The Campaign to Paint Trump as a Russian Stooge Started on May 4, 2016 by Larry C Johnson

Larry Johnson-5x7

Forget 31 July 2016 as the alleged start date for the full blown Trump counter intelligence investigation. That day is a sham. The actual campaign to paint Trump as a full fledged stooge of Russia started in early May 2016. We now know the start date thanks to the text messages between star-crossed lovers Strzok and Page and the timeline buried in the Mueller Report:


It is important to understand that the collection of intelligence on U.S. Presidential candidates was not limited to Donald Trump. The collection effort started in the summer of 2015 and included the main Republican candidates and, according to a knowledgeable source, also targeted Bernie Sanders.

Also remember that the Presidential campaign is a dynamic event that changes over time. In the summer of 2015, the conventional wisdom touted Jeb Bush as the likely nominee. But as the months passed the field narrowed. By March of 2016, Donald Trump was the leader and appeared likely to garner the nomination.

April was the turning point where the foundation for attacking Trump was being laid. The law firm, Perkins Coie, hired Fusion GPS on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Andy McMarthy reported on the details of this arrangement in October 2017:

The Clinton campaign and the DNC retained the law firm of Perkins Coie; in turn, one of its partners, Marc E. Elias, retained Fusion GPS. We don’t know how much Fusion GPS was paid, but the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid $9.1 million to Perkins Coie during the 2016 campaign (i.e., between mid-2015 and late 2016).

Fusion GPS then “hired” FBI Informant Christopher Steele in May 2016. More about that later.

As Lisa Page and Peter Strzok noted in their text exchange, Ted Cruz dropping out of the race in early May was the catalyst for focusing all resources on Donald Trump. This effort, which I label, the Trump Russia covert action, involved the CIA, the NSA, the FBI and British Intelligence. How do we know? Just look at the Robert Mueller Report:

May 4, 2016, George Papadopolous forwarded to Corey Lewandowski an email from Timofeev [who was introduced to Papadopolous by Joseph Mifsud] raising the possibility of a meeting in Moscow , asking Lewandowski whether that was ” something we want to move forward with. ” The next day, Papadopoulos forwarded the same Timofeev email to Sam Clovis, adding to the top of the email “Russia update.” (From Mueller Report)

May 4, 2016, FBI Informant Felix Sater followed up with Michael Cohen re Trump Tower Moscow Project: “I had a chat with Moscow. ASSUMING the trip does happen the question is before or after the convention. I said I believe, but don’t know for sure, that ‘s it’s probably after the convention. Obviously the pre-meeting trip (you only) can happen anytime you want but the 2 big guys where [sic] the question. I said I would confirm and revert. . . . Let me know about If I was right by saying I believe after Cleveland and also when you want to speak to them and possibly fly over.” (From Mueller Report)

May 5, 2016, FBI Informant Felix Sater wrote to Michael Cohen: “Peskov would like to invite you as his guest to the St. Petersburg Forum which is Russia’s Davos it’s June 16-19. He wants to meet there with you and possibly introduce you to either Putin or Medvedev , as they are not sure if 1 or both will be there. This is perfect. The entire business class of Russia wiU be there as well. He said anything you want to discuss including dates and subjects are on the table to discuss[. ]” (From Mueller Report)

May 6, 2016, George Papadopoulos suggested to a representative of a foreign government [i.e., Erika Thompson, senior aide to Alexander Downer] that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information that would be damaging to candidate Clinton. (p. 81 Mueller Report)

May 6, 2016, two military attachés at the US embassy in London, Terrence Dudley and Gregory Baker, reach out to George Papadopolous to set up a meeting.” [Both, per Papadopolous are with Defense Intelligence Agency, { (From Papadopolous Book)

May 7, 2016 (12 days before becoming campaign chair for Trump’s) Paul Manafort meets with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian national who has lived in both Russia and Ukraine and was a longtime Manafort employee. (From Mueller Report) [NOTE—Mueller’s team identified this as “suspect” activity that needed to be investigated.]

