On the FBI investigation of Trump’s Russian connections

There continues to be defenders of Donald Trump and deniers of any Russian collusion.

Washington Examiner – Devin Nunes: Counterintelligence bombshell shows FBI leaders ‘had no real evidence against the Trump team’

On Friday, the New York Times reported the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into Trump the day after he fired FBI Director James Comey in the spring of 2017. The counterintelligence inquiry was later wrapped into the FBI’s broader Russia collusion investigation, which special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to lead after Comey’s ouster.

Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said the New York Times’ bombshell report on a counterintelligence investigation into President Trump’s ties to Russia only strengthens the argument that the FBI has no evidence of collusion against the Trump team.

“This is yet more evidence that FBI leaders actually had no real evidence against the Trump team,” Nunes said in a statement obtained by the Washington Examiner‘s Byron York. “Instead, they were simply trying to undermine a president they didn’t like and avenge Comey’s firing. By relying on the Steele dossier — a fraudulent document funded by Democrats and based on Russia sources — FBI leaders were either complicit or too oblivious to notice they were being used in a disinformation operation by the Democratic Party and Russian operatives.”

In a follow-up, the Washington Post reported the president took steps to try to protect his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, including pressuring a translator to withhold information on discussions between the two leaders from administration officials.

And there continues to be claims that there was obvious cause for concern.

…imagine you are a FBI Agent working Russian counterintelligence in 2016 and you witness the following:

– you witnessed Russian hackers targeting a wide swath of Americans including the DNC, DCCC, former Secretary of State & a Presidential candidates staff

– someone previously targeted by Russian Intelligence joins the Trump campaign and then appears on a stage in Moscow supporting Russia policy and speaking negatively of US policy

– A Presidential candidate hires a new campaign manager whose not been in the business in the states for years, but has been seen pushing a Russian agenda in Ukraine and has Russian intel contacts

– an Australian official contacts you and says the Russians have stolen emails of a Presidential candidate & may want to give them to the candidate’s competitor

– a Russian lawyer & others tied to Russian government visit a Presidential candidate’s son in the candidate’s building in NYC

– Candidate Trump stands on a stage and calls out Russia and asks about emails from his competitor, says they will be rewarded if they have them and release them

– website that’s released sensitive & classified documents from US for years, helped deliver a US insider to The Kremlin, begins publishing document & emails during Dem convention, content you know was stolen by Russia. Site administrator once hosted a TV show on Russia State TV

– during this time, you watch a campaign associate tweet with a Russian account that’s pointing people to stolen documents from the opposing campaign. The campaign associate predicts something will happen to the opposing campaign manager- his emails are later released

– as Election Day approaches, Presidential candidate makes allegation, without evidence, voter Fraud & Election Rigging, Russia propaganda echoes this, social media accounts associated Kremlin do the same, at same time, you watch Russian Hackers hit state election infrastructure

After election, current President issues sanctions against Russia, but the incoming National Security advisor makes calls to Russian officials from 3rd country, when approached for clarification post inauguration, the advisor lies about contents of phone call w/Russian officials

During summer fall leading into the election, you receive raw intelligence from highly reliable source whose proven invaluable on other investigations. source provides intelligence on Russia’s efforts to support a presidential candidate, the info is consistent with other info

Before inauguration your bosses, your leaders from all intelligence agencies brief president elect on classified info showing Russia influenced the election on behalf of President elect. President elect rejects intelligence from all your superiors and suggests Russia innocent

From the summer of 2015 all the way through the election and after inauguration, you watch as the candidate, president elect and now president offers overt effusive support for Vladimir Putin who you know has been helping the President get elected.

Shortly after inauguration, your new commander-in-chief spouts false information about Polish aggression toward Belarus. This is not supported by the Intelligence community you are in, and the only source for this viewpoint is Russian propaganda.

After firing of National Security Advisor that lies to agencies investigators, the President corners your boss 1-1 asks him to go easy on National Security Advisor who lies about his conversation with Russians.

