Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better

Russiagate: Special Prosecutor Mueller and his fishing expedition reminds Iraq WDM scam

Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime ~ Lavrentiy Beria

 "'A mountain had gone into labor and was groaning terribly. Such rumors excited great expectations all over the country. In the end, however, the mountain gave birth to a mouse." The Mountain in Labour - Wikipedia

News Final report of Special procecutorl Mueller Recommended Links Strzokgate Obama administration participation in the intelligence services putsch against Trump "Trump is insane" meme Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump Internet research agency story as fiasco of Russiagate Wiretaps of Trump and his associates during Presidential elections
Barr testimony and counter investigation Post-Russiagate remorse -- the second Iraq WDM fiasco DNC and Podesta emails leak: blaming Vladimir Putin Steele dossier Andrew McCabe -- the brain behind the color Revolution against Trump Brennan elections machinations James "We are not weasels" Comey Parteigenoose Mueller, 911 cover-up, and Trump witch hunt Hillary Clinton email scandal
Coordinated set of leaks as a color revolution tool Appointment of a Special Prosecutor gambit Rosenstein John "911 Coverup" Mueller "Seventeen agencies" memo about Russian influence on elections The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies Manafort and his Ukrainian connections Anti Trump Hysteria MSM as attack dogs of color revolution
Michael Flynn removal MSM as attack dogs of color revolution MSM as fake news industry NeoMcCartyism Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite MadCow desease of neoliberal MSM "Trump is insane" meme Mistressgate: Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal affairs History of American False Flag Operations
Corporate Media: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few Trump vs. Deep State Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak The Real War on Reality US and British media are servants of security apparatus Media as a weapon of mass deception Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Media-Military-Industrial Complex National Security State
Elite Theory And the Revolt of the Elite The Deep State The Iron Law of Oligarchy Principal-agent problem New American Militarism Militarism and reckless jingoism of the US neoliberal elite Skeptic Quotations Politically Incorrect Humor Hypocrisy and Pseudo-democracy
Prosecutors are often in error, but never in doubt

Never underestimate the joy people derive from hearing something they already know.

~Enrico Fermi

When asked what he meant by a miracle: Oh, anything with a probability of less than 20%.

~Enrico Fermi

To hear the Western media talk, the Russian Federation has become the most powerful and influential nation on Earth. Russia can influence elections in faraway lands, and change the minds of people through Facebook ads, as long as the catering is done by a good Russian company, of course.

But wait, that’s probably not what the Western media wants to say. They want to tell us that Russia is a problem because it has the amazing ability to do all these things.

It must be that catering company. Something they put in the food makes the people who eat it into super mind-control agents.

Lavrov Russia ready for partnerships based on mutual respect


Introduction

The gambit of appointment of the  Special Prosecutor was a pretty slick operation performed by Brennan and people who were supporting him at this time, including Rosenstein. Comey firing was just a pretext; if it did not happen, they would find another reason to appoint the Special Prosecutor to investigate Trump. Along with paralyzing Trump administration Mueller has basically criminalized foreign criticism of the Democratic party and neocons. Open season on Russia, but not even one peep about the Dems crimes. In other words the Special Prosecutor Muller emerged as Grand Inquisitor accusing Trump of religious heresy not following neocon perception in foreign policy, especially regarding Russia. Mueller was known as capable and flexible servant of  the Deep State,  tested during 911. Some elements of his behaviour can be viewed as a more modern variation of  Lavrentiy Beria's playbook,  when any person who is "inconvenient" for authorities can be charged with some completely bogus, invented crime and go to jail, possibly for a very long term ( see No DENYING that now!!! The Obama administration spied on TRUMP campaign John Kiriakou - YouTube )

Mueller is going to investigate the life of Trump until they find something/anything he can hang around his neck. If there is nothing to hang, something will be invented via false flag operation, if this was not done already (Steele dossier spearheaded by  Brennan and Comey; see also Strzok comment to Lisa Page about "insurance") . Who in the United States of American could pass that kind of scrutiny? After all Trump and Kushner were real estate developers. If you dig hard enough having a dozen of prosecutors and unlimited amount of money probably any real estate developer in the USA can be put in jail. 

One of the  most interesting fact about Mueller is that he  was the person responsible for investigation of 911 as the director of FBI. So destruction of evidence, protection of Saudis royal family all happened  not just under  his  watch, but under his direct supervision.   Theories about the 9/11 attacks run in the extreme; however, it is clear from the official investigations that the US intelligence community -- particularly the CIA and the FBI -- hid evidence before and after the fact and have a great deal of accounting for their horribly poor performance. Both CIA and FBI honchos simply suppressed the warnings in the interest of career advancement. In addition to that, inventive, aggressive clandestine HUMINT against Al-Qaida (supported by Saudies) and Israel(which was interested in event like 911 to enhance  their own regional influence)  were disapproved by the same crowd. Robert Mueller, who came in as FBI Director weeks before 9/11, went out of his way to conceal evidence from the Congressional inquiry.  He argued for the burying of the 28 pages which partially were declassified by Trump.  Protecting the FBI from embarrassing disclosures took precedent over getting at the truth about the 9/11 attacks.  The fruits of that perfidy have carried forward in ways that were clearly not imagined at the time of the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent coverup.  Mueller also closely supervised botched Anthrax investigation. It may take years or even decades before the full story of the 9/11 attacks is unraveled.  But it would be a grave disservice to the 3,000 people who died, the survivors, and the families of those killed and injured, to stop the quest for truth due to efforts of such people as Mueller to conceal the evidence.  Each year, the anniversary of 9/11 serves as a reminder.

Those two facts alone tells you a lot about what we can expect from his "investigation" so quickly  launched by Rosenstein after Trump fired Mueller using falsified document nicknamed "Steele dossier" as the main evidence that Russia was trying to recruit Trump and/or members of his inner  circle.  Moreover, in such cases  "personnel is policy" and Muller hires strongly suggests that  the original intention was not an investigation, but a witch hunt with the single goal to depose Trump (it might well be that Muller appointment  was the insurance policy about which Strzok wrote to Lisa Page): 

  1. Aaron Zebley referred in MSM to as Mueller’s “right-hand man” acted as an attorney for Justin Cooper, the IT staffer who installed Clinton’s private email server at her home, and who destroyed her old Blackberry phones with a hammer (as Fox News report states).
  2. Andrew Weissmann, a former partner at the global law firm WilmerHale, attended the Democratic presidential candidate’s election party in November 2016.
  3. Jeannie Rhee, another former WilmerHale partner, represented Ben Rhodes, an ex-Obama National Security Adviser in a 2015 racketeering case, and Clinton herself in a lawsuit seeking disclosure of her private emails
  4. Peter Strzok (after whom Strzokgate was named) who was removed from Mueller’s team was the key person in exonerating Hillary Clinton in emailgate scandal. He also entrapped former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, which led to Flynn conviction. 

And in one year Mueller produce a pretty humiliating  results taking into account resorces which were put in his multimillion investigation: indictment of 13 Russia internet trolls from some sleazy marketing company (Internet research agency) run by former hot dog stand owner from Sanct Petersburg who first used it for PR campaign trying to protect himself from charges that he supplied rotten lunches to Moscow schoolchildren.

With each new indictment from Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller the same question emerges: when will he produce evidence that the president of the United States committed treason? Because that’s what this is really about; Some Russians somewhere may have meddled in the election. But what Mueller has to answer is whether Trump knowingly worked with a foreign adversarial government to help get himself elected in return for some quid pro quo. Mueller is tasked with proving the president, now in his 13th month in office, purposefully acts against the interests of the United States because of some debt to Russia. Here’s what Mueller has, and does not have, so far in his case (WeMeantWell.com):

What Mueller’s Missing

That’s what Mueller has. Here’s what he is missing.

The full force of the U.S. intelligence community has been aimed at finding evidence of Russian government interference in the 2016 election (still largely undemonstrated) for some 18 months, and the Comey/Mueller team aimed at finding evidence of Trump’s collusion with Russia for about a year. It is reasonable to conclude they do not have intelligence that would form a smoking gun, no tape of a high-ranking Trump official cutting a deal with a Russian spy. If such information existed, there would be no need for months of investigation. Same for the Steele dossier, and its salacious accusations. If there was proof any of it was true, we’d be hearing it read aloud during impeachment hearings.

What’s left is the battle cry of Trump opponents since election day: just you wait. The recount will show Hillary won. The Electoral College won’t select Trump. The Emoluments Clause will take Trump down. Or his tax returns. Or the 25th Amendment. Mueller will flip _____. The shoe will drop. Tick tock. And anything that looks like a weak move by Mueller is only an example we don’t yet understand his keen judicial kung fu.

No one knows the future. But so far the booked charges against Flynn and Papadopoulos, and the guilty pleas of others, point toward minor sentences to bargain over (never mind the possibility of a presidential pardon if it came to that), assuming they have relevant information to share in the first place. Manafort says he’ll go to court and defend himself. Mueller has produced nothing that has touched Trump, nothing connecting any meddling to a deal between Trump and Putin.

The core task is not to prove some Russians, or even the Russian government, meddled in the election. A limping to the finish line conclusion to Mueller’s work just ahead of the midterm elections that Trump somehow technically obstructed justice without a finding of an underlying crime would tear the nation apart. Mueller is charged with nothing less than proving the president knowingly worked with a foreign adversarial government, receiving help in the election in return for some quid pro quo, an act that can be demonstrated so clearly to the American people as to overturn an election well-over a year after it was decided.

It is a very dangerous thing to see the glee so many display hoping Trump will be found to be a Russian agent. That pleasure in hoping the U.S. is controlled by a foreign power because it means Trump will leave office early is not healthy for us. Mueller can fix that, but so far the bar is still seemingly pretty high above him. Given the stakes — a Kremlin-controlled man in the Oval Office — you’d think every person in govt would be on this 24/7 to save the nation, not just a relatively small staff of prosecutors ever-so-slowly filing indictments that so far have little to do with their core charge.

In other words "'A mountain had gone into labor and was groaning terribly. Such rumors excited great expectations all over the country. In the end, however, the mountain gave birth to a mouse." The Mountain in Labour - Wikipedia

The Russian company, which like dozens of similar sleazy Internet marketing  companies tried to earn some money by attracting audience with politically charged  messages and probably played some political games too on its own meager resources (with pro-Trump bias actually created automatically, as in this and several other cases pro-Trump messages were getting better audience and more money, and thus stimulating further moves in this direction, creating the impression of hardcore Trump supporters out of sleazy internet marketing firms).

After one year Mueller investigation looks more and and more as a part of color revolution against Trump, a futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning for the US neoliberal elite by deposing Trump (which definitely is a challenge to neoliberal elite, but not that great challenge, similar but slightly greater than the "change in can believe in" challenge that Obama supposedly represented ;-). But the  day when furious and informed citizens will demand accountability of neoliberals in the  Congress and  past governments  for their legitimate grievances might eventually come, especially after the next financial collapse or other major calamity. That's why neoliberal rats feel the danger and instead of jumping the ship decided to eat Trump alive ;-)

On the other hand Mueller investigation is a perfect tool of fueling  Neo-McCarthyism. Which is an tried and true dirty statecraft technique to seek unity within a state by depicting an external enemy as Satan (God's defeated adversary). Russia perfectly suited the role as it opposed unilateral global domination so substitution of Soviet Union with Russia was only logical and allow to reuse old Russophobia stereotypes like "better be dead then red".  Even contracts with Russian officials are now tantamount to treason. As if this is replay of WWII,  and Russia is equivalent of Imperial Japan, or Nazi Germany.  This is a typical war propaganda mechanism (Depicting the enemy - The British Library_:

 During World War One atrocity propaganda was employed on a global scale. The Great War was the first total war in which whole nations and not just professional armies were locked in mortal combat. This and subsequent modern wars required propaganda to (1) mobilize hatred against the enemy; (2) convince the population of the justness of one’s own cause; (3) enlist the active support and cooperation of neutral countries; and (4) strengthen the support of one’s allies. Having sought to pin war guilt on the enemy, the next step was to make the enemy appear savage, barbaric, and inhumane.

All the belligerents in World War One employed atrocity propaganda associated with the enemy and, as a result, stereotypes emerged that had been largely developed in the period leading up to the outbreak of war.

The recognition of stereotypes is an important part of understanding the use of anti-symbols and the portrayal of the enemy in propaganda. The enemy is of great importance in propaganda, for not only does it provide a target that can be attacked, but also it offers a scapegoat – the easiest means of diverting public attention from genuine social and political problems at home.

But the truth is the USA experience a crisis of neoliberalism as a social system. That's why Trump rejection of globalization during election campaign made him unacceptable to neoliberal (and neocon) camps. In this sense Mueller investigation is a perfect smoke screen which help to project  problems caused in Western societies by neoliberalism (in the USA there are clear signed of the de-legitimization of neoliberal elite, demonstrated by the Trump victory) into Russia as a very convenient scapegoat:

Russia has been made the scapegoat for most of the West’s problems for years now. In November, for example, British PM Theresa May accused Russia of threatening the international order of the world. However, this does nothing to counter the rise in knife-related attacks and stabbings in London and the UK at large. The American Democrat Party, and not a few Republicans, blame Russia for the successful election of Donald Trump, a man who doesn’t play by DC rules, to the presidency.

This witch hunt is modeled after Ken Starr prosecution of Bill Clinton and based on a very fuzzy mandate which is a feature not a bug as it allows "bait and switch" during investigation. Appointment of Mueller (of 911 investigation fame) was the final move in the complex multi-step gambit to depose Trump, which started with Steele dossier, and involves Strzok, 17 agencies memo, wiretapping of Trump team, Comey dismissal (sacrificial pawn), set of damaging and well-coordinated leaks, and, finally, Rosenstein appointment of Mueller

The fact that Mueller politicized the action of Russian Internet scammers (who are, at best,  petty criminals using clickbaits to earn money) suggest that he has nothing more significant to offer hungry US Russophobes. At this point Mueller turned  his investigation into pure political propaganda. The election manipulations which the Clinton forces engaged in to defeat Sanders during the Democratic primaries dwarfs, by orders of magnitude, anything alleged against the Russians by even the most hawkish backers of the Russia probe. Here is one interesting  comment from  discussion of pro-clinton article in The Nation  The Russiagate Intelligence Wars What We Do and Don’t Know

Cara Marianna says: February 19, 2018 at 4:36 pm

Here's what we know:

  1. NO actual physical proof has been presented to the public to substantiate claims that Russia hacked the DNC
  2. There is NO proof (only allegations) of collusion between Trump's campaign and the Kremlin
  3. Social media efforts by Russian trolls to influence the election were minimal in the extreme, laughably amateurish and completely ineffective
  4. Glenn Greenwald has spent the past year documenting in detail the large volume of fake anti-Russian "news" generated by the MSM (see GG at The Intercept)
  5. There is NO connection between the Russian government and the 13 private citizens recently indicted for their pathetic and ineffectual activity as part of a troll farm
  6. Thanks to the paranoid, xenophobic, Russia-bashing nationalistic propaganda that is being promoted by our military-industrial-intelligence-media complex, the U.S. now believes it is acceptable to launch a first strike nuclear attack in retaliation for breeches of cyber security

Read number six again and think about it. The U.S. is ready and willing to launch a preemptive nuclear attack against any nation it accuses of undermining our cyber security - no proof necessary. The Democratic establishment, which has spent the past year engaging in baseless Kremlin-baiting (and very little else), is directly responsible for this insanity.

Trump won't be impeached over Russiagate for the simple reason that Russiagate is nothing but a psyops perpetrated against the American people by the national-security bureaucracy (and their corporate media propagandists) for the purposes of reigniting a second Cold War and maintaining U.S. global hegemony.

Thanks to the hysterical McCarthyism now rampant among Democrats - and that is being used to great effect by Washington's bipartisan neocon warmongers - we may just end up in a nuclear war. The good news: it will be a short war and the Democrats will never have to accept responsibility for Clinton's loss.

I realize that Clinton wing of Democratic Party (soft neoliberals) and their supporters which include a part of intelligence agencies (especially FBI and CIA), Wall Street, a large part of Silicon valley and most MSM  hate Trump. While he capitulated to neocons  after just three months of his Presidency, they still do not view him as the "member of the  club" much like NYC aristocracy shun him. 

But Mueller Russiagate witch hunt (and this is 100% pure witch hunt which also proved that Rosenstein is the agent of Clinton mafia) is suspicious for one simple reason: no intelligent person would assume that Deep State would allow any politician who are not "vetted" as for foreign and domestic policies, to say nothing about Russia connections to be on iether  party ticket. Trump would be derailed instantly if such information would  be avoidable. They would find not one but  a couple of Stormy Daniel which would tell the whole world that  Trump is a sexual pervert ;-). And if this did not work, that so other dirt iether in the form of his supposed connections to mafia and/or shadow financial deal would surface too. 

So all candidates were vetted. That includes both Trump and Sanders ( Hillary was the establishment candidate by definition).  Also Putin as pretty gifted politician would not play the game in which you can only lose supporting one candidate over another, as POTUS has almost  zero influence of the  US forign policy, which is amazingly consistent for the last four US administrations. 

In other words "Russiagate" is a domestic circus to distract shmucks from Hillary political fiasco (and preserve the power of Clinton neoliberal mafia over Democratic party) as well as rally the people against the  enemy patching the cracks that neoliberalism left in the nation unity, is much more reasonable attitude.  The only other reasonable explanation is that some minor Russian functionaries decided to  revenge the blatant USA interference into 2012 Russian Presidential elections and  an attempt to launch a color revolution in this country to prevent reelection of Putin. But this is not the right time, as Russia is still pretty weak after carnage and after horrible economic rape by the West of 1990th needs to recover. As French say " the revenge is a dish that is better served cold." And  most Russian  functionaries are not stupid and do not have the disgusting disease that infects almost all US politicians -- American exceptionalism and the burning desire to attain "full spectrum dominance" in the world. They generally more realistically weight their chances, probably hoping that the end of "cheap oil" in ten to twenty years will put a dent in the US full spectrum dominance and possibly can lead to the collapse the US economy.  That  why recently Hayden recently stressed the important of low oil prices for the US as usual masking it with  anti-Russian rhetoric  (Ex-CIA Chief Hayden U.S. Needs To ‘Wean’ Europe Off Russian Gas The National Interest Blog):

Increasing gas supplies to Europe would not only help prevent future shortages, but it could also push back against the Kremlin. Russia relies on oil and gas exports for approximately half of its fiscal revenue. The current abundance of cheap oil, in conjunction with international sanctions, has taken a toll on Russia’s economy. Hayden thinks taking away the Kremlin’s oil trade would deal a decisive blow.

Former CIA chief James Woolsey also stressed the importance  for the USA to keep oil price in the range $30-$40, the lower the better ( Former CIA Chief Admits US Meddling In Foreign Elections For Their Own Good

But this consideration can't explain why the Deep State went to such length as to launch "color revolution" against Trump administration of which Mueller investigation is the most prominent "enemy action". It should be viewed as a final move of the gambit to depose Trump (with Comey as sacrificed pawn)  which stated with the creation of the Steele dossier, they media witch hunt unleashed by "17 agencies memo" and Strzokgate (which included swiping Hillary "emailgate" dirt under the carpet).  In it unclear why neoliberals and neocons think that Trump is so dangerous to justify such extraordinary step. Or they were drunk with their own impunity ?  Or any attempt  for detente with Russia is like waving a red flag in front of a bull.  Too much taxpayers money are flowing to MIC and intelligence agencies to afford any deviation from the "cold war with Russia" party line.

Few people read (and no major MSM for example reported such an interesting quote from 17 intelligence agencies memo, which explicitly state that  they just assessed the possibility of Russian interference. Whether this group of handpicked analysts were drunk or not (at Brennan expense) is not mentioned  at all ;-):

Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation and precedents.

That sentence is the core to proper understand Russia-gate and Muller investigation. It defines the latter as a part of color revolution against Trump, a shrewd and well prepared maneuver  designed to depose Trump. It also defines Rosenstein as the forth member of the "gang of three" ( Comey, McCabe, Strzok) hell-bent on removing Trump.  Mayberry Machiavellians, all of them,  if you ask me. There were lots of claims, assertions and judgments, but no proof at all that any of the alleged Russian influence on elections really happened to warrant opening of this investigation (which is required for such things as appointment of the Special Prosecutor).  So this appointment was against the law, based on falsified evidence and solidly paints Rosenstein as a co-conspirator.

Neoliberals and neocons might hate Donald Trump so much for several (and slightly different for various factions) reasons (skeletons in the closet; MIC profits, continuation of globalization, to name a few). What unite them is a strong  believe that any pretext is justified in taking him down ("end justifices the means" mentality), even if it put in negative light the USA on international arena. AS Victoria Nuland  famously said "F*ck EU" ;-) 

That's why Clinton Democrats (neoliberal wing of Democratic Party, aka DemoRats) joined efforts with the neoconservatives in the Republican Party to take Trump down. That's why war-mongering against Russia is now established policy for both parties and actually a test for any political commentator who tried to get to any of major MSM. In other words Democratic party now is just the second War Party (as was evident from Hillary campaign) and anti-war left completely disappeared from the USA political landscape. 

Many people who detest Trump also view Russiagate positively as the most effective path to achieve Trump’s impeachment, so this desirable goal in which "ends justifies the means"  which makes this investigation somewhat similar to Ukrainian "EuroMaydan" charges of corruption, a part of color revolution effort by intelligence agencies and controlled by them MSM.   Moreover the atmosphere in the USA is already poisoned and the majority of people believe that Russia interfered in elections.  In other words Iraq yellowcake story was played on unsuspecting American public again and with the same resounding success.

But to me it look like Trump surrendered after just 100 days of anti-Russian smear campaign launched by neocons. So why they still  want to finish him like poor colonel Kaddafi?  That's an interesting question. So it must be more on the plate then just forcing Trump to abandon his election promises in foreign policy (which he already did); there might be some dangerous skeletons in the closet revealing of which the previous administration and their factions in intelligence  services the are afraid to death.

Because their action is as close to sedition as one  can get. In other words they went va bank (a common expression among Russian and German speakers. Va bank means to put everything at risk in order to win. As a result you would win everything or lose everything; similar US term might be "all in").  

In any case now two-third or more of US population is brainwashed into adamantly anti-Russian mindset, increasing the risk of the major war

At the foundation of Mueller fishing expedition is so called Steele dossier. The key in understanding Steele dossier is to view it as in integral part of Russiagate plot to remove Trump, an interesting twist of "Color revolutions" methods. See Steele dossier. It has a very interesting chronology and is closely connected with  Strzok-gate

Similarly Trump wanted to reach some level of detente  with Russia rightly considering the level of hostility achieved under Obama dangerous and counterproductive (to the extent that Obama might be controlled by Brennan it might be not Obama personal fought).  In this sense he also crossed the line (with the only difference that he did it during he election campaign) and at this point all power of neocons and neolib including their factions in intelligence agencies was unleashed for his removal. That's why Steele dossier was created and advertized: as part of anti-Trump coup d'état by the neocons, Clinton neoliberals and parts of the US intelligence services.  In both case the interests of the USA and national security suffers. In a way both neocons and neoliberals  are elements of foreign influence that do not care much about ordinary Americans.

From the beginning it was a set up to find dirt on Trump campaign insiders and if possible to topple Donald Trump’s presidential aspirations. It was actually pretty elegant gambit: after Attorney general recluse himself from Russian probe, Rob Rosenstein jumped into action first recommended firing Comey and then on the basis of this decision by Trump appointed the special prosecutor -- Comey friend and mentor Mueller. Whether firing Comey was a trap set up for Trump (and this is quite probably as Trump can be easily played by appealing to his vanity), or he just make the decision with bad timing (day 1 of his Presidency would be much more appropriate)  or not is immaterial.

turbojarhead -> loveyajimbo , Dec 10, 2017 2:37 PM

They played Sessions like a violin. Sessions recluses himself for a bullcrap Kisnyak speech, where he did not even meet him. Rosenstein then recommends Trump fire Comey -- who wanted to be fired so they would appoint a special prosecutor -- which Rosenstein does -- Mueller, to the acclamation of ALL of Con and the Senate -- including Republicans.

When Trump tries to get out of the trap by leaking he is thinking about firing Sessions, Lispin Lindsey goes on television to say that will not be allowed too happen. If he fires Sessions, Congress would not approve ANY of Trump's picks for DOJ-leaving Rosenstein in charge anyway.

Trump was pissed because they removed his only defender from Mueller -- the head of the DOJ. He knew it was a setup, so went ballistic when he found out about Sessions recusing.

Before and after the 2016 election Trump was under tack from intelligence  agencies. And the list includes not only obvious suspects in CIA and NSA, but also FBI (via liaison with CIA, see Strzokgate) as well as a several senior officials in Obama's Justice Department (Loretta Lynch, Sally Yates, Bruce Ohr), as well as National security advisor Susan Rise and UN ambassador Samantha Power (both were engaged in so called "unmasking" campaign).  to say nothing about Obama (who has high personal animosity to both Trump and Putin) who fueled Russiagate histeria by his expulsion of 35 Russian  diplomats on December 30, 2017, when he was already "lame duck".

Among the players that promoted Steele dossier and used it for "color revolution" against Trump Davis Stockman mentioned (The Russiagate Witch-Hunt Stockman Names Names In The Deep State's Insurance Policy )

Of course, this list is incomplete. CIA, FBI, State Department and Department of Justice all have their strong factions of Clinton loyalists, neocons and globalists.  Add to this large, dominant part of MSM, both newspapers, TV channels and major web sites.  So the critical mass for launching color revolution was present and they just needed a trigger, which was Steele dossier and 17 agencies memo. At this point the color revolution against Trump was launched. And while this operation had many moving parts and alternating players, the mission to unseat Trump never changed. And it remains ongoing with all hoes currently put on the result of 2018 elections (if Democrats regain majority Mueller can definitely to do more and House intelligence committee investigation, which is most damaging to Mueller can be shut). Efforts to find dirt on Trump involved extensive wiretapping (Did Obama order wiretaps of Trump conversations? ):

And likely there were others.

A good overview of Mueller fishing expedition was provided by Mike Whitney on Dec 21, 2017 (unz.com):

While it's clear that this political cage-match is going to persist for some time to come, we'd like to make two points. First, that there was never sufficient

While it's clear that this political cage-match is going to persist for some time to come, we'd like to make two points. First, that there was never sufficient reason to appoint a Special Counsel. The threshold for making such an appointment should have been probable cause, that is, deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should have shown why he thought there was 'reasonable basis to believe that a crime had been committed.' That's what's required under the Fourth Amendment, and that's the standard that should have been met. But Rosenstein ignored that rule because it improved the Special Counsel's chances of netting indictments

Even so, there's no evidence that a crime has been committed. None. And that's been the main criticism of the investigation from the get go. It's fine for the New York Times and the Washington Post to reiterate the same tedious, unsubstantiated claims over and over again ad nauseam. Their right to fabricate news is guaranteed under the First Amendment and they take full advantage of that privilege. But it's different for professional attorney operating at the highest level of the Justice Department to appoint a Special Counsel to rummage through all manner of private or privileged documents, transcripts, tax returns, private conversations, intercepted phone calls and emails -- of the democratically-elected president -- based on nothing more than the spurious and politically-motivated allegations made in the nation's elite media or by flagrantly-partisan actors operating in the Intelligence Community or law enforcement.

Can you see the problem here? This is not just an attack on Trump (whose immigration, environmental, health care, tax and foreign policies I personally despise.) It is an attempt to roll back the results of the election by bogging him down in legal proceedings making it impossible for him to govern. These attacks are not just on Trump, they're on the legitimate authority of the people to choose their own leaders in democratic elections. That's what's at stake. And that's why there must be a high threshold for launching an investigation like this.

Consider this: On May 17, 2017, when Rosenstein announced his decision to appoint a Special Counsel he said the following:

"In my capacity as acting attorney general I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a special counsel to assume responsibility for this matter. My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command." Rosenstein wrote that his responsibility is to ensure a "full and thorough investigation of the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election." As special counsel, Mueller is charged with investigating "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump."

That's not good enough. There's no evidence that "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump" were improper, unethical or illegal. Nor do any such presumed "links and/or coordination" imply a crime was committed. Rather, the loosey-goosy standard Rosenstein has applied is an invitation for an open ended fishing expedition aimed at derailing the political agenda of the elected government. This puts too much power in the hands of unelected agents in the bureaucracy who may be influenced by powerbrokers operating behind the scenes who want to disrupt, obstruct, or paralyze the government. And this, in fact, is exactly what is taking place presently.

Naturally, a broad-ranging mandate like Rosenstein's will result in excesses, and it has. Of the four people who have been caught up in Mueller's expansive dragnet, exactly zero have been indicted on charges even remotely connected to the original allegation of "collusion with Russia to sway the presidential election in Trump's favor." Clearly, people's civil liberties are being violated to conduct a political jihad on an unpopular president and his aids.

So, how does one establish whether there's a reasonable basis to believe that a crime has been committed?

The daily blather in the media does not meet that standard nor does the much ballyhooed Intelligence Community Assessment that was supposed to provide ironclad proof of Russian meddling in the elections. The ICA even offered this sweeping disclaimer at the beginning of the report which admits that the intelligence gathered therein should not in any way be construed to represent solid evidence of anything.
Here's the from the report:

"Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary, as well as logic, argumentation, and precedents."

... ... ...

The fact is, Mueller is no elder statesman or paragon of virtue. He's a political assassin whose task is to take down Trump at all cost. Unfortunately for Mueller, the credibility of his investigation is beginning to wane as conflicts of interest mount and public confidence dwindles. After 18 months of relentless propaganda and political skullduggery, the Russia-gate fiction is beginning to unravel.

Mike Whitney May 24, 2017 analysis of Mueller witch hunt

That's all nice but the truth is that Trump abandoned his agenda in April 2017, a month before appointment of Special Council. Also the intensity of MSM fearmongering and anti-Russian compaign was such that witch hunt by appointment of a special council was kind of inevitable. Trigger might be different, but the net result is the same.  Deep State wanted Special Procecutr for Trump no matter what. That was the plan.  Rod Rosenstein  was just a tool (he is closely connected to Clintons via his wife).
The idea that both Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller belong to the same team is plausible. Mueller is also a close friend of Comey. But as Trump folded what would be the gain from his removal ?  Looks like Deep State has so many skeletons in the closet that it is afraid of any non CIA puppet person as a POTUS (Bush older, Clinton, Bush II and Obana were all closely connected to CIA with Obama essentially a CIA creation (a person without personal history).
Notable quotes:

Appointment of rabid anti-Trump prosecutors was given. Strzok was one of the first on the team

Mueller got this appointment after he was rejected by Trump for the position of the director of FBI. So he  might have personal grudges to hold. In any case the selection of his team tells us a lot about the direction of the investigation as "personnel is policy".  Among the most notorious members of his team were

Peter Strzok

Peter Strzok the man who was instrumental in swiping the dirt of Hillary "emailgate" under the carpet as well as using Steele dossire as a ram to put members of Trump team under surveillance. Later became involved in Strzok-gate scandal and  removed from the investigation. Along with Comey and McCabe he influenced the US Presidential election depriving Sanders from chances to became the candidate from the Democratic Party. 

Peter P. Strzok II (born in 1970, currently 47 year old) was until July 2017  the key figure in Clinton Email investigation and Trump Russiagate investigation as a Deputy Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and second in command of counterintelligence.  He is the central figure of so called Strzok-gate scandal.

Despite being  a rabid Hillary Clinton supporter (judging from his texts to Lisa Page with whom he allegedly has an affair ) he was assigned as the investigator both Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email server, and allegations of collusion of Trump team with Russians in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.  which were conducted in highly politized manner ( Anti-Trump FBI Agent Changed Language Of Hillary Email Scandal From Grossly Negligent To Extremely Careless )

Electronic records show Peter Strzok, who led the investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server as the No. 2 official in the counterintelligence division, changed Comey's earlier draft language describing Clinton's actions as "grossly negligent" to "extremely careless," the source said. The drafting process was a team effort, CNN is told, with a handful of people reviewing the language as edits were made, according to another US official familiar with the matter.

Subsequently, he joined the 2017 Special Counsel investigation but was quietly removed by Mueller in late July 2017. At this time he was demoted in FBI to HR department.

Andrew Weissmann. He is called a legal bulldog of Mueller team. Here is how pro-clinton site thedailybeast.com  chantaterise hims

The FBI’s decision to send a dozen agents on an early-hour raid of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s home struck some observers as an audacious, even unprecedented move for a white collar criminal case.

But to former federal prosecutors familiar with members of special counsel Bob Mueller’s team, it had all the makings of the work of Andrew Weissmann.

A former federal prosecutor from Brooklyn who spent his career going after mobsters, ponzi-schemers, and white collar criminals, Weissmann is known as a tenacious operator who uses strategies that have dazzled some legal experts and disturbed others. They believe his presence on Mueller’s team means the probe may push legal boundaries as it investigates alleged collusion between Trump and Russian interests.

“He fashions himself as a real tactician, in the sense of having a chessboard in front of him and moving pieces around,” said a person who has faced Weissmann in court.

Mueller has known and trusted Weissmann for more than a decade, having made him special counsel at the FBI for a few months in 2005, according to the Houston Chronicle. In 2011, after Weissmann left the bureau for a short stint in private practice, Mueller brought him back and made him the FBI’s general counsel.

“Mueller trusted him to be the FBI’s top lawyer,” said a former federal prosecutor who knows Weissmann. “That’s a pretty big deal.”

While he was general counsel to the FBI, Weissmann was known as quick-moving and decisive.

I am so proud Mueller deputy congratulated Sally Yates after she was fired for refusing to enforce Trump's travel ban  The substantive part of Andrew Weissmann’s email to Yates is just 11 words long.

Judicial Watch today released two productions (335 pages and 44 pages) of Justice Department (DOJ) documents showing strong support by top DOJ officials for former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates’ refusal to enforce President Trump’s Middle East travel ban executive order. In one email, Andrew Weissmann, one of Robert Mueller’s top prosecutors and formerly the Obama-era Chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Fraud Section, applauds Yates writing: “I am so proud. And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respects.”…

“This is an astonishing and disturbing find. Andrew Weisman, a key prosecutor on Robert Mueller’s team, praised Obama DOJ holdover Sally Yates after she lawlessly thwarted President Trump,” stated Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. “How much more evidence do we need that the Mueller operation has been irredeemably compromised by anti-Trump partisans? Shut it down.”

The Hatch Act, passed in 1939, prohibits civil servants from engaging in political activity, which is directed at the promotion of or advocacy against a political party, group or candidate.  When you consider that Ms. Yates leaked FISA information to the Washington Post without the authority or approval to do so, which is a crime, I would have serious reservations about having anyone supportive of a criminal and who can be viewed as a part of an attempted coup on the new POTUS in the team

Former FBI Director as the Ultimate CIA Man

Reproduced in full from What Mueller won't find caucus99percent

In the 1950s, when the science fiction genre started making itself felt in movies, there was always the pivotal scene where the protagonist discovers the dark secret but no one will believe him: a flying saucer hidden under the sand in a field, truckloads of pod people to replace real people, or that the friendly aliens' book "To Serve Man" wasn't a guide to helping humans, but a cookbook. It's that moment of sudden realization that no one will believe the hero because it sounds too crazy to believe.

Granted, to the uninitiated, coming to a realization so shocking and threatening to your current mental construction of the world can appear like paranoia. It becomes a question of the discoverer's knowledge and senses over what everyone else believes. Everyone else seems to be allowing him or herself to be absorbed into the great growing evil.

Today many of us, certainly readers here at Caucus99, are finding ourselves in similar positions. Our political structure is a lie, the people who are supposed to represent us and our interests don't, our law enforcement protects the property of the rich, not our lives, and often are in cahoots with the criminals from whom we are supposed to be protected. I am sure that many of our old friends and acquaintances have been alienated from some of us here when we began talking about Hillary's track record during the Presidential campaign, for example. In our current pasteboard world, if you are a Republican or Democrat you must assume that your designated political party, maybe with a couple of exceptions, are there to look after you.

And there that crazy friend goes, yelling about cookbooks.

I suppose my introduction to the corruption of those in power, at thirteen, was the assassination of JFK. Not actually the assassination, but the murder of Oswald two days later, in the basement of the Dallas police headquarters. I had slept overnight at a friend's and we came back from shooting basketballs to watch the transfer of Oswald to another facility. That was the moment that I realized all wasn't what it seemed. But, like most kids my age, the Beatles came along in a month or so and I was swept into the world of rock and roll, which kept me occupied until I began noticing girls. Until 1968. I was still noticing girls and rock and roll, but I was also noticing the number of progressives being gunned down by "lone nuts". And I was noticing Vietnam.

I'm not sharing this to explain to you how I became (that loathsome term) a "conspiracy theorist". I just want to explain to you that the democracy of the United States, and all the characters running across the stage in Washington, D.C., are the cookbook.

I wrote an essay here back in April of 2017 explaining how the Russiagate scandal had been designed to give Hillary Clinton a casus belli for her future war against Russia, and that what we were seeing since she lost has been a recycling of it to get Trump in line with the goals of the Deep State. So far nothing much has happened that has moved me from that belief. Now that the Deep State seems to have persuaded our Dear Leader that he can go on being himself as long as he understands the actual hierarchy and doesn't get in the way the Deep State, everything seems to be back on track. At least until Donald's next tweet.

But in order to understand the depth of criminality in our system one has to understand how things are done. After World War II a lot of social awareness began putting pressure on the old system that had driven the world into the Great Depression. FDR had demonstrated that the government could look out for the poor, could give them jobs when there were no other jobs to be had. The GI Bill sent millions of vets to college and helped to create the middle class we used to have. Unions had real power in negotiating wages and terms of service. Government could create a system to help the elderly. The African Americans, coming back home from fighting a war against fascism, refused go to the coloreds only water fountains. In short, the United States were in for some growing pains.

What happened? As I mentioned above there was a rash of murders of progressive political candidates and leaders in the sixties. But in order for the forces behind a return to the old rules to keep a lid on any revolutions there had to be something better than shooting every progressive who raised his head above the lectern. Thus the wave of recruitment of agents and assets in the late sixties by the CIA, FBI and other agencies. Although I didn't know it directly at the time, arriving on campus in 1968 it was evident that there was a "presence" of people looking over the shoulders of student activists.

Which brings me to another great revelation. It's not just politicians and political parties that are serving the Deep State. Any agency that can be corrupted by power will be, eventually.

Which brings us to the courts.

There are certain things that must be preserved for a ruling class to remain legitimate in the eyes of the public. Some people don't think much beyond the flag. But there are other things. The media is better than ever at keeping uncomfortable truths from the majority of Americans. But what happens where the criminality of the Deep State collides with our judicial system?

Let me introduce you to the man of the hour in Washington, Robert Swann Mueller III. Robert was born into the upper crust in our American class system. At one point in his education in private schools John Kerry was a classmate. (Kerry was also a fellow Bonesman with the Bushes.) Mueller met his eventual bride, Ann Cabell Standish, at one of the dances they attended. They married in 1966, three years after John Kennedy's assassination. If you have read much about the JFK assassination you would recognize her middle name. Her grandfather, Charles Cabell, had been second in command at the CIA when John Kennedy was elected President. In the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs fiasco, Kennedy fired three men from leadership positions at the CIA: Director Allen Dulles, Cabell and Richard Bissell. Charles Cabell was Ann's grandfather. Her grand uncle, Earle Cabell, was the mayor of Dallas at the time of Kennedy's murder there. Recently declassified JFK documents revealed that Mayor Cabell was also an asset of the CIA at the time. Small world. You could say that Mueller married into the CIA, except that his great uncle was Richard Bissell. So between his family and his wife's family Mueller had two of the three people that Kennedy fired before he was assassinated by a "lone nut", as well as the mayor who hosted the assassination. The third man fired was Allen Dulles, who sat on the Warren Commission and managed to keep the CIA out of the investigation into JFK's murder. Perhaps Dulles was a guest at the wedding.

Soon thereafter Mueller decided to go to Vietnam because, he said, a classmate had died there and patriotism and so forth. He became an officer and eventually ended up as an aide-de-camp for the 3rd Marine Division's commanding general, General William K. Jones. Something else was going on in Vietnam. The CIA had installed its Phoenix Program. I cannot do justice to the Phoenix Program and won't considering Doug Valentine's work on it is available for everyone, but the Phoenix Program was the CIA's attempt to totally control the Vietnamese population. Besides massacres of villages, the program assassinated suspected leaders and spies for the Vietcong, coerced others into being their agents, and kept up files on all the relevant Vietnamese down to the village level. Like in later wars, the CIA incorporated torture, murder and psychological techniques in order to control their targets. As an aide-de-camp to a commanding Marine general, there is no way that Mueller didn't know about the Phoenix Program. He probably saw daily briefings.

When he came back to the US he studied law and quickly became a federal prosecutor.

One of the things to mark his career was to deny a pardon to Patty Hearst for her part in the whole Symbionese Liberation Army's "terror" campaign. What did the SLA have to do with anything? A short history: Donald DeFreeze, a small-time criminal in Los Angeles agreed to become an informant for the LAPD in order to stay out of jail. After awhile he got tired of ratting out others and asked to get out of the program. Instead, DeFreeze was incarcerated at the Vacaville Medical Facility for criminally insane prisoners in the California penal system. There DeFreeze met Colston Westbrook who gave classes for the "Black Cultural Association", an experimental behavior modification unit inside the prison. Who was Westbrook? He was a CIA agent, trained in psychological warfare and part of the Phoenix Program. DeFreeze was modified by Westbrook and company for two years. Soon thereafter, he was transferred to Soledad Prison, from which he "escaped" and became the infamous "Cinque". Then came the Symbionese Liberation Army, a caricature of a black militant group filled with mostly white people with military backgrounds. The murder of Marcus Foster, a progressive black leader in the San Francisco East Bay, was done by white men in blackface, according to eyewitnesses. The SLA claimed credit for it. The SLA kidnapped Hearst, subjected her to torture, rape, sensory deprivation and mind control tactics, just like the CIA did in the Phoenix Program in Vietnam. Then came the bank robberies.

I bring up the Patty Hearst case because, in 2000, decades after her prison sentence had been commuted, Mueller still opposed her pardon. Guess what he didn't notice when he rejected her pardon? This has been his pattern throughout his career. We'll return to Patty Hearst shortly.

Mueller has presided over many cases where it's been important for the prosecutor to overlook the fingerprints of the CIA. He prosecuted what was known in the San Francisco Bay Area as the "drug tug" case which had connections to an island in Panama. It was a drug smuggling case and had tentacles into things like bank frauds in Northern California. He prosecuted Manuel Noriega's drug-smuggling without noticing Oliver North's drug-smuggling, arms running and money laundering through Panama as a part of Iran-contra.

Mueller would invariably land on cases with Deep State intelligence connections.

For example, he prosecuted Pan Am 103. Initially, and then later confirmed by an insurance investigator's report, the bomb that brought down the airliner was believed to be placed onboard by baggage handlers working at the Frankfurt Airport. They were given the bomb by a terrorist cell who in turn got it from one Monzer al-Kassar, who was a very large heroin dealer, estimated at supplying twenty percent of the US's heroin at the time. A big operator. And, in fact, one of the passengers on the plane was a drug mule for al-Kassar. Al-Kassar also happened to be a part of the Iran-contra operation, supplying weapons for North's Enterprise. The operation was, according to the early reports, carried out by a cell of Palestinian terrorists based in Frankfurt, the Palestinian Liberation Front-General Command, who got the bomb from al-Kassar and put the bomb on that airline.

Mueller, put in charge of the case, pursued an entirely different direction, accusing two Libyans of bombing the plane. At the time Libya and Khadafy were getting blamed for a lot of terrorist activity, but the case against the two was so weak as to hardly be circumstantial.

There were other questions arising from Pan Am 103. A top official in the FBI, Oliver "Buck" Revell, rushed onto the tarmac in London to pull his son and daughter-in-law off of Pan Am 103 before it went on to explode over Lockerbie, Scotland. Also changing flight plans were South African President Pik Botha and his negotiating team. Apparently, someone that Revell and Pik Botha knew gave them the warning.

There was one group that didn't get warned. That was the McKee Team, an assembled group of US intelligence agents tasked to investigate American hostages in Beruit. They allegedly discovered a link between the hostage takers, drug traffickers and the CIA. They were returning to the US, against orders, presumably to spill the beans. This was essentially a clean-up operation, tying up loose strings of the Iran-contra operation. So was Noriega's prosecution.

That's why Mueller got the case. He knew where to look and where not to look.

He also prosecuted ancillary Iran-contra cases. He prosecuted John Gotti for dealing cocaine in the New York City area. The cocaine he sold was part of the the Iran-contra (CIA) plan where Southern Air Transport flew weapons to Latin America for the contras (whom Congress had voted against aiding) and bringing back cocaine from Latin America on its return flights, to include Mena, Arkansas. One of the CIA's pilots, Barry Seal, bragged that he had a "get-out-of-jail" letter written for him by then-Governor Bill Clinton. At the time, Asa Hutchinson was the federal prosecutor for that corner of Arkansas. He also didn't notice all that cocaine. Hutchson later served as George W. Bush's first "drug czar" before going into politics. How coincidental.

Mueller, who had been appointed Assistant U.S. Prosecutor under GHW Bush, became FBI Director under George W. Bush just in time not to see the CIA fingerprints on 9/11, which should not be surprising considering whom he didn't see when he investigated BCCI. As head of our country's biggest law enforcement agency Mueller did not pursue the House of Saud's part in 9/11 even though fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and a number of them could be traced to Saudi intelligence, and the money chain could be traced to Saudis living in the US, some of whom flew out of the US while all other US flights were grounded. He did not investigate Mohammed Atta's time in Frankfort, Germany, where he was employed by a front company for the BND, West Germany's equivalent to the CIA. Nor did Mueller investigate Huffman Aviation where Mo Atta and another hijacker matriculated in flying planes into buildings. Huffman is interesting because while Mo was studying in Huffman's Venice, Florida aviation school a Huffman plane was busted in Orlando with 43 pounds of heroin. Curiously, the pilot walked away from the DEA without being charged and no one was prosecuted at Huffman.

Ask Colleen Rowley about Mueller's leadership in the 9/11 investigation.

Additionally, Mueller oversaw the anthrax letter case, never investigating Battelle Memorial Corporation, which had a building within a mile of the mailbox where the letters had been mailed. (Battelle Memorial's corporate motto is "It Can Be Done".) Instead, he centered FBI investigations on scientists in government labs in Fort Detrick, Maryland, who had neither the expertise nor the equipment to make the weaponized military grade anthrax found in the letters. One scientist sued and won millions. The other allegedly "committed suicide". Battelle is noteworthy because it handles the US military's anthrax program. Mueller had no interest that two of the targets who received anthrax letters were at the time the most vociferous opponents of the Bush Administration's Patriot Act.

Perhaps his greatest accomplishment aiding the Deep State as FBI Director was his shutting down of Operation Green Quest, the FBI's investigation into the funding behind 9/11 and the terrorist network behind it. Names began popping up like Grover Norquist, the Muslim Brotherhood, old Nazis and the royal family of Luxembourg. Nothing to see here. Move along.

A closer examination of Robert Mueller would probably find a lot more of these cases and I encourage others to continue the search. For example, it's been alleged that Mueller sent innocent men to jail for crimes committed by Whitey Bulger for the benefit of someone or something within the government and that this allowed Bulger to continue his criminal activities for years.