May 16, 2016, while that request was still under consideration, Carter Page emailed Clovis, J.D. Gordon, and Walid Phares and suggested that candidate Trump take his place speaking at the commencement ceremony in Moscow. (From Mueller Report)

May 19, 2016, Paul Manafort was promoted to campaign chairman and chief strategist, and Gates, who had been assisting Manafort on the Campaign, was appointed deputy campaign chairman. (From Mueller Report) [NOTE—the Mueller team believed that Manafort was acting on behalf of Russian interests but failed to find corroborating evidence.]

May 2016, the IRA created the Twitter account @march_for_trump , which promoted IRA-organized rallies in support of the Trump Campaign  (From Mueller Report

May 2016– FBI Informant Henry Oknyansky (who also went by the name Henry Greenberg), claimed to have information pertaining to Hillary Clinton. Michael Caputo notified Roger Stone and brokered communication between Stone and Oknyansky. Oknyansky and Stone set up a May 2016 in-person meeting. (From Mueller Report)

Then we have this little tidbit courtesy of the Washington Post that the CIA acted, perhaps as early as June 2016:

John Brennan convened a secret task force at CIA headquarters composed of several dozen analysts and officers from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI.

The unit functioned as a sealed compartment, its work hidden from the rest of the intelligence community. Those brought in signed new non-disclosure agreements to be granted access to intelligence from all three participating agencies.

They worked exclusively for two groups of “customers,” officials said. The first was Obama and fewer than 14 senior officials in government. The second was a team of operations specialists at the CIA, NSA and FBI who took direction from the task force on where to aim their subsequent efforts to collect more intelligence on Russia.

Investigators must get the date that this CIA task force was established. They also need to identify and interview the people who participated and were cleared to work on this task force. President Trump must understand that this was not a legitimate intelligence operation. It was weaponizing the intel community to act against a Presidential candidate. It was manufactured as part of a broader plan to paint Trump as a tool of Putin and a servant of Russia.

We must take a new look at the story told about the so-called Russian hack of the DNC. I believe that Crowd Strike is lying about its role and the timeline. Here is the “official” story

May 6, 2016, Dmitri Alperovitch woke up in a Los Angeles hotel to an alarming email. Alperovitch is the thirty-six-year-old cofounder of the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, and late the previous night, his company had been asked by the Democratic National Committee to investigate a possible breach of its network. A CrowdStrike security expert had sent the DNC a proprietary software package, called Falcon, that monitors the networks of its clients in real time. Falcon “lit up,” the email said, within ten seconds of being installed at the DNC: Russia was in the network. (From Esquire–Esquire Magazine offers a different timeline)

We are asked to believe that the Russians were in the DNC network on the 6thof May and that Crowd Strike knew it. But what steps did Crowd Strike take to shut down the “Russians.” Short answer—nothing until June 10th.

The DNC emails were taken on the 25thof May 2016. That is the last date for the DNC emails posted on Wikileaks.

Washington Post reporter Ellen Nakashima and Esquire magazine each reported that that the CrowdStrike effort did not shut down the DNC network until 10 June. If you know on May 6ththat the “Russians” are in the network, why does any credible, competent cyber security company wait until the 10thof June to shut the system down?

I believe this is a cover story. Here is what I think really happened.

Seth Rich, a DNC employee and Bernie Sanders supporter, downloaded the emails and then gave them to Wikileaks. Rich was in contact with Wikileaks. That is not my opinion. We know that courtesy of a FOIA request by lawyer Ty Clevenger to the NSA filed in November 2017, who requested any information regarding Seth Rich and Julian Assange. The NSA informed Clevenger in a letter dated 4 October 2018 that:

Your request has been processed under the provisions of the FOIA. Fifteen documents (32 pages) responsive to your request have been reviewed by this Agency as required by the FOIA and have found to be currently and properly classified in accordance with Executive Order 13526. These documents meet the criteria for classification as set forth in Subparagraph © of Section 1.4 and remains classified TOP SECRET and SECRET.”

Former NSA Technical Director, William Binney commented on this revelation:

Ty Clevenger has FOIAed information from NSA asking for any data that involved both Seth Rich and also Julian Assange. And they responded by saying we’ve got 15 files, 32 pages, but they’re all classified in accordance with executive order 13526 covering classification, and therefore you can’t have them.

That says that NSA has records of communications between Seth Rich and Julian Assange. I mean, that’s the only business that NSA is in — copying communications between people and devices.

