At the center of many Russia-collusion conspiracy theories is the Trump Tower meeting which Donald Trump Jr. held with Natalia Veselnitskaya and others after being promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. One of the mysteries which has kept many journalists awake at nights had to do with calls Donald Trump Jr. made to three blocked numbers, two before the meeting and one after. The suggestions was made that one of these numbers might have been Donald Trump and that, therefore, the then-candidate may have known about the meeting. Today, ABC News reports the mystery of the blocked numbers has been solved. None of them belonged to Donald Trump:
Investigators on the Senate Intelligence Committee have learned the identities of three blocked phone calls with Donald Trump Jr just before and after the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting on June 9, 2016, three sources familiar with the calls told ABC News.In other words, the left was really hoping this would be the proof that Trump Jr. had involved his father in the meeting. Trump Jr. was quick to highlight the story and take a swipe at Rep. Adam Schiff. Earlier this month, Schiff appeared on MSNBC to say he planned to get to the bottom of the mysterious blocked calls:
The calls to blocked numbers, which came on June 6, and after the meeting on June 9, were between Trump Jr.’s cell phone and two family friends — NASCAR CEO Brian France and real estate developer Howard Lorber, according to the sources…
The three phone calls with Donald Trump Jr. to blocked numbers in June 2016 have until now fueled questions about whether Trump Jr. informed his father about the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting before or after it occurred.
Democrats in Congress have for months wondered openly whether the blocked phone numbers could belong to the elder Trump. Had that been true, it could have provided evidence conflicting with the president’s insistence that he had no foreknowledge of the meeting. Trump Jr. testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he could not recall who was on the other end of the blocked numbers.
Does anyone think Schiff will look into why Natalia Veselnitskaya met with Fusion GPS both before and after the meeting with Trump Jr.? Didn't think so. . . Liz Shield at PJ Media Live Blog:Has anyone heard from Adam Schiff?— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 1, 2019
I imagine he’s busy leaking other confidential info from the House Intelligence Committee to change the subject?!? #FullOfSchiff https://t.co/7CC6k0CjlJ
Just to remind you, the meeting in the Trump Tower in June 2016 was a set-up meeting between Trump Jr., Manafort and son-in-law Kushner from the Trump squad and salacious and unverified dossier patron Fusion GPS clients Natalia Veselnitskaya and RUSSIAN lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin. So, totally an organic meeting and in no way a set-up from anti-Trump hired gun Fusion GPS.And more news relating to the Trump kids, Da Caller reports that Nellie Ohr Researched Trump’s Kids For Fusion GPS
The wife of a Justice Department official who worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign told Congress in 2018 that one of her tasks at the opposition research firm was to research President Donald Trump’s children, including their business activities and travel.No word (yet) on whether Nellie Ohr was one of the contractors illegally using the NSA database to track political opponents of the Obama administration, but Sundance at CTH considers it a likelihood.Whoa Nellie, More Leaked Transcripts – Nellie Ohr Researched Trump Kids While Working for Fusion GPS…
Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for Fusion GPS, also told lawmakers during an Oct. 19 deposition that she recalls that Christopher Steele gave her husband, Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, materials from the infamous anti-Trump dossier funded by Democrats.
Ohr said during the testimony that Steele, who like her was a contractor for Fusion GPS, hoped that her husband would pass the materials to the FBI.
“My understanding was that Chris Steele was hoping that Bruce could put in a word with the FBI to follow up in some way,” Ohr testified to members of the House Oversight and House Judiciary Committees, according to transcripts confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The content is also interesting. The only thing we knew previously about the testimony of Nellie Ohr was that she evoked ‘spousal privilege’ during her deposition. However, now the Daily Caller is reporting that Nellie Ohr gave testimony about her research with Fusion GPS, to include doing research on Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr’s travels:Brian Cates, Epoch Times, At the Core of Spygate Scandal Is FBI’s Reliance on ‘Intel’ From Political Operatives, some of which seems to have been illegally obtained by snooping in the NSA database. If true, and it almost certainly is, these people need to go to to jail. NYP: Schumer calls for CIA to stage ‘intervention’ with Trump. Trump needs to order the CIA to stage an "intervention" with Schumer and the Democrats. That would generate some heat!
. . .
The interesting aspect to the Daily Caller report of Nellie Ohr’s testimony is her apparent focus on research into the Trump family travel:
“How about Donald Trump Jr.? Did you do more in-depth research on Donald Trump Jr. than some of the others?” she was asked.This becomes more of a central issue when we go back to the mistake about Michael Cohen within the Steele Dossier; that was also a mistake about travel. [Cohen in Prague] Our suspicion has always been that Nellie Ohr was exploiting her CIA authorized access to the FBI/NSA database doing research (ie. FISA abuse).
“I’m afraid it was relatively superficial. It was,” adding that, “I looked into some of his travels and you know not sure how much detail I remember, at this point.”
“I looked into some of her travels,” said Ohr.
The goal was “to see whether they were involved in dealings and transactions with people who had had suspicious pasts.” (read more)
Additionally, it has always appeared to be evident that Nellie actually sent her research material to Christopher Steele (another Fusion GPS contractor), who was tasked to verify, find supplemental sourcing, launder the research and present it as a more official looking intelligence product…. The Steele Dossier.
It would just make sense the place where Nellie Ohr would be researching travel would be the FISA database (FBI/NSA). Where else could she access that information?