***

It's been seventy years since the CIA was created, fifty years since JFK was most likely murdered by them. In order to avoid any consequences for their crimes more and more institutions have had to be infiltrated and corrupted by them. Many of the heroes of the Left have turned out to be purveyors of "modified limited hangouts" which served the Deep State. Ramsey Clark, who was given the mantle of "good guy" by the media of the Left, was active as LBJ's Attorney General in blocking Jim Garrison's investigation into the JFK assassination and was named by Doug Valentine in his THE CIA AS ORGANIZED CRIME as a major proponent of the CIA's OPERATION CHAOS and the FBI's COINTELPRO. While the media spent a good deal of time talking about how great they were in releasing the Pentagon Papers to the public, the hero who exposed the military, Daniel Ellsberg, turns out to have been CIA, operating with CIA black ops in Vietnam. And while the Pentagon Papers exposed our military's great errors in Vietnam the CIA was generally spared. Again. Bob Woodward, our hero of Watergate, had been a courier for the Office of Naval Intelligence only a few years earlier. Thus, the CIA and Deep State, which had soured on Nixon, orchestrated that President's departure.

I raise this because Robert Mueller's current task is the investigation of our sitting President. No matter how much you dislike Trump you can't help but notice that the "evidence" against him conspiring with Putin and Russia is thin gruel. And while Trump, like most politicians who ascend to the big seat, has a lot of questionable, even indictable business connections around him, the great dangers of a Putin-Trump conspiracy trumpeted by the media have been fading because, apparently, there was never a there there. Thus, as Mueller oversees this case, he will find people surrounding Trump who have lied to FBI agents, who have perhaps not registered as foreign agents, and other crimes that routinely happen out of the public spotlight and aren't prosecuted. What was obvious to me from the start, that this was a psyop that involved U.S. intelligence, Ukrainian intelligence, Clinton and the DNC, will not be obvious to Mueller. Thus, as his career has shown, Mueller has been put in place not merely to prosecute those around Trump as a means of pressure on his administration, but to not see the CIA's hand in it.

When one begins examining high-profile court cases in post-1963 America one sees a cast of people who keep popping up. Prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, coroners, witnesses, reporters, authors. This ensemble keeps reappearing in these show trials. We may not know what Mueller will find, but we know what he won't find.

There was a review at Truthdig back in 2016 of Jeffrey Toobin's book on Patty Hearst, AMERICAN HEIRESS (Toobin himself worked as an associate counsel to Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh during the investigation Iran–Contra affair and Oliver North's criminal trial). In part it reads: "Toobin features the characters who populated the edges of Hearst’s story. Robert Shapiro, who would later work with [F. Lee] Bailey on the O.J. Simpson case, makes a cameo appearance. Lance Ito, the judge in that case, briefly shared a shooting range with a machine-gun toting SLA member. Reverend Jim Jones offered to help with the food distribution effort; that enterprise also employed Sara Jane Moore, who served 32 years for attempting to assassinate President Gerald Ford during his 1975 visit to San Francisco. Congressman Leo Ryan, who represented Randy and Catherine Hearst’s district, endorsed the commutation of Patty’s sentence. “Off to Guyana,” he wrote Patty in 1978. “See you when I return. Hang in there.” Jim Jones’ henchmen shot and killed Ryan before he could board his flight home. Robert Mueller, the U.S. Attorney in San Francisco before taking over as FBI director, strenuously opposed Hearst’s pardon, claiming that her attitude, born of wealth and social position, “has always been that she is a person above the law.”"

When Mueller wrote that line he must have laughed out loud.

Mueller allegiance to the Deep State was tested during 911 coverup

9-11 Whistleblower Rowley on Mueller’s History of “Cover-up” Accuracy.Org

 

COLEEN ROWLEY, rowleyclan [at] earthlink.net, @ColeenRowley
Rowley, a former FBI special agent and division counsel whose May 2002 memo to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller exposed some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures, was named one of TIME magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. She just appeared on The Real News report “Special Counsel Investigating Trump Campaign Has Deep Ties to the Deep State,” about Mueller being appointed to investigate the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

While Mueller has been widely described as being of impeccable character by much of official Washington, Rowley said today: “The truth is that Robert Mueller (and James Comey as deputy attorney general — see my New York Times op-ed on day of Comey’s confirmation hearing) presided over a cover-up …”

In her interview, Rowley noted: “The FBI and all the other officials claimed that there were no clues, that they had no warning [about 9/11] etc., and that was not the case. There had been all kinds of memos and intelligence coming in. I actually had a chance to meet Director Mueller personally the night before I testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee … [he was] trying to get us on his side, on the FBI side, so that we wouldn’t say anything terribly embarrassing. …

“When you had the lead-up to the Iraq War … Mueller and, of course, the CIA and all the other directors, saluted smartly and went along with what Bush wanted, which was to gin up the intelligence to make a pretext for the Iraq War. For instance, in the case of the FBI, they actually had a receipt, and other documentary proof, that one of the hijackers, Mohamed Atta, had not been in Prague, as Dick Cheney was alleging. And yet those directors more or less kept quiet. That included … CIA, FBI, Mueller, and it included also the deputy attorney general at the time, James Comey.”

Rowley also noted that Mueller presided over “the ‘post 9-11 round-up’ of innocent immigrants, the anthrax investigation fiasco, as well as going along with a form of martial law (made possible via secret OLC [Office of Legal Counsel] memos written by John Yoo etc. predicated upon Yoo’s theories of absolute ‘imperial presidency’ or ‘war presidency’ powers that the Bush administration was making [Attorney General John] Ashcroft sign off on).”

“While not the worst of the bunch, neither Comey nor Mueller deserve their Jimmy Stewart ‘G-man’ reputations for absolute integrity but have merely been, along the lines of George ‘Slam Dunk’ Tenet, capable and flexible politicized sycophants to power, that enmeshed them in numerous wrongful abuses of power along with presiding over plain official incompetence. It’s sad that political partisanship is so blinding and that so few people remember the actual sordid history.”


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Oct 03, 2019] Judicial Watch: DOJ Docs Show Rosenstein Advising Mueller 'the Boss' Doesn't Know About Their Communications.

Oct 03, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

milo_hoffman , 1 hour ago link

BREAKING: Judicial Watch: DOJ Docs Show Rosenstein Advising Mueller 'the Boss' Doesn't Know About Their Communications. Shows massive collusion and plotting by Rosenstein and Muller, behind administrations back, and collusion with democrats and press.

"These astonishing emails further confirm the dishonest corruption behind Rosenstein's appointment of Robert Mueller," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "The emails also show a shockingly cozy relationship between Mr. Rosenstein and anti-Trump media reporters."

https://www.judicialwatch.org/press-releases/judicial-watch-doj-docs-show-rosenstein-advising-mueller-the-boss-doesnt-know-about-their-communications/

[Sep 29, 2019] Marie L. Yovanovitch blocked visa to the senior prosecutor Kostiantyn Kulyk

Notable quotes:
"... The senior prosecutor Kostiantyn Kulyk never got an answer, and he says it's because the visas were blocked by the U.S. Ambassador. The Ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch is a career diplomat (since 1986) who served under both Democratic and Republicans and was appointed to her present position in August 2016 by former President Obama. ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | lidblog.com

Originally from: New Report Indicates Case Against Paul Manafort Is Fruit Of The Poisonous Tree - The Lid by Jeff Dunetz

The FBI knew the Steele dossier was nonsense before they used it to get the FISA court to issue the warrant to begin spying on Carter Page leading to the Russia collusion hoax. John Solomon of The Hill found a second document that the FBI knew contained false information, but they used it to get the search warrant against Paul Manafort anyway.

Per Solomon:

The second document, known as the "black cash ledger," remarkably has escaped the same scrutiny, even though its emergence in Ukraine in the summer of 2016 forced Paul Manafort to resign as Trump's campaign chairman and eventually face U.S. indictment.

Trending: Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) Introduces Motion To Censure Adam Schiff

In search warrant affidavits, the FBI portrayed the ledger as one reason it resurrected a criminal case against Manafort that was dropped in 2014 and needed search warrants in 2017 for bank records to prove he worked for the Russian-backed Party of Regions in Ukraine.

There's just one problem: The FBI's public reliance on the ledger came months after the feds were warned repeatedly that the document couldn't be trusted and likely was a fake, according to documents and more than a dozen interviews with knowledgeable sources.

When the NY Times reported the news about the ledger, they positioned it as a big scandal as they do with almost everything associated with Donald Trump:

Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych's pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine's newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.

( ) The papers, known in Ukraine as the "black ledger," are a chicken-scratch of Cyrillic covering about 400 pages taken from books once kept in a third-floor room in the former Party of Regions headquarters on Lipskaya Street in Kiev. The room held two safes stuffed with $100 bills, said Taras V. Chornovil, a former party leader who was also a recipient of the money at times. He said in an interview that he had once received $10,000 in a "wad of cash" for a trip to Europe.

Nazar Kholodnytsky, Ukraine's top anti-corruption prosecutor, told John Solomon that he had told his State Dept contacts and FBI agents that his colleagues who found the ledger thought it was bogus around the same time the Times published the story late August 2916.

"It was not to be considered a document of Manafort. It was not authenticated. And at that time it should not be used in any way to bring accusations against anybody," Kholodnytsky said, recalling what he told FBI agents.

This is the second incident of Obama's State Department ignoring Ukraine evidence. Two months ago we learned that senior member of Ukraine's Prosecutor General's International Legal Cooperation Dept. told John Solomon that since last year, he's been blocked from getting visas for himself and a team to go to the U.S. to deliver evidence of Democratic party wrongdoing during the 2016 election to the DOJ. The senior prosecutor Kostiantyn Kulyk never got an answer, and he says it's because the visas were blocked by the U.S. Ambassador. The Ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch is a career diplomat (since 1986) who served under both Democratic and Republicans and was appointed to her present position in August 2016 by former President Obama.

Solomon gives some more examples of the FBI being told the ledger was as real as a three-dollar bill. But that's when it gets really dicey because according to three of Solomon's sources, Mueller's team of political hitmen and the FBI were given copies of one of the warnings.

Because they knew the ledger was false Mueller and the FBI couldn't use the ledger to establish probable cause to investigate Manafort because it " would require agents to discuss their assessment of the evidence -- and instead cited media reports about it." Even though the feds assisted on one of those stories as sources

For example, agents mentioned the ledger in an affidavit supporting a July 2017 search warrant for Manafort's house, citing it as one of the reasons the FBI resurrected the criminal case against Manafort.

"On August 19, 2016, after public reports regarding connections between Manafort, Ukraine and Russia -- including an alleged 'black ledger' of off-the-book payments from the Party of Regions to Manafort -- Manafort left his post as chairman of the Trump Campaign," the July 25, 2017, FBI agent's affidavit stated.

Three months later, the FBI went further in arguing probable cause for a search warrant for Manafort's bank records, citing a specific article about the ledger as evidence Manafort was paid to perform U.S. lobbying work for the Ukrainians.

"The April 12, 2017, Associated Press article reported that DMI [Manafort's company] records showed at least two payments were made to DMI that correspond to payments in the 'black ledger,' " an FBI agent wrote in a footnote to the affidavit.

Guess who helped the AP with their story -- the DOJ's Andrew Weissmann who later moved to the special prosecutor's office and became Mueller's chief hit-man.

So just as they had done in the anti-Trump investigation "the FBI cited a leak that the government had facilitated and then used it to support the black ledger evidence, even though it had been clearly warned about the document."

Whether or not Paul Manafort deserved to be jailed is irrelevant. Part of the search warrants against him were lies that the prosecutors knew were false. The judgments against him should be tossed out because they contain the fruit of the poisonous tree. Our justice system promises equal justice for all, but the FBI and Special Prosecutor cheated in the case of Manafort.

There is much more to John Solomon's report. I recommend you click here and give it a read.

[Sep 18, 2019] Jerry Nadler is aiming to become the Rachael Maddow of Adam Schiffs

Humor aside Corey Lewandowski Opening statement deserves to be listened. Just 5 min.
This was obviously a Dog & Pony show by Nadler and his gang who can't shoot strait
Sep 18, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Seminole Nation , 5 hours ago

"Jerry Nadler is aiming to become the Rachael Maddow of Adam Schiffs" – Dan Bongino (3-24-19)

Gilbert Perea , 9 hours ago

You have to laugh , I wonder if Mr. Cowen has a chicken wing in his jacket pocket.

RIC shady , 7 hours ago

"The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at all." - Valery Legasov, Soviet chemist

ZENIGMATV , 3 hours ago

Nadler:Corey what time is it? Corey :It's 2pm. Nadler: The clock shows 1:59 . Charge Corey for lying to Congress! All a gotcha game by a group of angry haters.

ZENIGMATV , 3 hours ago

Nadler:Corey what time is it? Corey :It's 2pm. Nadler: The clock shows 1:59 . Charge Corey for lying to Congress! All a gotcha game by a group of angry haters.

Jim Carpenter , 6 hours ago

Nadler provides so much comic relief!!!! He is definitely one of my all time favorite oafs.

Forever Joy , 9 hours ago

40 million tax payer dollars wasted...boom! Pathetic, thanks Democrats!

Bobwehada Babyitzaboy , 3 hours ago

3rd time. If that were good for the left they wouldn't shut up about it. This is another witch hunt with attempt to deceive

Dr.Roberto Rodriguez Jr. , 5 hours ago

What a joke. Democratic live in a fantasy world

Ricky Alfaro , 5 hours ago

Corey is toast!

Teresa Upchurch , 8 hours ago

This is obviously a Dog & Pony show by the Nadler nerd group of Demonrats! Can't even follow the House rules. Sickening !!!

[Sep 17, 2019] The Spy Who Failed by Scott Ritter

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The source was said to be responsible for the reporting used by the former director of the CIA, John Brennan, in making the case that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered Russian intelligence services to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election for the purpose of tipping the scales in favor of then-candidate Donald Trump. ..."
"... On closer scrutiny, however, this aspect of the story falls apart, as does just about everything CNN, The New York Times ..."
"... "And Ye Shall Know the Truth and the Truth Shall Make You Free," John 8:32, is etched into the wall of the main lobby of the Old CIA Headquarters Building. ..."
"... Every Russian diplomat assigned to the United States is screened to ascertain his or her susceptibility for recruitment. The FBI does this from a counterintelligence perspective, looking for Russian spies. The CIA does the same, but with the objective of recruiting a Russian source who can remain in the employ of the Russian government, and thereby provide the CIA with intelligence information commensurate to their standing and access. Turning a senior Russian diplomat is difficult; recruiting a junior Russian diplomat like Oleg Smolenkov less so. Someone like Smolenkov would be viewed not so much by the limited access he provided at the time of recruitment, but rather his potential for promotion and the increased opportunity for more essential access provided by such. ..."
"... The reality is, however, that the CIA and the FBI have different goals and objectives when it comes to the Russians they recruit. As such, Smolenkov's recruitment was most likely a CIA-only affair, run by NR but closely monitored by the Russian Operations Group of the Agency's Central Eurasia Division, who would have responsibility for managing Smolenkov upon his return to Moscow. ..."
"... But his job as foreman of the Rossotrudnichestvo coop was not the kind of job a Maurive Thorez graduate gets; Smolenkov had to have felt slighted. He allegedly turned to drink, and his marriage was on the rocks; his colleagues spoke of a man who believed his salary was too low. ..."
"... The enticements of money and future opportunity -- the CIA's principle recruitment ploys -- more than likely were a factor in convincing this dissatisfied diplomat to defect. ..."
"... the fact is, sometime in 2007-2008, Smolenkov was recruited by the CIA. ..."
"... He was granted a "second-level" security clearance, which allowed him to handle top secret information. ..."
"... Moscow Station, however, was having trouble carrying out its clandestine tasks. In the fall of 2011, the CIA's chief of station in Moscow, Steven Hall, had been approached by his counterpart in the Russian Federal Security Service (the FSB, Russia's equivalent of the FBI) and warned that the CIA should stop trying to recruit agents from within the FSB ranks; the FSB had detected several of these attempts, which it deemed inappropriate given the ongoing cooperation between the intelligence services of the two countries regarding the war on terrorism. ..."
"... The loss of Hall at this very sensitive time created a problem for both the CIA and Smolenkov. Smolenkov's new assignment was a dream come true for the CIA -- never before had the agency managed to place a controlled agent into the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation. ..."
"... With communications down, and the chief of station evicted, Smolenkov was left in a state of limbo while the CIA trained up new case officers capable of operating in Moscow and sought a replacement for Hall. ..."
"... "To put it mildly," Ushakov said, "it is surprising that this extremely crude, clumsy attempt at recruitment took place in a situation where both President Obama and President Putin have clearly stated the importance of more active cooperation and contacts between the special services of the two countries." ..."
"... As a senior aide to Ushakov, Smolenkov was ideally positioned to gather intelligence about the Russian response. If he was able to communicate this information to the CIA, it would have provided Obama and his advisers time to prepare a response to the Russian letter. The situation meant that Smolenkov may have been reporting on events related to the expulsion of Hall, one of the CIA officers specifically trained to manage his reporting. ..."
"... Smolenkov's success was directly linked to the work of his boss, Ushakov. In June 2015, Ushakov was put in charge of establishing a high-level working group in the fuel and energy sector for the purpose of improving bilateral cooperation with Azerbaijan. The reporting Smolenkov would have been able to provide on the work of this group would have been of tremendous assistance to those in the Obama administration working on U.S. energy policy, especially as it related to countering Russian moves in the former Soviet Republics. ..."
"... Ushakov's 10-year tenure as Russia's ambassador to the U.S. gave him unprecedented insight into U.S. decision making, experience and expertise Putin increasingly relied upon as he formulated and implemented responses to U.S. efforts to contain and punish Russia on the international stage. ..."
"... While Ushakov's meetings with Putin were conducted either in private, or in small groups of senior advisers, meaning Smolenkov was not present, Smolenkov was able to collect intelligence on the periphery by photographing itineraries and working papers, as well as overhearing comments made by Ushakov, that collectively would provide U.S. policymakers with important insight into Putin's thinking. ..."
"... According to the FSB, the Russians were adept at identifying CIA officers working under State Department cover and would subject these individuals to extensive surveillance. ..."
"... In addition to the decimation of its staff, Moscow Station was experiencing an alarming number of its agents being discovered by the FSB and arrested. While the Russians were circumspect about most of these cases, on several occasions they indicated that they had uncovered a spy by intercepting the electronic communications between him and the CIA. This meant that the Russians were aware of, and actively pursuing, the Google-based internet-based system used by the CIA to communicate with its agents in Russia. ..."
"... Sometime in early August 2016, a courier from the CIA arrived at the White House carrying a plain, unmarked white envelope. Inside was an intelligence report from Smolenkov that CIA Director Brennan considered to be so sensitive that he kept it out of the President's Daily Brief, concerned that even that restrictive process was too inclusive to adequately protect the source. The intelligence was to be read by four people only -- Obama, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Deputy National Security Advisor Avril Haines and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. The document was to be returned to the courier once it had been read. ..."
"... The contents of the report were alarming -- Putin had personally ordered the cyber attack on the Democratic National Committee for the purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential election in favor of the Republican candidate, Donald Trump. ..."
"... The White House found the Smolenkov report so convincing that in September 2016, during a meeting of the G-20 in China, Obama pulled Putin aside and told him to stop meddling in the U.S. election. Putin was reportedly nonplussed by Obama's intervention. ..."
"... It is not publicly known what prompted the report from Smolenkov which Brennan found so alarming. Was it received out of the blue, a target of opportunity which Smolenkov exploited? Was it based upon a specific tasking submitted by Smolenkov's CIA handlers in response to a tasking from above? Or was it a result of the intervention of the CIA director, who tasked Smolenkov outside normal channels? In any event, once Brennan created his special analytical unit, Smolenkov became his dedicated source. If Smolenko was in this for the money, as appears to be the case, he would have been motivated to come up with the "correct" answer to Brennan's tasking for information on Putin's role. By late 2016, Western media had made quite clear what kind of answer Brennan wanted. ..."
"... Brennan took the extraordinary measure of sequestering the source from the rest of the Intelligence Community. He also confronted the head of the Russian FSB, Alexander Bortnikov, about the risks involved in interfering in U.S. elections. ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Smolenkov's firing occurred right before the Intelligence Community released its much-anticipated assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 election ..."
"... Brennan had sold the Smolenkov reporting to both President Obama and President-elect Trump, along with the rest of the intelligence community, as "high-quality information." It was, at best, nothing more than uncorroborated rumor or, at worst, simple disinformation. This reporting, which was parroted by an unquestioning mainstream media that accepted it as fact, created an impression amongst the American public that Vladimir Putin had personally ordered and directed a Russian interference campaign during the 2016 election designed "to help President-elect Trump's election chances when possible," according to the ICA. ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... Concerned that Smolenkov could be arrested by the Russians and, in doing so, have control over the narrative of Russian interference transfer to Moscow, the CIA once again approached Smolenkov to defect to the United States. This time the Russian agent agreed. ..."
"... Sometime in June 2018, Smolenkov and his wife bought a home worth nearly $1 million in northern Virginia. The couple used their real names. They were not afraid. ..."
"... I can only speculate as to the circumstances that led to Smolenkov's firing by secret decree. Normally, Russians charged with transmitting classified material to the intelligence services of a foreign state are arrested, placed on trial and given lengthy prison sentences, or worse. This did not happen to Smolenkov. ..."
"... In any case, the Smolenkov report in the white envelope represented a level of access that would have significantly deviated from what one could expect from a person in his position and which suggests he may have been telling the CIA what he knew Brennan wanted to hear. ..."
"... The third scenario is that Smolenkov, a low-level failure of a diplomat with drinking issues, marital problems and monetary frustrations, was recruited by the CIA, but only with the complicity of the Russian security services. ..."
"... The same red flags that the CIA looks for when recruiting agents are also looked at by Russian counterintelligence. At what point in the recruitment process the Russians stepped in is unknown (if they did at all.) ..."
"... Moreover, this muddling diplomat whose questionable behavioral practices scream "recruit me" is, within three years of returning to Moscow, given a significant promotion that enables him to follow Ushakov into the Presidential Administration–a posting which would require extensive vetting by the Russian security services. Smolenkov's promotion pattern is enough, in and of itself, to raise red flags within the counterintelligence offices tasked with monitoring such things. The fact that it did not indicates that the quality and quantity of reporting being provided by Smolenkov was deemed by the Americans too important to interfere with. ..."
"... In this scenario, Smolenkov would have been playing to a script written by the Russian security services. Since he, technically, had broken no laws by serving as a double agent, he would not be subjected to arrest and trial. But once his existence became the fodder of the U.S. media via inference and speculation, his services as a double agent were no longer needed. He was fired from his position, via a secret Presidential proclamation, and set free to live his life as he saw fit. ..."
"... In my view, if one assumes that the Smolenkov July 2016 report at the center of this drama was not a result of serendipity, but rather a product derived from a specific request from his CIA managers to find out how high up in the Russian decision-making chain the authorization went for what U.S. intelligence agencies were already publicly pushing as an alleged DNC cyber attack, then the answer I believe becomes clear–the Russians knew the U.S. had an intelligence deficit. ..."
"... In my view, the CIA, Russia and Smolenkov were happy to maintain the status quo, with Smolenkov living in comfortable retirement with his family, the CIA continuing to accuse Russia of interfering in the 2016 presidential election, and Russia denying it. ..."
"... Trump's instructions to Barr are linked to a desire on the part of the president to hold to account those responsible for creating the narrative of possible collusion. Reports indicate that Barr is particularly interested in finding out how and why the CIA concluded that Putin personally ordered the Russian intelligence services to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. ..."
"... Seen in this light, the timing of the CNN and New York Times reports about the "exfiltration" of the CIA's "sensitive source" seems to be little more than a blatant effort by Brennan and his allies in the media to shape a narrative before Barr uncovers the truth. ..."
"... A few days following Smolenkov's "outing" by the U.S. media, the Russian government filed a request with Interpol for an investigation into how someone who had gone missing in Montenegro was now living in the United States. ..."
"... The only person at risk from this entire sordid affair is Brennan, whose reputation and potential livelihood is on the line. At best, Brennan is guilty of extremely poor judgement; at worst, he actively conspired to use the office of Director of the CIA to interfere in the outcome of a U.S. presidential election. Neither option speaks well of the U.S. Intelligence Community and those in Congress charged with oversight of its operations. ..."
"... Watch Scott Ritter discussing this article on ..."
"... Consortium News does not necessarily endorse the views of its authors. ..."
"... If you value this original article, please consider ..."
"... making a donation ..."
"... to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one. ..."
"... Before commenting please read Robert Parry's ..."
"... Allegations unsupported by facts, gross or misleading factual errors and ad hominem attacks, and abusive language toward other commenters or our writers will be removed. If your comment does not immediately appear, please be patient as it is manually reviewed. ..."
"... And under the third scenario, with Smolenkov a double agent all along, Ritter writes: "But once his existence became the fodder of the U.S. media via inference and speculation, his services as a double agent were no longer needed. He was fired from his position, via a secret Presidential proclamation, and set free to live his life as he saw fit." ..."
"... That doesn't make sense to me. In fact I see the opposite: if he had been a successfully run double agent all that time, then when his usefulness had ended he would have been decently pensioned off – not simply cut loose to fend for himself – but *not* allowed to travel abroad unimpeded (with his whole family, no less) where he would have the opportunity to cause mischief. ..."
"... In the extremely sophisticated world of high grade intelligence I have repeatedly said that the Brennan, Clapper, Comey trio were lead-footed imbeciles ..."
"... Read The CIA as Organized Crime and Strength of the Wolf and Strength of the Pack by Douglas Valentine. ..."
"... "Kiriakou also notes that the way Smolenkov's intelligence was handled raises echoes of the CIA's manipulation of intelligence to help justify the Iraq war. The information from Smolenkov was handled personally by then-CIA Director John Brennan. Brennan reportedly sidelined other CIA analysts and kept the Smolenkov information out of the Presidential Daily Briefing – instead delivering it personally to President Obama and a small group of officials." ..."
"... More like a Le Carre' film. The CIA was originally sold as an intelligence gathering and analysis organization, and was not supposed to be involved in operations. Thus, it was founded on lies and the lies have only grown since. ..."
"... Even the former communist state governments in Europe and the Soviet Union rued the day that they unleashed their secret police from accountability, and thereby became subservient to their power. ..."
"... I suspect Scott was provided a great deal of the reporting in this fascinating article from a disgruntled insider, or former insider. Knowledge of Brennan's break with protocol to form a select 'stand alone fusion cell' that reported only to him is something that I haven't seen reported before. In any case this story adds another red flag to the entire Russiagate hoax. ..."
"... Just as Mueller failed to interview Julian Assange or Christopher Steele for his report -- obvious red flags -- we should now watch the conduct of Barr's investigation. Will Barr's investigators interview Smolenkov? ..."
"... ( ) the timing of the CNN and New York Times reports about the "exfiltration" of the CIA's "sensitive source" seems to be little more than a blatant effort by Brennan and his allies in the media to shape a narrative before Barr uncovers the truth. ..."
"... "If Smolenkov was a spy, he could have delivered important insights about Russia's foreign policy thinking and planning to U.S. intelligence. But if he was the source for the U.S. intelligence community's certainty that Putin personally orchestrated a covert interference campaign, that certainty rests on a weak foundation. Smolenkov served the wrong boss in the Kremlin to get reliable information about such ventures." ..."
Sep 14, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

56 Comments

OPINION: Scott Ritter probes Oleg Smolenkov's role as a CIA asset and the use of his data by the director of the CIA to cast doubt over the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

By Scott Ritter
Special to Consortium News

Reports that the CIA conducted an emergency exfiltration of a long-time human intelligence source who was highly placed within the Russian Presidential Administration sent shock waves throughout Washington, D.C.

The source was said to be responsible for the reporting used by the former director of the CIA, John Brennan, in making the case that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered Russian intelligence services to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election for the purpose of tipping the scales in favor of then-candidate Donald Trump.

According to CNN's Jim Sciutto, the decision to exfiltrate the source was driven in part by concerns within the CIA over President Trump's cavalier approach toward handling classified information, including his willingness to share highly classified intelligence with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a controversial visit to the White House in May 2017.

On closer scrutiny, however, this aspect of the story falls apart, as does just about everything CNN, The New York Times and other mainstream media outlets have reported. There was a Russian spy whose information was used to push a narrative of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election; this much appears to be true. Everything else that has been reported is either a mischaracterization of fact or an outright fabrication designed to hide one of the greatest intelligence failures in U.S. history -- the use by a CIA director of intelligence data specifically manipulated to interfere in the election of an American president.

The consequences of this interference has deleteriously impacted U.S. democratic institutions in ways the American people remain ignorant of -- in large part because of the complicity of the U.S. media when it comes to reporting this story.

This article attempts to set the record straight by connecting the dots presented by available information and creating a narrative shaped by a combination of derivative analysis and informed speculation. At best, this article brings the reader closer to the truth about Oleg Smolenkov's role as a CIA asset; at worst, it raises issues and questions that will help in determining the truth.

"And Ye Shall Know the Truth and the Truth Shall Make You Free," John 8:32, is etched into the wall of the main lobby of the Old CIA Headquarters Building.

The Recruit

Oleg Smolenkov

In 2007, Oleg Smolenkov was living the life of a Russian diplomat abroad, serving in the Russian embassy in Washington. At 33 years of age, married with a 1-year old son, Smolenkov was the picture of a young diplomat on the rise. A protégé of Russian Ambassador Yuri Ushakov, Smolenkov worked as a second secretary assigned to the Russian Cultural Center, a combined museum and exhibition hall operated by the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation (better known by its common Russian name, Rossotrudnichestvo), an autonomous government agency operating under the auspices of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In addition to hosting Russian artists and musicians, Rossotrudnichestvo oversaw a program where it organized all-expense paid cultural exchanges for young Americans to travel to Russia, where they were accommodated in luxury hotels and met with Russian officials. Smolenkov's boss, Yegeny Zvedre, would also tour the United States, speaking at public forums where he addressed U.S.-Russian cooperation. As for Smolenkov himself, life was much more mundane -- he served as a purchasing agent for Rossotrudnichestvo, managing procurement and contract issues for a store operating out of the Rossotrudnichestvo building, which stood separate from the main embassy compound.

Rossotrudnichestvo had a darker side: the FBI long suspected that it operated as a front to recruit Americans to spy for Russia, and as such every Russian employee was viewed as a potential officer in the Russian intelligence service. This suspicion brought with it a level of scrutiny which revealed much about the character of the individual being surveilled, including information of a potentially compromising nature that could be used by the American intelligence services as the basis of a recruitment effort.

Every Russian diplomat assigned to the United States is screened to ascertain his or her susceptibility for recruitment. The FBI does this from a counterintelligence perspective, looking for Russian spies. The CIA does the same, but with the objective of recruiting a Russian source who can remain in the employ of the Russian government, and thereby provide the CIA with intelligence information commensurate to their standing and access. Turning a senior Russian diplomat is difficult; recruiting a junior Russian diplomat like Oleg Smolenkov less so. Someone like Smolenkov would be viewed not so much by the limited access he provided at the time of recruitment, but rather his potential for promotion and the increased opportunity for more essential access provided by such.

The responsibility within the CIA for recruiting Russian diplomats living in the United States falls to the National Resources Division, or NR, part of the Directorate of Operations, or DO -- the clandestine arm of the CIA. In a perfect world, the CIA domestic station in Washington, D.C., would coordinate with the local FBI field office and develop a joint approach for recruiting a Russian diplomat such as Smolenkov.

The reality is, however, that the CIA and the FBI have different goals and objectives when it comes to the Russians they recruit. As such, Smolenkov's recruitment was most likely a CIA-only affair, run by NR but closely monitored by the Russian Operations Group of the Agency's Central Eurasia Division, who would have responsibility for managing Smolenkov upon his return to Moscow.

The precise motive for Smolenkov to take up the CIA's offer of recruitment remains unknown. He graduated from one of the premier universities in Russia, the Maurice Thorez Moscow State Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages, and he married his English language instructor. Normally a graduate from an elite university such as Maurice Thorez has his or her pick of jobs in the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Defense or the security services. Smolenkov was hired by the Foreign Ministry as a junior linguist, assigned to the Second European Department, which focuses on Great Britain, Scandinavia and the Baltics, before getting assigned to the embassy in Washington.

Felt Underpaid

But his job as foreman of the Rossotrudnichestvo coop was not the kind of job a Maurive Thorez graduate gets; Smolenkov had to have felt slighted. He allegedly turned to drink, and his marriage was on the rocks; his colleagues spoke of a man who believed his salary was too low.

The enticements of money and future opportunity -- the CIA's principle recruitment ploys -- more than likely were a factor in convincing this dissatisfied diplomat to defect. Did the CIA compromise him by dangling the temptation of contract-based embezzlement? Or did the FBI uncover some sort of personal or financial impropriety that made the Russian diplomat vulnerable to recruitment? Only the CIA and Smolenkov know the precise circumstances behind the Russian's decision to betray his country. But the fact is, sometime in 2007-2008, Smolenkov was recruited by the CIA.

After Smolenkov accepted the CIA's offer, there was much work to be done -- the new agent had to be polygraphed to ascertain his reliability, trained on covert means of intelligence collection, including covert photography, as well as on how to securely communicate with the CIA in order to transmit information and receive instructions. Smolenkov was also introduced to his "handler," a CIA case officer who would be responsible for managing the work of Smolenkov, including overseeing the bank account where Smolenkov's CIA "salary" would be deposited. Various contingencies would be prepared for, including procedures for reestablishing communications should the existing means become unavailable, emergency contact procedures and emergency exfiltration plans in case Smolenkov became compromised.

Took Away His Name, and Gave Him a Code

The recruitment of a diplomat willing to return to Moscow and be run in place is a rare accomplishment, and Smolenkov's identity would become a closely guarded secret within the ranks of the CIA. Smolenkov's true identity would be known to only a few select individuals; to everyone else who had access to his reporting, he was simply a codename, comprised of a two-letter digraph representing Russia (this code changed over time), followed by a word chosen at random by a CIA algorithm (for example, Adolf Tolkachev, the so-called "billion dollar spy," was known by the codename CKSPHERE, with CK being the digraph in use for the Soviet Union at the time of his recruitment.) Because the specific details from the information provided by Smolenkov could compromise him as the source, the Russian Operations Group would "blend" his reporting in with other sources in an effort to disguise it before disseminating it to a wider audience.

Smolenkov followed Ambassador Ushakov when the latter departed the United States for Moscow in the summer of 2008; soon after arriving back in Moscow, Smolenkov and his wife divorced. Ushakov took a position as the deputy chief of the Government Staff of the Russian Federation responsible for international relations and foreign policy support. Part of the Executive Office of the Government of the Russian Federation, Ushakov coordinated the international work of the prime minister, deputy prime ministers and senior officials of the Government Executive Office. Smolenkov took up a position working for Ushakov, and soon found himself moving up the ranks of the Russian Civil Service, being promoted in 2010 to the rank of state advisor to the Russian Federation of the Third Class, a second-tier rank that put him on the cusp of joining the upper levels of the Russian government bureaucracy. He was granted a "second-level" security clearance, which allowed him to handle top secret information.

Moscow Station

Ukashov, r. with Putin (Kremlin photo)

In 2013 Ushakov received a new assignment, this time to serve in the Presidential Executive Office as the aide for international relations. Smolenkov joined Ushakov as his staff manager. Vladimir Putin was one year into his second stint as president and brought Ushakov, who had advised him on foreign relations while Putin was prime minister, to continue that service. Ushakov maintained an office at the Boyarsky Dvor (Courtyard of the Boyars), on 8 Staraya Square.

The Boyarsky Dvor was physically separate from the Kremlin, meaning neither Ushakov nor Smolenkov had direct access to the Russian president. Nevertheless, Smolenkov's new job had to have pleased his CIA masters. In the five years Smolenkov worked at the Executive Office of the Government, he was not privy to particularly sensitive information. His communications with CIA would most likely have been administrative in nature, with the CIA more interested in Smolenkov's growth potential than immediate value of any intelligence he could produce.

Smolenkov's arrival in the Presidential Administration coincided with a period of operational difficulty for the CIA in Moscow. First, the CIA's internet-based covert communications system, which used Google's email platform as the foundation for accessing various web pages where information was exchanged between the agent and his CIA handlers, had been globally compromised. Smolenkov had been trained on this system, and it provided his lifeline to the CIA. The compromise first occurred in Iran, and then spread to China; in both countries, entire networks of CIA agents were rounded up, with many being subsequently executed . China is believed to have shared the information on how to detect the covert communication-linked web pages with Russia; fortunately for Moscow Station, they were able to make the appropriate changes in the system to safeguard the security and identity of its agents. In the meantime, communications between the CIA and Smolenkov were cut off until the CIA could make contact using back-up protocols and re-train Smolenkov on the new communications procedures.

Moscow Station, however, was having trouble carrying out its clandestine tasks. In the fall of 2011, the CIA's chief of station in Moscow, Steven Hall, had been approached by his counterpart in the Russian Federal Security Service (the FSB, Russia's equivalent of the FBI) and warned that the CIA should stop trying to recruit agents from within the FSB ranks; the FSB had detected several of these attempts, which it deemed inappropriate given the ongoing cooperation between the intelligence services of the two countries regarding the war on terrorism.

But Hall had his orders, and after a year-long pause to review its operating procedures, Moscow Station resumed its targeting of FSB officers. Things went real bad real fast. In January 2013, a CIA officer named Benjamin Dillon was arrested by the FSB as he tried to recruit a Russian agent, declared persona non grata, and expelled from Russia. Then in May 2013 the FSB arrested another CIA officer, Ryan Fogle. Fogle was paraded before television cameras together with his spy paraphernalia, and like Dillon before him, expelled from the country. Moreover, the Russians, in condemning the CIA actions, revealed the identity of the CIA's Moscow chief of station (Hall), who because of the public disclosure was compelled to depart Russia.

A CIA Dream

Steve Hall (CNN/YouTube)

The loss of Dillon and Fogle was a serious blow to Moscow Station, but one from which the CIA could recover. But the near simultaneous loss of two case officers and the chief of station was a different matter altogether. Hall was one of the few people in the CIA who had been "read in" on the recruitment of Smolenkov, and as such was involved in the overall management of the Russian agent. The loss of Hall at this very sensitive time created a problem for both the CIA and Smolenkov. Smolenkov's new assignment was a dream come true for the CIA -- never before had the agency managed to place a controlled agent into the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation.

But while Smolenkov had been able to provide evidence of access, by way of photographs of presidential documents, the CIA needed to confirm that Smolenkov hadn't been turned by the Russians and was not being used to pass on disinformation designed to mislead those who used Smolenkov's reporting. Normally this was done by subjecting the agent to a polygraph examination -- a "swirl," in CIA parlance. This examination could take place at an improvised covert location in Russia, or in a more controlled environment outside of Russia, if Smolenkov was able to exit on work or during vacation. But arranging the examination required close coordination between the CIA and its agent, as well as a healthy degree of trust between the agent and those directing him. With communications down, and the chief of station evicted, Smolenkov was left in a state of limbo while the CIA trained up new case officers capable of operating in Moscow and sought a replacement for Hall.

One of the ironies surrounding the arrest and expulsion of CIA officer Fogle, and the subsequent outing and eviction of Hall, was that Smolenkov was ideally positioned to provide an inside perspective on how the Russian leadership reacted to the incident. Smolenkov's boss, Ushakov, was tasked with overseeing Russia's diplomatic response. In a statement given to the Russian media, Ushakov expressed surprise at the timing of the incident. "To put it mildly," Ushakov said, "it is surprising that this extremely crude, clumsy attempt at recruitment took place in a situation where both President Obama and President Putin have clearly stated the importance of more active cooperation and contacts between the special services of the two countries."

Ushakov coordinated closely with the head of Putin's Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, regarding the content of a letter Putin was planning to send in response to a previous communication from Obama. While the original text focused on missile defense issues, Ushakov and Patrushev inserted language about the Fogle incident. As a senior aide to Ushakov, Smolenkov was ideally positioned to gather intelligence about the Russian response. If he was able to communicate this information to the CIA, it would have provided Obama and his advisers time to prepare a response to the Russian letter. The situation meant that Smolenkov may have been reporting on events related to the expulsion of Hall, one of the CIA officers specifically trained to manage his reporting.

The Center

Amid the operational challenges and opportunity provided by Smolenkov's new position within the Russian Presidential Administration, the CIA underwent a radical reorganization which impacted how human agents, and the intelligence they produced, would be managed. The past practice of having intelligence operations controlled by insular regional divisions, which promoted both a physical and philosophical divide between the collectors and their analytical counterparts in the respective regional division within the Directorate of Intelligence, or DI, was discontinued by Brennan, who had taken over as director of the CIA in May 2013.

To replace what he viewed as an antiquated organizational structure, Brennan created what he called "Mission Centers," which combined analytical, operational, technical and support expertise under a single roof. For Moscow Station and Smolenkov, this meant that the Russia and Eurasia Division, with its Russian Operations Group, no longer existed. Instead, Moscow Station would take its orders from a new Europe and Eurasia Mission Center headed by an experienced CIA Russia analyst named Peter Clement.

Clement, who had earned a PhD in Russian history from Michigan State University, had a diverse resumé with the CIA which included service as the director for Russia on the National Security Council and as the CIA representative to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Clement served as the director of the Office of Russian and Eurasian Analysis and as the CIA's Russia issue manager from 1997 to 2003; as the President's Daily Brief (PDB) briefer for Vice President Dick Cheney from 2003-2004, and from 2005-2013, as the deputy director for intelligence for analytic programs. In 2015 Brennan appointed Clement to serve as the deputy assistant director of CIA for Europe and Eurasia, where he directed the activities of the newly created Europe and Eurasia Mission Center. If one was looking for the perfect candidate to manage the fusion of operational, analytical and technical experience into a singular, mission-focused entity, Peter Clement was it.

Peter Clement (C-Span)

As Clement got on with the business of whipping the Europe and Eurasia Mission Center into shape, Smolenkov was busy establishing himself as an intelligence source of some value. Smolenkov's success was directly linked to the work of his boss, Ushakov. In June 2015, Ushakov was put in charge of establishing a high-level working group in the fuel and energy sector for the purpose of improving bilateral cooperation with Azerbaijan. The reporting Smolenkov would have been able to provide on the work of this group would have been of tremendous assistance to those in the Obama administration working on U.S. energy policy, especially as it related to countering Russian moves in the former Soviet Republics.

Another project of interest was Russia's sale of advanced Mi-35 helicopters to Pakistan in support of their counterterrorism efforts. Coming at a time when U.S.-Pakistani relations were floundering, the Russian sale of advanced helicopters was viewed with concern by both the Department of State and the Department of Defense. Again, Smolenkov's reporting on this issue would have been well received by critical policymakers in both departments.

But the most critical role played by Ushakov was advising Putin on the uncertain state of relations between the U.S. and Russia in the aftermath of the 2014 crisis in Ukraine, and Russia's annexation of Crimea. Ushakov's 10-year tenure as Russia's ambassador to the U.S. gave him unprecedented insight into U.S. decision making, experience and expertise Putin increasingly relied upon as he formulated and implemented responses to U.S. efforts to contain and punish Russia on the international stage.

While Ushakov's meetings with Putin were conducted either in private, or in small groups of senior advisers, meaning Smolenkov was not present, Smolenkov was able to collect intelligence on the periphery by photographing itineraries and working papers, as well as overhearing comments made by Ushakov, that collectively would provide U.S. policymakers with important insight into Putin's thinking.

Managing an important resource like Smolenkov was one of the critical challenges faced by Clement and the Europe and Eurasia Mission Center. Smolenkov's reporting continued to be handled using special HUMINT procedures designed to protect the source. However, within the Center knowledge of Smolenkov's work would have been shared with analysts who worked side by side with their operational colleagues deciding how the intelligence could best be used, as well as coming up with follow-up questions for Smolenkov regarding specific issues of interest.

Given the unique insight Smolenkov's reporting provided into Putin's thinking, it would be logical that intelligence sourced from Smolenkov would frequently find itself briefed to the president and his inner circle via the PDB process, which was exacting in terms of vetting the accuracy and reliability of any intelligence reporting that made it onto its pages. As a long-time Russia expert with extensive experience in virtually every aspect of how the CIA turned raw reporting into finished intelligence, Clement was ideally suited to making sure his Center handled the Smolenkov product responsibly, and in a manner which maximized its value.

Meanwhile, Moscow Station continued to exhibit operational problems. By 2015 the CIA had managed to rebuild its stable of case officers operating from the U.S. embassy. But the FSB always seemed to be one step ahead. According to the FSB, the Russians were adept at identifying CIA officers working under State Department cover and would subject these individuals to extensive surveillance. As if to prove the Russian's point, in short order the FSB rounded up the newly assigned case officers, along with the deputy chief of station, declared them persona non grata, and expelled them from Russia. To make matters worse, the FSB released surveillance video of all these officers, who in some cases were joined by their spouses, as they engaged in elaborate ruses to evade Russian surveillance in order to carry out their covert assignments.

Moscow Station's string of bad luck continued into 2016, when one of its officers, having been detected by the FSB during a meeting, fled via taxi to the U.S. embassy, only to be tackled by a uniformed FSB officer as he tried to enter the compound. In the scuffle that followed, the CIA officer managed to make entry into the embassy building, compelling the FSB guard to release him once jurisdiction was lost. The CIA officer, who suffered a separated shoulder during the incident, left Russia shortly thereafter, together with a female colleague who had also been detected by the FSB while engaged in clandestine activities and subsequently declared persona non grata.

FSB Headquarters in the Lubyanka Building, Moscow.

The FSB indicated, at the time these two officers were being expelled, that it had evicted three other CIA officers during the year. In addition to the decimation of its staff, Moscow Station was experiencing an alarming number of its agents being discovered by the FSB and arrested. While the Russians were circumspect about most of these cases, on several occasions they indicated that they had uncovered a spy by intercepting the electronic communications between him and the CIA. This meant that the Russians were aware of, and actively pursuing, the Google-based internet-based system used by the CIA to communicate with its agents in Russia.

Meanwhile, Smolenkov continued to send his reports to his CIA handlers unabated, using the same internet-based system. Under normal circumstances, an exception to compromise would raise red flags within the counterintelligence staff that evaluated an agent's reporting and activity. But by the summer of 2016, nothing about the work of the CIA, and in particular the Europe and Eurasia Mission Center could be considered "normal" when it came to the Russian target.

Little White Envelope

Sometime in early August 2016, a courier from the CIA arrived at the White House carrying a plain, unmarked white envelope. Inside was an intelligence report from Smolenkov that CIA Director Brennan considered to be so sensitive that he kept it out of the President's Daily Brief, concerned that even that restrictive process was too inclusive to adequately protect the source. The intelligence was to be read by four people only -- Obama, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Deputy National Security Advisor Avril Haines and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. The document was to be returned to the courier once it had been read.

Brennan in Oval Office where he had envelope delivered. (White House photo/Pete Souza)

The contents of the report were alarming -- Putin had personally ordered the cyber attack on the Democratic National Committee for the purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential election in favor of the Republican candidate, Donald Trump.

The intelligence report was not a product of Clement's Europe and Eurasia Mission Center, but rather a special unit of handpicked analysts from the CIA, NSA and FBI who were brought together under great secrecy in late July and reported directly to Brennan. These analysts were made to sign non-disclosure agreements protecting their work from their colleagues.

