Good job @Pet_Proletariat dissecting what Rosenstein’s role must have been during the ongoing Mueller’s investigation.
I get a little stuck on the fact Rosenstein, freshly hired from a DA’s job in MD, would help construct a letter that removes Comey with all the plausible reasons why T could. McGahn knew that this letter was wrong because it looked like obstruction of justice and canned the first version of it. The letter was re-written and the tacking on that T was not being investigated has always seemed like an obvious tell that T needs to make it seem like he’s always been free of any malfeasance having to do with Russia. But Rosenstein I know was upset that he was set up to have to write that ‘cover’ letter…when it was always T’s intention to fire Comey, he just needed a reason why.
I am super curious about the Rosenstein remark to get a wire put on T because Rosenstein thinks he is loony (yes, he is) but the way that story was leaked and the subsequent bargain that must have been created as a result is strange. Rosenstein was not fired at the revelation he requested (in jest?) that T be wired…and Rosenstein has kept his job even with that bit of news coming out.
But Rosenstein would still (I think) still have a hand in overseeing all the Mueller investigation, but you are right…he may only be in the counterintelligence area…and not the general search for criminality that Mueller’s main focus would be with Russia, and compliance within T’s campaign, the Russian hackers.
Couterintelligence is looking for quid pro quo…where T was bought or owned by the Russians. Was it via money-laundering of real estate, especially the T Tower deal and penthouse. and all the 30 yrs of relations that T has had with the Russians, or the more smarmy details re tapes and such at a hotel in Moscow during the Miss Universe pageant.
We are sure that there are intercepts…wonder what they have from SIGNIT?
I am curious too to think that maybe T is indeed already indicted. That maybe under seal…there are some that have suggested that.
Wonder what the Bill Barr confirmation questions will be like??? Can you recuse yourself from the Mueller probe…etc.
We keep nearing a precipice…and stay on the edge waiting for the next big item to drop.
And then we have the holy grail of all self-inflicted messes that T wants to die on…the wall and the government shutdown.
Some chips are going to fall, shoes are going to drop, and a heap of stuff is going to hit the fan this week…I HOPE.
What do we make of the hollowing out of the FBI their investigators, lawyers….obstruction of justice, voluntary retirements, retribution for deeds done or imagined.
James Comey - Head of FBI - fired
Andrew McCabe - Deputy Director of FBI - fired
Jeff Sessions - Head of DOJ - fired
Peter Stzrok - expert on Russia, let go because of his dalliances within the ranks w
Lisa Page - FBI investigator - resigned because of Peter Stzrok and remarks about t.
Jame Baker - FBI Lawyer - resigned
Bill Priestap - FBI Investigator/head of counterintelligence-Retires Dec 2018
Priestap was involved in the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Russians colluded with the Trump campaign, and he was also part of the bureau’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of State.
When Priestap leaves the FBI, there will be no high-ranking officials who were involved in both investigations left at the bureau, according to the Journal. *
- Does this mean that Mueller’s work is done?? What does it mean in general?
I was stuck on Rosenstein and McCabe for the longest time. This explains the Rosenstein wearing a wire “joke” memos.
None of it made sense, why would Rosenstein oversee an FBI obstruction of justice case over a firing, for which he wrote the memo? Alsways seemed like he should have recused.
Obama and Reagan’s meetings with Russian leader - Putin and Gorbachev, and several advisors nearby.
Compare and contrast
When it becomes clear that the FBI may and probably does have intelligence that T has been acting favorably towards Russia, enough to open up a counterintelligence campaign, then we can assume that someone in the FBI thinks that something fishy is going on with T’s motives, actions with the Russians and we should be alarmed.
But that leaves the FBI open to claims it is part of a Deep State mission, and that the intelligence groups are perhaps unfairly targeting the President.
Many of us do believe that there has been ample evidence of T’s allegiances towards Russia…so what is the highly secretive FBI to do now? Is it via Mueller’s final reporting that we can know for sure, yes and no?
The FBI can not flip the president. They can not withhold security information from the President, but they can expose certain activities which by merely shedding light on them, it will render them unsuitable to use again.
