Saturday, March 16, 2019

Nunes Airs His Big Picture Theory Of The Russia Hoax

Shortly after the Lisa Page testimony was made public, on March 12th, Rep. Devin Nunes, former head of the HPSCI, did an interview with Sean Hannity. In the interview Nunes lays out is, in some important respects, his view of the big picture of the Russia Hoax--who's behind it, what were it's origins, what needs to be done. Some of what he says is speculative, and he acknowledges that. Also, while he and his GOP colleagues are preparing criminal referrals to DoJ, Nunes openly states that "the best possible thing that could happen" would be for DoJ to take this investigation in hand, because there's still plenty of work that needs to be done.

I've done a transcript of the interview--the first nine minutes--that's largely word for word, but cleaned up a bit to eliminate cross-talk, stumbling for words, etc. You can listen to the interview here, but I think reading and thinking about what Nunes is saying may prove provocative. There's lots to ponder in what he says. I'm pleased to be able to say that Nunes confirms many of the things that I and commenters here have been saying over the past two years. Among other items of note, Nunes maintains strongly that the FBI was "thick into" the anti-Trump effort from the beginning of 2016 and not, as their "essentially fake narrative" maintains, only beginning in July. He clearly suggests that Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS was a major source for the dossier operation, and he openly states that Andrew Weissmann--nominally Mueller's deputy--is "running the operation."  If reading this sparks your curiosity, as it really should, I highly recommend the linked posts below, because Weissmann was centrally involved in the Russia Hoax long before there was ever a Team Mueller--possibly as much as a year before:

The FBI: Working Hand In Glove With Clinton Operatives

Why Andrew Weissmann?


So, here's the interview, with some comments added:

SH = Sean Hannity
DN = Devin Nunes

SH: Let's go through what you learned from the Ohr testimony and the Page testimony in particular.

DN: ... Don't forget there are still some 70 interviews that the House Intel Committee did and then you have to add on the roughly 15 interviews that the Task Force did, so there's 80 in total of which you've only seen a couple of them.

As this starts to come out, I think what you'll see is that all of this is unusual ... the activity undertaken by the DoJ and the FBI, they would say unusual, I would say more like corruption, steps that never have been taken before, starting with the fact that they used the Counterintelligence capabilities that are used to target terrorists and bad guys overseas and they turned it onto a political party.

SH: She talks about there being some verification file relating to the dossier. Now, I would argue that that's a complete impossibility, considering that in sworn testimony in Great Britain Christopher Steele said he can't corroborate his own dossier, it's raw intelligence and he has no idea whether it's true at all, maybe 50/50. How can anyone corroborate something that the author of it says he can't corroborate? That's impossible.

DN: Well, I think what you're gonna see when this all comes out ... Look, there's gonna hafta be more interviews conducted. The best thing that could possibly happen is the DoJ take a deep look at this and analyze it. But as it comes to the dossier, my personal belief, we don't have anyone who testifies to it yet, OK? but my personal belief is that Christopher Steele really didn't draft most of that dossier. I believe the dossier was drafted in advance by Fusion GPS and other operatives, including Nellie Ohr, btw, spouse to Bruce Ohr, who was working for Fusion GPS. I believe the dossier was generated and then they used Christopher Steele as the guy who put his name on it and then helped to spread it around, feed it to places like the FBI, feed it to press outlets, ...

SH: You're basically saying that Hillary Clinton likely, and btw the FBI apparently, Christopher Steele was getting paid by a lot of people for the same work, or maybe for work you're saying now he didn't do, the Russian oligarchs, the DNC, and probably Hillary.

DN: Yes, and probably didn't do much. We have found out there, through investigation, pre-existing information that is very similar to what is found in the Steele dossier. So Christopher Steele was more of a guy that was just hired to add his name to it and help spread it. I'm not saying that he didn't add something, he could have a couple sources, but the bulk of the information in the dossier is not Christopher Steele's and in fact a lot of this comes from work that Glenn Simpson did back in the late 2000s when he was a reporter at the WSJ.

SH: So you're saying this was literally made outa whole cloth and then used and abused by the highest ranking people in the DoJ and the FBI who also now, we've learned a lot today about the DoJ's role in exonerating Clinton even though ... even James Baker thought she should be indicted for the Espionage Act. Any intelligent person would notice 33,000 deleted emails, and the acid wash of the hard drive and the hammers on the devices, that's obstruction. So those people that put the fix in, and then they began a Russia investigation just days later in July of 2016, nine months later she testified, Lisa Page, that they had found nothing.

