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This post concludes a series on Spygate.

Please see Part 1 for a list of people involved and how they know each other. The same names will be appearing in this and other related posts.

Part 2 covers events from 2015 and the first half of 2016.

Part 3 reviews what happened during the summer that year.

Part 4 covers events from September through November 8, 2016.

Last weekend, The_War_Economy posted a brilliant Twitter thread of 246 tweets with accompanying sources.

His thread is called SPYFALL, available in Thread Reader and individual tweets.

I have been excerpting and summarising SPYFALL this week as well as adding some of my own information so that those of us reading about Spygate can better comprehend its various elements.

When summarising SPYFALL, I will include the relevant tweet number in parentheses which will have a link to the source material.

Emphases mine below.

Today’s conclusion covers events from the 2016 transition period through to Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017.

November 2016

While Trump and his transition team were getting organised, the Obama administration wasted no time in working against them. Nor did Christopher Steele:

On November 11, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie stood down from Trump’s transition team. Mike Pence assumed leadership of the team. Meanwhile, former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul attended a talk by Russian ambassador Kislyak (202):

On November 16, John Kerry had returned from Antarctica and was in Marrakesh for a UN climate conference. In Washington (206):

ODNI’s Clapper handed in his resignation, and Schumer chose Feinstein to take over the Senate Judiciary Committee, allowing Mark Warner to lead the Senate Intelligence Committee.

On November 15, Admiral Mike Rogers stood down from Trump’s transition team (204). At least one news report suggested he was too much of a Chris Christie ally.

However, Mike Rogers had one more thing to do, which is why I said in Part 4 that he had been invaluable to Trump:

At this point, Republican senator and anti-Trumper John McCain (Arizona) entered the Steele Dossier/UK intelligence nexus:

On November 22, the FBI interviewed either the DoJ’s Bruce Ohr or his wife Nellie Ohr, employed by Fusion GPS in 2016 (212).

December 2016

The FBI ramped things up against the president-elect early in the month (214):

FBI’s Comey put more resources into the counter-intelligence operation into Trump as Randall Coleman resigns and Luke Harding meets with Steele.

The Clinton campaign paid their final fees to law firm Perkins Coie, which received $5.6 million between June and December 2016 (215).

Christopher Steele had given Sir Alex Younger a copy of the infamous dossier (216):

Alex Younger gives a speech at the Secret Intelligence Services Headquarters in London, after he had received the dossier from Steele directly. The dossier was also passed throughout UK’s intelligence services, including GCHQ, who provided their assessment to the NSA.

On December 5, the FBI interviewed one of the Ohrs again (217).

A few days later, John McCain met with James Comey (218):

and handed in the dossier. This was either on December 8, 9 or after the 13th. Who knows? He may have even met Glenn Simpson during this. It’s multiple choice!

On December 9, Obama ordered a review of Russian interference in US elections going back to 2008 (219), the year he was elected to the presidency.

On December 12, the FBI interviewed the Ohrs again and (220):

At the same time, Evelyn Farkas published the article “Here’s What America Needs to Know About Trump and Russia”.

More about Russian meddling on both sides of the Atlantic appeared in the days that followed:

On December 20, the Ohrs went in for another FBI interview (225).

On December 23, Lawfare’s Matt Tait – ex-GCHQ – wrote an article for Politico called ‘Putin’s Way of War‘ (226).

On October 28, Obama took diplomatic action against Russia, which involved a phone conversation between Ambassador Kisylak and General Mike Flynn, a member of Trump’s transition team. This would rebound on Flynn a short time later. Even today, his case is still ongoing and he is relying on the goodness of others to survive:

The FBI said there was nothing wrong with Flynn talking with Kislyak. They were right. As a member of the transition team, he was within his rights to do so:

January 2017

President-elect Trump was clearly unhappy at the intelligence community, Obama people and Democrats opposing his upcoming inauguration.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) offered a memorable riposte:

Last chance efforts to damage Trump were in play, which included the Steele dossier. The most influential names from Spygate were coming together as one:

On January 6 (235):

the ODNI published the unclassified version of their report on Russian influence in the 2016 United States Presidential election, which both the FBI and the CIA had high confidence in. The NSA? Not so much.

That day, Comey decided to brief Trump about the Steele dossier (236):

… neglecting to tell him who paid for it, but said that CNN was looking for a hook. And then, by coincidence, ODNI’s Clapper appeared on CNN for an interview and told Tapper about the dossier.

Up to that point, the dossier looked like a solid card to play against Trump, until BuzzFeed and the Wall Street Journal got involved. Hilarious, for Trump supporters, anyway!

That said, although the DoJ‘s inspector general Michael Horowitz opened up an investigation into his department on January 12 (239), it was business as usual for Trump’s adversaries in Washington:

On January 17, outgoing US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power used her final speech to verbally attack Russia (242).

Then came Inauguration Day, January 20:

Thus concludes Spygate as The_War_Economy detailed it in SPYFALL.

Thank you very much, The_War_Economy, for your brilliant work!

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This is part of a series about Spygate.

Please see Part 1 for a list of people involved and how they know each other. The same names will be appearing in this and other related posts.

Part 2 covers events from 2015 and the first half of 2016.

Part 3 reviews what happened during the summer that year.

The_War_Economy posted a brilliant Twitter thread of 246 tweets with accompanying sources.

His thread is called SPYFALL, available in Thread Reader and individual tweets.

I will be excerpting and summarising SPYFALL this week as well as adding some of my own information so that those of us reading about Spygate can better comprehend its various elements.

When summarising SPYFALL, I will include the relevant tweet number in parentheses which will have a link to the source material.

