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5 Times The Anti-Trump FBI’s ‘Trust Us’ Promise Fell Apart


BY: MARGOT CLEVELAND | SEPTEMBER 02, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/09/02/5-times-the-anti-trump-fbis-trust-us-promise-fell-apart/

former FBI Director James Comey

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The Biden administration and the corporate media continue to assure Americans that the FBI’s raid on former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home was both legally justified and of the utmost necessity. But the deep-state cabal and the leftist media cartel provided similar assurances about Crossfire Hurricane and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s targeting of Trump, with the assurances later proving worthless. 

Here are five times SpyGate taught Americans to distrust and disprove accusations leveled at Donald Trump.

1. Devin Nunes’ Memo Exposing FISA Abuse

On February 2, 2018, the House Intelligence Committee, then-chaired by Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, released a four-page memo detailing abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by the FBI. 

Before the memo’s release, the FBI publicly opposed the move, claiming in a public statement that the bureau had “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.” Justice Department officials likewise opposed releasing the memo, warning that “doing so would be ‘extraordinarily reckless.’”

The then-ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, also sought to scuttle the release of the memo — or at least preempt the detailed revelations of FISA abuse — by calling the memo a “conspiracy theory” in an op-ed for The Washington Post. In it, Schiff condemned the release, saying the memo was “designed to suggest that ‘a cabal of senior officials within the FBI and the Justice Department were so tainted by bias against President Trump that they irredeemably poisoned the investigation.’”

Nancy Pelosi, who is now speaker of the House, likewise attacked Nunes, demanding in a letter to then-House Speaker Paul Ryan that Nunes be removed as Intelligence Committee chairman. Nunes “disgraced” the committee with his “dishonest” handling of the committee’s review of the Russia collusion problem, Pelosi wrote. Nunes’ committee, Pelosi claimed, had become a “charade” and a “coverup campaign … to hide the truth about the Trump-Russia scandal.” 

In response to the Nunes memo, former FBI Director James Comey told the country the memo was “dishonest and misleading.” Comey further claimed it “wrecked the House intel committee, destroyed trust with Intelligence Community, damaged relationship with FISA court, and inexcusably exposed classified investigation of an American citizen.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan also attacked Nunes, calling his exposure of the FISA abuse “appalling” and an abuse of his chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee.

Of course, years later, Nunes was proven correct, as the inspector general’s report confirmed, establishing that the Republican House Intelligence chair had, if anything, understated the FISA abuse. 

For all the assurances the DOJ, FBI, their former leaders, and top politicians provided the American public, they were either lying or wrong — or both because there was “a cabal of senior officials within the FBI and the Justice Department … so tainted by bias against President Trump that they irredeemably poisoned the investigation.”

2. Surveillance Warrants Are Hard to Get

In addition to wrongly condemning Nunes’ memo, government officials attempted to calm concerns over the FISA surveillance by assuring the public that the process of obtaining a surveillance warrant was “rigorous” and that to obtain surveillance of American citizens, a court must find “probable cause” that warrants the wiretap.

Adm. Michael Rogers, then a commander of United States Cyber Command, testified about the FISA process during a March 2017 congressional hearing. In response to a question posed to eliminate “confusion in the public” about the collection of personal data, Rogers confirmed that the National Security Agency “would need a court order based on probable cause to conduct electronic surveillance on a U.S. person inside the United States.” 

During the same hearing, the then-recently fired former FBI Director Comey expanded on the surveillance process. “There is a statutory framework in the United States under which courts grant permission for electronic surveillance either in a criminal case or the national security case based on the showing of probable cause,” Comey testified before Congress. “It is a rigorous, rigorous process, involving all three branches of government,” the former FBI director stressed, noting it must go through an application process and then to a judge who must approve the order.

The IG report on FISA abuse proved the promised rigor didn’t exist. And the later conviction of Kevin Clinesmith for “falsifying a document that was the basis for a surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign official Carter Page,” punctuated that reality. The facts revealed in the IG report further established that Americans’ faith in the FISA Court to serve as a check on the government was misplaced, with the judges serving as but a rubberstamp of the DOJ’s surveillance applications. So much for those assurances.

3. Don’t Worry, ’Merica, No Spying on Trump Took Place

A third assurance Americans received from the powers-that-be was that no spying on the Trump campaign occurred. The inspector general’s report on FISA abuse disproved those reassurances as well, revealing that the “Obama Administration Spied on the Trump Campaign Big Time.”

This reality pushed Russia-collusion hoaxers into esoteric discussions on the true meaning of “spying.” Even the United States Senate played the “it depends what the meaning of spying is” game, with New Hampshire Democrat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen quizzing FBI Director Christopher Wray on whether he would agree with then-Attorney General William Barr’s use of the word “spying.”

“I was very concerned by his use of the word spying, which I think is a loaded word,” Shaheen bemoaned. “When FBI agents conduct investigations against alleged mobsters, suspected terrorists, other criminals, do you believe they’re engaging in spying when they’re following FBI investigative policies and procedures?” the senator asked Wray.

“That’s not the term I would use,” Wray replied, before noting that different people use different colloquialisms. 

The discussion did not end there, however, with Shaheen pushing Wray on whether he had seen “any evidence that any illegal surveillance into the campaigns or the individuals associated with the campaigns by the FBI occurred.”

“I don’t think I personally have any evidence of that sort,” Wray replied.

But even sidestepping the silly debate over what “spying” means, the guarantee Shaheen provided the American public — that no illegal surveillance into the Trump campaign or individuals associated with the Trump campaign had occurred — proved worthless. 

The Department of Justice has since admitted that it illegally surveilled former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and that such surveillance reached Trump campaign documents. So, yes, our federal government illegally surveilled the campaign of a presidential candidate.

4. Redactions Are Necessary to Protect Sources and Methods

A fourth key commitment conveyed to Americans throughout the multi-year unraveling of the Russia collusion hoax concerned the need to redact details in the publicly released documents. Such redactions were necessary to protect sources and methods, our overlords assured us.

For instance, in a December 9, 2019 press release Wray issued in conjunction with the DOJ’s inspector general’s report on FISA abuse, Wray “emphasized that the FBI’s participation in this process was undertaken with my express direction to be as transparent as possible, while honoring our duty to protect sources and methods that, if disclosed, might make Americans less safe.” Wray further promised that the FISA abuse report presented all material facts, “with redactions carefully limited and narrowly tailored to specific national security and operational concerns.” 

Republican Sens. Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley challenged that portrayal of the redactions, suggesting in a letter to then-Attorney General William Barr that several footnotes “were classified in the IG report only because they contradict certain claims made in the public version of the inspector general’s report on FISA warrants documenting misconduct in the FBI’s spying operation of the Trump campaign.”

“We are concerned that certain sections of the public version of the report are misleading because they are contradicted by relevant and probative classified information redacted in four footnotes,” Grassley and Johnson wrote. “This classified information is significant not only because it contradicts key statements in a section of the report, but also because it provides insight essential for an accurate evaluation of the entire investigation.”

The Republican senators then asked for the four footnotes to be declassified, stressing that “the American people have a right to know what is contained within these four footnotes and, without that knowledge, they will not have a full picture as to what happened during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”

In April of 2020, Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell declassified the footnotes. And, as Grassley and Johnson had represented, the redactions weren’t necessary to protect “sources and methods.” Rather, the blacked-out lines were essential to distorting portions of the FISA report and to keeping the public in the dark about the full scope of the Spygate scandal.

Another document declassified by Grenell exposed that Mueller’s team falsely represented to a federal judge (and the American public) the substance of Michael Flynn’s December 2016 telephone conversation with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. 

As I reported following Grenell’s declassification of the transcript of the call between Flynn, Trump’s then-incoming national security adviser, and Kislyak, Mueller’s office deceived the country and a federal court when prosecutors claimed Flynn had discussed U.S. sanctions with his Russian counterpart. The transcripts established that, contrary to court filings, Flynn never raised the issue of sanctions with the Russian ambassador.

