“The 27-page indictment suggests that Durham has the goods on Sussmann. Billing records, not to mention handwritten notes, prove that he absolutely knew he was representing the Clinton Campaign but was trying to hide it.
Hillary’s dirty fingerprints on the Alfa Bank scam would have been an important (or “material”) fact for the FBI to know. The Bureau would have realized immediately that this was nothing more than a political smear based on an absurd canard.
Sussmann and Perkins Coie were one of the many conduits feeding phony information intended to frame Trump for “collusion” crimes he didn’t commit. Fusion GPS and its nefarious founder Glenn Simpson were also feeding similar lies to the gullible media that happily propagated them to the American public. Of course, much of it was based on the bogus anti-Trump “dossier” composed by Christopher Steele, a notoriously slimy ex-British spy.
Meanwhile, top FBI officials like James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok and others exploited the lies as a pretext to spy on the Trump Campaign and pursue it’s misbegotten investigation of Trump even though they had no credible evidence to support it and they learned early on that it was all a fabrication.
It was the greatest mass delusion in American political history…and did enormous damage to Trump’s presidency.
All of the aforementioned people should also have been criminally charged. Sadly, they’ll likely skate —the beneficiaries of preferential treatment by a justice system that bears little resemblance to real justice.
One of the things I discovered as I poured through thousands of pages of research while writing my book, Witch Hunt, is that the entire “collusion” hoax was invented, financed, and disseminated by Hillary Clinton. Her objective was to frame and vilify Trump so that it would distract from her own burgeoning email scandal.
The shameless lie was drawn from the insidious depths of Clinton’s fictive imagination. It was magnificently devious and classic Clinton. Minions like Sussmann were instrumental in spreading the lie, as were Simpson, Steele and a host of other Hillary acolytes.”” greggjarrett.com
Comment: Very interesting. It is not yet clear to me where Sussman was indicted. If it was in the Eastern District of Virginia there is a much greater chance of conviction than in the District of Columbia which is a Democrat fortress. The pool from which jurors would be drawn in Virginia extends from here in Alexandria to the NC border. Not so good for Hillly and the gang. pl
I see now that Sussmann will be tried in the DC District Court. IMO there is very little chance of a conviction if the case goes to trial and Judge Cooper does not find a way to dismiss the charge.
Did they have the choice of charging him in Virginia?
I would have thought so.
I share your sentiment. IMO nothing will come out of this. Sussmann will skate. The Judge & his wife Amy Jeffress are big Clintonite supporters with his wife having many connections to the Hillary campaign. I’m actually surprised the this indictment slipped through the DOJ firewall with Garland as AG. It is interesting that Garland officiated the wedding of Cooper and Amy. This epitomizes the incestuous nature of DC governmental & K-St elites.
Trump’s greatest crime, for the Democrats, was his unabashed trashing of Hillary in the 2016 campaign, especially the debates, where he used Middle School style ridicule to great effect. The entire 4 year slime campaign against him stemmed from that.
It’s unfortunate they got away with their game and got their revenge by foisting the addled figurehead of Joe Biden on us. God help the USA with the ruling cabal now in Washington. The wailing and gnashing of teeth has probably only begun. The old joke about how rich people go broke, slowly and then all at once, comes to mind now.
Where is the crime – since Cankles insisted on third party actors to carry out her political dirty tricks, which to date are not yet illegal. This is sad to say, a serious question. While there was clear wrong doing, and waste of tax dollars chasing planted red-herrings, is there yet a specific crime on the books?
I ask this only out of curiosity and lack of criminal law covering these types of activities; not from any pre-judgement. I want them all behind bars, just like the Watergate crooks, and turn the clock back to when we had a nation with one system of justice and bad choices had bad consequences.
Lying to DOJ of course is a crime – but what else do they have tying “abuse of process” to an actual crime. Not every investigation ends up with criminal charges -since there has to be some law on the books that was violated.
“Conspiracy” to commit political dirty tricks? Versus First Amendment freedoms? This is where much of this can end up in the weeds and dissolve into nothingness. Just like Benghazi – ultimately there was no there there. No one could remember, everyone had an excuse and there was no smoking gun that proved dereliction of duty. Just poor judgement calls, which are not yet actionable. Even if today we still don’t know where Obama was during those critical hours.
Bad actors will claim “probable cause” to start these investigations as the earlier IG Horowitz report tacitly allowed – the FISA abuse investigation was “predicated”, but only because he stated the grounds to start a rogue federal investigation were so flimsy.
What will be interesting is whether any of the inside players flipped, including the creepy lawyer Clinesmith (?) who blatantly changed federal documents and barely got a wrist slap. Public exposure of the deep state daisy chain should be chilling punishment enough.
Forget “bringing us together”. Bringing back trust in our government is the far more critical task.
Marc Elias, who until a few weeks ago was a partner at Perkins Coie, was General Counsel to the Clinton 2016 campaign. I suspect he and his former employers are in a great deal of trouble.
I was about to post this on an earlier thread, but it seems to make better sense to post it here.
When I read the indictment, I felt about Sussmann rather as someone reading about the arrest of Al Capone might have done, had they thought that he had committed quite enough crimes for which he had not been accused to justify a lifetime spent in ‘Sing Sing’, but that the evidence that he was ‘guilty as charged’ over tax evasion was thin.
The only basis for the claim that he deceived James Baker would appear to be the testimony of that figure, supported by the handwritten notes of the FBI person to whom he supposedly spoke following the meeting.
It was suggested by Steve McIntyre on ‘twitter’ that this was Peter Strzok.
(See https://twitter.com/ClimateAudit/status/1439071171664912392 .)