Today’s post covers what happened between September 2016 and the election on November 8.

Emphases mine below.

September 2016

At the end of Part 3, Stefan Halper met with Trump campaign adviser Sam Clovis for coffee at a hotel in the Washington DC area hotel. That was on September 1. They appeared to have discussed China; Halper also asked how he could get in touch with George Papadopoulos (137).

On September 2, Halper invited Papadopoulos to join him in London. Republican operative Peter W Smith set up KLS Research LLC to help find Clinton’s emails, something he had been trying to do since July. FBI lawyer Lisa Page texted her colleague Peter Strzok to say that James Comey was going to meet with Obama, as he was interested in what the FBI was doing (138).

Meanwhile, James Comey refused to say whether Trump campaign aides were being investigated. In Rome, FBI agents were asking Christopher Steele about his sources and future copies of his memos (133).

Steele also spoke with the State Department’s Jonathan Winer about his (Steele’s) dossier. Winer prepared a two-page summary of the discussion and shared it with State Department colleagues Victoria Nuland and Jon Finer (134). Finer went to share the information with then-Secretary of State John Kerry. Once Kerry found out the FBI had a copy, he dropped the subject. So did Victoria Nuland (135).

Steele was very much against Donald Trump’s candidacy. He met with the DoJ’s Bruce Ohr and made his views clear (136). Bruce Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, had applied for a ham radio licence on May 23.

There was confusion at the Treasury Department about investigating people’s bank accounts. Treasury Department lawyer Paul Ahern said that draft guidelines were in place to do so (139), but, in reality, the Office of Intelligence and Analysis had never finalised said guidelines (140).

Russian interference was high on the agenda:

On September 13, George Papadopoulos began meeting with Stefan Halper in London (145). On March 26, 2018, The Daily Caller reported:

Papadopoulos now questions Halper’s motivation for contacting him, according to a source familiar with Papadopoulos’s thinking. That’s not just because of the randomness of the initial inquiry but because of questions Halper is said to have asked during their face-to-face meetings in London.

According to a source with knowledge of the meeting, Halper asked Papadopoulos: “George, you know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?”

Papadopoulos told Halper he didn’t know anything about emails or Russian hacking, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign. The professor did not follow up on the line of inquiry.

Halper first contacted Papadopoulos by email. In a Sept. 2, 2016, message sent to Papadopoulos’s personal email account, he offered the Trump aide $3,000 to write a policy paper on issues related to Turkey, Cyprus, Israel and the Leviathan natural gas field. Halper also offered to pay for Papadopoulos’s flight and a three-night stay in London.

Papadopoulos accepted the proposal, flew to England, and met with Halper and one of his assistants. He delivered the paper electronically Oct. 2 and received payment days later, according to documents TheDCNF reviewed

Papadopoulos, 30, pleaded guilty in October 2017 to lying to the FBI about contacts he had during the campaign with Russian nationals and a London-based professor with links to the Russian government.

That professor, Joseph Mifsud, told Papadopoulos in April 2016 he learned the Russians had possession of “thousands” of Clinton-related emails. That conversation would later spark the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the presidential campaign. It is not known whether Papadopoulos told anyone on the Trump campaign about Mifsud’s remarks

London was a veritable stomping ground for Papadopoulos during the campaign.

In addition to meetings there with Halper and Mifsud, the Chicago native had an encounter that would serve as the catalyst for the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling.

In May 2016, a month after his meeting with Mifsud, an Israeli embassy official, who Papadopoulos knew, introduced him to Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Alexander Downer.

During a barroom conversation at Kensington Gardens, Papadopoulos told Downer about the emails Mifsud mentioned to him, The New York Times reported in December 2016.

After WikiLeaks published a trove of stolen DNC emails in July 2016, Australian government officials told the FBI about Downer’s interaction with Papadopoulos. The bureau opened its counterintelligence investigation July 31, 2016 …

The Daily Caller article says the reasons why Downer wanted to meet with Papadopoulos are unclear and added that Downer and Halper have no clear personal connection with each other.

As to the meetings between Papadopoulos and Halper, the two:

met several times during the London trip, including at the Connaught Hotel and the Travellers Club — a classic 19th century club foreign diplomats and politicians frequent. Halper’s research assistant — a Turkish woman named Azra Turk — also met with Papadopoulos. The Connaught Hotel meeting was scheduled for Sept. 13, 2016, and the Travellers Club conclave was two days later …

At the time of the Papadopoulos meeting, Halper was working on a project related to China and Russia’s economic relations. There are no public records of Halper releasing reports on Turkey, Cyprus and Israel.

On September 14, the Department of Homeland Security’s Lisa Monaco told those attending (146):

the 10-year-anniversary of the DOJ’s National Security Division that Russia hacking the elections would be “extremely difficult”.

On September 22, two California Democrats — Senator Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Adam Schiff — issued a joint statement condemning Russian hacking based on briefings they had received (148).

On September 23, journalist Michael Isikoff posted an article (149):

“U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin” with information provided by Steele. The FBI takes notice.

Isikoff knows a Democrat operative, Alexandra Chalupa, who, Politico says:

had worked in the White House Office of Public Liaison during the Clinton administration. Chalupa went on to work as a staffer, then as a consultant, for Democratic National Committee. The DNC paid her $412,000 from 2004 to June 2016, according to Federal Election Commission records, though she also was paid by other clients during that time, including Democratic campaigns and the DNC’s arm for engaging expatriate Democrats around the world.

