Today in Treason… Representative Adam Schiff lays out the evidence of collusion between Trump and the Russians, and FBI Director Comey confirms that an active investigation is underway

I wouldn’t say there were any real bombshells today, as FBI Director James Comey and NSA head Michael Rogers testified before the members of the House Intelligence Committee about Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election, but it was nice to hear both men say definitively that Trump essentially lied when he said that his phones had been tapped by the Obama administration, and confirm that, yes, there was still an ongoing investigation into what role, if any, the Trump campaign had in coordinating the illegal activities of the Russians in the run up to the election. [Comey, when asked, said that they the FBI was still looking into “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts (to put Trump in office).”] And it was good to hear Democrats on the Committee, like Adam Schiff of California, and Jim Himes of Connecticut, asking substantive questions about the FBI investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russia, which, as we learned during Comey’s testimony, started back in July 2016. [The Republicans on the Committee seemed content to focus on who within the Bureau had made this information public.] As I suspect you’ve already read a good deal of coverage about what was said by Comey and Rogers today, I won’t share a lot of what they said under oath. I do, however, want to share this clip from Congressman Schiff’s opening statement, which does a pretty good job of laying out the evidence we already have of collusion between the Trump campaign and Putin’s government. [The entire transcript can be found here.]

…Let me give you a short preview of what I expect you’ll be asked by our members. Whether the Russian active measures campaign began as nothing more than an attempt to gather intelligence or was always intended to be more than that, we do not know and is one of the questions we hope to answer. But we do know this; the months of July and August 2016 appear to have been pivotal.

It was at this time the Russians began using the information they had stolen to help Donald Trump and harm Hillary Clinton. And so the question is, why? What was happening in July, August of last year and were U.S. persons involved? Here are some of the matters drawn from public sources alone since that is all we can discuss in this setting that concern us and we believe should concern all Americans.

In early July, Carter Page, someone candidate Trump identified as one of his national security advisors, travels to Moscow on a trip approved by the Trump campaign. While in Moscow, he gives a speech critical of the United States and other western countries for what he believes is a hypocritical focus on democratization and efforts to fight corruption.

According to Christopher Steele, a British — a former British intelligence officer, who is reportedly held in high regard by U.S. intelligence, Russian sources tell him that Page has also had a secret meeting with Igor Sechin, CEO of the Russian gas giant, Rosneft. Sechin is reported to be a former KGB agent and close friend of Putin’s.

According to Steele’s Russian sources, Page is offered brokerage fees ob a deal involving a 19 percent share of the company. According to Reuters, the sale of a 19.5 percent share of Rosneft later takes place with unknown purchasers and unknown brokerage fees. Also, according to Steele’s Russian sources, the campaign has offered documents damaging to Hillary Clinton which the Russians would publish through an outlet that gives them deniability, like WikiLeaks.

The hacked documents would be in exchange for a Trump administration policy that de-emphasizes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and instead focuses on criticizing NATO countries for not paying their fair share. Policies which even as recently as the President’s meeting last week with Angela Merkel have now presently come to pass. In the middle of July, Paul Manafort, the — the Trump campaign manager and someone who was a long on the payroll of Pro Russian- Ukrainian interests attends the Russian — the Republican Party Convention. Carter Page, back from Moscow, also attends the convention. According to Steele, it was Manafort who chose Page to serve as a go-between for the Trump campaign and Russian interests.

Ambassador Kislyak, who presides over a Russian Embassy in which diplomatic personnel would later be expelled as likely spies, also attends the Republican Party Convention and meets with Carter Page, and additional Trump advisors J.D. Gordon and Walid Phares. It was J.D. Gordon who approved Page’s trip to Moscow.

Ambassador Kislyac also meets with Trump national campaign chair, National Security Campaign Chair and now attorney general, Jeff Sessions. Sessions would later deny meeting with Russian officials during his Senate confirmation hearing. Just prior to the convention, the Republican Party platform is changed, removing a section that supports the provision of lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine, an action that would be contrary to Russian interests.

Manafort categorically denies involvement by the Trump campaign and altering the platform, but the Republican Party delegate who offered the language in support of providing defensive weapons to Ukraine states it was removed at the insistence of the Trump campaign. Later, J.D. Gordon admits opposing the inclusion of the provision of the time it was being debated and prior to its being removed.