In fact, as I pointed out to Steve, in his testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on 3 and 18 October 2018, Baker first said he could not remember whether it was Strzok or Bill Priestap, before finally deciding it was the latter, a line which Durham has clearly followed.
The transcripts of both days of the hearings are available on the ‘Lawfare’ site, at https://www.lawfareblog.com/document-transcripts-jim-baker-interview-house-judiciary-and-oversight-committees .
I would suggest that the bringing of this case against Sussmann by Durham has made them absolutely critical evidence in relation to ‘Russiagate’, and anyone seriously interested in ascertaining the truth about that affair should do what I have just done – read all 304 pages. (That said, you may need to keep a bowl handy, in case the vomit rises up, uncontrollably.)
The association of Baker with ‘Lawfare’ is interesting. On the website of the Harvard Law School, where it is explained that he has returned as a Lecturer on Law for Fall 2019, a position he apparently held before becoming ‘General Counsel’ of the FBI, we are told that he is ‘currently a Visiting Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Lawfare Institute.’
(See https://hls.harvard.edu/faculty/directory/10035/Baker .)
As ‘Lawfare’, together with Brookings, with which it is associated, are rather widely considered as representing a kind of key ‘node’ in the ‘Plot Against the President’, I find it somewhat odd that so many people are now prepared to take for granted that Baker can be relied upon to tell ‘the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.’
If one reads the transcripts of the October 2018 hearings, it soon becomes clear that Baker disavows a clear recognition of so many things that the only alternative to the conclusion that he is being evasive and mendacious in the extreme would appear to be that he is suffering from a serious case of presenile dementia.
A particularly interesting example from the later hearing comes in an exchange with Representative Jim Jordan which could perhaps be exploited, to devastating effect, by Sussman’s legal team, should the case brought by Durham ever come to court, as it relates rather precisely to what happened at the 19 September 2016 meeting. It is to be found on pps. 122-3 of the transcript, and seems worth quoting at length:
‘Mr. Jordan. And was he representing a client when he brought this information to you? Or just out of the goodness of his heart, someone gave it to him and he brought it to you?
‘Mr. Baker. In that first interaction, I don’t remember him specifically saying that he was acting on behalf of a particular client.
‘Mr. Jordan. Did you know at the time that he was representing the DNC in the Clinton campaign?
‘Mr. Baker. I can’t remember. I have learned that at some point. I don’t – as I think I said last time, I don’t specifically remember when I learned that. So I don’t know that I had that in my head when he showed up in my office. I just can’t remember.
‘Mr. Jordan. Did you learn that shortly thereafter if you didn’t know it at the time?
‘Mr. Baker. I wish l could give you a better answer. I just don’t remember.
‘Mr. Jordan. I mean, I just find that unbelievable that the guy representing the Clinton campaign, the Democrat National Committee, shows up with information that says we got this, and you don’t ask where he got it, you didn’t know how he got it. But he got it from some, you know, quote, expert.’
After which Baker goes on ‘flannelling.’
So Durham is apparently proposing to prosecute Sussmann on the basis of an apparently clear recollection by Baker of matters on which he has explicitly stated that he does not have any such recollection, combined with handwritten notes by someone he finally remembered was Priestap, rather than Strzok. Rather obviously, such notes are the easiest thing in the world to forge.
Actually, there are more interesting things in the indictment.
One is that it looks as though it confirms what Christopher Steele suggested ‘esoterically’, as it were, when he was cross-examined by Hugh Tomlinson QC on behalf of the Alfa Group ‘oligarchs’ in the High Court in London in March last year. A fascinating feature of these exchanges was that the ‘narrative’ that the supposed author of the ‘dossier’ provided radically contradicated what he had been claiming in ‘witness statements’ produced, under oath, only weeks before.
A great deal, however, was ‘insinuated’ and ‘implied’, rather than stated clearly. So, Steele suggested that while he did not actually meet Marc Elias at the 31 July visit to Sussmann at Perkins Coie which is clearly a critical event in ‘Russiagate’, that figure was in an adjacent room – rather clearly intimating that he was actually present, which is what Durham’s quotation from the relevant invoice to the ‘Clinton Campaign’ seems to suggest.
(Unfortunately, although when Chuck Ross originally posted the transcript of the cross-examination on ‘Scribd’, it was openly available, I have not immediately been able to find any place in which this document, clearly absolutely critical to understanding ‘Russiagate’, can currently be accessed without quite significant payment. For what it is worth, however, the ‘Scribd’ link is https://www.scribd.com/document/458992503/Steele-deposition .)
One of the key changes in Steele’s account was that, backtracking on his previous ‘witness statements’, he told Tomlinson that he had first learned about the Alfa comms link material at the 29 July meeting, and the origins of the memorandum in the dossier attributed to him relating to its owners lay in that occasion. He also rather clearly intimated that evidence had been ‘doctored’ to make him the ‘patsy’, which is I think a plausible claim.
It is particularly plausible if, as I do, you regard the rather systematic ‘demolition’ of the notion that Steele was the actual author of the dossier attributed to him produced by Yaacov Apelbaum on his ‘Mechanics of Deception’ site in March 2018 as convincing. Of course, it is perfectly possible that its author ‘perpetrated’, one might say, basic errors of fact and logic which I have been simply too stupid to spot.
However, I would be more persuaded that I have beent a dolt had people who have clung to the ‘conventional wisdom’ about the dossier actually criticised Apelbaum’s work, rather than ignoring it. (In my view, it has become a kind of ‘elephant in the room’ in relation to ‘Russiagate.’)
A conclusion to which Apelbaum’s analysis, among other things, has pointed me – and he can not in any way be held to be my ‘confederate in crime’ about this – is that the ‘High Court’ proceedings involving Steele, both in the Alfa case and that brought by Aleksej Gubarev, were essentially to do with a ‘negotiation’ of the terms on which he would accept the ‘patsy’ role.
