Friday, April 17, 2020

A Pant Load of Russiagate

Or maybe even a couple of pant loads, with the lots of commentary on newly unclassified documents reveal how the FBI apparently eagerly overlooked the acknowledged likelihood that much of the Steel Dossier was feed to him by Russian agents, and then went on to repeatedly use that information to obtain FISA warrants without informing the FISA court. Chuck Ross at Da Caller, FISA Bombshell: Russian Intelligence Knew Christopher Steele Was Investigating Trump During 2016 Campaign
Two Russian intelligence operatives were aware as early as July 2016 that former British spy Christopher Steele was investigating Donald Trump, according to newly declassified information in footnotes from a Justice Department report on FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign.

Footnotes from that report also said a member of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team investigating the Trump campaign received evidence in January 2017 that Russian intelligence might have targeted and collected information on Steele’s firm, Orbis Business Intelligence.
Capt. Ed at Hot Air, Declassified Horowitz: FBI Knew Steele Dossier Tainted By Russian Disinformation — But Never Told FISA Court. JTN, FBI repeatedly warned Steele dossier fed by Russian misinformation, Clinton supporter. Rick Moran, PJ Media, BOMBSHELL: Russian Intelligence Knew Steele Was Investigating Trump in 2016 Campaign. Ace, Russian Operative "Penetrated" Steele's Organization; "Dossier" Itself Might Have Been Russian Op to Influence Campaign "Collusion."

Chuck Ross again, Sen. Lindsey Graham Releases Declassified FBI Informant Transcripts, Carter Page FISA Records
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham released a slew of newly declassified documents from the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign on Thursday, including previously secret information from the bureau’s applications to surveil Carter Page.

Graham also released two transcripts of a confidential FBI informant’s conversations in 2016 with George Papadopoulos, another former Trump campaign aide.

One of the transcripts was from a Sept. 15, 2016 meeting that Papadopoulos had in London with Stefan Halper, a former Cambridge professor who served as an FBI confidential human source. The other transcript was from an Oct. 29, 2016 encounter that Papadopoulos had in Chicago with one of his friends, who served as an FBI informant. Both Halper and the second source secretly recorded Papadopoulos.

The document dump follows on the heels of other information from the Trump-Russia probe that has been declassified over the past week. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson also released information from a Justice Department inspector general’s report that showed that the FBI received evidence that Russian operatives may have fed disinformation to Christopher Steele, the former British spy whose dossier the FBI used to obtain the surveillance warrants against Page.
Margot Cleveland at Da Fed, Newly Declassified Papadopoulos Transcript Exposes Crossfire Hurricane Corruption. This one's hard to pick a good quote, from but read it. It looks like the Crossfire team had Papadop in their sights and wouldn't take no for an answer.

As you might expect, sundance has some opinions on all this, Big Declassification Begins – Documents from Senate Judiciary Committee – Including Bucket Five Documents and Less Redacted Carter Page FISA…

The documents include more Papadopoulos transcripts from wired conversations with FBI confidential human source Stefan Halper; and also for the first time less redacted version of all three Carter Page FISA applications. It’s going to take some time to go through this.
The declassification and release includes some seriously interesting documents the DOJ submitted to the FISA court, as far back as July 2018, which completely destroy the prior claims made by Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, James Baker, James Comey, Andrew McCabe and their very vocal media and Lawfare defenders. Here’s one example:

Lisa Page testified to congress, and claimed in media, that the FBI never had any contact with the Steele dossier material until September 2016. However, the DOJ directly tells the FISA court that Chris Steele was funneling his information to the FBI in June 2016.

Not only did Lisa Page perjure herself in her testimony to congress; but ironically the DOJ notified the FISC of the issues with Chris Steele (and his compromised contacts with the FBI officials) in July 2018, that’s before Lisa Page started making her media appearances.

Obviously Lisa Page did not expect this information to come out. It shows she was lying, and/or she never knew the truthful DOJ information to the FISA Court had taken place. This is just the beginning… there’s lots of stuff in the release. [SEE HERE] . . .
 And Declassified DOJ Letter to FISA Court Highlights Severe Institutional Corruption – DOJ Blames FBI For Spygate…
On page #8 when discussing Christopher Steele’s sub-source, the DOJ notes the FBI found him to be truthful and cooperative.

