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Posts tagged ‘Fusion GPS’

Why didn’t FBI tell court about Christopher Steele bias?


Reported by Byron York  | July 26, 2018 09:49 PM

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., set off the argument last February, with the release of the so-called Nunes memo. In the memo, Nunes wrote, “Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts.”

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In another passage, Isikoff and Corn wrote: “As FBI officials saw it, Steele seemed more interested in getting the story out rather than quietly working with them on the investigation. ‘There was clearly an agenda on his part,’ one senior FBI official later said.”

So to conclude: The FBI based a substantial part of its warrant application on Steele’s work. Steele had a strong and clear anti-Trump bias. The FBI knew about it. The bureau should have informed the court. And it did not.

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:

EXCLUSIVE: House Intel Committee Has Received All Docs On Trump Dossier From DOJ, FBI


Reported by Richard Pollock | Reporter | 5:04 PM 01/08/2018

Rep. Devin Nunes Briefs Reporters At The White House On Intelligence Cmte Russia Investigation

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence members gained access to all Department of Justice and FBI documents it possesses on the Trump dossier, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

The committee was able to review Friday all FBI and DOJ documents on the Trump dossier, former MI-6 British agent Christopher Steele who authored the dossier, and Fusion GPS, the political opposition firm that hired Steele. DOJ also provided Obama administration applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which could approve the surveillance of the Trump transition team, according to a source with direct knowledge of the case.

The information could serve as a key breakthrough in the committee’s investigation of Steele, Fusion GPS and the Russians who influenced the dossiers’ contents.

The only exception to the release was an FBI one FD-302 document that FBI Director Christopher Wray showed only to Nunes. The document pertains to interviews of sources or suspects.  The committee also will have access to interview key Justice Department and FBI officials later in January.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes announced on Jan. 3 that assistant Attorney General Rob Rosenstein approved committee access to documents pertaining to Steele, Fusion GPS and any applications for surveillance of Trump transition officials. The committee’s document request was re-issued in a Jan. 4 letter from Nunes to Rosenstein.

The Intelligence Committee is seeking a clear understanding of how the FBI and Obama’s Justice Department officials used the dossier, which Steele compiled from unknown Russian sources. The dossier contained unverified and disparaging charges about Trumps activities in Russia.

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid Fusion GPS for the dossier. The intelligence committee is also investigating whether the FBI or the Justice Department also agreed to pay Steele for his information, how they used the information and what steps, if any, they took to verify its content.

The documents additionally could provide insights into the Obama administration’s request to “unmask” or force the intelligence community to reveal the identity of Trump transition officials who were in contact with diplomats and foreign principals.

The Justice Department and the FBI have actively stonewalled Congress since 2017 over the Obama administration’s relationship to Fusion GPS, Steele and its use of the dossier to obtain a warrant before the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court, which can authorize surveillance on American citizens.

Nunes expressed frustration with the lack of any response to the requests for documents in a December letter to Rosenstein. “Unfortunately, DOJ/FBI’s intransigence with respect to the August 24 subpoenas is part of a broader pattern of behavior that can no longer be tolerated,” he wrote.

“As a result of the numerous delays and discrepancies that have hampered the process of subpoena compliance, the committee no longer credits the representations made by DOJ and/or the FBI regarding these matters,” Nunes told Rosenstein.

The information also could be used for a criminal investigation of Steele.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, said he believed Steele lied to federal authorities about his contacts with reporters regarding information in the dossier, and he urged the department to investigate.

“I don’t take lightly making a referral for criminal investigation,” he said. “But, as I would with any credible evidence of a crime unearthed in the course of our investigations, I feel obliged to pass that information along to the Justice Department for appropriate review,” he said according to The New York Times.

TheDCNF contacted the White House for confirmation about the matter but has not yet received any response.

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DOJ Official Linked To Trump Dossier Leaves Another High-Level Post


Reported by Chuck Ross | Reporter | 3:08 PM 01/08/2018

A Justice Department official who was demoted last month after he was found to have links to the Trump dossier has left a second high-level position at the agency, The Daily Caller has confirmed. At the beginning of last month, Bruce Ohr held two positions at DOJ: associate deputy attorney general and director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF).

Fox News first reported on Monday that Ohr will no longer lead OCDETF. A Justice Department spokeswoman confirmed Ohr’s separation from that division but did not say whether Ohr resigned or was removed from the position.

Ohr’s job as associate deputy attorney general put him just a few office doors down from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential campaign.

But Ohr was removed from that position early last month after it was revealed that in 2016, he met separately with Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier, and with Glenn Simpson, the founder of the opposition research firm that commissioned the salacious document. Fox News first reported that Ohr met before the election with Steele, a former MI6 agent. He met just after the election with Simpson, who operates Fusion GPS. Ohr’s wife, a former CIA employee and Russia expert named Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS to investigate Trump during the campaign.

Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, told the House Intelligence Committee in November that he had met with Ohr. Fox News has reported that the Justice Department was not aware of Ohr’s links to Fusion GPS and the dossier.

Ohr is slated to meet with the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 17. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, agreed last week to make Ohr and several other DOJ and FBI officials available for interviews with the House panel.

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Federal Judge Deals HUGE Blow To Fusion GPS In Bank Records Battle


Reported by Chuck Ross | Reporter | 9:27 PM 01/04/2018

A federal judge has ruled against Fusion GPS in the Trump dossier firm’s quest to block the release of its bank records to the House Intelligence Committee. Judge Richard Leon shot down all four of Fusion’s arguments against the release of 70 records of transactions involving some of its clients as well as journalists and researchers it has paid since Sept. 2015.

