Victoria Nuland

November 15, 2019 – John Solomon asks 15 questions of former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch

After nearly two years of reporting on Ukraine issues, here are 15 questions I think could be most illuminating to everyday Americans if the ambassador answered them.

U.S. Embassy Kiev (Credit: public domain)

Ambassador Yovanovitch, at any time while you served in Ukraine did any officials in Kiev ever express concern to you that President Trump might be withholding foreign aid assistance to get political investigations started? Did President Trump ever ask you as America’s top representative in Kiev to pressure Ukrainians to start an investigation about Burisma Holdings or the Bidens?

What was the Ukrainians’ perception of President Trump after he allowed lethal aid to go to Ukraine in 2018?

In the spring and summer of 2019, did you ever become aware of any U.S. intelligence or U.S. treasury concerns raised about incoming Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and his affiliation or proximity to certain oligarchs? Did any of those concerns involve what the IMF might do if a certain oligarch who supported Zelensky returned to power and regained influence over Ukraine’s national bank?

Back in May 2018, then-House Rules Committee chairman Pete Sessions wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggesting you might have made comments unflattering or unsupportive of the president and should be recalled. Setting aside that Sessions is a Republican and might even have donors interested in Ukraine policy, were you ever questioned about his concerns? At any time have you or your embassy staff made comments that could be viewed as unsupportive or critical of President Trump and his policies?

John Solomon reported at The Hill and your colleagues have since confirmed in testimony that the State Department helped fund a nonprofit called the Anti-Corruption Action Centre of Ukraine that also was funded by George Soros’ main charity. That nonprofit, also known as AnTac, was identified in a 2014 Soros foundation strategy document as critical to reshaping Ukraine to Mr. Soros’ vision. Can you explain what role your embassy played in funding this group and why State funds would flow to it? And did anyone consider the perception of mingling tax dollars with those donated by Soros, a liberal ideologue who spent millions in 2016 trying to elect Hillary Clinton and defeat Donald Trump?

In March 2019, Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko gave an on-the-record, videotaped interview to The Hill alleging that during a 2016 meeting you discussed a list of names of Ukrainian nationals and groups you did not want to see Ukrainian prosecutors target. Your supporters have since suggested he recanted that story. Did you or your staff ever do anything to confirm he had recanted or changed his story, such as talk to him, or did you just rely on press reports?

Now that both the New York Times and The Hill have confirmed that Lutsenko stands by his account and has not recanted, how do you respond to his concerns? And setting aside the use of the word “list,” is it possible that during that 2016 meeting with Mr. Lutsenko you discussed the names of certain Ukrainians you did not want to see prosecuted, investigated or harassed?

Your colleagues, in particular Mr. George Kent, have confirmed to the House Intelligence Committee that the U.S. embassy in Kiev did, in fact, exert pressure on the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office not to prosecute certain Ukrainian activists and officials. These efforts included a letter Mr. Kent signed urging Ukrainian prosecutors to back off an investigation of the aforementioned group AnTac as well as engaged in conversations about certain Ukrainians like Parliamentary member Sergey Leschenko, journalist Vitali Shabunin and NABU director Artem Sytnyk. Why was the US. Embassy involved in exerting such pressure and did any of these actions run afoul of the Geneva Convention’s requirement that foreign diplomats avoid becoming involved in the internal affairs of their host country?

Marie Yovanovitch (Credit: U.S. Embassy, Ukraine)

On March 5 of this year, you gave a speech in which you called for the replacement of Ukraine’s top anti-corruption prosecutor. That speech occurred in the middle of the Ukrainian presidential election and obviously raised concerns among some Ukrainians of internal interference prohibited by the Geneva Convention. In fact, one of your bosses, Under Secretary David Hale, got questioned about those concerns when he arrived in country a few days later. Why did you think it was appropriate to give advice to Ukrainians on an internal personnel matter and did you consider then or now the potential concerns your comments might raise about meddling in the Ukrainian election or the country’s internal affairs?

