Thursday, April 9, 2020

Oh My! The Papadopoulos Transcript!

Yeah, this is pretty big. Catherine Herridge at CBS News has published what appears to be a partial transcript of the recorded conversation between George Papadopoulos and an FBI Confidential Human Source. The conversation took place in "late October, 2016."

Here's the big picture as I see it. Recall that Crossfire Hurricane--the entire Russia Hoax investigation--was purportedly predicated on an earlier conversation between Papadopoulos and Aussie "diplomat" Alexander Downer. The Papadopoulos - Downer conversation took place in May, 2016, and the FBI's use of it to initiate Crossfire Hurricane is highly suspect.

This October conversation of Papadopoulos with the FBI CHS directly undercuts any rationale for opening Crossfire Hurricane as a Full Investigation. Further, by mid-January the FBI knew for sure--if they ever really had any doubts--that the Russia Hoax was nothing but a hoax. And yet this hoax investigation then served as the basis for the Mueller Witchhunt--despite the FBI being fully aware of what Papadopoulos had said to their CHS. Not only that, but Team Mueller proceeded to make repeated attempts to frame Papadopoulos and eventually hounded him into a joke guilty plea and joke 14 day sentence--jokes that would have been thigh slappingly hilarious but for the effect on Papadopoulos' life.

Herridge points out that information about Papadopoulos' denials of any Russian involvement with the Trump campaign or Trump campaign involvement with the DNC "hack" were withheld from the Carter Page FISA applications and were also withheld from Stu Evans at the DoJ's Office of Intelligence. Evans was in charge of reviewing FISA applications and was known to be skeptical of the Carter Page application--we have texts of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page complaining about Evans and wanting to get pressure on him to comply. Who thinks Durham has interviewed Evans in depth?

I agree with Papadopoulos--this is the stuff conspiracy cases are made of, and Team Mueller will likely be very much involved in that:

George Papadopoulos
My profanity laced interview with yet another loser informant has been published. I promise you there is a conspiracy case being built around this frame job. I know exactly who it is. 
9:45 PM · Apr 8, 2020

And just today Bill Barr repeated for Laura Ingraham:

“What happened to POTUS was one of the greatest travesties in American history, no basis for this investigation, what’s even more concerning is what happened after the campaign, a whole pattern of events... to sabotage the presidency”

Here below is the cleaned up version of the transcript from Herridge's reporting. You can be sure there are people squirming over this. And people think Obama wants to jump into the 2020 campaign? With this and lots more swirling around?

The transcript, in which Papadopoulos is apparently given the code name "Crossfire Typhoon" or CT, at the end of the hours-long conversation, shows the confidential human source questioning him about the DNC hack:

CHS: You don't think anyone from the Trump campaign had anything to do with the f***ing over the, at the DNC?  
Papadopoulos: No
CHS: Really?
Papadopoulos: No. I know that for a fact.   
CHS: How do you know that for a fact? 
Papadopoulos: 'Cause I go, I've been working with them for the last nine months. That's (unintelligible) And all of this stuff has been happening, what, the last four months? 

The FBI source then pressed Papadopoulos on whether someone on the Trump campaign might have been secretly involved.

CHS: But you don't think anyone would have done it, like under, undercover or anything like that?
Papadopoulos: No, I don't think so…..There's absolutely no reason…First of all, it's illegal, you know, to do that s***.

Earlier in the profanity-laced conversation, which covered a wide range of topics, the confidential source asked about Moscow's election meddling.

CHS: You think Russia's playing a big game in this election?
Papadopoulos: No.
CHS: Why not?
Papadopoulos: Why would they?
CHS: Don't you think they have special interests? 
Papadopoulos: Something like that (Banging sound) I don't think so. That's all bull****. No one know's who's hacking— them.
CHS: You don't think that they, that they hacked the, the DNC? Who hacked the f***ing DNC then?
Papadopoulos: Could be the Chinese, could be the Iranians, it could be some Bernie, uh, supporters. Could be— Anonymous.  

The conversation continued, with the FBI source zeroing in on Russia and then-candidate Trump.