Later in July and after the convention, the first stolen emails detrimental to Hillary Clinton appear on WikiLeaks. A hacker who goes by the moniker, Guccifer 2.0, claims responsibility for hacking the DNC and giving the documents to WikiLeaks. A leading private cyber security firms including Crowdstrike, Mandiant and ThreatConnect review the evidence of the hack and conclude with high certainty that it was the work of APT 28 and APT 29 who are known to be Russian intelligence services.

The U.S. intelligence committee also later confirms that the documents were in fact stolen by Russian intelligence and Guccifer 2.0 acted as a front. Also in late July, candidate Trump praises WikiLeaks, says he loves them and openly appeals to the Russians to hack his opponents emails telling them that they will be richly rewarded by the press.

On August 8th, Roger Stone, a long time Trump political advisor and self-proclaimed political dirty trickster, boasts in his speech that he has communicated with Assange and that more documents would be coming, including an October surprise. In the middle of August, he also communicates with the Russian cut out Guccifer 2.0 and authors a Breitbart piece denying Guccifer’s links to Russian intelligence.

Then later, in August, Stone does something truly remarkable. When he predicts that John Podesta’s personal emails will soon be published, trust me he says, it will soon be Podesta’s time in the barrel, #crookedHillary. In the weeks that follow, Stone shows remarkable prescience. I have total confidence that WikiLeaks and my hero, Julian Assange will educate the American people soon, he says, #LockHerUp. Payload coming, he predicts, and two days later it does.

WikiLeaks releases its first batch of Podesta emails. The release of John Podesta’s emails would then continue on a daily basis, up until the election. On Election Day in November, Donald Trump wins. Donald Trump appoints one of his high-profile surrogates, Michael Flynn, to be his national security advisor. Michael Flynn has been paid by the Kremlin’s propaganda outfit RT in the past, as well as another Russian entity.

In December, Michael Flynn has a secret conversation with Ambassador Kislyak, about sanctions imposed by President Obama on Russia over attacking designed to help the Trump campaign. Michael Flynn lies about the secret conversation. The vice president unknowingly then assures the country that no — no such conversation ever happened. The president is informed that Flynn has lied and Pence has misled the country. The president does nothing.

Two weeks later, the press reveals that Flynn has lied and the president is forced to fire Mr. Flynn. The president then praises the man who lied, Mr. Flynn, and castigates the press for exposing the lie.

Now, is it possible that the removal of the Ukraine provision from the GOP platform was a coincidence? Is it a coincidence that Jeff Sessions failed to tell the Senate about his meetings with a Russian ambassador, not only at the convention, but a more private meeting in his office and at a time when the U.S. election was under attack by the Russians?

Is it a coincidence that Michael Flynn would lie about a conversation he had with the same Russian Ambassador Kislyak, about the most pressing issue facing both countries at the time they spoke, the U.S. imposition of sanctions over Russian hacking of our election designed to help Donald Trump? Is it a coincidence that the Russian gas company, Rosneft, sold a 19 percent share after former British intelligence officer Steele was told by Russian sources that Carter Page was offered fees on a deal of just that size?

Is it a coincidence that Steele’s Russian sources also affirmed that Russian had stolen documents hurtful to Secretary Clinton that it would utilize in exchange for Pro Russian policies that would later come to pass? Is it a coincidence that Roger Stone predicted that John Podesta would be a victim of a Russian hack and have his private emails published and did so even before Mr. Podesta himself, was fully aware that his private emails would be exposed?

Is it possible that all of these events and reports are completely unrelated and nothing more than an entirely unhappy coincidence? Yes, it is possible. But it is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not disconnected and not unrelated and that the Russians use the same techniques to corrupt U.S. persons that they employed in Europe and elsewhere. We simply don’t know, not yet. And we owe it to the country to find out…

Here’s the video:

Regardless of where this leads, one hopes, for the good of our country, our elected officials don’t stop digging.

