Thursday, October 8, 2020

UPDATED: Alfa Bank Redux--Starring John Durham!

H/T to commenter EZ, who pointed me to a tweet by Fool Nelson that pointed me to a New Yorker article by Dexter Filkins--who wrote the original article touting the short lived Alfa Bank - Trump Tower server conspiracy hoax. The article--The Contested Afterlife of the Trump-Alfa Bank Story--begins with a precis of the original hoax. I say "original" because Filkins is suggesting new conspiracy theories that embrace AG Barr and John Durham acting in concert with "the Russians". 

Here's the first paragraph, to remind you of the original hoax and to get us started:

Two years ago, I wrote about a mysterious series of computer contacts between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, one of the most powerful financial institutions in Russia. For four months, during the summer before the 2016 Presidential election, two servers registered to the bank repeatedly looked up the address of another server, maintained by a mass-marketing firm for the Trump Organization.


Remember, now? There's more to it, of course, but that'll do--my interest is in what the new developments (of which, more below) tell us about what John Durham is up to.

Since late summer the conservatives have been treated to regular explosions of anti-Barr and anti-Durham sentiment. You've seen the kind of stuff I'm talking about: They're Deep State operatives working to bury the evidence and get Trump defeated. People peddling this stuff point to Trump's recent tweet storm, right after returning to the White House after his brief stay chez Walter Reed, in which Trump vented about nobody being arrested, not enough documents being declassified, and et cetera. 

I was then and remain now convinced that that was basically political theater for the base. Nevertheless, people whom I previously mistook for serious commentators have taken this cry up in all seriousness. Just last night Fred Fleitz told Lou Dobbs that Durham should have wound up his investigation "a year ago." I guess that tells you all you need to know about what it takes to be a CIA analyst. Or, hey, an FBI analyst, too. I'm agnostic when it comes to analysts--no favorites.

I'm not just trying to beat my own drum, but ... I've been maintaining ever since Barr and Durham set out down this investigative road that they were two serious guys who intended to reach the end--not just offer up a couple of easy indictments. And I've also been maintaining that Barr and Durham are working strenuously to build a "big picture" conspiracy case--a theory of the case that would take in the entire Russia Hoax, not just a few nickel-dime false statement cases divorced from the big picture story. To do that takes time and resources and, unfortunately, is not certain of success. But it's a story that the American people need to have told to them in detail--so that it can't be written off as right wing conspiracy theory.

This is where Filkins article is leading us--confirmation that that's the road that Barr and Durham are on.

The Filkins article itself is another disgrace to what used to be a serious magazine. It's a compilation of innuendo upon innuendo, based on anonymous sourcing but sourcing that's pretty transparently coming from Russia Hoax players with not only axes to grind but asses to cover. Nevertheless, there is some fascinating information to be gleaned.

Here's Filkins' new conspiracy theory, but also the nuggets of real, new information:

Since then [i.e., since the hoax was exposed, almost immediately, in 2016), Alfa Bank’s lawyers in the United States have carried out an aggressive campaign to uncover the identity of the sources [of the original hoax].

Remarkably, Alfa Bank’s legal efforts are proceeding in parallel [OMG, collusion!] with the Justice Department and its allies in the conservative press, who have waged a relentless campaign against American intelligence and the F.B.I. [boo hoo!] for what they describe as a malign effort to concoct a false story about Russia’s efforts to help Trump in 2016. In recent weeks, scientists and others quoted in my story have been summoned to testify to a grand jury impanelled by John Durham, the U.S. attorney appointed by Attorney General William Barr to investigate potential criminal conduct in the Russia probe. ...


See what I mean? Get past the tendentious innuendo and we learn something. But speaking of tendentious innuendo, and to give you a flavor for the entire article, here's how that paragraph ends:


It is unclear whether lawyers for the Justice Department and Alfa Bank are working together, but they share an interest in pursuing people who have investigated Trump’s ties to Russia. “There’s a unity of purpose,” one lawyer involved in the litigation told me.

