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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "dossier"

Steele said his client was keen to get the ‘Russia/Trump connection’ out prior to the election

Westlake Legal Group steele-said-his-client-was-keen-to-get-the-russia-trump-connection-out-prior-to-the-election Steele said his client was keen to get the ‘Russia/Trump connection’ out prior to the election The Blog Russian collusion dossier Christopher Steele 2016 Election

Westlake Legal Group Steele Steele said his client was keen to get the ‘Russia/Trump connection’ out prior to the election The Blog Russian collusion dossier Christopher Steele 2016 Election

This won’t represent any kind of a shock to anyone who has been paying attention to this story over the past couple years but it’s one more confirmation that the Steele Dossier and the Russian collusion story it presented was always a fundamentally political document generated to impact the outcome of an election. In October 2016, Christopher Steele admitted as much in a meeting with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec. After the meeting, Kavalec wrote a summary of what was discussed. From the Hill:

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec’s written account of her Oct. 11, 2016, meeting with FBI informant Christopher Steele shows the Hillary Clinton campaign-funded British intelligence operative admitted that his research was political and facing an Election Day deadline…

Steele’s client “is keen to see this information come to light prior to November 8,” the date of the 2016 election, Kavalec wrote in a typed summary of her meeting with Steele and Tatyana Duran, a colleague from Steele’s Orbis Security firm. The memos were unearthed a few days ago through open-records litigation by the conservative group Citizens United.

The summary has been heavily redacted but here’s the part you can see:

Westlake Legal Group steele-notes-e1557268886180 Steele said his client was keen to get the ‘Russia/Trump connection’ out prior to the election The Blog Russian collusion dossier Christopher Steele 2016 Election

The summary didn’t say who the institution was who hired him but we know he was compiling the dossier for the DNC and the Clinton campaign. And of course that would fit with the description of an institution that “had been hacked.” But the key line is the one about the institution being keen to get the information out prior to the election. Simply put, Steele was working for the DNC and the DNC wanted the dossier out in time for it to damage Trump.

As it happened, some elements of the dossier did get out before the election. Steele gave quotes for a story published by Mother Jones in October 2016. But it probably wasn’t the impact the DNC was hoping for. That would come later, after the election.

This meeting was held with Steele 10 days before the FISA warrant on Carter Page, suggesting it was an open secret by that time that the dossier was partisan material intended to impact the election. If only the warrant had been as blunt as Steele apparently was in the warrant. Remember the infamous footnote on page 16 of the warrant was full of weasel words:

Well, here’s what the application does say in a footnote on page 16 (we’ve added the names where the document leaves them out):

“Steele was approached by an identified U.S. person, who indicated that a U.S.-based law firm had hired the identified U.S. person to conduct research regarding (Trump’s) ties to Russia.”

The footnote goes on to say that “the identified U.S. person never advised (Steele) as to the motivation behind the research into (Trump’s) ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit (Trump’s) campaign.”

Does anyone see “Clinton” or “DNC” or “opposing presidential campaign” mentioned?

Instead, the footnote is full of weasel words. The FBI “speculates” that he “was likely” looking for information that “could discredit” Trump.

How do you square this circle? Steele told Kavalec the people who hired him were eager to see the Russia/Trump story get out before the election. But the warrant submitted 10 days later said he was never advised as to the “motivation behind the research.” Why was the FBI speculating when it seems Steele had told people at State what the goal was?

The post Steele said his client was keen to get the ‘Russia/Trump connection’ out prior to the election appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group Steele-300x153 Steele said his client was keen to get the ‘Russia/Trump connection’ out prior to the election The Blog Russian collusion dossier Christopher Steele 2016 Election   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

AG Barr: It’s not ‘entirely speculative’ that the Steele dossier was part of a Russian disinformation campaign

Westlake Legal Group ag-barr-its-not-entirely-speculative-that-the-steele-dossier-was-part-of-a-russian-disinformation-campaign AG Barr: It’s not ‘entirely speculative’ that the Steele dossier was part of a Russian disinformation campaign The Blog Senator John Cornyn Russian collusion dossier Attorney General Barr

Westlake Legal Group AG-Barr AG Barr: It’s not ‘entirely speculative’ that the Steele dossier was part of a Russian disinformation campaign The Blog Senator John Cornyn Russian collusion dossier Attorney General Barr

Credit for catching this goes to Chuck Ross at the Daily Caller who has been mining this territory for a while now. Today, Attorney General Barr was asked about the possibility that the Steele Dossier, with its claims of longstanding collusion between Russia and Trump, might have been part of the Russian disinformation campaign surrounding the 2016 election.

