The Mueller Team Just Blew Up The Seth Rich Conspiracy Theory

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators just debunked the Seth Rich conspiracy theory. As part of the draft document against conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, Mueller’s team cites an email that purports to show that Corsi knew full well that the DNC emails were stolen by Russian hackers in 2016, even as they advanced the baseless theory that Seth Rich, a DNC staffer, stole the emails as part of an inside job and was murdered in retribution.

 

Earlier this month, Corsi, an Infowars contributor who has also authored books questioning Barack Obama’s birth certificate and citizenship, predicted that he would be indicted by Mueller’s investigation. Corsi recently said that he was offered a plea deal, which he plans to reject. As evidence of his claim, he posted the draft Statement of Offense online.

 

The document alleges that Corsi was approached in the summer of 2016 by “Person 1,” apparently Roger Stone, who asked him to get in touch with “Organization 1,” WikiLeaks, about the release of the stolen emails. Stone was a top Trump advisor until August 2015 and the two men were longtime friends who apparently kept in contact even after Stone left the Trump campaign. Per the draft, Corsi falsely claimed that he rebuffed Stone’s request and never contacted WikiLeaks.

 

Per the DOJ, Corsi contacted Julian Assange, who was in hiding in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. Corsi then related to Stone that WikiLeaks was in possession of documents damaging to Hillary Clinton and that WikiLeaks planned to release the documents as part of an October surprise.

 

As evidence, the draft cites a string of emails in which Stone instructs Corsi to contact Assange in July 2016. The first email, in which Stone asked Corsi to contact WikiLeaks, is dated July 25, three days after the initial WikiLeaks dump of 20,000 stolen emails. Two days later, on July 27, Donald Trump called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s private server. The indictment of Russian intelligence agents last July indicated that the Russian hackers spear-phished the Clinton campaign for the first time the same day that Trump made his request.

 

In the second email, dated July 31, 2016, Stone told Corsi that an unnamed “overseas individual” should “see [the founder of Organization 1],” Assange. The overseas individual was possibly Ted Malloch, an American Trump supporter living and working in England who was reportedly considered for an ambassadorship to the European Union by President Trump.

 

In an email dated August 2, 2016, Corsi responds:

 

“Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging.… Time to let more than [the Clinton Campaign chairman] to be exposed as in bed w enemy if they are not ready to drop HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton]. That appears to be the game hackers are now about. Would not hurt to start suggesting HRC old, memory bad, has stroke — neither he nor she well. I expect that much of next dump focus, setting stage for Foundation debacle.”

On August 12, the hacker Guccifer 2.0 posted contact information for most congressional Democrats. The information apparently came from the stolen DNC data.

Even though Corsi acknowledged that hackers were responsible in his August 2, 2016 email, he continued to publicly espouse the conspiracy theory that Seth Rich was murdered by the CIA on the orders of John Brennan for the benefit of Hillary Clinton well into 2017 on Twitter, in Infowars articles, and in YouTube videos.

 

On August 21, 2016, Roger Stone, whose account is now suspended, tweeted, “Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel. #CrookedHillary.” Another Stone tweet on Oct. 3 said, “I have total confidence that @wikileaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon #LockHerUp.” The next day, Julian Assange released a video announcing that WikiLeaks would be releasing more DNC emails, these stolen from John Podesta. On Oct. 7, hours after the release of the Access Hollywood tape, the next document dump from WikiLeaks is released.

 

Corsi now says that on August 30, Stone contacted him for help in concocting a cover story to explain the Podesta tweet. Corsi says he wrote a memo about Podesta’s business dealings which Stone claimed was the inspiration for his eerily prescient tweet. Stone denies this version of events, but the Mueller team’s computer analysis may sort out the truth.

 

“What I construct, and what I testified to the grand jury, was I believed I was creating a cover story for Roger because Roger wanted to explain this tweet,” Mr. Corsi said in the Wall Street Journal. “By the way, the special counsel knew this. They can virtually tell my keystrokes on that computer.”

 

Stone has denied any knowledge of coordination between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks. He also denies that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are de facto Russian agents, a fact disputed by US intelligence. Mike Pompeo, a Republican and President Trump’s pick to head the CIA, called WikiLeaks a “hostile intelligence service.” The group even had a television show on RT, a Russian propaganda network, in 2012.

 

The document posted by Corsi raise interesting questions about contacts between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, but it offers definitive proof that the Seth Rich conspiracy theory was never seriously believed by either Corsi or Stone. It was merely a smokescreen to conceal the fact that Russian hackers had penetrated the DNC and ultimately used their stolen emails to help elect Donald Trump.

