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The Pronk Pops Show 1349, October 31, 2019, Story 1: Democrat Party Cover-up of Spy-gate — Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Continues With Passage of House Rule Resolution For Behind Closed Door Kangaroo Court — Videos — Story 2: Big Lie Media Spinning and Lying About Tim Morrison Testimony About Trump Phone Call With Ukraine — Nothing Illegal Was Discussed and No Quid Pro Quo — Videos — Story 3: Long Term China Trade Deal Not Likely Any Time Soon With Chinese Communist Party — Short Term Deal Only — Maximum Pressure Required — Trust But Verify — Enforcement of Any Agreement Is Essential and Chinese Will Never Comply With Any Enforcement Language — Escalating Trade War Between United States and Chinese Communist Party  Leading to Total Embargo of Trade With Communist China — U.S./Communist Trade Agreement: All Talk and More Talk But No Long Term Enforceable Trade Deal — Time To Walk Out — Videos

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Stealth War: How China Took Over While America's Elite SleptSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

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Story 1: Democrat Party Cover-up of Spy-gate — Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Continues With Passage of House Rule Resolution For Behind Closed Door Kangaroo Court — Videos —

Impeachment witness says Trump-Ukraine call wasn’t illegal

Jim Jordan makes explosive accusation against Schiff

Tom Fitton reacts to the upcoming House vote on the impeachment probe

Tucker: Schiff is obsessed with impeachment

TRUMP RALLY: Whistleblower

POSSIBLE UKRAINE WHISTLEBLOWER: CIA Eric Ciaramella worked WITH DNC “operative” Brennan, Chalupa

OAN gives alleged whistleblower Eric Ciaramella the opportunity to deny media claims

Rep.Louie Gohmert Essentially Names Eric Ciaramella As Ukraine Whistleblower

Hannity: Latest testimony blows whistleblower claim out of the water

Another Key Witness Confirms Trump Quid Pro Quo On Ukraine | Hardball | MSNBC

Rep. Collins’ warning to House Dems leading impeachment inquiry

“IMPEACHMENT SHAM” Republicans Say Impeachment Process Is A COUP

Lou Dobbs 10/31/19 | Breaking Fox News October 31, 2019

What’s next after the House vote on impeachment rules?

House passes Democrat-backed rules for impeachment inquiry

Nightly News Broadcast (Full) – October 31st, 2019 | NBC Nightly News

Top GOP lawmakers speak after House passes impeachment inquiry resolution

WATCH: House Votes To Pass Rules For Impeachment Probe | MSNBC

Leader McCarthy with Laura Ingraham: Democrats are Fixated on Impeachment

Russia probe review becomes a criminal investigation

DOJ criminal investigation into its own Russia probe a political win for Trump

‘The Five’ breaks down DOJ’s criminal inquiry into Russia probe

Fox News warns impeachment inquiry is Democratic ‘coup’ of Trump

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Nancy Pelosi sets up ultra-partisan televised impeachment probe by jamming new rules through House without Republican backing – and two of her own side vote AGAINST new stage in investigating Donald Trump

  • House Democrats approved an impeachment inquiry into the president in a vote almost entirely along party lines
  • ‘What is at stake is our democracy. What are we fighting for? Defending our democracy for the people,’ Speaker Pelosi said 
  • The vote was 232 in favor with 196 voting no; two Democrats rebelled and voted with Republicans
  • ‘The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!,’ Trump tweeted afterward
  • Trump spent morning tweeting and retweeting words from his supporters
  • He called on Republicans to stand together and back him
  • The resolution outlines how the impeachment investigation will proceed and what rights the president will have during it
  • Republicans complained about the lack of ‘due process’ for Trump and charged Democrats with trying to overturn the 2016 election 
  • White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said the administration is considering bringing aboard additional staff to combat the impeachment inquiry
  • The vote comes as Tim Morrison, who was Trump’s top adviser for Russian and European affairs, testifies behind closed doors in the impeachment inquiry

A divided House of Representatives voted on Thursday to begin the next stage of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, taking the investigation from behind closed doors to Americans’ television screens with a series of public hearings.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers took to the House floor to engage in a bitter debate over the impeachment process before voting almost entirely along along party lines on the resolution.

Thursday’s vote was 232 in favor with 196 lawmakers voting no. There were two Democratic defections – Congressmen Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Collin Peterson of Minnesota.

Both hold swing districts that Trump carried in the 2016 election. Trump carried Peterson’s district by over 30 points. Republicans had hoped more Democrats in vulnerable seats would vote against.

Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican who became an Independent, voted in favor of the resolution.

Nancy Pelosi was left with no fig leaf of bipartisanship when no Republican backed her case; the Republicans got two Democrats voting with them but not the up to a dozen they had hoped would rebel against the Speaker.

Steve Scalise, the Republican whip boasted afterwards about keeping his side united.

The contentious debate is likely a preview of the public hearings to come.

Democrats focused on their constitutional duty; they talked about following the law and protecting national security interests.

Republicans railed against the process, echoing a White House argument there is no due process for the president and no Republican in-put into the proceedings, and accused their colleagues across the aisle of trying to overturn the 2016 election.

The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!,’ Trump tweeted after the vote was finished, using his favorite phrase to describe any investigation into him.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi gavels the vote on the impeachment resolution to a close

Speaker Nancy Pelosi presided over the vote and gaveled it to a close, announcing the final total.

She kept her words on the matter short: ‘On this vote the yeas are 232, the nays are 196. The resolution is adopted without objection.’

Four lawmakers did not vote. Three Republicans – Jody Hice of Georgia, John Rose of Tennessee, and William Timmons of South Carolina – and one Democrat: Donald McEachin of Virginia.

Rep. Hice tweeted he missed the vote because his father died but he would have voted no on the resolution if he had been present.

Democrats launched the formal impeachment inquiry in September after a whistleblower revealed concerns that President Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe and Hunter Bidens, his political enemies, during a July 25 phone call.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called the call ‘perfect.’

The weeks-long inquiry accumulated into Thursday’s five-minute vote. The House chamber was crowded with lawmakers as it took place. They chatted with each other on their respective sides of aisle.

After it was over, Democrats moved on to the next vote on the schedule while Republicans yelled in protest. ‘Order, order,’ they yelled, ‘we have rules.’

But Democrats, who control the chamber, moved on.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, as soon as the vote was over, charged House Democrats with an ‘obsession’ with impeaching the president.

‘The President has done nothing wrong, and the Democrats know it. Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats’ unhinged obsession with this illegitimate impeachment proceeding does not hurt President Trump; it hurts the American people,’ she said in a statement.

President Trump spent the morning before the House votes on an impeachment resolution into him tweeting and retweeting words from his supporters

President Trump spent the morning before the House votes on an impeachment resolution into him tweeting and retweeting words from his supporters

Trump spent Thursday morning tweeting and retweeting words from his supporters, calling on Republicans to stand by him in the upcoming vote.

‘The Impeachment Hoax is hurting our Stock Market. The Do Nothing Democrats don’t care!,’ he wrote shortly before the House started voting on the resolution against him.

Earlier he called on Republicans to stand by him during the proceedings.

‘Now is the time for Republicans to stand together and defend the leader of their party against these smears,’ Trump tweeted, quoting conservative talk host Laura Ingraham.

Pelosi, meanwhile, gaveled the House into order on Thursday morning as lawmakers took to the floor to debate the resolution.

Democrats talked about following the law and protecting national security interests. Republicans railed against the process, echoing a White House argument there is no due process for the president and no Republican in-put into the proceedings.

‘It’s not a fair process. It’s not a transparent process. It’s not an open process. But instead it’s limited and a closed process with a pre-ordained outcome,’ argued Republican Rep. Tom Cole said on the House floor Thursday morning.

Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence panel, compared Democrats pursuing impeachment to a ‘cult,’ and their inquiry to a ‘show trial.’

‘They have always intended to transform the Intelligence committee into the impeachment committee,’ said Nunes, a California Republican who was himself accused of politicizing the Intelligence panel during the Mueller investigation.

‘Every one of their actions from the staff they hired to the Trump conspiracy theories they investigate … indicates this has been their plan from day one,’ he said on the House floor.

He accused Democrats of harboring a ‘bizarre obsession with overturning the results of the last presidential election.’

What we’re seeing among Democrats on the Intelligence Committees, down in the [secure Capitol facility] right now, is like a cult. These are a group of people loyally following their leader as he bounces from one outlandish conspiracy theory to another. And the media are the cult followers, permanently stationed outside the committee spaces, pretending to take everything seriously, because they too support the goal of removing the president from office,’ Nunes said.

Pelosi, like many of her colleagues, delivered floor remarks in front of a poster of an American flag where lawmakers often place visual aids.

The Speaker, who only occasionally speaks on legislation or procedures on the floor of the House, began her remarks by reading the preamble to the Constitution.

‘What is at stake is our democracy. What are we fighting for? Defending our democracy for the people,’ she said.

‘The genius of the Constitution, a separation of powers. Three coequal branches of government to be a check and balance on each other,’ Pelosi told colleagues.

‘Sadly this is not any cause for any glee or comfort. This is something that is very solemn that is something prayerful.’ Addressing arguments that the House was authorizing something that has already begun, she said: ‘We had to gather so much information to take us to this next step.’

‘I doubt anybody in this place … comes to Congress to take the oath of office … to impeach the president of the United States, unless his actions are jeopardizing our honoring our oath of office,’ said Pelosi, who earlier this month walked out of a meeting with President Trump after it grew heated.

 ‘Let us honor our oath of office. Let us defend our democracy. Let us have a good vote today and have clarity, clarity as to how we proceed,’ she said.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor with a poster of a flag+14

Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor with a poster of a flag

Rep. Steve Scalise, the Number Two Republican in the House, called the proceedings 'Soviet-style'

Rep. Steve Scalise, the Number Two Republican in the House, called the proceedings ‘Soviet-style’

‘At the end of the day, this resolution isn’t about Donald Trump. It isn’t about any of us. It’s about our Constitution. It’s about our country. And so I urge my colleagues to not just think about the political pressures of the moment. These will pass. Please consider the heavy responsibility you have today, to this institution, the Constitution, and our country,’ said Rules Committee Chairman Rep. Jim McGovern on the House floor Thursday morning.

”I never wanted our country to reach this point. I do not take any pleasure in the need for this resolution. We are not here in some partisan exercise. We are here because the facts compel us to be here. There is serious evidence that President Trump may have violated the Constitution. This is about protecting our national security and safeguarding our elections,’ he added.

‘I support this resolution because it lays the groundwork for open hearings. The House and the American public must see all of the evidence for themselves,’ said Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler in his floor speech.

Nadler’s committee will hold some of those public hearings.

‘I support this resolution because I know we must overcome this difficult moment for the Nation. This resolution is necessary to ensure that our constitutional order remains intact for future generations,’ he added. ‘I support this resolution because we simply have no choice.’

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler spoke in support of the resolution; his committee will hold some of the public hearings

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy charged Democrats with trying to overturn the 2016 election+14

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy charged Democrats with trying to overturn the 2016 election

House minority whip Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana tried to turn the table on Democrats, who have spent years focusing on Russian election interference and Trump campaign contacts with Russians.

He spoke next to a blow-up posture of the Kremlin, and accused the Democrats of conducting a Soviet-style inquiry.

‘If the chair chooses, at his whim, they can literally kick out the president’s legal counsel. This is unprecedented. It’s not only unprecedented, this is Soviet-style rules. Maybe in the Soviet Union, you’d do things like this, where only you make the rules, where you reject the ability of the person you are accusing to even be in the room to question what’s going on, for anybody else to call witnesses,’ said Scalise.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy blasted Democrats for ‘not working for the American people.’

‘This Congress has more subpoenas than laws,’ he said in his floor speech.

‘Democrats are trying to impeach the president because they are scared they cannot beat him at the ballot,’ McCarthy complained. ‘This impeachment is not only an attempt to undo the last election. It is an attempt to undo the last one as well.’

For both sides the vote will become a political weapon in 2020 with Republicans targeting Democrats who represent House districts that Trump won in 2016 and Democrats using it as a rallying cry for their base.

Tim Morrison, who was Trump's top adviser for Russian and European affairs, arrives on Capitol Hill Thursday to testify

Tim Morrison, who was Trump’s top adviser for Russian and European affairs, arrives on Capitol Hill Thursday to testify

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said  the administration is considering bringing aboard additional staff to combat the impeachment inquiry

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Thursday morning the administration is considering bringing aboard additional staff to combat the impeachment inquiry.

‘Possibly and if we do it’s because our portfolios are already over flowing,’  she told reporters in the White House drive way. ‘So possibly. Stephanie Grisham is the press secretary and communications director the president and to the first lady. She’s got a pretty busy portfolio already.’

She added that any additions would be temporary and single-focused on the impeach issue, comparing it to how the administration brought on small teams of extra staff to handle other key issues, such as Supreme Court nominations.

‘So if it’s something intense, but single focused albeit temporary, there’s an argument for bringing a few extra hands and minds on to the team. So I would analogize it to Kavanaugh Part II for example,’ she said. ‘You have a short window and somebody who is single-focused on just that which is, frankly, something the rest of us can’t do.’

She was quick to add: ‘It’s not a war room. The president has made it pretty clear he doesn’t need a war room.’

The vote comes as Tim Morrison, who was Trump’s top adviser for Russian and European affairs, arrived on Capitol Hill Thursday morning to testify in the inquiry.

Morrison recently left his White House post and Democrats will seek details from him on an allegation that president linked nearly $400 million in U.S. military aid to the Ukraine to officials there undertaking an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden, along with probing an unproven theory that it was the Ukrainians who hacked the Democratic National Committee’s email server and blamed the Russians.

Trump has maintained he’s done nothing wrong.

The House resolution includes a package of rules for how the Intelligence Committee – now leading the investigation closed-door testimony from witness – would transition to public hearings.

It also details how Intelligence panel Chair Adam Schiff will have most of the power in the process – deciding who will testify in front of the cameras and for how long – before issuing a public report and handing the matter over to the House Judiciary Committee, which will compose any formal articles of impeachment against the president.

Republicans and the White House are objecting to how that process is laid out.

Under the resolution, GOP lawmakers can only issue subpoenas for witnesses if the entire panel approved them – in effect giving Democrats veto power over their requests. Democrats argue this was the same procedure Republicans used when they had the majority during Bill Clinton’s impeachment process in the 1990s.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi will bring a resolution to a vote that outlines how the investigation will proceed and what rights the president will have during it

Speaker Nancy Pelosi will bring a resolution to a vote that outlines how the investigation will proceed and what rights the president will have during it

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff will play a lead role in the public hearing phase of the investigation+14

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff will play a lead role in the public hearing phase of the investigation

Additionally, there is no role for President Trump’s lawyers when the Intelligence panel holds its public hearings – a time when the cable news networks will run wall-to-wall coverage and viewership is expected to be high.

Trump’s lawyers aren’t allowed into the process into the Judiciary committee phase but what rights they will have – such as the ability to question witnesses – are not outlined in the resolution.

The White House blasted the rules as ‘an illegitimate sham’ that lacks ‘any due process’ for President Trump.

‘The White House is barred from participating at all, until after Chairman Schiff conducts two rounds of one-sided hearings to generate a biased report for the Judiciary Committee. Even then, the White House’s rights remain undefined, unclear, and uncertain – because those rules still haven’t been written,’ White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham argued in a statement earlier this week on the resolution.

By the time the president gets to participate, most of the drama will have played out on television screens across the country.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell blasted the procedure as denying the president his ‘basic due process rights.’

‘It does not confer on President Trump the most basic rights of due process,’ McConnell complained in a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in the Ukraine whose closed-door testimony in the impeachment inquiry against Trump shocked Democrats with its details, is willing to testify in public when the hearings move to that stage.

No request has been made for his public testimony, CNN reports, but he is likely to be on the Democrats’ list when the time comes.

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell blasted House Democrats' impeachment resolution on the Senate floor on Wednesday

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell blasted House Democrats’ impeachment resolution on the Senate floor on Wednesday

Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in the Ukraine, is wiling to testify in public

Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in the Ukraine, is wiling to testify in public

Taylor testified last week that he was told that American military aid to the Ukraine was contingent on Kiev putting out a statement they were investigating the Bidens and the 2016 election.

Democrats believe he could be a star witness.

He’s rock solid, detailed notetaker and unimpeachable,’ Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN. ‘Fifty years given to his country — it doesn’t get much more ‘Top Gun’ than that.’

Taylor testified behind closed doors last week that Trump refused to release U.S. security aid or meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky until Zelensky agreed to investigate the president’s political rivals.

Trump wanted a public commitment from the Ukraine they would investigate Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian gas company with Hunter Biden on its board, Taylor – a Vietnam veteran and career State Department official  – told Congress, and said the president wanted Ukraine ‘put in a box.’

Trump and his allies have pushed an unproven theory Joe Biden, as vice president, demanded the Ukraine remove a prosecutor to the benefit of the company.

The president also pushed an unproven conspiracy theory that an email server belonging to the Democratic National Committee was hacked by Ukrainians during the 2016 election and they made it look as it were the Russians – a story, that if true, would indicate he won the 2016 contest without Russian interference.

Bolton was in meetings with EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland on Ukraine policy+14

Bolton was in meetings with EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland on Ukraine policy

Taylor said he was told that Trump had made clear that military aid to help keep Ukraine safe from Russia would only be made available if Zelensky went public to order ‘investigations,’ otherwise there was a ‘stalemate.’

And Taylor testified that Sondland told another diplomat: ‘President Trump did insist that President Zelensky go to a microphone and say that he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election interference, and that President Zelensky should want to do this himself.’

The bombshell testimony rocked Washington D.C. and left the White House reeling – after Trump had started the day by calling impeachment ‘a lynching.’

As Democratic lawmakers trickled out of the hearing, they called they evidence ‘damning,’ while Republicans had little to say.

Taylor called the involvement of Rudy Giuliani in a ‘parallel’ foreign policy ‘highly irregular’; confirmed that John Bolton had called linking military aid to Ukraine to a Biden probe a ‘drug deal’; implicated Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo and Mick Mulvaney in the scheme; and painted EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland as part of Giuliani’s scheme as well as an error-prone official lax on security and an unreliable witness – who one Republican conceded is likely to be recalled to the probe.

He recalled a phone call with Sondland, whom the president put in charge of Ukrainian affairs despite that country not being an EU member.

‘During that phone call, Amb. Sondland told me that President Trump had told him that he wants President Zelensky to state publicly that Ukraine will investigate Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election,’ Taylor said in his statement.

He added Sondland told him ‘everything’ – meaning U.S. military aid and a White House meeting – was contingent on the Ukraine publicly agreeing to the probe.

‘Amb. Sondland also told me that he now recognized that he had made a mistake by earlier telling the Ukrainian officials to whom he spoke that a White House meeting with President Zelensky was dependent on a public announcement of investigations — in fact, Amb. Sondland said, ‘everything’ was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance,’ Taylor said.

‘He said that President Trump wanted President Zelensky ‘in a public box’ by making a public statement about ordering such investigations,” he noted.

Taylor is considered the biggest threat to Trump to come before lawmakers.

He left his retirement to take up the top U.S. post in the Ukraine after Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was fired by Trump. He has no ties to the administration and no diplomatic career to worry about given his senior statesman status. He has worked in administrations for both political parties.

White House blasts impeachment resolution as ‘illegitimate sham’ without ‘any due process’ for Donald Trump after Democrats release proposal that omits details about president’s rights when public hearings are televised

  • White House blasted the Democrats’ impeachment resolution 
  • It’s ‘an illegitimate sham … without any due process for the President,’ White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement
  • House Democrats released their impeachment resolution on Tuesday that outlines the next stage of the investigation into Donald Trump
  • It includes public hearings and gives Republicans limited power to call witnesses
  • Power is concentrated in hands on Intel Committee Chair Adam Schiff
  • He will get to approve Republican witnesses and their requests for subpoena
  • After Intel finishes its investigation, it will write a public report
  • Matter then goes to Judiciary panel which writes articles of impeachment 
  • Trump and his lawyer cannot participate in process until that final stage 
  • House votes on resolution on Thursday, which is Halloween  

Under the resolution, power is concentrated in the hands of House Intelligence committee Chair Adam Schiff, who can authorize longer periods to question witnesses and who can approve Republican requests for witnesses to appear. 

The Intelligence panel will take the lead in the next, immediate steps. Those include public hearings where Republican lawmakers and staff can question witnesses.

But there is no role for the president’s lawyer in the that stage – which is the White House’s chief complaint. 

After its public hearings conclude, the Intelligence panel will submit its findings to the House Judiciary Committee, which will have the responsibility for drafting any articles of impeachment that would charge the president.

STEPHANIE GRISHAM STATEMENT ON RESOLUTION

The resolution put forward by Speaker Pelosi confirms that House Democrats’ impeachment has been an illegitimate sham from the start as it lacked any proper authorization by a House vote.

It continues this scam by allowing Chairman Schiff, who repeatedly lies to the American people, to hold a new round of hearings, still without any due process for the President.

The White House is barred from participating at all, until after Chairman Schiff conducts two rounds of one-sided hearings to generate a biased report for the Judiciary Committee. Even then, the White House’s rights remain undefined, unclear, and uncertain – because those rules still haven’t been written.

This resolution does nothing to change the fundamental fact that House Democrats refuse to provide basic due process rights to the Administration.

It’s in that stage that President Trump’s lawyers will get to be involved but what rights they will have – such as the ability to question witnesses – are not outlined in the resolution.

‘The White House is barred from participating at all, until after Chairman Schiff conducts two rounds of one-sided hearings to generate a biased report for the Judiciary Committee. Even then, the White House’s rights remain undefined, unclear, and uncertain – because those rules still haven’t been written,’ Grisham argued in her statement on the resolution.

By the time the president gets to participate, most of the drama will have played out on television screens across the country.

Republicans, meanwhile, have called foul on the restrictions Democrats have placed on them when it comes to presenting Trump’s case when the hearings move the public stage.

Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the intelligence panel, can request witnesses, documents and any subpoenas the GOP want but Schiff must sign off on those requests and the full committee, which has a majority of Democrats, must approve them by vote.

Democrats point out that it is the same practice Republicans used for the minority power during the impeachment proceedings into President Bill Clinton into 1998.

The resolution puts the power in the impeachment inquiry into House Intelligence panel Chair Adam Schiff

Speaker Nancy Pelosi will lead Democrats in voting on the resolution on Thursday

The resolution is slated for a vote on Thursday in the full House. Republican leadership is telling its members to vote no on what they call a ‘Soviet-style’ resolution.

Under the Democratic-written measure, the House committees are directed ‘to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America, and for other purposes.’

Besides setting out the procedure for public hearings, the House intelligence panel  is directed to write a public report – with classified information redacted – and ultimately transfer its findings to the House Judiciary Committee, which will take the lead in the final stage of the impeachment inquiry.

That panel, led by Chairman Jerry Nadler, will draw up any articles of impeachment that will end up before the full House for a vote.

The Judiciary panel can also hold public hearings as it works on drafting the articles.

For both committees, in the public hearings, each side could engage in extended questioning of witnesses in rounds of up to 90 minutes before beginning the traditional five-minute rounds extended to lawmakers on those panels under existing rules.

Both lawmakers and staff would have the ability to ask questions.

The resolution also allows for Trump to make his case before lawmakers in the Judiciary Committee stage.

‘The House authorizes the Committee on the Judiciary to conduct proceedings relating to the impeachment inquiry referenced in the first section of this resolution pursuant to the procedures submitted for printing in the Congressional Record by the chair of the Committee on Rules, including such procedures as to allow for the participation of the President and his counsel,’ it reads.

A fact sheet put out by Democrats says that the president’s lawyers can will have an opportunity to present their case, attend hearings, respond to evidence, and raise an objection to testimony given.

B

President Trump and Republicans have cried foul on impeachment process

President Trump and Republicans have cried foul on impeachment process

By offering a resolution on the next steps, Democrats could undercut that argument if Republicans bring it up during the public hearings.

Additionally, by putting the Intelligence and Judiciary panels in charge of the next steps, it would appear to cut out the House Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees, which have played a role in the closed-door hearings.

That result could see some of Trump’s most ardent defenders – Republican lawmakers Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows among them – not part of the panels that will question witnesses in the public hearings, which are sure to play out on the 24-hour cable news channels.

GOP lawmakers immediately attacked the resolution for giving Schiff approval over the witnesses they want to call.

‘Socialist Dem impeachment resolution lets Repubs call witnesses … IF Adam Schiff okays. Duh! Will Adam Schiff allow exculpatory witnesses that embarrass Socialist Dems and help public discern truth? Schiff past partisan dishonesty suggests UNLIKELY!,’ Republican Congressman Mo Brooks tweeted.

But Democrats argued the resolution outlines the path forward.

‘The House impeachment inquiry has collected extensive evidence and testimony, and soon the American people will hear from witnesses in an open setting. The resolution introduced today in the House Rules Committee will provide that pathway forward,’ Schiff and his fellow committee chairs Eliot Engel, Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler said in a statement.

‘The resolution provides rules for the format of open hearings in the House Intelligence Committee, including staff-led questioning of witnesses, and it authorizes the public release of deposition transcripts.

‘The resolution also establishes procedures for the transfer of evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment, and it sets forth due process rights for the President and his Counsel in the Judiciary Committee proceedings,’ they said.

Impeachment in the United States

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Impeachment in the United States is the process by which a legislature (usually in the form of the lower house) brings charges against a civil officer of government for crimes alleged to have been committed, analogous to the bringing of an indictment by a grand jury. At the federal level, this is at the discretion of the House of Representatives. Most impeachments have concerned alleged crimes committed while in office, though there have been a few cases in which officials have been impeached and subsequently convicted for crimes committed prior to taking office.[1] The impeached official remains in office until a trial is held. That trial, and their removal from office if convicted, is separate from the act of impeachment itself. Analogous to a trial before a judge and jury, these proceedings are (where the legislature is bicameral) conducted by the upper house of the legislature, which at the federal level is the Senate.

Impeachment may occur at the federal level or the state level. The federal House can impeach federal officials, including the President, and each state‘s legislature can impeach state officials, including the governor, in accordance with their respective federal or state constitution.

Federal impeachment

Constitutional provisions

The House of Representatives … shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

— Article I, Section 2, Clause 5

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States; but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Article I, Section 3, Clauses 6 and 7

[The President] … shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

Article II, Section 2

The PresidentVice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, TreasonBribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Article II, Section 4

Impeachable offenses: “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors”

The Constitution limits grounds of impeachment to “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors”.[2] The precise meaning of the phrase “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” is not defined in the Constitution itself.

The notion that only criminal conduct can constitute sufficient grounds for impeachment does not comport with either the views of the founders or with historical practice.[1] Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist 65, described impeachable offenses as arising from “the misconduct of public men, or in other words from the abuse or violation of some public trust.”[3] Such offenses were “political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”[3] According to this reasoning, impeachable conduct could include behavior that violates an official’s duty to the country, even if such conduct is not necessarily a prosecutable offense. Indeed, in the past both houses of Congress have given the phrase “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” a broad reading, finding that impeachable offenses need not be limited to criminal conduct.[4][1]

The purposes underlying the impeachment process also indicate that non-criminal activity may constitute sufficient grounds for impeachment.[1][5] The purpose of impeachment is not to inflict personal punishment for criminal activity. Instead, impeachment is a “remedial” tool; it serves to effectively “maintain constitutional government” by removing individuals unfit for office.[6][1] Grounds for impeachment include abuse of the particular powers of government office or a violation of the “public trust”—conduct that is unlikely to be barred via statute.[6][4][1]

In drawing up articles of impeachment, the House has placed little emphasis on criminal conduct.[1] Less than one-third of the articles that the House have adopted have explicitly charged the violation of a criminal statute or used the word “criminal” or “crime” to describe the conduct alleged.[1] Officials have been impeached and removed for drunkenness, biased decision-making, or inducing parties to enter financial transactions, none of which is specifically criminal.[1] Two of the articles against President Andrew Johnson were based on rude speech that reflected badly on the office: President Johnson had made “harangues” criticizing the Congress and questioning its legislative authority, refusing to follow laws, and diverting funds allocated in an army appropriations act, each of which brought the presidency “into contempt, ridicule, and disgrace”.[7] A number of individuals have been impeached for behavior incompatible with the nature of the office they hold.[1] Some impeachments have addressed, at least in part, conduct before the individuals assumed their positions: for example, Article IV against Judge Porteous related to false statements to the FBI and Senate in connection with his nomination and confirmation to the court.[1]

On the other hand, the Constitutional Convention rejected language that would have permitted impeachment for “maladministration,” with Madison arguing that “[s]o vague a term will be equivalent to a tenure during pleasure of the Senate.”[8]

Congressional materials have cautioned that the grounds for impeachment “do not all fit neatly and logically into categories” because the remedy of impeachment is intended to “reach a broad variety of conduct by officers that is both serious and incompatible with the duties of the office”.[6][1] Congress has identified three general types of conduct that constitute grounds for impeachment, although these categories should not be understood as exhaustive:

(1) improperly exceeding or abusing the powers of the office;
(2) behavior incompatible with the function and purpose of the office; and
(3) misusing the office for an improper purpose or for personal gain.[6][1]

Conversely, not all criminal conduct is impeachable: in 1974, the Judiciary Committee rejected an article of impeachment against President Nixon alleging that he committed tax fraud, primarily because that “related to the President’s private conduct, not to an abuse of his authority as President.”[1]

Several commentators have suggested that Congress alone may decide for itself what constitutes a “high Crime or Misdemeanor”, especially since the Supreme Court decided in Nixon v. United States that it did not have the authority to determine whether the Senate properly “tried” a defendant.[9] In 1970, then-House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford defined the criterion as he saw it: “An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.”[10]

Of the 17 impeachments voted by the House:

  • No official has been charged with treason. (In 1797, Senator Blount was impeached for assisting Britain in capturing Spanish territory. In 1862, Judge Humphries was impeached and convicted for siding with the Confederacy and taking a position as a Confederate judge during the Civil War.)
  • Three officials have been charged with bribery. Of those, two proceeded to trial and were removed (Judge Archibald and Judge Hastings); the other resigned prior to trial (Secretary Belknap).
  • The remaining charges against all the other officials fall under the category of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors”.

The standard of proof required for impeachment and conviction is also left to the discretion of individual Representatives and Senators, respectively. Defendants have argued that impeachment trials are in the nature of criminal proceedings, with convictions carrying grave consequences for the accused, and that therefore proof beyond a reasonable doubt should be the applicable standard. House Managers have argued that a lower standard would be appropriate to better serve the purpose of defending the community against abuse of power, since the defendant does not risk forfeiture of life, liberty, or property, for which the reasonable doubt standard was set.[11]

Officers subject to impeachment: “civil officers of the United States”

The Constitution gives Congress the authority to impeach and remove “The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States” upon a determination that such officers have engaged in treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. The Constitution does not articulate who qualifies as a “civil officer of the United States”.[12]

Federal judges are subject to impeachment. In fact, 15 of 19 officers impeached, and all eight officers removed after Senate trial, have been judges. The most recent impeachment effort against a Supreme Court justice that resulted in a House of Representatives investigation was against Justice William O. Douglas. In 1970, Representative Gerald Ford, who was then House minority leader, called for the House to impeach Douglas. However, a House investigation led by Congressman Emanuel Celler (D-NY) determined that Ford’s allegations were baseless. According to Professor Joshua E. Kastenberg at the University of New Mexico, School of Law, Ford and Nixon sought to force Douglas off the Court in order to cement the “Southern Strategy” as well as to provide cover for the invasion of Cambodia. When their efforts failed, Douglas remained on the Court.[13]

Within the executive branch, any Presidentially appointed “principal officer,” including a head of an agency such as a Secretary, Administrator, or Commissioner, is a “civil officer of the United States” subject to impeachment.[1] At the opposite end of the spectrum, lesser functionaries, such as federal civil service employees, do not exercise “significant authority”, and are not appointed by the President or an agency head. These employees do not appear to be subject to impeachment, though that may be a matter of allocation of House floor debate time by the Speaker, rather than a matter of law.

