|wishing we |
With the leadership of the House Committees passing to the DEMs in January, there is a final set of interviews and a report coming out in the next few weeks.
There are several news reports out that something significant will be announced on Monday or some time next week regarding John Huber.
First, the interviews.
James Comey is scheduled for Tuesday 4 Dec 2018 to testify to the House Judiciary Comm. Comey is fighting that closed door testimony. He wants it to be public. A judge will decide Monday morning if he has to testify behind closed doors.
The REPs have made it clear that the transcripts will be made available to Comey and he is free to share that with the press. Comey is also free to immediately talk to the press after the interview about what he said.
Loretta Lynch is also scheduled for next week.
Then on Thursday, Prosecutor John Huber is set to give an update to the Oversight and Govt Reform Comm.
On Hannity's show, John Solomon said there might be announcements on Monday or shortly after, because Huber's office just interviewed a whistle blower in the Clinton Foundation. That interview supposedly happened Friday evening.
video at :
(seen at CTH)
John Solomon said the whistle blower is not the one whose home was just raided by the FBI. There may be connections to these events that are not clear right now.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., who is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations, told The Hill he wants to hear testimony on Dec. 5 from the prosecutor appointed to investigate the controversial foundation, which has been dogged by allegations of "pay to play" when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. The foundation has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Meadows said it was time to “circle back” with U.S. Attorney John Huber, who was appointed to investigate the foundation.
“Mr. Huber with the Department of Justice and the FBI has been having an investigation — at least part of his task was to look at the Clinton Foundation and what may or may not have happened as it relates to improper activity with that charitable foundation, so we’ve set a hearing date for December the 5th,” he said.
Meadows told The Hill that it’s time for Huber to update Congress, and is also looking to secure testimonies from whistleblowers who could have more information about any wrongdoing.
“We’re just now starting to work with a couple of whistleblowers that would indicate that there is a great probability, a significant improper activity that’s happening in and around the Clinton Foundation,” he said.
after so many hints of big news, I'll get excited if something really happens
|wishing we |
John Solomon also wrote a good article on Friday
Early in my reporting that unraveled the origins of the Trump-Russia collusion probe, tying it to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and possible Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses, I started to see patterns just as in the old mob meetings: FBI or intelligence-connected figures kept showing up in Trump Town USA during the 2016 campaign with a common calling card.
The question now is, who sent them and why?
Interviews with more than 50 witnesses in the Trump case and reviews of hundreds of pages of court filings confirm the following:
- At least six people with long-established ties to the FBI or to U.S. and Western intelligence made entrees to key figures in the Trump business organization or his presidential campaign between March and October 2016;
- Campaign figures were contacted by at least two Russian figures whose justification for being in the United States were rare law enforcement parole visas controlled by the U.S. Justice Department;
- Intelligence or diplomatic figures connected to two of America’s closest allies, Britain and Australia, gathered intelligence or instigated contacts with Trump campaign figures during that same period;
- Some of the conversations and contacts that were monitored occurred on foreign soil and resulted in the creation of transcripts;
- Nearly all of the contacts involved the same overture — a discussion about possible political dirt or stolen emails harmful to Hillary Clinton, or unsolicited business in London or Moscow;
- Several of the contacts occurred before the FBI formally launched a legally authorized probe into the Trump campaign and possible collusion on July 31, 2016.
The recipients of these overtures are all household names, thanks to the infamy of the now very public probe — Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., Michael Cohen, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Sam Clovis and Roger Stone, to name a few.
Some of the instigators of the contacts have been acknowledged in public: Professor Stefan Halper, Russian businessman Hank Greenberg, former MI6 agent Christopher Steele and former FBI informer Felix Sater, who is “Individual 2” identified in the Cohen plea deal this week.
Others I identified through interviews, but U.S. officials have asked me to keep them private to avoid compromising their identities or nexus to intelligence and law enforcement work.
The chances that so many would converge into then-candidate Donald Trump’s circle, in such a short period around an election, are about as rare as winning the Mega Millions lottery. In other words, most were not coincidences. A few, maybe, but not all.
And that leaves the biggest question: Who dispatched or controlled each emissary?
At least two important bodies in Congress — the House Intelligence and Senate Judiciary committees — demanded to be secretly briefed on payments to “undercovers.” They’ve been pretty tight-lipped since, except to express concerns that the public would be alarmed by what was divulged.