Papadopolous Guilty Plea Is Bad News For Trump

With all the attention on Paul Manafort, the guilty plea of former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopolous has largely escaped notice, but it is Papadopolous that may prove to be a bigger threat to Donald Trump. The Papadopolous indictment, especially taken together with previous revelations about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian attorney, seems to indicate that at least some elements of the Trump campaign were actively seeking assistance from the Russians.

The indictment against Papadopolous alleges that the campaign advisor met with two Russian agents, the “Professor” and a Russian woman who Papadopolous believed to be Vladimir Putin’s niece. Per the indictment, Papadopolous had numerous contacts with the Russians and kept the campaign up to date with his outreach. In April 2016, the Professor told Papadopolous that the Russian government had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the firm of “thousands of emails.” This information was apparently passed along to the Trump campaign.

Many of the contacts involved a potential meeting between Donald Trump and the Russian government. The Trump campaign supervisor encouraged Papadopolous to make an unofficial visit to Russia, but the trip never took place.

The information in the indictment is not incriminating in and of itself. It isn’t illegal or unusual for a presidential campaign to be in contact with a foreign government. What is unusual and incriminating is for a member of a campaign to lie to FBI agents about such contacts. Yet, in the Trump Administration, there seems to have been mass amnesia about contacts with members of the Russian government.

Aside from the trail pointing toward the Trump campaign, Papadopolous’ guilty plea also indicates that he may have struck a deal with Robert Mueller. The bigger danger to Trump campaign officials is that Papadopolous may be providing information to Mueller’s team that will lead to more high-level indictments.

To be fair, the Russia amnesia seems to have spread across party lines. The Clinton campaign apparently paid for the infamous Trump dossier, at least part of which seemed to stem from Russian informants. At this point, it seems likely that both campaigns were attempting to to collude with the Russians with varying degrees of success.

For their part, the Russians seemed to be playing both sides. By summer of 2016, however, it was apparent that they were working against the Clinton campaign as emails stolen by Russian hackers were dumped online. It is possible that these emails were the same ones that the Professor offered to Papadopolous. With attempts made by Papadopolous, Donald Trump, Jr. and the candidate himself to get access to the stolen emails, if the Trump campaign did not collude with the Russian government, it was not for lack of trying.

Whether the collusion was successful and whether it rose to the level of criminality remains to be seen, but the smart bet is that Mueller has cards left to play. The arrests of Manafort, Gage and Papadopolous are likely only the beginning.

BREAKING: Another Trump Advisor Pleads Guilty To Making False Statements

Another indictment of a former Trump advisor has just been revealed. Reuters reports that George Papadopolous, an energy lawyer from Chicago who was an advisor to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, has pled guilty to making false statements to FBI agents.

Papadopolous pled guilty on Oct. 5, but the case was sealed until this morning. Details of the case are not yet available.

Papadopolous is the third Trump associate that is known to have been snared by the Mueller investigation. Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates surrendered on conspiracy and money laundering charges this morning.

Why Is The FBI Ignoring A Congressional Subpoena?

The FBI is and has been ignoring a subpoena from Rep. Devin Nunes R-CA, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and has done so since it was issued August 24.

This past Wednesday, Speaker Paul Ryan R-WI announced he supported Chairman Nunes, and stood behind the subpoena 100%:

“We’ve had these document requests with the administration, the FBI in particular, for a long time, and they’ve been stonewalling,” Ryan said in an interview with Reuters. “The FBI and the Justice Department need to give Congress the documents it has been requesting, and they need to do so immediately.”

While it’s always important for Congress to strenuously enforce its outstanding subpoenas, one has to wonder why they are being put in this position by the Trump Administration in the first place.

It is puzzling why a GOP congressional committee is having a difficult time with a GOP led Department of Justice. Attorney General Jeff Session, (a former Republican senator), who was appointed by President Trump, and was the first senator to endorse his candidacy. Furthermore,  FBI Director Christopher Wray had served in more than one role within President Bush’s administration and was appointed by President Trump for his current position.

So, why are two Republicans now serving in President Trump’s administration resisting a subpoena which is seeking information about the Russian Steele Dossier. Which as we all know by now, is a Trump opposition research document, funded by the DNC and the Clinton campaign.