The Senate has concluded that members of Congress (Representatives and Senators) are not “civil officers” for purposes of impeachment.[14] As a practical matter, expulsion is effected by the simpler procedures of Article I, Section 5, which provides “Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members … Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.” (see List of United States senators expelled or censured and List of United States Representatives expelled, censured, or reprimanded). This allows each House to expel its own members without involving the other chamber. In 1797, the House of Representatives impeached Senator William Blount of Tennessee,[15] The Senate expelled Senator Blount under Article I, Section 5, on the same day. However, the impeachment proceeding remained pending (expulsion only removes the individual from office, but conviction after impeachment may also bar the individual from holding future office, so the question of further punishment remained to be decided). After four days of debate, the Senate concluded that a Senator is not a “civil officer of the United States” for purposes of the Impeachment clause, and dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.[14][16] The House has not impeached a Member of Congress since Blount.

Procedure

At the federal level, the impeachment process is a three-step procedure.

  • First, the Congress investigates. This investigation typically begins in the House Judiciary Committee, but may begin elsewhere. For example, the Nixon impeachment inquiry began in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The facts that led to impeachment of Bill Clintonwere first discovered in the course of an investigation by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.
  • Second, the House of Representatives must pass, by a simple majority of those present and voting, articles of impeachment, which constitute the formal allegation or allegations. Upon passage, the defendant has been “impeached”.
  • Third, the Senate tries the accused. In the case of the impeachment of a president, the Chief Justice of the United States presides over the proceedings. For the impeachment of any other official, the Constitution is silent on who shall preside, suggesting that this role falls to the Senate’s usual presiding officer, the President of the Senate who is also the Vice President of the United States. Conviction in the Senate requires a two-thirds supermajority vote of those present. The result of conviction is removal from office.

Rules

A number of rules have been adopted by the House and Senate, and are honored by tradition.

Jefferson’s Manual, which is integral to the Rules of the House of Representatives,[17] states that impeachment is set in motion by charges made on the floor, charges proffered by a memorial, a member’s resolution referred to a committee, a message from the president, or from facts developed and reported by an investigating committee of the House. It further states that a proposition to impeach is a question of high privilege in the House and at once supersedes business otherwise in order under the rules governing the order of business.

The House Practice: A Guide to the Rules, Precedents and Procedures of the House[18] is a reference source for information on the rules and selected precedents governing the House procedure, prepared by the House Parliamentarian. The manual has a chapter on the House’s rules, procedures, and precedent for impeachment.

In 1974, as part of the preliminary investigation in the Nixon impeachment inquiry, the staff of the Impeachment Inquiry of the House Judiciary Committee prepared a report, Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment.[6] The primary focus of the Report is the definition of the term “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” and the relationship to criminality, which the Report traces through history from English roots, through the debates at the 1787 Constitutional Convention, and the history of the impeachments before 1974.

The 1974 report has been expanded and revised on several occasions by the Congressional Research Service, and the current version Impeachment and Removal dates from October 2015.[1] While this document is only staff recommendation, as a practical matter, today it is probably the single most influential definition of “high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

The Senate has formal Rules and Procedures of Practice in the Senate When Sitting on Impeachment Trials.[19]

Calls for impeachment, and Congressional power to investigate

While the actual impeachment of a federal public official is a rare event, demands for impeachment, especially of presidents, are common,[20] going back to the administration of George Washington in the mid-1790s.

While almost all of them were for the most part frivolous and were buried as soon as they were introduced, several did have their intended effect. Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon[21] and Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas both resigned in response to the threat of impeachment hearings, and, most famously, President Richard Nixon resigned from office after the House Judiciary Committee had already reported articles of impeachment to the floor.

In advance of the formal resolution by the full House to authorize proceedings, committee chairmen have the same power for impeachment as for any other issue within the jurisdiction of the committee: to investigate, subpoena witnesses, and prepare a preliminary report of findings. For example:

Targets of congressional investigations have challenged the power of Congress to investigate before a formal resolution commences impeachment proceedings. For example, President Buchanan wrote to the committee investigating his administration:

I do, therefore, … solemnly protest against these proceedings of the House of Representatives, because they are in violation of the rights of the coordinate executive branch of the Government, and subversive of its constitutional independence; because they are calculated to foster a band of interested parasites and informers, ever ready, for their own advantage, to swear before ex parte committees to pretended private conversations between the President and themselves, incapable, from their nature, of being disproved; thus furnishing material for harassing him, degrading him in the eyes of the country [23]

He maintained that the House of Representatives possessed no general powers to investigate him, except when sitting as an impeaching body.

When the Supreme Court has considered similar issues, it held that the power to secure “needed information … has long been treated as an attribute of the power to legislate. … [The power to investigate is deeply rooted in the nation’s history:] It was so regarded in the British Parliament and in the colonial Legislatures before the American Revolution, and a like view has prevailed and been carried into effect in both houses of Congress and in most of the state Legislatures.”[24] The Supreme Court also held, “There can be no doubt as to the power of Congress, by itself or through its committees, to investigate matters and conditions relating to contemplated legislation.”[25]

The Supreme Court considered the power of the Congress to investigate, and to subpoena executive branch officials, in a pair of cases arising out of alleged corruption in the administration of President Warren G. Harding. In the first, McGrain v. Daugherty, the Court considered a subpoena issued to the brother of Attorney General Harry Daugherty for bank records relevant to the Senate’s investigation into the Department of Justice. Concluding that the subpoena was valid, the Court explained that Congress’s “power of inquiry … is an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function,” as “[a] legislative body cannot legislate wisely or effectively in the absence of information respecting the conditions which the legislation is intended to affect or change.” The Supreme Court held that it was irrelevant that the Senate’s authorizing resolution lacked an “avow[al] that legislative action was had in view” because, said the Court, “the subject to be investigated was … [p]lainly [a] subject … on which legislation could be had” and such legislation “would be materially aided by the information which the investigation was calculated to elicit.” Although “[a]n express avowal” of the Senate’s legislative objective “would have been better,” the Court admonished that “the presumption should be indulged that [legislation] was the real object.”[24]

Two years later, in Sinclair v. United States,[26] the Court considered investigation of private parties involved with officials under potential investigation for public corruption. In Sinclair, Harry Sinclair, the president of an oil company, appealed his conviction for refusing to answer a Senate committee’s questions regarding his company’s allegedly fraudulent lease on federal oil reserves at Teapot Dome in Wyoming. The Court, acknowledging individuals’ “right to be exempt from all unauthorized, arbitrary or unreasonable inquiries and disclosures in respect of their personal and private affairs,” nonetheless explained that because “[i]t was a matter of concern to the United States,” “the transaction purporting to lease to [Sinclair’s company] the lands within the reserve cannot be said to be merely or principally … personal.” The Court also dismissed the suggestion that the Senate was impermissibly conducting a criminal investigation. “It may be conceded that Congress is without authority to compel disclosures for the purpose of aiding the prosecution of pending suits,” explained the Court, “but the authority of that body, directly or through its committees, to require pertinent disclosures in aid of its own constitutional power is not abridged because the information sought to be elicited may also be of use in such suits.”

The Supreme Court reached similar conclusions in a number of other cases. In Barenblatt v. United States,[27] the Court permitted Congress to punish contempt, when a person refused to answer questions while testifying under subpoena by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. The Court explained that although “Congress may not constitutionally require an individual to disclose his … private affairs except in relation to” “a valid legislative purpose,” such a purpose was present. Congress’s “wide power to legislate in the field of Communist activity … and to conduct appropriate investigations in aid thereof[] is hardly debatable,” said the Court, and “[s]o long as Congress acts in pursuance of its constitutional power, the Judiciary lacks authority to intervene on the basis of the motives which spurred the exercise of that power.”

Presidents have often been the subjects of Congress’s legislative investigations. For example, in 1832, the House vested a select committee with subpoena power “to inquire whether an attempt was made by the late Secretary of War … [to] fraudulently [award] … a contract for supplying rations” to Native Americans and to “further … inquire whether the President … had any knowledge of such attempted fraud, and whether he disapproved or approved of the same.” In the 1990s, first the House and Senate Banking Committees and then a Senate special committee investigated President and Mrs. Clinton’s involvement in the Whitewater land deal and related matters. The Senate had an enabling resolution; the House did not.

The Supreme Court has also explained that Congress has not only the power, but the duty, to investigate so it can inform the public of the operations of government:

It is the proper duty of a representative body to look diligently into every affair of government and to talk much about what it sees. It is meant to be the eyes and the voice, and to embody the wisdom and will of its constituents. Unless Congress have and use every means of acquainting itself with the acts and the disposition of the administrative agents of the government, the country must be helpless to learn how it is being served; and unless Congress both scrutinize these things and sift them by every form of discussion, the country must remain in embarrassing, crippling ignorance of the very affairs which it is most important that it should understand and direct. The informing function of Congress should be preferred even to its legislative function.[28]

House of Representatives: Impeachment

Impeachment proceedings may be requested by a member of the House of Representatives on his or her own initiative, either by presenting a list of the charges under oath or by asking for referral to the appropriate committee. The impeachment process may be requested by non-members. For example, when the Judicial Conference of the United States suggests a federal judge be impeached, a charge of actions constituting grounds for impeachment may come from a special prosecutor, the President, or state or territorial legislaturegrand jury, or by petition. An impeachment proceeding formally begins with a resolution adopted by the full House of Representatives, which typically includes a referral to a House committee.

First day of The Judiciary Committee’s formal impeachment hearings against President Nixon, May 9, 1974

The type of impeachment resolution determines the committee to which it is referred. A resolution impeaching a particular individual is typically referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. A resolution to authorize an investigation regarding impeachable conduct is referred to the House Committee on Rules, and then to the Judiciary Committee. The House Committee on the Judiciary, by majority vote, will determine whether grounds for impeachment exist (this vote is not law and is not required, US Constitution and US law). If the Committee finds grounds for impeachment, it will set forth specific allegations of misconduct in one or more articles of impeachment. The Impeachment Resolution, or Articles of Impeachment, are then reported to the full House with the committee’s recommendations.

The House debates the resolution and may at the conclusion consider the resolution as a whole or vote on each article of impeachment individually. A simple majority of those present and voting is required for each article for the resolution as a whole to pass. If the House votes to impeach, managers (typically referred to as “House managers”, with a “lead House manager”) are selected to present the case to the Senate. Recently, managers have been selected by resolution, while historically the House would occasionally elect the managers or pass a resolution allowing the appointment of managers at the discretion of the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. These managers are roughly the equivalent of the prosecution or district attorney in a standard criminal trial. Also, the House will adopt a resolution in order to notify the Senate of its action. After receiving the notice, the Senate will adopt an order notifying the House that it is ready to receive the managers. The House managers then appear before the bar of the Senate and exhibit the articles of impeachment. After the reading of the charges, the managers return and make a verbal report to the House.

Senate: Trial

Depiction of the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson in 1868, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase presiding.

The proceedings unfold in the form of a trial, with each side having the right to call witnesses and perform cross-examinations. The House members, who are given the collective title of managers during the course of the trial, present the prosecution case, and the impeached official has the right to mount a defense with his or her own attorneys as well. Senators must also take an oath or affirmation that they will perform their duties honestly and with due diligence. After hearing the charges, the Senate usually deliberates in private. The Constitution requires a two-thirds super majority to convict a person being impeached.[29] The Senate enters judgment on its decision, whether that be to convict or acquit, and a copy of the judgment is filed with the Secretary of State.[19] Upon conviction in the Senate, the official is automatically removed from office and may also be barred from holding future office. The trial is not an actual criminal proceeding and more closely resembles a civil service termination appeal in terms of the contemplated deprivation. Therefore, the removed official may still be liable to criminal prosecution under a subsequent criminal proceeding. The President may not grant a pardon in the impeachment case, but may in any resulting Federal criminal case.[30]

Beginning in the 1980s with Harry E. Claiborne, the Senate began using “Impeachment Trial Committees” pursuant to Senate Rule XI.[19] These committees presided over the evidentiary phase of the trials, hearing the evidence and supervising the examination and cross-examination of witnesses. The committees would then compile the evidentiary record and present it to the Senate; all senators would then have the opportunity to review the evidence before the chamber voted to convict or acquit. The purpose of the committees was to streamline impeachment trials, which otherwise would have taken up a great deal of the chamber’s time. Defendants challenged the use of these committees, claiming them to be a violation of their fair trial rights as this did not meet the constitutional requirement for their cases to be “tried by the Senate”. Several impeached judges, including District Court JudgeWalter Nixon, sought court intervention in their impeachment proceedings on these grounds. In Nixon v. United States (1993),[9] the Supreme Court determined that the federal judiciary could not review such proceedings, as matters related to impeachment trials are political questions and could not be resolved in the courts.[31]

In theory at least, as President of the Senate, the Vice President of the United States could preside over their own impeachment, although legal theories suggest that allowing a defendant to be the judge in their own case would be a blatant conflict of interest. If the Vice President did not preside over an impeachment (of anyone besides the President), the duties would fall to the President pro tempore of the Senate.

To convict an accused, “the concurrence of two thirds of the [Senators] present” for at least one article is required. If there is no single charge commanding a “guilty” vote of two-thirds majority of the senators present, the defendant is acquitted and no punishment is imposed.

Result of conviction: removal, and with an additional Senate vote, disqualification

Conviction immediately removes the defendant from office. Following conviction, the Senate may vote to further punish the individual by barring him or her from holding future federal office, elected or appointed. As the threshold for disqualification is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, the Senate has taken the position that disqualification votes only require a simple majority rather than a two-thirds majority. The Senate has used disqualification sparingly, as only three individuals have been disqualified from holding future office.[32]

Conviction does not extend to further punishment, for example, loss of pension. After conviction by the Senate, “the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law” in the regular federal or state courts.

History of federal constitutional impeachment

In the United Kingdom, impeachment was a procedure whereby a member of the House of Commons could accuse someone of a crime. If the Commons voted for the impeachment, a trial would then be held in the House of Lords. Unlike a bill of attainder, a law declaring a person guilty of a crime, impeachments did not require royal assent, so they could be used to remove troublesome officers of the Crown even if the monarch was trying to protect them.

The monarch, however, was above the law and could not be impeached, or indeed judged guilty of any crime. When King Charles I was tried before the Rump Parliament of the New Model Army in 1649 he denied that they had any right to legally indict him, their king, whose power was given by God and the laws of the country, saying: “no earthly power can justly call me (who is your King) in question as a delinquent … no learned lawyer will affirm that an impeachment can lie against the King.” While the House of Commons pronounced him guilty and ordered his execution anyway, the jurisdictional issue tainted the proceedings.

With this example in mind, the delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention chose to include an impeachment procedure in Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution which could be applied to any government official; they explicitly mentioned the President to ensure there would be no ambiguity. Opinions differed, however, as to the reasons Congress should be able to initiate an impeachment. Initial drafts listed only treason and bribery, but George Mason favored impeachment for “maladministration” (incompetence). James Madisonargued that impeachment should only be for criminal behavior, arguing that a maladministration standard would effectively mean that the President would serve at the pleasure of the Senate.[33] Thus the delegates adopted a compromise version allowing impeachment for “treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors”.

Formal federal impeachment investigations and results

The House of Representatives has initiated impeachment proceedings 62 times since 1789.[citation needed]

The House has impeached 19 federal officers. Of these:

Of the 19 impeachments by the House, two cases did not come to trial because the individuals had left office, seven were acquitted, and eight officials were convicted, all of whom were judges.[35][36] One, former judge Alcee Hastings, was elected as a member of the United States House of Representatives after being removed from office.

Additionally, an impeachment process against Richard Nixon was commenced, but not completed, as he resigned from office before the full House voted on the articles of impeachment.[31] To date, no president has been removed from office by impeachment and conviction.

The following table lists federal officials for whom impeachment proceedings were instituted and referred to a committee of the House of Representatives. Numbered lines of the table reflect officials impeached by a majority vote of the House. Unnumbered lines are those officials for whom an impeachment proceeding was formally instituted, but ended when (a) the Committee did not vote to recommend impeachment, (b) the Committee recommended impeachment but the vote in the full House failed, or (c) the official resigned or died before the full House vote.

# Date of Impeachment or Investigation Accused Office Accusations Result[Note 1]
1 July 7, 1797 William-blount-wb-cooper.jpg William Blount United States Senator(Tennessee) Conspiring to assist Britain in capturing Spanish territory Senate refused to accept impeachment of a Senator by the House of Representatives, instead expelling him from the Senate on their own authority[37][Note 2][38]
2 March 2, 1803 John Pickering Judge (District of New Hampshire) Drunkenness and unlawful rulings Convicted; removed on March 12, 1804[37][39][38][39]
3 March 12, 1804 Samuel Chase (bust crop).jpg Samuel Chase Associate Justice (Supreme Court of the United States) Political bias and arbitrary rulings, promoting a partisan political agenda on the bench[40] Acquitted on March 1, 1805[37][39]
4 April 24, 1830 JamesHPeck.jpg James H. Peck Judge (District of Missouri) Abuse of power[41] Acquitted on January 31, 1831[37][39][38][39]
March to June 1860 James Buchanan.jpg James Buchanan President of the United States Corruption The Covode committee was established March 5, 1860, and submitted its final report on June 16, 1860. The committee found that Buchanan had not done anything to warrant impeachment, but that his was the most corrupt administration since the adoption of the US Constitution in 1789.[42][43]
5 May 6, 1862 West Hughes Humphreys.jpg West Hughes Humphreys Judge (EasternMiddle, and Western Districts of Tennessee) Supporting the Confederacy Convicted; removed and disqualified on June 26, 1862[38][37][39] [38][39]
6 February 24, 1868 President Andrew Johnson.jpg Andrew Johnson President of the United States Violating the Tenure of Office Act. The Supreme Court would later state in dicta that the (by then repealed) Tenure of Office Act had been unconstitutional.[44] Acquitted on May 26, 1868, 35–19 in favor of conviction, falling one vote short of two-thirds.[37][38]
7 February 28, 1873 Mark W. Delahay.jpg Mark W. Delahay Judge (District of Kansas) Drunkenness Resigned on December 12, 1873[39][45][39][45]
8 March 2, 1876 WWBelknap.jpg William W. Belknap United States Secretary of War(resigned after impeachment and before trial) Graft, corruption Acquitted after his resignation on August 1, 1876[37][38]
9 December 13, 1904 Charles Swayne Judge (Northern District of Florida) Failure to live in his district, abuse of power[46] Acquitted on February 27, 1905[37][39][38][39]
10 July 11, 1912 Robert W. Archbald cph.3a03594 (bust crop).jpg Robert Wodrow Archbald Associate Justice (United States Commerce Court)
Judge (Third Circuit Court of Appeals)
Improper acceptance of gifts from litigants and attorneys Convicted; removed and disqualified on January 13, 1913[38][37][39][38][39]
11 April 1, 1926 George W. English cph.3a03600.jpg George W. English Judge (Eastern District of Illinois) Abuse of power Resigned on November 4, 1926,[38][37] proceedings dismissed on December 13, 1926[38][39][38][39]
12 February 24, 1933 Harold Louderback Judge (Northern District of California) Corruption Acquitted on May 24, 1933[37][39][38][39]
13 March 2, 1936 Halsted Ritter (US federal judge).jpg Halsted L. Ritter Judge (Southern District of Florida) Champerty, corruption, tax evasion, practicing law while a judge Convicted; removed on April 17, 1936[37][39][38][39]
1953 Justice William O Douglas.jpg William O. Douglas Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Brief stay of execution for Julius and Ethel Rosenberg Referred to Judiciary Committee (Jun. 18, 1953); committee voted to end the investigation (Jul 7, 1953).
1970 Justice William O Douglas.jpg William O. Douglas Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Failure to recuse on obscenity cases while at the same time having articles published in Evergreen Review and Avant-Garde magazines; conflict of paid board positions with two non-profits Referred to a special subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee (Apr. 21, 1970); subcommittee voted to end the investigation (Dec. 3, 1970).
proceedings aborted before impeachment vote, January to August 1974 Richard Nixon presidential portrait.jpg Richard Nixon President of the United States Obstruction of justice, Abuse of Power, Contempt of Congress House Judiciary Committee begins investigating and issuing subpoenas (Oct. 30, 1973); House Judiciary Report on committee investigation (Feb. 1, 1974);[47] House resolution 93-803 authorizes Judiciary Committee investigation (Feb. 6, 1974);[48] House Judiciary Committee votes three articles of impeachment to House floor (July 27–30, 1974);[49] proceedings terminated by resignation of President Nixon (August 8, 1974).
14 July 22, 1986 Harry Claiborne (bust crop).jpg Harry E. Claiborne Judge (District of Nevada) Tax evasion Removed on October 9, 1986[37][39][38][39]
15 August 3, 1988 Alcee Hastings Portrait c111-112th Congress.jpg Alcee Hastings Judge (Southern District of Florida) Accepting a bribe, and committing perjury during the resulting investigation Removed on October 20, 1989[37][39][38][39]
16 May 10, 1989 Walter Nixon (bust crop).jpg Walter Nixon Chief Judge (Southern District of Mississippi) Perjury Removed on November 3, 1989[37][39][Note 3][38][39]
17 December 19, 1998 Bill Clinton.jpg Bill Clinton President of the United States Perjury and obstruction of justice[50] Acquitted on February 12, 1999: 45–55 on obstruction of justice and 50–50 on perjury[37][51]
18 June 19, 2009 KentSamuel.jpg Samuel B. Kent Judge (Southern District of Texas) Sexual assault, and obstruction of justice during the resulting investigation Resigned on June 30, 2009,[39][52] proceedings dismissed on July 22, 2009[37][39][53][39][54]
19 March 11, 2010 PorteousThomasG.jpg Thomas Porteous Judge (Eastern District of Louisiana) Making false financial disclosures, corruption. Convicted, removed and disqualified on December 8, 2010[37][39][55][39][56]
September 24, 2019 President Donald J. Trump September 2019.jpg Donald Trump President of the United States Enlisting the assistance of foreign governments with re-election Financial Servicesthe JudiciaryIntelligenceForeign AffairsOversight and Reform, and Ways and Meanscommittees undertaking an impeachment inquiry beginning on September 24, 2019. The inquiry is presently ongoing.

There have been unsuccessful attempts to initiate impeachment proceedings against John TylerRichard NixonGeorge W. Bush and Barack Obama.

One notable impeachment attempt that never reached the point of House resolution was an attempt to impeach Associate Justice William O. Douglas by then-House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford. The Legislative Reference Service of the Library of Congress prepared a report as part of Ford’s vetting for confirmation as Vice President in 1973.[22]

President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, was impeached on December 19, 1998, by the House of Representatives on articles charging perjury (specifically, lying to a federal grand jury) by a 228–206 vote and obstruction of justice by a 221–212 vote. The House rejected other articles: one was a count of perjury in a civil deposition in Paula Jones‘ sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton (by a 205–229 vote); the second accused Clinton of abuse of power (by a 148–285 vote). President Clinton was acquitted by the Senate. The votes in the Senate to remove him from office did not even reach a majority, let alone two-thirds: 45–55 on obstruction of justice and 50–50 on perjury.

Impeachment in the states

State legislatures can impeach state officials, including governors, in every State except Oregon. The court for the trial of impeachments may differ somewhat from the federal model—in New York, for instance, the Assembly (lower house) impeaches, and the State Senate tries the case, but the members of the seven-judge New York State Court of Appeals (the state’s highest, constitutional court) sit with the senators as jurors as well.[57] Impeachment and removal of governors has happened occasionally throughout the history of the United States, usually for corruption charges. A total of at least eleven U.S. state governors have faced an impeachment trial; a twelfth, Governor Lee Cruce of Oklahoma, escaped impeachment conviction by a single vote in 1912. Several others, most recently Missouri‘s Eric Greitens, have resigned rather than face impeachment, when events seemed to make it inevitable.[58] The most recent impeachment of a state governor occurred on January 14, 2009, when the Illinois House of Representatives voted 117–1 to impeach Rod Blagojevichon corruption charges;[59] he was subsequently removed from office and barred from holding future office by the Illinois Senate on January 29. He was the eighth U.S. state governor to be removed from office.

The procedure for impeachment, or removal, of local officials varies widely. For instance, in New York a mayor is removed directly by the governor “upon being heard” on charges—the law makes no further specification of what charges are necessary or what the governor must find in order to remove a mayor.

In 2018, the entire Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia was impeached, something that has been often threatened, but had never happened before.

State and territorial officials impeached

Date Accused Office Result
1804 William W. Irvin.jpg William W. Irvin Associate JudgeFairfield County, Ohio,Court of Common Pleas Removed
1832 Theophilus W. Smith.jpg Theophilus W. Smith Associate JusticeIllinois Supreme Court Acquitted[60]
February 26, 1862 CRobinson.jpg Charles L. Robinson Governor of Kansas Acquitted[61]
John Winter Robinson Secretary of State of Kansas Removed on June 12, 1862[62]
George S. Hillyer State auditor of Kansas Removed on June 16, 1862[62]
1871 NCG-WilliamHolden.jpg William Woods Holden Governor of North Carolina Removed
1871 Hon. David Butler. Governor Nebraska - NARA - 528665.jpg David Butler Governor of Nebraska Removed[61]
February 1872 Governor Harrison Reed of Florida.jpg Harrison Reed Governor of Florida Acquitted[63]
March 1872 Thirty years of New York politics up-to-date (1889) (14592180978).jpg George G. Barnard New York Supreme Court (1st District) Removed
1872 H C Warmoth 1870s W Kurtz.jpg Henry C. Warmoth Governor of Louisiana “Suspended from office,” though trial was not held[64]
1876 Gen. Adelbert Ames - NARA - 527085.jpg Adelbert Ames Governor of Mississippi Resigned[61]
1888 Honest Dick Tate.png James W. Tate Kentucky State Treasurer Removed
1901 David M. Furches Chief JusticeNorth Carolina Supreme Court Acquitted[65]
Robert M. Douglas Associate JusticeNorth Carolina Supreme Court Acquitted[65]
August 13, 1913[66] William Sulzer NY.jpg William Sulzer Governor of New York Removed on October 17, 1913[67]
July 1917 James E. Ferguson.jpg James E. Ferguson Governor of Texas Removed[68]
October 23, 1923 Jack Walton.jpg John C. Walton Governor of Oklahoma Removed
January 21, 1929 Henry S. Johnston Governor of Oklahoma Removed
April 6, 1929[69] HueyPLongGesture.jpg Huey P. Long Governor of Louisiana Acquitted
June 13, 1941 Daniel H. Coakley Massachusetts Governor’s Councilor Removed on October 2, 1941
May 1958[70] Raulston Schoolfield Judge, Hamilton County, TennesseeCriminal Court Removed on July 11, 1958[71]
March 14, 1984[72] Paul L. Douglas Nebraska Attorney General Acquitted by the Nebraska Supreme Court on May 4, 1984[73]
February 6, 1988[74] Evan Mecham Governor of Arizona Removed on April 4, 1988[75]
March 30, 1989[76] A. James Manchin State treasurer of West Virginia Resigned on July 9, 1989 before trial started[77]
January 25, 1991[78] Ward “Butch” Burnette Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Resigned on February 6, 1991 before trial started[79]
May 24, 1994[80] Rolf Larsen Associate JusticePennsylvania Supreme Court Removed on October 4, 1994, and declared ineligible to hold public office in Pennsylvania[81]
October 6, 1994[82] Judith Moriarty Secretary of State of Missouri Removed by the Missouri Supreme Court on December 12, 1994[83]
November 11, 2004[84] Kathy Augustine Nevada State Controller Censured on December 4, 2004, not removed from office[85]
April 11, 2006[86] David Hergert Member of the University of NebraskaBoard of Regents Removed by the Nebraska Supreme Court on July 7, 2006[87]
January 8, 2009
(first vote)[88]
Rod Blagojevich (2911120436) (cropped).jpg Rod Blagojevich Governor of Illinois 95th General Assembly ended
January 14, 2009
(second vote)[89]
Removed on January 29, 2009, and declared ineligible to hold public office in Illinois[90]
February 11, 2013[91] Benigno Fitial 2009.jpg Benigno Fitial Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands Resigned on February 20, 2013
August 13, 2018[92] Robin Davis Associate Justices, Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia Retired on August 13, 2018.[93] Despite her retirement, the West Virginia Senate refused to dismiss the articles of impeachment and scheduled trial for October 29, 2018 although the trial is currently delayed by court order.[94]
Allen Loughry Resigned on November 12, 2018.[95][96] Possible trial before the West Virginia Senate delayed by court order.[94]
Beth Walker Reprimanded and censured on October 2, 2018, not removed from office.[97]
Margaret Workman Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia Trial before the West Virginia Senate delayed by court order after originally being scheduled for October 15, 2018.[98][99]
July 24, 2019[100] Ricardo Rossello (cropped).jpg Ricardo Rossello Governor of Puerto Rico Resigned on July 24, 2019; with effect August 2, 2019, immediately stopping impeachment proceedings

State governors

At least four state governors have been impeached and removed from office:

See also

Notes

  • Stephen B. Presser, Essays on Article I: ImpeachmentPresser, Stephen B. “Essays on Article I: Impeachment”The Heritage Guide to the Constitution. Heritage Foundation. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  1. ^ “Removed and disqualified” indicates that following conviction the Senate voted to disqualify the individual from holding further federal office pursuant to Article I, Section 3 of the United States Constitution, which provides, in pertinent part, that “[j]udgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.”
  2. ^ During the impeachment trial of Senator Blount, it was argued that the House of Representatives did not have the power to impeach members of either House of Congress; though the Senate never explicitly ruled on this argument, the House has never again impeached a member of Congress. The Constitution allows either House to expel one of its members by a two-thirds vote, which the Senate had done to Blount on the same day the House impeached him (but before the Senate heard the case).
  3. ^ Judge Nixon later challenged the validity of his removal from office on procedural grounds; the challenge was ultimately rejected as nonjusticiable by the Supreme Court in Nixon v. United States.

