Monday, August 19, 2019

John Solomon On The Status Of The Russia Hoax Investigations

I say "investigations" in the plural, because technically there are several investigations ongoing--all related. John Solomon appeared on Hannity last Friday night (August 16), then on Maria Bartiromo's Sunday morning show (August 18), covering related topics. Taken together, the two interviews give a decent picture of the overall status of the Russia Hoax investigations. That, in turn, will provide an indication of the shape of developments we should expect to see going forward. We'll start with the Hannity interview:

The first part of the interview makes clear that there are, in essence, several investigations and there will therefore be several reports:

Sean Hannity: We're expecting the following from the IG ... We expect the IG report on Comey alone. [I.e., a separate Comey report] We thought we might get that today. That's on the classified materials that he shouldn't have had in his home. A month after he's fired the FBI went and they got them back. They also interrogated him. They found him to be lacking candor, another way of saying he lied. But there are bigger issues for Comey. ... a full Inspector General report on premeditated FISA fraud and abuse. That is going to be a big deal impacting everybody who signed it ... 
John Solomon: ... That will be one of the seminal reports that really examine what the FBI did right and wrong in the Russia investigation, and I'm hearing there's a lot more wrong than right in it. It's going to be a very difficult report on the FBI, James Comey, Andrew McCabe's leadership, Peter Strzok. A lot of issues about bias, a lot of issues about not keeping the FISA court improperly [sic] informed. It's gonna be a big report. 
Sean Hannity: I wanna know who's gonna be responsible. ... You think there might be an IG report alone [a separate report] on leaking and I'm expecting, from what my sources are telling me, Durham, Barr, and everybody else to get to the origins of what is a counterintelligence investigation, which Andy McCarthy rightly points out in his new book, would mean Obama knew. Because the president has to sign of on it. But that origins of this counterintelligence investigation, what did Obama know, when did he know it, but more importantly what will Barr, Durham, come out with in terms of, let's say, the Barr/Durham report ... Because I hear that that is where the single most explosive bit of information--out-sourcing of illegal intelligence gathering for the sake of circumventing American law took place, and a lot of people would be found in violation of spying on Americans against the law.
John Solomon: Let's just remember that important phrase that Attorney General Barr used just a few short weeks ago, he said "political surveillance occurred and there is no room for it in the Justice Department." That is a very serious term. I think the difference between the IG report and what Barr and Durham are doing is that Barr and Durham have the ability to go beyond the Justice Department to the CIA, to the DIA, to the NSA, to foreign allies who mighta been enlisted in some form.

As I'll point out again below, the reference to "illegal intelligence gathering" or "political surveillance" doesn't necessarily mean that there was no investigation opened, but rather goes to the heart of what the predication for the investigation was. This is, in my opinion, what Barr is talking about when he refers to getting to the "origins": it's about the predication--or lack thereof. Because if the predication was inadequate or, basically, totally lacking, the question arises: Why the investigation? Misguided zeal or ... political motives? We know there was extreme bias at the FBI among precisely those officials who made the investigative decisions in the Russia Hoax. The combination of bias and bad judgment suggests a political motive. Then, when we see Trump associates like Carter Page and George Papadopoulos being blatantly misrepresented and set up, targeted with fraudulent FISA warrants, things start to look rather serious for the plotters.

In the closing portion of the interview Hannity picks up on Solomon's reference to "foreign allies":

Sean Hannity: Let me make some educated guesses. Would that be Italy? Would that be ... Australia? Would that be Great Britain? 

John Solomon: You've heard a lot about Five Eyes. Two of those [Australia and Great Britain] are Five Eyes countries, Canada being another one. Italy? Italy is where Mifsud operated out of, right? There's still a lot of unanswered questions. I don't wanna get too ahead of the facts. I think we oughta let Barr/Durham do their job, but I think Attorney General Barr is gonna give us a much broader view of all of the spy tactics that mighta been deployed against the Trump campaign, the Trump transition, the administration, whereas Horowitz the IG is limited to what went on in the Justice Department with FISA, Comey, things like that. They're a natural evolution, but Barr's I think will be the most comprehensive and final say of what was right and wrong in this investigation.