CHS: Do you think they have interest in Trump?
Papadopoulos: They, dude, no one knows how a president's going to govern anyway, You don't just say, oh I like — 
CHS: He is very limited in what he can do anyways so like (laughs)… 
Papadopoulos: I mean, the r-the Congress is very hostile with Russia anyways, so…I don't know, I don't know. And even Putin said it himself (unintelligible) (rustling) It's all, it's like conspiracy theories.



    Footnote Declassification this week!


    1. Fascinating. Looks like things are starting to break.

    2. "breaking" ... on multiple fronts, or so it seems.


  2. I wonder why the Horowitz report did not provide the entire memo that Alexander Downer wrote about his own conversation with George Papadopoulos.


    By the way: You can be SURE there are people squirming over this.

    1. I'm gonna assume that that memo wasn't made public because it's being used for purposes of Durham's investigation--in interviews.

    2. Or Horowitz kept it out to lessen the impact of his report.

  3. It's outrageous that the government can target an innocent man, attempt to lead him on with 'friendly' conversation, use elicitation and then pounce on him, without counsel, with threats of imprisonment and the like.

    I'm no lawyer but this doesn't seem to fit the Constitution as I know it.

  4. My guess is that Herridge got the transcript from Papadopoulos's lawyer, who got it in discovery in a lawsuit.

    1. I'd actually be rather surprised if that were the case. This material is part of an ongoing federal criminal investigation and wouldn't be released in a civil suit. In fact, it's likely to be GJ material at this point. I'll admit, given how close to the vest the Durham investigation has been, I was surprised to see this.

    2. On "close to vest", CTH commenter Dutchman doubts that Durham is conducting super secret grand juries, that we don’t know about:

      "witnesses called to testify to grand juries are *free* to discuss, not only the,existence of a grand jury, and that they were called to testify, but in general terms, the subjects they were questioned about."
      IF this is so, why has not one hint emerged?
      Would all 23 GJ folks be likely to voluntarily stay mum, e.g. to avoid Durham's "informal" wrath?

    3. Witnesses can talk within limits, jurors cannot. Witnesses would have good reasons not to talk at all. Especially if the prosecutor requested them not to.

    4. OK, if jurors can figure to get fried for singing, witnesses probably fear the same.
      Go get 'em, Durham!

    5. Make that "leaking", not "singing".

  5. Here's the key from John Solomon. Note that the focus has been consistent: Predication and the ICA:

    The new information “will make clear the FBI possessed information at multiple levels that undercut the evidence it was using to sustain a collusion investigation” and will be specific enough to renew a debate in Washington over “whether the FBI intentionally ignored red flags or simply was blinded by ambition from seeing them clearly,” one source with direct knowledge said.

    The evidence could also raise new questions about whether statements made to Congress during the Russia probe were false or misleading, and whether the intelligence community’s official assessment that Vladimir Putin was solely trying to help elect Trump was contradicted by some evidence in FBI files, the sources said.

  6. Q. for MW: what, in your opinion, is the probability that the timing of declassification is related to a Durham GJ finishing up sealed indictment(s)?

    1. That would be total speculation on my part, but why not?

      If Barr/Durham are looking for a major conspiracy case with multiple subjects--as I've long maintained and as PapaD suggests again--I would not expect indictments until much closer to when they're ready to go public. They would not, IMO, be indicting people on separate charges unless they were sure they couldn't fit them into the overall conspiracy. But from Barr's open statement it looks like they're moving toward the end game. Lots of work ahead, but Barr is very confident that he knows what was going on.

    2. MW wrote:

      "I would not expect indictments until much closer to when they're ready to go public."

      Exactly my thought; which is why my optimism is rising rapidly: declassification by end of week could mean indictments imminent!

  7. Stuart Evans is an admirable character in the Horowitz report.

    I remember that he made two wise arguments against Crossfire Hurricane:

    1) Carter Page already has known for a long time that he is being surveiled, and so the FBI surveillance will find little or nothing.

    2) Because of potential political consequences, this investigation is not prudent. The potential benefit is not worth the risk.

    1. I agree Mike. Those are important considerations to overcome in seeking a FISA, and the negative weight of those considerations would clearly have been greatly strengthened if Evans had been made aware--as the FBI had an obligation to do--of this Papadopoulos transcript.

