Tuesday, January 28, 2020

MAJOR UPDATE: Grassley, Johson Charge Horowitz Dossier Misleads Public

We don't know the substance behind these allegations because the substance is classified, so we'll have to wait for developments. Nevertheless, I find it hard to believe that Senators Grassley and Johnson would go public like this if they didn't believe they had sound reasons for doing so.

Basically, the senators are demanding that AG Barr declassify four footnotes in the Horowitz Dossier. The reason for their demand is that they assert that the classified footnotes contradict supposed "information" that was made public in the Horowitz Dossier. The senators' letter to Barr is in two versions--one classified, the other unclassified and made public. The unclassified version states in part:

We have reviewed the findings of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) with regard to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, and we are deeply concerned about certain information that remains classified. Specifically, we are concerned that certain sections of the public version of the report are misleading because they are contradicted by relevant and probative classified information redacted in four footnotes. This classified information is significant not only because it contradicts key statements in a section of the report, but also because it provides insight essential for an accurate evaluation of the entire investigation. The American people have a right to know what is contained within these four footnotes and, without that knowledge, they will not have a full picture as to what happened during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”

I'm guessing that Barr will need to take these complaints seriously. They strike at the credibility of both OIG and DoJ. Could it be that these footnotes relate to John Durham's harsh comments on Horowitz's work?

The full text:

UPDATE: Sean Davis went right to work on this one. It turns out out that there are only 5 footnotes in the IG report that are at least partially redacted. Two of those pertain to Joseph Mifsud, so that means that if Grassley and Johnson are interested in four redacted footnotes, then--at a minimum--at least one of those footnotes of interest pertains to Mifsud.

But Davis does better than that:

Which 4 IG report footnotes? Only 3 are fully redacted: 
#211 pertains to Steele/Deripaska, 
#342 to the FBI interview of Steele's "Primary Sub-Source," and 
#347 to an FBI interview of another Steele sub-source. 
Two partially redacted footnotes (#164, #484) refer to Joseph Mifsud. 

In other words, all four of the footnotes that drew the attention Grassley/Johnson pertain to either Chris Steele or Joseph Mifsud. I don't think it's coincidental at all that these are the two characters cited for starting up the FBI's bogus Russia Hoax investigation. And Steele, of course, was (in McCabe's words) "crucial" to obtaining the Carter Page FISA. That means that this challenge by two GOP senators to the credibility of Horowitz's Dossier is potentially a very serious matter. It could pertain to the origins of the Russia Hoax investigation or the Page FISA--or both.

So let's look at the context for those footnotes.

#211 is all about Steele's relationship with Oleg Deripaska--the Russian oligarch who we know was being courted during the election by Bruce Ohr and Andy McCabe for use against Trump. We read on p. 91 (I've inserted Deripaska's name):

We asked Steele about whether he had a relationship with Deripaska. Steele stated that he did not have a relationship and indicated that he had met Deripaska one time. He explained that he worked for Deripaska's attorney on litigation matters that involved Deripaska but that he could not provide "specifics". 211

So, Steele had no relationship with Deripaska--except that Steele worked for Deripaska's lawyer on Deripaska's legal business. Does that sound like a distinction without much difference? It does to me. And, in light of the Grassley/Johnson claim that the footnote appears to contradict the text, I'd be very interested to read #211 for myself. Because the only thing my limited imagination can come up with is that the footnote contradicts Steele's claim that he had "no relationship" with Deripaska.

The context for #342--a rather lengthy footnote--appears on pp. 188-189, and it's all about Steele's reliability and his ability to vouch for the reliability of his so-called "sub-sources." That's a pretty big deal, coming as it does in mid-February, 2017, three months before the Mueller witchhunt got ginned up. What that means is that this is one more very strong indicator that, as Strzok would tell Lisa Page in May, the FBI knew there was "no there there." And the next question should be, what did Rod Rosenstein know about this. With that in mind, here's the context:

Following the January interview with the Primary Sub-source, on February 15, 2017, Strzok forwarded by email to Priestap and others a news article referencing the Steele election reporting; Strzok commented that "recent interviews and investigation, however, reveal [Steele] may not be in a position to judge the reliability of his sub-source network." According to the Supervisory Intel Analyst, the cause for the discrepancies between the election reporting and explanations later provided to the FBI by Steele's Primary Sub-source and sub-sources about the reporting was difficult to discern and could be attributed to a number of factors. These included miscommunications between Steele and the Primary Sub-source, exaggerations or misrepresentations by Steele about the information he obtained, or misrepresentations by the Primary Sub-source and/or sub-sources when questioned by the FBI about the information they conveyed to Steele or the Primary Sub-source. 342