If the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States suddenly urged us to fire Attorney General Bill Bar or our FBI director, would you think that was appropriate?

At any time since December 2015, did you or your embassy ever have any contact with Vice President Joe Biden, his office or his son Hunter Biden concerning Burisma Holdings or an investigation into its owner Mykola Zlochevsky?

At any time since you were appointed ambassador to Ukraine, did you or your embassy have any contact with the following Burisma figures: Hunter Biden, Devon Archer, lawyer John Buretta, Blue Star strategies representatives Sally Painter and Karen Tramontano, or former Ukrainian embassy official Andrii Telizhenko?

John Solomon obtained documents showing Burisma representatives were pressuring the State Department in February 2016 to help end the corruption allegations against the company and were invoking Hunter Biden’s name as part of their effort. Did you ever subsequently learn of these contacts and did anyone at State — including but not limited to Secretary Kerry, Undersecretary Novelli, Deputy Secretary Blinken or Assistant Secretary Nuland — ever raise Burisma with you?

What was your embassy’s assessment of the corruption allegations around Burisma and why the company may have hired Hunter Biden as a board member in 2014?

In spring 2019 your embassy reportedly began monitoring briefly the social media communications of certain people viewed as supportive of President Trump and gathering analytics about them. Who were those people? Why was this done? Why did it stop? And did anyone in the State Department chain of command ever suggest targeting Americans with State resources might be improper or illegal? (John Solomon, 11/15/2019)  (Archive)

November 8, 2019 – Judicial Watch conducts a review of WH visitor logs to learn who the hearsay whistleblower and DNC operative Alexandra Chalupa met

“We have conducted an in-depth analysis of Obama-era White House visitor logs, and we have learned a good deal about the people who controversial CIA employee Eric Ciaramella met with while assigned to the White House.

Ciaramella reportedly was detailed to the Obama White House in 2015 and returned to the CIA during the Trump administration in 2017.

Real Clear Investigations named Ciaramella as possibly being the whistleblower whose complaint sparked impeachment proceedings against President Trump. As reported by the Examiner, Fox News’ legal analyst Gregg Jarrett indicated that a key takeaway was the “reported direct relationship” Ciaramella had with former President Barack Obama’s CIA Director John Brennan and national security adviser Susan Rice, as well as the “Democratic National Committee operative who dug up dirt on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.”

The visitor logs also reveal Alexandra Chalupa, a contractor hired by the DNC during the 2016 election, who coordinated with Ukrainians to investigate President Trump and his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, visited the White House 27 times.

The White House visitor logs revealed the following individuals met with Eric Ciaramella while he was detailed to the Obama White House:

  • Daria Kaleniuk: Co-founder and executive director of the Soros-funded Anticorruption Action Center (AntAC) in Ukraine. She visited on December 9, 2015

The Hill reported that in April 2016, during the U.S. presidential race, the U.S. Embassy under Obama in Kiev, “took the rare step of trying to press the Ukrainian government to back off its investigation of both the U.S. aid and (AntAC).”

  • Gina Lentine: Now a senior program officer at Freedom House, she was formerly the Eurasia program coordinator at Soros funded Open Society Foundations. She visited on March 16, 2016.
  • Rachel Goldbrenner: Now an NYU law professor, she was at that time an advisor to then-Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. She visited on both January 15, 2016 and August 8, 2016.
  • Orly Keiner: A foreign affairs officer at the State Department who is a Russia specialist. She is also the wife of State Department Legal Advisor James P. Bair. She visited on both March 4, 2016 and June 20, 2015.
  • Nazar Kholodnitzky: The lead anti-corruption prosecutor in Ukraine. He visited on January 19, 2016.

On March 7, 2019The Associated Press reported that the then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch called for him to be fired.

  • Michael Kimmage: Professor of History at Catholic University of America, at the time was with the State Department’s policy planning staff where he specialized in Russia and Ukraine issues. He is a fellow at the German Marshall Fund. He was also one of the signatories to the Transatlantic Democracy Working Group Statement of Principles. He visited on October 26, 2015.
  • James Melville: Then-recently confirmed as Obama’s Ambassador to Estonia, visited on September 9, 2015.