From those members of Congress, we can deduce that some of the contacts that occurred in 2016 were related to the political opposition, anti-Trump research funded by the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign and driven by Steele and his Fusion GPS employer. That work became known as the Steele dossier.
Others of the contacts appear to have been instigated by Western allies, such as an Australian diplomat’s barroom conversation in May 2016 with Papadopoulos.
And the rest are likely to have come from the FBI itself, which clearly dispatched informers, agents and other operatives to gather evidence to bulk up the uncorroborated Steele dossier, so agents could get a FISA warrant in October 2016 to spy on Page, the Trump campaign adviser.
For a long time, most members of Congress have defended the FBI’s use of informants in the Trump probe. But there’s been a recent change in the tone of some early defenders.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) recently told me he believes there may have been abuses of the FISA process. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) made similar comments, suggesting the FBI may have withheld exculpatory evidence it had gathered from its informers.
And House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) went further than anyone else just last week, suggesting the effort to gather evidence beyond the Steele dossier might be the most problematic of all because it was designed to be a political “insurance policy” against Trump winning the presidency.
The evidence-gathering for the “insurance policy” was “not only phony but, I think, as concerning as, if not more concerning than, the original information used in the Christopher Steele dossier,” Nunes disclosed on Sean Hannity’s Fox News TV show last week.
If this were a mob case, agents would not stop until they knew why each character appeared and who sent them. President Trump can help answer many, if not all, unanswered questions by declassifying the documents as he promised months ago. Congressional leaders and the Justice Department can impose accountability based on what is disclosed.
The American people deserve to know how much of the Trump-Russia probe was the result of agent provocateurs and political muckrakers and FISA cheaters, and how much was legitimate law enforcement work.
|Lawyers, Guns |
I'm not holding my breath... but I am remaining hopeful that justice can be served on the evil Hildebeast.
"To ban guns because criminals use them is to tell the law abiding that their rights depend not on their own conduct but, on the conduct of the guilty and the lawless."
- Lysander Spooner
"The United States government is the largest criminal enterprise on earth."
Not only do I not hold my breath on any of this any longer I pay little to no attention to any huffing and puffing any more.
I allowed myself to be led down the we got 'em this time path so many times I've insulted my own intelligence.
"Fixed fortifications are monuments to mans stupidity" - George S. Patton
|Be not wise in |
thine own eyes
This Government keeping secrets to protect their own is getting very tiring.
Sources and methods, sources and methods, B.S.
President Trump is becoming part of the swamp playing along.
Way past time for him to step up and inform the public.
Start declassifying that which is only classified for political purposes.
"This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”
Donald Trump (POTUS) Jan. 20th 2017
"ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ!" King Leonidas of Sparta
|Lawyers, Guns |
December 1, 2018
Trump hints at the scandal about to blow
By Thomas Lifson
There is big news ahead, and President Trump teased it yesterday from Argentina via Twitter. Politics has become a game of narratives, something well understood by both President Trump and his enemies in the media-Democrat establishment. For more than two years, the professionals of the cultural and media establishment have worked assiduously to create an objectively false narrative, with no evidence whatsoever, that Vladimir Putin actually changed the count of votes to hand Trump the presidency, making his victory illegitimate. Most Democrats actually believe this now, and have in earlier polls as well.
But as I keep reminding our readers, President Trump was the most successful reality television producer in the history of the medium, and understands a story arc very well, as events that can be programmed unfold. That must be kept in mind in understanding this somewhat enigmatic tweet that came from the president half a world away, in Argentina for meetings with the leaders of the 20 biggest economies in the world.
Donald J. Trump ✔
Watch @seanhannity on @FoxNews NOW. Enjoy!
Here is the short (barely over a minute) segment on Hannity last night to which the President referred:
John Solomon has a smile on his face as he reveals that a whistleblower from the Clinton Foundation has “reached out” to two prosecutors working for John Huber, the Salt Lake City US Attorney tasked by then-AG Sessions with investigating corruption beyond what the Mueller team is handling.
Fox News Channel screen grab via YouTube
The Clinton Foundation scandal is, as President Trump would say, yuuuuge. I am told by a knowledgeable source that the official that John Solomon cites “knows where the bodies are buried.”