Naturally, the president, as a U.S. citizen, cannot be removed from the country. Nor can the president, who is the country’s chief executive, be restricted from access to classified information or provided with falsified information. It also makes no sense to “flip” someone who is already in a position of public trust and has taken an oath to protect and defend the United States from foreign enemies. Merely monitoring the threat to collect intelligence on what foreign adversaries are doing is not an option, since the ultimate consumer of such intelligence is the president himself — which means whatever intelligence is collected could eventually be passed on to the president, who is also the target. At the same time, the possibility that the president is compromised by a foreign power is the ultimate national security threat: The awesome powers of the presidency, which include almost unfettered discretion in the realm of foreign affairs and intelligence operations, leaves open the potential for him to use those powers to advance the interests of a foreign adversary over those of the United States.
This leaves only one option for neutralization: exposure.
Exposing the activities of a foreign intelligence service renders them ineffective, since it removes plausible deniability, which is the hallmark of covert intelligence operations. It also reveals the sources and methods that a foreign power is using, forcing them to abandon the operation. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has already utilized this avenue by bringing criminal charges against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies for a disinformation campaign on social media and against 12 GRU officers for hacking the Democratic National Committee’s emails. This alternative has its downsides: It allows our adversaries to know what we know, enabling them to up their game the next time. (The current aggressive attempts by Russia’s Internet Research Agency to compel discovery of Mueller’s sources and methods in court is an example of this tension.) But where the national security threat is severe, the need to stop the activity immediately can outweigh the costs.
More evidence that members of former Presidential Foreign Affairs see that clearly there has always been Russian influence. And T is being played and a player in Putin’s orbit, and a ‘wannabe dictator.’
Stobe Talbott, (from wiki - American foreign policy analyst associated with Yale University and the Brookings Institution, a former journalist associated with Time magazine, and a diplomat who served as the Deputy Secretary of State from 1994 to 2001) writes this today for Politico.
On Friday, the New York Times revealed an FBI investigation whether Candidate Trump had colluded—the word he hates and denies—with Russians to help his campaign. The next day, the Washington Post probed into President Trump’s refusal to let his own government in on his sensitive conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Among other developments, Congress has renewed calls for the State Department interpreter Maria Gross, the only other American present for Trump’s two-hour private meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, to share what she knows about the contents of their discussion.
Whether he knows it or not, Trump is integral to Putin’s strategy to strengthen authoritarian regimes and undermine democracies around the world. This unprecedented aberration defiles what America stands for at home and abroad; it alienates and dispirits our allies; and—if it is allowed to persist—it will jeopardize our security.
Flash forward to the current administration.
Under Putin as a revanchist, Russia has reinstated four key ingredients of Soviet politics and geopolitics: the Iron Fist, the Big Lie, the expansion beyond Russian borders and the subversion of Western societies. He is giving another chance to a system that ended up on the ash heap of history in the last century because of its internal failures.
The Cold War is back with several new and ominous features. The tables have turned. Putin is on a roll. Strongmen in Europe are cloning themselves after him and with his help. Democracy is under stress if not crisis. So are regional and global institutions founded under the leadership of the U.S. after World War II, notably NATO and the integration of Western Europe. And then there’s the U.S.’s pullback from the Middle East, potentially leaving Russia the only major power in the region.
Trumpism is a godsend to Putin and a nightmare for governments in his sights—including Trump’s. The U.S. commander-in-chief is out of sync with his own administration, not to mention the government as a whole. Note his stubborn yearning to lift sanctions on Putin’s pet oligarchs.
Trump has an affinity for dictators—as he himself reportedly acknowledged only this week during a lunch with senators, “I don’t know why I get along with all the tough ones and not the soft ones.” He actually does know why: He’s a wannabe. He envies their unchecked power, use of intimidation and penchant for operating in secret, apparently because he doesn’t trust the advisers and agencies who work for him.
This weekend’s Post article zeroed in on the Trump-Putin “one-on-one” last July in Helsinki, without aides or note-takers. Gross, the State Department interpreter, was the only American other than Trump who knows what was said, and she is under wraps. Whatever Trump told his own staff afterward, it would be likely what he wants people to believe, especially if he is hiding something. Take his claim that he “couldn’t care less” if his conversation with Putin became public for what it is worth: nothing. What’s more telling was the smug look on Putin’s face and an uncertain one on Trump’s after the meeting.
