New Durham evidence shows FBI Misconduct, Vendetta against Trump

New Durham evidence shows FBI Misconduct, Vendetta against Trump


New Durham evidence shows FBI Misconduct, Vendetta against Trump

“I fear these recent developments are just the tip of the iceberg” ~Sen. Charles Grassley

By John Solomon

A key GOP senator who helped unravel the false Russia collusion narrative declared Tuesday that new evidence introduced by Special Counsel John Durham in a criminal trial shows the FBI engaged in misconduct to carry out a “political vendetta” against Donald Trump.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) gave his speech on the Senate floor on the same day that an FBI agent admitted during the trial of former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann that he is under criminal investigation by Durham. It was the first admission that current FBI officials face potential criminal liability. 

Previously, a former FBI lawyer admitted falsifying evidence submitted to the FISA court in order to get surveillance warrants targeting the Trump campaign.

Grassley said testimony and documents submitted at the Sussmann trial showed FBI managers, including ex-Director James Comey, were “fired up” to pursue what turned out to be false allegations created by the Clinton campaign and delivered to the FBI by Sussmann that Trump had a secret communications channel to the Kremlin back in 2016.

The senator, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the FBI effort to sustain the investigation included wrongly claiming in officlal documents that the evidence for the probe came from the Justice Department when in fact it came from Sussmann, a lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

“By the looks of it, this FBI document contains false information,” Grassley said.

“I fear these recent developments are just the tip of the iceberg,” he added. “The FBI’s exposure to false information and actually using it for investigative purposes wreaks of a political vendetta. A get-Trump-at-all-costs attitude. 

Whether Sussmann is convicted or not, the evidence introduced by Durham shows serious government misconduct. Special Counsel Durham can’t let government misconduct go unpunished.”

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(TLB) published this article with permission of John Solomon at Just the News.  Click Here to read about the staff at Just the News

Emphasis added by (TLB) editors

Header featured image (edited) credit:  John Durham and Donald Trump/Photo Getty Images/United States Attorney’s Office, District of Connecticut)

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Handwritten Notes From 2017 Show FBI Agents Mislead DOJ On The Trump-Russia Investigation

Handwritten Notes From 2017 Show FBI Agents Mislead DOJ On The Trump-Russia Investigation

Hillary Clinton’s campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann is currently on trial for lying to the FBI about his role in pushing data pertaining to alleged communications between Trump and the Russian Alfa Bank. According to Special Counsel John Durham, Sussmann lied when he brought that data to the FBI’s General Counsel James Baker as part of the Clinton campaign’s efforts to trigger an FBI investigation of her opponent, Donald Trump. Specifically, Sussmann allegedly wrote Baker a text message claiming he was not representing anyone in providing the information when, in fact, he was representing the Clinton campaign.

In a surprising move, Sussmann’s defense team last week disclosed three sets of handwritten Department of Justice (DOJ) notes of a March 6, 2017 meeting between high-ranking DOJ and FBI officials. Durham gave the notes written by DOJ officials Tashina Gauhar, Mary McCord, and Scott Schools to Sussmann’s team as part of Durham’s discovery obligations.

While the notes contain a one-line hearsay suggestion that may cast doubt on Sussmann’s earlier claim that he was not representing anyone, their broader significance lies in what they reveal about the FBI’s strategy in the months leading up to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller in May 2017.

In fact, the notes are the very first documents to have been released to the public that show what the FBI was telling the DOJ about the predication and status of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation only two weeks before FBI Director James Comey’s shock announcement to the House Intelligence Committee on March 20, 2017, that the Trump campaign was being investigated by the FBI for ties to the Kremlin. It was Comey’s announcement that ultimately led to the appointment of Mueller.

The DOJ had a legal responsibility to supervise the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, which, as a “sensitive matter,” placed special oversight and due diligence obligations on the DOJ and additional reporting and due diligence obligations on the FBI. The March 6 meeting was a key milestone in those due diligence obligations.

The FBI was represented at the meeting by three of its top officials: Deputy Director Andy McCabe, Counterintelligence Executive Assistant Director Bill Priestap, and Counterintelligence Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok. The DOJ was also represented by top-level officials, led by Acting Attorney General Dana Boente. Boente was taking the place of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had recused himself only four days previously.

The notes reveal a pattern of repeated lies and omissions by FBI leadership to DOJ officials that concealed the dramatic deterioration of the predicate for the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. As the predication deteriorated, so too was the purported justification for Comey’s public reveal of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.

The significance of the FBI’s lies was accentuated this week at Sussmann’s trial when Scott Hellman, an FBI cyber analyst, testified that he knew right away in September 2016 that Sussmann’s data did not suggest any covert communications between Trump and Russia. Hellman added that he wondered if the person who put together the data was suffering from a mental disability.

Hellman’s testimony is the clearest evidence yet that the FBI knew from the start that one of the two major components of the Trump Russia collusion narrative – the Alfa Bank data – was false. As the March 6 notes show, they concealed this fact from their DOJ superiors.

The other major component of the investigation was the Steele dossier. The FBI knew from a January 2017 interview of Igor Danchenko, Christopher Steele’s “Primary Sub-Source” through whom all the allegations in the Steele dossier were originated or channeled, that the dossier too was false.

Danchenko’s most shocking revelation to the FBI was that he had never met Sergei Millian, the attributed source for the Steele dossier’s most inflammatory claims, including the allegation that there was a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” between Trump and the Kremlin, that Russia passed hacked Democratic National Committee emails to WikiLeaks, as well as the infamous Moscow pee tape story.

Danchenko, although a Russian national, was not “Russian-based,” as the FBI was claiming, but had lived and worked in Washington, D.C. for more than a decade, including at the Brookings Institute. Fiona Hill, a Brookings Institute stalwart, was a key supporter of Danchenko’s and had even introduced him to Steele in 2011. In 2016, Hill introduced Danchenko to former Hillary Clinton aide Charles Dolan. Danchenko would later use Dolan as a source for a number of his dossier claims.

Beyond the fact that Millian could not have been a source for the dossier, the FBI also learned from Danchenko that the dossier stories were based on bar talk and innuendo (Danchenko has since been charged by Durham with lying to the FBI about his sources).

The FBI appears to have concealed these matters from the DOJ. In fact, it does not appear from the March 6 notes that the FBI ever mentioned Danchenko. Despite Danchenko’s disavowal of the dossier as of March 6, it remained as the main component of the overall Crossfire Hurricane investigation, including being the basis of two Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants against Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

The March 6 notes also reveal that FBI leadership told DOJ officials that the Page FISA application had been “fruitful” even though it had turned up nothing of significance. Page was never charged with, or even accused of, any offense and is now suing the DOJ for damages.

FBI leadership also pushed the narrative on their DOJ counterparts that the dossier was “CROWN reporting,” implying that the dossier was an official United Kingdom intelligence product when it was actually made-up stories and gossip and paid for by the Clinton campaign – a fact the FBI knew from their Danchenko interview.

The notes cite “CROWN reporting” in connection with collusion allegations on at least two occasions. In Strzok’s exposition of the status of Page’s case, the notes indicate that Strzok referred to “Crown source reporting” as a key element in the Page FISA warrant. This was already known from unredacted portions of the FISA applications that were publicly disclosed in 2020. However, what was not known was that the FBI also lied internally about these facts to their DOJ supervisors.

Similarly, the March 6 notes indicate that, in connection with the status of the Manafort case, Strzok had reported that, based on “CROWN reporting,” the FBI had “looked at [the Republican] convention” and allegations that the Trump campaign had caused the convention to “soften stance on Crimea and NATO” in exchange for “Russian energy stocks.”

In fact, there is no reference to allegations about Crimea or NATO in Steele’s dossier. Strzok attributed these false accusations to “CROWN reporting,” presumably to lend weight to them with his DOJ superiors.

With respect to “Russian energy stocks,” the dossier includes a false reference to Page receiving a brokerage fee for the sale of a Russian energy company but this allegation is not related to the convention but to the lifting of sanctions. Again, Strzok falsely portrayed this as having something to do with the Republican Party’s convention.

Additionally, the notes show that lead agent Strzok also lied to DOJ officials about the opening of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. Strzok claimed the investigation was triggered by Trump when he jokingly asked Russia to publish Clinton’s missing 30,000 emails. It was Trump’s joke which, according to Strzok, caused the Australian diplomat to provide his tip about Trump aide George Papadopoulos to the U.S. embassy in London.

In truth, the diplomat provided his tip before Trump made the joke. Another fact that the FBI concealed in respect of the opening of Crossfire Hurricane was that their theory that Papadopoulos had advanced knowledge of the DNC hack was logically impossible. When Papadopoulos met the Australian diplomat on May 10, 2016, most of the hacked DNC emails hadn’t even been written yet.

Ironically, in analyzing why the FBI leadership felt compelled to brazenly lie to their DOJ counterparts, it appears that their hand was forced by Trump himself. Just two days before the FBI-DOJ meeting, on March 4, 2017, Trump tweeted he had found out that President Obama had wiretapped Trump at Trump Tower. Trump’s tweet was in an apparent reference to radio host Mark Levin, who reported on his show on March 2 that Trump campaign aides had been the subject of FISA warrants.

In a number of instances, the March 6 meeting notes reflect the FBI leadership’s befuddlement as to how much Trump knew about the FBI’s investigation of him. McCabe is cited repeatedly as having said that the FBI was investigating what was behind Trump’s tweet.

In reality, Trump’s tweet probably just restated what Levin had said. But the fact that the FBI did not know how much Trump knew meant FBI leadership had a choice to make. They could either downplay the investigation with a view to wrapping it up or they could double down even though they had not found any incriminating evidence.

They chose to double down, with Comey going on offense in the immediate aftermath of the March 6 meeting. Aside from giving narrative-shaping briefings to congressional leaders, Comey publicly disclosed the existence of the Trump Russia investigation, ensuring a media frenzy. That frenzy ultimately led to the appointment of Mueller on May 17, 2017.

While we have become accustomed to false statements charges being filed against Trump associates such as Roger Stone, Papadopoulos, and Michael Flynn, those same charges are also applicable to false statements or concealment of material facts by FBI officials to DOJ officials in the conduct of their supervision of FBI investigations.

It is perplexing that no one within the FBI has been held accountable for the many lies told at the March 6 meeting. This fact is all the more perplexing as it was Durham who originally turned over the March 6 notes to Sussmann’s defense team.

Former Attorney General William Barr had earlier turned down the opportunity to charge McCabe with lying during an internal FBI investigation of a leak related to the Hillary Clinton email investigation. McCabe had authorized the leak but lied about it. McCabe later apologized for lying to agents who were investigating the leak.

While Barr claimed it was a judgment call not to prosecute McCabe, his lies must now properly be seen in light of the FBI’s and his own pattern of lies, as documented in the March 6 notes. While the notes were only publicly released last week, they have been available to Barr, Durham and the DOJ for much longer. Yet no action was taken.