The release of the Flynn transcript did reveal, however, the FBI’s secret “sources and methods” — but the sources and methods were those of deep-state actors seeking to rid themselves of the president’s chosen national security adviser by launching a perjury trap and then lying about what Flynn said.

5. Crossfire Hurricane Was Properly Predicated 

To this day, both DOJ’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz and Wray maintain that the FBI’s launch of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was properly predicated. Publicly released FBI documents say otherwise. 

Former FBI agent Peter Strzok explained the supposed predicate for launching Crossfire Hurricane on July 31, 2016, in the opening “Electronic Communication” that he both prepared and approved. According to Strzok, the FBI opened the umbrella investigation into the Trump campaign after the government had “received information” “related to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s website/server.” 

But Strzok’s summary of the information received made no mention of any intel obtained by the FBI related to the DNC hacking. Rather, the supposed intel “consisted of information received from an unnamed representative, now publicly known to be Alexander Downer, a then-Australian diplomat” stationed in London. The opening memorandum explained that Downer had relayed “statements Mr. [George] Papadopoulos made about suggestions from the Russians that they (the Russians) could assist the Trump campaign with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton.”

The opening document then asserted that Papadopoulos “also suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist this process with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Mrs. Clinton (and President Obama.).” The electronic communication added a caveat, though, noting that it was unclear whether Papadopoulos “or the Russians were referring to material acquired publicly of [sic] through other means. It was also unclear how Mr. Trump’s team reacted to the offer.”

Thus, while Strzok framed the information received by the FBI as evidence “related to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s website/server,” the remainder of the Electronic Communication contradicted that claim and in fact acknowledged that the material might refer to “publicly acquired” information.

What the FBI did — or rather didn’t do — after the launch of Crossfire Hurricane further confirms the sham predicate set forth by Strzok in the Electronic Communication. 

While Papadopoulos’s statements to Downer supposedly prompted the FBI to open the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, agents failed to question Papadopoulos for six months. The FBI also put little (or no) effort into determining who purportedly told Papadopoulos that the Russians had dirt on Hillary. The supposed source of that statement, Joseph Mifsud, could have been easily located soon after the launch of Crossfire Hurricane if the FBI genuinely believed Russia had conspired with the Trump campaign to hack and release the DNC emails.

Agents pursuing a legitimate investigation “would have immediately scoured Papadopoulos’s London-based connections and discovered he was associated with the London Centre of International Law Practice around the time he met with Downer. From there, the FBI could have easily fingered Mifsud as a possible source for the information, since he was listed as a board advisor and public source searches would show Mifsud had connections to Russia. (The intelligence community would have also hit on Mifsud’s many connections to Western intelligence agencies.)”

But the FBI did none of this, waiting instead until late January 2017 to quiz Papadopoulos on the source of the supposed inside information coming from Russia. Yet, Wray and the DOJ’s inspector general want Americans to trust them when they say that agents launched Crossfire Hurricane based on Papadopoulos’s London chat with Downer over drinks. 

Special Counsel John Durham, however, says otherwise, having released a statement following the DOJ’s report on FISA abuse that informed the public that, “based on the evidence collected to date,” his team had “advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.”

The special counsel’s public statements prove significant for two reasons. First, Durham’s comments refute the inspector general’s conclusions regarding the predication of Crossfire Hurricane. But beyond that, the fact that Durham needed to correct the record shows the lack of trust due the DOJ and even the inspector general’s office — something further confirmed during the special counsel’s prosecution of former Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann. 

Each of these five falsehoods peddled by the government to the public during the Russia collusion hoax has a clear corollary in the current scandal involving the FBI’s raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. And after the lies, pretext, and political warfare exposed during the unraveling of SpyGate, the DOJ and FBI’s current entreat to an angry public to “trust them” will be ignored — as it should.


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.

    Judge In Stefan Halper Case Drops SpyGate Bombshell: Halper Likely Lied To The FBI On Purpose


    BY: MARGOT CLEVELAND | JULY 20, 2022

    Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/07/20/judge-in-stefan-halper-case-drops-spygate-bombshell-in-denying-his-motion-to-dismiss-halper-likely-lied-to-the-fbi-on-purpose/

    Stefan Halper

    ‘There are now a fair number of documentations’ showing that Stefan Halper ‘may have made clear misstatements to the FBI,’ the court said.

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    Documents suggest that Stefan Halper “may have made clear misstatements to the FBI” and may be responsible for “some falsehoods” about Michael Flynn and Svetlana Lokhova, according to the federal judge presiding over the lawsuit Lokhova filed against the former FBI confidential human source, or “CHS,” embroiled in the SpyGate scandal. 

    On Friday, a federal court in Virginia denied Halper’s Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit Lokhova had filed against him in December of 2020. That lawsuit represented Lokhova’s second civil case against Halper, with her alleging in her most recent complaint that when Halper learned she was penning a book about Halper, “he directed his counsel, Terry Reed, to contact Post Hill Press and Simon & Schuster solely for the purposes of ‘quash[ing] publication and cancel[ing] the Book Contract.’” Reed then allegedly “contacted [Simon & Schuster] and [Post Hill Press] and falsely accused [them] of defaming Halper in the marketing materials.” 

    The complaint further alleged that, through the letters, Halper “defamed and disparaged” Lokhova to the publishers and falsely accused her of “knowingly publishing” statements that were “false.” Lokhova claimed that Halper then “escalated the threats and intimidation to [Simon & Schuster’s] parent company, CBS Corporation.” The complaint alleged his accusations were untrue and that “[t]he sole purpose of Halper’s actions was to interfere with [Lokhova’s] Book Contract and induce [Post Hill Press] to terminate the Contract,” which it ultimately did after facing irresistible pressure from Simon & Schuster.

    The “book contract” Halper allegedly succeeded in canceling was for Lokhova’s forthcoming nonfiction work entitled, “The Spider: Stefan A. Halper and the Dark Web of a Coup.” The marketing material for the book described Halper as a “spy, an evil spider at work within and around the Trump campaign,” and that in that capacity, he “initially targeted the important Trump advisor, Lt. General Michael Flynn.”

    In promoting the book, the publisher, Post Hill Press, in conjunction with Simon & Schuster, which Post Hill Press had contracted to market and distribute “The Spider,” also asserted Lokhova’s book revealed that Halper had “fabricated and sustained the fantastical narrative of the Russian hoax,” and that he did so by “collaborat[ing] with the intelligence establishment to take the ‘kill shot on Flynn,’ leaking classified information to his associates in the press.”

    Lokhova explained her motivation for writing the book in the amended complaint she filed in the Virginia federal court. “In February 2017, a month after the birth of her first child,” the document read, Lokhova “was inundated by the media and others over false allegations that had suddenly surfaced that she had supposedly conducted a clandestine romantic affair with General Michael Flynn, an American military and intelligence official whom she had met once at an academic dinner over two years earlier and had never seen or spoken to again.” Lokhova explained how she then spent the next two-plus years, “piecing together what had happened to her, partly through her own research, partly through the gradual release of information by the United States government, and partly through reporting by U.S. media outlets.”

    According to Lokhova’s amended complaint, by late 2019 she “had gathered sufficient information and evidence to demonstrate how the false allegations about her and General Flynn had arisen, and who had conveyed them to the FBI and to the media.” Lokhova explained that after obtaining a book contract and American publishers, she set to work to write the book, with a planned 2020 release date. But according to Lokhova, her publisher canceled her contract after Halper threatened her publisher, the distributor, and even CBS Corporation. Lokhova then self-published the book, renaming it “Spygate Exposed: The Conspiracy to Topple President Trump.”

    After Lokhova released “Spygate Exposed,” an FBI “Electronic Communication,” dated August 15, 2016, was declassified in early 2021. That document memorialized information provided to the FBI by an unnamed CHS on August 11, 2016. While the electronic communication did not identify Halper as the CHS, it documented several claimed interactions the CHS had with Trump campaign advisers. Those advisers would all later identify Halper as the individual with whom they had spoken, making clear that Halper was the unidentified CHS.