On June 29, 2018Foreign Policy reported that Melville resigned in protest of Trump.

  • Victoria Nuland: who at the time was assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs met with Ciaramella on June 17, 2016.

(Judicial Watch has previously uncovered documents revealing Nuland had extensive involvement with the Clinton-funded dossier. Judicial Watch also released documents revealing that Nuland was involved in the Obama State Department’s “urgent” gathering of classified Russia investigation information and disseminating it to members of Congress within hours of Trump taking office.)

  • Artem Sytnyk: the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Bureau director visited on January 19, 2016.

On October 7, 2019, the Daily Wire reported leaked tapes show Sytnyk confirming that the Ukrainians helped the Clinton campaign.

The White House visitor logs revealed the following individuals met with Alexandra Chalupa, then a DNC contractor:

  • Charles Kupchan: From 2014 to 2017, Kupchan served as special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs on the staff of the National Security Council (NSC) in the Barack Obama administration. That meeting was on November 9, 2015.
  • Alexandra Sopko: who at the time was a special assistant and policy advisor to the director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, which was run by Valerie Jarrett. Also listed for that meeting is Alexa Kissinger, a special assistant to Jarrett. That meeting was on June 2, 2015.
  • Asher Mayerson: who at the time was a policy advisor to the Office of Public Engagement under Jarrett had five visits with Chalupa including December 18, 2015, January 11, 2016, February 22, 2016, May 13, 2016, and June 14, 2016. Mayerson was previously an intern at the Center for American Progress. After leaving the Obama administration, he went to work for the City of Chicago Treasurer’s office.

Mayerson met with Chalupa and Amanda Stone, who was the White House deputy director of technology, on January 11, 2016.

On May 4, 2016, Chalupa emailed DNC official Luis Miranda to inform him that she had spoken to investigative journalists about Paul Manafort in Ukraine.

Spreadsheets of visitor records are grouped alphabetically by last name and available here: (Read more: Judicial Watch, 11/08/2019)

October 14, 2019 – Fiona Hill fails the truth test — reveals her value as a Kremlin agent

“In the mind of Fiona Hill (lead image, right), the recently departed senior director for Russia at the National Security Council (NSC), everybody in Washington is vulnerable to Russian attacks of one kind or another, but not her.

Instead, she admitted in testimony to the Congressional committees investigating impeachment evidence against President Donald Trump,  that she’s on an attack operation of her own.  “I’m sorry to be very passionate but this is precisely…why I joined the [Trump] administration. I didn’t join it because I thought the Ukrainians had been going after the President.”  She says the reason she joined up was to fight the Russians.

“I thought it was very important to step up, as an expert, as somebody who’s been working on Russia for basically my whole entire adult 1ife, given what had happened in 2016 and given the peril that I actually thought that we were in as a democracy, given what the Russians I know to have done in the course of the 2016 elections… I’m extremely concerned that this is a rabbit hole that we’ re all going to go down in between now and the 2020 election, and it will be to all of our detriment.”

Hill testified that she’s certain that “what happened in 2016” was that the Kremlin intervened to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. “We’re in peril as a democracy because of other people interfering here. And it doesn’t mean to say that other people haven’t also been trying to do things, but the Russians were [the ones] who attacked us in 2016, and they’re now writing the script for others to do the same. And if we don’t get our act together, they will continue to make fools of us internationally.”

“He’s [President Vladimir Putin] looking out there for every opening that he can find, basically, and somebody’s vulnerability to turn that against them. That’s exactly what a case officer does. They get a weakness, and they blackmail their assets. And Putin will target world leaders and other officials like this. He tries to target everybody.”