Crucially, public release of the notes came after the five-year statute of limitations had lapsed in March of this year. The question is why the DOJ — and Durham in particular — gave the FBI a free pass. The uncomfortable answer may be that, as has been suspected for a while, Durham’s authority is effectively limited to private actors such as Sussmann and Danchenko and does not extend to public officials such as McCabe and Strzok.


Hans Mahncke is in-house counsel at a global business advisory firm. He holds LL.B., LL.M. and Ph.D. degrees in law. He is the author of numerous law books and his research has been published in a range of international journals. Stephen McIntyre is a semi-retired mining consultant specializing in statistical analysis. He holds a B.Sc. degree from the University of Toronto and a PPE degree from Oxford. Steve is known as the founder and editor of Climate Audit, a website devoted to the analysis and discussion of climate data.

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Can Trump Win His Lawsuit Against Hillary Clinton And The DNC For Their Russia Collusion Lies?

Can Trump Win His Lawsuit Against Hillary Clinton And The DNC For Their Russia Collusion Lies?

Last week, former President Donald Trump filed a sprawling lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and the other main players responsible for the Russia collusion hoax. Here’s your lawsplainer for Trump v. Clinton, et. al.

First, the Facts

The 103-page complaint filed in a Florida federal court on Thursday begins with a synopsis of the Democratic plot to frame Trump as a Russian asset, spurring the Crossfire Hurricane investigation into his presidential campaign and later his administration. Among other things, the lawsuit highlights the Clinton campaign’s hiring of Perkins Coie, alleging the law firm “was tasked with spearheading the scheme to find — or fabricate — proof of a sinister link between Donald J. Trump and Russia.”

According to the lawsuit, Perkins Coie lawyers Marc Elias and Michael Sussmann enlisted others, including the investigative firm of Fusion GPS and its co-founders, Peter Fritsch and Glenn Simpson, and “Neustar, Inc., an information technology company, and one of its top executives, Rodney Joffe.” The complaint then detailed Fusion GPS’s hiring of Christopher Steele, the principal and founder of Orbis Ltd., and Steele’s use of Igor Danchenko as a primary sub-source for the fraudulent Steele dossier that the defendants fed to the FBI and the media to craft the Russia-collusion narrative.

Simultaneously, Joffe and others exploited “their access to non-public data in search of a secret ‘back channel’ connection between Trump Tower and Alfa Bank,” the complaint alleged, but, according to the complaint, after discovering “no such channel existed, the defendants resorted to truly subversive measures hacking servers at Trump Tower, Trump’s private apartment, and, most alarmingly, the White House.” “This ill-gotten data was then manipulated to create a misleading ‘inference’” of Russia collusion,” the complaint charged. That data was then provided to the FBI and CIA, as well as peddled to the media.

In turn, the complaint continued, what Trump called a “small faction of Clinton loyalists” in the Department of Justice and FBI, including James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Kevin Clinesmith, and Bruce Ohr, allegedly abused their authority by, among other things, obtaining the illegal FISA warrant to spy on former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page and to trigger the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Together, these schemes caused Trump to incur upward of $24 million to defend against the false charges Clinton and her cronies concocted, the lawsuit alleged as damages.

This summary represents a fraction of the details included in the complaint — and an even smaller sliver of the totality of the facts of SpyGate — but it sets the stage sufficiently to understand the theories Trump’s legal team present: Trump’s lawyers allege a total of 16 separate counts, ranging from RICO claims to state law tort claims.

1. RICO and RICO Conspiracy

In Count I of the complaint, Trump sues Clinton, the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee, Perkins Coie, and lawyers Elias and Sussmann under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, better known as “RICO.” While racketeering, as defined in the statute, constitutes a federal crime, in passing RICO Congress also created a “civil right of action,” meaning those harmed by violations of RICO could sue for damages civilly.

To state a civil RICO claim, a plaintiff such as Trump must allege four elements: (1) conduct (2) of an enterprise (3) through a pattern (4) of racketeering activity. To satisfy the “pattern of racketeering activity element,” a plaintiff must allege: “(1) that defendants committed two or more predicate acts within a ten-year time span; (2) the predicate acts were related to one another; and (3) the predicate acts demonstrate criminal conduct of a continuing nature.” 

In his complaint, Trump alleged Clinton, her campaign, the DNC, Perkins Coie, Elias, and Sussmann constituted an “enterprise” within the meaning of the statute. Whether this group, coming together to push the Russia collusion hoax, qualifies as a RICO enterprise presents an interesting question, but one ultimately irrelevant, as will soon be seen, given the underlying predicate acts Trump alleges.

Specifically, Trump alleges two possible “predicate acts” or underlying crimes, the defendants allegedly committed, which his legal team then argues establishes a RICO violation. First, the complaint alleges that the RICO defendants conspired with Neustar and Joffe to “abuse and exploit” “non-public and highly sensitive data sources,” which gave the defendants access to “proprietary, sensitive and confidential information, data and/or knowledge.” That sensitive and confidential information, according to the complaint, constitutes “trade secrets,” and thus by “appropriating” that information,” Trump alleges the defendants committed a crime in violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act.

The second “predicate act” or underlying crime alleged by Trump is “obstruction of justice,” which criminalizes the corrupt influencing or impeding of “the due administration of justice.” In alleging this act, Trump points to the defendants conspiring with the other players to present “misleading and inaccurate” information to law enforcement officials, which “obstructed” and “influenced” the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.

Of these two potential crimes, only the second seems to stand a chance of satisfying the requisite RICO standard of alleging a pattern of criminal conduct, as the trade secrets alleged seem too much of a stretch under the law — more on that below. But even though the allegations of obstruction of justice arguably qualify, the statute of limitations will still stymie Trump.

Civil RICO claims are subject to a four-year statute of limitations, and that four-year time period begins to run “when a plaintiff knew or should have known of his injury. “In other words, the ‘discovery of the injury,’ not discovery of the other elements of a claim, is what starts the clock.”

In this case, Trump arguably knew before March 2018 — four years before Trump filed his RICO claim — of his injury given the appointment of Robert Mueller occurred in May 2017. But, at a minimum, by January 2018 Trump had actual knowledge of several aspects of the entire plot, with Devin Nunes, the then-chair of the House Intelligence Committee, detailing in a memo the Clinton campaign’s role in paying for the Steele dossier and highlighting the DOJ and FBI’s abuse of the FISA court.  Under these circumstances, it seems likely the court will dismiss Trump’s RICO claim as barred by the statute of limitations.

In addition to the RICO claim, Trump alleged in Count II that a slew of defendants conspired to violate RICO. Those defendants included Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former DNC chair; Charles Halliday Dolan, Jr., a Clinton backer who fed Danchenko false information that ended up in the dossier; Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s foreign policy advisor during the 2016 campaign; John Podesta, the chair of the 2016 Clinton campaign; Robert Mook, the Clinton campaign manager; Phillipe Reines, a communications advisor to Clinton; Fusion GPS, its owners (Simpson and Fritsch) and its contractor, Nellie Ohr; Bruce Ohr, Nellie’s husband and a DOJ employee; Orbis Business Intelligence, Ltd., its founder Steele, and Danchenko, a source for Steele; and tech company Neustar, Inc., and its agent Rodney Joffe.

While RICO makes it illegal to conspire to violate the substantive provisions of RICO, by either agreeing to the overall objective of the conspiracy or by showing that the defendant agreed to commit two predicate acts, in this case, Trump’s RICO conspiracy claim will likely fail for the same reason his RICO claim will be dismissed — it was untimely and thus is barred by the statute of limitations.

2. Injurious Falsehood and Conspiracy to Commit Injurious Falsehood

Trump’s next two claims concern the alleged state law tort of “injurious falsehood” and conspiracy to commit injurious falsehood, alleged respectively in Counts III and IV. (Count III’s heading inaccurately references 18 U.S.C. 2701, a separate claim Trump presents later).

Injurious falsehood is a state claim much like defamation but designed to compensate an individual for injury to his economic interests. Losses recoverable here are those “directly and immediately” resulting “from the falsehood’s effect on the conduct of third persons and the expenses incurred to counteract the publication.”

To state a claim for injurious falsehood in Florida, the complaint must allege “(1) a falsehood; (2) published or communicated to a third party; (3) the defendant knew that the falsehood would likely induce others not to deal with the plaintiff; (4) the falsehood does play a material and substantial part in inducing others not to deal with the plaintiff; and (5) special damages.”

In this case, Trump claims Clinton, Sussmann, Steele, Danchenko, Sullivan, and Schultz on multiple occasions disseminated false and damaging information indicating Trump was colluding with Russia and that as a result of these falsehoods Trump spent more than $24 million to counter the claims. It is unclear whether that type of alleged harm qualifies as an “economic interest” for purposes of an “injurious falsehood” claim, which typically concerns false statements disparaging another person’s property or business. But, in any event, as with his RICO claim, Trump must first clear the statute of limitations.

Florida applies a two-year statute of limitation for defamation-like claims, meaning any injurious falsehoods made before March 2020 would be time-barred. In this case, while Trump highlights many false accusations, they nearly all date to 2018 or before. The one exception appears to be Clinton’s June 2021 appearance on the “Morning Joe” show on MSNBC when she declared, “We don’t have Trump as a spokesperson for Putin, anymore,” adding “after the disastrous Trump presidency, in which he gave Putin a green light to do whatever he wanted to don, once Trump was elected, of course.”

It seems unlikely the court will view these statements as sufficient to qualify as a falsehood likely to induce others not to deal with Trump, and thus this claim is likely to fail as well. The conspiracy claim in Count IV is likely to also fail because the alleged injurious falsehoods fall outside the statute of limitations.

3. Malicious Prosecution and Conspiracy to Commit Malicious Prosecution

In Count V Trump sues Sussman, Elias, Danchenko, Fritsch, Simpson, Nellie Ohr, Steele, Joffe, and DOJ and FBI agents James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strozk, Lisa Page, and Kevin Clinesmith for malicious prosecution, with Count VI adding additional defendants and alleging they conspired to maliciously prosecute Trump.

To prevail in a malicious prosecution case, a plaintiff must typically establish six elements: “(1) an original judicial proceeding against the present plaintiff was commenced or continued; (2) the present defendant was the legal cause of the original proceeding; (3) the termination of the original proceeding constituted a bona fide termination of that proceeding in favor of the present plaintiff; (4) thee was an absence of probable cause for the original proceeding; (5) there was malice on the part of the present defendants; and (6) the plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the original proceeding.”

In this case, although the defendants allegedly caused the Mueller investigation into Trump, no judicial proceedings were instituted against the former president. Accordingly, his malicious prosecution claim seems doomed.

Trump also alleged a conspiracy to commit malicious prosecution, adding in Clinton, Podesta, Mook, Resines, and others. To recover for a civil conspiracy, a plaintiff must show an agreement between two or more parties to do an unlawful act or a lawful act by unlawful means, doing some overt act in pursuance of the conspiracy and damage to the plaintiff as a result. However, because there was no institution of criminal proceedings, this claim will fare no better.