DN: Yeah, well, look, that's the date they're sticking to. OK? So they're all sticking to their essentially fake narrative, which is this whole concept that this Five Eyes partner brought very important intelligence to us and we had to do nothing but open up the investigation. Sounds really nice, sounds great, to be the reason to open up the investigation into the Trump campaign, however we don't have any evidence of that. There was no intelligence. There's a lot of information out there that tells us that the FBI was thick into this all through 2016, not just starting at the end of July like they'd like to claim.

SH: So in other words you're talking about some of the highest ranking members of our DoJ and the most prestigious law enforcement agency in the world--not rank and file, but the upper echelon--

DN: They had to have known what they were doing. They wanted it to be a Counterintelligence investigation because it's "siloed,"--very few people are read into this, so they were able to keep it to a very small cadre of people which allowed them to feed all this information in and then boom! lo and behold ... So there were several people who were bringing in different forms of the dossier, into the FBI, into the State Department, producing what I would call fake news articles based on the dossier, generating these fake news articles and spreading them all over the place, not just in the FBI, in the State Department and other places. If you go back and look, you can really find these stories that look awfully similar to the dossier that were written in April, May, June, and July of 2016. This is even before they open up the Counterintelligence investigation at the end of July.

SH: Everybody wants to know, and my sources are now telling me, that all these people who did these horrible things are going to be held accountable. Do you believe that?

DN: ... We are preparing a criminal referral, based on FISA abuse and--"other matters" is what I'll tell you, right now.

SH: And by "other matters" are you talking about here? This is the first time I've ever heard you say that Christopher Steele might never have written the dossier.

DN: It's not a big part of the story ...

SH: It's pretty big to me! That people manufactured out of whole cloth a lying narrative to stop a presidential election and shift in favor of their candidate and then later use it to bludgeon the one that one!

DN: The point I'm making is that it shouldn't surprise us that Christopher Steele was working in conjunction with Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson. This story originates in the late 200s. So Glenn Simpson was involved working for the WSJ--and his wife--doing stories on Paul Manafort, and Ukraine, and other types of stories. A lot of the originations you can follow it there, then you can follow it to FIFA. Remember the FIFA case is supposedly why everybody trusts Christopher Steele, because at that point he was this operative working as a former intelligence officer and if you look at Glenn Simpson's testimony he worked with Christopher Steele then, Bruce Ohr was involved in that, if you look at Bruce Ohr's testimony. So all these people get together in FIFA. All they did, it was just basically a movie script, then they just applied it to the Trump campaign, and they went with the same movie, a lot of the same characters, but the fact of the matter is they never add any piece of information.

[Comment: There has been some buzz lately that "all roads lead to Ukraine." This is a shadowy area, but one which needs to be thoroughly explored, in light of the well known links of Ukrainian activists to both the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign. Cf. Mechanics of Deception.]

SH: And you don't think Mueller's gonna find any collusion cuz there was none.

DN: [Laughs] Well, there's definitely no collusion. What concerns me is that really it's Mueller and his team that are colluding. OK? Weissmann, who's running the operation [garbled] is lost on anyone.

SH: I have said this from the get go ... [Quickly shifts to ethics and Adam Schiff]


President Trump has weighed in, via Twitter, on some of this week's revelations. I want to point out one presidential comment in particular, by combining two tweets:

So, if there was knowingly & acknowledged to be “zero” crime when the Special Counsel was appointed, and if the appointment was made based on the Fake Dossier (paid for by Crooked Hillary) and now disgraced Andrew McCabe (he & all stated no crime), then the Special Counsel ... should never have been appointed and there should be no Mueller Report. This was an illegal & conflicted investigation in search of a crime. Russian Collusion was nothing more than an excuse by the Democrats for losing an Election that they thought they were going to win.....

This has been my essential point from the beginning. It's why I've spent so much time on the technicalities of Preliminary v. Full Investigations, what "predication" means and why it matters, how that relates to FISA applications, etc.

Any competent FBI agent and any competent prosecutor would know that the Steele "dossier" could never support a Full Investigation--and therefore could never support a FISA request. Assuming for the sake of the argument that the FBI was acting in good faith, the most they could or should have done would have been to open a Preliminary Investigation. Page and Strzok said repeatedly that, in the Steele "dossier," they didn't know what they had, didn't know whether or not it was reliable. That's precisely what a Preliminary Investigation is designed to do: determine whether a Full Investigation is warranted by weighing the allegations and seeking to verify them.

