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

Trump calls DOJ official Bruce Ohr a ‘disgrace’

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

DiGenova calls for investigation into Steele, Ohr

Trump revokes John Brennan’s security clearance

Tucker: Brennan thinks he has a right to clearance

Who’s next on security clearance chopping block?

White House speaks out on fate of more security clearances

Steyn reacts to left’s outrage over Brennan clearance

Levin: Trump should pull more security clearances

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

Frantic texts from Christopher Steele to Bruce Ohr revealed

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

Why the Bruce Ohr-Christopher Steele texts are so important

Steele’s communications with DOJ raise questions

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

Giuliani: John Brennan should go before a grand jury

Trump takes aim at Jeff Sessions over Twitter

Trump calls Sessions ‘scared stiff and missing in action’

Tucker: John Brennan is unhinged

Hannity: About time Brennan lost security clearance

Did John Brennan lie about the Trump-Russia dossier?

DiGenova calls for investigation into Steele, Ohr

DiGenova: John Brennan should get a good lawyer

Isikoff on John Brennan’s role in the Russia investigation

John Brennan faces scrutiny over anti-Trump dossier

Former US attorney: FBI officials will likely face charges

Byron York talks link between Steele and DOJ official

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

DOJ official with ties to Fusion GPS gets demoted again

Napolitano on Fusion GPS testimony

Deeper connections revealed between Fusion GPS, DOJ official

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

Nunes on Bruce Ohr and the push to declassify DOJ documents

Joe diGenova describes “Brazen Plot To Exonerate Hillary Clinton”

diGenova: HILLARY CLINTON COMMITTED CRIMES

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

The Fact Checker

August 16

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

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

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

— Trump, in a tweet, Aug. 11

Who is Bruce Ohr?

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

Ohr’s name was on the list.

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

The Facts

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steele dated a dossier installment Dec . 13.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Could we discuss it in a classified setting?”

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

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

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

 

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

clinton andmediacartoon

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

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

Here are the six main points of the Dossier:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Trump–Russia dossier

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

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

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

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

 

History

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

Research funded by conservative website

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

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

Research funded by Democrats produces dossier

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luke Harding wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

Hints of existence

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

Mother Jones story

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

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

The first memo, based on the former intelligence officer’s conversations with Russian sources, noted, “Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance”. It maintained that Trump “and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals”. It claimed that Russian intelligence had “compromised” Trump during his visits to Moscow and could “blackmail him”. It also reported that Russian intelligence had compiled a dossier on Hillary Clinton based on “bugged conversations she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls.”

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

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

Post-election events

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

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

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

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

Publication by BuzzFeed

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

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

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

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

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

Format

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

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

CONFIDENTIAL/SENSITIVE SOURCECOMPANY INTELLIGENCE REPORT 2016/080

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

Authorship

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

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

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

Allegations

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

Michael Cohen (2011)

Carter Page (2017)

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

Cultivation, conspiracy, and cooperation

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

Key roles of Manafort, Cohen, and Page

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

Kremlin pro-Trump and anti-Clinton

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

Kompromat and blackmail: Trump

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

Kompromat: Clinton

Dmitry Peskov (2017)

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

DNC email hack, leaks, and misinformation

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

Kickbacks and quid pro quo agreements

Igor Sechin (2016)

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

Russian spy withdrawn

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

Cultivation of various U.S. political figures

Possible earlier interest in Trump

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

Denials of specific claims

Michael Cohen

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

Paul Manafort

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

Carter Page

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

Donald Trump

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

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

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

Veracity

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

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

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

Reputation in the U.S. intelligence community

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Varied reactions about veracity

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

Other observers and experts have had varying reactions to the dossier. Generally, “former intelligence officers and other national-security experts” urged “skepticism and caution” but still took “the fact that the nation’s top intelligence officials chose to present a summary version of the dossier to both President Obama and President-elect Trump” as an indication “that they may have had a relatively high degree of confidence that at least some of the claims therein were credible, or at least worth investigating further”.[15]

Vice President Joe Biden told reporters that, while he and Obama were receiving a briefing on the extent of election hacking attempts, there was a two-page addendum which addressed the contents of the Steele dossier.[56] Top intelligence officials told them they “felt obligated to inform them about uncorroborated allegations about President-elect Donald Trump out of concern the information would become public and catch them off-guard”.[152]

On January 11, 2017, Newsweek published a list of “13 things that don’t add up” in the dossier, writing that it was a “strange mix of the amateur and the insightful” and stating that it “contains lots of Kremlin-related gossip that could indeed be, as the author claims, from deep insiders—or equally gleaned” from Russian newspapers and blogs.[153] Former UK ambassador to Russia Sir Tony Brenton stated that certain aspects of the dossier were inconsistent with British intelligence’s understanding of how the Kremlin works, commenting: “I’ve seen quite a lot of intelligence on Russia, and there are some things in [the dossier] which look pretty shaky.”[154]

In his June 2017 Senate Intelligence Committee testimony, former FBI director James Comey called “some personally sensitive aspects” of the dossier “salacious and unverified,” but he did not state that the entire dossier was unverified or that the salacious aspects were false. When Senator Richard Burr asked if any of the allegations in the dossier had been confirmed, Comey said he could not answer that question in a public setting.[155][20]

Trump and his supporters have challenged the veracity of the dossier because it was funded in part by the Clinton campaign and the DNC, while Democrats assert the funding source is irrelevant.[156]

Veracity of certain allegations

Russian assistance to the Trump campaign

January 6, 2017, intelligence community assessment released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) stated that Russian leadership favored the Trump candidacy over Clinton’s, and that Putin personally ordered an “influence campaign” to harm Clinton’s electoral chances and “undermine public faith in the US democratic process,” as well as ordering cyber attacks on “both major U.S. political parties”.[157]

Newsweek stated that “the dossier’s main finding, that Russia tried to prop up Trump over Clinton, was confirmed by” this assessment.[87] ABC News stated that “some of the dossier’s broad implications—particularly that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an operation to boost Trump and sow discord within the U.S. and abroad—now ring true.”[42] Referring to the ODNI assessment, former Los Angeles Times Moscow correspondent Robert Gillette wrote in an op-ed in the Concord Monitor that the dossier has had at least one of its main factual assertions verified….Steele’s dossier, paraphrasing multiple sources, reported precisely the same conclusion, in greater detail, six months earlier, in a memo dated June 20.”[158]

In The New Yorker, Jane Mayer has stated that the allegation that Trump was favored by the Kremlin, and that they offered Trump’s campaign dirt on Clinton, has proven true.[8]

In March 2016, George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, learned that the Russians had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of thousands of stolen emails. This occurred before the hacking of the DNC computers had become public knowledge.[159][160]Papadopoulos sent emails about Putin to at least seven Trump campaign officials. Trump national campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis[161] encouraged Papadopoulos to fly to Russia and meet with agents of the Russian Foreign Ministry, who reportedly wanted to share “Clinton dirt” with the Trump campaign.[162][163] When Donald Trump Jr. learned of the offer, he welcomed it by responding: “If it’s what you say, I love it…”[8] Later, on June 9, 2016, a meeting in Trump Tower was held, ostensibly for representatives from Russia to deliver that dirt on Clinton.[164][165]