    Significantly, in his August 11, 2016, conversation with the FBI, Halper “relayed an incident s/he witnessed when CROSSFIRE RAZOR (CR) spoke at” an event that was redacted in the document. CROSSFIRE RAZOR was the codename for Flynn.

    According to Halper, while he was unsure of the date of the event at which Flynn spoke, he remembered that at the time, Flynn still held his position in the U.S. Intelligence Community. Halper told the FBI that after Flynn spoke and socialized with various individuals (whose names were redacted) at dinner and over drinks, Flynn got into a cab to go to the train station to catch a train to London. “The CHS stated that a woman, SVETLANA LOKHOVA, surprised everyone and got into [Flynn’s] cab and joined [Flynn] on the train ride to London.” Halper further “recalled that LOKHOVA ‘latched’ onto Flynn when he was at the [dinner.].” 

    The electronic communication further documented Halper saying he was “somewhat suspicious of LOKHOVA,” and that he “believes that LOKHOVA’S father may be a Russian Oligarch living in London.” That portion of the report ended by noting that Halper “could not provide further information on [Flynn] and LOKHOVA’S trip.”

    An electronic communication memorializing the FBI’s interview with Halper the following day, on August 12, 2016, recorded Halper providing more texture to the supposed Flynn-Lokhova rendezvous. Specifically, Halper clarified to the team where Lokhova supposedly got into the cab with Flynn before joining him on the train to London. 

    False Claims

    Contrary to Halper’s claims to the FBI, however, he did not attend the February 2014 Cambridge dinner at which Flynn, then-President Obama’s director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, spoke and at which Lokhova, then a graduate student at Cambridge, attended. Nor did Lokhova leave the dinner with Flynn; she also did not jump into a cab with him and did not accompany him to London on the train. 

    Nonetheless, according to Lokhova’s amended complaint, Halper repeated his false allegations about her and “General Flynn to various members of the media who, upon information and belief, include, among others, journalists working for the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.” In turn, Lokhova alleged, “[M]any commentators, from national television hosts to ordinary citizens on social media, credited the false allegations that Plaintiff was a Russian spy who had ensnared General Flynn in a sexual or romantic imbroglio at the behest of the Kremlin.”

    Halper’s claims to the FBI, Lokhova added, were also “a key reason why the FBI opened a subpart of [the Crossfire Hurricane] investigation that specifically focused on General Flynn,” with the FBI opening the separate investigation into Flynn just “one working day after Halper’s meeting at the FBI.”

    In her lawsuit against Halper, Lokhova seeks recovery for the alleged false statements of fact he made to Post Hill Press and Simon & Schuster, namely that Halper falsely told the publisher and distributor of her proposed book that she had defamed him. Lokhova also seeks damages from Halper for tortiously interfering with her book contract. With Judge Leonie Brinkema denying Halper’s motion to dismiss Lokhova’s lawsuit on Friday, the historian and author now has an opportunity to obtain justice from Halper for his alleged defamatory statements.

    Even Bigger Problems

    But beyond vindicating her own interests, Lokhova’s lawsuit against Halper also provides a reminder of the problems the Crossfire Hurricane and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team had with the confidential human sources who supposedly aided their investigation into Trump’s purported collusion with Russia.

    From the FBI’s electronic communication summary, it appears that Halper, who reportedly served as a confidential human source for the FBI from 2008 until his presumptive termination following his involvement in the targeting of Trump and the Trump campaign, lied to the FBI about Lokhova and Flynn and then repeated those lies to various members of the media. According to Lokhova, Halper did not even attend the event at which he claimed he “witnessed” her “latch” onto Flynn. And since she did not leave the event with Flynn and did not jump into a cab with him — much less journey to London with him — Halper’s claims to the FBI were not merely false, but knowingly so. 

    The federal judge hearing Halper’s Motion to Dismiss on Friday concluded that the documents could reasonably support that conclusion. “There are now a fair number of documentations that do, in fact, link your client to being this source, and more specific information that the description about the meeting in England with Mr. Flynn that this witness that Mr. Halper was, in fact, not present and therefore may have made clear misstatements to the FBI,” the court noted. At the early stage of the court proceedings, there “would seem to be enough to suggest that there may, in fact, be some falsehoods going on here on your client’s behalf,” Judge Brinkema said to Halper’s attorney.

    Halper’s apparent lies about Flynn and Lokhova render his other CHS reporting suspect as well. And that other “reporting” was widespread, with Halper also serving as a CHS in questioning former Trump campaign advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page. Halper also wore a wire when he questioned Trump’s then co-campaign chair, Sam Clovis, on behalf of the FBI. 

    In fact, it appears Halper also misrepresented his interactions with Page during his August 11, 2016, interview with the FBI. The electronic communication summary of that debriefing stated that Halper “explained to the team that s/he had a private meeting with [Carter Page] on or about 7/18/2018.” Halper told the team, the document continued, “that the purpose of the meeting was to ask the CHS if s/he would want to join the Trump campaign as a foreign policy adviser.” 

    However, in an exclusive interview with The Federalist in 2020 — which followed the Inspector General’s release of its report on FISA abuse but preceded the declassification of the electronic communication summary of Halper’s conversations with the FBI — Page stated unequivocally that he never asked Halper “to be a foreign policy advisor for the Trump campaign.” And though “it is possible, Page acknowledged, that they explored some ways Halper might get involved indirectly at some point down the road,” it is “an extraordinary mischaracterization,” to say that he had asked Halper “to be a foreign policy advisor for the Trump campaign.”

    Not only did Halper apparently mischaracterize his conversation with Page to the FBI, but it was also Halper and not the FBI who raised Page as a potential tasking for the former CHS. According to the case agent, “[T]he plan going into the meeting was to talk generally with [Halper] about Russian ‘interference in the election, what [Halper] may know, and … to bring up Papadopoulos.’” The FBI made no mention of Page and intended to task Halper solely with “‘reaching out to Papadopoulos which would allow the Crossfire Hurricane team to collect assessment information on Papadopoulos and potentially conduct an operation,’ when Halper inquired about whether the FBI also had an interest in Page.”

    The Inspector General’s report on FISA abuse related to Page would later note that Halper’s handling agent found it “serendipitous” that Halper “had contacts with three of their four subjects, including Carter Page.” They “couldn’t believe [their] luck,” the handling agent noted, upon learning that Halper knew Flynn and Paul Manafort, and had crossed paths with Page just weeks before.

    These facts, the seeming lies Halper told the FBI about Lokhova, and his apparent “extraordinary mischaracterization” of his discussions with Page leave one to wonder who was handling whom — and whether Special Counsel John Durham will ever answer that question.


    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.

    Stefan Halper Was Just Another Hack Who Helped Peddle the Russia-Collusion Hoax


    REPORTED BY: MARGOT CLEVELAND | MARCH 21, 2022

    Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/03/21/stefan-halper-was-just-another-hack-who-helped-peddle-the-russia-collusion-hoax/

    Stefan Halper on the Bill Walton show

    Nearly six years have passed since Hillary Clinton and her cronies launched their plot to frame Donald Trump as a co-conspirator of Russia to distract Americans from Clinton’s scandals. Since then, by bits and pieces, the public has learned of Clinton’s role in peddling the Russia collusion hoax to both the press and intelligence agencies. While there is still much to uncover, a recent exposé of the man the FBI tapped as the key Confidential Human Source (CHS) in investigating the Trump campaign confirmed Spygate’s method of operation: creating mythical men on whose deceitful shoulders the media and the FBI then stood.

    While Stefan Halper’s name and the monikers used to identify him in government reports—“Source 2,” or merely “CHS”—appeared regularly in reporting unraveling the Russia collusion hoax, only lately did Halper’s history undergo a thorough vetting. In a recent article, Real Clear Investigations’ Mark Hemingway traced Halper’s history through archived documents and interviews with associates. He uncovered two themes girding Halper’s parallel careers of government informant and Cambridge academic.

