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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

 Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1127, August 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1126, August 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1125, August 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1124, August 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1123, August 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1122, August 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1121, August 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1120, August 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1119, August 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1118, August 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1117, July 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1116, July 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1115, July 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1114, July 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1113, July 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1112, July 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1111, July 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1110, July 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1109, July 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1108, July 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1107, July 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1105, July 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1104, July 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1103, July 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1101, July 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1098, June 25, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1097, June 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1096, June 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1094, June 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1093, June 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1092, June 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1090, June 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1088, June 6, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1087, June 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1086, May 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1085, May 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1084, May 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1083, May 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1082, May 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1081, May 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1080, May 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1078, May 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1071, May 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1070, May 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1069, May 2, 2018

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

Trump calls DOJ official Bruce Ohr a ‚Äėdisgrace‚Äô

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‚Äôs Bruce Ohr is the ‚Äėlynchpin‚Äô 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 ‚Äėscared stiff and missing in action‚Äô

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 ‚ÄėRussiagate

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

‚ÄúBruce Ohr of the ‚ÄėJustice‚Äô Department (can you believe he is still there) is accused of helping disgraced Christopher Steele ‚Äėfind dirt on Trump.‚Äô Ohr‚Äôs wife, Nelly, was in on the act big time – worked for Fusion GPS on Fake Dossier.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄĒ President Trump, in a tweet, Aug. 14, 2018

‚ÄúThe big story that the Fake News Media refuses to report is lowlife Christopher Steele‚Äôs 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.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄĒ Trump, in a tweet, Aug. 11

Who is Bruce Ohr?

Ohr exists in a netherworld ‚ÄĒ 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‚Äôs tweets and explain what is known ‚Äď and unknown ‚Äď about Ohr‚Äôs 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‚Äôs ties in Russia. Steele was the author of the ‚Äúdossier‚ÄĚ 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 ‚ÄĒ 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 ‚ÄĒ 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 ‚ÄĒ “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 ‚ÄĒ it’s not specified what ‚ÄĒ 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 ‚ÄĒ 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 ‚ÄĒ 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‚Äôt voted to release the memo in the first place. Clinton and Obama‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúinformation it says was obtained from ‚Äėa senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure and a former top level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin.‚Äô‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúIn other words, the Clinton camp and the DNC were essentially paying for information allegedly obtained from inside the Russian government,‚ÄĚ the Post added.

In summary, the administration of former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, used a phony dossier based on Russian intelligence ‚ÄĒ and that was paid for by Clinton, the then-Democrat presidential nominee ‚ÄĒ 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 ‚Äď and the State Department is next.

Appearing on Fox News‚Äô ‚ÄúSpecial Report‚ÄĚ with host Bret Baier, Nunes said that today‚Äôs 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, ‚ÄúYes, this completes just the FISA abuse portion of our investigation,‚ÄĚ adding that the ‚Äúinvestigation is ongoing.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúWe are in the middle of what I call ‚Äėphase two‚Äô of our investigation, which involves other departments,‚ÄĚ Nunes continued. ‚ÄúSpecifically, the State Department and some of the involvement they had in this.‚ÄĚ Don‚Äôt 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.

‚ÄúThe evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones,‚ÄĚ 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,‚ÄĚIf Trump gets in we‚Äôre all going to be hanging from nooses.‚ÄĚ 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 ‚ÄúRussiagate‚ÄĚ investigation was itself premised strongly on this ‚Äúsalacious and unverified‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs play.

This is not to minimize the profoundly troubling questions that this dossier has already presented, including those about the legitimacy of using ‚Äúhuman sources‚ÄĚ (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. ¬ß1505.

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‚Äôs, 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‚Äôs calmly examine this hypothesis. We now know that the Steele dossier is false in its major claims, at least as to Trump‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúcutout‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúinter-agency‚ÄĚ 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 ‚ÄúLUREs,‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs employer, it certainly spoon-fed him as ‚ÄúSource D‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúSource E‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs repeating the ho-hummer that the Russians had ‚Äúdirt‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äď Steele ‚Äď 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 ‚Äúfront‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs job, thus, seems something other than the ‚Äúopposition research‚ÄĚ it has been labelled, to Comey and Brennen‚Äôs 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‚Äôs put it differently: if Steele‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs phony reports? The ink was barely dry on most of Steele‚Äôs ‚Äúfindings‚ÄĚ when Brennan made a big play of his ‚Äúsecret‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs 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‚ÄôConnor is the San Francisco attorney who represented W. Mark Felt during his revelation as Deep Throat in 2005. O‚ÄôConnor is the co-author of ‚ÄúA G-Man‚Äôs Life: The FBI, Being ‚ÄėDeep Throat,‚Äô and the Struggle for Honor in Washington‚ÄĚ and is a producer of ‚ÄúMark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House‚ÄĚ (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‚ÄďRussia dossier

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The Trump‚ÄďRussia 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‚Äď90% 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 [‚Ķ] 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‚ÄĒhe 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 ‚Äď during the first half of the year ‚Äď Steele was able to make inquiries in Russia with relative ease. It got harder from late July, as Trump‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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.”

‚ÄĒ‚ÄČDavid 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‚ÄĒthat Trump and Russia’s leadership were communicating via secret back channels during the presidential campaign‚ÄĒwas 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‚Äď2)
  • 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‚Äď29)
  • 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‚ÄďRussia 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‚Äď35)
  • 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‚Äď2, 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‚Äď12)
  • 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‚Äď8)
  • 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‚Äď35)
  • 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‚Äď35)

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‚Äď8)
  • 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‚Äôs 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‚Äď32)

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 Zeln√≠ńćkov√°; 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‚Äď10).[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.”

‚ÄĒ‚ÄČJeff 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‚ÄĒor compromising material‚ÄĒon 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‚ÄĒwhich it isn’t‚ÄĒthis 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúgenerally credible‚ÄĚ and “In the intelligence business, you don‚Äôt pretend you‚Äôre a hundred per cent accurate. If you‚Äôre seventy or eighty per cent accurate, that makes you one of the best.‚ÄĚ 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‚Äď90% 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‚ÄĒor 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‚ÄĒparticularly that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an operation to boost Trump and sow discord within the U.S. and abroad‚ÄĒnow 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‚Ķ 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôre 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‚ÄďRussia dossier.

On February 3, 2018, Trump praised the Nunes memo and tweeted:

Donald J. Trump‚úď 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‚ÄĒand 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‚ÄĒaccording to his June 2017 testimony‚ÄĒ’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‚ÄĒmore critically‚ÄĒeven 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‚ÄĒcountered by Democrats’ assertions that there was nothing improper‚ÄĒon 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 ‚Äď 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‚úď 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‚ÄĒcompletely 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‚Äôt 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 ‚Äď the owners of Alfa Bank ‚Äď 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

See the source image

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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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúso high and so punitive that it is no longer attractive‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs central bank‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúopening the door to much more serious risks,‚ÄĚ 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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The Pronk Pops Show 1016, January 10, 2016, Story 1: Renewal of FISA’s Section 702 and Protection of Americans Privacy Rights — National Security Agency Is Spying On American People — Require NSA To Get A Warrant In Court of Law — Support U.S.A. Rights Act — Videos — Story 2: Fusion GPS Dossier and Leaking of Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson Testimony — Videos

Posted on January 10, 2018. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Breaking News, Cartoons, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Donald J. Trump, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, History, House of Representatives, Housing, Human, Human Behavior, Law, Life, Media, National Interest, National Security Agency, Networking, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Progressives, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, Wealth, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Judge Nap on FISA Act Renewal

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The privacy concerns at the heart of the FISA renewal debate

FISA ¬ß702: ‚ÄėThis is the end of probable cause‚Äô ‚ÄĒ Lionel

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Trey Gowdy on DACA Judge and Surveillance on Americans.

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Renewal of FISA’s Section 702: Why America Needs the Provision

Rand Paul on Obama Illegally Spying on Americans | NSA Wiretapping

NSA Spying On Americans ‘Widespread’ – Let Sec. 702 Expire!

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NSA Whistleblower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM

Representative Justin Amash, Republican of Michigan, is sponsoring a bill amendment that would extend Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act by four years while making major changes to it.CreditEric Thayer for The New York Times

WASHINGTON ‚ÄĒ A yearslong debate over National Security Agency surveillance and protections for Americans‚Äô privacy rights will reach a climactic moment on Thursday as the House of Representatives takes up legislation to extend a program of warrantless spying on internet and phone networks that traces back to the Sept. 11 attacks.

There is little doubt that Congress will extend an expiring statute, known as Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, that permits the government to collect without a warrant from American firms, like Google and AT&T, the emails and other communications of foreigners abroad ‚ÄĒ even when they are talking to Americans.

But it is far from clear whether Congress will impose significant new safeguards for Americans’ privacy. A bipartisan coalition of civil-liberties-minded lawmakers are trying to impose such changes, while the Trump administration, the intelligence community and House Republican leadership oppose them.

Thursday’s vote is seen as the crucial test because more would-be reformers are in the House than in the Senate, which will take up the legislation later. If majority support for imposing new privacy protections on the program does not exist in the House, the Senate is unlikely to add them in.

‚ÄúThe chances are better in the House,‚ÄĚ acknowledged Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, at a news conference on Wednesday of House and Senate lawmakers who support surveillance overhaul efforts. ‚ÄúThe privacy movement is stronger in the House than the Senate. Maybe we can learn from you guys.‚ÄĚ

The N.S.A. began collecting Americans’ international phone calls and emails without a warrant in October 2001 as part of the Bush administration’s post-Sept. 11 Stellarwind program. In 2008, after the program had come to light, Congress legalized a form of it by enacting Section 702 of the FISA law. That law enabled the program to expand to Silicon Valley firms, not just telecoms, and to all foreign intelligence purposes, not just counterterrorism.

In late 2012, Congress extended the law for five years without changes. But the pending expiration of Section 702 is forcing lawmakers to address its substance for the first time since the 2013 leaks about N.S.A. programs by Edward J. Snowden set off a major debate about 21st-century surveillance technology and privacy rights.

On Thursday, the House will vote on an Intelligence Committee bill that would extend the 702 program for six years with only minor changes. But House leaders are permitting lawmakers first to vote on a single proposed amendment that would make major changes.

Chief among them, the amendment would ban the practice whereby officials at the N.S.A., the F.B.I. and other security agencies, without a warrant, search for and read private messages of Americans that the government incidentally swept up under the 702 program. Instead, except in emergencies, officials would need to obtain a court order to query the repository for an American’s information.

The amendment is chiefly sponsored by Representative Justin Amash, Republican of Michigan, and Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California. It would substitute in the text of another bill, dubbed the USA Rights Act, which would extend Section 702 by only four years.

The bipartisan coalition backing overhaul efforts ‚ÄĒ which includes some of the most conservative and most liberal members of the House ‚ÄĒ say that change is necessary to uphold the meaning and substance of Fourth Amendment privacy rights in light of 21st-century communications technology and surveillance powers.

But the F.B.I. and the intelligence community have balked at that proposal, saying it would impede their efforts to protect the country to require warrants to query information the government already possesses. There are also lawmakers of both parties ‚ÄĒ backed by House leadership ‚ÄĒ who oppose the amendment.

Aides to Representative Devin Nunes, the California Republican who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, distributed a¬†one-page sheet¬†this week denouncing the amendment as imposing ‚Äúunnecessarily severe requirements‚ÄĚ that would endanger Americans.

Complicating matters, the base bill backed by Mr. Nunes contains a gesture toward a court-order requirement, too. It would apply only under narrow circumstances: if F.B.I. agents have already opened a criminal investigation into the American whose information they are searching for, and if the agents have no national-security rationale.

Representative Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said the warrant requirement in the base bill would be sufficient to ‚Äúprevent the database from being used as a general tool to gather evidence and introduce it in court in cases that have nothing to do with terrorism.‚ÄĚ

But the base bill would still permit routine queries for Americans’ information without warrants. Its warrant requirement would not apply to national-security-related queries by a range of agencies, including the C.I.A., the N.S.A. and the F.B.I. Nor would it apply to F.B.I. queries when agents are merely pursuing tips about an American but do not yet have enough evidence of wrongdoing to open a criminal investigation.

In short, the base bill would give greater privacy protections to criminal suspects than to people the F.B.I. has no solid basis for thinking had committed any wrongdoing.

Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, dismissed the base bill‚Äôs limited warrant provision on Wednesday as ‚Äúfake reform‚ÄĚ that was really just ‚Äúbusiness as usual.‚ÄĚ

Adding to the uncertainty, in 2014 and 2015, the House approved amendments to appropriations bills that would have required warrants to search the 702 repository for Americans’ information, but they were rejected in negotiations with the Senate. When the idea came up again in 2016, shortly after the terrorist attack on a nightclub in Orlando, Fla., the House voted it down.

Another significant difference between the base bill and the amendment centers on the N.S.A.‚Äôs old practice of scanning Americans‚Äô international emails and other internet messages and collecting those that mention a foreign target ‚ÄĒ but are neither to nor from that target. The technique¬†came to light¬†amid the Snowden leaks and¬†ended last year.

Such collection is technically complex, and the N.S.A. shut it down after repeatedly running into trouble adhering to limits imposed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. But the agency wants to retain the flexibility to turn it back on. The base bill would permit it to do so after briefing the congressional intelligence committees. The amendment would ban the practice.

