Saturday, April 29, 2017

Putin-Gate... Drip, Drip, Drip


Julian Borger reported in yesterday's Guardian that way back in December, after Putin was already celebrating his victories in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Florida that the British government had already been given the details of how Trump's campaign had been colluding with the Kremlin on stealing the election.

This became part of the explosive dossier by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele. The news in Britain wasn't that that the UK intelligence services had also received the dossier but that Steele confirmed in a court filing earlier this month that he handed a memorandum compiled in December to a 'senior UK government national security official acting in his official capacity, on a confidential basis in hard copy form.'" Steele's testimony emphasized that he had decided to pass on the information he had collected because it was "of considerable importance in relation to alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election," that it "had implications for the national security of the US and the UK" and "needed to [be] analysed and further investigated/verified."
The December memo alleged that four Trump representatives travelled to Prague in August or September in 2016 for “secret discussions with Kremlin representatives and associated operators/hackers,” about how to pay hackers secretly for penetrating Democratic party computer systems and “contingency plans for covering up operations.”

Between March and September, the December memo alleges, the hackers used botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs and steal data online from Democratic party leadership. Two of the hackers had been “recruited under duress by the FSB” the memo said. The hackers were paid by the Trump organisation, but were under the control of Vladimir Putin’s presidential administration.

Trump has rejected the allegations of collusion as a smear campaign. His lawyer, Michael Cohen, one of Trump representatives named in the memo, has described the claims in the memo as “totally fake, totally inaccurate,” and has said he had never been to Prague.

Since the memo became public in January, Steele had not spoken about his role in compiling it but he and his company, Orbis Business Intelligence Limited, have filed a defence in the high court of justice in London, in a defamation case brought by Aleksej Gubarev, a Russian venture capitalist and owner of a global computer technology company, XBT, and a Dallas-based subsidiary Webzilla.

Gubarev, who was named along with his company in the December memo as being involved in hacking operation, has denied any such involvement and is also suing Buzzfeed in the US courts for publishing the December memo alongside Steele’s earlier reports on election hacking.

A statement by Steele’s defence lawyers, endorsed by the former MI6 agent, said Orbis was hired between June and November last year by Fusion GPS, a Washington-based research consultancy to look into Trump’s links with Russia.

In that period, Steele produced 16 memoranda citing mostly Russian sources as describing a web of alleged contacts and collusion between Trump aides and Russian intelligence or other Kremlin representatives.

The document said that he passed the memos to Fusion on the understanding that Fusion would not disclose the material to any third parties without the approval of Steele and Orbis. They did agree to Fusion providing a copy to Senator John McCain after the veteran Republican had been told about the existence of Steele’s research by Sir Andrew Wood, a former UK ambassador to Moscow and an Orbis associate, at a conference in Canada on 8 November.

Senator McCain handed a copy of the Steele memos to James Comey, the FBI director, on 9 December.

After delivering these reports, the court papers say Steele and Orbis continued to receive “unsolicited intelligence” on Trump-Russia links, and Steele decided that to draw up another memo with this new information which was dated 13 December.

He handed one copy over to the senior British national security official and sent an encrypted version to Fusion with instructions to deliver a hard copy to Senator McCain.

The essence of this isn't new. Back in February, CNN was reporting that according to the FBI, Trump's closest confidants-- although no one was mentioning Kushner-in-law back then-- "were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence." And President-elect Trumpanzee was briefed by intelligence agencies on what was happening in his own campaign. Two cases most mentioned back then were campaign manager Paul Manafort and foreign policy advisor Michael Flynn.
Trump dismissed the claims that his advisers had close ties to Russia in a tweet Wednesday.

"This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton's losing campaign," Trump tweeted.

CNN has reached out to Flynn for comment. In an interview, Manafort emphatically denied that he was in contact with Russians known to US intelligence.

"That is 100% not true, at least as far as me," he said. "I cannot believe that they are including me in anything like that. I have not been involved in any of these activities."

Manafort said he did not know where US officials got the idea that he was in contact with suspected Russian operatives during the campaign but said he never spoke with any Russian officials during that time.

"I don't remember talking to any Russian officials, ever. Certainly during the time we're talking about," he said, calling the allegations "boggling."

"I have knowingly never talked to any intelligence official or anyone in Russia regarding anything of what's under investigation," he said. "I have never had any connection to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin or the Russian government before, during or after the campaign."

Manafort said the FBI has not contacted him about the allegations and said he was not aware of any other Trump campaign officials or people close to Trump being in touch with Russians known to US intelligence.

Manafort, who has held business ties with Russian and Ukrainian individuals, also emphasized that his work for the Yanukovich government in Ukraine should not be interpreted as closeness to the Russians. He said he worked for Yanukovich during a time when Ukraine was "moving into the European orbit."

The extensive contacts drew concerns of US intelligence and law enforcement officials in part because it came at a time of Russian cyberactivities targeting mostly Democratic Party political organizations.

Post-election intelligence briefings on Russian meddling in the US elections included details of those communications, which included people involved in Trump's businesses.

The communications were gathered as part of routine US intelligence collection and not because people close to Trump were being targeted.

The FBI and US intelligence agencies continue to try to determine what the motive for the communications were.

One concern was whether Trump associates were coordinating with Russian intelligence operatives over the release of damaging information about the Hillary Clinton campaign.