4. Computer Fraud Abuse Act and the Stored Communications Act

Trump added claims in his complaint under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) in Count VII against Neustar, Joffe, the DNC, the Clinton campaign, Clinton, Perkins Coie, and Sussmann, and under the Stored Communications Act (SCA) in Count IX against Neustar and Joffe.

The CFAA provides that “whoever . . . intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or excessed authorized access, and thereby obtains . . .information from any protected computer’ violates the CFAA.” A person injured by that unauthorized access may file a civil suit under the CFAA, but must have suffered a loss of at least $5,000, or meet other statutory requirements.

Similarly, the SCA makes it unlawful to “intentionally access[] without authorization a facility through which an electronic communication service is provided” and thereby obtain “access to a wire or electronic communication while it is in electronic storage.” Under the SCA, in addition to a defendant exceeding his authorized access, the electronic communications must be in “electronic storage.” The statutory meaning of “electronic storage” is quite narrow, applying only to electronic communications in the “middle of transmission” or “saved for backup purposes.”

Both Trump’s Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Stored Communications Act charges face a serious hurdle in the Supreme Court’s recent holding in Van Buren, wherein the high court held that the CFAA’s term “exceeds authorized access” means “an individual ‘exceeds authorized access’ when he accesses a computer with authorization but then obtains information located in particular areas of the computer—such as files, folders, or databases—that are off limits to him.”

According to the Supreme Court, “the CFAA . . . does not target those who misappropriate confidential information or trade secrets they were authorized to learn about, read, or otherwise obtain, or those who misappropriate computer files they were perfectly authorized to open, view, or otherwise access.”

Following Van Buren, lower courts have interpreted the SCA’s “without authorization” language consistent with that case. This means for Trump’s civil suit to succeed, the defendants must have accessed protected computers or electronic storage that they were not legitimately provided access to. The question the court will need to decide, then, is whether Trump’s allegations are sufficient to support the possibility that Joffe accessed computer information or electronic storage (as defined by the statute) that he had no authority to access. If, instead, Joffe had the authority to access the data he allegedly used to craft the Alfa Bank and Yota cell phone hoaxes, there is no violation of the CFAA or the SCA under Van Buren.

In his complaint, Trump alleged the defendants “hacked” the computers, which might be considered sufficient, although it is questionable whether Joffe accessed computer systems without authority. This question will likely be the main focus of this case moving forward.

If the court finds Trump sufficiently alleged violations of the CFAA and the SCA, the claims will likely survive the statute of limitations challenges because those statutes provide a lawsuit may be filed within “two years from the date the claimant first discovered or had a reasonable opportunity to discover the violation.” This statutory language differs from the other governing statutes of limitation, which begin running at the time of injury. Here, the clock does not start ticking until Trump discovered the alleged violation. And in this case, Trump only learned of the alleged violations by Joffe within the last year, following the indictment of Sussmann.

5. Theft of Trade Secrets Act

In Count VII, Trump sued Neustar, Joffe, Perkins Coie, Sussmann, the Clinton campaign, the DNC, and Clinton personally alleging they violated the federal Theft of Trade Secrets Act. Neustar and Joffe, Trump alleged, illegally obtained Trump’s confidential records in the form of the Domain Name System or “DNS” data that showed the computer systems Trump-related computers communicated with. The other named defendants conspired with Neustar and Joffe to misappropriate Trump’s confidential records and injure Trump, according to the complaint.

This count seeks recovery under the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act which creates “a private right of action” or the right for an individual to sue civilly under certain circumstances. But to sue under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, at a minimum a “trade secret” must be at issue.

And “confidentiality alone does not a trade secret make.” Rather, a trade secret exists if an owner “takes reasonable measures to keep the information secret,” and “the information ‘derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known.” In other words, the “secret” information provides the owner an economic advantage.

Typical examples include formulas for Kentucky Fried Chicken or Coca-Cola, or Google algorithm, but trade secrets can also include customer lists with contacts and product and pricing information. A court is extremely unlikely to find that the DNS data allegedly mined “derives independent economic value” or otherwise constitutes a trade secret, and thus this claim will likely be tossed as well.

6. Agency and Respondeat Superior

The final counts all seek to hold the defendants responsible for the conduct of others, with Count X, entitled “Agency,” attempting to hold Clinton responsible for the conduct of those acting on her behalf, known legally as “agents.” General principles of agency law provide that if a principal directed or authorized a wrongful act, or ratifies the act after the fact, he (or in this case she), is legally liable for the conduct.

The principle of respondeat superior also finds its origins in agency law and holds that employers are vicariously liable for torts committed by employees within the scope of their employment. Vicarious liability is a form of strict liability, and the employer is liable for an employee’s wrongful conduct even if the principal did not direct or authorize the conduct and even if the employee acted without the employer’s knowledge. Under the principle of respondeat superior, once an individual is determined to be an employee, the question of concerns asks whether the employee acted within “the scope of employment” when committing the alleged tort.

In Trump’s lawsuit, in Counts XI through XVI, he seeks to hold the business entities of Perkins Coie, DNC, the Clinton campaign, Neustar, Orbis, Fusion GPS, and Orbis liable for the conduct of their respective employees based on this doctrine. However, without an underlying wrong by an employee in the first instance, there can be no respondeat superior liability. Thus, the first question is whether Trump properly alleged an employee of the above enterprises committed a wrong for which the law provides a remedy. As detailed above, most of Trump’s legal theory seems doomed, making these claims futile as well.

Next Steps

It will be some time, however, before anything substantive takes place in Trump v. Clinton. Trump will need to serve the defendants first, although before he does, it is possible that the judge randomly assigned to the case, Judge Donald Marsh Middlebrooks, will recuse from the case to avoid an appearance of bias since he is a Bill Clinton appointee. If he doesn’t recuse, it is likely Trump’s attorneys will file a motion seeking his recusal.

Following service, the defendants are likely to immediately seek dismissal of the complaint for these reasons noted above, or other reasons, but Trump will have an opportunity to amend the complaint to address any defects. Here, it is at least plausible that he will be able to tweak the case enough to keep some of his claims alive for a bit, most likely his Computer Fraud Abuse Act and Stored Communications Act claims given that it is not yet clear what data Joffe allegedly accessed.

Sadly, though, Trump may in the end join Svetlana Lokhova and Alfa Bank as victims of Spygate for whom the legal system provided no relief. There is still hope for justice for Carter Page, though.


Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

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SpyGate 101: A Primer On The Russia Collusion Hoax’s Years-long Plot To Take Down Trump

SpyGate 101: A Primer On The Russia Collusion Hoax’s Years-long Plot To Take Down Trump

As Special Counsel John Durham continues to expose more details of the “SpyGate” or “Russia collusion” scandal, it can be difficult for any apolitical, non-news-junkie member of the public to grasp the ongoing developments.

After all, for more than five years, the corrupt legacy media has refused to report on scandal or done so with a slanted portrayal of the facts. So most Americans remain unaware of the Democrats’ years-long duplicity that sought to destroy first candidate and then President Donald Trump. Add to that reality the overlapping conspiracies and sprawling cast of characters involved, and it can be difficult to follow the story.

That the scandal is dense, however, does not mean it should be ignored. To the contrary, the duplicity must not be disregarded because what Trump’s political enemies tried to accomplish over the course of five years represents the biggest threat our constitutional republic has seen in the last century.

So for those who care about our country and her future but don’t want to be buried in the minutia of the scandal, here is your big-picture primer.

DNC Emails Are Hacked

While every thread of SpyGate could be unraveled more, April 30, 2016, marks the cleanest point to pin the start of the intrigue. It was then, amid the contested presidential primaries, that the Democratic National Committee learned that its computer network had been breached. The DNC then hired a company called CrowdStrike to investigate the hack, and by mid-May, CrowdStrike concluded that Russian actors were responsible for the hack, which the DNC then reported to the FBI.

The public first learned about the DNC server hack on June 14, 2016, when The Washington Post broke the story. Then, on July 22, 2016, after Trump and Hillary Clinton had been declared the presidential nominees, WikiLeaks released a trove of documents, purportedly obtained through the DNC hack.

These documents included emails in which then-DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other party officials disparaged Clinton’s primary opponent, Bernie Sanders. The behind-the-scenes communiques also revealed that the DNC, which should maintain neutrality between primary candidates, favored Clinton, with top officials plotting ways to harm the Sanders campaign.

Clinton Campaign Plots to Convert DNC Scandal into Trump Scandal

The timing of WikiLeaks’ release of the DNC emails couldn’t have been worse, with delegates poised in Pennsylvania to officially nominate Clinton the Democratic candidate for president. But by Sunday evening, the Clinton campaign had devised a strategy to respond to the scandal: blame it on Trump.

“I’m Jake Tapper at the Democratic Convention in beautiful Philadelphia, where the state of our union is exposed emails just published by WikiLeaks showing Democratic Party officials actively discussing possible ways to sabotage Bernie Sanders, even as they were insisting publicly that they were staying neutral during the primaries,” the CNN host opened the video segment that launched the Russia collusion hoax.

Tapper introduced Clinton’s then-campaign manager Robby Mook, asking him the campaign’s reaction to the leaked emails. After responding that the DNC needed to “look into this and take appropriate action,” Mook pivoted to Trump, premiering the Russia conspiracy theory that would consume the country for the next five years.

“What’s disturbing to us,” Mook began, is that “experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails, and other experts are now saying that the Russians are releasing these emails for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump.”

Mook continued:

“I don’t think it’s coincidental that these emails were released on the eve of our convention here, and that’s disturbing. And I think we need to be concerned about that. I think we need to be concerned that we also saw last week at the Republican Convention that Trump and his allies made changes to the Republican platform to make it more pro-Russian. And we saw him talking about how NATO shouldn’t intervene to defend — necessarily should intervene to defend our Eastern European allies if they are attacked by Russia. So I think, when you put all this together, it’s a disturbing picture. And I think voters need to reflect on that.”

When Tapper asked Mook for evidence to support his claims, Mook cited unnamed experts and press reports “that the hackers that got into the DNC are very likely by to be working in coordination with Russia.”

“If the Russians in fact had these emails, again, I don’t think it’s very coincidental that they are being released at this time to create maximum damage on Hillary Clinton and to help Donald Trump,” Mook reiterated.

“It is a very, very strong charge that you’re leveling here,” Tapper interjected. “You’re basically suggesting that Russians hacked into the DNC and now are releasing these files through WikiLeaks to help elect Donald Trump.”

Again, Mook deflected to “a number of experts,” saying, “Experts have said that it is the Russians that, in fact, went in and took these emails. And then, if they are the ones who took them, we have to infer that they are the ones then releasing them.”