Gotta luv that. "It is unclear." With not a shred of evidence that DoJ and Alfa actually are "working together." As if DoJ, with the vast investigative authority of the US Government behind it, would need to "work with" Alfa! That's the way the entire article proceeds--read it for a laugh. This is where our elite get their "news."


Filkins proceeds with a main theme for his article, never quite stated, but constantly implied: The facts were so complicated, they were never looked into, we need to get the facts out. Well, maybe not so much. Rather, we need to keep the hoax before the public eye but for goodness sake we need to shut down Alfa's lawsuit because, well, it turns out we don't want the public to know who was actually behind the story in the first place. The facts might somehow leak out!

However, amid all that, Filkins does slip in this sentence:

In 2019, an inspector general examining the origins of Mueller’s investigation wrote, “The FBI investigated whether there were cyber links between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, but had concluded by early February 2017 that there were no such links.”

But then he quickly adds that "American officials" (including one who "helped investigate Russian interference") pooh pooh that FBI investigation with vague theories of trying to avoid exposing "an important source and method for intelligence gathering.” As if investigative results can never be classified to protect sources and methods? It's so tiresome and insulting to one's intelligence.

It goes on and on in that vein, with occasional slips. For example, Filkins gives us a glimpse of Alfa's theory of the case, which sounds rather interesting to me--given all that we've seen of Deep State operations in the last four years:

Alfa Bank’s lawyers maintain that the operation was carried out by “a well-trained and well-funded group that existed before the cyberattacks committed against Alfa Bank, continues to exist today, and carries out cyberattacks against a range of targets.” The group’s goal, they say, was “polarizing the U.S. public by pitting the predominant political parties against one another.”

Who would do that?

But let's turn to John Durham's interest in the Alfa Bank hoax. And Filkins has some interesting things to tell us about that.

We've seen that Durham has summoned various people connected to the Alfa Bank hoax before a grand jury--including Daniel Jones:

After college, he worked as a middle school teacher with Teach For America, an AmeriCorps national service program. Jones spent four years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation before joining the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence under the leadership of its then-Chairman, Senator Jay Rockefeller. Jones subsequently worked for Senator Dianne Feinstein when she became Chairperson of the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.


To those who pooh pooh the Barr/Durham investigation, I ask: Do you or do you not want Daniel Jones in front of a grand jury? If that squib from Wikipedia isn't enough to pique your interest regarding Jones' involvement with the Alfa Bank hoax, consider what Sean Davis has to say about Jones' activities after the 2016 election:

CONFIRMED: Former Feinstein Staffer Raised $50 Million, Hired Fusion GPS And Christopher Steele After 2016 Election

A declassified congressional report confirms that Daniel Jones, a former intelligence committee staffer for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, hired Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele to push the Russian collusion narrative against Donald Trump.

A declassified congressional report confirms prior reporting by The Federalist that Daniel Jones, a former staffer for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), hired Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele after the 2016 election to push the anti-Trump Russian collusion narrative.

According to the report, Jones, who runs an investigative outfit called the Penn Quarter Group (PQG), told the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in March of 2017 that he had retained the services of Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele to “continue exposing Russian interference” in the 2016 election. Steele is the former British spy who authored the infamous unverified dossier of allegations against President Donald Trump.

Although Jones’ name is redacted in the report, the biographical details plus previous reporting on the matter make clear that he is the individual referenced. The report also revealed that Jones told federal investigators that he had raised $50 million from “7 to 10 wealthy donors located primarily in New York and California.”


There was big money backing Jones and the scorched earth war on Trump. My suspicion is that any investigation of Jones is going to lead to the fake impeachment. This should tell you a lot about the hysteria directed toward Barr. Check out what Filkins has to say about Barr--after point blank stating that Durham's investigation "could aid the Kremlin":

The lawsuits appear to be receiving some unusual assistance from senior Republican leaders. In July, Barr took the extraordinary step of declassifying investigators’ interview notes with a secret source for the Steele dossier. The source was interviewed by American intelligence officials in 2017, in part because they had also used him as a trusted source. The decision to make his testimony public was driven by Barr’s conviction that the Trump-Russia probe was launched by partisan officials working for the “deep state.”