I wonder if maybe there might be an opportunity set up a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for the investigation. Maybe, if I can stay awake a little longer, I’ll write Congressman Schiff and ask. I suspect I’m not alone when I say that I’d like to make sure our representatives have the resources to see this through to the end.

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15 Comments

  1. Mark Cuban by proxy
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Mark Cuban‏ @subzerov690

    When are ppl going to realize this isnt about “sides” or teams anymore. This isnt a Democrat vs. Republican issue. It’s a threat to country

  2. Anonymous
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Good tweet, Mr. Cuban. I like what Dan Rather had to say better, though.

    From Dan Rather:

    If you are a praying person, today is a day to pray for the future of your country. I have seen a lot in my decades in the press, but I have never seen a day like this. This is a stress test for our democratic institutions and one can only hope that the system of checks and balances we hold so dear, can indeed hold.

    The statements by FBI Director James Comey in testimony today about Russian interference in the 2016 election were jaw dropping. It should be also noted that both he and NSA director, Adm. Mike Rogers, categorically denied that there was any evidence to support Mr. Trump’s repeated allegations that Trump Tower was wiretapped by President Obama. That we do know. But it must be noted how much we do not know. We cannot afford to back off on investigating, fully, completely, and openly, allegations that are anathema to the spirit of our republic. But we cannot also afford to jump to conclusions. We want answers. We want to know more. That is natural. But patience will be required. It is better that this plays out in a systematic way. It is for all these reasons that I think a careful bipartisan investigation is essential.

    Mr. Trump’s poll numbers dropped before this news, to below 40 percent. A blip? A trend? We will find out. If they continue to drop, many Republicans in Congress will likely go from support for Mr. Trump to agnosticism to maybe antagonism. That’s what happened with Richard Nixon. In the meantime, it will be hard to see how President Trump will get much of his agenda through under this shadow. The power of the presidency is strong, but it is not impenetrable.

    Expect regular headlines about the Kremlin in your daily news feeds. For those of you old enough to remember the Cold War, this may seem like deja vu. But the nature of the threat is fundamentally different. In those days, there was a united front against Russian interference, overt or covert. Now there are serious and credible allegations about whether those close to Mr. Trump may have been colluding with the Kremlin. Colluding with the Kremlin, sounds like a spy novel, but it remains a big and unproven allegation. Let the facts point the way. And I hope men and women of all political faiths can rally to support the continual functioning of government in these surreal and dangerous times.

  3. Billy
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-tillerson-idUSKBN16S04I

  4. Meta
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Washington Post: “New documents show Trump aide hid payments from Ukraine party with Moscow ties, lawmaker alleges”

    A Ukrainian lawmaker on Tuesday released new financial documents allegedly showing that a former campaign chairman to President Trump laundered payments from the party of a disgraced ex-leader of Ukraine using offshore accounts in Belize and Kyrgyzstan.

    The new documents may revive questions about the ties between the Trump aide, Paul Manafort, and the party of the former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, who has been in hiding in Russia since being overthrown by pro-Western protesters in 2014. He is wanted in Ukraine on corruption charges.

    Manafort, who worked for Yanukovych’s Party of Regions for nearly a decade, resigned from Trump’s campaign in August after his name surfaced in connection with secret payments totaling $12.7 million by Yanukovych’s party. Manafort has denied receiving those payments, listed in the party’s so-called “black ledger.”

    The latest documents were released just hours after the House Intelligence Committee questioned FBI Director James B. Comey about possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow — a hearing that also touched on Manafort’s work for Yanukovych’s party in Ukraine.

    Comey declined to say whether the FBI was coordinating with Ukraine on an investigation into the alleged payments to Manafort.

    Serhiy Leshchenko, a lawmaker and journalist, released a copy of an invoice on letterhead from Manafort’s Alexandria, Va.-based consulting company from Oct. 14, 2009, to a Belize-based company for $750,000 for the sale of 501 computers.

    On the same day, Manafort’s name is listed next to a $750,000 entry in the “black ledger,” which was viewed as a party slush fund. The list was found at the party headquarters in the turmoil after Ukraine’s 2014 revolution. The ledger entries about Manafort were released by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, a government law enforcement agency, last August.

    Leshchenko alleges that Manafort falsified an invoice to the Belize company in order to legitimize the $750,000 payment to himself.