Clinton Campaign Co-Opts the Russia Collusion Hoax

While the Clinton campaign introduced the Russia collusion hoax on the eve of the DNC convention to convert the Sanders’ scandal into one about Trump, the strategy also proved a perfect response to the second Clinton scandal — this one involving Clinton’s illegal use of a private server during her time as secretary of state.

The New York Times first broke the news on March 2, 2015, that Clinton had used a private email server to communicate as secretary of state under President Barack Obama. Two days later, the Select Committee on Benghazi subpoenaed any Benghazi-related emails contained on the private server. Upon learning of the document request, a technician for Clinton’s computer service provider deleted approximately 30,000 of Clinton’s emails, which she claimed were personal emails.

By May of 2016, the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General had released an 83-page report condemning Clinton’s use of the server. Coverage of this report stressed that the State Department had “deemed more than 2,000 of Clinton’s messages as classified, including 22 that were upgraded to the most sensitive national security classification, ‘top secret.’” At the time, the media also noted that “the FBI is still probing whether any laws were broken laws by putting classified information at risk — or whether her staff improperly sent sensitive information knowing it wasn’t on a classified system.”

The Clinton campaign tried to downplay the FBI’s involvement in the private-server scandal by framing it as “a security inquiry,” but in response to questions about that characterization, then-FBI Director James Comey said he was “not familiar with the term ‘security inquiry,’” stressing “the word investigation” is “in our name.”

“We’re conducting an investigation. … That’s what we do. That’s probably all I can say about it,” Comey concluded.

At a press conference two months later, on July 5, 2016, Comey announced that the FBI had completed its investigation and that while Clinton’s handling of classified information was “extremely careless,” he had referred the matter to the Department of Justice with a recommendation that no charges be filed. Comey took this same position when he testified before Congress, there calling Clinton’s conduct related to the server “sloppy.”

Although Comey publicly declared the investigation into Clinton’s private server closed, when Democrats gathered for their convention in Philadelphia, her campaign continued to face questions about the scandal, with Tapper drilling Mook about Comey’s conclusion that Clinton’s use of the private server had been “sloppy.” Mook quickly changed the conversation to “this election” and what “voters are looking for and asking about in this election.”

Two days later, though, the media took Mook’s lead and converted the Clinton server scandal into a scandal about Trump. A July 26, 2016, opinion article for USA Today, titled “Putin for President 2016,” opened with an acknowledgment that Clinton’s “secret private-server emails are almost certainly already in the hands of Russian intelligence,” and concluded, “Putin can embarrass Hillary — or worse — whenever he wants.”

“We’re getting a small foretaste of that in the release of hacked Democratic National Committee emails,” the piece continued, speaking of the DNC officials engaged in “dirty tricks aimed at Bernie Sanders” and “getting awfully chummy with some allegedly professional journalists.” And with that, the media converted Clinton’s use of a private server to a story about Trump and Russia’s supposed backing of his candidacy.

From then on, the Clinton campaign and a complicit media framed any concern over her use of a home-brew server and any questions about the details buried in the DNC emails not as a scandal about Clinton but as a conspiracy between Trump and Vladimir Putin.

Clinton Campaign Pays for and Peddles Fake Trump-Russia Evidence

By the last week of July 2016, the Russia collusion diversion controlled the narrative, and Democrats repurposed every question about the DNC hack or the sever scandal as an opportunity to peddle it.

Similarly, Clinton’s team converted every comment by Trump, even tangentially related to Russia, as further evidence of a conspiracy. Likewise, her campaign framed every Russia connection, past or present, between Trump, his business, his family, or members of his campaign as concrete proof of collusion.

While the Clinton campaign had not gone public with the Russia-collusion angle until July 24, 2016, when Mook marketed that theme on CNN, it had been collecting supposed intel on Trump’s connections to Russia for some time.

In the first half of 2016, Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented the Clinton campaign, had hired private investigation firm Fusion GPS to collect opposition research on Trump. In turn, Fusion GPS hired Christopher Steele in May or June of 2016 to focus on Trump’s connections to Russia, and by June 20, 2016, Steele had drafted the first of some 17 memoranda that would eventually compose what is now known colloquially as the Steele dossier.

Steele shared his initial memorandum — which contained claims that the Kremlin had blackmail material on Trump, including the salacious and false “golden showers” accusation — with an FBI contact on July 5, 2016. Over the next six months, Steele continued to craft the dossier, relying primarily on an unnamed “Primary Sub-Source,” now known to be Russian national Igor Danchenko.

Danchenko, who has since been indicted for lying to the FBI, is also alleged to have invented some of the supposed intel contained in the dossier. Danchenko also fed Steele false information about the Trump campaign, which a Clinton booster had invented and then passed on to Danchenko.

The bottom line some five-plus years later is that the dossier consisted of a few publicly known accurate facts and a litany of false claims concocted by Danchenko and others and then sold by Steele and the Clinton campaign as the work of a former MI6 Russian expert.

The Steele dossier represented but one aspect of the invented evidence of collusion. The Clinton campaign also paid Perkins Coie lawyer Michael Sussmann for his work in crafting, with the assistance of various tech experts, a report purporting to show that the Trump organization had established a secret-communication network with the powerful Russian Alfa Bank.

Additionally, computer scientists who had worked with the Clinton campaign’s attorney “surveilled the internet traffic at Trump Tower, at his New York City apartment building, and later at the executive office of the president of the United States, then fed disinformation about that traffic to intelligence agencies hoping to frame Trump as a Russia-connected stooge.”

As Steele, Fusion GPS, and other Clinton backers created fraudulent reports, they, along with the Clinton campaign and her lawyers, exploited their relationships with reporters and government officials.

Steele and/or Fusion GPS’s founder Glenn Simpson shared Steele’s memoranda with various news outlets. They also fed the supposed intel to members of the law enforcement and intelligence communities, including representatives in the Departments of Justice and State. After the FBI fired Steele as a source because he had spoken with the media, it arranged for him to continue providing his reports to the FBI by having him meet with a Justice Department attorney instead.

This dual-prong approach resulted in a public saturated with circular confirmation of Trump-Russia collusion. Outlets parroted the false details fed to reporters by Steele and then referenced the FBI’s investigations into the same matters to create the appearance that the investigations confirmed the validity of the leaks. Simultaneously, the FBI used media reports as a basis to confirm Steele’s supposed intel.

Obama Admin Spies on Trump Campaign Under Knowingly False Pretenses

On July 31, 2016, the Obama administration and the FBI launched an investigation into the Trump campaign, branded “Crossfire Hurricane.” While to this day, the FBI maintains it opened Crossfire Hurricane after U.S. officials learned from an Australian diplomat that young Trump adviser George Papadopoulos had bragged “that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton,” former Attorney General William Barr and Special Counsel John Durham have both questioned that account.

The Obama administration’s targeting of the opposition party’s presidential campaign came just as the Clinton campaign began publicly pushing the narrative that Trump was colluding with Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. And the opening of Crossfire Hurricane came three days after then-CIA Director John Brennan briefed President Barack Obama and other senior national security officials on intelligence alleging “that U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had approved a campaign plan to stir up a scandal against U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump by tying him to Putin and the Russians’ hacking of the Democratic National Committee.”

Brennan’s briefing also noted that intelligence agencies had obtained intel indicating that on July 26, 2016, Clinton approved “a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisors to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security services.” In early September 2016, a U.S. intelligence official would forward an investigative referral to the FBI regarding “Clinton’s approval of a plan” about “Trump and Russian hackers hampering U.S. elections as a means of distracting the public from her use of a private mail server.”

Even with this foreknowledge of the Clinton campaign’s plot to frame Trump, and even while watching the execution of the plan in real time, the FBI moved forward with Crossfire Hurricane. The FBI would also later use Steele’s fraudulent reporting to obtain four court orders from the secret FISA court to surveil a former Trump campaign volunteer named Carter Page.

While Page was no longer connected to the campaign when the FBI obtained the FISA surveillance orders, the warrant allowed the FBI to access prior correspondence between Page and the Trump campaign, as well as any communications Page continued to have with individual campaign members. Further, while FISA proceedings are secret, media leaks about the targeting of Page gave the press more material to further the Russia-collusion spin.

Accessing private campaign emails, however, represented but one aspect of the spying that took place under the auspices of Crossfire Hurricane. The FBI also tasked a Confidential Human Source (CHS) with questioning Page, and that CHS “sought specific details from Page related to the Trump campaign, and fed Page unsolicited (and potentially illegal) advice concerning campaign strategy.”

The FBI used the same CHS to question Sam Clovis, a senior member of the Trump campaign. In a recorded conversation, the CHS posed several questions about sensitive campaign strategies and concerns.

The spying on Trump’s campaign also included the FBI using a private Trump security briefing as a possible opportunity to collect information for the investigation.

Investigation into Trump Continues During His Administration

Significantly, Crossfire Hurricane did not end with the 2016 election. Instead, after Trump defeated Clinton, the investigation continued and so did the leaks, with Comey giving Trump a briefing on the Steele dossier — a fact then leaked to give CNN a pretext to report on the Steele dossier.

After Trump’s inauguration, the FBI hatched a plot to oust the president’s national security adviser, again with the help of the media. Comey also began writing secret memoranda of conversations he had with now-President Trump. And after Trump fired Comey, the latter leaked those memoranda to the media through a law professor friend, triggering the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Mueller continued Crossfire Hurricane, retaining many of the original FBI agents. The country would later learn that many of those investigating the Trump campaign held rabid anti-Trump sentiments, when text messages exchanged by members of the Crossfire Hurricane team were made public. Other text messages went missing when several agents wiped their cell phones.

The public learned of even more malfeasance by the Crossfire Hurricane team when the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General released a 400-plus-page report concluding that the DOJ included 17 significant inaccuracies and omissions in the FISA application and renewals related to Carter Page.

These problems and others led then-AG William Barr to appoint U.S. Attorney John Durham to lead an investigation into Crossfire Hurricane, later naming him a special prosecutor.

As part of his investigation, Durham revealed additional misconduct in Crossfire Hurricane when he obtained a guilty plea from a former FBI attorney for altering an email related to the FISA case against Page.

Durham’s team also obtained a statement from another FBI agent involved in the investigation named William Barnett. Barnett told DOJ investigators that there was never any basis for the bizarre “collusion” theory and that Mueller’s office pushed prosecutions with a “get Trump” mentality. But even then, Mueller found no evidence of Trump colluding with Russia.

There are thousands more details already known and many more players involved — and that’s before whatever else Durham may reveal. But just these basics provide all the information you need to understand SpyGate — and to see why it far surpasses the Watergate scandal.


