What is the FBI hiding in its war to protect Comey?

Fusion GPS and the Trump Dossier

As the James Comey saga continues to unfold, the James Comey legend continues to unravel. The more we learn about his involvement in the deep state’s illicit targeting of President Trump, the more reason the American people have to question both his motives and his management as director of the FBI, the now-disgraced agency he headed before Trump fired him on May 16, 2017. Comey has left a trail of suspicious activities in his wake.

Comey now looms large over a burgeoning constitutional crisis that could soon overshadow Watergate at its worst. To deepen the crisis even further, it now appears some of Comey’s former FBI and Justice Department colleagues continue to protect him from accountability.

Three suspicious activities stand out, all intertwined: The so-called Comey Memos, Comey’s controversial testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee and Comey’s book deal.

After Comey was fired by President Trump on May 9, 2017, he arranged to give the New York Times a Feb. 14, 2017 memorandum he had written about a one-on-one conversation with Trump regarding former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. The New York Times published a report about the memo on May 16, 2017. Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed the following day.

On June 8, 2017, Comey testified under oath before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, where he stated he authored as many as nine such memos. Regarding the Flynn memo, Comey admitted: “I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter [for The New York Times]. I didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”

Comey also testified about President Trump’s firing of him, and he detailed multiple conversations with President Trump, during which Comey confirmed he told President Trump three times that he was not a target of investigation. Judicial Watch is pursuing numerous FOIA lawsuitsrelating to Comey’s memoranda and FBI exit records as well a lawsuit for Justice Department communications about Comey’s Senate testimony. The American people deserve to know what, if any, complicity his former colleagues had in drafting that testimony and/or in engineering the appointment of Robert Mueller.

The day before Comey’s testimony, Fox News reported: “A source close to James Comey tells Fox News the former FBI director’s Senate testimony has been ‘closely coordinated’ with Robert Mueller…”. Comey may have violated the law in leaking his official FBI memos to the media, and it would be a scandal if Comey coordinated his Senate testimony with Mr. Mueller’s special counsel office.

That we have had to sue in federal court to discover the truth speaks volumes. The FBI has built a protective stonewall around Comey by refusing to release the Comey Memos and refusing to disclose records of communications between the FBI and Comey prior to and regarding Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intel Committee.

Since his forced departure from the FBI, Comey signed a book deal in August 2017, set for publication in April 2018, for which he reportedly received an advance in excess of $2 million. Given the fact that the FBI appears to be letting Comey get away with stealing and leaking official government documents and colluding with the special counsel to get Trump, even a trusting person must be suspicions about his book deal.

The FBI has fanned those suspicions by, you guessed it, adding a new layer to the protective stonewall around Comey. Again, Judicial Watch has been forced to sue a recalcitrant FBI for records, including but not limited to forms Comey was required to complete relating to prepublication review of the book by the FBI. Did Comey’s cronies give the fired FBI director a pass on this long-standing requirement? Is that why they are stonewalling the Judicial Watch FOIA?

Read More: http://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/374675-what-is-the-fbi-hiding-in-its-war-to-protect-comey

The Scalp-Taking of Gen. Flynn

FBI-logo

Exclusive: The Russia-gate prosecutors have taken the scalp of ex- National Security Adviser (and retired Lt. Gen.) Flynn for lying to the FBI. But this case shows how dangerously far afield this “scandal” has gone, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

Russia-gate enthusiasts are thrilled over the guilty plea of President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI about pre-inauguration conversations with the Russian ambassador, but the case should alarm true civil libertarians.

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen Michael Flynn at a campaign rally for Donald Trump at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Oct. 29, 2016. (Flickr Gage Skidmore)

What is arguably most disturbing about this case is that then-National Security Adviser Flynn was pushed into a perjury trap by Obama administration holdovers at the Justice Department who concocted an unorthodox legal rationale for subjecting Flynn to an FBI interrogation four days after he took office, testing Flynn’s recollection of the conversations while the FBI agents had transcripts of the calls intercepted by the National Security Agency.

In other words, the Justice Department wasn’t seeking information about what Flynn said to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak – the intelligence agencies already had that information. Instead, Flynn was being quizzed on his precise recollection of the conversations and nailed for lying when his recollections deviated from the transcripts.

For Americans who worry about how the pervasive surveillance powers of the U.S. government could be put to use criminalizing otherwise constitutionally protected speech and political associations, Flynn’s prosecution represents a troubling precedent.

Though Flynn clearly can be faulted for his judgment, he was, in a sense, a marked man the moment he accepted the job of national security adviser. In summer 2016, Democrats seethed over Flynn’s participation in chants at the Republican National Convention to “lock her [Hillary Clinton] up!”