Fusion sued its bank, TD Bank, in October, to prevent it from complying with a subpoena issued by the House Intelligence Committee, which has been looking into Fusion’s role in putting together the dossier. That subpoena, issued by committee chairman Devin Nunes on Oct. 5, prompted Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented the Clinton campaign and DNC, to reveal that it had hired Fusion GPS in April 2016 to investigate Trump. Fusion, which was founded by three former Wall Street Journal reporters, later hired Christopher Steele, a former British spy with experience in Moscow.

Fusion argued that the court should quash the committee’s subpoena on four separate grounds. The company argued that the subpoena for bank records lacked a valid legislative purpose, that it was too broad and the records being sought were not relevant to the committee’s Russia probe, that it violated Fusion’s First Amendment rights, and that it violated statutes prohibiting the release of bank records to government authorities.

Leon shot down all of the arguments, including Fusion’s assertion that Nunes had no grounds to issue a subpoena because he had recused himself back in April from the Russia probe.

“Unfortunately for plaintiff, the record contradicts its claims,” wrote Leon, a George W. Bush appointee.

Leon rebutted the claim — pushed by Fusion and Democrats alike — that Nunes had actually recused himself from the investigation. He pointed to Nunes’ oft-cited press release in which he ceded control of the committee’s day-to-day operations to Texas Rep. Conaway. But “nowhere in this press release did Chairman Nunes ‘recuse’ himself from the Russia investigation,” Leon notes. “He retained the power to issue the Subpoena at issue in this case.”

Leon also said that the committee’s subpoena is not overly broad. He noted that it has already been revealed that Fusion ordered Steele to brief several news outlets on the dossier. Therefore, the subpoena may reveal “relevant information” about payments to reporters.

The Intelligence committee has stated in past court filings that Fusion’s bank records shows that it has made nine separate payments to three unidentified journalists who wrote about or commented on Russia-related issues during the presidential campaign and into 2017. Fusion also did work for a Russian businessman with links to the Kremlin. The oppo firm was paid by the businessman’s law firm, BakerHostetler.

Leon also dismissed the idea that the bank subpoena violates Fusion’s First Amendment right to free association.

“Plaintiff points to no authority to support its theory that the freedom of association protects financial records,” says Leon.

Leon did not set a date for when TD Bank must release the Fusion bank records.

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So the Steele dossier was bought cheap. What did the other $12 million pay for?


Reported by  Monica Showalter |  November 2, 2017

URL of the original posting site:

Fusion GPS, the Washington “opposition research” smear firm, produced its salacious “dossier” on President Trump on the cheap, paying only $168,000 to an oddly-chosen British subcontractor to falsely depict Trump as a “golden showers” pervert in Moscow hotel rooms.

It’s cheap given the large amounts of money that changed hands from the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Clinton campaign and President Obama’s Organizing for Action, all of which paid the same Washington lawyers at Perkins Coie for their efforts to beat Trump during the election. Perkins Coie paid Fusion GPS to produce the dossier and obscured its payments through attorney-client privilege.

It’s expensive when you consider that what it paid for in the “dossier” is worthless information, a collection of lies that any Trump hater could have made up for free.

Reuters, however, is crowing that President Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about in the scope of how much money changed hands for it:

In an Oct. 29 message posted on Twitter, President Trump said the dossier had cost as much as $12 million, without providing evidence.

“Never seen such Republican ANGER & UNITY as I have concerning the lack of investigation on Clinton made Fake Dossier (now $12,000,000?),….” Trump tweeted.

Actually, there’s plenty of “evidence” about the $12 million that changed hands in the production of the document – and it can be found hiding out in the front pages of the Washington Post:

The Clinton campaign paid Perkins Coie $5.6 million in legal fees from June 2015 to December 2016, according to campaign finance records, and the DNC paid the firm $3.6 million in “legal and compliance consulting’’ since November 2015 — though it’s impossible to tell from the filings how much of that work was for other legal matters and how much of it related to Fusion GPS.

Add to it President Obama’s still functioning campaign organization, Organizing for Action adding another $972,000 to Perkins Coie’s pot and it’s pretty obvious the amount that went to the commissioners of the dossier was fairly close to $12 million. Other news accounts do have the DNC payments at closer to $5 million, which would put the amount paid even closer to the $12 million mark.

Reuters doesn’t seem to grasp that money for the dossier changed hands through a chain of payments, starting with the Democratic National Committee, the Hillary Clinton campaign organization and Organizing for Action. Their $10 million-plus cash went to Perkins Coie, the law firm, and some of that was then was passed on to Fusion GPS, which then passed a lesser amount on to Orbis Business Intelligence, the British opposition research firm. Orbis employee Christopher Steele, an ex-MI6 officer, commissioned his Kremlin-linked intelligence contacts to construct the dossier for likely a lesser amount still. The Russian operatives then produced a badly written dossier that was a nest of lascivious lies, just as their client wanted. After that, the dossier made its way to John McCain, Buzzfeed, the FBI and anyone else who was later found to be passing the phony dossier around.

What’s striking here is how that money for the dossier diminished so quickly.

How much did Fusion GPS take in from Perkins Coie, and how much did it keep for itself at a handsome profit? Did it really gauge its Democratic Party clients good, telling them what they wanted to hear at relatively little cost? How much of the cash from Perkins Coie was spent on other possible “opposition research” projects we still don’t know about?

One event that will shed light on this is that after a long delay, the FBI has agreed to give House congressional investigators access to their billing records.

It was something the FBI had been resisting, claiming it would interfere with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s own investigation. Now these records, showing payments, will soon be available, and will cast light on how much Fusion GPS took in for its smear operations. Perhaps we will learn more about what the smear operations really did.

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