Of course, the news that another whistleblower who came forward with information and documents on the Uranium One scandal, Dennis Nathan Cain, was raided by a team of FBI agents who spent 6 hours rummaging through his home, raises some alarming possibilities. Sundance of Conservative Tree House comments:
If the reporting of the raid by the Daily Caller is accurate; and given the nature of the timing for that raid; and accepting the at risk elements within the whistleblower case extended beyond Hillary Clinton to Robert Mueller; and noting how the SSCI was the recipient of the information/evidence as transmitted by Michael Horowitz; there is a solid appearance of the DOJ maneuvering to cover-up the underlying DOJ/FBI corruption by seizing -and controlling- all of the evidence.
[Additionally, in the background are the fingerprints of the self-serving quid-pro-quo between DOJ and SSCI] Just sayin’…
If that apparent cover-up perspective is accurate, then so too is THIS.
A cover-up just seems so implausible, because the activity is just so brutally obvious.
How is this level of blatant disregard possible? Seriously, I really don’t know. Perhaps these DOJ and FBI officials are genuinely inside a bubble and don’t know the level of information that exists outside DC…. or, maybe they just feel so above the law they simply don’t care. I don’t understand it either; but it’s happening – regardless.
The expression “high drama” is inadequate to express the nature of the infighting underway, mostly hidden from the pubic, but occasionally visible through public events and releases. The revelations set to come next week may open a new chapter in the story arc of Trump versus the bipartisan establishment.
Read more: https://www.americanthinker.co...w.html#ixzz5YRbNJz9Q
"To ban guns because criminals use them is to tell the law abiding that their rights depend not on their own conduct but, on the conduct of the guilty and the lawless."
- Lysander Spooner
"The United States government is the largest criminal enterprise on earth."
|Rule #1: Use enough gun|
I do not expect Huber to report anything damaging about the FBI/DOJ. If he were not a swamp creature, Sessions would not have chosen him. He will likely blame everything on those already gone (Comey, McCabe, etc.). Water under the bridge; no criminal charges for anyone; All is well.
When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. Luke 11:21
"Every nation in every region now has a decision to make.
Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." -- George W. Bush
I’m thinking that Comey wants his testimony to be public, rather than private, so that he can cite national security issues as grounds to decline to answer questions.
Note to self: Don’t clutter threads with gratuitous posts.
This is exacly why. If it is public they won't be able to ask anything classified so it will end up being another showcase for the dems to bash Trump.
|Gracie Allen is my |
He won't even have to do that - as we've seen before, there'll be an FBI lawyer sitting right behind his right shoulder to do all the objecting, obfuscating and time-wasting Comey could hope for.
|wishing we |
In thinking about Comey's testimony next week, I remembered something that seemed very significant, but never got much attention. (yes there were a lot of things like that)
The particular issue was that the FBI released official documentation that makes it almost certain that Christopher Steele was an FBI human source while he wrote the dossier.
I posted about this sometime earlier. This is a revisit given Comey's upcoming testimony. I hope he gets asked questions about this.
First, there is a background issue. Steele was released as an FBI human source because he gave the dossier information to Mother Jones online news organization.
Here is that 31 Oct 2016 article. Remember this is just before the November 2016 election.
A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump
OCTOBER 31, 2016 11:52 PM
On Friday, FBI Director James Comey set off a political blast when he informed congressional leaders that the bureau had stumbled across emails that might be pertinent to its completed inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s handling of emails when she was secretary of state. The Clinton campaign and others criticized Comey for intervening in a presidential campaign by breaking with Justice Department tradition and revealing information about an investigation—information that was vague and perhaps ultimately irrelevant—so close to Election Day.
On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid upped the ante. He sent Comey a fiery letter saying the FBI chief may have broken the law and pointed to a potentially greater controversy: “In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government…The public has a right to know this information.”
Reid’s missive set off a burst of speculation on Twitter and elsewhere. What was he referring to regarding the Republican presidential nominee? At the end of August, Reid had written to Comey and demanded an investigation of the “connections between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign,” and in that letter he indirectly referred to Carter Page, an American businessman cited by Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers, who had financial ties to Russia and had recently visited Moscow. Last month, Yahoo News reported that US intelligence officials were probing the links between Page and senior Russian officials. (Page has called accusations against him “garbage.”)
On Monday, NBC News reported that the FBI has mounted a preliminary inquiry into the foreign business ties of Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chief. But Reid’s recent note hinted at more than the Page or Manafort affairs. And 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.