The source’s identity was blacked out of the notes. ... Within days, a pro-Trump blogger, claiming to have pieced together clues contained in the notes, revealed the source’s identity: Igor Danchenko, a Russian-American political analyst in Washington, D.C.

Danchenko is now at risk. Agents of the Russian state have killed such informants: ....

About two weeks after Danchenko’s unmasking, he received a subpoena from Alfa Bank. “Is Igor Danchenko worried?” his lawyer, Mark E. Schamel, said. “Yes. He fears for his life.”

Well, his lawyer would say that, wouldn't he? Does Filkins have the same tender concern for Carter Page--documentably a CIA/FBI source--that he has for Danchenko, whom the FBI believed was a Russian agent ... until they decided to use his "information" to hoodwink the FISA Court into giving them a FISA against Carter Page and, in effect, the entire Trump campaign? Funny how that works.

However, my main point is easily summarized. If John Durham is subpoenaing non-government Dem operatives with past Deep State ties, like Daniel Jones--people who were closely tied to the Clinton organization as well as to Fusion GPS both before and after--then I say he's going for the big picture conspiracy. The VERY big picture conspiracy.

UPDATE 1: Very nice catch by commenter Unknown. Note the role played by Jake Sullivan--now a close adviser to Biden. And Durham is looking into all this?

UPDATE 2: I'm afraid I should have taken a bit more time over this post. Commenter EZ has some valuable information below taken from AP reporting. You can find all my posts that discuss Alfa Bank HERE. I draw particular attention to this post: Steele Testified That He Was In Direct Contact With Clinton Lawyers. Here's what this boils down to.

The Alfa Bank hoax "dossier" memo was written up by Christopher Steele at the express direction of Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann and Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson. Sussmann then took the story directly to the FBI--to a friend of his, James Baker, who happened to be FBI General Counsel, i.e., Comey's top lawyer. Knowing Sussmann as he did, Baker also knew that this hoax story was coming straight from the Clinton campaign. Add that background to the involvement of Daniel Jones and Jake Sullivan in the Alfa Bank hoax (see above), along with the fact that James Baker has long been believed to be cooperating with Durham and we come to this: Durham's conspiracy net is attempting to catch some of the biggest fish in the Dem hierarchy, central figures in both the Clinton and now the Biden campaigns. 

So, yes, the Durham investigation can be confirmed to be sprawling. Or, maybe make that SPRAWLING.

UPDATE 3: Chuck Ross has an article on this (see his tweet above) that contains some useful links to the background: Report: Durham Using Grand Jury To Investigate Debunked Trump-Russia Allegation. Obviously, you don't use a grand jury to investigate a debunked allegation. You use a grand jury to investigate factual situations that you believe involved criminal violations. Durham very clearly believes he's on to something. Proving it may be another thing, but he thinks the effort is worthwhile.


  1. "recent weeks....grand jury". So how long do these tend to take in complicated cases?

  2. repost:

    Details from an old AP story:

    >> <<

    >> It is known that Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, the Clinton campaign’s opposition researcher who hired dossier writer Christopher Steele, pushed the server plot to then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr. His wife, Nellie, worked for Mr. Simpson at Fusion GPS as an anti-Trump Russia investigator.

    According to Mr. Ohr’s meeting notes, Mr. Simpson told him the server was a direct communication link to Alfa and proof of Trump-Russia collusion. Mr. Simpson also said an October 2016 article in The New York Times was wrong for discounting the server story, according to Mr. Ohr.

    As a go-between, Mr. Ohr sent Fusion’s information directly to the FBI, including to agent Peter Strzok, who led the Russia probe. Mr. Strzok was fired for sending a series of anti-Trump text messages to his lover, FBI attorney Lisa Page.

    Now, newly revealed testimony from James Baker, the former FBI general counsel and close adviser to fired FBI Director James B. Comey, shows that Fusion tried another avenue inside the Obama administration.

    In closed-door testimony in October, Mr. Baker told lawmakers on a special House task force that he met with Michael Sussmann, a partner in the Perkins Coie law firm, on Sept. 16, 2016.