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The Pronk Pops Show 1013, December 13, 2017, Story 1: Special Counsel To Be Appointed To Investigate Hillary Clinton’s Compromise of National Security and Obama Administration’s Cover-up And Conspiracy To Use of Intelligence Community Including FBI and National Security Agency To Spy on Trump Campaign — Department of Justice Inspector General’s Report Will Blow The Lid Off ¬†The Conspiracy To Obstruct Justice By Obama’s DOJ and FBI To Clear Hillary Clinton and FBI informant’s Congressional Testimony On Russian Rosatom Bribery, Extortion and Kickbacks — The Political Scandal of The Century — American People Have Lost Confidence and Trust in Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation — Videos — Story 2: Republican House and Senate Agree on Tax Bill — Rush To Pass Bill Before Congressional Christmas Break — Videos — Story 3: Federal Reserve As Expected Raises Federal Funds Target Rate Range By .25% to Between 1.25% and 1.5% — Expect Three Hikes in 2018 or Four Hikes If Economy Booming — Videos — We wish you a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year — Videos

Posted on December 15, 2017. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Coal, Coal, Communications, Computers, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Currencies, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Gangs, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Investments, James Comey, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Monetary Policy, National Interest, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Networking, News, Obama, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions, Solar, Spying on American People, Success, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Trump Surveillance/Spying, U.S. Dollar, Unemployment, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 1013, December 13, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 1007, November 28, 2017

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Pronk Pops Show 1005, November 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 1004, November 21, 2017

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Story 1: Special Counsel To Be Appointed To Investigate Hillary Clinton’s Compromise of National Security and Obama Administration’s Cover-up And Conspiracy To Use of Intelligence Community Including FBI and National Security Agency To Spy on Trump Campaign — Department of Justice Inspector General’s Report Will Blow The Lid Off ¬†The Conspiracy To Obstruct Justice By Obama’s DOJ and FBI To Clear Hillary Clinton and FBI informant’s Congressional Testimony On Russian Rosatom Bribery, Extortion and Kickbacks — The Political Scandal of The Century — American People Have Lost Confidence and Trust in Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation — Videos

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The Latest on a Biased Bureau

DC attorney sends final WARNING to DOJ, FBI as Bob Mueller’s Russia probe collapses

“Stunning Examples of Bias Taint Mueller Probe”

Real Collusion: The FBI & Clinton Campaign – Trump & Russia Tainted Probes – Tucker Carlson

Trump Blasts FBI, Then Praises New Agents – Story

Chaffetz on the Inspector General and the DOJ/FBI Scrutiny

Penn: Mueller and FBI face a crisis in public confidence

Mueller probe paints a picture of a banana republic: Ken Blackwell

Reps. Gaetz and Jordan call for a second special counsel

Gaetz Demands FBI Director Explain ‚ÄúSpecial‚ÄĚ Treatment of Clinton During Investigation – 12/7/17

Sen. Grassley calls for greater scrutiny of Strzok’s texts

Evidence of “Brazen” FBI Plot Deepens and Thickens

Trump addresses FBI event after criticizing agency

DOJ bias is like a cancer: Rep. Gaetz

Deep State Conspiracy Revealed – Bruce Ohr’s CIA Russia Expert Wife Worked with Fusion GPS

New Revelations Regarding Hillary’s Exoneration by the FBI

Judge Nap on the Mueller Probe Bias and More

Tom Fitton on credibility problems of DOJ and FBI

Gohmert on New Allegations of Bias in Mueller/Russia Probe

Gohmert on Peter Strzok’s Biased & Vengeful Text Exchanges

Judge Nap: Too Early to Say Mueller Probe Is Biased Against Trump

Documents confirm language softened in Comey’s Clinton memo

Gingrich on cesspool of corruption covering up for Clintons

DOJ SCANDAL: List of democrats making donations to Bob Mueller’s team EXPOSED

Trey Gowdy on FBI Dep Director Andrew McCabe – Surprised if Still an FBI Employee Next Week

OMG!!ROBERT MUELLERS INVESTIGATIONS JUST ESCALATED TO ANOTHER LEVEL.SEE HOW.”DEEPER THAN YOU THINK”

EXPOSED! How the FBI, DOJ conspired to stop President Trump. What will happen to Bob Mueller now?

FBI’s Strzok & Page in Andrew McCabe’s Office Discuss ‘Insurance Policy’ to Prevent Trump Election

Mueller’s Russiagate Prosecution Is Imploding Before His Eyes While DOJ and FBI Scandals Metastasize

OMG!! Bob Mueller JUST confessed to Coup d’√©tat plot against President Trump

Congressman Jim Jordan sends SHOCKING WARNING to Jeff Sessions, Bob Mueller will be trembling now!

JUST IN: Judge reveals names of corrupt FBI and DOJ officials to be arrested

Fox News obtains texts between FBI agent Strzok, lawyer

Hannity 12/5/2017 – Sean Hannity Dec 5, 17 on Fox News

Demoted top DoJ official Bruce Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion GPS of dossier fame

Congressman Jim Jordan sends SHOCKING WARNING to Jeff Sessions, Bob Mueller will be trembling now!

Jordan: We need to depose Peter Strzok, talk to Bruce Ohr

“Peter Strzok is the SMOKING GUN!!” Hannity and Ben Shapiro Break it Down

Bret Baier and Trey Gowdy speak about Strzok

Mueller, Strzok, Comey should the subjects of criminal investigations: Lou Dobbs

FBI Hillary Cheerleader Peter Strzok Changed Comey Language That Exonerated Hillary

Former FBI Ass’t Dir says DoJ cabal is a conspiracy

Hannity: Rosenstein pretends not to see evidence of bias

Body Language: Rosenstein Mueller Expansion

BREAKING: JW Sues FBI Over Removal of FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok from Mueller Operation

“The FBI Belongs to the VOTERS!!” Tucker GOES OFF on FBI Leaders

‘NUCLEAR’ Sen. Grassley Lashes out at FBI, DOJ in Fiery Senate Floor Speech

Strassel: Fusion GPS dossier a dirty trick for the ages

Obama knew about the Russian dossier: Tony Shaffer

Rpt: Obama Aligned Group Paid Law Firm That Hired Fusion GPS To Create Dossier – Story

Obama campaign connection to Fusion GPS

FBI Comey “Don’t call us weasels” Trey Gowdy Grills FBI James Comey On Hillary Clinton’s Email

Judge Nap on FBI Bias and More

Corruption at the FBI

The FBI Now Under Intense Scrutiny Over McCabe Potential Hatch Violations

BOMBSHELL Sen. Grassley “THE FIX WAS IN..Congress has the Right to Know”

Gohmert Speaks on House Floor about the Recent Rosenstein Hearing

What happened during Andrew McCabe’s testimony at Senate Intelligence hearing?

Acting FBI director McCabe gets GRILLED on James Comey Firing & Trump Russia Connections

Acting FBI director contradicts White House on Comey

Judge Napolitano on acting FBI director McCabe’s ties to Clinton ally

FBI Director James Comey FULL STATEMENT on Hillary Clinton Email Investigation (C-SPAN)

 

Fusion GPS admits DOJ official’s wife Nellie Ohr hired to probe Trump

A co-founder of the opposition research firm Fusion GPS acknowledged in a new court document that his company hired the wife of a senior Justice Department official to help investigate then-candidate Donald Trump last year.

The confirmation from Glenn Simpson came in a signed declaration filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., and provided a fuller picture of the nature of Nellie Ohr‚Äôs work ‚Äď after¬†Fox News first reported¬†on her connection to Fusion GPS.

Her husband, Bruce Ohr, was demoted at the DOJ last week for concealing his meetings with the same company, which commissioned the anti-Trump ‚Äúdossier‚ÄĚ containing salacious allegations about the now-president. Together, the Fusion connections for Mr. and Mrs. Ohr have raised Republican concerns about objectivity at the Justice Department, and even spurred a call from Trump‚Äôs outside counsel for a separate special prosecutor.

Simpson‚Äôs statement shows Mrs. Ohr was indeed involved in the Trump research. He said bank records reflect Fusion GPS contracted with her ‚Äúto help our company with its research and analysis of Mr. Trump.‚ÄĚ

WIFE OF DEMOTED DOJ OFFICIAL WORKED FOR TRUMP DOSSIER FIRM

Further, Simpson said he disclosed to the House intelligence committee that he met personally with Bruce Ohr, ‚Äúat his request, after the November 2016 election to discuss our findings regarding Russia and the election.‚ÄĚ

Fox News first reported¬†last week that Bruce Ohr had been demoted at the DOJ amid an ongoing investigation into his contacts with Fusion GPS. Evidence collected by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., indicates that Ohr met during the 2016 campaign with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored the ‚Äúdossier.‚Ä̬†Additionally, as acknowledged in the court filing, he met with Simpson after the election.

bruceohr

DOJ official Bruce Ohr was demoted amid questions over his contacts with Fusion GPS figures.  (AP)

Fusion GPS has attracted scrutiny because Republican lawmakers have spent the better part of this year investigating whether the dossier, which was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, served as the basis for the Justice Department and the FBI to obtain FISA surveillance last year on a Trump campaign adviser named Carter Page.

On Tuesday, Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow called for the appointment of a separate special prosecutor to look into potential conflicts of interest involving Justice Department and FBI officials.

A group of House Republicans for months has called for the appointment of a second special counsel to probe certain Obama and Clinton-related controversies, something Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reviewing.

When asked Tuesday about the Sekulow call, Sessions noted he’s already ordered that review following the prior call from members of Congress.

‚ÄúI‚Äôve put a senior attorney, with the resources he may need, to review cases in our office and make a recommendation to me … if things aren‚Äôt being pursued that need to be pursued, if cases may need more resources to complete in a proper manner, and to recommend to me if the standards for a special counsel are met,‚ÄĚ he said, calling that the ‚Äúappropriate‚ÄĚ course.

Fox News’ James Rosen and John Roberts contributed to this report. 

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/12/13/fusion-gps-admits-doj-officials-wife-nellie-ohr-hired-to-probe-trump.html

A special counsel needs to investigate the FBI and Justice Department. Now.

 December 4

The Post¬†reported¬†that a former top FBI official, Peter Strzok, who had been assigned to and then removed from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III‚Äôs investigation, had ‚Äúexchanged politically charged texts disparaging [President] Trump and supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton‚ÄĚ and that Strzok was ‚Äúalso a key player in the investigation into Clinton‚Äôs use of a private email server.‚ÄĚ

This is a blockbuster revelation, carrying the possibility of shattering public confidence in a number of long-held assumptions about the criminal-justice system generally and the FBI and the Justice Department specifically. The Justice Department should appoint a special counsel to investigate Strzok’s actions as soon as possible.

The Strzok report comes on the heels of the¬†widely derided Justice Department investigation¬†into IRS discrimination against conservative groups, including the disposition of allegations against IRS senior official Lois Lerner, and after the wildly erratic behavior of then-FBI Director James B. Comey during 2016. It also follows the vote to hold then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.¬†in contempt of Congress¬†‚ÄĒ the first ever against a sitting member of the Cabinet ‚ÄĒ with 17 Democrats voting in support. Mix into this battering of the Justice Department‚Äôs and FBI‚Äôs reputations the still-murky charges and counter-charges of abuse of ‚Äúunmasking‚ÄĚ powers during the waning days of the Obama era.

As a result, a large swath of responsible center-right observers are demanding a full review of the investigation and prosecution powers wielded by the Obama-era Justice Department and FBI. Former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy wrote in National Review on Saturday that President Trump should call for a second independent counsel to investigate abuse of the counterintelligence authorities under President Barack Obama, abuses he suggests were undertaken to protect the controversial Iran deal on nuclear weapons.

This is an excellent idea. The new special counsel could also review Strzok‚Äôs texts and, more crucially, his conduct throughout 2015 and 2016. Strzok may be completely innocent of everything except an offhand joke that the straight-laced Mueller deemed necessary to punish in a display of a ‚ÄúCaesar‚Äôs wife‚ÄĚ sort of purity of purpose. But if his texts to FBI lawyer Lisa Page reveal a partisan animus toward Trump or admiration for Clinton, then the bureau and the department have a huge problem on their hands and not just with Strzok and Page.

When FBI Special Agent Robert Hanssen was revealed to have committed espionage against the United States, it didn’t mean that even one other member of the bureau was guilty of Hanssen’s sins, but it did require a painstaking review of all of Hanssen’s activities and inputs, as all of them had to be reconsidered in light of his treasonous behavior.

If Strzok’s texts reveal deep animus toward Trump or an operational effort to tilt one or more investigations, then all of his actions have to be reviewed to assure the public’s confidence in the bureau. That one or two agents or officials of the bureau are discovered to have been acting from improper motives would be bad enough. To try and sweep those activities under the rug would be worse. Against the backdrop of other recent controversies, it would be disastrous.

Step one is a quick publication of the questionable texts. All of them. The public has a right to know what the predicate for Mueller’s extraordinary action was. The public also deserves a detailed account of Strzok’s (and Page’s) duties and authorities during the years in question. If an NBA official was discovered to have purposefully thrown even one game, every game in which he had carried a whistle would be under the microscope. That’s how it works.

Unless there’s a coverup.

Nevertheless, just as Hanssen was ‚Äúone bad apple‚ÄĚ who didn‚Äôt spoil the bunch, so even an out-of-bounds Strzok doesn‚Äôt necessarily mean anything about the FBI beyond him. To get to the truth, and restore confidence in federal law enforcement, a special counsel should conduct an inquiry, bring any necessary charges and make a report ‚ÄĒ someone without ties to the president or his opponents.

They do exist, such men and women. Former federal judges make excellent candidates. But we need one appointed right now.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-special-counsel-needs-to-investigate-the-fbi-and-justice-department-now/2017/12/04/5ca1234c-d916-11e7-b1a8-62589434a581_story.html?utm_term=.3035631daa63

Meet the Inspector General

Photo of Michael E. Horowitz

Michael E. Horowitz was confirmed as Inspector General for the Department of Justice (DOJ) by the U.S. Senate on March 29, 2012, and sworn in as the fourth confirmed Inspector General on April 16, 2012. Since 2015, he has simultaneously served as the Chair of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE).

As Inspector General, Mr. Horowitz oversees a nationwide workforce of more than 450 special agents, auditors, inspectors, attorneys, and support staff whose mission is to detect and deter waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct in DOJ programs and personnel, and to promote economy and efficiency in Department operations.