Does this mean the FBI is investigating whether Russian intelligence has attempted to develop a secret relationship with Trump or cultivate him as an asset? Was the former intelligence officer and his material deemed credible or not? An FBI spokeswoman says, “Normally, we don’t talk about whether we are investigating anything.” But a senior US government official not involved in this case but familiar with the former spy tells Mother Jones that he has been a credible source with a proven record of providing reliable, sensitive, and important information to the US government.
In June, the former Western intelligence officer—who spent almost two decades on Russian intelligence matters and who now works with a US firm that gathers information on Russia for corporate clients—was assigned the task of researching Trump’s dealings in Russia and elsewhere, according to the former spy and his associates in this American firm. This was for an opposition research project originally financed by a Republican client critical of the celebrity mogul. (Before the former spy was retained, the project’s financing switched to a client allied with Democrats.)
“It started off as a fairly general inquiry,” says the former spook, who asks not to be identified. But when he dug into Trump, he notes, he came across troubling information indicating connections between Trump and the Russian government. According to his sources, he says, “there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit.”
This was, the former spy remarks, “an extraordinary situation.” He regularly consults with US government agencies on Russian matters, and near the start of July on his own initiative—without the permission of the US company that hired him—he sent a report he had written for that firm to a contact at the FBI, according to the former intelligence officer and his American associates, who asked not to be identified. (He declines to identify the FBI contact.) The former spy says he concluded that the information he had collected on Trump was “sufficiently serious” to share with the FBI.
Mother Jones has reviewed that report and other memos this former spy wrote. The first memo, based on the former intelligence officer’s conversations with Russian sources, noted, “Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance.” It maintained that Trump “and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals.” It claimed that Russian intelligence had “compromised” Trump during his visits to Moscow and could “blackmail him.” It also reported that Russian intelligence had compiled a dossier on Hillary Clinton based on “bugged conversations she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls.”
The former intelligence officer says the response from the FBI was “shock and horror.” The FBI, after receiving the first memo, did not immediately request additional material, according to the former intelligence officer and his American associates. Yet in August, they say, the FBI asked him for all information in his possession and for him to explain how the material had been gathered and to identify his sources. The former spy forwarded to the bureau several memos—some of which referred to members of Trump’s inner circle. After that point, he continued to share information with the FBI. “It’s quite clear there was or is a pretty substantial inquiry going on,” he says.
“This is something of huge significance, way above party politics,” the former intelligence officer comments. “I think [Trump’s] own party should be aware of this stuff as well.”
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment regarding the memos. In the past, Trump has declared, “I have nothing to do with Russia.”
The FBI is certainly investigating the hacks attributed to Russia that have hit American political targets, including the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, the chairman of Clinton’s presidential campaign. But there have been few public signs of whether that probe extends to examining possible contacts between the Russian government and Trump. (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.”)
According to several national security experts, there is widespread concern in the US intelligence community that Russian intelligence, via hacks, is aiming to undermine the presidential election—to embarrass the United States and delegitimize its democratic elections. And the hacks appear to have been designed to benefit Trump. In August, Democratic members of the House committee on oversight wrote Comey to ask the FBI to investigate “whether connections between Trump campaign officials and Russian interests may have contributed to these [cyber] attacks in order to interfere with the US. presidential election.”
In September, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Adam Schiff, the senior Democrats on, respectively, the Senate and House intelligence committees, issued a joint statement accusing Russia of underhanded meddling: “Based on briefings we have received, we have concluded that the Russian intelligence agencies are making a serious and concerted effort to influence the U.S. election. At the least, this effort is intended to sow doubt about the security of our election and may well be intended to influence the outcomes of the election.” The Obama White House has declared Russia the culprit in the hacking capers, expressed outrage, and promised a “proportional” response.
There’s no way to tell whether the FBI has confirmed or debunked any of the allegations contained in the former spy’s memos. But a Russian intelligence attempt to co-opt or cultivate a presidential candidate would mark an even more serious operation than the hacking.
In the letter Reid sent to Comey on Sunday, he pointed out that months ago he had asked the FBI director to release information on Trump’s possible Russia ties. Since then, according to a Reid spokesman, Reid has been briefed several times. The spokesman adds, “He is confident that he knows enough to be extremely alarmed.”
the next post will show why this Mother Jones report is important
|wishing we |
The FBI maintains a site to release public documents.