Margot Cleveland is a senior contributor to The Federalist. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

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The Clinton Campaign’s Two-Pronged Plan To Create The Trump–Russia Collusion Narrative

The Clinton Campaign’s Two-Pronged Plan To Create The Trump–Russia Collusion Narrative

The Clinton Campaign’s Two-Pronged Plan To Create The Trump–Russia Collusion Narrative

Post by Tyler  Durden | Written by Jeff Carlson and Hans Mahncke via The Epoch Times

In Oct. 2016, Wikileaks released a little-noticed email exchange involving Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri and Democratic strategist Joel Johnson. The exchange, which was dated Feb. 26, 2016, revealed the existence of a Clinton campaign Swift Boat project—a political term used for smear campaigns—aimed at then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. At the time, the email was largely ignored but it has recently gained new relevance through disclosures in court filings by special counsel John Durham.

Trump Tower on 5th Avenue is seen in New York City, U.S., April 10, 2018. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid/File Photo)
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It appears that the Clinton campaign’s plans revolved around two primary prongs directed at Trump. The first and better known element of that project involved Fusion GPS and Trump-dossier author and former MI6 spy Christopher Steele. The other element involves the efforts of Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann and his use of data exploited by technology executive Rodney Joffe and a team of IT operatives. Last year, Sussmann came to prominence when he was indicted by Durham for lying to the FBI in connection with his role in passing Joffe’s data to the FBI.

The two-pronged strategy began to take shape in the Spring of 2016, and those parallel plans would ultimately merge together at the end of July 2016, just two days before the FBI opened its investigation into the Trump campaign.

Trump Swift Boat Project

On Feb. 26, 2016, Palmieri was asked in an email by former Bill Clinton adviser Joel Johnson, “Who was in charge of the Trump swift boat project?” Palmieri sarcastically replied: “Gee. Thanks, Joel. We thought we could half-ass it. Let’s discuss.”

It is not known what steps were taken by the Clinton campaign in the two months that followed the email exchange. At the time, Trump had not yet won the Republican nomination. However, by mid-April 2016, it had become increasingly clear that Trump would be Clinton’s opponent in the general election.

On April 19, 2016, Trump hired Paul Manafort as his convention manager. Manafort, who was known to be a former adviser to Ukraine’s deposed president Viktor Yanukovich, would become Trump’s campaign manager two months later.

Paul Manafort exits the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington, on Feb. 28, 2018. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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Trump’s primary wins and the hiring of Manafort coincided with a decision in late April by the Clinton campaign to hire Fusion GPS, a firm of political operatives run by former Wall Street Journal staffer Glenn Simpson.

Around this same time, on April 28, 2016, Amy Dacey, CEO of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), alerted Sussmann, who is also a cyber-security specialist, to the possible hack of the DNC’s computer network. In turn, Sussmann contacted Shawn Henry of Crowdstrike, an IT firm specializing in cybersecurity. It is not known why Dacey’s first point of contact was Sussmann and not an IT firm.

On May 3, 2016, Trump won the Indiana primary and became the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party.

That same day, Ukrainian-American Democratic operative Alexandra Chalupa emailed the DNC and claimed that she intended to share sensitive info about Paul Manafort “offline” including “a big Trump component…that will hit in [sic] next few weeks.” Manafort would leave the Trump campaign a few months later after The New York Times claimed that Manafort’s name had appeared on a handwritten ledger in Ukraine in connection with secret cash payments. The ledger was later said to have been fabricated.

Plan Set in Motion Right After Trump Became Presumptive Nominee

According to court filings from Durham, on May 4, 2016, the day after Trump became the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee, a cyber group working through Sussmann and Joffe began compiling and curating data that would later be used to create the false appearance of a link between the Trump Organization and the Russian Alfa Bank. That alleged link would later be used by the Clinton campaign to push the narrative that Trump had ties to the Kremlin. Notably, the data compilation was completed on July 29, 2016, the same day that Clinton operatives from both prongs of her planned attack on Trump met in Washington.

In mid-May 2016, shortly after Sussmann’s cyber group started mining data on Trump, Fusion GPS hired Steele to write the Steele dossier. As Simpson later recounted in his book “Crime in Progress,” he “told Steele that Fusion had been investigating Trump for about eight months on behalf of an unnamed client. That work had ended, but a new client had come along that had deep pockets.” That client was the Clinton campaign.

Clinton advisors Jake Sullivan (L), Nick Burns (2L) and John Podesta (2R) wait with Clinton Campaign Chairman, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on September 19, 2016 in New York. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
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Steele tasked his primary sub-source, Igor Danchenko, to compile derogatory stories about Trump that could be used in the dossier. Danchenko was dispatched to Moscow in mid-June where he spent time gossiping with old friends over drinks. Those friends were then made into unwitting sources for the dossier. These same individuals have since come forward as part of Alfa Bank’s ongoing defamation lawsuit against Simpson and Fusion GPS to testify under oath that they did not have any information on Trump and never spoke to Danchenko about Trump.

As Durham has disclosed in court filings, the true source for several of the dossier’s stories, including a story about Manafort, was Clinton operative Charles Dolan. Danchenko concealed this fact from the FBI, according to Durham. In Nov. 2021, Durham indicted Danchenko for lying to the FBI about his sources.

While Dolan, according to Durham, gave Danchenko stories that appeared in the dossier and helped Danchenko obtain a visa (presumably to remain in the United States), not much is known about his wider role in Clinton’s Swift Boat project. Dolan and the Clintons go back many decades, with Dolan having served on Bill Clinton’s presidential exploratory committee, as well as Clinton’s Virginia state chairman in his 1992 and 1996 campaigns. Dolan also served as an adviser to Hillary Clinton’s first presidential run in 2008. Notably, Dolan was a senior consultant for the Russian government from 2006 to 2014.

Steele’s first dossier report—which not only contained the notorious pee tape allegation, but also seeded the collusion narrative—was issued on June 20, 2016.

After Steele had compiled his initial reports he began to reach out to the FBI through Michael Gaeta, an FBI agent and assistant legal attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Rome. Gaeta, who was Steele’s FBI handler, had known Steele since 2010. At Steele’s request, the two men met in London on July 5, 2016. In order to make this trip, Gaeta sought permission from Victoria Nuland, then-Assistant Secretary of State. At some point in early July, either Steele or Gaeta passed Steele’s early dossier reports to Nuland. Nuland later said these documents were passed on to both the leadership of the FBI and then-Secretary of State John Kerry.

Gaeta, who would receive additional reports from Steele in mid-July and August 2016, emailed an FBI supervisor on July 28, 2016, noting that Steele had personally informed him that Steele’s reports may already be circulating at a ‘high level’ in Washington, D.C.”

The Clinton Campaign Invokes Russian Interference

On July 24, 2016, Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook publicly suggested for the first time that Russia was somehow helping Trump. Mook claimed in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper that the Russian government was behind the release of a trove of DNC emails. Those emails showed, in part, that senior DNC officials had been undermining Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Mook refused to address the Sanders allegations, instead telling Tapper that “experts are now saying the Russians are releasing these emails for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump.” Mook claimed that “this isn’t my assertion. There are a number of experts that are asserting this. … That is what experts are telling us.” But Mook failed to address who these so-called “experts” might be. Nor did he explain the source of his supposed information.

Robby Mook, campaign manager for Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks aboard the campaign plane while traveling to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Oct. 28, 2016. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Two days after Mook had invoked Russia, on July 26, 2016, Clinton won the Democratic presidential nomination. According to documents released by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Oct. 6, 2020, on the same day as her nomination win, Clinton allegedly approved a proposal from “one of her foreign policy advisors” to “vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security forces”—the Trump–Russia collusion smear. That foreign policy adviser is rumored to be the current national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, who at the time held the title of senior foreign policy adviser for the Clinton campaign.

Immediately following the alleged approval from Clinton, Steele hastily produced his undated memo 95—written on or about July 27, 2016—which alleged “a well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” between Trump associates and the Kremlin. Steele’s memo, which echoed the basis of the Clinton campaign’s plan, also claimed that an unknown Trump associate had admitted that the Kremlin was behind the release of the DNC emails.

On July 28, 2016, CIA director John Brennan briefed President Barack Obama on Clinton’s July 26th plan—including her campaign’s intention to tie Trump to Russian election interference “as a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.” FBI Director James Comey may also have been at this meeting as Brennan’s now declassified hand-written notes state that “JC” was at this meeting.

The Two Prongs Converge

The day after Brennan briefed Obama, the twin prongs of the Clinton campaign’s smear campaign—Sussmann’s work with Joffe and Fusion’s work with Steele—merged. In a meeting that took place in Perkins Coie offices on July 29, 2016, Sussmann and fellow Perkins attorney Marc Elias met with Fusion GPS principals, including owner Glenn Simpson and Steele, according to the Durham indictment.

According to Durham’s indictment of Sussmann, the timing of this meeting at Perkins coincides perfectly with the completion of Sussmann’s and Joffe’s data compilation on July 29, 2016.

John Durham speaks to reporters on the steps of U.S. District Court in New Haven, Conn., on April 25, 2006. (Bob Child/AP Photo)
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Steele had previously told a British court that Sussmann informed him at this meeting of the Alfa Bank allegations, stating, “I’m very clear is [sic] that the first person that ever mentioned the Trump server issue, Alfa server issue, was Mr. Sussman [sic].” Steele also testified that he was instructed by Fusion GPS co-founder Simpson to include this information in one of his own dossier reports. Steele, who repeatedly wrote tailor-made reports for Fusion GPS, mentioned Alfa Bank in a report on Sept. 14, 2016.

Following the meeting at Perkins Coie’s offices, Steele prepared a new memo the next day for his dossier, which falsely alleged an eight-year Russian effort to cultivate Trump.

The close timing of these events, particularly Brennan’s briefing to Obama, are significant because they came only days before the FBI officially opened its Crossfire Hurricane investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

That FBI investigation was allegedly opened on July 31, 2016, after the Australian ambassador in London, Alexander Downer, gave the U.S. embassy a tip about Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos.

According to Downer, he and Papadopolous had met in May 2016 when Papadopoulos supposedly made a suggestion of a suggestion that Russia might have derogatory information on Hillary Clinton that might help Trump. That rumor was already known at the time and had been shared by Judge Andrew Napolitano on Fox News on May 9, 2016, the day before Downer met Papadopoulos.

Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos at Fox News Studios in New York City on March 26, 2019. (Noam Galai/Getty Images)
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Downer later confirmed in a 2019 interview on Australian TV that Papadopoulos said nothing out of the ordinary. But despite the flimsiness of Papadopoulos’s statements, the FBI used Downer’s info as a pretext to open a formal investigation into the Trump campaign.

In the weeks that followed the FBI’s opening of their Crossfire Hurricane investigation, CIA Director Brennan would take a number of actions that appear to have been intended to actively reinforce the basic premise behind Clinton’s plan—that Russia was interfering in the election to help Trump.

Brennan Pushes Trump–Russia Collusion Despite Knowledge of Clinton’s Plans to Smear Trump

The twin prongs of the attack against Trump had now been merged by the heads of the intelligence community into a single, unified spear that incorporated government agencies and government action.