A daughter of Ukrainian immigrants who maintains strong ties to the Ukrainian-American diaspora and the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, Chalupa, a lawyer by training, in 2014 was doing pro bono work for another client interested in the Ukrainian crisis and began researching [Paul] Manafort’s role in Yanukovych’s rise, as well as his ties to the pro-Russian oligarchs who funded Yanukovych’s political party.

On September 26:

Concern about cyberattacks loomed larger near the end of September:

In the employ of Glenn Simpson from Fusion GPS, Christopher Steele (154):

starts meeting with journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, CNN and Yahoo! News. He meets Jane Mayer at the Tabard Inn in Washington. This is done under Glenn Simpson‘s watch, as he paid $168,000.00 to Steele to do it.

October 2016

October 2016 was a nail-biting month for both the Trump campaign as well as Hillary and her fellow Democrats.

So many things happened, yet Dems were sure their candidate would win.

Christopher Steele continued to be busy. At this point, he was in contact with the FBI (DoJ) and the State Department:

The FBI had no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Also, then-deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe hadn’t yet told James Comey about Andrew Weiner‘s laptop (157). Incidentally, Jeff Sessions sacked McCabe on March 16, 2018.

On October 6, the Washington Post held their Cybersecurity Summit. The DHS’s Lisa Monaco said it would be difficult to hack the November 8 election because of the various voting systems in place throughout the 50 states (158).

Russia loomed large on October 7:

That day (161), the 2005 Billy Bush Access Hollywood tape dropped, which the GOPe and Democrats hoped would sink Trump. WikiLeaks also started dropping the Podesta emails, a treasure trove of insider Dem information. Two days later, on October 9, the FBI told John Podesta — Hillary Clinton’s campaign supremo — they were investigating the email hack (162).

WikiLeaks realeased near-daily dumps of Podesta emails from then until the election.

Meanwhile, on October 13, candidate Trump delivered his ‘Slings and Arrows’ speech in Florida (163).

On October 14, retired CIA official Michael Morrell (164):

takes some time out to try and tie Trump, Manafort, Stone and Page to Russia through financial connections and suggesting they are all agents of Russia.

That same day, Peter Strzok‘s wife received a promotion at the SEC and a former US ambassador to Russia visited the White House (165):

Michael McFaul is in the White House, where he bumps into Ambassador Kislyak. Also, Strzok’s wife, Melissa Hodgman, is promoted to Associate Director in the SEC’s Enforcement Division.

Christopher Steele refocussed his efforts in meeting with journalists, including the BBC’s Paul Wood, and once again met with the aforementioned DoJ’s Bruce Ohr (166), whom he had met in September.

Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Obama that NSI director Admiral Mike Rogers should be fired (167). Rogers would turn out to be an invaluable asset to president-elect Trump.

October 15 was the DOJ’s John Carlin‘s last day at work. He had resigned as head of the DOJ’s National Security Division (168).

On October 16, Julian Assange’s access to the Internet was severed (169) but that contingency plans were in place. WikiLeaks claimed a ‘state party’ was responsible.

On October 18, the Obamas held their last state dinner. It was for Italy’s prime minister, Mario Renzi. The guest list includes a few of the names here (see 170 and 171).

On October 19, Robert Mueller appeared on the scene (172):

he’s been hired by Booz Allen Hamilton to review their security after the thefts committed by NSA contractor Harold Martin, who was discovered during the FBI’s search for the Shadow Brokers.

On October 20, Christopher Steele finished his memos, Stefan Halper addressed the China Forum in Washington and Mike Rogers received a briefing on pending FISA issues (173).

Also related:

As the month drew to a close:

The FBI terminated their relationship with Christopher Steele, as journalist David Corn wrote about information he should not have made public (187):

Now David Corn also drops the article “A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump”, which ends Steele’s relationship with the FBI as they terminate him as a source.

Early November 2016

At the beginning of the month, the Steele Dossier began making the rounds in the Obama administration (189). Again, there was still no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.

On October 31 the Obama administration sent a message to Russia via a secure channel originally designed for use in averting a nuclear exchange. On November 1, Russia confirmed receipt of the message (191).

That same day, Andrew McCabe recused himself from the FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation (190).

On November 2, Obama criticised James Comey for his handling of the investigation into Hillary’s emails (192). Reopening the investigation at the end of October shocked many. The election was only days away.

A number of legislators and media pundits questioned whether Comey had violated the Hatch Act, a few of whom are listed below. From Wikipedia:

On October 30, 2016, U.S. Senate Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid stated that FBI Director James Comey may have violated the Hatch Act by sending a letter to the Congress on October 28, 2016, which stated that the FBI would be reopening their investigation of the Hillary Clinton email controversy.[34][35] Also on October 30, Richard Painter, a chief White House ethics lawyer for the George W. Bush administration, published an op-ed saying that he had filed a complaint against the FBI with the OSC and with the Office of Government Ethics about the same matter.[36]

Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote to the DoJ’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz about conflicts of interest in the FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation and Hillary’s emails (193). Grassley’s letter mentioned the July 2016 tarmac meeting between then-AG Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton.

On November 3, Stefan Halper told Sputnik News that Hillary Clinton would make a better president than Donald Trump (194).

On November 6, news emerged that the FBI had examined all of Hillary’s hundreds of thousands of emails (195):

FBI’s Comey shuts down the Clinton investigation again, having read through 650,000 e-mails within about six days, something Michael Flynn openly questions.

Former Conservative MP Louise Mensch, an anti-Trumper now living in New York, wrote a piece for the now-defunct Heat Street (196):

… Louise Mensch (yes, her) published the article “EXCLUSIVE: FBI ‘Granted FISA Warrant’ Covering Trump Camp’s Ties To Russia” in Heat Street …

Meanwhile, confident of a Hillary victory, John Kerry left on a trip to Antarctica. And he must have got the surprise of his life learning the news from November 8:

Of course, as we all know, the story was far from over. In fact, in some respects, Spygate had only just begun.