Because of a Judicial Watch FOIA request, the FBI posted 2 reports about
"Records Between FBI and Christopher Steele"
Parts 01 and 02
You can find those at the FBI Vault by inputting "Christopher Steele" into the search box (upper right at the Vault site)
When those 2 reports came out, almost everyone ignored them because both documents are almost entirely blank.
But if you look carefully at pages 1 and 78 (of Part 01), and pages 79, 90, 91, and 94 (of Part 02),
You can see a pretty clear picture. The reports do not reveal Steele's name. But they describe someone, with actions, and dates that match Christopher Steele. Of course the reports are in response to FBI records on Steele.
Page 78 covers "Admonishments" to a Confidential Human Source with a date of 2 Feb 2016.
Judicial Watch thinks the Admonishments are the FBI criticizing Steele, but that is the wrong interpretation of how the FBI uses the term. The admonishments are the ground rules that the CHS must operate under.
Page 78 is a very poor quality page. Hard to read. But my rough interpretation is that it says:
1. The CHS’s assistance and the information provided to the FBI are entirely voluntary.
2. The CHS must provide truthful information to the FBI.
3. The CHS must abide by the instruction of the FBI and must not take or seek to take any independent actions on behalf of the US Government.
4. The US Government will strive to protect the CHS’s identity but cannot guarantee it will not be divulged. "
Those admonishments were from Feb 2016
The FBI didn't make this easy.
Now you have jump all the way back to page 1.
Page 1 is a CHS "Source Closing Communication"
page 1 says the CHS was "deactivated" on 1 November 2016. (The next day after the Mother Jones article)
Page 1 also says the CHS revealed to an outside party that the CHS had a confidential relationship w the FBI.
It says the CHS was a source for an online article (see Mother Jones above post)
The FBI handling agent notified the CHS that the arrangement was closed.
Page 90 is a Human Source Validation Report
It says the CHS provided information of value to the US Intelligence Community.
But the CHS exposed the relationship w the FBI, and the CHS "was closed".
The page notes that the CHS resides outside the US.
The page has a blanked out "Primary Reporting Program", but a Secondary Reporting Program listed as "Counterintelligence Division"
Peter Strzok was in the Counterintel Div. This may indicate the FBI handler for Steele was in some other FBI division
Page 91 states that the CHS was closed on 1 Nov 2016.
It also states that the CHS is a foreign national employed at his or her own business.
It seems very likely that Steele was an FBI CHS from Feb 2016 to 1 Nov 2016.
This includes the time when Steele wrote most of the dossier.
All this BS about how Steele had to find a way to contact the FBI, and here he had an FBI handler that he was passing reports to since Feb 2016.
And while the Clinton campaign paid Steele to
write opposition research against Donald Trump, Steele was working as an FBI source.
|wishing we |
Former FBI Director James Comey ended a legal battle with House Republicans on Sunday, announcing that he will testify behind closed doors on Capitol Hill this week after receiving assurances that a transcript of his interview will be released to the public.
Comey sought a public hearing, claiming in a court filing Thursday that he feared “selective leaks” from Republicans. But in an emergency court hearing Friday, Comey’s attorneys acknowledged that the request to quash the congressional subpoena was unorthodox, suggesting the motion had little chance of succeeding.
He said that he will testify “in the dark” but that Republicans had agreed he is “free to talk when done and transcript released in 24 hours.”
“This is the closest I can get to public testimony,” he wrote.
the Judiciary Committee intends to issue a joint report (together with [the House Oversight Committee]) before the end of the 115th Congress – i.e., in a few short weeks,” lawyers for the House Judiciary Committee wrote in a court filing Friday.
The outrage broadcasters seemed to indicate "Something" was gonna break today?
I've been watching this since around '94 and the Assault Weapons Ban. Outrage is a business regardless of who is in power.
The butcher with the sharpest knife has the warmest heart.
|wishing we |
DEMs and media are hammering away that Michael Cohen's recent guilty plea is bad news for President Trump
by Paul Sperry
Contrary to media speculation that Robert Mueller is closing in on President Trump, the special prosecutor’s plea deal with Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen offers further evidence that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russians during the 2016 election, according to congressional investigators and former prosecutors.
Cohen pleaded guilty last week to making false statements in 2017 to the Senate intelligence committee about the Trump Organization’s failed efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Discussions about the so-called Moscow Project continued five months longer in 2016 than Cohen had initially stated under oath.
