In each warrant, the court was told: “The FBI believes that the Russian Government’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential campaign were being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with [Trump’s] campaign.” Moreover, the warrant applications painted a picture of a “conspiracy of cooperation” between Donald Trump and the Putin regime, with Manafort at the hub, using such underlings as Page and Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, as intermediaries.
It was complete nonsense, largely based on the so-called dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, working on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Moreover, the FBI knew this was material developed and paid for by the Clinton campaign, but concealed that known fact from the FISA court.
With that in mind, let's pivot to the ICA and its FBI "Annex". That Annex simply amounted to a two page summary of the Steele "dossier". Remember--the FBI knew that the "dossier" was done for and paid for by the Clinton campaign, yet they pushed hard to get the "dossier" material included in the ICA. And that was about three weeks before they even had interviewed Danchenko, the "PSS". Here's how McIntyre paints that (edited to correct spelling and punctuation and to provide a continous read):
What a load of absolute crap in annex to Intel Assessment of Jan 6, 2017! It's even worse and stupider than we could possibly have imagined. Aside from whatever J. Edgar Hoover stunt that Comey, Clapper and Brennan may have been pulling, that US intel agencies were apparently taking such fabrications seriously indicates that they, not local police, need to be de-funded. And why would Trump be expected to have any confidence in conclusions of these agencies on their attribution of hacking, when they were so easily and willingly duped about a supposed longstanding conspiracy between Trump and Russia? If only Barr had been beside Trump in these early days!
Also, bad as it was to not clearly disclose to FISA court that dossier had been paid for by Clinton campaign, it was 100 times worse to not disclose this to President-elect (and outgoing President) in intel assessment. This seems far more serious to me than FISA issues. The Carter Page FISA was regrettable, but hardly a core issue. However, shoddy, deceptive and fraudulent intel assessments both to incoming and outgoing administrations are entirely different level of seriousness.
OK, now do you see why it's been reported that Durham is so interested in that ICA, and why he's said to be particularly interested in the email exchanges between Comey and Brennan? It's because Comey wanted the "Annex" included in the ICA. So now ask yourself, what would you, as an FBI director, do if you discovered inside a month that that Annex was a fraud? Because that's what the FBI found out for sure from Danchenko--it wasn't just the fraud on the FISA court (bad as that was), it was also the fraud on the entire country that the ICA represented. Here's Catherine Herridge summarizing what Comey had presented to the country:
NEW: First obtained @CBSNews declassified “Annex A” Intellligence Community Assessment 2016 Russian election interference cites Steele dossier. Alleges “President-elect and his top campaign advisers knowingly worked with Russian officials to bolster his chances and were offered financial compensation.” Mueller did not substantiate. Not credible enough for Intel Community to use in body of report, but FBI still used dossier 3 more times to renew @carterwpage surveillance warrant.
But, again, it wasn't just about FISA. The ICA was trotted out regularly to justify the FBI's continuing investigation that morphed into the Team Mueller witchhunt, to justify the "Resistance," all the BS that Dems in Congress and there moles in the NSC got up to. Shouldn't Comey have admitted the fraud to Trump before it ever got to that stage? Shouldn't he have shut down Crossfire Hurricane, and its fraudulent predication? Of course. But he didn't, because he was a key part of a conspiracy to defraud the government of the honest services of its intelligence and counterintelligence agencies--as well as, through Team Mueller, of honest enforcement of the criminal laws of the United States.
IG Michael Horowitz is a smart guy, and that's why he pressed FBI and DoJ witnesses about what they knew regarding the Danchenko interview. Because anyone who knew about it--and the fraud that was the Steele "dossier"--had an obligation to blow the whistle on the whole thing. The whole conspiracy and fraud against the government. Now read this extended selection from Horowitz's report, and check out the runaround the FBI and DoJ witnesses tried to give him, attempting to shade or elide the true extent of their knowledge about the Danchenko interview. Also note how neutral in tone Horowitz generally is--he couldn't possibly have believed this nonsense:
Program managers supervising the investigation from FBI Headquarters--SSA 2 and SSA 3--were aware of the Primary Sub-source's interview and had read the written summary of it. However, we found no evidence that either of them identified issues with or raised any questions about how the Primary Sub-source's interview may have impacted the information in the FISA applications. As described previously, SSA 3 did not play a direct role in Renewal Application No. 2, but he was familiar with the prior FISA applications, having performed the supervisory factual accuracy review during the Woods Procedures for Renewal Application No. 1. SSA 3 told us that he did not recall noticing any information from the Primary Sub-source's interview that was inconsistent with information in the FISA application. SSA 2 was the affiant who declared, based on the completion of the Woods Procedures, that the information in Renewal Application Nos. 2 and 3 was true and correct. He told us that he did not recall any discussion about whether the Primary Sub-source's interview warranted revisions to the FISA applications, but said he had some recollection that the investigators believed at the time that the Primary Sub-source was holding something back about his/her interaction with Person 1.