This new analytical unit focused on three new sensitive sources of information -- the Smolenkov report, additional reporting provided by a former MI6 officer named Christopher Steele, and a signals intelligence report provided by a Baltic nation neighboring Russia. The Steele information was of questionable provenance, so much so that FBI Director James Comey could not, or would not, vouch for its credibility. The same held true for the NSA's assessment of the Baltic SIGINT report. By themselves, the Steele reporting and Baltic SIGINT report were of little intelligence value. But when viewed together, they were used to corroborate the explosive contents of the Smolenkov intelligence. The White House found the Smolenkov report so convincing that in September 2016, during a meeting of the G-20 in China, Obama pulled Putin aside and told him to stop meddling in the U.S. election. Putin was reportedly nonplussed by Obama's intervention.

It is extraordinarily difficult for a piece of intelligence to be deemed important and reliable enough to be briefed to the president of the United States. The principal forum for such a briefing is the Presidential Daily Brief, which prior to 2004 was a product produced exclusively by the CIA. When the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act was signed into law in 2004, the responsibility for the PDB was transferred to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), a newly created entity responsible for oversight and coordination of the entire Intelligence Community, or IC. The PDB is considered to be an IC product, the production of which is coordinated by ODNI's PDB staff in partnership with the CIA Directorate of Intelligence (DI)'s President's Analytic Support Staff.

Since he began reporting about his work in the Russian Presidential Administration in 2013, Smolenkov had, on numerous occasions, produced intelligence whose content and relevance was such that it would readily warrant inclusion in the PDB. After 2015, the decision to submit a Smolenkov-sourced report for inclusion in the PDB would be made by Clement and his staff. For a report to be nominated, it would have to pass an exacting quality control review process which evaluated it for accuracy, relevance and reliability.

U.S. Embassy Moscow ( Wikimedia Commons)

Sometime in the leadup to August 2016, this process was halted. Oleg Smolenkov was a controlled asset of the CIA. While he was given certain latitude on what information he could collect, generally speaking Smolenkov worked from an operations order sent to him by his CIA controllers which established priorities for intelligence collection based upon information provided by Smolenkov about what he could reasonably access. Before tasking Smolenkov, his CIA handlers would screen the request from an operational and counterintelligence perspective, conducting a risk-reward analysis that weighed the value of the intelligence being sought with the possibility of compromise. Only then would Smolenkov be cleared to collect the requested information.

It is not publicly known what prompted the report from Smolenkov which Brennan found so alarming. Was it received out of the blue, a target of opportunity which Smolenkov exploited? Was it based upon a specific tasking submitted by Smolenkov's CIA handlers in response to a tasking from above? Or was it a result of the intervention of the CIA director, who tasked Smolenkov outside normal channels? In any event, once Brennan created his special analytical unit, Smolenkov became his dedicated source. If Smolenko was in this for the money, as appears to be the case, he would have been motivated to come up with the "correct" answer to Brennan's tasking for information on Putin's role. By late 2016, Western media had made quite clear what kind of answer Brennan wanted.

Every intelligence report produced by a controlled asset is subjected to a counterintelligence review where it is examined for any evidence of red flags that could be indicative of compromise. One red flag is the issue of abnormal access. Smolenkov did not normally have direct contact with Putin, if ever. His intelligence reports would have been written from the perspective of the distant observer. His report about Putin's role in interfering in the 2016 election, however, represented a whole new level of access and trust. Under normal circumstances, a report exhibiting such tendency would be pulled aside for additional scrutiny; if the report was alarming enough, the CIA might order the agent to be subjected to a polygraph to ensure he had not been compromised.

This did not happen. Instead, Brennan took the extraordinary measure of sequestering the source from the rest of the Intelligence Community. He also confronted the head of the Russian FSB, Alexander Bortnikov, about the risks involved in interfering in U.S. elections.

Whether Brennan further tasked Smolenkov to collect on Putin is not known. Nor is it known whether Smolenkov produced more than that single report about Putin's alleged direct role in ordering the Russian intelligence services to intervene in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.

Despite Brennan's extraordinary effort to keep the existence of a human source within the Russian Presidential Administration a closely-held secret, by December 2016 both The Washington Post and The New York Times began quoting their sources about the existence of a sensitive intelligence source close to the Russian president. The timing of these press leaks coincided with Smolensky being fired from his job working for the Presidential Administration; the method of firing came in the form of a secret decree. When the CIA found out, they desperately tried to convince Smolenkov to agree to extraction, fearing for his safety should he remain in Moscow. This Smolenkov allegedly refused to do, prompting the counterintelligence-minded within the CIA to become concerned that Brennan and his coterie of analysts had been taken for a ride by a Russian double agent.

Trump and Barr on Feb. 14, 2019. (Wikimedia Commons)

Smolenkov's firing occurred right before the Intelligence Community released its much-anticipated assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 election . Like the special analytical unit created by Brennan to handle the intelligence about Putin ordering the Russian intelligence services to intervene in favor of Trump in the 2016 election, Brennan opted to produce the Russian interference assessment outside the normal channels. Usually, when the IC opts to produce an assessment, there is a formal process which has a national intelligence officer (NIO) from within the National Intelligence Council take the lead on coordinating the collection and assessment of all relevant intelligence. The NIO usually coordinates closely with the relevant Mission Centers to ensure no analytical stone was left unturned in the pursuit of the truth.

The 2016 Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) was produced differently -- no Mission Center involvement, no NIO assigned, no peer review. Just Brennan's little band of sequestered analysts.

Smolenkov's information took top billing in the ICA, "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections," published on Jan. 6, 2017. "We assess," the unclassified document stated, "Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump." Smolenkov's reporting appears to be the sole source for this finding.

The ICA went on to note, "We have high confidence in these judgments." According to the Intelligence Community's own definition, "high confidence'" generally indicates judgments based on high-quality information, and/or the nature of the issue makes it possible to render a solid judgment. A "high confidence" judgment is not a fact or a certainty, however, and still carries a risk of being wrong.

The same day the ICA was published, Brennan, accompanied by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, met with President-elect Trump in Trump Tower, where he was briefed on the classified information behind the Russian ICA. Included in this briefing was the intelligence from "a top-secret source" close to Putin which sustained the finding of Putin's direct involvement.

Brennan had sold the Smolenkov reporting to both President Obama and President-elect Trump, along with the rest of the intelligence community, as "high-quality information." It was, at best, nothing more than uncorroborated rumor or, at worst, simple disinformation. This reporting, which was parroted by an unquestioning mainstream media that accepted it as fact, created an impression amongst the American public that Vladimir Putin had personally ordered and directed a Russian interference campaign during the 2016 election designed "to help President-elect Trump's election chances when possible," according to the ICA.

As CIA director, Brennan understood very well the role played by intelligence in shaping the decisions of key policy makers, and the absolute need for those who brief the president and his key advisers to ensure only the highest quality information and derived assessments are briefed. In this, Brennan failed.

Coming in From the Cold

Tivat, Montenegro

After being fired from his position within the Presidential Administration, Smolenkov continued to live in Moscow, very much a free man. By this time he was the father of three children, his new wife having given birth to two daughters. Following Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017, Brennan resigned as CIA director. By May, Brennan was testifying before Congress about the issue of Russian interference. Increasingly, attention was being drawn to the existence of a highly-placed source near Putin, with both The New York Times and The Washington Post publishing surprisingly detailed reports.

Concerned that Smolenkov could be arrested by the Russians and, in doing so, have control over the narrative of Russian interference transfer to Moscow, the CIA once again approached Smolenkov to defect to the United States. This time the Russian agent agreed.

In July 2017, Smolenkov, accompanied by his wife and three children, travelled to Montenegro on vacation. They arrived in the resort city of Tivat, flying on a commercial air flight from Moscow. The CIA took control of the family a few days later, spiriting them away aboard a yacht that had been moored at the Tivat marina. Upon his arrival in the U.S., Smolenkov and his family were placed under the control of the CIA's resettlement unit.

According to the Russian media, Smolenkov's disappearance was discovered in September 2017. The FSB opened an investigation into the matter, initially suspecting foul play. Soon, however, the FSB reached a different conclusion -- that Smolenkov and his family had defected to the United States.

Normally a defector would be subjected to a debriefing, inclusive of a polygraph, to confirm that he or she had not been turned into a double agent. Smolenkov had, over the course of a decade of spying, accumulated a considerable amount of money which the CIA was holding in escrow. This money would be released to Smolenkov upon the successful completion of his debriefing. In the case of Smolenkov, however, there doesn't seem to have been a detailed, lengthy debriefing. His money was turned over to him. Sometime in June 2018, Smolenkov and his wife bought a home worth nearly $1 million in northern Virginia. The couple used their real names. They were not afraid.

I can only speculate as to the circumstances that led to Smolenkov's firing by secret decree. Normally, Russians charged with transmitting classified material to the intelligence services of a foreign state are arrested, placed on trial and given lengthy prison sentences, or worse. This did not happen to Smolenkov.

But this does not mean the Russian authorities were ignorant of his activities. This raises another possibility, that Smolenkov could have been turned by the Russian security services before he had compromised any classified information, and that he operated as a double agent his entire CIA career. Since the only classified information he transferred would, in this case, be approved for release by the Russian security services, he would not have technically committed a crime. If Smolenkov was working both sides, it could have been a Russian vehicle to create distrust between the U.S. intelligence community and Trump.

Smolenkov was fired, and left to his own devices, once his utility to Russia had expired. Having escaped being arrested as a spy, Smolenkov believed he might be able to live a normal life in Moscow. But when the potential for compromise arose due to leaks to the press, I assess that it was in the CIA's interest to bring Smolenkov in, if for no other reason than to control the narrative of Russian interference.

Three Scenarios

Old CIA building in Langely, Virginia.

There are three scenarios that could be at play regarding Smolenkov's bone fides as a human intelligence source for the CIA. First, that this was a solid recruitment, that Smolenkov was the high-level asset the CIA and Brennan claim he was, and the information he provided regarding the involvement of Putin was unimpeachable. Mitigating against this is the fact that when Smolenkov was fired from his position in late 2016, he was not arrested and put on trial for spying.

Russia is fully capable of conducting secret trials, and controlling the information that is made available about such a trial. Moreover, Russia is a vindictive state–persons who commit treason are not tolerated. As Putin himself noted in comments made in March 2018, "Traitors will kick the bucket. Trust me. These people betrayed their friends, their brothers in arms. Whatever they got in exchange for it, those thirty pieces silver they were given, they will choke on them." The odds of Smolenkov being fired for committing treason, and then being allowed to voluntarily exit Russia with his family and passports, are virtually nil.

The second scenario is a variation of the first, where Smolenkov starts as a solid recruitment, with his reporting commensurate with his known level of access–peripheral contact with documents and information pertaining to the work of the aide to President Putin on international relations. Sometime in July 2016 Smolenkov produces a report that catches the attention of DCI Brennan, who flags it and pulls Smolenkov out of the normal operational channels for CIA-controlled human sources, and instead creating a new, highly-compartmentalized fusion cell to handle this report, and possibly others.

Three questions emerge from the second scenario. First, was Smolenkov responding to an urgent tasking from Brennan to find out how high up the Russian chain of command went the knowledge of the alleged DNC cyber attack, or did Smolenkov produce this report on his own volition? Was Brennan arranging evidence to show that there was indeed a Russian hack. After all, all the FBI had to go by was a draft of a report by the virulently anti-Russian private security firm CrowdStrike. The FBI never examined the DNC server itself.

In any case, the Smolenkov report in the white envelope represented a level of access that would have significantly deviated from what one could expect from a person in his position and which suggests he may have been telling the CIA what he knew Brennan wanted to hear. As such, normal counterintelligence procedures should have mandated an operational pause while the intelligence report in question was scrubbed to ensure viability. Under no circumstances would a report so flagged be allowed to be put into the Presidential Daily Brief. However, by pulling the report from the control of the Europe and Eurasian Mission Center, turning it over to a stand-alone fusion cell, and bypassing the PDB process to brief the president and a handful of advisors, there would be no counterintelligence concerns raised. This implies that Brennan had a role in the tasking of Smolenkov, and was waiting for the report to come in, which Brennan then took control of to preclude any counter-intelligence red flags being raised.

The third scenario is that Smolenkov, a low-level failure of a diplomat with drinking issues, marital problems and monetary frustrations, was recruited by the CIA, but only with the complicity of the Russian security services.

The same red flags that the CIA looks for when recruiting agents are also looked at by Russian counterintelligence. At what point in the recruitment process the Russians stepped in is unknown (if they did at all.) But it is curious that this professional failure was suddenly transferred from running a co-op to being the right hand man of one of the most influential foreign policy experts in Russia–Yuri Ushakov.

Moreover, this muddling diplomat whose questionable behavioral practices scream "recruit me" is, within three years of returning to Moscow, given a significant promotion that enables him to follow Ushakov into the Presidential Administration–a posting which would require extensive vetting by the Russian security services. Smolenkov's promotion pattern is enough, in and of itself, to raise red flags within the counterintelligence offices tasked with monitoring such things. The fact that it did not indicates that the quality and quantity of reporting being provided by Smolenkov was deemed by the Americans too important to interfere with.

In this scenario, Smolenkov would have been playing to a script written by the Russian security services. Since he, technically, had broken no laws by serving as a double agent, he would not be subjected to arrest and trial. But once his existence became the fodder of the U.S. media via inference and speculation, his services as a double agent were no longer needed. He was fired from his position, via a secret Presidential proclamation, and set free to live his life as he saw fit.

The most pressing question that emerges from this possibility is why? Why would the Russian security services want to cook the books, so to speak, in a manner which made the Russians look guilty of the very thing they were publicly denying?

In my view, if one assumes that the Smolenkov July 2016 report at the center of this drama was not a result of serendipity, but rather a product derived from a specific request from his CIA managers to find out how high up in the Russian decision-making chain the authorization went for what U.S. intelligence agencies were already publicly pushing as an alleged DNC cyber attack, then the answer I believe becomes clear–the Russians knew the U.S. had an intelligence deficit.

I am speculating here, but if the Russians provided an answer guaranteed to attract attention at a critical time in the U.S. presidential election process, it would inject the CIA and its reporting into the democratic processes of the United States, and thereby politicize the CIA and the entire intelligence community by default. This would suppose, however, that the agencies did not have their own motives for wanting to stop Trump.

Rogers, Comey, Clapper and Brennan all in a row.

In this scenario, the Russians would have been in control of when to expose the CIA's activities–all they had to do was fire Smolenkov, which in the end they did, right as Smolenkov's report was front and center in the post-election finger-pointing that was taking place regarding the allegation of Russian interference. The best acts of political sabotage are done subtlety, where the culprit remains in the shadows while the victims proceed, unaware that they have been played.

For the Russians, it didn't matter who won the election, even if they may have favored Trump; simply getting President Obama to commit to the bait by confronting Putin at the G20 meeting in September 2016 would have been a victory, because I assess that at that point the Russians knew that they were driving the American narrative. When the President of the United States acts on intelligence that later turns out to be false, it is an embarrassment that drives a wedge between the intelligence community and the Executive Branch of government. I have no solid evidence for this. But in my speculation on what may have happened, this was the Russian objective–to drive that wedge.

An Idyllic Truce

In my view, the CIA, Russia and Smolenkov were happy to maintain the status quo, with Smolenkov living in comfortable retirement with his family, the CIA continuing to accuse Russia of interfering in the 2016 presidential election, and Russia denying it. As well, Russia seems to have brushed off the sanctions that resulted from this alleged "interference." This idyllic truce started to unravel in May 2019, when Trump ordered Attorney General William Barr to "get to the bottom" of what role the CIA played in initiating the investigation into allegations of collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russians that led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller's investigation concluded earlier this year, with a 400-plus page report being published which did not find any evidence of active collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Trump's instructions to Barr are linked to a desire on the part of the president to hold to account those responsible for creating the narrative of possible collusion. Reports indicate that Barr is particularly interested in finding out how and why the CIA concluded that Putin personally ordered the Russian intelligence services to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Barr's investigation will inevitably lead him to the intelligence report that was hand couriered to the White House in early August 2016, which would in turn lead to Smolenkov, and in doing so open up the can of worms of Smolenkov's entire history of cooperation with the CIA. Not only could the entire foundation upon which the intelligence community has based its assessment of Russian interference collapse, it could also open the door for potential charges of criminal misconduct by Brennan and anyone else who helped him bypass normal vetting procedures and, in doing so, allowed a possible Russian double agent to influence the decisions of the president of the United States.

Seen in this light, the timing of the CNN and New York Times reports about the "exfiltration" of the CIA's "sensitive source" seems to be little more than a blatant effort by Brennan and his allies in the media to shape a narrative before Barr uncovers the truth.

At the end of the day, Smolenkov and his family are not at risk. If the Russian government wanted to exact revenge for his actions, it would have done so after firing him in late 2016. In any event, Smolenkov and his family would never have been allowed to leave Russia had he been suspected or accused of committing crimes against the state. A few days following Smolenkov's "outing" by the U.S. media, the Russian government filed a request with Interpol for an investigation into how someone who had gone missing in Montenegro was now living in the United States.

The only person at risk from this entire sordid affair is Brennan, whose reputation and potential livelihood is on the line. At best, Brennan is guilty of extremely poor judgement; at worst, he actively conspired to use the office of Director of the CIA to interfere in the outcome of a U.S. presidential election. Neither option speaks well of the U.S. Intelligence Community and those in Congress charged with oversight of its operations.

Watch Scott Ritter discussing this article on CN Live! Episode 9 .

Consortium News does not necessarily endorse the views of its authors.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD.

If you value this original article, please consider making a donation to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one.

Before commenting please read Robert Parry's Comment Policy . Allegations unsupported by facts, gross or misleading factual errors and ad hominem attacks, and abusive language toward other commenters or our writers will be removed. If your comment does not immediately appear, please be patient as it is manually reviewed.


Linda Wood , September 17, 2019 at 00:34

Brennan may have written the white envelope report and attributed it to Smolenkov, who may or may not have been a double agent. The Russian interference story is not just something Brennan wanted to hear, it's what the military industrial complex needs us to believe.

Dan Anderson , September 16, 2019 at 22:09

I trust Scott Ritter. Had we listened to him, the USA would not have invaded Iraq over WMDs. Reading the piece added to my distrust of our intelligence community, remembering this haunting exchange on live TV.

David G , September 16, 2019 at 18:32

I'm surprised Scott Ritter thinks it likely that Russia engineered the "Putin meddled" narrative – that just seems unbelievable to me. There are enough moving parts here that one doesn't have to commit to one of Ritter's three scenarios: numerous variations are possible. For instance, Smolenkov may have been fired for some mundane mix of reasons going to performance and reliability. He may have been considered dubious without Russian counterintelligence having fingered him as a U.S. agent.

And under the third scenario, with Smolenkov a double agent all along, Ritter writes: "But once his existence became the fodder of the U.S. media via inference and speculation, his services as a double agent were no longer needed. He was fired from his position, via a secret Presidential proclamation, and set free to live his life as he saw fit."

That doesn't make sense to me. In fact I see the opposite: if he had been a successfully run double agent all that time, then when his usefulness had ended he would have been decently pensioned off – not simply cut loose to fend for himself – but *not* allowed to travel abroad unimpeded (with his whole family, no less) where he would have the opportunity to cause mischief.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , September 16, 2019 at 15:26

Were it not so powerful militarily and financially, the United States would be the laughingstock of the world. This entire business is just another avenue travelled in America's nonstop Russophobia lunatic wanderings. The DNC material was not hacked as a number of true experts have told us, including the key one now languishing in a British prison. Putin had no plan because nothing ever happened.

Nothing. And I think we've all seen that when Putin plans something, it happens. The article is interesting for its laying out of elaborate security procedures – kind of a high-level almost academic "police procedural" – but I do feel in the end it is not that helpful, much as I respect Mr Ritter.

When nothing has happened, it does seem a bit odd to scrutinize every piece of fiber and bit of dust and to construct a massive scenario of "what ifs."

Meanwhile, the murder of Seth Rich, a genuine and meaningful event, goes virtually uninvestigated.

No wonder you are in so much trouble, America, and no wonder you make so much trouble for others.

Anonymot , September 16, 2019 at 15:16

In the extremely sophisticated world of high grade intelligence I have repeatedly said that the Brennan, Clapper, Comey trio were lead-footed imbeciles. That has been the CIA tradition since Dulles left. All of those in our intelligence racket have led us to the trough of poisoned water and all of our Presidents drank. They have all become very rich, but not from book sales nor from consulting fees.

It says a lot about the entire echelon of those who decide our fates. There is no way to know whether it stems from ignorance or incompetence, but those with the Deep State mindset like each other, hire each other, and have been in some sort of daisy chain since university. We not only need to describe How it happens as this article does very well, but even more importantly Why. Only then can we start to do something about it, although it is probably far too late – it would be like taking the shell off of an egg and leaving that delicate interior membrane just inside the shell intact.

Clods like these (add the Clintons) should have their post-employment millions confiscated and put on trial.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , September 16, 2019 at 15:39

Sorry, but "Big Intelligence" is always a failure, and on many levels. It is not a matter of any "clods." It is a matter of the very nature of the institution and the nature of the people who use its output. The CIA only has a good record at doing bad things. I refer to its operations side and the havoc and violence they have released through the decades. It is an army of richly-equipped thugs without uniforms interfering in the business of others, "lying, cheating, and stealing."

The true intelligence side of things fails and always has to a great extent. https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/05/31/why-the-cia-always-will-be-a-costly-flop/

jessika , September 16, 2019 at 15:11

I find it maddening that we "puppet proles" are treated like stupid fools, lied to constantly, and nothing happens to stop the mad lying/false flag garbage that keeps on. Now, today, after Bolton departure, out of the weirdness comes Pompous Pompeo spewing even worse madness that could tip "us" into attacking Iran! Saudis are insane, Netanyahu faces his electorate tomorrow, and we should believe MbS and cronies? Trump is nothing but a stooge!

Maricata , September 16, 2019 at 19:28

Read The CIA as Organized Crime and Strength of the Wolf and Strength of the Pack by Douglas Valentine.

Please, CN, have Mr. Valentine on your livc broadcast

Jeff Harrison , September 16, 2019 at 14:36

It occurs to me that this may have an inappropriate title. Plausibly Mr. Ritter has pegged what Smolenkov was eventually – a double agent. In which case I would probably call him pretty successful.

hetro , September 16, 2019 at 13:06

Also published yesterday, this Aaron Mate interview with John Kiriakou on Smolenkov:

"Kiriakou also notes that the way Smolenkov's intelligence was handled raises echoes of the CIA's manipulation of intelligence to help justify the Iraq war. The information from Smolenkov was handled personally by then-CIA Director John Brennan. Brennan reportedly sidelined other CIA analysts and kept the Smolenkov information out of the Presidential Daily Briefing – instead delivering it personally to President Obama and a small group of officials."

"That is a highly highly unusual thing to do, but I think [Brennan] did it because he knew that the source wasn't well placed, he knew that the source was lying about his access to Putin -- or information coming from Putin -- and I think that for whatever reason John Brennan really wanted the president to run with this narrative that the Russians were trying to somehow impact the 2016 election, when the intelligence just simply wasn't there," Kiriakou says.

https://thegrayzone.com/2019/09/15/outing-of-cias-kremlin-mole-echoes-iraq-wmd-hoax/

dean 1000 , September 16, 2019 at 11:53

When Trump campaigned against the bloody foreign policies of the duopoly he was also campaigning against an out of control, coup making, drug running, blackmailing, imperial CIA. my comment to The Brennan wanted to 'get' Trump to save his own hide, the CIA, and the duopoly from further embarrassment.

If Smolenkov is missing from his Virginia home (Chancellor below at 9.15.19 at 23:40) hopefully he is in hiding to assure he can tell a Grand Jury about any instructions or suggestions he may have received from Brennan, or others regarding the election of Donald Trump.

Zhu , September 16, 2019 at 05:25

Re John 8:32, people forget Pilate's remark, "what is truth"?

Igor Bundy , September 16, 2019 at 04:29

The next report from the CIA will be from hogwarts and how the measter is concatenating a secret potion on how to turn dykes into donkeys.. This is especially impotent to the CIA and such.. to hide in plain sight..

Imagine them trying to make a bond movie from this. Or more of Bourne.. But now it makes sense of all the shows that show the CIA as protector of humanity and the good guys.. There are no righteous intelligence agencies anywhere, only how evil and their limits.. Why their powers should be limited and their actions also limited to a small sphere. Because where does it stop? Once given the power to shape reality, then the entire world is shaped according to a few with psychopathic tendencies. Which normal person would want to control everyone according to their own reality? When you cant control your very own family, you have to be one heck of a control freak to do it globally and to force everyone to do as told. But these are the dreams and aspirations of an ape.. To remake the world in his own image.. and the prize is the banana..

John Wright , September 16, 2019 at 15:11

More like a Le Carre' film. The CIA was originally sold as an intelligence gathering and analysis organization, and was not supposed to be involved in operations. Thus, it was founded on lies and the lies have only grown since.

Neither the CIA nor the FBI are salvageable at this point. They need to be abolished, their functions reconsidered and new institutions which adhere to the Constitution created. Of course, the entire military intelligence complex needs to be dismantled, starting with the DHS, but that will require a revolution in this country.

Perhaps after the crash

junaid , September 16, 2019 at 03:12

US President Donald Trump dismissed another official – National Security Advisor John Bolton. what threatens relations between the US and Russia What threatens relations between the US and Russia

Fran Macadam , September 16, 2019 at 01:49

Even the former communist state governments in Europe and the Soviet Union rued the day that they unleashed their secret police from accountability, and thereby became subservient to their power.

Chancellor , September 15, 2019 at 23:40

"But his job as foreman of the Rossotrudnichestvo coop was not the kind of job a Maurive (sic) Thorez graduate gets;"

Of course it isn't, because that was never really his job. My guess is that his real job all along was to be recruited by the CIA, when, in fact, he was always a double agent. The rumors that he drank too much, was dissatisfied with his pay, and so on, strike me as too obvious a come-on to an over-confident CIA. If Mr. Ritter knows that this is the type of individual the CIA looks for, then the Russian security services know this as well. After all, they tagged every American on the Moscow Station. Clearly, they have excellent tradecraft.

The final coup by the Russian security services was to create a situation where Smolenkov would have to be extracted by the CIA, although the Russians probably didn't think it would take so long. Now it appears that Smolenkov is missing from the Virginia home that he purchased openly under his own name. I wouldn't be surprised if he is living comfortably somewhere back in Russia–this time having been "extracted" by the Russians, since his cover as a CIA asset was finally blown.

Clearly this is speculation, but no more so than the scenarios Mr. Ritter posits.

Fabrizio Zambuto , September 16, 2019 at 14:11

Third scenario seems possible. He starts to drink, he shows how unsatisfied he is, knows Americans will target him.
Meanwhile he gets spoonfed the intel he will have to share with the CIA.

According to Lavrov, he was a employee with little access to the echelons.

Last but not least: Putin said traitors will be punished but they don't get killed, they're sent to Prison and handed years like Skripal which managed to go to UK thanks to a swap.

Overall I like the article but too much Hollywood in the story. Why was he fired?

John Wright , September 15, 2019 at 23:38

[The Chinese play Go, the Russians Chess and the Americans Poker (badly)]

I think it's pretty clear that Mr. Ritter's third scenario is the correct interpretation of the facts. I wouldn't even be surprised if the Russians surreptitiously got the U.S. media to out their double agent. Timing is everything, after all, and now he's Langley's problem to deal with.

The Russians know that the corrupt Anglo-American Deep State will work against any relationship which is beneficial to Russia, so they have absolutely nothing to lose by feeding the Deep State a narrative that can potentially wreak havoc within it.

Having Smolenkov feed this narrative into the bowels of the CIA clearly helped advance the Deep State's rather obvious operation to create the appearance of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, all the more reason for Brennan and company to swallow it hook, line and sinker.

So Deep State tool Obama bites on the interference narrative, confronts Putin and takes illegal actions that, if exposed, have the potential to seriously damage his legacy and the presidency. This plausible result would cause Americans to lose even more faith in their increasingly corrupt and dysfunctional government and affect world opinion.

We now see that if Barr actually does his job as mandated by the Constitution, then this becomes a very distinct possibility.

Had the rabid neocon Clinton won, her administration would've undoubtedly buried Obama's unconstitutional indiscretion, but fingerprints would've lingered for a future Republican to possibly uncover and cause chaos with. It's even possible that Smolenkov would've remained in place and continued to feed even more poisonous disinformation to the U.S. intelligence morass, setting Clinton up for who knows what.

However, the unstable, narcissistic and easily played Trump miraculously wins. He's immediately and continuously hit with RussiaGate. Trump reacts predictably by fanning the flames of distraction when he calls out the Deep State and keeps punching back. The Executive Branch is divided against itself, Congress and the electorate are further polarized and a significant amount of energy is tied up with unproductive domestic political machinations.

Almost three years of noise and crisis worked to increase Trump's natural dysfunction while the Russians and Chinese quietly manage their coordinated effort to transform the global power structure in their favor.

Will this Russian gift keep on giving?

Will Barr, or someone else if Trump fires him, dig into the entire RussiaGate mess and expose all the lies and blatant illegality potentially causing a serious national crisis, further damaging the reputation and credit worthiness of the U.S. ?

Or will Barr remain a faithful Deep State fixer, convince Trump that taking down Obama would not be good for the economic health of the country (and his re-election), and carefully steer everything he can down the memory hole?

Are those vodka glasses I hear clinking in Beijing?

[I'm just left wondering who will produce the deliciously embarrassing (to the U.S.) film that this would make.]

Taras77 , September 15, 2019 at 19:42

Remarkable detail on the recruitment and control of agents by the CIA. In this case, it would appear that Brennan has been played big time. IMO, to see Smolenkov walk away with his loot in the bank, there can not be any other conclusion.

Hence, the obvious panic by brennan to use the likely suspects, NYT and wapo, to cast more haze on the story. If there were treason, I doubt Smolenkov would be walking because the Russians do not take that lightly. Actually, they have acted and are acting with competence and confidence in the face of the bumbling, fumbling bombast and threats of the group around trump which passes themselves off as diplomats and security advisors.

Brennan in his obsession to interfere with the political process prob contributed to his malfeasance and a possible crime-I am no legal expert but it certainly seems that he committed crimes.

Of course, this raises the question as to whether barr et al will act accordingly and bring him to justice-I have strong doubts about barr taking on the cia as they will certainly close ranks to protect him. My doubts about barr, however, go well beyond this particular issue vis-a-vis the cia.

SilentPartner , September 15, 2019 at 18:58

I suspect Scott was provided a great deal of the reporting in this fascinating article from a disgruntled insider, or former insider. Knowledge of Brennan's break with protocol to form a select 'stand alone fusion cell' that reported only to him is something that I haven't seen reported before. In any case this story adds another red flag to the entire Russiagate hoax.

Just as Mueller failed to interview Julian Assange or Christopher Steele for his report -- obvious red flags -- we should now watch the conduct of Barr's investigation. Will Barr's investigators interview Smolenkov? This should be an important metric to determine how serious his investigation is. Another metric for Barr will be whether Ghislaine Maxwell is indicted and arrested in the Jefferey Epstein affair. If not, we will soon know just how deep goes the corruption of the ruling class.

Sam F , September 15, 2019 at 18:28

Many thanks to Scott Ritter for this information and cogent argument.

However it is not clear how Russia would expect to benefit by allowing Smolenkov to deceive the CIA that Putin directly ordered interference in the US election. While later discrediting of the US "Russia-gate" nonsense would make the US IC look bad, it is unclear that this could be done, and it would have been done by now to reduce political tensions, but still has not been done. Putin himself denied the accusations as nonsense.

So something is missing: if that was not the plan, Smolenkov was not asked to do that, and he would not have been viewed as harmless when fired for that. If he had other incriminating info on decision makers there, he would not have been allowed to leave, and having escaped, he would have concealed his new location. Perhaps his superiors ill-advisedly asked him to make false statements, for which he was not blamed.

Anon , September 16, 2019 at 07:09

I agree. The logic of "embarrassing" the CIA and dividing them from the president by passing inflammatory information seems a stretch. On the other hand, I agree there do appear a number of "red flags."

I'm wondering about the merit of the idea that this guy cooked up the story himself, though I'm not sure that works either. It just seems to me something is missing.

Ojkelly , September 16, 2019 at 12:00

I thought the idea was that a Brennan minion planted or asked for the "Putin is interfering " report, or even made it up and attributed it to a minor asset.

Brendan , September 15, 2019 at 15:00

( ) the timing of the CNN and New York Times reports about the "exfiltration" of the CIA's "sensitive source" seems to be little more than a blatant effort by Brennan and his allies in the media to shape a narrative before Barr uncovers the truth.

That's very likely to be true, but I think there's more to it than just getting Brennan's version of events published before anyone elses. If you want to implant your narrative in the public's mind it certainly does help to get your story out first, but in this case there's an additional motive for leaking the spy story.

One effect of the leak was that Smolenko suddenly disappeared. His family apparently fled their house in a hurry, leaving belongings lying around according to media reports.

Normally the CIA would never 'out' a valued asset, even a used one, because that would discourage potential informers. And CNN and the NYT would not reveal details that would identify a Russian defector – as happened in this case when Russian Kommersant identified Smolenkov. American mainstream media would first check that it was OK to publish those details.

This looks far too unusual to be simply a result of incompetence by Americans. A much better explanation is that some powerful people were really desperate to make Smolenko disappear. And the reason is that he knew too much. And now he has gone into hiding, supposedly to escape vengeance from Putin. What is most significant is that he does not face as many questions about his role in Russiagate.

Abe , September 15, 2019 at 14:31

As far as spying is concerned, "a different set of calculations" prevails under Trump
https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/12/israel-white-house-spying-devices-1491351

The Blue Fairy , September 16, 2019 at 00:57

A general search for Intel on google doesn't yield an abundance of articles that mention its move to Israel in 1974, but I discovered it when the Spectre/Meltdown (intentional Israeli processor security flaws, I mean "features") became known in 2018. "Nothing is ever impossible, in this life" except for a computer that's not infested with the US-Israeli partnership. We are also not surprised that Intel was not on Donald Trump's list of American companies to bring back to the US.

Mike from Jersey , September 15, 2019 at 14:23

Good article. This is the kind of analysis you will not find in the New York Times or the Washington Post. This is why I come to the Consortium News.

hetro , September 15, 2019 at 13:46

If I'm following properly, the white paper from Smolenkov is at the heart of the January 6, 2017, "assessments" that the case would be made–Trump as dupe of Putin.

Recall, too, that these "assessments" differed. Brennan's and Comey's were "high"; Clapper's was "moderate."

And, as Scott Ritter points out, they were "estimates" not based on hard proof; they were essentially "guesses."

Why the discrepancy? (Related: William Binney says this "moderate" from Clapper means the NSA knows Russia did not hack the DNC.)

I think this discrepancy question is important. How could a (supposedly) verifiable report via white paper from a verifiable double agent Smolenkov be anything but a slam dunk (unanimous) "high" for the major intelligence agencies?

The other question is Scott's WHY the Russian intelligence apparatus, with Putin complicit, would set out to embarrass the US intelligence agencies with a cooked up story–that made Putin look bad?

Of course, they could not know back at that time how the story would cook and proliferate across US mainstream media with all the glee of Russia-bashing run amok and its TDS.

This view would also suggest a belief that somewhere in the US justice system was the integrity to dig everything out and expose the fraud.

nwwoods , September 15, 2019 at 17:56

I believe that it was NSA which declared "moderate confidence", so no, not Clapper. Clapper, in my opinion, was in on the gambit, a witting confederate of ringleader Brennan.

hetro , September 16, 2019 at 11:30

Yes. Technically Clapper resigned as head of the NSA in 2016, and it was Mike Rogers, the new head in 2017 who declared the assessment "moderate." Clapper had been involved with Brennan and Comey in forming the January 6, 2017 assessment.

https://www.conservativereview.com/news/trump-is-right-to-doubt-the-obama-intelligence-communitys-claims/

The question still remains: why the discrepancy in this "assessment" at the very beginning of Trump's presidency, with its powerful impact.

JP McEvoy , September 15, 2019 at 12:33

One thing is for sure, if anything bad happens to the mole, it's won't be the Russians who did it. Watch your back Mr. Skrip – er – I mean Smolenkov.

Robert Emmett , September 15, 2019 at 11:25

Damn! Please allow me to toss the "curveball" too. What's that? The real one or the fake, you say? Ha ha. Yes, exactly! O, Vaunted sacred screed of PDB where the truth shall set you free to prime the pump with lies. (hint: to spare your soul don't look into their eyes)

I haven't exactly been able to figure out what's wrong with Brennan's face, 'til I just got it. He's been double-yoked! His own plus Barrack's (truer sp.). Egg that just won't wash off! So you have to wear it everywhere, every day. Talk about serviceable villains hiding in plain sight. Hey, Clapper! Don't get any on ya! Haha. Too late!

Carroll Price , September 15, 2019 at 10:43

Another example of checker champions competing with chess masters.

CortesKid , September 15, 2019 at 10:33

Brilliant and thorough. As I was reading Mr. Ritter's analysis, an overwhelming impression was building, analogous to the third scenario, that Smolenkov , indeed, was a lure perfectly placed to catch an intelligence agency or three. As I've watched and read many Russian official's communications, especially their diplomatic efforts, it has become obvious to me that, on average, they are some of the few "adults in the room." In broadstrokes, they are playing chess, while the whole of the West, with its increasingly senile elites, is at the Checkers table.

And in even broader strokes, I believe that at the heart of all of these shenanigans, is a foundational turning away from a matured-and-deflating West, to an energized and expanding Eurasia (Brezhinki's nightmare). As you know, changes on the scale of hegemon are never easy. "Dying empires don't lay down, they double-down."

And I don't necessarily think Smolenkov and family are safe–from, for instance, "Novichok" delivered via some American ally's secret service–as a pretense for further demonization of Russia.

Brendan , September 15, 2019 at 07:51

Sorry but the theory that's proposed above is a bit too convoluted to be believable – that Russia manipulated the CIA with the fake hacking story from Smolenkov and then the CIA chief Brennan used it to manipulate Obama who then unwittingly revealed to Putin that the USA was fooled by the story.

I'd rather follow Occam's razor and go for a simpler scenario. Brennan and the CIA persuaded Smolenkov to invent the story (that he had inside knowledge that Putin ordered the hacking of the DNC).

Not only that, but Obama suspected that the story was fake, since it was passed on to him outside the normal channels and was investigated in a similar unconventional way. It's hard to believe that Obama was easily hoodwinked and simply accepted the story as fact without any convincing evidence.

The Democratic Party's fingerprints are all over the Russiagate story. The DNC commissioned the Steele dossier and Steele met officials in the Obama administration's State Department before the 2016 election. We're expected to believe that this all went on behind President Obama's back.

We're also expected to believe that Obama innocently believed Smolenkov's report, as if the CIA and FBI would never tell a lie. He's not completely stupid – at the very least he must have had serious doubts about the allegations, or he could even have been in on the Russiagate fabrication himself.

Maricata , September 16, 2019 at 19:34

It is more and more difficult to ascertain reality from fantasy, certainty from assumptions. And this all plays into the hands of the ruling elites and their international and national pratorean guards.

Americans do not ask questions. They prefer to believe than to know and thus the {swirl} will yield nothing.

F. G. Sanford , September 15, 2019 at 07:05

Putin must surely have smirked. The little white envelope worked.
The debate made it plain he had pulled Brennan's chain,
And behind the scene subterfuge lurked!

Only four people went to the meeting. Connections might prove rather fleeting.
The "puppet" rebuke at the time seemed a fluke,
No one dared claim that Clinton was cheating!

Brennan's confidence level was high. He had sources and methods to spy.
He had top secret stuff that he claimed was enough,
But no evidence he'd specify!

Then Clinton claimed Russian subversion. In retrospect, not a diversion.
She must have been tipped by somebody loose lipped,
And she ran with the Putin incursion!

Strzok and Page were kept out of the loop. They didn't get insider poop.
They found no 'there' there, Comey's cupboard looked bare,
Brennan's spy had not yet flown the coop.

The durable lie picked up traction. Their spook would require extraction.
How could Clinton be sure that the blame would endure,
And the Steele Dossier would get action?

The 'Agent in Place' was a double. He didn't get in any trouble.
Hillary's pride had some hubris to hide,
In the end it would burst Brennan's bubble!

The big secret meeting was leaked. On the stage, "He's a puppet!" she shrieked.
Perhaps Susan Rice was inclined to be nice,
And her duty to Hillary peaked!

So now, they blame Trump for the outing. But it's over except for the shouting.
The 'insurance' is void, the illusion destroyed,
And poor Hillary just keeps on pouting!

David Otness , September 14, 2019 at 23:41

Scott -- so glad I got the head's-up on this via the CN Live show. I just now finished it and am putting it into perspective. Well-researched, and well-written -- it's truly a web so very reminiscent of what should have remained Cold War 1.0 finis.

And Episode Nine of CN Live is showing us where this internet platform can go with the assembled experience and talent exhibited. The tech glitches were too bad, but the audio was quite good enough.

Thanks for this travel guide to the heart of the labyrinth. Hopefully good things come of it. I do worry about Barr's too many allegiances to his CIA incubator though, especially with all of the ongoing coverups of the Epstein fiasco (engineered or not,) that complicate and obfuscate the twin scandals that both end up under Barr's purview.

Ya done good, nonetheless. Thank you.

Abe , September 14, 2019 at 22:07

"After the U.S. reports came out, an anonymous, well-informed Russian Telegram channel, The Ruthless PR Guy, reported that the asset was Kremlin official Oleg Smolenkov. On Tuesday (10 September 2019] morning, the Moscow daily Kommersant published a story confirming that it was him based on anonymous sources and some pretty convincing circumstantial evidence. [ ]

"If Smolenkov was a spy, he could have delivered important insights about Russia's foreign policy thinking and planning to U.S. intelligence. But if he was the source for the U.S. intelligence community's certainty that Putin personally orchestrated a covert interference campaign, that certainty rests on a weak foundation. Smolenkov served the wrong boss in the Kremlin to get reliable information about such ventures."

Was this man the prized US asset in the Kremlin? By Leonid Bershidsky http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0919/bershidsky091119.php3#Asy3R8hJ2mAQPm1y.99

Ojkelly , September 14, 2019 at 22:01

Mr Ritter, Very lightly done. " Curveball made me do it" is the defense.
Brennan, well,I am not knowledgeable , but tight with Barry, unprofessional to my view, has an issue. He made the most outrageous statements, Commander believing his own BS, NYT magazine. Imagine going around saying that Trump was a Russian agent . Did incomparable harm.And Morrell endorsing Hillary Clinton :beyond the pale , Professional members of the agency must've been? Shocked appalled, whatever.

Jeff Harrison , September 14, 2019 at 21:52

Whooof! Obviously the MSM won't touch any of this stuff. I also don't have a lot of confidence in the US government's ability to clean up the mess it has made. Amusingly, I've watched the US's ham handed operations around the world and wondered when somebody would return the complement. If Mr. Ritter is to be believed, it seems the Russians have started. As Mr. Lawrence pointed out on CN live, Americans need to dispense with the notion that we are exceptional. That's a weakness as it leads to complacency. How many more bricks of trust in our government will we have to see broken before the entire edifice collapses? I would also like to point out that we wouldn't be having these kind of problems if we weren't hell bent on being the global hegemon.

Clark M Shanahan , September 14, 2019 at 22:54

"If Mr. Ritter is to be believed"
Jeffrey, I've followed Mr Ritter.
You can believe what he is stating, he's a good man.

he follows soon, here w/G. Galloway:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NutNHIj2nU8

Clark M Shanahan , September 15, 2019 at 08:46

my bad: Ritter starts at 48 minutes, before Nixon & Maupin

Jeff Harrison , September 15, 2019 at 17:43

I'm hip, Clark. I said that simply because I have no other collaborating commentary. Ritter had my vote when he stood up to Shrub over Iraq's WMDs. But you do have to keep the realization that you could be wrong so if Mr. Ritter is to be believed. I think that the odds that Ritter is wrong are in the general vicinity of the odds that the US will start acting like a normal nation.

[Sep 15, 2019] Donald Trump as the DNC s nominee by Michael Hudson

Highly recommended!
DNC is a criminal organization and the fact that Debbie Wasserman Schultz escaped justice is deeply regreatable.
Notable quotes:
"... The problem facing the Democratic National Committee today remains the same as in 2016: How to block even a moderately left-wing social democrat by picking a candidate guaranteed to lose to Trump, so as to continue the policies that serve banks, the financial markets and military spending for Cold War 2.0. ..."
"... Trump meanwhile has done most everything the Democratic Donor Class wants: He has cut taxes on the wealthy, cut social spending for the population at large, backed Quantitative Easing to inflate the stock and bond markets, and pursued Cold War 2.0. Best of all, his abrasive style has enabled Democrats to blame the Republicans for the giveaway to the rich, as if they would have followed a different policy. ..."
"... The effect has been to make America into a one-party state. Republicans act as the most blatant lobbyists for the Donor Class. But people can vote for a representative of the One Percent and the military-industrial complex in either the Republican or Democratic column. That is why most Americans owe allegiance to no party. ..."
"... I'm just curious about how much longer this log-jam situation can persist before real political realignment takes place. Bernie Sander is ultimately a relic not a representative of new political vigor running through the party, like Trump he would be largely be on his own without much congressional support from his own party. ..."
"... As the 2016 election and Brexit have illuminated, globalisation is a religion for the upper middle classes. ..."
"... They just refuse to understand that political solidarity, key to any such policies is permanently damaged by immigration. ..."
"... If you make people chose between their ethnicity being displaced and class conflict, they'll pick the preservation of their ethnicity and it's territory every time. I ..."
"... My prediction: The elites in the US won't give way, people will simply become demoralised and the Trump/Sanders moment will pass with significant damage done to the legitimacy of American democracy and media but with progressives unable to deal with immigration (Much like the right can't deal with global warming) they will fail to get much done. The general population has become too atomised and detached, beaten-down bystanders to their own politics and society to mount a popular political movement. Immigrants, recent descendants of immigrants and the upper middle classes will continue to instinctually understand globalisation is how they loot America and will not vote for 'extreme' candidates that threaten this. The upper middle class will continue to dominate the overton window and use it to inject utter economic lies to the public. ..."
Sep 15, 2019 | www.unz.com

Originally from: Breaking Up the Democratic Party, by Michael Hudson - The Unz Review

I hope that the candidate who is clearly the voters' choice, Bernie Sanders, may end up as the party's nominee. If he is, I'm sure he'll beat Donald Trump handily, as he would have done four years ago. But I fear that the DNC's Donor Class will push Joe Biden, Kamala Harris or even Pete Buttigieg down the throats of voters. Just as when they backed Hillary the last time around, they hope that their anointed neoliberal will be viewed as the lesser evil for a program little different from that of the Republicans.

So Thursday's reality TV run-off is about "who's the least evil?" An honest reality show's questions would focus on "What are you against ?" That would attract a real audience, because people are much clearer about what they're against: the vested interests, Wall Street, the drug companies and other monopolies, the banks, landlords, corporate raiders and private-equity asset strippers. But none of this is to be permitted on the magic island of authorized candidates (not including Tulsi Gabbard, who was purged from further debates for having dared to mention the unmentionable).