Prior to serving as Inspector General, Mr. Horowitz worked as a partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham, & Taft LLP, where he focused his practice on white collar defense, internal investigations, and regulatory compliance. He also was a board member of the Ethics Resource Center and the Society for Corporate Compliance and Ethics. From 2003 to 2009, Mr. Horowitz served as a Presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed Commissioner on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

Mr. Horowitz previously worked for DOJ in the Criminal Division at Main Justice from 1999 to 2002, first as Deputy Assistant Attorney General and then as Chief of Staff. Prior to joining the Criminal Division, he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1991 to 1999. From 1997 to 1999, Mr. Horowitz was the Chief of the Public Corruption Unit, and from 1995 to 1997, he was a Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division. In 1995, he was awarded the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service for his work on a complex police corruption investigation.

Before joining the DOJ, Mr. Horowitz was an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton and clerked for Judge John G. Davies of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Mr. Horowitz earned his Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School and his Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, from Brandeis University.

https://oig.justice.gov/about/meet-ig.htm

 

Peter P. Strzok II[1]¬†(born¬†c.¬†1970[2]) (English pronunciation:¬†/st…Ļ Ćk/,¬†like “struck‚ÄĚ[3][4]) is a United States¬†Federal Bureau of Investigation¬†(FBI) Agent currently assigned to its¬†Human Resources Branch.

Until July 2017, Strzok served as the Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI’s¬†Counterintelligence Division¬†and the top FBI agent working for¬†Robert Mueller¬†in the¬†2017 Special Counsel investigation¬†of¬†Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[5][6][7][8][9][10]He also served as the section chief of the¬†Counterespionage Section¬†during the FBI’s investigation of¬†Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server.[4]

Education and personal life

Strzok attended high school in Minnesota.[11]¬†He earned a bachelors degree from¬†Georgetown University¬†in 1991 and returned to earn a master’s degree there in 2013.[12]

He is married to Melissa Hodgman, an associate director at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.[13][14][15] His father worked for many years as an employee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and after 1980 worked in villages of several West African countries.[16]

Career

Strzok served as a¬†captain[citation needed]¬†in the¬†United States Army¬†before joining the FBI in the 1990’s as an intelligence research specialist.[9][17]

Clinton email server investigation

By July 2015, Strzok was serving as the section chief of the¬†Counterespionage Section[4]¬†and a led a team of a dozen investigators to examine¬†Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.[18]¬†After the investigation was closed, Strzok changed draft language being prepared for then-FBI Director¬†James Comey, which had described Clinton’s actions as “grossly negligent“, which may be a criminal offense, to “extremely careless”. The draft was reviewed and corrected by several people and its creation was a team process.[4]¬†Strzok and his team also helped review newly discovered Clinton emails days before Election Day.[18]

Russia election interference investigation

By July 2016, Strzok had been promoted to Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division and oversaw espionage investigations involving¬†Russia¬†and¬†China.[6][9]¬†According to¬†The New York Times, he was “considered one of the most experienced and trusted FBI counterintelligence investigators”.[17]¬†He was also “considered to be one of the Bureau’s top experts on Russia” according to¬†CNN.[4]¬†He signed the document opening the FBI’s investigation into¬†Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[4][19]¬†Strzok then led that investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election, including the Russian role in the¬†2016 Democratic National Committee email leak¬†and the¬†Donald Trump‚ÄďRussia dossier.[20][3][18]¬†He also oversaw the bureau’s interviews with then-National Security Advisor¬†Michael Flynn. Flynn later pled guilty to lying to the FBI.[21]

Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation

Strzok was the top FBI agent working for¬†Robert Mueller‘s¬†special counsel¬†investigation of foreign electoral intervention¬†by Russia in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, initiated by¬†Deputy Attorney General¬†Rod Rosenstein¬†in May 2017 after the firing of FBI Director¬†James Comey¬†by President Trump.[22][23]¬†Earlier, in January 2017, the DOJ’s Inspector General (IG),¬†Michael E. Horowitz, had begun an inquiry to review how the FBI handled investigations related to the election.[17][24]¬†In late July 2017, the IG’s inquiry discovered text messages transmitted between Strzok and Lisa Page, a trial attorney on Mueller’s team. The text messages were sent between August 2015 and December 2016[25][26]¬†and were anti-Donald Trump¬†in nature.[27][28]¬†They also contained personal information concerning to the¬†Justice Department¬†(DOJ), allegedly about an extramarital affair.[5]¬†Mueller removed Strzok from his team the week after a search warrant was executed at the home of former Trump campaign manager¬†Paul Manafort.[29][30]¬†Strzok was reassigned to the FBI’s Human Resources Branch and Page returned to working for Deputy Director¬†Andrew McCabe¬†shortly thereafter.[31][32]¬†Fox News¬†reported that a source close to the IG’s ongoing inquiry said it will include examining Strzok’s participation in other politically sensitive matters, and that it should be complete “very early next year.”[33]¬†The IG announced it will issue a report in March or April of 2018 at the latest.[17]¬†At the request of the¬†United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the DOJ agreed to allow Strzok to be interviewed and turned over 375 partially redacted text messages between Strzok and Page to the House Judiciary Committee.[25][26][34]

According to Strzok’s colleagues and a former Trump administration official, Strzok had not previously shown any overt political bias.[2][27]¬†An associate of his says the political parts of the text messages were especially related to Trump’s criticism of the FBI‚Äôs investigation of the Clinton emails.[2]¬†Some GOP U.S. representatives cited the anti-Trump messages as evidence of Strzok’s bias. However, in his private correspondence with Page, Strzok had also made disparaging remarks about¬†Eric Holder, Attorney General in the Obama administration, former Maryland Governor¬†Martin O’Malley¬†(a Democrat), and¬†Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.[35][36]¬†According to FBI guidelines, agents are allowed to have and express political opinions as individuals. Former FBI and DOJ officials told¬†The Hill¬†that it was possible for agents like Strzok to hold political opinions and still conduct an impartial investigation.[37]¬†Several agents said that Mueller removed Strzok in order to protect the integrity of the special counsel’s Russia investigation. Since there was no proof that Strzok did anything wrong, he was not punished following his reassignment.[38][39]¬†Defenders of Strzok and Page in the FBI said that no professional misconduct between them occurred.[27]

References

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

 

2017 Special Counsel investigation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The¬†2017 Special Counsel investigation¬†is an ongoing investigation in the United States led by former¬†FBI¬†Director¬†Robert Mueller¬†as¬†special counsel¬†under supervision of the¬†United States Department of Justice. Mueller is exploring any links or coordination between¬†Donald Trump‘s¬†2016 presidential campaign¬†and the¬†Russian government¬†as part of the¬†election interference¬†that¬†Russia conducted against the U.S. in 2016.

Mueller’s investigation subsumed several existing FBI investigations including those involving former campaign chairman¬†Paul Manafort¬†and former¬†National Security Advisor¬†Michael Flynn. In August 2017, Mueller’s investigation reportedly expanded to include several lobbying firms, including the¬†Podesta Group. Mueller has assembled a team of attorneys to conduct the investigation into¬†links between Trump associates and Russian officials¬†along with related matters.

On October 30, 2017, Manafort and his business partner¬†Rick Gates¬†surrendered to the FBI on charges brought by the special counsel unrelated to the Trump campaign. On the same day, Mueller’s team revealed that former Trump campaign adviser¬†George Papadopoulos¬†pleaded guilty on October 5 to¬†making false statements¬†to FBI agents about contacts he had with agents of the Russian government while working for the Trump campaign in 2016, and was cooperating with investigators. On December 1, 2017, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI, and confirmed that he is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.[1]


Appointments


Policy positions





Business and personal


Donald Trump's signature

Seal of the President of the United States.svg

 

Origin and powers

On May 17, 2017,¬†Deputy Attorney General¬†Rod Rosenstein¬†appointed Mueller, a former¬†Director of the FBI, to serve as special counsel for the¬†United States Department of Justice¬†(DOJ). In this capacity, Mueller oversees the investigation into “any links and/or coordination between Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump, and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation”.[2]¬†As special counsel, Mueller has the power to issue¬†subpoenas,[3]¬†hire staff members, request funding, and prosecute federal crimes in connection with the election interference.[4]

The appointment followed a series of events that included President¬†Donald Trump‘s¬†firing¬†of FBI director¬†James Comey¬†and Comey’s¬†allegation¬†that Trump asked him to drop the FBI investigation into former National Security Advisor¬†Michael Flynn.[5]

Rosenstein, in his role as Acting¬†Attorney General¬†due to the recusal of Attorney General¬†Jeff Sessions, has authority over the use of DOJ resources by Mueller and the investigation. In an interview with the¬†Associated Press, Rosenstein said he would recuse himself from supervision of Mueller if he himself were to become a subject in the investigation due to his role in the dismissal of Comey.[6]¬†If Rosenstein were to recuse himself, his duties in this matter would be assumed by the Justice Department’s third-in-command, Associate Attorney General¬†Rachel Brand.[7]

Grand juries

On August 3, 2017, Mueller impaneled a grand jury in Washington, DC, as part of his investigation. The grand jury has the power to subpoena documents, require witnesses to testify under oath, and indict suspects on criminal charges if enough evidence is found.

The Washington grand jury is separate from an earlier Virginia grand jury investigating Michael Flynn; the Flynn case has been absorbed into Mueller’s overall investigation.[8]

Grand jury testimony

The grand jury has issued subpoenas to those involved in the¬†Trump campaign‚ÄďRussian meeting¬†held on June 9, 2016, at Trump Tower, which was also the location of Trump’s presidential campaign headquarters.[9]

  • Russian-born lobbyist and former¬†Soviet Army¬†officer,¬†Rinat Akhmetshin, testified under oath for several hours on August 11, 2017, as a participant in the Donald Trump Jr meeting.[10][11]
  • Jason Maloni, spokesman for¬†Paul Manafort, testified under oath for two and one-half hours.[12]¬†Maloni was employed by Manafort following the five months he served as Chairman of Trump’s campaign for president in 2016, to answer questions about Manafort’s involvement in Trump’s campaign.

The grand jury subpoenaed witness testimony from the executives of six public relations firms, who worked with Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on lobbying efforts in Ukraine.[13]

Legal teams

Mueller and investigation team

Special Counsel Robert Mueller

Upon his appointment as the Special Counsel, Mueller resigned his position at the Washington office of law firm WilmerHale, along with two colleagues, Aaron Zebley and James L. Quarles III.[14][15] On May 23, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts announced they had declared Mueller ethically able to function as special counsel.[16]

Politico¬†proposed that the “ideal team” would likely have six to eight prosecutors, along with administrative assistants and experts in areas such as¬†money laundering¬†or interpreting¬†tax returns.[17]¬†By August 1, 2017, Mueller, who has an active role in managing the inquiry,[18]¬†hired 16 lawyers,[19]¬†and had a total staff of over three dozen, including investigators and other non-attorneys.[20]

Members of the team include:[17][21][22][23][24][25][26]

Mueller has also added unidentified agents of the¬†IRS Criminal Investigations Division¬†to his team. “This unit‚ÄĒknown as CI‚ÄĒis one of the federal government’s most tight-knit, specialized, and secretive investigative entities. Its 2,500 agents focus exclusively on financial crime, including tax evasion and money laundering. A former colleague of Mueller’s said he always liked working with IRS’ special agents, especially when he was a U.S. Attorney.”[41]

In December 2017, Weissmann and Strzok were accused of an anti-Trump bias because of an email directed to¬†Sally Yates¬†praising her refusal to defend¬†Executive Order 13769¬†in court, and a similarly-worded text message.¬†[42][43]¬†House Conservatives have since ramped up accusations that the investigation is manned by personnel with an “anti-Trump” bias who “let Clinton off easy last year”.[44]

Trump’s defense team

Members of the team include or have included:[45]

Topics of investigations

Russian election interference

The primary responsibility of the special counsel is “to investigate Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election”. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded “with high confidence” that the Russian government interfered in the election by hacking into the computer servers of the¬†Democratic National Committee¬†(DNC) and the personal¬†Gmail¬†account of Clinton campaign chairman¬†John Podesta¬†and¬†forwarded their contents¬†to¬†WikiLeaks,[50][51][52]¬†as well as by disseminating¬†fake news¬†promoted on social media[53]¬†and by penetrating, or trying to penetrate, the election systems and databases of multiple U.S. states.[54]¬†In July 2016, the FBI began looking into these issues, as well as the question of whether members of the Trump campaign might have coordinated or cooperated with Russia’s activities.[55]¬†Those investigations became part of the special counsel’s portfolio.[56]

Russia’s influence on US voters through¬†social media¬†is a primary focus of the Mueller investigation.[57]¬†The special counsel has used a search warrant to obtain detailed information about Russian ad purchases on Facebook. According to a former federal prosecutor, the warrant means that a judge was convinced that foreigners had illegally contributed to influencing a US election via Facebook ads.[58]

Mueller is investigating ties between the Trump campaign, and Republican activist¬†Peter W. Smith. Smith stated that he tried to obtain Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers, and that he was acting on behalf of Michael Flynn and other Trump campaign members. Trump campaign officials have denied that Smith was working with them.[59]

Links between Trump associates and Russian officials

As early as spring 2015, US intelligence agencies started overhearing conversations in which Russian government officials, some within the Kremlin, discussed associates of Trump, then a presidential candidate.[60][61] In one such conversation, Russian officials said they had cultivated a strong relationship with Michael Flynn and believed they could use him to influence Trump and his team.[62]

Multiple Trump associates, including Flynn, Manafort, and other members of the Trump campaign had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials during 2016.[63] In particular, Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak met with several Trump campaign members and administration nominees. Flynn was forced to resign as National Security Advisor on February 13, 2017, after it was revealed that on December 29, 2016, the day that Obama announced sanctions against Russia, Flynn had discussed the sanctions with Russian ambassador Kislyak. Flynn had earlier acknowledged speaking to Kislyak but denied discussing the sanctions.[64][65] Also in December 2016, Flynn and presidential advisor Jared Kushner met with Kislyak hoping to set up a direct, secure line of communication with Russian officials that American intelligence agencies would be unaware of.[66][67] Jared Kushner also met with Sergei Gorkov, the head of the Russian state-owned bank Vnesheconombank (VEB).[68] Flynn and Kushner failed to report these meetings on their security clearance forms.[69][68]