    Perkins Coie had represented the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, and funneled more than $1 million of their cash to Fusion, which paid Mr. Steele about $160,000 for his anti-Trump dossier.

    Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, asked Mr. Baker if Mr. Sussmann, a cybertechnology expert and former Justice Department attorney, pitched the Alfa server connection.

    “Oh yes, I mean, that is what he told me about. Yeah, absolutely,” he answered, according to a transcript first reported by The Epoch Times.

    This shows how vigorously Steele, FusionGPS, and Hillary's lawyers were ALL humping the Alfa Bank Hoax to FBI and media outlets simultaneously.

    That's not happenstance; it's a conspiracy to spread false info to flesh out the Hillary Hoax.

    Wonder if Hillary used Perkins Coie to carry out some of the sensitive coordination, like salting the software onto the Alfa server, so they can hide behind attorney client privilege.

    1. None of it was happenstance. Clinton campaign operatives, with the assistance of their media allies, were planting fabricated stories in the press and then pretending to point to these "chilling" revelations of "reported connections" between The Russians© and her opponent.

    2. "Complete lie. At no point did anyone in media peddling the utterly false Russia collusion hoax ever display any skepticism of any of the nonsense illegally peddled by their left-wing friends at the FBI or CIA. Journos were all in on the hoax."

      "That’s bullshit, Blake. So much of this is overblown, uncritical, one-sided, distorting, and sometimes even false disinformation right from the CIA to the pages of the paper."

  3. repost #2


    >> Steele testified under oath in London on March 17 and 18.

    He revealed that Sussmann, a former Justice Department official, told him during a meeting on July 29, 2016 about suspicious network traffic between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, according to the transcript.

    He also said that the theory about the computer server traffic was the catalyst for the dossier memo he would write six weeks later about Alfa Bank, the transcript shows.

    “I’m very clear is that the first person that ever mentioned the Trump server issue, Alfa server issue, was Mr. Sussman [sic],” Steele told Hugh Tomlinson, a lawyer for the Alfa Bank owners, on March 17, the transcript shows.

    Steele went on to say that Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson instructed him at some point after the Sussmann meeting to write a report about Alfa Bank, according to the transcript. <<

    >> <<

    So Hillary approves the plan to frame Trump for colluding with Russia on the 26th of July, and on the 29th Sussmann, from her campaign's law firm, is planting the story with Steele, which Simpson later tells Steele to write up a memo about and send in as part of his Dossier work.

    What was it Smiley said about "topicality" of intelligence?

    And another Smiley quote seems applicable: "now how ever did he [Sussmann] get hold of that [Alfa Bank allegation], I wonder?"

    This didn't happen by chance, IMHO. And Alfa Bank is now suing on the theory that computer logs were tampered with to create a fake impression of communications between their computer and Trump server.

    Yes, I think Durham is onto something very big. The only way this makes sense is if somebody planted the software on the Alfa server to ping the out-of-date Trump server URL in the DNS.


  5. Good catch on Dan Jones being subpoenaed. That's very interesting.

  6. Hypothesis: Jones and his 50+ million dollars in funding after the 2016 election, used in part to hire FusionGPS to continue their fabrications of Russia Collusion Delusion, surely bought him lots of juicy rumint/fabrication.

    Q. Did Jones arrange to peddle his post election Russian Collusion Hoax intel to the Mueller Probe??????

    IS that were Weissmann, et al., got their preconceived conspiracy narratives they then tried to force witnesses to regurgitate, or twist their answers to vague prosecutor questions (according to Barnett) so they would appear to fit their "Jones" theories?

    1. Like I said in previous blogs... follow the money trail. 50+M leaves a pretty long trail I imagine. How much did members of the FBI, DOJ, ODNI, or other intel agencies pocket? Bank records/electronic trail should be available.

  7. "I was then and remain now convinced that that was basically political theater for the base."

    At this point, I'm skeptical that it's ever been anything but political theatre. AG Barr can't be unaware that the clock is ticking.

    If Biden wins, or if he loses and the deep staters can sow enough chaos to seize power, then it won't matter at all how careful and painstaking Barr's work has been. It will all go away. Barr knows it. He may be many things, but he's not a stupid man.