There are a few reasons, which while understandable, cannot be supported nor condoned. Each of these reasons involve one of the players in this ongoing saga:

  1. Christopher Wray: You’d think Director Wray would have no problem complying with the subpoena. He wasn’t there during the time in question, being a a litigation partner with King & Spalding. However, there is no doubt this is going to be a huge embarrassment to the FBI.  It is possible that some in the FBI might lose their jobs, or be demoted. There is no question this is a huge black eye,  and morale has to be a concern for the newly appointed Director. I believe he is waiting on a directive from his superiors at the Department of Justice ordering him to comply. Waiting on an order would give him some semblance of cover inside the department. This would allow him to show he put his people and the department first, but in the end had no choice but to obey his boss at the DOJ.
  2. If that is the case, then why hasn’t the DOJ stepped in and ordered the FBI to obey the House Intelligence Committee subpoena? It is quite possible Attorney General Session, having recused himself from all things Russia and Hillary Clinton, can’t legitimately climb over that Chinese wall in an attempt to push past this imbroglio.
  3. If this is the case, then the responsibility falls to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. As U.S. Attorney, appointed by President Bush, he was the lead DOJ supervisor for the secret FBI investigation into the corruption case. He worked alongside then Director Robert Mueller, and with Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe. Additionally, he appointed Mr. Mueller to his current position of Special Counsel in charge of the ongoing Russian collusion investigation.

It would appear Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein is responsible for disregarding the congressional subpoenas. This wouldn’t be surprising, given the fact that he has done the President no favors since being appointed. His decision to appoint Mueller was hasty at best, at worse it was a shot across the President’s bow. Perhaps he is just another swamp creature inhibiting the administration’s progress.

It is incumbent on the President to order the Deputy Attorney General to obey these and future subpoenas forthwith. This disrespect for the rule of law and Congress gives the appearance of either a chaotic DOJ or a disloyal one. Heaven help us if it’s both.

 

What Does The Surveillance of Paul Manafort Mean?

The big story these days is the breaking news that Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was under FBI surveillance. This has brought forth a flurry of claims that Trump was right about his charges of wiretapping, that the FBI only tracked Manafort to find out what Trump was doing and that Manafort was only guilty of talking to Russian diplomats.

The real story is that this news isn’t breaking news at all. The story broke during the campaign that there was an active FISA warrant for surveillance of members of the Trump campaign staff. A November 2016 article by Heat Street (which has since been acquired by MarketWatch) reported that a broad FISA warrant request in June 2016 included Donald Trump as a target. This request was denied, but a subsequent, more narrow request was granted in October.

This was confirmed by the BBC in a January 2017 article which described how the warrant was issued to investigate two Russian banks. The investigation stemmed from intelligence passed to the US by an unnamed Baltic nation in April 2016. The intelligence allegedly included a recorded conversation “about money from the Kremlin going into the US presidential campaign.” The BBC article mentioned, but did not name, “three of Mr. Trump’s associates were the subject of the inquiry.”

One of the three was Michael Flynn. Flynn was Trump’s first national security advisor. Flynn was fired early in the Trump Administration after it was revealed through leaked surveillance information that he had lied about conversations with the Russian ambassador. Flynn’s contacts with the Russians were apparently uncovered as an incidental target as the intelligence community monitored Russian diplomats. Flynn is still under investigation by both the Pentagon and Mueller’s task force.

In April 2017, the New York Times named a second target of the investigation. The report stated explicitly that Carter Page had been the target of a FISA warrant after he left the Trump campaign. “The Justice Department considered direct surveillance of anyone tied to a political campaign as a line it did not want to cross,” the report said, citing an unnamed official.

Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, was the third target of the investigation. Manafort had long had ties to the Putin government. He had worked as a consultant for the pro-Russian political party that controlled the Ukraine until it was toppled by a revolution in 2014. Manafort’s name was listed in the so-called “Black Ledger” that detailed secret payments by the Ukrainian ruling party. The ledger, which was discovered after the revolution, showed that Manafort received at least $1.2 million from the pro-Putin ruler of Ukraine per AP reports. Manafort was fired by Trump in August 2016 after the story of the Ukrainian payments broke.

The new story by CNN detailing Manafort’s surveillance says that Manafort was the subject of two FISA warrants. The first, centered on his work in the Ukraine, began in 2014 and “was discontinued at some point last year [2016] for lack of evidence, according to one of the sources.”

The dates for the second warrant are not known but it apparently began after “FBI interest deepened last fall because of intercepted communications between Manafort and suspected Russian operatives, and among the Russians themselves.” The warrant reportedly continued until early 2017. The dates suggest that Manafort was not monitored while he was an official part of the Trump campaign, although they do cover a period when he had discussions with President Trump. “It’s unclear whether Trump himself was picked up on the surveillance,” CNN notes.

