Saturday, July 18, 2020

Russiagate: More Strzok Notes Rebut New York Times

There's only one piece on new "news" today, but it's widely talked about. A hint of Lindsey 2.5? Fox News, Senate Republicans release files they say 'undercut' Steele dossier
The Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday released newly declassified documents that they say “significantly undercut” the “reliability” of the infamous Steele dossier from the Russia probe, as well as the accuracy and reliability of the factual assertions in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

The first document, which the committee said spanned 57 pages, is a summary of a three-day interview with ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele’s primary sub-source. Steele authored the unverified anti-Trump dossier of claims about alleged ties between Donald Trump and Russia that served as the basis for FISA warrants obtained against Page.

The source, according to the committee, told the FBI in interviews in January and March of 2017 that the information contained in the anti-Trump dossier was unreliable.

The document revealed that the dossier was “unsubstantiated and unreliable,” according to sources who reviewed it, and showed that the FBI was on notice of the dossier’s credibility problems, yet continued to seek further FISA warrant renewals for Page.
But we've really known that since at least the Horowitz report. What else was revealed?
Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee also obtained a second declassified document containing type-written notes by former FBI special agent Peter Strzok disagreeing with assertions made in a New York Times article published on Feb. 14, 2017, about alleged Russian intelligence ties to the Trump campaign.

The article was titled “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts with Russian Intelligence.” Strzok’s notes stated that the “recent interviews and investigation, however, reveal Steele may not be in a position to judge the reliability of his sub-source network.”

The second document, according to the committee, also indicates that “the FBI may have been using foreign intelligence gathering techniques to impermissibly unmask and analyze existing and future intelligence collection regarding U.S. persons associated with the Trump campaign.” “Both the CIA and NSA are aware of our subjects and throughout the summer we provided them names and selectors for queries of their holdings as well as prospective collection,” the document said, according to sources who reviewed it.
Strzok actually produced quite a long list of "errors", or much more likely, deliberate disinformation from the New York Times. Twitchy, WOW! Techno Fog’s thread of DAMNING notes from Peter Strzok about Russia, Manafort, and Roger Stone a must-read. From Sharyl Attkisson at JTN (will she become a regular there?), New Russia probe memos expose massive errors in NYT anti-Trump story, Steele dossier
Document number two, also withheld from public view until now, takes apart a New York Times article written by Michael Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti, and Matt Apuzzo.

Comments made by then-FBI agent Peter Strzok undercut a litany of claims made in the Times article, which was entitled: "Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contact With Russian Intelligence."

Claim in NYT article: "Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump's presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials."

Note by Strzok: "This statement is misleading and inaccurate as written. We have not seen evidence of any individuals in contact with Russians (both Governmental and non-Governmental)" and "There is no known intel affiliation, and little if any [government of Russia] affiliation[.] FBI investigation has shown past contact between [Trump campaign volunteer Carter] Page and the SVR [Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation], but not during his association with the Trump campaign."

Claim in NYT article: "... one of the advisers picked up on the [intercepted] calls was Paul Manafort, who was Mr. Trump's campaign chairman for several months ..."

Note by Strzok: "We are unaware of any calls with any Russian government official in which Manafort was a party."

Claim in NYT article: "The FBI has obtained banking and travel records ..."

Note by Strzok: "We do not yet have detailed banking records."

Claim in NYT article: "Officials would not disclose many details, including what was discussed on the calls, and how many of Trump's advisers were talking to the Russians."

Note by Strzok: "Again, we are unaware of ANY Trump advisers engaging in conversations with Russian intel officials" and "Our coverage has not revealed contact between Russian intelligence officers and the Trump team."

Claim in NYT article: "The FBI asked the NSA to collect as much information as possible about the Russian operatives on the phone calls ..."

Note by Strzok: "If they did we are not aware of those communications."

Claim in NYT article: "The FBI has closely examined at least four other people close to Mr. Trump ... Carter Page ... Roger Stone... and Mr. Flynn."

Note by Strzok: "We have not investigated Roger Stone."

Claim by NYT: "Senior FBI officials believe ... Christopher Steele ... has a credible track record."

