Durham Investigation

Baron Samedi

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Durham Is Scrutinizing Ex-C.I.A. Director’s Role in Russian Interference Findings

The federal prosecutor investigating the origins of the Russia inquiry is examining testimony by the former C.I.A. director John Brennan and seeking his communications records.

WASHINGTON — The federal prosecutor scrutinizing the Russia investigation has begun examining the role of the former C.I.A. director John O. Brennan in how the intelligence community assessed Russia’s 2016 election interference, according to three people briefed on the inquiry.

John H. Durham, the United States attorney leading the investigation, has requested Mr. Brennan’s emails, call logs and other documents from the C.I.A., according to a person briefed on his inquiry. He wants to learn what Mr. Brennan told other officials, including the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, about his and the C.I.A.’s views of a notorious dossier of assertions about Russia and Trump associates.

Mr. Durham’s pursuit of Mr. Brennan’s records is certain to add to accusations that Mr. Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies. The president has long attacked Mr. Brennan as part of his narrative about a so-called deep state cabal of Obama administration officials who tried to sabotage his campaign, and Mr. Trump has held out Mr. Durham’s investigation as a potential avenue for proving those claims.

Mr. Durham is also examining whether Mr. Brennan privately contradicted his public comments, including May 2017 testimony to Congress, about both the dossier and about any debate among the intelligence agencies over their conclusions on Russia’s interference, the people said.

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The people familiar with Mr. Durham’s inquiry stressed that it was continuing and it was not clear what crimes, if any, he had uncovered. Representatives for Mr. Brennan and the Justice Department declined to comment.

Defenders of Mr. Brennan have long maintained he did nothing wrong and properly sounded the alarm on Russian interference in the 2016 election, and he told MSNBC this fall that he would answer Mr. Durham’s questions if asked.

“I feel good about what it is we did as an intelligence community, and I feel very confident and comfortable with what I did, so I have no qualms whatsoever about talking with investigators who are going to be looking at this in a fair and appropriate manner,” Mr. Brennan said.

Mr. Durham, the United States attorney in Connecticut, has previously conducted politically fraught investigations, including allegations of wrongdoing in the C.I.A.’s detainee torture program. Attorney General William P. Barr appointed him this year to re-examine not only the origins of the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation but more broadly how the government uncovered Moscow’s election interference and dealt with those findings.

“He is not just looking at the F.B.I.,” Mr. Barr said in an interview broadcast Thursday evening on Fox News. “He is looking at other agencies.”

Calling it a “much broader investigation,” Mr. Barr added, “He is looking at all the conduct — both before and after the election.”

Mr. Brennan has come into Mr. Durham’s sights as he has focused on the intelligence community assessment released in January 2017 that used information from the F.B.I., the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency to detail Russia’s meddling. They concluded that President Vladimir V. Putin ordered an influence campaign that “aspired to help” Mr. Trump’s chances by damaging his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Officials and analysts who worked on that assessment disagreed on how to treat two pieces of intelligence: the assertion that Mr. Putin wanted to help Mr. Trump win rather than simply sow chaos, and the contents of the dossier of salacious, unproven allegations about links between Russia and Trump associates compiled by a British former spy, Christopher Steele. His research, funded by Democrats, has been ground zero for conservative allegations that the origins of the Russia investigation were tainted.

“The president bore the burden of probably one of the greatest conspiracy theories — baseless conspiracy theories — in American political history,” Mr. Barr told Fox News. He has long expressed skepticism that the F.B.I. had enough information to begin its inquiry in 2016, publicly criticizing an inspector general report released last week that affirmed that the bureau did.
Mr. Barr has long been interested in the conclusion about Mr. Putin ordering intervention on Mr. Trump’s behalf, perhaps the intelligence report’s most explosive assertion. The C.I.A. and the F.B.I. reported high confidence in the conclusion, while the N.S.A., which conducts electronic surveillance, had a moderate degree of confidence.