Letting more air out of the balloon of Democratic outrage, Trump: The DoJ Will Decide How To Handle The Mueller Report, Not Me (Ed Morrissey at Hot Air)
Will this make everyone in Congress happy? Let’s just say it will satisfy, oh, fifty-three percent of the Senate and forty-six percent of the House. Donald Trump told the Daily Caller in an Oval Office interview that he will issue no direction on how to handle the Robert Mueller report … even though he could have fired Mueller at any time. . .Far from being silenced, Roger Stone’s Live Washington D.C. Press Conference. You can see the whole thing at Inforwars. Breitbart, Lindsey Graham Demands Answers on Roger Stone’s Arrest
Specifically, he asked Wray to answer:The Peacock, Mueller's team seized 'voluminous and complex' evidence from Roger Stone. Well duh. If you go into someones house at 6 AM, seize all the phones, computers and papers, you get 'voluminous and complex' evidence. That doesn't mean any of it is relevant to the question of whether the Trump campaign conspired with the Russians.
- Why was it necessary to arrest Mr. Stone at his home in the early morning hours rather than working through his attorneys to permit him to surrender voluntarily?
- Was the manner of Mr. Stone’s arrest consistent with the arrests of, and procedure for the arrests of, similarly charged individuals?
- We’re usual procedure for obtaining and executing arrest and search warrants followed with regard to Mr. Stone?
- Did the Special Counsel’s office issue a press release and release the indictment to the press prior to informing Mr. Stone’s attorneys of the arrest?
- Did anyone at the FBI, DOJ, or the Special Counsel’s office alert CNN, any other media outlet, or anyone outside of law enforcement that the arrest was going was going to occur on the morning of January 25, 2019?
Conrad Black at American Greatness, Stone Arrest Exposes the Cancer Eating American Criminal Justice. Indeed, it does. From Glenn Kirschner at the Peacock, though, Trump adviser Roger Stone's indictment in the Mueller probe suggests conspiracy charges may still be forthcoming. Sure, they would love to pressure him to find or invent something bad about Trump as the author admits:
In my professional opinion, then, the Stone indictment is a means to an end. Mueller almost certainly will use it as leverage to pressure Stone to become a cooperating witness. Given the strength of the “hard evidence” (emails, text messages, false sworn testimony, etc.), Roger Stone has little hope of avoiding conviction at trial. Cooperating with the Mueller probe is likely his only way to avoid jail time.Ann Althouse, still reading NYT so I don't have to: "A defiant President Trump declared on Thursday that he has all but given up on negotiations with Congress over his border wall and will proceed without lawmakers..."
"... even as he dismissed any suggestions of wrongdoing in the investigations that have ensnared his associates. In an interview in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump called the talks 'a waste of time' and indicated he will most likely take action on his own when they officially end in two weeks.... Addressing a wide range of subjects, Mr. Trump brushed off the investigations that have consumed so much of his presidency, saying that his lawyers have been reassured by the outgoing deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, that the president himself was not a target. Mr. Trump said he never spoke with Roger J. Stone Jr., his longtime associate who was indicted last week, about WikiLeaks and the stolen Democratic emails it posted during the 2016 election, nor did he direct anyone to do so.... he interview was arranged after Mr. Trump reached out to A.G. Sulzberger, the publisher of The New York Times, and invited him for an off-the-record dinner. Mr. Sulzberger declined, saying he would prefer an on-the-record interview that included two of his reporters. The president agreed."Ace catches up with the Anastasia Vashukevich matter, Surprise: Obvious Russia Hoax That All The Leftwing Media Fell For Turns Out to Be an Obvious Hoax
Writes the New York Times.
The New York Times, BuzzFeed, The Daily Beast, Vice, and countless others fell for the latest Trump-Russia hoax. Will they issue retractions/corrections? Don't hold your breath. https://t.co/qsuqhbWeQW pic.twitter.com/F0glj2w8Ma— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) January 29, 2019
If they believe Deripaska is such a malign influence, then why aren’t these Democrats investigating Christopher Steele’s actions as an unregistered lobbyist for him? https://t.co/BKnoJkK8BF— Nick Short (@PoliticalShort) January 29, 2019
Special counsel Robert Mueller has withstood relentless political attacks, many distorting his record of distinguished government service.The Wombat has Rule 5 Sunday: Naomi Wu and FMJRA 2.0: Destroy Everything You Touch up on time and within budget.
But there’s one episode even Mueller’s former law enforcement comrades — and independent ethicists — acknowledge raises legitimate legal issues and a possible conflict of interest in his overseeing the Russia election probe.
In 2009, when Mueller ran the FBI, the bureau asked Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska to spend millions of his own dollars funding an FBI-supervised operation to rescue a retired FBI agent, Robert Levinson, captured in Iran while working for the CIA in 2007.
Yes, that’s the same Deripaska who has surfaced in Mueller’s current investigation and who was recently sanctioned by the Trump administration.
The Levinson mission is confirmed by more than a dozen participants inside and outside the FBI, including Deripaska, his lawyer, the Levinson family and a retired agent who supervised the case. Mueller was kept apprised of the operation, officials told me.
Some aspects of Deripaska’s help were chronicled in a 2016 book by reporter Barry Meier, but sources provide extensive new information about his role.
They said FBI agents courted Deripaska in 2009 in a series of secret hotel meetings in Paris; Vienna; Budapest, Hungary, and Washington. Agents persuaded the aluminum industry magnate to underwrite the mission. The Russian billionaire insisted the operation neither involve nor harm his homeland.