The nine-page charging document filed with the plea deal suggests that the special counsel is using the Moscow tower talks to connect Trump to Russia. But congressional investigators with House and Senate committees leading inquiries on the Russia question told RealClearInvestigations that it looks like Mueller withheld from the court details that would exonerate the president.
They made this assessment in light of the charging document, known as a statement of “criminal information” (filed in lieu of an indictment when a defendant agrees to plead guilty); a fuller accounting of Cohen’s emails and text messages that Capitol Hill sources have seen; and the still-secret transcripts of closed-door testimony provided by a business associate of Cohen.
On page 7 of the statement of criminal information filed against Cohen, which is separate from but related to the plea agreement, Mueller mentions that Cohen tried to email Russian President Vladimir Putin’s office on Jan. 14, 2016, and again on Jan. 16, 2016. But Mueller, who personally signed the document, omitted the fact that Cohen did not have any direct points of contact at the Kremlin, and had resorted to sending the emails to a general press mailbox. Sources who have seen these additional emails point out that this omitted information undercuts the idea of a “back channel” and thus the special counsel's collusion case.
Page 2 of the same criminal information document holds additional exculpatory evidence for Trump, sources say. It quotes an August 2017 letter from Cohen to the Senate intelligence committee in which he states that Trump “was never in contact with anyone about this [Moscow Project] proposal other than me.” This section of Cohen’s written testimony, unlike other parts, is not disputed as false by Mueller, which sources say means prosecutors have tested its veracity through corroborating sources and found it to be accurate.
Also notable, Mueller did not challenge Cohen’s statement that he “ultimately determined that the proposal was not feasible and never agreed to make a trip to Russia.”
“Though Cohen may have lied to Congress about the dates,” one Hill investigator said, “it's clear from personal messages he sent in 2015 and 2016 that the Trump Organization did not have formal lines of communication set up with Putin’s office or the Kremlin during the campaign. There was no secret ‘back channel.’”
“So as far as collusion goes,” the source added, "the project is actually more exculpatory than incriminating for Trump and his campaign.”
Cohen’s dealings with a middleman, New York real estate developer Felix Sater , resemble the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials and Russian figures – a meeting arranged by British concert promotor. Both instances indicate that no one on the Trump side, including the candidate, enjoyed special access to the Russian government. Cohen’s emails and text messages indicate he failed to establish communications with the Russian leader’s spokesman, although he eventually was able to make contact with a desk secretary in the spokesman’s office.
more on Sater later
In the end, neither Putin nor any Kremlin official was directly involved in the scuttled Moscow project, sources say. Moreover, neither Cohen nor Trump traveled to Moscow in support of the deal, as Sater had urged. No meetings with Russian government officials took place.
It was Sater, a Russian immigrant with a checkered past, representing the Bayrock Group and not the Trump Organization, who came up with the tower project idea in 2015. His pitch had more to do with branding than real estate: Trump would lend his name to the tower project and share in the profits, but not actually build it or go into debt for it.
But the project never went anywhere because Sater didn’t have the pull with Putin he claimed to have. Emails and texts indicate that Sater could only offer Cohen access to one of his acquaintances, who was an acquaintance of someone else who was partners in a real estate development with a friend of Putin’s.
Talks broke off in June 2016. Trump publicly stated seven months later, just days before his inauguration, that his company has never had any real estate holdings in Russia. Nothing in Mueller’s latest filings dispute that assertion.
Sources say Sater, whom Cohen described as a “salesman," testified to the House intelligence panel in late 2017 that his communications with Cohen about putting Trump and Putin on a stage for a "ribbon-cutting" for a Trump Tower in Moscow were “mere puffery” to try to promote the project and get it off the ground.
Also according to his still-undisclosed testimony, Sater swore none of those communications involved taking any action to influence the 2016 presidential election. None of the emails and texts between Sater and Cohen mention Russian plans or efforts to hack Democrats’ campaign emails or influence the election.
Felix Sater has publicly admitted he has been an informant for the FBI and Andrew Weissman (a Mueller prosecutor)
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group, said the criminal-information statement of offense against Cohen reflects political bias. He said the special counsel appears more interested in trying to draw connections to Russia than highlighting exculpatory evidence.
"Mueller seems desperate to confuse Americans by conflating the cancelled and legitimate Russia business venture with the Russia collusion theory he was actually hired to investigate,” Fitton said. “This is a transparent attempt to try to embarrass the president.”
further dousing such speculation that the Cohen confession puts Trump in legal peril, former federal prosecutors said Mueller's filing does not remotely incriminate the president in purported Russia collusion. It doesn’t even imply he directed Cohen to lie to Congress.
