Tag: Russia

As Mueller’s Probe Dies – The REAL Collusion Scandal Explodes

Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel is now over, and at long last, we discovered (to the dismay of MSNBC and CNN) that there was no collusion after all! One listener joked that the Counsel could’ve saved themselves $30 million if they had just listened to the Dan Bongino podcast.

It’ll be amusing to see how the true believers react to their world for the past two years collapsing in. Inevitably some faction of the collusion crazies will claim that Trump sabotaged the report, and I’ve even seen one commentator speculate that “Vladimir Putin got to Mueller.” No word then on why Putin did nothing to prevent a few dozen Russians from being indicted by Mueller (for charges unconnected to the Trump campaign).

There was no Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – but there was plenty of collusion between Ukraine and the Clinton campaign. We extensively documented those connections in our book Spygate, and just as the books’ central thesis of no collusion between Trump and Russia was just vindicated, as were our theories about Ukraninan collusion. According to an explosive new article by John Solomon:

Ukraine’s top prosecutor Yurii Lutsenko divulged in an interview that he has opened an investigation into whether his country’s law enforcement apparatus intentionally leaked financial records during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign about then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in an effort to sway the election in favor of Hillary Clinton.

On August 19, 2016, Manafort resigned from the Trump campaign after The New York Times reported that Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Bureau found a black ledger in a bank vault abandoned by Viktor Yanukovych (the 4th President of Ukraine), showing $12 million in cash transactions related to Manafort. The ledger was exposed by Serhiy Leshchenko, a former Ukrainian parliamentarian, and former investigative journalist.

Days after publishing the ledger, Leshchenko told the Financial Times that “A Trump presidency would change the pro-Ukrainian agenda in American foreign policy. For me, it was important to show not only the corruption aspect but that he is [a] pro-Russian candidate who can break the geopolitical balance in the world.” It’s clear what his motivation was – to collude in an effort to take Trump down.

Yurii Lutsenko’s probe was prompted by a Ukrainian parliamentarian’s release of a tape recording purporting to quote a top law enforcement official as saying his agency leaked the Manafort financial records to help Clinton’s campaign.

The parliamentarian also secured a court ruling that the leak amounted to “an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” Lutsenko told me. Lutsenko said the tape recording is a serious enough allegation to warrant opening a probe, and one of his concerns is that the Ukrainian law enforcement agency involved had frequent contact with the Obama administration’s U.S. Embassy in Kiev at the time.  

It’s still unclear how Manafort’s black ledger was leaked to America media. The FBI had previously investigated Manafort for his Ukranian business activities but abandoned that in 2014 due to a lack of evidence. The black ledger added a spark to those ambers.. Solomon continues, noting that:

We know the FBI set up shop in the U.S. embassy in Kiev to assist its Ukraine–Manafort inquiry — a common practice on foreign-based probes — while using British spy Christopher Steele as an informant at the start of its Russia probe. And we know Clinton’s campaign was using a law firm to pay an opposition research firm for Steele’s work in an effort to stop Trump from winning the presidency, at the same time Steele was aiding the FBI.

In an interview with Solomon, Lutsenko said that the U.S. Embassy (in Ukraine) interfered in his ability to prosecute corruption cases. He claimed that the U.S. ambassador gave him a list of names of defendants he wasn’t allowed to pursue. He showed Soloman a letter from the embassy that partially supported his story, showing a U.S. official asking him to stand down (view here).

Meanwhile, in America, the DNC’s Alexandra Chalupa became the driving force in pushing the collusion narrative as soon as Manafort joined the Trump campaign. The DNC paid her $412,000 from 2004 to June 2016 for consulting work, after which she left to research Manafort full time. Chalupa had Manafort in her crosshairs since 2014 when his boss, the aforementioned Yanukovych (who discovered the black ledger), had protesters gunned down in the streets during the Ukrainian Revolution. In an email in May 2016, Chapula spoke about meeting with Michael Isikoff (a Steele dossier source) and connecting him to Ukrainians – and the two met at the Ukrainian embassy soon after.