At the July 2018 summit meeting, Putin was asked if he had wanted Trump to win the 2016 election. He responded “Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.”[166]

Republican position on Russian conflict with Ukraine

The dossier alleges that “the Trump campaign agreed to minimize US opposition to Russia’s incursions into Ukraine”.[167] Harding considers this allegation to have been confirmed by the actions of the Trump campaign: “This is precisely what happened at the Republican National Convention last July, when language on the US’s commitment to Ukraine was mysteriously softened.”[53] In July 2016, the Republican National Convention made changes to the Republican Party’s platform on Ukraine: initially the platform proposed providing “lethal weapons” to Ukraine, but the line was changed to “appropriate assistance”. NPR reported, “Diana Denman, a Republican delegate who supported arming U.S. allies in Ukraine, has told people that Trump aide J.D. Gordon said at the Republican Convention in 2016 that Trump directed him to support weakening that position in the official platform.”[168] J. D. Gordon, who was one of Trump’s national security advisers during the campaign, said that he had advocated for changing language because that reflected what Trump had said.[121][169] The Trump campaign does not appear to have intervened in any other platform deliberations aside from the language on Ukraine.[170]

In an interview on This Week, Trump told George Stephanopoulos that people in his campaign were responsible for changing the GOP’s platform stance on Ukraine, but that he was not personally involved.[171]

Trump had formerly taken a hard line on Ukraine. He initially denounced Russia’s annexation of Crimea as a “land grab” that “should never have happened”, and called for a firmer U.S. response, saying “We should definitely be strong. We should definitely do sanctions.” But after hiring Manafort his approach changed; he said he might recognize Crimea as Russian territory and might lift the sanctions against Russia.[172]

Relations with Europe and NATO

Vladimir Putin (2017)

The dossier alleges that as part of a quid pro quo agreement, “the TRUMP team had agreed… to raise US/NATO defense commitments in the Baltics and Eastern Europe to deflect attention away from Ukraine, a priority for PUTIN who needed to cauterise the subject.”[95] Aiko Stevenson, writing in The Huffington Post, noted that some of Trump’s actions seem to align with “Putin’s wish list”, which “includes lifting sanctions on Russia, turning a blind eye towards its aggressive efforts in the Ukraine, and creating a divisive rift amongst western allies.”[173] During the campaign Trump “called Nato, the centrepiece of Transatlantic security ‘obsolete’, championed the disintegration of the EU, and said that he is open to lifting sanctions on Moscow.”[173] Harding adds that Trump repeatedly “questioned whether US allies were paying enough into Nato coffers.”[53] Jeff Stein, writing in Newsweek, described how “Trump’s repeated attacks on NATO have…frustrated…allies …[and] raised questions as to whether the president has been duped into facilitating Putin’s long-range objective of undermining the European Union.”[174] Trump’s appearances at meetings with allies, including NATO and G7, have frequently been antagonistic; according to the Los Angeles Times, “The president’s posture toward close allies has been increasingly and remarkably confrontational this year, especially in comparison to his more conciliatory approach to adversaries, including Russia and North Korea.”[175]

Lifting of sanctions

The dossier says that Page, claiming to speak with Trump’s authority, had confirmed that Trump would lift the existing sanctions against Russia if he were elected president.[89] On December 29, 2016, during the transition period between the election and the inauguration, National Security Advisor designate Flynn spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, urging him not to retaliate for newly imposed sanctions; the Russians took his advice and did not retaliate.[176]Within days after the inauguration, new Trump administration officials ordered State Department staffers to develop proposals for immediately revoking the economic and other sanctions.[177] One retired diplomat later said, “What was troubling about these stories is that suddenly I was hearing that we were preparing to rescind sanctions in exchange for, well, nothing.”[178] The staffers alerted Congressional allies who took steps to codify the sanctions into law. The attempt to overturn the sanctions was abandoned after Flynn’s conversation was revealed and Flynn resigned.[177][104] In August 2017, Congress passed a bipartisan bill to impose new sanctions on Russia. Trump reluctantly signed the bill, but then refused to implement it.[179]

Spy withdrawn from Russian embassy

The dossier alleges that a “Russian diplomat Mikhail KULAGIN [sic]” participated in US election meddling, and was recalled to Moscow because Kremlin was concerned that his role in the meddling would be exposed. The BBC later reported that US officials in 2016 had identified Russian diplomat Mikhail Kalugin as a spy and that he was under surveillance, thus “verifying” a key claim in the dossier.[94] Kalugin was the head of the economics section at the Russian embassy. He returned to Russia in August 2016.[96] McClatchy reported that the FBI was investigating whether Kalugin played a role in the election interference. Kalugin has denied the allegations.[96][180]

Page meeting with Rosneft officials

Jane Mayer said that this part of the dossier seems true, even if the name of an official may have been wrong. Page’s congressional testimony confirmed he held secret meetings with top Moscow and Rosneft officials, including talks about a payoff: “When Page was asked if a Rosneft executive had offered him a ‘potential sale of a significant percentage of Rosneft,’ Page said, ‘He may have briefly mentioned it’.”[8]

On November 2, 2017, Page appeared before the House Intelligence Committee (HPSCI) which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. In July 2016, Page made a five-day trip to Moscow,[181] but, according to his testimony, before leaving he informed Jeff SessionsJ. D. GordonHope Hicks, and Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager, of the planned trip to Russia, and Lewandowski approved the trip, responding: “If you’d like to go on your own, not affiliated with the campaign, you know, that’s fine.”[118][128] In his testimony, Page admitted he met with high ranking Kremlin officials. Previously, Page had denied meeting any Russian officials during the July trip. His comments appeared to corroborate portions of the dossier.[129][130] Newsweek has listed the claim about Page meeting with Rosneft officials as “verified”.[182]

Investigations using or referencing the dossier

The FBI’s Russia investigation

In late July 2016, “the CIA had set up a special group with the NSA and FBI… to investigate the extent of Russian intervention in the presidential election.” Former CIA director John Brennan then “ensured that all information about links between the Trump campaign and people working for or on behalf of Russian intelligence went to the FBI.”[183] These links between Trump associates and Russian officials were numerous. Politico keeps a very detailed running tally of the persons, and, as of April 25, 2018, they listed “73 associated with [Trump’s] 2016 campaign”.[184] Julian Borger reported that in Brennan’s testimony before the House intelligence committee, he made it clear “that he was alarmed by the extent of contacts between the Trump team and Moscow,” and that this justified the FBI inquiry:[183]

Brennan stressed repeatedly that collusion may have been unwitting, at least at first as Russian intelligence was deft at disguising its approaches to would-be agents. “Frequently, individuals on a treasonous path do not even realize they’re on that path until it gets to be too late,” he said.[183]

