July 28, 2020

USA: British Ex-Spy Christopher Steele Text Messages Revealed At First Day Of Trump-Russian Collusion Dossier Defamation Trial. As Early As July 5, 2016 FBI KNEW About Steele Hillary Connection.

Daily Caller
written by Chuck Ross, Investigative Reporter
Tuesday July 21, 2020

Text messages read out during the first day of a defamation trial against Christopher Steele in London on Monday revealed new details about how the former British spy strategized with associates on how to disseminate the infamous anti-Trump dossier.

In one message after Donald Trump’s election win in November 2016, Steele asked Strobe Talbott, who then served as president of the prestigious Brookings Institution, how he wanted to handle “the package” — a reference to the dossier.

In another message from early 2017, Steele urged David Kramer, an associate of Sen. John McCain’s, not to tell reporters that Steele had been a source for another journalist on a dossier-related story.

And in a message weeks earlier, Steele told Sir Andrew Wood, the former British ambassador to Russia, that McCain was “compromised” by being given a copy of the dossier.

Lawyers for a Russian tech executive, Aleksej Gubarev, read the text exchanges and others during the first day of Steele’s trial to establish that the ex-MI6 officer was deeply involved in the dissemination of information from the dossier.

Gubarev is suing Steele for defamation over the dossier, which BuzzFeed published on Jan. 10, 2017.

Andrew Caldecott, the lead lawyer for Gubarev, said that Talbott, who served as deputy secretary of state in the Clinton administration, called Steele in August 2016 inquiring about his investigation of the Trump campaign.

“Mr. Talbott telephones Mr Steele out of the blue in August 2016, having heard about his work and offers advice if needed,” Caldecott said, according to a copy of his remarks obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Steele and Wood took Talbott up on his offer in early November 2016, just after the FBI cut ties with Steele because he served as a source for Mother Jones reporter David Corn.

“Sir Andrew Wood and Mr. Steele telephone Mr Talbott on 2nd or 3rd November 2016, and Mr Talbott asks for copies of the memoranda to discuss with John Kerry and other officials at the State Department,” Caldecott said.

Fusion GPS, the firm that hired Steele on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, provided the dossier to Talbott, according to the lawyer.

After Trump’s surprising election win, Steele contacted Talbott to discuss “the package” that had been delivered to him the week before, an apparent reference to the dossier, according to Caldecott’s reading of Steele’s messages.

Steele asked the former diplomat to advise how they “should handle” the salacious document.

“Dear Strobe, I know this is not straight forward but we need to discuss the package we delivered to you the other week, and sooner the better. What you thought of it, what you did with it, how we (both) should handle it and the issue it highlights going forward etc.,” Steele wrote on Nov. 12, 2016, according to Caldecott.

It is not clear what Talbott, a longtime friend of the Clintons’, did with the dossier once he obtained it, but Fiona Hill, a former Brookings officials who served in the Trump White House, told Congress last year that Talbott provided her a copy of the dossier a day before BuzzFeed published it.

Hill testified that she was surprised that Steele, who she has known since he served in MI6, was behind the document. She also said she believed it included disinformation planted by Russian operatives.

Gubarev’s lawyers asserted that Steele ratcheted up his efforts to put the dossier into the hands of U.S. officials and members of the press after Trump’s surprise election victory.

Steele’s critics have accused him of pushing the dossier through various government agencies in order to lend it a veneer of credibility.

Steele provided information to the FBI, as well as to Justice and State Department officials. The Justice Department’s inspector general has since debunked many of the key allegations in the dossier and faulted the FBI for using it to obtain surveillance warrants against Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide.

On Nov. 18, 2016, nearly a week after Steele’s exchange with Talbott, Wood approached McCain and Kramer, the late senator’s associate, at the Halifax International Security Forum.

Wood, the former British diplomat, told McCain and Kramer about Steele’s work, and arranged for Kramer to travel to London to meet with Steele.

Kramer, who served in the State Department under George W. Bush, obtained the dossier and provided it to McCain. The Republican shared a copy with then-FBI Director James Comey on Dec. 9, 2016.

Steele messaged Wood 10 days later, seemingly complaining about how McCain handled the dossier.

“JM appears to have bottled it and left DK exposed,” Steele wrote, referring to McCain and Kramer by their initials.

“Indications are that wealthy R donors are buying off the critics,” he continued. “So much for patriotism! But JM has the info and therefore is compromised anyway. All quite depressing. Maybe let’s catch up in person later in the week.”