References…

Further reading

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment_in_the_United_States

 

Story 2: Big Lie Media Spinning and Lying About Tim Morrison Testimony About Trump Phone Call With Ukraine — Nothing Illegal Was Discussed and No Quid Pro Quo — Videos —

 See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

 

Impeachment witness says Trump-Ukraine call wasn’t illegal

Hannity: Latest testimony blows whistleblower claim out of the water

PBS NewsHour West live episode October 31, 2019

Ingraham: The Democrats’ witching hour

Ingraham: Deep state’s coordinated effort to take down Trump

Ingraham: Durham’s criminal probe has a lot of folks nervous

Ingraham: Desperate Democrats go to Defcon 1

Brit Hume: If the impeachment inquiry is perceived as unfair then House Democrats have a problem

 

 Official Tim Morrison To Schiff: ‘I Was Not Concerned That Anything Illegal Was Discussed’ In Trump-Ukraine Phone Call

Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council official under Trump, told Rep. Adam Schiff in testimony today that he was never concerned that Trump discussed anything illegal in his July 25 phone call with the Ukrainain president.

A top National Security Council (NSC) official who listened to President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky testified to Congress today that he did not believe Trump had discussed anything illegal during the conversation.

“I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed,” former NSC Senior Director for European Affairs Tim Morrison testified today, according to a record of his remarks obtained by The Federalist.

Morrison testified that Ukrainian officials were not even aware that certain military funding had been delayed by the Trump administration until late August 2019, more than a month after the Trump-Zelensky call, casting doubt on allegations that Trump somehow conveyed an illegal quid pro quo demand during the July 25 call.

“I have no reason to believe the Ukrainians had any knowledge of the [military funding] review until August 28, 2019,” Morrison said. That is the same day that Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chief anti-Trump inquisitor in the U.S. House of Representatives, disclosed on Twitter that funding had been held up. Politico also published a story that day, sourced to anonymous leaks, that military funding had been temporarily held up.

Although Schiff claimed that neither he nor his staff ever spoke to the anti-Trump whistleblower, The New York Times reported that the complainant, whom RealClearInvestigations identified as Eric Ciaramella, coordinated with Schiff’s office before filing his complaint with the intelligence community inspector general on August 12. While Schiff initially demanded that the anti-Trump complainant be allowed to publicly testify, he quickly changed course following the reports that he and his staff had secretly colluded with the whistleblower and then lied about the interactions.

Morrison also pointed out key factual inaccuracies in testimony provided by William Taylor, a State Department official who works in the U.S. embassy in Kiev, Ukraine. Morrison said that, contrary to Taylor’s claims, Morrison never met with the Ukrainian National Security advisor in his private hotel room.

Morrison also said Taylor falsely claimed that Ambassador Gordon Sondland demanded a public statement from the Ukrainian president committing to investigate Burisma, a controversial Ukrainain energy company that paid Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter millions of dollars to sit on its board.

“My recollection is that Ambassador Sondland’s proposal to [Ukrainian National Security Advisor Andriy] Yermak was that it could be sufficient if the new Ukrainian prosecutor general — not President Zelensky — would commit to pursue the Burisma investigation,” Morrison testified.

Morrison testified that the transcript of the phone call that was declassified and released by Trump in late September “accurately and completely reflects the substance of the call,” and that he was concerned that the substance of the call would be leaked to the media. Morrison said he immediately informed a NSC lawyer about his concerns that the phone call would be leaked. Democrats have alleged that security measures taken to prevent leaks of the top secret call transcript prove that Trump should be removed from office.

He also told lawmakers that the national security process worked as designed in the case of the military funding that Congress appropriated for Ukraine.

“I am pleased our process gave the president the confidence he needed to approve the release of the security sector assistance,” he said. “I am proud of what I have been able, in some small way, to help the Trump administration accomplish.”

Democrats on Thursday morning voted to rubber-stamp Schiff’s efforts to impeach Trump with secret hearings and lopsided rules that prevent Republicans from subpoenaing witnesses or evidence without first obtaining Schiff’s permisison. A bipartisan coalition of Democrats and Republicans opposed the measure.

Sean Davis is the co-founder of The Federalist.

Big Lie Media Is Lying About What Morrison Testified To

Hannity: Latest testimony blows whistleblower claim out of the water

Tim Morrison arrives to testify as part of the House impeachment inquiry. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP) (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
Tim Morrison arrives to testify as part of the House impeachment inquiry. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP) (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
Oct. 31, 2019 at 3:33 p.m. CDT

Tim Morrison, the former White House national security adviser who engaged in multiple crucial conversations with Ambassador William B. Taylor Jr. about the quid pro quo that withheld military aid to try to leverage Ukraine into doing President Trump’s political bidding, has been testifying in the impeachment inquiry.

Here’s the most important part of Morrison’s opening statement:

In preparation for my appearance today, I reviewed the statement Ambassador Taylor provided this inquiry on October 22, 2019. I can confirm that the substance of his statement, as it relates to conversations he and I had, is accurate.
My recollections differ on two of the details, however. I have a slightly different recollection of my September 1, 2019 conversation with Ambassador [Gordon] Sondland. On page 10 of Ambassador Taylor’s statement, he recounts a conversation I relayed to him regarding Ambassador Sondland’s conversation with Ukrainian Presidential Advisor [Andriy] Yermak. Ambassador Taylor wrote: “Ambassador Sondland told Mr. Yermak that security assistance money would not come until President [Volodymyr] Zelensky committed to pursue the Burisma investigation.”
My recollection is that Ambassador Sondland’s proposal to Mr. Yermak was that it could be sufficient if the new Ukrainian prosecutor general — not President Zelensky — would commit to pursue the Burisma investigation.
I also would like to clarify that I did not meet with the Ukrainian National Security Advisor in his hotel room, as Ambassador Taylor indicated on page 11 of his statement. Instead, an NSC aide and I met with Mr. [Oleksandr] Danyliuk in the hotel’s business center.

Pro-Trump Twitter is trying to spin the minor discrepancies between the two accounts into something big, but that’s just absurd. In one case, the difference is over where Morrison met with a Ukrainian official. In the other, the difference is over who would announce the investigation into Burisma, the company on whose board Joe Biden’s son Hunter sat, as part of the quid pro quo.

But what is not in dispute is that the quid pro quo was articulated plainly and clearly. Let me isolate out the part of Morrison’s testimony where he says this explicitly:

AD
Ambassador Taylor wrote: “Ambassador Sondland told Mr. Yermak that security assistance money would not come until President Zelensky committed to pursue the Burisma investigation.”
My recollection is that Ambassador Sondland’s proposal to Mr. Yermak was that it could be sufficient if the new Ukrainian prosecutor general — not President Zelensky — would commit to pursue the Burisma investigation.

Thus, Morrison is saying that Sondland — the ambassador to the European Union who was a leading agent in this whole plot — did indeed tell him that the military aid was conditional on the Ukrainians committing to the Burisma investigation.

Sondland simply proposed a version of this that might be more amenable to the Ukrainians, since it wouldn’t require Zelensky himself to announce it. Thus it is that Morrison says the “substance” of Taylor’s testimony about their conversations was “accurate.”

Importantly, this account comes from someone who discussed these matters directly with Sondland.

Morrison confirms the quid pro quo elsewhere as well:

I had no reason to believe that the release of the security sector assistance might be conditioned on a public statement reopening the Burisma investigation until my September 1, 2019 conversation with Ambassador Sondland. Even then I hoped that Ambassador Sondland’s strategy was exclusively his own and would not be considered by leaders in the Administration and Congress.

After talking to Sondland, Morrison understood that the money was conditioned just that way. And in this context, it’s important to note that Morrison’s hope that this didn’t represent the views of the administration was in vain: You will recall that Sondland was taking his direction straight from the president.

AD

Some have pointed out that Morrison claims he didn’t see anything illegal on Trump’s July 25 call with the Ukrainian president. But so what? That’s not his decision, and the question of the conduct’s legality is not even necessarily relevant to an impeachment context. What’s more, the list of people who actually were deeply alarmed by the conduct is already very long.

They really wanted a public statement

One other point: It’s important to underscore that Trump and his lawyer Rudolph Giuliani didn’t just want an investigation of Biden. They wanted a public announcement of it, to get news organizations to start treating the allegations seriously and help them create an aura of vague corruption around Biden.

This is Trumpworld’s M.O. As Stephen K. Bannon revealed to journalist Joshua Green, the key to this is to vault such charges, no matter how spurious, out of the conservative media, in order to get them merely covered in the mainstream press, to “weaponize” them, as Bannon put it. This helps create what Green described as the “whiff of corruption.”

AD

As those texts show, there were extensive negotiations with the Ukrainians over what that public statement might look like, precisely because Giuliani, acting as Trump’s consigliere, cared about it so much. Thus it might be expected that Sondland and the Ukrainians would haggle over who made the statement, as Sondland tried (but ultimately failed) to get them to do it.

In this sense, Morrison has helped underscore another important part of the story here.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/10/31/tim-morrison-just-confirmed-quid-pro-quo-thats-big-story-here/

White House Aide Confirms He Saw Signs of a Quid Pro Quo on Ukraine

Timothy Morrison, a National Security Council aide, said a top diplomat close to President Trump suggested a military aid package for Ukraine was conditioned on investigations into his political rivals.

Timothy Morrison, a top Russia and Europe expert on the National Security Council, arriving Thursday on Capitol Hill.
Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — A senior National Security Council aide on Thursday confirmed a key episode at the center of the impeachment inquiry, testifying that a top diplomat working with President Trump told him that a package of military assistance for Ukraine would not be released until the country committed to investigations the president sought.

In a closed-door deposition, the aide, Timothy Morrison, also said he had been told of a September call between Mr. Trump and the diplomat, Gordon D. Sondland. In that conversation, the president said he was not looking for a quid pro quo with Ukraine, but then went on to “insist” that the country’s president publicly announce investigations into Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son and other Democrats.

William B. Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine, spoke of his alarm about the conversations during his private testimony last week, saying that he had been briefed about them by Mr. Morrison, the senior director for Europe and Russia for the National Security Council. Mr. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, has also given investigators a more limited account of his call with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Morrison’s confirmation of the conversations could be important for House Democrats as they seek to build their impeachment case against Mr. Trump. A publicly available, reconstructed transcript already shows that Mr. Trump pressed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine during a July 25 phone call to undertake the investigations of Democrats. Investigators are trying to establish whether Mr. Trump used $391 million in security aid and a coveted White House meeting with Mr. Zelensky as leverage in a pressure campaign to secure the inquiries.

But Mr. Morrison, a Trump political appointee and a former longtime Republican congressional aide, resisted making the kind of sweeping, often damaging judgments about what was taking place that Democrats have heard from other witnesses, and Republicans emerged calling him the most favorable witness they had heard from so far.

In his opening remarks, obtained by The New York Times, he did not draw conclusions about Mr. Trump’s involvement in the pressure tactics, pointing back repeatedly to Mr. Sondland, whose involvement in Ukraine policy he said he “did not understand.” In subsequent testimony, he said he did not view the July phone call between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky as illegal or improper, but he found it striking enough to ask the National Security Council’s chief lawyer, John Eisenberg, to review it, in part out of a concern that a summary might leak out.

He did so, Mr. Morrison testified, because he worried about how disclosure of what was said in the call “would play out in Washington’s polarized environment,” how it could affect bipartisan backing for Ukraine in Congress, and “how it would affect the Ukrainian perceptions of the U.S.-Ukraine relationship.”

Rather than ascribe a political motive to the pressure campaign against Ukraine, as some witnesses have, Mr. Morrison characterized the behavior he saw as bad foreign policy of the sort that could potentially squander a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” afforded by the election of Mr. Zelensky, who campaigned as a reformer who would crack down on rampant corruption.

“Ambassador Taylor and I had no reason to believe that the public release of the security sector assistance might be conditioned on a public statement reopening the Burisma investigation until my Sept. 1, 2019, conversation with Ambassador Sondland,” Mr. Morrison said. “Even then I hoped that Ambassador Sondland’s strategy was exclusively his own and would not be considered by the leaders of the administration and Congress, who understood the strategic importance of Ukraine to our national security.”

Mr. Morrison’s testimony came as Democrats were moving to wrap up their closed portion of their inquiry in the coming week or so. As he met with investigators, they muscled through a resolution on the floor of the House endorsing the inquiry and laying out a path to move their work into the open and begin a debate over impeachment articles in the coming weeks. Republicans uniformly opposed the measure, which they said fell short of redeeming an illegitimate, politically motivated crusade by Democrats to undo the 2016 election.

What’s New in the Impeachment Case

Updated Oct. 31, 2019


    • The House voted 232-196 to endorse the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The resolution sets out rules for the investigation, which will soon go public with hearings and the publication of documents.
    • Only two Democrats broke with their party to vote against the measure, a sign of how unified the caucus is on impeachment — and how much confidence it has in the evidence of Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. “This is not any cause for any glee or comfort,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “What is at stake in all of this is nothing less than our democracy.”
    • Republicans, who for weeks had called for a vote, unanimously opposed the resolution, accusing it of attempting to undo the 2016 election. “Democrats are trying to impeach the president because they are scared they cannot defeat him at the ballot box,” Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, said. “Why do you not trust the people?”
    • In closed-door testimony today, a National Security Council aide corroborated a key fact when he confirmed that Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, said that a package of military assistance for Ukraine would not be released until the country committed to investigating the Bidens.
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Mr. Morrison appeared under subpoena despite a White House directive not to, according to an official involved in the inquiry who was not authorized to discuss it publicly. He told colleagues Wednesday on the eve of his appearance before impeachment investigators that he would leave his post.

Mr. Morrison has been weighing leaving the council for some time. He told investigators that he did “not want anyone to think there is a connection between my testimony today and my impending departure.”

He was the second White House official to testify before the inquiry this week, following Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a Ukraine expert at the National Security Council.

Mr. Taylor testified last week that Mr. Morrison had informed him in early September of a meeting in Warsaw between Mr. Sondland and a top aide to Mr. Zelensky. Mr. Sondland told the Ukrainian aide that the United States would provide the security assistance package only if Mr. Zelensky committed to investigate allegations related to Mr. Biden and his son Hunter, who sat on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company.

Mr. Sondland claimed in testimony that he failed to appreciate that Burisma was directly tied to Hunter Biden.

Mr. Morrison did depart in one respect from that account, telling investigators that he remembered Mr. Sondland’s remarks slightly differently. He thought Mr. Sondland said Ukraine’s prosecutor general, not Mr. Zelensky, needed to open the inquiry.

Mr. Taylor also testified that, a few days later, Mr. Morrison told him that he had learned of a conversation between Mr. Sondland and Mr. Trump that Mr. Morrison had said gave him a “sinking feeling.” In it, Mr. Trump had told Mr. Sondland that he was not asking for a “quid pro quo” from Ukraine, but then went on to “insist” that Mr. Zelensky publicly announce an investigation into both the Bidens and an unproven theory that Democrats had colluded with Ukraine in the 2016 elections.

Subpoenas and Requests for Evidence in the Trump Impeachment Inquiry

The status of the documents and witness testimony being collected by congressional investigators.

Mr. Morrison told investigators that he first learned that Mr. Trump and people around him might have motives beyond official United States policy when he took over as senior director for Europe and Russia on the National Security Council from his predecessor, Fiona Hill.

“Dr. Hill told me that Ambassador Sondland and President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, were trying to get President Zelensky to reopen Ukrainian investigations into Burisma,” he said. “At the time, I did not know what Burisma was or what the investigation entailed.”

He said he later worked to persuade Mr. Trump to release the security aid. Mr. Trump froze the aid in July and kept it that way until September, despite the objections of officials at the Defense and State Departments who viewed it as a crucial resource to help Ukraine in its military conflict with Russia.

“Ambassador Taylor and I were concerned that the longer the money was withheld, the more questions the Zelensky administration would ask about the U.S. commitment to Ukraine,” Mr. Morrison said.

Mr. Morrison said he did not have reason to believe Ukraine’s leaders knew the aid had been suspended until it was publicly reported at the end of August.

thttps://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/31/us/politics/morrison-testimony-impeachment.html

New Poll Highlights Risks for Democrats

Byron York

There’s no doubt Democrats in Washington are hell-bent on impeaching President Trump over the Ukraine matter. But after weeks of polling, it is still unclear precisely what Americans outside the Beltway think.

Much depends on how pollsters ask their questions. Some are straightforward, while others are a bit more complicated. But in the last few weeks, many have asked a variation of: “Do you support or oppose impeaching President Trump?” A new poll, however, done by Suffolk University for USA Today, gets at some of the nuance behind public opinion on the president and Ukraine.

The Suffolk pollsters gave 1,000 registered voters an opportunity to choose among three options regarding impeachment. Which did respondents personally prefer?

“B. The House should continue investigating Trump, but not vote to impeach him.

“C. Congress should drop its investigations into President Trump and administration.”

Thirty-six percent of those polled said the House should vote to impeach; 22 percent said the House should continue investigation but not impeach; and 37 percent said the House should drop its investigations. The last 5 percent did not have an answer or refused to give one.

Looking inside the results, there are some major differences based on party, gender, race and more.

Seventy percent of Democrats said the House should vote to impeach, while just 8 percent of Republicans and 22 percent of independents favored an impeachment vote.

Twenty-one percent of Democrats favored more investigation but not impeachment, while 15 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of independents agreed.

And just 8 percent of Democrats favored dropping the House investigations altogether, while 71 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of independents favored the no-more-investigations option.

Forty-one percent of women supported a House vote to impeach, while just 31 percent of men did. Forty-two percent of men wanted to see the investigation dropped entirely, versus 32 percent of women.

Thirty percent of the white voters and 38 percent of Hispanic voters polled wanted a House impeachment vote, versus 73 percent of black voters. Forty-five percent of white voters wanted the matter dropped, along with 28 percent of Hispanic voters, while just 7 percent of black voters favored that result.

The overall message of the poll is that there is a range of opinions among voters that is more complex than much of the yes-impeach-no-don’t-impeach commentary in the media today. But the Suffolk questions do leave at least one issue unclear.

The opinions of those who want a House impeachment vote, as well as those who want the House to drop its investigations altogether, are pretty clear. But what about those who say the House should “continue investigating Trump, but not vote to impeach him”?

Fortunately, another question in the poll sheds some light on that. It is about the infamous phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky:

“The White House has released a transcript summary of a July 25th phone call in which President Trump encouraged the Ukrainian president to pursue investigations involving Democratic rival Joe Biden, and hacking allegations in the 2016 election. Which comes closest to your view? A. The phone conversation is an impeachable offense. B. The phone conversation was wrong, but doesn’t rise to an impeachable offense. C. There was nothing wrong with the phone conversation.”

Thirty-eight percent said the conversation is an impeachable offense. Twenty-one percent said the conversation was wrong, but not impeachable. And 31 percent said there was nothing wrong with the conversation. Ten percent were undecided.

That means, at the moment, according to Suffolk, there is a bare majority that does not believe Trump should be impeached for the phone call — which, of course, is the heart of the Democrats’ impeachment effort. The number that believes the call is an impeachable offense, 38 percent, is well below what could be called a groundswell. The 10 percent who haven’t decided are important.

The Suffolk numbers suggest many Americans hold complex views of the Trump impeachment. Some are fine with continued investigation, although large numbers don’t believe they have yet seen an impeachable offense. The numbers of people who are ready to impeach Trump now, or who believe the whole thing should be called off, are not big enough to win the day.

Just as they did after the release of the Mueller report, Democrats now hope televised hearings will convince Americans Trump must be impeached. It didn’t work out before. Now, the Suffolk poll suggests Democrats should be cautious as they try again.

Hillary Clinton and Ukraine

A letter released Monday raises questions beyond the Bidens.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Georgetown University on Friday. PHOTO: WIN MCNAMEE/GETTY IMAGES

The Biden clan still needs to explain why a vice president’s son was enjoying a $50,000-per-month gig for which his principal qualification appears to have been his last name. But Joe Biden isn’t the only pillar of the Democratic establishment who won’t enjoy the new spotlight on American relations with Ukraine. And President Donald Trump isn’t the only one who wants a fuller accounting of that country’s role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In a letter released on Monday morning, Republican senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin ask U.S. Attorney General William Barr if he’s trying to answer the lingering questions:

We write to follow up on Senator Grassley’s July 20, 2017 letter, which highlighted brazen efforts by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign to use the government of Ukraine for the express purpose of finding negative information on then candidate Trump in order to undermine his campaign. That letter also highlighted news reports that, during the 2016 presidential election, “Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump” and did so by “disseminat[ing] documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggest[ing] they were investigating the matter[.]” Ukrainian officials also reportedly “helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers.”

The senators aren’t relying on reports from conservative bloggers. The quotations come from a 2017 story in Politico, hardly a pro-Trump outfit. “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire,” read the headline on the article by Kenneth P. Vogel and David Stern. “Kiev officials are scrambling to make amends with the president-elect after quietly working to boost Clinton,” said the subhead of the article, which was published shortly before Mr. Trump’s inauguration.

The authors reported that Ukrainian government officials “helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers” with the goal of “advancing the narrative that Trump’s campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia.”

With the benefit of hindsight and the results of the Mueller investigation, it’s now clear that there was no evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russia. What is not clear and what demands further investigation is how this baseless claim managed to consume the first two years of an American presidency.

Among the questions to resolve: the Politico story featured what appear to be contradictory statements about the level of help provided to Democrats by people who worked at the Ukrainian embassy in Washington in 2016. “Politico’s investigation found evidence of Ukrainian government involvement in the race that appears to strain diplomatic protocol dictating that governments refrain from engaging in one another’s elections,” according to the report.

The reporting certainly appears solid but one should not simply accept all the particulars of the Politico story as proven fact, just as—to take an extreme example—a reasonable person would not authorize the wiretap of an opposition political campaign based on a dispatch from Yahoo News. But the Politico piece may be helpful in figuring out exactly how the surveillance tools of America’s national security apparatus were turned against the party out of power in 2016.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/hillary-clinton-and-ukraine-11569881729

Story 3: Long Term China Deal Not Likely Any Time Soon With Chinese Communist Party — Short Term Deal Only — Maximum Pressure Required — Trust But Verify — Enforcement of Any Agreement Is Essential and Chinese Will Never Comply With Any Enforcement Language — Escalloping Trade War Between United States and Chinese Communist Party  Leading to Total Embargo of Trade With Communist China — All Talk and More Talk — Time To Walk Out — Videos

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

China is more relieved than happy on US-China trade deal: Michael Pillsbury

Why these experts say a long-term China trade deal may not happen soon

It will be difficult for US and China to reach an agreement, says analyst

Are the US and China Decoupling? What are the Consequences for the Global Order?

New location for signing of partial US-China trade deal to be announced soon, says Trump

China is more relieved than happy on US-China trade deal: Michael Pillsbury

Here’s how Beijing is reacting to the ‘phase one’ US-China trade deal

Stealth War: How China Took Over While America's Elite Slept

President Trump holds press conference on US-China trade deal phase 1

Trump: China will probably try to delay trade deal until US election

How to Win the US China Trade War & Communist China’s Broader Stealth War On America-Robert Spalding

WE WILL NOT HAVE A TRADE DEAL WITH CHINA: ROBERT SPALDING

Is the US-China Trade War a Cold War? (w/ Kyle Bass and Gen. Robert Spalding)

Communist Party of China could ‘start by improving their human rights’

Private survey of China factory activity contradicts official data

How China’s tech sector is challenging the world – Part 1

How China’s tech sector is challenging the world – Part 2

China sees Trump as a weak president: Michael Pillsbury

China May Not Be As Strong As You Think

 

Deal to end bitter trade war between Washington and Beijing might not be ready in time for President Trump and China’s Xi to sign it next month as planned, US official warns

  • Washington and Beijing are producing a text to sign at APEC summit next month
  • ‘If it’s not signed in Chile, that doesn’t mean that it falls apart,’ official said today 
  • The deal hopes to bring to an end a nearly 16-month trade war with China 
  • US stocks slumped after potential stall to negotiations was reported by Reuters

A trade agreement between the US and China might not be completed in time for its planned signing next month at a summit in Chile, a US official warned today.

Negotiators in Washington and Beijing are working to finalize agreements for President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping to sign at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on the weekend of November 16.

Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other top US officials have all said good progress is being made on the deal after a nearly 16-month trade war, while also noting that it would be fine if it was not completed by the APEC summit.

‘If it’s not signed in Chile, that doesn’t mean that it falls apart. It just means that it’s not ready,’ the administration official said. ‘Our goal is to sign it in Chile. But sometimes texts aren’t ready. But good progress is being made and we expect to sign the agreement in Chile.’

President Donald Trump smiles at Chinese President Xi Jinping as he shakes his hand during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka in June

President Donald Trump smiles at Chinese President Xi Jinping as he shakes his hand during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka in June

Deal to end US-China trade war may not be ready for leaders’ signing

White House spokesman Judd Deere said both sides were still working to complete the interim deal.

‘As the president said several weeks ago, we have reached a phase-one agreement with the Chinese, and both sides are working to finalize the text for a signing in Chile,’ he said.

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the two nations’ lead trade negotiators would hold another telephone call shortly while working-level consultations continued at a fast pace.

‘It is China’s hope that the two sides can find a way to resolve the economic and trade issues on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit,’ he told a daily briefing on Wednesday.

US stocks turned negative after Reuters reported the administration official’s comments, as investors bet the closely watched trade talks were further away from resolution.

The interim trade agreement announced by Trump on October 11 had buoyed markets, promising relief for companies rocked by nearly 16 months of tit-for-tat tariffs that have slowed global growth to its slowest since the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Stocks rally, White House calls China trade talks ‘productive’

The South China Morning Post, citing a person briefed on the arrangements, said on Tuesday the leaders of the world’s two largest economies were tentatively set to sign the interim trade deal on November 17 ‘if everything goes smoothly.’

A U.S.-based source confirmed that was the target date for a meeting, but the administration official cautioned that the text might not be completed in time.

White House adviser Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, told an investment panel in Riyadh that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Mnuchin ‘have made a fabulous deal’ with Beijing.

‘I think people understand the president, that he’s firm. They know that he’s going to make the decisions that he thinks are right, and I think ultimately that we’ve come to an understanding with China now on where we want to head.’

Lighthizer said on Friday Washington and Beijing are ‘close to finalizing’ some sections of a trade pact after a phone call between top negotiators.

President Trump and China's Xi are joined by their respective aides at a meeting at the G20 summit in Osaka earlier this year

President Trump and China’s Xi are joined by their respective aides at a meeting at the G20 summit in Osaka earlier this year

U.S. officials have said the deal is to cover Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural goods, intellectual property protections, currency practices and increased access for U.S. companies to China’s financial services market.

Jude Blanchette, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the phase one deal was restoring the status quo to before the trade war began in 2017, calling into question how much progress had actually been made.

Tougher issues, such as China’s industrial policy, subsidies for state-owned enterprises and forced technology transfers had been deferred, he said.

‘The can has been kicked down to a phase two or phase three, but we’re really just wondering if we’re going to get through phase one,’ he said.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7630397/Deal-end-bitter-China-trade-war-not-ready-time-presidents-sign-month.html

 

Air Force general behind 5G memo leaves White House

Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Spalding

U.S. AIR FORCE

The author of a memo arguing for a government takeover of development of the nation’s 5G mobile network has been removed from the National Security Council staff. The memo’s unauthorized release this week caused uproar in the telecom community and created embarrassment for the White House.

A senior administration official confirmed that Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Spalding is no longer serving as NSC senior director for strategic planning. Spalding was not fired, according to the official, who said his detail had ended and was not renewed. His last day as a White House staffer was Jan. 31. Spalding was not implicated in the leak of the memo, but officials said his advocacy for the plan had gone beyond his role, contributing to the NSC leadership’s decision to send him back to the Air Force.

Spalding was informed that his White House tenure was ending last week, the senior administration official said, before his memo and PowerPoint proposal were leaked. The Jan. 28 Axios story sparked alarm, drawing opposition from major telecom companies and catching the White House off guard.

Another senior administration official said there was considerable upheaval inside the White House this week after the 5G memo story broke. Although it is unclear whether Spalding leaked the memo, because he had shared it so widely, some officials judged him responsible.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Jan. 29 that consideration of the plan was at its “earliest stages” and the administration was nowhere near a decision. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said spending federal dollars to build a 5G network would be a “costly and counterproductive distraction” from the competitive, market-driven approach that was needed.

“There is nothing that would slam the brakes more quickly on our hard-won momentum to be the leader in the global race for 5G network deployment,” Jonathan Spalter, chief executive of the industry trade group USTelecom, said in a statement.

Spalding was known both inside and outside the administration as a China hawk. From 2014 to 2016 he led the China division at the Joint Chiefs of Staff and before joining the Trump White House he was the U.S. defense attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. One key argument for Spalding’s 5G plan was that only the government can properly defend technological infrastructure from Chinese interference.

There are no plans to replace Spalding, officials said. Spalding declined to comment.

https://www.stripes.com/news/us/air-force-general-behind-5g-memo-leaves-white-house-1.509849

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The Pronk Pops Show 1287, July 10, 2019, Part 1: Story 1: Federal Reserve Will Cut the Federal Funds Target Rate Range in July By .25% or 25 Basis Points If Second Quarter Real Gross Domestic Product Rate of Growth Falls Below 3% — Otherwise No Change in Federal Funds Rate Target Range — Huge Uncertainty Generated By Rapidly Growing Annual Deficits in Federal Government Spending Resulting in Rising National Debt Approaching $23,000,000,000,000 and Unfunded Liabilities and and Obligations Over $230,000,000,000,000! — Bubbles Bubbles Everywhere — Beyond Bubbles — U.S. Government Bankrupt Now! — Make It Rain on The Blockchain — Trust and Truth — Videos

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Story 1: Federal Reserve Will Cut the Federal Funds Target Rate Range in July By .25% or 25 Basis Points If Second Quarter Real Gross Domestic Product Rate of Growth Falls Below 3% — Otherwise No Change in Federal Funds Rate Target Range — Huge Uncertainty Generated By Rapidly Growing Annual Deficits in Federal Government Spending Resulting in Rising National Debt Approaching $23,000,000,000,000 and Unfunded Liabilities and and Obligations Over $230,000,000,000,000! — Bubbles Bubbles Everywhere — Beyond Bubbles — Make It Rain on The Blockchain — Trust and Truth — Videos

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Fed Chair Jerome Powell testifies before Congress

Streamed live on Jul 10, 2019

House Financial Services Committee holds hearing on “Monetary Policy & the State of the Economy.” Fed Chair Powell testifies. All eyes will be on Powell when he testifies before a House panel on monetary policy in the first of his 2-day semiannual testimony to Congress. Investors are looking to Powell for what to expect at the next policy meeting at the end of July. FOX Business Network (FBN) is a financial news channel delivering real-time information across all platforms that impact both Main Street and Wall Street. Headquartered in New York — the business capital of the world — FBN launched in October 2007 and is the leading business network on television, topping CNBC in Business Day viewers for the second consecutive year. T he network is available in more than 80 million homes in all markets across the United States. Owned by FOX, FBN has bureaus in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and London.

 

Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s Senate testimony on monetary policy – 07/11/2019

Streamed live on Jul 11, 2019

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Huge budget deficits and record levels of national debt are getting a lot of attention, but this video explains that unfunded liabilities for entitlement programs are Americas real red-ink challenge. More important, this CF&P mini-documentary reveals that deficits and debt are symptoms of the real problem of an excessive burden of government spending. http://www.freedomandprosperity.org

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TED

Published on Sep 16, 2016

What is the blockchain? If you don’t know, you should; if you do, chances are you still need some clarification on how it actually works. Don Tapscott is here to help, demystifying this world-changing, trust-building technology which, he says, represents nothing less than the second generation of the internet and holds the potential to transform money, business, government and society. TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more. Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at http://www.ted.com/translate

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By appearing to buckle to Trump on rates, is the Fed chief creating problems down the road?