    Stefan Halper’s Recipe for Success

    From his earliest days in government until his retreat from Cambridge University following his outing as a player in the Russian collusion hoax, Halper advanced his professional persona, decade upon decade, by taking creative license with his credentials and exploiting his connections. Puffery appeared in both Halper’s public biography and resumes reviewed by Real Clear Investigations, leaving unanswered the question of whether Halper ever obtained the Ph.D. he claimed later allowed him to reinvent himself as an academic at Cambridge. Before then, Halper appeared to muddle through a variety of low-level jobs in the federal government, until the mid-1970s. That’s when Halper’s career received a boost when he married Sibyl Cline, the daughter of the well-respected Ray S. Cline.

    The senior Cline, who held top intelligence positions with the federal government since the second world war, reportedly arranged for the Ronald Reagan State Department to hire Halper. During the Reagan administration, Halper became close to, among others, Oliver North, but after the Iran-Contra scandal and some time in banking and D.C. think tanks, Halper transitioned to academia. He became a professor at Cambridge University in 2001, where three years later he would claim a second Ph.D.

    In addition to the political and other connections Halper accumulated during his 30 years in the D.C. bubble, once at Cambridge, Halper expanded his network across the Atlantic. Halper became cozy with three other characters who later played roles—some prominent—in the Russia collusion hoax. These included Richard Dearlove, the former chief of the British intelligence service MI6; Christopher Andrew, the official historian for the domestic intelligence agency, MI5; and Christopher Steele, who worked under Dearlove at MI6.

    Highly Useful Connections

    While at Cambridge, the reinvented Halper leveraged his professorship, profiting to the tune of nearly $1 million by writing research papers of questionable worth for the U.S. Department of Defense. Halper added to his wallet by serving as a CHS for the FBI from 2008 until January 2011, when the FBI dropped him for aggressiveness toward a handling agent over a fee dispute. Two months later, the FBI reopened Halper as a CHS, giving him a stern warning that this was his last opportunity with the bureau.

    Beyond these money-making ventures that kept Halper connected with players at the DOD and FBI, the academic apparently stayed close to elite members of the American media, including David Ignatius, the foreign affairs columnist for The Washington Post. According to Steven Schrage, who completed his Cambridge Ph.D. under Halper’s supervision, “Halper knew Ignatius for decades” and “bragged’ that “Ignatius was his press contact.”

    Another Cambridge student, the Russian-born U.K. historian Svetlana Lokhova who was later sold as a Russian “honey pot,” likewise connected Halper to Ignatius. Lokhova told The Federalist that in May 2018, shortly after Halper was outed as a CIA and FBI informant, she spoke with Ignatius, and when she “registered surprise about Halper’s role” as a CHS, that prompted Ignatius to say he “always found Halper reliable as a source.”

    These connections all later proved key to advancing the Russia collusion hoax, but it was Halper’s role as a Cambridge academic that cemented his insertion into the scandal. As a faculty member at the British university, Halper participated in seminars and conferences, including the mid-July 2016 Cambridge University conference at which Halper first met then-Trump campaign advisor Carter Page.

    Enter: 2016 Campaign

    While initially Halper seemed uninterested in the young Trump advisor, that suddenly changed after Dearlove arrived at the conference and spoke privately with Halper. According to the conference organizer, Halper suddenly “seemed desperately interested in isolating, cornering, and ingratiating himself to Page and promoting him­­­self to the Trump campaign.”

    Hillary Clinton surrogate Madeline Albright also attended the conference, serving as a keynote speaker. While there, Albright attended a small, private dinner with Halper. Then, just days after the Cambridge conference ended, Albright proclaimed that “Vladimir Putin wants Donald Trump to defeat Hillary Clinton.” The Clinton booster added that “Russia was likely behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s emails.”

    That Albright began peddling the Russia collusion hoax in late July 2016, not long after leaving Halper’s side, seems suspect given that earlier that month Halper had forecast a similar approach to defeating Trump during a Cambridge lecture series on “the phenomenon which is ‘Trump’s maverick candidacy.’” At the time, Halper told his audience that “the deficits in Clinton’s campaign” left the election “almost too close to call.” “If the media focuses on Clinton, she will lose, whereas if they continue to focus on Trump, he will lose,” Halper predicted.

    Worming Into Trump Campaign Connections

    Two weeks later, the FBI launched the Crossfire Hurricane investigation into the Trump campaign. Soon after that, Halper’s long-time handler, Stephen Somma, visited Halper at his home to request his assistance. According to Somma, he proposed meeting with Halper because Halper “had been affiliated with national political campaigns since the early 1970s,” while Somma “lacked a basic understanding of simple issues, for example what the role of a ‘foreign policy advisor’ entails.”

    During Somma’s August 11, 2016, visit with Halper, the FBI handler asked Halper whether he knew George Papadopoulos, who then was serving as a Trump campaign advisor. Halper didn’t, but agreed to speak with Papadopoulos.

    Halper then volunteered that he knew a second foreign policy advisor, Page, and asked whether Somma and his team had any interest in Page. Halper also told Somma he “had known Trump’s then campaign manager, [Paul] Manafort, for a number of years and that he had been previously acquainted with Michael Flynn.”

    Halper’s claim to know Flynn proved another unsupported boast. He nonetheless told Somma and the other members of the Crossfire Hurricane team of an “incident” he supposedly witnessed at Cambridge involving Flynn. According to Halper, after Flynn spoke to a small group over dinner and drinks at Cambridge, another attendee, the Russian-born Svetlana Lokhova, “surprised everyone” and jumped in Flynn’s cab, then left with Flynn to London. Halper added that he was “suspicious of Lokhova” because of her Russian connections. However, contrary to Halper’s tale, Flynn had never met Halper and Halper had not attended the Cambridge gathering at which both Flynn and Lokhova were guests. Halper’s claim that Lokhova left with Flynn also proved false. Nonetheless, press reports later repeated the story and suggested Flynn had been compromised by the unnamed Russian student. Lokhova would later sue Halper for defamation, pinning him as the source of the false reports.

    Somma and others, however, seemed unaware of Halper’s fabrication. They couldn’t believe their luck that Halper supposedly knew three of the four subjects of Crossfire Hurricane. So, over the ensuing weeks, Halper would wear a wire and question Papadopoulos, Page, and even the co-chair of the Trump campaign, Sam Clovis.

    Fabricating an Excuse to Spy on Trump’s Campaign

    That Halper could arrange a meeting with one of Trump’s top campaign officials mere months before the November election is a testament to Halper’s 50 years of political schmoozing and ladder climbing—further confirmed when Clovis proceeded to have an unguarded hour-long chat with Halper discussing details about Trump’s strategy to defeat Hillary.

    Halper came away from these meetings with nothing of import to the investigation into Trump’s supposed collusion with Russia. Nonetheless, the FBI referenced Halper and portions of his wired conversations with Page in the four FISA applications that resulted in the FBI illegally surveilling Page. Omitted from the FISA applications, however, were comments Page made to Halper that conflicted with portions of the Steele dossier.

    While the FBI used only minor details acquired by Halper in the FISA applications, Halper’s cross-continental connections with the intelligence communities, political players, and the press, likely advanced the Russia collusion hoax in ways still fully unknown. This likelihood seems strong when one considers how, when the Spygate scandal began to unravel, the same media that had peddled the Russia collusion hoax began a public relations campaign for the players behind the plot, including Halper.

    Running Cover for Spies

    At first, the press presented the unidentified Halper as “an American academic” and as “an informant” or “source” whose anonymity had to be preserved to safeguard him. To bolster his credentials, the reporting stressed Halper’s position as a professor, highlighted his longtime work for both the FBI and CIA, and cast him as an informant who “aided the Russia investigation both before and after special counsel Robert S. Mueller III‘s appointment.” Then, in a transparent attempt to paint the still-unnamed Halper as a selflessness patriot, the media focused on the “great risks” informants take “when working for intelligence services.”

    After he was outed, the Russia-hoax team continued to highlight Halper’s position as a “Cambridge professor” and long-time CHS to preserve the myth of a respected academic and dedicated and reliable informant. The Washington Post ran a puff piece on Halper soon after his name became public, telling its audience “Halper’s connections to the intelligence world have been present throughout his career and at Cambridge, where he ran an intelligence seminar that brought together past and present intelligence officials.”