One of the first actions from Brennan took place on Aug. 4, 2016, when Brennan suddenly warned Russia’s FSB head Alexander Bortnikov not to engage in U.S. election interference. Bortnikov reportedly strongly denied any Russian involvement but “said he would take Brennan’s concern to Russian President Vladimir Putin.” Brennan later claimed that he “was the first U.S. official to brace Russia on this issue.”

According to Brennan’s May 23, 2017, congressional testimony, he then began a series of briefings to the Congressional Gang of Eight—the majority and minority leaders of each chamber of Congress as well as the chairmen and ranking minority members of the Intelligence Committees. Brennan testified that, “in consultation with the White House, I personally briefed the full details of our understanding of Russian attempts to interfere in the election to congressional leadership.” Brennan said these briefings, which were done individually, rather than in a group setting, took place between Aug. 11 and Sept. 6, 2016.

The message that Brennan delivered to these members of Congress was remarkably similar to the details outlined in the Clinton campaign’s alleged plan to smear Trump. According to Brennan’s testimony, he told each member of the Gang of Eight that “Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. Democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency. And to help President Trump’s election chances.”

At no point during Brennan’s testimony did he raise the Clinton campaign’s plan to denigrate candidate Trump and no evidence has been presented to indicate that he informed Gang of Eight members of the alleged plan.

A Convergence of Russia-Collusion Claims

After receiving his briefing from Brennan, then-Democratic leader Harry Reid sent a letter on Aug. 27, 2016, to FBI Director James Comey claiming that “the evidence of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s campaign continues to mount,” calling for a public investigation into the matter and asking that the investigation be completed before the November presidential election.

Three days later, on Aug. 30, House Democrats wrote to Comey asking him to investigate Trump-Russia collusion in the context of the purported DNC hacking. Their letter asked Comey to investigate if “connections between Trump campaign officials and Russian interests may have contributed to these attacks in order to interfere with the U.S. presidential election.”

Former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey, speaks via a TV monitor during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 30, 2020. (Stefani Reynolds/Pool/Getty Images)
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As Democrats moved forward with the publicization of Brennan’s claims, Hillary Clinton publicly accused Russia of interfering in the U.S. election on Sept. 5, 2016, implying that Putin “viewed a victory by Donald J. Trump as a destabilizing event that would weaken the United States and buttress Russian interests.”

On Sept. 7, 2016, two days after Clinton’s public claims of Russian interference, Brennan’s CIA sent a memo regarding the Clinton campaign’s plan to vilify Trump to FBI Director Comey and the deputy assistant director of the counterintelligence division, Peter Strzok. At the time the CIA memo was sent the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane was well underway. Rather than open an investigation into the Clinton campaign, the FBI continued undeterred with their investigation of the Trump campaign.

Brennan’s briefing to Obama and his memo tipping the FBI off to Clinton’s plans appear to be the only times that Brennan raised the issue of Clinton’s plan. As noted earlier, Brennan’s handwritten notes also demonstrate the possibility that Comey was present during Brennan’s July 28 briefing to Obama, but this is not known with certainty.

Sussmann’s Alfa Bank Allegations

One week after Brennan’s memo to the FBI, Steele prepared a sequence of three memos all dated Sept. 14, 2016. One of the three memos referenced the Russian Alfa Bank, misspelled as “Alpha” in his memo. On this same day, according to Durham’s indictment, Sussmann met personally with Joffe in the offices of Perkins Coie.

The following day, Marc Elias exchanged emails with three Clinton advisers—communications director Palmieri, campaign manager Mook, and foreign policy adviser Sullivan—regarding the Alfa Bank allegations. According to Durham’s indictment of Sussmann, this same information had also been recently shared by Sussmann with The New York Times.

Former MI6 official Christopher Steele in this file photo. (AP Photo)
.

Four days later, on Sept. 19, 2016, Sussmann held a private meeting with James Baker, the FBI’s general counsel. Sussmann provided Baker with a large amount of data, including a white paper and several USB sticks, telling Baker that he had been approached by “multiple cyber experts” concerning the Alfa Bank allegations.

The FBI dismissed the data within a few days. According to emails among Sussmann’s group that were cited by Durham, Joffe was fully aware that anyone with the requisite technical knowledge would dismiss the data as meaningless. One of the tech staffers in Sussmann’s group privately called the secret communications channel allegation “a red herring.” Another participant added that “the only thing that drive[s] us at this point is that we just do not like [Trump].”

While it is not known why Sussmann and Joffe proceeded with handing over such flimsy data to the FBI, their objective may not have been to start a comprehensive FBI investigation. Instead, they may have simply wanted to give the media a hook by being able to claim that the data was being looked at by the FBI. This would align with the fact that by August 2016, Sussmann and Joffe were liaising with Fusion GPS, which appears to have been the operational means for coordinating the media strategy for the Clinton campaign’s two-pronged attack.

Sussmann is charged with having lied to the FBI about who his client actually was. He claimed to not represent any client when, in fact, Sussmann was working for the Clinton campaign, a point that Durham was able to prove through billing records.

Brennan’s ICA Becomes Cornerstone of Media’s Russia Collusion Narrative

At the same time that Sussmann was meeting with the FBI, Steele was being directed by Fusion GPS to meet with the media—including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Yahoo News, who were all verbally briefed by Steele on his dossier.

It was during this period, at Brennan’s urging, that the Intelligence Community began its efforts to build a narrative that Russia was interfering in the 2016 election. On Oct. 7, 2016, the intelligence community issued a joint statement that claimed the Intelligence Community was confident Russia “directed the recent compromises of emails … including from US political organizations.”

Former President Barack Obama speaks to guests at the Obama Foundation Summit on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Ill., on Oct. 29, 2019. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
.

Brennan’s actions to firmly establish a narrative of Russian interference would become even more significant as Brennan was about to embark on his creation of the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA).

The ICA would become the cornerstone of the false allegation that Trump colluded with Russia.

The assessment, which was officially commissioned by Obama after the 2016 election—but appears to have begun earlier—was completed by early January 2017. Crucially, a two-page summary of the Steele dossier was attached to the final version of the ICA.

As soon as the ICA was published, the entire focus of the media’s attention centered on the Steele dossier, which was published by Buzzfeed on the very same day that the media started reporting about the ICA, Jan. 10, 2017.

The fact that the dossier was included in Brennan’s ICA effectively gave the dossier the credibility it needed for the media to publish stories based on it, including the infamous pee tape story.

The media had been in possession of the dossier or its stories since at least September 2016 when Steele began briefing reporters. However, aside from a few notable exceptions, the media did not report on Steele’s dossier because they weren’t able to corroborate any of his stories.

By legitimizing the dossier, the intelligence community effectively ensured that Trump would be saddled with claims of Russia collusion throughout his presidency.

Within 14 days of the ICA’s publication, on Jan. 24, 2017, Danchenko was interviewed by the FBI and disavowed many of the dossier’s stories. It was at this point that the intelligence community factually knew that the dossier had been made up by Steele and his associates. They already knew that Sussmann’s Alfa Bank claims were false. Yet, they kept this information to themselves. It is through Durham, as well as the efforts of online researchers, that the truth about the Clinton campaign’s two-pronged Swift Boat project is finally emerging.

*********

(TLB) published this article as posted by Tyler Durden and written by Jeff Carlson and Hans Mahncke via The Epoch Times

Header featured image (edited) credit: Hillary Clinton/Donald Trump/Getty

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5 Takeaways From The Latest Filings In The Carter Page Spygate Lawsuit

5 Takeaways From The Latest Filings In The Carter Page Spygate Lawsuit

Over last weekend, attorneys for Carter Page filed responses to motions to dismiss filed by the FBI and eight agents involved in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation that led to the government illegally obtaining four surveillance warrants to spy on Page.

In November 2020, Page, who had briefly served as a volunteer advisor to the Trump campaign, sued the defendants in a D.C. federal court alleging violations of the Fourth Amendment, the Patriot Act, and the Privacy Act. In response, the government and the individual defendants argued Page’s claims were time-barred or that Page had no legal grounds on which to sue. Page’s responses counter those arguments while providing five key take-aways.

1. The Swamp Is So Swampy

With Spygate developments few and far between, it is easy to forget the breadth and depth of the scandal. The briefs docketed on Saturday in Page’s lawsuit against the FBI and the agents involved in obtaining the four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) surveillance warrants serve as an important refresher of what our government did to an innocent man in the hopes of “getting Trump.” As Page’s brief against the individual defendants noted in its opening, this case is extraordinary because they “were not mere field agents bending the rules to pursue criminals, but rather the highest level FBI executives.”

Even the case name, Page v. Comey, confirms the truth of that assertion, with former FBI Director James Comey named as one of the eight defendants. Page’s brief details Comey’s alleged involvement in the Department of Justice obtaining four FISA surveillance orders against the Naval Academy graduate, stressing that Comey was not merely a “supervisory” who signed the FISA applications, but was personally involved.

Establishing Comey and the other agents’ personal involvement proved a key feature of the briefs, because, to avoid dismissal of the complaint, Page needed to show the allegations of the complaint could reasonably be supported by a finding that the individual defendants did more than merely supervise employees who violated Page’s Fourth Amendment rights and rights under FISA.

The 70-page omnibus brief addressing the claims against the individual defendants detailed the personal involvement of each. For instance, for the former FBI director, the brief stressed that “on or about August 17, 2016, Comey received information from the CIA establishing that Dr. Page was an ‘operation contact’ for the CIA during the period of 2008-2013.”

Comey also knew from a September 7, 2016, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) communique that Hillary Clinton had approved “a plan concerning U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian hackers hampering U.S. elections as a means of distracting the public from her use of a private mail server,” according to the court filing. Comey nonetheless approved the use of the fabricated Christopher Steele dossier to obtain the FISA surveillance orders, and eventually signed three of the four FISA surveillance applications.

Next named in Page’s lawsuit was Andrew McCabe, a former deputy director of the FBI. McCabe was also personally involved in obtaining the illegal FISA surveillance order, according to Page’s most recent court filing.

Among other things, McCabe signed the affidavit the FBI submitted in support of the final FISA application. McCabe’s involvement went further, Page’s attorneys argued, pointing out that he hosted an August 15, 2016 meeting with co-defendants Peter Strzok and Lisa Page discussing “an insurance policy” to prevent a Donald Trump election, and he had approved the FISA applications even though he knew they omitted Carter Page’s past assistance to the CIA.

The brief next discussed Kevin Clinesmith’s involvement in the FISA abuse. Clinesmith, who served as an assistant general counsel in the FBI’s Office of General Counsel, falsely told the FBI that Page was never a source. Then, when asked for written confirmation of that representation, Clinesmith altered the text of the email he had received from the CIA liaison, making the email read that Page was “not a ‘source.’”

Clinesmith then forwarded the altered email to the FBI. Clinesmith later pleaded guilty to making a false statement related to this conduct.