This is an incredibly misleading statement to the FISA court because what the letter doesn’t say is that 18-months earlier the sub-source, also known in the IG report as the “primary sub-source”, informed the FBI that the material attributed to him in the dossier was essentially junk.

Let’s look at how the IG report frames the primary sub-source, and specifically notice the FBI contact and questioning took place in January 2017 (we now know that date to be January 12, 2017):
. . .
Those interviews were 18-months, 16-months and 14-months ahead of the July 2018 DOJ letter to the FISC. The DOJ-NSD says the sub-source was “truthful and cooperative” but the DOJ doesn’t tell the court the content of the truthfulness and cooperation. Why?

Keep in mind this letter to the court was written by AAG John Demers in July 2018. Jeff Sessions was Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein was Deputy AG; Christopher Wray was FBI Director, David Bowditch is Deputy, and Dana Boente is FBI chief-legal-counsel.

Why would the DOJ-NSD not be forthcoming with the FISA court about the primary sub-source? This level of disingenuous withholding of information speaks to an institutional motive.

By July 2018 the DOJ clearly knew the dossier was full of fabrications, yet they withheld that information from the court and said the predicate was still valid. Why?
Monte Kuligowski at AmThink, The IG Audit: Big Problems for Comey and Pals, but only if Durhan seriously attempts to indict them and prosecute them somewhere there's a chance of conviction (i.e, not Washington DC). Horowitz's reviews gave the FBI a chance to put their ducks in order before submitting their FISA applications for review, and they still couldn't get it right.

Some icing for the cake from Jerry Dunleavy at WaEx, FBI held Carter Page property search photos in 'non‐compliant' systems for years
Photographs connected to physical searches of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page’s property were found in "non-compliant FBI systems," according to newly declassified notes from a Justice Department watchdog report.

The Justice Department’s National Security Division informed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in May 2019 that it was aware of at least two instances where the FBI did not comply with the FBI’s standard minimization procedures when carrying out physical searches authorized by the final June 2017 warrant against Page.

These procedures are designed to “minimize the acquisition and retention” and “prohibit the dissemination” of nonpublic information about a U.S. person being targeted in investigations, according to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on the FBI's Russia investigation, which was released in December. The new detail was revealed as part of five pages of declassified footnotes that cast light on further missteps by the bureau in their targeting of Page.

The bureau used an FBI‐issued cellphone to take pictures of property during a FISA‐authorized physical search on July 13, 2017, and held onto those photos on the device, which the Justice Department assessed “did not comport” with the standard minimization procedures.

The FBI then took photos during another FISA-authorized physical search on July 29, 2017, improperly transferring the photographs to an electronic folder on the FBI's classified network.

“The sickest revelation yet, courtesy of Richard Grenell today,” Page tweeted Wednesday night in response to these revelations. “On that day, I was hiding out at a hotel in Princeton, NJ — still an international fugitive, after all the corrupt acts and death threats inspired by the Democrats, the DOJ, and the Fake News.”
And more bad news for the FBI and DOJ from Sara Carter, Grassley And Johnson Request FBI Director Wray Turn Over All FBI Records On Crossfire Hurricane. Expect foot dragging by Wray.
The Senator’s noted that the information in the now-declassified footnotes from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s December report investigating the FBI’s probe into the Trump campaign “also directly contradicts statements provided by FBI officials in the OIG report.”

The footnotes revealed that former senior Obama officials, including members of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team knew the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele during the 2016 election was Russian disinformation to target Trump and his administration. Further, those partially declassified footnotes reveal that those senior intelligence officials were aware of the disinformation when they included the dossier in the Obama administration’s Intelligence Communities Assessment (ICA).

Johnson and Grassley said they were “deeply troubled by the Crossfire Hurricane team’s awareness of and apparent indifference to Russian disinformation, as well as by the grossly inaccurate statements by the FBI official in charge of the investigation and its supervisory intelligence analyst.”