Wood responded, saying: “Yes, but not surprising. I thought the stratagem unlikely to succeed…”

Gubarev’s lawyers said they were uncertain what “strategem” Steele and Wood were working on, though they plan to ask Steele about it during his testimony this week.

The lawyers also revealed that Steele strategized with Kramer about contacts with the media.

Kramer had provided a copy of the dossier in late December 2016 to a reporter for BuzzFeed News. Steele has denied authorizing Kramer to share the dossier with journalists and has asserted that he was unaware of Kramer’s media contacts.

But Gubarev’s lawyers asserted Monday that Steele was keenly aware of Kramer’s interactions with journalists.

In one message on Jan. 2, 2017, Steele appeared to urge Kramer to not confirm that he was a source for David Corn, the Mother Jones journalist.

“Also, what might your line be tomorrow if they ask you if your ‘trusted foreign source is the same as david corn’s? best to avoid confirming this if possible i think,” Steele wrote.

Kramer contacted Steele on Jan. 5, 2017, saying that Washington Post columnist David Ignatius wanted to meet him.

“I told him very unlikely. Don’t shoot the messenger,” Kramer wrote.

Kramer messaged Steele the following day, saying: “Had a good chat with ABC tonight but they have a request: bifurcate what you have from your source and what came from here that might be less reliable.”

The dossier mainly details long-disputed allegations of collusion between Trump associates and the Kremlin. But a memo from the dossier dated Dec. 13, 2017 accuses Gubarev of using his tech company, WebZilla, to facilitate hacks of Democrats.

Gubarev has vehemently denied the charged and has sued both BuzzFeed News and Steele.

The lawsuit is the first to dossier-related case to go to trial in either the U.S. or the U.K. The judge presiding over the Gubarev lawsuit ruled against Steele in other dossier-related litigation earlier this month. In that case, the judge awarded damages to the owners of Alfa Bank, who also sued Steele over the dossier. That case did not go to trial.

Gubarev’s lawyers argue that not only are Steele’s dossier allegations inaccurate, but that the ex-spy helped circulate them to reporters without first verifying the underlying information.

The various lawsuits against Steele have provided a roadmap of how the retired spy and his dossier client, Fusion GPS, spread allegations about Trump through the press.

As part of the Gubarev case, Steele acknowledged that he briefed reporters from several news outlets prior to the 2016 election on the dossier.

Fox Business published Oct 16, 2018: Fusion GPS co-founder pleads Fifth on the FAKE anti-Trump dossier. FOX News contributor Jason Chaffetz discusses how Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify during an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee.

WSJ 8/15/19: The Justice Department is investigating how a former British intelligence agent, Christopher Steele, came to exert so much influence over the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s erroneous Trump-Russia collusion narrative. Let’s hope the department is also investigating an even more influential man who had even less business manipulating the government: Glenn Simpson, the head of opposition-research firm Fusion GPS.

That’s a pressing question in light of new documents from high-ranking Justice official Bruce Ohr, obtained recently by Judicial Watch. The papers include, among other things, a dozen official FBI interviews (known as 302s) of Mr. Ohr that date from just after the 2016 election through May 2017.

👉The documents suggest Mr. Simpson was the real puppet master of the collusion drama.👈

More eye-popping in the 302s is the ease with which Mr. Simpson landed meetings with powerful officials, for no apparent purpose other than to peddle unverified accusations against the Trump team. This isn’t a former intelligence officer or government official, or even someone with specialized knowledge of Russia. Mr. Simpson is a private citizen—and one who Mr. Ohr and the FBI knew was providing information to Hillary Clinton’s team (as Mr. Ohr acknowledges in his initial 302). Yet when Mr. Simpson called, officials across Washington hopped to, swallowing the claims that would become the basis of a false hysteria.

Fox News published August 8, 2019: Justice Department releases DOJ Official Bruce Ohr's interview records. Reaction from former DOJ prosecutor Jim Trusty and former deputy assistant attorney general John Yoo.

Fox News published Oct 19, 2018: Nellie Ohr claims spousal privilege in deposition. Former Fusion GPS researcher Nellie Ohr is married to DOJ official Bruce Ohr and that's apparently a big factor in which questions she's answering in her closed-door testimony on Capitol Hill; reaction and analysis from John Yoo, former deputy assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush.
Breitbart News
written by Joshua Klein
Monday July 13, 2020

U.K. Court documents released on Wednesday reveal that as early as July 5, 2016, the FBI was aware that former MI6 agent Christopher Steele had acknowledged that then-presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton personally knew that he was commissioned to compile the now thoroughly discredited Trump-Russia dossier.