Donald Trump as the DNC's nominee

The problem facing the Democratic National Committee today remains the same as in 2016: How to block even a moderately left-wing social democrat by picking a candidate guaranteed to lose to Trump, so as to continue the policies that serve banks, the financial markets and military spending for Cold War 2.0.

DNC donors favor Joe Biden, long-time senator from the credit-card and corporate-shell state of Delaware, and opportunistic California prosecutor Kamala Harris, with a hopey-changey grab bag alternative in smooth-talking small-town Rorschach blot candidate Pete Buttigieg. These easy victims are presented as "electable" in full knowledge that they will fail against Trump.

Trump meanwhile has done most everything the Democratic Donor Class wants: He has cut taxes on the wealthy, cut social spending for the population at large, backed Quantitative Easing to inflate the stock and bond markets, and pursued Cold War 2.0. Best of all, his abrasive style has enabled Democrats to blame the Republicans for the giveaway to the rich, as if they would have followed a different policy.

The Democratic Party's role is to protect Republicans from attack from the left, steadily following the Republican march rightward. Claiming that this is at least in the direction of being "centrist," the Democrats present themselves as the lesser evil (which is still evil, of course), simply as pragmatic in not letting hopes for "the perfect" (meaning moderate social democracy) block the spirit of compromise with what is attainable, "getting things done" by cooperating across the aisle and winning Republican support. That is what Joe Biden promises.

The effect has been to make America into a one-party state. Republicans act as the most blatant lobbyists for the Donor Class. But people can vote for a representative of the One Percent and the military-industrial complex in either the Republican or Democratic column. That is why most Americans owe allegiance to no party.

The Democratic National Committee worries that voters may disturb this alliance by nominating a left-wing reform candidate. The DNC easily solved this problem in 2016: When Bernie Sanders intruded into its space, it the threw the election. It scheduled the party's early defining primaries in Republican states whose voters leaned right, and packed the nominating convention with Donor Class super-delegates.

After the dust settled, having given many party members political asthma, the DNC pretended that it was all an unfortunate political error. But of course it was not a mistake at all. The DNC preferred to lose with Hillary than win with Bernie, whom springtime polls showed would be the easy winner over Trump. Potential voters who didn't buy into the program either stayed home or voted green.


follyofwar , says: September 12, 2019 at 2:20 pm GMT

No votes will be cast for months, so I don't know how Mr. Hudson can say that Sanders is "clearly the voters choice." He would be 79 on election day, well above the age when most men die, which is something that voters should seriously consider. Whoever his VP is will probably be president before the end of Old Bernie's first term, so I hope he chooses his VP wisely.

In any case I laugh at how the media always reports that Biden, who has obviously lost more than a few brain cells, has such a commanding lead over this field of second-raters. The voters, having much better things to do, haven't even started to pay attention yet.

And, how could anyone seriously believe in these polls anyway? Only older people have land lines today. If calling people is the methodology pollsters are using, then the results would be heavily skewed towards former VP Biden, whose name everyone knows. I lost all faith in polls when the media was saying, with certainty, that Hillary was a lock to win against the insurgent Trump.

Tulsi Gabbard is the only candidate beside Trump with charisma today. With her cool demeanor, she is certainly the least unlikeable. She would be Trump's most formidable opponent. But the democrats, like their counterparts, are owned by Wall Street and the Military Industrial Complex. Sadly, most democrats still believe that the party is working in their best interests, while the republicans are the party of the rich.

If you watch the debates tonight, which I will not be, you will notice that Tulsi Gabbard won't be on stage. That is by design. She is a leper. At least the republicans allowed Trump to be onstage in 2016, which makes them more democratic than the democrats. Plus they didn't have Super Delegates to prevent Trump from achieving the nomination he had rightfully won. Something to think about since the DNC, not the voters, annointed Hillary last time.

If the YouTube Oligarchs still allow it, I plan on watching the post-debate analysis with characters like Richard Spencer and Eric Striker. Those guys are most entertaining, and have insights that are not permitted to be uttered in the controlled, mind-numbing farce of the mainstream media.

anon [110] Disclaimer , says: September 12, 2019 at 3:29 pm GMT
> When neoliberals shout, "But that's socialism," Americans finally are beginning to say, "Then give us socialism."

True, true! Also, when the neoliberals shout, "But that's nationalism," Americans finally are beginning to say, "Then give us nationalism."

One plus one is

Dutch Boy , says: September 12, 2019 at 3:42 pm GMT
Elizabeth Warren seems a more likely nominee than Sanders.
Biff , says: September 12, 2019 at 4:37 pm GMT
@Dutch Boy

Elizabeth Warren seems a more likely nominee than Sanders.

Elizabeth Warren is phony as phuck(PAP). Just like forked tongued Obama she's really just a tool for the neo-liberal establishment, which does make her more likely.

Svevlad , says: September 12, 2019 at 5:06 pm GMT
@anon Hehe. I propose that the anti-neoliberals join forces to beat this terrible beast...
Altai , says: September 12, 2019 at 6:19 pm GMT
Here is another question. Can the DNC or RNC really change institutionally fast enough?

I'm just curious about how much longer this log-jam situation can persist before real political realignment takes place. Bernie Sander is ultimately a relic not a representative of new political vigor running through the party, like Trump he would be largely be on his own without much congressional support from his own party.

As the 2016 election and Brexit have illuminated, globalisation is a religion for the upper middle classes. Many of them may be progressives but they refuse to understand the very non-progressive consequences of mass immigration (Or, one should say over-immigration) or globalisation more generally. The increasing defection of such individuals to the Liberal Democrats in Britain is a fascinating example. They just refuse to understand that political solidarity, key to any such policies is permanently damaged by immigration.

It is interesting to see the see-saw effect of UKip and now the Brexit party in the UK (Well, in England). With them first drawing working class voters from Labour without increasing Conservative performance, bringing about a massive conservative majority and now threatening to siphon voters from the Tories with the opposite effect.

But UKip and later the Brexit party almost exist through the indispensable leadership of Nigel Farage and a very specific motivating goal of leaving the EU. I can't see a third party rising to put pressure on the mainstream parties.

If you make people chose between their ethnicity being displaced and class conflict, they'll pick the preservation of their ethnicity and it's territory every time. I f the centre left refuses to understand this (Something that wouldn't have been hard for them to understand when they still drew candidates from the working classes) they will continue their slide into oblivion as they have done across the Western world. (Excluding 2 party systems and Denmark where they do understand this)

My prediction: The elites in the US won't give way, people will simply become demoralised and the Trump/Sanders moment will pass with significant damage done to the legitimacy of American democracy and media but with progressives unable to deal with immigration (Much like the right can't deal with global warming) they will fail to get much done. The general population has become too atomised and detached, beaten-down bystanders to their own politics and society to mount a popular political movement. Immigrants, recent descendants of immigrants and the upper middle classes will continue to instinctually understand globalisation is how they loot America and will not vote for 'extreme' candidates that threaten this. The upper middle class will continue to dominate the overton window and use it to inject utter economic lies to the public.

The novel internet mass media outlets that allowed such unpoliced political discussion to reach mass audiences will be pacified by whatever means and America will slide into an Italian style trans-generational malaise at a national level for some time.

A123 , says: September 12, 2019 at 6:48 pm GMT
@Altai

Here is another question. Can the DNC or RNC really change institutionally fast enough?

Trump is trying to change the RNC away from Globalist elites and towards Christian Populist beliefs and Main Street America. I am some what hopeful, as the U.S. is not alone in this trajectory. There is a global tail wind that should help the GOP change quickly enough.

The true test will be the 2024 GOP nomination. A bold choice will have to break through to keep the RNC from backsliding into the clutches of Globalist failure.

PEACE

davidgmillsatty , says: September 12, 2019 at 7:43 pm GMT
I think Sanders could have beat Trump in 2016. This time around it is not that clear because so many of his supporters in 2016 feel burnt.

Badly burnt. Or Bernt. He threw his support for Hillary, even if it was tepid, and then got a bad case of Russiagateitis which his base on the left really hated. His left base never bought Russiagate for a minute. We knew it was an internal leak, probably by Seth Rich, who provided all the information to Assange. He still seems to be a strong Israel supporter even if has stood up to Netanyahu.

And while it may seem odd, many of his base on the left have grown weary of the global climate change agenda.

He has not advocated nuclear power and there is a growing movement for that on the left, especially by those who think renewables will not generate the power we need.

But since Sanders does seem to attract the rural and suburban vote more than any other Democrat, Sanders has a chance to chip away at Trumps' base and win the Electoral College. Another horrible loss to rural and suburban America by the Democrats will cost them the EC again by a substantial margin, even if they manage to pull off another popular vote win.

A123 , says: September 13, 2019 at 12:20 am GMT
@bluedog

the republican party is as globalist as you can find,and I'm sure you will be the first one to inform us when the global elite including those in America throw in the towel,

Some elite Globalist NeverTrumpers, such as George Will and Bill Kristol, have thrown in the towel on the GOP. This allows their "neocon" followers to return to their roots in the war mongering Democrat Party. So it *IS* happening.

The real questions are:
-- Can it happen fast enough?
-- Can it be sustained after Donald Trump term limits out?

I'm not bold enough to say it is inevitable. All I will say is, "There are reasons to be at least mildly hopeful."

PEACE

RadicalCenter , says: September 13, 2019 at 3:45 am GMT
@follyofwar Based on gabbard's immigration statements, voting for her is also voting for our continuing displacement.
Carlton Meyer , says: Website September 13, 2019 at 4:22 am GMT
Has everyone forgot the last time the DNC openly cheated Sanders he said nothing publicly, but then endorsed Clinton? Sanders knows he is not allowed to become president, his role to prevent the formation of a third party, and to keep the Green Party small. Otherwise he would jump to the Green Party right now and may beat the DNC and Trump.

Sanders treats progressives like Charlie Brown. Once again, inviting them to run a kick the football, only to pull it away and watch them fall. He recently backed off his opposition to the open borders crazies, rarely mentions cuts to military spending to fund things, and has even joined the stupid fake russiagate bandwagon.

Note that he dismisses the third party idea as unworkable, when he already knows the DNC is unworkable. Why not give the Green party a chance? Cause he don't want to win knowing he'd be killed or impeached for some reason.

follyofwar , says: September 13, 2019 at 2:06 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer The Stalinist DNC openly cheated Tulsi Gabbard when they left her off the debate stage last night. When asked about it on 'The View' recently, Sanders said nothing in her defense, or that she deserved to be on the stage. Nice way to stab her in the back for leaving her DNC position to support you last time, Bernie. Socialist Sanders wants to be president, yet is afraid of the DNC. Nice!

Those polls were rigged against Tulsi, and everyone who is paying attention knows it. But, far from hurting her candidacy by not making the DNC's arbitrary cut, her exclusion may wind up helping her. Kim Iverson, Michael Tracey, and comedian Jimmy Dore, anti-war progressive YouTubers with large, loyal followings, have lambasted the out-of touch DNC for its actions. Tucker Carlson on the anti-war right has also done so.

One hopes that the DNC's stupidity in censoring her message may wind up being the best thing ever for Tulsi's insurgent candidacy. We shall see. OTOH, who can trust the polls to tell us the truth of where her popularity stands.

follyofwar , says: September 13, 2019 at 2:29 pm GMT
@RadicalCenter Do you forget about Trump's declaration that he wants the largest amount of immigration ever, as long as they come in legally? There are no good guys in our two sclerotic monopoly parties when it comes to immigration. Since both are terrible on that topic, at least Tulsi seems to have the anti-war principles that Trump does not.
Justvisiting , says: September 13, 2019 at 7:37 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer Great comment.

Bernie has had many opportunities in the past few years to show real courage and stand for something, anything. He has failed every time.

I am actually beginning to feel sorry for him–he knows he has a mission, but he just can't seem to figure out what it is anymore

Getting old is not fun.

[Sep 10, 2019] Being called a narcissist by Jim Comey is akin to being accused of having sex with underage girls by the late Jeffrey Epstein by Larry C Johnsons

Highly recommended!
Sep 04, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Diana C ,

"Being called a narcissist by Jim Comey is akin to being accused of having sex with underage girls by the late Jeffrey Epstein."

As usual, your analogy here is spot on. I'm still giggling.

[Sep 09, 2019] Robert Mueller was "special counsel" in name only. The real boss was Andrew Weissman

Notable quotes:
"... The "report" was his work. Mueller never looked for anything, never found anything and never wrote anything. ..."
"... The entire charade was part of the "resistance" to straight jacket Trump until the mid term elections, a strategy put in motion by Comey and Brennan, which achieved the desired result: Republicans lost the House. ..."
"... Of course there was "little Russia in Russiagate." The narrative was all disinformation set loose by Crowdstrike and Fusion GPS, paid for by Hillary and the DNC with the blessing of President Obama. Welcome to the tin foil hat brigade as contributor. ..."
Sep 09, 2019 | www.unz.com

Officially, at least in the FBI's version, its operation "Crossfire Hurricane," the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign that began in mid-2016 was due to suspicious remarks made to visitors by a young and lowly Trump aide, George Papadopoulos. This too is not believable, as I pointed out previously . Most of those visitors themselves had ties to Western intelligence agencies. That is, the young Trump aide was being enticed, possibly entrapped, as part of a larger intelligence operation against Trump. (Papadopoulos wasn't the only Trump associate targeted, Carter Page being another.)

But the question remains: Why did Western intelligence agencies, prompted, it seems clear, by US ones, seek to undermine Trump's presidential campaign? A reflexive answer might be because candidate Trump promised to "cooperate with Russia," to pursue a pro-détente foreign policy, but this was hardly a startling, still less subversive, advocacy by a would-be Republican president. All of the major pro-détente episodes in the 20th century had been initiated by Republican presidents: Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan.

So, again, what was it about Trump that so spooked the spooks so far off their rightful reservation and so intrusively into American presidential politics? Investigations being overseen by Attorney General William Barr may provide answers -- or not.

... ... ...

It is true, of course, that Barr and Durham, as Trump appointees, are not the ideal investigators of Intel misdeeds in the Russiagate saga. Much better would be a truly bipartisan, independent investigation based in the Senate, as was the Church Committee of the mid-1970s, which exposed and reformed (it thought at the time) serious abuses by US intelligence agencies. That would require, however, a sizable core of nonpartisan, honorable, and courageous senators of both parties, who thus far seem to be lacking.

There are also, however, the ongoing and upcoming Democratic presidential debates. First and foremost, Russiagate is about the present and future of the American political system, not about Russia. (Indeed, as I have repeatedly argued, there is very little, if any, Russia in Russiagate.) At every "debate" or comparable forum, all of the Democratic candidates should be asked about this grave threat to American democracy -- what they think about what happened and would do about it if elected president. Consider it health care for our democracy.

Anon [421] • Disclaimer says:

September 9, 2019 at 5:24 pm GMT • 100 Words

"former special counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of "collusion."

Let me unpack that for you, esteemed professor: RM was "special counsel" in name only. The real boss was Andrew Weissman. The "report" was his work. Mueller never looked for anything, never found anything and never wrote anything.

The entire charade was part of the "resistance" to straight jacket Trump until the mid term elections, a strategy put in motion by Comey and Brennan, which achieved the desired result: Republicans lost the House.

Of course there was "little Russia in Russiagate." The narrative was all disinformation set loose by Crowdstrike and Fusion GPS, paid for by Hillary and the DNC with the blessing of President Obama. Welcome to the tin foil hat brigade as contributor.

Kolya Krassotkin , says: September 9, 2019 at 5:02 pm GMT

Given the impunity with which Israel nakedly interferes in American elections, worrying about Russian interference is laugh-out-loud funny.

But I forgot. Israel is our best "friend."

[Sep 07, 2019] 14 Strange Facts Exposed As General Flynn's Endgame Approaches

Sep 07, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Here are just some of the twists and turns in the case, which has gone on for more than three years.

  1. Flynn's trip to Russia in 2015, where it was claimed Flynn went without the knowledge or approval of the DIA or anyone in Washington, was proven not to be true .
  2. Flynn was suspected of being compromised by a supposed Russian agent, Cambridge academic Svetlana Lokhova, based on allegations from Western intelligence asset Stefan Halper. This was also proven to be not true.
  3. Flynn's phone calls with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were framed as being incredibly shady and a potential violation of the Logan Act . This allegation was always preposterous .
  4. Unnamed intelligence officials leaked the details of the Flynn-Kislyak phone calls to The Washington Post.
  5. FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joseph Pientka were dispatched by Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe to interview Flynn at the White House, even though the FBI had already reviewed the transcripts of the calls and cleared Flynn of any crimes .
  6. Both FBI Director James Comey and McCabe testified to Congress that Flynn didn't lie.
  7. Despite what McCabe and Comey both testified to under oath before Congress, the Mueller special counsel's office decided to prosecute Flynn for perjury in November of 2017 .
  8. The very strange post-dated FD-302 form on the FBI's January 2017 interview of Flynn that wasn't filled out until August 2017, almost seven months afterward, is revealed in a court filing by Flynn's defense team .
  9. FBI agent Pientka became the "DOJ's Invisible Man," despite the fact that Congress has repeatedly called for him to testify. Pientka has remained out of sight and out of mind more than a year and a half since his name first surfaced in connection with the Flynn case.
  10. Judge Rudolph Contreras was removed from the Flynn case immediately after accepting Flynn's guilty plea and was replaced by Judge Emmit Sullivan .
  11. Sullivan issued what's known as a Brady order to prosecutors -- which ordered them to immediately turn over any exculpatory evidence to Flynn's defense team. Flynn's team then made a filing alleging the withholding of exculpatory evidence .
  12. Flynn was given a chance to withdraw his guilty plea by Judge Sullivan but refused , and insisted to go forward with sentencing.
  13. Flynn suddenly fired his lawyers for the past two years and hired Sidney Powell to lead his new legal team following special counsel Robert Mueller's disastrous testimony to Congress . And now, the latest startling development:
  14. Flynn filed to have the Mueller prosecution team replaced for having withheld exculpatory evidence , despite Sullivan having directly ordered them to hand any such evidence over months ago.

Now, it's not that far-fetched of an idea that the Mueller special counsel prosecutors would hide exculpatory evidence from the Flynn defense team, since they've just admitted to having done exactly that in another case their office has been prosecuting .

The defense team for Internet Research Agency/Concord, more popularly known as "the Russian troll farm case," hasn't been smooth going for the Mueller prosecutors.

First, the prosecution team got a real tongue-lashing from Judge Dabney L. Friedrich in early July , when it turned out they had no evidence whatsoever to prove their assertion that the Russian troll farms were being run by the Putin government.

Then, in a filing submitted to the court on Aug. 30, the IRA/Concord defense team alerted Judge Friedrich that the prosecutors just got around to handing them key evidence the prosecutors had for the past 18 months. The prosecution gave no explanation whatsoever as to why they hid this key evidence for more than a year.

It's hard to see at this point how the entire IRA/Concord case isn't tossed out.

What would it mean for Flynn's prosecutors to have been caught hiding exculpatory evidence from him and his lawyers, even after the presiding judge explicitly ordered them in February to hand over everything they had?

It would mean that the Flynn case is tossed out, since the prosecution team was caught engaging in gross misconduct.

Now you can see why Flynn refused to withdraw his guilty plea when Judge Sullivan gave him the opportunity to do so in late December 2018.

A withdrawal of the guilty plea or a pardon would let the Mueller prosecution team off the hook.

And they're not getting off the hook.

Flynn hired the best lawyer he possibly could have when it comes to exposing prosecutorial misconduct. Nobody knows the crafty, corrupt, and dishonest tricks federal prosecutors use better than Powell, who actually wrote a compelling book about such matters, entitled " License to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice ."

Everything this Mueller prosecution team did in withholding exculpatory evidence from Flynn's defense team -- and continued to withhold even after Judge Sullivan specifically issued an order about it -- is going to be fully exposed.

Defying a federal judge's Brady order is a one-way ticket to not only getting fired, it's a serious enough offense to warrant disbarment and prosecution.

If it turns out Mueller special counsel prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence -- not only in the IRA/Concord case, but also in the cases against Flynn, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Rick Gates, Roger Stone, and others -- that will have a huge impact.

If they are willing to withhold exculpatory evidence in one case, why wouldn't they do the same thing in other cases they were prosecuting? Haven't they have already demonstrated they are willing to break the rules? Tags


Tirion , 3 minutes ago link

We have become a third-world country. Even throwing Mueller and his entire prosecutors' team in jail would not be enough to restore confidence in our legal system. But it would be a start.

consistentliving , 2 hours ago link

On or about December 28, 2016, the Russian Ambassador contacted FLYNN.

c. On or about December 29, 2016, FLYNN called a senior official of the Presidential Transition Team ("PTT official"), who was with other senior ·members of the Presidential Transition Team at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, to discuss what, if anything, to communicate to the Russian Ambassador about the U.S. Sanctions. On that call, FLYNN and 2 Case 1:17-cr-00232-RC Document 4 Filed 12/01/17 Page 2 of 6 the PTT official discussed the U.S. Sanctions, including the potential impact of those sanctions on the incoming administration's foreign policy goals. The PIT official and FLYNN also discussed that the members of the Presidential Transition Team at Mar-a-Lago did not want Russia to escalate the situation. d. Immediately after his phone call with the PTT official, FLYNN called the Russian Ambassador and requested that Russia not escalate the situation and only respond to the U.S. Sanctions in a reciprocal manner. e. Shortly after his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, FLYNN spoke with the PTT official to report on the substance of his call with the Russian Ambassador, including their discussion of the U.S. Sanctions. f. On or about December 30, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin released a statement indicating that Russia would not take retaliatory measures in response to the U.S. Sanctions at that time. g. On or about December 31, 2016, the Russian Ambassador called FLYNN and informed him that Russia had chosen not to retaliate in response to FL YNN's request. h. After his phone call with the Russian Ambassador, FLYNN spoke with senior members of the Presidential Transition Team about FL YNN's conversations with the Russian Ambassador regarding the U.S. Sanctions and Russia's decision not to escalate the situation.

https://www.justice.gov/file/1015126/download

Charlie_Martel , 2 hours ago link

The coup plot between the international intelligence community (which includes our FBI-CIA-etc) and their unregistered foreign agents in the multinational corporate media is slowly being revealed.

Mah_Authoritah , 2 hours ago link

The truth is so precious that it must be spoon fed.

Transmedia001 , 3 hours ago link

Here’s another possibility... elites in the US Gov set on running a soft coup against a duly elected president and his team made up a whole pile of **** and passed it off as truth.

spoonful , 2 hours ago link

Agreed, so long as you put Flynn on the side of the elites

Boris Badenov , 3 hours ago link

The Manafort thing has me totally riled since HRC's "Password" guy and his brother were PARTNERS with manafort, did the same damn things, and were NOT investigated.

Donald Trump is many things to many people, but is not his social personna to be patient. He is being VERY patient to let this unfold, to "give a man enough rope" or political party and its owner, as it may be....

Donna Brazile's book is under-rated: it holds they keys as to who ran the DNC and why after Obie bailed.

TheAnswerIs42 , 3 hours ago link

Our local community rag (Vermont) had an opinion piece last week about "The slide towards Facism", where the author breathlessly stated that she had learned from a MSNBC expose by Rachel Maddow that the administration was firing researchers at NASA and EPA as well as cutting back funding for LGBTQ support groups. Oh the horror. The author conveniently forgot that the same dyke had lied for 2 years about Russia,Russia,Russia but it's still OK to believe any **** that drops out of her mouth.

This is the level of insanity happening around here. Of course it is Bernie's turf.

People who are so stupid and gullible deserve everything they are gonna get.

LEEPERMAX , 4 hours ago link

14 Strange Facts About Mueller's "Michael Flynn Scam"

https://youtu.be/ksb8VsOMqQg

LEEPERMAX , 4 hours ago link

MUELLER and his "Band of Legal Clowns" have played us all for "Absolute Fools" again and again.

THE U.S. IS A CAPTURED OPERATION

Drop-Hammer , 4 hours ago link

Poor Flynn. Rail-roaded by ZOG and Obama and Hillary and Co. I hope beyond hope that the truth is revealed and that he can sue the **** out of the seditionists/(((seditionists))) who put him into this mess such that his great-great-grandchildren will never have to work.

I also blame Trump for throwing Flynn under the bus.

Westcoastliberal , 3 hours ago link

Trump didn't throw Flynn under the bus, I think he would pardon him later, but Trump needs to let this play out. Otherwise the left will bury him.

just the tip , 36 minutes ago link

trump threw flynn under the bus when trump said the reason he let flynn go was flynn lied to pence.

Homer E. Rectus , 4 hours ago link

If they are willing to withhold exculpatory evidence in one case, why wouldn’t they do the same thing in other cases they were prosecuting? Haven’t they have already demonstrated they are willing to break the rules?

Duh! Because it's easy and the media never covers it and AG Barr and FBI director Wray will cover it all up. America no longer operates under rule of law, and now we all know it. Never cooperate with them!

Roger Casement , 4 hours ago link

Mike Flynn stands for us. Help him put handicapped trolls out of work.

Buy lunch for Sidney Powell. o7

https://mikeflynndefensefund.org/

ztack3r , 4 hours ago link

flynn didn't rape children, to buzy trying to fight liberators of iraq and afganistan from invasion... that's his major crime.

I guess, kelly, mattis, mcmaster neither are on the child rape trend. but what can they do? when the entire cia and doj and fbi are full on controlled and run by the pedos? it's like when all the cardinals and the pope are pedos, what a bishop to do...

Why would CIA Rothschild'd up puppet Trump pick only the best William Barr?

Who told Acosta to cut no prosecution deal with Epstein? George Bush? Robert Mukasey? or Bob Mueller?

Trump, Barr, Bush, Mueller all on the same no rule of law national no government pys op , for Epstein & 9/11 clean op team Poppa Bush, Clinton, & Mossad.

Barr: CIA operative

It is a sobering fact that American presidents (many of whom have been corrupt) have gone out of their way to hire fixers to be their attorney generals.

Consider recent history: Loretta Lynch (2015-2017), Eric Holder (2009-2015), Michael Mukasey (2007-2009), Alberto Gonzales (2005-2007), John Ashcroft (2001-2005),Janet Reno (1993-2001), **** Thornburgh (1988-1991), Ed Meese (1985-1988), etc.

Barr, however, is a particularly spectacular and sordid case. As George H.W. Bush’s most notorious insider, and as the AG from 1991 to 1993, Barr wreaked havoc, flaunted the rule of law, and proved himself to be one of the CIA/Deep State’s greatest and most ruthless champions and protectors :

A strong case can be made that William Barr was as powerful and important a figure in the Bush apparatus as any other, besides Poppy Bush himself.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/ciabushiran-contra-covert-operative-fixer-william-barr-nominated-attorney-general/5662609

my new username , 4 hours ago link

That's FBI lawfare: either you plead guilty of crimes you did not commit, or we frame your son, as well as bankrupt you.

Roger Casement , 5 hours ago link

Mike Flynn stands for us. Going to buy guns or butter for the cause?

These consiglieres went after his son. They aren't lawyers. They are hitmen.

https://mikeflynndefensefund.org/

ztack3r , 4 hours ago link

there is a war on america, and the DoD and men like flynn are too arrogant, dumb, and proud to admit they have been fucked and conned deeply by men way smarter than them...

we don't need ******* brains, but killers to wage this revolution against the american pedostate.

and that, what they master, they don't want to do.

if they want money, they should have learned to trade and not kill...

[Sep 04, 2019] Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig Acquitted Over Lying About Ukraine Work

Sep 04, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Assistant US Attorney Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez told jurors that Craig's status as a very experienced Washington attorney meant that he should have known better than to lie.

"It doesn't get more experienced than Mr. Craig," said Campoamor-Sanchez. "He's a man of position. He's very careful about what he does and how he does it."

Still, Campoamor-Sanchez added, Craig chose to conceal information in order to prevent potentially damaging details about his firm's work with Ukraine from surfacing . He said those details included payment arrangements for the report, which allowed the bulk of Skadden's more than $4 million fee to be provided by a wealthy Ukrainian businessman sympathetic to Yanukovych's government.

Ukraine's Ministry of Justice stated publicly in 2012 that it had agreed to pay Skadden about $12,000 for its work . Although Craig and his law firm did tell the FARA unit about the third-party payer situation, it declined to reveal the particular individual because he didn't want his identity disclosed. Much of the money Skadden received for the report was wired through a bank account in Cyprus controlled by former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. - Bloomberg

The core of the US Government's case revolved around emails between Craig and a New York Times journalist, along with a hand-delivered copy of the Ukraine report to the journalist's Washington home prior to it being made public. Craig wrote that the Ukrainians "have determined" that the reporter should be allowed an exclusive first look at the report. Craig also offered to discuss the report.

Jurors also heard testimony from former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates, who cooperated under a plea deal. Gates, during his work for Manafort's consulting firm, helped facilitate third-party payments to Skadden for its report.

At that time, both Manafort and Gates were advising Yanukovych, whom they helped get elected.

The government attempted to use Gates's testimony to paint Craig as a willing participant in the public relations plan for the Skadden report. But Craig's defense team cited Gates's past crimes, conspiracy and lying to federal investigators, to discredit his testimony.

" He is, in plain and simple terms, a con artist ," Murphy said during closing arguments. "This is a man who will do anything to get probation." - Bloomberg

In January, Skadden turned over $4.6 million it made in Ukraine in a deal struck with the Justice Department. The firm admitted that it should have registered for its 2012 and 2013 work, and that Craig made "false and misleading oral and written statements."


DEDA CVETKO , 10 minutes ago link

What a difference a president makes! You work for Trump - you are guilty as hell. You work for Clintons and Obamas, innocent, your honor.

The Deep State meets the American Justice. And they all lived happily everafter.

Kan , 21 minutes ago link

Did Bidens son register as a foreign representative after joining the Ukraine gas board for all those shekels before the color revolution party the CIA threw over there in crimea with british intel?

Does schumer register as a dual citizen and foreign agent he swore loyalty too when he got the citizenship in a foreign country? how about the other hundreds of isrhll foreign agents and dual citizens in congress and senate.. Lets not even talk about the CFR that holds every single position of power in Washington and is your deep state...

Are any of these people registered foreign agents? Hmm... still napping waiting for an american to show up and dismantle this crazy in DC.

Macho Latte , 30 minutes ago link

The 74-year-old Craig, a former top legal adviser to both Bill Clinton and Obama

Nuff said

[Sep 04, 2019] Are General Flynn s Prosecutors Panicking by Larry C Johnson

Notable quotes:
"... Last Friday, August 30th, Sidney Powell filed a brief with the District Court in the District of Columbia laying out in exquisite detail the misconduct of the Mueller prosecutors, who have withheld exculpatory evidence. The document is still behind a pay wall (Pacer). But let me share with you some of the salient points of this filing: ..."
"... Likewise, the prosecutors did not produce evidence of Weissmann's and Ahmad's relationship and work with Bruce Ohr on transmitting the corrupt information to the FBI, and the numerous 302s resulting from the interviews of Bruce Ohr by the second agent. ..."
"... This case, involving Adam Lovinger, is related to issues involving Mr. Flynn, as Mr. Lovinger was wrongly charged (and secretly cleared) after blowing the whistle on the fraudulent payments to FBI/CIA/DOD operative Stefan Halper -- a central figure in the government's targeting and intelligence abuses of the last several years -- including against Mr. Flynn. ..."
"... Got that? The Mueller prosecutors lied about what the investigation of Mr. Lovinger concluded. He did NOT, repeat NOT, "yield any classified or sensitive information. " But Mueller's team of hacks, disgraceful pieces of excrement, took out the word, "NOT". ..."
"... How in the hell does Goldman know what is in those "transcripts"? He was told. ..."
"... But there is a broader, more important point--Michael Flynn's conversation with the Russian Ambassador was not illegal. It was not improper. He could discuss whatever he wanted to discuss as the incoming National Security Advisor for Donald Trump. This was a false claim by the Mueller Prosecutors. ..."
"... If the Mueller team, what is left of it, was confident of their position, they would not have leaked this story to the New York Times hack, Goldman. This is a sign of desperation and panic. ..."
"... Knowing what we know about Judge Sullivan, who is in charge of the Michael Flynn case, he is likely to be furious by this bald lying by Mueller's hacks. ..."
"... On another front of the Russiagate affair, per a Monsieur America Twitter thread, Loretta Lynch in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee has absolved herself of any involvement in the FISA warrant on Carter Page. https://twitter.com/MonsieurAmerica/status/1168885394269564928 ..."
"... Now the rats are throwing their subordinates under the sinking ship. Good to know the grandma AG had time to meet Hillary's husband on the tarmac but no time to be briefed about "foreign interference" in our election. I can't wait to hear Obama's excuse. ..."
"... Flynn may have been set up and lied to right and left, BUT... how did he get three stars? He comes across in this as a victim and a dummy. ..."
Sep 04, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The short answer to the title of this article--YES!!

Michael Flynn's new lawyer, Sidney Powell, is a honey badger. If you do not know anything about honey badgers I encourage you to watch the documentary, Honey Badgers, Master's of Mayhem . They tear the testicles off of lions. And it sure looks like Ms. Powell is emasculating prosecutor Andrew Weisman.

Last Friday, August 30th, Sidney Powell filed a brief with the District Court in the District of Columbia laying out in exquisite detail the misconduct of the Mueller prosecutors, who have withheld exculpatory evidence. The document is still behind a pay wall (Pacer). But let me share with you some of the salient points of this filing:

The government's most stunning suppression of evidence is perhaps the text messages of Peter Srzok and Lisa Page. In July of 2017, (now over two years ago), the Inspector General of the Department of Justice advised Special Counsel of the extreme bias in the now infamous text messages of these two FBI employees. Mr. Van Grack did not produce a single text messages to the defense until March 13, 2018, when he gave them a link to then-publicly available messages.14

Mr. Van Grack and Ms. Ahmad, among other things, did not disclose that FBI Agent Strzok had been fired from the Special Counsel team as its lead agent almost six months earlier because of his relationship with Deputy Director McCabe's Counsel -- who had also been on the Special Counsel team -- and because of their text messages and conduct. One would think that more than a significant subset of those messages had to have been shared by the Inspector General of the Department of Justice with Special Counsel to warrant such a high-level and immediate personnel change.

Indeed, Ms. Page left the Department of Justice because of her conduct, and Agent Strzok was terminated from the FBI because of it.

Likewise, the prosecutors did not produce evidence of Weissmann's and Ahmad's relationship and work with Bruce Ohr on transmitting the corrupt information to the FBI, and the numerous 302s resulting from the interviews of Bruce Ohr by the second agent.

The Government's misconduct was not limited to General Flynn. Ms. Powell describes in detail how the Government lied in another case related to General Flynn:

In yet another recent demonstration of egregious government misconduct, the government completely changed the meaning of exculpatory information in a declassified version of a report -- by omitting the word "not." This case, involving Adam Lovinger, is related to issues involving Mr. Flynn, as Mr. Lovinger was wrongly charged (and secretly cleared) after blowing the whistle on the fraudulent payments to FBI/CIA/DOD operative Stefan Halper -- a central figure in the government's targeting and intelligence abuses of the last several years -- including against Mr. Flynn.

Mr. Lovinger had been an analyst at the Pentagon for more than ten years when he was detailed to the White House at then-National Security Advisor Flynn's request. Mr. Lovinger voiced concerns internally regarding the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment for prioritizing academic reports (one of which was written by Stefan Halper) at the expense of real threat assessments. He was recalled to the Pentagon, accused of mishandling sensitive information, stripped of his security clearance, and suspended. As it turned out, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service conducted a thorough examination of his electronic devices, but "[a]gents found no evidence he leaked to the press, as charged, or that he was a counterintelligence risk.

Even though the investigation exonerated Mr. Lovinger of these charges a full month before Mr. Lovinger's hearing, the government did not reveal to Mr. Lovinger's attorneys that this investigation occurred.17 Even worse, the declassified version of the NCIS left out a crucial "not". It read that the investigation "did yield any classified or sensitive information,"18 when the truth was the investigation "did not yield any classified or sensitive information."19 The declassified version omitted the word "not."

Got that? The Mueller prosecutors lied about what the investigation of Mr. Lovinger concluded. He did NOT, repeat NOT, "yield any classified or sensitive information. " But Mueller's team of hacks, disgraceful pieces of excrement, took out the word, "NOT".

Now here is where it gets interesting. Sidney Powell filed her document on Friday night (30 August). She also submitted a sealed portion detailing how the Mueller team has lied about the evidence. I have seen one of the affidavits she filed. I will not say who or what it contained other than to expose specific details how Michael Flynn's Fourth Amendment rights were violated. But the prosecutors ran immediately to Adam Goldman of the New York Times as leaked this sealed information.

Adam wrote an article the same day and "reported" the following:

Lawyers for Michael T. Flynn, the president's first national security adviser, escalated their attacks on prosecutors on Friday, recycling unfounded conspiratorial accusations in a last-ditch bid to delay his sentencing in a case in which he has twice admitted guilt.

The move could anger Emmet G. Sullivan, the federal judge who will sentence Mr. Flynn. The filings could magnify any doubts by Judge Sullivan about whether Mr. Flynn truly accepts responsibility for his crime of lying to the F.B.I. and whether he fulfilled his cooperation agreement with the government in one of the lingering cases brought by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

In a pair of filings, Mr. Flynn's lawyers made clear that they view him as a victim of prosecutorial misconduct, amplifying right-wing theories about a so-called deep state of government bureaucrats working to undermine President Trump. The defense lawyers accused prosecutors of engaging in "pernicious" conduct in Mr. Flynn's case, saying they had been "manipulating or controlling the press to their advantage to extort that plea."

Yet, when you read the full filing by Ms. Powell, not a single "unfounded conspiratorial accusation" is discussed. The prosecutors gave that protected information to Goldman.

Worse, the prosecutors gave Goldman information from the NSA intercepts of Michael Flynn's conversation with the Russian Ambassador. So far, the Mueller team of miscreants have refused to turn over this material to Michael Flynn's lawyer. But they shared it with Goldman, who wrote:

"We must have access to that information to represent our client consistently with his constitutional rights and our ethical obligations," Mr. Flynn's lawyers wrote.

The classified transcripts of the calls make clear that the two men discussed sanctions at length and that Mr. Flynn was highly unlikely to have forgotten those details when questioned by the F.B.I., several former United States officials familiar with the documents have said. It was clear, the officials said, that sanctions were the only thing Mr. Flynn wanted to talk about with Mr. Kislyak.

Mr. Flynn's lawyers also suggested in the filing that the government had exculpatory material, but it is not clear if they consider the transcripts to be that material. Some conservatives have embraced a theory that Mr. Flynn's nonchalance in the F.B.I. interview, which agents documented because it seemed at odds with how blatantly he was lying, was exonerating.

How in the hell does Goldman know what is in those "transcripts"? He was told.

But there is a broader, more important point--Michael Flynn's conversation with the Russian Ambassador was not illegal. It was not improper. He could discuss whatever he wanted to discuss as the incoming National Security Advisor for Donald Trump. This was a false claim by the Mueller Prosecutors.

If the Mueller team, what is left of it, was confident of their position, they would not have leaked this story to the New York Times hack, Goldman. This is a sign of desperation and panic.

Knowing what we know about Judge Sullivan, who is in charge of the Michael Flynn case, he is likely to be furious by this bald lying by Mueller's hacks.

Should be an interesting week ahead. Sidney Powell will probably be feasting on a heaping plate of prosecutor balls. Like the Honey Badger, she is ripping them a new one.

Posted at 10:27 PM in Larry Johnson , Russiagate | Permalink


Factotum , 03 September 2019 at 11:24 AM

Year of the Woman finally finds the right woman. I'm with her.
Jack , 03 September 2019 at 12:05 PM
What were Flynn's previous attorneys doing? They got him to cop the plea deal.
Larry Johnson -> Jack... , 03 September 2019 at 12:34 PM
They were incompetents. They should be sued for malpractice and disbarred. They helped serve up General Flynn and he trusted them. That's now water under the bridge. Sidney Powell is a force to be reckoned with.
Don Schmeling said in reply to Jack... , 03 September 2019 at 06:40 PM
They might have been too scared of what Mueller would do to them if they put up a good case for Flynn.

I think the same thing happened to George Popadopoulos who had his lawyers roll over and play dead before Mueller.
You need to find Lawyers who are not afraid of the system, or are in bed with the system.

Factotum said in reply to Don Schmeling... , 03 September 2019 at 09:22 PM
The "confession" they got Papadopolus to sign made no sense and almost looked like it had been altered after Papadopolus had already signed his name. There were a series of very disjointed and irrelevant statements of facts, to which Papadopolus agreed they were factual.

Then pow at the very end was basically a confession he had violated the Logan Act.

None of the prior statements supported this conclusion, but as the cherry on top of his "confession" was the claim he engaged in policy level discussions with the very highest Russian higher ups while Obama was still President. (Was he ever in this role - hard to remember?).

That always struck me as a very weird "confession - but there is was with Papadolopus's signature on it, and accepted by the deep state investigating authorities.

This "confession" deserves a re-read in light of what we are learning now about the set-up and ambush mentality of the deep state "investigators.

jd hawkins said in reply to Factotum... , 04 September 2019 at 04:15 AM
I'm in your 'Amen' corner on this.
ex PFC Chuck , 03 September 2019 at 05:38 PM
On another front of the Russiagate affair, per a Monsieur America Twitter thread, Loretta Lynch in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee has absolved herself of any involvement in the FISA warrant on Carter Page. https://twitter.com/MonsieurAmerica/status/1168885394269564928
Fred -> ex PFC Chuck ... , 03 September 2019 at 06:54 PM
Now the rats are throwing their subordinates under the sinking ship. Good to know the grandma AG had time to meet Hillary's husband on the tarmac but no time to be briefed about "foreign interference" in our election. I can't wait to hear Obama's excuse.
Ghost Ship , 03 September 2019 at 07:30 PM
did yield any classified or sensitive information
Logically just doesn't make sense - it's almost as if the person editing the NCIS report decided he didn't like doing what he asked to do and produced a piece of text that only really made sense with a "not" in it. Either that, or he was actually an idiot.
JamesT -> Ghost Ship... , 04 September 2019 at 12:35 AM
Or the mangled language was used to let them claim it was accidental ... "gosh, we just made an honest mistake".
MP98 , 04 September 2019 at 12:01 AM
Flynn may have been set up and lied to right and left, BUT... how did he get three stars? He comes across in this as a victim and a dummy.

He should have known that the FBI NEVER interviews people honestly. The agents told him that he didn't need a lawyer so he didn't call one. That's just massive stupid.

Cops I know have told me to NEVER talk to police without a lawyer present. How come the former head of the DIA didn't know that?

[Aug 29, 2019] First McCabe, then; Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Strzok, the Ohrs, Steele (in absentia) Clinton Campaign people, etc. - Sic Sempe

Notable quotes:
"... "Who will watch the watchers?" Well, if Barr and company are not going to indict these characters, the answer is NOBODY! ..."
"... If you read the long litany of articles on SST by David Habakkuk and Larry Johnson, the pattern of a soft coup conspiracy against the possibility of HC's defeat is quite clear. ..."
Aug 29, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"Federal prosecutors have been weighing for well over a year whether to charge McCabe, after the Justice Department's inspector general alleged that McCabe had misled investigators several times about a media disclosure regarding the investigation into Hillary Clinton's family foundation.

By the inspector general's telling, McCabe approved the disclosure and later -- when asked about the matter by investigators with the FBI's inspection division and inspector general's office -- denied having done so. McCabe's attorney has said previously that his statements "are more properly understood as the result of misunderstanding, miscommunication, and honest failures of recollection based on the swirl of events around him." Lying to investigators is a federal crime."

Washpost

-------------

This whole thing has the odor of something by Dostoevsky, C&P maybe?

"Who will watch the watchers?" Well, if Barr and company are not going to indict these characters, the answer is NOBODY!

If you read the long litany of articles on SST by David Habakkuk and Larry Johnson, the pattern of a soft coup conspiracy against the possibility of HC's defeat is quite clear.

And then following her loss, largely brought on IMO, by her unwillingness to cultivate the Deplorables, the semi-Deplorables and the Irredeemable Deplorables, this disdain on her part for ordinary people was further displayed in her offhand dismissal of coal miners as future wards of the state.

Once she had lost, the plot rolled on in an effort to make the ultimate Deplorable a failure in office.

It is de rigeur to write that both parties should feel equally wounded by the plot but they do not. pl

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/justice-dept-could-be-nearing-decision-on-whether-to-charge-andrew-mccabe/2019/08/26/0e1a636c-c840-11e9-a1fe-ca46e8d573c0_story.html

turcopolier ,

PRC90
We have to make it clear that fidelity to the constitution is not a pretense. IMO HRC and Obama are at the heart of this matter, but better to scourge them and let them go.

[Aug 25, 2019] The FBI Tried and Failed to Entrap Donald Trump Using his Business Associate, Felix Sater by Larry C Johnson

Notable quotes:
"... Let me cut to the chase--Felix Sater was an FBI informant since 1998. He was originally signed on as a "cooperator" in December 1998 by Robert Mueller's number two guy, Andrew Weissman. Robert Mueller and his team used Felix Sater as a "lure" or "bait" to tempt Trump and his team, Michael Cohen in particular, to work with Russia. Trump did not bite. ..."
"... Sater, as we now know, played a central role in the FBI plot to destroy Donald Trump by proposing a Trump Tower in Moscow. ..."
"... One of the very first reports provided by Christopher Steele insists that the Russians were working overtime to get Trump in bed with them on "lucrative real estate deals." The Steele report dated 20 June 2016 makes the following claims: ..."
"... Steele's claim that the "Kremlin," as part of a broader scheme to recruit Trump as a Russian asset, was "offering him various lucrative real development" deals in Russia, is refuted by the article by Newsweek's Bill Powell and by Robert Mueller's report ..."
"... Felix Sater was the ones telling Trump to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Sater, according to Newsweek's Powell, was not a close confidant of Trump: ..."
"... Powell's account is consistent with the information present by Robert Mueller in the Charging Indictment of Michael Cohen. While the Steele Dossier makes the claim that the Russian Government was offering up "lucrative projects" to the Trump organization, Michael Cohen never made such a claim. The details in the charging document show otherwise; i.e., that Felix Sater was pushing the projects : ..."
"... Notwithstanding these communications, the Moscow project was terminated in June 2016. And it was Felix Sater aka "Individual 2", not the Russians, pushing for going to Russia and making a deal. No evidence of Russians offering up "lucrative deals." ..."
"... If the Steele Dossier was true, Trump should have had multiple project going on in Russia, especially Moscow. Steele paints a picture of Putin's people feeding Trump information and opportunity. So where is the evidence of such activity? There is none. ..."
Aug 25, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

I am revisiting a story I did nine months ago about Felix Sater and the Steele Dossier ( you can read it here ). Let me cut to the chase--Felix Sater was an FBI informant since 1998. He was originally signed on as a "cooperator" in December 1998 by Robert Mueller's number two guy, Andrew Weissman. Robert Mueller and his team used Felix Sater as a "lure" or "bait" to tempt Trump and his team, Michael Cohen in particular, to work with Russia. Trump did not bite.