Of course, this interpretation in turn leads me to contemplate the possibility that the bringing of the case against Sussmann by Durham may also not be what it seems, and may indeed be involved with a negotiation of the ‘terms’ on which the accused may accept a ‘patsy’ role, so allowing his ‘partners in crime’ to escape ‘scot free.’
Perhaps the single most important element in the material produced by Durham that looks credible is the suggestion that, ‘on or about August 20’, ‘Originator-1’ emailed ‘Tech Executive-1’ pointing out that the the supposed comms link could have been the product of a deliberate set-up.
This is the case that the Alfa Group oligarchs made in the ‘John Doe’ suit they launched in Florida in June last year. The ‘Complaint’ is easily available at https://www.justsecurity.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/alfa-bank-v-john-doe-pennsylvania-case-number-CI-20-04003.pdf
The full ‘caseload’ to date can be accessed through the court website, at https://appsgp.mypalmbeachclerk.com/eCaseView/search.aspx , by putting in the case number, 50-2020-CA-006304. If you are outside the United States, you may need to use a VPN.
What becomes apparent is that the strategy used by the Alfa lawyers has been to cast a net as wide as possible in relation to subpoenas, and figures from whom they can secure video depositions. It is still too early to have any clear view as to what progress they have made, or how they intended to ‘play’ things.
Also of critical importance are developments in their case against Fusion, where the key resource is the ‘Courtlistener’ docket list, at https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6163126/fridman-v-bean-llc/ .
An interesting take, as always. Your point about the potentially flimsy evidence of Baker’s record of Sussmann’s lying to him and your patsy theory got me thinking:-
To my eyes the indictment reads as much a condemnation of Sussmann as it does an exoneration of a credulous FBI fooled into treating Russiagate as originating from a genuinely apolitical source. I guess any of us could make the same mistake if approached by a lawyer from the Democrats’ well known house law firm (sarc). The FBI must have been shocked, shocked to find they’d been duped.
If the FBI are to be found innocent of knowingly abetting a politically motivated witch hunt then Sussmann must be found to have lied to them. That being the case, his innocent plea is of interest. Perhaps he will get off on a technicality, but whatever happens the feds need to be seen as the victim – for PR purposes. That way the DOJ might be able to bury the wider conspiracy, given that (unless my reading is incorrect) no other crimes are explicitly described. The indictment makes it clear Sussmann alone lied to the FBI and conspiracy to dig dirt on a political candidate is not in itself illegal, in fact it is the job description of some of those involved.
Robert Willmann’s ‘read between the lines’ take on the indictment would be highly valuable, perhaps my cynicism is not justified. I hope so.
I also would be extremely interested to read what Robert Willman, with his ‘lawyer’s eye’, makes of the indictment, and in particular, the prospects of 1. making it stick, and 2. using it to ‘prise open’ the wider conspiracy. That said, in my – admittedly inexpert – judgement, the available evidence points very strongly in the direction of the cynical view you put forward.
Having originally been among those prepared to cut William Barr and John Durham a very considerable amount of ‘slack’, I have over time come very strongly to suspect that what both have been looking for is very much a ‘limited hangout.’
Part of the ‘beauty’ of the strategy I suspect they have followed, I think, derives from the fact that the corruption, and indeed criminality, of Hillary Clinton and her associates are indeed crucial elements in ‘Russiagate’, which most probably does originate with her. Moreover, both she and her husband are – in my view with much justification – widely hated.
An unfortunate consequence of these, facts, however, is that in the ‘excitement of the chase’ after the Clintons, people are extremely likely to ignore the possibility that there may be other ‘quarry’ which are actually, looking longer term, more important. A crucial point remains that the subversion of the constitutional order in your country has only been possible because of the complicity of central elements in what I fear we now have to call the ‘deep state’, on both sides of the Atlantic.
This fact, moreover, raises a very large question as to what precisely many of those, in your country, mine, and elsewhere in the West, who portray themselves as champions of ‘democracy’, actually mean by the term. In very many cases, it seems what is involved is something I am tempted to call ‘Leveller democracy.’
To hark back to the problems faced by the – very brief – English experiment with ‘republicanism’ three and a half centuries ago may seem eccentric, but in the light of some of the current problems of its – for a very long time extraordinarily successful – American successor some ‘ancient history’ may I think be relevant.
Some while back, I had an exchange with ‘TTG’ on the subject of the ‘Levellers’, and the suppression of their mutiny by the commanders of the ‘New Model Army’, Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell, at Burford in the Cotswolds in May 1649. More recently, I found myself by accident passing through that town, and visited the Church where the mutineers were imprisoned, and three ringleaders shot. Since 1975, an annual ‘Levellers’ Day’ has been held there.
Following that visit, I ‘dipped into’ a masterly summary of recent historical writing on the period published in 2009 by Blair Worden, which I bought some time ago and have never had time to read. A point which emerges very clearly is that the same deep ‘Puritan’ conviction which had been central to making the ‘New Model’ a force capable of defeating the ‘Royalists’ also meant that those on the winning side were wildly unrepresentative of the country as a whole.
In particular following the execution of Charles I, in January 1649, the ‘republicans’ were caught in an insoluble contradiction, in that they wanted to ground their legitimacy in ideas of ‘popular sovereignty’, but had gone in directions to which very many even among their erstwhile supporters, and indeed leaders, did not support. Accordingly, as Worden puts it:
‘When the army or the Levellers or the Rump spoke of “the people” they meant the people who agreed with them, and whose judgements had not been perverted by enemy persuasion.’
