September 7, 2018

One of the most challenging and important steps in determining what really went on at the FBI that led to an investigation into Trump/Russia “collusion” is to nail down the timeline.

We know that the FBI officially opened “Crossfire Hurricane” on July 31, 2016.  It was said to be based on Australian diplomat Alexander Downer’s claim that George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy advisor with the Trump campaign, had said something in a London bar about Russia having damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

It was also thought that Bruce Ohr, then the Number 4 in command at the Justice Department and married to Nellie Ohr, a Russian specialist who just happened to be working for Fusion GPS on the Steele “dossier” project, didn’t start communicating with the FBI about the Russia probe until late in November, after Thanksgiving and (more significantly) after Trump had won the election.  That’s when his first documented interview with FBI agents occurred.

But now, based on Ohr’s own account in his closed-door testimony before Congress, we’ve been made aware that Ohr started “colluding” with the FBI on the Trump/Russia probe much sooner, in late July and early August, and it was sparked by information he’d already received from Christopher Steele.

Investigative reporter John Solomon has been told by several sources that the FBI, in the summer of 2016, received information that caused them to doubt the usefulness of the Papadopoulos scenario.  (I’m just guessing here, but perhaps they saw that it was just too obvious a set-up??)  The information about this issue is considered to be highly classified –- which probably just means it would make the FBI look really, really bad –- but one source told Solomon the evidence was “indisputably exculpatory” while another said it “put the predicate used to start the case in reversal.”  (Just a thought:  maybe they asked Mueller’s little helper Andrew Weissmann for advice on what to do with exculpatory evidence.  He would've said to just hide it.  But I digress.)

Rather than hit the brakes and back up --- which they should have done --- after acknowledging problems with the Papadopoulos story, the FBI appears to have used the Steele dossier as a life raft of sorts, grabbing onto different “evidence” of Trump/Russia collusion made conveniently available to them in the highly-inflated form of a trashy, uncorroborated “dossier” (Clinton-funded oppo research) from British former MI6 agent Steel.

So, here’s the revised timeline, as we understand it:  In July of 2016, both Ohr and Steele were very busy.  On July 5, Steele stopped by the Bureau’s office in Rome with some form of information about Trump/Russia ties.  The FBI, at that time, did not immediately follow up, at least not officially.

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During July, according to his contemporaneous notes and testimony before Congress, Bruce Ohr had multiple contacts with Steele.  One was right before his visit to the Rome office, another right after.

His next in-person contact with Steele –- which also included Nellie, Ohr’s wife and Steele’s co-worker –- was a breakfast meeting on July 30, 2016.  Steele had emailed to request the meeting, saying he wanted to talk about information he had about “our favorite business tycoon.”  (Three guesses as to who that was.)  As Solomon reports, Ohr told Congress that he was so concerned about the information given to him by Steele that he just had to pass it along to the FBI, regardless of any conflict of interest he might have.  Apparently, he had such concerns that he called deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe the same day as the breakfast and met on August 3 with him and his legal assistant Lisa Page.

On July 31, FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok officially opened the Trump/Russia probe.

According to what he told Congress, Ohr’s next contact with the FBI came on August 15, with none other than Strzok.  Within a month, the FBI scheduled a follow-up meeting with Steele and began their strategy to use the dossier to support a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

One thing that is often forgotten is that the warrant to spy was inclusive of previous communications.  In other words, the FBI was able not just to spy in real time but to delve into previous messages from all of his contacts and other records from much earlier.  So it really doesn’t matter that the warrant was obtained so close to the election and that Carter Page was no longer active in the campaign.  This was their way in.

Anyway, that’s the substantially revised timeline.  Ohr also revealed to Congress that he had been aware the information in the dossier was just unverified hearsay, certainly nothing that would stand up in court.  So, what I’d like to know is, why would intelligence of such inadequate quality cause such a hubbub at the FBI?  It seems they desperately wanted to latch onto anything they could find, no matter how poorly sourced, to use an an excuse for --- pardon the expression --- “meddling.”

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If they were that desperate (and the Strzok-Page texts make it clear they were), it would make sense that they didn’t disclose Ohr’s conflict of interest to the FISA court.  After all, they were apparently willing to overlook it themselves and let him continue “colluding” with Steele.  Plus, they never disclosed to the court that Steele himself was desperate to stop Trump from becoming President, or that the dossier he supplied to them was paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.  All they gave the court was a cryptic footnote cleverly designed to hide all that.

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz is still (we think) investigating whether or not the FBI misled the FISA court, so let’s hope he’s paying close attention to these new developments.  He should also be aware that the FBI kept the court in the dark about its use of an article by Michael Isikoff to justify the dossier by conveniently leaving out that it was based on information fed to Isikoff by...the dossier’s author, Christopher Steele.  John Solomon mentions that crafty bit of deception in another piece about media leaks.


In fact, there’s another new development related to all this:  As Catherine Herridge of FOX News reports, North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows has written a letter to Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions and IG Horowitz asking for a review of all these contacts, saying Bruce Ohr’s contacts with the FBI and with Steele may have “broken from established protocol to further their investigation of the Trump campaign.”  Hey, there's an understatement --- try "broken THE LAW."