By appearing to buckle to Trump on rates, is the Fed chief creating problems down the road?
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks at a news conference in Washington on June 19. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images)

In signaling that the Federal Reserve is almost certain to cut interest rates at the end of this month, Fed Chairman Jerome H. Powell may have given President Trump what he wants.

But the central bank now looks more vulnerable to criticism that it is caving to political pressures that will only grow as the election cycle heats up.

Powell, in testimony to lawmakers Wednesday, essentially argued that heightened uncertainty, from trade tensions and slowing global economic growth, along with low inflation, was enough to justify a cut in interest rates.

Historically, the Fed has lowered rates to ward off recession or when it sees substantial risks of a downturn.

The U.S. economy expanded at a nearly 3% pace last year and, although it has slowed in recent months, the Fed and most private forecasters see growth continuing at a decent rate. The latest jobs report for June showed hiring remains strong, and Trump recently agreed to a ceasefire in the trade war with China, tenuous as it may be.For those reasons, Powell’s remarks Wednesday came as a pleasant surprise to financial markets. Stocks rose to record highs.

Lowering the rate by a quarter point later this month may help borrowers a little. The Fed’s main rate is a benchmark for credit cards, auto loans and other short-term consumer lending, but long-term rates such as mortgages already have dropped in anticipation of a Fed rate cut, meaning it’s unlikely to provide much of a boost to the housing market or the broader economy.

“We’ve already gotten 90% of the benefit; it’s already priced into the market,” said Dean Baker, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Investors are expecting at least one more quarter-point rate cut after July, and some even two. Powell and his colleagues at the Fed will have their hands full managing investors’ expectations on future rate reductions, so they don’t set themselves up for a sharp fall.

“The issue that the Fed is going to run into … is just like parenting,” said Ryan Sweet, an economist at Moody’s Analytics. “They can’t bend every time the markets throw a tantrum. At some point, you’ve got to put your foot down.”

Market expectations aside, Powell’s bigger challenge is likely to come from Trump. The president has been publicly hammering Powell to lower interest rates. Trump has criticized the Fed for raising rates four times last year, and no one thinks he will be satisfied if the Fed drops its benchmark rate by a quarter point on July 31, as it’s now expected to do.

Trump and his economic team have pressed the Fed to slash rates by a full point, and Trump isn’t likely to stop jawboning the Fed in the coming months.

Some economic experts say Trump already has succeeded in getting into the heads of Fed decision makers.

“Powell does seem to be going a little bit out of his way to reverse the rate hikes made last year,” said Chris Rupkey, managing director and chief economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York. “The president’s like another active member of the Fed board in the room. I wouldn’t tell him no, would you?”

Rupkey and some other Fed watchers say Powell is moving a bit too early in readying rate cuts, especially with job growth still running very strong. Only a few months ago, the Fed’s stance on interest rates was to wait and see.

“Should they cut rates at this time? Absolutely not!” said Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist at Economic Outlook Group. “There is no economic justification to take that step now.

“For one, there is little to suggest this business cycle [is] struggling. The softness we see in some data points have little to do with economic fundamentals. The trade war with China and the havoc it has caused to global supply chain are the primary reasons those sectors have weakened.”

But other analysts argue that there’s good reason for the shift in the Fed’s posture. According to minutes from their last meeting in June, released Wednesday, Fed policymakers were feeling that the downside risks to the economy “had increased significantly over recent weeks.”

And in his testimony Wednesday to the House Financial Services Committee, Powell said that since May, crosscurrents that seemed to moderate earlier in the year “have reemerged, creating greater uncertainty.” Among other concerns, he said, business spending, trade and manufacturing activity have slowed.

“The issue really is more now on the business side where we see business confidence and business investment weakening a bit,” he told lawmakers, adding that there’s rising risk as well to consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of U.S. economic activity. “Household confidence has remained high, but over time uncertainty can cause households to hold back as well.”

Powell, sensitive to the political pressures bearing on the Fed, took pains in his prepared remarks to defend the integrity of the central bank and the basis for its policymaking.

“Congress has given us an important degree of independence so that we can effectively pursue our statutory goals based on objective analysis and data,” Powell said as he began his testimony.

Trump has reportedly considered firing Powell or demoting him, although it’s not clear whether the president has the legal authority to do so. Powell reiterated Wednesday that the law is on his side and that he intends to serve the full four-year term as Fed chair, which he assumed in February 2018.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have cautioned Trump against taking steps to remove Powell as Fed leader. And on Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers sought to drive home that point.

“Mr. Chairman, if you got a call from the president today or tomorrow, and he said, ‘I’m firing you. Pack up. It’s time to go,’ what would you do?” asked Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), chair of the Financial Services Committee.

“Well, of course I would not do that,” Powell responded, to which Waters added, “I can’t hear you,” eliciting laughter.

But the president’s unusually persistent and heavy pressure on the Fed is anything but a laughing matter.

Alan Blinder, a Fed vice chairman in the mid-1990s, said the concern about the bank’s independence stemming from the president’s attacks was such that it could legitimately be a factor in a Fed decision not to raise rates.

Apart from the potential harm to its credibility, a more immediate risk for the Fed in cutting rates is that it could limit the central bank’s arsenal in fighting the next recession. The Fed’s main benchmark rate is less than 2.5%, low by historical standards.

In response to lawmakers’ questioning, Powell said the resumption of trade talks between the United States and China was a “constructive step” but that doesn’t really change the outlook.

“I would say that the bottom line for me is that the uncertainties around global growth and trade continue to weigh on the outlook.”

https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-jerome-powell-interest-rates-20190710-story.html

July 10, 2019

Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress

Chair Jerome H. Powell

Before the Committee on Financial Services, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

 

Chair Powell submitted identical remarks to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate, on July 11, 2019.

Chairwoman Waters, Ranking Member McHenry, and other members of the Committee, I am pleased to present the Federal Reserve’s semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress.

Let me start by saying that my colleagues and I strongly support the goals of maximum employment and price stability that Congress has set for monetary policy. We are committed to providing clear explanations about our policies and activities. Congress has given us an important degree of independence so that we can effectively pursue our statutory goals based on objective analysis and data. We appreciate that our independence brings with it an obligation for transparency so that you and the public can hold us accountable.

Today I will review the current economic situation and outlook before turning to monetary policy. I will also provide an update of our ongoing public review of our framework for setting monetary policy.

Current Economic Situation and Outlook 
The economy performed reasonably well over the first half of 2019, and the current expansion is now in its 11th year. However, inflation has been running below the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) symmetric 2 percent objective, and crosscurrents, such as trade tensions and concerns about global growth, have been weighing on economic activity and the outlook.

The labor market remains healthy. Job gains averaged 172,000 per month from January through June. This number is lower than the average of 223,000 a month last year but above the pace needed to provide jobs for new workers entering the labor force. Consequently, the unemployment rate moved down from 3.9 percent in December to 3.7 percent in June, close to its lowest level in 50 years. Job openings remain plentiful, and employers are increasingly willing to hire workers with fewer skills and train them. As a result, the benefits of a strong job market have been more widely shared in recent years. Indeed, wage gains have been greater for lower-skilled workers. That said, individuals in some demographic groups and in certain parts of the country continue to face challenges. For example, unemployment rates for African Americans and Hispanics remain well above the rates for whites and Asians. Likewise, the share of the population with a job is higher in urban areas than in rural communities, and this gap widened over the past decade. A box in the July Monetary Policy Report provides a comparison of employment and wage gains over the current expansion for individuals with different levels of education.

Gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2019, similar to last year’s pace. This strong reading was driven largely by net exports and inventories—components that are not generally reliable indicators of ongoing momentum. The more reliable drivers of growth in the economy are consumer spending and business investment. While growth in consumer spending was weak in the first quarter, incoming data show that it has bounced back and is now running at a solid pace. However, growth in business investment seems to have slowed notably, and overall growth in the second quarter appears to have moderated. The slowdown in business fixed investment may reflect concerns about trade tensions and slower growth in the global economy. In addition, housing investment and manufacturing output declined in the first quarter and appear to have decreased again in the second quarter.

After running close to our 2 percent objective over much of last year, overall consumer price inflation, measured by the 12-month change in the price index for personal consumption expenditures (PCE), declined earlier this year and stood at 1.5 percent in May. The 12-month change in core PCE inflation, which excludes food and energy prices and tends to be a better indicator of future inflation, has also come down this year and was 1.6 percent in May.

Our baseline outlook is for economic growth to remain solid, labor markets to stay strong, and inflation to move back up over time to the Committee’s 2 percent objective. However, uncertainties about the outlook have increased in recent months. In particular, economic momentum appears to have slowed in some major foreign economies, and that weakness could affect the U.S. economy. Moreover, a number of government policy issues have yet to be resolved, including trade developments, the federal debt ceiling, and Brexit. And there is a risk that weak inflation will be even more persistent than we currently anticipate. We are carefully monitoring these developments, and we will continue to assess their implications for the U.S economic outlook and inflation.

The nation also continues to confront important longer-run challenges. Labor force participation by those in their prime working years is now lower in the United States than in most other nations with comparable economies. As I mentioned, there are troubling labor market disparities across demographic groups and different parts of the country. The relative stagnation of middle and lower incomes and low levels of upward mobility for lower-income families are also ongoing concerns. In addition, finding ways to boost productivity growth, which leads to rising wages and living standards over the longer term, should remain a high national priority. And I remain concerned about the longer-term effects of high and rising federal debt, which can restrain private investment and, in turn, reduce productivity and overall economic growth. The longer-run vitality of the U.S. economy would benefit from efforts to address these issues.

Monetary Policy 
Against this backdrop, the FOMC maintained the target range for the federal funds rate at 2‑1/4 to 2-1/2 percent in the first half of this year. At our January, March, and May meetings, we stated that we would be patient as we determined what future adjustments to the federal funds rate might be appropriate to support our goals of maximum employment and price stability.

At the time of our May meeting, we were mindful of the ongoing crosscurrents from global growth and trade, but there was tentative evidence that these crosscurrents were moderating. The latest data from China and Europe were encouraging, and there were reports of progress in trade negotiations with China. Our continued patient stance seemed appropriate, and the Committee saw no strong case for adjusting our policy rate.

Since our May meeting, however, these crosscurrents have reemerged, creating greater uncertainty. Apparent progress on trade turned to greater uncertainty, and our contacts in business and agriculture report heightened concerns over trade developments. Growth indicators from around the world have disappointed on net, raising concerns that weakness in the global economy will continue to affect the U.S. economy. These concerns may have contributed to the drop in business confidence in some recent surveys and may have started to show through to incoming data.

In our June meeting statement, we indicated that, in light of increased uncertainties about the economic outlook and muted inflation pressures, we would closely monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and would act as appropriate to sustain the expansion. Many FOMC participants saw that the case for a somewhat more accommodative monetary policy had strengthened. Since then, based on incoming data and other developments, it appears that uncertainties around trade tensions and concerns about the strength of the global economy continue to weigh on the U.S. economic outlook. Inflation pressures remain muted.

The FOMC has made a number of important decisions this year about our framework for implementing monetary policy and our plans for completing the reduction of the Fed’s securities holdings. At our January meeting, we decided to continue to implement monetary policy using our current policy regime with ample reserves, and emphasized that we are prepared to adjust any of the details for completing balance sheet normalization in light of economic and financial developments. At our March meeting, we communicated our intention to slow, starting in May, the decline in the Fed’s aggregate securities holdings and to end the reduction in these holdings in September. The July Monetary Policy Report provides details on these decisions.

The July Monetary Policy Report also includes an update on monetary policy rules. The FOMC routinely looks at monetary policy rules that recommend a level for the federal funds rate based on inflation and unemployment rates. I continue to find these rules helpful, although using these rules requires careful judgment.

We are conducting a public review of our monetary policy strategy, tools, and communications—the first review of its kind for the FOMC. Our motivation is to consider ways to improve the Committee’s current policy framework and to best position the Fed to achieve maximum employment and price stability. The review has started with outreach to and consultation with a broad range of people and groups through a series of Fed Listens events. The FOMC will consider questions related to the review at upcoming meetings. We will publicly report the outcome of our discussions.

Thank you. I am happy to respond to your questions.

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Last Update: July 10, 2019

Blockchain

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Blockchain formation. The main chain (black) consists of the longest series of blocks from the genesis block (green) to the current block. Orphan blocks (purple) exist outside of the main chain.

blockchain,[1][2][3] originally block chain,[4][5] is a growing list of records, called blocks, that are linked using cryptography.[1][6] Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block,[6] a timestamp, and transaction data (generally represented as a Merkle tree).

By design, a blockchain is resistant to modification of the data. It is “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way”.[7] For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for inter-node communication and validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without alteration of all subsequent blocks, which requires consensus of the network majority. Although blockchain records are not unalterable, blockchains may be considered secure by design and exemplify a distributed computing system with high Byzantine fault toleranceDecentralized consensus has therefore been claimed with a blockchain.[8]

Blockchain was invented by a person (or group of people) using the name Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 to serve as the public transaction ledger of the cryptocurrency bitcoin.[1] The identity of Satoshi Nakamoto is unknown. The invention of the blockchain for bitcoin made it the first digital currency to solve the double-spending problem without the need of a trusted authority or central server. The bitcoin design has inspired other applications,[1][3] and blockchains that are readable by the public are widely used by cryptocurrencies. Blockchain is considered a type of payment rail.[9] Private blockchains have been proposed for business use. Sources such as Computerworld called the marketing of such blockchains without a proper security model “snake oil“.[10]

Contents

History

Bitcoin transactions (January 2009 – September 2017)

The first work on a cryptographically secured chain of blocks was described in 1991 by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta.[6][11] They wanted to implement a system where document timestamps could not be tampered with. In 1992, Bayer, Haber and Stornetta incorporated Merkle trees to the design, which improved its efficiency by allowing several document certificates to be collected into one block.[6][12]

The first blockchain was conceptualized by a person (or group of people) known as Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. Nakamoto improved the design in an important way using a Hashcash-like method to add blocks to the chain without requiring them to be signed by a trusted party.[6] The design was implemented the following year by Nakamoto as a core component of the cryptocurrency bitcoin, where it serves as the public ledger for all transactions on the network.[1]

In August 2014, the bitcoin blockchain file size, containing records of all transactions that have occurred on the network, reached 20 GB (gigabytes).[13] In January 2015, the size had grown to almost 30 GB, and from January 2016 to January 2017, the bitcoin blockchain grew from 50 GB to 100 GB in size.

The words block and chain were used separately in Satoshi Nakamoto’s original paper, but were eventually popularized as a single word, blockchain, by 2016.

Smart contracts that run on a blockchain, for example ones that “creat[e] invoices that pay themselves when a shipment arrives or share certificates that automatically send their owners dividends if profits reach a certain level.”[1] require an off-chain oracle to access any “external data or events based on time or market conditions [that need] to interact with the blockchain.”[14]

According to Accenture, an application of the diffusion of innovations theory suggests that blockchains attained a 13.5% adoption rate within financial services in 2016, therefore reaching the early adopters phase.[15] Industry trade groups joined to create the Global Blockchain Forum in 2016, an initiative of the Chamber of Digital Commerce.

In May 2018, Gartner found that only 1% of CIOs indicated any kind of blockchain adoption within their organisations, and only 8% of CIOs were in the short-term ‘planning or [looking at] active experimentation with blockchain’.[16]

Structure

A blockchain is a decentralizeddistributed and public digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers so that any involved record cannot be altered retroactively, without the alteration of all subsequent blocks.[1][17] This allows the participants to verify and audit transactions independently and relatively inexpensively.[18] A blockchain database is managed autonomously using a peer-to-peer network and a distributed timestamping server. They are authenticated by mass collaboration powered by collective self-interests.[19] Such a design facilitates robust workflow where participants’ uncertainty regarding data security is marginal. The use of a blockchain removes the characteristic of infinite reproducibility from a digital asset. It confirms that each unit of value was transferred only once, solving the long-standing problem of double spending. A blockchain has been described as a value-exchange protocol.[20] A blockchain can maintain title rights because, when properly set up to detail the exchange agreement, it provides a record that compels offer and acceptance.

Blocks

Blocks hold batches of valid transactions that are hashed and encoded into a Merkle tree.[1] Each block includes the cryptographic hash of the prior block in the blockchain, linking the two. The linked blocks form a chain.[1] This iterative process confirms the integrity of the previous block, all the way back to the original genesis block.[21]

Sometimes separate blocks can be produced concurrently, creating a temporary fork. In addition to a secure hash-based history, any blockchain has a specified algorithm for scoring different versions of the history so that one with a higher score can be selected over others. Blocks not selected for inclusion in the chain are called orphan blocks.[21] Peers supporting the database have different versions of the history from time to time. They keep only the highest-scoring version of the database known to them. Whenever a peer receives a higher-scoring version (usually the old version with a single new block added) they extend or overwrite their own database and retransmit the improvement to their peers. There is never an absolute guarantee that any particular entry will remain in the best version of the history forever. Blockchains are typically built to add the score of new blocks onto old blocks and are given incentives to extend with new blocks rather than overwrite old blocks. Therefore, the probability of an entry becoming superseded decreases exponentially[22] as more blocks are built on top of it, eventually becoming very low.[1][23]:ch. 08[24] For example, bitcoin uses a proof-of-work system, where the chain with the most cumulative proof-of-work is considered the valid one by the network. There are a number of methods that can be used to demonstrate a sufficient level of computation. Within a blockchain the computation is carried out redundantly rather than in the traditional segregated and parallel manner.[25]

Block time

The block time is the average time it takes for the network to generate one extra block in the blockchain. Some blockchains create a new block as frequently as every five seconds. By the time of block completion, the included data becomes verifiable. In cryptocurrency, this is practically when the transaction takes place, so a shorter block time means faster transactions. The block time for Ethereum is set to between 14 and 15 seconds, while for bitcoin it is 10 minutes.[citation needed]

Hard forks

hard fork is a rule change such that the software validating according to the old rules will see the blocks produced according to the new rules as invalid. In case of a hard fork, all nodes meant to work in accordance with the new rules need to upgrade their software.

If one group of nodes continues to use the old software while the other nodes use the new software, a split can occur. For example, Ethereum has hard-forked to “make whole” the investors in The DAO, which had been hacked by exploiting a vulnerability in its code. In this case, the fork resulted in a split creating Ethereum and Ethereum Classic chains. In 2014 the Nxt community was asked to consider a hard fork that would have led to a rollback of the blockchain records to mitigate the effects of a theft of 50 million NXT from a major cryptocurrency exchange. The hard fork proposal was rejected, and some of the funds were recovered after negotiations and ransom payment. Alternatively, to prevent a permanent split, a majority of nodes using the new software may return to the old rules, as was the case of bitcoin split on 12 March 2013.[26]

Decentralization

By storing data across its peer-to-peer network, the blockchain eliminates a number of risks that come with data being held centrally.[1] The decentralized blockchain may use ad-hoc message passing and distributed networking.

Peer-to-peer blockchain networks lack centralized points of vulnerability that computer crackers can exploit; likewise, it has no central point of failure. Blockchain security methods include the use of public-key cryptography.[4]:5 A public key (a long, random-looking string of numbers) is an address on the blockchain. Value tokens sent across the network are recorded as belonging to that address. A private key is like a password that gives its owner access to their digital assets or the means to otherwise interact with the various capabilities that blockchains now support. Data stored on the blockchain is generally considered incorruptible.[1]

Every node in a decentralized system has a copy of the blockchain. Data quality is maintained by massive database replication[8] and computational trust. No centralized “official” copy exists and no user is “trusted” more than any other.[4] Transactions are broadcast to the network using software. Messages are delivered on a best-effort basis. Mining nodes validate transactions,[21] add them to the block they are building, and then broadcast the completed block to other nodes.[23]:ch. 08 Blockchains use various time-stamping schemes, such as proof-of-work, to serialize changes.[27] Alternative consensus methods include proof-of-stake.[21] Growth of a decentralized blockchain is accompanied by the risk of centralization because the computer resources required to process larger amounts of data become more expensive.[28]

Openness

Open blockchains are more user-friendly than some traditional ownership records, which, while open to the public, still require physical access to view. Because all early blockchains were permissionless, controversy has arisen over the blockchain definition. An issue in this ongoing debate is whether a private system with verifiers tasked and authorized (permissioned) by a central authority should be considered a blockchain.[29][30][31][32][33] Proponents of permissioned or private chains argue that the term “blockchain” may be applied to any data structure that batches data into time-stamped blocks. These blockchains serve as a distributed version of multiversion concurrency control (MVCC) in databases.[34] Just as MVCC prevents two transactions from concurrently modifying a single object in a database, blockchains prevent two transactions from spending the same single output in a blockchain.[35]:30–31 Opponents say that permissioned systems resemble traditional corporate databases, not supporting decentralized data verification, and that such systems are not hardened against operator tampering and revision.[29][31] Nikolai Hampton of Computerworld said that “many in-house blockchain solutions will be nothing more than cumbersome databases,” and “without a clear security model, proprietary blockchains should be eyed with suspicion.”[10][36]

Permissionless

The great advantage to an open, permissionless, or public, blockchain network is that guarding against bad actors is not required and no access control is needed.[22] This means that applications can be added to the network without the approval or trust of others, using the blockchain as a transport layer.[22]

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies currently secure their blockchain by requiring new entries to include a proof of work. To prolong the blockchain, bitcoin uses Hashcash puzzles. While Hashcash was designed in 1997 by Adam Back, the original idea was first proposed by Cynthia Dwork and Moni Naor and Eli Ponyatovski in their 1992 paper “Pricing via Processing or Combatting Junk Mail”.

Financial companies have not prioritised decentralized blockchains.[citation needed]

In 2016, venture capital investment for blockchain-related projects was weakening in the USA but increasing in China.[37] Bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies use open (public) blockchains. As of April 2018, bitcoin has the highest market capitalization.

Permissioned (private) blockchain

Permissioned blockchains use an access control layer to govern who has access to the network.[38] In contrast to public blockchain networks, validators on private blockchain networks are vetted by the network owner. They do not rely on anonymous nodes to validate transactions nor do they benefit from the network effect.[citation needed] Permissioned blockchains can also go by the name of ‘consortium’ blockchains.[39][better source needed]

Disadvantages of private blockchain

Nikolai Hampton pointed out in Computerworld that “There is also no need for a ’51 percent’ attack on a private blockchain, as the private blockchain (most likely) already controls 100 percent of all block creation resources. If you could attack or damage the blockchain creation tools on a private corporate server, you could effectively control 100 percent of their network and alter transactions however you wished.”[10] This has a set of particularly profound adverse implications during a financial crisis or debt crisis like the financial crisis of 2007–08, where politically powerful actors may make decisions that favor some groups at the expense of others,[40][41] and “the bitcoin blockchain is protected by the massive group mining effort. It’s unlikely that any private blockchain will try to protect records using gigawatts of computing power — it’s time consuming and expensive.”[10] He also said, “Within a private blockchain there is also no ‘race’; there’s no incentive to use more power or discover blocks faster than competitors. This means that many in-house blockchain solutions will be nothing more than cumbersome databases.”[10]

Blockchain analysis

The analysis of public blockchains has become increasingly important with the popularity of bitcoinEthereumlitecoin and other cryptocurrencies.[42] A blockchain, if it is public, provides anyone who wants access to observe and analyse the chain data, given one has the know-how. The process of understanding and accessing the flow of crypto has been an issue for many cryptocurrencies, crypto-exchanges and banks.[43][44] The reason for this is accusations of blockchain enabled cryptocurrencies enabling illicit dark market trade of drugs, weapons, money laundering etc.[45] A common belief has been that cryptocurrency is private and untraceable, thus leading many actors to use it for illegal purposes. This is changing and now specialised tech-companies provide blockchain tracking services, making crypto exchanges, law-enforcement and banks more aware of what is happening with crypto funds and fiat crypto exchanges. The development, some argue, has led criminals to prioritise use of new cryptos such as Monero.[46][47][48] The question is about public accessibility of blockchain data and the personal privacy of the very same data. It is a key debate in cryptocurrency and ultimately in blockchain.[49]

Uses

Blockchain technology can be integrated into multiple areas. The primary use of blockchains today is as a distributed ledger for cryptocurrencies, most notably bitcoin. There are a few operational products maturing from proof of concept by late 2016.[37] Businesses have been thus far reluctant to place blockchain at the core of the business structure.[50]

Cryptocurrencies

Most cryptocurrencies use blockchain technology to record transactions. For example, the bitcoin network and Ethereum network are both based on blockchain. On 8 May 2018 Facebook confirmed that it is opening a new blockchain group[51] which will be headed by David Marcus who previously was in charge of Messenger. According to The Verge Facebook is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency for facilitating payments on the platform.[52]

Smart contracts

Blockchain-based smart contracts are proposed contracts that could be partially or fully executed or enforced without human interaction.[53] One of the main objectives of a smart contract is automated escrow. An IMF staff discussion reported that smart contracts based on blockchain technology might reduce moral hazards and optimize the use of contracts in general. But “no viable smart contract systems have yet emerged.” Due to the lack of widespread use their legal status is unclear.[54]

Financial services

Major portions of the financial industry are implementing distributed ledgers for use in banking,[55][56][57] and according to a September 2016 IBM study, this is occurring faster than expected.[58]

Banks are interested in this technology because it has potential to speed up back office settlement systems.[59]

Banks such as UBS are opening new research labs dedicated to blockchain technology in order to explore how blockchain can be used in financial services to increase efficiency and reduce costs.[60][61]

Berenberg, a German bank, believes that blockchain is an “overhyped technology” that has had a large number of “proofs of concept”, but still has major challenges, and very few success stories.[62]

Video games

A blockchain game CryptoKitties, launched in November 2017.[63] The game made headlines in December 2017 when a cryptokitty character – an in-game virtual pet – was sold for more than US$100,000.[64] CryptoKitties illustrated scalability problems for games on Ethereum when it created significant congestion on the Ethereum network with about 30% of all Ethereum transactions being for the game.[65]

Cryptokitties also demonstrated how blockchains can be used to catalog game assets (digital assets).[66]

Supply chain

There are a number of efforts and industry organizations working to employ blockchains in supply chain logistics and supply chain management.

The Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) works to develop open standards for supply chains.[citation needed]

Everledger is one of the inaugural clients of IBM’s blockchain-based tracking service.[67]

Walmart and IBM are running a trial to use a blockchain-backed system for supply chain monitoring — all nodes of the blockchain are administered by Walmart and are located on the IBM cloud.[68]

Hyperledger Grid develops open components for blockchain supply chain solutions.[69][70]

Other uses

Blockchain technology can be used to create a permanent, public, transparent ledger system for compiling data on sales, tracking digital use and payments to content creators, such as wireless users[71] or musicians.[72] In 2017, IBM partnered with ASCAP and PRS for Music to adopt blockchain technology in music distribution.[73] Imogen Heap‘s Mycelia service has also been proposed as blockchain-based alternative “that gives artists more control over how their songs and associated data circulate among fans and other musicians.”[74][75]

New distribution methods are available for the insurance industry such as peer-to-peer insuranceparametric insurance and microinsurance following the adoption of blockchain.[76][77] The sharing economy and IoT are also set to benefit from blockchains because they involve many collaborating peers.[78] Online voting is another application of the blockchain.[79][80]

Other designs include:

  • Hyperledger is a cross-industry collaborative effort from the Linux Foundation to support blockchain-based distributed ledgers, with projects under this initiative including Hyperledger Burrow (by Monax) and Hyperledger Fabric (spearheaded by IBM)[81]
  • Quorum – a permissionable private blockchain by JPMorgan Chase with private storage, used for contract applications[82]
  • Tezos, decentralized voting.[35]:94
  • Proof of Existence is an online service that verifies the existence of computer files as of a specific time[83]

Types

Currently, there are at least four types of blockchain networks — public blockchains, private blockchains, consortium blockchains and hybrid blockchains.

Public blockchains

A public blockchain has absolutely no access restrictions. Anyone with an Internet connection can send transactions to it as well as become a validator (i.e., participate in the execution of a consensus protocol).[84][self-published source?] Usually, such networks offer economic incentives for those who secure them and utilize some type of a Proof of Stake or Proof of Work algorithm.

Some of the largest, most known public blockchains are the bitcoin blockchain and the Ethereum blockchain.

Private blockchains

A private blockchain is permissioned.[38] One cannot join it unless invited by the network administrators. Participant and validator access is restricted.

This type of blockchains can be considered a middle-ground for companies that are interested in the blockchain technology in general but are not comfortable with a level of control offered by public networks. Typically, they seek to incorporate blockchain into their accounting and record-keeping procedures without sacrificing autonomy and running the risk of exposing sensitive data to the public internet.[citation needed]

Hybrid blockchains

A hybrid blockchain[85] simply explained is a combination between different characteristics both public and private blockchains have by design. It allows to determine what information stays private and what information is made public. Further decentralization in relation to primarily centralized private blockchains can be achieved in various ways. Instead of keeping transactions inside their own network of community run or private nodes, the hash (with or without payload) can be posted on completely decentralized blockchains such as bitcoin. Dragonchain uses Interchain[86] to host transactions on other blockchains. This allows users to operate on different blockchains, where they can selectively share data or business logic. Other blockchains like Wanchain use interoperability mechanisms such as bridges.[87][88] By submitting the hash of a transaction (with or without the sensitive business logic) on public blockchains like bitcoin or Ethereum, some of the privacy and blockchain concerns are resolved, as no personal identifiable information is stored on a public blockchain. Depending on the hybrid blockchain its architecture, multicloud solutions allow to store data in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation and other geographical limitations while also leveraging bitcoin’s global hashpower to decentralize transactions.

Academic research

Blockchain panel discussion at the first IEEE Computer Society TechIgnite conference

In October 2014, the MIT Bitcoin Club, with funding from MIT alumni, provided undergraduate students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology access to $100 of bitcoin. The adoption rates, as studied by Catalini and Tucker (2016), revealed that when people who typically adopt technologies early are given delayed access, they tend to reject the technology.[89]

Energy use of proof-of-work blockchains

External video
 Cryptocurrencies: looking beyond the hypeHyun Song ShinBank for International Settlements, 2:48[90]
 Blockchains and Cryptocurrencies: Burn It With Fire, Nicholas Weaver, Berkeley School of Information, 49:47, lecture begins at 3:05[91]

The Bank for International Settlements has criticized the public proof-of-work blockchains for high energy consumption.[92][90][93]

Nicholas Weaver, of the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California, Berkeley examines blockchain’s online security, and the energy efficiency of proof-of-work public blockchains, and in both cases finds it grossly inadequate.[91][94]

Journals

In September 2015, the first peer-reviewed academic journal dedicated to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology research, Ledger, was announced. The inaugural issue was published in December 2016.[95] The journal covers aspects of mathematicscomputer scienceengineeringlaweconomics and philosophy that relate to cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.[96][97]

The journal encourages authors to digitally sign a file hash of submitted papers, which will then be timestamped into the bitcoin blockchain. Authors are also asked to include a personal bitcoin address in the first page of their papers.[98]

See also

References …

Further reading

  •  Media related to Blockchain at Wikimedia Commons

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockchain

What is Blockchain Technology? A Step-by-Step Guide For Beginners

Ameer Rosic

3 years ago
Was ist Blockchain-Technologie

What is Blockchain Technology? A Step-by-Step Guide For Beginners

[Updated – Mar 01 2019]

Is Blockchain Technology the New Internet?