1/ A White House official close to Trump is now a person of interest in the Russia probe. The senior adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to multiple sources, who would not further identify the official. Investigators are also interested in people who were previously part of the Trump campaign and administration, including Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. (Washington Post)
A small group of lawmakers known as the Gang of Eight was notified of the change in tempo and focus in the investigation at a classified briefing Wednesday evening, the people familiar with the matter said. Then-FBI Director James B. Comey publicly confirmed the existence of the investigation in March.
Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said, “I can’t confirm or deny the existence or nonexistence of investigations or targets of investigations.” An FBI spokesman declined to comment.
Rosenstein appoints Mueller to be Special Prosecutor May 17, 2017. This story is from May 19, 2017. This would have been around the time that the investigation shifted to a counterintelligence investigation. I wonder what the “Gang of Eight” were told in that meeting? We’re they told it was “a person close to the President” or have they known the real identity of this person all along? Where’s the congressional oversight?
Good sleuthing @Pet_Proletariat
Yes, I wonder who is the ‘person of interest,’ could be…
I remembered there was the Russian born Boris Ephysten
who left the admin in March 2017. He lied repeatedly for T and was let go
And Michael Flynn left in Feb 2017, so that would have been too early.
Here’s another backgrounder on the timing of Comey’s firing and what the FBI was saying, or someone was leaking.
Am digging through a few googles, I found this Guardian article. It basically says that that besides the FBI/CIA being notified via Papadapoulis that Russians had intel on Hillary’s campaign, that the British were another group to alert the US that their intel was picking up conversations between the Russians and T 'n Co.
The Gang of Eight were tipped off via these sources Britiah intel via James Brennan/CIA. Steele Dossier would be another source later too.
Britain’s spy agencies played a crucial role in alerting their counterparts in Washington to contacts between members of Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, the Guardian has been told.
GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information, they added.
Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, sources said.
The European countries that passed on electronic intelligence – known as sigint – included Germany, Estonia and Poland. Australia, a member of the “Five Eyes” spying alliance that also includes the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand, also relayed material, one source said.
Another source suggested the Dutch and the French spy agency, the General Directorate for External Security or DGSE, were contributors.
It is understood that GCHQ was at no point carrying out a targeted operation against Trump or his team or proactively seeking information. The alleged conversations were picked up by chance as part of routine surveillance of Russian intelligence assets. Over several months, different agencies targeting the same people began to see a pattern of connections that were flagged to intelligence officials in the US.
The issue of GCHQ’s role in the FBI’s ongoing investigation into possible cooperation between the Trump campaign and Moscow is highly sensitive. In March Trump tweeted that Barack Obama had illegally “wiretapped” him in Trump Tower.
Instead both US and UK intelligence sources acknowledge that GCHQ played an early, prominent role in kickstarting the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, which began in late July 2016.
One source called the British eavesdropping agency the “principal whistleblower”.
The Guardian has been told the FBI and the CIA were slow to appreciate the extensive nature of contacts between Trump’s team and Moscow ahead of the US election. This was in part due to US law that prohibits US agencies from examining the private communications of American citizens without warrants. “They are trained not to do this,” the source stressed.
“It looks like the [US] agencies were asleep,” the source added. “They [the European agencies] were saying: ‘There are contacts going on between people close to Mr Trump and people we believe are Russian intelligence agents. You should be wary of this.’
“The message was: ‘Watch out. There’s something not right here.’”
According to one account, GCHQ’s then head, Robert Hannigan, passed material in summer 2016 to the CIA chief, John Brennan. The matter was deemed so sensitive it was handled at “director level”. After an initially slow start, Brennan used GCHQ information and intelligence from other partners to launch a major inter-agency investigation.
In late August and September Brennan gave a series of classified briefings to the Gang of Eight, the top-ranking Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate. He told them the agency had evidence the Kremlin might be trying to help Trump to win the presidency, the New York Times reported.
One person familiar with the matter said Brennan did not reveal sources but made reference to the fact that America’s intelligence allies had provided information. Trump subsequently learned of GCHQ’s role, the person said.