    2. I'm not so sure, that Evans' doubts would clearly have been greatly strengthened, if he knew that
      Page already had known for a long time that he was being surveilled.
      I don't see why anyone would've been surprised, by Page's denials about the campaign's ties to Russia.
      Thus, Evans' learning of these denials may have only somewhat spurred his doubts, if he was already quite affected by them.

      Of course, the Feds were obligated to inform FISA court etc. of this Papa evidence, but I don't see this evidence as being more powerful than, say, the other pieces of evidence hidden (as documented by the DoJ's IG.

    3. No--Evans' doubts would have been strengthened had he known about this Papadopoulos transcript, which the FBI should have informed him about. Crossfire Hurricane was predicated solely on Papadopoulos, but the Carter Page FISA was applied for as a subfile of Crossfire Hurricane. Without CH no FISA would be possible, and this transcript strikes at the heart of the CH predication.

    4. Granted, CH was the backbone.
      I just doubt that a Papa denial was so unexpected, that it should matter so much to Evans.

  8. Holy Toledo, the CHS is lucky he wasn't conversing with an intelligence officer. He would've blown himself in the first 30 seconds. Amateur hour.

  9. Full transcript here:

    >> <<

    Declassified, but with redactions. 171 pages.

    CHS #3 (not Halper) per Horowitz report.


    The IG report says that the FBI tapped the source — referred to as “Source 3” in the report — because of a previous “connection” he had to Papadopoulos. The report said that the man had indicated years earlier during an interview for a separate investigation that he would be willing to work with the FBI.

    The transcript indicates that Papadopoulos was good friends with the source, who is not identified by name. Through the course of their interaction, the pair talked about mutual friends and their romantic relationships.

    The transcript shows that the source brought up Russia and the Trump campaign multiple times over the course of the spy session.

    The transcript begins with the source and Papadopoulos having lunch at a Greek restaurant. Papadopoulos’s comments through the conversation that he was happy to be back home, suggesting that the encounter took place in his hometown of Chicago.

    After lunch, which the FBI source paid for, he and Papadopoulos rode together to a casino, where they played blackjack.

    In addition to discussing Russia and the Trump campaign, Papadopoulos said that he had worked for Israeli businesses, “to lobby for them in Washington.”

    The special counsel’s report of its Trump-Russia investigation revealed that the FBI investigated Papadopoulos as a possible foreign agent of both Israel and Russia.

    That report said that investigators found no evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. Papadopoulos was also never charged with any crimes related to Israel. He did plead guilty on Oct. 5, 2017 to making false statements to the FBI during an interview on Jan. 27, 2017.

    The IG report said the source and Papadopoulos met multiple times between October 2016 and June 2017.

    >> <<

    1. Re Papadopoulos working as an agent of a foreign power, Israel, the way FARA is normally applied is that the subject is told to register. It appears that for whatever reasons, possibly quite legit, the FBI had had an eye on Papadopoulos for some time and perhaps wanted to recruit him. However, when he became associated with the Trump campaign they developed another idea.

  10. See p 160 of the transcript (true page 160)

    PapaD clearly is referring to Halper (though it is redacted) and being "interrogated" by him in September on the same topic. PapaD assumes Halper was reporting to CIA.

  11. PapaD ID'd the CHS#3 in his Congressional testimiony:

    >> <<

    His friend, Jeffery Wiseman.

    1. Do we know anything about Wiseman? I don't think I'm familiar with him except in this regard.

    2. Why I often read the comments first. Yes, I thought it was Wiseman, too.

  12. Only info I've read on Wiseman is he's friend of PapaD who was involved with some previous FBI investigation, and indicated to them he would be willing to work with them.

    It seems like Halper was run at PapaD in September in the hope of getting something juicy they could feed into the Carter Page FISA Application, but came up with exculpatory response from PapaD. Then in December, this pal of PapaD is run at him by FBI, likley in anticipation of wanting to renew the Carter Page FISA in January, since the surprise of Trump's election victory.

    Again, all they got for their efforts was more exculpatory responses from PapaD.

    1. Correction to my earlier comment; Wiseman was run at PapaD at the very end of October, not December, after the first Carter Page FISA warrant application, but before the election.