The blockchain is an undeniably ingenious invention – the brainchild of a person or group of people known by the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto. But since then, it has evolved into something greater, and the main question every single person is asking is: What is Blockchain?

By allowing digital information to be distributed but not copied, blockchain technology created the backbone of a new type of internet. Originally devised for the digital currencyBitcoin, (Buy Bitcoin) the tech community has now found other potential uses for the technology.

In thisguide, we are going to explain to you what the blockchain technology is, and what its properties are that make it so unique. So, we hope you enjoy this, What Is Blockchain Guide. And if you already know what blockchain is and want to become a blockchain developer please check out our in-depth blockchain tutorial and create your very first blockchain.

What is Blockchain Technology?

What is Blockchain Technology? A step-by-step guide than anyone can understand“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” – Don & Alex Tapscott, authors Blockchain Revolution (2016).

A blockchain is, in the simplest of terms, a time-stamped series of immutable record of data that is managed by cluster of computers not owned by any single entity. Each of these blocks of data (i.e. block) are secured and bound to each other using cryptographic principles (i.e. chain).

So, what is so special about it and why are we saying that it has industry disrupting capabilities?

The blockchain network has no central authority — it is the very definition of a democratized system. Since it is a shared and immutable ledger, the information in it is open for anyone and everyone to see. Hence, anything that is built on the blockchain is by its very nature transparent and everyone involved is accountable for their actions.

Blockchain Explained

A blockchain carries no transaction cost. (An infrastructure cost yes, but no transaction cost.) The blockchain is a simple yet ingenious way of passing information from A to B in a fully automated and safe manner. One party to a transaction initiates the process by creating a block. This block is verified by thousands, perhaps millions of computers distributed around the net. The verified block is added to a chain, which is stored across the net, creating not just a unique record, but a unique record with a unique history. Falsifying a single record would mean falsifying the entire chain in millions of instances. That is virtually impossible. Bitcoin uses this model for monetary transactions, but it can be deployed in many others ways.

Blockchain is the most disruptive invention since the Internet itself

Think of a railway company. We buy tickets on an app or the web. The credit card company takes a cut for processing the transaction. With blockchain, not only can the railway operator save on credit card processing fees, it can move the entire ticketing process to the blockchain. The two parties in the transaction are the railway company and the passenger. The ticket is a block, which will be added to a ticket blockchain. Just as a monetary transaction on blockchain is a unique, independently verifiable and unfalsifiable record (like Bitcoin), so can your ticket be. Incidentally, the final ticket blockchain is also a record of all transactions for, say, a certain train route, or even the entire train network, comprising every ticket ever sold, every journey ever taken.

But the key here is this: it’s free. Not only can the blockchain transfer and store money, but it can also replace all processes and business models which rely on charging a small fee for a transaction. Or any other transaction between two parties.

Here is another example. The gig economy hub Fivver charges 0.5 dollars on a 5 transaction between individuals buying and selling services. Using blockchain technology the transaction is free. Ergo, Fivver will cease to exist. So will auction houses and any other business entity based on the market-maker principle.

Even recent entrants like Uber and AirBnB are threatened by blockchain technology. All you need to do is encode the transactional information for a car ride or an overnight stay, and again you have a perfectly safe way that disrupts the business model of the companies which have just begun to challenge the traditional economy. We are not just cutting out the fee-processing middle man, we are also eliminating the need for the match-making platform.

Because blockchain transactions are free, you can charge minuscule amounts, say 1/100 of a cent for a video view or article read. Why should I pay The Economist or National Geographic an annual subscription fee if I can pay per article on Facebook or my favorite chat app. Again, remember that blockchain transactions carry no transaction cost. You can charge for anything in any amount without worrying about third parties cutting into your profits.

Blockchain may make selling recorded music profitable again for artists by cutting out music companies and distributors like Apple or Spotify. The music you buy could even be encoded in the blockchain itself, making it a cloud archive for any song purchased. Because the amounts charged can be so small, subscription and streaming services will become irrelevant.

It goes further. Ebooks could be fitted with blockchain code. Instead of Amazon taking a cut, and the credit card company earning money on the sale, the books would circulate in encoded form and a successful blockchain transaction would transfer money to the author and unlock the book. Transfer ALL the money to the author, not just meager royalties. You could do this on a book review website like Goodreads, or on your own website. The marketplace Amazon is then unnecessary. Successful iterations could even include reviews and other third-party information about the book.

In the financial world the applications are more obvious and the revolutionary changes more imminent. Blockchains will change the way stock exchanges work, loans are bundled, and insurances contracted. They will eliminate bank accounts and practically all services offered by banks. Almost every financial institution will go bankrupt or be forced to change fundamentally, once the advantages of a safe ledger without transaction fees is widely understood and implemented. After all, the financial system is built on taking a small cut of your money for the privilege of facilitating a transaction. Bankers will become mere advisers, not gatekeepers of money. Stockbrokers will no longer be able to earn commissions and the buy/sell spread will disappear.

How Does Blockchain Work?

Picture a spreadsheet that is duplicated thousands of times across a network of computers. Then imagine that this network is designed to regularly update this spreadsheet and you have a basic understanding of the blockchain.

Information held on a blockchain exists as a shared — and continually reconciled — database. This is a way of using the network that has obvious benefits. The blockchain database isn’t stored in any single location, meaning the records it keeps are truly public and easily verifiable. No centralized version of this information exists for a hacker to corrupt. Hosted by millions of computers simultaneously, its data is accessible to anyone on the internet.

To go in deeper with the Google spreadsheet analogy, I would like you to read this piece from a blockchain specialist.


What is Blockchain Technology? A step-by-step guide than anyone can understand“The traditional way of sharing documents with collaboration is to send a Microsoft Word document to another recipient, and ask them to make revisions to it. The problem with that scenario is that you need to wait until receiving a return copy before you can see or make other changes because you are locked out of editing it until the other person is done with it. That’s how databases work today. Two owners can’t be messing with the same record at once.That’s how banks maintain money balances and transfers; they briefly lock access (or decrease the balance) while they make a transfer, then update the other side, then re-open access (or update again).With Google Docs (or Google Sheets), both parties have access to the same document at the same time, and the single version of that document is always visible to both of them. It is like a shared ledger, but it is a shared document. The distributed part comes into play when sharing involves a number of people.

Imagine the number of legal documents that should be used that way. Instead of passing them to each other, losing track of versions, and not being in sync with the other version, why can’t *all* business documents become shared instead of transferred back and forth? So many types of legal contracts would be ideal for that kind of workflow. You don’t need a blockchain to share documents, but the shared documents analogy is a powerful one.” – William Mougayar, Venture advisor, 4x entrepreneur, marketer, strategist and blockchain specialist

The reason why the blockchain has gained so much admiration is that:

  • It is not owned by a single entity, hence it is decentralized
  • The data is cryptographically stored inside
  • The blockchain is immutable, so no one can tamper with the data that is inside the blockchain
  • The blockchain is transparent so one can track the data if they want to

The Three Pillars of Blockchain Technology

The three main properties of Blockchain Technology which has helped it gain widespread acclaim are as follows:

  • Decentralization
  • Transparency
  • Immutability

Pillar #1: Decentralization

Before Bitcoin and BitTorrent came along, we were more used to centralized services. The idea is very simple. You have a centralized entity which stored all the data and you’d have to interact solely with this entity to get whatever information you required.

Another example of a centralized system is banks. They store all your money, and the only way that you can pay someone is by going through the bank.

The traditional client-server model is a perfect example of this:

What is Blockchain

When you google search for something, you send a query to the server who then gets back at you with the relevant information. That is simple client-server.

Now, centralized systems have treated us well for many years, however, they have several vulnerabilities.

  • Firstly, because they are centralized, all the data is stored in one spot. This makes them easy target spots for potential hackers.
  • If the centralized system were to go through a software upgrade, it would halt the entire system
  • What if the centralized entity somehow shut down for whatever reason? That way nobody will be able to access the information that it possesses
  • Worst case scenario, what if this entity gets corrupted and malicious? If that happens then all the data that is inside the blockchain will be compromised.

So, what happens if we just take this centralized entity away?

In a decentralized system, the information is not stored by one single entity. In fact, everyone in the network owns the information.

In a decentralized network, if you wanted to interact with your friend then you can do so directly without going through a third party. That was the main ideology behind Bitcoins. You and only you alone are in charge of your money. You can send your money to anyone you want without having to go through a bank.

blockchain

Pillar #2: Transparency

One of the most interesting and misunderstood concepts in blockchain technology is “transparency.” Some people say that blockchain gives you privacy while some say that it is transparent. Why do you think that happens?

Well… a person’s identity is hidden via complex cryptography and represented only by their public address. So, if you were to look up a person’s transaction history, you will not see “Bob sent 1 BTC” instead you will see “1MF1bhsFLkBzzz9vpFYEmvwT2TbyCt7NZJ sent 1 BTC”.

The following snapshot of Ethereum transactions will show you what we mean:

Ethereum transactions

So, while the person’s real identity is secure, you will still see all the transactions that were done by their public address. This level of transparency has never existed before within a financial system. It adds that extra, and much needed, level of accountability which is required by some of these biggest institutions.

Speaking purely from the point of view of cryptocurrency, if you know the public address of one of these big companies, you can simply pop it in an explorer and look at all the transactions that they have engaged in. This forces them to be honest, something that they have never had to deal with before.

However, that’s not the best use-case. We are pretty sure that most of these companies won’t transact using cryptocurrencies, and even if they do, they won’t do ALL their transactions using cryptocurrencies. However, what if the blockchain technology was integrated…say in their supply chain?

You can see why something like this can be very helpful for the finance industry right?

Pillar #3: Immutability

Immutability, in the context of the blockchain, means that once something has been entered into the blockchain, it cannot be tampered with.

Can you imagine how valuable this will be for financial institutes?

Imagine how many embezzlement cases can be nipped in the bud if people know that they can’t “work the books” and fiddle around with company accounts.

The reason why the blockchain gets this property is that of cryptographic hash function.

In simple terms, hashing means taking an input string of any length and giving out an output of a fixed length. In the context of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, the transactions are taken as an input and run through a hashing algorithm (bitcoin uses SHA-256) which gives an output of a fixed length.

Let’s see how the hashing process works. We are going to put in certain inputs. For this exercise, we are going to use the SHA-256 (Secure Hashing Algorithm 256).

hashing

As you can see, in the case of SHA-256, no matter how big or small your input is, the output will always have a fixed 256-bits length. This becomes critical when you are dealing with a huge amount of data and transactions. So basically, instead of remembering the input data which could be huge, you can just remember the hash and keep track.

A cryptographic hash function is a special class of hash functions which has various properties making it ideal for cryptography. There are certain properties that a cryptographic hash function needs to have in order to be considered secure. You can read about those in detail in our guide on hashing.

There is just one property that we want you to focus on today. It is called the “Avalanche Effect.”

What does that mean?

Even if you make a small change in your input, the changes that will be reflected in the hash will be huge. Let’s test it out using SHA-256:

blockchain hashing

You see that? Even though you just changed the case of the first alphabet of the input, look at how much that has affected the output hash. Now, let’s go back to our previous point when we were looking at blockchain architecture. What we said was:

The blockchain is a linked list which contains data and a hash pointer which points to its previous block, hence creating the chain. What is a hash pointer? A hash pointer is similar to a pointer, but instead of just containing the address of the previous block it also contains the hash of the data inside the previous block.

This one small tweak is what makes blockchains so amazingly reliable and trailblazing.

Imagine this for a second, a hacker attacks block 3 and tries to change the data. Because of the properties of hash functions, a slight change in data will change the hash drastically. This means that any slight changes made in block 3, will change the hash which is stored in block 2, now that in turn will change the data and the hash of block 2 which will result in changes in block 1 and so on and so forth. This will completely change the chain, which is impossible. This is exactly how blockchains attain immutability.

Maintaining the Blockchain – Network and Nodes

The blockchain is maintained by a peer-to-peer network. The network is a collection of nodes which are interconnected to one another. Nodes are individual computers which take in input and performs a function on them and gives an output. The blockchain uses a special kind of network called “peer-to-peer network” which partitions its entire workload between participants, who are all equally privileged, called “peers”. There is no longer one central server, now there are several distributed and decentralized peers.

Why do people use the peer-to-peer network?

One of the main uses of the peer-to-peer network is file sharing, also called torrenting. If you are to use a client-server model for downloading, then it is usually extremely slow and entirely dependent on the health of the server. Plus, like we said, it is prone to censorship.

However, in a peer-to-peer system, there is no central authority, and hence if even one of the peers in the network goes out of the race, you still have more peers to download from. Plus, it is not subject to the idealistic standards of a central system, hence it is not prone to censorship.

If we were to compare the two:

Image courtesy: Quora

The decentralized nature of a peer-to-peer system becomes critical as we move on to the next section. How critical? Well, the simple (at least on paper) idea of combining this peer-to-peer network with a payment system has completely revolutionized the finance industry by giving birth to cryptocurrency.

The use of networks and nodes in cryptocurrencies.

The peer-to-peer network structure in cryptocurrencies is structured according to the consensus mechanism that they are utilizing. For cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum which uses a normal proof-of-work consensus mechanism (Ethereum will eventually move on to Proof of Stake), all the nodes have the same privilege. The idea is to create an egalitarian network. The nodes are not given any special privileges, however, their functions and degree of participation may differ. There is no centralized server/entity, nor is there any hierarchy. It is a flat topology.

These decentralized cryptocurrencies are structured like that is because of a simple reason, to stay true to their philosophy. The idea is to have a currency system, where everyone is treated as an equal and there is no governing body, which can determine the value of the currency based on a whim. This is true for both bitcoin and Ethereum.

Now, if there is no central system, how would everyone in the system get to know that a certain transaction has happened? The network follows the gossip protocol. Think of how gossip spreads. Suppose Alice sent 3 ETH to Bob. The nodes nearest to her will get to know of this, and then they will tell the nodes closest to them, and then they will tell their neighbors, and this will keep on spreading out until everyone knows. Nodes are basically your nosy, annoying relatives.

What is Blockchain Technology? A step-by-step guide than anyone can understand
So, what is a node in the context of Ethereum? A node is simply a computer that participates in the Ethereum network. This participation can be in three ways

  • By keeping a shallow-copy of the blockchain aka a Light Client
  • By keeping a full-copy of the blockchain aka a Full Node
  • By verifying the transactions aka Mining

 

However, the problem with this design is that it is not really that scalable. Which is why, a lot of new generation cryptocurrencies adopt a leader-based consensus mechanism. In EOS, Cardano, Neo etc. the nodes elect leader nodes or “super nodes” who are in charge of the consensus and overall network health. These cryptos are a lot faster but they are not the most decentralized of systems.

So, in a way, cryptos have to make the trade-off between speed and decentralization.

Who Will Use The Blockchain?

As web infrastructure, you don’t need to know about the blockchain for it to be useful in your life.

Currently, finance offers the strongest use cases for the technology. International remittances, for instance. The World Bank estimates that over $430 billion US in money transfers were sent in 2015. And at the moment there is a high demand for blockchain developers.

The blockchain potentially cuts out the middleman for these types of transactions. Personal computing became accessible to the general public with the invention of the Graphical User Interface (GUI), which took the form of a “desktop”. Similarly, the most common GUI devised for the blockchain are the so-called “wallet” applications, which people use to buy things with Bitcoin, and store it along with other cryptocurrencies.

Transactions online are closely connected to the processes of identity verification. It is easy to imagine that wallet apps will transform in the coming years to include other types of identity management.

What is Blockchain? And What New Applications Will It Bring Us?

The blockchain gives internet users the ability to create value and authenticates digital information. What new business applications will result from this?

#1 Smart contracts

Distributed ledgers enable the coding of simple contracts that will execute when specified conditions are met. Ethereum is an open source blockchain project that was built specifically to realize this possibility. Still, in its early stages, Ethereum has the potential to leverage the usefulness of blockchains on a truly world-changing scale.

At the technology’s current level of development, smart contracts can be programmed to perform simple functions. For instance, a derivative could be paid out when a financial instrument meets certain benchmark, with the use of blockchain technology and Bitcoin enabling the payout to be automated.

#2 The sharing economy

With companies like Uber and Airbnb flourishing, the sharing economy is already a proven success. Currently, however, users who want to hail a ride-sharing service have to rely on an intermediary like Uber. By enabling peer-to-peer payments, the blockchain opens the door to direct interaction between parties — a truly decentralized sharing economy results.

An early example, OpenBazaar uses the blockchain to create a peer-to-peer eBay. Download the app onto your computing device, and you can transact with OpenBazzar vendors without paying transaction fees. The “no rules” ethos of the protocol means that personal reputation will be even more important to business interactions than it currently is on eBay.

#3 Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding initiatives like Kickstarter and Gofundme are doing the advance work for the emerging peer-to-peer economy. The popularity of these sites suggests people want to have a direct say in product development. Blockchains take this interest to the next level, potentially creating crowd-sourced venture capital funds.

In 2016, one such experiment, the Ethereum-based DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization), raised an astonishing $200 million USD in just over two months. Participants purchased “DAO tokens” allowing them to vote on smart contract venture capital investments (voting power was proportionate to the number of DAO they were holding). A subsequent hack of project funds proved that the project was launched without proper due diligence, with disastrous consequences. Regardless, the DAO experiment suggests the blockchain has the potential to usher in “a new paradigm of economic cooperation.”

#4 Governance

By making the results fully transparent and publicly accessible, distributed database technology could bring full transparency to elections or any other kind of poll taking. Ethereum-based smart contracts help to automate the process.

The app, Boardroom, enables organizational decision-making to happen on the blockchain. In practice, this means company governance becomes fully transparent and verifiable when managing digital assets, equity or information.

#5 Supply chain auditing

Consumers increasingly want to know that the ethical claims companies make about their products are real. Distributed ledgers provide an easy way to certify that the backstories of the things we buy are genuine. Transparency comes with blockchain-based timestamping of a date and location — on ethical diamonds, for instance — that corresponds to a product number.

The UK-based Provenance offers supply chain auditing for a range of consumer goods. Making use of the Ethereum blockchain, a Provenance pilot project ensures that fish sold in Sushi restaurants in Japan has been sustainably harvested by its suppliers in Indonesia.

#6 File storage

Decentralizing file storage on the internet brings clear benefits. Distributing data throughout the network protects files from getting hacked or lost.

Inter Planetary File System (IPFS) makes it easy to conceptualize how a distributed web might operate. Similar to the way a BitTorrent moves data around the internet, IPFS gets rid of the need for centralized client-server relationships (i.e., the current web). An internet made up of completely decentralized websites has the potential to speed up file transfer and streaming times. Such an improvement is not only convenient. It’s a necessary upgrade to the web’s currently overloaded content-delivery systems.

#7 Prediction markets

The crowdsourcing of predictions on event probability is proven to have a high degree of accuracy. Averaging opinions cancels out the unexamined biases that distort judgment. Prediction markets that payout according to event outcomes are already active. Blockchains are a “wisdom of the crowd” technology that will no doubt find other applications in the years to come.

The prediction market application Augur makes share offerings on the outcome of real-world events. Participants can earn money by buying into the correct prediction. The more shares purchased in the correct outcome, the higher the payout will be. With a small commitment of funds (less than a dollar), anyone can ask a question, create a market based on a predicted outcome, and collect half of all transaction fees the market generates.

#8 Protection of intellectual property

As is well known, digital information can be infinitely reproduced — and distributed widely thanks to the internet. This has given web users globally a goldmine of free content. However, copyright holders have not been so lucky, losing control over their intellectual property and suffering financially as a consequence. Smart contracts can protect copyright and automate the sale of creative works online, eliminating the risk of file copying and redistribution.

Mycelia uses the blockchain to create a peer-to-peer music distribution system. Founded by the UK singer-songwriter Imogen Heap, Mycelia enables musicians to sell songs directly to audiences, as well as license samples to producers and divvy up royalties to songwriters and musicians — all of these functions being automated by smart contracts. The capacity of blockchains to issue payments in fractional cryptocurrency amounts (micropayments) suggests this use case for the blockchain has a strong chance of success.

#9 Internet of Things (IoT)

What is the IoT? The network-controlled management of certain types of electronic devices — for instance, the monitoring of air temperature in a storage facility. Smart contracts make the automation of remote systems management possible. A combination of software, sensors, and the network facilitates an exchange of data between objects and mechanisms. The result increases system efficiency and improves cost monitoring.

The biggest players in manufacturing, tech and telecommunications are all vying for IoT dominance. Think Samsung, IBM and AT&T. A natural extension of existing infrastructure controlled by incumbents, IoT applications will run the gamut from predictive maintenance of mechanical parts to data analytics, and mass-scale automated systems management.

#10 Neighbourhood Microgrids

Blockchain technology enables the buying and selling of the renewable energy generated by neighborhood microgrids. When solar panels make excess energy, Ethereum-based smart contracts automatically redistribute it. Similar types of smart contract automation will have many other applications as the IoT becomes a reality.

Located in Brooklyn, Consensys is one of the foremost companies globally that is developing a range of applications for Ethereum. One project they are partnering on is Transactive Grid, working with the distributed energy outfit, LO3. A prototype project currently up and running uses Ethereum smart contracts to automate the monitoring and redistribution of microgrid energy. This so-called “intelligent grid” is an early example of IoT functionality.

#11 Identity management

There is a definite need for better identity management on the web. The ability to verify your identity is the lynchpin of financial transactions that happen online. However, remedies for the security risks that come with web commerce are imperfect at best. Distributed ledgers offer enhanced methods for proving who you are, along with the possibility to digitize personal documents. Having a secure identity will also be important for online interactions — for instance, in the sharing economy. A good reputation, after all, is the most important condition for conducting transactions online.

Developing digital identity standards is proving to be a highly complex process. Technical challenges aside, a universal online identity solution requires cooperation between private entities and government. Add to that the need to navigate legal systems in different countries and the problem becomes exponentially difficult. E-Commerce on the internet currently relies on the SSL certificate (the little green lock) for secure transactions on the web. Netki is a startup that aspires to create an SSL standard for the blockchain. Having recently announced a $3.5 million seed round, Netki expects a product launch in early 2017.

#12 AML and KYC

Anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) practices have a strong potential for being adapted to the blockchain. Currently, financial institutions must perform a labour intensive multi-step process for each new customer. KYC costs could be reduced through cross-institution client verification, and at the same time increase monitoring and analysis effectiveness.

Startup Polycoin has an AML/KYC solution that involves analysing transactions. Those transactions identified as being suspicious are forwarded on to compliance officers. Another startup Tradle is developing an application called Trust in Motion (TiM). Characterized as an “Instagram for KYC”, TiM allows customers to take a snapshot of key documents (passport, utility bill, etc.). Once verified by the bank, this data is cryptographically stored on the blockchain.

#13 Data management

Today, in exchange for their personal data people can use social media platforms like Facebook for free. In future, users will have the ability to manage and sell the data their online activity generates. Because it can be easily distributed in small fractional amounts, Bitcoin — or something like it — will most likely be the currency that gets used for this type of transaction.

The MIT project Enigma understands that user privacy is the key precondition for creating of a personal data marketplace. Enigma uses cryptographic techniques to allow individual data sets to be split between nodes, and at the same time run bulk computations over the data group as a whole. Fragmenting the data also makes Enigma scalable (unlike those blockchain solutions where data gets replicated on every node). A Beta launch is promised within the next six months.

#14 Land title registration

As Publicly-accessible ledgers, blockchains can make all kinds of record-keeping more efficient. Property titles are a case in point. They tend to be susceptible to fraud, as well as costly and labour intensive to administer.

A number of countries are undertaking blockchain-based land registry projects. Honduras was the first government to announce such an initiative in 2015, although the current status of that project is unclear. This year, the Republic of Georgia cemented a deal with the Bitfury Group to develop a blockchain system for property titles. Reportedly, Hernando de Soto, the high-profile economist and property rights advocate, will be advising on the project. Most recently, Sweden announced it was experimenting with a blockchain application for property titles.

#15 Stock trading

The potential for added efficiency in share settlement makes a strong use case for blockchains in stock trading. When executed peer-to-peer, trade confirmations become almost instantaneous (as opposed to taking three days for clearance). Potentially, this means intermediaries — such as the clearing house, auditors and custodians — get removed from the process.

Numerous stock and commodities exchanges are prototyping blockchain applications for the services they offer, including the ASX (Australian Securities Exchange), the Deutsche Börse (Frankfurt’s stock exchange) and the JPX (Japan Exchange Group). Most high profile because the acknowledged first mover in the area, is the Nasdaq’s Linq, a platform for private market trading (typically between pre-IPO startups and investors). A partnership with the blockchain tech company Chain, Linq announced the completion of it its first share trade in 2015. More recently, Nasdaq announced the development of a trial blockchain project for proxy voting on the Estonian Stock Market.

Ian Khan, TEDx SpeakerAs revolutionary as it sounds, Blockchain truly is a mechanism to bring everyone to the highest degree of accountability. No more missed transactions, human or machine errors, or even an exchange that was not done with the consent of the parties involved. Above anything else, the most critical area where Blockchain helps is to guarantee the validity of a transaction by recording it not only on a main register but a connected distributed system of registers, all of which are connected through a secure validation mechanism.” – Ian Khan, TEDx Speaker | Author | Technology Futurist

https://blockgeeks.com/guides/what-is-blockchain-technology/

Making sense of bitcoin, cryptocurrency and blockchain

Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, blockchain… So what does it all mean?

Some of the noise is hype, but some of it points to important forces in the financial services industry. To help you make sense of it, we’ve pulled together content explaining why a lot of industry observers are paying close attention.

Let’s start with some quick definitions. Blockchain is the technology that enables the existence of cryptocurrency (among other things). Bitcoin is the name of the best-known cryptocurrency, the one for which blockchain technology was invented. A cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange, such as the US dollar, but is digital and uses encryption techniques to control the creation of monetary units and to verify the transfer of funds.

A look at blockchain technology

What is it?

The blockchain is a decentralized ledger of all transactions across a peer-to-peer network. Using this technology, participants can confirm transactions without a need for a central clearing authority. Potential applications can include fund transfers, settling trades, voting and many other issues.

blockchain how it works
blockchain cyrptocurrency
blockchain benefits

 

Blockchain also has potential applications far beyond bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

Blockchain is, quite simply, a digital, decentralized ledger that keeps a record of all transactions that take place across a peer-to-peer network. The major innovation is that the technology allows market participants to transfer assets across the internet without the need for a centralized third party.

From a business perspective, it’s helpful to think of blockchain technology as a type of next-generation business process improvement software. Collaborative technology, such as blockchain, promises the ability to improve the business processes that occur between companies, radically lowering the “cost of trust.” For this reason, it may offer significantly higher returns for each investment dollar spent than most traditional internal investments.

Financial institutions are exploring how they could also use blockchain technology to upend everything from clearing and settlement to insurance.

For an overview of cryptocurrency, start with “Money is no object.” This paper, from PwC’s Financial Services Institute, focuses on cryptocurrency. We explain where it came from, how much consumers know about it and use it, what it will take for the market to grow and what the regulators think. We also look at how market participants, such as investors, technology providers and financial institutions, will be affected.

For some quick background on blockchain, take a look at our Top Trends in Financial Services page on Blockchain, where we discuss some of the ways FS firms are using blockchain, and how we expect the blockchain technology to develop in the future.

For a deeper dive into blockchain’s implications, read “A strategist’s guide to blockchain.” This article, from strategy+business, examines the potential benefits of this important innovation—and also suggests a way forward for financial institutions. Put simply, proceed deliberately. Explore how others might try to disrupt your business with blockchain technology and how your company could use it to leap ahead instead. In all cases, link your investments to your value proposition and give your business partners and your customers what they want most: speed, convenience and control over their transactions.

For a peek into the application of blockchains for smart contracts, check out “Blockchain and smart contract automation”. This short series of articles explore how blockchains, both public and private, have triggered a global hunt for ways to remove friction from transaction-related processes, including the process of reaching contractual agreements. Learn about the precursors, challenges and future outlook of implementing smart contracts. We also chat with Gideon Greenspan of Coin Sciences to learn about his views on the legal ramifications of public blockchains and why companies are seeking alternatives.

When a technology moves so quickly, it’s dangerous to sit on the sidelines. We’re watching blockchain move from a startup idea to an established technology in a tiny fraction of the time it took for the internet or even the PC to be accepted as a standard tool. Blockchain technology could result in a radically different competitive future for the financial services industry. These articles will help you understand these changes—and what you should do about them.

https://www.pwc.com/us/en/industries/financial-services/fintech/bitcoin-blockchain-cryptocurrency.html

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The Pronk Pops Show 1127, August 17, 2018, Story 1: Moving Up The Chain of Command of The Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy – Focus Now on Former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr and Wife Nellie Ohr At Fusion GPS and Former CIA Director John Brennan Roles in Having Christopher Steele Fabricating The False Steele Russian Dossier — Who is next in Obama Department of Justice (Attorney General Loretta Lynch And Deputy Sally Yates) and Who Were They Communicating In The White House (Valery Jarrett and Susan Rice)?– American People Demand Second Special Counsel Investigation and Prosecution and Grand Jury Impaneled and Indictments — Videos — Story 2: International Investors in U.S. Treasury Securities Are Flat and Smallest Share in 18 Years — Videos

Posted on August 18, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Applications, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, British Pound, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, China, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Culture, Currencies, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Euro, European Union, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hardware, Hate Speech, Health, Health Care, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Insurance, Investments, James Comey, Japan, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Mental Illness, Middle East, Mike Pompeo, Monetary Policy, National Security Agency, Networking, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Securities and Exchange Commission, Security, Senate, Servers, Social Networking, Social Security, Software, Spying, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Trade Policy, U.S. Dollar, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Docs reveal DOJ’s Ohr was deeply connected to Trump dossier

“I’ll Be Revoking Bruce Ohr’s Security Clearance Soon” President Trump’s Draining The Swamp

URGENT 🔴 President Trump EXPLOSIVE Press Conference from The White House – August 17, 2018

Trump calls DOJ official Bruce Ohr a ‘disgrace’

FOX News Sean Hannity: Mueller’s Never Ending “Witch Hunt”

DiGenova calls for investigation into Steele, Ohr

Trump revokes John Brennan’s security clearance

Tucker: Brennan thinks he has a right to clearance

Who’s next on security clearance chopping block?

White House speaks out on fate of more security clearances

Steyn reacts to left’s outrage over Brennan clearance

Levin: Trump should pull more security clearances

Rep. Gaetz reacts to Bruce Ohr’s notes about Steele

Frantic texts from Christopher Steele to Bruce Ohr revealed

DOJ’s Bruce Ohr is the ‘lynchpin’ in the Trump dossier: Chris Farrell

Why the Bruce Ohr-Christopher Steele texts are so important

Steele’s communications with DOJ raise questions

Like They Were All Best Friends’: Jordan on Emails Between Dossier Author, DOJ Official, Fusion GPS

Giuliani: John Brennan should go before a grand jury

Trump takes aim at Jeff Sessions over Twitter

Trump calls Sessions ‘scared stiff and missing in action’

Tucker: John Brennan is unhinged

Hannity: About time Brennan lost security clearance

Did John Brennan lie about the Trump-Russia dossier?