The person described US intelligence as being “very late to the game”. The FBI’s director, James Comey, altered his position after the election and Trump’s victory, becoming “more affirmative” and with a “higher level of concern”.
Comey’s apparent shift may have followed a mid-October decision by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa) court to approve a secret surveillance order. The order gave permission for the Department of Justice to investigate two banks suspected of being part of the Kremlin’s undercover influence operation.
According to the BBC, the justice department’s request came after a tipoff from an intelligence agency in one of the Baltic states. This is believed to be Estonia.
The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the same order covered Carter Page, one of Trump’s associates. It allowed the FBI and the justice department to monitor Page’s communications. Page, a former foreign policy aide, was suspected of being an agent of influence working for Russia, the paper said, citing US officials.
Just posted at the WaPo (shout out to @Himal for the link) , this is an impressive piece of journalism from Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger. I don’t believe there are any new revelations, per se, but this brings together, in a remarkably compelling account, years of incriminating evidence that has piled up against Manafort. It reads almost like a prosecutor’s opening arguments in a case charging Manafort with Russian collusion. It’s hard to summarize with excerpts because there is so much damning evidence here – so I’ll leave it to readers to peruse or skim – really worth your time.
Another bombshell – assuming Bernstein’s sources are correct.
Legendary journalist Carl Bernstein has said that he’s been told that special counsel Robert Mueller’s report will show how President Donald Trump helped Russia “destabilize the United States.”
Bernstein, who is renowned for his coverage of the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of former President Richard Nixon, appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday to discuss two bombshell reports released this weekend, one from The New York Times and one from The Washington Post, which revealed new details about whether or not Trump and his aides have colluded with Russia. …
“This is about the most serious counterintelligence people we have in the U.S. government saying, ‘Oh, my God, the president’s words and actions lead us to conclude that somehow he has become a witting, unwitting, or half-witting pawn, certainly in some regards, to Vladimir Putin,’” Bernstein explained during his appearance on Reliable Sources .
“From a point of view of strength… rather, he has done what appears to be Putin’s goals. [Trump] has helped Putin destabilize the United States and interfere in the election, no matter whether it was purposeful or not,” the journalist added. He then explained that he knew from his own high-level sources that Mueller’s report would discuss this assessment.
“And that is part of what the draft of Mueller’s report, I’m told, is to be about,” he said. “We know there has been collusion by [former national security adviser Michael] Flynn. We know there has been collusion of some sort by [Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul] Manafort. The question is, yes, what did the president know and when did he know it?”
Is it just me or does it really feel like we are on the cusp of some even bigger revelations about Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia?
Here’s the interview referenced in the article. Bernstein is absolutely on his game here – very convincing.
Thank you for the shout out ️
Part of Lisa Page’s closed door testimony. I included the entire section on Obstruction of Justice. What was Andrew McCabe up to in those eight days? It just breadcrumbs but in light of the opening of a counterintelligence investigation stemming from the obstruction of justice suspicions makes for interesting reading.
A Possible Obstruction Case
Still another issue mentioned with some frequency were two potentially related texts:
“And we need to open the case we’ve been waiting on now while Andy is acting”; and
“We need to lock in [redacted] in a formal, chargeable, way.”
Again, Page confirms that “Andy” is indeed a reference to McCabe. Notably, that text was sent the day after Comey had been fired by Trump. Unfortunately, a certain level of clarity remains lacking as FBI counsel was limited to noting that “the decision to open the case was not about who was occupying the director’s chair.” She continued in a somewhat confusingly with, “if I was able to explain in more depth why the director firing precipitated this text, I would.”
One representative kept pursuing the question from multiple angles, asking, “Was that a fear that someone other than McCabe would eventually be put into that slot?” Page again consulted with counsel and noted she couldn’t answer that question.
The representative made the logical observation, “Well, that leads at least some of us to conclude that it may have been an obstruction-of-justice case.” Page responded, “That’s a reasonable inference, sir, but I cannot, sort of, confirm that that’s what we are referring to.”
The dialogue continued:
Unidentified Representative: “So the firing of Jim Comey was the precipitating event, as opposed to the occupant of the director’s office?”
