed’

“Rep. Devin Nunes threatened to send a ninth criminal referral regarding the Trump-Russia investigation to the Justice Department if he does not receive information he requested about British ex-spy Christopher Steele, and accused those who still push the Russian collusion conspiracy of being “possessed.”

The California Republican sent letters Friday to FBI Director Christopher Wray and U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is conducting a review of the origins of the Russia inquiry. He asked about records the Bureau received in October 2016 that show a top official at the State Department undermining Steele’s credibility. Steele authored a dossier, filled with salacious and unverified claims about President Trump’s ties to Russia, that was used by the FBI to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or FISA warrants to wiretap onetime Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

In a Fox News interview on Sunday, Nunes said someone at the FBI appears to have been “determined to hide” then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec’s notes from both the FISA court and Congress. In the last session, when Nunes was chairman, the House Intelligence Committee conducted its own investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“So they have until Friday to get it to us, and if they don’t, we will make our ninth criminal referral,” Nunes told host Maria Bartiromo. “Basically, we won’t know exactly who at the FBI obstructed justice, but — Durham or the Department of Justice should be able to figure it out because there’s e-mails that went around, and somebody decided not to give it to the Congress.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 6/23/2019)

June 10, 2019 – DOJ outlines to Congress its investigation of the investigators

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd (Credit: Wikipedia)

“The Justice Department’s investigation of the investigators involved in the Trump-Russia probe will look at actions both by the U.S. government and by foreigners.

That’s what the agency said Monday, telling Congress its review is “broad in scope and multifaceted” in a letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.

The DOJ said the wide-ranging inquiry led by Attorney General William Barr, along with his right-hand man U.S. Attorney John Durham, would seek to “illuminate open questions regarding the activities of U.S. and foreign intelligence services as well as non-governmental organizations and individuals.”

The letter made it clear that DOJ’s review is not limited just to their specific agency, but would also scrutinize the intelligence community as a whole. The letter stated that the DOJ review team had already asked certain intelligence community agencies to preserve records, make witnesses available, and start putting together documents that the DOJ would need to carry out its inquiry.

And the DOJ made it clear that they weren’t just looking to see if policies were violated — they’ll be looking at whether any laws were broken, too.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 6/10/2019)

(…) “Following the planned release of a classified memo by Republican staffers regarding FISA warrants during the 2016 election, also dubbed the Nunes memo, Boyd wrote a letter writing that it would be “extraordinarily reckless” to release the memo. In his letter, Boyd also asked “why the Committee would possibly seek to disclose classified and law enforcement sensitive information without first consulting with the relevant members of the intelligence community” and went on to mention that the Justice Department was “currently unaware of any wrongdoing relating to the FISA process,” but that such allegations would be taken seriously, writing “we agree that any abuse of that system cannot be tolerated.”  President Donald Trump was reportedly furious following Boyd’s letter.  According to Bloomberg, President Donald Trump viewed Boyd’s letter as “another example of the department undermining him and blocking GOP efforts to expose the political motives behind special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe” and “intensified Trump’s concern that his own department is undercutting him”  (Wikipedia)

May 31, 2019 – AG William Barr gives a clear explanation of the various “investigations of the investigators” carried out by the Justice Department

Michael Horowitz (l), John Huber (c) and John Durham

In an interview with CBS’s Jan Crawford, Barr described what tasks U.S. Attorney John Durham, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, and U.S. Attorney John Huber have been assigned regarding the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation and the conduct of the DOJ and FBI as they carried it out.

(…) Barr said Huber “was essentially on standby” in the event that Horowitz “referred a matter to him to be handled criminally.” That apparently has not been necessary, as Barr said: “he has not been active on this front in recent months.” Barr said Durham would now be taking over Huber’s role in handling any criminal referrals from Horowitz and Huber’s involvement with Trump-Russia matters was done.

Sessions had also asked Huber in 2017 to look into issues related to the sale of Uranium One and allegations that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had been improperly involved in the process, as well as broader claims of corruption at the Clinton Foundation. Barr seemed to suggest that what evidence Huber found, if any, may soon be revealed.

“The other issues [Huber has] been working on relate to Hillary Clinton” are “winding down and hopefully we’ll be in a position to bring those to fruition,” Barr said.

In regards to the DOJ inspector general investigation, Barr said he would not describe Horowitz’s role as small, but rather as very specific. “He’s looking at a discrete area that is, you know, important, which is the use of electronic surveillance that was targeted at Carter Page,” Barr said. Page was a former Trump campaign adviser who was surveilled by the DOJ and the FBI for months beginning in October 2016.

(…) Barr, who has said that Horowitz’s probe should be ending in May or June, called him a “superb government official” in this latest interview, but pointed out that Horowitz “has limited powers.”

“He doesn’t have the power to compel testimony, he doesn’t have the power really to investigate beyond the current cast of characters at the Department of Justice,” Barr said. “His ability to get information from former officials or from other agencies outside the department is very limited.”

That’s why Barr said he selected Durham, a U.S. attorney for Connecticut, to head up DOJ’s newest inquiry. Barr was recently given broad declassification authority by Trump, and Durham will have greater investigative powers than Horowitz has at his disposal. Barr praised Durham, saying, “He has, over the years, been used by both Republican and Democratic attorneys general to investigate these kinds of activities. And he’s always gotten the most laudatory feedback from his work. So there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s going to conduct a thorough and fair review of this.”

Barr defended his scrutiny of the actions of the DOJ and FBI in his interview, saying, “I think it’s important to understand what basis there was for launching counterintelligence activities against a political campaign, which is the core of our … First Amendment liberties in this country.”

“And what was the predicate for it? What was the hurdle that had to be crossed? What was the process? Who had to approve it? And including the electronic surveillance, whatever electronic surveillance was done? And was everyone operating in their proper lane?” Barr asked.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 5/31/2019)