That's devastating, when you consider that Steele's "reporting" would later form the basis for much of Team Mueller's interrogation of witnesses during its witchhunt. They were knowingly--because Strzok was on Team Mueller--relying on "reporting" that they knew could not be relied upon. #342 is at least as long as the actual text passage. Further, this reporting by Strzok that casts doubt on Steele's reliability occurs months before the final FISA renewal! If #342 contradicts Strzok's statements, my guess is that it's not in the direction of greater reliability. No wonder Grassley/Johnson think it's important that we should see that footnote. 

#347 is another very long footnote--in fact it's easily more than twice as long as the passage it's attached to. The passage reflects Steele's "sub-sources" directly disputing Steele's own credibility:

FBI documents reflect that another of Steele's sub-sources who reviewed the election reporting told the FBI in August 2017 that whatever information in the Steele reports that was attributable to him/her had been "exaggerated" and that he/she did not recognize anything as originating specifically from him/her. 347

Someone seems to be lying--either Steele or Steele's "sub-source." Wouldn't you like to know what #347 has to say about that? Team Mueller had only just got under way at that point--August, 2017. There was absolutely nothing to prevent Team Mueller from packing up shop at this point and saying: We've determined that the information we were given cannot be relied upon. We're not going to continue compromising a presidential administration based on this BS. Didn't the public deserve to know just how unreliable Steele and his "dossier" were?

The footnotes pertaining to Mifsud (#164, #484) don't appear in a context that allows for much informed speculation, so I'll leave that be. The Steele related footnotes are plenty for now. If you want to fit these footnotes into an even wider perspective on the Russia Hoax, Debra Heine has an article today that covers some of that: Sens. Grassley and Johnson Say ‘Certain Sections’ of IG Report Are ‘Misleading’ in Letter to AG Barr.


  1. Maybe Barr will feel a sense of urgency, not that I believe anything he does in this matter will have much of an effect.

    After three years of this Russia collusion nonsense, the Dems are still getting away with it.

    And by that I mean they have gulled some RINOs into thinking Bolton's remarks matter. We are losing this game by inches. Dems are running out the clock--successfully.

    Note to AG Barr: we need some victories. Barr may be trying to line up a parade of miscreants for the big axe, but if Trump doesn't win reelection, that axe is going to fall on his own head.

    1. Titan, I just did a major update, above, and the results are IMO disturbing.

    2. I'll bet that you know of sundance's post on this, where he expresses fear that Grassley is on a snipe hunt.
      However, reader dwpender (January 29, 2020 at 11:08 am) gives some hope.

      (Beginning dwpender quote):
      "... I am hopeful, that one of the “something(s) significant” Durham has discovered is, what super duper fragmentation or other tech tools were used in an (ultimately unsuccessful) effort to make the “We’ll stop it” text “unrecoverable.”
      This was the textual response, to Page’s “damsel in distress” August 15 query — “Trump will never be President, right? Right,” that Horowitz was able to recover, only after 4 levels of super sophisticated reconstructive efforts, culminating with the DOD.

      If Durham has found, that Strozk — likely with super techie help (remember the “wizards” at Quantico) took steps to obscure/hide this “smoking gun” text, REAL indictments will result."

      End quote. =====

      It's really disappointing, that DJT's team has produced no big declasses, or whatever (e.g. Giuliani's stuff vs. Biden), to put Dems on their heels.
      Meanwhile, Dems just get to keep on pouring Bolton etc. fuel into this fire.

    3. It's a very important point. I agree. I'm disappointed that there hasn't been more declass.

    4. Indeed, it's brutal that Mitch allowed the trial to start at all, w/o forcing Schifty to cough up ALL relevant testimonies etc., esp from Atkinson & Ciaramella.

    5. In fairness, Mitch's job is like herding cats. He doesn't have that much leverage.

    6. I don't buy that, esp. about stuff, the relevance of which is so brutally clear.
      I'll wager that Mitch has huge leverage, e.g. from his power over committee assgts.

    7. We disagree. The dynamics between a Senate Majority Leader vs. Speaker and their respective members is TOTALLY different.