Note by Strzok: "Recent interviews and investigation, however, reveal Steele may not be in a position to judge the reliability of subsource network."

Claim by NYT: "The FBI's investigation into Mr. Manafort began last spring [2016]."

Note by Strzok: "This is inaccurate ... our investigation of Manafort was opened in August 2016."

Claim by NYT: "The bureau did not have enough evidence to obtain a warrant for a wiretap of Mr. Manafort's communications, but it had the NSA closely scrutinize the communications of Ukrainian officials he had met."

Note by Strzok: "This is inaccurate ..."
No apologies or retractions yet from the NYT, which has taken a "Republicans Pounce" line in F.B.I. Agent in Russia Inquiry Saw Basis in Early 2017 to Doubt Dossier "Newly declassified documents added more fodder for the continuing political fight over an aspect of the Trump-Russia investigation."
“Senator Graham’s statement represents another attempt by President Trump’s congressional lackeys to use Pete’s work product to paint the Russia investigation as a political witch hunt,” Aitan Goelman, a lawyer for Mr. Strzok, said in a statement. He described Mr. Strzok’s notes as “nothing more than a dedicated counterintelligence professional diligently vetting public reports of intelligence information.”
Chuck Ross at Da Caller,  Senate Panel Releases FBI Memo Related To Mystery Source For Steele Dossier
Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said that the memo “indicates that the reliability of the dossier was completely destroyed” after the interviews, which were conducted over the course of three days in January 2017.

“These documents, which I have long sought, tell a damning story for anyone who’s interested in trying to find the truth behind the corrupt nature of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign in 2016 and beyond,” Graham said in a statement announcing the release of the document.
Sundance at CTH,  Giddy Up – Senate Judiciary Committee Releases FBI Briefing With Primary Sub-Source – Dossier Content Credibility Destroyed January 2017…
When you recognize the FISA application itself was based on a fraudulent premise; and you recognize the intentional ignoring of the underlying evidence; then the motive behind the FISA becomes clear. The FISA against Carter Page was used as a justification for surveillance of Donald Trump that had been ongoing by Obama intelligence officials.

This context becomes stunningly more important when you look at how the FISA was used by the Mueller investigation to continue its weaponization throughout 2017 and even into 2018. Remember, in July of 2018 long after the source material was debunked, the special counsel office was still telling the FISA court the predication for the FISA application and renewals was valid.
Now we need to know who was spied on via the FISA warrants besides Page, and how that information was used. Sundance again, Devin Nunes and John Solomon Discuss Recent Senate Release Outlining FISA Fraud…

Dan Chaitin at WaEx, Justice Department gives update on when to expect 'pivotal' report from John Durham. October surprise?
U.S. Attorney John Durham's criminal inquiry into the Russia investigation is on track to release a report by the end of the summer, according to the Justice Department.

Kerri Kupec, a top spokeswoman for the agency, told Fox News this week that a report is not "the goal" of the criminal investigation, but it will nevertheless "be really pivotal to the restoration of that one tiered system of justice."

The politically charged review, which shifted into a criminal investigation last fall, has been decried by Democrats as a scheme to damage President Trump's rivals ahead of the 2020 election and hailed by Republicans who claim the Russia investigation was a partisan hit job.

"There is a story to be told there. The American people deserve resolution, and frankly, justice deserves resolution," Kupec declared.
The New Reform Club reports on An “Amicus” filing in the Roger Stone matter …
Does Mr. Fein expect that there is some reasonable likelihood that his motion will be granted? Or is this filing just a media event and fund-raising opportunity for his organization?

Here is a link to the brief.
Amici seek to advise the Court of issues that are not likely to be raised by either the United States or by the defendant. In particular, amici seek to advise the Court of reasons why the “Executive Grant of Clemency” executed by President Donald John Trump with respect to the defendant in this matter, see ECF No. 393-1, is or may not be constitutionally valid. This position is adverse to that of the defendant, but the United States will not adequately represent amici’s interest in presenting these issues because the Department of Justice will not question the validity of an executive grant of clemency issued by the president.
 Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup and linkfest.

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