Tomorrow’s post concludes the story of Spygate up to the present.

This is part of a series about Spygate.

Please see Part 1 for a list of people involved and how they know each other. The same names will be appearing in this and other related posts.

Part 2 covers events from 2015 and the first half of 2016 as The_War_Economy laid out in his brilliant Twitter thread of 246 tweets with accompanying sources.

His thread is called SPYFALL, available in Thread Reader and individual tweets.

I will be excerpting and summarising SPYFALL this week as well as adding some of my own information so that those of us reading about Spygate can better comprehend its various elements.

When summarising SPYFALL, I will include the relevant tweet number in parentheses which will have a link to the source material.

Today’s post covers what happened during the summer of 2016, when the Republicans and Democrats held their respective conventions to elect their candidate. What appear to be random occurrences in Part 2 start to form pieces of a greater puzzle.

Emphases mine below.

Conferences, private meetings

Conferences take place all year round. However, those that took place during the summer of 2016 would reveal international trips and private meetings.

Secret meetings — unrelated to conferences — also took place.

On June 4, Carter Page received an invitation from a doctoral candidate at Cambridge University to the Race to Change the World symposium (91). The doctoral candidate is thought to have been an assistant to Stefan Halper.

Two years later — on June 5, 2018 — The Daily Caller reported that President Trump’s speechwriter, Stephen Miller, received an invitation in May, weeks before Page was invited:

Carter Page was not the only Trump campaign adviser invited to a July 2016 event at the University of Cambridge, the storied British institution where “Spygate” is believed to have originated.

The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned that an invitation to attend the campaign-themed event was extended to Stephen Miller, another Trump campaign adviser who currently serves in the White House. Miller did not attend the event, which featured former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as a keynote speaker.

J. D. Gordon, the director of the campaign’s national security advisory committee, told TheDCNF he believes the invitation from Cambridge to Miller was sent in May 2016. That’s a month before a graduate assistant of FBI informant Stefan Halper sent an invitation to Page to visit the campus.

“The invitation was to Stephen Miller who could not attend,” Gordon, a former Pentagon spokesman, told TheDCNF. “In the midst of our policy office search for a surrogate, Carter Page informed me that he had also been invited and would like to attend.”

Gordon said he told Page the campaign preferred he did not attend the Cambridge conclave.

“Though since he wasn’t planning to make public remarks, conduct media interviews or otherwise represent the campaign, he was not required to fill in one of our request forms.”

Gordon said Miller, a former Senate aide to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, passed the Cambridge request to John Mashburn, a campaign policy adviser. Mashburn gave it to Gordon.

The three-day Cambridge conclave was where Page first met Halper, a former Cambridge professor who turns out to have also been working for the FBI as part of a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign.

Page, an energy consultant, has said Halper, a veteran of three Republican administrations, offered advice about the campaign during a brief chat on the sidelines of the event.

The pair met numerous times over the course of the next 14 months, Page told TheDCNF. He visited Halper’s farm in Virginia and met with the 73-year-old academic in Washington, D.C. They stayed in contact through September 2017, the same month the U.S. government’s surveillance warrants against Page expired. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Cambridge Prof With CIA, MI6 Ties Met With Trump Adviser During Campaign, Beyond)

Halper, who has longstanding connections to the CIA, met with at least two other Trump campaign advisers — Sam Clovis and George Papadopoulos.

The Daily Caller article says it is unclear as to whether Stephen Miller was a target of Spygate.

On the Democrat side, an important meeting took place on June 27, approximately one month before the Democratic National Convention (DNC). That was the day when Bill Clinton just happened to be in Phoenix, Arizona, and boarded then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch‘s plane for an extended chat with her (92). Details about what was discussed are still unknown.

Concerning intelligence, the GCHQ’s Robert Hannigan went to Washington DC to give material to John Brennan, then-CIA director (93). However, it should be noted that Brennan was not Hannigan’s direct counterpart. Admiral Mike Rogers of the NSA was the person Hannigan should have seen (94). They had already met earlier that year for the US-UK’s intelligence relationship anniversary. Yet, Hannigan chose to see the CIA’s Brennan.

On July 7, Carter Page travelled to Russia to speak at the New Economic School. During his time there, he also met with Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich (99).

Page returned to the US, then flew to England for the aforementioned Race to Change the World conference. He met with Stefan Halper, who told Page that he (Halper) knew Trump’s then-campaign manager Paul Manafort (100).

Between July 27 and July 30, the Aspen Security Forum brought together intelligence officials and CNN reporters. Attendees included Homeland Security’s Jeh Johnson, DOJ’s John Carlin, ODNI’s James Clapper, CNN’s Evan Perez, CNN’s Jim Sciutto, WaPo’s Shane Harris (108, 109). This could explain how Clapper was later hired as a CNN contributor. See Crossfire Hurricane below for details on what happened next.

Other news: DNC emails and FISA

In July, more than 19,000 DNC — Democratic National Committee — emails had been ‘stolen’. It was thought that various Russian hacking groups or persons, including Guccifer 2.0 were responsible. It was more likely that these were saved internally by someone working for the DNC — the late Seth Rich, an alleged Bernie Sanders supporter — then leaked. Nonetheless, the narrative of Russian hackers began circulating in the media. One of the intelligence people looking at what happened, particularly with regard to Guccifer 2.0, was Matt Tait, a former GCHQ employee who also writes for the Democrat-dominated blog, Lawfare (95).