Notes taken by the FBI indicate that Steele was told that Clinton herself was aware that he was commissioned to create the Trump-Russia dossier which alleges collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 election, amongst various other wild allegations.

Three months later, the FBI would conceal this critical information from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) in order to obtain a warrant to spy on Trump’s tangential campaign adviser, Carter Page.

On Wednesday, a London judge ordered Steele to pay damages to two Alfa Bank partners for publishing “inaccurate or misleading” material in his infamous dossier, including claims that the banks funneled “illicit cash” to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The 57-page court ruling reveals that the FBI recorded notes of the July 5th meeting they held with Steele at his London Orbis Business office, where he handed the FBI the documents containing his unsubstantiated, largely-discredited anti-Trump charges.

The FBI noted that Steele had told them that his Orbis Business Intelligence firm was contracted by Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS and “Democratic Party Associates” to produce the dossier, but that he knew “the ultimate client were (sic) the leadership of the Clinton presidential campaign.”

Steele is also documented alerting the FBI that he was aware that Clinton herself knew he was commissioned to create the dossier. One section of the court documents reads as follows (emphasis added):
Mr Steele’s evidence is that he now believes the Ultimate Client was the Democratic National Committee. Mr Millar submits that the Ultimate Client was the Clinton election campaign, “Hillary for America”. This is in line with the FBI Note of 5 July 2016, which records Mr Steele telling the FBI that Orbis had been instructed by Mr. Simpson of Fusion and “Democratic Party Associates” but that “the ultimate client were (sic) the leadership of the Clinton presidential campaign.” The FBI Note also indicates that Mr. Steele had been told by that stage that Mrs. Clinton herself was aware of what Orbis had been commissioned to do.
The explosive FBI notes undermine the representation that it would make in an error-ridden Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) application three months later, in order to spy on Page.

In late October 2016, then-FBI director James Comey signed the first of three successful FISA applications to obtain warrants to spy on Page. The second and third were renewal applications, since a FISA warrant requires a renewal every 90 days.

A footnote in Carter Page’s October 21st FISA application (and two subsequent renewals submitted to the FISC), omitted the key fact that the FBI had documented Steele’s knowledge of Clinton’s role in the dossier, as well as her awareness that he was tasked to compile it.

Instead, the FBI footnote makes no mention of Steele’s awareness of his ultimate clients, which would have undermined the credibility of the dossier which the FBI relied on in large part in it’s FISA application against Page.

The footnote in all three of the FISA application read (emphasis added):
Source #1 [Steele], who now owns a foreign business/financial intelligence firm,was approached by an identified U.S. person [Simpson] who indicated to Source #1 that a U.S.-based law firm had hired the identified U.S. person to conduct research regarding Candidate #1’s ties to Russia. (The identified U.S. person and Source #1 have a long-standing business relationship.) The identified U.S. person hired Source #1 to conduct this research. The identified U.S. person never advised Source #1 as to the motivation behind the research into candidate #1’s ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign.
The deceptive phraseology that the FBI “speculates” on possible bias when it knew Steele was aware that the ultimate clients were not Simpson but Clinton herself, demonstrates that the FBI–which is obligated to add any exculpatory evidence in applying for FISA warrants–was intentionally deceiving in its representations in the FISA application and renewals.

Breitbart News previously reported how Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found “at least 17 significant errors and omissions” in the Carter Page federal surveillance application that enabled the investigation into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.

The dossier would eventually set in motion the entire Russia hoax narrative, leading to the appointment of a special counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller, to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”

After nearly two years, the investigation concluded that it “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

Breitbart news previously reported that during a Capitol Hill testimony following the release of his report, Mueller said he was “not familiar” with Fusion GPS — the firm whose opposition research included allegations of President Trump’s connections to Russia in the run-up to his two-year investigation.

On Saturday, in response to the U.K. court’s findings against Steele, President Trump tweeted his abhorrence:
“This man should be extradited, tried, and thrown into jail. A sick lier who was paid by Crooked Hillary & the DNC!” he wrote.

The newly revealed information contained in the U.K. court document adds yet another avenue for U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is currently investigating the origins of the Russian hoax, to explore.

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