“It doesn’t implicate President Trump in any way,” said former independent counsel Solomon L. Wisenberg, now with Nelson Mullins LLP in Washington. “The reality is, this is a nothing-burger."
Criminal attorney Alan Dershowitz agreed, arguing that Mueller is resorting to false-statement prosecutions in lieu of prosecutions related to his mandate of investigating the Trump campaign’s alleged participation in a Russian plot to interfere in the election — signaling he lacks the evidence to support such a criminal conspiracy.
“We are seeing many of these cases being built around false statements,” Dershowitz pointed out, not the underlying crime that has been alleged by Democrats and the media.
Notably absent from the criminal-information document is any corroboration of the highly inflammatory, though oft-cited allegation made in the so-called Steele dossier, funded by the Clinton campaign, that Cohen visited Prague to clandestinely meet with Kremlin officials in August 2016 to arrange “deniable cash payments to hackers who had worked in Europe under Kremlin direction against the Clinton campaign.”
|wishing we |
The last I read was that James Comey will be interviewed by the House Judiciary Committee on Friday.
I may have missed them, but it is not clear to me when Loretta Lynch and John Huber are to meet w House Committees.
Senator Grassley sent a letter to Sen Blumenthal that made Blumenthal out to be the snake that he is.
Blumenthal had sent a letter to Grassley saying press reports indicated Donald Trump Jr had lied to the Judiciary Comm in Sep 2017 testimony.
Grassley responded that the news reports were "fake news" and had been retracted.
cut and pastes from the Grassley ltr:
|wishing we |
Bill Priestap (Peter Strzok's former boss at the FBI) to retire
A top FBI official who helped oversee two politically sensitive investigations related to the 2016 presidential campaign is retiring from government service.
Bill Priestap, who currently serves as assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s counterintelligence division, will leave his post by the end of the year. Mr. Priestap, a 20-year veteran of the bureau, worked on organized crime and drug cases in Chicago before rising through the national security ranks of the agency after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Mr. Priestap’s retirement is unrelated to the controversies over the handling of the 2016 investigations, according to a person familiar with the matter. He “became eligible to retire and has chosen to do so after 20 years of service,” the FBI said in a statement.
The federal government allows some employees, including FBI agents, to retire with full benefits if they are 50 or older and have at least two decades of service.
During the 2016 campaign, Mr. Priestap was one of several officials at the center of two politically volatile probes: the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information, and a counterintelligence inquiry into whether associates of then-candidate Donald Trump colluded with the Russian government.
After Mr. Priestap’s departure, none of the high-ranking bureau officials involved in the two investigations will remain with the bureau. FBI director James Comeywas fired by President Trump last year, and Deputy Director Andrew McCabewas later dismissed by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions over his contacts with the media, days before he was eligible to retire with benefits.
Peter Strzok, the chief of the counterespionage section, left the FBI this year after it emerged that he had sent disparaging text messages about Mr. Trump.
Top bureau officials, especially those with national security experience, are in high demand in private-sector fields like cybersecurity, defense contracting and private intelligence. Mr. Priestap’s future plans aren’t known.
sdy thanks for continuing this thread, although I don't contribute I follow it and share portions when useful.
No car is as much fun to drive, as any motorcycle is to ride.
|wishing we |
The former Senate Intel Comm security officer, James Wolfe, will be sentenced on 20 Dec 2018.
Mueller will file an initial sentencing memo on 11 Dec.
Wolfe leaked information to several reporters.
The only charge against Wolfe is lying to the FBI.
A number of bloggers have raised concerns about why Wolfe was only charged w lying to the FBI, and no charges about releasing classified info.
There has been a lot of speculation on that.
My own view is that perhaps the reason he was not charged w releasing classified info is because this info may be soon declassified by President Trump. (just speculation)
It would look bad to charge him and then say the material was unclassified.
Wolfe is the one who especially gave information to his then girl friend Ali Watkins.
|wishing we |
Former Donald Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos was released from a federal prison in Wisconsin Friday morning after serving 12 days over lying to investigators about his contacts with Russia-linked officials during the 2016 campaign.
He will now have 12 months of supervised release and will have to serve over 200 hours of community service as well as pay a $9,500 fine.
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