The difference simply reflects the kinds of intelligence the agencies specialize in and how the United States learned about Mr. Putin’s intentions, current and former intelligence officials said. Mr. Putin avoids telephones, and the National Security Agency, which intercepts electronic communications and calls, lacked strong intelligence about his intentions in 2016.

Instead, a C.I.A. informant close to the Kremlin was a key source for that finding. Mr. Durham has been trying to learn more about any internal debate inside the C.I.A. over the conclusion, former intelligence officials said.
Mr. Brennan told lawmakers at a House Intelligence Committee hearing in May 2017 the N.S.A.’s confidence level was the “lone exception” to the intelligence agencies’ otherwise united front about Russia’s interference.

Critics of the intelligence assessment, like Representative Chris Stewart, Republican of Utah, said the C.I.A.’s sourcing failed to justify the high level of confidence about Moscow’s intervention on behalf of Mr. Trump.

“I don’t agree with the conclusion, particularly that it’s such a high level of confidence,” Mr. Stewart said, citing raw intelligence that he said he reviewed.

“I just think there should’ve been allowances made for some of the ambiguity in that and especially for those who didn’t also share in the conclusion that it was a high degree of confidence,” he added.

ImageMr. Brennan has repeatedly said, including in congressional testimony, that the C.I.A. did not rely on the Steele dossier when it helped develop the intelligence assessment on Russia’s election sabotage.

Mr. Brennan has repeatedly said, including in congressional testimony, that the C.I.A. did not rely on the Steele dossier when it helped develop the intelligence assessment on Russia’s election sabotage.Credit...Al Drago/The New York Times

Mr. Durham’s investigators also want to know to more about the discussions that prompted intelligence community leaders to include Mr. Steele’s allegations in the appendix of their assessment.

Mr. Brennan has repeatedly said, including in his 2017 congressional testimony, that the C.I.A. did not rely on the dossier when it helped develop the assessment, and the former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, has also testified before lawmakers that the same was true for the intelligence agencies more broadly. But Mr. Trump’s allies have long asked pointed questions about the dossier, including how it was used in the intelligence agency’s assessment.

Some C.I.A. analysts and officials insisted that the dossier be left out the assessment, while some F.B.I. leaders wanted to include it and bristled at its relegation to the appendix. Their disagreements were captured in the highly anticipated report released last week by Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general, examining aspects of the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation.

Mr. Steele’s information “was a topic of significant discussion within the F.B.I. and with the other agencies participating in drafting” the declassified intelligence assessment about Russia interference, Mr. Horowitz wrote. The F.B.I. shared Mr. Steele’s information with the team of officials from multiple agencies drafting the assessment.

Mr. Comey also briefed Mr. Brennan and other top Obama administration intelligence officials including the director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, and Mr. Clapper about the bureau’s efforts to assess the information in the dossier, Mr. Comey told the inspector general. He said that analysts had found it to be “credible on its face.”

But C.I.A. analysts still wanted to leave the dossier out of the assessment, as it was not vetted. Mr. Brennan’s allies have said he was among the officials who wanted to omit the dossier from the assessment.

Andrew G. McCabe, then the deputy director of the F.B.I., pushed back, according to the inspector general report, accusing the intelligence chiefs of trying to minimize Mr. Steele’s information.

Ultimately the two sides compromised by placing Mr. Steele’s material in the appendix. After BuzzFeed News published the dossier in January 2017, days after the intelligence assessment about Russia’s election sabotage was released, Mr. Comey complained to Mr. Clapper about his decision to publicly state that the intelligence community “has not made any judgment” about the document’s reliability.

Mr. Comey said that the F.B.I. had concluded that Mr. Steele was reliable, according to the inspector general report. Mr. Clapper ignored Mr. Comey, the report said.

Mr. Brennan told Congress that he had no firsthand knowledge of any attempts by the F.B.I. to vet the dossier. Mr. Clapper went further, testifying at a separate hearing that no evidence existed in the entire assessment to definitively say whether the Trump campaign had improper contacts with Russian officials. He also said that the intelligence community “couldn’t corroborate the sourcing” of Mr. Steele’s dossier.