Robert Mueller did not disclose that Sater was an FBI Informant. Mueller did not disclose that Sater was deliberately used starting in September 2015 to entrap Donald Trump. I am revisiting this issue because a Sater's work for the Feds was unsealed last Friday by Judge Glasser in New York. According to the Wall Street Journal:

Felix Sater, a former business associate of President Trump, began working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1998, after he was caught in a stock-fraud scheme. As he pleaded guilty, Mr. Sater turned on his co-conspirators, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn wrote in an Aug. 27, 2009, letter , unsealed Friday, to U.S. District Judge I. Leo Glasser, who was overseeing the case. He had gone on to assist various agencies in different areas of law enforcement for years, they wrote.

"Sater went above and beyond what is expected of most cooperators and placed himself in great jeopardy in doing so," the prosecutors wrote in pushing for him to get a lighter sentence. On the strength of his continuing cooperation, they had put off his sentencing for more than a decade, an unusually long period for such arrangements.

As I tried to unpeel the onion that is the layered life of Felix Sater, I came across an excellent article by Newsweek reporter Bill Powell, Donald Trump Associate Felix Sater Is Linked to the Mob and the CIA -- What's His Role in the Russia Investigation? . It is worth your time. One of the surprising revelations from Powell is that Felix Sater was a childhood friend of Michael Cohen, Trump's lawyer. Let that sink in for a moment. The FBI informant, Felix Sater, was a long time friend of Cohen. This now provides another explanation for how Michael Cohen became part of the Trump orbit. Did Felix Sater, while an active FBI informant, introduce Cohen to Trump? (Sater and his company, Bayrock, started working with Trump in 2003 while Cohen did not start working for Trump until 2006).

Sater, as we now know, played a central role in the FBI plot to destroy Donald Trump by proposing a Trump Tower in Moscow. Trump did not take the bait. No Trump Tower in Moscow deal was ever done. Sater also provides, unwittingly, direct evidence that part of the Christopher Steele Dossier is a fraud and a fabrication.

One of the very first reports provided by Christopher Steele insists that the Russians were working overtime to get Trump in bed with them on "lucrative real estate deals." The Steele report dated 20 June 2016 makes the following claims:

Speaking to a trusted compatriot in June 2016 sources A and B, a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure and a former top level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin respectively, the Russian authorities had been cultivating and supporting US Republican presidential candidate, Donald TRUMP for at least 5 years. . . .

In terms of specifics, Source A confided that the Kremlin had been feeding TRUMP and his team valuable intelligence on his opponents, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary CLINTON, for several years (see more below). . . .

The Kremlin's cultivation operation on TRUMP also had comprised offering him various lucrative real estate development business deals in Russia , especially in relation to the ongoing 2018 World Cup soccer tournament. How ever, so far, for reasons unknown, TRUMP had not taken up any of these.

Steele's claim that the "Kremlin," as part of a broader scheme to recruit Trump as a Russian asset, was "offering him various lucrative real development" deals in Russia, is refuted by the article by Newsweek's Bill Powell and by Robert Mueller's report

Bill Powell reported the following in Newsweek:

[Felix Sater] and his childhood friend, Michael Cohen -- then a lawyer and dealmaker for the Trump Organization -- had been working for more than a decade, on and off, to build a Trump Tower in Moscow . The New York real estate mogul had long wanted to see his name on a glitzy building in the Russian capital, but the project had never materialized.

Where are all of those "lucrative deals" the Kremlin was supposedly offering up? Nowhere. It was a lie.

Felix Sater was the ones telling Trump to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Sater, according to Newsweek's Powell, was not a close confidant of Trump:

In [2003], Sater says he met Trump, thanks to his work for Bayrock, the real estate company. . . Sater raised money for Bayrock from, among others, a wealthy businessman from the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, and he persuaded people in Trump's orbit -- including Cohen, his old friend -- to bring his deals before the boss. Two of the ideas worked out. Sater and the New York real estate mogul eventually worked on the Trump SoHo in Manhattan and a hotel and condo project in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which failed after the 2008 economic crisis. He and Trump, Sater claims, were friendly but not particularly close.

Powell does not report the Russians offering up any "lucrative" real estate deal.

Powell's account is consistent with the information present by Robert Mueller in the Charging Indictment of Michael Cohen. While the Steele Dossier makes the claim that the Russian Government was offering up "lucrative projects" to the Trump organization, Michael Cohen never made such a claim. The details in the charging document show otherwise; i.e., that Felix Sater was pushing the projects :

The Moscow Project was discussed multiple times within the Company and did not end in January 2016. Instead, as late as approximately June 2016, COHEN and Individual 2 discussed efforts to obtain Russian governmental approval for the Moscow Project.

Why does the Trump organization need to "obtain Russian governmental approval" if, per the Steele Dossier, the Russians are offering up a slew of "lucrative" deals?

The charging document provides further detail on Cohen and Sater's interaction with Russian officials. In early January 2016, Michael Cohen sent an email to Vladimir Putin's Press Secretary. The Secretary responded:

On or about January 14, 2016, COHEN emailed Russian Official 1's office asking for assistance in connection with the Moscow Project.

On or about January 20, 2016, COHEN received an email from the personal assistant to Russian Official 1 ("Assistant 1"), stating that she had been trying to reach COHEN and requesting that he call her using a Moscow-based phone number she provided.

Shortly after receiving the email, COHEN called Assistant 1 and spoke to her for approximately 20 minutes. On that call, COHEN described his position at the Company and outlined the proposed Moscow Project, including the Russian development company with which the Company had partnered. COHEN requested assistance in moving the project forward, both in securing land to build the proposed tower and financing the construction. Assistant 1 asked detailed questions and took notes, stating that she would follow up with others in Russia.

Notwithstanding these communications, the Moscow project was terminated in June 2016. And it was Felix Sater aka "Individual 2", not the Russians, pushing for going to Russia and making a deal. No evidence of Russians offering up "lucrative deals."

From on or about June 9 to June 14, 2016, Individual 2 sent numerous messages to COHEN about the travel, including forms for COHEN to complete. However, on or about June 14, 2016, COHEN met Individual 2 in the lobby of the Company's headquarters to inform Individual 2 he would not be traveling at that time.

If the Steele Dossier was true, Trump should have had multiple project going on in Russia, especially Moscow. Steele paints a picture of Putin's people feeding Trump information and opportunity. So where is the evidence of such activity? There is none.

The Mueller report reinforces the fact that Felix Sater was the one proposing doing the deal in Moscow and talking to the Russians. THE PROPOSED TRUMP TOWER PROJECT IN MOSCOW, according to Mueller's report, originated with an FBI Informant--Felix Sater. Here's what the Mueller Report states:

In the late summer of 2015, the Trump Organization received a new inquiry about pursuing a Trump Tower project in Moscow. In approximately September 2015, Felix Sater . . . contacted Cohen (i.e., Michael Cohen) on behalf of I.C. Expert Investment Company (I.C. Expert), a Russian real-estate development corporation controlled by Andrei Vladimirovich Rozov. Sater had known Rozov since approximately 2007 and, in 2014, had served as an agent on behalf of Rozov during Rozov's purchase of a building in New York City. Sater later contacted Rozov and proposed that I.C. Expert pursue a Trump Tower Moscow project in which I.C. Expert would license the name and brand from the Trump Organization but construct the building on its own. Sater worked on the deal with Rozov and another employee of I.C. Expert. (see page 69 of the Mueller Report).

Mueller, as I have noted previously , is downright dishonest in failing to identify Sater as an FBI informant. Sater was not just a private entrepreneur looking to make some coin. We now know without a doubt that Sater was a fully signed up FBI informant. Sater's status as an FBI snitch was first exposed in 2012 (you can read the letter confirming Sater's status as an FBI snitch here ). Another inconvenient fact excluded from the Mueller report is that one of Mueller's Chief Prosecutors, Andrew Weissman, signed the deal with Felix Sater in December 1998 that put Sater into the FBI Informant business .

All suggestions for meeting with the Russian Government, including Putin, originated with Felix Sater. The use of Sater on this particular project started in September 2015.

All of this raises very troubling issues about FBI misconduct. Under what authority did The FBI initiate the "Moscow Tower" play in September 2015. We are supposed to believe that the FBI counter intelligence investigation, aka Crossfire Hurricane, only began the end of July 2016 because of an alarming report from an Australian diplomat. We now know that is a lie.

The revelations about Sater add to the urgency to expose the FBI's criminality and malevolence.

[For more on Sater please see my previous posts, Felix Sater--The Rosetta Stone for the FBI/CIA Conspiracy Against Trump? , Felix Sater and the Steele Dossier .]


exiled off mainstreet , 25 August 2019 at 06:46 PM

Mr.Johnson has done good work on these issues throughout the whole time this initiative has gone on. It reveals the level of rot in the structure of the secret police operation carried on by the US government and shows that it probably cannot be reformed from within but that the only solution which might work is the dissolution of the existing institutions and some form of starting over, something which is, of course, highly unlikely to be achieved.
Factotum , 25 August 2019 at 06:50 PM
Thank you for tying so many of these loose ends together, these past few years. It is quacking like a duck to me.
Fred , 25 August 2019 at 07:51 PM
How many other people were successfully railroaded by the FBI and was Barack the only president they were doing this under?
blue peacock , 25 August 2019 at 08:46 PM
Something just doesn't add up for me when Trump who was the target of these spying and information operations doesn't use the power and authority of POTUS to expose all the communications and actions of these people. Why? What is he hiding or what is he afraid of?
Larry Johnson -> blue peacock... , 25 August 2019 at 09:54 PM
It is very simple. Trump is relying on the judicial process out of fear that if he did unilaterally release this info he could be accused of "obstructing justice."
akaPatience , 25 August 2019 at 09:54 PM
Trump announced his candidacy June 16, 2015. SO, by September the FBI had begun its operation against him. It seems like a fairly quick mobilization.

Were Obama and Clinton so insecure that they felt they needed to resort to this, or are they both so corrupt that this was business as usual?

Christopher Steele, Felix Sater, Josef Mifsud, Stephan Halper, Alexander Downer -- so far there are at least 5 known to have connections to the IC who tried to entrap Trump. We need a summary with an index since there's so much corruption to keep straight -- Hillary's Vast Left-wing Conspiracy.

[Aug 23, 2019] Spygate The Inside Story Behind the Alleged Plot to Take Down Trump by Jeff Carlson

Highly recommended!
Images removed. See the original for full version.
Much more plausible explanation of Russiagate then Mueller report that cost probably 1000 times less. Mueller and his team should commit hara-kiri in shame.
It contains more valuable information about Russiagate and color revolution against Trump initiatesd by Obama and Brennan. And what is important it is much shorter and up to the point. In other words, Jeff Carlson beat the whole Mueller team to the punch.
An excellent reporting by Jeff Carlson !!! Bravo!!!
Notable quotes:
"... Horowitz continued to push Congress for oversight access and encouraged passage of the Inspector General Empowerment Act . Horowitz would ultimately win his battle, but only as President Barack Obama was leaving office. On Dec. 16, 2016, Obama finally signed the Inspector General Empowerment Act into law. ..."
"... The IGs' memo included an assessment that Clinton's email account contained hundreds of classified emails, despite Clinton's claims that there was no classified information present on her server. ..."
"... On July 30, 2015, within weeks of the FBI's opening of the Clinton investigation, McCabe was suddenly promoted to the No. 3 position in the FBI. With his new title of associate deputy director, McCabe was transferred to FBI headquarters from the Washington Field Office, and his direct involvement in the Clinton investigation began. ..."
"... Strzok was one of the agents selected, and in late August 2015, he was assigned to the Mid-Year Exam team and transferred to FBI headquarters. Strzok, in his comments to lawmakers, acknowledged that the newly formed investigative team was largely made up of hand-picked personnel from the Washington Field Office and FBI headquarters. ..."
"... On Jan. 29, 2016, Comey appointed McCabe as FBI deputy director, replacing the retiring Giuliano, and McCabe assumed the No. 2 position in the FBI, after having held the No. 3 position for just six months. ..."
"... By early 2016, the three participants in the infamous "insurance policy" meeting -- McCabe, Strzok, and Page -- were now in place at the FBI. ..."
"... Priestap, who testified that he was unaware of the frequency of meetings between McCabe, Strzok, and Lisa Page, seems to have been kept in the dark regarding many of the actions taken by Strzok, who appeared to be exercising significant investigative control. ..."
"... It sounds like Peter Strzok was kind of driving the train here. Would you agree with that?" ..."
"... Peter and Jon, yeah." ..."
"... Do you know if Mr. McCabe was aware that some of his agent executives were concerned that they were being bypassed on information on what, by all accounts, was a sensitive, critical investigation?" ..."
"... My understanding was that he was aware." ..."
"... Notably, Comey had been convinced to remove the term "gross negligence" to describe Clinton's actions from his prepared statement by, among others, Page, Strzok, Anderson, and Moffa. ..."
"... While GCHQ was gathering intelligence, low-level Trump campaign foreign-policy adviser George Papadopoulos appears to have been targeted, after a series of highly coincidental meetings. Most of these meetings with Papadopoulos -- whose own background and reasons for joining the Trump campaign remain suspicious -- occurred in the first half of 2016. Maltese professor Josef Mifsud, Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, FBI informant Stefan Halper, and officials from the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) all crossed paths with Papadopoulos -- some repeatedly so. ..."
"... As this foreign intelligence -- unofficial in nature and outside of any traditional channels -- was gathered, Brennan began a process of feeding his gathered intelligence to the FBI. Repeated transfers of foreign intelligence from the CIA director pushed the FBI toward the establishment of a formal counterintelligence investigation. ..."
"... The last major segment of Brennan's efforts involved a series of three reports. The first, titled the "Joint Statement from the Department Of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security ," was released on Oct. 7, 2016. The second report, "GRIZZLY STEPPE -- Russian Malicious Cyber Activity ," was released on Dec. 29, 2016. The third report, "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections " -- also known as the intelligence community assessment (ICA) -- was released on Jan. 6, 2017. ..."
"... On July 5, 2016, Gaeta traveled to London and met with Steele at the offices of Steele's firm, Orbis. At some point in early July, Steele passed his initial report to Nuland and the State Department. Nuland later said these documents were passed on at some point to both the FBI and then-Secretary of State John Kerry. ..."
"... Prior to joining Fusion GPS, Nellie had worked as an independent contractor for an internal open-source division of the CIA, Open Source Works, from 2008 to at least June 2010; it appears likely she remained in that role into 2014. ..."
"... Additionally, email communications between her and Bruce Ohr show that she routinely sent her husband at the DOJ articles on Russia -- most carrying a similar negative slant. The emails continued through the duration of Nellie's employment with Fusion GPS and usually contained a brief, often one-line comment from Nellie. ..."
"... In her testimony, Nellie described her work as online open-source efforts that utilized "Russian sources, media, social media, government, you know, business registers, legal databases, all kinds of things." Ohr said that she would "write occasional reports based on the open-source research that I described about Donald Trump's relationships with various people in Russia." ..."
"... Steele had produced eight reports from June 20, 2016, through the end of August 2016 (there also is one undated report included in the dossier). No further reports were generated by Steele until Sept. 14, when he suddenly wrote three separate memos in one day. One of the memos referenced a Russian bank named Alfa Bank, misspelled as "Alpha" in his memo. Steele's sudden burst of productivity was likely done in preparation for his Sept. 19 meeting in Rome with the FBI. ..."
"... The impact of Brennan's potential knowledge of the dossier in August 2016 should not be underestimated. As Brennan testified to Congress, his briefing to the Gang of Eight was done in consultation with the Obama administration: ..."
"... Halper, who has been outed as an FBI informant, stayed in contact with Carter Page for the next 14 months, severing ties exactly as the final FISA warrant on Page expired. ..."
"... Following the publication of the Isikoff article, the Hillary for America campaign released a statement on the same day that touted Isikoff's "bombshell report," with the full article attached. ..."
"... Winer had received a separate dossier , very similar to Steele's, from longtime Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal. This "second dossier" had been compiled by another longtime Clinton operative, former journalist Cody Shearer, and echoed claims made in the Steele dossier. Winer gave Steele a copy of the "second dossier." Steele then shared this second dossier with the FBI, which may have used it as a means to corroborate Steele's own dossier. ..."
"... Steele also met with U.S. media during his visit to Washington, doing so "at Fusion's instruction." According to UK Court documents , Steele testified that he "briefed" The New York Times, The Washington Post, Yahoo News, The New Yorker, and CNN at the end of September 2016. Steele would engage in a second round of media contact in mid-October 2016, meeting again with The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Yahoo News. Steele testified that all these meetings were "conducted verbally in person." ..."
"... Sometime in late 2016, his wife, Nellie Ohr, provided him with a memory stick containing all of her research that she had compiled while employed at Fusion GPS. Bruce Ohr testified he gave the memory stick to Pientka. Nellie Ohr had left Fusion in September 2016. Through Pientka, Strzok now had all of Nellie Ohr's Fusion research in his possession. ..."
"... Flynn's 2015 dinner in Moscow was initially used to implicate the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. It was then used as a means to cast doubts on Flynn's ability as Trump's national security adviser. Following Flynn's resignation, it was then used as a means to pursue the ongoing collusion narrative that gained full strength in the early days of the Trump administration. ..."
"... On April 18, 2016, Rogers moved aggressively in response to the disclosures. He abruptly shut down all FBI outside-contractor access. At this point, both the FBI and the DOJ's NSD became aware of Rogers's compliance review. They may have known earlier, but they were certainly aware after outside-contractor access was halted. ..."
"... Carlin filed the government's proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications on Sept. 26, 2016. Carlin knew the general status of the compliance review by Rogers. The NSD was part of the review. Carlin failed to disclose a critical Jan. 7, 2016, report by the NSA inspector general and associated FISA abuse to the FISA court in his 2016 certification. Carlin also failed to disclose Rogers's ongoing Section 702-compliance review. ..."
Mar 28, 2019 | www.theepochtimes.com

Updated: July 7, 2019

Efforts by high-ranking officials in the CIA , FBI , Department of Justice ( DOJ ), and State Department to portray President Donald Trump as having colluded with Russia were the culmination of years of bias and politicization under the Obama administration.

<img class="size-large wp-image-2855920" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/27/DOJ-FBI_infographic_3_Epoch-Times-1200x630.png" alt="" width="640" height="336" /> Click on image to enlarge.

The weaponization of the intelligence community and other government agencies created an environment that allowed for obstruction in the investigation into Hillary Clinton and the relentless pursuit of a manufactured collusion narrative against Trump.

A willing and complicit media spread unsubstantiated leaks as facts in an effort to promote the Russia-collusion narrative.

The Spygate scandal also raises a bigger question: Was the 2016 election a one-time aberration, or was it symptomatic of decades of institutional political corruption?

This article builds on dozens of congressional testimonies, court documents, and other research to provide an inside look at the actions of Obama administration officials in the scandal that's become known as Spygate.

<img class=" wp-image-2833768" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/11/Michael-Horowitz-1200x1239.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="165" /> Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz . (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

To understand this abuse of power, it helps to go back to July 2011, when DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz was appointed.

From the very start, Horowitz found his duties throttled by Attorney General Eric Holder, who placed limitations on the inspector general's right to have unobstructed access to information. Holder used this tactic to delay Horowitz's investigation of the failed sting operation known as Operation Fast and Furious.

"We got access to information up to 2010 in all of these categories. No law changed in 2010. No policy changed. It was simply a decision by the General Counsel's Office in 2010 that they viewed, now, the law differently. And as a result, they weren't going to give us that information," Horowitz told members of Congress in February 2015.

On Aug. 5, 2014, Horowitz and other inspectors general had sent a letter to Congress asking for unimpeded access to all records. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates responded on July 20, 2015, with a 58-page memorandum, titled " Memorandum for Sally Quillian Yates Deputy Attorney General ," written by Karl R. Thompson, the principal deputy assistant attorney general of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC).

<img class=" wp-image-2833772" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/11/sally-yates-1200x1188.jpg" alt="" width="161" height="159" /> Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The July 20, 2015, opinion was widely criticized . But it accomplished what it was intended to do. The opinion limited IG Horowitz's oversight from extending to any information collected under Title III -- including intercepted communications and national security letters. (Notably, The New York Times disclosed that national security letters were used in the surveillance of the Trump 2016 presidential campaign.)

In response, on Aug. 3, 2015, IG Horowitz sent a blistering letter to Congress. The letter was signed not only by Horowitz but by all other acting inspectors general as well:

"The OLC opinion's restrictive reading of the IG Act represents a potentially serious challenge to the authority of every Inspector General and our collective ability to conduct our work thoroughly, independently, and in a timely manner. Our concern is that, as a result of the OLC opinion, agencies other than DOJ may likewise withhold crucial records from their Inspectors General, adversely impacting their work.

Horowitz continued to push Congress for oversight access and encouraged passage of the Inspector General Empowerment Act . Horowitz would ultimately win his battle, but only as President Barack Obama was leaving office. On Dec. 16, 2016, Obama finally signed the Inspector General Empowerment Act into law.

It is against this backdrop of minimal oversight that Spygate took place.

Ironically, the Clinton email server investigation, known as the "Mid-Year Exam," originated from a disclosure contained in a June 29, 2015, memo sent by the inspectors general for both the State Department and the Intelligence Community to Patrick F. Kennedy, then-undersecretary of state for management.

The IGs' memo included an assessment that Clinton's email account contained hundreds of classified emails, despite Clinton's claims that there was no classified information present on her server.

On July 6, 2015, the IG for the Intelligence Community made a referral to the FBI, which resulted in the official opening of an investigation into the Clinton email server by FBI officials Randall Coleman and Charles Kable on July 10, 2015.

<img class="size-large wp-image-2833204" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/11/Andrew-McCabe-Lisa-Page-Peter-Strzok-1200x720.jpg" alt="peter strzok andrew mccabe and lisa page" width="640" height="384" /> (L-R) FBI agent Peter Strzok, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe , and FBI lawyer Lisa Page. (Getty Images/Epoch Times)

A Hand-Picked Team

At this time, Peter Strzok was an assistant special agent in charge at the FBI's Washington Field Office. The assistant director in charge at the Washington Field Office during this period was Andrew McCabe, a position he assumed on Sept. 14, 2014.

On July 30, 2015, within weeks of the FBI's opening of the Clinton investigation, McCabe was suddenly promoted to the No. 3 position in the FBI. With his new title of associate deputy director, McCabe was transferred to FBI headquarters from the Washington Field Office, and his direct involvement in the Clinton investigation began.

Strzok would follow shortly. Less than a month after McCabe was transferred, FBI headquarters reached out to the Washington Field Office, saying it needed greater staffing and resources "based on what they were looking at, based on some of the investigative steps that were under consideration," Strzok told congressional investigators in a closed-door hearing on June 27, 2018.

Strzok was one of the agents selected, and in late August 2015, he was assigned to the Mid-Year Exam team and transferred to FBI headquarters. Strzok, in his comments to lawmakers, acknowledged that the newly formed investigative team was largely made up of hand-picked personnel from the Washington Field Office and FBI headquarters.

Starting in October 2015 and continuing into early 2016, FBI Director James Comey made a series of high-profile reassignments that resulted in the complete turnover of the upper-echelon of the FBI team working on the Clinton email investigation:

Comey is the only known senior FBI leadership official who remained involved throughout the entire Clinton email investigation. McCabe had the second-longest tenure.

On Jan. 29, 2016, Comey appointed McCabe as FBI deputy director, replacing the retiring Giuliano, and McCabe assumed the No. 2 position in the FBI, after having held the No. 3 position for just six months.

It was at this point that FBI lawyer Lisa Page was assigned to McCabe as his special counsel. This was not the first time that Page worked directly for McCabe. James Baker, the FBI's former general counsel, told congressional investigators that Page had worked for McCabe at various times during McCabe's career, going back as far as 2013.

By early 2016, the three participants in the infamous "insurance policy" meeting -- McCabe, Strzok, and Page -- were now in place at the FBI.

In January 2016, Bill Priestap was named as head of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division, replacing Coleman and inheriting the Clinton email investigation in the process.

<img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-2857145" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/28/Spygate_Epoch-TImes.jpg" alt="" width="676" height="1280" />

According to Priestap, Coleman had "set up a reporting mechanism that leaders of that team would report directly to him, not through the customary other chain of command" in the Clinton email investigation. Priestap, who said he didn't know why Coleman had "set it up," kept the chain of command in place when he assumed Coleman's position in January 2016.

This new structure resulted in some unusual reporting lines that went outside normal chains of command. Strzok, who would not normally fall under Priestap's oversight, was now reporting directly to him.

As Priestap described it, the team involved in the Clinton investigation comprised three different but intertwined elements: the primary team, the filter team, and the senior leadership team.

While the elements of the day-to-day investigative team differed for the Clinton email investigation and the Trump–Russia investigation, the primary team remained the same throughout both cases -- as did the lines of communication between the FBI and the DOJ. According to testimony by Page, John Carlin, who ran the DOJ's National Security Division (NSD), was receiving briefings on both investigations directly from McCabe.

Priestap Left in the Dark

Priestap, who testified that he was unaware of the frequency of meetings between McCabe, Strzok, and Lisa Page, seems to have been kept in the dark regarding many of the actions taken by Strzok, who appeared to be exercising significant investigative control. Priestap was asked about this by congressional investigators during a June 5, 2018, testimony:

Rep. Meadows: " It sounds like Peter Strzok was kind of driving the train here. Would you agree with that?"

Mr. Priestap: " Peter and Jon, yeah."

<img class=" wp-image-2833249" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/11/Priestap-1200x1548.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="205" /> Assistant Director of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division Bill Priestap. (Jennifer Zeng/The Epoch Times)

Additionally, Page often circumvented the established chain of command, not only with McCabe, for whom she reportedly served as a conduit for Strzok, but also with Baker. Additionally, there were concerns that Page bypassed both the executive assistant director for the National Security Branch -- first Giacalone, then Steinbach -- and Priestap, the head of counterintelligence. Anderson, the No. 2 lawyer, admitted in her testimony to congressional investigators that she had been aware of these concerns, saying, "Neither of them personally complained to me, but I was aware of their concerns."

A report published by IG Horowitz in June 2018, which reviewed the FBI's investigation of the Clinton email case, included the notable statement that several witnesses had informed the IG that Page "circumvented the official chain of command, and that Strzok communicated important Midyear case information to her, and thus to McCabe, without Priestap's or Steinbach's knowledge." Steinbach, who was the executive assistant director and Priestap's direct supervisor, left the FBI in early 2017.

According to Anderson, McCabe was aware of the ongoing concerns regarding Page's circumventions, but it appears that nothing was done to address them:

Mr. Baker: " Do you know if Mr. McCabe was aware that some of his agent executives were concerned that they were being bypassed on information on what, by all accounts, was a sensitive, critical investigation?"

Ms. Anderson: " My understanding was that he was aware."

DOJ Prevents 'Gross Negligence' Charges

By the spring of 2016, the Clinton email investigation was already winding down. This was due in large part to the fact that the DOJ, under Attorney General Loretta Lynch , had decided to set an unusually high threshold for the prosecution of Clinton, effectively ensuring from the outset that she would not be charged.

In order for Clinton to be prosecuted, the DOJ required the FBI to establish evidence of intent -- even though the gross negligence statute explicitly does not require this.

This meant that the FBI would have needed to find a smoking gun, such as an email or an admission made during FBI questioning, revealing that Clinton or her aides knowingly set up the private email server to send classified information.

According to Page, the DOJ played a far larger role in the Clinton investigation than previously had been known:

"Everybody talks about this as if this was the FBI investigation, and the truth of the matter is there was not a single step, other than the July 5th statement, there was not a single investigative step that we did not do in consultation with or at the direction of the Justice Department," Page told congressional investigators on July 13, 2018.

<img class=" wp-image-2833254" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/11/GettyImages-545524880-1200x1441.jpg" alt="" width="161" height="193" /> Attorney General Loretta Lynch. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Comey also had hinted at the influence exerted by the DOJ over the Clinton investigation, at a July 5, 2016, press conference , in which he recommended that Clinton not be charged, stating that "there are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent."

Notably, Comey had been convinced to remove the term "gross negligence" to describe Clinton's actions from his prepared statement by, among others, Page, Strzok, Anderson, and Moffa.

CIA Director Instigates Trump Investigation

As the Clinton investigation wound down, interest from the intelligence community in the Trump campaign was ramping up. Sometime in 2015, it appears former CIA Director John Brennan established himself as the point man to push for an investigation into the Trump campaign. Using a combination of unofficial foreign intelligence compiled by contacts, colleagues, and associates -- primarily from the UK , but also from other Five Eyes members, such as Australia -- Brennan then fed this information to the FBI. Brennan stated this fact repeatedly during a May 23, 2017, congressional testimony :

"I made sure that anything that was involving U.S. persons, including anything involving the individuals involved in the Trump campaign, was shared with the [FBI]."

<img class=" wp-image-2833258" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/11/GettyImages-687314312-1200x1279.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="171" /> CIA Director John Brennan. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Brennan also admitted that it was his intelligence that helped establish the FBI investigation:

"I was aware of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons that raised concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals were cooperating with the Russians, either in a witting or unwitting fashion, and it served as the basis for the FBI investigation to determine whether such collusion [or] cooperation occurred."

In late 2015, Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) was involved in collecting information regarding then-candidate Trump and transmitting it to the United States. The GCHQ is the UK equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

<img class=" wp-image-2833230" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/11/George-Papadopoulos.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="192" /> Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

While GCHQ was gathering intelligence, low-level Trump campaign foreign-policy adviser George Papadopoulos appears to have been targeted, after a series of highly coincidental meetings. Most of these meetings with Papadopoulos -- whose own background and reasons for joining the Trump campaign remain suspicious -- occurred in the first half of 2016. Maltese professor Josef Mifsud, Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, FBI informant Stefan Halper, and officials from the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) all crossed paths with Papadopoulos -- some repeatedly so.

<img class=" wp-image-2833234" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/11/Alexander-Downer-1200x1391.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="186" /> Australian high commissioner to the UK, Alexander Downer. (GOH CHAI HIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Downer's conversation with Papadopoulos was reportedly disclosed to the FBI on July 22, 2016, through Australian government channels, although it may have come directly from Downer himself.

Details from the conversation between Downer and Papadopoulos were then used by the FBI to open its counterintelligence investigation on July 31, 2016.

In the summer of 2016, Robert Hannigan, the head of the UK's GCHQ, traveled to Washington to meet with Brennan regarding alleged communications between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Around the same time, Brennan formed an inter-agency task force comprising an estimated six agencies and/or government departments. The FBI, Treasury, and DOJ handled the domestic inquiry into Trump and possible Russia connections. The CIA, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the NSA handled foreign and intelligence aspects.

During this time, Brennan appeared to have employed the use of reverse targeting , which refers to the targeting of a foreign individual with the intent of capturing data on a U.S. citizen.

Mr. Brennan:

" We call it incidental collection in terms of CIA's foreign intelligence collection authorities. Any time we would incidentally collect information on a U.S. person, we would hand that over to the FBI because they have the legal authority to do it. We would not pursue that type of investigative, you know, sort of leads. We would give it to the FBI. So, we were picking things up that was of great relevance to the FBI, and we wanted to make sure that they were there -- so they could piece it together with whatever they were collecting domestically here."

As this foreign intelligence -- unofficial in nature and outside of any traditional channels -- was gathered, Brennan began a process of feeding his gathered intelligence to the FBI. Repeated transfers of foreign intelligence from the CIA director pushed the FBI toward the establishment of a formal counterintelligence investigation.

The last major segment of Brennan's efforts involved a series of three reports. The first, titled the "Joint Statement from the Department Of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Election Security ," was released on Oct. 7, 2016. The second report, "GRIZZLY STEPPE -- Russian Malicious Cyber Activity ," was released on Dec. 29, 2016. The third report, "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections " -- also known as the intelligence community assessment (ICA) -- was released on Jan. 6, 2017.

This final report was used to continue pushing the Russia-collusion narrative following the election of President Donald Trump. Notably, Adm. Mike Rogers of the NSA publicly dissented from the findings of the ICA, assigning it only a moderate confidence level.

Fusion GPS and the Steele Dossier

Meanwhile, another less official effort began. Information paid for by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Clinton campaign targeting Trump made its way to the highest levels of the FBI and the State Department, with a sophisticated strategy relying on the personal connections of hired operatives.

<img class=" wp-image-2833265" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/11/GettyImages-621958726-1200x1324.jpg" alt="" width="159" height="176" /> Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

At the center of the multi-pronged strategy to disseminate the information were Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson and former British spy Steele.

In early March 2016, Fusion GPS approached Perkins Coie -- the law firm used by the Clinton campaign and the DNC -- expressing interest in an "engagement," according to an Oct. 24, 2017, response letter by Perkins Coie. The firm hired Fusion GPS in April 2016 to "perform a variety of research services during the 2016 election cycle."

Steele's firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, was retained by Fusion GPS during the period between June and November 2016. During this time, Steele produced 16 memos, with the last memo dated Oct. 20, 2016. There is one final memo that Steele wrote on Dec. 13 at the request of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

<img class=" wp-image-2833240" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/11/GettyImages-634408242-1200x1349.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="180" /> Sen. John McCain commissioned one of Steele's memos. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Steele provided Fusion GPS with something that Simpson's firm was lacking: access to individuals within the FBI and the State Department. These contacts could be traced back to at least 2010, when Steele had provided assistance in the FBI's investigation into FIFA over concerns that Russia might have been engaging in bribery to host the 2018 World Cup.

Sometime in the latter half of 2014, Steele began to informally provide reports he had prepared for a private client to the State Department. One of the recipients of the reports was Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.

After Steele's company was hired by Fusion GPS in June 2016, he began to reach out to the FBI through Michael Gaeta, an FBI agent and assistant legal attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Rome who Steele had worked with on the FIFA case. Gaeta also headed up the FBI's Eurasian Organized Crime unit, which specializes in investigating criminal groups from Georgia, Russia, and Ukraine.

Gaeta was later identified as Steele's FBI handler, in a July 16, 2018, congressional testimony before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees by Page.

<img class=" wp-image-2833242" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/11/victoria-nuland-1200x1373.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="183" /> Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

On July 5, 2016, Gaeta traveled to London and met with Steele at the offices of Steele's firm, Orbis. At some point in early July, Steele passed his initial report to Nuland and the State Department. Nuland later said these documents were passed on at some point to both the FBI and then-Secretary of State John Kerry.

Exactly what happened with the reports that Gaeta brought back from London, and precisely who he gave them to within the FBI, remains unknown, although some media reports have indicated they might have been sent to the FBI's New York Field Office. During the period following Steele's initial contact with the FBI, there appears to have been no further FBI interaction or contact with Steele.

Former CIA Contractor Worked for Fusion GPS

Notably, eight months before Fusion GPS hired Christopher Steele, Simpson had hired Nellie Ohr, the wife of then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, to work for his firm as a researcher in October 2015. It was at this time that Fusion GPS was retained by the Washington Free Beacon to engage in research on the Trump campaign.

Prior to joining Fusion GPS, Nellie had worked as an independent contractor for an internal open-source division of the CIA, Open Source Works, from 2008 to at least June 2010; it appears likely she remained in that role into 2014.

Nellie told congressional investigators, in her Oct. 19, 2018, closed-door testimony, that part of her work for Fusion GPS was to research the Trump 2016 presidential campaign, including campaign associate Carter Page, early campaign supporter Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, and campaign manager Paul Manafort, as well as Trump's family members, including some of his children.

Additionally, email communications between her and Bruce Ohr show that she routinely sent her husband at the DOJ articles on Russia -- most carrying a similar negative slant. The emails continued through the duration of Nellie's employment with Fusion GPS and usually contained a brief, often one-line comment from Nellie.

In her testimony, Nellie described her work as online open-source efforts that utilized "Russian sources, media, social media, government, you know, business registers, legal databases, all kinds of things." Ohr said that she would "write occasional reports based on the open-source research that I described about Donald Trump's relationships with various people in Russia."

The work Nellie conducted for Fusion GPS matches the same skill set used when she worked for Open Source Works, which is a division within the CIA that uses open-source information to produce intelligence products.

When asked how she came to be hired by Fusion GPS and who had approached her, Nellie responded, "Nobody approached me," telling investigators that it was she who had initiated contact and approached Fusion GPS after reading an article on Simpson.

Nellie would continue to work for Fusion GPS until September 2016. By this time, Simpson and Steele already had started working on pushing the Steele dossier into the FBI.

Following the end of her employment with Fusion GPS, Nellie provided Bruce with a memory stick that contained all of the research she had compiled during her time at the firm. Bruce then gave the memory stick to the FBI, through his handler, Joe Pientka.

Bruce Ohr Becomes a Conduit

Nearly a month after Gaeta brought back the reports that Steele provided in London, Simpson and Steele decided to pursue a new channel into the FBI through Bruce Ohr. Bruce had known Steele since at least 2007, when they met during an "official meeting" while Steele was still employed by the British government as an MI6 agent. Steele had already been in contact with Bruce via email in early 2016. Notably, most of these prior communications appeared to discuss Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and his ongoing efforts to obtain a U.S. visa.

<img class=" wp-image-2833270" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/11/Bruce-ohr.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="191" /> Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

On July 29, 2016, Steele wrote to Bruce, saying that he would "be in DC at short notice on business," and asked to meet with both Bruce and his wife. On July 30, 2016, the Ohrs met Steele for breakfast at the Mayflower Hotel. Also present at the breakfast meeting was a fourth individual, described by Bruce as "an associate of Mr. Steele's, another gentleman, younger fellow. I didn't catch his name." Nellie testified that Steele's associate had a British accent.

The timing of the July 30 breakfast meeting is of particular note, as the FBI's counterintelligence investigation, "Crossfire Hurricane," was formally opened the following day, on July 31, 2016, by FBI agent Peter Strzok.

<img class=" wp-image-2833272" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/11/Nellie-Ohr.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="183" /> Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

According to a transcript of Bruce's testimony before Congress, Steele relayed information from his dossier at this meeting and claimed that "a former head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, the SVR, had stated to someone that they had Donald Trump over a barrel."

Steele also referenced Deripaska's business dealings with Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and foreign policy adviser Carter Page's meetings in Moscow.

Lastly, Bruce noted that Steele told him he had been in contact with the FBI but now had additional reports. "Chris Steele had provided some reports to the FBI, I think two, but that Glenn Simpson had more," he said.

Immediately following the Ohrs' breakfast meeting with Steele, Bruce Ohr reached out to FBI Deputy Director McCabe and the two met in McCabe's office -- sometime between July 30 and the first days of August. Also present at this meeting was FBI lawyer Page, who had previously worked for Bruce Ohr at the DOJ, where he was her direct supervisor for five to six years.

Bruce Ohr would later testify that during the July/August meeting, he told McCabe that his wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion, noting, "I wanted the FBI to be aware of any possible bias." FBI General Counsel Baker, who reviewed a portion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) application to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page -- which relied in part on the information from Steele -- told congressional investigators that he was never told of Ohr's concerns regarding possible bias and conflicts of interest.

On Aug. 15, 2016, a week or two following Bruce Ohr's meeting with McCabe, Strzok would send the now-infamous "insurance policy" text referencing McCabe to Lisa Page:

"I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office – that there's no way he gets elected – but I'm afraid we can't take that risk. It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40."

On Aug. 22, Bruce Ohr had a meeting with Simpson. Ohr would later discuss that meeting during his testimony:

"I don't know exactly what Chris Steele was thinking, of course, but I knew that Chris Steele was working for Glenn Simpson, and that Glenn might have additional information that Chris either didn't have or was not authorized to prevent [present], give me, or whatever."

It was at this meeting that Simpson first mentioned Belarusan-American businessman Sergei Millian and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

Brennan's Briefings to the Gang of Eight <img class=" wp-image-2833280" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/11/GettyImages-103218413-1200x1585.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="211" /> Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

During this same period in late August 2016, Brennan began briefing members of the Gang of Eight on the FBI's counterintelligence investigation, through a series of meetings in August and September 2016. Notably, each Gang of Eight member was briefed separately, calling into question whether each of the members received the same information. Efforts by Democrats to block the release of transcripts from each meeting are ongoing. Comey, however, did not notify Congress of the FBI investigation until early March 2017, and it's entirely possible he was unaware of Brennan's private briefings during the summer of 2016.

During her testimony, FBI lawyer Lisa Page was questioned by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) in relation to an Aug. 25, 2016, text message that read, "What are you doing after the CH brief?" CH almost certainly referred to Crossfire Hurricane.

Lisa Page then was asked about an event that took place on the same day as the "CH brief" -- a briefing provided by Brennan to then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid:

"You give a brief on August the 25th. Director Brennan is giving a brief. It's not a Gang of Eight brief. It is a one-on-one, from what we can tell, a one-on-one briefing with Harry Reid at that point."

According to Meadows, Brennan briefed Reid on the Steele dossier:

"We have documents that would suggest that in that briefing the dossier was mentioned to Harry Reid and then obviously we're going to have to have conversations. Does that surprise you that Director Brennan would be aware [of the dossier]?"

Lisa Page appeared genuinely surprised that Brennan would have been aware of the dossier's existence at this early point, telling Meadows: "The FBI got this information from our source. If the CIA had another source of that information, I am neither aware of that nor did the CIA provide it to us if they did."

She elaborated further: "As of August of 2016, I don't know who Christopher Steele is. I don't know that he's an FBI source. I don't know what he does. I have never heard of him in all of my life."

This claim by Page seems incongruous when viewed against Bruce Ohr's testimony that he met with Page and McCabe in the first days of August following his July 30, 2016, breakfast with Steele:

"My initial meeting was with Mr. McCabe and with Lisa Page.

"I was telling them about what I was hearing from Chris Steele."

Meanwhile, Brennan's briefing prompted Reid to write not one but two letters to Comey. Both demanded that Comey commence an investigation, with the details to be made public.

Reid's first letter , which touched on Carter Page, was sent on Aug. 27, 2016. Reid's second letter , far angrier and declaring Comey to be in possession of material information, was sent on Oct. 30, 2016.

There had been reports that Comey had been considering closing the FBI investigation of Trump, something Brennan strongly opposed. Now, with Reid's letters sent, that avenue was effectively closed. The termination of the FBI's Trump–Russia investigation would be all but impossible in the face of Reid's public demands.

Perhaps it was in response to Reid's Aug. 27 letter that the FBI suddenly reached out to Steele in September 2016, asking him for all the information in his possession. The team working on Crossfire Hurricane received documents and a briefing from Steele in mid-September, reportedly at a meeting in Rome, where Gaeta also was present.

During Lisa Page's testimony, she appeared to corroborate this account, noting that the team received the "reports that are known as the dossier from an FBI agent who is Christopher Steele's handler in September of 2016." She would later clarify the timing, noting "we received the reporting from Steele in mid-September." A text sent to her by FBI agent Peter Strzok on Oct. 12, 2016, may provide us with the actual date:

"We got the reporting on Sept 19. Looks like [redacted] got it early August."

Steele had produced eight reports from June 20, 2016, through the end of August 2016 (there also is one undated report included in the dossier). No further reports were generated by Steele until Sept. 14, when he suddenly wrote three separate memos in one day. One of the memos referenced a Russian bank named Alfa Bank, misspelled as "Alpha" in his memo. Steele's sudden burst of productivity was likely done in preparation for his Sept. 19 meeting in Rome with the FBI.

The impact of Brennan's potential knowledge of the dossier in August 2016 should not be underestimated. As Brennan testified to Congress, his briefing to the Gang of Eight was done in consultation with the Obama administration:

"Through the so-called Gang-of-Eight process we kept Congress apprised of these issues as we identified them. Again, in consultation with the White House, I personally briefed the full details of our understanding of Russian attempts to interfere in the election to congressional leadership.

"Given the highly sensitive nature of what was an active counter-intelligence case, involving an ongoing Russian effort, to interfere in our presidential election, the full details of what we knew at the time were shared only with those members of Congress."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/PseDla0l9xE?wmode=transparent&wmode=opaque The Carter Page FISA Warrant <img class=" wp-image-2833286" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/11/Carter-Page.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="207" /> Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

As the dossier was making its way into the FBI, the agency began its preparations to obtain a FISA warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, who was surveilled under Title I of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

According to Baker's testimony, it appears that the FBI began to set its sights on Carter Page in the summer of 2016. When asked how he had first gained knowledge of the FBI's intention to pursue a FISA warrant on Carter Page, Baker testified that it came through his familiarity with the FBI's investigation:

Mr. Baker: " I learned of -- so I was aware when the FBI first started to focus on Carter Page, I was aware of that because it was part of the broader investigation that we were conducting. So I was aware that we were investigating him. And then at some point in time –"

Rep. Meadows: "But that was many years ago. That was in 2014. Or are you talking about 2016?"

Mr. Baker: " I am talking about 2016 in the summer."

Rep. Meadows: "Okay."

Mr. Baker: " Yeah. And so I was aware of the investigation, and then at some point in time, as part of the regular briefings on the case, the briefers mentioned that they were going to pursue a FISA."

It appears the FBI, and possibly the CIA, began to focus on Carter Page earlier than Baker was aware. Carter Page had been invited some months prior to a July 2016 symposium held at Cambridge regarding the upcoming election. The speaker list was notable:

Carter Page attended the event just four days after his July 2016 Moscow trip, and it was during this time in the UK that he first encountered Stefan Halper. Page's Moscow trip would later figure prominently in the Steele dossier.

Halper, who has been outed as an FBI informant, stayed in contact with Carter Page for the next 14 months, severing ties exactly as the final FISA warrant on Page expired.

Trisha Anderson, the principal deputy general counsel for the FBI and head of the bureau's National Security and Cyber Law Branch, approved the application for a warrant to spy on Carter Page before it went to FBI Director James Comey.

According to Anderson, pre-approvals for the Carter Page FISA warrant were provided by both McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, before the FISA application was ever presented to Anderson for review.

"[M]y boss and my boss' boss had already reviewed and approved this application. And, in fact, the Deputy Attorney General, who had the authority to sign the application, to be the substantive approver on the FISA application itself, had approved the application. And that typically would not have been the case before I did that," said Anderson.

The unusual preliminary reviews and approvals from both McCabe and Yates appear to have had a substantial impact on the normal review process, leading other individuals like Anderson to believe that the warrant application was more vetted than it really was.

Anderson also testified that she had not read the Carter Page FISA application prior to signing off on it and passing it along to Comey for the final FBI signature. According to FBI lawyer Sally Moyer, the underlying Woods file (a document that provides facts supporting the allegations made in a FISA application) was only read by the originating agent and the supervisory special agent in the field. Moyer also noted that the Woods file relating to the Page FISA had not been reviewed or audited by anyone.

The Carter Page FISA application was largely reliant on the Steele dossier, which was unverified at the time of its submission to the FISA court and remains unverified by the FBI to this day. Circular reporting, provided by Steele himself, was used as corroboration of the dossier. Additionally, Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, whose conversation with Australian diplomat Alexander Downer was used to open the FBI's July 31, 2016, counterintelligence investigation, is referenced in the FISA, yet there "is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos," according to a House Intelligence Committee memo.

Moyer testified that without the Steele dossier, the Carter Page application would have had a "50/50" chance of achieving the probable cause standard before the FISA court. Notably, the Steele dossier is generally considered to have been largely discredited.

A Perkins Coie Partner and Alfa Bank Allegations

<img class=" wp-image-2679668" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2018/10/05/Michael-Sussmann-Perkins-Coie.jpg" alt="Michael Sussmann Lawyer Perkins Coie" width="160" height="194" /> Michael Sussmann, partner at Perkins Coie. (Courtesy Perkins Coie)

On Sept. 19, shortly after Steele completed his latest three memos, FBI General Counsel James Baker met with Perkins Coie partner Michael Sussmann, the lawyer the DNC turned to on April 28, 2016, after discovering the alleged hacking of their servers.