So, in the logic of Hill’s analysis of how the Russians operate against everybody, including herself, what evidence is there that Hill hasn’t, by concealment, calculation, corruption, or by mistake, succumbed to Putin’s attack,  too? Not once was Hill asked by either the Democrats or Republicans during the deposition, nor did she volunteer her own explanation, of how she managed to inoculate herself and is now telling the truth.

If Hill is telling the truth, and equally if she isn’t,  she has inflicted serious damage on her own colleagues and superiors,   the US Government’s Russia-hating professionals. In her testimony Hill depicts them as lying to each other and to the press; constantly scheming for and against the President; incapable of coordination among themselves, agreement with their allies, or negotiation with their enemies. Most valuable of all to the Kremlin, Hill reveals that the American warfighter is predictable in everything he or she understands, plans or does.

To reveal this much is precious intelligence for Moscow because the Russian secret services and Putin would be less willing to believe it if it had come from home-grown agents. Either Hill is a willing dupe, or she is the fool she is warning her colleagues to beware of.

On October 14, Hill gave ten hours of question-and-answer testimony before the Congressional committees on intelligence, foreign affairs and oversight. The record comprises 446 pages of verbatim transcript. This has just been released in unclassified, partially redacted form; click to read in full.

(…) Hill’s testimony reveals, though she doesn’t admit it, that Trump had come to distrust the intelligence analysis and policy advice he was getting from Hill as the coordinator of all the government agencies involved in Ukraine and Russia. She admitted to knowing little personally and directly of what Trump and his senior aides and advisors discussed and decided among themselves. What she knew was indirect, down the White House staff chain,  and by hearsay.

Her preoccupation, Hill emphasized repeatedly, was with Russian plotting in Washington, and in Hill’s assessment, the Russian successes. Christopher Steele, whom Hill had known as her counterpart intelligence officer for Russia at the British MI6 years before, had been lured, she testified, by the Russians into the “rabbit hole” Hill called the Golden Showers dossier.   Victoria Nuland, former Assistant Secretary of State, was tricked by the Russians into promoting the Steele dossier to NSC officials. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, ex-Ambassador to Ukraine, was victimized by the Russians who eavesdropped on his telephone calls with Nuland when he and she were plotting the Kiev putsch of February 2014.

Left to right: Christopher Steele; Victoria Nuland; Geoffrey Pyatt. (Credit: John Helmer)

Hill swore on oath that she too was targeted by Russian agents when she was writing her last book on President Vladimir Putin in 2012.   “My phone was hacked repeatedly, and the Brookings system was hacked repeatedly,” she told the Congressmen. “And at one point, it was clearly obvious that someone had exfiltrated out my draft…And then, mysteriously, after this I started to get emails from people who purported to have met me at different points in my career, people I kind of vaguely remember. I’d look online, and there would be these, you know, Linkedln pages or there might be, you know, something I could find out some information for them. And they’d start offering me information, you know, that somehow purported to, strangely enough, some of the chapters that I was actually working on. And when I would go to meetings in Russia, people would basically, you know so that I was being played, or they were attempting to play me as well.”

Hill was not asked if she reported this to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at the time.  That she didn’t report the alleged plot not only discredits her making the allegation now, seven years later; it also warns the Russian services to tell Putin that there is nothing US officials like Hill don’t imagine or won’t fabricate.

For Hill, those Americans who have been targeted the most are so obviously innocent, it’s a Russian operation to think, say, broadcast or publish otherwise. She is convinced, for example,  of the innocence of former Vice President Joseph Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in taking money from Ukrainians seeking to influence US policy, when they were in charge, or when Clinton was running for president. (Hill said she is just as certain Paul Manafort was guilty of taking Ukrainian money.)

As for the current allegation against the Bidens, father and son, that they were corruptly trading US Government favour for cash paid through the Ukrainian oil and gas exploration company Burisma, Hill revealed she had seen no intelligence report on the subject during her time in office. “From your knowledge of Burisma, are they a corrupt company? DR. HILL: I don’t know a lot about Burisma, I’ll be frank… And you never heard of any reason why anybody should be investigating Vice President Biden? A[nswer]. …correct… And are you aware of any evidence that Vice President Joe Biden in any way acted inappropriately while he was Vice President…A[nswer]. I’m not.”