Then, just four days into the Trump presidency, an Obama holdover, then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates, primed the Flynn perjury trap by coming up with a novel legal theory that Flynn – although the national security adviser-designate at the time of his late December phone calls with Kislyak – was violating the 1799 Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from interfering with U.S. foreign policy.

But that law – passed during President John Adams’s administration in the era of the Alien and Sedition Acts – was never intended to apply to incoming officials in the transition period between elected presidential administrations and – in the past 218 years – the law has resulted in no successful prosecution at all and thus its dubious constitutionality has never been adjudicated.

Stretching Logic

But Yates extrapolated from her unusual Logan Act theory to speculate that since Flynn’s publicly known explanation of the conversation with Kislyak deviated somewhat from the transcript of the intercepts, Flynn might be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

Russia’s former Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak. (Photo from Russian Embassy)

Yet, that bizarre speculation would require that the Russians first would have detected the discrepancies; secondly, they would have naively assumed that the U.S. intelligence agencies had not intercepted the conversations, which would have negated any blackmail potential; and thirdly, the Russians would have to do something so ridiculously heavy-handed – trying to blackmail Flynn – that it would poison relations with the new Trump administration.

Yates’s legal theorizing was so elastic and speculative that it could be used to justify subjecting almost anyone to FBI interrogation with the knowledge that their imperfect memories would guarantee the grounds for prosecution based on NSA intercepts of their communications.

Basically, the Obama holdovers concocted a preposterous legal theory to do whatever they could to sabotage the Trump administration, which they held in fulsome disdain.

At the time of Flynn’s interrogation, the Justice Department was under the control of Yates and the FBI was still under President Obama’s FBI Director James Comey, another official hostile to the Trump administration who later was fired by Trump.

The Yates-FBI perjury trap also was sprung on Flynn in the first days of the Trump presidency amid reverberations of the massive anti-Trump protests that had arisen across the country in support of demands for a “#Resistance” to Trump’s rule.

Flynn also had infuriated Democrats when he joined in chants at the Republican National Convention of “lock her up” over Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and other alleged offenses. So, in targeting Flynn, there was a mix of personal payback and sabotage against the Trump administration.

The Legal Construct

The two-page complaint against Flynn, made public on Friday, references false statements to the FBI regarding two conversations with Kisylak, one on Dec. 22, 2016, and the other on Dec. 29, 2016.

Hillary Clinton speaking at a rally in Phoenix, Arizona, March 21, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

The first item in the complaint alleges that Flynn did not disclose that he had asked the Russian ambassador to help delay or defeat a United Nations Security Council vote censuring Israel for building settlements on Palestinian territory.

The New York Times reported on Friday that Russia-gate investigators “learned through witnesses and documents that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the Trump transition team to lobby other countries to help Israel, according to two people briefed on the inquiry.

“Investigators have learned that Mr. Flynn and Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, took the lead in those efforts. Mr. Mueller’s team has emails that show Mr. Flynn saying he would work to kill the vote, the people briefed on the matter said,” according to the Times.

Breaking with past U.S. precedents, President Obama had decided not to veto the resolution criticizing Israel, choosing instead to abstain. However, the censure resolution carried with Russian support, meaning that whatever lobbying Flynn and Kushner undertook was unsuccessful.

But the inclusion of this Israeli element shows how far afield the criminal Russia-gate investigation, headed by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, has gone. Though the original point of the inquiry was whether the Trump team colluded with Russians to use “hacked” emails to defeat Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the criminal charge against Flynn has nothing to do with election “collusion” but rather President-elect Trump’s aides weighing in on foreign policy controversies during the transition. And, the first initiative was undertaken at the request of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, not Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The second item, cited by Mueller’s prosecutors, referenced a Dec. 29 Flynn-Kislyak conversation, which received public attention at the time of Flynn’s Feb. 13 resignation after only 24 days on the job. That phone call touched on Russia’s response to President Obama’s decision to issue new sanctions against the Kremlin for the alleged election interference.

The complaint alleges that Flynn didn’t mention to the FBI that he had urged Kislyak “to refrain from escalating the situation” and that Kislyak had subsequently told him that “Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request.”

The Dec. 29 phone call occurred while Flynn was vacationing in the Dominican Republic and thus he would have been without the usual support staff for memorializing or transcribing official conversations. So, the FBI agents, with the NSA’s transcripts, would have had a clearer account of what was said than Flynn likely had from memory. The content of Flynn’s request to Kislyak also appears rather uncontroversial, asking the Russians not to overreact to a punitive policy from the outgoing Obama administration.

In other words, both of the Flynn-Kislyak conversations appear rather unsurprising, if not inconsequential. One was taken at the behest of Israel (which proved ineffective) and the other urged the Kremlin to show restraint in its response to a last-minute slap from President Obama (which simply delayed Russian retaliation by several months).