    The Post continued its gushing profile by highlighting Halper’s collaboration with Dearlove, the former head of Britain’s foreign intelligence service, and their sponsorship of a “seminar that drew Michael Flynn, then director of the Defense Intelligence Agency,” to attend. Also stressed was Halper’s academic work, with the Post noting that Halper had taught “international affairs and American studies at Cambridge from 2001 until 2015, when he stepped down with the honorary title of emeritus senior fellow of the Centre of International Studies, . . .”

    The remainder of the article then unquestioningly parroted much of Halper’s resume, before quoting an unnamed U.S. government official saying of Halper: “He thinks well. He writes critically. And he knows a lot of people whose insights he can tap for us as well.”

    However, as Real Clear Investigations revealed in its exposé on Halper, he held neither the academic cachet nor the gravitas a seasoned informant might. But what Halper lacked in pedigree, he compensated for with his arsenal of connections that allowed him to whisper into the right ears just what the listener wanted to hear.

    In this respect, Halper proves no different than Steele or Rodney Joffe: They are all mythical men, molded by the Clinton campaign, the media, and those complicit in the government to sell the tale of Trump colluding with Russia. In reality, though, they aren’t the James Bond, Jack Ryan, and Jason Bourne that we were sold—they are the Three Stooges with better agents.


    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.

    Ex-FBI Lawyer Receives Probation For Altering Email About Carter Page


    Reported by CHUCK ROSS, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER | January 29, 2021

    Read more at https://dailycaller.com/2021/01/29/kevin-clinesmith-sentencing-carter-page-john-durham/

    Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith was sentenced to probation on Friday for altering an email about former Trump aide Carter Page’s relationship with the CIA. District Court Judge James Boasberg ordered Clinesmith to receive 12 months of probation and perform 400 hours of community service, a sentence far more lenient than the three to six months in prison sought by John Durham, the U.S. Attorney for Connecticut.

    Clinesmith, who was an assistant general counsel in the FBI’s cyber law branch, pleaded guilty on Aug. 19, 2020 to altering a June 2017 email he received from a CIA employee regarding Page.  The CIA employee wrote that Page had been “a source” for the spy agency through 2013. Clinesmith forwarded the email to FBI colleagues but altered the document to say that Page was “not a source.” (RELATED: Carter Page Wants A Say At Kevin Clinesmith’s Hearing)

    Clinesmith helped the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team, which investigated possible links between the Russian government and Trump campaign, draft applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants on Page. He later joined the special counsel’s team, but was removed after the Justice Department inspector general found that he sent text messages criticizing President Trump following the 2016 election.

    The IG blasted the FBI for providing misleading information to the FISA Court in order to obtain warrants on Page, a former Navy officer who joined the Trump campaign in March 2016. The Crossfire Hurricane team relied heavily on unverified and since-debunked allegations from Christopher Steele, a former British spy who investigated the Trump campaign on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC. Prosecutors asserted that Clinesmith had not taken full responsibility for his actions. They noted that he has claimed that he believed the alteration to be accurate at the time.

    Anthony Scarpelli, an assistant U.S. attorney, said during the hearing that Clinesmith’s lies about Carter Page were “more egregious” than those told by George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign aide who pleaded guilty in October 2017 to making false statements to the FBI. Speaking at Clinesmith’s hearing, Page said that the “manufactured scandal and associated lies caused me to adopt the lifestyle of an international fugitive for years.”

    “I often have felt as if I had been left with no life at all. Each member of my family was severely impacted.”

    Page has sued the Justice Department, FBI, Clinesmith and other current and former FBI employees over the inaccurate FISA applications.

    Senate Panel Approves Subpoenas For ‘Spygate’ Figure Stefan Halper, 40 Others


    Reported by REUTERS/Erin Schaff | CHUCK ROSS, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER | September 16, 202011:13 AM ET

    URL of the originating web site: https://dailycaller.com/2020/09/16/ron-johnson-subpoena-stefan-halper/

    A Senate committee voted along party lines on Wednesday to authorize depositions and subpoenas for 41 individuals as part of a review of the Trump-Russia investigation. The vote authorizes Sen. Ron Johnson, the Republican chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, to subpoena Stefan Halper, a former University of Cambridge professor who served as a confidential source for the FBI during Crossfire Hurricane, the name of the Trump-Russia counterintelligence investigation.

    The committee also approved issuing a subpoena for Steven Somma, an FBI counterintelligence investigator who served as Halper’s handling agent. A Justice Department inspector general’s report released on Dec. 9 faulted Somma for numerous errors during Crossfire Hurricane.

    The Senate committee voted in June to issue subpoenas for 35 people on Johnson’s witness wish list, but Democrats raised a procedural issue that required a new vote on Wednesday. (RELATED: GOP Senator Seeks Subpoena For ‘Spygate’ Professor)

    Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, the top Democrat on HSAGC, voiced his opposition to the subpoenas ahead of the vote on Wednesday. He accused Johnson of leading a politically-motivated investigation aimed at helping President Donald Trump.

    Johnson has sought interviews with former FBI officials who led Crossfire Hurricane, including James Comey, Andrew McCabe, James Baker, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

    He is also seeking depositions for former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

    Also on the list are Cody Shearer and Sidney Blumenthal, two longtime Clinton allies who circulated a dossier that accused Donald Trump of illicit sex acts in Russia. The allegations are similar to those in the dossier by former British spy Christopher Steele.

    Jonathan Winer, a former State Department official, obtained the so-called Shearer dossier from Blumenthal, and in turn shared it with Steele. Steele passed the report to the FBI.

    Johnson also plans to subpoena Winer as part of his investigation.

    Clinesmith, In Order to Save Himself, Has Implicated Others on Crossfire Hurricane — Who Ultimately Hid the Exculpatory Info From the FISA Court?


    Reported By Cristina Laila | Published August 14, 2020 at 2:31pm

    Former FBI Attorney Kevin Clinesmith is expected to plead guilty to altering Carter Page evidence to support the FISA warrant used to spy on the Donald Trump campaign in 2016. However, Clinesmith, in order to save himself, implicated others on Crossfire Hurricane.

    38-year-old Clinemsith altered an email from CIA investigators used to request a FISA warrant and renewals on Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. Carter Page previously worked as a source for the CIA, however Clinesmith falsely said Page was “never” a CIA source.

    According to Durham’s charging document (and also in IG Horowitz’s report), “certain individuals” on the Crossfire Hurricane were told in an August 2016 memorandum that Page was a CIA asset — so who else knew? Despite members of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team knowing Carter Page was a CIA asset, that information was omitted from the first three FISA warrants on Page.

    “Mr. Clinesmith had provided the unchanged C.I.A. email to Crossfire Hurricane agents and the Justice Department lawyer drafting the original [October 2016] wiretap application,” Techno Fog posted from the New York Times report.

    So who else knew about the lies?

    So who, ultimately, hid the exculpatory information from the FISA court?

    According to the Associated Press, Clinesmith will be charged in a DC court with one count of making a false statement.

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    FBI Bruce Ohr TESTIFIES: FBI Tried to Bring Down Trump


    Reported by Kevin Jackson |

    Rep. Adam Schiff

    What happens when the reason you gave for investigating Trump falls apart?

    We are about to find out. Because according to The Daily Caller,

    Justice Department official Bruce Ohr’s testimony about his meetings with FBI officials regarding dossier author Christopher Steele severely undercuts claims made in 2018 by California Rep. Adam Schiff and his fellow Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee. Ohr told lawmakers Aug. 28, 2018, he briefed top FBI officials Andrew McCabe and Lisa Page in early August 2016, just days after he met with Steele, a former British spy who was investigating then-candidate Donald Trump. Ohr testified he told McCabe and Page about his interactions with Steele, who was working at the time for Fusion GPS, a Democrat-funded opposition research firm.

    The FBI relied heavily on Steele’s unverified dossier to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

    But there is more to the dossier, based on Steele’s admission to Ohr.