FBI agents, working with the special counsel, raided Manafort’s home in July 2017. The no-notice, no-knock raid used a federal search warrant, authorizing agents to look for tax documents and foreign banking records. A wide range of documents and other items were seized. Before the raid, Manafort had voluntarily provided some documents to congressional investigators, including the notes he took during the Veselnitskaya meeting.[70][71]

The Trump team issued multiple denials of any contacts between Trump associates and Russia, but many of those denials turned out to be false.[72][73]

On December 4, 2017, prosecutors filed that¬†Paul Manafort¬†worked on an op-ed with a Russian intelligence official while out on bail, in a court filing requesting that the judge revoke Manafort’s bond agreement.[74]

Alleged collusion between Trump campaign and Russian agents

Mueller is looking into the meeting on June 9, 2016, in¬†Trump Tower¬†in¬†New York City¬†between three senior members of¬†Trump’s presidential campaign¬†¬†‚Äď Kushner, Manafort, and¬†Donald Trump Jr.¬†‚Äď and at least five other people, including Russian lawyer¬†Natalia Veselnitskaya,¬†Rinat Akhmetshin, a lobbyist and former Soviet army officer who met senior Trump campaign aides,¬†Ike Kaveladze, British publicist¬†Rob Goldstone¬†and translator Anatoli Samochornov.[75][76]¬†It has been confirmed that Goldstone had suggested the meeting to Trump Jr., and it was arranged in a series of emails later made public. Trump Jr. initially told the press that the meeting was held to discuss adoptions of Russian children by Americans. He added that he agreed to the meeting with the understanding that he would receive information damaging to¬†Hillary Clinton.[77]¬†Goldstone had stated in his email that the Russian government was involved as part of its support for the Trump campaign.[78]¬†Mueller’s team is investigating the emails and the meeting,[75]¬†and whether President Trump later tried to hide the meeting’s purpose.[79]

On July 18, 2017, Kaveladze’s attorney said that Mueller’s investigators were seeking information about the Russian meeting in June 2016 from his client,[80]¬†and on July 21, Mueller asked the White House to preserve all documents related to the Russian meeting.[81]¬†It has been reported that Manafort had made notes during the Russian meeting.[70]

By August 3, 2017, Mueller had impaneled a¬†grand jury¬†in the District of Columbia that issued subpoenas concerning the meeting.[82]¬†The¬†Financial Times¬†reported on August 31 that Akhmetshin had given sworn testimony to Mueller’s grand jury.[83]

In fall 2017, Mueller’s team interviewed former¬†Government Communications Headquarters¬†IT¬†specialist Matt Tait, who had been approached by Republican political operative Peter Smith to verify the authenticity of allegedly hacked emails from the Hillary Clinton’s private email server.[84]

Obstruction of justice

Early in Trump’s presidency, senior White House officials reportedly asked intelligence officials if they could intervene with the FBI to stop the investigation into former National Security Advisor Flynn.[85]¬†In March, Trump reportedly discussed the FBI’s Russia investigation with¬†Director of National Intelligence¬†Dan Coats¬†and¬†CIA Director¬†Mike Pompeo, and asked if they could intervene with Comey to limit or stop it.[86]¬†When he was asked at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about the report, Coats said he would not discuss conversations he had with the president but “I have never felt pressured to intervene in the Russia investigation in any way.”[87]

In February 2017, it was reported that White House officials had asked the FBI to issue a statement that there had been no contact between Trump associates and Russian intelligence sources during the 2016 campaign. The FBI did not make the requested statement, and observers noted that the request violated established procedures about contact between the White House and the FBI regarding pending investigations.[88] After Comey revealed in March that the FBI was investigating the possibility of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Trump phoned Coats and Director of National Security Admiral Michael S. Rogers and asked them to publicly state there was no evidence of collusion between his campaign and the Russians.[85][89][90] Both Coats and Rogers believed that the request was inappropriate, though not illegal, and did not make the requested statement. The two exchanged notes about the incident, and Rogers made a contemporary memo to document the request.[89][90]

In May 2017, a February memo by Comey was made public about an Oval Office conversation with Trump on February 14, 2017, in which Trump is described as attempting to persuade Comey to drop the FBI investigation into Flynn.[91][92]¬†The memo notes that Trump said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” Comey made no commitments to Trump on the subject.[93]¬†In testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, Comey gave a detailed report on the February 14 conversation, including Trump’s suggestion that he should “let go” the Flynn investigation. Comey said he “took it as a direction‚Ķ I took it as, this is what he wants me to do.” He added that it was “a very disturbing thing, very concerning”, and that he discussed the incident with other FBI leaders.[94]¬†Comey created similar memos about every phone call and meeting he had with the president.[95]

The FBI launched an investigation of Trump for¬†obstruction of justice¬†a few days after the May 9 firing of Comey.[96]¬†The special prosecutor’s office took over the obstruction of justice investigation and has reportedly interviewed Director of National Intelligence Coats, Director of the National Security Agency Rogers, and Deputy Director of the NSA¬†Richard Ledgett.[96][97][98]¬†ABC News reported in June that the special counsel was gathering preliminary information about possible obstruction of justice, but a full-scale investigation had not been launched.[99]¬†On June 16, Trump tweeted: “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.”[100]¬†However, Trump’s lawyer¬†Jay Sekulow¬†said Trump’s tweet was referring to the June 14¬†Washington Post¬†report that he was under investigation for obstruction of justice,[96]¬†and that Trump has not actually been notified of any investigation.[101][102]

Financial investigations

The special counsel investigation has expanded to include Trump’s and his associates’ financial ties to Russia. The FBI is reviewing the financial records of Trump himself,¬†The Trump Organization, Trump’s family members, and his campaign staff, including Trump’s real estate activities, which had been under federal scrutiny before the campaign. According to CNN, financial crimes may be easier for investigators to prove than any crimes stemming directly from collusion with Russia.[20]¬†Campaign staff whose finances are under investigation include Manafort, Flynn,¬†Carter Page, and Trump’s son-in-law¬†Jared Kushner.[103]

Transactions under investigation include Russian purchases of Trump apartments, a¬†SoHo¬†development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, transactions with the Bank of Cyprus, real estate financing organized by Kushner, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to Russian oligarch¬†Dmitry Rybolovlev.[104]¬†The special counsel team has contacted¬†Deutsche Bank, which is the main banking institution doing business with The Trump Organization.[105]

Mueller took over an existing money laundering investigation into former Trump campaign chairman Manafort. On October 30, 2017, a federal grand jury indicted Manafort and his associate¬†Rick Gates¬†on charges including conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to¬†launder money, failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, being an unregistered agent of foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, and false statements.[106]¬†Manafort’s financial activities are also being investigated by the Senate and House intelligence committees, the New York Attorney General, and the Manhattan District Attorney.[107]

The special counsel will be able to access Trump’s tax returns, which has “especially disturbed” Trump according to the¬†Washington Post. Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns, as presidential candidates normally do, has been¬†politically controversial¬†since his presidential campaign.[108]

Flynn activities

Michael Flynn statement of offense

As part of the investigation, Special Counsel Mueller assumed control of a¬†Virginia-based¬†grand jury¬†criminal probe into the relationship between Flynn and Turkish businessman Kamil Ekim Alptekin.[109]¬†Flynn Intel Group, an intelligence consultancy, was paid $530,000 by Alptekin’s company Inovo BV to produce a documentary and conduct research on¬†Fethullah G√ľlen, an exiled Turkish cleric who lives in the United States.[109]¬†The special prosecutor is investigating whether the money came from the Turkish government, and whether Flynn kicked funds back to a middleman to conceal the payment’s original source. Investigators are also looking at Flynn’s finances more generally, including possible payments from Russian companies and from the Japanese government. White House documents relating to Flynn have been requested as evidence.[110]¬†The lead person within Mueller’s team for this investigation is¬†Brandon Van Grack.[111]

Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, is also a subject of the special counsel investigation. Michael G. Flynn worked closely with his father’s lobbying company, the Flynn Intel Group, and accompanied his father on his 2015 visit to Moscow.[112]¬†On November 5, 2017, NBC News reported that Mueller had enough evidence for charges against Flynn and his son.[113]

Flynn’s defense team stopped sharing information with Trump’s team of lawyers in late November 2017.[114]¬†This was interpreted as a sign that Flynn was cooperating and negotiating a¬†plea bargain¬†with the special counsel team.[114][115][116]¬†On December 1, 2017, Flynn appeared in federal court to plead guilty to a single¬†felony¬†count of “willfully and knowingly”¬†making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements”¬†to the FBI and to confirm his intention to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation.[117]¬†As part of Flynn’s plea bargain, his son Michael G. Flynn is not expected to be charged.[118][119]

Investigation of Podesta Group lobbying

In August 2017, Mueller’s team reportedly issued grand jury subpoenas to officials in six firms, including lobbying firm¬†Podesta Group, with regard to activities on behalf of a public-relations campaign for a pro-Russian Ukrainian organization called¬†European Centre for a Modern Ukraine.¬†Tony Podesta, brother of Clinton campaign chairman¬†John Podesta, is head of the Podesta Group. John Podesta is not employed by the company. According to the reports, Mueller is investigating whether the firms violated the¬†Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Paul Manafort headed the public relations effort, which took place from 2012 to 2014.¬†[120][121][122][123]

Charges

As of December 2, 2017, the Special Counsel has initiated criminal proceedings against four individuals.

Accused Date charged Charge(s) Case status Ind.
George Papadopoulos October 3, 2017 1 count: false statements. Pleaded guilty on October 5, 2017.[124] [125]
Rick Gates October 27, 2017 8 counts: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts (×3), unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, and false statements. Pleaded not guilty on October 30, 2017.[126] [127]
Paul Manafort October 27, 2017 9 counts: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts (×4), unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, and false statements. Pleaded not guilty on October 30, 2017.[126] [127]
Michael Flynn November 30, 2017 1 count: false statements. Pleaded guilty on December 1, 2017.[128] [129]

George Papadopoulos

On October 30, 2017, it was revealed that¬†George Papadopoulos¬†had pleaded guilty earlier in the month to¬†making a false statement¬†to FBI investigators.[130]¬†The guilty plea was part of a¬†plea bargain¬†in which he agreed to cooperate with the government and “provide information regarding any and all matters as to which the Government deems relevant.”[131]

Paul Manafort and Rick Gates

On October 30, 2017, Paul Manafort surrendered to the FBI after being indicted on multiple charges. Rick Gates was also indicted and surrendered to the FBI.[132]¬†The pair have been indicted on one count of¬†conspiracy against the United States, one count of conspiracy to launder money, one count of being an unregistered agent of a foreign principal, one count of making false and misleading FARA statements, and one count of making false statements. Manafort was charged with four counts of failing to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts while Gates was charged with three.[127]¬†The charges arise from their consulting work for a pro-Russian government in¬†Ukraine¬†and are unrelated to the Trump campaign.[133]¬†Both were placed under house arrest. On December 4, 2017, prosecutors asked the judge to revoke Manafort’s bond agreement, charging that Manafort violated the terms of his bail by working on a op-ed piece with Konstantin Kilimnik,[134]¬†an associate with ties to Russian intelligence.[135]

Michael Flynn

On December 1, 2017, it was reported that former¬†National Security Advisor¬†Michael Flynn¬†agreed to a¬†plea bargain¬†with Mueller, pleading guilty to “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI, and agreeing to cooperate with Mueller’s probe.[136]

Reactions

Mueller’s appointment to oversee the investigation immediately garnered widespread support from Democrats and even some from Republicans in Congress.[137][138]¬†Senator¬†Charles Schumer¬†(D‚ÄďNY) said, “Former Director Mueller is exactly the right kind of individual for this job. I now have significantly greater confidence that the investigation will follow the facts wherever they lead.” Senator¬†Dianne Feinstein¬†(D‚ÄďCA) stated, “Bob was a fine U.S. attorney, a great FBI director and there’s no better person who could be asked to perform this function.” She added, “He is respected, he is talented and he has the knowledge and ability to do the right thing.” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R‚ÄďUT) tweeted that “Mueller is a great selection. Impeccable credentials. Should be widely accepted.”[137]¬†Much Republican support in Congress was lukewarm: Rep.¬†Peter T. King¬†(R‚ÄďNY) said “It’s fine. I just don’t think there is any need for it.”[139]

Former¬†U.S. Attorney¬†Preet Bharara¬†wrote of the team that “Bob Mueller is recruiting the smartest and most seasoned professionals who have a long track record of independence and excellence”.[22]¬†Former special prosecutor¬†Kenneth Starr, who had investigated¬†Bill Clinton¬†during the Clinton Administration, said that the team was “a great, great team of complete professionals”.[19]

Later some conservatives, including political commentators¬†Laura Ingraham,¬†Ann Coulter¬†and former House Speaker¬†Newt Gingrich¬†(who had initially praised Mueller for “integrity and honesty”), stated that Mueller should be dismissed and the investigation closed.[140][141][142]¬†Christopher Ruddy, the founder of the Right-leaning¬†Newsmax, and a friend of Trump, stated that the president has considered firing Mueller.[143]

On June 23, 2017, Trump stated that members of Mueller’s team were “all Hillary Clinton supporters, some of them worked for Hillary Clinton.”¬†PolitiFact¬†rated Trump’s claim “Mostly False”, noting that only three had made campaign contributions to Hillary Clinton and one had defended the¬†Clinton Foundation¬†in court. One member of the team had made contributions to Republican Congressman¬†Jason Chaffetz¬†and Republican Senator¬†George Allen.[144][25]¬†In an interview with¬†The New York Times¬†published on July 19, 2017, Trump stated that he would have not appointed Sessions as Attorney General had he known that he was going to recuse himself from the investigation. Furthermore, Trump confirmed that he would view it as a violation if the special counsel investigated his and his family’s finances, unrelated to Russia.[145]

On June 25, 2017, it was reported that a pro-Trump group had launched an ad called “Witch Hunt,” featuring conservative¬†Tomi Lahren, which attacked Mueller and the investigation.[146]