Meadows also mentions in his letter something I’ve called attention to, that neither Bruce nor Nellie Ohr has yet been interviewed by the special counsel.  Of course, U.S. Attorney Huber hasn't interviewed them, either.  Much more at the link.






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Comments 1-25 of 26

  • Dennis Killeen

    09/11/2018 04:43 PM

    Trump should declassify the documents for all to read and announce that he is sending them to SCOTUS to follow up with the FISA judges that ruled on the FISA warrants.

  • Marilyn Schalliol

    09/09/2018 12:38 PM

    I am discouraged about justice in America. I see FISA warrants issued to spy on a presidential campaign that were at best sloppily sought and at worst illegally sought. I see corruption at the FBI & DOJ. I see Hillary Clinton destroy subpoenaed emails that she intentionally put on an insecure server. I don’t see any indictments of anyone except a few Republicans who were marginally connected to Trump.
    Football players take a knee because they think police are racist (despite data showing otherwise) but who is protesting injustice in our justice system of those involved in left leaning politics?
    Americans are losing faith in government. What’s happened to liberty and justice for all?
    Thank you.

  • Joan Bates

    09/09/2018 10:25 AM

    Thanks for explaining all these shenanigans. It really is a swamp.

  • Richard Payne

    09/08/2018 02:50 PM

    Again Mike, he lied but nothing happens. He keeps on drawing a paycheck on the taxpayers dime. Is there no one that can bring charges or at least kick his door down at 2am.

  • Mac Moody

    09/08/2018 09:06 AM

    When is all of the investigations and items that have been found out going to result in some indictments and jail time? It seems that Jarretts book alone should reslult in jail time but alas nothing

  • Kevin Cook

    09/08/2018 06:27 AM

    And Hussein knew and authorized the whole cabal to do the campaign hit and then the subsequent presidential coup attempt. Hussein and The Deep State are treasonous criminals.

  • Eva bennett

    09/07/2018 11:54 PM

    Interesting development that should be looked into

  • Margie Wateland

    09/07/2018 10:01 PM

    It looks like the FBI is finally getting their 10,000.00 back from Papadopoulis, at least most of it. Dan Bongino was talking about an Israeli who wanted to retain PapaD for some business deal and gave him 10,000, but he was suspicious about him and left the money in Greece with his attorney. The FBI was waiting at the airport to arrest him if he didn't declare the money, and nabbed him when he didn't, only to find out he didn't have it and had to arrest him on a PC charge. The fine today with the 12 days in jail: 9,500.00 ??

  • Anri Asa

    09/07/2018 07:45 PM

    Why don't we watch and hear these on the media.
    When The President tweets them he appears nasty and his opponents delightful to scold.
    All this when Democrats should be in trouble allover the country

  • Lawrence E. Foster

    09/07/2018 07:24 PM

    Governor Mike,

    Reference the slow-walking of investigative action by the DOJ IG and supposed special counsel Huber. For years I suspected the Clintons skated out of legal jams because no one knew for sure which FBI files Craig Livingstone delivered to them had been copied and kept by the Clintons, and Washington officials moved very gingerly with the Clinton Cartel because maybe their file was available to Bill and Hillary. (It is not well known but the FBI background investigations done on potential appointees dig up rumor and innuendo as well as fact, because the FBI lnows that this is what will come out in any confirmation hearing, and want to prepare the president in advance).

    One now has to wonder if there was another, newer Craig Livingstone providing the Clinton Cartel FBI files that they could use to attack those who point out their crimes. (I suspect Comey, who, in spite of their height difference, managed to stick his nose all the way up Hillary's backside). What ever the reason, people like Jeff Sessions who should be going after criminal activity by the Clinton seem to have developed cold feet. After the elections in November, one hopes Trump will apppoint a replacement who is not afraid of the Clinton Cartel.

  • Waylon Bush

    09/07/2018 06:31 PM

    I see where POTUS wants the current AG (Absent General), Jeff-out of-Sessions, to find the "anonymous senior administrator", who wrote the "Once upon a time..." op-ed, and apply consequences. LOL. Sessions?! That is about as apt to happen as the sun rising in the west.

  • Waylon Bush

    09/07/2018 06:31 PM

    I see where POTUS wants the current AG (Absent General), Jeff-out of-Sessions, to find the "anonymous senior administrator", who wrote the "Once upon a time..." op-ed, and apply consequences. LOL. Sessions?! That is about as apt to happen as the sun rising in the west.

  • Elaine Liming

    09/07/2018 06:19 PM

    Thanks again for your research. I believe President Trump is reading this too. Deep State and their money Man will eventually find themselves in front of a jury of their peers . If I were the President I would be planning several moves to make this happen but first I would collect the data. We prayed for God to give us who we needed and He answered our prayers with a personality type who knows how to fight and win. The battle coming will be difficult, but we are a Nation under God, and his love for justice will happen. So we must vote in November and constantly pray. ( On the bright side my state of California is looking good for a Republican governor; we the people in Ca. are working hard)

  • Joe Wingnut

    09/07/2018 05:39 PM

    Bruce Ohr's testimony should make easy work for prosecution , Wish our attorney general would man-up and make some arrests . This apparent tiered justice system makes me sick to my stomach .