    The article continues,

    In a memo dated Feb. 2, 2018, House Intelligence Republicans, led by then-Chairman Devin Nunes, asserted the FBI filed to disclose in their FISA applications Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS. They also noted in the so-called Nunes memo that the FISA applications do not reveal Steele’s anti-Trump bias. Ohr claimed Steele told him during a meeting Sept. 23, 2016, he was “desperate” that Trump not win election.

    So we have a fake dossier, presented by a foreigner who hated Donald Trump. And the FBI knew this information. Yet, they still continued to pursue FISA warrants.

    No longer can the FBI pretend they were unaware until later, because Ohr testified he had shared details of his contacts with Steele with the FBI prior to the election.

    Let’s review the cast of characters and where they fit past and present.

    In addition to the meeting in early August 2016, Ohr met in late September 2016 or early the next month with Page, FBI counterintelligence deputy chief Peter Strzok, and Justice Department officials Bruce Swartz, Zainab Ahmad and Andrew Weissmann. Ahmad and Weissmann are currently working on the special counsel’s investigation.

    Unbelievably, Mueller’s team remains comprised of people who undoubtedly were out to get Donald Trump, pre and post-election. Still, Democrats pretend that Mueller and team remain unbiased?

    Although Mueller will eventually become the fall guy for the Democrats, let’s not forget what Democrats said of Ohr’s role in this, as well as their contention about the timeline.

    The FBI obtained its first FISA against Page on Oct. 21, 2016, weeks after that meeting.

    Ohr’s testimony conflicts with House Intelligence Democrats’ claim in a memo released Feb. 24, 2018, that served as a rebuttal to the Nunes memo.

    That document sought to defend the FBI’s handling of the Steele dossier and its applications for the first FISA warrant.

    Democrats asserted Ohr did not meet with the FBI until after the 2016 election and thus had no opportunity to tell the FBI his wife worked for Fusion GPS. He was also unable to relay that Steele had communicated anti-Trump bias to him.

    “[Republicans] mischaracterize[s] Bruce Ohr’s role, overstates the significance of his interactions with Steele, and misleads about the timeframe of Ohr’s communication with the FBI,” the so-called Schiff memo reads.

    To put this simply, the FBI used the Steele dossier as evidence against Carter page. But when pressed, they claimed to have only been briefed on the dossier post-election.

    I can’t wait to see bug-eyed Adam Schiff try to talk his way out of this one.

    Emails Shed Light On Peter Strzok’s Role In Carter Page FISA Process


    Chuck Ross | Reporter

    During a closed-door interview on June 27, former FBI official Peter Strzok downplayed his role in obtaining surveillance warrants to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The Daily Beast reported that Strzok, the former deputy chief of counterintelligence, claimed in the interview that he had no substantive input on drafting or securing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants used to spy on Page, an energy consultant who left the Trump team in September 2016.

    Strzok also denied providing evidence for the FISAs, the first of which was granted on Oct. 21, 2016.

    A Republican in the June 27 interview confirmed that Strzok, who oversaw the Russian investigation, denied having a direct role in the FISA process. But the Republican was also incredulous at Strzok’s suggestion that he had little to do with the spy warrants obtained against Page. (RELATED: Goodlatte: FBI Lawyers Instructed Strzok Not To Answer ‘Many, Many’ Questions)

    A new report appears to justify the Republican’s skepticism.

    The Hill’s John Solomon is reporting that Strzok exchanged emails with FBI attorney Lisa Page regarding the Carter Page surveillance. Strzok and Lisa Page exchanged numerous anti-Trump text messages during their work on the Russia probe, which was codenamed “Crossfire Hurricane.” In one Aug. 8, 2016 message, Strzok told Page that “we’ll stop” Trump from becoming president.

    Strzok, who was the FBI’s top investigator on Crossfire Hurricane, sent an email with the subject line “Crossfire FISA” to Lisa Page discussing a set of talking points aimed at getting then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to push the Department of Justice (DOJ) to approve a surveillance warrant against Carter Page, according to The Hill.

    “At a minimum, that keeps the hurry the F up pressure on him,” Strzok emailed Lisa Page on Oct. 14, 2016, according to The Hill.

    Strzok also commented on a letter that Carter Page sent to then-FBI Director Jim Comey offering to meet with the FBI to discuss allegations made against him in a Yahoo! News article published on Sept. 23, 2016.

    “At a minimum, the letter provides us a pretext to interview,” Strzok wrote to Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair, on Sept. 26, 2016.

    The Yahoo! News article claimed that U.S. government officials were looking into allegations that Carter Page met secretly in Moscow in July 2016 with two sanctioned Kremlin insiders. It would later be learned that the article, written by Michael Isikoff, was based on information from Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier.

    The dossier claimed that Page was the Trump campaign’s conduit to the Kremlin for the collusion conspiracy. Page has vehemently denied all of the allegations, and no evidence has emerged to support the Steele dossier’s claims about him.

    The FBI and DOJ’s spy warrants relied heavily on the Steele dossier, which remains largely unverified and uncorroborated, in order to convince a federal judge to allow spying against Carter Page. The FISA applications also cited the Isikoff article that relied on the dossier, though without disclosing that the article was derived from Steele.

    The applications also did not disclose that the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC had financed the dossier. A law firm for both organizations hired opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which in turn hired Steele.

    Despite Strzok’s suggestion of an interview with Carter Page, the FBI did not meet with him until March 2017, six months after the email and two months after BuzzFeed News published the dossier. Page has questioned why the FBI waited so long to interview him.

    The FBI used other methods to keep tabs on the former Trump aide. As The Daily Caller News Foundation first reported, an FBI informant named Stefan Halper made contact with Page during a conference at the University of Cambridge on July 11, 2016, nearly three weeks before the start of Crossfire Hurricane. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Cambridge Prof With CIA, MI6 Ties Kept Tabs On Carter Page During Campaign, Beyond)

    Halper, a veteran of three Republican presidential administrations, maintained contact with Page for over a year, until September 2017. That was the same month that the fourth and final FISA warrant against Carter Page expired.

    Halper met with two other Trump campaign advisers, Sam Clovis and George Papadopoulos. Halper paid Papadopoulos $3,000 in September 2016 to travel to London under the guise of writing a policy paper and Mediterranean energy issues.

    Papadopoulos has told associates that during dinner one night in London, Halper asked him about Russian efforts to steal Hillary Clinton emails.

    Strzok’s attorney, Aitan Goelman, did not respond to an email seeking comment for this article.

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    EXCLUSIVE: Cambridge Prof With CIA, MI6 Ties Met With Trump Adviser During Campaign, Beyond


    Reported by Chuck Ross | Reporter | 11:10 AM 05/17/2018

     

    Days after Carter Page’s high-profile trip to Moscow in July 2016, the Trump campaign adviser had his first encounter with Stefan Halper, a University of Cambridge professor with CIA and MI6 contacts.

    The conversation seemed innocent enough, Page tells The Daily Caller News Foundation. He recalls nothing of substance being discussed other than Halper’s passing mention that he knew then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort. But the interaction was one of many that the pair would have over the next 14 months, through a period of time when Page was under the watchful eye of the U.S. government.

    Their relationship included a number of in-person meetings, including at Halper’s farm in Virginia.

     
     

    Page’s encounters with Halper were quite different from those that another Trump campaign adviser had during the campaign with the 73-year-old academic. As TheDCNF reported exclusively in March, Halper and George Papadopoulos met several times over a period of a few days in Sept. 2016. Several days earlier, Halper contacted and met with a third Trump campaign official. That official, who has requested anonymity, told TheDCNF that Halper expressed interest in helping the campaign.

    Unlike with Page, Halper’s relationship with Papadopoulos was ostensibly more of a business arrangement than a fledgling friendship.

    Halper, a veteran of the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations, unsolicitedly contacted Papadopoulos on Sept. 2 with an offer to fly the Trump associate to London for several nights to discuss a policy paper about energy issues in Turkey, Cyprus and Israel. Papadopoulos, who has worked on energy issues at various think tanks, accepted the offer and flew to London.