“How do we know that the Steele dossier is not itself evidence of [a] Russian disinformation campaign, knowing what we know now that, basically, the allegations made therein were secondhand, hearsay or unverified?” Sen. John Cornyn asked. “Can we state with confidence that the Steele dossier was not part of the Russian disinformation campaign?” had added.

“No, I can’t state that with confidence,” AG Barr replied. He continued, “And that is one of the areas that I’m reviewing. I’m concerned about it and I don’t think it’s entirely speculative.”

Not only is it not entirely speculative, but even Christopher Steele himself has admitted it’s a real possibility. From the NY Times:

Another possibility — one that Mr. Steele has not ruled out — could be Russian disinformation. That would mean that in addition to carrying out an effective attack on the Clinton campaign, Russian spymasters hedged their bets and placed a few land mines under Mr. Trump’s presidency as well.

Oleg D. Kalugin, a former K.G.B. general who now lives outside Washington, saw that as plausible. “Russia has huge experience in spreading false information,” he said…

Last year, in a deposition in a lawsuit filed against Buzzfeed, Mr. Steele emphasized that his reports consisted of unverified intelligence. Asked whether he took into account that some claims might be Russian fabrications, he replied, “Yes.”

The assumption made all along by most of the national media has been that it was vitally important to focus on the dossier because it could be true and if so, would be certainly fatal to Trump’s presidency. But if the dossier itself were part of the Russian disinformation campaign then, in effect, the media’s fixation was damaging the legitimately elected president based on a foreign enemies’ lie. Given that Mueller concluded significant claims in the dossier were not true, that’s a real possibility worth considering.

A bit later Sen. Cornyn asked why the Obama-era FBI hadn’t given the Trump campaign a “defensive briefing” about the Russians’ interest in interfering in the 2016 campaign. Barr replied, “I think under these circumstances one of the things I can’t fathom [is] why it did not happen.”

Here’s one possibility for why it didn’t happen: The Trump’s campaign was already under suspicion. Once the campaign was viewed as a potential collaborator with Russia rather than a potential victim, not giving a defensive briefing made sense. You wouldn’t want to tip off the campaign you were investigating for possible criminal conspiracy that you were on to them. The problem, of course, is that it wasn’t true.

Here’s Barr being questioned by Sen. Cornyn. This is queued up to the question about the dossier. The question about the defensive briefing comes near the end of this clip.

The post AG Barr: It’s not ‘entirely speculative’ that the Steele dossier was part of a Russian disinformation campaign appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group AG-Barr-300x159 AG Barr: It’s not ‘entirely speculative’ that the Steele dossier was part of a Russian disinformation campaign The Blog Senator John Cornyn Russian collusion dossier Attorney General Barr   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

NY Times: Say, this Steele dossier appears to be false (and maybe was a Russian disinformation effort)

Westlake Legal Group ny-times-say-this-steele-dossier-appears-to-be-false-and-maybe-was-a-russian-disinformation-effort NY Times: Say, this Steele dossier appears to be false (and maybe was a Russian disinformation effort) The Blog NY Times dossier Christopher Steele

Westlake Legal Group Christopher-Steele NY Times: Say, this Steele dossier appears to be false (and maybe was a Russian disinformation effort) The Blog NY Times dossier Christopher Steele

Well, it took them a while to get there but the NY Times has finally taken notice that the Steele dossier appears to contain a lot of false and unverifiable garbage:

The 35-page dossier, spiced up with tales of prostitutes and spies, sketched out a hair-raising story more than two years ago. Russian intelligence had used bribery and blackmail to try to turn Donald J. Trump into a source and ally, it said, and the Kremlin was running some Trump campaign aides practically as agents.