The FBI tried to obtain a FISA warrant concerning two Russian banks. They had tried earlier in June. Once again, the FISC — FISA court — rejected the application (96).

On July 25, FBI lawyer Lisa Page and FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok sent text messages to each other (105):

about Strzok’s relationship to Judge Rudolph Contreras of the FISA Court. 

On July 24, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook blamed the DNC hacks on Russia. ABC news said that CrowdStrike was Mook’s source. On July 26, Christopher Steele filed a memo which confirmed what Mook had said (106). That day, Obama (107):

signed a directive to place the FBI in charge of responding to all cyber threats, allowing the federal government an role in investigating, preventing and mitigating attempts to hack US-based computer networks.

USA Today quoted Department of Homeland Security’s Lisa Monaco, who defended the new policy.

Hillary Clinton

On July 2, the FBI interviewed Hillary Clinton about her server. On July 5, then FBI director James Comey suggested that no charges be brought against her. On July 6, Loretta Lynch said no charges would be brought against the soon-to-be Democrat nominee for president (98).

In late July, Peter W Smith — a well-connected Republican operative — contacted Matt Tait (103) :

in an attempt to recruit him to figure out who hacked Clinton’s private server (aside from Russia), as he had heard from somebody on the dark web had copies of the e-mails.

Donald Trump

On July 20, Donald Trump became the Republican presidential nominee (102). Paul Manafort had done a stellar job the previous two months in getting Trump the necessary delegates. He had been negotiating with hardened anti-Trumpers much of the time.

This was around the time that Peter W Smith got in touch with Matt Tait (see above).

Crossfire Hurricane

On July 31, the day after the aforementioned Aspen Security Forum ended, Crossfire Hurricane began.

This series of tweets is particularly important:

N.B.: The NSA’s Mike Rogers was not invited to these meetings.

August’s events

With Crossfire Hurricane underway, quite a few things happened in August.

Some of this information emerged only a few weeks ago.

We now know that Crossfire Hurricane provided the basis for Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged Trump campaign Russian collusion.

On May 16, 2018, the New York Times reported that, in early part of August 2016, two FBI agents went to London to meet with Alexander Downer, Australian ambassador to the UK, about his meeting with George Papadopoulos:

a mission so secretive that all but a handful of officials were kept in the dark.

Their assignment, which has not been previously reported, was to meet the Australian ambassador, who had evidence that one of Donald J. Trump’s advisers knew in advance about Russian election meddling. After tense deliberations between Washington and Canberra, top Australian officials broke with diplomatic protocol and allowed the ambassador, Alexander Downer, to sit for an F.B.I. interview to describe his meeting with the campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos.

The agents summarized their highly unusual interview and sent word to Washington on Aug. 2, 2016, two days after the investigation was opened. Their report helped provide the foundation for a case that, a year ago Thursday, became the special counsel investigation.

On August 4, James Clapper had a telephone conversation with Russia’s FSB’s Alexander Bortnikov to warn him against future interference (119). Bortnikov denied any involvement in the US presidential election.

On August 6, before leaving for his summer holiday on Martha’s Vineyard, Obama (120):

ordered his aides to “check vulnerabilities in state-run election systems, seek bipartisan support from Congressional leaders for a statement condemning Moscow and urge states to accept federal help”.

Remember, Obama mocked Trump that year about election fixing. Obama said there was no way to rig an election and that there were no vulnerabilities in the voting system.

Hillary Clinton chimed in on Russia for the first time (121):

A few days later:

On August 15 (125):

Strzok and Page discussed the “insurance policy” as DoH’s Johnson started calling state officials to gain their support in their election defence campaign, but he was met with “a wall of resistance”.

On August 19, Paul Manafort resigned as Trump’s campaign manager (126). Kellyanne Conway took the reins and led The Donald to victory.

Obama returned from holiday on August 21 (127).

Then:

On August 27, Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) sent a letter to then-FBI director James Comey (130):

about the Russia investigation, demanding an investigation be opened, with zero knowledge of Crossfire Hurricane‘s existence. Reid cited Carter Page in the letter.

On August 28, disgraced New York politician Anthony Weiner, husband of Hillary’s confidante Huma Abedin, had been caught sexting again (131). His laptop would be seized, opening up a re-investigation by the FBI into the contents of the political emails therein just days before the election in November.

On August 29, Stefan Halper contacted Trump campaign adviser Sam Clovis, mentioning that Carter Page suggested they meet. He issued an invitation to meet in Washington DC (132).

On June 5, 2018, The Daily Caller reported:

Clovis met with Halper once for coffee on Sept. 1, 2016 at a Washington-area hotel.

Tomorrow’s post will look at what happened in the run-up to the November 8 election.

This is part of a series about Spygate.

Please see Part 1 for a list of people involved and how they know each other. The same names will be appearing in this and other related posts.

This entry covers events from 2015 and the first half of 2016 as The_War_Economy laid out in his brilliant Twitter thread of 246 tweets with accompanying sources.

His thread is called SPYFALL, available in Thread Reader and individual tweets.

I will be excerpting and summarising SPYFALL this week as well as adding some of my own information so that those of us reading about Spygate can better comprehend its various elements.

When summarising SPYFALL, I will include the relevant tweet number in parentheses which will have a link to the source material.

Emphases mine below.

Events of 2015

On April 7, 2015, the Democrats were already plotting against the GOP in the upcoming 2016 presidential race (45):

The Clinton campaign intended to institute a Pied Piper campaign into the Presidential election, where they selected three Republican candidates for their project: Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

Donald Trump declared his candidacy for president on June 16.