    8. As to Barr, I think that he hasn't declassified (at least publicly) material is because it's material (pun kind of intended) to the criminal investigation.

      I'm still cutting him and Durham a lot of slack. This is a huge criminal conspiracy and it takes time. Of course, I'm human and I get impatient just like the next man.

      Let's see where we are in June or July.

      The President has hit his stride and I am hopeful that we won't see another Bolton or Sessions.

      (Please Donald don't make me look stupid to my fellow M. I. H. commenters.)

    9. Thanks. I need encouragement every now and then. :-)

  2. Update is excellent, with lots of facts.

    Barr is trying to save the reputation of the DOJ, keep the surveillance tools, while dealing with the illegal activities against Trump. He’s doing this with the forever investigation that hides lots of dirt.

    Barr seemed to have made a deal with Rosenstein, in exchange for his support. And Wray seems to be a time server, trying very hard to paper over the abuses by having more training.

    Hopefully Durham’s investigation will result in meaningful changes, and done prosecutions. With the history of cover ups by the doj, and finding low level scapegoats, I’m not very hopeful.

    1. I'm afraid this doesn't seem like the kind of swamp draining I want.

    2. Durham's harsh comments give me hope.

    3. Are you referring to his original response to the IG report, or something later?

    4. "And Wray seems to be a time server, trying very hard to paper over the abuses by having more training."

      I can see these training sessions now:

      "Tips For Not Being Corrupt"
      "Penalties For Corruption- Having To Sit Through More Training On How To Not Be Corrupt."

  3. Given the grave malfeasance and fraud perpetrated by our government, nothing related to this case should remain classified. If the idea of national security is to maintain the people's freedom, that purpose is defeated if the government usurps the POTUS and, thereby, the people who elected him. If the sources and methods aren't important enough to not abuse, then they aren't important enough to remain secret either.

    The government has a history of abusing the classification system for the purposes of hiding embarrassing information or wrongdoing. The Russia Collusion episode has escalated these abuses to the point where it has now affected at least 3 US elections (2016, 2018, and 2020). To continue to keep the abuse secret would only add insult to injury and ensure more abuse in the future.

    What kind of twisted up system do we live under that provides a report to the people that admits secret government wrongdoing, but can't provide the full details of said wrongdoing because it is . . . secret? Government secrecy doesn't really work in a free society. These escalating national security abuses only prove that.

    The old Ben Franklin quote seems especially relevant here: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    1. "If the sources and methods aren't important enough to not abuse, then they aren't important enough to remain secret either."


    2. "trying to save the reputation of the DOJ".

      It's too late for that (esp. after Boasberg's recent report on "invalid" warrant predicates), unless Barr can get at least one perp to commit Seppuku, on the front steps of the DoJ bldg.

    3. It's no longer a question of "saving" rep--it's a question of "restoring" rep, and there's only one way to do that.

    4. "If the sources and methods aren't important enough to not abuse, then they aren't important enough to remain secret either."

      I would tend to agree...if only FBI—but not only FBI—didn't have a troubling but little-known record of being apparently incapable of discerning good from bad. As in sh** from shinola. Emphasis on "apparently".

  4. All this, and other events (e.g. Don Lemon's recent CNN giggle-fest vs. Deplorables), just keep upping the odds of the Const's. collapse.
    Keeping this system afloat just keeps getting harder, when
    the Left keeps on baiting Deplorables, and giving us ever-more reason to fear, that the Left is indeed on board, w/ S. Jeong's plan for white extinction.

    1. Moreover, the collapse of the Left (c. 1/3 of the population), morally, intellectually, and emotionally, has accelerated, not only publicly, but also personally, esp. since the start of the Great Awokening.

      Personal dealing, with Dersh/ Greenwald -type liberals, isn't hugely different from such dealing w/ Deplorables.
      However, dealing w/ Lefties is a whole different world.
      The number of those, who all-but pride themselves on their ability to deceive, may or may not exceed the number who are dominated by grotesque quasi-neurosis.
      But, either way, those who personally deal w/ them
      play w/ massive fire, and w/ no knowledge as to the direction, from which the next ambush will emerge.

    2. To our knowledge, Nick Sandman didn't ever aim to deal w/ Lefties, but they were able to find him, while he was committing the "outrage" of exercising his Const. rights.
      These Lefties stop at nothing.
      I'm so glad, that I can almost completely avoid them.