    Papadopoulos and Halper met several times during that stay, having dinner one night at the Travellers Club, an Old London gentleman’s club frequented by international diplomats. They were accompanied by Halper’s assistant, a Turkish woman named Azra Turk. Sources familiar with Papadopoulos’s claims about his trip say Turk flirted with him during their encounters and later on in email exchanges.

     

    Papadopoulos wrote the paper and delivered it in early October. He was paid $3,000 for the work. Days before making that payment, Halper had finalized a contract with the Office of Net Assessment, the Pentagon’s think tank. Federal records show that Halper has been paid $928,800 since 2012 for work on four policy projects for the Pentagon. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: A London Meeting Before The Election Aroused George Papadopoulos’s Suspicions)

    ***

    Halper’s contacts with Page and Papadopoulos are significant because they are two of four Trump associates who were targets of an FBI counterintelligence investigation nicknamed “Hurricane Crossfire.” Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn were the other two.

    The investigation melded exactly one year ago on Thursday with the probe being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Page has said he is not a target of that investigation, while Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his interactions with another professor, Joseph Mifsud.

    The New York Times published an extensive report on Wednesday detailing the origin of “Hurricane Crossfire,” which was formally opened on July 31, 2016.

    The probe was opened based on a tip from Alexander Downer, the Australian High Commissioner to the U.K. Downer said that in May 2016, Papadopoulos told him during a conversation in London about Russians having Clinton emails.

    That information was passed to other Australian government officials before making its way to U.S. officials. FBI agents flew to London a day after “Hurricane Crossfire” started in order to interview Downer.

    It is still not known what Downer says about his interaction with Papadopoulos, which TheDCNF is told occurred around May 10, 2016.

    About two weeks before that, Papadopoulos met in London with Mifsud. Papadopoulos has told the special counsel that during their conversations, Mifsud claimed to have learned that the Russian government had Clinton emails.

    Emails were also brought up during Papadopoulos’s meetings with Halper, though not by the Trump associate, according to sources familiar with his version of events. The sources say that during conversation, Halper randomly brought up Russians and emails. Papadopoulos has told people close to him that he grew suspicious of Halper because of the remark.

    The Times’ Wednesday report included a major bombshell: Current and former government officials told the newspaper that “at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos.” (RELATED: Report: Government Informant Spied On Two Trump Campaign Aides)

    That detail matches up with a May 8 report from The Washington Post that an American citizen who has been a longtime FBI and CIA source has provided information about the Trump campaign that is now in the hands of the special counsel’s office.

    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has asked the Department of Justice for documents related to the source, but the agency has claimed that providing the information would put the source’s life at risk. Revealing information about the source would also jeopardize relationships with foreign intelligence services, the DOJ has argued. (RELATED: Secret Source Who Aided Mueller Probe Is Deemed Off Limits To Congress)

    Whether Halper is that source has been a subject of some speculation over the past week, with Halper’s name being floated by TV and radio pundits as well as Internet sleuths. Congressional investigators have refused to confirm or deny whether he is. The FBI declined comment when asked about The Times’ reporting about the informant. But current and former government officials have told TheDCNF that he is a person of significant importance to the investigation, though they have not said whether he is a source for the FBI or CIA.

    Whoever the source turns out to be, the fact that the FBI had an informant spying on the Trump campaign is likely to generate bitter partisan debate. Democrats will likely defend the maneuver on the grants that Trump aides’ activities warranted surveillance. Republicans have already started to point out that the use of informants undercuts Democrats’ denials that the government surveilled members of the Trump campaign.

    ***

    Page’s relationship with Halper tracks closely with the period when the Trump adviser was under heavy scrutiny from the federal government.

    By the time he joined the campaign in March 2016, Page was already known to the FBI, though not because of any criminal activity. FBI agents interviewed him in 2013 as part of an investigation into a Russian spy ring operating in New York. Page said he met with one of the Russians and provided him with academic papers he had written.

    The FBI put Page back on its radar at around the time he joined the Trump campaign. In late-spring 2016, top government officials, including then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and then-FBI Director James Comey, discussed whether to alert the Trump campaign to Page’s past interactions with the Russian spy ring. But government officials decided against providing the information.

    Page’s visit to Moscow, where he spoke at the New Economic School on July 8, 2016, is said to have piqued the FBI’s interest even further. Page and Halper spoke on the sidelines of an election-themed symposium held at Cambridge days later. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6 and a close colleague of Halper’s, spoke at the event.

    Page was invited to the event in June by a University of Cambridge doctoral candidate.

    Page would enter the media spotlight in September 2016 after Yahoo! News reported that the FBI was investigating whether he met with two Kremlin insiders during that Moscow trip.

    It would later be revealed that the Yahoo! article was based on unverified information from Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the dossier regarding the Trump campaign. Steele’s report, which was funded by Democrats, also claimed Page worked with Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on the collusion conspiracy.

    Page and Manafort have vehemently denied the allegations, with both men saying they don’t know each other.

    The FBI and DOJ would cite the dossier and the Yahoo! article in an application for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant against Page. The spy warrant was granted on Oct. 21, 2016, weeks after Page left the Trump team. The warrant would be renewed three times, in January, April and June. It expired in Sept. 2017, at around the time that Page and Halper fell out of contact. Page did not describe his final contacts with Halper. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: In Private, Papadopoulos Denies Collusion)

    ***

    Halper has links to the CIA stretching back decades. His late father-in-law was Ray Cline, a CIA legend who served as director of the agency’s bureau of intelligence and research. Halper also worked with a team of former CIA officers on George H.W. Bush’s unsuccessful 1980 presidential primary bid.

    Halper was reportedly in charge of a team of former CIA analysts who kept tabs on the Jimmy Carter campaign.

    At Cambridge, Halper has worked closely with Dearlove, the former chief of MI6. In recent years they have directed the Cambridge Security Initiative, a non-profit intelligence consulting group that lists “UK and US government agencies” among its clients.

    In Dec. 2016, both Halper and Dearlove threatened to resign from the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar because of what Halper said was “unacceptable Russian influence on the group.”

    Halper has not responded to numerous requests for comment. A man answered a phone call placed to Halper’s number in March but denied that he was the professor. Azra Turk, the woman who accompanied Halper during his meetings with Papadopoulos, recently shut down her phone service.

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    Today’s Ann Coulter Letter: “Carter Page: Agent 000”


    Commentary by Ann Coulter  

    If you’ve been watching MSNBC and, consequently, have no idea what was in the CONTROVERSIAL! DISPUTED! AMATEURISH! memo released by the House Intelligence Committee (the “Nunes memo”), here is a brief summary:

    • The Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee paid a Trump-hating British private eye, Christopher Steele, to produce a “dossier” on Trump, relying on Russian sources. 
    • The Department of Justice used the unverified dossier to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant against Carter Page, an alleged “foreign policy adviser” to Donald Trump and the last frayed thread of the Russian collusion story. The FISA court was not told who had paid Steele to create the “salacious and unverified” dossier — in the words of the showboating former FBI Director James Comey — much less about Steele’s personal hatred of Trump.

    After 18 months of steely-eyed investigation, the only parts of the dossier that have been “confirmed” are bland factual statements — Moscow is a city in Russia — while the untrue parts are anything having to do with Trump or his associates.

    As New York Times national security reporter Matthew Rosenberg explained to MSNBC’s easily excited Chris Hayes last March:

    “Both journalists and others who had copies of it for a long time have not been able to report much of it out. We’ve heard that, you know, the FBI and the Intelligence Community believe about 30 percent of it may be accurate, but most of that 30 percent, if not all, has been non-Trump stuff.”

    Four points:

    1. The only reason the hapless Carter Page was mentioned by Trump as a “foreign policy adviser” during the campaign was that the media and “foreign policy community” (FPC) threatened to excommunicate any FPC types who went near Trump, the better to laugh at him for having no decent foreign policy advisers.

    Danielle Pletka, with the “conservative” American Enterprise Institute, expressed the FPC’s disdain, telling the Times: “It’s always surprising when a member of our relatively tightly knit community is willing to sacrifice their reputation to stand with someone like Donald Trump.”