Mr. Brennan’s defenders said he always kept the dossier at arm’s length, arguing against using its findings about the Russian interference campaign in the assessment. The C.I.A. viewed it as “internet rumor,” an F.B.I. official told the inspector general.

It is not clear how much information the C.I.A. has provided investigators, and a C.I.A. spokesman declined to comment. The intelligence agencies are continuing to cooperate with Mr. Durham’s investigation, a person familiar with the inquiry said.

http://archive.is/2wwvv#selection-839.0-870.1
 

AkPatsFan

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He's not messing around with these people, Brennan, Comey, Clapper, Strozk, Page, Ohr, etc, etc should all be looked at and he also needs to look into who told them to do what they did. I'm holding out hope that some of these people are going to do some time in the gray bar hotel.
 

tehmackdaddy

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He's not messing around with these people, Brennan, Comey, Clapper, Strozk, Page, Ohr, etc, etc should all be looked at and he also needs to look into who told them to do what they did. I'm holding out hope that some of these people are going to do some time in the gray bar hotel.

We've seen this movie before. The swamp elites are protected. This investigation is merely to be able to say these swamp elites have been investigated, but not charged. It is to quiet swamp detractors.

Even if wrongdoing is found, they'll get the GCF treatment and be let off because they had no "intent" or some other nonsense.
 

foobahl

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We've seen this movie before. The swamp elites are protected. This investigation is merely to be able to say these swamp elites have been investigated, but not charged. It is to quiet swamp detractors.

Even if wrongdoing is found, they'll get the GCF treatment and be let off because they had no "intent" or some other nonsense.

What is the GCF treatment. Is it sort of like the family and friends discount.
 

O.Z.O.

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He's not messing around with these people, Brennan, Comey, Clapper, Strozk, Page, Ohr, etc, etc should all be looked at and he also needs to look into who told them to do what they did. I'm holding out hope that some of these people are going to do some time in the gray bar hotel.

McCabe perjured himself on national TV. It will start there unless he cuts a deal.
 

patswin

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Dunham’s biggest obstacle?

How to handle all signs Obama was in the loop.

To see Obama get implicated in this would be amazing. But no way I’m going to predict that. One wonders how many people are willing to fall on their swords for him however.
Time will tell and I’d urge patience. This may be many months before any justice is served, if any at all. I remain hopeful but cynical at the same time If that makes any sense loL.
 
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Baron Samedi

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GCF = Grandma Cabbage Farts = Hillary

And here I was googling military terms!

I refer to her as "The Oven Mitt Fashionista", because of those ridiculous outfits....makes her look like an oven mitt.

Not mine, I stole that term from Lionel....but after he said it, every time I saw her, it was like seeing a South Park character wearing an oversized oven mitt. I couldn't shake it.
 

Real World

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We've seen this movie before. The swamp elites are protected. This investigation is merely to be able to say these swamp elites have been investigated, but not charged. It is to quiet swamp detractors.

Even if wrongdoing is found, they'll get the GCF treatment and be let off because they had no "intent" or some other nonsense.


Sadly this will be the case.



There is ZERO accountability anymore. You can smash hard drives, bleachbit servers, destroy tens of thousands of emails while under subpoena, unmask anyone you want, fudge FISA docs, and on and on and on.... and never be held accountable. Shit, you can retire with your full pension and get an award for a job well done. I've lost any hope of anyone being charged in this. They ran an early morning raid on an 80 year Roger Stone with SWAT teams and attack dogs but these liar losers will never be charged with a thing.
 

Dwight Schrute

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To see Obama get implicated in this would be amazing. But no way I’m going to predict that. One wonders how many people are willing to fall on their swords for him however.
Time will tell and I’d urge patience. This may be many months before any justice is served, if any at all. I remain hopeful but cynical at the same time If that makes any sense loL.

Word last week was to expect his report in the summer.

From everything I’d heard there is no way the Commander in Chief is not apprised of FISA warrants. The fact it was for Trumps campaign? No chance in hell he wasn’t aware. No matter what they spin.
 

patswin

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Sadly this will be the case.