During this period, the President inexplicably and repeatedly asks your boss if he’s under investigation with regards to Russia, despite your boss and other intel heads going out of their way to brief the President about Kremlin efforts to potentially compromise & manipulate him.

While Congressional committees investigate Russian interference, the President fires your boss for his handling of an email investigation into the President’s opponent, an investigation that helped elevate the President rather than hurt him.

You later find out a draft memo from President to your boss regarding his firing cited the Russia investigation.

The President then goes on national television and in an interview says he fired your boss because of the Russia investigation.

A week after firing your boss, the President invites Russian leaders into the Oval Office, Russian photographers capture the moment, but US media is not allowed to observe. President then brags to Russian leaders about firing your boss.

Sometime during the spring, if you’re not already aware, you read a news story alleging the President’s son-in-law may have sought a way to communicate with Russia via a back channel not monitored by you and your colleagues.

During summer, you watch the President attend NATO summit and shove Montenegro PM, in an Interview claim Montenegro is aggressive, might start a war. This mirrors Russian propaganda & you know Russia backed covert operation destabilize Montenegrin election.

For next year, either you, your colleagues and your organization, FBI, are discredited by President. He mixes true and false information in public disclosures which you are not allowed to respond to. If you do respond, your accused of leaking and could be fired or even jailed.

Documents & information from confidential sources you’ve pledged to protect, are selectively leaked into public through those who are supposed to provide government oversight. These inappropriate disclosures make your job as an investigator nearly impossible & hurts your sources.

At some point during the summer or before, you learn that the President’s son was receiving & responding to direct messages from website that was releasing emails stolen from the President’s opponent by Russia.

1st two years President’s term, you watch him take a negative, adversarial stance toward NATO and particularly Germany. This strains your relationship with your most valuable intel partners, your Counterterrorism agent colleagues depend on them & they help fight war on terror.

Over next 2 years, President aggressively seeks meetings with Putin who helped elect him. Need for meetings is not clear. One President meets in private with Putin for 2 hours without witnesses but translator. To this day, you, your bosses don’t really know what was discussed.

President emerges from private meeting with Putin and on world stage in Helsinki accepts and validates Russian denials about election interference & rejects years of your teams intel work. This badly damages your reputation and partner trust with your organization.

Separately, your President publicly discusses a Russian proposed partnership on cyber security, this insane concept is mind boggling to you as an investigator as you’ve just spent years tracking these same Russians who just attacked your country.

Even further, your President publicly mentions a possible exchange where Russian investigators might interview and interrogate you and other Americans about their attack on you and America. A crazy, frightening and bizarre threat to you as a civil servant.

Throughout your investigation into Russian interference, you watch as your President’s attacks on the Special Counsel, Justice Department & FBI are amplified and spread in America by the very Russian troll social media accounts and state sponsored propaganda you are investigating.

Throughout the Special Counsel indictments, hearings and trials, you watch the President and his legal team publicly interject, discredit witnesses and discuss pardons, all subverting the rule of law and justice which you’ve dedicated your life to protect and defend.

You either know or learn a parallel investigation shows Russians representing a bogus Russian gun rights movement penetrated the political party hosting members who’ve tried to discredit you – you recognize this as a TEXTBOOK espionage/influence op you learned at FBI academy.

After two years, the Attorney General over you, who appropriately recused himself from Russia investigation, is fired for seemingly no clear reason after taking public lashings from the President.

Your AG is replaced by an acting AG whose unqualified for position, has limited experience justify such high level appointment, you’ve watched him on TV discrediting your agency and your team’s investigation despite seeing none of evidence or knowing anything Russian influence.

The same month, the President’s personal lawyer pleads guilty in federal court and says he continued negotiations throughout almost the entire Presidential campaign for a Tower in Moscow. This is in opposition to President’s public denials.

You read public reporting that the best apartment in the Moscow Tower project pursued by the President’s business was offered to Russia’s President Putin, the same Putin your President always sides with over you and your agency, the Putin who helped your President win.