Another report by the New York Times says that federal agents raided Manafort’s home in July 2017. Again, this was after his official role as a member of Donald Trump’s campaign staff was long over.

So was Donald Trump right when he claimed that Obama was “tapping” his phones? So far there is still no evidence of this. Surveillance of Trump’s associates is not the same as surveillance of Trump himself. This is especially true if the surveillance did not occur during the period when Trump’s associates were working on his campaign. This would also indicate that the surveillance was not to find out what the Trump campaign was up to.

Further, the surveillance of Paul Manafort was not the result of business-as-usual contacts with Russian diplomats. A FISA warrant was issued for Manafort because he was communicating with Russian agents. A FISA warrant is not proof of guilt, but it does require probable cause. The denial of the June 2016 warrant request is proof that warrants are not issued on a frivolous basis.

The investigation into Paul Manafort and the Russian interference in the 2016 campaign is not yet complete. In the weeks and months to come, we may learn exactly why Manafort was talking to the Russians and what was said. At this point, there is no smoking gun, but there are indications, such as the decision to threaten Manafort with indictment, that Special Counsel Mueller is building a strong case. Part of that case may be on incriminating evidence that resulted from surveillance under the FISA warrant.

No, Director Wray Did Not Exonerate Trump, Actually He May Have Implicated Him

It must have been music to President Trump’s ears to hear FBI Director Christopher Wray publicly state “I can say very confidently that I have not detected any whiff of interference with that investigation.”

Wray was referring to Robert Mueller’s investigation into any possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

“I have enormous respect for former Director Mueller, who I got to work with almost daily in the early 2000s, as a consummate professional,” Wray added. “He’s really running that investigation.”

The good news is that Trump, despite all his bluster about possibly firing Mueller, which would be the equivalent of political seppuku, is keeping his tiny hands out of Mueller’s pie. This is a good thing for Trump and for the nation.

What it isn’t, is some kind of statement exonerating Trump in the Russia investigation. That’s the statement the president asked James Comey to make, three times, and ultimately was the reason Trump fired Comey. Wray did not say what Comey refused to say.

The pro-Trump press will, however, take it that way. “FBI director drops truth grenade on supposed WH ‘interference’ with Russia probe.” Nobody has supposed that Trump or the White House has interfered with the Russia probe. All communications between Trump and Mueller or his staff have been above-board and friendly.

What Wray was convinced of, however, is more troubling to members of Trump’s campaign team who may yet face the music. From POLITICO:

“Now, I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot more fully, highly classified information….I have no reason to doubt the conclusions that the hardworking people who put that together came to,” the FBI director said, referring to an intelligence community assessment produced in both classified and unclassified versions in January.

The Russians did, according to all evidence, attempt to monkey with the 2016 election. And it’s clear that people in Trump’s orbit (Manafort, Trump Jr., Kushner) had connections with, or were open to meetings with, Russians interested in affecting the election.

As Agent Sandusky told Ben Gates in “National Treasure,” “someone’s got to go to prison.” If there was collusion or illegal activity, there will be a trial, either in state or Federal court. State court is beyond the reach of Trump’s pardon power. Should Trump start throwing out pardons like prophylactics, Wray’s statements may serve more to implicate the president than to exonerate him.

The Impending Trump-Mueller Train Wreck





There is the sense of an impending train wreck between President Trump and independent counsel Robert Mueller. You know it’s coming, you know it’s going to be ugly, but you just can’t look away.

After rumors swirled a few weeks ago that President Trump was considering firing Mueller, things quieted down. Over the last week, the tension once again seems to be mounting with Trump’s criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation and the news that Mueller’s investigation is expanding to examine Trump’s business dealings with Russians going back as far as 2008.

In response, the Trump Administration seems to be once again considering the possibility of firing the special counsel, a move that many Republicans argue would be destructive to the already-embattled Trump Administration.

“Congress must make it very clear: Bye-bye Mueller, bye-bye Trump. Otherwise bye-bye Congress 2018. Americans are fed up!” tweeted Richard Painter, President George W. Bush’s ethics lawyer from 2005 to 2007.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) agreed. “It would be a mistake to fire Bob Mueller,” Rubio said in The Hill.

The New York Times reported that Team Trump is investigating the investigators with an eye toward building a case for firing Mueller or simply discrediting his probe. President Trump told the Times that he was aware that some of Mueller’s investigators had conflicts of interest and that he would make this information available “at some point.” Members of Mueller’s team have come under criticism already for their contributions to Democrats.