Sometime in August, he met with Lieutenant General Michael Flynn at Trump Tower. The meeting was scheduled to last for 30 minutes. Instead, it lasted 90 (43).

At that time, Flynn had already retired as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He and his son, Michael G. Flynn, founded the Flynn Intel Group, Inc. in 2014. It closed in 2016.

In September, the Department of Defense (DoD) hired Stefan Halper as a contractor (44):

On September 25, 2015, Stefan Halper was hired on a contract basis by the DOD’s Office of Net Assessment for a total of $244,960.00. This was his third contract. A few days later, on September 29, Evelyn Farkas resigned from the DOD.

Evelyn Farkas is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia.

In November, George Papadopoulos joined Ben Carson’s campaign team (46):

George Papadopoulos would join Ben Carson’s campaign in November 2015, until February 2016, where he joined the London Centre of International Law Practice, where Joseph Mifsud worked as Director of International Strategy.

On December 7, Michael Flynn attended Russia Today’s 10th anniversary celebration. He sat next to President Vladimir Putin (47).

According to The Guardian, Britain’s GCHQ started picking up intelligence about links between Trump associates and Russians (49).

Events of 2016

GCHQ continued passing along their intelligence to their US counterparts. By the summer, other European countries joined them (51):

Germany, Estonia, Poland, Australia, the Netherlands and France’s DGSE.

In February, Michael Flynn became an informal adviser to the Trump campaign.

That same month (53):

Natalia Veselnitskaya’s Significant Public Benefit Parole document ended, preventing her from returning to the US.

Natalia Veselnitskaya is the Russian attorney who met in June 2016 with Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort at Trump Tower. She also has business connections to Fusion GPS.

Meanwhile, Admiral Michael S. Rogers, then-director of the NSA, began working on NSA21 (54):

to merge the spying and hacking arms with the Computer Security Division into one Directorate of Operations.

On February 21, Evelyn Farkas contacted John Podesta, head of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, to ask if she could do ‘surrogate work’ with Eastern European communities for the campaign (55).

In March, the Washington Post pressed candidate Trump for the names of his foreign security advisers (56). This list is not very exciting, because Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush already had the cream of the crop. Nevertheless, this is where we first see the names of Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos is listed, because he had left Ben Carson’s campaign in February:

Trump got five: Walid Phares, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Joseph Schmitz and Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg.

Meanwhile, Papadopoulos was in touch with Professor Joseph Mifsud, who (58):

was promising him connections to Russian officials laced with conversations about Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, travelling to Italy and UK to do this.

That said (59):

Joseph Mifsud’s career at Link Campus, the London Academy of Diplomacy and more would suggest an allegiance towards western intelligence more than anything else, especially since agents at the FBI have visited Link Campus.

Carter Page had past involvement with Russia in 2013 (60):

where he spoke with the FBI as Russians were attempting to recruit him as an intelligence asset, which led to the Russians arrest.

Fusion GPS and Democrat-centric law firm Perkins Coie got together around this time (61):

Fusion GPS needed somebody to keep paying them, so they reached out to Perkins Coie, with FULL KNOWLEDGE that Perkins Coie represented both the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. In April, they accepted.

March was also the month when CIA director John Brennan made a ‘secret’ visit to Russia, which, according to the Russian government was unrelated to Syria (64).

In April, James Baker, then FBI General Counsel, met with Perkins Coie’s Michael Sussmann at the Global Privacy Summit (68):

Sussmann would later integrate himself with the DNC’s cyber team after introducing them to CrowdStrike.

On April 18, Mike Rogers closed off random access to raw FISA information which vexed a number of contractors doing work for the NSA (70). Interestingly, Mary Jacoby, the wife of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, visited the White House the following morning (71). Could these events be related?

According to the BBC, John Brennan received a tape from the Baltic States concerning money from the Kremlin going into the US presidential campaign. The Trump campaign was not mentioned (72). Brennan then (73):

created two task forces to get around the problem of being unable to act domestically – the Domestic task force (FBI, DOJ and Treasury) and the Foreign task force (CIA, ODNI and NSA).

The US Treasury began investigating certain bank accounts:

Later that month:

On May 23, Nellie Ohr applied for a ham radio licence (82).

In June, Christopher Steele flew to Rome to meet with the FBI’s Michael Gaeta (83):

to discuss the dossier, while Natalia Veselnitskaya was granted permission from the US Government to come to the US on a B-status non-immigrant visa.

That month, the FBI tried unsuccessfully to obtain a FISA warrant to monitor four members of the Trump campaign team (90).

It is unclear who those people were, but speculation abounds.

The next post in this series covers the summer of 2016, when everything started to heat up.

Last week, I wrote about Spygate, a term President Trump coined for the coup out to disrupt, if not end, his presidency:

At the weekend, The_War_Economy put together a Twitter thread of 246 tweets with accompanying sources.

The thread is called SPYFALL, available in Thread Reader and individual tweets.

I will be excerpting and summarising SPYFALL this week as well as adding some of my own information so that those of us reading about Spygate can better comprehend its various elements.

When summarising SPYFALL, I will include the relevant tweet number in parentheses which will have a link to the source material.

Today’s post will examine how the major players, many of whom are acting against the US president, first met.

For some of them, it was a long time ago.

Enron

The Enron scandal was the biggest of the early 21st century.

George W Bush — Bush II — was president at the time.

Jeffrey Skilling was the CEO of Enron at the time the scandal broke. He is currently serving a 14-year prison sentence at FPC Montgomery in Alabama.