Isn’t that rather close to the ‘narrative’ which Hillary Clinton and her supporters have adopted about the reasons for her defeat at the hands of Trump? Isn’t also rather close to the way such people account for the failure of a succession of challengers, from Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Alexei Navalny, to unseat Vladimir Putin and bring back something close to the Yeltsin years?
The ‘Rump’ to which Worden refers was what remained of the ‘Long Parliament’, originally called in 1640, after those members who were opposed to trying Charles for ‘high treason’ had been ‘purged’ in December 1648. Ironically, however, among those who was in the process of ‘parting company’ from the new ‘régime’ – as one might say in today’s language – was Fairfax himself: the ‘Lord General’ of the ‘New Model.’
Having been placed at the head of the list of judges in the trial of the King, he was conspicuous by his absence when his name was called. His wife Anne, who was a very formidable character indeed, is reported to have told the judges, from the gallery, that her husband had ‘more wit than to be there’. And when the court claimed to be acting for ‘all the good people of England’, she is said to have responded, derisively: ‘No, nor the hundredth part of them!’
In modern terms, one might say she was ‘calling out’ the ‘bullshit’ by which the country’s new rulers justified what they were doing. In the spirit of Anne Fairfax, I think ‘plain speaking’ about the Durham prosecution involves the following comments.
As I have already noted, in his testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, the former FBI General Counsel disavows any clear recollection on so many matters that the notion that he can be regarded as a reliable witness would be absurd, even if the problem of reconciling what he seems to have said to Durham with what he told the Congressmen was absent.
In another matter in which he manages to contradict himself, meanwhile, Baker gives a vivid illustration of quite how deeply rooted the belief that opposition to Hillary Clinton could only be accounted for by ‘enemy persuasion’ became within the FBI.
In the course of his portrayal of that organisation as having been outraged by the sacking of James Comey by Trump in May 2017, he explains that ‘the Director being fired because the President doesn’t like the fact that we’re investigating Russia was pretty crazy to my mind.’ However, it seems that he has difficulty accurately remembering what he said even hours before, let alone years, as he then disavows having ‘used the word “crazy” with respect to the firing.’
Probed further on the legality, or otherwise, of Trump’s action, he then says:
‘Theoretically – let’s just be very clear, I’m speaking theoretically. If the President of the United States fired Jim Comey at the behest of the Russian Government, that would be unlawful and unconstitutional.’
When Representative John Ratcliffe asks Baker: ‘Is that what happened here?’ the response was: ‘I don’t know.’
Earlier, however, he has confirmed the account given by Comey himself of what he told the then President-elect, during his visit to Trump Towers on 6 January 2016. According to this, the man whose sacking Baker regarded as ‘crazy’ brought up the dossier which would be published by ‘BuzzFeed’ four days later, before making clear that the FBI were not investigating Trump ‘personally’. (Obviously, they did not need to do so, to sustain the ‘narrative’ of his election as having been due to ‘enemy persuasion.’)
An irony of the dossier is that, in addition to the accounts of how it was supposedly produced by Steele, as sole author, being rather distinctly questionable, as Yaacov Apelbaum has persuasively argued, the document itself is quite patently ‘bullshit.’
One of the things which makes this quite clear is, ironically, a fundamental similarity between what one might call the ‘rhetorical strategies’ adopted by its authors, and some of those practised by English Protestants in the the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.
Commonly, what these sought to do was to provide an account of ‘enemy persuasion’ which incorporated the ‘narrative’ of the actual, or supposed ‘enemy’, within that of the authors, by suggesting that, whatever he, or she, might claim, they actually fully accepted that the Protestants were the ‘good guys’, and sought to destroy them precisely because of this.
A particularly brilliant example of this strategy is provided by is the 1624 play ‘A Game at Chess’, which Thomas Middleton wrote as ‘propaganda’ against the possibility of the future Charles I marrying a Spanish princess. It opens with Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, appearing, with a character called ‘Error’ at his feet, and complaining about their inadequate progress in destroying ‘light’, and ‘truth and goodness’.
If you look at the first memorandum in the dossier, 2016/080, supposedly produced on 20 June 2016, you will see that, in addition to introducing the ‘golden showers’ claim, it seeks to set out a ‘narrative’ very similar to that in ‘A Game at Chess.’
So, supposedly, the ‘superspook’ Steele has sent his ‘collector’ – later the ‘Primary Sub-source’ – to glean an accurate account from top level Kremlin figures of how Putin actually thinks. According to what we were given to understand these sources revealed, that figure’s fundamental purpose is to destroy the ‘ideals-based international order established after World War II’, and Trump has long been his chosen instrument in seeking this end.
That people who are unshakeably convinced that they represent ‘light’, ‘truth and goodness’ are liable to be extremely unscrupulous in dealing with those they consider their enemies was a point repeatedly made, both then and since, by the opponents of the Puritans.
In this connection, it is I think worth recalling that Peter Strzok, one of those to whom Baker has suggested he might have passed the material from Sussmann, had written privately about the need for an ‘insurance policy’ against the contingency of Trump being elected on 15 August 2016. On 24 October of that year, Comey’s friend Benjamin Wittes had used precisely the same phrase on the ‘Lawfare’ blog, of which he is editor in chief. On his resignation on 4 May 2018, Baker joined Brookings, to which the blog is linked, and started writing for it.
Another point coming out of Apelbaum’s work relates to two other occasions on which Baker tells us that he was the recipient of what purported to be crucially important information. One of these was when he was, supposedly, told about the Steele dossier by David Corn – the other when the lawyer Larry Klayman brought him information from Dennis Montgomery.
In relation to the approach from David Corn, an obvious possibility to which Apelbaum’s work points is that Steele and Baker alike were being used in a process of ‘circular reporting’, so the creation of ‘disinformation’ in which people in the FBI might well have been intimately involved could be presented as something having nothing to do with them.