  8. I am close to finishing my next blog article. There I speculated that the suspicion about Alfa Bank began when Michael Gaeta was stationed in the FBI's New York Field Office and was investigating an international gambling ring that operated out of Trump Tower.

    Gaeta had been communicating with Christopher Steele since 2020, and Steele had lots of bright ideas to share with Steele. Maybe Steele suggested that the computer server in Trump Tower was communicating with Alfa Bank.

    I think that many of the Dossier Reports were written before 2016. These older reports are indicated by the gaps in the numbering of the Dossier reports. I think further that all the Dossier reports -- including all the pre-2016 reports were forwarded by Gaeta directly to the FBI's Counterintelligence Chief, Bill Priestap. If so, then Durham should have obtained them. I expect that those "missing" Dossier reports suggest that Alfa Bank was involved in secret communications with Trump Tower's computer server.

    1. Gaeta had been communicating with Christopher Steele since 2010 ...

  9. The gaps in Dossier report memo numbers, IIRC, reflect reports to customers of Orbis other than FusionGPS.

    Many businesses number memos sequentially each year, starting on the first of the year. That is the simplest explanation for the number gaps in the FusionGPS dossier memos from Steele.

    1. What is your explanation for Report #86 being written in 2015?

    2. typo?

      Bottom line is Steele wasn't hired by FusionGPS for the Trump oppo research until June 2016

    3. Further proof of "2015" being a typo meant to say July 2016 in memo 86:

      first page of memo 86 contains a reference to events taking place in June 2016, ergo, it could not possibly have been written in June 2015.

    4. Correction:

      " ... ergo, it could not possibly have been written in June 2015." Should read "July 2015."

  10. Looks like the cat is finally getting out of the bag:

    "President Donald Trump said in a televised interview that he has spoken to Attorney General Bill Barr about the high-stakes Durham probe and received assurances the government has 'plenty' of evidence to bring charges against his main political rivals.
    Unless Bill Barr indicts these people for crimes, the greatest political crime in the history of our country, then we're going to get little satisfaction unless I win and we'll just have to go, because I won't forget it,' Trump said.

    'But these people should be indicted, this was the greatest political crime in the history of our country and that includes Obama and it includes Biden. These are people that spied on my campaign and we have everything,' Trump said.
    Describing the government's evidence, Trump said: 'Now they say they have much more, OK? And I say, Bill, we've got plenty, you don't need any more. We've got so much, Maria, even -- just take a look at the Comey report, 78 pages of kill, done by Horowitz, and I have a lot of respect for Horowitz, and he said prosecute. He recommended prosecute and they didn't prosecute. I was -- I couldn't believe it, but they didn't do it, because they said we have much bigger fish to fry,' he said."


    1. But keep in mind, just because they haven't prosecuted Comey (and others) YET doesn't mean they're not going to. Bigger fish to fry? Yes, I can buy that. What does sundance keep saying? There are trillions at stake? If that is true, do you think that Obama and Biden are the biggest players? Who thinks Obama and Biden got where they are on their own?

    2. Mark, please do share more regarding your thoughts on who you’re thinking of. Who are the “biggest players” beyond these two?

    3. Ultimately it's gonna be about following the money. I don't know the names of all the people, but consider: Who were those handful of people who ponied up $50 million for Dan Jones? How many people can afford to toss off that kind of money--for just one aspect of the case?

      You know as well as I do that the Pritzker family are the ones who put up the money for Obama's entire career. There's lots more to this--gotta be.

    4. If busts of big fish come only after a Biden win, such busts will do minimal good, for just a few months.
      If we see no *big* busts before election, Barr's stance here just fuels theories (incl. DJT's?), that he's ducking most everything that *really* matters.

    5. Gates, Bezos, Buffett, Chicoms?
      The card Barr may be counting on, for him to not expedite big busts, is the remarkable stance of the Dems, to refuse to deny having a Plan to pack the Court.
      If that Plan doesn't scare the crap, out of all but the all-in SJWs, then indeed the Am. people are beyond redemption.
      If DJT spends most of the next 3 weeks harping on this, he may not need the boost I've presumed he'd get from big busts by Barr.