Double Standards

While Flynn’s humiliation has brought some palpable joy to the anti-Trump “Resistance” – one more Trump aide being taken down amid renewed hope that this investigation will somehow lead to Trump’s resignation or impeachment – many of the same people would be howling about trampled civil liberties if a Republican bureaucracy were playing this game on a Democratic president and his staff.

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn attending a dinner marking the RT network’s 10-year anniversary in Moscow, December 2015, sitting at the same table as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Green Party leader Jill Stein.

Indeed, in the turnabout-is-fair-play department, there is some equivalence in what is happening over Russia-gate to what the Republicans did in the 1990s exploiting their control of the special-prosecutor apparatus in the first years of Bill Clinton’s presidency when interminable investigations into such side issues as his Whitewater real-estate deal and the firing of the White House travel office staff plagued the Clinton administration.

Similarly, Republicans seized on the deaths of four U.S. diplomatic personnel on Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya, to conduct a series of lengthy investigations to tarnish Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s tenure and raise questions about her judgment. Democrats understandably called these attacks partisan warfare in legal or investigative garb.

What I have heard from many Hillary Clinton supporters in recent months is that they don’t care about the unfairness of the Russia-gate process or the dangerous precedents that such politicized prosecutions might set. They simply view Trump as such a danger that he must be destroyed at whatever the cost.

Yet, besides the collateral damage inflicted on mid-level government officials such as retired Lt. Gen. Flynn facing personal destruction at the hands of federal prosecutors with unlimited budgets, there is this deepening pattern of using criminal law to settle political differences, a process more common in authoritarian states.

As much as the Russia-gate enthusiasts talk about how they are upholding “the rule of law,” there is the troubling appearance that the law is simply being used to collect the scalps of political enemies.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

Court Filing Confirms Fusion GPS Hired DOJ Official’s CIA Wife To Dig Up Dirt On Trump

 

Do you need Faked Documents?

The head of opposition research firm Fusion GPS admitted in a court filing this week that his firm paid the wife of a senior Justice Department official to help dig up damaging information on then-candidate Donald Trump.


Bruce Ohr, Glenn Simpson, Nellie Ohr

Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS, filed the signed declaration in a D.C. court this week affirming that Nellie Ohr, wife of demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr, was contracted by Fusion through the summer and fall of 2016 “to help our company with its research and analysis of Mr. Trump,” according to the filing. The House Intelligence Committee determined that in November 2016, Simpson met with Bruce Ohr shortly after the election to discuss their findings regarding Russia and Trump. Bruce Ohr lost his senior-level position at the DOJ as associate deputy attorney general after his meetings with Simpson and British spy Christopher Steele, who assembled the Trump-Russia dossier, were discovered.

And why would Fusion GPS hire Nellie Ohr? Aside from the obvious connection to her DOJ husband who was in a position to provide Fusion GPS with information on Trump gathered by US intelligence agencies, Nellie Ohr also represented the CIA’s “Open Source Works” group in a 2010 “expert working group report on international organized crime” along with Bruce Ohr and Glenn Simpson.

Nellie Ohr, the wife of demoted DOJ official, Bruce Ohr, not only worked for Fusion GPS, but has also represented the CIA’s “Open Source Works” group. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/230846.pdf  

In addition to the dossier which served as the basis for the DOJ and FBI to obtain FISA surveillance last year on a Trump campaign advisor, Fusion GPS was also behind the infamous Trump Tower “set up” with a Russian lawyer, and a failed attempt to link Donald Trump to billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Also of note, the Daily Caller reported last month that heavily redacted Fusion GPS bank records reveal DNC law firm Perkins Coie paid Fusion a total of $1,024,408 in 2016 for opposition research on then-candidate Donald Trump – including the 34-page dossier. And who did Perkins Coie operate on behalf of? Hillary Clinton and the DNC

So, as part of a million-dollar effort by Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and the DNC paid Fusion GPS, which employed the wife of a senior DOJ official in this endeavor, who represented the CIA’s “Open Source Works” department during an “expert working group.” 

A group of House Republicans has been calling for the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate Obama and Clinton-linked controversies, which Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he is considering hours after a Tuesday call by President Trump’s outside counsel Jay Sekulow for a second special counsel to investigate Bruce and Nellie Ohr’s association with Fusion GPS during the summer and fall of 2016.


Jay Sekulow

In a statement issued hours after Sekulow’s appearance on Fox News, Sessions said: “I’ve put a Senior Attorney, with the resources he may need, to review cases in our office and make a recommendation to me, if things aren’t being pursued that need to be pursued, if cases may need more resources to complete in a proper manner, and to recommend to me if the standards for a special counsel are met, and the recommended one should be established”

Read More: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-14/court-filing-confirms-fusion-gps-hired-doj-officials-cia-wife-dig-dirt-trump