If there’s a case for collusion to be made, it’s not with Russia.

 

Ep. 892 What Did They Know And When Did They Know It?

In this episode I address how President Trump’s recent tactics have blindsided the Democrats and changed the “shutdown” game forever.
I also discuss stunning new testimony that reveals the deep ties and connections former Obama administration officials, and people tied to Bob Mueller, had in the anti-Trump witch hunt.

Listen Now...

Sorry Liberals, Cohen’s Charges Prove There Was ZERO Collusion With Russia

All of those indicted thus far by Robert Mueller’s special counsel have one thing in common – that they’re facing charges which have nothing to do with the counsel’s initial scope, uncovering and punishing alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. When Rod Rosenstein authorized Mueller’s special counsel after the firing of James Comey, it authorized Mueller to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and (iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).”

Not a single person has been charged within those guidelines, including Michael Cohen, the latest to be in the spotlight following the announcement of his three-year-sentence. Cohen’s charges included campaign finance violations, tax evasion, and lying to Congress. The “lying to Congress” charge stems from statements Cohen made regarding the Trump Organization’s failed efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

If you listen to the media, you’d get the impression that Cohen’s charges are the “smoking gun” the collusion conspiracists have been looking for the past eighteen months:

  • The soon-to-be-defunct Weekly Standard claimed that “The documents are, even for those skeptical of the left’s ‘collusion‘ narrative, deeply incriminating.”
  • The Washington Post’s not-at-all-conservative columnist Jen Rubin argued that the mention of the single word “synergy” in Mueller’s description of Cohen’s relationship with Russia proves collusion.
  • The Chicago Sun Times reported that “Collusion with Russia fans is possible, Trump fans. Deal with it.”
  • CNN headlined an op-ed assuming guilt, “Sorry, President Trump, collusion IS a crime.”

But as already mentioned, Cohen’s charges had absolutely nothing to do with collusion. And as a fantastic analysis from Real Clear Investigation’s Paul Sperry documents, the charges against Cohen explicitly disprove the collusion narrative.

Charges Fail to Substantiate Collusion Narrative

The charges stemming from Cohen’s false statements about a Russian Trump Tower project prove that the Trump campaign had no connection to the Russian government. As Sperry notes:

On page 7 of the statement of criminal information filed against Cohen, Mueller mentions that Cohen tried to email Russian President Vladimir Putin’s office on Jan. 14, 2016, and again on Jan. 16, 2016. But Mueller, who personally signed the document, omitted the fact that Cohen did not have any direct points of contact at the Kremlin, and had resorted to sending the emails to a general press mailbox. Sources who have seen these additional emails point out that this omitted information undercuts the idea of a “back channel” and thus the special counsel’s collusion case.

The second page of the same document reportedly quotes an August 2017 letter from Cohen to the Senate Intelligence Committee where he writes Trump “was never in contact with anyone about this [Moscow Project] proposal other than me.” This is of note because Mueller does not dispute this statement as false (while other statements in the same letter are disputed as false by Mueller). Mueller also doesn’t dispute Cohen’s statement about how they “ultimately determined that the [Trump Tower] proposal was not feasible and never agreed to make a trip to Russia.”

Another Cohen Connection Proves (a Lack of) Collusion

Cohen’s connection to New York real estate developer Felix Sater, who promised he could fast-track real estate projects in Russia, proves that the Trump campaign had no special access to Russia.

Cohen’s emails and text messages indicate he failed to establish communications with the Russian leader’s spokesman.

In the end, neither Putin nor any Kremlin official was directly involved in the scuttled Moscow project, sources say. Moreover, neither Cohen nor Trump traveled to Moscow in support of the deal, as Sater had urged. No meetings with Russian government officials took place.

Cohen’s only Russian “connection” ended up occurring when he sent an email to a desk secretary in the spokesman’s office. There’s no indication he received a response.

And About That Dossier…

Adding another nail to the coffin of Christopher Steele’s credibility, the story from his dossier involving a Cohen trip to Prague still has yet to be proven.