The investigation was also spurred by comments made by Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.[160][185] While Trump and some Republicans have claimed that the dossier was behind the beginning of the FBI investigation into his campaign’s potential conspiracy with Russia, in December 2017, former and current intelligence officials revealed that the actual impetus was a series of comments made in May 2016 by Papadopoulos to Alexander Downer, a top Australian diplomat, during a night of “heavy drinking at an upscale London bar”.[185][160] John Sipher reported that Papadopoulos bragged “that the Trump campaign was aware the Russian government had dirt on Hillary Clinton”[4] in the form of “thousands of emails” stolen from Clinton which could be used to damage her campaign. Papadopoulos had learned this about three weeks earlier. Two months later, when WikiLeaks started releasing DNC emails, Australian officials alerted the Americans about Papadopoulos’ remarks.[185][160]Over a year later, Papadopoulos was arrested on July 27, 2017,[186] and in October 2017, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, and became a cooperating witness in Mueller’s investigation.[185][186]

Other factors also played into the FBI’s decision to investigate Russian interference and the Trump campaign: intelligence from friendly governments, especially the British and Dutch, and information about Page’s Moscow trip. Steele’s first report was sent to Fusion GPS, dated June 20, 2016, and FBI agents first interviewed Steele in October 2016.[160] The New York Times reported on February 14, 2017 that the FBI had made contact with some of Steele’s sources.[187] CNN later reported that the FBI had used the dossier to bolster its existing investigations.[33][12]

In a January 2, 2018, CNN panel discussion, Elizabeth Foley, a Florida International University law professor, falsely alleged that the FISA warrant for Page was “all based on a dossier”, adding “That’s what Jim Comey has suggested.” She also cited reports from CNN and The New York TimesPolitiFact concluded that her claim about Comey was unsubstantiated, and according to CNN, the dossier was only “part of the justification”, and that The New York Times report did not mention the dossier. PolitiFact rated her claim “Mostly False”.[188]

Special counsel investigation

According to Senate Intelligence Committee vice chairman Mark Warner (D-VA), the dossier’s allegations are being investigated by a Special Counsel led by Robert Mueller, which, since May 2017, has been investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.[189] In the summer of 2017, Mueller’s team of investigators met with Steele.[190] As some leads stemming from the dossier have already been followed and confirmed by the FBI, legal experts have stated that Special Counsel investigators, headed by Robert Mueller, are obligated to follow any leads the dossier has presented them with, irrespective of what parties financed it in its various stages of development, or “[t]hey would be derelict in their duty if they didn’t.”[189][191]

Subject of the Nunes memo

On February 2, 2018, the Nunes memo, a four-page memorandum written for U.S. Representative Devin Nunes by his staff, was released to the public. Referring to the dossier, the memo states that the FBI “may have relied on politically motivated or questionable sources” to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant in October 2016 and in three subsequent renewals on Carter Page in the early phases of the FBI’s interference investigation.[192] Republican legislators argued that the memo presents evidence that a group of politically-biased FBI employees abused the FISA warrant process for the purpose of undermining the Trump presidency.[193] The Nunes memo stated that there was excessive and improper dependence on the Trump–Russia dossier.

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

Donald J. Trump via Twitter
@realDonaldTrump

This memo totally vindicates “Trump” in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!

3 Feb 2018[194]

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) disagreed, stating on February 4 on CBS’s Face the Nation: “I actually don’t think [the memo] has any impact on the Russia probe.” He went on to say:

“There is a Russia investigation without a dossier,” Gowdy said. “So to the extent the memo deals with the dossier and the FISA process, the dossier has nothing to do with the meeting at Trump Tower. The dossier has nothing to do with an email sent by Cambridge Analytica. The dossier really has nothing to do with George Papadopoulos’ meeting in Great Britain. It also doesn’t have anything to do with obstruction of justice. So there’s going to be a Russia probe, even without a dossier.”[28]

Gowdy was dissatisfied with the process of seeking the warrant: “I say investigate everything Russia did but admit that this was a really sloppy process that you engaged in to surveil a U.S. citizen.” When questioned, he said that the FISA warrant on Carter Page would not have been authorized without the dossier.[195]

Jane Mayer has quoted Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: “To impeach Steele’s dossier is to impeach Mueller’s investigation… It’s to recast the focus back on Hillary”, with the Republicans’ aim to “create a false narrative saying this is all a political witch hunt.” Mayer tied his view directly to Devin Nunes‘ production of “a report purporting to show that the real conspiracy revolved around Hillary Clinton,” falsely alleging that Clinton “colluded with the Russians…”, a claim debunked by Glenn Kessler.[8] Kessler, a fact checker for The Washington Post, analyzed a false accusation made by Nunes in a February 7, 2018, interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show: “The truth is that they [Democrats] are covering up that Hillary Clinton colluded with the Russians to get dirt on Trump to feed it to the FBI to open up an investigation into the other campaign.” Kessler’s “Pinocchio Test” rating was: “[T]here is no evidence that Clinton was involved in Steele’s reports or worked with Russian entities to feed information to Steele. That’s where Nunes’s claim goes off the rails—and why he earns Four Pinocchios.”[196] “Four Pinocchios” equals a “Whopper”.[197]

The Nunes memo falsely asserted that “Comey briefed President-elect Trump on a summary of the Steele dossier, even though it was—according to his June 2017 testimony—’salacious and unverified.'” Factcheckers noted that Comey actually testified that “some personally sensitive aspects of the information” were “salacious and unverified,” rather than the entire dossier.[198][199]

The Nunes memo asserted that Andrew McCabe testified to the House Intelligence Committee that “no surveillance warrant [of Carter Page] would have been sought from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) without the Steele dossier information,” but because McCabe testified in classified session, no transcript has yet been released to verify this assertion. In a CNN interview, McCabe asserted “that House Republicans twisted his answers”:

“We started the investigations without the dossier. We were proceeding with the investigations before we ever received that information…. Was the dossier material important to the package? Of course, it was. As was every fact included in that package. Was it the majority of what was in the package? Absolutely not.”[200]

Congressman Eric Swalwell, a member of the Committee, also stated that McCabe’s testimony was mischaracterized.[201]

Contrary to assertions by Trump and his supporters that the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections was triggered by the dossier,[202] the Nunes memo confirmed the investigation began with a tip from Australian diplomat Alexander Downer regarding a conversation he had with Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos in a London bar in May 2016.[160][203] The FBI opened its investigation in late July 2016, and The Washington Post noted that this timing is “significant, given the FBI did not seek authorization to conduct surveillance on Page until three months later, on Oct. 21, 2016.” The Democrats asserted that the Nunes memo “shows the Russia investigation would be underway with or without the surveillance of Page, and—more critically—even if the government had never seen the dossier of information about Trump that was compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British spy.”[204]

Amid assertions in the Nunes memo and from others that the dossier’s use in the Carter Page FISA warrant request was improper—countered by Democrats’ assertions that there was nothing improper—on April 6, 2018 the Justice Department made the FISA application available for all members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to review.[205]

On July 21, 2018, the Justice Department released heavily-redacted versions of four FISA warrant applications for Carter Page which showed that key assertions made in the Nunes memo were false or misleading, corroborating the rebuttal made by Democrats.[206][207]

Reactions

November 14, 2017 – House Intelligence Committee transcript of Glenn Simpson

August 22, 2017 Fusion GPS testimony transcript of Glenn Simpson

Individual responses

Donald Trump has repeatedly condemned the dossier, including in this tweet, in which he quotes from Fox & Friends:[19]

Donald J. Trump via Twitter
@realDonaldTrump

WOW, @foxandfrlends “Dossier is bogus. Clinton Campaign, DNC funded Dossier. FBI CANNOT (after all of this time) VERIFY CLAIMS IN DOSSIER OF RUSSIA/TRUMP COLLUSION. FBI TAINTED.” And they used this Crooked Hillary pile of garbage as the basis for going after the Trump Campaign!