DiGenova calls for investigation into Steele, Ohr

DiGenova: John Brennan should get a good lawyer

Isikoff on John Brennan’s role in the Russia investigation

John Brennan faces scrutiny over anti-Trump dossier

Former US attorney: FBI officials will likely face charges

Byron York talks link between Steele and DOJ official

Rep. Jordan: FBI texts about Obama raise lots of concerns

DOJ official with ties to Fusion GPS gets demoted again

Napolitano on Fusion GPS testimony

Deeper connections revealed between Fusion GPS, DOJ official

WOW! Wife Of Fusion GPS Founder Glenn Simpson Bragged On Facebook Her Husband Was Behind ‘Russiagate

Nunes on Bruce Ohr and the push to declassify DOJ documents

Joe diGenova describes “Brazen Plot To Exonerate Hillary Clinton”

diGenova: HILLARY CLINTON COMMITTED CRIMES

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Who is Bruce Ohr and why does Trump keep tweeting about him?

The Fact Checker

August 16

“Bruce Ohr of the ‘Justice’ Department (can you believe he is still there) is accused of helping disgraced Christopher Steele ‘find dirt on Trump.’ Ohr’s wife, Nelly, was in on the act big time – worked for Fusion GPS on Fake Dossier.”

— President Trump, in a tweet, Aug. 14, 2018

“The big story that the Fake News Media refuses to report is lowlife Christopher Steele’s many meetings with Deputy A.G. Bruce Ohr and his beautiful wife, Nelly. It was Fusion GPS that hired Steele to write the phony & discredited Dossier, paid for by Crooked Hillary & the DNC.”

— Trump, in a tweet, Aug. 11

Who is Bruce Ohr?

Ohr exists in a netherworld — a subject of fascination in right-leaning media, barely a mention in mainstream media. His name last appeared in the pages of The Washington Post in February, and yet President Trump keeps tweeting about him. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, in announcing that Trump had revoked the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan, listed the names of other people who also faced revocation of clearances.

Ohr’s name was on the list.

We have previously tried to explain the roles of former British agent Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Ohr is less of a central player, but as a reader service, we will try to disentangle the president’s tweets and explain what is known – and unknown – about Ohr’s actions. We will not offer a Pinocchio rating.

The Facts

First, let’s take a look at the key players.

Fusion GPS was started by a group of former Wall Street Journal reporters, notably investigative reporter Glenn R. Simpson. Fusion in 2015 began investigating Trump under a contract with the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website financially supported by GOP megadonor Paul Singer. That assignment ended once Trump was on track to win the nomination. But in April 2016, Fusion was hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to keep funding the research. (Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained the firm.)

Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, was hired by Fusion to examine Trump’s ties in Russia. Steele was the author of the “dossier” alleging ties between Trump and Russia; the dossier is actually several memos, based on conversations with Russian sources, that were written between June and December of 2016.

The dossier is a frequent target of presidential derision, but the probe into the Trump campaign originally was sparked by a separate matter that Steele never wrote about — a tip from an Australian diplomat that a Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, appeared to know Russia had obtained damaging emails on the Democrats. (Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents.)

Ohr was associate deputy attorney general until late 2017, when the DOJ learned of his contacts with Steele. He briefly continued as head of Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) but then lost that job, too. It’s unclear what role he plays now at the DOJ. The agency declined to comment, except to point to a statement by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/08/16/who-is-bruce-ohr-why-does-trump-keep-tweeting-about-him/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.dd8799a9879a

 

Emails show 2016 links among Steele, Ohr, Simpson — with Russian oligarch in background

Emails in 2016 between former British spy Christopher Steele and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr suggest Steele was deeply concerned about the legal status of a Putin-linked Russian oligarch, and at times seemed to be advocating on the oligarch’s behalf, in the same time period Steele worked on collecting the Russia-related allegations against Donald Trump that came to be known as the Trump dossier. The emails show Steele and Ohr were in frequent contact, that they intermingled talk about Steele’s research and the oligarch’s affairs, and that Glenn Simpson, head of the dirt-digging group Fusion GPS that hired Steele to compile the dossier, was also part of the ongoing conversation.

The emails, given to Congress by the Justice Department, began on Jan . 12, 2016, when Steele sent Ohr a New Year’s greeting. Steele brought up the case of Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska (referred to in various emails as both OD and OVD), who was at the time seeking a visa to attend an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in the United States. Years earlier, the U.S. revoked Deripaska’s visa, reportedly on the basis of suspected involvement with Russian organized crime. Deripaska was close to Paul Manafort, the short-term Trump campaign chairman now on trial for financial crimes, and this year was sanctioned in the wake of Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

“I heard from Adam WALDMAN [a Deripaska lawyer/lobbyist] yesterday that OD is applying for another official US visa ice [sic] APEC business at the end of February,” Steele wrote in the Jan . 12 email. Steele said Deripaska was being “encouraged by the Agency guys who told Adam that the USG [United States Government] stance on [Deripaska] is softening.” Steele concluded: “A positive development it seems.”

Steele also asked Ohr when he might be coming to London, or somewhere in Europe, “as I would be keen to meet up here and talk business.” Ohr replied warmly the same day and said he would likely travel to Europe, but not the U .K ., at least twice in February.

[Related: Devin Nunes says ‘pay close attention’: Top Obama DOJ official Bruce Ohr will become ‘more and more important’]

Steele emailed again on Feb . 8 to alert Ohr that “our old friend OD apparently has been granted another official [emphasis in original] visa to come to the US later this month.” Steele wrote, “As far as I’m concerned, this is good news all round although as before, it would be helpful if you could monitor it and let me know if any complications arise.” Ohr replied that he knew about Deripaska’s visa, and “to the extent I can I will keep an eye on the situation.” Steele again asked to meet anytime Ohr was in the U .K . or Western Europe.

Steele wrote again on Feb . 21 in an email headlined “Re: OVD – Visit To The US.” Steele told Ohr he had talked to Waldman and to Paul Hauser, who was Deripaska’s London lawyer. Steele reported that there there would be a U.S. government meeting on Deripaska that week — “an inter-agency meeting on him this week which I guess you will be attending.” Steele said he was “circulating some recent sensitive Orbis reporting” on Deripaska that suggested Deripaska was not a “tool” of the Kremlin. Steele said he would send the reporting to a name that is redacted in the email, “as he has asked, for legal reasons I understand, for all such reporting be filtered through him (to you at DoJ and others).”

Deripaska’s rehabilitation was a good thing, Steele wrote: “We reckon therefore that the forthcoming OVD contact represents a good opportunity for the USG.” Ohr responded by saying, “Thanks Chris! This is extremely interesting. I hope we can follow up in the next few weeks as you suggest.”

Steele was eager to see Ohr face to face. On March 17, Steele wrote a brief note asking if Ohr had any update on plans to visit Europe “in the near term where we could meet up.” Ohr said he did not and asked if Steele would like to set up a call. It is not clear whether a call took place.

There are no emails for more than three months after March 17. Then, on July 1, came the first apparent reference to Donald Trump, then preparing to accept the Republican nomination for president. “I am seeing [redacted] in London next week to discuss ongoing business,” Steele wrote to Ohr, “but there is something separate I wanted to discuss with you informally and separately. It concerns our favourite business tycoon!” Steele said he had planned to come to the U.S. soon, but now it looked like it would not be until August. He needed to talk in the next few days, he said, and suggested getting together by Skype before he left on holiday. Ohr suggested talking on July 7. Steele agreed.

Ohr’s phone log for July 7 notes, “Call with Chris Steele” from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. eastern time.

(A caution here: It is possible the “favourite business tycoon” could be Deripaska, or perhaps even someone else, and not Trump. But no one referred to Deripaska in that way anywhere else in the communications. Also, Steele made it clear the “tycoon” subject was separate from other business. And July 1 was just before Steele met with the FBI with the first installment of the Trump dossier. So it appears reasonable, given Steele’s well-known obsession with Trump, and unless information emerges otherwise, to see the “favourite business tycoon” as Trump.)

On the morning of Friday , July 29, Steele wrote to say that he would “be in DC at short notice on business” later that day and Saturday. He asked if Ohr and wife Nellie were free for breakfast on Saturday morning. They were, and agreed to meet for breakfast at the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington.

Ohr’s log of contacts with Steele lists a meeting with Steele on July 30. Steele finished installments of the dossier on July 19 and 26.

On Aug . 22, Ohr received an email from Simpson with the subject line “Can u ring.” There was no message beyond a phone number. Ohr’s log lists some sort of contact — it’s not specified what — with Simpson on Aug . 22.

Steele finished an installment of the dossier on Aug . 22.

Steele dated three installments of the dossier on Sept . 14. On Sept . 16, Steele wrote Ohr to say that he would be back in Washington soon “on business of mutual interest.” Ohr said he would be out of town Sept. 19-21. On Sept . 21, Steele wrote to say he was in Washington and was “keen to meet up with you.” The two agreed to have breakfast on Sept . 23. Meeting on that date would be “more useful,” Steele said, “after my scheduled meetings” the day before. It’s not clear what those scheduled meetings were. Ohr’s log lists a meeting with Steele on Sept . 23.

On October 18, Steele emailed Ohr at 6:51 a.m. with a pressing matter. “If you are in Washington today, I have something quite urgent I would like to discuss with you, preferably by Skype (even before work if you can).” Steele wrote. Ohr suggested they do it immediately. “Thanks Bruce. 2 mins,” Steele replied. Ohr’s lo g lists a call with Steele on Oct . 18.

There is no note on what they discussed. But a few hours later, still on Oct . 18, Steele emailed Ohr again, and the subject was related to Deripaska. “Further to our Skypecon earlier today,” Steele wrote, Hauser had asked Steele to forward to Ohr information about a dispute between the government of Ukraine and RUSAL, Deripaska’s aluminum company. “Naturally, he [Hauser] wants to protect the client’s [Deripaska’s] interests and reputation,” Steele wrote. “I pass it on for what it’s worth.”

After another few hours had passed, Ohr asked if Steele had time for a Skype call. Steele said, let’s do it now. Ohr’s log lists calls with Steele on Oct . 18 and 19.

Steele finished dossier installments on Oct . 18, 19, and 20. The installment on Oct . 18 was the infamous Russians-offer-Carter-Page-millions-of-dollars allegation, and the ones on Oct . 19 and 20 concerned Manafort’s alleged role in an alleged collusion scheme.

On Nov . 21, other players entered the conversation. Ohr received an an email from Kathleen Kavalec, a deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European Affairs in the State Department. (Kavalec is now President Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to Albania.) Kavalec sent Ohr information on Simon Kukes, a Russian-born executive who contributed more than $250,000 to Trump-supporting organizations after Trump won the Republican nomination. Kavalec said she met Kukes around 2014, when “Tom Firestone brought him in,” a reference to former Justice Department official Thomas Firestone, now a partner at the Washington law firm BakerHostetler. Kavalec also linked to a Mother Jones article about Kukes.

Ohr responded by saying, “I may have heard about him from Tom Firestone as well, but I can’t recall for certain.” Then Kavalec answered by saying she was “just re-looking at my notes from my convo with Chris Steele” and that “I see that Chris said Kukes has some connection to Serge Millian, an emigre who is identified by FT as head of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce.” [In the book Russian Roulette, authors Michael Isikoff and David Corn wrote that Millian claimed to have some sort of business relationship with the Trump organization — which the Trumps denied. More importantly, Millian went on to become Steele’s source for the infamous “golden showers” allegation that Donald Trump had engaged in a kinky sex scene in a Moscow hotel room in 2013.]

Ohr’s phone log indicates that he called Simpson on Dec . 8 to set up a meeting for coffee the next day, Dec . 9.

There is not another email until Dec . 11. Simpson sent Nellie Ohr a link to an article in the left-wing ThinkProgress headlined, “Why has the NRA been cozying up to Russia?” The article focused on now-indicted Russian agent Maria Butina and Russian Alexander Torshin. Nellie Ohr responded, “Thank you!” to which Simpson, the next day, answered, “Please ring if you can.” Nellie Ohr forwarded the Simpson message to Bruce Ohr, saying, “I assume Glenn means you not me.”

Ohr’s phone log on Dec . 13 said, “Glenn Simpson. Some more news. Yesterday 9:27 a.m. Spoke with him.”

Steele dated a dossier installment Dec . 13.

On Jan . 20, 2017, inauguration day, Bruce Ohr received an email from Simpson that said simply, “Can you call me please?”

The emails raise a clear question of whether Steele was working, directly or indirectly, with Oleg Deripaska at the same time Steele was compiling the dossier — and whether the Justice Department, along with Simpson and Fusion GPS, was part of the project. Given Deripaska’s place in the Russian power structure, what that means in the big picture is unclear.

On Feb . 9 of this year, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley wrote a letter to Hauser, the London lawyer, and asked, “Is it the case that Mr. Steele, through you, works or has worked on behalf of Mr. Deripaska or businesses associated with him?”

Hauser refused to answer, claiming such information was privileged. But he added: “I can confirm that neither my firm nor I was involved in the commissioning of, preparation of or payment for the so-called ‘Steele Dossier.’ I am not aware of any involvement by Mr. Deripaska in commissioning, preparing or paying for that document.”

On Feb . 14, at an open hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton asked FBI Director Christopher Wray about Deripaska.

“Is it fair to call him a Putin-linked Russian oligarch?” asked Cotton.

“Well, I’ll leave that characterization to others, and certainly not in this setting,” Wray said.

“Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, last week sent a letter to a London-based lawyer who represents Mr. Deripaska,” Cotton continued, “and asked if Christopher Steele was employed, either directly or indirectly, by Oleg Deripaska at the time he was writing the so-called Steele dossier. Do you know if Christopher Steele worked for Oleg Deripaska?’

“That’s not something I can answer,” Wray said.

“Could we discuss it in a classified setting?”

“There might be more we could say there,” Wray answered.

The newly-released Ohr-Steele-Simpson emails are just one part of the dossier story. But if nothing else, they show that there is still much for the public to learn about the complex and far-reaching effort behind it.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/emails-show-2016-links-among-steele-ohr-simpson-with-russian-oligarch-in-background

 

Who Really Is Behind The Fake Russian Anti-Trump Dossier?

clinton andmediacartoon

The much-anticipated memo confirming Democrats’ abuse of power has been released and a question remains is who really created the now debunked dossier? Was it really a British agent or a Clinton political operative? No matter how you look at it, it’s Watergate times 1000.

The FBI used the dubious dossier, prepared as campaign opposition research for Clinton’s presidential bid, to get permission from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court to eavesdrop on Trump campaign and transition team communications.

Here are the six main points of the Dossier:

1) Hillary and the DNC hire, through opposition research firm Fusion GPS, foreign spy Christopher Steele with Russian connections who hates Trump to do a dossier on Trump and they paid roughly 12 million dollars for it. The dossier is filled with Russian propaganda, unsubstantiated claims and outright lies against Trump.

2) Someone, likely Bruce Ohr, gave the fake dossier to Obama’s DOJ and FBI.

3) The DOJ and FBI knows the dossier is fake and politically motivated.

4) The DOJ and FBI present the dossier to FISA court to get a wiretap against Trump.

5) The DOJ and FBI don’t tell the FISA court the dossier was financed by Trump’s campaign opponent.

6) The FISA court was defrauded into ordering the wire tapping of Trump campaign.

But imagine if we had lost. Imagine how corrupt things would be under another four or even eight years under Democrat control. Imagine if Congress hadn’t voted to release the memo in the first place. Clinton and Obama’s goal was to make us a socialist state with many of our freedoms gone and government control of our lives. This is what Obama meant when he talked about transforming America. Trump has gotten rid of many of the controls Obama placed on us and is returning freedom to the people. This can plainly be seen with the tax reforms where people are seeing huge deductions in their taxes and companies are hiring like never before and coming back here to build from overseas.  Analysts have said that if Hillary got in you would see a 50% drop in the stock market.

According to a report from The Washington Post published last year, the dossier used by the DOJ and FBI to target Trump specifically included “information it says was obtained from ‘a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure and a former top level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin.’”

“In other words, the Clinton camp and the DNC were essentially paying for information allegedly obtained from inside the Russian government,” the Post added.

In summary, the administration of former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, used a phony dossier based on Russian intelligence — and that was paid for by Clinton, the then-Democrat presidential nominee — to spy on the campaign of the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

The Dossier was funded by Hillary Clinton and the DNC to the tune of 12 million dollars. The contents were obtained by Russian sources. Therefore the real traitors and Russian colluders are liberal democrats and not Republicans.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) revealed on Friday that there would be more memos released as the committee concluded its investigation into abuse of FISA warrants by the Obama administration – and the State Department is next.

Appearing on Fox News’ “Special Report” with host Bret Baier, Nunes said that today’s release of the memo on FISA abuse was only the beginning of their investigation.

When asked by Baier if more memos would come out, Nunes responded, “Yes, this completes just the FISA abuse portion of our investigation,” adding that the “investigation is ongoing.”

“We are in the middle of what I call ‘phase two’ of our investigation, which involves other departments,” Nunes continued. “Specifically, the State Department and some of the involvement they had in this.” Don’t forget Hilary was the head of the State Department right before the campaign.

A conspiracy theory from the Clinton campaign became leverage for delegitimizing and trying to reverse the results of an election. And the conspiracy theory that elements of the FBI loyal to the Democrats relied upon to attack Trump originated from the deepest sewer in Clintonworld that had been covertly smearing political enemies for decades.

“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones,” Mark Antony tells the Roman mob. So it will be with the Clintons one day.

The Clintons are done. But their legacy lives on after them. The Russia conspiracies and the Mueller investigation continue to divide this nation even though Hillary’s political career is deader than Julius Caesar. Fusion GPS is still around. So is IGI. And there are other organizations like them out there.

Hillary told her people during the campaign,”If Trump gets in we’re all going to be hanging from nooses.” And so they should.

https://www.conservativedailynews.com/2018/02/really-behind-fake-russian-anti-trump-dossier/

UNHOLY ALLIANCE: DID US INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES COLLUDE WITH CLINTON TO INFLUENCE THE 2016 ELECTION?

John D. O’Connor | The attorney who revealed Mark Felt as Watergate’s Deep Throat

As controversial as the Steele dossier has become, it may well prove key to a political corruption scandal far more insidious than anyone has presently suggested. To be sure, critics have blasted its seeming partisan falsity, and many also have declaimed that it enabled the FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign. And there is evidence that the opening of the “Russiagate” investigation was itself premised strongly on this “salacious and unverified” report. But little attention has been paid to the role of American intelligence agencies in its creation, which now is appearing substantial, and which would implicate a governmental conspiracy making Watergate look like child’s play.

This is not to minimize the profoundly troubling questions that this dossier has already presented, including those about the legitimacy of using “human sources” (i.e., spies) to entrap the opposition candidate during a presidential campaign. These questions are being doggedly pursued by Congress, and fought tooth and nail by a DOJ/FBI whose present and former officials face serious jeopardy. For instance, any official who knowingly presented a materially false FISA application, for warrant or extensions, should be guilty, for one, of obstruction of justice under 18 U.S.C. §1505.

But reasonable inferences to be drawn from the known evidence suggest that governmental wrongdoing may be even more darkly sinister than DOJ critics presently imagine, encompassing possible criminality so pervasive and widespread that every top DOJ and FBI official serving in 2016 may face discipline or even indictment. The basis for this pandemic criminality would be the participation of the DOJ, FBI and CIA, not just in the questionable use of the partisan, false Clinton-funded Steele Dossier, but in its planning and development, an issue not yet been meaningfully explored.

Why would engagement in the dossier’s creation be any more heinous than the FISA fraud already being widely suggested? No one should make light of the distinct possibility that some officials possibly defrauded the FISA court, FISC, wrongdoing, however, also possibly excused as negligent, blinding political bias. But if the Steele dossier was conceived and developed by our own intelligence agencies, as opposed to it having been used by them after this allegedly reliable dossier fell in their laps, the potential for criminality changes dramatically.

If our intelligence agencies had a hand in creating this dossier, such would have been done with the intent to frame Trump for serious crimes, to leak false charges to the media during an election campaign, and possibly to use as an insurance policy supporting impeachment. Our trusted intelligence organizations, reminiscent of East Germany’s, would have employed their vast powers to corrupt our most important democratic processes.

Before the skeptical reader dismisses these statements as so much overheated rhetoric, let’s calmly examine this hypothesis. We now know that the Steele dossier is false in its major claims, at least as to Trump’s involvement. If American intelligence (FBI, CIA and DNI James Clapper) substantially developed the dossier, it would have only done so if it knew that the dossier would be false. If it was planned to be a true report, why would these agencies bother disguising the report, using a law firm, a British spy, and an opposition research firm? These American agencies, which were closely cooperating with British GCHQ, could have produced the same salacious findings, and presented them to FISC with even greater credibility than, as they did, vouching for a former British spy’s credibility. If the claims were thought to be true, the FBI and CIA, also citing GCHQ, could strongly rely on their own stellar reputations to support their own report. So they would use a “cutout” like Steele only if they needed deniability should the falsity be discovered. Since Clinton was heavily favored, this potential discovery would be a minimal risk, especially with the unctuous Comey continuing in his twelve-year FBI term. But the unthinkable happened.

Let’s consider the circumstantial indicia suggesting that our intelligence agencies did participate in the Steele dossier ab initio. The first such fingerprint is that of British intelligence, present throughout the CIA/DOJ/FBI work, and closely connected to Steele.

As the British journal Guardian has reported, and left-leaning Media Matters has confirmed, the tip that Putin intended to financially support Trump was relayed from GCHQ to the CIA, led at the time by Brennan, in December 2015. So GCHQ was involved from the outset, and was itself likely no fan of a possible Trump presidency which had much in common with the governmentally despised Brexit movement. Brennan then hurriedly formed an “inter-agency” group, including the FBI, which we know existed as of December 28, 2015, when FBI lawyer Lisa Page inquired of her lover, FBI Deputy Peter Strzok about his request for approval of “LUREs,” fedspeak for human informants or spies, inferentially to penetrate the Trump campaign.

What suggests continuing GCHQ involvement is the British locus of subsequent spying and entrapping activity, such as approaches to London resident George Papadopoulos by Joseph Mifsud, Sergei Millian and Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, all occurring in March through mid-May 2016. Later Stefan Halper lured Papadopoulos, Carter Page and, unsuccessfully, Steven Miller to London for more entrapping initiatives. Indeed, GCHQ chief Robert Hannigan traveled to Washington in August 2016 to personally discuss the investigation with Brennan.

We know that retired British spies stay close and loyal to their alma mater, with reciprocity, which would suggest that Christopher Steele’s retention in June 2016, by Clinton’s Fusion GPS, was likely sanctioned by GCHQ, with the approval of its partners CIA and FBI. Let’s put it this way: could Steele do what he did, seemingly exploiting CGHQ assets regarding sensitive American issues, without the explicit approval of GCHQ and its partners the CIA and FBI? Of course not.

Icing on this cake is provided, first, by the shadowy Sergei Millian, who had presumably been working for some intelligence agency (perhaps playing a double game) when hounding Papadopoulos commencing April 2016. Whoever was Millian’s employer, it certainly spoon-fed him as “Source D” and “Source E” to Steele, who pumped out his first report tout de suite, relying mainly on Millian. At the least, the readily talkative Millian was certainly known to GCHQ and its partners CIA and FBI, who in turn employed the frighteningly partisan Strzok. So we ask, were these three partnering agencies so incompetent that they could not uncover in seven months what Steele found in days for his first report, after his retention, in June 2016? Of course they could have. But they knew such reporting would be palpably false, and so, we infer, routed the false Millian stories through Steele.

By June 2016 all the human sources of GCHQ, CIA and FBI had come up dry, with the best they had being Papadopoulos’s repeating the ho-hummer that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary. And by June 2016, their first FISA application suffered the unusual and ignominious disgrace of having been rejected by a normally friendly FISC, one of the disappointed officials being DOJ’s Bruce Ohr. So they were in a pickle: they did not have enough evidence to get a FISA warrant, and yet needed a FISA warrant to get evidence, failing which the whole venture would have been dead in June 2016. If they were going to gamble to fabricate evidence, they needed a cutout – Steele – precisely because they could not themselves get a legitimate warrant based on legitimate evidence. And the cutout had to be sellable to FISC as a trained intelligence agent with good credentials, like Steele.

In that vein, it appears that Steele himself was not hired to do real investigatory work so much as to be a “front” through which to route claims to FISC that were not proven. He was paid a mere $168,000 (out of a multi-million-dollar research budget), a startlingly low figure for what claims to be highly sensitive digging through numerous sources in multiple countries. So clearly, whether through his handler, Nellie Ohr, the Russian-speaking wife of Bruce Ohr, or through GCHQ and its American partners, Steele was being fed his purported findings.

Steele’s job, thus, seems something other than the “opposition research” it has been labelled, to Comey and Brennen’s likely relief. Rather, his concealed partisan provenance and his professional intelligence reporting style were seemingly intended from the outset to support a FISA application, using Steele as a credible front. Let’s put it differently: if Steele’s work was not intended from the beginning to be used in a warrant application, why would it be written in an intelligence report style? Why all the efforts to hide his financing by Clinton? These efforts only make sense if they were originally pointed toward a warrant.

While all of the foregoing suggests, circumstantially, coordination and planning from the get-go, it is confirmed by Fusion’s hiring of Nellie Ohr just as Bruce Ohr was failing in the first FISA application, shortly following a White House visit in April 2016 by Mary Jacoby, wife of Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson. Nellie provided Steele with researchobtained a ham radio license, presumably for secure communications with Steele (including husband Bruce?), and Bruce delivered the product to the FBI’s Peter Strzok, who met with Steele around the time of the first report. So the Nellie Ohr-Steele-Bruce Ohr-Strzok pipeline was pumping early on. And, of course, Steele kept spitting out his seemingly spoon-fed reports well into October, each one of them going, it appears, directly into FBI and CIA hands. Were the FBI, CIA and GCHQ partner merely passive recipients? Common sense argues no. After all, Strzok and Bruce Ohr met with Steele on multiple occasions as the reports were prepared, presumably as something other than human out-boxes.

In addition to obtaining an illegitimate FISA warrant, were our intelligence agencies looking to politicize Steele’s phony reports? The ink was barely dry on most of Steele’s “findings” when Brennan made a big play of his “secret” briefing of the Gang of Eight in August 2016, along with his special private briefing of the unprincipled Senator Harry Reid, who had falsely leaked as to Mitt Romney in 2012. Reid, thereafter, to no one’s surprise, wrote a public letter alluding to the scurrilous allegations.

In short, if the Steele dossier did not simply come over the transom, but was in fact developed in coordination with them, then Comey, Brennan and Clapper, along with their underlings, should face serious consequences. We have heard their pious pronouncements about the sanctity of our democratic processes. Were these agencies, as the facts suggest, wrongfully interfering in the 2016 election? Documents sought by Congress should provide conclusive answers in what may be a scandal of unprecedented explosiveness.