  5. M
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    How tone deaf this administration is. On the day that Comey said under oath that Putin wanted Trump in office because he’d weaken NATO and help advance the Russian agenda, we get news (thanks for the link Billy) that Rex Tillerson, our Secretary of State, will be skipping a meeting with NATO foreign ministers to visit Russia.

  6. Max
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    They’re doubling down on the Russia. I don’t know if they think this will go away or if this is Trump’s Nero moment with the violin. Yesterday was so surreal with Trump Tweeting during the hearing and then Comey responding to the Tweets later in the day, calling them BS. It seems like the sensible thing for the Administration to do would for twenty-four hours not mention Russia! Anyway, I thought this was another bizzaro piece of news from yesterday:

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/anthonycormier/ivankatrumprussiaskyguru?utm_term=.jakv3VQeB#.cwPKwRm9O

  7. M
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes told David Corn at Mother Jones yesterday that he’s never even heard of Carter Page or Roger Stone.

    https://twitter.com/DavidCornDC/status/843910949681664001

    This is the Republican in charge of the House investigation.

    Here’s video of the exchange.

    https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/843947131241226240

    And here’s video of an MSNBC discussion about it.

    https://www.rawstory.com/2017/03/not-credible-msnbc-panel-scalds-intel-head-nunes-for-claim-hes-never-heard-of-carter-page-roger-stone/

  8. Catapult
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    If you want to talk about treason, how about this headline?

    “Mike Flynn was paid by Russia’s top cybersecurity firm while he still had top-secret-level security clearance”

    http://www.businessinsider.com/mike-flynn-and-russia-2017-3

  9. John Galt
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    This post only has two likes. No one cares. This is a non-story. America loves Putin. This isn’t the ’80s. Russia isn’t our enemy. We admire strong leaders who ride horses shirtless while their adversaries are poisoned.

  10. XXX
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    So, are we supposed to like Comey now, or are we still supposed to hate him for handing the presidency to Trump in the first place?

  11. Katherine
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know how they’re spending it, but MoveOn is collecting funds to push for an independent prosecutor. (https://act.moveon.org/donate/standuptodonaldtrump)

    Dear MoveOn member,

    Yesterday, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that Donald Trump and his associates are part of an ongoing criminal investigation having to do with their ties to Russia.1

    Now, Republicans have a choice to make: appoint an independent commission to investigate Trump and Russia—or be complicit in a scandal that could be worse than Watergate. MoveOn members are demanding that Republicans do the right thing. And until they do, we’re calling for Democrats to shut down ALL business—including Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Are you in?

    Yes! I’ll chip in $3 to the emergency campaign to demand an independent commission to investigate Trump’s Russia ties.

    Every week, we hear more revelations about the Trump team’s ties to Russian officials.

    And yesterday, we learned that Trump and his associates are actively embroiled in a criminal probe. Some Republicans have talked a big game about Trump and Russia. They’ve made noise about subpoenas and demanding documents.2 But so far, it’s all just talk. Not one Republican has voted for an independent commission to investigate the Trump team’s Russian entanglements or Russia’s influence on our election.

    MoveOn members have been demanding an independent commission (like the one that was created after 9/11) for weeks—and we’ve supported efforts in the House and Senate to pursue it. But now that the head of the FBI has confirmed that Trump and his associates are part of a criminal probe, this takes on increasing urgency and importance.

    Will you chip in $3—and support our campaign to demand the truth about Trump and Russia?

    Yes, I’ll chip in and demand an independent investigation into Trump and Russia.

    MoveOn has an ambitious plan to keep this story in the public eye and keep the pressure on Congress to act—until the American people know the truth:

    Create rapid response videos. We’ve already had millions of views on videos we’ve produced about Mike Flynn, Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon, and the question of what Trump knew and when he knew it. Now we’ll produce videos asking Republicans “When will you take your head out of the sand?”—and demanding an independent commission to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia.

    Get every single Republican on the record. We helped generate 850,000 petition signatures to support the effort by Representative Jerry Nadler in the House to get the House Judiciary Committee to vote for an investigation. Every Republican refused. We’re going to support efforts to introduce similar measures in committee after committee until EVERY single Republican is on the record. The public needs to know who’s for (and against) pursuing the truth, wherever it may lead. We’ll track these votes publicly and make them electoral issues in the next election.