26 Dec 2017[208]

As late as July 29, 2018, Trump continued to falsely insist that the FBI investigation of Russian interference was initiated because of the dossier, and three days later White House press secretary Sarah Sanders repeated the false assertion. Fox News host Shepard Smith said of Trump’s assertion: “In the main and in its parts, that statement is patently false.”[209]

Trump has called the dossier “fake news” and criticized the intelligence and media sources that published it.[210] During a press conference on January 11, 2017, Trump denounced the dossier’s claims as false, saying that it was “disgraceful” for U.S. intelligence agencies to report them. Trump refused to answer a question from CNN’s senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta on the subject. In response, CNN said that it had published “carefully sourced reporting” on the matter which had been “matched by the other major news organizations”, as opposed to BuzzFeed‘s posting of “unsubstantiated materials”.[211][64]

James Clapper described the leaks as damaging to U.S. national security.[212] This contradicted Trump’s previous claim that Clapper had said the information was false; Clapper’s statement actually said the intelligence community had made no judgment on the truth of the information.[213]

As Putin’s press secretary, Peskov insisted in an interview that the dossier is a fraud, saying “I can assure you that the allegations in this funny paper, in this so-called report, they are untrue. They are all fake.”[214] Putin called the people who leaked the dossier “worse than prostitutes”[215] and referred to the dossier itself as “rubbish”.[216] Putin went on to state he believed that the dossier was “clearly fake”,[217] fabricated as a plot against the legitimacy of President-elect Trump.[218]

Some of Steele’s former colleagues expressed support for his character, saying “The idea his work is fake or a cowboy operation is false—completely untrue. Chris is an experienced and highly regarded professional. He’s not the sort of person who will simply pass on gossip.”[17]

Among journalists, Bob Woodward called the dossier a “garbage document”, while Carl Bernstein took the opposite view, noting that the senior-most U.S. intelligence officials had determined that the content was worth reporting to the president and the president-elect.[219] Julian Borger has described the dossier as “one of the most explosive documents in modern political history…”[96] Ben Smith, editor of BuzzFeed, wrote: “The dossier is a document…of obvious central public importance. It’s the subject of multiple investigations by intelligence agencies, by Congress. That was clear a year ago. It’s a lot clearer now.”[220]

Ynet, an Israeli online news site, reported on January 12, 2017 that U.S. intelligence advised Israeli intelligence officers to be cautious about sharing information with the incoming Trump administration, until the possibility of Russian influence over Trump, suggested by Steele’s report, has been fully investigated.[221]

On March 2, 2017, media began reporting that the Senate may call Steele to testify about the Trump dossier.[222] On March 27, 2017, SJC Chairman Chuck Grassley asked the Department of Justice to initiate an inquiry into Fusion GPS, who initially retained Steele to write the dossier.[223] Fusion GPS was previously associated with pro-Russia lobbying activities due to sanctions imposed by the Magnitsky Act.[224] On August 22, 2017, Steele met with the FBI and had provided them with the names of his sources for the allegations in the dossier.[225]

Steven L. Hall, former CIA chief of Russia operations, has contrasted Steele’s methods with those of Donald Trump Jr., who sought information from a Russian attorney at a meeting in Trump Tower in June 2016: “The distinction: Steele spied against Russia to get info Russia did not want released; Don Jr took a mtg to get info Russians wanted to give.”[226]

Jane Mayer referred to the same meeting and contrasted the difference in reactions to Russian attempts to support Trump: When Trump Jr. was offered “dirt” on Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” instead of “going to the F.B.I., as Steele had” done when he learned that Russia was helping Trump, Trump’s son accepted the support by responding: “If it’s what you say, I love it…”[8]

On January 2, 2018, Simpson and Fritsch authored an op-ed in The New York Times, requesting that Republicans “release full transcripts of our firm’s testimony” and further wrote that, “the Steele dossier was not the trigger for the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling. As we told the Senate Judiciary Committee in August, our sources said the dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated reports the bureau had received from other sources, including one inside the Trump camp.”[9] Ken Dilanian of NBC News stated that a “source close to Fusion GPS” told him that the FBI had not planted anyone in the Trump camp, but rather that Simpson was referring to Papadopoulos.[227][47]

On January 5, 2018, in the first known Congressional criminal referral resulting from investigations related to the Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, Grassley made a referral to the Justice Department suggesting that they investigate possible criminal charges against Steele[228][229] for allegedly making false statements to the FBI about the distribution of the dossier’s claims,[230] specifically possible “inconsistencies” in what Steele told authorities and “possibly lying to FBI officials”.[231]Senator Lindsey Graham also signed the letter.[232][233] Both Grassley and Graham declared that they were not alleging that Steele “had committed any crime. Rather, they had passed on the information for ‘further investigation only’.”[234] The referral was met with skepticism from legal experts, as well as some of the other Republicans and Democrats on the Judiciary committee, who reportedly had not been consulted.[232]

On January 8, 2018, a spokesman for Grassley said he did not plan to release the transcript of Simpson’s August 22, 2017 testimony before the SJC.[235] The next day, ranking committee member Senator Dianne Feinstein unilaterally released the transcript.[51][236]

On January 10, 2018, Fox News host Sean Hannity appeared to have advance information on the forthcoming release of the Nunes memo and its assertions about the dossier, saying “more shocking information will be coming out in just days that will show systemic FISA abuse.” Hannity asserted that this new information would reveal “a totally phony document full of Russian lies and propaganda that was then used by the Obama administration to surveil members of an opposition party and incoming president,” adding that this was “the real Russia collusion story” that represented a “precipice of one of the largest abuses of power in U.S. American history. And I’m talking about the literal shredding of the U.S. Constitution.”[237]

On January 18, 2018, the HPSCI released the transcript of the Simpson Testimony given on November 14, 2017.[238][239] Democratic committee member Adam Schiff stated that the testimony contains “serious allegations that The Trump Organization may have engaged in money laundering with Russian nationals”. Trump Organization’s chief counsel Alan Garten called the allegations “unsubstantiated” and “reckless”, and said that Simpson was mainly referring to properties to which Trump licensed his name. Democratic member Jim Himes said that Simpson “did not provide evidence and I think that’s an important point. He made allegations.”[240]

In April 2018, the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) gave The Merriman Smith Memorial Award to CNN reporters Evan Perez, Jim SciuttoJake Tapper and Carl Bernstein. In January 2017, they reported that the intelligence community had briefed Obama and Trump of allegations that Russians claimed to have “compromising personal and financial information” on then-President elect Donald Trump.[62][241] WHCA noted that “[t]hanks to this CNN investigation, ‘the dossier’ is now part of the lexicon”.[242]