John D. O’Connor is the San Francisco attorney who represented W. Mark Felt during his revelation as Deep Throat in 2005. O’Connor is the co-author of “A G-Man’s Life: The FBI, Being ‘Deep Throat,’ and the Struggle for Honor in Washington” and is a producer of “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House” (2017), written and directed by Peter Landesman.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Trump–Russia dossier

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The Trump–Russia dossier, also known as the Steele dossier,[1] is a private intelligence report comprising 17 memos that were written between June and December 2016[2] by Christopher Steele, a former head of the Russia Desk for British intelligence (MI6). The resulting dossier contains allegations of misconduct and conspiracy between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Government of Russia during the 2016 election cycle, with campaign members and Russian operatives allegedly colluding to interfere in the election to benefit Trump.[3] It also alleged that Russia sought to damage Hillary Clinton‘s candidacy, including sharing negative information about Clinton with the Trump campaign.[4] The dossier was published in full by BuzzFeed on January 10, 2017.[5] Several mainstream media outlets criticized BuzzFeed’s decision to release it without first verifying its allegations.[6][7]

Fusion GPS, a private investigative firm, provided political opposition research against Trump in two distinct phases, with completely separate funders. Fusion GPS was first contracted by a conservative political website, The Washington Free Beacon, and Steele was not involved in that research. When Trump became the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee on May 3, 2016, The Free Beacon stopped their backing. Separately, in April 2016, attorney Marc Elias hired Fusion GPS to investigate Trump on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). In June 2016, Fusion GPS subcontracted Steele to research and compile the dossier. Steele was hired without knowing, or ever having direct contact with, his ultimate clients,[8] and his only instructions were to seek answers to this basic question: “Why did Mr. Trump repeatedly seek to do deals in a notoriously corrupt police state that most serious investors shun?”[9] Senior Clinton campaign officials were reportedly unaware that Fusion GPS had subcontracted with Steele, and Steele was not told the Clinton campaign was the ultimate recipient of his research.[10][8] Following Trump’s election as president, funding from Clinton and the DNC ceased, but Steele continued his research, and was reportedly paid directly by Glenn R. Simpson, a co-founder of Fusion GPS.[11] The completed dossier was then handed to British and American intelligence services.[12] Weeks before the 2016 election, on the basis of Steele’s reputation working on Russia-related matters for nearly 20 years, the FBI reached an agreement to pay Steele to continue his work, but the agreement was later terminated as information about the dossier became public.[13]

The media, the intelligence community, and most experts have treated the dossier with caution, due to its unverified assertions, while Trump himself denounced the report as “fake news“. However, the intelligence community does take the allegations seriously and investigates them.[14][15][16][17] For example, as of May 2018, former career intelligence officer James Clapper believed that “more and more” of the dossier has been validated over time.[18]

Some of the dossier’s allegations have been corroborated, while others remain unverified[19] or may require access to classified information for verification.[20] In February 2017, some details related to conversations “solely between foreign nationals” were independently verified. Some of those individuals were known to be “heavily involved” in efforts to damage Clinton and help Trump. The conversations “took place between the same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier,” giving US intelligence and law enforcement “greater confidence” in the credibility of parts of the dossier.[21] Fox News reported on August 15, 2018 that nothing in the dossier had been publicly proven false.[22]

 

History

The opposition research conducted by Fusion GPS on Donald Trump was completed in two phases with separate funders. The first research phase, from October 2015 to May 2016, was funded by The Washington Free Beacon. The second phase, from June 2016 to December 2016, was funded by the DNC and the Clinton campaign, unrelated to the Washington Free Beacon request. The second phase produced the dossier.[23][24]

Research funded by conservative website

In October 2015, before the official start of the 2016 Republican primary campaignThe Washington Free Beacon, an American conservative political journalism website primarily funded by Republican donor Paul Singer, hired the American research firm Fusion GPS to conduct general opposition research on Trump and other Republican presidential candidates.[1] The Free Beacon and Singer were “part of the conservative never-Trump movement”.[25] For months, Fusion GPS gathered information about Trump, focusing on his business and entertainment activities. When Trump became the presumptive nominee on May 3, 2016,[26] The Free Beacon stopped funding research on him.[2][27][28]

Although the source of the Steele dossier’s funding had already been reported correctly over a year before,[2][27][28] a February 2, 2018 story by the Associated Press (AP) contributed to confusion about its funding by stating that the dossier “was initially funded” by the Washington Free Beacon, so the AP posted a correction the next day: “Though the former spy, Christopher Steele, was hired by a firm that was initially funded by the Washington Free Beacon, he did not begin work on the project until after Democratic groups had begun funding it.”[29] At no point in time did the Free Beacon have any connection with the production of the Steele dossier, and the Free Beacon stated that “none of the work product that the Free Beacon received appears in the Steele dossier.”[30]

Research funded by Democrats produces dossier

The second phase of opposition research was funded by the DNC and the Clinton campaign, working through their attorney of record, Marc Elias of Perkins Coie. In April 2016, Elias hired Fusion GPS to perform opposition research on Trump.[10]

As part of their investigation, Fusion GPS hired Orbis Business Intelligence, a private British intelligence firm, to look into connections between Trump and Russia. Orbis co-founder Christopher Steele, a retired British MI6 officer with expertise in Russian matters,[2] was hired as a subcontractor to do the job.[31] In total, Perkins Coie paid Fusion GPS $1.02 million in fees and expenses, $168,000 of which was paid to Orbis by Fusion GPS and used by them to produce the dossier.[32]

Orbis was hired between June and November 2016, and Steele produced 16 memos during that time, with a 17th memo added in December.[33] The memos were like “prepublication notes” based on reports from Steele’s sources, and were not released as a fully vettedand “finished news article”.[34] Steele believes that 70–90% of the dossier is accurate,[35] a view that is shared by Simpson.[34]

Simpson has stated that, to his knowledge, Steele did not pay any of his sources.[36][9][37] According to investigative reporter Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, Orbis has a large number of paid “collectors” who “harvest intelligence from a much larger network of unpaid sources, some of whom don’t even realize they are being treated as informants […] but money doesn’t change hands, because it could risk violating laws against, say, bribing government officials or insider trading. Paying sources might also encourage them to embellish.”[8] According to British journalist Luke Harding, Steele’s sources were not new: “They’re not people that he kind of discovered yesterday. They are trusted contacts who essentially had proven themselves in other areas.”[38] Howard Blum said that Steele leaned on sources “whose loyalty and information he had bought and paid for over the years”.[39]

According to Fusion GPS’s co-owners, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, they did not tell Steele who their ultimate clients were, only that Steele was “working for a law firm”,[8] and they “gave him no specific marching orders beyond this basic question: ‘Why did Mr. Trump repeatedly seek to do deals in a notoriously corrupt police state that most serious investors shun?'”[9] Mayer reported that when the Clinton campaign “indirectly employed” Steele, Elias created a “legal barrier” by acting “as a firewall” between the campaign and Steele. Thus, any details were “protected by attorney-client privilege. Fusion briefed only Elias on the reports. Simpson sent Elias nothing on paper—he was briefed orally.”[8] Only several months after signing the contract with Fusion GPS did Steele learn that the DNC and the Clinton campaign were the ultimate clients.[8] The firewall was reportedly so effective that even campaign principals John Podesta and Robby Mook did not know that Steele was on the Democratic payroll until Mother Jones reported on the issue on October 31, 2016.[8]

Steele delivered his reports individually as one- to three-page memos.[2] The first memo, dated June 20, 2016, was sent to Washington by courier and hand-delivered to Fusion GPS. The names of the sources were redacted, “providing instead descriptions of them that enabled Fusion to assess their basic credibility.”[8]

Luke Harding wrote:

“At first, obtaining intelligence from Moscow went well. For around six months – during the first half of the year – Steele was able to make inquiries in Russia with relative ease. It got harder from late July, as Trump’s ties to Russia came under scrutiny. Finally, the lights went out. Amid a Kremlin cover-up, the sources went silent and information channels shut down.”[40]

Steele has stated that he soon found “troubling information indicating connections between Trump and the Russian government.” According to his sources, “there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit.”[41] According to Harding, “Steele was shocked by the extent of collusion his sources were reporting,” and told his friends: “For anyone who reads it, this is a life-changing experience.”[35] Steele felt that what he had unearthed “was something of huge significance, way above party politics.”[39] American reporter Howard Blum described Steele’s rationale for becoming a whistleblower: “The greater good trumps all other concerns.”[39]

On his own initiative, Steele decided to also pass the information to British and American intelligence services because he believed the findings were a matter of national security for both countries.[42][43] According to Simpson’s testimony, Steele approached the FBIbecause he was concerned that Trump, then a candidate, was being blackmailed by Russia,[44] and he became “very concerned about whether this represented a national security threat”.[42] When Steele showed his findings to FBI agents in Rome in early July, their reaction was “shock and horror”.[44][45] Jane Mayer reports that the FBI agents “asked Steele about Papadopoulos, and he said that he hadn’t heard anything about him.”[8]

Steele enjoyed a good working reputation “for the knowledge he had developed over nearly 20 years working on Russia-related issues for British intelligence.”[13] Knowing this, in October 2016, a few weeks before the election, the FBI agreed to pay him to continue collecting information. However, the subsequent public release of the dossier stopped discussions between Steele and the FBI.[13] Simpson testified that “Steele wasn’t paid by the FBI, but was possibly reimbursed for a trip to Rome to meet with FBI officials.”[28][46]According to Mayer, Steele “did request compensation for travelling to Rome, but he never received any.”[8]

Simpson later revealed that “Steele severed his contacts with [the] FBI before the election following public statements by the FBI that it had found no connection between the Trump campaign and Russia and concerns that [the FBI] was being ‘manipulated for political ends by the Trump people’.”[47] Steele had become frustrated with the FBI, whom he believed failed to investigate his reports, choosing instead to focus on the investigation into Clinton’s emails. According to The Independent, Steele came to believe that there was a “cabal” inside the FBI, particularly its New York field office linked to Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani, because it blocked any attempts to investigate the links between Trump and Russia.[43]

Hints of existence

Jane Mayer has described how, in “late summer, Fusion set up a series of meetings, at the Tabard Inn, in Washington, between Steele and a handful of national-security reporters…. Despite Steele’s generally cool manner, he seemed distraught about the Russians’ role in the election.” Mayer attended one of the meetings. No news organizations ran any stories about the allegations at that time.[8]

Mother Jones story

By the third quarter of 2016, many news organizations knew about the existence of the dossier, which had been described as an “open secret” among journalists. However, they chose not to publish information that could not be confirmed.[2][48]

By October 2016, Steele had compiled 33 pages (16 memos), and he then passed on what he had discovered to David Corn, a reporter from Mother Jones magazine. On October 31, 2016, a week before the election, Mother Jones reported that a former intelligence officer, whom they did not name, had produced a report based on Russian sources and turned it over to the FBI.[41] The article disclosed some of the dossier’s allegations:

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.”

— David Corn, “A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump”, Mother Jones (October 31, 2016)[41]

When the Mother Jones story broke, John Podesta, chairman of the Clinton campaign, said he was “stunned by the news that the FBI had launched a full-blown investigation into Trump, especially one that was informed by research underwritten by the Clinton campaign.” Although they knew that Perkins Coie had spent money for opposition research, neither Podesta nor campaign manager Robby Mook knew that Steele was on the Democratic payroll. They both maintain they “didn’t read the dossier until BuzzFeed posted it online. Far from a secret campaign weapon, Steele turned out to be a secret kept from the campaign.”[8]

Post-election events

After Trump’s election on November 8, 2016, the Democratic client stopped paying for the investigation, but Steele continued working on the dossier for Fusion GPS.[2] At that time, Simpson “reportedly spent his own money to continue the investigation”.[11] After the election, Steele’s dossier “became one of Washington’s worst-kept secrets, and journalists worked to verify the allegations.[2]

On November 18, 2016, U.S. Senator John McCain, who had been informed about the alleged links between the Kremlin and Trump, met with former British ambassador to Moscow Sir Andrew Wood at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada. Wood told McCain about the existence of the collected materials about Trump,[49] and also vouched for Steele’s professionalism and integrity.[50]

According to Simpson’s August 22, 2017, testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Steele and David J. Kramer, a longtime McCain aide and former U.S. State Department official working at Arizona State University, met each other at the Halifax forum and discussed the dossier. Kramer told Steele that McCain wanted to “ask questions about it at the FBI. … All we sort of wanted was for the government to do its job and we were concerned about whether the information that we provided previously had ever, you know, risen to the leadership level of the FBI.” Later, “Kramer followed up with Steele”.[51] Steele had agreed with Fusion GPS to deliver a hard copy of all 16 memos to McCain,[33] which McCain received in early December from Kramer.[2] On December 9, McCain met personally with FBI Director James Comey to pass on the information.[49][23][52] Comey later confirmed that counterintelligence investigations were under way into possible links between Trump associates and Moscow.[33]

After delivering his 16 memos, Steele received more information and composed the two-page “December memo”, dated December 13. It mostly contained allegations against Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, which he denied.[53][54] In an April 2017 court filing, Steele revealed previously unreported information that he had given a copy of his last memo to a “senior UK government national security official acting in his official capacity, on a confidential basis in hard copy form”, because it “had implications for the national security of the US and the UK”.[33] Steele also “sent an encrypted version to Fusion with instructions to deliver a hard copy to Senator McCain.”[33]

Publication by BuzzFeed

In early January 2017, President-elect Trump[55] and President Barack Obama were separately briefed about the Russian interference in the election and on the existence of the dossier by the chiefs of several U.S. intelligence agencies. Vice President Joe Biden has confirmed that he and the president received briefings on the dossier and the allegations within.[56][57][58]

After the meeting with Obama, Trump was informed of the Russian election interference by Comey and Clapper on January 6, 2017, at a meeting in Trump Tower. After this meeting, Comey stayed behind and spoke privately with Trump, informing him of the dossier and some of its allegations.[59] Trump later expressed that he felt that James Comey was trying to blackmail him at the meeting in Trump Tower, held two weeks before the inauguration.[55] In April 2018, Comey said he did not inform Trump that the dossier was partly funded by Democrats because that “wasn’t necessary for my goal, which was to alert him that we had this information”.[60][61]

On January 10, 2017, CNN reported that classified documents presented to Obama and Trump the previous week included allegations that Russian operatives possess “compromising personal and financial information” about Trump. CNN stated that it would not publish specific details on the memos because it had not “independently corroborated the specific allegations”.[62][63] Following the CNN report,[64] BuzzFeed published a 35-page dossier that it said was the basis of the briefing, including unverified claims that Russian operatives had collected “embarrassing material” involving Trump that could be used to blackmail him.[65][66][67]

BuzzFeed was harshly criticized for publishing what Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan called “scurrilous allegations dressed up as an intelligence report meant to damage Donald Trump”,[68] while The New York Times noted that the publication sparked a debate centering on the use of unsubstantiated information from anonymous sources.[69] BuzzFeed’s executive staff said the materials were newsworthy because they were “in wide circulation at the highest levels of American government and media” and argued that this justified public release.[70]

In relation to a defamation lawsuit filed by Aleksej Gubarev against BuzzFeed, regarding their publication of the dossier, Senior Master Barbara Fontaine stated that Steele was “in many respects in the same position as a whistle-blower” because of his actions “in sending part of the dossier to Senator John McCain and a senior government national security official, and in briefing sections of the US media”. She said that “it was not known who provided the dossier to BuzzFeed but Mr Steele’s evidence was that he was ‘horrified and remains horrified’ that it was published at all, let alone without substantial redactions.”[71] Both Simpson and Steele have denied providing the dossier to BuzzFeed.[72]

Format

When BuzzFeed published the 35-page dossier in January 2017, the individual memos were one- to three-pages long and page numbers 1-35 had been handwritten at the bottom. All but one had a typed date at the bottom. Each of the first 16 reports was assigned a typed number in the heading between 80 and 135, but the numeric order didn’t always match the chronological order. The 17th memo, known as the “December memo”, was numbered 166.[73]

Each memo started with a page heading in the same style as the first one shown here:

CONFIDENTIAL/SENSITIVE SOURCECOMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/080

US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE DONALD TRUMP’S
ACTIVITIES IN RUSSIA AND COMPROMISING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE
KREMLIN[40]

Authorship

When CNN reported the existence of the dossier on January 10, 2017,[62][74] it did not name the author of the dossier, but revealed that he was British. Steele concluded that his anonymity had been “fatally compromised”, and, realizing it was “only a matter of time until his name became public knowledge”, fled into hiding with his family, in fear of “a prompt and potentially dangerous backlash against him from Moscow”.[75][76] The Wall Street Journal revealed Steele’s name the next day, on January 11.[77] Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd, for whom Steele worked at the time the dossier was authored, and its director Christopher Burrows, a counterterrorism specialist,[25] would not confirm or deny that Orbis had produced the dossier.[74][2] On March 7, 2017, as some members of the U.S. Congress were expressing interest in meeting with or hearing testimony from Steele, he reemerged after weeks in hiding, appearing publicly on camera and stating, “I’m really pleased to be back here working again at the Orbis’s offices in London today.”[78]

Called by the media a “highly regarded Kremlin expert” and “one of MI6’s greatest Russia specialists”, Steele formerly worked for the British intelligence agency MI6, heading its Russia Desk for three years at the end of his MI6 career. He entered MI6 in 1987, directly after his graduation from Cambridge University.[79] He currently works for Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd, a private intelligence company he co-founded in London.[80][81]

Wood, the former British ambassador to Moscow, has vouched for Steele’s reputation.[43] He views Steele as a “very competent professional operator … I take the report seriously. I don’t think it’s totally implausible.” He also stated that “the report’s key allegation—that Trump and Russia’s leadership were communicating via secret back channels during the presidential campaign—was eminently plausible”.[82] FBI investigators reportedly treat Steele “as a peer”, whose experience as a trusted Russia expert has included assisting the Justice Department, British prime ministers, and at least one U.S. president.[83]

Allegations

President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at HelsinkiFinland on July 16, 2018

Michael Cohen (2011)

Carter Page (2017)

The dossier contains multiple allegations, some of which have been publicly verified while many others remain publicly unverified but not disproven. In some cases, public verification is hindered because information is classified.[20] According to Adam Schiff, a major portion of the dossier’s content is about Russian efforts to help Trump, and those allegations “turned out to be true”.[84] Trump and Putin have repeatedly denied the allegations, with Trump labeling the dossier as “discredited”, “debunked”, “fictitious”, and “fake news”.[85][86]

Cultivation, conspiracy, and cooperation

  • That “Russian authorities” had cultivated Trump “for at least 5 years”, and that the operation was “supported and directed” by Putin.[40][87] (Dossier, p. 1)
  • That Putin aimed to spread “discord and disunity” within the United States and between Western allies, whom he saw as a threat to Russia’s interests.[42][88] (Dossier, pp. 1–2)
  • That Trump was a “divisive” and “anti-Establishment” candidate, as well as “a pragmatist with whom they could do business”. That Trump would remain a divisive force even if not elected.[89][90] (Dossier, p. 29)
  • That a major goal of the Russians in supporting Trump was “to upset the liberal international status quo, including on Ukraine-related sanctions, which was seriously disadvantaging the country.[89][90] (Dossier, pp. 28–29)
  • That the Russian government’s support for Trump was originally conducted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, then by the Federal Security Service (FSB), and was eventually directly handled by the Russian presidency because of its “growing significance over time.”[89][3] (Dossier, p. 29)
  • That Trump had “so far declined various sweetener real estate business deals”, but had “accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin,” notably on his political rivals.[23][91] (Dossier, p. 1)
  • That there was “a well-developed conspiracy of co-operation between [the Trump campaign] and the Russian leadership,” with information willingly exchanged in both directions. That this co-operation was “sanctioned at highest levels and involving Russian diplomatic staff based in the US.” That the Trump campaign used “moles within DNC and hackers in the US as well as outside in Russia.”[92][93] (Dossier, p. 7)
  • That Trump associates had established “an intelligence exchange [with the Kremlin] for at least 8 years.” That Trump and his team had delivered “intelligence on the activities, business and otherwise, in the US of leading Russian oligarchs and their families”, as requested by Putin.[89][94][90] (Dossier, p. 11)
  • That the Trump camp became angry and resentful toward Putin when they realized he was not only aiming to weaken Clinton and bolster Trump, but was attempting to “undermine the US government and democratic system more generally.”[90] (Dossier, p. 17)

Key roles of Manafort, Cohen, and Page

  • That then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had “managed” the “conspiracy of co-operation”, and that he used Trump’s foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, and others, “as intermediaries”.[95][96] (Dossier, p. 7)
  • That Page had “conceived and promoted” the idea of leaking the stolen DNC emails to WikiLeaks during the 2016 Democratic National Convention.[97][88] (Dossier, pp. 7, 17)
  • That Cohen played a “key role” in the Trump–Russia relationship[3] by maintaining a “covert relationship with Russia”,[98][99][100] arranging cover-ups and “deniable cash payments”,[53][33] and that his role had grown after Manafort had left the campaign.[101][97] (Dossier, pp. 18, 30, 32, 34–35)
  • That “COHEN now was heavily engaged in a cover up and damage limitation operation in the attempt to prevent the full details of TRUMP’s relationship with Russia being exposed.”[97][90] (Dossier, p. 32)

Kremlin pro-Trump and anti-Clinton

  • That Putin feared and hated Hillary Clinton.[95][102] (Dossier, p. 7)
  • That there was a “Kremlin campaign to aid TRUMP and damage CLINTON”.[92][93] (Dossier, pp. 7, 13)
  • That Putin’s interference operation had an “objective of weakening CLINTON and bolstering TRUMP”.[90] (Dossier, p. 17)

Kompromat and blackmail: Trump

  • That Trump “hated” Obama so much that when he stayed in the Presidential suite of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Moscow,[8][103] he employed “a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him”[87][65] in order to defile the bed used by the Obamas on an earlier visit. The alleged incident from 2013 was reportedly filmed and recorded by the FSB[104] as kompromat.[105][106][107] (Dossier, p. 2)
  • That Trump was susceptible to blackmail[39][89] due to paying bribes and the existence of “embarrassing material” due to engagement in “perverted sexual acts” and “unorthodox behavior” in Russia.[108][65][104] (Dossier, pp. 1–2, 8, 11, 27)
  • That the Kremlin had assured Trump they would not use kompromat collected against him, “given high levels of voluntary co-operation forthcoming from his team.”[89][109] (Dossier, pp. 11–12)
  • That Trump had explored the real estate sectors in St Petersburg and Moscow, “but in the end TRUMP had had to settle for the use of extensive sexual services there from local prostitutes rather than business success”.[106][105] (Dossier, p. 8)
  • That Trump has pursued real estate deals in St Petersburg, and “paid bribes there to further his interests”. That witnesses to his “sex parties in the city” had been “‘silenced’ i.e. bribed or coerced to disappear.”[106][105] (Dossier, p. 27)
  • That Trump associates did not fear “the negative media publicity surrounding alleged Russian interference”, because it distracted attention from his “business dealings in China and other emerging markets”, which involved “large bribes and kickbacks” that could be devastating if revealed.[110][38] (Dossier, p. 8)

Kompromat: Clinton

Dmitry Peskov (2017)

  • That Putin ordered the maintenance of a secret dossier on Hillary Clinton, with content dating back to the time of her husband’s presidency. The dossier comprised eavesdropped conversations, either from bugging devices or from phone intercepts; it did not contain “details/evidence of unorthodox or embarrassing behavior”, but focused more on “things she had said which contradicted her current positions on various issues”.[89][41] (Dossier, pp. 1, 3)
  • That the Clinton dossier had been collated by the FSB[89][41] and was managed by Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary.[104][42] (Dossier, pp. 1, 3)

DNC email hack, leaks, and misinformation

  • That Russia was responsible for the DNC email hacks[89][111] and the recent appearance of the stolen DNC e-mails on WikiLeaks,[89][112] and that the reason for using WikiLeaks was “plausible deniability“.[113] (Dossier, pp. 7–8)
  • That “the operation had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of TRUMP and senior members of his campaign team.”[3][113] (Dossier, p. 8)
  • That after the emails had been forwarded to WikiLeaks, it was decided to not leak more, but to engage in misinformation: “Rather the tactics would be to spread rumours and misinformation about the content of what already had been leaked and make up new content.”[96] (Dossier, p. 15)
  • That Page had intended the email leaks “to swing supporters of Bernie SANDERS away from Hillary CLINTON and across to TRUMP.”[97][102] (Dossier, p. 17)
  • That the hacking of the DNC servers was performed by Romanian hackers ultimately controlled by Putin and paid by both Trump and Putin.[53][33] (Dossier, pp. 34–35)
  • That Cohen, together with three colleagues, secretly met with Kremlin officials in the Prague offices of Rossotrudnichestvo in August 2016,[114][89][54][115] where he arranged “deniable cash payments” to the hackers and sought “to cover up all traces of the hacking operation”,[53][33] as well as “cover up ties between Trump and Russia, including Manafort’s involvement in Ukraine”.[3] (Dossier, pp. 18, 34–35)

Kickbacks and quid pro quo agreements

Igor Sechin (2016)

  • That Viktor Yanukovych, the former pro-Russian President of Ukraine, had told Putin that he had been making supposedly untraceable[3] kickback payments to Manafort while he was Trump’s campaign manager.[113] (Dossier, p. 20)
  • That in return for Russia’s leaking the stolen documents to WikiLeaks, “the TRUMP team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue and to raise US/NATO defense commitments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to deflect attention away from Ukraine, a priority for PUTIN who needed to cauterise the subject.”[95][113] (Dossier, pp. 7–8)
  • That Page had secretly met Rosneft chairman Igor Sechin in Moscow on “either 7 or 8 July”,[92] together with a “senior Kremlin Internal Affairs official, DIVYEKIN.” That Sechin “offered PAGE/TRUMP’s associates the brokerage of up to a 19 per cent (privatised) stake in Rosneft” (worth about $11 billion) in exchange for Trump lifting the sanctions against Russia after his election.[116][90][89][117][118] (Dossier, pp. 9, 30–32)

Russian spy withdrawn

  • That Russia had hastily withdrawn from Washington their diplomat Mikhail Kalugin (misspelled as “Kulagin”), whose prominent role in the interference operation should remain hidden.[94][119][120] (Dossier, p. 23)

Cultivation of various U.S. political figures

Possible earlier interest in Trump

Although the dossier alleged in June 2016 that the Kremlin had been cultivating Trump for “at least five years”, Luke Harding wrote that the Soviet Union had been interested in him since 1987. In his book Collusion, Harding asserts that the “top level of the Soviet diplomatic service arranged his 1987 Moscow visit. With assistance from the KGB.” Then-KGB head Vladimir Kryuchkov “wanted KGB staff abroad to recruit more Americans.” Harding proceeds to describe the KGB’s cultivation process, and posits that they may have opened a file on Trump as early as 1977, when he married Czech model Ivana Zelníčková; the Soviet spies may have closely observed and analyzed the couple from that time on.[122][123]

Denials of specific claims

Michael Cohen

The dossier alleges that Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, met with Russian officials in Prague in 2016 with the objective of paying those who had hacked the DNC and to “cover up all traces of the hacking operation”. Cohen has denied the allegations against him,[33][53][54] stating that he was in Los Angeles between August 23 and 29, and in New York for the entire month of September[115] and that “I have never been to Prague in my life”.[124] According to a Czech intelligence source, there is no record of him entering Prague by plane, but Respekt magazine and Politico pointed out that he could have entered by car or train from a neighboring country within the Schengen Area, for example Italy. In the latter case, a record of Cohen entering the Schengen zone from a non-Schengen country should exist.[125][126] McClatchy reported that “investigators have traced evidence that Cohen entered the Czech Republic through Germany”,[114]which was confirmed by The Spectator citing an intelligence source in London.[127] Mother Jones reported that Cohen had told them “I was in Prague for one afternoon 14 years ago,” contradicting later statements that he had never visited.[103]

Paul Manafort

Manafort has “denied taking part in any collusion with the Russian state, but registered himself as a foreign agent retroactively after it was revealed his firm received more than $17m working as a lobbyist for a pro-Russian Ukrainian party.”[96]

Carter Page

Page originally denied meeting any Russian officials, but his later testimony, acknowledging that he had met with senior Russian officials at Rosneft, has been interpreted as corroboration of portions of the dossier.[128][129][130]

Donald Trump

Trump has denied the “golden showers” allegation by claiming he is a “germaphobe”,[131] and then, as an alibi, that he did not stay overnight in Moscow.[132] In April 2018, James Comey said he did not know whether Trump “was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013”, adding “It’s possible, but I don’t know”.[60][61] In a June 21, 2018, debate, Comey, when asked if he believed “all the salacious” stories in the dossier, replied: “When I first saw it I didn’t believe it at all… [now] I think it’s possible that it’s true.” He said he changed his view after his encounters with President Trump.[133] Comey has stated that at the time he was fired, the allegations had not been verified.[134]

Twice Trump provided identical and disproven alibis to James Comey. He claimed he did not overnight in Moscow, but according to flight records, Keith Schiller‘s testimony, and Aras Agalarov, he did spend Friday night, Nov. 8, in Moscow, and attended the Miss Universe pageant the next night.[135] Trump not only spent a full night in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Moscow,[136] according to Trump’s close acquaintance, Aras Agalarov,[137] he actually stayed in the Presidential suite, where the “golden showers” incident is alleged to have occurred.[8]

Trump’s longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller “privately testified that he rejected an offer by a Russian individual to send five women to Trump’s hotel room during their 2013 trip to Moscow,” stating that “he took the offer as a joke … and Trump laughed it off.” After accompanying Trump to his room, Schiller stayed outside the door for a few minutes and then left,[138] and according to one source “could not say for sure what happened during the remainder of the night.”[139] Thomas Roberts, the host of the Miss Universe contest, has confirmed that “Trump was in Moscow for one full night and at least part of another.” (November 8–10).[140]

Veracity

Steele and the dossier have become “the central point of contention in the political brawl raging around”[83] the Special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. Those who believe Steele consider him a hero who tried to warn about the Kremlin’s meddling in the election, and people who distrust him consider him a “hired gun” used to attack Trump.[83] With the passage of time and further revelations from various investigations and sources, it is becoming clearer that the overall thrust of the dossier was accurate, but some details appear to be merely disinformation:[72]

Some of the dossier’s broad threads have now been independently corroborated. U.S. intelligence agencies and the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference did eventually find that Kremlin-linked operatives ran an elaborate operation to promote Trump and hurt Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, as the dossier says in its main narrative.”

— Jeff Donn, “Some Questions in Trump-Russia Dossier Now Finding Answers”, Associated Press (June 29, 2018)[72]

Reputation in the U.S. intelligence community

On January 11, 2017, Paul Wood, of BBC News, wrote that the salacious information in Steele’s dossier was also reported by “multiple intelligence sources” and “at least one East European intelligence service”. They reported that “compromising material on Mr. Trump” included “more than one tape, not just video, but audio as well, on more than one date, in more than one place, in both Moscow and St. Petersburg.” While also mentioning that “nobody should believe something just because an intelligence agent says it”,[141][77] Wood added that “the CIA believes it is credible that the Kremlin has such kompromat—or compromising material—on the next US commander in chief” and “a joint taskforce, which includes the CIA and the FBI, has been investigating allegations that the Russians may have sent money to Mr Trump’s organisation or his election campaign”.[142][143][141]

On January 12, 2017, Susan Hennessey, a former National Security Agency lawyer now with the Brookings Institution, stated: “My general take is that the intelligence community and law enforcement seem to be taking these claims seriously. That itself is highly significant. But it is not the same as these allegations being verified. Even if this was an intelligence community document—which it isn’t—this kind of raw intelligence is still treated with skepticism.”[15][16] Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes wrote that “the current state of the evidence makes a powerful argument for a serious public inquiry into this matter”.[16]

On February 10, 2017, CNN reported that some communications between “senior Russian officials and other Russian individuals” described in the dossier had been corroborated by multiple U.S. officials. They “took place between the same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier”. Sources told CNN that some conversations had been “intercepted during routine intelligence gathering”, but refused to reveal the content of conversations, or specify which communications were intercepted “due to the classified nature of US intelligence collection programs”. CNN was unable to confirm whether conversations were related to Trump. U.S. officials said the corroboration gave “US intelligence and law enforcement ‘greater confidence’ in the credibility of some aspects of the dossier as they continue to actively investigate its contents”. They also reported that American intelligence agencies had examined Steele and his “vast network throughout Europe and found him and his sources to be credible.”[21]

On March 30, 2017, Paul Wood reported that the FBI was using the dossier as a roadmap for its investigation.[144] On April 18, 2017, CNN reported that, according to U.S. officials, information from the dossier had been used as part of the basis for getting the FISAwarrant to monitor Page in October 2016. Officials told CNN this information would have had to be independently corroborated by the FBI before being used to obtain the warrant.[12][145] In his testimony before Congress, Glenn Simpson “confirmed that the FBI had sources of its own and that whatever the FBI learned from Steele was simply folded into its ongoing work.”[146]

British journalist Julian Borger wrote on October 7, 2017, that “Steele’s reports are being taken seriously after lengthy scrutiny by federal and congressional investigators”, at least Steele’s assessment that Russia had conducted a campaign to interfere in the 2016 election to Clinton’s detriment; that part of the Steele dossier “has generally gained in credibility, rather than lost it”.[96]

On October 11, 2017, it was reported that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (DRhode Island), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC), had stated: “As I understand it, a good deal of his information remains unproven, but none of it has been disproven, and considerable amounts of it have been proven.”[147]

On October 27, 2017, Robert S. Litt, a former lawyer for the Director of National Intelligence, was quoted as stating that the dossier “played absolutely no role” in the intelligence community’s determination that Russia had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.[148]

On November 15, 2017, Adam Schiff stated that much of the dossier’s content is about Russian efforts to help Trump, and those allegations “turned out to be true”, something later affirmed by the January 6, 2017, intelligence community assessment released by the ODNI.[84]

On December 7, 2017, commentator Jonathan Chait wrote that as “time goes by, more and more of the claims first reported by Steele have been borne out”, with the mainstream media “treat[ing] “[the dossier] as gossip” whereas the intelligence community “take it seriously”.[14]

On January 29, 2018, Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said “little of that dossier has either been fully proven or conversely, disproven”.[149][150]

John Sipher, who served 28 years as a clandestine CIA agent, including heading the agency’s Russia program, said investigating the dossier allegations requires access to non-public records. He said “[p]eople who say it’s all garbage, or all true, are being politically biased”, adding he believes that while the dossier may not be correct in every detail, it is “generally credible” and “In the intelligence business, you don’t pretend you’re a hundred per cent accurate. If you’re seventy or eighty per cent accurate, that makes you one of the best.” He said the Mueller investigation would ultimately judge its merits.[8] Sipher has written that “Many of my former CIA colleagues have taken the [dossier] reports seriously since they were first published.”[101]

During his April 15, 2018, ABC News interview with George Stephanopoulos, former FBI Director James Comey described Steele as a “credible source”: “It was coming from a credible source, someone with a track record, someone who was a credible and respected member of an allied intelligence service during his career, and so it was important that we try to understand it, and see what could we verify, what could we rule in or rule out.”[151]

In May 2018, former career intelligence officer James Clapper believed that “more and more” of the dossier has been validated over time.[18]