A question must then arise as to whether something similar may have been at issue when Sussmann approached Baker. As to the approach from Klayman, what has emerged recently about Dennis Montgomery raises interesting questions.
David – from this side of the Atlantic and to this observer, Russiagate is the Steel affair, or rather the Dearlove/Steele affair.
I do not think the US authorities can afford to allow that to be cleared up. Unless we are prepared to believe that the UK IC went rogue, which I’m not, there was UK political approval for this involvement of senior UK Intelligence Officers in US politics. Even when retired, IO’s are not exempt from restrictions on their activities and in Steele’s case he was in close contact with MI6 after retirement.
If I have followed your earlier exhaustive accounts of the affair correctly UK political involvement in this unusual intervention in US politics must come out if the US authorities were to get to the bottom of the case.
Possibly also the involvement of Dutch and Estonian Intelligence Services.
But if we disregard entirely the fact that there was UK political approval before the dossier was made public, if we pretend that none of that happened or that it can somehow be explained away, it is impossible to pretend that HMG did not give approval after publication.
Rogue or not, Steele was given a safe house after that publication and there was at no time any attempt made by HMG to disown him or to remedy the damage done. In fact, as we saw at a recent Commons Committee hearing, Steele is still regarded as an authoritative and credible source.
Three British Prime Ministers including the current Prime Minister had knowledge of this affair in their then capacities. Whatever May, and Johnson as Foreign Secretary, might have know and approved before publication they certainly knew of it afterwards. Yet this most damaging and scurrilous attack on the President of our closest ally was not only let lie, it was given credibility by HMG.
The US authorities dared not open that can of worms even during the Trump Presidency. They certainly will not open it during Biden’s.
The Dutch connection to Russiagate is tenuous. The Dutch AIVD did hack into the SVR Cozy Bear hackers and assisted the FBI and NSA in thwarting a Russian penetration of the DOS systems in late 2014. They also saw the initial SVR Cozy Bear penetration of the DNC network and informed the FBI. This was different from the GRU Fancy Bear hack of the DNC that made all the noise and resulted in the 2018 indictment of 12 GRU officers for hacking the DNC. Both the SVR and the GRU were in the DNC network at the same time but apparently did not coordinate their attacks.
I have no idea what the Estonian connection is about, but they are well acquainted with Russian cyber and disinformation operations as well as attempted election meddling as far back as 2007.
TTG – the Steele affair was separate from the sophisticated information operations various countries, including the Russians, run against each other. I have read with great interest your examination of that subject but here the question is different.
Not information warfare conducted on the internet of the sort you have examined in depth. Instead a direct attempt to discredit Trump by means of compiling a false dossier that was first circulated privately but that was then published.
It was this entirely different matter that caused all the trouble. From admittedly dubious sources we find that it was not only Steele who was involved in suggesting that Trump had improper relations with Russia, or had acted improperly while visiting Russia. Dutch, Estonian and Australian Intelligence Services were also knowingly or unknowingly complicit. Here are a couple of references that mention that –
So we’re really talking about different subjects. You are talking about such matters as Cozy Bear and Russian hacking, and have as said examined in great depth that side of information warfare.
I’m talking about the compilation of a false dossier that was used to “prove” that Trump was colluding with the Russians. A different matter entirely.
I’m also talking about the fact that Dearlove/Steele were retired senior and very senior MI6 employees. And that unless they’d gone rogue, which as said I don’t believe, what they were involved in was known to HMG at the time.
And that it was certainly known to HMG after publication of the Steele dossier. And that HMG not only did nothing to distance themselves from the production of this fake and scurrilous document. They gave it further credibility.
The damage that did to the Trump Presidency was serious. This squalid attempt at damaging an American President by means of a fake dossier is a world removed from the information warfare conducted on the internet that you examined so comprehensively in your professional capacity.
I think you and many others are attributing far too much importance to the Steele and his dossier. If all we had was that dossier, it wouldn’t even be a footnote in the Trump saga. All we would remember was the online world chuckling at the report of the pee pee tape. It was the sum of everything, including Russia’s cyber and influence ops, that hung like an albatross around Trump’s neck.
Still, the dossier was not all fake and scurrilous. Much was proven to be true over time. For example, Steele reported Trump’s real estate interests in Russia extended back 8 years including the Moscow Project into 2016. No big deal. Trump was in commercial real estate for longer than that. Don Jr. said Trump Organization assets were disproportionately Russian. Why Trump tried to deny this time and time again is beyond me. Of course those repeated denials raised suspicions.
The dossier claimed Don Jr. and others met with a Russian lawyer with Kremlin connections in June 2016, Russia conducted cyber ops against Dems in 2016 and was behind the DNC hack, Roger Stone was in contact with the Guccifer 2.0 entity and Manafort had extensive dealings with Yanukovich. All that proved to be true, even though it was not hard proof of active Trump campaign cooperation with Moscow.
I am not at all surprised that various intel agencies reported contacts between people associated with Trump and Russians associated with intel. That’s bound to happen in Trump’s line of work. It’s the repeated denials of such contacts that raise eyebrows.
What bothers me the most about Steele is his possible contacting of old sources after his retirement from British intel. I would never contemplate such egregious behavior. Secrecy, security and commitments to sources must extend to the grave and beyond.
Longest any 3 letter agency had gone without an IG was when Hillary was at the SD. Obama refused to appoint one. The attack on Trump had less to do with Trump himself and more to do with the potential of exposing that whole thieving operation. There was an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation but Lynch shut it down. Even just the emails we got to see, it was crystal clear Hillary was running a family business. Right after Trump won the Foundation basically shutdown. It was a massive cartel thieves guild.
