This piece is based on two of the transcripts that Adam Schiff was forced to release last Thursday and they are revelatory.
The first concerns Felix Sater (here's the transcript).
The second is from the FBI Agent who handled Christopher Steele (here's the transcript). The agent's name is kept confidential.
If you are the FBI and you are running a counter intelligence investigation into Trump's ties with the Russians you would want Felix Sater, who helped the FBI on several cases involving Russian spies and Russian organized crime. He was a business partner of Donald Trump's since at least 2001. And what does Sater reveal about The Donald's ties to the Russian mob and Russian spies? He exonerates Trump.
Then we have the unnamed FBI handler of Confidential Human Source Christopher Steele. He admits to knowing Sater and some of the things he did for the FBI. Any evidence of Trump cavorting with the Russians? NOPE. After you read the transcript you will appreciate why this FBI agent is not named. He did his job honestly and professionally. In fact, he's the one who terminated Steele as a source.
I have written extensively about Felix Sater, the President/CEO of Bayrock Group, who was an informant for both the FBI and the CIA (you can read my early work on Mr. Sater here and here). His work as an FBI informant began in December of 1998 and then he started providing the CIA with good intel on Osama Bin Laden and other terrorist activities. Felix was born in Russia, speaks Russia and became friends with Michael Cohen (yeah, that Michael Cohen) when they were teenagers.
Felix Sater testified under oath to the House Intelligence Committee and confirmed the following:
- He had been working for the FBI and the CIA since December 1998 and provided important intelligence information on terrorism and assisted the FBI in criminal investigations. (see pages 5-12 of the deposition).
- Sater met Donald Trump for the first time in 2000/2001. It was at Sater's initiative (Sater rented space in the Trump Tower). Sater proposed they work on real estate deals. Sater was President of the Bayrock Group (see page 16).
- Trump had not and was not conspiring with Russian intelligence, Russian politicians nor Russian mobsters.
Throughout the lengthy deposition, Sater was repeatedly asked if President Trump had ever conspired, colluded or coordinated with any Russian political leaders or mobsters. He always said "no." Here is the money quote from Mr. Sater's deposition (see page 141):
Question: Returning back to the four parameters of the committee's investigation we discussed sort of at the outset, in our time together today, do you remember the discussion we had about collusion, coordination, and conspiracy?
Answer: Yes, sir.
Question: And I asked you with respect to yourself. I asked you with respect to then-candidate Trump. I asked you with respect to folks affiliated, officially affiliated with the campaign and folks unofficially affiliated with the campaign. Has looking at the documents and all of the discussion we had today changed your answer in any way?
Answer: Absolutely not.
One critical question no one on either the Republican or Democrat side asked him was this, "Has the FBI ever asked you to work as a Confidential Human Source to ascertain if Donald Trump was working for or with the Russians?" I bet you the answer to that would be yes. And Sater's response would be, "I never saw any such thing."
Now we come to FBI Agent John Doe. I came to like this guy the more I read his testimony. The man is a straight shooter.
He met Steele for the first time in April 2010 at the request of Bruce Ohr (see pages 9-10). In the fall of 2013 (I get this date based on some earlier comments by Mr. Doe, the actual year is blacked out–see pages 12-14).
The next big moment in the Christopher Steele saga is July 5, 2016. Following a phone call from Steele requesting an urgent meeting in London, FBI Doe flies to the UK and meets Steele in his Orbis office. Steele shares with him the first report of what we now know as the Steele Dossier. Here's the summary:
2016/080 20 June 2016
Russia cultivating, supporting and assisting Trump since at least 2011.
Trump has declined various real estate deals in Russia but he and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin on his political rivals.
FSB has compromising intel on Trump that they can use to blackmail him (e.g., coprophilia).
A dossier of compromising material on Hillary Clinton is being held by the Kremlin but has not been distributed.
John Doe asked the pertinent questions (see page 22):
Well, my first – one of the first questions I had to him was, do you have any corroboration of this? ls there any independent corroboration,information that you have? ls there a videotape? ls there an audiotape? Do you have anything else? And the answer was no.
We now know, thanks to a subsequent FBI investigation that the source for Steele disavowed these so-called facts. Let's continue.
John Doe returns to his office and subsequently notifies the Assistant Agent in Charge (i.e., ASAC) for Public Corruption in New York City. The ASAC tells him to hang on to the report and does not reconnect with Agent Doe until 28 July 2016. Two weeks passed. Mr. Doe does not know who else was briefed on his report.