  • Reissa Reedy

    09/07/2018 05:34 PM

    Is/was there a “follow the money” (or loss of it) twist to the fear of the election outcome?

  • Don Borreson

    09/07/2018 05:23 PM

    Gov. Huckabee,

    Your recap of the timeline appears unassailable; likewise, Sean Hannity’s construction of the interrelationships and roles in this collusion hoax fulfills two investigative maxims: Follow the money, and find the ‘smoking gun’. So I ask — what is missing, and who needs to declare what (officially) to FINALLY expose this fraud, end the Special Counsel mandate and begin prosecuting DoJ / FBI malfeasance? What can / should Trump do?

    No offense, but if you can see the coordinated effort and we the lay public can understand it, why aren’t we getting any closer to closure?

    Don Borreson

  • Raymond v Venissat

    09/07/2018 04:53 PM

    Does America really think this group of fine law abiding citizens working for the DOJ and FBI just came together after trump was elected and went bad! I think not. I think this group has been working together on elections of the past. They need to soupena their E mails back on previous election periods! After all Hillary made the statement ~it was her turn~ what did she mean by that? Was the fix on!!

  • Kathy Thornbrough

    09/07/2018 04:30 PM

    Well, Pres. Trump promised to drain the swamp. It is very clear this is happening. I just wish it would happen more quickly. I'm rather tired of it all, but am glad it is happening. It is so clear that many of our leaders are looking out for what is best for themselves and not what is best for America.

  • Richard Lingenfelter

    09/07/2018 03:15 PM

    DOJ had to be part of this conspiracy to get President Trump.
    AG Sessions is holding back the FOJ from going after Hillary , Steele, and Ori afford their part in this along with the DNC. You must ask the question WHY?

  • Patsy Martin

    09/07/2018 03:04 PM

    I'm beginning to think the only people who end up in jail or prison are those who have committed far less crimes than the whole DNC bunch put together. They have lied under oath, some we will not mention by name have caused death or harm to others, and have stolen from the American people in more ways than one.

  • Kenneth Myron Bonnell

    09/07/2018 02:23 PM

    Re FDR's internment of American Japanese.
    I have friends in Bow, WA who told me that when a Bow (Skagitt Valley) WA Japanese farmer was interred, his farm was kept operating by Valley neighbors. And at the end of the war, they gave him back his farm fully intact. With your vast research capabilities, it shouldn't take long to verify.

  • Mark Mittelstaedt

    09/07/2018 01:23 PM

    At what point does Congress / Mueller / Horowitz et al interview the FISA judges ? Are said judges required to read the info that backs up the applications for FISA warrants ? I read the Steele " dossier " - LOL ! I can't believe that any judge, upon reading such obvious claptrap, wouldn't at least ask for more info - unless they were in the tank too, or, they were so used to rubber-stamping such applications they just went ahead and signed them without rigorous review. Kind of reminiscent of the...Volkswagen diesel " scandal " - No actual testing was done. A couple of careers ago, I sold integrated circuits to Hamilton Test Systems, a division of United Technologies, which supplied tailpipe test equipment for pollution testing. Then, the government wanted...verifiable proof. We can't abide judges who put approvals on autopilot - then you get people who try and sneak around the system, just like Volkswagen...and the FBI...who might not have pulled such shenanigans if they knew there was a rigorous vetting process in place ;-}

  • Shirley Muhleisen

    09/07/2018 12:46 PM

    I have always wondered why Steele was so desperate to prevent or then destroy Trump presidency or why FBI/DOL cared about his desperation. He isn’t a US citizen-why did it matter so much to a non-citizen?

  • Barbara Gassaro

    09/07/2018 12:19 PM

    It seems awfully curious that a foreigner like Christopher Steele was so desperate to prevent President Trump from becoming president.
    Desperation like that usually involves money - just follow the money trail and answers to that question should be apparent. I'm wondering if all these cads (Mueller, Stroke, Steele, Ohr, McCabe, Rosenstein, etc.) weren't getting a piece of the Clinton action vis-à-vis the uranium deal with Russia. There are a lot of people that owe Pres. Trump and the American people an apology. Then, they should all serve time in prison and be banned from ever serving in gov't. for the rest of their pathetic lives.

  • Donald Soeldner

    09/07/2018 11:52 AM

    Thanks Mike for all your hard work behind the scenes. Last night my wife said why has Hillary and Obama not been jailed. So, I said that President Trump is laying the trap long and deep to flush out as much of the deep state as humanly possible and that as impatient humans we have to endure for a little longer but I firmly believe the bear trap will shut soon on the evil that plagues our nation. God Bless you and continue to know that we are in support of Donald J. Trump and the honest people supporting him.