Hakluyt

On August 7, 2001, Christopher James, co-founder of an intelligence firm, Hakluyt & Co., contacted Jeffrey Skilling and sent an email explaining the various services that could be of benefit to Enron (4).

Hakluyt would become a powerful intelligence firm and expand worldwide, as we shall see. Its parent company is Holdingham Group Limited, which is based in Mayfair, London. Its directors are incredibly well connected. Many of its employees had careers in intelligence (5).

Hakluyt also has affiliated companies operating around the world which also offer intelligence services. Each of these has an office in London (6).

At the time of Enron, it was less well developed than it is now.

Enron Task Force — major DoJ players meet

On January 9, 2002, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) formed the Enron Task Force.

Many of the names connected in the Russia probe of the Trump campaign worked on the Enron Task Force: Lisa Monaco, Andrew Weissman, James Comey, Christopher Wray and Robert Mueller (7).

The Enron Task Force was in place for several years.

After it wrapped up in 2006, the DoJ gave every member an award. Other agents also received awards for unrelated DoJ cases. They included three award recipients who would years later be involved in working against Trump: David Laufman, Aaron Zebley and Sally Quinn Yates (10). On January 30, 2017, Sally Yates was dismissed from her position as acting US attorney general. She actively opposed President Trump’s travel ban.

Where major players went post-Enron

The major players who worked on Enron went on to have successful careers.

New names also came into the picture during this time. Later, they would be part of the group working against Trump.

James Comey worked for Lockheed (2005-2010), then went on to Bridgewater Associates (2010-2013), an investment management firm based in Connecticut.

Another person who worked at Bridgewater Associates was James A Baker.

In 2014, Baker was appointed FBI General Counsel (11).

James Baker and Lisa Page had their FBI employment terminated in May 2017.

James Comey was appointed FBI director during Obama’s second term in 2013. President Trump dismissed him on May 9, 2017.

Robert Mueller preceded Comey as FBI director. He served under Bush II, then Obama, from 2001-2013.

During his tenure as FBI director, Mueller had several chiefs of staff, among them John Carlin, Lisa Monaco and Aaron Zebley (12).

John Brennan

John Owen Brennan has had a long career with the CIA.

He gave daily intelligence briefings to Bill Clinton. In 1999, he was appointed as chief of staff to then-CIA director George Tenet.

In March 2001, under Bush II, he was made deputy executive director of the CIA.

Between 2004 and 2005, he was the director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

After that, he moved to the private sector for a few years, first as Chairman of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA).

He then became CEO of The Analysis Corporation (TAC) (14):

which was a subsidiary of Global Defense Technology & Systems Inc. (later renamed Sotera Defense Solutions), based in McLean, VA and founded in 1990.

In 2008, still as CEO of TAC, John Brennan was also an adviser to then-candidate Obama. There were some bumps in the road (15):

The Analysis Corporation ran into trouble during the 2008 Presidential election when they hacked into the passport information for Barack Obama, John McCain and Hillary Clinton. This was while Brennan was on candidate Obama’s advisory staff.

As soon as Obama began his first term, he appointed Brennan to the post of Homeland Security Advisor.

James Clapper

James Clapper also had a career that spanned various presidential administrations.

Between 1991 and 1995, he was director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under George HW Bush — Bush I — and Bill Clinton.

He then moved to the private sector for several years, including two years as president of the Security Affairs Support Association, an organization of intelligence contractors.

In 2001, under Bush II, he returned to government as director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

In 2007, he became Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.

In 2010, Obama appointed Clapper as US Director of National Intelligence.

The early Obama years

In 2013, John Brennan became CIA director. Lisa Monaco took his place as Homeland Security Advisor (17).

Once again, there had been a hacking issue. The CIA (17):

was soon embroiled in scandal for hacking into a Senate network used by Congressional staffers connected to researching the CIA’s torture program.

So (18):

Senator Dianne Feinstein’s staffer, Daniel J. Jones, led the inquiry into the CIA’s torture program, which led to a change in the CIA’s behaviour and was a career maker for Jones.

Jones worked for the private sector afterwards before founding his own company, the Penn Quarter Group (19).

Stefan Halper

Stefan Halper is a relatively new name to the Trump-Russia situation.

He has been involved in politics on both sides of the aisle from the Nixon through to the Reagan administrations. Currently, he is employed by Cambridge University, where he directs the Department of Politics and International Studies.

He is also incredibly well connected, including the CIA and MI6. His former father-in-law, Ray S Cline, held high-ranking CIA positions from 1949 to 1969.

Halper studied at Oxford when Bill Clinton was there (30). Their mutual classmate was Strobe Talbott, who is the brother-in-law of Cody Shearer, thought to be involved in a second fake dossier about Trump.

Halper also knows the aforementioned Christopher James, co-founder of Hakluyt (23):

Halper has written numerous books and thanked a lot of people in them, including Christopher James, the founder of Hakluyt & Co. (courtesy of ).

In 2014, Halper met General Michael Flynn at the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar (25). At the time, Flynn was serving as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Incidentally, Flynn left his post a short time later (26, emphasis mine):

A few months later, DIA’s Flynn was pushed out of his position by ODNI’s Clapper, obstinately for budgetary reasons. Flynn announced his retirement in April 2014, then left on August 7, 2014.

Christopher Steele

What follows is information about Christopher Steele, involved in the fake dossier:

Fusion GPS

Fusion GPS was involved with the dossier and the Clinton campaign:

Glenn Simpson‘s wife, Mary Jacoby — also a former Wall Street Journal employee — is originally from Little Rock and has long-standing ties to the Clintons (38).