Notably absent from the criminal-information document is any corroboration of the highly inflammatory, though oft-cited allegation made in the so-called Steele dossier, funded by the Clinton campaign, that Cohen visited Prague to clandestinely meet with Kremlin officials in August 2016 to arrange “deniable cash payments to hackers who had worked in Europe under Kremlin direction against the Clinton campaign.”

Given many of Cohen’s recent negative statements about the President, Trump may want to reconsider his comments that he hires only “the best people,” but that’s irrelevant to the point here; that despite all of Cohen’s wrongdoing, none of it has anything to do with Russian collusion.

Is This It? There’s Still No Evidence of Collusion

Michael Flynn, the retired three-star Army general, has been waiting for more than a year to be sentenced. Flynn pleaded guilty late last year to lying to the FBI in the Trump-Russia investigation. He later agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller released his highly redacted and anticipated memo Tuesday, recommending a lenient sentence for Flynn and no jail time. The memo noted that “the defendant’s substantial assistance and other consideration” was the reason Mueller recommended the lenient sentence.

Yet, as Hans von Spakovsky writes today on TheDailySignal, and as Dan has discussed on his podcast – the plea deals with Mike Flynn and Michael Cohen and the sentencing of Paul Manafort – still doesn’t reveal any illegal conduct by Trump or his campaign. Zero. Zip.

We still have had no indictments that have revealed any evidence about the issue that Mueller was tasked to investigate — whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. The answer? The reason Mueller and his team haven’t found any evidence of collusion is that there wasn’t any.

h/t: TheDailySignal.com

Here We Go Again: Acting AG Whitaker Speaking with Ethics Officials About “Recusal”

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker will speak with ethics officials at the Department of Justice about matters that “may warrant recusal.”

In a statement acquired by The Hill, DOJ Spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said, “Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker is fully committed to following all appropriate processes and procedures at the Department of Justice, including consulting with senior ethics officials on his oversight responsibilities and matters that may warrant recusal.”

Democrats have made repeated calls for Whitaker to recuse himself from his oversight responsibilities in the Russia investigation because he has previously spoken out against the Mueller investigation and the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email investigation.

Whitaker told radio host Andrew Wilkow that he does not believe there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

LISTEN: Dan discusses the legality of Whitaker’s appointment as Acting Attorney General

“The truth is there was no collusion with the Russians and the Trump campaign,” he said. “There was interference by the Russians into the election, but that was not collusion with the campaign. That’s where the left seems to be combining those two issues.”

In the same interview, Whitaker stressed that there has been no evidence to suggest any wrongdoing with the Trump campaign and Russia. “The last thing they want right now is for the truth to come out, and for the fact that there’s not a single piece of evidence that demonstrates that the Trump campaign had any illegal or any improper relationships with the Russians,” he said.

In July 2017, Whitaker appeared on CNN where he suggested that a new Attorney General could reduce Mueller’s budget to grind the investigation to a halt:

On Sunday, Democrats sent a letter to a DOJ ethics official demanding his recusal from the Special Counsel investigation.

The letter reads, in part:

There are serious ethical considerations that require Mr. Whitaker’s immediate recusal from any involvement with the Special Counsel investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Mr. Whitaker has a history of hostile statements toward Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, including televised statements suggesting that the investigation
be defunded or subjected to strict limitations on its scope

Whitaker,48, was appointed Acting Attorney General last week, when then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned at President Trump’s request. He previously served as Sessions’ chief of staff at the Department of Justice.

In 2004, Whitaker was appointed by President Bush as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa and, in 2014, ran in the Iowa GOP Senate primary, where he lost to Joni Ernst.

He was managing partner of the Des Moines, Iowa law firm, Whitaker Hagenow & Gustoff LLP from November 2009 to September 2017.

Trump “Seriously” Considering Declassifying Key Russia Investigation Documents

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he is “seriously” considering declassifying a slew of documents requested by former Republican House leaders investigating the FBI’s handling of the Russia probe. Trump was pummeled with questions during a rancorous White House press briefing where he congratulated Republicans for winning Senate races and said he hoped to work with the new Democratic House leadership.