Sussman, who sought out the meeting, presented Baker with documents that Baker described as "a stack of material I don't know maybe a quarter inch half inch thick something like that clipped together, and then I believe there was some type of electronic media, as well, a disk or something."

The information that Sussmann gave to Baker was related to what Baker described as "a surreptitious channel of communications" between the Trump Organization and "a Russian organization associated with the Russian Government."

Baker was describing alleged communications between Alfa Bank and a server in the Trump Tower. The allegations, which were investigated by the FBI and proven to be false, were widely covered in the media.

Just four days earlier, on Sept. 14, Steele mentioned Alfa Bank (misspelled as Alpha bank) in one of his memos.

According to Baker's testimony, there appears to have been at least three meetings with Sussmann -- the first in person and at least two subsequent meetings by phone. In either the second or third conversation, Baker came to understand The New York Times was also in possession of Sussmann's information. As would become clear later, other members of the media also had this same information.

As Baker was meeting with Sussmann, Steele was back in Washington for a series of meetings that included his DOJ contact, Bruce Ohr.

On Sept. 23, 2016, Bruce Ohr again met with Steele for breakfast, telling lawmakers during testimony, "Steele was in Washington, D.C., again, and he reached out to me, and, again, we met for breakfast, and he provided some additional information." Ohr said this meeting concerned similar topics that were discussed at the July 30, 2016, meeting but did not provide further details.

Bruce Ohr would also meet either that same month or in early October with FBI agent Peter Strzok, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, and DOJ career officials from the criminal division, Bruce Swartz, Zainab Ahmad, and Andrew Weissman (Ohr testified that he was unsure whether Weismann was at this or a later meeting). Both Weissman and Ahmad would later become part of the team assembled by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Steele's Meetings With the Media

On the same day that Bruce Ohr met with Christopher Steele for breakfast, on Sept. 23, 2016, Yahoo News reporter Michael Isikoff published an article about Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page. The article, headlined " U.S. Intel Officials Probe Ties Between Trump Adviser and Kremlin ," was based on an interview with Steele. Isikoff's article would later be used by the FBI in the FISA spy warrant application on Carter Page as corroborating information.

Following the publication of the Isikoff article, the Hillary for America campaign released a statement on the same day that touted Isikoff's "bombshell report," with the full article attached.

A second lengthy article was published on Sept. 23, by Politico: " Who Is Carter Page? The Mystery of Trump's Man in Moscow ," by Julia Ioffe. This article was particularly interesting as it appeared to highlight media efforts by Fusion GPS:

"As I started looking into Page, I began getting calls from two separate 'corporate investigators' digging into what they claim are all kinds of shady connections Page has to all kinds of shady Russians. One is working on behalf of various unnamed Democratic donors; the other won't say who turned him on to Page's scent. Both claimed to me that the FBI was investigating Page for allegedly meeting with Igor Sechin and Sergei Ivanov, who was until recently Putin's chief of staff -- both of whom are on the sanctions list -- when Page was in Moscow in July for that speech."

Ioffe noted that "seemingly everyone I talked to had also talked to the Washington Post, and then there were these corporate investigators who drew a dark and complex web of Page's connections."

Her article also mentioned rumors regarding Alfa Bank:

"In the interest of due diligence, I also tried to run down the rumors being handed me by the corporate investigators: that Russia's Alfa Bank paid for the trip as a favor to the Kremlin; that Page met with Sechin and Ivanov in Moscow; that he is now being investigated by the FBI for those meetings because Sechin and Ivanov were both sanctioned for Russia's invasion of Ukraine."

It was probably during this same trip to Washington that Steele met with Jonathan Winer, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for international law enforcement and former special envoy for Libya, whom Steele had known since at least 2010.

Winer had received a separate dossier , very similar to Steele's, from longtime Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal. This "second dossier" had been compiled by another longtime Clinton operative, former journalist Cody Shearer, and echoed claims made in the Steele dossier. Winer gave Steele a copy of the "second dossier." Steele then shared this second dossier with the FBI, which may have used it as a means to corroborate Steele's own dossier.

Steele also met with U.S. media during his visit to Washington, doing so "at Fusion's instruction." According to UK Court documents , Steele testified that he "briefed" The New York Times, The Washington Post, Yahoo News, The New Yorker, and CNN at the end of September 2016. Steele would engage in a second round of media contact in mid-October 2016, meeting again with The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Yahoo News. Steele testified that all these meetings were "conducted verbally in person."

Alfa Bank Media Leaks

<img class=" wp-image-2679669" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2018/10/05/james-baker.jpg" alt="James Baker FBi Special Counsel" width="160" height="203" /> Former FBI General Counsel James Baker.

As Steele's media meetings were going on, FBI General Counsel James Baker learned that Perkins Coie partner Michael Sussmann was also speaking with reporters from The New York Times regarding the Alfa Bank information that Sussmann had provided to the FBI. After some internal discussion, the FBI approached both Sussmann and The New York Times, asking that any story be held until the FBI had time to complete an investigation into the documents provided by Sussmann. It appears that an agreement was reached, and the FBI began to look into the claims regarding Alfa Bank and the server at Trump Tower.

But Sussman wasn't the only one that Baker, currently the subject of an ongoing criminal leak investigation, was speaking with. According to congressional investigators, beginning sometime in September 2016 -- before the presidential election -- Baker began having conversations with his old friend and journalist, David Corn of Mother Jones.

According to Baker, these conversations were in relation to ongoing FBI matters:

Rep. Jordan: " Did you talk to Mr. Corn prior to the election about anything, anything related to FBI matters? Not -- so we're not going to ask about the Steele dossier. Anything about FBI business, FBI matters?"

Mr. Baker: " Yes."

Rep. Jordan: " Yes. And do you know -- can you give me some dates or the number of times that you talked to Mr. Corn about FBI matters leading up to the 2016 Presidential election?"

Mr. Baker: " I don't remember, Congressman."

By Oct. 31, 2016, the FBI had apparently wrapped up their investigation into the Alfa Bank allegations, finding no evidence of anything untoward in the process. It was on this day that three separate articles on Alfa Bank would be published.

The first, " Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia " by The New York Times, appeared to be an updated version of the article they had intended to publish before the FBI asked them to delay their reporting. It stated the following:

"In classified sessions in August and September, intelligence officials also briefed congressional leaders on the possibility of financial ties between Russians and people connected to Mr. Trump. They focused particular attention on what cyberexperts said appeared to be a mysterious computer back channel between the Trump Organization and the Alfa Bank, which is one of Russia's biggest banks and whose owners have longstanding ties to Mr. Putin."

The reference to "classified sessions in August and September" is likely in relation to the series of Gang of Eight briefings that former CIA Director John Brennan engaged in at that time -- including his briefing to then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. The article continued:

"F.B.I. officials spent weeks examining computer data showing an odd stream of activity to a Trump Organization server and Alfa Bank. Computer logs obtained by The New York Times show that two servers at Alfa Bank sent more than 2,700 'look-up' messages -- a first step for one system's computers to talk to another -- to a Trump-connected server beginning in the spring. But the F.B.I. ultimately concluded that there could be an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam, for the computer contacts."

The second article, "Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia?" by Slate Magazine, was solely focused on the allegations regarding a server in the Trump Tower that had allegedly been communicating with a server at Alfa Bank in Russia.

Immediately following the publication of the Slate article, Clinton posted a tweet that included a statement from Jake Sullivan, a senior policy adviser:

"Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank."

Sullivan's statement referenced the Slate article and included the following:

"This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow. Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank.

"This secret hotline may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Trump's ties to Russia. It certainly seems the Trump Organization felt it had something to hide, given that it apparently took steps to conceal the link when it was discovered by journalists."

The Alfa Bank story took off -- despite the same-day story from The New York Times that specifically noted the FBI had investigated that matter and found nothing untoward.

The final article published on Oct. 31, " A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump " by Mother Jones reporter -- and Baker's friend -- David Corn, also mentioned Alfa Bank:

"In recent weeks, reporters in Washington have pursued anonymous online reports that a computer server related to the Trump Organization engaged in a high level of activity with servers connected to Alfa Bank, the largest private bank in Russia. On Monday, a Slate investigation detailed the pattern of unusual server activity but concluded, 'We don't yet know what this [Trump] server was for, but it deserves further explanation.' In an email to Mother Jones, Hope Hicks, a Trump campaign spokeswoman, maintains, 'The Trump Organization is not sending or receiving any communications from this email server. The Trump Organization has no communication or relationship with this entity or any Russian entity.'"

More notably, Corn's article also provided the first public reporting on the existence of the Steele dossier:

"A former senior intelligence officer for a Western country who specialized in Russian counterintelligence tells Mother Jones that in recent months he provided the bureau with memos, based on his recent interactions with Russian sources, contending the Russian government has for years tried to co-opt and assist Trump -- and that the FBI requested more information from him."

As it turns out, Corn had detailed, first-hand knowledge of the dossier. According to testimony from Baker, Corn had been provided with parts of the dossier by Fusion GPS head Glenn Simpson. Baker knew of this fact, because within a week of publishing his article, Corn passed these dossier parts on to Baker personally:

Rep. Jordan: " Prior to the election Mr. Corn had a copy of the dossier and was talking to you about giving that to you so the FBI would have it. Is that all right? I mean all accurate."

Mr. Baker: " My recollection is that he had part of the dossier, that we had other parts already, and that we got still other parts from other people, and that -- and nevertheless some of the parts that David Corn gave us were parts that we did not have from another source?"

Steele had written four memos after the FBI team received his information in mid-September. All of the memos were written in October -- on the 12th, 18th, 19th, and the 20th. It is possible that these were the memos passed along to Baker by Corn.

Baker testified that he received elements of the dossier from Corn that were not in the FBI's possession at the time. He said that he immediately turned this information over to leadership within the FBI, noting, "I think it was Bill Priestap," the head of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division.

The use of personal relationships as a mechanism to transmit outside information to the FBI was actually noted by Baker, who said of Corn: "Even though he was my friend, I was also an FBI official. He knew that. And so he wanted to somehow get that into the hands of the FBI."

Bruce Ohr's FBI Handler

Christopher Steele was terminated as a source by the FBI on Nov. 1, 2016, for communicating with the media. Despite this, DOJ official Bruce Ohr and Steele communicated regularly for another full year, until November 2017.

On Nov. 21, 2016, Ohr had a meeting with FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, and was introduced to FBI agent Joe Pientka, who became Ohr's FBI handler. Pientka was also present with Strzok during the Jan. 24, 2017, interview of Trump's national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn .

The next day, Nov. 22, 2016, Ohr met alone with Pientka. Ohr would continue to relay his communications with Steele to the FBI through Pientka, who then recorded them in FD-302 forms. What Ohr didn't know was that Pientka was transmitting all the information directly to Strzok.

Ohr, in his testimony, detailed his interactions with Steele and Glenn Simpson, as well as his communications with officials at the FBI and DOJ. Notably, Ohr repeatedly stated that he never vetted any of the information provided by either Steele or Simpson. He simply turned it over or relayed it to the FBI -- usually to Pientka -- but Ohr also testified that "at least on two occasions I was handed onto a new agent."

Sometime in late 2016, his wife, Nellie Ohr, provided him with a memory stick containing all of her research that she had compiled while employed at Fusion GPS. Bruce Ohr testified he gave the memory stick to Pientka. Nellie Ohr had left Fusion in September 2016. Through Pientka, Strzok now had all of Nellie Ohr's Fusion research in his possession.

On Dec. 10, 2016, Bruce Ohr met with Simpson, who gave him a memory stick that Ohr believed contained a copy of the Steele dossier. Ohr also passed this second memory stick along to Pientka.

On Jan. 20, 2017, Ohr had one final communication with Simpson, a phone call that took place on the same day as Trump's inauguration. Ohr testified that Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson was concerned that one of Steele's sources was about to be exposed through the pending publication of an article:

Mr. Ohr: " He says something along the lines of, I -- there's going to be some reporting in the next few days that's going to -- could expose the source, and the source could be in personal danger."

Rep. Meadows: " And why was he concerned about that source being exposed?"

Mr. Ohr: " I think he was aware of some kind of article that was likely to come out in the next, you know, few days or something."

Apparently, Simpson's information was at least partly accurate. On Jan. 24, 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported that Sergei Millian, a Belarusan-American businessman and onetime Russian government translator, was both "Source D" and "Source E" in the dossier. It remains unknown exactly how Simpson knew in advance that Millian would be outed as a source.

But there are some questions as to the accuracy of the Journal's reporting. The dossier appears to conflict with the newspaper's article in at least one aspect. According to the dossier, Source E was used as confirmation for Source D -- meaning they can't be the same person.

McCain, the Dossier, and a UK Connection

Simpson and Steele were carefully thorough in their dissemination efforts. The dossier was fed into U.S. channels through several different sources.

One such source was Sir Andrew Wood, the former British ambassador to Russia, who had been briefed about the dossier by Steele. Wood may have previously worked on behalf of Steele's company, Orbis Business Intelligence; he was referenced in a UK court filing as an associate of Orbis. Wood was also referred to as an adviser to Orbis in a deposition by an associate of late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), David Kramer.

Kramer knew Wood previously from their mutual expertise on Russia. Kramer said in his deposition, which was part of a defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed News, that Wood told him that "he was aware of information that he thought I should be aware of and that Senator McCain might be interested in."

<img class=" wp-image-2833323" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/11/kramer-300x300.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="173" /> McCain associate David Kramer. (Courtesy McCain Institute)

McCain, Wood, and Kramer would meet later that afternoon, on Nov. 19, 2016, in a private meeting room at the Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Wood told both Kramer and McCain that "he was aware of this information that had been gathered that raised the possibility of collusion and compromising material on the president-elect. And he explained that he knew the person who gathered the information and felt that the person was of the utmost credibility," Kramer said.

Kramer ascribed the word "collusion" three times to Wood in his deposition. He also said that Wood mentioned the possible existence of a video "of a sexual nature" that might have "shown the president-elect in a compromising situation." According to Kramer, Wood said that "if it existed, that it was from a hotel in Moscow when president-elect, before he was president-elect, had been in Moscow."

No such video was ever uncovered or given to Kramer.

Kramer testified that following the description of the video, "the senator turned to me and asked if I would go to London to meet with what turned out to be Mr. Steele."

Kramer traveled to London to meet with Steele on Nov. 28, 2016. Kramer reviewed all the memos during his meeting with Steele but wasn't provided with a physical copy of the dossier.

When Kramer returned to Washington, he was provided with a copy of the dossier -- which, at that point, consisted of 16 memos -- during a meeting with Simpson on Nov. 29, 2016. Kramer also testified that there was another individual, "a male," present at the meeting.

<img class=" wp-image-2849229" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/22/John-McCain-1200x1530.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="204" /> Late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Interestingly, Kramer testified that Simpson gave him two copies of the dossier, noting that Simpson told him that "one had more things blacked out than the other." Kramer said, "It wasn't entirely clear to me why there were two versions of this, so but I took both versions."

Kramer noted that Simpson, who was aware the dossier was being given to McCain, said the dossier "was a very sensitive document and needed to be handled very carefully."

Despite that warning, Kramer showed the dossier to a number of journalists and had discussions with at least 14 members of the media, along with some individuals in the U.S. government.

Kramer testified that he gave a physical copy of the dossier to reporters Peter Stone and Greg Gordon of McClatchy; to Fred Hiatt, the editor of the Washington Post editorial page; Alan Cullison of The Wall Street Journal; Bob Little at NPR; Carl Bernstein at CNN; and Ken Bensinger at BuzzFeed. It's possible that Kramer gave copies to other reporters as well.

Kramer said that Simpson and Steele were aware of most of these contacts, but that Kramer hadn't told either of them that he gave the dossier to NPR. He also noted that Steele had been in contact with Bernstein at CNN and that the CNN and BuzzFeed meetings occurred at Steele's request. Steele told Kramer that he and Bensinger "had been in touch during the FIFA investigation; they got to know each other that way."

According to Kramer, he didn't believe that Fusion GPS and Simpson were aware of these two meetings with CNN and BuzzFeed.

Kramer testified that he, McCain, and McCain's chief of staff, Christopher Brose, met to review the dossier on Nov. 30, 2016. Kramer suggested that McCain "provide a copy of [the dossier] to the director of the FBI and the director of the CIA." McCain later passed a copy of the dossier to James Comey on Dec. 9, 2016. It isn't known whether McCain also provided a copy to then-CIA Director John Brennan. Notably, Brennan did attach a two-page summary of the dossier to the intelligence community assessment that he delivered to outgoing President Barack Obama on Jan. 5, 2017.

Kramer said that he wasn't aware of the content of McCain's Dec. 9 discussion with Comey, noting that he "did not get any readout from the senator on the meeting, but just that it had happened."

Kramer did, however, provide updates to both Steele and Simpson regarding the status of McCain's meeting with Comey, in subsequent discussions with Simpson and Steele:

"It was mostly just to inform him about whether or not the senator had transfer -- transmitted the document to the FBI. Both he and Mr. Steele were -- I kept them apprised of whether the senator was -- where the senator was in terms of his contact with the FBI."

The implications of this statement are significant. Kramer, a private citizen, was providing updates to a former British spy as to what a sitting senator, and chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, was saying to the director of the FBI.

Other members of the media also had advance knowledge of McCain's intention to meet with Comey. Kramer testified that both Mother Jones reporter David Corn and Guardian reporter Julian Borger came to meet with him. According to Kramer, "They were mostly interested in Senator McCain and his, whether he had given it to Director Comey or not."

Several days after McCain, Brose, and Kramer met to discuss the dossier, Kramer said that McCain instructed him to meet with Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasian Affairs, and Celeste Wallander, the senior director for Russia and Central Asia on the National Security Council.

The purpose of the meeting was to verify whether the dossier "was being taken seriously." Both Nuland and Wallander were previously aware of the dossier's existence, and both officials previously knew Steele, whom "they believed to be credible." Kramer said he didn't physically share the dossier with them at this point, but met again with Wallander "around New Years" and "gave her a copy of the document"

Nuland had actually received a copy of the earlier Steele memos back in July 2016.

Steele produced a final memo dated Dec. 13, 2016. According to UK court documents , Kramer, on behalf of McCain, had asked Steele to provide any further intelligence that he had gathered relating to "alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election." Notably, it appears it was this request from McCain that led Steele to produce his Dec. 13 memo.

Although Kramer didn't provide a date, he said he received the final Steele memo sometime after "Senator McCain had provided the copy to Director Comey." We know that Kramer received the final memo prior to Dec. 29 -- when Kramer met with BuzzFeed's Bensinger.

Kramer testified that Bensinger "said he wanted to read them, he asked me if he could take photos of them on his -- I assume it was an iPhone. I asked him not to. He said he was a slow reader, he wanted to read it. And so I said, you know, I got a phone call to make, and I had to go to the bathroom " Kramer said that he "left him to read it for 20, 30 minutes."

Kramer also testified that besides the reporters, he gave a final copy of the dossier to two other people in early January 2017: Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Il.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan's chief of staff, Jonathan Burks.

James Clapper Leaks Details of Obama–Trump Briefings

The ICA on alleged Russian hacking was released internally on Jan. 5, 2017. On this same day, outgoing president Obama held an undisclosed White House meeting to discuss the assessment -- and the attached summation of the dossier -- with national security adviser Susan Rice, FBI Director James Comey, and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. Rice would later send herself an email documenting the meeting.

The following day, CIA Director John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Comey attached a written summary of the Steele dossier to the classified briefing they gave Obama. Comey then met with President-elect Trump to inform him of the dossier. This meeting took place just hours after Comey, Brennan, and Clapper formally briefed Obama on both the ICA and the Steele dossier.

<img class=" wp-image-2833293" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/11/James-Clapper-1200x1296.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="173" /> Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Comey would only inform Trump of the "salacious" details contained within the dossier. He later explained on CNN in an April 2018 interview that he had done so at the request of Clapper and Brennan, "because that was the part that the leaders of the intelligence community agreed he needed to be told about."

Shortly after Comey's meeting with Trump, both the Trump–Comey meeting and the existence of the dossier were leaked to CNN. The significance of the meeting was material, as Comey noted in a Jan. 7 memo :

"Media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook. I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the FBI has the material."

The media had widely dismissed the dossier as unsubstantiated and, therefore, unreportable. It was only after learning that Comey briefed Trump on it that CNN reported on the dossier. The House Intelligence Committee report on Russian election interference confirmed that Clapper personally leaked confirmation of the dossier, along with Comey's meeting with Trump, to CNN:

"The Committee's investigation revealed that President-elect Trump was indeed briefed on the contents of the Steele dossier and when questioned by the Committee, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper admitted that he confirmed the existence of the dossier to the media."

Additionally, the House intelligence report shows Clapper appears to have been the direct source for CNN's Jake Tapper and his Jan. 10 story that disclosed the existence of the dossier:

"When initially asked about leaks related to the ICA in July 2017, former DNI Clapper flatly denied 'discuss[ing] the dossier [compiled by Steele] or any other intelligence related to Russia hacking of the 2016 election with journalists.' Clapper subsequently acknowledged discussing the 'dossier with CNN journalist Jake Tapper,' and admitted that he might have spoken with other journalists about the same topic.

"Clapper's discussion with Tapper took place in early January 2017, around the time IC leaders briefed President Obama and President-elect Trump, on 'the Christopher Steele information,' a two-page summary of which was 'enclosed in' the highly-classified version of the ICA."

On Jan. 10, 2017, CNN published the article "Intel Chiefs Presented Trump With Claims of Russian Efforts to Compromise Him " by Evan Perez, Jim Sciutto, Jake Tapper, and Carl Bernstein. (The article would later be updated and have a Jan. 12, 2017, date.)

The allegations within the dossier were made public, and with reporting of the briefings by intelligence community leaders, instant credibility was given to the dossier's assertions.

Immediately following the CNN story, BuzzFeed published the Steele dossier, and the Trump–Russia conspiracy was pushed into the mainstream.

David Kramer was asked about his reaction when CNN broke the story on the dossier. According to his deposition, Kramer stated, "I believe my words were 'Holy [expletive].'"

Kramer, who was actually meeting with The Guardian's Julian Borger when CNN reported on the dossier, said that he quickly spoke with Steele, who "was shocked."

On the following day, Jan. 11, 2017, Clapper issued a statement condemning the leaks -- without revealing the fact that he was the source of the leak.

On Nov. 17, 2016, Clapper submitted his resignation as director of national intelligence; his resignation became effective on Jan. 20, 2017. Later that year, CNN hired Clapper as its national security analyst.

The Effort to Remove General Flynn

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, then-national security adviser to President Donald Trump, was interviewed on Jan. 24, 2017, by FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka about two December 2016 conversations that Flynn had had with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

<img class=" wp-image-2833340" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/11/Michael-Flynn-1200x1469.jpg" alt="" width="161" height="197" /> National security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. (Kevin Hagen/Getty Images)

Details of the phone conversation had leaked to the media. Flynn ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI regarding his conversations with Kislyak. It remains unknown to this day who leaked Flynn's classified call -- a far more serious felony violation.

The Washington Post reported in January 2017 that the FBI had found no evidence of wrongdoing in Flynn's actual call with the Russian ambassador. The call, and the matters discussed in it, broke no laws.

Flynn has been portrayed in the media as being suspiciously close to Russia; a dinner in Moscow that occurred in late 2015 is frequently cited as evidence of this.

On Dec. 10, 2015, Flynn attended an event in Moscow to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Russian television network RT. Flynn, who was seated next to Russian President Vladimir Putin for the culminating dinner, was also interviewed on national security matters by an RT correspondent. Flynn's speaker's bureau, Leading Authorities Inc., was paid $45,000 for the event and Flynn received $33,000 of the total amount.

Seated at the same table with Flynn was Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate in the 2016 election. By all accounts, including Stein's , Flynn and Putin didn't engage in any real conversation. At the time, Flynn's trip didn't garner significant attention. But it would later be used by the media and the Clinton campaign to push the Russia-collusion narrative.

Notably, as stated by lawyer Robert Kelner, Flynn disclosed his Moscow trip to the Defense Intelligence Agency before he traveled there and provided a full briefing upon his return:

"As has previously been reported, General Flynn briefed the Defense Intelligence Agency, a component agency of the DoD, extensively regarding the RT speaking event trip both before and after the trip, and he answered any questions that were posed by the DIA concerning the trip during those briefings."

Flynn's trip to Russia was first brought to broader attention on July 18, 2016, during a live interview at the Republican National Convention with Yahoo News reporter Michael Isikoff.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/vjvvtuDEQJY?wmode=transparent&wmode=opaque

The Isikoff interview took place on July 18, 2016. Unknown at the time, the matter had also captured the attention of Christopher Steele, who had begun publishing his dossier memos on June 20, 2016.

Contained within an Aug. 10, 2016, memo was this initial reference to Flynn:

"Kremlin engaging with several high profile US players, including STEIN, PAGE and (former DIA Director Michael Flynn) and funding their recent visits to Moscow."

In addition to the obvious questions raised by the timing of Flynn's name appearing in Steele's Aug. 10 memo, is the manner in which Flynn is denoted. All other names are capitalized, in the manner of intelligence briefings. Flynn's name isn't capitalized and, in one case, appears within parentheses.

Steele met with Yahoo News' Isikoff in September 2016 and gave him information from the dossier. The resulting Sept. 23, 2016, article from Isikoff was then cited by the FBI as validating Steele's claims and was featured in the original FISA application , and its three subsequent renewals , for a warrant to spy on Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

Steele wasn't the only person Isikoff was working with. On April 26, 2016, Isikoff published a story on Yahoo News about Paul Manafort's business dealings with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. It was later learned from a Democratic National Committee (DNC) email leaked by Wikileaks that Isikoff had been working with Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American operative who was doing consulting work for the DNC. Chalupa met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose alleged ties between Trump, Manafort, and Russia.

The obvious question remains: How did the information on Flynn make its way into the dossier at the time it did, and who provided the information to Steele?

Flynn's 2015 dinner in Moscow was initially used to implicate the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. It was then used as a means to cast doubts on Flynn's ability as Trump's national security adviser. Following Flynn's resignation, it was then used as a means to pursue the ongoing collusion narrative that gained full strength in the early days of the Trump administration.

A Jan. 10, 2017, article in The New York Times, " Trump's National Security Pick Sees Ally in Fight Against Islamists: Russia ," highlighted the efforts:

"In an extraordinary report released last week, the agencies bluntly accused the Russian government of having worked to undermine American democracy and promote the candidacy of Mr. Trump. The report is likely to renew questions about Mr. Flynn's avowed eagerness to work with Russia, and his dismissal of concerns about President Vladimir V. Putin."

Flynn would resign from his position as national security adviser in February 2017. The sequence of events leading to his resignation were both coordinated and orchestrated, with acting Attorney General Sally Yates playing a leading role.

On Jan. 12, 2017, Flynn's Dec. 29, 2016, call with Kislyak was leaked to The Washington Post. The article portrayed Flynn as undermining Obama's Russia sanctions that had been imposed on the same day as Flynn's call with the Russian ambassador.

On Jan. 15, five days before Trump's inauguration, Vice President Mike Pence appeared on "Face the Nation" to defend Flynn's calls.

A few days later, on Jan. 19, Obama officials -- Yates, Clapper, Brennan and Comey -- met to discuss Flynn's situation. The concern they reportedly discussed was that Flynn might have misled Trump administration officials regarding the nature of his call with Kislyak.

<img class="wp-image-2852644 size-full" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2018/10/25/spygate-small.jpg" alt="" width="592" height="724" /> Click on the infographic to enlarge

Yates, Clapper, and Brennan supported informing the Trump administration of their concerns. Comey took a dissenting view. On Jan 23, Yates again pressured Comey, telling the FBI director that she believed Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail. At this point, according to media reports, Comey relented, despite the FBI finding nothing unlawful in the content of Flynn's calls.

Strzok and Pientka, at the instruction of McCabe, interviewed Flynn the following day. According to court documents, McCabe and other FBI officials "decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed." It was during this interview that Flynn reportedly lied to the FBI.

The DOJ was provided with a detailed briefing of the Flynn interview on the following day. On Jan. 26, Yates contacted White House counsel Don McGahn, who agreed to meet to discuss the matter. Yates arrived at McGahn's office, bringing Mary McCord, John Carlin's acting replacement as head of the DOJ's National Security Division.

Yates later testified before Congress that the meeting surrounded Flynn's phone calls and his FBI interview. She also testified that Flynn's call and subsequent interview "was a topic of a whole lot of discussion in DOJ and with other members of the intel community." McGahn reportedly asked Yates, "Why does it matter to the DOJ if one White House official lies to another official?"

McGahn called Yates the following day and asked her to return for a second meeting. Yates returned to the White House without McCord. McGahn asked to examine the FBI's evidence on Flynn. Yates said she would respond by the following Monday.

Yates failed to provide McGahn with the FBI's evidence on Flynn. From that point, the pressure on Flynn and the Trump administration escalated -- with help from media reporting.

Flynn resigned on Feb. 13, after it was reported that he had misled Pence about phone conversations he'd had with Kislyak.

The following day, The New York Times reported that "phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials."

With Flynn gone and the Russian narrative firmly established, the conspirators then turned their attention to Trump's newly confirmed attorney general, Jeff Sessions . On March 1, 2017, The Washington Post reported that Sessions had twice had contact with the Russian ambassador, Kislyak. The following day, March 2, Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation.

On the same day that Sessions recused himself, Evelyn Farkas, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense, detailed efforts at hampering the newly installed Trump administration, during a March 2, 2017, interview with MSNBC , in which she described how the Obama administration gathered and disseminated intelligence on the Trump team:

"I was urging my former colleagues and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill 'Get as much information as you can. Get as much intelligence as you can before President Obama leaves the administration.'

"The Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about the Trump staff's dealing with Russians, [they] would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence. That's why you have the leaking."

Note that Farkas said "how we knew," not just "what we knew."

Obama Officials Used Unmasking to Target the Trump Campaign

On Tuesday, March 21, 2017, the chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), met a classified source who showed him "dozens" of intelligence reports. Contained within these reports was evidence of surveillance on the Trump campaign. Nunes held a press conference on March 22 highlighting what he had found:

<img class=" wp-image-2849235" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/22/Devin-Nunes-1200x1522.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="203" /> Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

"I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition. Details about persons associated with the incoming administration, details with little apparent foreign intelligence value were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting."

In a series of rapid-fire questions and answers, Nunes attempted to elaborate on what he had been shown:

"From what I know right now, it looks like incidental collection. We don't know exactly how that was picked up but we're trying to get to the bottom of it I think the NSA's going to comply. I am concerned – we don't know whether or not the FBI is going to comply. I have placed a call, I'm waiting to talk to Director Comey, hopefully later today.

"I have seen intelligence reports that clearly show the President-elect and his team were at least monitored and disseminated out in intelligence, in what appears to be raw -- well I shouldn't say raw -- but intelligence reporting channels.

"It looks to me like it was all legally collected, but it was essentially a lot of information on the President-elect and his transition team and what they were doing."

The documents Nunes had been shown highlighted the unmasking activities of the FBI, the Obama administration, and CIA Director Brennan in relation to the Trump campaign. Although March 2017 would prove chaotic, the Trump administration had survived the first crucial months, and would now begin to slowly assert its administrative authority.

Comey Testifies No Obstruction by Trump Administration

On May 3, 2017, James Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Under oath, Comey stated that his agency -- and the FBI's investigation -- had not been pressured by the Trump administration:

Sen. Hirono: " So if the attorney general or senior officials at the Department of Justice opposes a specific investigation, can they halt that FBI investigation?"

Mr. Comey: " In theory, yes."

Sen. Hirono: " Has it happened?"

Mr. Comey: " Not in my experience. Because it would be a big deal to tell the FBI to stop doing something that – without an appropriate purpose. I mean where oftentimes they give us opinions that we don't see a case there and so you ought to stop investing resources in it. But I'm talking about a situation where we were told to stop something for a political reason. That would be a very big deal. It's not happened in my experience."

<img class="wp-image-2849240" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/22/Former-FBI-Director-James-Comey-.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="199" /> FBI Director James Comey. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Less than a week later, on May 9, Trump fired Comey based on a May 8 recommendation by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein .

Rosenstein would later tell members of Congress: "In one of my first meetings with then-Sen. Jeff Sessions last winter, we discussed the need for new leadership at the FBI. Among the concerns that I recall were to restore the credibility of the FBI, respect the established authority of the Department of Justice, limit public statements and eliminate leaks."

Regarding the recommendation, Rosenstein said: "I wrote it. I believe it. I stand by it."

McCabe's FBI Reaches Out Again to Steele

Within days of Trump's firing of Comey, the FBI, now under the leadership of acting-FBI Director Andrew McCabe, suddenly decided to reestablish direct contact with Christopher Steele through DOJ official Bruce Ohr.

The re-engagement attempt came six months after Steele had been formally terminated by the FBI on Nov. 1, 2016.

The FBI's re-engagement of Ohr was highlighted during a congressional review of some text messages between Ohr and Steele:

Mr. Ohr: " The FBI had asked me a few days before, when I reported to them my latest conversation with Chris Steele, they had had would he -- next time you talk with him, could you ask him if he would be willing to meet again."

Rep. Jordan: " So this is the re-engagement?"

Mr. Ohr: " Yes."

The texts being referenced were sent on May 15, 2017, and refer to a request that Ohr received from the FBI to ask Steele to re-engage with the FBI in the days after Comey had been fired on May 9.

This was the only time the FBI used Ohr to reach out to Steele.

The Battle Between McCabe and Rosenstein

Two days after Comey was fired, on May 11, 2017, McCabe testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. While the hearing's original intent had been to focus on national security threats, Trump's firing of Comey completely altered the topic of the hearing.

McCabe, who agreed that he would notify the committee "of any effort to interfere with the FBI's ongoing investigation into links between Russia and the Trump campaign," told members of Congress that there had been "no effort to impede our investigation to date." In other words, McCabe testified that he was unaware of any evidence of obstruction from Trump or his administration. Notably, Comey's May 3 testimony may have left McCabe with little choice other than to confirm there had been no obstruction.

<img class="wp-image-2849245 " src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/22/McCabe-1200x1290.jpg" alt="" width="161" height="173" /> Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

McCabe, however, failed to inform the committee that he was actively considering opening an obstruction-of-justice probe of Trump -- a path he would initiate in a meeting with Rosenstein just five days later.

On the morning of May 16, 2017, Rosenstein allegedly suggested to McCabe that he could secretly record Trump. It was at this meeting that McCabe was "pushing for the Justice Department to open an investigation into the president," according to witness accounts reported by The Washington Post.

In addition to McCabe, Rosenstein, and McCabe's special counsel, Lisa Page, there were one or two others present, including Rosenstein's chief of staff , James Crowley, and possibly Scott Schools, the senior-most career attorney at the DOJ and a top aide to Rosenstein.

An unnamed participant at the meeting, in comments to The Washington Post, framed the conversation between McCabe and Rosenstein in an entirely different light, noting that Rosenstein had responded with angry sarcasm to McCabe, saying, "What do you want to do, Andy, wire the president?"

This was just five days after McCabe had publicly testified that there was no obstruction on the part of the Trump administration.

<img class="wp-image-2849247 " src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/22/Rod-Rosenstein-1200x1404.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="187" /> Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Sometime later that same day, both Rosenstein and Trump met with former FBI Director Robert Mueller in the Oval Office. The meeting was reported as being for the FBI director position, but the idea that Mueller would be considered for the FBI director role seems highly unlikely.

Mueller had previously served as the FBI director from 2001 to 2013 -- two years beyond the normal 10-year tenure for an FBI director. In 2011, Obama requested that Mueller stay on as FBI director for an additional two years, which required special congressional approval .

Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel the following day, on May 17, 2017, and in doing so, Rosenstein removed control of the Trump–Russia investigation from McCabe and put it in the hands of Mueller.

This was confirmed in a recent statement by a DOJ spokesperson, who said, "The deputy attorney general in fact appointed special counsel Robert Mueller, and directed that Mr. McCabe be removed from any participation in that investigation."

Following the appointment of Mueller as special counsel, it also appears the FBI's efforts to re-engage with Steele abruptly ended.

'There's No Big There There'

We know the FBI hadn't found any evidence of collusion in the May 2017 timeframe. While McCabe was attempting to open an obstruction investigation, Peter Strzok -- who played a key role in the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign -- texted Lisa Page about lacking evidence of collusion:

"You and I both know the odds are nothing. If I thought it was likely, I'd be there, no question. I hesitate, in part, because of my gut sense and concern there's no big there there."

Page, who was asked about this text during her July 2018 testimony, said, "So I think this represents that even as far as May of 2017, we still couldn't answer the question."

James Baker, who was questioned about the Strzok text, was then asked if he'd seen any evidence to the contrary. He stumbled a bit in his reply:

Rep. Meadows: " Do you have any evidence to the contrary that you observed personally in your official capacity?"

Mr. Baker: " So the difficulty I'm having with your question is, what does 'collusion' mean, and what does 'prove' mean? And so I don't know how to respond to that."

FBI Leadership Speculates on New Trump–Russia Collusion Narrative

In his testimony, Baker disclosed the actual substance of discussions taking place at the upper echelons of the FBI immediately following Comey's firing -- that Vladimir Putin had ordered Trump to fire Comey:

Mr. Baker: " We discussed, so to the best of my recollection, with the same people I described earlier: Mr. McCabe, possibly Mr. Gattis [Carl Ghattas, executive assistant director of the National Security Branch], Mr. Priestap, possibly Lisa Page, possibly Pete Strzok. I don't remember that specifically."

Rep. Ratcliffe: " So there was -- there was a discussion between those folks, possibly all of the folks that you've identified, about whether or not President Trump had been ordered to fire Jim Comey by the Russian Government?"

Mr. Baker: " I wouldn't say ordered. I guess I would say the words I sort of used earlier, acting at the behest of and somehow following directions, somehow executing their will, whether -- and so literally an order or not, I don't know. But -- "

Rep. Ratcliffe: " And so -- "

Mr. Baker: " As a -- it was discussed as a theoretical possibility."

Rep. Ratcliffe: " When was it discussed?"

Mr. Baker: "After the firing, like in the aftermath of the firing."

The FBI, with no actual evidence of collusion after 10 months of investigating, began discussing a complete hypothetical at the highest levels of leadership as a means to possibly open an obstruction-of-justice investigation of the president of the United States.

During his testimony, Baker told lawmakers: "I had a jaundiced eye about everything, yes. I had skepticism about all this stuff. I was concerned about all of this. This whole situation was horrible, and it was novel and we were trying to figure out what to do, and it was highly unusual."

McCabe was later fired for lying to the DOJ inspector general and is currently the subject of a criminal grand jury investigation.

The Fixer

Despite the ongoing assault from the intelligence community and holdovers from the Obama administration, Trump was not entirely without allies.

Dana Boente, one of the nation's highest-profile federal prosecutors, served in a series of critical shifting roles within the Trump administration. Boente, who remained the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia until early 2018, concurrently became the acting attorney general following the firing of Sally Yates. Boente, who was specifically appointed by Trump, was not directly in the line of succession that had been previously laid out under an unusual executive order from the Obama administration.

<img class=" wp-image-2849248" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/22/Dana-Boente.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="213" /> FBI General Counsel Dana Boente. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Upon the confirmation of Sessions as attorney general, Boente next served as acting deputy attorney general until the confirmation of Rod Rosenstein as deputy attorney general on April 25, 2017. Boente then became the acting head of the DOJ's National Security Division on April 28, 2017, following the sudden resignation of Mary McCord.

Boente was appointed as FBI general counsel on Jan. 23, 2018, replacing Baker, who was demoted and reassigned. Baker is currently the subject of a criminal leak investigation. Boente remains in his position as FBI general counsel.

On March 31, 2017, the Trump administration asked for the resignations all 46 holdover U.S. attorneys from the Obama administration. Trump refused to accept the resignations of just three of them -- Boente, Rosenstein, and John Huber.

As Sessions noted in a March 29, 2018, letter to congressional chairmen Chuck Grassley, Bob Goodlatte, and Trey Gowdy, Huber was assigned by Sessions to lead a prosecution team and is currently working with DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz:

"I already have directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues previously raised by the Committee. Specifically, I asked United States Attorney John W. Huber to lead this effort."

John Carlin's Race With Admiral Rogers

<img class=" wp-image-2833317" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/11/Mike-Rogers-1200x1435.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="191" /> Director of the National Security Agency Admiral Mike Rogers. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

The Carter Page FISA application has been the subject of significant media attention, but there's another element to the story that, although largely ignored, is equally important. It involved what amounted to a surreptitious race between then-NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers and DOJ National Security Division (NSD) head John Carlin.

Following a March 9, 2016, discovery that outside contractors for the FBI had been accessing raw FISA data since at least 2015, Rogers directed the NSA's Office of Compliance to conduct a "fundamental baseline review of compliance associated with 702" at some point in early April 2016 ( Senate testimony & pages 83–84 of court ruling).

On April 18, 2016, Rogers moved aggressively in response to the disclosures. He abruptly shut down all FBI outside-contractor access. At this point, both the FBI and the DOJ's NSD became aware of Rogers's compliance review. They may have known earlier, but they were certainly aware after outside-contractor access was halted.

The DOJ's NSD maintains oversight of the intelligence agencies' use of Section 702 authority. The NSD and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) jointly conduct reviews of the intelligence agencies' Section 702 activities every 60 days. The NSD -- with notice to the ODNI -- is required to report any incidents of agency noncompliance or misconduct to the FISA court.

Instead of issuing individual court orders, the attorney general and the director of national intelligence (DNI) are required by Section 702 to provide the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) with annual certifications that specify categories of foreign intelligence information the government is authorized to acquire, pursuant to Section 702.

The attorney general and the DNI also must certify that Intelligence Community agencies will follow targeting procedures and minimization procedures that are approved by the FISC as part of the certification.

Carlin filed the government's proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications on Sept. 26, 2016. Carlin knew the general status of the compliance review by Rogers. The NSD was part of the review. Carlin failed to disclose a critical Jan. 7, 2016, report by the NSA inspector general and associated FISA abuse to the FISA court in his 2016 certification. Carlin also failed to disclose Rogers's ongoing Section 702-compliance review.

On Sept. 27, 2016, the day after he filed the annual certifications, Carlin announced his resignation , which would become effective on Oct. 15, 2016.

<img class=" wp-image-2849255" src="https://img.theepochtimes.com/assets/uploads/2019/03/22/John-Carlin-FBI.jpg" alt="" width="160" height="192" /> John Carlin, DOJ's National Security Division. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

On Oct. 4, 2016, a standard follow-up court hearing was held ( Page 19 ), with Carlin present. Again, he made no disclosure of FISA abuse or other related issues. This lack of disclosure would be noted by the court later in the April 2017 ruling:

"The government's failure to disclose those IG and OCO reviews at the October 4, 2016 hearing [was ascribed] to an institutional 'lack of candor.'"

Rogers appeared formally before the FISA court on Oct. 26, 2016, and presented the written findings of his audit:

"Two days later, on the day the Court otherwise would have had to complete its review of the certifications and procedures, the government made a written submission regarding those compliance problems and the Court held a hearing to address them.

"The government reported that the NSA IG and OCO were conducting other reviews covering different time periods, with preliminary results suggesting that the problem was widespread during all periods under review."

The FISA court was unaware of the FISA "query" violations until they were presented to the court by then-NSA Director Rogers.

Carlin didn't disclose his knowledge of FISA abuse in the annual Section 702 certifications, apparently in order to avoid raising suspicions at the FISA court ahead of receiving the Carter Page FISA warrant.

The FBI and the NSD were literally racing against Rogers's investigation in order to obtain a FISA warrant on Carter Page. FISA Abuse & the FISC

Rogers presented his findings directly to the FISA court's presiding judge, Rosemary Collyer. Collyer and Rogers would work together for the next six months, addressing the issues that Rogers had uncovered.

It was Collyer who wrote the April 26, 2017, FISA court ruling on the entire episode. It also was Collyer who signed the original FISA warrant on Carter Page on Oct. 21, 2016, before being apprised of the many issues by Rogers.

The litany of abuses described in the April 26, 2017, ruling was shocking and detailed the use of private contractors by the FBI in relation to Section 702 data. Collyer referred to it as "a very serious Fourth Amendment issue." The FBI was specifically singled out by the court numerous times in the ruling:

"The improper access previously afforded the contractors has been discontinued. The Court is nonetheless concerned about the FBI's apparent disregard of minimization rules and whether the FBI may be engaging in similar disclosures of raw Section 702 information that have not been reported."

Rogers informed Collyer of the ongoing FISA abuses by the FBI and NSD just three days after she personally signed the Carter Page FISA warrant.

Virtually every FBI and NSD official with material involvement in the original Carter Page FISA application would later be removed -- either through firing or resignation.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated the wrong month for Christopher Steele's 2016 meeting with the FBI in Rome. The meeting took place in September 2016.

[Aug 21, 2019] Solomon If Trump Declassifies These 10 Documents, Democrats Are Doomed

Highly recommended!
They are afraid to admin that a color revolution was launched to depose Trump after the elections of 2016. Essentially a coup d'état by intelligence agencies and Clinton wing of Democratic Party.
Notable quotes:
"... The 53 House Intel interviews. House Intelligence interviewed many key players in the Russia probe and asked the DNI to declassify those interviews nearly a year ago, after sending the transcripts for review last November. There are several big reveals, I'm told, including the first evidence that a lawyer tied to the Democratic National Committee had Russia-related contacts at the CIA. ..."
"... The Stefan Halper documents. It has been widely reported that European-based American academic Stefan Halper and a young assistant, Azra Turk, worked as FBI sources . ..."
"... Page/Papadopoulos exculpatory statements. Another of Nunes' five buckets, these documents purport to show what the two Trump aides were recorded telling undercover assets or captured in intercepts insisting on their innocence. Papadopoulos told me he told an FBI undercover source in September 2016 that the Trump campaign was not trying to obtain hacked Clinton documents from Russia and considered doing so to be treason. ..."
"... The 'Gang of Eight' briefing materials. These were a series of classified briefings and briefing books the FBI and DOJ provided key leaders in Congress in the summer of 2018 that identify shortcomings in the Russia collusion narrative. ..."
"... The Steele spreadsheet. I wrote recently that the FBI kept a spreadsheet on the accuracy and reliability of every claim in the Steele dossier. According to my sources, it showed as much as 90 percent of the claims could not be corroborated, were debunked or turned out to be open-source internet rumors. ..."
"... The Steele interview. It has been reported, and confirmed, that the DOJ's inspector general (IG) interviewed the former British intelligence operative for as long as 16 hours about his contacts with the FBI while working with Clinton's opposition research firm, Fusion GPS. It is clear from documents already forced into the public view by lawsuits that Steele admitted in the fall of 2016 that he was desperate to defeat Trump ..."
"... The redacted sections of the third FISA renewal application. This was the last of four FISA warrants targeting the Trump campaign; it was renewed in June 2017 after special counsel Robert Mueller 's probe had started, and signed by then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein . It is the one FISA application that House Republicans have repeatedly asked to be released, and I'm told the big reveal in the currently redacted sections of the application is that it contained both misleading information and evidence of intrusive tactics used by the U.S. government to infiltrate Trump's orbit. ..."
"... Records of allies' assistance. Multiple sources have said a handful of U.S. allies overseas – possibly Great Britain, Australia and Italy – were asked to assist FBI efforts to check on Trump connections to Russia. ..."
"... Attorney General Bill Barr's recent comments that "the use of foreign intelligence capabilities and counterintelligence capabilities against an American political campaign, to me, is unprecedented and it's a serious red line that's been crossed." ..."
Aug 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

As the Russiagate circus attempts to quietly disappear over the horizon, with Democrats preferring to shift the anti-Trump narrative back to "racist", "white supremacist", "xenophobe", and the mainstream media ready to squawk "recession"; the Trump administration may have a few more cards up its sleeve before anyone claims the higher ground in this farce we call an election campaign.