There is ZERO accountability anymore. You can smash hard drives, bleachbit servers, destroy tens of thousands of emails while under subpoena, unmask anyone you want, fudge FISA docs, and on and on and on.... and never be held accountable. Shit, you can retire with your full pension and get an award for a job well done. I've lost any hope of anyone being charged in this. They ran an early morning raid on an 80 year Roger Stone with SWAT teams and attack dogs but these liar losers will never be charged with a thing.

I hear you. I think the other reason I remain reserved on it is that I don't want to end up like all the bazillion people who swamped the Internet with predictions of Trumps demise via the Mueller report, the piss dossier and every other story that they have concocted. It would be kind of embarrassing to have all those posts out there forever.
 

BostonTim

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I hear you. I think the other reason I remain reserved on it is that I don't want to end up like all the bazillion people who swamped the Internet with predictions of Trumps demise via the Mueller report, the piss dossier and every other story that they have concocted. It would be kind of embarrassing to have all those posts out there forever.

But Alas. The shite on the internet IS is forever. :coffee:


Cheers
 

AkPatsFan

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Word last week was to expect his report in the summer.

From everything I’d heard there is no way the Commander in Chief is not apprised of FISA warrants. The fact it was for Trumps campaign? No chance in hell he wasn’t aware. No matter what they spin.
And why was Trump kept out of all those important briefings during his run against Hilary and she was given those briefings? What does that tell you?
 

Dwight Schrute

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And why was Trump kept out of all those important briefings during his run against Hilary and she was given those briefings? What does that tell you?

That they were corrupt as fvck.

That they were behind it.

That they financed it.

That they were borderline careless in their operation because they were 100% sure Killary would win.


But she didn’t....

And now Durham has a simple Hansel & Gretel trail to follow and a grade school level puzzle to put together.

This is going to be EXPLOSIVE, at just the right time.
 
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Baron Samedi

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Former NSA Director Is Cooperating With Probe of Trump-Russia Investigation

Retired Adm. Michael Rogers, former director of the National Security Agency, has been cooperating with the Justice Department’s probe into the origins of the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump presidential campaign’s alleged ties to Russia, according to four people familiar with Rogers’s participation.

Rogers has met the prosecutor leading the probe, Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, on multiple occasions, according to two people familiar with Rogers’s cooperation. While the substance of those meetings is not clear, Rogers has cooperated voluntarily, several people with knowledge of the matter said.

Rogers, who retired in May 2018, did not respond to requests for comment.

The inquiry has been a pillar of Attorney General William Barr’s tenure. He appointed Durham to lead the inquiry last spring, directing him to determine whether the FBI was justified in opening a counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and alleged links between Russia and the Trump campaign, among other matters. What began as a broad review has turned into a criminal investigation, according to the New York Times. Barr has described the use of undercover FBI agents to investigate members of the campaign as “spying.”

Last week, a separate, nonpartisan review of the investigation by the Justice Department inspector general concluded that while the FBI and Justice Department committed serious errors in their applications to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, the investigation was opened properly and without political bias. Barr and Durham took the unusual step of publicly disagreeing with some of the inspector general’s conclusions, with Barr describing the FBI’s justification for the inquiry as “very flimsy.”

Rogers’s voluntary participation, which has not been previously reported, makes him the first former intelligence director known to have been interviewed for the probe.

“He’s been very cooperative,” one former intelligence officer who has knowledge of Rogers’s meetings with the Justice Department said.

Politico and NBC News have previously reported that Durham intends to interview both former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. It is unclear if that has happened. Brennan and the Justice Department declined to comment. Clapper could not be reached for comment.

The Times reported on Thursday that Durham is examining Brennan’s congressional testimony and communications with a focus on what the former CIA director may have told other officials about his views on the so-called Steele dossier, a set of unverified allegations about links between Russia, Trump, and his campaign compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.

Rogers is no stranger to the controversy surrounding the 2016 election. Shortly after Trump won the presidency, Rogers traveled to Trump Tower in New York, where he provided an unsolicited briefing to the then president-elect. Rogers informed Trump that the NSA knew that the Russians interfered in the election, according to three people familiar with the briefing. Despite delivering what Rogers told a confidant was “bad news,” Trump would keep Rogers on as NSA director while dismissing Brennan and Clapper.