But the release on Thursday of the report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, underscored what had grown clearer for months — that while many Trump aides had welcomed contacts with the Russians, some of the most sensational claims in the dossier appeared to be false, and others were impossible to prove. Mr. Mueller’s report contained over a dozen passing references to the document’s claims but no overall assessment of why so much did not check out…

Interviews with people familiar with Mr. Steele’s work on the dossier and the F.B.I.’s scramble to vet its claims suggest that misgivings about its reliability arose not long after the document became public — and a preoccupation of Trump opponents — in early 2017. Mr. Steele has made clear to associates that he always considered the dossier to be raw intelligence — not established facts, but a starting point for further investigation.

Hold on a minute. If Steele considered the dossier raw intelligence and merely cause for further investigation, why was he talking to multiple news outlets about the dossier prior to the election? He gave quotes to Mother Jones about it in October of 2016. That doesn’t sound like someone who is handling raw intelligence. It sounds like someone helping to dump oppo prior to the election.

After pointing out that the dossier itself is now under scrutiny from AG Barr, the DOJ Inspector General and Republicans in Congress, the Times suggests two explanations for why the document appears to contain so much that isn’t so:

By January 2017, F.B.I. agents had tracked down and interviewed one of Mr. Steele’s main sources, a Russian speaker from a former Soviet republic who had spent time in the West, according to a Justice Department document and three people familiar with the events, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. After questioning him about where he’d gotten his information, they suspected he might have added his own interpretations to reports passed on by his sources, one of the people said. For the F.B.I., that made it harder to decide what to trust…

How the dossier ended up loaded with dubious or exaggerated details remains uncertain, but the document may be the result of a high-stakes game of telephone, in which rumors and hearsay were passed from source to source.

If the FBI knew this might be a bunch of hearsay by early 2017, why did they brief the president and thereby provide the news hook needed for CNN to publish the allegations (and Buzzfeed to publish the dossier)? Shouldn’t they have been downplaying this rather than elevating it?

Another possibility — one that Mr. Steele has not ruled out — could be Russian disinformation. That would mean that in addition to carrying out an effective attack on the Clinton campaign, Russian spymasters hedged their bets and placed a few land mines under Mr. Trump’s presidency as well.

Oleg D. Kalugin, a former K.G.B. general who now lives outside Washington, saw that as plausible. “Russia has huge experience in spreading false information,” he said…

Last year, in a deposition in a lawsuit filed against Buzzfeed, Mr. Steele emphasized that his reports consisted of unverified intelligence. Asked whether he took into account that some claims might be Russian fabrications, he replied, “Yes.”

The whole premise of this investigation was that Russia may have compromised Trump or people close to him. But what if the truth turns out to be that Russia compromised the dossier? This shouldn’t be shrugged off as a passing thought experiment. The NY Times is reporting that Steele thinks it’s possible his dossier contained disinformation and a former KGB general says he may be right.

Think about what the claims in the dossier have generated? Much of the past two years of anger and public outrage, the desire to eliminate the electoral college, claims Trump isn’t a legitimate president, etc, etc.—it may all be based on Russian lies. If that’s the case then the bulk of the damage Russia did to our system wasn’t though a few million dollars spent on Facebook and Twitter, it was through billions of dollars in earned media on CNN, MSNBC, and Buzzfeed (among many others). Let that sink in a moment.

What if Mark Zuckerberg isn’t the big problem he’s been made out to be for the past two years? And what if Jeff Zucker and Rachel Maddow are? The NY Times seems to get it, while largely excusing itself:

While The New York Times and many other news organizations published little about the document’s unverified claims, social media partisans and television commentators discussed them almost daily over the past two years. The dossier tantalized Mr. Trump’s opponents with a worst-case account of the president’s conduct. And for those trying to make sense of the Trump-Russia saga, the dossier infused the quest for understanding with urgency.

I’d like to think the media might take a moment to think about all of this but they are so partisan and thin-skinned I don’t think they will (this article aside). They’d rather rush onto the next Trump scandal than stop and admit that the last Trump scandal may turn out to be the worst media scandal in American history.

The post NY Times: Say, this Steele dossier appears to be false (and maybe was a Russian disinformation effort) appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group Christopher-Steele-300x153 NY Times: Say, this Steele dossier appears to be false (and maybe was a Russian disinformation effort) The Blog NY Times dossier Christopher Steele   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com