The OGC Unit Chief [Trisha Anderson] and the OGC Attorney [James Baker] told us that they did not review or receive the written summary of the Primary Sub-source's January 2017 interview at any time before Renewal Application No. 2 was submitted to the court. However, they said that they knew the interview had taken place and had the general understanding from the team that the information provided to the FBI by the Primary Sub-source "essentially echoed," "was consistent with," or "corroborated" the information in Steele's reporting. The OGC Unit Chief said that her understanding was that the Primary Sub-source raised some questions about how Steele wrote his reports or the wording Steele used, and that the agents and analysts had looked into it but did not think the wording choices were substantively different. The OGC Attorney said that he had some vague recollection that the team thought Steele may have conflated some of his sourcing on Wikileaks based on information provided by the Primary Sub-source. However, they both said that they did not recall the details of these discussions.
Right. What kind of attorney--and both Baker and Anderson were very experienced and well educated--would have so little interest in an interview that was crucial to the biggest investigation in FBI history?
Although documents provided to the OIG indicate that senior FBI officials were told about some aspects of the Primary Sub-source's interview, the documents do not reflect that senior FBI officials were advised of the inconsistences. For example, in late February 2017, the Supervisory Intel Analyst [Brian Auten?] circulated a 2-page Intelligence Memorandum to CD Assistant Director E.W. "Bill" Priestap and other CD officials highlighting aspects of the Primary Sub-source's interview. In March 2017, Priestap forwarded the memorandum to Corney's and McCabe's offices. The memorandum stated that the Primary Sub-source told the FBI that Steele's reporting contained "some of [his/her] reporting, what appear to be [his/her] analytical conclusions, and what [he/she] believes to be [Steele's] analytical judgments." The memorandum provided some details concerning what the Primary Sub-source said about his/her own sources, but the memorandum did not describe the inconsistencies we noted earlier.
Senior CD officials overseeing the Crossfire Hurricane investigation-including Priestap, Strzok, the Intel Section Chief, and CD DAD Jennifer Boone-told us that they did not recall being advised that the information from the Primary Sub-source significantly differed from the information in Steele's reporting. Boone told us that she recalled being told after the Primary Sub-source's interview that the team assessed that Steele may have gotten some of his information from a source other than the Primary Sub-source. Boone said that she did not recall being advised that the interview created inconsistencies between Steele and his Primary Sub-source as to facts relied upon in the FISA applications. Boone further stated that she would have expected to have been told that information. Strzok told us that he did remember learning as a result of the Primary Sub-source interview that Steele did not receive his reporting directly from the sub-sources, but rather solely through the Primary Sub-source as the intermediary. Strzok said he recalled having a "little bit of concern" about that. He later wrote to Corney's Chief of Staff, Priestap, and others that "[r]ecent interviews and investigation, however, reveal Steele may not be in a position to judge the reliability of his sub-source network."
Comey told us that he did not know whether the team interviewed any of Steele's sub-sources. Because Comey decided not to have his security clearance reinstated for his OIG interview, we were unable to question him further or refresh his recollection with relevant, classified documentation.
The NSD's Counterintelligence and Export Control Section (CES) representatives who attended the Primary Sub-source's January 2017 interview--Section Chief David Laufman and his Deputy Section Chief--told us that they did not recall discussing the interview with OI officials afterward. They told us that they did not have knowledge of the information in the Carter Page FISA applications at the time, and that they were not sufficiently familiar with the Steele reports to have understood that there were inconsistencies between the Primary Sub-source and Steele. We did not find any information to the contrary. They told us that they attended the interview because CES had helped negotiate the terms of the interview with the Primary Sub-source's attorney, and, as noted previously, their role during the interview was primarily to address any issues or concerns raised by the attorney during the interview.
A nuclear bomb went off at FBIHQ--that was the effect of the Danchenko interview--but nobody heard it or mentioned it to anyone else except in the most general terms? You can bet that John Durham has been working overtime to refresh the recollections of every single person mentioned by Horowitz--and more. Some of the names mentioned in that passage are those of people we've heard are now "cooperating" with Durham, and some whom we may not have heard about are probably also cooperating
This illustrates the net that Durham is casting around Comey. The Danchenko interview, the Strzok notes, the Annex to the ICA, the failure to advise the FISA court or to revise the FISA renewal applications, the failure to revise the Annex. The buck will have to stop somewhere and Comey signed off on all of this in one form or another. Someone has to be responsible and the question is: When the music stops and everyone rushes to grab a chair, who will be the odd man out?
One final consideration. If you were disgraced former FBI Director James Comey, and you had pled 'Not Guilty' to conspiracy charges, would you look forward to testifying before a jury of your peers, knowing that John Durham would be cross examining you based on all that material? And the implications for the country of all the shenanigans you had got up to with your plot against the President? If I were in his position I think I'd be feeling a bit weak at the knees. I'd prefer to make a deal of some sort if I were in Comey's shoes, but imagine what Comey would have to offer to get any sort of a deal.