"If that were the case, then that would escalate things," one official briefed on the investigation said.
Well... that's certainly happened in the last couple of months, hasn't it? But now the Putin-Gate scandal is seeping all over the GOP, including onto members of Congress. Nunes' career is finished. Issa, Rohrabacher and Ryan are tainted. Burr will probably have to retire in 2022. And the latest to feel the taint is the GOP candidate in the special election in Montana, crooked multimillionaire Greg Gianforte who has invested almost a quarter million dollars in in shares in two index funds that invest in the Russian economy, including in firms that have been sanctioned by the Treasury Department, like Kremlin-controlled Gazprom and Rosneft.

Devin & Sebastian
And it now looks like National Security advisor H.R. McMaster and Kushner-in-law have finally persuaded Trumpanzee to jettison neo-Nazi sociopath Sebastian Gorka, who Trumpanzee admires as a TV personality but who is widely viewed as a risk to national security and a risk to Trump politically. On Friday the DailyBeast reported that the Regime is trying to figure out how to dump him without causing any problems for itself among its neo-Nazi base. Singapore is already taken. McMaster has excluded him from any and all participation in anything to do with national security and is eager to see him move into a job that doesn't require any security clearance or any access to sensitive materials. "Gorka’s looming departure from the White House," they report, "which one of the sources described as imminent, comes amid mounting controversy over his involvement with a far-right Hungarian group notorious for its collaboration with the Nazi regime during the second world war... Two senior administration officials described Gorka as completely devoid of influence on White House policy, corroborating reports that he 'had not been cleared to sit in any sort of national security meetings, which leaves him without much to do all day,' as one former Obama administration official told BuzzFeed."

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At 11:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the moment, the only "drip, drip, drip" is that impinging on the forehead of Steele, himself, (and "his company Orbis") who have been sued for defamation by one of the persons he alleges to be involved in the alleged grand scheme.

According to the cited Borger article: "A statement by Steele’s defence lawyers, endorsed by the former MI6 agent, said Orbis was hired between June and November last year by Fusion GPS, a Washington-based research consultancy to look into Trump’s links with Russia."

And, the full circle, wiki in Fusion GPS: "Fusion GPS was hired by Democrats in 2012 to do opposition research on Mitt Romney." .... "In September 2015, Fusion GPS was hired to do opposition research for Republicans who opposed Donald Trump's bid during the Republican primary campaign for the 2016 presidential election. After Trump became the Republican candidate for the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the Republican donors stopped funding the investigation, but funding was continued by Democratic supporters of Hillary Clinton."

John Puma

At 12:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since a UK lawsuit is so interesting: why doesn't DWT occasionally interrupt its regularly scheduled, perpetual Putin-gate harangue with coverage of on ongoing US suit proving the total absence of democratic integrity of the party cynically sporting that name and which void is the direct cause of frank fascism headquartered in the White House:

"DNC Lawyer Admits They Weren’t Required to be Impartial Between Clinton, Sanders"

John Puma

At 1:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with this reporting is that it is far too complicated for the average Red State Trump=supporting opioid addict to be able to follow. Trump will maintain his support base anyway.

At 1:54 AM, Blogger Procopius said...

OK, I should probably just shut up about this, but I consider this Russiagate thingy as a red herring from the Democratic Party Establishment to divert attention from their twenty-five year fail so they and their consultants can keep drawing nice salaries from the DNC, DCCC, and DSCC, but when I see, "...details of how Trump's campaign had been colluding with the Kremlin on stealing the election.," I am angry. What, exactly, did Trump, the RNC, Putin, and the FSB do that made you vote for Trump against your will? Oh, you didn't? OK, then what, exactly, did they do that you know made someone else change their mind and vote for Trump? The hacked DNC emails? Were the emails as published accurate? The Podesta emails? You think Pizzagate had a lot of effect? Were they behind the three Comey interventions? Were they the ones making the editorial decisions at the NYT and Washington Post to publish something about "her emails" every . damned . day ? I'm really curious because I live half-way around the world and have to follow the news on the internet, so I don't get the day-to-day interaction with friends and acquaintances.

At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

This is high treason, no doubt. Waiting, waiting, waiting for that independent prosecutor. Orange jumpsuit for the Orangeman. It is incredible that this is going on. Just like the lies, criminal acts, torture and greed that went on during the Iraq War and NO ONE was held accountable - they all got any with it and are laughing their asses off. Why should this be any different with Trump? Our government protects its own and that's it in a nutshell. Obama failed us in this regard,, big time. While he had his plusses, his minuses were glaring. He let the Bush and Wall Street disasters slide by, no consequences for anyone. Only the American people are held accountable by our justice system, not those in power.

Yes, to the above, comment, the Dems have not served us well and have done their share of bringing misery upon us, but high treason by Trump and his crew is not a distraction from them. Both are extremely important. High treason is not something to ignore. Trump is comprised by a foreign power. Our election was compromised by Trump's collusion with a foreign power. Gorsuch should not be on the Supreme Court. The Republicans flaunted the Constitution and got their way with an illicit election win.

And what about Trump and his family amassing wealth by using their White House connections? This is not okay! This is criminal as well! What about the Emoluments clause? Where are the consequences for this? The media gives this glaring conflict of interest short shrift. The Trumps are a despicable family.To Hilary - his children are NOT okay. They are chips off of the old block. All they care about is money, money, money. No ethics. They are sociopaths just like their father.

Please Congress, do something! Very depressing, all of this. Few of our elected officials actually care about the Constitution, democracy, our country or the American people. Gaius, you are so right on! The people are more and more split off from our elected government.

At 12:34 PM, Blogger Sanjose Dad said...

Who doesn't love a good Red Scare?


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