Hillary Clinton’s campaign

Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign had links with Hakluyt ((41) also linked to the Clinton Foundation (42))  and well-known pro-Democrat law firm Perkins Coie, whose Marc Elias was Clinton’s lead campaign lawyer (40).

Other players

The following names are circulating on the periphery:

This post lists the relationships among the people who would be involved in one way or another in working against the Trump presidency. A few names here were not involved, e.g. Michael Flynn and a few others. However, Flynn had met some who were involved in attempting to undermine the president.

More will come about related events that began unfolding in 2015.

This post is part of a series about anticipated news topics in 2018. Readers who have not seen the first five posts from earlier this year might find them of interest, as all relate to today’s news item:

Part 1: hate in Washington DC

Part 2: Hillary WAS supposed to win (The 16 Year Plan to Destroy America)

Part 3: FBI’s missing texts

Part 4: ‘secret society’ and more on missing FBI texts

Part 5: release of the Nunes FISA memo

Since then, more information has come to light about what surveillance took place on the Trump campaign, who was involved and so on. The Conservative TreehouseThe Last Refuge — has the best posts on the subject.

May 2018 marked the first anniversary of Robert Mueller’s continuing investigation. President Trump estimates it has cost upwards of $20 million thus far.

I would elaborate, but that would be pointless. The Storm, which the original Q promised last autumn, never arrived. The next incarnation of Q says to ‘trust the plan’. Although I haven’t given up, I’m no longer holding my breath.

One thing I will say is: this MUST break well in advance of mid-terms and before early voting begins, where applicable. In other words, the Trump administration — e.g. Jeff Sessions — must do something by August or September.

On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, President Trump coined the word ‘Spygate’:

Since then, he has been tweeting about it a lot (see here and here).

On Tuesday, May 29, Trump once again quoted The Federalist‘s Mollie Hemingway …

… before tweeting:

Trump’s right.

Mueller isn’t looking at people who really have colluded with Russia.

TheLastRefuge — Sundance from The Conservative Treehouse — has condensed his analysis into an easy to understand Twitter thread called ‘Understanding “Spygate”, the Big Picture’. The unrolled thread is here.

Excerpts and a summary follow, emphases mine:

This sort of thing has been going on for years. The difference now is:

6. The current “spygate” debate centers around the modern weaponization of that process using advances in technology for surveillance. See: Edward Snowden (NSA) *whistleblower* and/or even Reality Winner (NSA *contractor*) for a more modern context.

(That is a subject I covered earlier this week.)

Spygate began to unfold in 2015, with the ingenious use of ‘contractors’ working within the intelligence community (IC). Said ‘contractors’ are not subject to government oversight or constraints. They also:

as labeled by the IC and FISA Court, had “deliberate access” to NSA and FBI databases.

One of the many contractors involved was Daniel Richman, a friend of James Comey. According to an April 24 Fox News article, Richman — a Columbia law professor — was:

a “special government employee” (SGE) for Comey’s FBI on an unpaid basis …

“I did indeed have SGE status with the Bureau (for no pay),” Richman wrote in an email.

Here I must break from TheLastRefuge to show Professor Richman during a November 2016 interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Cooper, by the way, was a CIA summer intern many moons ago. One wonders what was going through his mind …

You don’t even need the sound, just watch:

The Fox News article says that, even if Richman was unpaid:

Richman emerged last year as the former FBI director’s contact for leaking memos documenting his private discussions with President Trumpmemos that are now the subject of an inspector general review over the presence of classified material. Sources familiar with Richman’s status at the FBI told Fox News that he was assigned to “special projects” by Comey, and had a security clearance as well as badge access to the building. Richman’s status was the subject of a Memorandum of Understanding.

While Richman’s portfolio included the use of encrypted communications by terror suspects, the sources said Richman also was sent talking points about the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Those talking points attempted to compare and contrast Clinton’s use of an unsecured personal server exclusively for government business with the case of retired Gen. David Petraeus, who shared classified information with his biographer and mistress Paula Broadwell, as well as the case brought against the late Sandy Berger. The former national security adviser under President Clinton pleaded guilty to the unauthorized removal and retention of classified material from the National Archives.

Back now to TheLastRefuge. Note the sensitive access the various contractors had:

Early in 2016 — several months before the election — Admiral Mike Rogers saw what was happening. Afterwards, the contractors had to change tactics. This is important, especially the graphic:

They were quick to react:

At that point, Donald Trump was one of the few left in the Republican presidential primary race. Jeb Bush had dropped out by then. It was only Trump, Ted Cruz and, in distant third, John Kasich. Trump looked strong, despite what the media were telling the public.

The Democrats mobilised forces. Again, note the contractors involved and the husband and wife duo, the Ohrs:

25. Clinton Campaign hires FusionGPS April 2016. Fusion GPS hires Nellie Ohr wife of DOJ-NSD Bruce Ohr. Bruce Ohr has access to FBI/NSA database. Bruce Ohr is #4 in DOJ Bruce Ohr can hire contractors. Fusion GPS then sub-contracts Christopher Steele.

This is what happened next:

Note that actual intelligence agents and/or spies weren’t even involved:

The man in the middle, Stefan Halper, has dual US/UK nationality. He has been involved in politics on both sides of the aisle from the Nixon through to the Reagan administrations. Currently, he is employed by Cambridge University, where he directs the Department of Politics and International Studies.

He is very well connected.

Until recently, no one outside those in the know had ever heard of him.

That, in itself, amazes me. His role in this will continue to unfold in the months to come.

And that is the introduction to Spygate.

My word, who would ever have imagined something of this magnitude taking place in the United States?

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