“it was crystal clear Hillary was running a family business. Right after Trump won the Foundation basically shutdown. It was a massive cartel thieves guild.” It was much the same kind of family business that Biden runs..
Re the location of Sussmann’s trial: Para 42 of the indictment alleges Sussmann “..met two Agency-2 employees.. ..at a location outside the District of Columbia”. It goes on to allege he lied to them too.
I’ve seen speculation that Agency-2 is the CIA. The same person speculated that the above may portend another indictment in a different jurisdiction. If one is filed in EDVA are you available for jury duty Colonel?
Voluminous information about the people plotting against Trump is in:
“Spygate, Part #6: Alfa Bank. Alfa Bank, also known as the beginning… | by The_War_Economy | Medium” https://the-war-economy.medium.com/spygate-part-6-alfa-bank-65a788038fe6
Note in particular this graphic:
It shows the funders of the anti-Trump campaign as including
“7-10 Wealthy Donors (California/New York)” and George Soros’s Open Society Foundation.
To blame it all on Hillary seems to me erroneous.
There was some fear and loathing of Trump quite independent of Hillary.
I should have noted that the cited article is dated Feb 19, 2019, showing how much information has long been available.
Finally, I wonder if David Habakkuk, who knows much about all this, can detect any flaws in that article.
She was the originator and organizer of the plot.
Daunting read. No wonder everything ultimately dissolves into nothingness and no one ever gets charged – it nailing jello on the wall. Thanks for this exhausting link. Something bad, really bad happened. Yet no clear thread emerges.
Filtering out this daunting read is reaching the conclusion it was most likely the Trump hating and paranoia-consumed Brennan who was the more authoritative initiator of this Trump witch hunt. He carried the most weight and got Obama’s ear.
Brennan would have been the declarant with the most gravitas to assert probable cause to officially pursue any Trump-Russia link. Yet Brennan has already declared Durham assured him he is not under any investigation.
Brennas anti-Trump paranoia readily fortified the Trump-hating, psychotically paranoid deep state to quickly move into action. They would do anything to protect themselves from the impacts of 2016 voter-mandated change of administration.
I remember the moment right after the Mueller Report found no Russia-Trump connection, when on live TV Brennan quietly admitted his “source must have been wrong” compared to his statements on live TV just the night before that he expected Trump to be indicted.
How could the head of the CIA so easily have “wrong sources” up until the 11th hour, that forced Brennan to publicly retract that assurance in less than 24 hours?
I am also struck by Gen Milley’s similar pathological paranoia about Trump, that motivated him to commit what could be called acts of treason and/or collusion with extra-constitutional authorities to subvert his duties to his job.
Milley claiming “I feared Trump would do something foolish so I had to intervene” is right up there Brennan quickly assuming Trump was in bet with Russia. And both attempted to unleash the full forces of our own government against Trump.
We need Civil Service reform, because we are now riding on the back of a monster that we alone created.
The FISA warrant that was approved for looking into the Trump-Alfa Bank server connection would shed a lot of light on this indictment. Did the warrant note Sussman’s connection to the Clinton Campaign? What did it say about alleged server connections and did it identify any of the DNS researchers that found the anomalous connections? I remember the techie talk ab0ut this early on, but it died out when nothing could be proven. It was all conjecture.
I am inclined to think the FISA judge was part of the plot.
The Sussman indictment paints the FBI as a hapless victim cruelly hoodwinked by Sussman and the whole Clinton cabal. I’m not concerned by the FISA judge. I want to see what the FBI wrote in the FISA application. What evidence did they lay out and what DNS researchers did they identify.
You don’t care that Rosemary Collyer accepted their bullshit? How sad.
No, I’m not concerned who approved the FISA warrant. I want to know what was in the warrant. That should have the details Sussmann provided to the FBI. If the FBI and Sussmann were in on this from the beginning, what is Durham trying to pull? Was he in on it, too? Or did the FBI try to cover their asses by throwing Sussmann under the bus. If that was the case, Durham is an incompetent fool.
FISC is a rubber stamp. While they were designed to provide a check to the national security state in practice they never cared about constitutional prerogatives. After all they too were warriors in the War on Terror.
The Carter Page FISA application and surveillance warrant is a good example. A falsity based on the Steele dossier that Comey’s FBI knew was false when they asked FISC for renewal. Rod Rosenstein & Comey committed perjury by signing the affidavits. And their excuse we are only signers of what the “staff” send to us. An innocent American’s unalienable rights were violated repeatedly with impunity by both the executive and the judiciary.
FISA should be repealed and the FISC should be disbanded.
So the judge is just smart enough to buy the bullshit in the warrent. An independent judiciary that is a co-equal branch of govenment? Apparently not a thing anymore.
“what is Durham trying to pull? Was he in on it, too? ”
Discredit the investigation because it might show where corruption actually lies.
Who signed the first FISA court request – verification of underlying facts subject to penalty of perjury. I recall they were all pretty high-profile names. What did they know and when did they know it?
My hazy recollection was Horowitz might have concluded the first FISA application had a slight modicum of merit, but only due to very loose requirements.
But that none of the subsequent renewals particularly the Clinesmith intentionally altered one, even came close. But were signed under penalty of perjury none the less and quickly rubber-stamped by the FISA judge.
Civil Service Reform and civil service reform now!
I testified in Judge Rosemary Collier’s DC District Court a number of times. She was chief judge of the FISA court when this went down. This is a very ambitious woman.
Was not there an oblique reference to an unnamed “political campaign” engagement in one of the footnotes to a FISA court application – just enough to be a CYA if later necessary?
