Tue Jul 30th, 2019 at 09:10:34 PM EST
Hot summer doldrums ... bear with me. :-)
Too busy wth personal matters, left this in concept for too many days!
I have not touched the dossier for awhile, however the refusal of Robert Mueller to answer any and all questions about Fusion GPS or Christopher Steele surely rekindled my interest.
From the onset I expressed my doubts about the veracity of the Orbis Business Intelligence or [Christopher] Steele dossier. A so-called opposition research in close cooperation with Fusion GPS and British intelligence. I called it early on another dodgy dossier from the British and a (former) MI6 spy. An important role was played by advisor Sir Andrew Wood to give credence to the "raw" intelligence.
The "progressive" community where I blogged since 2004 were believers in Hillary Clinton and the primaries proved to be wrecking the solidarity and unity of the community @BooMan.
The Democrats got their majority in the House and thus chaired all Committees and are able to set the agenda. A reverse of the second Obama administration who had to contend with a Republican opposition in U.S. Congress.
More below the fold ...
Watching en listening to some of the bipartisan discussion yesterday in the the House Judiciary Committee, it became clear the Democrats have not given up and still aim to find ground te start an impeachment procedure. In many ways, these last two years have been a failure to find wrongdoing by candidate Donald Trump in collusion with the Kremlin of Vladimir Putin.
Most of us know that it was the effort of the rightwing oligarchs in cooperation with tech companies like Facebook and Cambridge Analytica who did the real damage to the electoral process to inform voters in Election 2016.
○ Mueller on Fusion GPS, Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele: 'Outside my purview'
Yesterday Robert Mueller, respected from all sides for his career as head of the FBI, refused to give any more detail about the Steele dossier than was published in his final report. Mueller made it clear the DOJ has started an investigation into the introduction of the Steele Dossier to the FBI during the 2016 campaign. Furthermore, the DOJ will look how the Steele dossier was used in the FISA request and gathering intelligence from the Donald Trump campaign.
○ Trump dossier author Steele gets 16-hour DOJ grilling | Politico - July 9, 2019 |
In the past few weeks, new articles were written which seemed to indicate the Horowitz investigate of DOJ found most of the Steele dossier to be truthful ...
Trump 'dossier' author gilled by Justice Department watchdogd: sources | Reuters UK - July 9, 2019 |
Federal lawyers probing the origins of the investigation of ties between Russia and President Donald Trump's campaign have interviewed the author of a "dossier" that alleged misconduct between Trump and Moscow, prompting the lawyers to extend their inquiry.
A police car drives past an address which has been linked by local media to former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. (Reuters/Peter Nicholls)
Three attorneys from the Inspector General's office of the U.S. Department of Justice met in person in early June with dossier author Christopher Steele in Britain, said two sources with direct knowledge of the lawyers' travels.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz, whose office is an internal Justice Department watchdog, launched his probe in March 2018 amid allegations by Republican lawmakers that the FBI erred in seeking a warrant to monitor Page.
Wishful thinking ...
DOJ's IG Report on Russia Delayed as Steele Found Credible | Washington Monthly - July 9, 2019 |
After those conversations with Steele, the timeline for issuing the I.G. report was pushed back.
One of the two sources said Horowitz's investigators appear to have found Steele's information sufficiently credible to have to extend the investigation. Its completion date is now unclear.
If this reporting is correct, it casts a new light on the story Fox News was telling over the Fourth of July weekend.
If the one key witness referred to here is actually Christopher Steele, and Steele was found "sufficiently credible" such that the investigation needed to be extended, that's not exactly what the president and his supporters were hoping to hear.
There are clearly some things in Steele's dossier that are wrong, and the administration has really been trying to exploit that in recent months. They've been acting almost giddy about getting Horowitz's report in anticipation of using it as a way to discredit Robert Mueller's scheduled testimony before Congress. Now it looks like the timing is going to be off on that, and there's reason for the administration to be concerned that Horowitz will be helpful at all.
Hmmm ... another view/opinion on the delay of Horowotz DOJ report ...
Justice Dept. Watchdog Has Evidence Comey Probed Trump, on the Sly | RCI - July 22, 2019 |
In addition to adding notes of his meetings and phone calls with Trump to the official FBI case file, Comey had an agent inside the White House who reported back to FBI headquarters about Trump and his aides, according to other officials familiar with the matter.