Trump makes the very important point in this regard that, if there never was solid evidence of a crime, then the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was illegitimate. And, since Mueller, by the terms of Rod Rosenstein's authorizing letter, stepped in the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane shoes, that means that the entire Team Mueller operation was also illegitimate.

I'd like to reiterate what I stated in Lisa Page's Confirmatory Bombshells - Day One:

I would argue strenuously that Rosenstein had an ethical obligation to conduct a de novo review of the predication for Crossfire Hurricane before taking the momentous step of appointing a Special Counsel--as did Mueller, when he accepted the appointment. I would also argue strenuously that neither Rosenstein nor Mueller did so--even when presumed experts in such matters, such as Comey and Priestap, testified to Congress that those allegations that formed the supposed basis for Crossfire Hurricane as a Full Investigation had never been verified.

I say that Rosenstein had the obligation to go beyond merely accepting the representations of the FBI regarding the legitimacy of their investigation because, in taking the step of appointing a Special Counsel, he was himself making representations to Congress and to the American people that a criminal investigation was warranted. He had an obligation to make those representations in all good faith, and he could only do so by conducting that de novo review. No unbiased review of the predication could have satisfied the requirement for a legal basis for a criminal investigation--which even the FBI now admits had not been satisfied. Nor does Rosenstein's failure in any way absolve Mueller who--not for the first time in his career--has disgraced himself.


  1. Thank you SO MUCH for all your work here. So glad I came across your site.

  2. Occam's Razor . . . what started as political opposition research evolved into a covert coordinated plan to undermine the Trump campaign, and finally (in desperation) morphed into a full-fledged coup against an elected president. Regardless of the path to this end-state, this is ultimately the story of sedition and treason by numerous high ranking former Obama Administration officials aided by Fifth Columnists within the Executive Branch and politicians of both parties. These individuals number in the dozens and each committed Class I felonies by persons in a position of trust in furtherance of an overt coup. If the ongoing coverup continues, this type of conduct is sure to repeat in one form or another going forward. Once the rule of law is ignored and the perpetrators are given a pass, then the DC double-standard will be cast in granite and only the citizens of this country will be able to effect a remedy. A Yellow Vest movement is waiting to happen here and Barr is the only person that can change that outcome.

    1. Yes, Unknown, I think that's a pretty fair summary of Nunes' Big Picture.

      I'm still interested in whether there's a Ukrainian angle in the background, and I may have found an additional source.

      Re Barr. While various conservative pundits (CTH probably most prominently) have said that Weissmann is the real SC, Nunes is the first high level elected official I'm aware of to openly state that as fact. All the Left was worked up that Barr might fire Mueller, so what does it tell you about Barr that within a month of taking office he had forced the real SC out? And now reliable reports are that he's having OIG look at Rosenstein, too.

    2. The horse has already left the barn as it relates to your narrative. Go back and look at how the left has treated every Republican President since Nixon. Lawfare began there and is still going strong. This will happen again unless there are Democrats of good will and Republicans with backbone to fight back and hold folks accountable. I, for one, am not optimistic.

    3. Barr knows lawfare, and he works for a President who will fight back.

    4. Mr. Wauck, to be clear I was responding to unknown and not you although your position and Unknow's overlap.

      I guess that I have been disappointed that to this point we have not had the President come forth with the culpability of the Five Eyes complicity in the scheme. I have been disappointed that we have not had the declassification of documents that illustrate what exactly happened.

      Those facts coupled with the media operating as Democrat party operatives with bylines makes me wonder if we'll ever be able to get the truth out in a way that will make a significant plurality of Democrats see the criminality.

      I do appreciate your optimism!

    5. Gray, I understood that you were addressing Unknown, but just thought I'd interject that.

      "Optimism" is complicated, and has to be viewed from different perspectives and on differing timelines. I'm not sure that I'm really optimistic in the long term--I make no claims to prophecy. But the alternative is something I don't truly want to comptemplate.

      Re the Five Eyes and declass--closely related--I don't think the blame is primarily Trump's. Recall, the firing of GCHQ's Hannigan, immediately upon Trump's inauguration. I think he was being diplomatic with the UK at that early point but 1) I have no doubt he demanded the firing and 2) he has not held back from pointed criticism of May and her agenda. Also, re declass, he publicly spoke of "allies" "begging" him to hold off--no thinking person could doubt that he was referring primarily to UK and Oz. He still talks of declass at the right time, and I think we're seeing the beginning of it coming from Doug Collins--not declass per se but more transparency.