The president addressed questions regarding whether or not he would end Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, stating, “I could, I could fire everybody right now. Politically, I don’t like stopping it.”

LISTEN: The good, the bad, and the ugly takeaways from midterm Election results

“It’s a disgrace,” said Trump of the Special Counsel investigation. “It should have never been started because there is no crime.”

“They all have conflicts over there that are beyond anything anybody has ever seen in terms of conflicts,” he added.

Trump referenced former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired in May of 2017, after DOJ Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote a scathing letter listing Comey’s failures. That letter led to Trump firing Comey.

However, after Comey’s firing, Rosenstein (under pressure from Democrats) appointed Mueller to the Special Counsel to investigate Trump. In October, concerning information about Rosenstein surfaced during a deposition of former FBI General Counsel James Baker. Baker had told lawmakers that he met with former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former FBI attorney Lisa Page shortly after they had a meeting with Rosenstein in May 2017. Baker said that McCabe, Page, and Rosenstein had discussed the possibility of secretly recording President Trump. Baker, who was the top lawyer for the FBI and a close confidant of Comey, noted that he was not in the meeting with Rosenstein. Baker said that Rosenstein also discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment on the president in an effort to remove him from office for being unfit.

“Comey, who by the way, lied and leaked and also leaked classified information–nothing happened there it might, perhaps, maybe something is happening that I don’t know about,” Trump said Wednesday. “But you know what I do. I let it just go on. They’re wasting a lot of money, but I let it go on…I could end it right now and say that investigation is over but… it’s a disgrace frankly, an embarrassment to our country, it’s an embarrassment to the people of our country and it’s too bad.

The president warned that he was still “seriously” considering declassifying the documents that the Republican Congress has been demanding for the past year. Lawmakers have sighted a need for transparency in the bureau’s handling of the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign.

“We’re looking at that very seriously, declassification very seriously,” said Trump. “It’s amazing how people on the other side just don’t want those documents declassified…we’re looking at that very carefully. I certainly wanted to wait until after the midterm.”

In August, Trump handed over the classified documents to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz for review. Trump had originally suggested that he was going to declassify them, but then suddenly changed his mind, saying he wanted to ensure that there would be no national security implications if the documents were declassified.

The documents include all documents related to DOJ official Bruce Ohr’s interviews with the FBI. Ohr, who has been demoted three times for not informing his superiors of his role in the FBI investigation, gave a deposition to Congress in August where he admitted he was used as a back channel by the FBI, so the bureau could continue to communicate with former British spy and dossier creator Christopher Steele. At the time, the FBI had terminated Steele as a confidential source when it caught him giving communicating with the media.

According to sources, the FBI Agents kept copious notes in all 12 interviews they had with Ohr. Those interviews are known in the bureau as 302 reports. Those 302s, along with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant that was used to spy on short-term Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page and the “Gang of Eight” notebook on the investigation, are currently under review by Horowitz.

For months, Congress has requested that Trump declassify the documents after battling Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray to no avail. Congressional members, some who have clearance to see the documents, say “no sources or methods” would be exposed if they were declassified, but that they believe it would expose extensive evidence of abuse by the bureau on the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Adam Schiff Vows to Ramp Up Russia Probe if Dems Retake the House

Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff vowed to ramp-up the Russia probe should his party retake control of the House this November; saying he will investigate “money laundering” and get more “answers” on the Trump campaign’s alleged “collusion.”

Schiff was speaking with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer when he was asked if he would ratchet up the investigation if he becomes the Chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2018 midterm elections.

“The question, though, that I don’t know whether Mueller has been able to answer — because I don’t know whether he’s been given the license to look into it — were the Russians laundering money through the Trump Organization?” he asked.

“And that will be a very high priority to get an answer to. For the reason that if they were doing this, it’s not only a crime, but it’s something provable,” he added. “We will be able to get answers the Republicans were unwilling to pursue. Records that the Republicans wouldn’t ask for.”

Read the full story here.

Bongino