Circumstances surrounding the death of Oleg Erovinkin

On December 26, 2016, Oleg Erovinkin, a former KGB/FSB general, was found dead in his car in Moscow. Erovinkin was a key liaison between Sechin and Putin. Steele claimed much of the information came from a source close to Sechin. According to Christo Grozev, a journalist at Risk Management Lab, a think tank based in Bulgaria, the circumstances of Erovinkin’s death were “mysterious”. Grozev suspected Erovinkin helped Steele compile the dossier on Trump and suggests the hypothesis that the death may have been part of a cover-up by the Russian government.[243][244] Experts expressed skepticism about the theory. “As a rule, people like Gen Yerovinkin don’t tend to die in airport thriller murders,” said Mark Galeotti, an expert on the Russian security services.[243]

Litigation

Against BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS

On February 3, 2017, Aleksej Gubarev, chief of technology company XBT and a figure mentioned in the dossier, sued BuzzFeed for defamation. The suit, filed in a Broward County, Florida court, centers on allegations from the dossier that XBT had been “using botnetsand porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct ‘altering operations’ against the Democratic Party leadership”.[245][246] In the High Court of Justice, Steele’s lawyers said their client did not intend for the memos to be released, and that one of the memos “needed to be analyzed and further investigated/verified”.[247] In response to the lawsuit, BuzzFeed hired the business advisory firm FTI Consulting to investigate the dossier’s allegations.[248] BuzzFeed has sued the DNC in an attempt to force the disclosure of information it believes will bolster its defense against libel allegations.[249] Fusion GPS “has claimed that it did not provide the dossier to BuzzFeed.”[250]

In connection with the libel suit against them by Gubarev, on June 30, 2017, BuzzFeed subpoenaed the CIA, the FBI, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. They also sought “testimony from fired FBI Director James Comey, as well as former DNI James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan”. They were interested in using the discovery process to get information about the distribution of the dossier, how it had circulated among government officials, and the “existence and scope of the federal government’s investigation into the dossier”. They hoped “the information could bolster BuzzFeed’s claim that publication of the document was protected by the fair report privilege, which can immunize reports based on official government records.”[251] On June 4, 2018, Judge Ursula Ungaro ruled that BuzzFeed could claim “fair report privilege” for the publication of the dossier and its accompanying article, bolstering BuzzFeed’s defense.[252]

In May 2017, Mikhail FridmanPetr Aven, and German Khan – the owners of Alfa Bank – filed a defamation lawsuit against BuzzFeed for publishing the unverified dossier,[253][254] which alleges financial ties and collusion between Putin, Trump, and the three bank owners.[255][256] In October 2017, Fridman, Aven, and Khan also filed a libel suit against Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson, for circulating the dossier among journalists and allowing it to be published.[257]

On January 9, 2018, Michael Cohen sued BuzzFeed and Fusion GPS for defamation over allegations about him in the dossier.[258] On April 19, 2018, ten days after his home, office and hotel room were raided by the FBI as part of a criminal investigation, Cohen filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss the suit.[259][260][261]

Against Christopher Steele

In April 2018, Alfa Bank owners Fridman, Aven, and Khan filed a libel suit against Steele,[262] since the dossier alleges financial ties and collusion between Putin, Trump, and the three bank owners.[255][256] The lawsuit is filed in Washington D.C., and since none of the parties to the lawsuit are based in D.C., it is possible the lawsuit may not be able to move forward in that court.[262] Steele’s lawyers have filed two motions to dismiss the case, accusing the three men of intimidation.[263]

See also

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trump%E2%80%93Russia_dossier

Story 2: International Investors in U.S. Treasury Securities Are Flat and Smallest Share in 18 Years — Videos

See the source image

U.S. Debt Clock

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

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Uncle Sam Wants You: Treasury Depends More on Domestic Bond Buyers

U.S. investors have so far financed all of this year’s increase in the federal government’s borrowing

Even as yields on Treasury securities have risen to multiyear highs, foreign demand for debt at government bond auctions has slowed to the weakest level since 2008.
Even as yields on Treasury securities have risen to multiyear highs, foreign demand for debt at government bond auctions has slowed to the weakest level since 2008. PHOTO: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The U.S. government has been issuing more debt, but it’s not getting more foreign buyers in the door. As a result, U.S. investors have so far financed all of this year’s increase in the federal government’s borrowing.

Foreign holdings of the debt have remained essentially flat, though the government’s borrowing has risen by $500 billion, giving foreign investors the smallest share of U.S. government debt since 2003. Even as yields on Treasury securities have risen to multiyear highs, foreign demand for debt at government bond auctions has slowed to the weakest level since 2008. Yields rise when bond prices fall.

Imported BondsTreasury debt has been less popular overseassince auction sizes began increasing this FebruaryPercentage of Treasury auctions won by foreign investors Source: U.S. Treasury Department
%Jan. ’17JulyJan. ’18July7.510.012.515.017.520.022.5

Some foreign investors are concerned that the$1.5 trillion tax cut passed by Congress in December will overstimulate the U.S. economy, leading to an acceleration in inflation and potentially higher bond yields and interest rates.

The drop in foreign demand is happening as Treasury yields approach their highest premiums over German and Japanese debt since the 1980s and as the dollar is in the middle of a rally that caught many investors by surprise. The drop-off in foreign interest also coincides with a decision by the Federal Reserve to reduce the size of its government bond holdings as part of an effort to restore monetary policy to precrisis norms.

Investors and analysts cite two impediments that are discouraging foreign investment. One is the strength of the dollar has made it more expensive for investors in Japan and Europe to hedge the currency risk of buying Treasurys. A second is a new concern about the sustainability of U.S. borrowing practices at a time when the Trump administration is forecast to run a series of trillion-dollar budget deficits beginning as soon as 2020.

The hedging costs are “so high and so punitive that it is no longer attractive” to buy Treasurys, said Torsten Slok, chief international economist at Deutsche Bank. The cost is typically close to premium of short-term U.S. government bill yields over short-term yields overseas. Those rates are compared with short-term government debt yields, which are closely tied to each market’s central bank’s policies. The Fed is holding its target rate in a range between 1.75% and 2%, while rates for the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank are negative.

A bigger concern perhaps is that by boosting debt to fuel growth at a time when the unemployment rate is about 4%, the U.S. may be “opening the door to much more serious risks,” Mr. Slok said.

Those risks for the economy, which grew at a 4.1% pace in the second quarter, include the possibility that it overheats. That could force the Fed to raise interest rates quickly, risking a rise in bond yields, and accelerate the next recession, Mr. Slok said.

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/funding-secured-for-the-u-s-government-that-means-domestic-bond-buyers-1534507201

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The Pronk Pops Show 1112, July 23, 2018, Story 1: President Trump All Caps Tweet Directed At Iranian Leadership — Don’t Mess With Trump — Vidoes — Story 2: Trump Explores Revoking Security Clearances of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper , former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe — Trump Should Order Attorney General Session to Appoint Second Special Counsel To Investigate and Prosecute The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Waiting For Mueller Final Report and November 2018 Elections — Videos — Story 3: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Failed When Warrant Application Was Approved Allowing Department of Justice, FBI, and Intelligence Community To Spy on American People and Republican Party Based on Clinton Campaign and Democratic National Committee Bought and Paid For Opposition Research Not Disclosed Nor Verified To FISA Court — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1112, July 23, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1108, July 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1107, July 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

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Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

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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

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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

Pronk Pops Show 1068, April 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1067, April 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1066, April 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1065, April 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1064, April 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1063, April 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1062, April 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

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Story 1: President Trump All Caps Tweet Directed At Iranian Leadership — Don’t Mess With Trump — Vidoes

Sanders: Trump won’t stand for empty threats against America

Trump no nonsense approach on Iran is the right strategy: Gen. Jack Keane

Secretary Pompeo remarks on “Supporting Iranian Voices” – Speech only

Iran feeling the strain from Obama’s deal?