      More broadly, I suspect two things re declass. 1) Trump has a keen sense of drama and of timing, and he wants to get max political effect, which means closer to the 2020 election, as well as to counter anything coming from Mueller. 2) I suspect his legal advisers--whom I have a healthy regard for--prefer him to work through DoJ. Trump himself has shown a real conservative respect for rule of law and constitutional and institutional procedure. With Barr in place--who knows both procedure as well as scorched earth--the way is clear. If I'm right that Barr has deftly emasculated Team Mueller by confronting Weissmann, I think declass is more a matter of timing than anything else.

      In all this I share your concern that it all needs to come out.

  3. Another outstanding thread by you and good comments, too, by Jim Ottaway and Anonymous.

    When William Barr talked about why he was willing to serve as attorney general, he talked about not needing the job, having had a good life, not being afraid to be his own man (my words, not his).

    I thought that his comments could be interpreted two ways (and I'm sure there are other valid interpretations that I didn't think).

    One, I'm not afraid of Donald Trump and will resist him where he is wrong. Two, I've seen the disgusting filth and I'm not afraid to do what is right to restore the rule of law.

    I'm increasingly encouraged that this is the man whom we need as AG. Can we call him Trump's Wrecking Ball or Trump's Pit Bull?

    1. "Can we call him Trump's Wrecking Ball or Trump's Pit Bull?"

      Feel free. I think he came into this expecting abuse.

      I agree, I think his remarks were calculated to be interpreted both ways, and were probably intended both ways.

  4. I suggest that you read an informative comment on the Consortium News website. The comment is under an article titled VIPS: Mueller’s Forensics-Free Findings.

    Under the article, click on the Show Comments link. Then find the comment written by Norumbega on March 17 at 3:28 p.m. This comment seems to be very knowledgeable about how Wikileaks obtained Podesta's e-mails and the DNC files.

    Of special interest is Norumbega's argument that Podesta's e-mails were obtained and were leaked to Wikileaks by a US Intelligence official.

    1. Mike, I've read the article and all of Norumbega's comments. As I'v said in the past, I'm not competent to pass judgment on the technical details--beyond stating my view that Binney's analysis has yet to be truly seriously addressed.

      More generally, you may recall that when I first began to follow the Russian Hoax closely I mentioned that a person whom I know to have knowledgeable sources told me that the Dems determined very early on that Trump actually had a good shot at the election--and began targeting him. We've seen evidence that the UK intel involvement went far beyond what most people understand. Now we're seeing increasingly specific reports of Ukrainian intel involvement--including Norumbega's claims. It seems clear that foreign intel involvement would have been coordinated through the USIC--most likely Brennan at CIA. I mention this with regard to what you found to be of special interest.

    2. Norumbega links to a YouTube interview of Craig Murray, a former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan who has gone rogue and who has collaborated with Wikileaks. Murray indicates that the Podesta e-mails were leaked to Wikileaks by an employee of the US Intelligence Community who had been assigned to study John Podesta's communications because Podesta was lobbying for Saudi Arabia.

      As I understand the situation, this employee leaked Podesta's e-mails to Wikileaks on his own initiative, not because he was told to do so.

      If so, then the US Intelligence Community should have been able to identify the leaker.

      Since such a big deal has been made about the theft of Podesta's e-mails, Republicans in Congress should ask the US Intelligence Community to state whether Podesta's e-mails were being collected and studied by the US Intelligence Community when the e-mails were stolen.

    3. I'm not sure about Murray's claims. The only US agency that could have been collecting Podesta's emails should have been either the NSA or the FBI (Carnivore)--I'm not totally clear on the technical details of such collection. It would seem to me that it would be very much in the political interests of either agency to identify the putative leaker. It would also seem that Dems would like that to come out, since the fact that someone in the USIC was working against Podesta--a key Clinton insider--would tend to influence public perception that the USIC was only working against Trump.

      Of course, I would like to know the truth, but I tend toward Binny's explanation over Murray's.

  5. Tx, Mike. I'll check that out. I just got back from a day trip, and Wednesday I have jury duty--hopefully just 1 day. But, yes, I'm interested.