On July 21, 2017, the¬†Washington Post¬†reported that Trump asked his advisors about his power to pardon those under investigation. Trump and his legal team discussed the possibility of Trump pardoning aides, family members, and himself. No president has ever pardoned himself, so there is no case law on whether it would be legal. Trump attorneys also reportedly created a list of Mueller’s potential conflicts of interest. Trump lawyer John Dowd said the story was “nonsense”.[108]

On August 3, 2017, at a campaign-style rally in West Virginia, Trump continued to deny any Russian involvement in his campaign or win: “The Russia story is a total fabrication. It’s just an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of American politics, that’s all it is.” This occurred on the same day as the announcement that another grand jury had been impaneled.[147]

On August 12, 2017, the New York Times published an interview of Republican Senator Richard Burr, the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in which he said he was hopeful that the investigation would be complete by the end of the year.[148]

On August 24, 2017, Rep.¬†Ron DeSantis¬†(R-Florida) added a¬†rider¬†to the proposed fiscal 2018 spending bill package that would block funding from being used “for the investigation under that order of matters occurring before June 2015” (the month Trump announced he was running for president) immediately and terminated funding for the Special Counsel investigation 180 days after passage of the bill.[149]¬†Rep. DeSantis said that the DOJ order of May 17, 2017, “didn’t identify a crime to be investigated and practically invites a¬†fishing expedition.”[150]

Shortly after the indictments against Manafort and Gates were unsealed, Florida Representative¬†Matt Gaetz¬†introduced a congressional¬†resolution¬†demanding Robert Mueller’s recusal as Special Counsel due to conflicts of interest. This resolution was cosponsered by Congressman¬†Andy Biggs¬†from Arizona and Congressman¬†Louie Gohmert¬†from Texas.[151][152]¬†In the resolution Gaetz called for a Special Counsel investigation into the handling of the¬†Hillary Clinton email controversy¬†by James Comey, undue interference of Attorney General¬†Loretta Lynch¬†in that investigation, and the acquisition of¬†Uranium One¬†by the Russian state corporation¬†Rosatom¬†during Mueller’s time as FBI director.[153][154]¬†Gaetz stated that he did not trust him to lead the investigation because of Mueller’s alleged involvement in approval of the Uranium One deal and Mueller’s close relationship with the dismissed FBI director¬†James Comey, a probable person of interest in the proposed investigation.[154]¬†On November 8, 2017, Arizona Congressman¬†Trent Franks¬†cosponsered the resolution.[155]

Polling

A May 2017¬†Politico/Morning Consult¬†poll showed that 81% of U.S. voters supported the special prosecutor’s investigation.[156]¬†A June 2017¬†Associated PressNORC¬†Center for Public Affairs Research poll asked U.S. adults whether the special counsel’s investigation could be fair and impartial: 26% were “extremely confident” or “very confident”; 36% were “moderately confident” and 36% were “not very confident” or “not at all confident.”[157]¬†The poll indicated that 68% of Americans were at least “moderately concerned” about inappropriate connections between the Trump campaign and the Russians.[158]

A poll published in November 2017 by ABC News and¬†The Washington Post¬†found that 58% of Americans approved of Mueller’s handling of his investigation, while 28% disapproved. It also indicated that half of Americans believed that President Trump was not co-operating with the investigation.[159]¬†A Quinnipiac poll published on November 15, 2017 suggested that 60% of Americans believed that Mueller’s investigation was proceeding fairly, with 27% believing that it was not. The poll also found that 47% of respondents said that President Trump ought to be impeached if he were to dismiss Mueller.[160]

A December poll by¬†Associated PressNORC¬†indicated that four out of ten American believed Trump to have committed a crime in connection to Russia, with an additional 3 out of 10 beyond that believing that he had acted unethically. It found that 62% of Democrats and 5% of Republicans believe that Trump acted illegally. It found that 68% of Americans believed that Trump was obstructing the investigation. 57% of respondents said that they were “extremely confident” or “moderately confident” that Mueller’s investigation is fair.[161]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Special_Counsel_investigation

18 U.S. Code § 793 РGathering, transmitting or losing defense information

prev | next

(a)

Whoever, for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation, goes upon, enters, flies over, or otherwise obtains information concerning any vessel, aircraft, work of defense, navy yard, naval station, submarine base, fueling station, fort, battery, torpedo station, dockyard, canal, railroad, arsenal, camp, factory, mine, telegraph, telephone, wireless, or signal station, building, office, research laboratory or station or other place connected with the national defense owned or constructed, or in progress of construction by the United States or under the control of the United States, or of any of its officers, departments, or agencies, or within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, or any place in which any vessel, aircraft, arms, munitions, or other materials or instruments for use in time of war are being made, prepared, repaired, stored, or are the subject of research or development, under any contract or agreement with the United States, or any department or agency thereof, or with any person on behalf of the United States, or otherwise on behalf of the United States, or any prohibited place so designated by the President by proclamation in time of war or in case of national emergency in which anything for the use of the Army, Navy, or Air Force is being prepared or constructed or stored, information as to which prohibited place the President has determined would be prejudicial to the national defense; or

(b)

Whoever, for the purpose aforesaid, and with like intent or reason to believe, copies, takes, makes, or obtains, or attempts to copy, take, make, or obtain, any sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, document, writing, or note of anything connected with the national defense; or

(c)

Whoever, for the purpose aforesaid, receives or obtains or agrees or attempts to receive or obtain from any person, or from any source whatever, any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note, of anything connected with the national defense, knowing or having reason to believe, at the time he receives or obtains, or agrees or attempts to receive or obtain it, that it has been or will be obtained, taken, made, or disposed of by any person contrary to the provisions of this chapter; or

(d)

Whoever, lawfully having possession of, access to, control over, or being entrusted with any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or

(e)

Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or

(f)

Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer‚ÄĒShall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

(g)

If two or more persons conspire to violate any of the foregoing provisions of this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy.

(h)

(1)

Any¬†person¬†convicted of a violation of this section shall forfeit to the¬†United States, irrespective of any provision of State law, any property constituting, or derived from, any proceeds the person obtained, directly or indirectly, from any¬†foreign government, or any faction or party or military or naval force within a foreign country, whether recognized or unrecognized by the United States, as the result of such violation. For the purposes of this subsection, the term ‚ÄúState‚ÄĚ includes a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, and any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.

(2)

The court, in imposing sentence on a defendant for a conviction of a violation of this section, shall order that the defendant forfeit to the United States all property described in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3)The provisions of subsections (b), (c), and (e) through (p) of section 413 of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 853(b), (c), and (e)‚Äď(p)) shall apply to‚ÄĒ

(A)

property subject to forfeiture under this subsection;

(B)

any seizure or disposition of such property; and

(C)

any administrative or judicial proceeding in relation to such property,
if not inconsistent with this subsection.

(4)

Notwithstanding section 524(c) of title 28, there shall be deposited in the Crime Victims Fund in the Treasury all amounts from the forfeiture of property under this subsection remaining after the payment of expenses for forfeiture and sale authorized by law.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645,¬†62 Stat. 736; Sept. 23, 1950, ch. 1024, title I, ¬ß‚ÄĮ18,¬†64 Stat. 1003;¬†Pub. L. 99‚Äď399, title XIII, ¬ß‚ÄĮ1306(a),¬†Aug. 27, 1986,¬†100 Stat. 898;¬†Pub. L. 103‚Äď322, title XXXIII, ¬ß‚ÄĮ330016(1)(L),¬†Sept. 13, 1994,¬†108 Stat. 2147;¬†Pub. L. 103‚Äď359, title VIII, ¬ß‚ÄĮ804(b)(1),¬†Oct. 14, 1994,¬†108 Stat. 3440;¬†Pub. L. 104‚Äď294, title VI, ¬ß‚ÄĮ607(b),¬†Oct. 11, 1996,¬†110 Stat. 3511.)

 

LII has no control over and does not endorse any external Internet site that contains links to or references LII.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/793

Story 2: Republican House and Senate Agree on Tax Bill — Rush To Pass Bill Before Congressional Christmas Break — Videos —

Congress releases final version of Republican tax bill

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Republicans agree on a final tax bill

Remarks by President Trump at Lunch with Bicameral Tax Conferees. December 13, 2017

White House Official: House And Senate GOP Reach Deal On Taxes | MSNBC

Full text: Republicans unveil their final tax bill

Republicans are expected to vote on this bill as soon as Tuesday.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The final draft of the Republican tax bill has dropped.

After a week of backdoor negotiations to hash out the differences between the House and Senate tax proposals, Republicans have released their final vision for the American tax code: a bill that permanently gives corporations a massive tax break, temporarily cuts individual rates ‚ÄĒ primarily benefiting the wealthiest Americans ‚ÄĒ increases the standard deduction, and the repeals the Affordable Care Act‚Äôs individual mandate, which is estimated to leave 13 million fewer insured over the next 10 years.

The bill cuts the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, 1 percent less than the Senate and House proposals; and lowers the top individual income tax rate to 37 percent, which is less than the 38.5 percent in the Senate bill and the 39.6 percent in the House bill and current law. It will allow pass-through businesses, like LLCs and partnerships, to deduct 20 percent from their taxes in addition to having the lower top individual rate. The bill also caps the mortgage interest deduction at $750,000 and the state and local property and income deduction at $10,000, particularly disadvantaging Americans who live in high-tax states.

All in all, the bill is a far cry from the simplified tax code that Republicans have long been promising, but it is a substantial reshaping of the nation‚Äôs tax base. Republicans are adamant that cutting corporate taxes will in turn increase investments and wages in the United States and lead to unprecedented economic growth ‚ÄĒ despite analyses that indicate otherwise.

It’s a gamble they are willing to make. This bill has not yet received an official score from the Congressional Budget Office or the Joint Committee on Taxation, which measures legislation’s cost and impact.

Republicans are expected to vote on this bill as soon as Tuesday.

Here’s the bill in its entirety:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/15/16781062/read-republican-final-tax-bill

GOP releases its final tax plan ‚ÄĒ here’s what’s in it

  • Republicans release their final tax plan, which strikes compromises on many provisions that differed in separate versions passed by the House and Senate.
  • The House plans to vote on the bill on Tuesday.
Jacob Pramuk | John W. Schoen

Representative Brady: Wanted to drive tax relief for everyone

Representative Brady: Wanted to drive tax relief for everyone  

Republicans on Friday released their final proposal to overhaul the American tax system, which would chop taxes for corporations, trim rates for individuals and tweak tax deductions.

The House and Senate GOP hope to pass the sweeping measure by the middle of next week, hitting a year-end target. The House will vote on the plan on Tuesday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in a statement.

Republicans argue that cuts contained in the bill will spark business investment, hiring and wage growth. Democrats call the plan a giveaway to corporations at the expense of the middle class, expressing concerns about the $1 trillion or more it is projected to add to federal budget deficits over a decade.

With two skeptical Republican senators falling in line Friday, the GOP appears set to have the support to push the bill through next week on a party line vote.

Here are some of the provisions the bill contains, according to a Republican summary:

  • The proposal would maintain seven individual income tax brackets at slightly different rates: 10 percent, 12 percent, 22 percent, 24 percent, 32 percent, 35 percent and 37 percent. The top rate would fall from the current 39.6 percent. The House originally proposed collapsing the system to four brackets, saying it would simplify the filing process. (Click here to see which bracket would apply to you.) The changes would phase out after 2025.
  • The bill would scrap the personal exemption but increase the standard deduction to slightly less than double its current level. It would go to $12,000 for an individual or $24,000 for a family.
  • It would drop the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from the current 35 percent. The change would take effect next year.
  • The plan would set a 20 percent business income deduction for the first $315,000 in income earned by pass-through businesses.
  • The bill would scrap Obamacare’s provision that requires most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, beginning in 2019. Doing so is projected to lead to 13 million fewer people with insurance and raise average Obamacare premiums, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
  • The plan would eliminate the corporate alternative minimum tax, which the Senate added back to its plan at the last second to raise money. House leaders and corporate groups said the tax would stifle research and development. It would also increase the exemption from the individual AMT.
  • The estate tax, or so-called death tax, would remain but the exemption from it would be doubled.
  • The child tax credit would double to $2,000 per child from $1,000. It would be refundable up to $1,400 and start to phase out at $400,000 in income. The tweak would end after 2025.
  • The plan would limit state and local tax deductions. It would allow the deduction of up to $10,000 in state and local sales, income or property taxes.
  • It will not change the mortgage interest deduction for existing homeowners. For new homes, taxpayers can deduct interest on up to $750,000 in mortgage debt, down from $1 million currently.
  • Tax breaks for charitable contributions and retirement savings plans would remain.
  • The bill would not include the controversial first in first out stock sales change, which sparked backlash in the investing community.

A “very preliminary” projection by the Joint Committee on Taxation, the congressional scorekeeper, estimated that the bill would lead to budget deficits increasing by $1.46 trillion over a decade. That falls just shy of the maximum $1.5 trillion it could add to the deficit under rules set by the Senate earlier this year.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who opposed the Senate version of the plan because he had concerns about a nearly identical effect on budget deficits, is supporting the final legislation.

Republicans cheered the bill’s completion following its release.

“We’re in the final stretch‚ÄĒand we’re ready to get this done for the American people by Christmas,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement.

In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump “is on the precipice” of fulfilling a campaign promise and passing a plan that she said would boost wages and economic growth.

“The president applauds the House and Senate conferees on coming to an agreement on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and looks forward to fulfilling the promise he made to the American people to give them a tax cut by the end of the year,” she said.

Democrats, meanwhile, warned of repercussions for the middle class.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the plan counterproductive.

“Under this bill the working class, middle class and upper middle class get skewered while the rich and wealthy corporations make out like bandits. It is just the opposite of what America needs, and Republicans will rue the day they pass this,” he said in a statement.

In a statement, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., deemed the plan a “moral obscenity” and a “con job.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/15/gop-releases-its-final-tax-plan–heres-whats-in-it.html

Key details revealed in Republican tax deal

  • ¬†The deal would lower the top tax rate to 37%, a push by House Republicans
  • The deal also drops the corporate tax rate to 21%

(CNN)House and Senate Republicans have struck a tentative deal on a tax bill Wednesday, a major step in ensuring the GOP majority is on its way to deliver an overhaul of the US tax system by the holidays.