Trump weighs in after Iran threatens the ‘mother of all wars’ | In The News

US not afraid to sanction top Iran leaders: Pompeo

U.S. Pushes Confrontation with Iran: Trump Warns of “Consequences,” Pompeo Likens Leaders to “Mafia”

Scott Adams – President Trump’s All-Caps Tweet to Iran

 

Just tough Trump tweeting? US ratchets up Iran pressure

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s explosive twitter threat to Iran’s leader comes as his administration is ratcheting up a pressure campaign on the Islamic republic that many suspect is aimed at regime change.

No one is predicting imminent war. But Trump’s bellicose, all-caps challenge addressed to President Hassan Rouhani followed a speech by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in which he accused Iran’s leadership of massive corruption and widespread rights abuses and urged Iranians to rise up in protest.

Trump’s tweet doesn’t appear to have been prompted by any notable shift in rhetoric from Iran.

It could have been an impulsive reaction to reports from Tehran quoting Rouhani as giving the U.S. an oft-repeated reminder that conflict with Iran would be “the mother of all wars.” Yet animosity directed at the Iranian leadership is an established part of the administration’s broader foreign policy.

The White House says President Donald Trump’s threatening tweet shows he’s not going to tolerate critical rhetoric from Iran, but claims the U.S. leader isn’t escalating tensions between the two countries. (July 23)

Iran publicly shrugged off Trump’s late Sunday message — “NEVER EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”

Tweeted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday: COLOR US UNIMPRESSED: The world heard even harsher bluster a few months ago. And Iranians have heard them —albeit more civilized ones_for 40 yrs. We’ve been around for millennia & seen fall of empires, incl our own, which lasted more than the life of some countries. BE CAUTIOUS!”

Asked at the White House if he had concerns about provoking Iran, Trump said simply, “None at all.”

Tehran is already aware of what is coming from the administration as consequences of Trump’s May withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear accord take shape.

As Pompeo noted in his speech to Iranian-Americans and others in California on Sunday, the centerpiece will be the re-imposition of U.S. economic sanctions; the first batch will go back into force on Aug. 4 targeting the Iranian automotive sector and trade in gold and other metals. A more significant set of sanctions that will hit Iran’s oil industry and central bank by punishing countries and companies that do business with them will resume on Nov. 4.

Pompeo also slammed Iran’s political, judicial and military officials, accusing several by name of participating in rampant corruption, and called its religious leaders “hypocritical holy men” who amassed wealth while allowing their people to suffer. He said the government has “heartlessly repressed its own people’s human rights, dignity and fundamental freedoms,” and he hailed the “proud Iranian people (for) not staying silent about their government’s many abuses.”

“The United States under President Trump will not stay silent either,” he said.

He was right. True to form, Trump did not stay silent. But the White House blamed Rouhani for inciting the war of words with his comment that “America must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”

“WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!,” Trump wrote.

Reaction from Congress, particularly Democrats, was swift and critical.

Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, acknowledged that Iran’s terrorist activities in the Middle East pose a threat but suggested it wouldn’t be solved through a tweet from Trump.

“Sadly, after pulling us out of the nuclear deal with Europe and Iran, there doesn’t seem to be strategy for how to move forward to fight Iran’s activities,” she said.

And Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, the former Democratic vice presidential candidate, called the Twitter blast from the White House “another warning sign that Trump is blundering toward war with Iran.”

Trump’s National Security Council pushed back:

“Our differences are with the Iranian regime’s actions and, in particular, with the actions of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, not the Iranian people. The Trump administration’s Iran policy seeks to address the totality of these threats and malign activities and to bring about a change in the Iranian regime’s behavior.”

“If anybody’s inciting anything, look no further than to Iran,” said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said. She added that Trump has been “very clear about what he’s not going to allow to take place.”

Trump has a history of firing off heated tweets that seem to quickly escalate long-standing disputes with leaders of nations at odds with the U.S.

In the case of North Korea, the verbal war cooled quickly and gradually led to the high-profile summit and denuclearization talks. Still there has been little tangible progress in a global push to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons program since the historic Trump-Kim Jong Un summit on June 12.

___

Associated Press writers Nasser Karimi and Amir Vahdat in Tehran, David Rising in Dubai, Aron Heller in Jerusalem, Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul and Michael Casey in Concord, New Hampshire contributed.

___

This story has been corrected to correct Trump tweet: ‘Likes’ of which, not ‘like.’

https://apnews.com/33bbdee2506645859222e0f5252b288f/White-House-blames-Iran-for-war-of-words-with-Trump

 

Story 2: President Trump Explores Revoking Security Clearances of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper , former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe — Trump Should Order Attorney General Session to Appoint Second Special Counsel To Investigate and Prosecute The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — Waiting For Mueller Final Report and November 2018 Elections — Videos —

Trump may revoke security clearances for Obama-era officials

Rand Paul urges Trump to pull security clearances

Ex-CIA chief Brennan: Trump’s comments nothing short of treasonous

Rand Paul SHUTS DOWN Trump’s Critics & DESTROYS Obama’s Former CIA John Brennan

Scott Adams – The Newest Reason to Love Rand Paul

Clapper On President Donald Trump Revoking Security Clearance: Very Petty | Hardball | MSNBC

What’s Needed Desperately: Operation Wrath of Trump

Trump looking into revoking security clearances for Brennan, other top Obama officials

President Trump is looking into revoking the security clearances of several top Obama-era intelligence and law enforcement officials, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday, accusing them of having “politicized” or “monetized” their public service.

She made the announcement at Monday’s press briefing, after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., called on the president to specifically revoke Trump critic and former CIA Director John Brennan’s clearance.

Sanders said Trump is considering it — and also looking into the clearances for other former officials and Trump critics: former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and former CIA Director Michael Hayden (who also worked under President George W. Bush).

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy on the political fallout from the IG report and the Mueller investigation.

Sanders said Trump is “exploring mechanisms” to remove the security clearances “because [the former officials] politicized and in some cases actually monetized their public service and their security clearances in making baseless accusations of improper contact with Russia.”

Sanders added that their clearances effectively give “inappropriate legitimacy to accusations with zero evidence.”

“When you have the highest level of security clearance … when you have the nation’s secrets at hand, and go out and make false [statements], the president feels that’s something to be very concerned with,” Sanders said.

According McCabe’s spokesperson Melissa Schwartz, however, his security clearance had already been deactivated when he was fired.

“Andrew McCabe’s security clearance was deactivated when he was terminated, according to what we were told was FBI policy. You would think the White House would check with the FBI before trying to throw shiny objects to the press corps…,” Schwartz tweeted Monday.

Benjamin Wittes, a friend of Comey’s, tweeted Monday afternoon that he texted the former FBI director, who told him he doesn’t have a security clearance to revoke.