We already know, as noted above, that the CIA had a task force set up. I believe this intelligence was communicated to the Clinton campaign and that a bogus story, with Crowd Strike in a starring role, was cooked up. Implausible? Not as implausible as a supposed cracker jack cyber security company waiting almost six weeks before taking common sense steps to shut down and clean the DNC servers.

It was Crowd Strike with the help of the Washington Post that went public and pinned the blame on the Russians.

But that was not the only active measure in place. Christopher Steele, a fully signed up FBI informant, was hired by Fusion GPS and produced his first block buster report on June 20thclaiming Trump was under the thumb of Vladimir Putin.

This is not a complete timeline. More remains to be discovered. But there are key facts that most of the media and punditry have ignored. Donald Trump’s announcement tonight (Thursday, 23 May 2019) to start declassifying documents on the Trump counter intelligence investigation and directing the intelligence agencies to cooperate may be the final straw that ends the conspiracy of ignorance.

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27 Responses to The Campaign to Paint Trump as a Russian Stooge Started on May 4, 2016 by Larry C Johnson

  1. Eric Newhill says:

    Once again, thank you for the good work on this important topic. Looking forward to your future installments.
    Things should get very interesting with the declassification in force. Can you see the NSA/Seth Rich/Wikileaks material being made declassified as well (albeit redacted for methods, etc of course)?

  2. O'Shawnessey says:

    Can Barr declassify the Rich/Assange material?
    Also, was Skripal one of Steele’s “sources”?

  3. Factotum says:

    Joseph Mifsud is missing in this time line. He always appeared to be the most curious player. Any reason he is left out?

  4. Doggrotter says:

    Siht, I hadn’t even thought about classified info on SR. I had thought about how it would be interesting if it turned out Sanders had been spied on. Seriously explosive stuff. Something about Robert Duvall using the other N word, quote from Apocalypse Now.

  5. If you re-read closely I reference Timofeev who was introduced to Papadopolous by MIFSUD. He’s there.
    Thanks for asking

  6. jjc says:

    Before joining Manafort in Kiev, Kliminik worked for almost a decade in Moscow for the International Republican Institute, effectively running that office for some of those years. The IRI is part of the NED/USAID network. There is no way an identified “GRU agent” would be permitted as a long time employee of such an organization. The Mueller team deliberately seeded the suspicion, and credulous journalists speculated on polling data without pause. Kliminik was, in effect, Manafort’s deputy in Kiev, working very closely with him – so again for the Mueller team to suggest there was anything at all sinister in the two men holding meetings, whether tied to campaign events or not, is unfounded speculation, which should have been obvious to all.

  7. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Here’s an interesting sidelight:
    “Intelligence scholar sues Cambridge academic, U.S. news outlets over reports on Flynn links”, Politico, 201905-24

    A Russian-born British scholar [Svetlana Lokhova] is suing an alleged FBI informant [Halper] and four news outlets for allegedly defaming her by linking her to Russian efforts to influence President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

    Lokhova alleges that Halper and the news outlets conspired to spread a false narrative that she approached then-Defense Intelligence Agency Director Michael Flynn on behalf of Russian intelligence at a seminar dinner in England in 2014 and that Flynn and Lokhova had an intimate relationship.
    Over time, as public attention focused on links between the Trump campaign and Russia — and after Flynn was fired from his role as national security adviser by Trump in February 2017, individuals hostile to Trump and Flynn seized on the alleged connection to Lokhova as evidence that Flynn had been compromised by Russia, she alleges in the suit.

    “Stefan Halper is a ratf—– and a spy, who embroiled an innocent woman in a conspiracy to undo the 2016 Presidential election and topple the President of the United States of America,” Lokhova alleges in the 66-page complaint.

  8. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Sundance provides quite a bit of information regarding Trump’s declassification memorandum:
    “President Trump’s Declassification Directive Outlines Specific Process and Direction….”, by sundance, 2019-05-24

    To avoid the conflict [of interest] President Trump designates the U.S. Attorney General as arbiter and decision-maker for the purposes of declassifying evidence within the investigation


  9. Tidewater says:

    I’ve been waiting for that one. Next comes Papadopoulos. I think the British Fraud Act of 2006 is quite relevant to what Halper was doing. Cambridge University, Magdalene College, even Pembroke College would seem to me to be at risk for lawsuits. Fraud Act 2006 Wikipedia explains why litigation is now appropriate.
    Please see: Fraud Act 2006 Wikipedia

  10. turcopolier says:

    O’Shaunessey – I would think that he can declassify that.