Don’t worry be happy. Just in time for the changing of the guards. Biden will grant Clinton and her criminal companions an expression of the Presidents forgiveness (pardon) just before he resigns.. One rule of law for thee but not for me, isn’t that how it goes? Just in time for the Coronation of Queen Harris. Happy Days!
TTG – I remember you were worried at the time about Steele using contacts gained in his professional work.
But where his claimed “information” came from, and whether it was planted on him or derived from other contacts, is not as important as the fact that a retired UK MI6 operative was playing such a prominent role in US politics. And any examination of what he and Dearlove were doing inevitably leads back to the question of whether he was authorised by HMG. And to the further question of why HMG not only did not disavow this damaging attack on Trump when it became public knowledge, but reinforced it.
Any full examination of “Russiagate” must inevitably lead to such questions. As said, those questions were too sensitive to be examined in Trump’s time and won’t be examined in Biden’s.
EO, There is a question whether HMG sent Steele and his dossier to the US as their own effort to influence the election. Given our special relationship, that info op would be far more serious than Russia’s info ops. We expect that of Moscow, but not from London. I doubt that was the case, but question should be examined.
I don’t have any problem with HMG standing by a retired MI6 officer after the fact, even if Steele’s motives weren’t pure. I would expect that of any sovereign nation.
TTG – I don’t have your knowledge of the case so can only put forward a tentative view.
If HMG was involved before publication then that was part of a joint attempt, both sides of the Atlantic, to discredit Trump. We know that attempt was made your side and the Steele dossier was part of it. I’d see HMG more as helping with rather than as initiating that attempt to discredit Trump.
That’s the most likely explanation by far. On the US side there was a concerted attempt to discredit Trump – that at least is well established by now – and the UK was a bit player in that attempt.
But there is a second explanation to consider.
If HMG only knew of the affair after publication that means that Steele’s earlier activities in the States had gone unnoticed at this end. So HMG could have disowned him after publication. I think Mr Habakkuk mentioned HMG did consider hanging Steel out to dry.
But they couldn’t, surely? Apart from the fact that they’d have had to disown Dearlove as well, how many would have believed that HMG hadn’t known of Steele’s pre-publication activities during the US election campaign? None.
In addition, disowning Steele would have meant disowning his work and too much use had been made of that work by Trump’s US opponents for that to be possible.
After publication of the dossier HMG was damned if it disowned Steele and damned if it didn’t. That’s the case whichever explanation is adopted. So the whole affair had to be left awkwardly hanging and that’s where it’ll stay.
I think a problem with this discussion is that you and ‘TTG’ are both accepting a conventional ‘narrative’ according to which Steele actually wrote the dossier attributed to him.
To my regret, while referring to the systematic demolition of this interpretation by Yaacov Apelbaum in his May 2018 ‘Mechanics of Deception’ post in my earlier comments, I failed to provide a link – as I have done on earlier occasions when I have attempted to draw attention to what seems to me the most intellectually powerful analysis of the dossier to date.
It is https://www.yaacovapelbaum.com/2018/03/17/the-mechanics-of-deception/ .
If either of you want to continue to discuss ‘Russiagate’ on the basis of the premise that one can discount the possibility that the memoranda which were brought together in the dossier were produced in Washington, not London, then you should provide me with good reasons why I am wrong in believing Apelbaum’s analysis essentially ‘on the money.’
This also bears upon your recollection that I suggested that ‘HMG did consider hanging Steele out to dry.’ The comments to which I think you are referring were posted by Colonel Lang on 19 August 2018 under the title ‘Habakkuk on the dossier’s beginnings’ – actually, they had originated as a response to remarks of yours.
(See https://turcopolier.com/my-strong-impression-is-that-nobody-on-the-british-side-vetted-the-dossier-for-publication-a-striking-feature-of-the-early/ .)
Unfortunately, this was in the ‘Disqus’ period on ‘SST’, so very interesting and extensive exchanges on my post are no longer publicly available. It was in the course of these exchanges that a participant suggested to me that the ‘Mechanics of Deception’ analysis merited careful study, as is evident from the comments I posted on that piece not long after – which explain some of the reasons I found it particularly interesting.
What my exchanges with Applebaum at that point bring up is a general problem which I have come across, time and again, in ‘transnational’ investigations.
This began to become apparent to me in the first of these in which I took a close interest, although then more as observer than participant, which, as I explained to Apelbaum, concerned the ‘loops of lies’ about the supposed attempt by Saddam to obtain uranium from Niger which made possible our disastrous invasion of Iraq.
Anyone seriously interested in getting close to the truth is liable to find themselves rushing frenetically between attempts to make sense of parts of the puzzle where the ‘conventional wisdom’ looks questionable, and trying to fit these together into some kind of coherent total picture – one might say, ‘gestalt.’
And here, it is a recurrent problem for all of us that a trail of investigation which may start in ‘familiar territory’ then rapidly spreads into areas where our grasp is limited or indeed non-existent.
As will be apparent from my comments on the dossier’s origins, it already seemed to me overwhelmingly likely before I read Apelbaum’s work that key parts of the material in the dossier came through other channels than Steele’s ‘source network.’
So the use of clearly ‘cutting edge’ analytical methods in the ‘Mechanics of Deception’ piece to call in question Steele’s authorship, and point to likely alternative sources, caused me no surprise. As I have noted, nobody of whom I am aware has made a serious attempt to refute it. I would be most happy if you, or ‘TTG’, were the first to try.
Equally, having already done quite a lot of relevant ‘network analysis’, as one might call it, using old-fashioned ‘textual analysis’, Apelbaum’s use of methods such as image analysis threw up a vast amount of new material. Nothing of this seemed demonstrably false in the light of what I thought I already knew, which was of course not sufficient reason for accepting that it was necessarily all true.