According to two GOP aides, Republicans struck a deal in principle that will meld together the House and Senate tax deals and put the parties on a path to vote as soon as next week. Aides say there are still smaller issues to work out, but Senate Republicans will discuss remaining issues at their conference-wide lunch Wednesday and see how their rank-and-file members react.
Lawmakers have been working for more than a week to find a way to combine two very different tax bills.
Here’s what Republican negotiators as of Wednesday evening had in the plan:
  • The corporate rate would be reduced to 21%, from 35%. That is an additional point added from the 20% originally proposed in the House and Senate versions. It would take effect in 2018.
  • The top individual tax rate would be set at 37%, down from the 39.6% proposed in the House and 38.5% in the Senate.
  • The State and Local Tax deduction will be expanded, beyond just property taxes, to include income tax. It would be capped at $10,000.
  • The corporate alternative minimum tax, included at the last minute in the Senate version, would be fully repealed.
  • The individual alternative minimum tax would remain, but the threshold would be tweaked to exclude any individual under $500,000 or family below $1 million.
  • The mortgage interest deduction threshold — dropped to $500,000 in the House and left untouched in the Senate — would be set at $750,000.
  • The rate for pass-through income — business entities like s-corporations and partnerships that pay taxes through the individual side — would be determined by a 20% deduction, 3% lower than the Senate version.
  • The estate tax exemption would be doubled, but the tax would not be repealed entirely, as it was in the House proposal.
  • The Obamacare individual mandate to have health insurance would be repealed.
  • A House provision that proposed taxing graduate school tuition is not included in the final deal.
These deductions will remain untouched (they were all repealed in the House bill, left alone in the Senate bill). Of note, repeal of these deductions were some of the most controversial elements of the House plan. None will be repealed in the final version.
  • Medical expense deduction
  • Tax-free graduate school tuition waivers
  • Private activity bonds
  • Student loan interest deduction
  • Teacher spending deduction
The news of a deal came just hours after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on Republicans to hold off on a tax bill until newly-elected Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat, was seated in January.

President Trump said at the White House on Wednesday, ‚ÄúWe want to give you, the American people, a giant tax cut for Christmas.‚Ä̬†CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON ‚ÄĒ The day after suffering a political blow in the Alabama special Senate election, congressional Republicans sped forward with the most sweeping tax rewrite in decades, announcing an agreement on a final bill that would cut taxes for businesses and individuals and signal the party‚Äôs first major legislative achievement since assuming political control this year.

Party leaders in the House and Senate agreed in principle to bridge the yawning gaps between their competing versions of the $1.5 trillion tax bill, keeping Republicans on track for final votes next week with the aim of delivering a bill to President Trump‚Äôs desk by Christmas. The House and Senate versions of the tax bill started from the same core principles ‚ÄĒ sharply cutting taxes on businesses, while reducing rates and eliminating some breaks for individuals ‚ÄĒ but diverged on several crucial details.

In the end, more of the Senate bill appeared to be included in the final version, though lawmakers continued to make significant changes from the legislation that passed either the House or the Senate.

The changes included a slightly higher corporate tax rate of 21 percent, rather than the 20 percent in the legislation that passed both chambers, and a lower top individual tax rate of 37 percent for the wealthiest Americans, who currently pay 39.6 percent. But the bill will still scale back some popular tax breaks, including the state and local tax deduction and the deductibility of mortgage interest.

In a break from the House bill, the agreement would allow taxpayers to continue to deduct high out-of-pocket medical expenses, and it would retain a provision allowing graduate students who receive tuition waivers to avoid paying taxes on that benefit. Also included in the consensus bill is the Senate’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act requirement that most Americans have health insurance or pay a penalty and a provision that opens the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to energy exploration.

Still unclear is the overall cost of the revised legislation, which cannot exceed the $1.5 trillion bucket that lawmakers have allowed if they want to pass the bill without Democratic support. Several of the provisions added by the Senate to help pay for the overall bill were either reversed or scaled back in the consensus version, and some tax breaks eliminated by the House were added back in.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/13/us/politics/tax-bill-republicans-deal.html

House, Senate reach tax bill agreement

Original source for this article can be found on RT by clicking here
Dec. 13 (UPI) ‚ÄĒ¬†Republicans in the House and Senate on Wednesday reached an agreement, in principle, on a consensus tax bill, keeping the party on track for final votes next week and a push to President¬†Donald Trump‚Äės desk by Christmas.Sen.¬†John Cornyn¬†of Texas, the Republican whip,¬†said¬†he is confident the deal will be approved. Details of the agreement were not immediately available.Democrats, who have been locked out of the process, criticized the rush to pass the bill next week and called on Republican leaders to wait for the newly elected Democratic senator from Alabama,¬†Doug Jones, to be sworn in. He defeated Roy Moore on Tuesday in a special election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General¬†Jeff Sessions.Senate Republicans had a meeting Wednesday to go over the details before briefing House Republicans and making a formal announcement.Last-minute changes to the bill include lowering the top individual tax rate to 37 percent and setting the corporate tax rate at 21 percent, a source who was briefed on the package told a¬†The Hill.Also, as a compromise between the Senate and House versions of the bill, mortgage interest deduction will be capped at $750,000 and as a relief to people living in high-tax areas. The bill allows state and local property or income tax deductions of up to $10,000.

If passed, the legislation repeals an essential piece of the Affordable Care Act that requires people to purchase health insurance.

https://newsline.com/house-senate-reach-tax-bill-agreement/

President Trump said at the White House on Wednesday, ‚ÄúWe want to give you, the American people, a giant tax cut for Christmas.‚Ä̬†CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON ‚ÄĒ The day after suffering a political blow in the Alabama special Senate election, congressional Republicans sped forward with the most sweeping tax rewrite in decades, announcing an agreement on a final bill that would cut taxes for businesses and individuals and signal the party‚Äôs first major legislative achievement since assuming political control this year.

Party leaders in the House and Senate agreed in principle to bridge the yawning gaps between their competing versions of the $1.5 trillion tax bill, keeping Republicans on track for final votes next week with the aim of delivering a bill to President Trump‚Äôs desk by Christmas. The House and Senate versions of the tax bill started from the same core principles ‚ÄĒ sharply cutting taxes on businesses, while reducing rates and eliminating some breaks for individuals ‚ÄĒ but diverged on several crucial details.

In the end, more of the Senate bill appeared to be included in the final version, though lawmakers continued to make significant changes from the legislation that passed either the House or the Senate.

The changes included a slightly higher corporate tax rate of 21 percent, rather than the 20 percent in the legislation that passed both chambers, and a lower top individual tax rate of 37 percent for the wealthiest Americans, who currently pay 39.6 percent. But the bill will still scale back some popular tax breaks, including the state and local tax deduction and the deductibility of mortgage interest.

In a break from the House bill, the agreement would allow taxpayers to continue to deduct high out-of-pocket medical expenses, and it would retain a provision allowing graduate students who receive tuition waivers to avoid paying taxes on that benefit. Also included in the consensus bill is the Senate’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act requirement that most Americans have health insurance or pay a penalty and a provision that opens the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to energy exploration.

Continue reading the main story

Still unclear is the overall cost of the revised legislation, which cannot exceed the $1.5 trillion bucket that lawmakers have allowed if they want to pass the bill without Democratic support. Several of the provisions added by the Senate to help pay for the overall bill were either reversed or scaled back in the consensus version, and some tax breaks eliminated by the House were added back in.

Photo

President Trump had lunch with Republicans on the House-Senate conference committee, including Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, right, and Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, left, who chairs the Ways and Means Committee. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

The announcement that Republicans had overcome their differences to get to a consensus bill added more momentum to the sprint to the finish line. Republicans dismissed requests by Democrats to delay a vote until the new senator from Alabama, Doug Jones, is sworn in.

‚ÄúI see no need to wait for Doug Jones to become a senator,‚ÄĚ said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine. ‚ÄúWe vote all the time in lame-duck sessions with retired and defeated members casting votes.‚ÄĚ

Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the majority whip, told reporters that he was confident the final bill would be approved next week. The leaders of the tax-writing committees in the House and the Senate, Representative Kevin Brady of Texas and Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, each proclaimed a bill ‚Äúclose‚ÄĚ to completion.

In a compromise between the bills, the deal would cap the popular deduction for interest on mortgage debt at $750,000 for newly purchased homes, a higher cap than the $500,000 limit in the House-passed bill but lower than the $1 million limit that currently exists and remains in the Senate-passed bill.

The agreement would cut the corporate tax rate to 21 percent, which is lower than the current 35 percent rate but higher than the 20 percent that Mr. Trump had, until recently, said was nonnegotiable. The corporate rate would take effect in 2018, rather than 2019, as the Senate bill originally called for, according to a senior Republican congressional aide.

The bill also allows individuals to somewhat choose how to use their state and local tax deduction, giving them the ability to write off up to $10,000 in property taxes, income or sales taxes paid or a combination of property and sales or property and income taxes. That move is intended to alleviate the concerns of House Republicans, particularly those from California, over the bill’s treatment of the state and local tax deduction.

Lawmakers also yielded to concerns by business groups about the Senate’s last-minute inclusion of the corporate alternative minimum tax, which was added as a way to pay for the bill but faced stiff blowback from companies that said it would restrict their ability to use the research and development tax credit.

Photo

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the finance committee, tweeted on Wednesday morning that Republican leaders should delay the tax process until Doug Jones, the newly elected Democratic Senator from Alabama, takes his seat. CreditPete Marovich for The New York Times

In an effort to assuage concerns that wealthy individuals would face a potential tax increase, the top individual income tax rate will drop to 37 percent, down from the current rate of 39.6 percent in the Senate bill and the 38.5 percent in the House bill. And the lower rate will apply to more people, allowing those with income levels below the $1 million cutoff outlined in both the House and Senate bills to claim the marginal rate.

The consensus bill will preserve the individual alternative minimum tax, which the House bill had eliminated and the Senate bill retained in a watered-down form. But it will apply to even fewer taxpayers than the Senate bill would have, the congressional aide said. The alternative tax, which was put in place to ensure high-income earners did not exploit loopholes to avoid paying taxes, would kick in for individuals earning at least $500,000 and for couples earning at least $1 million.

The agreement may allow some high-earning business owners to claim an even larger tax break than the Senate bill would have. Negotiators agreed to keep the Senate’s approach to provide a tax deduction for so-called pass-through companies, whose owners pay taxes on profits through the individual code. That deduction is likely to be lower than the 23 percent deduction in the Senate-passed bill.

But, the aide said, the consensus bill will include a House provision that would allow some pass-through owners with few employees ‚ÄĒ but large amounts of investment in their businesses ‚ÄĒ to bypass a limit on how much income qualifies for the preferential deduction.

The consensus bill would also largely retain the Senate approach to taxing multinational companies, by levying what is effectively a minimum tax on both American-based and foreign-based companies that operate in the United States.

Mr. Trump praised House and Senate negotiators in a lunch meeting at the White House. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre very close to getting it done; we‚Äôre very close to voting,‚ÄĚ Mr. Trump said of the tax bill.

It is not clear whether all Republican senators will roundly endorse the deal, which includes provisions that Ms. Collins and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida had raised concerns about this week. Ms. Collins has said she does not favor a lower individual rate, and Mr. Rubio has pushed for a more generous child tax credit.

GRAPHIC

How the Final Tax Bill Will Affect Families, Homeowners, Businesses and More

Republicans have resolved the differences between the two versions of their tax bill.

 OPEN GRAPHIC

Still, none of those concerned senators indicated on Wednesday that they were opposed to the bill taking shape under the agreement in principle, an encouraging sign for Republican leaders.

The Senate bill narrowly passed 51 to 49, with Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, voting against the legislation, and other lawmakers, like Ms. Collins, getting on board only once certain changes, including expanding the medical expense deduction, were made. Mr. Corker said on Wednesday that ‚Äúnothing has alleviated the concerns‚ÄĚ that caused him to oppose the bill, which were rooted in a desire not to add further to the national debt.

The agreement was completed on Wednesday morning, hours before the first and only scheduled public meeting of the congressional conference committee formed to work out the differences between the House- and Senate-passed versions of the bill.

‚ÄúLet‚Äôs understand what‚Äôs happening today is a sham,‚ÄĚ said Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the Finance Committee. ‚ÄúNobody ought to mistake this conference for real debate.‚ÄĚ

Mr. Trump delivered what was called a closing argument for the tax bill from the White House on Wednesday afternoon, flanked by five families who each took the microphone to extol the benefits of the tax bill on their households and communities.

‚ÄúAs a candidate, I promised we would pass a massive tax cut for the everyday working American families who are the backbone and the heartbeat of our country,‚ÄĚ Mr. Trump said. ‚ÄúNow we are just days away from keeping that promise. We want to give you, the American people, a giant tax cut for Christmas.‚ÄĚ

Mr. Trump added that if the bill were to be signed in that time frame, Americans would begin seeing tax cuts reflected in their paychecks by February, citing the Internal Revenue Service. ‚ÄúThe cynical voices that opposed tax cuts grow smaller and weaker, and the American people grow stronger,‚ÄĚ he said.

Correction: December 14, 2017 
Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to one provision of the tax proposal. The agreement would retain a provision allowing graduate students who receive tuition waivers to avoid paying taxes on that benefit. It does not apply to tuition stipends.

 

Story 2: Federal Reserve As Expected Raises Federal Funds Target Rate Range By .25% to Between 1.25% and 1.5% — Expect Three Hikes in 2018 or Four Hikes If Economy Booming — Videos

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What Is The Federal Reserve?

Fed Raises Rates, Sticks to Forecast for 2018 Increases

Policy makers pencil in three quarter-point rate raises for next year, as they had in September

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen arrives for her press conference Wednesday. The central bank’s rate-setting committee voted 7-2 to raise the benchmark federal-funds rate to a range between 1.25% and 1.5%.
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen arrives for her press conference Wednesday. The central bank’s rate-setting committee voted 7-2 to raise the benchmark federal-funds rate to a range between 1.25% and 1.5%. PHOTO: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

WASHINGTON‚ÄĒThe Federal Reserve showed continued optimism about the U.S. economy in voting Wednesday to raise short-term interest rates for the third time this year, and signaling it would stay on a similar path next year amid a leadership transition.