  11. akaPatience says:

    I realize Larry Johnson’s already alluded to the existence of NSA files about communications between Seth Rich and Julian Assange, but the implications are finally sinking in as to how evil this whole mess is.
    I’ve always been dismissive of those who’ve made comments about “Arkancide” in connection with the Clintons, but I may have to revise my POV. I wonder who was involved in the process of getting rid of Mr. Rich?
    It’s horrible to even ponder…

  12. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    I am struck by the irony of the Trump administration is prosecuting Julian Assange under the Espionage Act for actions that are common journalistic practices, while simultaneously conducting an investigation that is closing in on malefactors of high position for probable actions that threaten the very core of our democracy and which in all likelihood would still be unknown to the public were it not for the work of that same heterodox journalist.

  13. O’Shawnessey, if the Rich/Assange material establishes communication between the two, I would expect it to be declassified to bolster the “Russia didn’t do it” narrative. Even if that communication was’t specifically about transferring DNC files or the actual transference of DNC files, it would be useful to Russia and/or Trump supporters. If, OTOH, the file NSA files consist of Assange discussing the use of Rich as a useful scapegoat, the files will never see the light of day. According to what Larry has written, Clevenger asked for files with information involving Rich and Assange and did not specify communications between Assange and Rich. Clevenger should have at least specified a cut off date. If the NSA files were produced before Rich’s death, it would be a gold fine for Barr and Trump. If the documents covered the time after Rich’s death, not so much. My theory is that the Rich as leaker story is similar to the whole G2 story. They muddy the water and create chaos. Classic maskirovka.

  14. Factotum says:

    Declassify the list of persons “Samantha Powers” asked FISA courts to unmask during the 11th hours of the Obama administration. Or learn who signed her name to these requests, if in fact she did not as she claimed.

  15. begob says:

    This is the second time in the past few weeks I’ve read about surveillance on Sanders. Is there a link to a reliable source?
    I believe it’s established that a guy from the UK worked in his campaign, and is now on the Integrity Initiative payroll. And the investigation into his wife’s role in the financial affairs of the college she works for seems mysteriously to have run into the sands.

  16. begob says:

    I believe Glenn Greenwald has weighed in on this one. You should be able to find his views in an online search.

  17. joanna says:

    Wasn’t there a “murder case” in DC itself? In other words do you really need to lead us down to Arkansas, murky real estate deals, drugs, extramarital relationships bordering on rapes and other shady associate networks?
    But I agree, suicided may not fit all too well.

  18. walrus says:

    I’m concerned that Assange may not live long enough to stand trial because he is capable of closing too many open investigations.

  19. Euclid216 says:

    In the email exchange, what is MYE?

  20. Factotum says:

    Redstate reports the 260 FISA unmasking requests in 2016 in Samantha Power name were perhaps for an Israel Settlesment-gate; not Russiagate?

  21. Ghost Ship says:

    I suspect that the Trump government really doesn’t want Assange extradited but feels it has to be seen to have gone through the motions. 17+ indictments might be effective in the American judicial system but here in good old Blighty it’s way too many and they might all be thrown out as being oppressive.
    But then again the Conservative government after Brexit will be a bunch of craven shits desperate for a trade deal from Trump and will reply “how high” when he says jump.

  22. turcopolier says:

    Ghost Ship
    A criminal conviction for 17 charges is not difficult to achieve in the US.


  24. akaPatience says:

    I think the FBI referred to its investigation of Clinton’s email “matter” as the “Mid Year Exam”

  25. optimax says:

    Is this Ken, friend of Geoff.

  26. The latest on J.A. is that he is SERIOUSLY ILL in his U.K. prison, his lawyer saying he can hardly communicate. Story being covered by MSM . . .NOT !!!

  27. tehodler says:

    The effort to make Trump look like a Russian stooge has been underway for a long time. LOL.
    It started July 4th 1987:
    Upon his return, he took out a full page ad in the NY Times calling for the dissolution of NATO:

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