Page: “Yes, that’s correct.”
Rep.: “Well, other than obstruction, what could it have been?”
Page: “I can’t answer that, sir. I’m sorry.”
Rep.: “Is there anything other than obstruction that it could have been?”
Page: “I can’t answer.”
Page maintained that the second text was a separate matter from the first—but time may have been a factor as it occurred in the days preceding Mueller’s appointment as special counsel. Page also claimed not to know exactly what it pertained to:
“My suspicion is, we have either been interviewing some witness or have been getting kind of closer to some target, either we’ve already had interviews or we haven’t.
“What this is suggesting is, like, we need to start thinking about locking in whomever in a way that might be able to support charges. … My suspicion is that we have somebody who we think is lying. … To the extent we want to be able to charge them for lying, we need to lock them in in a formal way, in a way in which we will be able to support those charges.”
The issue of obstruction came up several times, including a notable exchange that took place during the second day of testimony:
Unidentified Representative: “Were there discussions about opening an obstruction-of-justice case or any other case against Donald Trump prior to the firing of Jim Comey on May 9th of 2017, as reflected in the Comey memos?”
FBI legal counsel: “Congressman, to the extent that goes into the equities of the ongoing investigation that the special counsel is now conducting, I will instruct the witness not to answer.”
Normally, this line of questioning ends with inferences having to be made, but, in this case, what appears to be an honest error on the part of Page hinted firmly at the true answer:
Rep.: “I don’t want any of the details. I just want to know whether there was a discussion about the possibility of opening that prior to the firing of the director.”
Page: “Obstruction of justice was not a topic of conversation during the timeframe you have described.”
Rep.: “OK. Then—”
Page: “I think. One second, sir.”
[Discussion off the record.]
Page: “Sir, I need to—I need to take back my prior statement.”
Rep.: “Which one?”
Page: “Whatever the last thing I just said was. Sorry. That there were no discussions of obstruction, yeah. That is—I need to take that statement back.”
Rep.: “So there were?”
Page: “Well, I think that I can’t answer this question without getting into matters which are substantively before the special counsel at this time.”
Rep.: “Well, I think you’ve just answered it by not answering it. Was Andy McCabe privy to those same conversations?”
Page: “I can’t answer this substantively, sir. I’m sorry.”
Rep.: “Well, were these related to some charges, whether obstruction or other charges, potentially against Donald Trump?”
Page: “I can’t—I can’t answer that question, sir, without getting into the substance of matters that are now before the special counsel.”
Rep.: “Again, I think you’re answering it by not answering it.”
At a later point in testimony, this issue was potentially further clarified:
Rep.: “Comey has admitted that he told the president, I think, that he wasn’t under investigation during that timeframe.”
Page: “That is not inconsistent, sir. … Somebody could not be under investigation, but there still could be discussions about potential criminal activity, and that is totally consistent with FBI policies and would not be unusual with respect to any investigation.”
This provides a perfect explanation as to why Comey refused to tell the press that Trump wasn’t under investigation—and the nature of the text messages.
The FBI hadn’t placed Trump under any formal investigation—but they were keeping their ability to do so open, and Acting FBI Director McCabe may have been planning to initialize a formal investigation before a permanent director could be appointed.
Mathew Miller of MSNBC tweeted this thread and I have to agree with him this would have been the only way to insulate the investigation from Rosenstein and the President. Click for full thread
@Keaton_James Remember when Trump fired the people who tape his papers back together? Makes so much more sense now, lol.
Makes sense to me…keeping it separate to assure insulation from those it may affect and therefore they’d interfere with it.
So McCabe from DOJ signs off on the Counterintelligence arm of the inquiry…keeping it separate.
And T went after McCabe like a rabid dog…
Good catch @Pet_Proletariat and I like Matthew Miller.
McCabe was Deputy Director of the FBI and became acting Director of the FBI when Comey was fired. Rosenstein was from the DOJ.
Yes… quite right.
I am probably confused but I was thinking that ultimately someone from DOJ (at Sessions level, and includes FBI and all special counsel. Judicial etc) needed to sign off on Counterinteligence operations…and maybe it WAS MCCabe FBI who could do that from within.
Is that correct?