The ASAC calls on the 28th and tells Doe to send him the reports. Doe complies. Two days later, according to Doe's testimony:
He contacts me again and says, that information is going to go to the CDC's office in New York,CDC, the local attorneys, FBI attorneys in the field office. They are setting up a special subfile for this information. Just send it directly to them, talk to this one CDC up there and get it to them, and then we'll go from there, okay? (see page 31)
This went right to the top of the FBI according to Agent Doe (see page 32). Here is the curious part–Agent Doe refers to "reports", yet, according to the dates on the Steele Dossier reports, only three had been written (possibly a fourth) by the end of July. Here are the reports and their dates:
1. 2016/080 20 June 2016
2. 2016/94 19 July 2016
3. 2016/086 26 July [Sic] 2016
4. 2016/095 [No Date]
5. 2016/097 30 July 2016
6. 2016/100 5 August 2016
7. 2016/101 10 August 2016
8. 2016/102 10 August 2016
9. 2016/105 22 August 2016
10. 2016/111 14 September 2016
11. 2016/112 14 September 2016
12. 2016/113 14 September 2016
13. 2016/130 12 October 2016
14. 2016/134 18 October 2016
15. 2016/135 19 October 2016
16. 2016/136 20 October 2016
17. 2016/166 13 December 2016
How did those other reports get into the FBI's hands?
Now comes even stranger developments. Listen to what Agent Doe tells HPSCI:
So I have no idea what happened down at headquarters after that.Again, my concern was getting it now to CDC office in New York. And I had spoken with CDC, sent the reports to him in New York, but at that time it was probably — now we're talking probably middle of August, I think right around that time, the CDC and another ASAC in the counterintel program in New York advised me that, hey, there is a unit in headquarters that needs to see this, some type of investigative unit that's there that you need to send this to.
I said, okay, give me the name and I will send it to them. That took probably another 3 weeks to a month to get lhe name of the person to whom I had to send this information to.
What the hell? The FBI Agent in charge of handling Christopher Steele is completely cut out of CROSSFIRE HURRICANE and given the mushroom treatment (cover with manure and keep in the dark). If CROSSFIRE HURRICANE was a legitimate investigation then why was the guy who has authorized access to Christopher Steele not brought into the circle of trust and asked to get with Steele and confirm details? This is all you need to know that the Steele Dossier was a mere pretext for launching the coup against Trump.
Who was receiving the docs from Steele? It was no longer Agent Doe. He was cut out of the loop. (see page 33).
What is not mentioned in the transcript is that CIA Director Brennan briefed Democrat Senator and Majority Leader Harry Reid on the dossier in August of 2016–weeks before Agent Doe had been given a contact at FBI Headquarters for sharing the info he had received from Steele. Further evidence that a joint CIA/FBI plot against Trump was unfolding.
By the end of September, Agent Doe is wondering what is going on. He reaches out to his FBI contact at FBI Headquarter. Doe testifies:
So I reach out to him, I said, hey, let me know, you know, what you think about the information. He emails back, and that was maybe the 23rd, 24th of September, and states that the information that – in the dossier corroborated information that they received [from Alexander Downer] that actually predicated all this investigation.
The next shoe to drop in the life and times of Christopher Steele, idiot spy, comes with the publication in Mother Jones of David Corn's contribution to the covert action against Trump–A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump
Agent Doe was not happy. He was pissed. Doe calls Steele and tells him:
everything is going to change now. I said, you're no longer working to get information on our behalf, you're no longer to goout, a nd we are no longer tasking you. ln addition, you're not going to be paid, and the relationship is going to end. (see page 74)
Where was FBI Headquarters in this debacle? It was Agent Doe who terminated the British goof. Yet, Steele continued to generate reports and passed them on to Bruce Ohr who in turn made sure they found their way into the CROSSFIRE HURRICANE team. And let's not forget that the sanctimonious clown, Jim Comey, was pressing in late December and early January to include the Steele Dossier in the so-called Intelligence Community Assessment that was published in January 2017.
But John Doe was not through blowing holes in the Democrats attempt to manufacture a Russian conspiracy. If you take time to read pages 49-63, you will be treated to a contortionist act by lying Adam Schiff and slimey Eric Swalwell as they try desperately to prove their hair brain conspiracy that Trump was in bed with the Russian mob. In fact, they asked him repeatedly about Felix Sater (apparently Schiff and Swalwell did not understand that Sater was in the FBI's pocket). Agent Doe gave them nothing.
The following exchange with the Republican counsel and Agent Doe plants the exploding cigar directly in the nether regions of Adam Schiff's hopes:
Question: Do you have any information about any of those four individuals (i.e. Russian mobsters) during the course of your investigation that would show Donald Trump undertaking any illegal activities with those individuals or other Russians?
Question: Do you have any information during the course of your investigations that any of the other Russian individuals named during the course of these proceedings had – would show that Donald Trump had any illegal activities with them or the Russian Government?
Answer: No. (see page 89)
For those of you who are impatient with the progress of John Durham and William Barr is bringing the coup plotters to justice, I hope the foregoing shows you how complicated and voluminous the task is. This is not a two week investigation. But these transcripts show you some of the ammunition that Durham and Barr are collecting and loading. These are deadly facts that Comey, Brennan and even Obama will have trouble running from.