    This is standard procedure for the left, akin to how they treat black Republicans. Step One: Viciously attack any black person who works for a Republican. Step Two: Mock the GOP for being all white.

    Their slanders against Trump worked! No one from the FPC would associate with him, so in a moment of desperation, Trump read five names off a list, including Page’s, during an interview with The Washington Post.

    The New York Times, the next day:

    “Top Experts Confounded by Advisers to Trump …

    “… the Republican foreign policy establishment looked at them and had a pretty universal reaction: Who?

    “… even Google offered little but outdated biographies of Mr. Trump’s new cast of experts …

    “… None have spoken to their new boss.”

    This has led to an inane media narrative, with Page being simultaneously portrayed as an all-powerful spy of Kim Philby proportions — but also a laughable nobody. Or, as a Russian spy described him in an intercepted conversation back in 2013: “An idiot.”

    2. No one ever checks anything in Hollywood. You could go around claiming to have written “Gone With the Wind,” and you’ll never be busted.

    It’s the same in Washington, D.C., only worse. Contrary to the self-admiring cliche about Washington being a city that runs on power, almost no one in D.C. has any real power, so it’s a city that runs on suck-uppery and B.S. I personally know of five people who claim to be advising the president, who aren’t, and I don’t get out much. That’s why Page won’t just come out and say: DONALD TRUMP HAS NO EARTHLY IDEA WHO I AM.

    3. The use of the federal government’s spying powers against an American citizen is yet another problem of unrestricted, unvetted immigration.

    The only reason the FOREIGN Intelligence Surveillance Act can be used against American citizens in the first place is that we have all these “American citizens,” like Omar Mateen (Pulse nightclub), Syed Farook (San Bernardino), Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (Boston Marathon), and Abdulrahman al-Awlaki (killed by Obama drone strike in Yemen).

    Maybe like California’s new “Real” I.D. cards — required by the federal government because the state gives driver’s licenses to illegals — we could start distinguishing “American Citizens” from “Real American Citizens.”

    Because of this confusion, the FISA court that was supposed to be used against terrorists and spies is instead being used against Trump supporters. Here’s Malcolm Nance, terrorism analyst, smugly warning Page back in March 2017 on MSNBC:

    “I have a message for him, all right? U.S. intelligence is not going to be coming at him like a lawyer, right? We will turn on the entire power of the U.S. collection system. And if he is lying, it is going to become very well-known very quickly. … If there’s a FISA warrant out there … we have the ability to collect anything on him, including all of his finances and every relationship he has with anybody in this world.”

    If only the federal government were as gung-ho about spying on terrorists as it is to spy on Page, the FBI might not be a complete laughingstock right now. (My late father, an FBI agent, is rolling in his grave.)

    The FBI will still miss the next 9/11, but at least no one is going to forget to file with the Foreign Agents Registration Act anytime soon.

    4. Rep. Trey Gowdy recently defended the Mueller investigation in a clip that has now aired on TV more times than “The Shawshank Redemption.” According to Gowdy, the House Intelligence memo has nothing to do with Robert Mueller’s investigation because he’s just looking into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

    With all due respect to Gowdy, that’s not what Mueller is investigating.

    The letter from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointing Mueller expressly directs him to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”

    Since it has appeared for quite some time now that there is no collusion, the only thing left for Mueller to investigate is Trump’s “obstruction of justice,” i.e. Trump being pissed off that his time is being wasted.

    But without evidence of Trump colluding with the Russians, no independent counsel should have been appointed in the first place. The Department of Justice already has more than 10,000 lawyers. Why pay another dozen to look into foreign interference in our elections unless the president is implicated and can’t investigate himself?

    The reason Rosenstein appointed Mueller was that he believed the “salacious and unverified” dossier. We know that because Rosenstein personally signed one of the FISA warrant applications based on the dossier — backed up by a Yahoo article, which was also based on the dossier.

    A cabal of anti-Trump fanatics cooked up the Russia collusion story, and don’t-rock-the-boat bureaucrats went along with it, so we now have a behemoth investigative monster chasing unicorns.

    Trey Gowdy Gives Clues To What’s In FISA Abuse Memo [VIDEO]


    Reported by Chuck Ross | Reporter | 12:16 PM 01/28/2018

    Lawmakers have been reluctant to discuss a classified four-page memo alleging that the FBI and Justice Department abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in order to spy on Trump campaign associates, but South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy provided several clues on Sunday to what’s in the controversial document.

    In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Gowdy posed several questions to host Chris Wallace and his viewers that hinted at the allegations in the memo, which could be released by the House Intelligence Committee as early as this week.

    “If you think your viewers want to know whether or not the dossier was used in court proceedings, whether or not it was vetted before it was used, whether or not it’s ever been vetted — if you are interested in who paid for the dossier, if you are interested in Christopher Steele’s relationship with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, then, yes, you will want the memo to come out,” Gowdy told Wallace.

    Do you want to know that the Democratic National Committee paid for material that was never vetted, that was included in a court proceeding?” he asked rhetorically. 

    Do you want to know whether or not the primary source in these court proceedings had a bias against one candidate? Do you want to know whether or not he said he’d do anything to keep that candidate from becoming president?”

    Gowdy’s reference to a source who said they opposed Donald Trump is unclear, though he would seem to be talking about Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the dossier. Steele had been hired by Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm that was paid $1 million by the Clinton campaign and DNC to investigate Trump. Steele met with FBI agents in July 2016 and several months later to discuss his investigation of Trump. The bureau and DOJ reportedly used Steele’s work in an application for a surveillance warrant taken out against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

    Republican lawmakers have pressed the FBI and DOJ over how heavily they relied on the dossier for the warrant and for the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government. Republicans also want to know whether the agencies vetted the dossier prior to using it in any FISA application.

    In a Senate hearing last June, former FBI Director James Comey called the dossier “salacious and unverified.” Gowdy declined to confirm reports that the dossier was used to obtain the FISA warrant. He said that that information is classified at this point and he’s not allowed to discuss it. But Republicans will be able to get around that restriction if the Intelligence Committee votes to release the memo, which Gowdy helped write.

    Democratic lawmakers have called the memo a set of talking points aimed at helping Trump, and the Justice Department sent a letter to committee chairman Devin Nunes calling the release “extremely reckless.

    In his interview, Gowdy said that he has suggested that Nunes allow the FBI and Justice Department to view the memo prior to its release. But he says that the information contained in the document is based on information already provided by those agencies.

    “There’s nothing in this memo the Department is not already aware of,” Gowdy said on Sunday.

    WATCH:

    Schiff Clams Up About Blocking Witness Testimony In Russia Probe


    Reported by Photo of Kerry Picket Kerry Picket | Reporter | 6:44 PM 06/28/2017

    WASHINGTON — House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff refused to give a reason why he reportedly blocked witnesses related to his committee’s Russia probe from testifying.

    When first asked by The Daily Caller Tuesday about blocking witnesses scheduled to testify, Schiff only responded, “I don’t agree with the premise of your question.”

    TheDC asked Schiff again on Wednesday and mentioned Carter Page as an example of a witness who was scheduled to testify but was blocked by Schiff from doing so.

    Page is not the only witness who has been blocked. According to Politico, Trump confidant Roger Stone, and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort have also reportedly been stalled by Democrats in the committee.

    “Mr. Page is free to say whatever he wants about anything, but we’re not commenting on who we’ve scheduled to come before the committee or not scheduled so I can’t comment,” Schiff responded.

    TheDC pressed Schiff further asking if the California Democrat has a problem with Carter or if he refuses to talk about it because the matter is classified.

    “Again, I don’t want to accept the premise of your question,” Schiff replied.

    TheDC asked Schiff what “premise” he meant and what makes the matter so secretive to not want to comment on it.

    “I didn’t say it was classified. I’m just saying that anyone is free to talk about or not talk about whether they’re going to come before a committee, but as a practice we’re not talking about any witnesses we’ve scheduled or what our communications are, so that’s our policy — both mine and Mr. Conway’s,” he replied.

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