For details of the Burisma case, and the involvement of Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, read this.

Hill also expressed the unqualified conclusion, after her professional assessment of the US intelligence, that the narrative of the anti-Trump forces in Congress and the press is accurate.  “Do you have any reason,” she was asked by Daniel Goldman, head of investigations for the intelligence committee, “to doubt either the facts alleged in the [Mueller] indictment or the Intelligence Community’s assessment that Russia did interfere in the 2016 election? A[nswer]: I do not. Q. And do you have any reason to believe that Ukraine did interfere in the 2016 election? A[nswer]: I do not. We’re talking about the Ukrainian Government here when you say Ukraine, correct? A. Yes. Yes, I do not.”

Neither Goldman nor the Republican Congressmen asked Hill what she knew of Victor Pinchuk, the Ukrainian oligarch acting for the Ukrainian Government in sending large sums of money to the Clinton Foundation and Hill’s employer, Brookings.”  (Read more: John Helmer, 11/12/2019) (Archive)

September 18, 2019 – Judicial Watch files a FOIA lawsuit for the records of FBI Special Agent Michael Gaeta

Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) for records about FBI Special Agent Michael Gaeta, who was the Legal Attaché in Rome who helped circulate the Steele dossier (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-02722)).

The suit was filed after the Justice Department and FBI failed to respond to an August 10, 2018, FOIA requests seeking:

  • All records of communications, including emails (using [his or her] own name or aliases), text messages, instant chats and encrypted messages, sent to and from former FBI Legal Attaché in Rome, Special Agent Michael Gaeta, mentioning the terms “Trump”, “Clinton”, “Republican”, “Democrat”, and/or “conservatives.”
  • All SF50s and SF52s of SA Michael Gaeta.
  • All expense reports and travel vouchers submitted for SA Michael Gaeta.

On August 28, 2018, Bruce Ohr testified before a joint task force of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees that Christopher Steele, author of the Clinton funded dossier, gave two reports from the dossier to Gaeta.

In the July 30 meeting, Chris Steele also mentioned something about the doping — you know, one of the doping scandals. And he also mentioned, I believe — and, again, this is based on my review of my notes — that he had provided Mr. Gaeta with two reports…”

The only thing I recall him mentioning is that he had provided two of his reports to Special Agent Gaeta.

Gaeta reportedly was authorized by then Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland to meet with Steele at his office in London to receive reports from the dossier

The purpose of the London visit was clear. Steele was personally handing the first memo in his dossier to Gaeta for ultimate transmission back to the FBI and the State Department.

For this visit, the FBI sought permission from the office of Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. Nuland, who had been the recipient of many of Steele’s reports, gave permission for the more formal meeting. On July 5, 2016, Gaeta traveled to London and met with Steele at the offices of Steele’s firm, Orbis.

“The FBI is covering up its role in the Russiagate hoax,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Judicial Watch has had to fight the FBI ‘tooth and nail’ for every scrap of information about the illicit targeting of President Trump.” (Read more: September 18, 2019)

September 12, 2019 – State Dept official Jonathan Winer used a personal email account to hide his communications with Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson

Senators Ron Johnson and Charles Grassley have a few questions that are put in a letter dated September 12, 2019, to State Department OIG Steve Linick who reviewed a meeting between State Dept officials and Christopher Steele. The review or lack thereof appears to have left them with more questions than answers. Here is a clipping of the relevant part of their letter:

(Grassley/Johnson/Linick Letter, 9/12/2019)

March 19, 2019 – Trump pulls ambassador nomination of State Department official who communicated with Steele and Ohr

Kathleen Ann Kavalec (Credit: public domain)

“A State Department official who was awaiting confirmation to be U.S. Ambassador to Albania communicated with the former British spy Christopher Steele and supplied information to a senior DOJ official after and before the 2016 presidential election.