Varied reactions about veracity

Steele, the author of the dossier, said he believes that 70–90% of the dossier is accurate.[35][25] In testimony to Congress, Simpson quoted “Steele as saying that any intelligence, especially from Russia, is bound to carry intentional disinformation, but that Steele believes his dossier is ‘largely not disinformation’.”[72] Regarding the sex claims, Michael Isikoff and David Corn have stated that Steele’s “faith in the sensational sex claim would fade over time…. As for the likelihood of the claim that prostitutes had urinated in Trump’s presence, Steele would say to colleagues, ‘It’s 50-50’.”[25] James Comey has stated that, after his meetings with Trump, he thinks the salacious claims are possibly true.[133]

Other observers and experts have had varying reactions to the dossier. Generally, “former intelligence officers and other national-security experts” urged “skepticism and caution” but still took “the fact that the nation’s top intelligence officials chose to present a summary version of the dossier to both President Obama and President-elect Trump” as an indication “that they may have had a relatively high degree of confidence that at least some of the claims therein were credible, or at least worth investigating further”.[15]

Vice President Joe Biden told reporters that, while he and Obama were receiving a briefing on the extent of election hacking attempts, there was a two-page addendum which addressed the contents of the Steele dossier.[56] Top intelligence officials told them they “felt obligated to inform them about uncorroborated allegations about President-elect Donald Trump out of concern the information would become public and catch them off-guard”.[152]

On January 11, 2017, Newsweek published a list of “13 things that don’t add up” in the dossier, writing that it was a “strange mix of the amateur and the insightful” and stating that it “contains lots of Kremlin-related gossip that could indeed be, as the author claims, from deep insiders—or equally gleaned” from Russian newspapers and blogs.[153] Former UK ambassador to Russia Sir Tony Brenton stated that certain aspects of the dossier were inconsistent with British intelligence’s understanding of how the Kremlin works, commenting: “I’ve seen quite a lot of intelligence on Russia, and there are some things in [the dossier] which look pretty shaky.”[154]

In his June 2017 Senate Intelligence Committee testimony, former FBI director James Comey called “some personally sensitive aspects” of the dossier “salacious and unverified,” but he did not state that the entire dossier was unverified or that the salacious aspects were false. When Senator Richard Burr asked if any of the allegations in the dossier had been confirmed, Comey said he could not answer that question in a public setting.[155][20]

Trump and his supporters have challenged the veracity of the dossier because it was funded in part by the Clinton campaign and the DNC, while Democrats assert the funding source is irrelevant.[156]

Veracity of certain allegations

Russian assistance to the Trump campaign

January 6, 2017, intelligence community assessment released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) stated that Russian leadership favored the Trump candidacy over Clinton’s, and that Putin personally ordered an “influence campaign” to harm Clinton’s electoral chances and “undermine public faith in the US democratic process,” as well as ordering cyber attacks on “both major U.S. political parties”.[157]

Newsweek stated that “the dossier’s main finding, that Russia tried to prop up Trump over Clinton, was confirmed by” this assessment.[87] ABC News stated that “some of the dossier’s broad implications—particularly that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an operation to boost Trump and sow discord within the U.S. and abroad—now ring true.”[42] Referring to the ODNI assessment, former Los Angeles Times Moscow correspondent Robert Gillette wrote in an op-ed in the Concord Monitor that the dossier has had at least one of its main factual assertions verified….Steele’s dossier, paraphrasing multiple sources, reported precisely the same conclusion, in greater detail, six months earlier, in a memo dated June 20.”[158]

In The New Yorker, Jane Mayer has stated that the allegation that Trump was favored by the Kremlin, and that they offered Trump’s campaign dirt on Clinton, has proven true.[8]

In March 2016, George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, learned that the Russians had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of thousands of stolen emails. This occurred before the hacking of the DNC computers had become public knowledge.[159][160]Papadopoulos sent emails about Putin to at least seven Trump campaign officials. Trump national campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis[161] encouraged Papadopoulos to fly to Russia and meet with agents of the Russian Foreign Ministry, who reportedly wanted to share “Clinton dirt” with the Trump campaign.[162][163] When Donald Trump Jr. learned of the offer, he welcomed it by responding: “If it’s what you say, I love it…”[8] Later, on June 9, 2016, a meeting in Trump Tower was held, ostensibly for representatives from Russia to deliver that dirt on Clinton.[164][165]

At the July 2018 summit meeting, Putin was asked if he had wanted Trump to win the 2016 election. He responded “Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.”[166]

Republican position on Russian conflict with Ukraine

The dossier alleges that “the Trump campaign agreed to minimize US opposition to Russia’s incursions into Ukraine”.[167] Harding considers this allegation to have been confirmed by the actions of the Trump campaign: “This is precisely what happened at the Republican National Convention last July, when language on the US’s commitment to Ukraine was mysteriously softened.”[53] In July 2016, the Republican National Convention made changes to the Republican Party’s platform on Ukraine: initially the platform proposed providing “lethal weapons” to Ukraine, but the line was changed to “appropriate assistance”. NPR reported, “Diana Denman, a Republican delegate who supported arming U.S. allies in Ukraine, has told people that Trump aide J.D. Gordon said at the Republican Convention in 2016 that Trump directed him to support weakening that position in the official platform.”[168] J. D. Gordon, who was one of Trump’s national security advisers during the campaign, said that he had advocated for changing language because that reflected what Trump had said.[121][169] The Trump campaign does not appear to have intervened in any other platform deliberations aside from the language on Ukraine.[170]

In an interview on This Week, Trump told George Stephanopoulos that people in his campaign were responsible for changing the GOP’s platform stance on Ukraine, but that he was not personally involved.[171]

Trump had formerly taken a hard line on Ukraine. He initially denounced Russia’s annexation of Crimea as a “land grab” that “should never have happened”, and called for a firmer U.S. response, saying “We should definitely be strong. We should definitely do sanctions.” But after hiring Manafort his approach changed; he said he might recognize Crimea as Russian territory and might lift the sanctions against Russia.[172]

Relations with Europe and NATO

Vladimir Putin (2017)

The dossier alleges that as part of a quid pro quo agreement, “the TRUMP team had agreed… to raise US/NATO defense commitments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to deflect attention away from Ukraine, a priority for PUTIN who needed to cauterise the subject.”[95] Aiko Stevenson, writing in The Huffington Post, noted that some of Trump’s actions seem to align with “Putin’s wish list”, which “includes lifting sanctions on Russia, turning a blind eye towards its aggressive efforts in the Ukraine, and creating a divisive rift amongst western allies.”[173] During the campaign Trump “called Nato, the centrepiece of Transatlantic security ‘obsolete’, championed the disintegration of the EU, and said that he is open to lifting sanctions on Moscow.”[173] Harding adds that Trump repeatedly “questioned whether US allies were paying enough into Nato coffers.”[53] Jeff Stein, writing in Newsweek, described how “Trump’s repeated attacks on NATO have…frustrated…allies …[and] raised questions as to whether the president has been duped into facilitating Putin’s long-range objective of undermining the European Union.”[174] Trump’s appearances at meetings with allies, including NATO and G7, have frequently been antagonistic; according to the Los Angeles Times, “The president’s posture toward close allies has been increasingly and remarkably confrontational this year, especially in comparison to his more conciliatory approach to adversaries, including Russia and North Korea.”[175]

Lifting of sanctions

The dossier says that Page, claiming to speak with Trump’s authority, had confirmed that Trump would lift the existing sanctions against Russia if he were elected president.[89] On December 29, 2016, during the transition period between the election and the inauguration, National Security Advisor designate Flynn spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, urging him not to retaliate for newly imposed sanctions; the Russians took his advice and did not retaliate.[176]Within days after the inauguration, new Trump administration officials ordered State Department staffers to develop proposals for immediately revoking the economic and other sanctions.[177] One retired diplomat later said, “What was troubling about these stories is that suddenly I was hearing that we were preparing to rescind sanctions in exchange for, well, nothing.”[178] The staffers alerted Congressional allies who took steps to codify the sanctions into law. The attempt to overturn the sanctions was abandoned after Flynn’s conversation was revealed and Flynn resigned.[177][104] In August 2017, Congress passed a bipartisan bill to impose new sanctions on Russia. Trump reluctantly signed the bill, but then refused to implement it.[179]

Spy withdrawn from Russian embassy

The dossier alleges that a “Russian diplomat Mikhail KULAGIN [sic]” participated in US election meddling, and was recalled to Moscow because Kremlin was concerned that his role in the meddling would be exposed. The BBC later reported that US officials in 2016 had identified Russian diplomat Mikhail Kalugin as a spy and that he was under surveillance, thus “verifying” a key claim in the dossier.[94] Kalugin was the head of the economics section at the Russian embassy. He returned to Russia in August 2016.[96] McClatchy reported that the FBI was investigating whether Kalugin played a role in the election interference. Kalugin has denied the allegations.[96][180]

Page meeting with Rosneft officials

Jane Mayer said that this part of the dossier seems true, even if the name of an official may have been wrong. Page’s congressional testimony confirmed he held secret meetings with top Moscow and Rosneft officials, including talks about a payoff: “When Page was asked if a Rosneft executive had offered him a ‘potential sale of a significant percentage of Rosneft,’ Page said, ‘He may have briefly mentioned it’.”[8]

On November 2, 2017, Page appeared before the House Intelligence Committee (HPSCI) which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. In July 2016, Page made a five-day trip to Moscow,[181] but, according to his testimony, before leaving he informed Jeff SessionsJ. D. GordonHope Hicks, and Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager, of the planned trip to Russia, and Lewandowski approved the trip, responding: “If you’d like to go on your own, not affiliated with the campaign, you know, that’s fine.”[118][128] In his testimony, Page admitted he met with high ranking Kremlin officials. Previously, Page had denied meeting any Russian officials during the July trip. His comments appeared to corroborate portions of the dossier.[129][130] Newsweek has listed the claim about Page meeting with Rosneft officials as “verified”.[182]

Investigations using or referencing the dossier

The FBI’s Russia investigation

In late July 2016, “the CIA had set up a special group with the NSA and FBI… to investigate the extent of Russian intervention in the presidential election.” Former CIA director John Brennan then “ensured that all information about links between the Trump campaign and people working for or on behalf of Russian intelligence went to the FBI.”[183] These links between Trump associates and Russian officials were numerous. Politico keeps a very detailed running tally of the persons, and, as of April 25, 2018, they listed “73 associated with [Trump’s] 2016 campaign”.[184] Julian Borger reported that in Brennan’s testimony before the House intelligence committee, he made it clear “that he was alarmed by the extent of contacts between the Trump team and Moscow,” and that this justified the FBI inquiry:[183]

Brennan stressed repeatedly that collusion may have been unwitting, at least at first as Russian intelligence was deft at disguising its approaches to would-be agents. “Frequently, individuals on a treasonous path do not even realize they’re on that path until it gets to be too late,” he said.[183]

The investigation was also spurred by comments made by Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.[160][185] While Trump and some Republicans have claimed that the dossier was behind the beginning of the FBI investigation into his campaign’s potential conspiracy with Russia, in December 2017, former and current intelligence officials revealed that the actual impetus was a series of comments made in May 2016 by Papadopoulos to Alexander Downer, a top Australian diplomat, during a night of “heavy drinking at an upscale London bar”.[185][160] John Sipher reported that Papadopoulos bragged “that the Trump campaign was aware the Russian government had dirt on Hillary Clinton”[4] in the form of “thousands of emails” stolen from Clinton which could be used to damage her campaign. Papadopoulos had learned this about three weeks earlier. Two months later, when WikiLeaks started releasing DNC emails, Australian officials alerted the Americans about Papadopoulos’ remarks.[185][160]Over a year later, Papadopoulos was arrested on July 27, 2017,[186] and in October 2017, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, and became a cooperating witness in Mueller’s investigation.[185][186]

Other factors also played into the FBI’s decision to investigate Russian interference and the Trump campaign: intelligence from friendly governments, especially the British and Dutch, and information about Page’s Moscow trip. Steele’s first report was sent to Fusion GPS, dated June 20, 2016, and FBI agents first interviewed Steele in October 2016.[160] The New York Times reported on February 14, 2017 that the FBI had made contact with some of Steele’s sources.[187] CNN later reported that the FBI had used the dossier to bolster its existing investigations.[33][12]

In a January 2, 2018, CNN panel discussion, Elizabeth Foley, a Florida International University law professor, falsely alleged that the FISA warrant for Page was “all based on a dossier”, adding “That’s what Jim Comey has suggested.” She also cited reports from CNN and The New York TimesPolitiFact concluded that her claim about Comey was unsubstantiated, and according to CNN, the dossier was only “part of the justification”, and that The New York Times report did not mention the dossier. PolitiFact rated her claim “Mostly False”.[188]

Special counsel investigation

According to Senate Intelligence Committee vice chairman Mark Warner (D-VA), the dossier’s allegations are being investigated by a Special Counsel led by Robert Mueller, which, since May 2017, has been investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.[189] In the summer of 2017, Mueller’s team of investigators met with Steele.[190] As some leads stemming from the dossier have already been followed and confirmed by the FBI, legal experts have stated that Special Counsel investigators, headed by Robert Mueller, are obligated to follow any leads the dossier has presented them with, irrespective of what parties financed it in its various stages of development, or “[t]hey would be derelict in their duty if they didn’t.”[189][191]

Subject of the Nunes memo

On February 2, 2018, the Nunes memo, a four-page memorandum written for U.S. Representative Devin Nunes by his staff, was released to the public. Referring to the dossier, the memo states that the FBI “may have relied on politically motivated or questionable sources” to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant in October 2016 and in three subsequent renewals on Carter Page in the early phases of the FBI’s interference investigation.[192] Republican legislators argued that the memo presents evidence that a group of politically-biased FBI employees abused the FISA warrant process for the purpose of undermining the Trump presidency.[193] The Nunes memo stated that there was excessive and improper dependence on the Trump–Russia dossier.

On February 3, 2018, Trump praised the Nunes memo and tweeted:

Donald J. Trump via Twitter
@realDonaldTrump

This memo totally vindicates “Trump” in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!

3 Feb 2018[194]

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) disagreed, stating on February 4 on CBS’s Face the Nation: “I actually don’t think [the memo] has any impact on the Russia probe.” He went on to say:

“There is a Russia investigation without a dossier,” Gowdy said. “So to the extent the memo deals with the dossier and the FISA process, the dossier has nothing to do with the meeting at Trump Tower. The dossier has nothing to do with an email sent by Cambridge Analytica. The dossier really has nothing to do with George Papadopoulos’ meeting in Great Britain. It also doesn’t have anything to do with obstruction of justice. So there’s going to be a Russia probe, even without a dossier.”[28]

Gowdy was dissatisfied with the process of seeking the warrant: “I say investigate everything Russia did but admit that this was a really sloppy process that you engaged in to surveil a U.S. citizen.” When questioned, he said that the FISA warrant on Carter Page would not have been authorized without the dossier.[195]

Jane Mayer has quoted Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: “To impeach Steele’s dossier is to impeach Mueller’s investigation… It’s to recast the focus back on Hillary”, with the Republicans’ aim to “create a false narrative saying this is all a political witch hunt.” Mayer tied his view directly to Devin Nunes‘ production of “a report purporting to show that the real conspiracy revolved around Hillary Clinton,” falsely alleging that Clinton “colluded with the Russians…”, a claim debunked by Glenn Kessler.[8] Kessler, a fact checker for The Washington Post, analyzed a false accusation made by Nunes in a February 7, 2018, interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show: “The truth is that they [Democrats] are covering up that Hillary Clinton colluded with the Russians to get dirt on Trump to feed it to the FBI to open up an investigation into the other campaign.” Kessler’s “Pinocchio Test” rating was: “[T]here is no evidence that Clinton was involved in Steele’s reports or worked with Russian entities to feed information to Steele. That’s where Nunes’s claim goes off the rails—and why he earns Four Pinocchios.”[196] “Four Pinocchios” equals a “Whopper”.[197]

The Nunes memo falsely asserted that “Comey briefed President-elect Trump on a summary of the Steele dossier, even though it was—according to his June 2017 testimony—’salacious and unverified.'” Factcheckers noted that Comey actually testified that “some personally sensitive aspects of the information” were “salacious and unverified,” rather than the entire dossier.[198][199]

The Nunes memo asserted that Andrew McCabe testified to the House Intelligence Committee that “no surveillance warrant [of Carter Page] would have been sought from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) without the Steele dossier information,” but because McCabe testified in classified session, no transcript has yet been released to verify this assertion. In a CNN interview, McCabe asserted “that House Republicans twisted his answers”:

“We started the investigations without the dossier. We were proceeding with the investigations before we ever received that information…. Was the dossier material important to the package? Of course, it was. As was every fact included in that package. Was it the majority of what was in the package? Absolutely not.”[200]

Congressman Eric Swalwell, a member of the Committee, also stated that McCabe’s testimony was mischaracterized.[201]

Contrary to assertions by Trump and his supporters that the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections was triggered by the dossier,[202] the Nunes memo confirmed the investigation began with a tip from Australian diplomat Alexander Downer regarding a conversation he had with Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos in a London bar in May 2016.[160][203] The FBI opened its investigation in late July 2016, and The Washington Post noted that this timing is “significant, given the FBI did not seek authorization to conduct surveillance on Page until three months later, on Oct. 21, 2016.” The Democrats asserted that the Nunes memo “shows the Russia investigation would be underway with or without the surveillance of Page, and—more critically—even if the government had never seen the dossier of information about Trump that was compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British spy.”[204]

Amid assertions in the Nunes memo and from others that the dossier’s use in the Carter Page FISA warrant request was improper—countered by Democrats’ assertions that there was nothing improper—on April 6, 2018 the Justice Department made the FISA application available for all members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to review.[205]

On July 21, 2018, the Justice Department released heavily-redacted versions of four FISA warrant applications for Carter Page which showed that key assertions made in the Nunes memo were false or misleading, corroborating the rebuttal made by Democrats.[206][207]

Reactions

November 14, 2017 – House Intelligence Committee transcript of Glenn Simpson

August 22, 2017 Fusion GPS testimony transcript of Glenn Simpson

Individual responses

Donald Trump has repeatedly condemned the dossier, including in this tweet, in which he quotes from Fox & Friends:[19]

Donald J. Trump via Twitter
@realDonaldTrump

WOW, @foxandfrlends “Dossier is bogus. Clinton Campaign, DNC funded Dossier. FBI CANNOT (after all of this time) VERIFY CLAIMS IN DOSSIER OF RUSSIA/TRUMP COLLUSION. FBI TAINTED.” And they used this Crooked Hillary pile of garbage as the basis for going after the Trump Campaign!

26 Dec 2017[208]

As late as July 29, 2018, Trump continued to falsely insist that the FBI investigation of Russian interference was initiated because of the dossier, and three days later White House press secretary Sarah Sanders repeated the false assertion. Fox News host Shepard Smith said of Trump’s assertion: “In the main and in its parts, that statement is patently false.”[209]

Trump has called the dossier “fake news” and criticized the intelligence and media sources that published it.[210] During a press conference on January 11, 2017, Trump denounced the dossier’s claims as false, saying that it was “disgraceful” for U.S. intelligence agencies to report them. Trump refused to answer a question from CNN’s senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta on the subject. In response, CNN said that it had published “carefully sourced reporting” on the matter which had been “matched by the other major news organizations”, as opposed to BuzzFeed‘s posting of “unsubstantiated materials”.[211][64]

James Clapper described the leaks as damaging to U.S. national security.[212] This contradicted Trump’s previous claim that Clapper had said the information was false; Clapper’s statement actually said the intelligence community had made no judgment on the truth of the information.[213]

As Putin’s press secretary, Peskov insisted in an interview that the dossier is a fraud, saying “I can assure you that the allegations in this funny paper, in this so-called report, they are untrue. They are all fake.”[214] Putin called the people who leaked the dossier “worse than prostitutes”[215] and referred to the dossier itself as “rubbish”.[216] Putin went on to state he believed that the dossier was “clearly fake”,[217] fabricated as a plot against the legitimacy of President-elect Trump.[218]

Some of Steele’s former colleagues expressed support for his character, saying “The idea his work is fake or a cowboy operation is false—completely untrue. Chris is an experienced and highly regarded professional. He’s not the sort of person who will simply pass on gossip.”[17]

Among journalists, Bob Woodward called the dossier a “garbage document”, while Carl Bernstein took the opposite view, noting that the senior-most U.S. intelligence officials had determined that the content was worth reporting to the president and the president-elect.[219] Julian Borger has described the dossier as “one of the most explosive documents in modern political history…”[96] Ben Smith, editor of BuzzFeed, wrote: “The dossier is a document…of obvious central public importance. It’s the subject of multiple investigations by intelligence agencies, by Congress. That was clear a year ago. It’s a lot clearer now.”[220]

Ynet, an Israeli online news site, reported on January 12, 2017 that U.S. intelligence advised Israeli intelligence officers to be cautious about sharing information with the incoming Trump administration, until the possibility of Russian influence over Trump, suggested by Steele’s report, has been fully investigated.[221]

On March 2, 2017, media began reporting that the Senate may call Steele to testify about the Trump dossier.[222] On March 27, 2017, SJC Chairman Chuck Grassley asked the Department of Justice to initiate an inquiry into Fusion GPS, who initially retained Steele to write the dossier.[223] Fusion GPS was previously associated with pro-Russia lobbying activities due to sanctions imposed by the Magnitsky Act.[224] On August 22, 2017, Steele met with the FBI and had provided them with the names of his sources for the allegations in the dossier.[225]

Steven L. Hall, former CIA chief of Russia operations, has contrasted Steele’s methods with those of Donald Trump Jr., who sought information from a Russian attorney at a meeting in Trump Tower in June 2016: “The distinction: Steele spied against Russia to get info Russia did not want released; Don Jr took a mtg to get info Russians wanted to give.”[226]

Jane Mayer referred to the same meeting and contrasted the difference in reactions to Russian attempts to support Trump: When Trump Jr. was offered “dirt” on Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” instead of “going to the F.B.I., as Steele had” done when he learned that Russia was helping Trump, Trump’s son accepted the support by responding: “If it’s what you say, I love it…”[8]

On January 2, 2018, Simpson and Fritsch authored an op-ed in The New York Times, requesting that Republicans “release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony” and further wrote that, “the Steele dossier was not the trigger for the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling. As we told the Senate Judiciary Committee in August, our sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp.”[9] Ken Dilanian of NBC News stated that a “source close to Fusion GPS” told him that the FBI had not planted anyone in the Trump camp, but rather that Simpson was referring to Papadopoulos.[227][47]

On January 5, 2018, in the first known Congressional criminal referral resulting from investigations related to the Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, Grassley made a referral to the Justice Department suggesting that they investigate possible criminal charges against Steele[228][229] for allegedly making false statements to the FBI about the distribution of the dossier’s claims,[230] specifically possible “inconsistencies” in what Steele told authorities and “possibly lying to FBI officials”.[231]Senator Lindsey Graham also signed the letter.[232][233] Both Grassley and Graham declared that they were not alleging that Steele “had committed any crime. Rather, they had passed on the information for ‘further investigation only’.”[234] The referral was met with skepticism from legal experts, as well as some of the other Republicans and Democrats on the Judiciary committee, who reportedly had not been consulted.[232]

On January 8, 2018, a spokesman for Grassley said he did not plan to release the transcript of Simpson’s August 22, 2017 testimony before the SJC.[235] The next day, ranking committee member Senator Dianne Feinstein unilaterally released the transcript.[51][236]

On January 10, 2018, Fox News host Sean Hannity appeared to have advance information on the forthcoming release of the Nunes memo and its assertions about the dossier, saying “more shocking information will be coming out in just days that will show systemic FISA abuse.” Hannity asserted that this new information would reveal “a totally phony document full of Russian lies and propaganda that was then used by the Obama administration to surveil members of an opposition party and incoming president,” adding that this was “the real Russia collusion story” that represented a “precipice of one of the largest abuses of power in U.S. American history. And I’m talking about the literal shredding of the U.S. Constitution.”[237]

On January 18, 2018, the HPSCI released the transcript of the Simpson Testimony given on November 14, 2017.[238][239] Democratic committee member Adam Schiff stated that the testimony contains “serious allegations that The Trump Organization may have engaged in money laundering with Russian nationals”. Trump Organization’s chief counsel Alan Garten called the allegations “unsubstantiated” and “reckless”, and said that Simpson was mainly referring to properties to which Trump licensed his name. Democratic member Jim Himes said that Simpson “did not provide evidence and I think that’s an important point. He made allegations.”[240]

In April 2018, the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) gave The Merriman Smith Memorial Award to CNN reporters Evan Perez, Jim SciuttoJake Tapper and Carl Bernstein. In January 2017, they reported that the intelligence community had briefed Obama and Trump of allegations that Russians claimed to have “compromising personal and financial information” on then-President elect Donald Trump.[62][241] WHCA noted that “[t]hanks to this CNN investigation, ‘the dossier’ is now part of the lexicon”.[242]

Circumstances surrounding the death of Oleg Erovinkin

On December 26, 2016, Oleg Erovinkin, a former KGB/FSB general, was found dead in his car in Moscow. Erovinkin was a key liaison between Sechin and Putin. Steele claimed much of the information came from a source close to Sechin. According to Christo Grozev, a journalist at Risk Management Lab, a think tank based in Bulgaria, the circumstances of Erovinkin’s death were “mysterious”. Grozev suspected Erovinkin helped Steele compile the dossier on Trump and suggests the hypothesis that the death may have been part of a cover-up by the Russian government.[243][244] Experts expressed skepticism about the theory. “As a rule, people like Gen Yerovinkin don’t tend to die in airport thriller murders,” said Mark Galeotti, an expert on the Russian security services.[243]

Litigation

Against BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS

On February 3, 2017, Aleksej Gubarev, chief of technology company XBT and a figure mentioned in the dossier, sued BuzzFeed for defamation. The suit, filed in a Broward County, Florida court, centers on allegations from the dossier that XBT had been “using botnetsand porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct ‘altering operations’ against the Democratic Party leadership”.[245][246] In the High Court of Justice, Steele’s lawyers said their client did not intend for the memos to be released, and that one of the memos “needed to be analyzed and further investigated/verified”.[247] In response to the lawsuit, BuzzFeed hired the business advisory firm FTI Consulting to investigate the dossier’s allegations.[248] BuzzFeed has sued the DNC in an attempt to force the disclosure of information it believes will bolster its defense against libel allegations.[249] Fusion GPS “has claimed that it did not provide the dossier to BuzzFeed.”[250]

In connection with the libel suit against them by Gubarev, on June 30, 2017, BuzzFeed subpoenaed the CIA, the FBI, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. They also sought “testimony from fired FBI Director James Comey, as well as former DNI James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan”. They were interested in using the discovery process to get information about the distribution of the dossier, how it had circulated among government officials, and the “existence and scope of the federal government’s investigation into the dossier”. They hoped “the information could bolster BuzzFeed’s claim that publication of the document was protected by the fair report privilege, which can immunize reports based on official government records.”[251] On June 4, 2018, Judge Ursula Ungaro ruled that BuzzFeed could claim “fair report privilege” for the publication of the dossier and its accompanying article, bolstering BuzzFeed’s defense.[252]

In May 2017, Mikhail FridmanPetr Aven, and German Khan – the owners of Alfa Bank – filed a defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed for publishing the unverified dossier,[253][254] which alleges financial ties and collusion between Putin, Trump, and the three bank owners.[255][256] In October 2017, Fridman, Aven, and Khan also filed a libel suit against Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson, for circulating the dossier among journalists and allowing it to be published.[257]

On January 9, 2018, Michael Cohen sued BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS for defamation over allegations about him in the dossier.[258] On April 19, 2018, ten days after his home, office and hotel room were raided by the FBI as part of a criminal investigation, Cohen filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss the suit.[259][260][261]

Against Christopher Steele

In April 2018, Alfa Bank owners Fridman, Aven, and Khan filed a libel suit against Steele,[262] since the dossier alleges financial ties and collusion between Putin, Trump, and the three bank owners.[255][256] The lawsuit is filed in Washington D.C., and since none of the parties to the lawsuit are based in D.C., it is possible the lawsuit may not be able to move forward in that court.[262] Steele’s lawyers have filed two motions to dismiss the case, accusing the three men of intimidation.[263]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trump%E2%80%93Russia_dossier

Story 2: International Investors in U.S. Treasury Securities Are Flat and Smallest Share in 18 Years — Videos

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Uncle Sam Wants You: Treasury Depends More on Domestic Bond Buyers

U.S. investors have so far financed all of this year’s increase in the federal government’s borrowing

Even as yields on Treasury securities have risen to multiyear highs, foreign demand for debt at government bond auctions has slowed to the weakest level since 2008.
Even as yields on Treasury securities have risen to multiyear highs, foreign demand for debt at government bond auctions has slowed to the weakest level since 2008. PHOTO: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The U.S. government has been issuing more debt, but it’s not getting more foreign buyers in the door. As a result, U.S. investors have so far financed all of this year’s increase in the federal government’s borrowing.

Foreign holdings of the debt have remained essentially flat, though the government’s borrowing has risen by $500 billion, giving foreign investors the smallest share of U.S. government debt since 2003. Even as yields on Treasury securities have risen to multiyear highs, foreign demand for debt at government bond auctions has slowed to the weakest level since 2008. Yields rise when bond prices fall.

Imported BondsTreasury debt has been less popular overseassince auction sizes began increasing this FebruaryPercentage of Treasury auctions won by foreign investors Source: U.S. Treasury Department
%Jan. ’17JulyJan. ’18July7.510.012.515.017.520.022.5

Some foreign investors are concerned that the$1.5 trillion tax cut passed by Congress in December will overstimulate the U.S. economy, leading to an acceleration in inflation and potentially higher bond yields and interest rates.

The drop in foreign demand is happening as Treasury yields approach their highest premiums over German and Japanese debt since the 1980s and as the dollar is in the middle of a rally that caught many investors by surprise. The drop-off in foreign interest also coincides with a decision by the Federal Reserve to reduce the size of its government bond holdings as part of an effort to restore monetary policy to precrisis norms.

Investors and analysts cite two impediments that are discouraging foreign investment. One is the strength of the dollar has made it more expensive for investors in Japan and Europe to hedge the currency risk of buying Treasurys. A second is a new concern about the sustainability of U.S. borrowing practices at a time when the Trump administration is forecast to run a series of trillion-dollar budget deficits beginning as soon as 2020.

The hedging costs are “so high and so punitive that it is no longer attractive” to buy Treasurys, said Torsten Slok, chief international economist at Deutsche Bank. The cost is typically close to premium of short-term U.S. government bill yields over short-term yields overseas. Those rates are compared with short-term government debt yields, which are closely tied to each market’s central bank’s policies. The Fed is holding its target rate in a range between 1.75% and 2%, while rates for the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank are negative.

A bigger concern perhaps is that by boosting debt to fuel growth at a time when the unemployment rate is about 4%, the U.S. may be “opening the door to much more serious risks,” Mr. Slok said.

Those risks for the economy, which grew at a 4.1% pace in the second quarter, include the possibility that it overheats. That could force the Fed to raise interest rates quickly, risking a rise in bond yields, and accelerate the next recession, Mr. Slok said.

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/funding-secured-for-the-u-s-government-that-means-domestic-bond-buyers-1534507201

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