Officials nudged their economic-growth estimates higher for the next few years on expectations that congressional Republicans will pass tax cuts. But the Fed policy makers’ new projections suggest the boost wouldn’t be so large that they would have to speed up the pace of rate increases to guard against too much inflation.

‚ÄúAt the moment the U.S. economy is performing well,‚ÄĚ Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said at a press conference after the central bank‚Äôs two-day policy meeting ended Wednesday.

‚ÄúThe growth that we‚Äôre seeing, it‚Äôs not based on, for example, an unsustainable buildup of debt,‚ÄĚ she added. ‚ÄúThe global economy is doing well. We‚Äôre in a synchronized expansion. This is the first time in many years we‚Äôve seen this.‚ÄĚ

The Fed said it would increase its benchmark federal-funds rate Thursday by a quarter percentage point to a range between 1.25% and 1.5%, the fifth such increase in the past two years. Officials penciled in three quarter-point rate increases for next year, as they had in September, and two such increases each in 2019 and 2020.

The big question heading into their two-day meeting was how much Fed officials expected to lift rates in coming years. The prospect of new fiscal stimulus in the form of tax cuts, combined with solid hiring and lofty asset values, could argue for picking up the pace to prevent the economy from overheating. But low inflation and modest wage growth could support the case for sticking with a gradual approach.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans joined Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari on Wednesday in casting two dissenting votes, against seven in favor or raising rates. Both have cited weak inflation as a reason to hold off.

Fed officials projected the economy would grow 2.5% next year, up from the 2.1% they predicted in September. They also expect the unemployment rate will fall to 3.9% by the end of next year, down from their earlier forecast of 4.1%.

Officials didn’t project more interest-rate increases or higher inflation because price pressures have been surprisingly muted this year. They still project inflation to rise to their 2% target by 2019, the same as they expected in September.

‚ÄúIt could take a longer period of a very strong labor market in order to achieve the inflation objective,‚ÄĚ Ms. Yellen said Wednesday.

Economists said the latest projections and Ms. Yellen‚Äôs comments Wednesday show officials believe growth won‚Äôt generate as much inflation as previously thought. ‚ÄúIf inflation does actually pick up, it implies that they move more rapidly‚ÄĚ to raise rates, said Lewis Alexander, chief U.S. economist at Nomura Securities.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, above, and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, below, dissented to the Fed’s decision to raise short-term interest rates.
Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, above, and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, below, dissented to the Fed’s decision to raise short-term interest rates. PHOTO: ARND WIEGMANN/REUTERS
Fed Raises Rates, Sticks to Forecast for 2018 Increases
PHOTO: MARK KAUZLARICH/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Fed officials slashed their benchmark federal-funds rate to near zero during the financial crisis and held it there for seven years before raising it by a quarter percentage point in December 2015, the start of a gradual series of small increases. In October, the Fed also started shrinking its $4.5 trillion portfolio of bonds and other assets, most of which were purchased as part of extraordinary postcrisis measures to support the economy.

Since officials last met in early November, Congress has moved rapidly on legislation that would cut business and individual taxes by around $1.4 trillion over the next decade. Before this week, many Fed officials refrained from building into their forecasts much prospect of fiscal stimulus because it wasn’t clear what Congress would pass.

House and Senate Republicans are reconciling different versions of tax bills that have passed their respective chambers with the goal of putting a unified plan before President Donald Trump to sign by Christmas. The White House has said the plan can boost growth to levels that make up for revenue shortfalls.

An analysis from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation found the tax bill wouldn’t pay for itself with more economic growth and instead would result in about $1 trillion in additional budget deficits over a decade.

Fed officials’ projections show they don’t see the tax cut raising the economy’s long-run growth rate, which they left unchanged at 1.8%.

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs fair to say that the Fed doesn‚Äôt see the tax package as a game changer in terms of growth‚ÄĒjust some modest upside, concentrated mostly in 2018,‚ÄĚ said Roberto Perli, an analyst at research firm Cornerstone Macro LP.

While officials have now largely incorporated the effects of tax changes into their growth forecasts, Ms. Yellen said, ‚Äúimportantly, you really don‚Äôt at the end of the day see very much change in the federal-funds rate path.‚ÄĚ

Ms. Yellen added that she remained concerned higher budget deficits could leave fiscal policy makers with less scope to respond aggressively to an economic downturn in the future. Budget deficits are projected to grow as the baby boom ages, even before the added effect of tax cuts. ‚ÄúTaking what is already a significant problem and making it worse, it is a concern to me,‚ÄĚ she said.

While Ms. Yellen will preside over one more Fed meeting early next year, Wednesday featured her last scheduled press conference before her term ends Feb. 3. While she is likely to hand her successor an economy in far better shape than when she took over four years ago, the Fed faces several balancing acts.

On one hand, inflation has run below its annual 2% target most of this year, reaching just 1.6% in October by the central bank’s preferred gauge. On the other hand, with the economy so strong and more stimulus on the way, they don’t want to hold rates too low for too long and cause price pressures to surge out of control or fuel asset bubbles and other financial imbalances.

Now that the Fed has successfully moved interest rates away from zero and initiated the steady wind down of the portfolio, ‚Äúthe battle is over the terminal fed-funds rate, and how quickly you get to it,‚ÄĚ said Vincent Reinhart, chief economist of Standish Mellon and former director of the Fed‚Äôs monetary policy division. Fed officials‚Äô new projections show they see that longer-run level at around 2.75%, implying the Fed is already about half way there.

Mr. Trump’s nominee to succeed Ms. Yellen as central bank chief, Fed governor Jerome Powell, has indicated he could offer a lighter touch on financial regulation but has shown few signs of diverging from Ms. Yellen on monetary policy.

Ms. Yellen has said she would resign her seat on the Fed’s seven-member board once Mr. Powell is confirmed and sworn in, making her the third governor to leave within a year and giving Mr. Trump another opportunity to reshape the Fed.

Fed officials also are wrestling with the fact that the economy isn’t responding to its rate moves as it did in the past, making it harder to discern the right policy path.

Fed increases in short-term rates used to tighten credit more broadly, causing bond yields to rise and boosting other borrowing costs, such as for mortgages, credit cards and business loans. This year, instead, financial conditions have eased, with stock prices rising to new highs and long-term bond yields remaining low, due in part to easy-money policies from central banks in Europe and Japan.

Banks have held rates on savings deposits at historically low levels. The average interest rate paid by the biggest U.S. banks on interest-bearing deposits rose to 0.40% in the third quarter, up from 0.34% in the second quarter, according to Autonomous Research.

Low interest rates have been a pleasant surprise for Joe Williams, 33, who is looking to trade up to a larger home to make room for a growing family. Mr. Williams, who works in retail operations, and his wife are preapproved for a 30-year mortgage that carries a 3.75% interest rate for the first seven years. That is higher than the 3.125% rate he locked in on his Minneapolis home two years ago.

If rates looked likely to rise faster, ‚Äúthat would motivate us to get a little bit more aggressive‚ÄĚ in buying the move-up home, he said.

Write to Nick Timiraos at nick.timiraos@wsj.com

Appeared in the December 14, 2017, print edition as ‘Fed Hikes Rates as Economy Picks Up.’

https://www.wsj.com/articles/fed-raises-interest-rates-sees-continued-path-of-increases-in-2018-1513191780

Federal funds rate

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the¬†United States, the¬†federal funds rate¬†is the¬†interest rate¬†at which¬†depository institutions¬†(banks and credit unions) lend reserve balances to other depository institutions overnight, on an¬†uncollateralized¬†basis.¬†Reserve balances¬†are amounts held at the¬†Federal Reserve¬†to maintain depository institutions’¬†reserve requirements. Institutions with surplus balances in their accounts lend those balances to institutions in need of larger balances. The federal funds rate is an important benchmark in¬†financial markets.[1][2]

The interest rate that the borrowing bank pays to the lending bank to borrow the funds is negotiated between the two banks, and the weighted average of this rate across all such transactions is the federal funds effective rate.

The federal funds target rate is determined by a meeting of the members of the Federal Open Market Committee which normally occurs eight times a year about seven weeks apart. The committee may also hold additional meetings and implement target rate changes outside of its normal schedule.

The Federal Reserve uses open market operations to influence the supply of money in the U.S. economy[3] to make the federal funds effective rate follow the federal funds target rate.

Mechanism

Financial Institutions are obligated by law to maintain certain levels of reserves, either as¬†reserves¬†with the Fed or as vault cash. The level of these reserves is determined by the outstanding assets and liabilities of each depository institution, as well as by the Fed itself, but is typically 10%[4]¬†of the total value of the bank’s¬†demand accounts¬†(depending on bank size). In the range of $9.3 million to $43.9 million, for¬†transaction deposits¬†(checking accounts,¬†NOWs, and other deposits that can be used to make payments) the reserve requirement in 2007-2008 was 3 percent of the end-of-the-day daily average amount held over a two-week period. Transaction deposits over $43.9 million held at the same depository institution carried a 10 percent reserve requirement.

For example, assume a particular U.S. depository institution, in the normal course of business, issues a loan. This dispenses money and decreases the ratio of bank reserves to money loaned. If its reserve ratio drops below the legally required minimum, it must add to its reserves to remain compliant with Federal Reserve regulations. The bank can borrow the requisite funds from another bank that has a surplus in its account with the Fed. The interest rate that the borrowing bank pays to the lending bank to borrow the funds is negotiated between the two banks, and the weighted average of this rate across all such transactions is the federal funds effective rate.

The¬†federal funds target rate¬†is set by the governors of the Federal Reserve, which they enforce by¬†open market operations¬†and adjustments in the interest rate on reserves.[5]¬†The target rate is almost always what is meant by the media referring to the Federal Reserve “changing interest rates.” The actual federal funds rate generally lies within a range of that target rate, as the Federal Reserve cannot set an exact value through open market operations.

Another way banks can borrow funds to keep up their required reserves is by taking a loan from the Federal Reserve itself at the discount window. These loans are subject to audit by the Fed, and the discount rate is usually higher than the federal funds rate. Confusion between these two kinds of loans often leads to confusion between the federal funds rate and the discount rate. Another difference is that while the Fed cannot set an exact federal funds rate, it does set the specific discount rate.

The federal funds rate target is decided by the governors at¬†Federal Open Market Committee¬†(FOMC) meetings. The FOMC members will either increase, decrease, or leave the rate unchanged depending on the meeting’s agenda and the economic conditions of the U.S. It is possible to infer the market expectations of the FOMC decisions at future meetings from the¬†Chicago Board of Trade¬†(CBOT) Fed Funds¬†futures contracts, and these probabilities are widely reported in the financial media.

Applications

Interbank borrowing is essentially a way for banks to quickly raise money. For example, a bank may want to finance a major industrial effort but may not have the time to wait for deposits or interest (on loan payments) to come in. In such cases the bank will quickly raise this amount from other banks at an interest rate equal to or higher than the Federal funds rate.

Raising the federal funds rate will dissuade banks from taking out such inter-bank loans, which in turn will make cash that much harder to procure. Conversely, dropping the interest rates will encourage banks to borrow money and therefore invest more freely.[6] This interest rate is used as a regulatory tool to control how freely the U.S. economy operates.

By setting a higher discount rate the Federal Bank discourages banks from requisitioning funds from the Federal Bank, yet positions itself as a lender of last resort.

Comparison with LIBOR

Though the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and the federal funds rate are concerned with the same action, i.e. interbank loans, they are distinct from one another, as follows:

  • The target federal funds rate is a target interest rate that is set by the FOMC for implementing U.S. monetary policies.
  • The (effective) federal funds rate is achieved through open market operations at the Domestic Trading Desk at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which deals primarily in domestic securities (U.S. Treasury and federal agencies’ securities).[7]
  • LIBOR is based on a questionnaire where a selection of banks guess the rates at which they could borrow money from other banks.
  • LIBOR may or may not be used to derive business terms. It is not fixed beforehand and is not meant to have macroeconomic ramifications.[8]

Predictions by the market

Considering the wide impact a change in the federal funds rate can have on the value of the dollar and the amount of lending going to new economic activity, the Federal Reserve is closely watched by the market. The prices of Option contracts on fed funds futures (traded on the¬†Chicago Board of Trade) can be used to infer the market’s expectations of future Fed policy changes. Based on CME Group 30-Day Fed Fund futures prices, which have long been used to express the market‚Äôs views on the likelihood of changes in U.S. monetary policy, the¬†CME Group FedWatch tool¬†allows market participants to view the probability of an upcoming Fed Rate hike. One set of such¬†implied probabilities¬†is published by the Cleveland Fed.

Historical rates

As of 14 June 2017 the target range for the Federal Funds Rate is 1.00-1.25%.[9] This represents the fourth increase in the target rate since tightening began in December 2015.

The last full cycle of rate increases occurred between June 2004 and June 2006 as rates steadily rose from 1.00% to 5.25%. The target rate remained at 5.25% for over a year, until the Federal Reserve began lowering rates in September 2007. The last cycle of easing monetary policy through the rate was conducted from September 2007 to December 2008 as the target rate fell from 5.25% to a range of 0.00-0.25%. Between December 2008 and December 2015 the target rate remained at 0.00-0.25%, the lowest rate in the Federal Reserve’s history, as a reaction to the¬†Financial crisis of 2007‚Äď2008¬†and its¬†aftermath. According to Jack A. Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank, one reason for this unprecedented move of having a range, rather than a specific rate, was because a rate of 0% could have had problematic implications for money market funds, whose fees could then outpace yields.[10]

Federal funds rate history and recessions.jpg

Explanation of federal funds rate decisions

When the Federal Open Market Committee wishes to reduce interest rates they will increase the supply of money by buying government securities. When additional supply is added and everything else remains constant, price normally falls. The price here is the interest rate (cost of money) and specifically refers to the Federal Funds Rate. Conversely, when the Committee wishes to increase the Fed Funds Rate, they will instruct the Desk Manager to sell government securities, thereby taking the money they earn on the proceeds of those sales out of circulation and reducing the money supply. When supply is taken away and everything else remains constant, price (or in this case interest rates) will normally rise.[11]

The Federal Reserve has responded to a potential slow-down by lowering the target federal funds rate during¬†recessions¬†and other periods of lower growth. In fact, the Committee’s lowering has recently predated recessions,[12]¬†in order to stimulate the economy and cushion the fall. Reducing the Fed Funds Rate makes money cheaper, allowing an influx of credit into the economy through all types of loans.