You either knew or learned through a redaction error that the President’s campaign manager was alleged to have lied about providing polling data to a Russian whom he owed money, via a former Russian GRU contact.

That was Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Clint Watts concludes:

Wrote thread through day from memory without web searches, I’m sure I missed a lot, & this is all on the public, can’t imagine what it must feel like to serve FBI during this investigation,we clearly don’t know everything Mueller team knows, I imagine there is much more to learn.

If Mueller has been doing his job and is as thorough as has been claimed I imagine he has learned quite a lot.

As Watts shows, there is already a lot out in public, but no doubt there will be more to come when Mueller’s report comes out. It has been reported a draft of his report has already been done.

Whatever the outcome of Mueller’s investigation, it is important for the US and for the world that the results are publicly known.

 

 

 

 

23 Comments

  1. Occasionally someone asks why I post regularly about Trump and the US.

    – What is happening with Trump and the US interests me.

    – I think it is important for the world and for new Zealand what happens with Trump, especially over trade and economic matters, as well as potential war matters, and also how it all affects world power manoeuvring.

    – Going by the readership and the number of comments (often amongst the most popular) Trump and the US are of interest to the Your NZ community.

  2. David

     /  January 15, 2019

    The Trump presidency is fascinating, its somewhere between the worlds biggest civics lesson and a global stand up comedy show.
    I have been a regular visitor I love the place and the people but its ungovernable and has been for a long time. It is rich beyond words with terrible poverty, regulated to hell and a free for all, a shooting gallery and one of the safest places on earth.
    When you have all the branch,s of government plus the States legislature and a very powerful judiciary and combine that with politicians who dont vote with their party all the time and the need for a 60% vote in the Senate problems that most countries just deal with with sensible legislation and not much excitement become colossal intractable battles. Immigration and border security is pretty much agreed upon by both parties with a bit of nuance, they have both proposed and voted for the same things over the years but neither side want to lose it as an issue to ginny up their bases so there is no incentive to fix it. Trump as a businessman just wants to fix it and its fairly simple given 180 other countries can do it reasonably well.

    • Blazer

       /  January 15, 2019

      the rise and…fall..of the…

      • David

         /  January 15, 2019

        America is a very dynamic place it will be the biggest power on the block for many generations to come, Trumps legacy of America first and the ending foreign adventurism where there is no direct interest to the US will ensure that.

    • Duker

       /  January 15, 2019

      “Trump as a businessman just wants to fix it …”
      NO HE DOESNT.
      You are living in a dreamland that its any rationality at all

      he could have done deals , where both sides compromise, but his deals are ALL his wishes and a little bit yours.
      Even in the last few weesk, Pence has been in negoiations about say $2.5 bill for the wall.
      Trump publically trashed that ‘option’
      Trump Rejects Shutdown Compromise Proposed by Pence Before Meeting with Democrats
      http://fortune.com/2019/01/02/trump-rejects-wall-compromise-pence-democrats/

      And that his welshing on deals that had been done before Xmas, to pass the continuing resolutions – with no new spending- for a month or so , and negotiate over the budget where new spending is normally allocated. ( They are well into new financial year, as republicans cant pass budget in time for the FY which begins in Oct 2017)
      Trump signed most of the CR before Xmas and then ‘changed his mind’ about the last one, which is why they are where they are now

      • David

         /  January 15, 2019

        They are where they are because Chuck and Nancy cant negotiate, they have said NO money for a wall/barrier which leaves them nowhere to go, the wild Democrat base has pushed the leadership to an absurd position where they morally oppose something they have in recent years voted for.
        Clinton, Obama, Schumer, Pelosi have all voted for border wall funding and called for an end to illegal immigration and now the only thing that has changed is Trump is there.
        Pelosi never compromised that is fake news, she is all over the media stating she wont do any deal that has wall funding in it, but she wants border security so her position is untenable. she doesnt want her first act as Speaker giving Trump a win and she certainly doesnt want Trump standing in front of newly built wall in 2020 promising he will complete it.