Former State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Kathleen Ann Kavalec’s nomination was withdrawn recently by President Trump, according to a Senior White House official who spoke to SaraACarter.com.

Kavalec was awaiting to be confirmed as Ambassador to Albania, but information surfaced that she had personally met and was in communication with Steele before and after the 2016 presidential election. Kavalec, a long time State Department employee, worked under Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. She was also a supporter of former President Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, giving a small donation of $250 in 2012 to the Obama Victory Fund and another $250 to Clinton in 2016.

(…) Kavalec, as well as her colleague Jonathan Winer, a former assistant to former Secretary of State John Kerry, supplied information they had collected from Steele to Bruce Ohr, said sources familiar with the congressional investigations. Ohr is a senior Department of Justice official who was used as a backchannel for the FBI after Steele was removed from the bureau for shopping his dossier to the media in 2016. His wife, Nellie Ohr, was working in 2016 as a contractor for Fusion GPS, who was hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC to compile the anti-trump dossier.

(…) Emails obtained by this news site reveal Kavalec and Ohr had been in contact with Steele prior to and after the 2016 presidential election. The two had also communicated through email and meetings about Steele’s research on the anti-Trump dossier, according to the documents.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 3/19/2019)

July 21, 2018 – The redacted FISA applications reveal The DOJ sought the FISA surveillance order based on information provided “by the U.S. Department of State”

Victoria Nuland (Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“Last month, during a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing, it was revealed for the first time that “[f]ormer British spy Christopher Steele visited the State Department in October 2016 and briefed officials there about his work on the infamous anti-Trump dossier.” During questioning of President Barack Obama’s assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, Victoria Nuland, committee Chairman Richard Burr disclosed that “[b]ased upon our review of the visitor logs at the State Department, Mr. Steele visited the State Department, briefing officials on the dossier in October 2016.”

Nuland, who in June 2016 had authorized the FBI to meet with Steele in London, denied attending the October 2016 meeting with Steele. She also “said in previous interviews that she and other State Department officials referred the dossier to the FBI,” but as The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross noted, “Burr’s revelations suggest the agency maintained interest in Steele and his report much longer than previously known.”

Saturday’s release of the FISA applications now exposes a new troubling detail: The DOJ sought the FISA surveillance order based on the information provided “by the U.S. Department of State” “in or about October 2016.” When considered in light of last month’s revelation that Steele had met with State Department officials in October, it now appears that the Obama administration’s State Department bore equal responsibility for presenting the FISA court unverified hearsay to justify spying on the Trump campaign. (Read more: The Federalist, 07/23/2018)  (Archive)

February 4, 2018 – Victoria Nuland, Fran Townsend and Michael Morell discuss the release of the Nunes Memo and its threat to national security

The House Intelligence Committee releases the “Nunes Memo” on February 2, 2018, identifying current and former top officials at the FBI and the Department of Justice who misrepresented evidence required to obtain a court warrant before surveilling American citizens. Two days later, Fran Townsend, Victoria Nuland, and Mike Morell appear on Face the Nation with guest host Margaret Brennan to discuss how the release of the memo and how it could impact national security.

(Transcript: Face The Nation, 2/04/2018)

December 20, 2017 – The transcript of FBI’s Michael Gaeta is central to Russiagate

The U.S. Embassy in Rome, Italy (Credit: Department of State)

(…) “While the public has heard the story of many of the interviewees before, one of the transcripts may be the most complete account yet from a key figure in what has come to be known as “Russiagate.” Specifically, his role in allowing the now infamous Steele dossier to become the cornerstone in the FBI obtaining a FISA spy warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, and by extension—under the NSA’s so-called two-hop rule—other members of the Trump campaign. That figure is FBI agent Michael Gaeta.

Gaeta was, and possibly still is, the assistant legal attaché at the United States Embassy in Rome. Until 2014, he headed the FBI Eurasian Organized Crime unit.

It was Gaeta who, reportedly on July 5, 2016, traveled to London to meet with former British spy Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier. The trip was reportedly authorized by Victoria Nuland, then-assistant state secretary for Eurasian affairs.