    Show up in person. Members of Congress are coming home in just a few weeks for their April recess. We will meet them with town halls, outside their offices, and at every public event—and we’ll stream key encounters over live video, so that every Republican will be asked to support investigations or be revealed as a supporter of Trump’s cover-up.

    Can you chip in $3 and support MoveOn’s campaign for an independent investigation into the Trump administration’s Russia ties?

    Yes, I’ll chip in to help demand an independent investigation.

    We’re calling on Democrats to stand unified in the resistance and to shut down the business of the Trump administration until this investigation is conducted thoroughly. That means no nominations. No legislation. Full resistance.

    But we must also demand that Republicans stop talking big—and actually get in the game. They have the power to launch an independent investigation and give the American people a shot at uncovering the truth. If Republicans won’t rise to the challenge, then it’s our job to demand that Democrats grind Senate business to a halt.

    Can you pitch in $3 now and help MoveOn demand that Republicans get on board with a real, independent investigation into Trump’s Russia ties?

    Yes, I’ll chip in and demand an independent investigation.

    Thanks for all you do.

    –Jo, Manny, Tzyh, Stephen, and the rest of the team

    Sources:

    1. “F.B.I. Is Investigating Trump’s Russia Ties, Comey Confirms,” The New York Times, March 20, 2017
    https://act.moveon.org/go/9037?t=6&akid=180041.4967533.YnM49I

    2. “Members of Congress demand cooperation from administration on Trump-Russia probe,” The Washington Post, March 15, 2017
    https://act.moveon.org/go/9038?t=8&akid=180041.4967533.YnM49I

  12. CNN
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Roger Stone says claims of Russian collusion in the 2016 US election are “manufactured by the intelligence service” http://cnn.it/2mNVyV6

  13. Bob
    Posted March 21, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m trying to figure out why Comey should be trusted with this.

  14. Meta
    Posted March 22, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    The evidence keeps building.

    The Associated Press: “Manafort had plan to benefit Putin government”

    President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics, The Associated Press has learned. The work appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests.

    Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics to benefit the Putin government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.

    Manafort pitched the plans to Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP. Manafort and Deripaska maintained a business relationship until at least 2009, according to one person familiar with the work.

    “We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success,” Manafort wrote in the 2005 memo to Deripaska. The effort, Manafort wrote, “will be offering a great service that can re-focus, both internally and externally, the policies of the Putin government.”

    Manafort’s plans were laid out in documents obtained by the AP that included strategy memoranda and records showing international wire transfers for millions of dollars. How much work Manafort performed under the contract was unclear.

    The disclosure comes as Trump campaign advisers are the subject of an FBI probe and two congressional investigations. Investigators are reviewing whether the Trump campaign and its associates coordinated with Moscow to meddle in the 2016 campaign. Manafort has dismissed the investigations as politically motivated and misguided. The documents obtained by AP show Manafort’s ties to Russia were closer than previously revealed.

    In a statement to the AP, Manafort confirmed that he worked for Deripaska in various countries but said the work was being unfairly cast as “inappropriate or nefarious” as part of a “smear campaign.”

    “I worked with Oleg Deripaska almost a decade ago representing him on business and personal matters in countries where he had investments,” Manafort said. “My work for Mr. Deripaska did not involve representing Russia’s political interests.”

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of Trump’s critics in the Senate, called the disclosures about payments to Manafort from the Russian billionaire “very disturbing if true.”

    “That’s basically taking money to stop the spread of democracy, and that would be very disturbing to me,” he said Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

    Read more:
    https://apnews.com/122ae0b5848345faa88108a03de40c5a

  15. anonymous
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    In case you missed this……

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pS92ONVte8

    Keith Olberman on the evidence that a grand jury has been empaneled to look at the Trump Russia connection?

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  1. […] here’s how things when down… FBI Director James Comey and NSA head Michael Rogers testified under oath before the House Intellige…. Later that evening, Nunes, who, coincidentally, served on the Trump transition team, was called to […]

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