As The Hill's John Solomon details, in September 2018 that President Trump told my Hill.TV colleague Buck Sexton and me that he would order the release of all classified documents showing what the FBI, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other U.S. intelligence agencies may have done wrong in the Russia probe.

And while it's been almost a year since then, of feet-dragging and cajoling and deep-state-fighting, we wonder, given Solomon's revelations below, if the president is getting ready to play his 'Trump' card.

Here are the documents that Solomon believes have the greatest chance of rocking Washington, if declassified:

1.) Christopher Steele 's confidential human source reports at the FBI. These documents, known in bureau parlance as 1023 reports, show exactly what transpired each time Steele and his FBI handlers met in the summer and fall of 2016 to discuss his anti-Trump dossier. The big reveal, my sources say, could be the first evidence that the FBI shared sensitive information with Steele, such as the existence of the classified Crossfire Hurricane operation targeting the Trump campaign. It would be a huge discovery if the FBI fed Trump-Russia intel to Steele in the midst of an election, especially when his ultimate opposition-research client was Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The FBI has released only one or two of these reports under FOIA lawsuits and they were 100 percent redacted. The American public deserves better.

2.) The 53 House Intel interviews. House Intelligence interviewed many key players in the Russia probe and asked the DNI to declassify those interviews nearly a year ago, after sending the transcripts for review last November. There are several big reveals, I'm told, including the first evidence that a lawyer tied to the Democratic National Committee had Russia-related contacts at the CIA.

3.) The Stefan Halper documents. It has been widely reported that European-based American academic Stefan Halper and a young assistant, Azra Turk, worked as FBI sources . We know for sure that one or both had contact with targeted Trump aides like Carter Page and George Papadopoulos at the end of the election. My sources tell me there may be other documents showing Halper continued working his way to the top of Trump's transition and administration, eventually reaching senior advisers like Peter Navarro inside the White House in summer 2017. These documents would show what intelligence agencies worked with Halper, who directed his activity, how much he was paid and how long his contacts with Trump officials were directed by the U.S. government's Russia probe.

4.) The October 2016 FBI email chain. This is a key document identified by Rep. Nunes and his investigators. My sources say it will show exactly what concerns the FBI knew about and discussed with DOJ about using Steele's dossier and other evidence to support a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant targeting the Trump campaign in October 2016. If those concerns weren't shared with FISA judges who approved the warrant, there could be major repercussions.

5.) Page/Papadopoulos exculpatory statements. Another of Nunes' five buckets, these documents purport to show what the two Trump aides were recorded telling undercover assets or captured in intercepts insisting on their innocence. Papadopoulos told me he told an FBI undercover source in September 2016 that the Trump campaign was not trying to obtain hacked Clinton documents from Russia and considered doing so to be treason. If he made that statement with the FBI monitoring, and it was not disclosed to the FISA court, it could be another case of FBI or DOJ misconduct.

6.) The 'Gang of Eight' briefing materials. These were a series of classified briefings and briefing books the FBI and DOJ provided key leaders in Congress in the summer of 2018 that identify shortcomings in the Russia collusion narrative. Of all the documents congressional leaders were shown, this is most frequently cited to me in private as having changed the minds of lawmakers who weren't initially convinced of FISA abuses or FBI irregularities.

7.) The Steele spreadsheet. I wrote recently that the FBI kept a spreadsheet on the accuracy and reliability of every claim in the Steele dossier. According to my sources, it showed as much as 90 percent of the claims could not be corroborated, were debunked or turned out to be open-source internet rumors. Given Steele's own effort to leak intel in his dossier to the media before Election Day, the public deserves to see the FBI's final analysis of his credibility. A document I reviewed recently showed the FBI described Steele's information as only "minimally corroborated" and the bureau's confidence in him as "medium."

8.) The Steele interview. It has been reported, and confirmed, that the DOJ's inspector general (IG) interviewed the former British intelligence operative for as long as 16 hours about his contacts with the FBI while working with Clinton's opposition research firm, Fusion GPS. It is clear from documents already forced into the public view by lawsuits that Steele admitted in the fall of 2016 that he was desperate to defeat Trump , had a political deadline to make his dirt public, was working for the DNC/Clinton campaign and was leaking to the news media. If he told that to the FBI and it wasn't disclosed to the FISA court, there could be serious repercussions.

9.) The redacted sections of the third FISA renewal application. This was the last of four FISA warrants targeting the Trump campaign; it was renewed in June 2017 after special counsel Robert Mueller 's probe had started, and signed by then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein . It is the one FISA application that House Republicans have repeatedly asked to be released, and I'm told the big reveal in the currently redacted sections of the application is that it contained both misleading information and evidence of intrusive tactics used by the U.S. government to infiltrate Trump's orbit.

10.) Records of allies' assistance. Multiple sources have said a handful of U.S. allies overseas – possibly Great Britain, Australia and Italy – were asked to assist FBI efforts to check on Trump connections to Russia. Members of Congress have searched recently for some key contact documents with British intelligence . My sources say these documents might help explain Attorney General Bill Barr's recent comments that "the use of foreign intelligence capabilities and counterintelligence capabilities against an American political campaign, to me, is unprecedented and it's a serious red line that's been crossed."

These documents, when declassified, would show more completely how a routine counterintelligence probe was hijacked to turn the most awesome spy powers in America against a presidential nominee in what was essentially a political dirty trick orchestrated by Democrats.


rahrog , 2 minutes ago link

America's Ruling Class is laughing at all you fools still falling for the Rs v Ds scam.

Stupid people lose.

LibertyVibe , 3 minutes ago link

I disagree with Solomon. Nothing will "doom" the swamp unless the righteous few are willing to indict, prosecute and carry out sentencing for the guilty. Exposing the guilty accomplishes nothing, because anyone paying attention already knows of their crimes. Those who want to believe lies will still believe them after the truth comes out.
It's ALL A WASTE OF TIME unless we follow through.

#TheDailyNews #DrainTheSwamp

Lord Raglan , 5 minutes ago link

Where's all the other, earlier docs Trump was going to declassify? Just wondering..............

TheFQ , 16 minutes ago link

Does anyone see a pattern here after the 2009 Tea Party movement began?

2009 - Republicans: "If we win back the House, we can accomplish our agenda."

2011 - Republicans: "If we win back the Senate, we can accomplish our agenda." (NOTE: After winning back the House)

2012 - Republicans: "If we win back the Senate, we can accomplish our agenda." (NOTE: 2 YEARS After winning back the House)

2013 - Republicans: "If we win back the Presidency, we can accomplish our agenda." (NOTE: 1 YEAR after winning back the House and the Senate)

2014 - Republicans: "If we win back the Presidency, we can accomplish our agenda." (NOTE: 2 YEARS after winning back the House and the Senate)

2015 - Republicans: "If we win back the Presidency, we can accomplish our agenda." (NOTE: 3 YEARS after winning back the House and the Senate)

2016 - Republicans: "If we win back the Presidency, we can accomplish our agenda." (NOTE: 4 YEARS after winning back the House and the Senate)

2017 - Republicans: "Now that we've won back the Presidency, we can accomplish our agenda." (NOTE: After winning back the House 6 YEARS AGO and the Senate 4 YEARS AGO)

2018 - Republicans: "Now that we've won back the Presidency, we can accomplish our agenda." (NOTE: After winning back the House 7 YEARS AGO and the Senate 5 YEARS AGO)

2019 - John Solomon - "If Trump Declassifies These 10 Documents, Democrats Are Doomed"

I hate to say it, but I DON'T BELIEVE YOU, JOHN.

ALL WE HAVE HEARD OVER THE COURSE OF THIS DECADE IS "IF THIS HAPPENS...THEN THEY ARE DOOMED / WE CAN ACCOMPLISH OUR AGENDA / YADDA YADDA YADDA.

WHEN THE FOLLOWING ARE FOUND GUILTY OF TREASON, THEN AND ONLY THEN WILL I BELIEVE YOU:

WHY ARE THESE TREASONOUS, VILE, CORRUPT CRIMINALS NOT INDICTED FOR TREASON?

WTF?

FFS...

benb , 12 minutes ago link

WHY ARE THESE TREASONOUS, VILE, CORRUPT CRIMINALS NOT INDICTED FOR TREASON?

Because the people doing the indicting are in on it.

enfield0916 , 36 minutes ago link

As if there's any major philosophical difference between the Librtads and Zionist Cocksuckvatives.

Both sides use the .gov agencies to subvert and ignore the Constitution whenever possible. Best example is WikiLeaks and how each party wished Assange would just go away when he revealed damaging information about both sides on multiple occasions.

[Aug 20, 2019] Tulsi A Living Reminder of Iraq s Liars and Apologists by David Masciotra

Notable quotes:
"... Gabbard calls out the betrayers; Dems try to forget their heroes Mueller and Biden are among them. ..."
"... The gains of war in Iraq remain elusive, especially considering that the justifications for invasion -- weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein's connection to al-Qaeda, the ambition to create a Western-style democracy at gunpoint -- remain "murky at best." That's a quote from the 9/11 Commission's conclusion on the so-called evidence linking Iraq to Osama bin Laden's group, which actually did carry out the worst terrorist attack in American history. ..."
"... As far as stupid and barbarous decisions are concerned, it is difficult to top the war in Iraq. It is also difficult to match its price tag, which, according to a recent Brown University study, amounts to $1.1 trillion. ..."
"... Gore Vidal once christened his country the "United States of Amnesia," explaining that Americans live in a perpetual state of a hangover: "Every morning we wake up having forgotten what happened the night before." ..."
"... The war in Iraq ended only nine years ago, but it might as well have never taken place, given the curious lack of acknowledgement in our press and political debates. As families mourn their children, babies are born with irreversible deformities, and veterans dread trying to sleep through the night, America's political class, many of whom sold the war to the public, have moved on. When they address Iraq at all, they act as though they have committed a minor error, as though large-scale death and destruction are the equivalent of a poor shot in golf when the course rules allow for mulligans. ..."
"... As the Robert Mueller fiasco smolders out, it is damning that the Democratic Party, in its zest and zeal to welcome any critical assessment of Trump's unethical behavior, has barely mentioned that Mueller, in his previous role as director of the FBI, played a small but significant role in convincing the country to go to war in Iraq. ..."
"... Mueller testified to Congress that "Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program poses a clear threat to our national security." He also warned that Saddam could "supply terrorists with radiological material" for the purposes of devising a nuclear bomb. Leaving aside any speculation about Mueller's intentions and assuming he had only the best of motives, it is quite bizarre, even dangerous, to treat as oracular someone who was wrong on such a life-or-death question. ..."
"... The former vice president now claims that his "only mistake was trusting the Bush administration," implying he was tricked into supporting the war. This line is not as persuasive as he imagines. First, it raises the question -- can't we nominate someone who wasn't tricked? Second, its logic crumbles in the face of Biden's recent decision to hire Nicholas Burns, former U.S. ambassador to NATO, as his campaign's foreign policy advisor. Burns was also a vociferous supporter of the war. An enterprising reporter should ask Biden whether Burns was also tricked. Is the Biden campaign an assembly of rubes? ..."
"... Instead, the press is likelier to interrogate Biden over his holding hands and giving hugs to women at public events. Criticism of Biden's "inappropriate touching" has become so strident that the candidate had to record a video to explain his behavior. The moral standards of America's political culture seem to rate kissing a woman on the back of the head as a graver offense than catastrophic war. ..."
Aug 02, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Gabbard calls out the betrayers; Dems try to forget their heroes Mueller and Biden are among them.

Estimates of the number of civilians who died during the war in Iraq range from 151,000 to 655,000. An additional 4,491 American military personnel perished in the war. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, toxicologist at the University of Michigan, has organized several research expeditions to Iraq to measure the contamination and pollution still poisoning the air and water supply from the tons of munitions dropped during the war. It does not require any expertise to assume what the studies confirm: disease is still widespread and birth defects are gruesomely common. Back home, it is difficult to measure just how many struggle with critical injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The gains of war in Iraq remain elusive, especially considering that the justifications for invasion -- weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein's connection to al-Qaeda, the ambition to create a Western-style democracy at gunpoint -- remain "murky at best." That's a quote from the 9/11 Commission's conclusion on the so-called evidence linking Iraq to Osama bin Laden's group, which actually did carry out the worst terrorist attack in American history.

As far as stupid and barbarous decisions are concerned, it is difficult to top the war in Iraq. It is also difficult to match its price tag, which, according to a recent Brown University study, amounts to $1.1 trillion.

Gore Vidal once christened his country the "United States of Amnesia," explaining that Americans live in a perpetual state of a hangover: "Every morning we wake up having forgotten what happened the night before."

The war in Iraq ended only nine years ago, but it might as well have never taken place, given the curious lack of acknowledgement in our press and political debates. As families mourn their children, babies are born with irreversible deformities, and veterans dread trying to sleep through the night, America's political class, many of whom sold the war to the public, have moved on. When they address Iraq at all, they act as though they have committed a minor error, as though large-scale death and destruction are the equivalent of a poor shot in golf when the course rules allow for mulligans.

As the Robert Mueller fiasco smolders out, it is damning that the Democratic Party, in its zest and zeal to welcome any critical assessment of Trump's unethical behavior, has barely mentioned that Mueller, in his previous role as director of the FBI, played a small but significant role in convincing the country to go to war in Iraq.

Mueller testified to Congress that "Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program poses a clear threat to our national security." He also warned that Saddam could "supply terrorists with radiological material" for the purposes of devising a nuclear bomb. Leaving aside any speculation about Mueller's intentions and assuming he had only the best of motives, it is quite bizarre, even dangerous, to treat as oracular someone who was wrong on such a life-or-death question.

Far worse than the worship of Mueller is the refusal to scrutinize the abysmal foreign policy record of Joe Biden, currently the frontrunner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Of the Democrats in the Senate at that time, Biden was the most enthusiastic of the cheerleaders for war, waving his pompoms and cartwheeling in rhythm to Dick Cheney's music. Biden said repeatedly that America had "no choice but to eliminate the threat" posed by Saddam Hussein. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, his blustering was uniquely influential.

The former vice president now claims that his "only mistake was trusting the Bush administration," implying he was tricked into supporting the war. This line is not as persuasive as he imagines. First, it raises the question -- can't we nominate someone who wasn't tricked? Second, its logic crumbles in the face of Biden's recent decision to hire Nicholas Burns, former U.S. ambassador to NATO, as his campaign's foreign policy advisor. Burns was also a vociferous supporter of the war. An enterprising reporter should ask Biden whether Burns was also tricked. Is the Biden campaign an assembly of rubes?

Instead, the press is likelier to interrogate Biden over his holding hands and giving hugs to women at public events. Criticism of Biden's "inappropriate touching" has become so strident that the candidate had to record a video to explain his behavior. The moral standards of America's political culture seem to rate kissing a woman on the back of the head as a graver offense than catastrophic war.

Polling well below Biden in the race is the congresswoman from Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard. She alone on the Democratic stage has made criticism of American militarism central to her candidacy. A veteran of the Iraq war and a highly decorated major in the Hawaii Army National Guard, Gabbard offers an intelligent and humane perspective on foreign affairs. She's called the regime change philosophy "disastrous," advocated for negotiation with hostile foreign powers, and backed a reduction in drone strikes. She pledges if she becomes president to end American involvement in Afghanistan.

When Chris Matthews asked Gabbard about Biden's support for the Iraq war, she said, "It was the wrong vote. People like myself, who enlisted after 9/11 because of the terrorist attacks, were lied to. We were betrayed."

Her moral clarity is rare in the political fog of the presidential circus. She cautions against accepting the "guise of humanitarian justification for war," and notes that rarely does the American government bomb and invade a country to actually advance freedom or protect human rights.

Gabbard's positions are vastly superior to that of the other young veteran in the race, Pete Buttigieg. The mayor of South Bend recently told New York that one of his favorite novels is The Quiet American , saying that its author, Graham Greene, "points out the dangers of well-intentioned interventions."

Buttigieg's chances of winning the nomination seem low, and his prospects of becoming a literary critic appear even lower. The Quiet American does much more than raise questions about interventions: it is a merciless condemnation of American exceptionalism and its attendant indifference to Vietnamese suffering.

Americans hoping for peace won't find much comfort in the current White House either. President Trump has made the world more dangerous by trashing the Iran nuclear deal, and his appointment of John Bolton, a man who makes Donald Rumsfeld look like Mahatma Gandhi, as national security advisor is certainly alarming.

America's willful ignorance when it comes to the use of its own military exposes the moral bankruptcy at the heart of its political culture. Even worse, it makes future wars all but inevitable.

If no one can remember a war that ended merely nine years ago, and there's little room for Tulsi Gabbard in the Democratic primary, how will the country react the next time a president, and the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, declare that they have no choice but to remove a threat?

Norman Solomon, journalist and founder of the Institute for Public Accuracy, knows the answer to that question. He provides it in the title of his book on how the media treats American foreign policy decisions: War Made Easy .

David Masciotra is the author of four books, including Mellencamp: American Troubadour (University Press of Kentucky) and Barack Obama: Invisible Man (Eyewear Publishing).

MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

Walter a day ago

Where ae the people who told us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction? Should they be tried for lying to the American public? 4500 troops killed and over $1.1 TRILLION wasted with no good results .With hundreds of thousands of Iraq's killed. .
Clyde Schechter Walter a day ago
Where are they, indeed? They are still running US foreign policy; that's where they are. They are pundits in all the major media; that's where they are.

I cannot even imagine what historians will say about the uncanny persistence of these charlatans' influence in this era after a consistent record of disastrous, abysmal misadventures.

JeffK from PA Walter 17 hours ago
You don't have to look too hard to find them. Bolton, Pompeo, and other neocons are hiding in plain sight. The Military Industrial Complex is embedded in our foreign policy like a tick on a dog.
Sid Finster JeffK from PA 13 hours ago
Why not start with Bush and Blair?
IanDakar Sid Finster 10 hours ago
Because you'd be knocking out a storm trooper instead of the emperor, at least as far as Bush goes. Same for why the focus is on Bolton rather than simply Trump.

I CAN see an argument that Trump/Bush knew what they were doing when they brought those people in though. f you feel that way and see it more of an owner of a hostile attack dog then yeah, you'd want to include those two too.

JeffK from PA Sid Finster 10 hours ago
Cheney. Pure evil.
Sid Finster Walter 13 hours ago
Nuremberg provides an instructive precedent. Start at the top with Bush and Blair keep going on down.
Disqus10021 Sid Finster 11 hours ago
Recommended viewing: the 1961 movie "Judgment at Nuremberg".
L Walter 12 hours ago
One might wonder where that intelligence was gathered, and then maybe we could find out why these wars have been happening.
Alex (the one that likes Ike) a day ago
Here stands Tulsi. A woman, who, unlike their conventional troupe, can win this election. They reject her because... what? Moar war? She's not the member of the Cult? Or it's simply some sort of collective political death wish?
Anonne Alex (the one that likes Ike) 12 hours ago
They reject her because she had the temerity to speak truth to power and supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 race. She stepped down from her position as Vice Chair of the DNC to endorse Sanders. She has real courage, and earned their wrath. She's not perfect but she's braver and stronger than almost the entire field. Only Bernie is on par.
Alex (the one that likes Ike) Anonne 9 hours ago
And Bernie is the one they also hate, maybe a little bit less openly. Thus they reject those who can win the election. It's either a self-destructiveness or they think that it's better to keep on losing than to rebuild the party into what it needs to be.
Nelson Alex (the one that likes Ike) 8 hours ago
What do you mean "they"? Anyone is free to support her campaign.
former-vet a day ago • edited
Democrats and the Republican establishment, both, love war. It wasn't a coincidence that Hillary Clinton chose Madeleine Albright to be a keynote speaker at "her" party convention ("we think the deaths of a half million children are worth it"). Liberals know that there isn't really any "free" free, and that taxing the rich won't match their dreams -- it is the blood and bones of innocent foreigners that must pay for their lust. Establishment Republicans are more straightforward: they simply profit off the death and destruction.

This is why Trump is being destroyed, and why Tulsi is attacked. If only "she" (the one who gloated over Khameni's murder) had been elected, we'd be in a proxy war with Russia now! A real war with Iran! This is what the American people want, and what they'll likely get when they vote another chicken-hawk in come 2020.

Sid Finster former-vet 13 hours ago
Agree, except that Trump is not governing as a non-interventionist.

About the only thing one can say is that his is a slightly less reckless militarist than what the political class in this country wants.

Nelson former-vet 8 hours ago
Khameni is still alive. You're thinking of Gaddafi.
Fayez Abedaziz a day ago
Tulsi, like Sanders is a 'danger' to everything Israel wants.
So, all...all the main 'news' networks and online sites don't like them and give more coverage to the same old Dem bull peddlers like ignorant Booker and the lousy opportunist low IQ Kamala Harris and Gillibrand.
TomG 17 hours ago • edited
Manafort and his ilk can be tried and convicted for their lies. I guess if the lie is big enough we grant a pass on any need for prosecution. Justice for all? I don't think so.

Max Blumenthal posted a powerful piece at Consortium News (7/31/2019) about Biden's central and south American mis-adventures. Biden still extols his own policies however disastrous. The hubris of the man is worse than nauseating.

Great article, Mr. Masciotra.

OrvilleBerry 14 hours ago
Whether one thinks Gabbard has a shot at the nomination or not, it's important to keep her on the stage in the next round of debates. Go to Tulsi2020.com and give her just one dollar (or more if you can)
so she has enough unique contributors to make the next round. And if you get polled,early on give her your vote.
Strawman 12 hours ago
The moral standards of America's political culture seem to rate kissing a woman on the back of the head as a graver offense than catastrophic war.

Perfectly encapsulates the collective puerility of the American electorate. Thomas Jefferson must be spinning in his grave.

Disqus10021 12 hours ago • edited
The total US costs related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are expected to be considerably larger than $1.1 trillion, according to this study:
https://www.hks.harvard.edu...
Try $4-$6 trillion, according to the author of the study.

Long after I, Andrew Bacevitch and Hillary Clinton have gone to our reward, there will still be thousands of wounded warriors from these US Middle East adventures dependent on VA benefits for their survival and competing with civilian seniors for government handouts. A war with Iran would make the US fiscal situation that much worse.

The religious folks who were so anxious to protect family values only a few years ago seem to have their heads in the sand when it comes to the financial future of today's young Americans.

A few weeks ago, I made a token contribution to Tulsi Gabbard's campaign to help her qualify for the July Democratic debates. She will need more new contributors to qualify for the next round of debates.

david 12 hours ago
"The war in Iraq ended only nine years ago,..."

Ahh..., really? So why do we still have over 5000 soldiers in Iraq?

christopher kelly police ret. 11 hours ago
Tulsi was marvelous in knocking out Harris.
Zsuzsi Kruska 10 hours ago
Tulsi hasn't a chance of the nomination, but she's exposing things and maybe more people will get a clue about what's really going on with American lives and taxes being squandered for the profit of the few who benefit from these atrocities and wars abroad, done in the name of all Americans.
Eric 10 hours ago
Donated my $3 to Tulsi yesterday. She's the only Democrat I would vote for and she needs to stay in this race as long as possible.
Steve Naidamast 10 hours ago
Being a supporter of Tulsi Gabbard for the very reasons that the author writes, has me agreeing with everything he has promoted in his piece.

However, to answer his own question as to why Americans are lured into commenting on such innocuous and foolish things in such an important election such as Biden's touching of women, is answered by the author's own prose.

He states that Americans are only provided such nonsense from the press that is monitoring the election process. What else can people talk about? And even if many Americans are clearheaded enough to understand the charade of the current Democratic debates, what or who will actually provide legitimate coverage with the exception of online sites as the American Conservative, among others?

If most Americans were actually thinking individuals, Tulsi Gabbard would be a shoo-in for the presidency in 2020. However, given the two factors of a highly corrupted mainstream press and too many Americans not studying enough civics to understand what is going on around them, it is highly unlikely that Tulsi Gabbard will even get close to the possibility of being nominated...

JeffK from PA 10 hours ago
Cheney, mentioned in the article, was pure evil. I voted for GB2 for two reasons. 1) He was a very good Texas governor. He actually got anti-tax Texas to raise taxes dedicated to support education, in return for stricter standards for teachers. A good trade since Texas public schools were awful. 2) Dick Cheney. I thought he was the adult in the room that would provide steady and reliable guidance for Bush.

Boy was I wrong about Cheney. "Deficits don't matter". Just watch the movie Vice. Christian Bale does an incredible job portraying the pure evil of Cheney and the Military Industrial Complex. The movie is chilling to watch. And it is basically true. Politifact does a good job of scoring the accuracy of Cheney's role in the Bush administration as portrayed in the movie.

https://www.politifact.com/...

Mccormick47 10 hours ago
The trouble is, Conservatives promoting Gabbard and Williamson as their preferred candidates poisons their chances of staying in the race.
Mark Thomason 9 hours ago
I remember a friend of mine, a proud Marine, saying before the Iraq War, "Well, they better find some WMD for all this."

They didn't. That should matter.

[Aug 17, 2019] The Unraveling of the Failed Trump Coup by Larry C Johnson

Highly recommended!
Former Ukrainian presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko trace to Steele dossier is a real shocker.
Notable quotes:
"... On December 5, 2016, Bruce Ohr emailed himself an Excel spreadsheet, seemingly from his wife Nellie Ohr, titled " WhosWho19Sept2016 ." The spreadsheet purports to show relationship descriptions and "linkages" between Donald Trump, his family and criminal figures, many of whom were Russians. ..."
"... If you want to have more fun, search the pdf using the term "BAYROCK." You will discover that Nellie Ohr, like a female Don Quixote, is searching desperately to link Trump and Sater to dirty Russian money. What she does not suspect is that Sater was being used, via his company Bayrock, to try to gain access to Russians who were potential targets of the FBI. ..."
"... What is not emphasized in the piece, and it is something I want to direct you to, is that the idea or impetus to launch the investigation of Butina came courtesy of Christopher Steele, who was relaying rumor and conjecture to Bruce Ohr. ..."
"... FBI Director Christopher Wray reminds me of one of the workers in the bowels of the Titanic who was furiously shoveling coal into the doomed boilers of the sinking ship. The FBI, like the Titanic, is in trouble. ..."
"... It also gave immunity to all of the people on Hillary's team that participated in obstruction of justice. On that same day, Jim Comey signed off on a separate memo that decided not to prosecute Hillary Clinton. ..."
"... Larry..Fusion GPS has always refused to Reveal who where its Financial support came from... ..."
"... So..the Timeline Indicates Fusion GPS was hired by The "Washington Free Beacon" around October 2015 to background checks and Profiles of The Republican Candidates for President.and that Fusion GPS continued to do so until May 2016..when it became clear that Donald Trump clinched the Nomination.. ..."
"... I wonder why AG Barr isn't forcing the FBI to comply sooner with Judge Boasberg's ruling to hand over unredacted Comey Memos and Archey Declarations? ..."
"... So what did Barack Obama know, and when did he know it? ..."
"... Nellie Ohr was working for a privately-owned firm that had employed her to make false accusations about Trump's alleged connections to Russians in order to sabotage his presidency and lay the groundwork for his impeachment. ..."
"... They also hired foreign agent, Chris Steele to concoct a thoroughly-debunked dossier for the same purpose. ..."
"... Can these people be charged with a crime or have we entered a new world of 'dirty tricks'??? ..."
"... Examination of the Nellie Ohr documents given to the FBI shows some of her source material also came from former Ukrainian presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko and a lawsuit she filed against Manafort. ..."
"... So, Bruce Ohr became a conduit of information not only for intelligence from Clinton's British opposition-researcher but also from his wife's curation of evidence from a Clinton foreign ally and Manafort enemy inside Ukraine. Talk about foreign influence in a U.S. election! ..."
"... The lines between government officials and informants, unverified political dirt and real intelligence, personal interest and law enforcement, became too blurred for the Justice Department's own good. ..."
Aug 17, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

There are many moving pieces in the drama surrounding the Deep State attempt to kill the Trump Presidency. God Bless Judicial Watch. I think most of the key evidence that has surfaced came courtesy of Tom Fitton, Chris Farrell and their team of tireless workers.

I want to bring you back to Mr. Felix Sater . He was part of Bayrock, which worked closely with Donald Trump's organization and, most importantly of all, was an FBI Confidential Human Source since December of 1998.

Thanks to Judicial Watch we have a new dump of Bruce Ohr emails, which include several from his wife, Nellie. There are 330 pages to wade thru (you can see them here ). There is one item in particular I encourage you to look at:

On December 5, 2016, Bruce Ohr emailed himself an Excel spreadsheet, seemingly from his wife Nellie Ohr, titled " WhosWho19Sept2016 ." The spreadsheet purports to show relationship descriptions and "linkages" between Donald Trump, his family and criminal figures, many of whom were Russians. This list of individuals allegedly "linked to Trump" include: a Russian involved in a "gangland killing;" an Uzbek mafia don; a former KGB officer suspected in the murder of Paul Tatum; a Russian who reportedly "buys up banks and pumps them dry"; a Russian money launderer for Sergei Magnitsky; a Turk accused of shipping oil for ISIS; a couple who lent their name to the Trump Institute, promoting its "get-rich-quick schemes"; a man who poured him a drink; and others.

The spreadsheet starts on page 301. If you search the document for the name Felix Sater, he will pop up. Now here is the curious and, I suppose, reassuring thing about this document--Nellie Ohr did not have a clue that Felix Sater was an active FBI informant. We can at least give the FBI credit for protecting Sater's identity from Nellie Ohr and, more importantly, her husband, DOJ official Bruce Ohr.

If you want to have more fun, search the pdf using the term "BAYROCK." You will discover that Nellie Ohr, like a female Don Quixote, is searching desperately to link Trump and Sater to dirty Russian money. What she does not suspect is that Sater was being used, via his company Bayrock, to try to gain access to Russians who were potential targets of the FBI.

One point is clear--she uncovered no evidence implicating Trump working with the Russians, either thru Felix Sater or one of the other "suspects" she exhaustively listed.

Shifting gears, there are two very important pieces recently posted at The Conservative Tree House that I encourage you to read:

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2019/08/12/quirky-angle-overstock-ceo-patrick-byrne-2016-fbi-activity-was-political-espionage/#more-168122 https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2019/08/12/federal-judge-completely-rejects-doj-argument-orders-archey-declarations-descriptions-of-comey-memosreleased/ The first piece focuses on CEO Patrick Byrne and the role he played in trying to entrap and portray Marina Butina as a Russian agent.

What is not emphasized in the piece, and it is something I want to direct you to, is that the idea or impetus to launch the investigation of Butina came courtesy of Christopher Steele, who was relaying rumor and conjecture to Bruce Ohr.

You can find this information in the Bruce Ohr 302s that Judicial Watch also secured. Marina Butina was unfairly and unjustly portrayed and prosecuted as a Russian intelligence agent. It was a damn lie.

I do not ever want to hear another American complaining about an American State Department or CIA employee who is entrapped and unfairly prosecuted in Russia.

We have done the same damn thing that we have accused the Soviets of doing. The same thing. It is shameful.

The second piece is the ultimate feel good piece. Kudos to its author, Sundance.

He details how a Federal Judge, infuriated by the FBIs stupidity and mendacity, tells the Bureau to go pound sand. The FBI is frantically trying to prevent the Archey Declarations from being revealed thanks to a lawsuit brought by CNN (finally, CNN did something right).

The Archey Declarations provide a detailed description of the memos written and illegally removed from FBI Headquarters by that sanctimonious twit, Jim Comey. More shoes will be dropping in the coming days.

It appears that Inspector General Horowitz is going to present at least one report on Jim Comey and one report on the FISA abuse by the FBI.

FBI Director Christopher Wray reminds me of one of the workers in the bowels of the Titanic who was furiously shoveling coal into the doomed boilers of the sinking ship. The FBI, like the Titanic, is in trouble.

Finally, Gateway Pundit's Joe Hoft put up an important piece today ( see here ). Here is the bottomline, and keep this in mind as you read the piece, on June 20, 2016 the FBI signed off on a deal with Hillary Clinton's attorney's that gave Hillary's team the right to destroy computers and emails.

It also gave immunity to all of the people on Hillary's team that participated in obstruction of justice. On that same day, Jim Comey signed off on a separate memo that decided not to prosecute Hillary Clinton.

The fix was in more than a month before Jim Comey appeared on camera to try to explain why he was not recommending prosecution of Hillary for putting Top Secret information on her unclassified server.

Jim Comey lied when he declared that could not prove "intent."

I am sure that those of you who have never held a clearance and handled Top Secret material probably believed that lie.

But anyone who knows how the TS system is set up knows that the ONLY WAY, I repeat, the ONLY WAY to put TS material on an unclassified server is to do so intentionally. There is no way to do this mistakenly.


Jim Ticehurst said in reply to Jim Ticehurst... ,

Larry..Fusion GPS has always refused to Reveal who where its Financial support came from...

So..the Timeline Indicates Fusion GPS was hired by The "Washington Free Beacon" around October 2015 to background checks and Profiles of The Republican Candidates for President.and that Fusion GPS continued to do so until May 2016..when it became clear that Donald Trump clinched the Nomination..

creating Phase 2..Operations..

"The Washington Free Beacon ".Has an Editor in Chief ..who is William Kristols Son In Law..And William Kristols ..Father....Irving Kristol..is Called..."the God Father of Neo Conservatism". William Kristol..was a John McCain supporter..

Thus Fusion GPS..retained Nellie Ohr..(strangly..NO Wiki Profile) who apparently had to Use her husbnd Bruce Ohrs Clearances,,to continue Her Collaberation with Fusion GPS..

By June 2016 the Strategy was to bring in Christopher Steele..who was know to Bruce Ohr back to 2006.. Strange.. NO early life BIOS for Bruce or Nellie Ohr..

Jack , 16 August 2019 at 01:38 AM
Larry

Do you believe the current DOJ under Barr will really investigate and convene a grand jury to hear testimony from Comey, Brennan and Clapper?

And what do you make of the fact that Epstein who was on suicide watch either was murdered or killed himself while in custody?

akaPatience , 16 August 2019 at 01:38 AM
I wonder why AG Barr isn't forcing the FBI to comply sooner with Judge Boasberg's ruling to hand over unredacted Comey Memos and Archey Declarations?

The Gateway Pundit item about the ridiculously unfair and unethical deals made in Hillary Clinton's email scandal investigation is just further proof of how the Clinton taint infected the FBI. "Crooked" is a very apt epithet, that's for sure. I'd love to know how much Bill and Hill raked in during her Sec'y. of State racketeering.

Fred , 16 August 2019 at 01:38 AM
So what did Barack Obama know, and when did he know it?
plantman , 16 August 2019 at 01:38 AM
You say: "One point is clear--she uncovered no evidence implicating Trump working with the Russians, either thru Felix Sater or one of the other "suspects" she exhaustively listed."

This is true, but it is also true that Nellie Ohr was working for a privately-owned firm that had employed her to make false accusations about Trump's alleged connections to Russians in order to sabotage his presidency and lay the groundwork for his impeachment.

They also hired foreign agent, Chris Steele to concoct a thoroughly-debunked dossier for the same purpose.

Can these people be charged with a crime or have we entered a new world of 'dirty tricks'???

Keith Harbaugh , 16 August 2019 at 01:38 AM
Let me just add this piece by John Solomon: "New evidence shows why Steele, the Ohrs and TSA workers never should have become DOJ sources" by John Solomon, 2019-08-15
...
Examination of the Nellie Ohr documents given to the FBI shows some of her source material also came from former Ukrainian presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko and a lawsuit she filed against Manafort.

Why is that significant? Tymoshenko and Hillary Clinton had a simpatico relationship after the former secretary of State went out of her way in January 2013 to advocate for Tymoshenko's release from prison on corruption charges.

So, Bruce Ohr became a conduit of information not only for intelligence from Clinton's British opposition-researcher but also from his wife's curation of evidence from a Clinton foreign ally and Manafort enemy inside Ukraine. Talk about foreign influence in a U.S. election!
...
The tales of Bruce and Nellie Ohr, Christopher Steele, Yulia Tymoshenko, and those DEA and TSA agents raise a stark warning:

The lines between government officials and informants, unverified political dirt and real intelligence, personal interest and law enforcement,
became too blurred for the Justice Department's own good.

That's a problem sorely in need of fixing.

oldman22 said in reply to Keith Harbaugh... 17 August 2019 at 01:16 AM

The person responsible for securing the release of Yulia Tymoshenko was Chancellor Merkel. Further, that USA opposed Tymoshenko.

quote
As for one of the leaders of the war party in Kiev, Merkel has privately and publicly endorsed every claim of Yulia Tymoshenko, promoting her release from prison and protecting her campaigns for war against Russia, even though – according to the high-level German source – “they [Chancellery, Foreign Ministry] have known for years that [Tymoshenko] was a crook.”
endquote

There is a lot more detail Tymoshenko's corruption and Merkel's rescue here:

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/02/john-helmer-the-political-motivation-of-chancellor-merkels-embrace-of-yulia-tymoshenko-and-war.html

(republished from John Helmer's website, includes a great cartoon worth viewing)

If you want more sources for this story,google
"Merkel, Tymoshenko, prison"

[Aug 17, 2019] Debunking the Putin Panic by Stephen F. Cohen

Highly recommended!
Aug 17, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

STEPHEN COHEN: I'm not aware that Russia attacked Georgia. The European Commission, if you're talking about the 2008 war, the European Commission, investigating what happened, found that Georgia, which was backed by the United States, fighting with an American-built army under the control of the, shall we say, slightly unpredictable Georgian president then, Saakashvili, that he began the war by firing on Russian enclaves. And the Kremlin, which by the way was not occupied by Putin, but by Michael McFaul and Obama's best friend and reset partner then-president Dmitry Medvedev, did what any Kremlin leader, what any leader in any country would have had to do: it reacted. It sent troops across the border through the tunnel, and drove the Georgian forces out of what essentially were kind of Russian protectorate areas of Georgia.

So that- Russia didn't begin that war. And it didn't begin the one in Ukraine, either. We did that by [continents], the overthrow of the Ukrainian president in [20]14 after President Obama told Putin that he would not permit that to happen. And I think it happened within 36 hours. The Russians, like them or not, feel that they have been lied to and betrayed. They use this word, predatl'stvo, betrayal, about American policy toward Russia ever since 1991, when it wasn't just President George Bush, all the documents have been published by the National Security Archive in Washington, all the leaders of the main Western powers promised the Soviet Union that under Gorbachev, if Gorbachev would allow a reunited Germany to be NATO, NATO would not, in the famous expression, move two inches to the east.

Now NATO is sitting on Russia's borders from the Baltic to Ukraine. So Russians aren't fools, and they're good-hearted, but they become resentful. They're worried about being attacked by the United States. In fact, you read and hear in the Russian media daily, we are under attack by the United States. And this is a lot more real and meaningful than this crap that is being put out that Russia somehow attacked us in 2016. I must have been sleeping. I didn't see Pearl Harbor or 9/11 and 2016. This is reckless, dangerous, warmongering talk. It needs to stop. Russia has a better case for saying they've been attacked by us since 1991. We put our military alliance on the front door. Maybe it's not an attack, but it looks like one, feels like one. Could be one.


Disturbed Voter , July 30, 2018 at 6:32 am

Real politik. Don't bring a knife to a gun fight. Don't start fights in the first place. The idea that American leadership is any better than mid-Victorian imperialism, is laughable.

Jerri-Lynn Scofield , July 30, 2018 at 8:15 am

Here's the RNN link to part one: The Russia "National Security Crisis" is a U.S. Creation .

integer , July 30, 2018 at 7:12 am

AARON MATE: We hear, often, talk of Putin possibly being the richest person in the world as a result of his entanglement with the very corruption of Russia you're speaking about

Few appear to be aware that Bill Browder is single-handedly responsible for starting, and spreading, the rumor that Putin's net worth is $200 billion (for those who are unfamiliar with Browder, I highly recommend watching Andrei Nekrasov's documentary titled " The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes "). Browder appears to have first started this rumor early in 2015 , and has repeated it ad nauseam since then, including in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017 . While Browder has always framed the $200 billion figure as his own estimate, that subtle qualifier has had little effect on the media's willingness to accept it as fact.

Interestingly, during the press conference at the Helsinki Summit, Putin claimed Browder sent $400 million of ill-gotten gains to the Clinton campaign. Putin retracted the statement and claimed to have misspoke a week or so later, however by that time the $400 million figure had been cited by numerous media outlets around the world. I think it is at least possible that Putin purposely exaggerated the amount of money in question as a kind of tit-for-tat response to Browder having started the rumor about his net worth being $200 billion.

Blue Pilgrim , July 30, 2018 at 11:39 am

The stories I saw said there was a mistranslation -- but that the figure should have $400 thousand and not $400 million. Maybe Putin misspoke, but the $400,000 number is still significant, albeit far more reasonable.

Putin never was on the Forbes list of billionaires, btw, and his campaign finance statement comes to far less. It never seems to occur to rabid capitalists or crooks that not everyone is like them, placing such importance on vast fortunes, or want to be dishonest, greedy, or power hungry. Putin is only 'well off' and that seems to satisfy him just fine as he gets on with other interests, values, and goals.

integer , July 30, 2018 at 12:03 pm

Yes, $400,000 is the revised/correct figure. My having written that "Putin retracted the statement" was not the best choice of phrase. Also, the figure was corrected the day after it was made, not "a week or so later" as I wrote in my previous comment. From the Russia Insider link:

Browder's criminal group used many tax evasion methods, including offshore companies. They siphoned shares and funds from Russia worth over 1.5 billion dollars. By the way, $400,000 was transferred to the US Democratic Party's accounts from these funds. The Russian president asked us to correct his statement from yesterday. During the briefing, he said it was $400,000,000, not $400,000. Either way, it's still a significant amount of money.

JohnnyGL , July 30, 2018 at 2:54 pm

I hadn't heard about the revision/edit to the $400M, thanks!

Seems crazy to think how much Russo-phobia seems to have been ginned up by one tax-dodging hedgie with an axe to grind.

Procopius , July 31, 2018 at 1:11 am

There's something weird about the anti-Putin hysteria. Somehow, many, many people have come to believe they must demonstrate their membership in the tribe by accepting completely unsupported assertions that go against common sense.

Eureka Springs , July 30, 2018 at 7:58 am

In a sane world we the people would be furious with the Clinton campaign, especially the D party but the R's as well, our media (again), and our intel/police State (again). Holding them all accountable while making sure this tsunami of deception and lies never happens again.

It's amazing even in time of the internetz those of us who really dig can only come up with a few sane voices. It's much worse now in terms of the numbers of sane voices than it was in the run up to Iraq 2.

CenterOfGravity , July 30, 2018 at 12:52 pm

Regardless of broad access to far more information in the digital age, never under estimate the self-preservation instinct of American exceptionalist mythology. There is an inverse relationship between the decline of US global primacy and increasingly desperate quest for adventurism. Like any case of addiction, looking outward for blame/salvation is imperative in order to prevent the mirror of self-reflection/realization from turning back onto ourselves.

integer , July 30, 2018 at 9:28 am

we're not to believe we're not supposed to believe we're supposed to believe

Believe whatever you want, however your comment gives the impression that you came to this article because you felt the need to push back against anything that does not conform to the liberal international order's narrative on Putin and Russia, rather than "with an eagerness to counterbalance the media's portrayal of Putin". WRT to whataboutism, I like Greenwald's definition of the term :

"Whataboutism": the term used to bar inquiry into whether someone adheres to the moral and behavioral standards they seek to impose on everyone else. That's its functional definition.

Rojo , July 30, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Invoking "whataboutism" is a liberal team-Dem tell.

Amfortas the Hippie , July 30, 2018 at 2:20 pm

aye. I've never seen it used by anyone aside from the worst Hill Trolls.
Indeed, when it was first thrown at me, I endeavored to look it up, and found that all references to it were from Hillaryites attempting to diss apostates and heretics.

Jonathan Holland Becnel , July 30, 2018 at 8:22 pm

Eh, probably

John Oliver, whos been completely sucking lately with TDS, did a semi decent segment on Whataboutism.

Eureka Springs , July 30, 2018 at 9:52 am

The degree of consistency and or lack of hypocrisy based on words and actions separates US from Russia to an astonishing level. That is Russia's largest threat to US, our deceivers. The propaganda tables have turned and we are deceiving ourselves to points of collective insanity and warmongering with a great nuclear power while we are at it. Warmongering is who we are and what we do.

Does Russia have a GITMO, torture Chelsea Manning, openly say they want to kill Snowden and Assange? Is Russia building up arsenals on our borders while maintaining hundreds of foreign bases and conducting several wars at any given moment while constantly threatening to foment more wars? Is Russia dropping another trillion on nuclear arsenals? Is Russia forcing us to maintain such an anti democratic system and an even worse, an entirely hackable electronic voting system?

You ready to destroy the world, including your own, rather than look in the mirror?

rkka , July 30, 2018 at 9:52 am

You're talking about extending Russian military power into Europe when the military spending of NATO Europe alone exceeds Russia's by almost 5-1 (more like 12-1 when one includes the US and Canada), have about triple the number of soldiers than Russia has, and when the Russian ground forces are numerically smaller than they have been in at least 200 years?

" to put their self-interests above those of their constituents and employees, why can't we apply this same lens to Putin and his oligarchs?"

The oligarchs got their start under Yeltsin and his FreeMarketDemocraticReformers, whose policies were so catastrophic that deaths were exceeding births by almost a million a year by the late '90s, with no end in sight. Central to Yeltsin's governance was the corrupt privatization, by which means the Seven Bankers came to control the Russian economy and Russian politics.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semibankirschina

Central to Putin's popularity are the measures he took to curb oligarchic predation in 2003-2005. Because of this, Russia's debt:GDP ratio went from 1.0 to about 0.2, and Russia's demographic recovery began while Western analysis were still predicting the death of Russia.

So Putin is the anti-oligarch in Russian domestic politics.

Blue Pilgrim , July 30, 2018 at 12:17 pm

"While it's true that power corrupts"

I know of many people who sacrifice their own interests for those of their children (over whom they have virtually absolute power), family member and friends. I know of others who dedicate their lives to justice, peace, the well being of their nation, the world, and other people -- people who find far greater meaning and satisfaction in this than in accumulating power or money. Other people have their own goals, such as producing art, inventing interesting things, reading and learning, and don't care two hoots about power or money as long as their immediate needs are met.

I'm cynical enough about humans without thinking the worst of everyone and every group or culture. Not everyone thinks only of nails and wants to be hammers, or are sociopaths. There are times when people are more or less forced into taking power, or getting more money, even if they don't want it, because they want to change things for the better or need to defend themselves.
There are people who get guns and learn how to use them only because they feel a need for defending themselves and family but who don't like guns and don't want to shoot anyone or anything.