Of particular interest to me, obviously, was the suggestion that the British private intelligence company Hakluyt had played a central role in ‘Russiagate.’ And a claim which actually, as it were, ‘leaped out of the page’ was the identification of the ‘Guardian’ correspondent Luke Harding as a ‘contractor’ for that organisation, as well as Orbis Business Intelligence – Steele’s company.
At the time, no attempt was made by Apelbaum to suggest what the source of the claim might be, so I was careful not to allow my predisposition to think the worst of Harding – and the ‘Guardian’ – to make me prejudge the question of its accuracy. It did however take me into some British history with which I already had a certain familiarity, and which I have since spent a good deal of time researching further.
Doing so has confirmed me in my belief that – unsurprisingly, as nobody can be expert on everything – Apelbaum had failed to realise that, if it was right, what was implicit in his claim about the relationship of Harding and Hakluyt was not a story of continuity in government control of the ‘media’ in ‘Perfidious Albion.’
Instead, it was one of radical degeneration, from a situation where journalists genuinely tried to ‘balance’ the competing claims of ‘national security’ and intellectual freedom, to one resembling a version of Orwell’s ‘Ingsoc’ – only, simply, without the poverty, and violence.
On the ‘Guardian’ website, you will see an item from March this year, which begins ‘The Scott Trust, which safeguards the editorial future and independence of the Guardian, is to appoint a new chair to succeed current chair Alex Graham, who is stepping down.’
(See https://www.theguardian.com/gnm-press-office/2021/mar/16/scott-trust-to-appoint-new-chair-to-succeed-alex-graham-in-2021 .)
As it happens, in addition to Peter, now Lord, Mandelson, and for a slightly longer time, I once had Alex Graham as my researcher. On ‘Wikipedia’, one can find an item called ‘Timeline of London Weekend Television’, which refers to the creation of ‘Weekend World’ in 1972, and a programme called ‘Gay Life’, as part of the ‘Minorities Unit’, in 1980.
(See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_London_Weekend_Television ; also, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weekend_World )
I was recruited onto ‘Weekend World’ as a researcher in 1978, in the lead-up to Margaret Thatcher’s election victory over Jim Callaghan the following May. Both I and Greg Dyke, later to be the Director-General of the BBC who lost his job because of Lord Hutton’s Inquiry into the death of Dr David Kelly, did not like working on the programme.
Also, despite our radical political differences – he had strong ‘Leveller’ tendencies in those days – at that time we could work together quite well, partly because we were both among those who had been recruited from ‘print journalism’, but also because, like me, he was inclined to ‘speak his mind.’ So when so when in the following year Dyke was appointed Deputy Editor of the ‘London Programme’, which did in-depth reporting on the capital, I persuaded him to take me with him.
In the course of 1980, when ‘Gay Life’ blew up in the company’s face, and a ‘face-saving solution’ was needed, they looked for a ‘minority’ who couldn’t hit back, and settled on the elderly. I had refused point blank to return to ‘Weekend World’ as a producer, so I was ‘wrenched away’ from the happy business of digging into the ‘undergrowth’ of London politics and industrial relations, which I loved, and ended in the ‘Minorities Unit.’
Having joined in 1979, Alex was given me as a researcher. As presenter, ironically, we had Alastair Hetherington, who had edited the ‘Guardian’ between 1956 and 1977, and turned it into a national newspaper. So I got to know both of them reasonably well.
As to Hetherington, he seemed to me a completely decent man, and indeed a curiously innocent one, so much so that, looking back, I find myself asking how he could have been such a successful editor. What he would have thought of the paper he cherished have a leading correspondent who is a ‘stenographer’ for Christopher Steele seems to me an interesting question.
Following up the lines of investigation to which Apelbaum’s analysis led me, however, I then came across an even more interesting ‘LWT’ connection.
Time and again, in the reports in the ‘mainstream media’ about Hakluyt, it is simply accepted that the company was founded in 1995 by former MI6 officers, who, once they left the service, had no contact whatsoever with their former employers.
This was recently repeated by the ‘Financial Times’, from which I was myself recruited to ‘London Weekend Television.’ This was in a report which mentioned the appointment last year of Dan Rosenfield, formerly of Hakluyt, as ‘chief of staff’ to Boris Johnson.
(See https://www.ft.com/content/6607a215-2825-4502-8a12-a6f88a8300e2 .)
Frankly, I would not have hired anyone who could not expose these claims as lies in the course of about a day’s work, at the most, as a junior researcher. A key figure in the early history of the company was Michael Maclay, who was hired for ‘Weekend World’ from the FCO. The foundation of the company, as distinct from the Advisory Board’, was in 1997, not in 1995.
I have gone on long enough. But if you, or indeed ‘TTG’, cannot work out some plausible hypotheses about the reasons why Maclay, and his erstwhile colleagues, have lied about these dates, I wouldn not have hired either of your as junior researchers, either.
The ‘backstory’ here, about which I know a great deal, relates to how people with strong ‘Leveller’ tendencies, were ‘reprocessed’ into ‘neoliberals’ and ‘neoconservatives’, in which ‘LWT’ was a rather important part of the history.
David – a fascinating glimpse into a world most of us in the general public scarcely know exists. I couldn’t quite make out your assessment of Applebaum. A Grace-Groundling-Marchpole with some heavy duty kit or someone who’s on to something?
And, as ever, the question hovering in the background. Do all the chancers you’re writing about really believe the stuff they’re putting out? Or do they know they’re fake?
My own interest in the Steele saga is not so much in joining up the dots – that I don’t have the background for – as in looking at the one dot that sticks out a mile. That’s the question that was staring all in the face as soon as the “dossier” was published.
How far up in HMG did knowledge of this affair go. When did the UK politicians know and how much did they know.