In January 2017 just before Trump took office, the intelligence community released an unclassified assessment concluding that Russia interfered in the election. The assessment was based on a combination of intelligence collected and reviewed by the NSA, CIA, and FBI.

Russia’s initial purpose, the assessment found, was to undermine confidence in American democracy, but the effort ultimately focused on damaging Hillary Clinton’s campaign in an effort to help elect Trump. While all three intelligence agencies agreed on that aspect of the assessment, the CIA and FBI expressed “high confidence” that the Russian government sought to help Trump win “by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him,” while Rogers’s NSA had only “moderate confidence” in that finding.

Trump entered his presidency deeply suspicious of the U.S. intelligence community and skeptical of the assessment. He has spent much of his administration claiming that he is the victim of a “deep-state” coup, beginning with the counterintelligence investigation into his presidential campaign. He has downplayed the intelligence community’s conclusions about Russia’s responsibility for hacking the Democratic National Committee computer system and providing internal emails to WikiLeaks, which published them beginning in July 2016, instead affirming conspiracy theories that blame Ukraine for stealing the emails.

A year into the Trump administration, in February 2018, Rogers testified at a Senate hearing that the White House had given the NSA no orders or instructions for countering further Russian election meddling.

“President Putin has clearly come to the conclusion that there’s little price to pay and that therefore ‘I can continue this activity,’” Rogers said. “Clearly, what we have done is not enough.”

Four months later in Helsinki, Trump said that he confronted the Russian president about meddling in the election. But Vladimir Putin denied that his government was involved, and Trump said he believed him, directly contradicting Rogers and the other U.S. intelligence directors.

Rogers was concerned that his testimony before Congress drew the president’s ire, according to a former Trump White House official who spoke with Rogers earlier this year.

“He asked if the president was mad at him,” the former official said. “I told him, ‘No way, the president has always liked you.’”

The White House declined to comment.

Durham’s inquiry into the origins of the Russia probe has perpetuated the bitter partisan conflict fueled earlier by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Among Mueller’s key findings was that Russia’s military intelligence unit, the GRU, stole Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s emails, along with emails from the DNC, and delivered them to WikiLeaks. The Mueller investigation led to federal indictments or guilty pleas from 34 people and three companies, but concluded that there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone in the Trump campaign with coordinating with the Russian government.

Yet the Mueller probe, the recent inspector general’s report, and now the Durham investigation have done little to bridge the yawning political divide between Trump and his supporters, who continue to see him as the victim of a politically motivated “witch hunt,” and career intelligence and national security officials, who view the Durham investigation as an effort to punish those who led U.S. efforts to investigate Russia’s election meddling. In May, Trump gave Barr the unprecedented authority to review and declassify intelligence related to the Russia investigation, further inflaming national security veterans.

Durham’s investigation has also sought information from foreign governments. This summer, Barr and Durham traveled to Italy to request information from Italian intelligence officials about Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor who first told a Trump campaign adviser that the Russians had “dirt” on Clinton in the form of stolen emails. That claim played a central role in the FBI’s decision to open an investigation into the Trump campaign. But in the conservative press and the right-wing social media ecosystem, Mifsud was portrayed as part of an Obama administration plot to entrap and frame Trump. The inspector general’s report concluded that there is no evidence that Mifsud had any affiliation with the FBI.

Barr’s visit to Italy coincided with Trump’s offer to trade congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine for that country’s help in pursuing the unsupported allegations that Ukraine hacked the DNC and framed Russia. Trump’s efforts to solicit “a favor” from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — that Zelensky publicly announce an investigation into purported Ukrainian-backed hacking and look into alleged corruption by Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joseph Biden on behalf of Biden’s son Hunter — led to Trump’s impeachment in the House of Representatives this week.

https://theintercept.com/2019/12/20/michael-rogers-nsa-trump-russia/

 
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