When asked whether former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden might have their security clearances revoked, Sanders said she did not have any further information.

FILE - In this June 7, 2017, file photo, FBI acting director Andrew McCabe listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, on Capitol Hill in Washington. McCabe drafted a memo on the firing of his onetime boss, ex-director James Comey. That’s according to a person familiar with the memo, who insisted on anonymity to discuss a secret document that has been provided to special counsel Robert Mueller. The person said the memo concerned a conversation McCabe had with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about Rosenstein’s preparations for Comey’s firing. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

President Trump is looking into revoking former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s security clearance, but McCabe’s spokesman said that clearance had already been deactivated.  (AP)

The topic came into the spotlight Monday morning, with Paul’s tweets against the former CIA director.

“Is John Brennan monetizing his security clearance? Is John Brennan making millions of dollars divulging secrets to the mainstream media with his attacks on @realDonaldTrump?” Paul tweeted early Monday.

Brennan joined NBC News and MSNBC in February as a contributor and senior national security and intelligence analyst. A spokesperson for the networks did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on Paul’s tweet, which did not list any specific allegations.

The Kentucky Republican, who last week jumped to Trump’s defense as the president faced bipartisan criticism over his summit and press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, followed up the original tweet by saying:

“Today I will meet with the President and I will ask him to revoke John Brennan’s security clearance!”

Paul’s tweets come as fellow congressional Republicans push for Brennan to testify on Capitol Hill regarding the investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates in the 2016 presidential election.

The former CIA director has been a consistent and harsh critic of the president, blasting his performance with Putin in Helsinki as “nothing short of treasonous.”

But Brennan is not the only former intelligence official to take to the media world. In April, Comey began a media blitz promoting his new memoir, “A Higher Loyalty,” while Hayden and Rice also frequently make media appearances.

On Twitter, just minutes after the announcement from the White House brieifing, Hayden responded in a tweet to several journalists that a loss of security clearance would not have an “effect” on him.

“I don’t go back for classified briefings. Won’t have any effect on what I say or write,” Hayden tweeted.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/07/23/trump-looking-into-revoking-security-clearances-for-brennan-other-top-obama-officials.html

 

 

Story 3: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Failed When Warrant Application Was Approved Allowing Department of Justice, FBI, and Intelligence Community To Spy on American People and Republican Party Based on Clinton Campaign and Democratic National Committee Bought and Paid For Opposition Research Not Disclosed Nor Verified To FISA Court — Videos

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Hannity: FISA court was abused for political gain

Tucker: What the Carter Page FISA application proves

Carter Page reacts to ‘Russian spy’ accusations

DOJ RELEASES CARTER PAGE FISA DOCS

Andrew McCarthy Shocked FISA Application Used As Evidence To Spy On Carter

Judicial Watch urges WH to declassify Page FISA application

Trump calls for end to Russia probe after Carter Page surveillance records released

Bongino: Russia probe is biggest scam in modern US history

Dershowitz: FISA application provides support for both sides

BREAKING: Released FISA Warrants on Carter Page Confirm Obama FBI, DOJ Misled Courts to Spy on Trump

Malloch: My Book Details Deep State’s Plot to Destroy Trump

Ex-Trump adviser: My encounter with Mueller’s investigators

Ted Malloch Detained By FBI? WHY? McMaster, Exposing Assault on Families or His New Book?

FISA Applications Confirm: The FBI Relied on the Unverified Steele Dossier

One-time advisor of Donald Trump Carter Page addresses the audience during a presentation in Moscow, Russia, December 12, 2016. (Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters)

A salacious Clinton-campaign product was the driving force behind the Trump–Russia investigation.On a sleepy summer Saturday, after months of stonewalling, the FBI dumped 412 pages of documents related to the Carter Page FISA surveillance warrants — the applications, the certifications, and the warrants themselves. Now that we can see it all in black and white — mostly black, as they are heavily redacted — it is crystal clear that the Steele dossier, an unverified Clinton-campaign product, was the driving force behind the Trump–Russia investigation.

Based on the dossier, the FBI told the FISA court it believed that Carter Page, who had been identified by the Trump campaign as an adviser, was coordinating with the Russian government in an espionage conspiracy to influence the 2016 election.

This sensational allegation came from Christopher Steele, the former British spy. The FISA court was not told that the Clinton campaign was behind Steele’s work. Nor did the FBI and Justice Department inform the court that Steele’s allegations had never been verified. To the contrary, each FISA application — the original one in October 2016, and the three renewals at 90-day intervals — is labeled “VERIFIED APPLICATION” (bold caps in original). And each one makes this breathtaking representation:

The FBI has reviewed this verified application for accuracy in accordance with its April 5, 2001 procedures, which include sending a copy of the draft to the appropriate field office(s).

In reality, the applications were never verified for accuracy.

What ‘Verify’ Means
Consider this: The representation that the FBI’s verification procedures include sending the application to “appropriate field offices” is standard in FISA warrant applications. It is done because the FBI’s Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (DIOG) mandates that the bureau “ensure that information appearing in a FISA application that is presented to the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] has been thoroughly vetted and confirmed.” (See House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes March 1, 2018, letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, embedded here.) The point is to assure the court that the FBI has corroborated the allegations in the warrant application in the usual way.

A hypothetical shows how this works. Let’s say that X, an informant, tells the FBI in Washington that Y, a person in St. Louis, told him that Z, the suspect, is plotting to rob the bank.

X’s story is unverified; he doesn’t know anything firsthand about Z — he only knows what Y has told him. Obviously, then, the FBI does not instantly run to court and seek a warrant against Z. Instead, the bureau sends an investigative “lead” from headquarters in Washington to the FBI field office in St. Louis. FBI agents in St. Louis then go find and interview Y. Based on that interview, the FBI gathers supporting information (perhaps physical surveillance of Z, scrutiny of available documents and records about Z, etc.). Only then, after debriefing the witness with competent knowledge, do the Justice Department and FBI seek a warrant against Z from the court. In the application, they explain to the judge that they have verified X’s information by interviewing Y and then corroborating Y’s version of events. In fact, if they get solid enough information about Z from Y, there may be no reason even to mention X, whose tip to the FBI was sheer hearsay.

But that is not what happened with the Carter Page FISA warrants.

Were the allegations thoroughly vetted and confirmed by proof independent of Steele before being presented to the FISA court? No, they were not.

The FBI presented the court with allegations posited by Steele. He is in the position of X in our hypothetical. He is not the source of any of the relevant information on which the court was asked to rely for its probable-cause finding that Page was a clandestine agent of Russia. In this context, source means a reliable witness who saw or heard some occurrence on which the court is being asked to base its ruling.

Steele has not been in Russia for about 20 years. In connection with the dossier allegations, he was merely the purveyor of information from the actual sources — unidentified Russians who themselves relied on hearsay information from other sources (sometimes double and triple hearsay, very attenuated from the supposed original source).

In each Carter Page FISA warrant application, the FBI represented that it had “reviewed this verified application for accuracy.” But did the bureau truly ensure that the information had been “thoroughly vetted and confirmed”? Remember, we are talking here about serious, traitorous allegations against an American citizen and, derivatively, an American presidential campaign.