Although Comey took many actions on his own, he was not working in isolation. One focus of Horowitz's inquiry is the private Jan. 6, 2017, briefing Comey gave the president-elect in New York about material in the Democratic-commissioned dossier compiled by ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. Reports of that meeting were used days later by BuzzFeed, CNN and other outlets as a news hook for reporting on the dossier's lascivious and unsubstantiated claims.
Comey's meeting with Trump took place one day after the FBI director met in the Oval Office with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to discuss how to brief Trump -- a meeting attended by National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who would soon go to work for CNN.
Review published in The New York Times in May 2019 ...
○ U.S. attorney general launches fresh review of origins of Russia probe, appoints John Durham | Reuters - May 2019 |
The Guardian's view on Robert Mueller's testimony: what will Democrats do next? | The Guardian July 24, 2019 |
Is it possible to talk of political theatre when the star of the show refuses to take centre stage? The special counsel Robert Mueller was obliged to come to Capitol Hill by a subpoena, and made his distaste plain on arrival. His reluctance underscored the unlikelihood of great revelations emerging from his testimony to the house judiciary and intelligence committees on potential obstruction of justice, and election meddling by the Russians. He hoped that his 448-page report would speak for itself, even after Donald Trump's attorney general had misspoken on its behalf.
So the hearings were not about discovering new material, but about deploying the existing facts: the Democrats, seeking compelling soundbites that might help to rouse the public and rally them behind the party; the Republicans, seeking to damage the credibility of the investigation itself as biased, unfair and even un-American. The inherent implausibility of claiming simultaneously that the inquiry was a partisan witch-hunt [NY Times], and that it exonerated Mr Trump, go unaddressed.
Mr Mueller's initial statement stressed the impartiality and integrity of his team. He pushed back against Republican attacks upon its composition. Addressing the question of obstruction of justice, he seemed less like Mr Trump's nemesis than his antithesis: sober and tight-lipped, repeatedly returning to yeses and noes and the same non-answers.
Factbox: Which U.S. House Democrats want to impeach Trump? | Reuters |
Possible reason the Horowitz report is delayed after the Christopher Steele interview ...
Kavelec Steele Memo To File 10-11-16
From rightwing press sources [author John Solomon] ...
Christopher Steele met privately at the State Department with Deputy Assistant Secretary Kathleen Kavalec on Oct. 11, 2016.
○ Kathleen Kavalec: Trump Pulled Ambassador Nomination of State Department Official Who Communicated With Steele and Ohr
○ FBI conceals State Department documents and misleads FISA court
US Senate Returns to President Trump his Nomination for Ambassador to Tirana
President Trump nominated Kathleen Ann Kavalec to be the US Ambassador to Albania on 9 July 2018. The Senate Foreign Relation Committee initially scheduled a hearing with Ms. Kavalec in August 2018, only to cancel it in the eleventh hour, and did not reschedule it.
The hearing was cancelled following requests by several senators sitting on Foreign Relations Committee for additional information on Ms. Kavalec, as her name appeared in the list of persons that the Senate Intelligence Committee requested to be questioned in relation to knowledge or involvement in the preparation of the Christopher Steele's dossier.
Several American media outlets have revealed that Deputy Assistant Secretary Kathleen Ann Kavalec, her former boss Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland, and Jonathan Winer, a former adviser to former Secretary John Kerry, had supplied information to former Bruce Or, while Mrs. Kavalec, also, personally met with Christopher Steele.
Related reading – a sidestep or two - …
○ Svetlana Lokhova Speaks Out: “Stefan Halper Behind False Allegations Provided to U.S. Intelligence” | Intel Today - April 2019 |
○ Intelligence scholar sues Cambridge academic, U.S. news outlets over reports on Flynn links
Former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos said Halper offered him $3,000 to write an academic paper about a gas field in the Mediterranean and conducted an unusual meeting with him at a London bar in September 2016, at which an unidentified female companion of Halper was “very flirty” and attempted to “seduce” him. Papadopoulos has said he believes the woman was a CIA operative or agent, possibly also with ties to Turkish intelligence.
My diary @BooMan in Dec. 2017 ...
○ Papadopoulos Met Australian Spy Chief in a London Bar
○ Boris Johnson dragged into Robert Mueller questioning on his first day as PM