Further, the recently declassified footnotes raise numerous other issues of “significant concern.”

“What other parts of the FBI’s investigation were infected by Russian disinformation? …The FBI knew that Russian intelligence was targeting Christopher Steele’s company, that Steele relied on sources affiliated with Russian intelligence, and at least two of Steele’s reports were described as the product of a Russian disinformation campaign. Because these facts show the intention, means, and ability to plant Russian disinformation in Steele’s reporting, they suggest that the prevalence of such disinformation in the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation may have been widespread.”
Jerry Newcombe at Da Lid asks How Can We Have Two Systems of Justice in This Country? That's easy. We let it happen.
The Department of Justice is slowly examining some of the alleged crimes of bad actors, particularly in the FBI, but as of this writing, no concrete charges have been filed. The wheels of justice seem to be grinding awfully slow—and at least so far, in an unfair way—tilted to the ruling class.

Knight added, “I don’t recall any time in American history where the FBI was used as a blunt political instrument. There’s a pattern of corruption here that’s far and deep. And Americans are wondering if anybody’s ever going to be punished for it.” Bob said these words in the summer of 2018. To my knowledge, no one involved on the left has yet been punished.
And speaking of two systems of justice, Greg Re at Fox reports Roger Stone's motion for new trial denied, paving way for prison -- or pardon?
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson has denied former Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone's motion for a new trial because of an apparently biased juror, meaning that although an appeal remains possible, Stone will likely need to report to prison no earlier than 14 days from Thursday.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic could delay Stone's arrival in prison, however, and President Trump has long criticized Stone's prosecution as unjust -- raising the possibility of a presidential pardon, given that he has long railed against Stone's prosecution.

"The defendant has not shown that the juror lied; nor has he shown that the supposedly disqualifying evidence could not have been found through the exercise of due diligence at the time the jury was selected," Jackson wrote Thursday. "Moreover, while the social media communications may suggest that the juror has strong opinions about certain people or issues, they do not reveal that she had an opinion about Roger Stone, which is the opinion that matters."
. . .
Stone's lawyers sought a new trial earlier this year after former Memphis City Schools Board President Tomeka Hart publicly revealed in February that she was the foreperson of the Stone jury -- and soon afterward, her history of Democratic activism and a string of her anti-Trump, left-wing social media posts came to light. Hart's posts were publicly accessible throughout the trial and jury selection process.

Independent journalist Mike Cernovich was the first to report that a slew of Hart's publicly available Twitter and Facebook posts readily suggested a strong political bias. Some of Hart's posts were written as Stone's trial was in progress. Hart, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2012, even quoted someone in an August 2017 tweet referring to Trump as a member of the KKK.
. . .
Cernovich is currently seeking the public release of Hart's questionnaire, and he has the support of several information-access groups.

Hart posted specifically about the Stone case before she was selected to sit on the jury, as she retweeted an argument mocking those who considered Stone's dramatic arrest in a predawn raid by a federal tactical team to be excessive force.

She also suggested President Trump and his supporters are racist and praised the investigation conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which ultimately led to Stone's prosecution.
AP reports Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen being released from prison for fear of WuFlu. Yeah, now release Manafort, whose health is much more suspect.

Thomas Ascik at AmGreat asks  Can a State District Attorney Prosecute the President? and concludes no.

And finally to show old scandals never fade away entirely, Tyler O'Neil at PJ Media reports Judicial Watch Subpoenas Google for Deleted Hillary Clinton Emails
On Wednesday, Judicial Watch issued a subpoena to Google, demanding emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that were supposedly sent to a Gmail account before being deleted. The subpoena is part of a long-term Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking "talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack" which also involves a court-ordered deposition of Clinton herself. This FOIA request uncovered Clinton's insecure private home-brew server in 2015.

"A federal court, tired of the State and Justice Departments’ gamesmanship, authorized Judicial Watch’s subpoena to Google to follow a lead on the Clinton emails," Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said in a statement. "DOJ and State are AWOL and covering up for Hillary Clinton, so it is again up to Judicial Watch to do the basic investigative heavy lifting to get at the truth."

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