When the FBI averred that it had verified for accuracy the application that posited these allegations, it was, at best, being hyper-technical, and thus misleading. What the bureau meant was that its application correctly stated the allegations as Steele had related them. But that is not what “verification” means. The issue is not whether Steele’s allegations were accurately described; it is whether they were accurate, period. Were the allegations thoroughly vetted and confirmed by proof independent of Steele before being presented to the FISA court — which is what common sense and the FBI’s own manual mean by “verified”?

No, they were not.

There Is No Reason to Believe the Redactions Corroborate Steele
I have been making this point for months. When I made it again in a Fox and Friends interview on Sunday morning, critics asked how I could say such a thing when the warrants are pervasively redacted — how could I be so sure, given all we concededly don’t know, that the redactions do not corroborate Steele?

The critics’ tunnel vision on the redactions ignores the months of hearings and reporting on this core question, which I’ve continuously detailed. Here, for example, is what two senior Judiciary Committee senators, Charles Grassley and Lindsey Graham, wrote in a classified memo early this year after reviewing FISA applications (the memo was finally declassified and publicized over the objections of the FBI):

The bulk of the [first Carter Page FISA] application consists of allegations against Page that were disclosed to the FBI by Mr. Steele and are also outlined in the Steele dossier. The application appears to contain no additional information corroborating the dossier allegations against Mr. Page.

The senators went on to recount the concession by former FBI director James Comey that the bureau had relied on the credibility of Steele (who had previously assisted the bureau in another investigation), not the verification of Steele’s sources. In June 2017 testimony, Comey described information in the Steele dossier as “salacious and unverified.”

Moreover, the FBI’s former deputy director, Andrew McCabe, told Congress that the bureau tried very hard to verify Steele’s information but could provide no points of verification beyond the fact that Page did travel to Russia in July 2016 — a fact that required no effort to corroborate since the trip was unconcealed and widely known. (Page delivered a public commencement address at the New Economic School.) Furthermore, in British legal proceedings, Steele himself has described the information he provided to the FBI as “raw intelligence” that was “unverified.”

I freely acknowledge that we do not know what the redactions say. But we have been very well informed about what they do not say. They do not verify the allegations in the Steele dossier. I have no doubt that they have a great deal to say about Russia and its nefarious anti-American operations. But the FBI has been taking incoming fire for months about failing to corroborate Steele. No institution in America guards its reputation more zealously than does the FBI. If Steele had been corroborated, rest assured that the bureau would not be suffering in silence.

When the government seeks a warrant, it is supposed to show the court that the actual sources of information are reliable.

Plus, do you really think the FBI and Justice Department wanted to use the Steele dossier? Of course they didn’t. They undoubtedly believed Steele’s allegations (the applications say as much). That is no surprise given how much their top echelons loathed Donald Trump. But they were also well aware of the dossier’s significant legal problems — the suspect sourcing, the multiple hearsay. If they had solid evidence that verified Steele’s allegations, they would have used that evidence as their probable cause showing against Page. Instead, they used the dossier because, as McCabe told the House Intelligence Committee, without it they would have had no chance of persuading a judge that Page was a clandestine agent.

Whatever is in the redactions cannot change that.

There Is No Vicarious Credibility
To repeat what we’ve long said here, there is no vicarious credibility in investigations. When the government seeks a warrant, it is supposed to show the court that the actual sources of information are reliable — i.e., they were in a position to see or hear the relevant facts, and they are worthy of belief. It is not sufficient to show that the agent who assembles the source information is credible.

The vast majority of our investigators are honorable people who would never lie to a judge. But that is irrelevant because, in assessing probable cause, the judge is not being asked to rely on the honesty of the agent. The agent, after all, is under oath and supervised by a chain of command at the FBI and the Justice Department; the judge will generally assume that the agent is honestly and accurately describing the information he has gotten from various sources.

The judge’s main task is not to determine if the agent is credible. It is to weigh the reliability of the agent’s sources. Are the sources’ claims supported by enough evidence that the court should approve a highly intrusive warrant against an American citizen?

Here, Steele was in the position of an investigative agent relaying information. He was not a source (or informant) who saw or heard relevant facts. Even if we assume for argument’s sake that Steele is honest and reliable, that would tell us nothing about who his sources are, whether they were really in a position to see or hear the things they report, and whether they have a history of providing accurate information. Those are the questions the FBI must answer in order to vet and confirm factual allegations before presenting them to the FISA court. That was not done; the FBI relied on Steele’s reputation to vouch for his source’s claims.

The FISA Judges
In my public comments Sunday morning, I observed that the newly disclosed FISA applications are so shoddy that the judges who approved them ought to be asked some hard questions. I’ve gotten flak for that, no doubt because President Trump tweeted part of what I said. I stand by it. Still, some elaboration, which a short TV segment does not allow for, is in order.

I prefaced my remark about the judges with an acknowledgment of my own personal embarrassment. When people started theorizing that the FBI had presented the Steele dossier to the FISA court as evidence, I told them they were crazy: The FBI, which I can’t help thinking of as myFBI after 20 years of working closely with the bureau as a federal prosecutor, would never take an unverified screed and present it to a court as evidence. I explained that if the bureau believed the information in a document like the dossier, it would pick out the seven or eight most critical facts and scrub them as only the FBI can — interview the relevant witnesses, grab the documents, scrutinize the records, connect the dots. Whatever application eventually got filed in the FISA court would not even allude en passant to Christopher Steele or his dossier. The FBI would go to the FISA court only with independent evidence corroborated through standard FBI rigor.

Should I have assumed I could be wrong about that? Sure, even great institutions go rogue now and again. But even with that in mind, I would still have told the conspiracy theorists they were crazy — because in the unlikely event the FBI ever went off the reservation, the Justice Department would not permit the submission to the FISA court of uncorroborated allegations; and even if that fail-safe broke down, a court would not approve such a warrant.

It turns out, however, that the crazies were right and I was wrong. The FBI (and, I’m even more sad to say, my Justice Department) brought the FISA court the Steele-dossier allegations, relying on Steele’s credibility without verifying his information.

It turns out, however, that the crazies were right and I was wrong.

I am embarrassed by this not just because I assured people it could not have happened, and not just because it is so beneath the bureau — especially in a politically fraught case in which the brass green-lighted the investigation of a presidential campaign. I am embarrassed because what happened here flouts rudimentary investigative standards. Any trained FBI agent would know that even the best FBI agent in the country could not get a warrant based on his own stellar reputation. A fortiori, you would never seek a warrant based solely on the reputation of Christopher Steele — a non-American former intelligence agent who had political and financial incentives to undermine Donald Trump. It is always, always necessary to persuade the court that the actual sources of information allegedly amounting to probable cause are believable.

Well, guess what? No one knows that better than experienced federal judges, who deal with a steady diet of warrant applications. It is basic. Much of my bewilderment, in fact, stems from the certainty that if I had been so daft as to try to get a warrant based on the good reputation of one of my FBI case agents, with no corroboration of his or her sources, just about any federal judge in the Southern District of New York would have knocked my block off — and rightly so.

That’s why I said it.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/07/carter-page-fisa-applications-fbi-steele-dossier/

 

 

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