        • artcroft

           /  January 15, 2019

          Trump was set to sign a continuation bill to fund govt, until Fox news told him not to, so its nonsense to blame just the dems. The States isn’t ungovernable. The 60% rule in senate was put in place by the founders to demand that the senate be managed in a bi-partisan manner. Shame the pollies decided to eschew this ideal and go for polarisation. Trump is a king in this respect.

        • Duker

           /  January 15, 2019

          David you are ignoring Trumps trashing of his negotiating teams offer of $2.5 bill for a wall. Maybe it only needs $2.5 bill every year……
          You are pretending that Pelosi killed it off – my link says different. Wheres your link?
          Who knows as Trump cant and wont negotiate.

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  January 15, 2019

          David fails to recall the words of his master:

          “I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck. … I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it.”

          Own it David, just like trump did.

  3. George

     /  January 15, 2019

    I seem to remember Obama getting friendly with Putin and nothing in the way of an investigation has come from that..
    How about one law for all ?

    • David

       /  January 15, 2019

      Hilary was even friendlier but that was fine.

      • artcroft

         /  January 15, 2019

        bullsh*t.

      • Duker

         /  January 15, 2019

        David is full of rubbish. The Russians knew they were onto something when Trump ran for President.
        My prediction is that Trump will die in a US federal pententiary, he may only go to jail AFTER his term ends but he will do time

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  January 15, 2019

      Obama’s contacts with Russia led to 0 indictments and 0 guilty pleas
      Clinton’s contacts with Russia led to 0 indictments and 0 guilty pleas
      ——-
      The trump admin contacts with Russia have led to 36 indictments and 7 guilty pleas
      Spot the difference.

      One law for all is working just fine, and is draining trump’s foetid swamp.

  4. thespectrum

     /  January 15, 2019

    Yes Trump is the USA President but wall to wall coverage day after day?
    Its the same story day after day for goodness sake and elicits
    exactly the same comments day after day.
    Even our own PM gets less coverage and that’s saying something.
    But if Yournz folks are addicted to the Don I guess others like me
    and Helen should be compassionate toward their addiction

  5. Joe Bloggs

     /  January 15, 2019

    • Duker

       /  January 15, 2019

      Clinton used official emails for her standard emails, her private server was for her friends and colleagues stuff

      • Joe Bloggs

         /  January 15, 2019

        Clinton’s transgressions were not much of a sin compared with el trumpo taking and eating the official translator notes, eh…

        Were trump’s surname Clinton he would have been impeached in a New York second by the GOPers

        • MaureenW

           /  January 15, 2019

          How would you know that Joe?

          “Rep. Gowdy told Fox News:
          She and her lawyers had those emails deleted. And they didn’t just push the delete button; they had them deleted where even God can’t read them. They were using something called BleachBit. You don’t use BleachBit for yoga emails or bridemaids emails. When you’re using BleachBit, it is something you really do not want the world to see.”

          • Duker

             /  January 15, 2019

            The FBI were able to recover a large number of those old emails on old servers that were superceded by later models.
            There is no question that former Secretary Clinton had authority to delete personal emails without agency supervision — she appropriately could have done so even if she were working on a government server,” said attorneys from the Justice Department, according to CBS News.

            No emails were classified when she received them, a handful had the lowest level of security ‘confidential’ by the markings cc in the text but not the email headers

  6. Zedd

     /  January 15, 2019

    Did anyone see the latest ‘Family Guy’ (cartoon) last evening.. Peter (the Family Guy) goes to work for MrT & ends up in a big punch up; very topical & funny. It has ‘Mr Putin’ making a guest appearance 😀

  7. Joe Bloggs

     /  January 15, 2019

    132-0

    One of these numbers is the number of articles the pearl-clutchers at the NYT have run on Clinton’s emails

    The other number is the number of articles the pearl-clutchers at the NYT have run on trump’s known (and notoriously well-known if you live in New York) relationships with the mob

    No prizes for guessing which is which.