The charts linked below show the relation between S&P 500 and interest rates.

  • July 13, 1990 ‚ÄĒ Sept 4, 1992: 8.00%‚Äď3.00% (Includes 1990‚Äď1991 recession)[13][14]
  • Feb 1, 1995 ‚ÄĒ Nov 17, 1998: 6.00‚Äď4.75¬†[15][16][17]
  • May 16, 2000 ‚ÄĒ June 25, 2003: 6.50‚Äď1.00 (Includes 2001 recession)[18][19][20]
  • June 29, 2006 ‚ÄĒ (Oct. 29 2008): 5.25‚Äď1.00[21]
  • Dec 16, 2008 ‚ÄĒ 0.0‚Äď0.25[22]
  • Dec 16, 2015 ‚ÄĒ 0.25-0.50[23]
  • Dec 14, 2016 ‚ÄĒ 0.50-0.75[24]
  • Mar 15, 2017 ‚ÄĒ 0.75-1.00[25]
  • Jun 14, 2017 ‚ÄĒ 1.00-1.25[26]
  • Dec 13, 2017 ‚ÄĒ 1.25-1.50[27]

Bill Gross of PIMCO suggested that in the prior 15 years ending in 2007, in each instance where the fed funds rate was higher than the nominal GDP growth rate, assets such as stocks and/or housing fell.[28]

International effects

A low federal funds rate makes investments in developing countries such as China or Mexico more attractive. A high federal funds rate makes investments in other countries less attractive. The long period of a very low federal funds rate from 2009 forward resulted in an increase in investment in developing countries. As the United States began to return to a higher rate in 2013 investments in the United States became more attractive and the rate of investment in developing countries began to fall. The rate also affects the value of currency, a higher rate increasing the value of the U.S. dollar and decreasing the value of currencies such as the Mexican peso.[29]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^¬†“Fedpoints: Federal Funds”.¬†Federal Reserve Bank of New York. August 2007. Retrieved¬†2 October¬†2011.
  2. Jump up^¬†“The Implementation of Monetary Policy”.¬†The Federal Reserve System: Purposes & Functions¬†(PDF). Washington, D.C.: Federal Reserve Board. 24 August 2011. p.¬†4. Retrieved¬†2 October¬†2011.
  3. Jump up^¬†“Monetary Policy, Open Market Operations”. Federal Reserve Bank. 2008-01-30. Archived from¬†the original¬†on 2001-04-13. Retrieved¬†2008-01-30.
  4. Jump up^¬†“Reserve Requirements”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2015.
  5. Jump up^ Stefan Homburg (2017) A Study in Monetary Macroeconomics, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-880753-7.
  6. Jump up^¬†“Fed funds rate”. Bankrate, Inc. March 2016.
  7. Jump up^¬†Cheryl L. Edwards (November 1997). Gerard Sinzdak.¬†“Open Market Operations in the 1990s”¬†(PDF).¬†Federal Reserve Bulletin¬†(PDF).
  8. Jump up^¬†“BBA LIBOR – Frequently asked questions”. British Bankers’ Association. March 21, 2006. Archived from¬†the original¬†on 2007-02-16.
  9. Jump up^¬†“Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement”¬†(Press release).¬†Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. 2017-06-14. Retrieved¬†2017-06-15.
  10. Jump up^¬†“4:56 p.m. US-Closing Stocks”. Associated Press. December 16, 2008. Archived from¬†the original¬†on July 18, 2012.
  11. Jump up^¬†David Waring (2008-02-19).¬†“An Explanation of How The Fed Moves Interest Rates”. InformedTrades.com. Archived from¬†the original¬†on 2015-05-05. Retrieved¬†2009-07-20.
  12. Jump up^¬†“Historical Changes of the Target Federal Funds and Discount Rates, 1971 to present”. New York Federal Reserve Branch. February 19, 2010. Archived from¬†the original¬†on December 21, 2008.
  13. Jump up^¬†“$SPX 1990-06-12 1992-10-04 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  14. Jump up^¬†“$SPX 1992-08-04 1995-03-01 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  15. Jump up^¬†“$SPX 1995-01-01 1997-01-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  16. Jump up^¬†“$SPX 1996-12-01 1998-10-17 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  17. Jump up^¬†“$SPX 1998-09-17 2000-06-16 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  18. Jump up^¬†“$SPX 2000-04-16 2002-01-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  19. Jump up^¬†“$SPX 2002-01-01 2003-07-25 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  20. Jump up^¬†“$SPX 2003-06-25 2006-06-29 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  21. Jump up^¬†“$SPX 2006-06-29 2008-06-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  22. Jump up^¬†“Press Release”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2008.
  23. Jump up^¬†“Open Market Operations”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2015.
  24. Jump up^¬†“Decisions Regarding Monetary Policy Implementation”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. Archived from¬†the original¬†on 2016-12-15.
  25. Jump up^¬†Cox, Jeff (2017-03-15).¬†“Fed raises rates at March meeting”.¬†CNBC. Retrieved¬†2017-03-15.
  26. Jump up^¬†“Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. June 14, 2017.
  27. Jump up^¬†“Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 13, 2017.
  28. Jump up^¬†Shaw, Richard (January 7, 2007).¬†“The Bond Yield Curve as an Economic Crystal Ball”. Retrieved¬†3 April¬†2011.
  29. Jump up^¬†Peter S. Goodman, Keith Bradsher and Neil Gough (March 16, 2017).¬†“The Fed Acts. Workers in Mexico and Merchants in Malaysia Suffer”.¬†The New York Times. Retrieved¬†March 18,2017.¬†Rising interest rates in the United States are driving money out of many developing countries, straining governments and pinching consumers around the globe.

External links

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

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The Pronk Pops Show 990, October 26, 2017, Part 2 of 2: Story 1: Clinton‚Äôs Campaign and Democratic National Committee Paid For A ¬†Fabricated ¬†‚ÄúDossier‚ÄĚ on Trump Used as Campaign¬†¬†Propaganda ¬†and Their Accomplices In The Obama Administration and Big Lie Media Aided and Abetted Them ‚ÄĒ Fearing Clinton Might Lose They Planned For An October Surprise That Would Finish Trump Off ‚ÄĒ ¬†Surprise ‚ÄĒ Surprise ‚ÄďVideos ‚ÄĒ Story 2: Time To Fire Mueller & Rosenstein and¬†Stop Wasting Taxpayer Money on Clinton Conspiracy Theory of Trump ¬†Russian Collusion Based on A Fictional Dossier and No Evidence At All of Trump Collusion ‚ÄĒ Investigate The Obama Administration‚Äôs Use of The Intelligence Community (CIA, FBI, and NSA) ¬†For Political Purposes By Their Secret Surveillance of American Citizens Including Trump and Campaign and Cover-up of Clinton Foundation Crimes of Racketeering and Public Corruption ‚ÄĒ The Cover-up and Scandal of The Century ‚ÄďVideos

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Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed as a hoax a privately-prepared intelligence dossier that claimed Russian intelligence agencies had compromising material on President-elect Trump. Elizabether Palmer has the details.

Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier

 
The Washington Post’s Adam Entous looks at the role that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee played in funding the research that led to a dossier containing allegations about President Trump’s links to Russia. (Video: Bastien Inzaurralde, Patrick Martin/Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

 October 24 at 7:21 PM

The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said. Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research.After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, according to those people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, retained the company in April 2016 on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Before that agreement, Fusion GPS’s research into Trump was funded by an unknown Republican client during the GOP primary.

The Clinton campaign and the DNC, through the law firm, continued to fund Fusion GPS’s research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day.

Former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele compiled the dossier on President Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. (Victoria Jones/AP)

Fusion GPS gave Steele’s reports and other research documents to Elias, the people familiar with the matter said. It is unclear how or how much of that information was shared with the campaign and the DNC and who in those organizations was aware of the roles of Fusion GPS and Steele. One person close to the matter said the campaign and the DNC were not informed by the law firm of Fusion GPS’s role.

The dossier has become a lightning rod amid the intensifying investigations into the Trump campaign’s possible connections to Russia. Some congressional Republican leaders have spent months trying to discredit Fusion GPS and Steele and tried to determine the identity of the Democrat or organization that paid for the dossier.

Trump tweeted as recently as Saturday¬†that the Justice Department and FBI should ‚Äúimmediately release who paid for it.‚ÄĚ

Elias and Fusion GPS declined to comment on the arrangement.

A DNC spokeswoman said ‚Äú[Chairman] Tom Perez and the new leadership of the DNC were not involved in any decision-making regarding Fusion GPS, nor were they aware that Perkins Coie was working with the organization. But let‚Äôs be clear, there is a serious federal investigation into the Trump campaign‚Äôs ties to Russia, and the American public deserves to know what happened.‚ÄĚ

Brian Fallon, a former spokesman for the Clinton campaign, said he wasn’t aware of the hiring during the campaign.

‚ÄúThe first I learned of Christopher Steele or saw any dossier was after the election,‚ÄĚ Fallon said. ‚ÄúBut if I had gotten handed it last fall, I would have had no problem passing it along and urging reporters to look into it.¬†Opposition research happens on every campaign, and here you had probably the most shadowy guy ever running for president, and the FBI certainly has seen fit to look into it. I probably would have volunteered to go to Europe myself to try and verify if it would have helped get more of this out there before the election.‚ÄĚ

Marc E. Elias of Perkins Coie represented the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Some of the details are included in a Tuesday letter sent by Perkins Coie to a lawyer representing Fusion GPS, telling the research firm that it was released from a ­client-confidentiality obligation. The letter was prompted by a legal fight over a subpoena for Fusion GPS’s bank records.

People involved in the matter said that they would not disclose the dollar amounts paid to Fusion GPS but that the campaign and the DNC shared the cost.

Steele previously worked in Russia for British intelligence. The dossier is a compilation of reports he prepared for Fusion GPS. The dossier alleged that the Russian government collected compromising information about Trump and that the Kremlin was engaged in an effort to assist his campaign for president.

U.S. intelligence agencies later released a public assessment asserting that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to aid Trump. The FBI has been investigating whether Trump associates helped the Russians in that effort.

Trump has adamantly denied the allegations in the dossier and has dismissed the FBI probe as a witch hunt.

Officials have said that the FBI has confirmed some of the information in the dossier. Other details, including the most sensational accusations, have not been verified and may never be.

Fusion GPS’s work researching Trump began during the Republican presidential primaries, when the GOP donor paid for the firm to investigate the real estate magnate’s background.

Fusion GPS did not start off looking at Trump’s Russia ties but quickly realized that those relationships were extensive, according to the people familiar with the matter.

When the Republican donor stopped paying for the research, Elias, acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC, agreed to pay for the work to continue. The Democrats paid for research, including by Fusion GPS, because of concerns that little was known about Trump and his business interests, according to the people familiar with the matter.

 

Those people said that it is standard practice for political campaigns to use law firms to hire outside researchers to ensure their work is protected by attorney-client and work-product privileges.

The Clinton campaign paid Perkins Coie $5.6 million in legal fees from June 2015 to December 2016, according to campaign finance records, and the DNC paid the firm $3.6 million in ‚Äúlegal and compliance consulting‚Äô‚Äô since November 2015 ‚ÄĒ though it‚Äôs impossible to tell from the filings how much of that work was for other legal matters and how much of it related to Fusion GPS.

At no point, the people said, did the Clinton campaign or the DNC direct Steele’s activities. They described him as a Fusion GPS subcontractor.

Some of Steele’s allegations began circulating in Washington in the summer of 2016 as the FBI launched its counterintelligence investigation into possible connections between Trump associates and the Kremlin. Around that time, Steele shared some of his findings with the FBI.

After the election, the FBI agreed to pay Steele to continue gathering intelligence about Trump and Russia, but the bureau pulled out of the arrangement after Steele was publicly identified in news reports.

The dossier was published by BuzzFeed News in January. Fusion GPS has said in court filings that it did not give BuzzFeed the documents.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that Steele was respected by the FBI and the State Department for earlier work he performed on a global corruption probe.

In early January, then-FBI Director James B. Comey presented a two-page summary of Steele’s dossier to President Barack Obama and President-elect Trump. In May, Trump fired Comey, which led to the appointment of Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel investigating the Trump-Russia matter.

Congressional Republicans have tried to force Fusion GPS to identify the Democrat or group behind Steele’s work, but the firm has said that it will not do so, citing confidentiality agreements with its clients.

Over objections from Democrats, the Republican leader of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (Calif.), subpoenaed Fusion GPS’s bank records to try to identify the mystery client.

Fusion GPS has been fighting the release of its bank records. A judge on Tuesday extended a deadline for Fusion GPS’s bank to respond to the subpoena until Friday while the company attempts to negotiate a resolution with Nunes.

Julie Tate contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/clinton-campaign-dnc-paid-for-research-that-led-to-russia-dossier/2017/10/24/226fabf0-b8e4-11e7-a908-a3470754bbb9_story.html?utm_term=.29781c192bae

Robert Mueller’s widening Russia probe is sweeping up Democrats, including lobbyist Tony Podesta

The scope of Russian involvement in U.S. business and politics is extensive

MATTHEW SHEFFIELD¬†10.23.2017‚ÄĘ1:51 PM

Much like the mid-90s saw story after story showing how extensive Chinese government operations within U.S. politics were, the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election is demonstrating the size of Russia’s.

That’s the overall takeaway from a series of news reports, including one from NBC that indicated that special prosecutor Robert Mueller has been investigating the business dealings of Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta. His firm, the Podesta Group, is one of