    3. Mouse,

      Let's wait and see how the November elections go. I still have hope and if the Dems are swept out, I expect some major butt kicking via the President.

      If the voters prove me wrong, uh, I don't even want to think about it.

  5. Some observations (predicated on the assumption that Grassley/Johnson's memo us scrupulously accurate in it's use of language and accurate in its characterization of the redacted material, which may or may not be true) ....

    The memo refers to "Sections" (plural) of the report are misleading without the redacted information. That suggests that the material across 4 footnotes alters the impression made by multiple sections of the report. IF the redacted material were all about a single issue, it is hard to imagine how it alters the impression made by multiple sections of the report, (unless it affects sections that are in a hierarchical relationship, or the underlying predication.)

    We know one of the footnotes referred to must involve Mifsud. If BOTH Mifsud footnotes are involved, then it is likely that the footnotes cover two or more unrelated issues, since it is hard to think of a single issue that would span both Mifsud and Steele's reliability or subsources.

    The last observation is the clue included in the Grassley memo; that the footnotes not only tend to contradict the text of the report, but also:

    "This classified information is significant not only because it contradicts key statements in a section of the report, but also because it provides insight essential for an accurate evaluation of the entire investigation."

    This implies the redacted info is FUNDAMENTAL to an accurate assessment of the entire CROSSFIRE HURRICANE investigation, and not just some component of it, like the Carter Page FISA warrant.

    That's a big clue; it rules out some nuanced, subtle issue at the heart of the redactions.

    Possible candidates:

    1. Mifsud didn't work for FBI, but evidence showed or suggested he worked for other US IC or Friendly Foreign IC. I.e., he was an agent provocateur trying to bait PapaD into making contact with Russians, before the FBI opened an investigation. Since it involves elements outside of DOJ, the DOJ IG didn't follow-up but passed info to Durham.

    2. Steele's subsources admitted they were given script outlines that stipulated the required elements (likely to support FISA warrants) and told to invent stories to fit them, and were then passed to Steele, who either embellished them, or FusionGPS embellished them before being submitted in final form to FusionGPS by Steele on his letterhead. IOW, the Steele Dossier material was an intentional fabrication, not an "honest error." Again, as this involves people outside DOJ, the IG would not follow-up, but rather pass to Durham, or Durham was already investigating it, and told the IG to stay out.)

    3. something else that goes to predication of CROSSFIRE HURRICANE, indicating that other organizations were engaged in activity (investigatory or otherwise) before the FBI opened the official investigation. Foreign or other US intel involvement would be a candidate here.

    There may well be other candidates for the redacted material...

    1. These are good reflections. However, if you actually look at the two Mifsud related footnotes you'll see that they appear to be identical--the same wording. My educated guess is that they both relate to FBI contacts with foreign intel services--probably Brit and/or Italian.

    2. Agree, re: Mifsud and foreign Intel contacts, or that Mifsud was being run by other US IC elements.

      As I recall, the Report makes the statement that Mifsud was not an FBI asset. Assuming my recollection is correct, I was immediately struck by the fact that the IG didn't mention the possibility that Mifsud was being run by somebody else, US or Foreign, on behalf of a US IC org.

    3. I think #1 is absolutely correct, EZ. Your memory isn't faulty about how Mifsud was described- I noticed exactly the same precision of language in describing him as "not FBI". Why be so precise? Because the DoJ IG only has jurisdiction in the DoJ, and information about Mifsud's connections to the CIA that Horowitz might have had are redactable elements.

    4. This may be tangentially related. Earlier this week, Margot Cleveland had a post that discussed elements of spying on Trump and the campaign that leaves open a fair amount of speculation--the details of which could intersect with efforts by Steele and Mifsud. There's nothing definitive, but Cleveland looks closely at places where the IG report is, shall we say, a bit evasive, and less than forthcoming.

    5. In his testimony Horowitz did make a point of saying that he wasn't exonerating anyone. That, I suppose, was a response to Durham as well as the appearance that he had exonerated the FBI by saying he couldn't figure out why they kept making false statements to the court--couldn't have been political bias?

    6. -->Horowitz "couldn't figure out why they kept making false statements to the court--couldn't have been political bias?"<--

      Sherlock Holmes: "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

  6. UPDATE:


    She does a deep dive on the four redacted footnotes, and what they may be about.

    Must read.