Strzok and Lisa Page’s involvement in the FISA surveillance scheme received attention next. Strzok, who served at the time as the FBI deputy assistant director for counterintelligence, also knew of the CIA’s warning that Clinton had approved a plan to claim Trump had colluded with Russia to “distract the public” from her misuse of a private server. Strzok also stated an intention to “stop” Trump from becoming president and discussed “an insurance policy” to prevent a Trump election.

Lisa Page’s personal involvement mirrored that of Strzok’s, but in addition she attended a briefing with McCabe, at which “Bruce Ohr advised them that Steele’s work product was not for the U.S. Government but, rather, was political opposition research for a private political party.”

The briefs repeated this process for the remaining individual defendants: Joe Pientka, who served as a supervisory agent on the Crossfire Hurricane team; Stephen Somma, an FBI agent who represented himself as “Steve Holt” to Page; and Brian Auten, an FBI supervisory intelligence analyst.

Pientka, Carter Page stressed, had falsely certified that the information in the first FISA warrant was verified for accuracy and later failed to correct the application, even after learning in November 2016 from Ohr that Steele was not a reliable source and had been paid to conduct the opposition research against Trump.

The response filed on Saturday also detailed Somma’s involvement, noting that he had pushed initially for the FISA warrant. Further, according to Page, “Defendant Somma personally provided incomplete, inaccurate, and conflicting information to the DOJ Office Attorney who asked whether Dr. Page had been a source for the CIA.”

In fact, according to Page, Somma actually knew he had served as an “operational contact” for the CIA from 2008-2013, but failed to accurately describe that relationship to others. Somma also did not inform the FISA court that Igor Danchenko, Steele’s primary sub-source for his fabricated dossier, contradicted Steele’s supposed intel.

The final defendant, Auten, also held personal responsibility for violating Page’s Fourth Amendment rights and violations of the Patriot Act, according to Page’s lawyer. Auten “played an instrumental role along with the agents preparing the FISA applications—including reviewing the probable cause section of the applications.”

In preparing the applications, Auten “falsely enhanced the credibility of information obtained from Steele,” according to Page, writing “that information from Steele had been ‘corroborated and used in criminal proceedings,’ although none of Steele’s past reporting as an informant had been corroborated and had never been used in any criminal proceedings.”

Auten also “intentionally failed to disclose the negative feedback that he had received from British Intelligence Service colleagues regarding Steele,” according to the court filing, including a caution from “Steele’s former colleagues that Steele exercised ‘poor judgment’ and pursued as sources ‘people with political risk but no intel value.’”

2. So Much Still Unknown

Even with the details noted above and additional ones included in the 100-plus pages of combined briefs filed by Page’s legal team this weekend, so much remains unknown because the government holds sole possession of the information. That lack of knowledge, Page argued in his briefs, makes dismissal of his lawsuit at this stage premature.

“It is also abundantly clear that there is a trove of currently non-public documents and facts that relate to Dr. Page’s claims, which are presently in the exclusive possession of the Individual Defendants and the United States and its agencies, but which will undoubtedly further support and vindicate Dr. Page’s claims,” Page’s attorney wrote.

Then, as a perfect illustration of the point, Page’s legal team pointed to the fact that after they initially filed suit in November 2020, “additional facts concerning Defendant Clinesmith’s role with respect to the alteration of the email were disclosed when the Department of Justice filed its sentencing memorandum in Defendant Clinesmith’s criminal prosecution, including internal FBI emails not referenced in the Horowitz Report.”

Also unknown at this time is which defendants, if any, leaked information to the press. The brief suggests Lisa Page and Strzok hold responsibility for the leaks, noting that “on Monday, April 10, 2017, Defendant Strzok sent [Lisa Page] another text message stating, ‘I had literally just gone to find this phone to tell you I want to talk to you about media leak strategy with DOJ before you go.’”

“Two days later,” the brief continued, Strzok “sent Defendant Lisa Page a text message to alert her that two media articles were coming out about her ‘namesake’ [Dr. Page] and that one was worse than the other.” Then, later the same week, “the Washington Post and the New York Times published articles about Dr. Page and the government’s investigation of him, including that FISA warrants were used,” with Strzok that weekend texting Lisa Page: “article is out!” and “Well done, Page.”

The briefs filed this weekend also stressed that after the FISA warrant was issued, “a stream of information about Dr. Page . . . and his supposed status as a Russian agent working to undermine the nation, began to flood the airwaves and the newsstands.” “The source of that information can only have been the Crossfire Hurricane team,” the brief argued.

In addition to Strzok and Lisa Page, in the separate brief Carter Page’s legal team filed this weekend in response to the government’s motion to dismiss, lawyers claimed that defendants Comey and McCabe also “leaked information and records concerning Dr. Page to media outlets, including but not limited to the existence of the FISA warrants, the contents of the warrant applications, and the results of the warrants, that were protected from disclosure under FISA and the Privacy Act.”

Without discovery, however, Page lacks the ability to establish the party or parties responsible for the leaks with certainty, which supports his argument that dismissing his claims at this point is premature.

3. It’s David and Goliath All Over Again

Reading Page’s briefs also reminds of the lopsided battle he faced in trying to clear his name when he went up against the Crossfire Hurricane team. He literally wrote Comey. He reminded the FBI that he had worked with the CIA. He voluntarily submitted to multiple interviews with FBI agents. His lawyer spoke with Clinesmith.

Yet they persisted. It was one individual against the mammoth monstrosity that calls itself the intelligence community.

Now Page is taking on the same monster that is proving itself as regenerative as the mythical hydra. Not only does Page face the federal government, represented by Department of Justice attorneys, but each defendant has his or her own group of powerhouse D.C. lawyers combatting Page’s push for justice, leaving Page’s small legal team fighting against nine separate teams of defense attorneys.

One wonders who is paying for all those private law firms, and whether it is taxpayers?

4. Zingers Galore

While Page’s legal team may be outgunned, their briefing proves top-notch, both in its legal advocacy and its ability to point out the absurdity of many of the defendants’ arguments with a flair that cuts through legal niceties.

Early on, Page’s attorneys honed in on the key strategy the defendants seem to have settled on—point the finger at someone else. Each defendant sought to “outdo each other in minimizing their respective roles in the fiasco,” the brief noted, “each claiming their culpability in deceiving the FISC, unlawfully disclosing information, and violating Dr. Page’s rights was too minor to impose civil liability on them.” “If the individual defendants are to be believed,” the brief quipped, “these unlawful and false warrants wrote themselves.”

As quoted from Ian Fleming in “Goldfinger,” “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action,” crystalized another point by Page’s legal team: that the defendants’ conduct cannot be put down to mistakes or even sloppiness but creates the reasonable inference that they intentionally caused the violation of Page’s rights.

Then, in summing up their argument on behalf of Page, the brief closed by reminding the judge that “the FBI unlawfully used the power of the federal government, in the form of secret, anti-terrorism surveillance tools, to violate the rights of an innocent American.” “It is long past time for the United States to step up to the plate and do right by Dr. Page,” the brief closed.

5. Tough Legal Question

Whether Carter Page will succeed in fending off dismissal of his case against the DOJ, FBI, and litany of Crossfire Hurricane agents will not be known for some time. The defendants will all have a chance to reply to Page’s briefing, meaning another nine briefs to counter Page’s two court filings.

The district court will then face many tough legal questions, beginning with whether Page waited too long to sue. Next, the court will need to determine whether Page adequately alleged sufficient facts under his various theories of liability and specifically whether each individual defendant holds responsibility for the illegal FISA warrant under an “aiding and abetting” theory.

Carter Page also presents a unique claim against the federal government under The Privacy Act, arguing that his rights were violated by the inspector general when the IG refused to allow Page to review and respond to the report discussing the four FISA warrants obtained against Page.

Check back later this week for a legal analysis of these and the other issues presented in Page v. Comey. In the meantime, consider what it means to our country that this case even exists.


Margot Cleveland is a senior contributor to The Federalist. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

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The Curious DC Judicial Moves Continue – Page v Comey Case Reassigned, With Even Sketchier FISA Court Background

The Curious DC Judicial Moves Continue – Page v Comey Case Reassigned, With Even Sketchier FISA Court Background

Yesterday, we noted the curiously random set of coincidences taking place amid an internecine DC judicial system {GO DEEP}.  The network of DC relationships, specifically judges, connected to prior Main Justice DOJ, FBI and FISA Court activity could not be as random as the process defenders would claim.

The latest revelation came from the “random” civil case assignment of Carter Page -v- James Comey.  The case was reassigned to Judge James Boasberg, who held a major conflict of interest in the specifics of the Carter Page lawsuit against James Comey {Again, Go Deep}.

Today, perhaps partly in response to the sunlight provided by the extensive background; or perhaps related to the reality that Boasberg could not possibly sit as the judge in the lawsuit; the Carter Page case was again reassigned.  However, this time it is not the reassignment that draws attention, it is the reassigner, the Chairman of the Case Calendar and Case Management Committee, Rudolph Contreras:

As we can see, the civil case has been reassigned from Judge James Boasberg to Judge Timothy J Kelly, that’s good.

There was no way for Boasberg to sit as the judge in this case given his connections and rulings on prior cases like the (1) James Comey memos, the (2) case against Kevin Clinesmith; and (3), the fact that Boasberg was a FISA court judge, and he personally approved the June 29, 2017, FISA warrant against Carter Page – which was constructed by fraudulent manipulation of the underlying affidavits.   There are massive conflicts for Boasberg in all aspects of the Carter Page civil suit against James Comey.

However, it is also interesting to see the name Rudolph Contreras appear again. The DC judicial system is getting very interesting with all of the sunlight upon it.  Specifically, in this instance, the role of the FISA court in the controversial Fourth Branch of Government {Go Deep} is starting to make a lot more sense.

You may remember, on November 30th, 2017, Mike Flynn signed a guilty plea; ostensibly admitting lying to special counsel investigators.  Flynn took this plea because his son was being threatened for prosecution by the Weissmann-Mueller team.  The 2017 plea was accepted by Judge Rudolph Contreras; who was/is also a FISA court judge.

The public finds out about the Flynn plea the following day, December 1st, 2017.   Immediately after that guilty plea, literally 24 hours later, we first learn of Lisa Page, Peter Strzok and Bruce Ohr.   All three people connected to the background of the Trump-Russia investigation were removed from their official duties and suspended inside the FBI and Main Justice.

Lisa Page was the legal liaison assigned to FBI Director Andrew McCabe by the DOJ National Security Division.  Peter Strzok was the lead FBI Counterintelligence Division agent assigned to the Trump-Russia investigation (aka Crossfire Hurricane); and Bruce Ohr was the #4 person in Main Justice inside the DOJ National Security Division.

A few days later, on December 3rd and 4th, the first batch of text messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok were released to the public showing an extensive background discussion about the targeting of Donald Trump and the inner-workings within the FBI and DOJ that related to their corrupt investigation.