The mention of Italy is intriguing. Solomon's response, by non-denial, appears to confirm that Italian intelligence agencies were involved. However, in my opinion, the fact that Mifsud's home base seems to have been Rome does not explain the involvement of Italian intelligence. To begin with, while Italy is a NATO country, it is not part of the Five Eyes intel combine--Five Eyes is made up exclusively of English language countries. Why bring Italy in? Moreover, Mifsud has for years been closely associated with British intelligence. Why, then, suppose that Italian intelligence was involved, especially since it was in London that Papadopoulos was steered toward Mifsud? Could it be that there's much more to the Italian angle? Gateway Pundit has been reporting on an intriguing but so far unconfirmed explanation for the Italian involvement: Newly Released Nellie Ohr Documents Indicate Obama Deep State Involved in Scheme to Set Up Trump with Hillary Emails Using Italian Spies. Solomon's caveat--not to get too far ahead of the facts--seems to me to strongly hint at some as yet unreported aspect to the Italian angle that goes beyond Mifsud--whose involvement is, at this point, well known.

I like Solomon's characterization of the movement from the earlier OIG investigations to the Barr/Durham investigation as a "natural evolution." OIG has limited jurisdiction, but DoJ can build off that.

In Solomon's interview with Maria Bartiromo, the focus is very much on the Barr/Durham probe into the origins of the Russia Hoax. As we've seen, this means a focus on the predication for the FBI Russia Hoax investigations. What will almost certainly emerge--the FBI's inability to provide predication (justification) for opening these investigations--should prove explosive. It will expose the FBI's actions as nakedly political--not professional counterintelligence operations at all. But, it will also point toward John Brennan at the CIA as the "mastermind" of the whole thing:

Maria Bartiromo: ... this triangle of people that was feeding information into the FBI. 
John Solomon: Absolutely ... the Fusion GPS triangle. In one corner you got Christopher Steele, a British intelligence official who's desperate to influence the election because he's desperate to defeat Trump. He's also being paid by Hillary Clinton. Then you have Nellie Ohr, the wife of a senior Justice Department official, being paid by the same firm, Fusion GPS, on the same project, to find Russian dirt on Trump, and then in the last corner you got Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS and a contractor for Hillary Clinton. In the middle of those three is Bruce Ohr, senior Justice Department official [as high as you can get without being a political appointee], taking highly uncorroborated, highly partisan, highly conflicted information and giving it to the FBI and the Justice Department, and nobody saw a problem with that. 
Maria Bartiromo: ... Do you think that John Durham is aware of all this? Where is that investigation today? 
John Solomon: That's a great question. I think Senator Graham did a great job describing what the IG [Michael Horowitz, DoJ IG] is doing. I've been hearing that John Durham and Bill Barr are focused on the part before the FBI officially got started on July 31st, 2016, the period from March to July, and whether intelligence assets--Western, private, or US--were deployed in an earlier effort to start probing the Trump campaign and its Russia ties, maybe start laying the bread crumb trail of evidence that Christopher Steele then collected up and gave to the FBI. That's where you heard the term the other day from the Attorney General, "I believe there was political surveillance going on," I think that's what he's referring to.

Everyone keeps talking about July 31st, 2016, as the "official" beginning of the FBI investigation. However, that date simply marks the opening of the full blown Russia Hoax investigation known as Crossfire Hurricane--a Full Investigation that could justify a FISA on the Trump campaign. However, as I've pointed out repeatedly, we can be pretty sure that there were other related investigations open during that earlier period--certainly of Flynn and Manafort, and pretty soon after their association with the Trump campaign, Carter Page and Papadopoulos as well. Some of those investigations could have been Full Investigations, but some or all could have been Preliminary Investigations--and a Preliminary Investigation is "official", too. Crossfire Hurricane, as an enterprise investigation, took all those investigations under its umbrella. What this means is that when Barr refers to "political spying" there's a good probability that the illegality isn't so much that spying was going on before there was an open investigation, but that the basis for whatever investigations were actually opened was bogus--politically motivated rather than based on genuine counterintelligence considerations. As Solomon says, below: "manufactured." The investigations will focus on that predication. We already see it in Durham's probing into the Intelligence Community Assessment, his interviewing of foreign sources, the interest in Andrew Weissmann's curious offer of a deal to Dmitro Firtash. Solomon doesn't say so, but all these indicators point to an investigation that goes beyond the initial Russia Hoax and may well draw in the Mueller inquisition.

Maria Bartiromo: [Lays groundwork re Mifsud and Papadopoulos, that Mifsud was the guy who told Papadopoulos that the Russians had Hillary emails.] Why is that important, John? 
John Solomon: Well, I interviewed Mr. Mifsud's lawyer, the other day, Stephan Roh, and he told me--and he also provided some deposition evidence, that both Congress and myself--that his client was being directed and had long worked for Western intelligence, and he was being directed specifically, he was asked to connect George Papadopoulos to Russia. Meaning, it was an operation, some form of intelligence operation. That was the lawyer's own words for this. If that's the case that means that the flashpoint that started the whole investigation was in fact manufactured from the beginning. 
Maria Bartiromo: "Manufactured from the beginning." In other words, they put this guy Mifsud on George Papadopoulos. He [Mifsud] drops a bomb ... saying, 'Yeah, Russia has emails,' with hopes that Papadopoulos goes and tells Trump and starts getting them involved in a conspiracy. Meanwhile, he's working for Western intelligence--Mifsud is.

