Dan Bongino, last Friday, put out a story on his show that has serious support. It's based on information that is now largely public source--he says he heard it before, but now that it's out there he can talk about it openly. Elizabeth Vaughan at Red State has an excellent summary of what Bongino and others (Stephen McIntyre, Sara Carter, ...) have been talking about--Dan Bongino Deconstructs Latest NY Times Attempt to Sterilize IG Report and Makes a Stunning Connection.
The basic idea is simple enough. We'll take it one step at a time.
Stefan Halper is a CIA operative, paid at least in part through money he gets for doing "research" for the Office of Net Assessment (ONA). He flits (if that describes the movements of someone as fat as Halper) back and forth between Cambridge University and the US--conducting intelligence related seminars as an "academic" and doing "research" for ONA. In that capacity he's known to have contacts with Russian emigres in England.
Christopher Steele is reported in the new Glenn Simpson/Peter Fritsch book--Crime in Progress: Inside the Steele Dossier and the Fusion GPS Investigation of Donald Trump--to have received information that found its way into Steele's "dossier" on Trump from 2nd and 3rd hand "sources." That of itself isn't news. I recently raised again the point that the FBI, back in January, 2017, knew that the Steele dossier was bogus because they had interviewed some of Steele's sources, and the different accounts they received didn't hang together. With that in mind, Vaughan calls our attention to Bruce Ohr's testimony:
In other words, Steele says that the information that the Russians had Trump "over a barrel" came from someone who was "known to US intelligence [the CIA] and law enforcement [the FBI]. That person, known to the CIA and FBI, got the "information" from the former head of Russia's SVR--Foreign Intelligence Service--Vyacheslav Trubnikov.
Who was Person A? Bongino says it's Stefan Halper, but before we get to that let's quickly take a look at where else Steele's claims about Trubnikov pop up.
Steele's claim to Simpson was repeated in Steele's claim to Kathleen Kavalec at the Department of State (DoS). We see in Kavalec's notes on her conversation with Steele that Steele claimed to her that Trubnikov was a "source" for what Steele was telling Kavalec:
Why is this important? Because Steele spoke to Kavalec ten days before the FBI got their FISA on Carter Page. Kavalec relayed this "information" to the FBI via email. This allowed the FBI to tell the FISA court that they were getting information from DoS that corroborated the Steele information. That, IMO, was key in obtaining the FISA order. My guess, by the way, is also that this is the email that disgraced former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith diddled with later.
But the question that we really want the answer to at this point is: Who is that Person A, the one who fed the Trubnikov information to Steele?
Bongino's claim, as I've said, is that Person A is Stefan Halper. That case is built on two factors.
First, we know that Person A is, according to Steele, known to the CIA and FBI. That fits Halper to a tee.
If it turns out that Halper knows Trubnikov, that would make the fit even better. And, it turns out that Halper had actually co-taught his intel course at Cambridge with Trubnikov. Twice. Here's what Sara Carter reported about those connections between Halper and Trubnikov in an article that begins with ONA whistleblower Adam Lovinger (Whistleblower Exposes Key Player in FBI Russia Probe: “It was all a Set-up”):
On May 4, 2012, the course syllabus states, “Ambassador Vladimir I. Trubnikov will comment on the challenges faced while directing the Foreign Intelligence Service, his tenure as Ambassador to India, President Putin and the likely course of Russia’s relations with Britain and the U.S.”
In May 2015, Trubnikov returned to teach with Halper at his seminar in Cambridge on “current relations between the Russian Federation and the West.”
As Elizabeth Vaughan says:
Of course, this doesn’t prove that Halper was Person A. It proves only that they knew each other.
And that's absolutely correct. Still, the connections are tanatalizing. As are the implications. Some would say the implication is that Steele was being "played" by the Russian, Trubnikov. I don't buy that.
To me, the implication is that this was all part of John Brennan's Russia Hoax. According to Steele's story, he got the supposed Trubnikov information from someone (Halper) who was known to both the CIA and FBI--and who would presumably have vetted Trubnikov's info. If this person (Halper) was such a "fine" operative and had CIA and FBI contacts, he would surely have cleared it through them. This would be information that the FISA court could trust. What Brennan was doing here was setting up a narrative to explain the sourcing for the information being fed through the FBI to the FISA court. It's a narrative that will sound plausible to the FISA court.
My view is that in the real world the SVR would never share such momentous "information" with Trubnikov, living in the West. And if Trubnikov did have such information he'd never share it with Halper, out of fear of the consequences. I see this as background narrative for the Russia Hoax to lend the whole story verisimilitude. The whole story was made up, and all the players were well paid for their roles: Trubnikov, Halper, and Steele. But the bigger point is that this whole Russia Hoax was a joint CIA/MI6 hoax.
You can review this at Stephen McIntyre's feed. Or you can watch Bongino's show on youtube, starting at about the 49:00 minute mark. Bongino's big into following the money, which is fine and is also interesting, but I think the big story is as outlined above:
UPDATE 1: I should have included this originally. Another implication that emerges from this is possibility that the FBI could defend or excuse its conduct by claiming that they were "played"--not so much by "the Russians" as by John Brennan and the CIA. Commenter Mike Sylwester points out, implicitly, that while stupidity might serve as a defense of sorts, it does also raise the issue, again, of FBI bias. Further, while it could excuse some FBI conduct it doesn't excuse FBI conduct after January, 2017, at the latest. That was the point in time beyond which any reasonable FBI official knew that the Steele dossier was not merely a weak reed to lean on but a broken reed. It was also the point in time when the fact that Michael Flynn was the target of an extra legal jihad or frameup.
UPDATE 2: Lee Smith covers this story (and then some) in his book, The Plot Against The Government. Chapter 20, especially, does a deep dive on Stefan Halper. I like the way Smith summarizes (pp. 286-7) Halper's forty years of interaction with the Deep State. It places in perspective what we've been talking about--the unlikelihood that the Russia Hoax had any real connection to Russia at all. The overwhelming likelihood that it was dirty tricks from start to finish:
... the dossier is not an "intelligence product. It's a fiction, a literary forgery, populated with real characters, but who did not do or say the things attributed to them. And the dossier's authors are not intelligence officers but journalists and academics accustomed to running smear campaigns and dirty tricks operations and lying.
Halper wasn't a spy; he was a dirty tricks operative with four decades of experience. He was a con man the FBI was determined to protect.