There are also reports that the Trump Administration is exploring the use of pardons to stymie the Mueller investigation. The Washington Post reported that the president had asked legal advisors about his presidential power to pardon aides and family members who might be snared by Mueller’s net. The president even asked whether he could pardon himself.

“This is not in the context of, ‘I can’t wait to pardon myself,’” said one unnamed advisor, who said that the president’s questions were merely expressing curiosity about the extent of his constitutional powers.

President Trump has been fiercely protective of his privacy as it relates to his business dealings and personal finances. During the campaign, after initially promising to release his tax returns, he became the first president in decades to keep his tax records private.

The Trump Administration has resisted the Russia investigation every step of the way, with Trump denying for months that Russia had even attempted to affect the election. The stonewalling has contributed to continual drip of revelations about contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russians. Although it isn’t clear if any laws were broken, the cover-up and lack of cooperation and openness from the Trump Administration makes it seem as if the president has something to hide.

The Administration’s efforts to keep its connections with Russia concealed and Mueller’s directive to bring them into the open set the stage for a confrontation between the two. If Trump is set on preserving his privacy and protecting members of his staff from possible prosecution, then sooner or later he will have to take action against Mueller. The resulting kerfuffle is likely to make the firing of James Comey seem tame by comparison.

 

Trump Warns Mueller About Investigating Finances





Despite denouncing the New York Times as “fake news”, Donald Trump inexplicably granted the organization an exclusive interview this week.  In it, he covered a wide range of issues, but Trump’s fixation on Jeff Sessions, James Comey, and Robert Mueller dominated the discussion in its aftermath.

Trump made multiple surprising statements, including his condemnation of his own Attorney General, but just as baffling as that was his warning toward special counsel Robert Mueller.  Mueller is currently investigating questions about collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.  The President warned Mueller against investigating his family’s finances beyond the scope of any Russian involvement with his campaign.

Asked if Mr. Mueller’s investigation would cross a red line if it expanded to look at his family’s finances beyond any relationship to Russia, Mr. Trump said, “I would say yes.” He would not say what he would do about it. “I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia.”

Trump also accused the office of Special Counsel of being filled with conflicts of interest.  In that vein, apparently members of the White House team are already investigating the investigators.  A report late Thursday evening stated the following:

President Trump’s lawyers and aides are scouring the professional and political backgrounds of investigators hired by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, looking for conflicts of interest they could use to discredit the investigation — or even build a case to fire Mr. Mueller or get some members of his team recused, according to three people with knowledge of the research effort.

This comes as Bloomberg reports about Mueller expanding his probe into Trump’s business transactions.

FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said.

 

The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

One of Trump’s lawyers, John Dowd, condemned Mueller’s expanded inquiries as beyond the scope of special counsel Mueller’s mandate.

Trump’s warnings to Mueller have set off a feeding frenzy in the press, questioning whether Trump is going to fire him.  Reporters have used the opportunity to question the White House’s integrity amid cries of obstruction of justice.  It has also drawn concern from members of Congress.

According to a recent Bloomberg poll, Russia is a “top issue” for only 6% of the American public, but it receives 75% of media coverage.

https://twitter.com/SteveRattner/status/888112148181680130

By all accounts, Russia really should have faded away as an issue.  Most of the public doesn’t care.  But no one has done more to keep the Russia story alive than Trump himself.  Each time it fades from the headlines, he draws people’s attention back to it.

Trump’s insistence on constantly hitting back keeps this story on the front page.  Warning Mueller and investigating his team are just the most recent examples of this phenomenon.

Russian collusion is not a top priority for most people, but the integrity of the Presidency is.  As the old saying goes, “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.”  It’s true even if there’s no underlying crime, at least from a political perspective.  If the Left can morph this from a story about Russia to a story about corruption and abuse of power, the White House is in trouble.  Firing Mueller would shift that narrative.

Whether it’s fair or not, Trump threatening to fire Mueller (or the perception that he threatened to fire him) gives a degree of credibility to the Democrats’ accusations.  In people’s minds, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.  They wonder what Trump has to hide.  And if he does shut down the investigation, people would become certain that he’s hiding something.  It’s highly unlikely that anything Mueller finds would be as devastating as the fallout from firing him.  The ensuing controversy would dwarf James Comey’s termination.

While Russia is such a low rated topic for most Americans, healthcare is the number one “top issue” in the Bloomberg poll.  It would be wise for Trump to focus on that and leave Mueller alone.