In other words, it was all a setup. And that means they never had any actual factual predication for launching any investigations--and they knew it. It was all political, and the use of setups and manufactured predication proves the criminal intent behind these actions. That's key, and answer's Maria's question: "Why is that important, John?" It's important because intent is necessary for criminal charges to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. A a prosecutable case and the facts and theory to support it is being built.

John Solomon: That's what his lawyer says, and I know both John Durham and two members of two different committees in Congress have recently reached out to get this evidence from the lawyer, which includes an audiotaped deposition that Mr. Mifsud gave his lawyer before he [Mifsud] went into hiding. So there's a lot of evidence that can be combed through. We can get to the bottom of this, but I think the Barr/Durham investigation is looking much more intensively at a period that hasn't got that much scrutiny in the American public and that's
that March to July timeframe. 
Maria Bartiromo: ... Who do you think is the mastermind? One word, real quick!
John Solomon: [Smiling and nodding, 'Yes'] I think the CIA, we hafta take a closer look at them. We're starting to see some sign of it.

This investigative process is necessarily time consuming. Part of the reason is the difficult nature of securing transparent cooperation from foreign "allies," but another reason is that the investigation keeps broadening as more is discovered. That in turn raises the stakes for the nation and makes it incumbent on Barr to have a strong case as well as a complete case.


  1. So here is the essential dilemma. The breadth and depth of the criminality that Durham is uncovering is so vast that the investigations must necessarily grow with the new leads. In addition, the complexity and international aspects further necessitate careful and proper investigative activities in order to build a sound and prosecutable case moving forward.

    OK, now assume that to do this properly it will take many months (if not years). And before you know it, it's September 2020 and the election is 90 days off. No indictments as yet, and everything must go dark until after the election. Then (miracle of miracles), a Democrat is elected president and the new administration fires Barr and buries everything in a fog of doublespeak.

    1. "a Democrat is elected president and the new administration fires Barr"

      I guess Barr will have to name a special prosecutor before he's fired...

  2. Lindsey Graham 2.0 is channeling Trump these days, and seems to believe what I believe - Obama/Rice/Brennan framed Papadopolous. Funny, when asked if he's going to have Brennan testify he said 2 words - "we'll see".

    1. Yeah, I saw his remarks and they all seem to be on the same page, and they all are pointing at Brennan. Very hard to believe Brennan took it all on himself without input from the WH. Obama has been pretty quiet for a long time.

  3. This is a great report and it sounds like the walls are closing in. I'm looking at you John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey and Andrew Weissmann.

    I think that some major players are going to have a bad Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's.

    1. I do too. The fact that they're confidently naming Brennan--or at least "the CIA"--is telling. People know more than they're saying.

    2. Maybe I'm losing the forest for all the trees...but wasn't Crossfire Hurricane set up out a Langley? Didn't Brennan have a separate compartmented Russia-focused CI investigation set up (one that looks like a cover story for investigating Trump)? And didn't Obama send home dozens of Russian "diplomats" and close some Russian facilities on December 28?, 2016 as a "show" of resolve against Russian meddling? Again, cover story for investigating/surveilling Trump & campaign? Brennan seems ripe candidate for the beginning of the hoax.

    3. "Didn't Brennan have a separate compartmented Russia-focused CI investigation set up"

      The CIA isn't a CI outfit--that's the FBI. That's why Brennan needed to get the FBI involved.

  4. Connecting dots.

    Trump is negotiating a trade agreement with Boris Johnson that will ease the pain of Brexit for the UK economy. In exchange, the Brits likely have flipped and are now cooperating with the Barr/Durham investigation. And the Brits are typically pretty thorough about documentation, so the evidence trail would likely be damning.

    And if Brits have flipped, then the Ausies and Italians are also likely to be talking up a storm. Brennan must be the designated fall guy, but let's hope Barr is not finished.

    Last, Comey likely has a hidden safe with a mother-lode of incriminating evidence to use if his back is ever pushed up against a wall.

    1. Makes sense. Something to keep in mind--Trump is president and is almost certainly the person who controls the timing of all of this.