    6. Another factor which may be affecting Barr is the ACB drama, which guarantees the Dems' Court-packing dreams to be in the forefront of most voters' minds.
      Before this Court-packing gift emerged, I was suspicious of Lindsey's scheduling, for the Hearings/ voting to end days before the election.
      Now, it looks like the combo of RBG's death, and the Dems' plunge toward Court-packing, may be a most ironic godsend.

    7. Also, maybe this is being slow-rolled until after the election, because DoJ line attys don't want to get immersed in big cases, just to have Biden/Harris toss them (and tee off vs. any participants?).

    8. "Who thinks Obama and Biden got where they are on their own?"

      "You didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

  11. Can this be true? I only found it on a few (sketchy?) sites, and they all look like they have the same source... although OAN reports that Ukraine court has finally named Biden a criminal suspect



    1. It does look true:
      from Dyer quoting Sperry's tweet:

      "Joe Biden is the subject of an active federal criminal investigation into his role in the counterintelligence investigation directed @ the Trump campaign during the 2016 election, incl the former vice president's activities in Ukraine.Ukrainian witnesses are cooperating"

      also, about the 1000 documents from DNI:

      "That’s news. The day after Trump tweets “declassify it all!” – the DNI sends 1,000 documents to the DOJ.

      Those 1,000 documents were already identified, racked, stacked, and ready to be sent. That’s precoordination. Not only did the DNI know which documents his office was going to send; the Justice Department undoubtedly did too. It just hadn’t (a) seen them unredacted, and/or (b) received clearance to use them in a court proceeding. This is probably a set of documents John Durham’s team has been waiting for. This is what they’ve been doing all those months."


  12. UPDATE on DAN Jones being subpoenaed by Durham:

    It seems Dan Jones supplied Alfa Bank evidence to a Senate committee in 2017 or 2018; thus, Durham's motive for making Dan Jones testify appears to be in pursuit of finding the SOURCE of the Alfa Bank allegations.

    That suggests Jones may be nothing more than a means to an end, and not necessarily and end in himself, for Durham.

    ... but you never know what Durham might find in the journey, just as Mueller found all sorts of juicy financial crimes to charge Manafort with that had nothing to do with Mueller's primary investigative assignment.

    1. Frankly, I rather hope Dan Jones lies (it is what he does) and earns himself at least a couple nickels at an FCI.

  13. The paper trail left behind by the coup conspirators is huge and irrefutably damning (much more coming), and all the participants know this. That is the reason for the ongoing and unrelenting resistance, which has included numerous Hail Mary attempts aimed at stopping the investigations and transparency revelations. They all know that if thing blows wide open, a lot of DC power players will likely do real prison time (and not just lose a law license and pay a token fine). Their only hope now is to steal the upcoming election (civil war 2.0 be damned).

    The smart ones foresaw the current declassification and investigative developments and have been cooperating for quite a while. This has opened a floodgate of whistleblowing and snitching on each other. And every one of them is trying to negotiate a good deal in exchange for testimony. However, Durham really doesn't need much in the way of testimony because of all the documentation and EC, so the flippers have little to bargain with.

    A key problem for Barr is . . . how many people do you actually indict and prosecute. A few, a dozen, a hundred . . . more?

    1. Yes, this.

      The over the top resistance and desperate attempts to bring Trump down should be a clue that this isn't just about Jim Comey spying on Trump.

    2. "have been cooperating for quite a while.... opened a floodgate of whistleblowing and snitching...."
      I surely can't assume that, esp. since a Biden win would be an agonizing death sentence for such snitches.

    3. Make that "a Biden win would guarantee an agonizing...."

    4. And that my friends is why you saw Comey at the Senate hearing plead blissful ignorance.

  14. "So much of the most impactful Trump-era 'reporting' has been proven fraudulent — Cambridge Analytica, Alfa Bank & the Steele Dossier are just the latest — but media outlets don’t want to know because they profited greatly, sold books, & showered themselves with Pulitzers for it."