(…) Mifsud was regularly rubbing shoulders with heavyweights of U.S. and European intelligence and security. He taught at the Link Campus University in Rome, which, among others, taught courses on intelligence and was frequented by U.S. and European defense, law enforcement, and intelligence officials—both current and former.

As a veteran professional of his stature, Gaeta must have been familiar with Link, which is headed by former Italian interior minister Vincenzo Scotti. Gaeta’s colleague from the embassy in Rome, FBI Special Agent Preston Ackerman, even gave a presentation at Link in September 2016, according to UK political analyst Chris Blackburn, who backed up the claim with a screen shot of a Sept. 9, 2016, Facebook post about the presentation, which appears to show Ackerman as the author of the presentation.

A Sep. 9, 2016, Facebook post by Link Campus University shared by its affiliated Facebook page Scientific Intelligence. The bottom photo appears to show the author of the presentation as Preston Ackerman of the Office of the Legal Attaché in Rome

A Sep. 9, 2016, Facebook post by Link Campus University shared by its affiliated Facebook page Scientific Intelligence. The bottom photo appears to show the author of the presentation as Preston Ackerman of the Office of the Legal Attaché in Rome. (Screenshot courtesy of Chris Blackburn)

(…) A number of questions remain about Gaeta’s involvement with the dossier and the Russia investigation: What exactly did he do with the initial information from Steele in June 2016? How often was he in contact with Steele? Did he know Mifsud? The House Intelligence Committee interviewed Gaeta on Dec. 20, 2017. (Read more: The Epoch Times, 10/05/2018)

December 13, 2017 – David Kramer’s deposition reveals he had contact with at least 14 members of the media regarding the Steele dossier

David Kramer, a longtime associate of the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), revealed in an unsealed deposition that he had contact with at least 14 members of the media regarding the Steele dossier—a collection of 17 memos containing unverified allegations against Donald Trump.

Additionally, Kramer gave a full copy of the unverified dossier to then-Senior Director for Russian Affairs at the National Security Council Celeste Wallander, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), and then-House Speaker Paul Ryan’s chief of staff, Jonathan Burks. Kramer also provided a briefing in early December 2016 on the dossier to both Wallander and Victoria Nuland, then the assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasian Affairs.

Kramer also provided ongoing updates to Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, former MI6 spy and dossier author Christopher Steele, and other members of the media regarding McCain’s meeting with FBI Director James Comey.

Steele had been hired by Simpson on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to produce the so-called Steele dossier on Trump.

David Kramer (Credit: McCain Institute)

Kramer, in his deposition, confirmed that he was BuzzFeed News’ source for the dossier. BuzzFeed published the dossier online in January 2017, resulting in a defamation lawsuit by Aleksej Gubarev, whose company XBT/Webzilla was mentioned in the dossier. The Epoch Times covered the court case in a previous article.

McCain famously denied ever providing a copy of the dossier to BuzzFeed, telling the Daily Caller on Oct. 18, 2017: “I gave it to no one except for the director of the FBI. I don’t know why you’re digging this up now.”

Kramer, who is an affiliated senior fellow at the McCain Institute, revealed in his deposition that he had been in contact with 14 journalists and producers about the dossier. These contacts included:

  • ABC News: Brian Ross, Matt Mosk
  • BuzzFeed: Ken Bensinger
  • CNN: Carl Bernstein
  • The Guardian: Julian Borger
  • McClatchy: Peter Stone, Greg Gordon
  • Mother Jones: David Corn
  • NPR: Bob Little, Rachel Martin
  • The Washington Post: Tom Hamburger, Rosalind Helderman, Fred Hiatt
  • The Wall Street Journal: Alan Cullison

Kramer, who doesn’t appear to have spoken with The New York Times, noted that both Simpson and Steele were speaking to the Times directly because “they felt it required investigation by a serious news outlet, and they seemed to have chosen The Times at that point.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 3/15/2019)