Two days after the text messages were released, on December 7, 2017, Judge Contreras “was recused” from the Michael Flynn case without explanation:

(Reuters Article Link)

The Contreras recusal always seemed sketchy. The key question was: If the conflict existed on December 7th, wouldn’t that same conflict have existed on November 30th, 2017 when the plea was accepted?

What we did not know in December of 2017 was that inside the text messages of Lisa Page, and lead FBI Counterintelligence investigator, Peter Strzok, were outlines of a personal relationship between Peter Strzok and FISA Court Judge Rudolph “Rudy” Contreras.  We do not find out about the Contreras relationship until March 16, 2018, when more texts were released and a lot of texts were unredacted.

[IMPORTANT SIDEBAR – Keep in mind the Mueller-Weissmann special counsel was in control of these text messages, the redactions within them, and when they would be released.  THIS IS KEY.  The Mueller special counsel kept a lid on the damning texts until *after* they got the Flynn guilty plea, then they released them with redactions… and then later -as they accomplished more objectives- the special counsel then removed the redactions and re-released them.  The Weissmann-Mueller crew was in charge of Main Justice for anything that related to the Trump-Russia investigation, and everything involved the Trump-Russia investigation.]

We discover in March 2018 that Lisa Page and Peter Strzok discussed the FBI agent needing to talk with “Rudy” about the Crossfire Hurricane case and the use of the FISA court to gain their Title-1 search warrants.  Agent Peter Strzok noting he would likely have a casual conversation in a “social setting” at a “cocktail party” with Judge Contreras about the overall Trump-Russia investigation.  In hindsight, it became obvious the December 2016 recusal of Judge Contreras from the Flynn case was due to the unstoppable public release of these text messages.

Judge Contreras was appointed to the FISA Court court in May 2016. The FISA court eventually approved a Title-1 Surveillance Warrant against Trump campaign aide Carter Page on October 26th, 2016, essentially placing the entire Trump campaign under FBI surveillance.

The authorities within the Crossfire Hurricane surveillance was used against incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The FBI agent questioning Michael Flynn in January 2017 was Peter Strzok. The judge presiding over the sketchy Flynn plea, an outcome of that interview, was Strzok’s friend Judge Rudolph “Rudy” Contreras. Therein lies the conflict.

From the text messages, we discover conversations in July of 2016 between Lisa Page and FBI Agent Peter Strzok where they talk about using the FISA court (FISC), and the relationship between Strzok and Rudy Contreras might be an issue for their use of the court for Title-1 search warrants.   Ironically they were predicting the kind of recusal that eventually materialized in 2017.

The recusal of Judge Contreras in the Flynn case resulted in Judge Emmett Sullivan being assigned.  We all know the FUBAR that fiasco turned into when it became obvious the Weissmann special counsel was manipulating evidence, hiding Brady material favorable to the defense, and attempting to proceed with a fraudulently based prosecution of Flynn, based on fabricated evidence.   The entire Flynn prosecution boiled down to the definition of “sanctions”, I digress.

The bottom line was – once the Page/Strzok texts were released by the special counsel (which they withheld until they achieved the Flynn guilty plea), Judge Rudolph Contreras recused ‘was recused’ from the Flynn case.

[NOTE: Because the “Rudy” relationship to Strzok was not publicly visible in the texts until March 2018; yet Contreras recused himself less than a week after the plea in December of 2017; it can reasonably be assumed that someone from the special counsel team told Judge Contreras about his mentions in the text messages after Judge Contreras took the guilty plea.]

Now, we go back to today and Judge Contreras as Chair of the Washington DC Calendar and Case Management Committee.  By “random assignment” Contreras notes the civil lawsuit Carter Page -v- James Comey has been reassigned away from James Boasberg who was the previous presiding judge on the FISA Court.

Who is the current Presiding Judge on the FISA Court?

…wait for it:

(LINK to FISA COURT)

You just can’t make this stuff up folks.

On the positive side, I now realize something -with a bit more clarity- that I did not emphasize enough before….

The Fourth Branch of Government has their own judiciary.  It’s called the FISA Court.

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The Curious DC Judicial Moves Continue – Page v Comey Case Reassigned, With Even Sketchier FISA Court Background

The Curious DC Judicial Moves Continue – Page v Comey Case Reassigned, With Even Sketchier FISA Court Background

Yesterday, we noted the curiously random set of coincidences taking place amid an internecine DC judicial system {GO DEEP}.  The network of DC relationships, specifically judges, connected to prior Main Justice DOJ, FBI and FISA Court activity could not be as random as the process defenders would claim.

The latest revelation came from the “random” civil case assignment of Carter Page -v- James Comey.  The case was reassigned to Judge James Boasberg, who held a major conflict of interest in the specifics of the Carter Page lawsuit against James Comey {Again, Go Deep}.

Today, perhaps partly in response to the sunlight provided by the extensive background; or perhaps related to the reality that Boasberg could not possibly sit as the judge in the lawsuit; the Carter Page case was again reassigned.  However, this time it is not the reassignment that draws attention, it is the reassigner, the Chairman of the Case Calendar and Case Management Committee, Rudolph Contreras:

As we can see, the civil case has been reassigned from Judge James Boasberg to Judge Timothy J Kelly, that’s good.

There was no way for Boasberg to sit as the judge in this case given his connections and rulings on prior cases like the (1) James Comey memos, the (2) case against Kevin Clinesmith; and (3), the fact that Boasberg was a FISA court judge, and he personally approved the June 29, 2017, FISA warrant against Carter Page – which was constructed by fraudulent manipulation of the underlying affidavits.   There are massive conflicts for Boasberg in all aspects of the Carter Page civil suit against James Comey.

However, it is also interesting to see the name Rudolph Contreras appear again. The DC judicial system is getting very interesting with all of the sunlight upon it.  Specifically, in this instance, the role of the FISA court in the controversial Fourth Branch of Government {Go Deep} is starting to make a lot more sense.

You may remember, on November 30th, 2017, Mike Flynn signed a guilty plea; ostensibly admitting lying to special counsel investigators.  Flynn took this plea because his son was being threatened for prosecution by the Weissmann-Mueller team.  The 2017 plea was accepted by Judge Rudolph Contreras; who was/is also a FISA court judge.

The public finds out about the Flynn plea the following day, December 1st, 2017.   Immediately after that guilty plea, literally 24 hours later, we first learn of Lisa Page, Peter Strzok and Bruce Ohr.   All three people connected to the background of the Trump-Russia investigation were removed from their official duties and suspended inside the FBI and Main Justice.

Lisa Page was the legal liaison assigned to FBI Director Andrew McCabe by the DOJ National Security Division.  Peter Strzok was the lead FBI Counterintelligence Division agent assigned to the Trump-Russia investigation (aka Crossfire Hurricane); and Bruce Ohr was the #4 person in Main Justice inside the DOJ National Security Division.

A few days later, on December 3rd and 4th, the first batch of text messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok were released to the public showing an extensive background discussion about the targeting of Donald Trump and the inner-workings within the FBI and DOJ that related to their corrupt investigation.

Two days after the text messages were released, on December 7, 2017, Judge Contreras “was recused” from the Michael Flynn case without explanation:

(Reuters Article Link)

The Contreras recusal always seemed sketchy. The key question was: If the conflict existed on December 7th, wouldn’t that same conflict have existed on November 30th, 2017 when the plea was accepted?

What we did not know in December of 2017 was that inside the text messages of Lisa Page, and lead FBI Counterintelligence investigator, Peter Strzok, were outlines of a personal relationship between Peter Strzok and FISA Court Judge Rudolph “Rudy” Contreras.  We do not find out about the Contreras relationship until March 16, 2018, when more texts were released and a lot of texts were unredacted.

[IMPORTANT SIDEBAR – Keep in mind the Mueller-Weissmann special counsel was in control of these text messages, the redactions within them, and when they would be released.  THIS IS KEY.  The Mueller special counsel kept a lid on the damning texts until *after* they got the Flynn guilty plea, then they released them with redactions… and then later -as they accomplished more objectives- the special counsel then removed the redactions and re-released them.  The Weissmann-Mueller crew was in charge of Main Justice for anything that related to the Trump-Russia investigation, and everything involved the Trump-Russia investigation.]

We discover in March 2018 that Lisa Page and Peter Strzok discussed the FBI agent needing to talk with “Rudy” about the Crossfire Hurricane case and the use of the FISA court to gain their Title-1 search warrants.  Agent Peter Strzok noting he would likely have a casual conversation in a “social setting” at a “cocktail party” with Judge Contreras about the overall Trump-Russia investigation.  In hindsight, it became obvious the December 2016 recusal of Judge Contreras from the Flynn case was due to the unstoppable public release of these text messages.

Judge Contreras was appointed to the FISA Court court in May 2016. The FISA court eventually approved a Title-1 Surveillance Warrant against Trump campaign aide Carter Page on October 26th, 2016, essentially placing the entire Trump campaign under FBI surveillance.

The authorities within the Crossfire Hurricane surveillance was used against incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The FBI agent questioning Michael Flynn in January 2017 was Peter Strzok. The judge presiding over the sketchy Flynn plea, an outcome of that interview, was Strzok’s friend Judge Rudolph “Rudy” Contreras. Therein lies the conflict.

From the text messages, we discover conversations in July of 2016 between Lisa Page and FBI Agent Peter Strzok where they talk about using the FISA court (FISC), and the relationship between Strzok and Rudy Contreras might be an issue for their use of the court for Title-1 search warrants.   Ironically they were predicting the kind of recusal that eventually materialized in 2017.

The recusal of Judge Contreras in the Flynn case resulted in Judge Emmett Sullivan being assigned.  We all know the FUBAR that fiasco turned into when it became obvious the Weissmann special counsel was manipulating evidence, hiding Brady material favorable to the defense, and attempting to proceed with a fraudulently based prosecution of Flynn, based on fabricated evidence.   The entire Flynn prosecution boiled down to the definition of “sanctions”, I digress.

The bottom line was – once the Page/Strzok texts were released by the special counsel (which they withheld until they achieved the Flynn guilty plea), Judge Rudolph Contreras recused ‘was recused’ from the Flynn case.

[NOTE: Because the “Rudy” relationship to Strzok was not publicly visible in the texts until March 2018; yet Contreras recused himself less than a week after the plea in December of 2017; it can reasonably be assumed that someone from the special counsel team told Judge Contreras about his mentions in the text messages after Judge Contreras took the guilty plea.]

Now, we go back to today and Judge Contreras as Chair of the Washington DC Calendar and Case Management Committee.  By “random assignment” Contreras notes the civil lawsuit Carter Page -v- James Comey has been reassigned away from James Boasberg who was the previous presiding judge on the FISA Court.

Who is the current Presiding Judge on the FISA Court?

…wait for it:

(LINK to FISA COURT)

You just can’t make this stuff up folks.

On the positive side, I now realize something -with a bit more clarity- that I did not emphasize enough before….

The Fourth Branch of Government has their own judiciary.  It’s called the FISA Court.

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