There are many people who do not want to be controlled and bossed around, but neither want to boss around anyone else. The world is full of such people. If they are threatened and attacked, however, expect defensive reactions. Same as for most animals which are not predators, and even predators will generally not attack other animals if they are not hungry or threatened -- but that does not mean they are not competent or can be dangerous.

Capitalism is not only inherently predatory, but is inherently expansive without limits, with unlimited ambition for profits and control. It's intrinsically very competitive and imperialist. Capitalism is also a thing which was exported to Russia, starting soon after the Russian Revolution, which was immediately attacked and invaded by the West, and especially after the fall of the Soviet Union. Soviet Russia had it's own problems, which it met with varying degrees of success, but were quite different from the aggressive capitalism and imperialism of the US and Europe.

Not every culture and person are the same.

BenX , July 30, 2018 at 3:28 pm

The pro-Putin propaganda is pretty interesting to witness, and of course not everything Cohen says is skewed pro-Putin – that's what provides credibility. But "Putin kills everybody" is something NOBODY says (except Cohen, twice in one interview) – Putin is actually pretty selective of those he decides to have killed. But of course, he doesn't kill anyone, personally – therefore he's an innocent lamb, accidentally running Russia as a dictator.

rkka , July 31, 2018 at 9:11 am

The most recent dictator in Russian history was Boris Yeltsin, who turned tanks on his legislature while it was in the legal and constitutional process of impeaching him, and whose policies were so catastrophic for Russians (who were dying off at the rate of 900k/yr) that he had to steal his re-election because he had a 5% approval rating.

But he did as the US gvt told him, so I guess that makes him a Democrat.

Under Putin Russia recovered from being helpless, bankrupt & dying, but Russia has an independent foreign policy, so that makes Putin a dictator.

Plenue , July 30, 2018 at 3:54 pm

"Does any sane person believe that there will ever be a Putin-signed contract provided as evidence? Does any sane person believe that Putin actually needs to "approve" a contract rather than signaling to his oligarch/mafia hierarchy that he's unhappy about a newspaper or journalist's reporting?"

Why do you think Putin even needs, or feels a need, to have journalists killed in the first place? I see no evidence to support this basic assumption.

The idea of Russia poised to attack Europe is interesting, in light of the fact that they've cut their military spending by 20%. And even before that the budgets of France, Germany, and the UK combined well exceeded that of Russia, to say nothing of the rest of NATO or the US.

Putin's record speaks for itself. This again points to the absurdity of claiming he's had reporters killed: he doesn't need to. He has a vast amount of genuine public support because he's salvaged the country and pieced it back together after the pillaging of the Yeltsin years. That he himself is a corrupt oligarch I have no particular doubt of. But if he just wanted to enrich himself, he's had a very funny way of going about it. Pray tell, what are these 'other interpretations'?

"The US foreign policy has been disastrous for millions of people since world war 2. But Cohen's arguments that Russia isn't as bad as the US is just a bunch of whattaboutism."

What countries has the Russian Federation destroyed?

witters , July 31, 2018 at 1:30 am

Here is a fascinating essay ["Are We Reading Russia Right?"] by Nicolai N. Petro who currently holds the Silvia-Chandley Professorship of Peace Studies and Nonviolence at the University of Rhode Island. His books include, Ukraine
in Crisis (Routledge, 2017), Crafting Democracy (Cornell, 2004), The Rebirth of Russian Democracy (Harvard, 1995), and Russian Foreign Policy, co-authored with Alvin Z. Rubinstein (Longman, 1997). A graduate of the University of Virginia, he is the recipient of Fulbright awards to Russia and to Ukraine, as well as fellowships from the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies in Washington,
D.C., and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. As a Council on Foreign Relations Fellow, he served as special assistant for policy toward the Soviet Union in the U.S. Department of State from 1989 to 1990. In addition to scholarly publications
on Russia and Ukraine, he has written for Asia Times, American Interest, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian (UK), The Nation, New York Times, and Wilson Quarterly. His writings have appeared frequently on the web sites of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs and The National Interest.

I warn you – it is terrifying!

http://npetro.net/resources/Petro-FF+Spring+2018.pdf

Carolinian , July 30, 2018 at 8:55 am

Thanks for so much for this. Great stuff. Cohen says the emperor has no clothes so naturally the empire doesn't want him on television. I believe he has been on CNN one or two times and I saw him once on the PBS Newshour where the interviewer asked skeptical questions with a pained and skeptical look. He seems to be the only prominent person willing to stand up and call bs on the Russia hate. There are plenty of pundits and commentators who do that but not many Princeton professors.

Thye Rev Kev , July 30, 2018 at 9:04 am

It has been said in recent years that the greatest failure of American foreign policy was the invasion of Iraq. I think that they are wrong. The greatest failure, in my opinion, is to push both China and Russia together into a semi-official pact against American ambitions. In the same way that the US was able to split China from the USSR back in the seventies, the best option was for America to split Russia from China and help incorporate them into the western system. The waters for that idea have been so fouled by the Russia hysteria, if not dementia, that that is no longer a possibility. I just wish that the US would stop sowing dragon's teeth – it never ends well.

NotTimothyGeithner , July 30, 2018 at 9:45 am

The best option, but the "American exceptionalists" went nuts. Also, the usual play book of stoking fears of the "yellow menace" would have been too on the nose. Americans might not buy it, and there was a whole cottage industry of "the rising China threat" except the potential consumer market place and slave labor factories stopped that from happening.

Bringing Russia into the West effectively means Europe, and I think that creates a similar dynamic to a Russian/Chinese pact. The basic problem with the EU is its led by a relatively weak but very German power which makes the EU relatively weak or controllable as long as the German electorate is relatively sedate. I think they still need the international structures run by the U.S. to maintain their dominance. What Russia and the pre-Erdogan Turkey (which was never going to be admitted to the EU) presented was significant upsets to the existing EU order with major balances to Germany which I always believed would make the EU potentially more dynamic. Every decision wouldn't require a pilgrimage to Berlin. The British were always disinterested. The French had made arrangements with Germany, and Italy is still Italy. Putting Russia or Turkey (pre-Erdogan) would have disrupted this arrangement.

John Wright , July 30, 2018 at 11:11 am

>which is oddly not easy to locate on its site

It appeared to me that Aaron Mate knew he was dealing with a weak hand by the end of the interview.

When Mate stated "it's widely held that Putin is responsible for the killing of journalists and opposition activists who oppose him."

There are many widely held beliefs in the world, and that does not make them true.

For example, It was widely held, and still may be believed by some, that Saddam Hussein was involved in the events of 9/11.

It is widely believed that humans are not responsible, in any part, for climate change.

Mate may have been embarrassed when he saw the final version and as a courtesy to him, the interview was made more difficult to find.

pretzelattack , July 30, 2018 at 11:35 am

iirc he didn't say it was true.

Elizabeth Burton , July 30, 2018 at 7:18 pm

The Crimea voted to be annexed by Russia by a clear majority. The US overran Hawaii with total disregard for the wishes of the native population. Your comparison is invalid.

vato , July 31, 2018 at 3:37 am

"Putin's finger prints are all over the Balkan fiasco".How is that with Putin only becoming president in 2000 and the Nato bombing started way beforehand. It's ridiculous to think that Putin had any major influence at that time as govenor or director of the domestic intelligence service on what was going during the bombing of NATO on Belgrad. Even Gerhard Schroeder, then chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, admitted in an interview in 2014 with a major German Newspaper (Die Zeit) that this invasion of Nato was a fault and against international law!

Can you concrete what you mean by "fingerprints" or is this just another platitudes?

ewmayer , July 31, 2018 at 6:05 pm

"Somebody called it Trump derangement syndrome."

I believe that the full and proper name of the psychiatric disorder in question is Putin-Trump Derangement Syndrome [PTDS].

Symptoms include:

o Eager and uncritical ingestion and social-media regurgitation of even the most patently absurd MSM propaganda. For example, the meme that releasing factual information about actual election-meddling (as Wikileaks did about the Dem-establishment's rigging of its own nomination process in 2016) is a grave threat to American Democracy™;

o Recent-onset veneration of the intelligence agencies, whose stock in trade is spying on and lying to the American people, spreading disinformation, election rigging, torture and assassination and its agents, such as liar and perjurer Clapper and torturer Brennan;

o Rehabilitation of horrid unindicted GOP war criminals like G.W. Bush as alleged examples of "norms-respecting Republican patriots";

o Smearing of anyone who dares question the MSM-stoked hysteria as an America-hating Russian stooge.

[Aug 17, 2019] Putin-Trump Derangement Syndrome (PTDS)

Highly recommended!
Aug 17, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

ewmayer , July 31, 2018 at 6:05 pm

"Somebody called it Trump derangement syndrome."

I believe that the full and proper name of the psychiatric disorder in question is Putin-Trump Derangement Syndrome [PTDS].

Symptoms include:

[Aug 15, 2019] One of the many purposes of Russiagate was to misdirect people away from the fact that Trump's election represents (among other things) a huge split in the ruling class, which can roughly be described as one between extractive industries (energy, agriculture, mining, etc.) and finance, media and tech.

Aug 15, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Michael Fiorillo , , August 14, 2019 at 11:53 am

" (the) factional struggle evident in the rise of Trump "

Thank you.

One of the many purposes of Russiagate was to misdirect people away from the fact that Trump's election represents (among other things) a huge split in the ruling class, which can roughly be described as one between extractive industries (energy, agriculture, mining, etc.) and finance, media and tech. A map of the 2016 election results strongly supports this analysis. Thus, Comcast was more than happy to give free reign to Rachel Maddow's two+ years of disinfotainment

This split in the ruling class would provide an immense opportunity if the US had a real functioning Left, rather than lumpen bourgeois and childish virtue signalling about open borders and reparations.

[Aug 12, 2019] Bruce Ohr 302s by Larry C Johnson - Sic Semper Tyrannis

Highly recommended!
That suggest that FBI actions were influenced by Obama administration and CIA to much greater expent thatn we assuned.
Notable quotes:
"... It may be that much of the dossier was created out of whole cloth by Nellie Ohr who was tasked to create a narrative that jibed with Simpson's political objectives. ..."
"... The ukraine is probably behind a great deal of the "info" the democrats and fib used.. ..."
Aug 12, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

In reviewing these 302s there are some salient points I want to bring to your attention.

First, Christopher Steele was terminated as an FBI Confidential Human Source at the end of September 2016 for leaking to the press. That should have put an end to the relationship. Instead, the FBI starts using Bruce Ohr, the number four guy at the Department of Justice, as a cutout. Absolutely no justification for this kind of behavior by the FBI. It is, at a minimum, unethical and creates a real problem if any of the info collected from Ohr was to be used in a court proceeding. Something known as the "fruit of the poisonous tree" would kick in and the so-called evidence proffered by Ohr would be inadmissible or unusable because of Steele's previous lies to the FBI.

Second, Glenn Simpson played a huge role in helping spread anti-Trump propaganda generated by Steele. In fact, it was Simpson's insistence on Steele speaking with the press that got Steele terminated as an FBI source.

Third, the FBI knew by mid-December 2016 that Bruce Ohr's wife, Nellie, was working with Simpson and Steele. This too should have set off alarm bells about the potential conflicts of interest and unethical conduct.

Fourth, evidence used ultimately against Paul Manafort came from Nellie Ohr. If this was not disclosed to Manafort's attorney's there is a likely Brady violation, which bolster's Manafort's prospects for an appeal.

Fifth, Steele and Simpson made several claims of fact about Russia ties to the Trump campaign that were later proven to be false. For example, stating that Michael Cohen was in Prague meeting the Russians. Important to note that Christopher Steele produced the final report of the so-called dossier bearing his name on 13 December 2016 yet this information was "passed" to Ohr one day prior to the date on the report.

Sixth, the "debriefing" of Ohr on 12 December 2016 also provided the foundation for going after Marina Butina. (See Sara Carter's excellent update on this case here ). The false information from Steele/Simpson via Bruce Ohr became the pretext for launching an investigation of Butina, who was working for a wealthy Russian banker, Alexander Torshin. This too turns out to have been a fabrication. I believe this provides Butina's attorneys more ammunition for arguing prosecutorial misconduct and failure to provide critical Brady material.

Seventh, Ohr's report that Simpson and Steele were communicating with the State Department, including Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland and Kathleen Kavalec makes it clear that State Department was used as a front to pass on info from the questionable Steele Dossier. This information was used in the FISA warrant and provided a seemingly reliable justification for spying on Carter Page (see the Page FISA warrant here .)

And finally, Fusion GPS, which was hired on behalf of the Clinton Campaign, was regularly communicating and coordinating with Obama's Department of Justice and Department of State. This was a complete abuse of power.

Now, here is the summary of the 302s:

11/22/2016 (entered on 12/19/2006)

Ohr met with Steele in 2007 (not sure of date) at a conference.

July 30, 2016 Steele met Ohr for breakfast. Steele claimed Carter Page had met with Russian Sechin at a conference.

States that Glenn Simpson hired Steele and Ohr's wife to dig up dirt on Trump's connections to Russia.

Noted that reporting was going to the Clinton Campaign, Jonathan Winer and the FBI.

Ohr met with Steele in late September and was told about Alfa Bank ties to Trump and the Sergei Millian organization.

Noted that Steele was desperate to stop Trump and to thwart the Kremlin.

Ohr knew that Glenn Simpson and "others" were meeting with Victoria Nuland.

12/05/2016 (entered on 12/19/2016) (drafted on 12/12/2016)

Glenn Simpson directed Christopher Steele to speak to the press, including David Corn at Mother Jones.

Ohr provided FBI info on Manafort Chronology prepared by his wife.

12/12/2016 (entered on 12/19/2016) (Drafted on 12/14/2016)

Ohr states, per Simpson, that Cohen replaced Manafort and Page as the contact with the Russians.

Says that Cohen met with Russians in Prague.

Claims that Torshin is a Russian mobster and is trying to infiltrate the NRA and was pushing money to Trump.

Simpson opined that Sergei Millian was an SVR officer and a link to Trump.

12/20/2016 (entered on 12/27/2016)

Thumb drive with Nelly Ohr's research passed to FBI.

1/23/2017 (entered on 1/31/2017) (drafted on 1/25/2017)

Simpson tells Ohr a source will be outed in the coming days.

Steele claims he met with a McCain staffer prior to October 2016

1/25/017 (entered on 1/27/2017)

Ohr spoke with Steele on 25 January 2017.

1/27/2017 (entered on 1/27/2017)

Steele told Ohr he wanted to keep lines of communication open.

02/06/2017 (entered on 02/08/2017)

Ohr contacted by Steele via What'sApp on 31 January 2017. Was reacting to firing of Sally Yates. Worried that if Ohr got fired he would have no one to talk to.

"Interviewing agents asked Ohr to ask Steele if he would be comfortable getting the name of an FBI agent."

Ohr reminded agents that Steele had spoken several times prior to 2016 Presidential election with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec. Ohr identified one of the sources for Steele's report as a Ukranian.

02/14/2017 (entered on 02/15/2017)

Ohr tells FBI about Steele's concerns about his business. Identifies other lawyer (name blacked out) he is working with. Steele is preparing a proposal to re-establish his business releationship with the FBI.

05/08/2017 (entered on 05/10/2017)

Steele tells Ohr that he is worried about Comey's upcoming testimony. Ohr tells Steele what Comey will say and Steele is "happy."

Ohr said that Glenn Simpson would be visiting Steele soon.

Jonathan Winer was bringing a letter to Steele.


walrus , 11 August 2019 at 04:43 PM

this is treason.
PRC90 , 11 August 2019 at 08:24 PM
As an aside, note the similarities between Steele and Downer. Both carried some imprimatur of credibility based on prior government service, and popped up from no where and returned to relative obscurity after producing a document that was able to be immediately misused by others for the same purpose.

I'd wondered why anyone would want to involve Downer in these events, the man is a moron. However, one of his greatest strengths is producing wonderful well written reports, and to that extent would appear to have been chosen well.

confusedponderer , 12 August 2019 at 05:52 AM
It is, however despicable the whole story is, suggesting - and in its own way entertaining - that apparently the experienced gutter lady "Eff the EU" Nuland was also involved, probably bringing in her ... regime change experience aquired in the Ukraine.

I wonder, did she ever say "Eff the Orange Man too"? Alas. Either way, more interesting to me is whether she also handed out cookies to Steel and/or Ohr?

https://orf.at/static/images/site/news/20131250/ukraine_klitschko_usa_body_a.4532409.jpg

As far as financial price of the Ohr & Steel operation goes, compared to the 5+ billion that were according to Nuland proudly poured into Ukraine to get Maidan and backstab Janukowytsch, hiring Steel to backstab somebody else - Trump - was probably way cheaper - i.e. 'however illegal, it was more economic'.

That said, I detested Nuland well before this story for her Maidan stuntery and the "Eff the EU" arrogance, but then, she really made it easy even for an at time even more benevolent observer.

Thanks for sharing and elaborating.

Patrick Armstrong , 12 August 2019 at 08:48 AM
But the big question that I would be interested to get opinions on is this:
when is all this stuff going to be revealed in a way that not even the readers of the WaPo NYT et al can deny thet the entire Russia collusion/interference story is false from beginning to end?

The longer the Russia-interfered-in-our-election-and-everybody-else's lie is perpetrated, the closer we all get to nuclear annihilation. So it's a matter of some importance.

Any ideas?
One that occurs to me is that nothing will happen -- it will all dribble out over such a long time that nothing will ever be ever dramatic and simple enough to make an effect.

My other thought is that Trump & Co wants the big explosive revelations to hit the street next Mar/Apr so as to destroy the Dems in 2020.

But many of us have known the general outline of the conspiracy for a couple of years, but nothing big ever hits the street and the lies get dug in a little deeper every day that they're not exploded.

turcopolier , 12 August 2019 at 09:02 AM
PA

Unless there are a lot of indictments none of this will matter.

plantman , 12 August 2019 at 11:39 AM
So, state department honchos--Victoria Nuland, Kavalec and Sally Yates (DOJ)--all had some knowledge of what was going on, right? And so did national security advisor Susan Rice.

Doesn't that prove that Obama must have been in the loop?

I think it does.

Second, how much of Nellie Ohr's russia research actually ended up in the steele dossier? I think that it is very unlikely that Chris Steele maintained his sketchy connections in Russia after the seismic political changes in the early 2000s. It may be that much of the dossier was created out of whole cloth by Nellie Ohr who was tasked to create a narrative that jibed with Simpson's political objectives.

notamusedobserver -> plantman... , 12 August 2019 at 04:42 PM
The ukraine is probably behind a great deal of the "info" the democrats and fib used..

[Aug 12, 2019] Russiagate is the idea around which varied interests can be organized

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Like the Wolfowitz explanation of the Iraq War, Russiagate is the idea around which varied interests can be organized. Cold Warriors like to hate on Russia. It justifies arms spending and their own importance. Clintonistas need an excuse to distract from her being a loser. The DNC needs an excuse for manipulating the candidate selection in favor of donor interests. "Moderates" need a distraction from their ongoing refusal to address the interests of voters. ..."
Aug 12, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Mark Thomason , August 12, 2019 at 10:34

Like the Wolfowitz explanation of the Iraq War, Russiagate is the idea around which varied interests can be organized. Cold Warriors like to hate on Russia. It justifies arms spending and their own importance. Clintonistas need an excuse to distract from her being a loser. The DNC needs an excuse for manipulating the candidate selection in favor of donor interests. "Moderates" need a distraction from their ongoing refusal to address the interests of voters.

[Aug 12, 2019] RAY McGOVERN Rich's Ghost Haunts the Courts Consortiumnews

Notable quotes:
"... That epithet has a sordid history in the annals of U.S. intelligence. Legendary CIA Director Allen Dulles used the "brand-them-conspiracy-theorists" ploy following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy when many objected -- understandably -- to letting him pretty much run the Warren Commission, even though the CIA was suspected of having played a role in the murder. The "conspiracy theorist" tactic worked like a charm then, and now. Well, up until just now. ..."
"... U.S. Courts apply far tougher standards to evidence than do the intelligence community and the pundits who loll around lazily, feeding from the intelligence PR trough. This (hardly surprising) reality was underscored when a Dallas financial adviser named Ed Butowsky sued National Public Radio and others for defaming him about the role he played in controversial stories relating to Rich. On August 7, NPR suffered a setback, when U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant affirmed a lower court decision to allow Butowsky's defamation lawsuit to proceed. ..."
"... NPR gave Isikoff 37 minutes on its popular Fresh Air program to spin his yarn about how the Seth Rich story got started. You guessed it; the Russians started it . No, we are not making this up. ..."
"... It is far from clear that Isikoff can be much help to NPR in the libel case against it. Isikoff's own writings on Russiagate are notably lacking in "verifiable statements of fact" -- information that cannot be verified. ..."
"... In any case, The Washington Post , had already debunked Isikoff's claim (which later in his article he switched to being only "purported") by pointing out that Americans had already tweeted the theory of Rich's murder days before the alleged Russian intervention. ..."
"... Butowsky's libel lawsuit can now proceed to discovery, which will include demands for documents and depositions that are likely to shed light on whatever role Rich may have played in leaking to WikiLeaks . If the government obstructs or tries to slow-roll the case, we shall have to wait and see, for example, if the court will acquiesce to the familiar government objection that information regarding Rich's murder must be withheld as a state secret? Hmmm. What would that tell us? ..."
"... During discovery in a separate court case, the government was unable to produce a final forensic report on the "hacking" of the Democratic National Committee. The DNC-hired cyber firm, CrowdStrike, failed to complete such a report, and that was apparently okay with then FBI Director James Comey, who did not require one. ..."
"... The thorny question of "persuasive sourcing," came up even more starkly on July 1, when federal Judge Dabney Friedrich ordered Robert Mueller to stop pretending he had proof that the Russian government was behind the Internet Research Agency's supposed attempt to interfere via social media in the 2016 election. Middle school-level arithmetic can prove the case that the IRA's use of social media to support Trump is ludicrous on its face. ..."
"... As journalist Patrick Lawrence put it recently: "Three years after the narrative we call Russiagate was framed and incessantly promoted, it crumbles into rubble as we speak." ..."
"... In a long interview with Lauria a few months ago in New Zealand aired this month on CN Live! , Kim Dotcom provided a wealth of detail, based on what he described as first-hand knowledge, regarding how Democratic National Committee documents were leaked to WikiLeaks in 2016. ..."
"... The major takeaway: the evidence presented by Dotcom about Seth Rich can be verified or disproven if President Trump summons the courage to order the director of NSA to dig out the relevant data, including the conversations Dotcom says he had with Rich and Rich may have had with WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. ..."
"... Dotcom said he put Rich in touch with a middleman to transfer the DNC files to WikiLeaks . ..."
"... Mark Twain is said to have warned, "How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again!" After three years of "Russia-Russia-Russia" in the corporate -- and even in some "progressive" -- media, this conditioning will not be easy to reverse. ..."
Aug 12, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Simply letting the name "Seth Rich" pass your lips can condemn you to the leper colony built by the Washington Establishment for "conspiracy theorists," (the term regularly applied to someone determined to seek tangible evidence, and who is open to alternatives to "Russia-did-it.")

Rich was a young DNC employee who was murdered on a street in Washington, DC, on July 10, 2016. Many, including me, suspect that Rich played some role in the leaking of DNC emails to WikiLeaks . There is considerable circumstantial evidence that this may have been the case. Those who voice such suspicions, however, are, ipso facto , branded "conspiracy theorists."

That epithet has a sordid history in the annals of U.S. intelligence. Legendary CIA Director Allen Dulles used the "brand-them-conspiracy-theorists" ploy following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy when many objected -- understandably -- to letting him pretty much run the Warren Commission, even though the CIA was suspected of having played a role in the murder. The "conspiracy theorist" tactic worked like a charm then, and now. Well, up until just now.

Rich Hovers Above the Courts

U.S. Courts apply far tougher standards to evidence than do the intelligence community and the pundits who loll around lazily, feeding from the intelligence PR trough. This (hardly surprising) reality was underscored when a Dallas financial adviser named Ed Butowsky sued National Public Radio and others for defaming him about the role he played in controversial stories relating to Rich. On August 7, NPR suffered a setback, when U.S. District Court Judge Amos Mazzant affirmed a lower court decision to allow Butowsky's defamation lawsuit to proceed.

Judge Mazzant ruled that NPR had stated as "verifiable statements of fact" information that could not be verified , and that the plaintiff had been, in effect, accused of being engaged in wrongdoing without persuasive sourcing language.

Isikoff: Russians started it. (Wikipedia)

Imagine! -- "persuasive sourcing" required to separate fact from opinion and axes to grind! An interesting precedent to apply to the ins and outs of Russiagate. In the courts, at least, this is now beginning to happen. And NPR and others in similarly vulnerable positions are scurrying around for allies.??The day after Judge Mazzant's decision, NPR enlisted help from discredited Yahoo! News pundit Michael Isikoff (author, with David Corn, of the fiction-posing-as-fact novel Russian Roulette ). NPR gave Isikoff 37 minutes on its popular Fresh Air program to spin his yarn about how the Seth Rich story got started. You guessed it; the Russians started it . No, we are not making this up.

It is far from clear that Isikoff can be much help to NPR in the libel case against it. Isikoff's own writings on Russiagate are notably lacking in "verifiable statements of fact" -- information that cannot be verified. Watch, for example, his recent interview with Consortium News Editor Joe Lauria on CN Live!

Isikoff admitted to Lauria that he never saw the classified Russian intelligence document reportedly indicating that three days after Rich's murder the Russian SVR foreign intelligence service planted a story about Rich having been the leaker and was killed for it. This Russian intelligence "bulletin," as Isikoff called it, was supposedly placed on a bizarre website that Isikoff admitted was an unlikely place for Russia to spread disinformation. He acknowledged that he only took the word of the former prosecutor in the Rich case about the existence of this classified Russian document.

In any case, The Washington Post , had already debunked Isikoff's claim (which later in his article he switched to being only "purported") by pointing out that Americans had already tweeted the theory of Rich's murder days before the alleged Russian intervention.

' Persuasive Sourcing' & Discovery ??

Butowsky's libel lawsuit can now proceed to discovery, which will include demands for documents and depositions that are likely to shed light on whatever role Rich may have played in leaking to WikiLeaks . If the government obstructs or tries to slow-roll the case, we shall have to wait and see, for example, if the court will acquiesce to the familiar government objection that information regarding Rich's murder must be withheld as a state secret? Hmmm. What would that tell us?

Butowsky: Suit could reveal critical information. (Flickr)

During discovery in a separate court case, the government was unable to produce a final forensic report on the "hacking" of the Democratic National Committee. The DNC-hired cyber firm, CrowdStrike, failed to complete such a report, and that was apparently okay with then FBI Director James Comey, who did not require one.

The incomplete, redacted, draft, second-hand "forensics" that Comey settled for from CrowdStrike does not qualify as credible evidence -- much less "persuasive sourcing" to support the claim that the Russians "hacked" into the DNC. Moreover, CrowdStrike has a dubious reputation for professionalism and a well known anti-Russia bias.

The thorny question of "persuasive sourcing," came up even more starkly on July 1, when federal Judge Dabney Friedrich ordered Robert Mueller to stop pretending he had proof that the Russian government was behind the Internet Research Agency's supposed attempt to interfere via social media in the 2016 election. Middle school-level arithmetic can prove the case that the IRA's use of social media to support Trump is ludicrous on its face.

Russia-gate Rubble

As journalist Patrick Lawrence put it recently: "Three years after the narrative we call Russiagate was framed and incessantly promoted, it crumbles into rubble as we speak." Falling syllogism! Step nimbly to one side.

The "conspiracy theorist" epithet is not likely to much longer block attention to the role, if any, played by Rich -- the more so since some players who say they were directly involved with Rich are coming forward.

In a long interview with Lauria a few months ago in New Zealand aired this month on CN Live! , Kim Dotcom provided a wealth of detail, based on what he described as first-hand knowledge, regarding how Democratic National Committee documents were leaked to WikiLeaks in 2016.

The major takeaway: the evidence presented by Dotcom about Seth Rich can be verified or disproven if President Trump summons the courage to order the director of NSA to dig out the relevant data, including the conversations Dotcom says he had with Rich and Rich may have had with WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange.

Dotcom said he put Rich in touch with a middleman to transfer the DNC files to WikiLeaks . Sadly, Trump has flinched more than once rather than confront the Deep State -- and this time there are a bunch of very well connected, senior Deep State practitioners who could face prosecution .

Another sign that Rich's story is likely to draw new focus is the virulent character assassination indulged in by former investigative journalist James Risen.

Not Risen to the Challenge

Risen: Called Binney a "conspiracy theorist." (Flickr)

On August 5, in an interview on The Hill's "Rising," Risen chose to call former NSA Technical Director Bill Binney -- you guessed it -- a "conspiracy theorist" on Russia-gate, with no demurral, much less pushback, from the hosts.

The having-done-good-work-in-the-past-and-now-not-so-much Risen can be considered a paradigm for what has happened to so many Kool-Aid drinking journalists. Jim's transition from investigative journalist to stenographer is, nonetheless unsettling. Contributing causes? It appears that the traditional sources within the intelligence agencies, whom Risen was able to cultivate discreetly in the past, are too fearful now to even talk to him, lest they get caught by one or two of the myriad surveillance systems in play.

Those at the top of the relevant agencies, however, are only too happy to provide grist. Journalists have to make a living, after all. Topic A, of course, is Russian "interference" in the 2016 election. And, of course, "There can be little doubt" the Russians did it.

"Big Jim" Risen, as he is known, jumped on the bandwagon as soon as he joined The Intercept , with a fulsome article on February 17, 2018 titled " Is Donald Trump a Traitor? " Here's an excerpt:

"The evidence that Russia intervened in the election to help Trump win is already compelling, and it grows stronger by the day.

"There can be little doubt now that Russian intelligence officials were behind an effort to hack the DNC's computers and steal emails and other information from aides to Hillary Clinton as a means of damaging her presidential campaign. Russian intelligence also used fake social media accounts and other tools to create a global echo chamber both for stories about the emails and for anti-Clinton lies dressed up to look like news.

"To their disgrace, editors and reporters at American news organizations greatly enhanced the Russian echo chamber, eagerly writing stories about Clinton and the Democratic Party based on the emails, while showing almost no interest during the presidential campaign in exactly how those emails came to be disclosed and distributed." (sic)

Poor Jim. He shows himself just as susceptible as virtually all of his fellow corporate journalists to the epidemic-scale HWHW virus (Hillary Would Have Won) that set in during Nov. 2016 and for which the truth seems to be no cure. From his perch at The Intercept , Risen will continue to try to shape the issues. Russiagaters major ally, of course, is the corporate media which has most Americans pretty much under their thumb.

Incidentally, neither The New York Times, The Washington Post , nor The Wall Street Journal has printed or posted a word about Judge Mazzant's ruling on the Butowsky suit.

Mark Twain is said to have warned, "How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again!" After three years of "Russia-Russia-Russia" in the corporate -- and even in some "progressive" -- media, this conditioning will not be easy to reverse.

Here's how one astute observer with a sense of humor described the situation last week, in a comment under one of my recent pieces on Consortium News:

" One can write the most thought-out and well documented academic-like essays, articles and reports and the true believers in Russiagate will dismiss it all with a mere flick of their wrist. The mockery and scorn directed towards those of us who knew the score from day one won't relent. They could die and go to heaven and ask god what really happened during the 2016 election. God would reply to them in no uncertain terms that Putin and the Russians had absolutely nothing to do with anything in '16, and they'd all throw up their hands and say, 'aha! So, God's in on this too!' It's the great lie that won't die."

I'm not so sure. It is likely to be a while though before this is over.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. Ray was a CIA analyst for 27 years; in retirement he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

[Aug 12, 2019] Clinton and to rush to Brexit? Why, the evil Russians, of course, are behind it all by Craig Murray

Russophrenia is rampant in the USA those days...
From comments: "I’ll say it again. Why aren’t progressive Dimocraps clamoring to have Hillary water-boarded so the truth can be heard?."
Aug 12, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Douglas Adams famously suggested that the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42. In the world of the political elite, the answer is Russiagate. What has caused the electorate to turn on the political elite, to defeat Hillary

[Aug 08, 2019] The Mainstream Media Wants The Mifsud Story To Just Go Away

Notable quotes:
"... "I can report absolutely that the Durham investigators have now obtained an audiotape deposition of Joseph Mifsud, where he describes his work, why he targeted George Papadopoulos , who directed him to do that, what directions he was given, and why he set that entire process of introducing Papadopoulos to Russia in motion in March of 2016, which is really the flashpoint the starting point of this whole Russia collusion narrative," Solomon told Fox News' Sean Hannity. ..."
"... You can't save the Russian collusion narrative, if you can't find any real Russians anywhere in the story. The FBI under James Comey will then be seen as having engaged in an operation to entrap people, and "Russian agents" turn out to be fakes working for the FBI and who were making fake offers of Russian help to the Trump campaign. ..."
"... Mifsud turning out to be a fake Russian agent working for the FBI ..."
"... To have to admit that the story was actually right, while they themselves were still peddling the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, would be a most bitter pill for many of these 'legitimate' news outlets to swallow. ..."
"... And yet when it comes to recent developments about Mifsud, a key player in this Trump-Russia collusion narrative, many mainstream reporters appear indifferent at best, or outrightly hostile at worst to these latest developments. ..."
"... While many of these mainstream media reporters have been desperately trying to find some way to save the Trump/Russian collusion narrative, the last thing they want to have to report is that the supposed key Russian agent that started this whole Spygate thing wasn't really a Russian agent, but was instead an FBI asset pretending to be a Russian agent. ..."
Aug 07, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The Mainstream Media Wants The Mifsud Story To Just Go Away

by Tyler Durden Wed, 08/07/2019 - 22:35 0 SHARES

Authored by Brian Cates via The Epoch Times,

While many mainstream media journalists have been spinning fantasies for more than two years, based on Russian collusion stories being handed to them by anonymous sources, crack reporter John Solomon of The Hill has been pursuing real leads and uncovering actual evidence.

Now, Solomon is reporting that an audiotape containing professor Joseph Mifsud's deposition has been given to both U.S. Attorney John Durham's investigators and to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"I can report absolutely that the Durham investigators have now obtained an audiotape deposition of Joseph Mifsud, where he describes his work, why he targeted George Papadopoulos , who directed him to do that, what directions he was given, and why he set that entire process of introducing Papadopoulos to Russia in motion in March of 2016, which is really the flashpoint the starting point of this whole Russia collusion narrative," Solomon told Fox News' Sean Hannity.

"I can also confirm that the Senate Judiciary Committee has also obtained the same deposition," he said.

Mifsud , who I have written about extensively in previous columns , is the key that turns the lock to the lid of this Pandora's box that we refer to as "Spygate."

So I'm wondering why Solomon appears to be the only mainstream reporter pursuing this Mifsud story.

I suspect it's because many DNC Media outlets, after having fallen deeply and passionately in love with the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, are reluctant to call attention to something that would be the final nail in its coffin.

The last thing the mainstream media wants right now would be for Mifsud to go on the record with both Durham's investigative team and with Congress to say he was working for the FBI and was only pretending to be a Russian agent.

If Mifsud was an FBI asset sent to entrap Papadopoulos, then there are no real Russian agents anywhere in this entire Trump-Russia collusion story.

Foreign policy advisor to US President Donald Trump's election campaign, George Papadopoulos goes through security at the US District Court for his sentencing in Washington, DC on Sept. 7, 2018. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)

Ponder what that means for a minute.

You can't save the Russian collusion narrative, if you can't find any real Russians anywhere in the story. The FBI under James Comey will then be seen as having engaged in an operation to entrap people, and "Russian agents" turn out to be fakes working for the FBI and who were making fake offers of Russian help to the Trump campaign.

Some of these news media outlets are still - at this late date - claiming there's some life left in the Russian collusion narrative. Mifsud is literally the last dying hope for these people that somewhere in all of this there is a real Russian asset and real collusion. They literally need Mifsud to be a real asset of the Putin government. And if Mifsud goes on the record to officially affirm he was working for the FBI, then the media's last dying hope is gone forever.

To hear the mainstream media tell it, Mifsud turning out to be a fake Russian agent working for the FBI is a "conspiracy theory" created by "right-wing zealots" such as Reps. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

To have to admit that the story was actually right, while they themselves were still peddling the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, would be a most bitter pill for many of these 'legitimate' news outlets to swallow.

Which likely explains why Solomon appears to be just about the only mainstream reporter pursuing the Mifsud story. If there are any other major news outlet reporters out there avidly pursuing the facts about Mifsud and his reported contacts and testimony to Justice Department investigators, they're being pretty quiet about it.

What are the mainstream news reporters who are ignoring the Mifsud story telling themselves, anyway?

"I can't pursue this new information on Mifsud, because it's taking the story where I don't want it to go!"?

That's a thought process that happens only to a political activist disguised as a reporter. No real reporter would ever think that way.

And yet when it comes to recent developments about Mifsud, a key player in this Trump-Russia collusion narrative, many mainstream reporters appear indifferent at best, or outrightly hostile at worst to these latest developments.

While many of these mainstream media reporters have been desperately trying to find some way to save the Trump/Russian collusion narrative, the last thing they want to have to report is that the supposed key Russian agent that started this whole Spygate thing wasn't really a Russian agent, but was instead an FBI asset pretending to be a Russian agent.

These selfsame media reporters have spent more than two years mocking the idea that Mifsud is an FBI asset as something straight out of the right-wing fever swamp of convoluted nonsense conspiracy theories. This is why so many political activists masquerading as journalists are desperately hoping that somehow the Mifsud story will just go away and die on its own.

My instinct says they're going to be massively disappointed soon.


leodogma1 , 17 minutes ago link

The only one's ever colluding with the Russians was Hillary the "******* Rotten" Clinton, Obongo "the One" and the usual suspects (Comey,Clapper,Brennan,Lynch,) et.al .. FBI/DOJ/CIA Rats, British UN-intelligence,Australian & Ukraine interference. The DNC server was never hacked by Russians but copied, the Steele/Fusion GPS dossier was a work of worn out fiction that was originally put together in 2007 and used against McCain.

Nelbev , 28 minutes ago link

Worth a read,

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/05/05/nunes_mueller_report_cherry-picked_information_to_portray_mifsud_as_russian_agent_he_was_really_a_western_agent.html# !

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2019/05/05/maria-bartiromo-and-devin-nunes-discuss-predicate-of-spygate-and-mueller-dossier/

Russian agent Mifsud working with Papadopoulos to get Hillary emails claimed by DNC/Crowdstrike/Perkins Coie hacked by Russians before destroyed by Hillary under subpoena, just a FBI paid actor to keep the narrative going and covering up illegal spying on Trump, NSA 702 "about" querries by private contractors ang gov. violating FISA which happened much earlier.

greenskeeper carl , 28 seconds ago link

Conservative treehouse does a better job than just about anywhere else I've seen of tying that all together. But, if they are correct about this, as they've been correct about a lot of things, it won't change anything or matter at all. None of these people will ever be indicted, much less spend a single day in jail. Sad, but true. In a year and a half trump will most likely be gone, and all of this will be memory holed.

TrustbutVerify , 55 minutes ago link

Most Democrats still adhere to the Trump - Russia collusion narrative. And they wonder why some Leftists like Roseanne Barr admit 'Democrats have gone insane.' An opinion shared by most of the rest of the country. And yet public speeches by Trump are enthusiastically attended by thousands - a story very much minimized by these same "news" outlets.

Those Democrats exist within a media bubble (95% of press outlets - online, too) working for the Deep State (99% are Democrats) that misinforms them. Perhaps they are intentionally self-duped. Though it remains shocking how deeply deluded they are.

Justapleb , 30 minutes ago link

They adhere to the hoax because they knew it was a hoax to begin with.

The dems have never been sincere calling people racist, sexist, Hitler, then Russian or Assad stooges, etc.

Their Saul Alinsky tactic is to shriek incessantly, always accuse, never take the defensive because your position is indefensible. You can't argue why offering open borders and free health care to 7 billion people is rational.

That is why the violence is so important to them, and so important to keep concealing the deep state/democratic crime syndicate.

Charlie_Martel , 59 minutes ago link

The main stream media is the mouth piece of the intelligence community.

Walking Turtle , 54 minutes ago link

The main stream media is the mouth piece of the intelligence community.

The main stream media is [ currently ] the mouth piece of the [ criminal Deep State ] intelligence community.

There; fify. The "Intelligence Community" in its entirety is hardly any monolith of pure evil. There are cadres and factions within every agency, including Old-School Patriot.

MUST be said now and then lest others lose perspective. And that is all. 0{:-\o[

Oldwood , 1 hour ago link

None of it matters.

The progressives will happily embrace the worst criminal behavior by our government as JUSTIFIED to depose the devil incarnate Trump.

There is only one principle...winning. The law is THEIR weapon devised to punish their enemies and control their minions. All means are justifiable to the ends, and the vast majority of those "serving" in government have no hesitancy in abusing their power to fulfill the larger agenda.

They will have proof and undeniable facts...to no avail because those charged with the prosecution of their own, will NOT.

DEDA CVETKO , 1 hour ago link

I have spoken with my crystal ball, and it told me something rather unintelligible about Mifsud, MI-6, Seth Rich and Vince Foster.

Does anyone have any idea what my crystal ball was talking about?

Demologos , 34 minutes ago link

When I asked my magic 8-ball if Mifsud was See Aye Ehh, it answered "very likely"

DEDA CVETKO , 20 minutes ago link

Smart balls you got there!

fezline , 1 hour ago link

More sensationalism... how many articles are you going to post saying the spygate situation is about to blow up? I would love for it to happen but unlike the libtards hanging on Rachel Maddow's every word... when I hear the walls are closing in for over 2 or 3 months straight... I start to call ********... Give up the sensationalism Tyler... it's straight up MSM flavor ********.

[Aug 05, 2019] UK 'up to its neck' in Russiagate affair, says George Galloway, as secret texts reveal British role

Barr now has goods to jail major conspirators for life. It is unlikely happened but we can hope.
Notable quotes:
"... "Turns out it was Britain that was the foreign country interfering in American affairs," former MP George Galloway told RT, speaking about the new revelations published by the Guardian about early British involvement in the 'Russiagate' investigation. ..."
"... The Guardian reported on texts between former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe and Jeremy Fleming, his then counterpart at MI5, who now heads GCHQ. The two men met in 2016 to discuss "our strange situation" – an apparent reference to Russia's alleged interference in US domestic politics. ..."
"... British intelligence "appears to have played a key role in the early stages," the report said. ..."
"... Galloway said the revelation was not surprising because people "already knew" that British intelligence had played a part in the Russia-related investigations in the US. He recalled that it was former British spy Christopher Steele who drew up the now-infamous Steele dossier, which made multiple unverifiable and salacious claims about Trump and has since been largely discredited. Britain is "up to its neck in the whole Russiagate affair," he said. ..."
"... Asked what the UK stood to gain by trying to implicate Russia in a US election scandal at a time when then-foreign secretary Boris Johnson was dismissing baseless claims of Russian interference in the Brexit campaign, Galloway noted that Johnson's comments on Russia have appeared to strangely sway between friendly and antagonistic. ..."
"... In June 2016, the FBI opened a covert investigation codenamed 'Crossfire Hurricane' into Trump's now disproven collusion with Moscow, which was later taken over by special counsel Robert Mueller. ..."
Jul 31, 2019 | www.rt.com

While hysteria raged about possible Russian "interference" in the 2016 US election, British intelligence officials were secretly playing a "key role" in helping instigate investigations into Donald Trump, secret texts have shown. "Turns out it was Britain that was the foreign country interfering in American affairs," former MP George Galloway told RT, speaking about the new revelations published by the Guardian about early British involvement in the 'Russiagate' investigation.

The Guardian reported on texts between former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe and Jeremy Fleming, his then counterpart at MI5, who now heads GCHQ. The two men met in 2016 to discuss "our strange situation" – an apparent reference to Russia's alleged interference in US domestic politics.

British intelligence "appears to have played a key role in the early stages," the report said.

www.youtube.com/embed/y0X5ubiSd0M

Galloway said the revelation was not surprising because people "already knew" that British intelligence had played a part in the Russia-related investigations in the US. He recalled that it was former British spy Christopher Steele who drew up the now-infamous Steele dossier, which made multiple unverifiable and salacious claims about Trump and has since been largely discredited. Britain is "up to its neck in the whole Russiagate affair," he said.

The texts also reveal that the Brexit vote was viewed by some in the FBI as something that had been influenced by Russia.

Asked what the UK stood to gain by trying to implicate Russia in a US election scandal at a time when then-foreign secretary Boris Johnson was dismissing baseless claims of Russian interference in the Brexit campaign, Galloway noted that Johnson's comments on Russia have appeared to strangely sway between friendly and antagonistic.

Johnson is like "a sofa that bears the impression of the last person to sit upon him," the former MP quipped. What happens next will depend on who is leading the tango, "the orange man in Washington or the blonde mop-head in London."

In June 2016, the FBI opened a covert investigation codenamed 'Crossfire Hurricane' into Trump's now disproven collusion with Moscow, which was later taken over by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Ultimately, the two-year-long probe that followed came up short, producing no evidence to prove a conspiracy or collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russia

See also:

Also on rt.com Fear behind fury: As DNI, Ratcliffe could expose FISA files that Russiagaters hope stay buried

[Aug 05, 2019] In The World Of 'Fact', Russiagate Is Dead. In The World Of Politics, It's Still The New '42'

Notable quotes:
"... "The Russians did it" is the article of faith for the political elite who cannot understand why the electorate rejected the triangulated "consensus" the elite constructed and sold to us , where the filthy rich get ever richer and the rest of us have falling incomes, low employment rights and scanty welfare benefits. You don't like that system? You have been hypnotised and misled by evil Russian trolls and hackers. ..."
"... Except virtually none of this is true. Mueller's inability to defend in person his deeply flawed report took a certain amount of steam out of the blame Russia campaign. But what should have killed off "Russiagate" forever is the judgement of Judge John G Koetl of the Federal District Court of New York. ..."
"... Judge Koetl's subsequent dismissal of the Russiagate nonsense is a problem for the mainstream media and their favourite narrative. They have largely chosen to pretend it never happened, but when obliged to mention it have attempted to misrepresent this as the judge confirming that the Russians hacked the DNC. It very definitely and specifically is not that; the judge was obliged to rule on the procedural motion to dismiss on the basis of assuming the allegation to be true. Legal distinctions, even very plain ones like this, are perhaps difficult for the average cut and paste mainstream media stenographer to understand. But the widespread failure to report the meaning of Koetl's judgement fairly is inexcusable. ..."
"... Judge Koetl goes further and asserts that Wikileaks, as a news organisation, had every right to obtain and publish the emails in exercise of a fundamental First Amendment right. The judge also specifically notes that no evidence has been put forward by the DNC that shows any relationship between Russia and Wikileaks. Wikileaks, accepting the DNC's version of events, merely contacted the website that first leaked some of the emails, in order to ask to publish them. ..."
"... Judge Koetl also notes firmly that while various contacts are alleged by the DNC between individuals from Trump's campaign and individuals allegedly linked to the Russian government, no evidence at all has been put forward to show that the content of any of those meetings had anything to do with either Wikileaks or the DNC's emails. ..."
"... So there we have it. Russiagate as a theory is as completely exploded as the appalling Guardi