If you're joining late, Part 1 considers whether it really is likely that the anti-Trump conspirators would take the extraordinary risks they have taken simply to get Hillary Clinton elected president; or, perhaps, whether their collective panic has another explanation -- a red thread? Part 2 minutely examines Nellie H. Ohr, the Russian-speaking-ham-radio-operator Fusion GPS boss Glenn Simpson tried in vain to hide from investigators, and finds a tangle of red threads; Part 3 notes that Edward Baumgartner, another Fusion GPS Russia expert, was a Russian history major at Vassar (Class of 1995) when Nellie H. Ohr was a Russian professor at Vassar. Part 4 examines ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele's political background and finds that he and his "opposite number," Nellie H. Ohr, may be birds of a red feather. Part 5 drills down on why the "Russian threat within," circa 2016-2018, doesn't smell right, and how to judge when information originating in Moscow is intelligence and when it is disinformation. Part 6 examines whether 1976 CPUSA voter and former CIA director John Brennan was passing the Steele "dossier" off as intelligence in the summer of 2016.
Last week, Sens. Grassley and Graham sent out a "batch of letters" listing 12 questions for (1) DNC Chair Tom Perez (c/o Perkins Coie's Marc E. Elias); (2) Hillary for America campaign chairman Robby Mook (c/o Marc Elias); (3) former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schulz; (4) former DNC Chair Donna Brazile; (5) Hillary for America chairman John Podesta (c/o Marc Elias); (6) chief strategist Hillary for America Joel Benenson.
These are the top officials whose organizations, the Democratic National Committee and Hillary for America, bought and paid for the Trump-Russia "dossier," brokered from Kremlin sources by retired MI6 agent Christopher Steele, under contract to GPS Fusion, and, to an unclear extent, the FBI.
What the senators seem be asking, in a nutshell, is whether these DNC/Hillary officials were charter members of the anti-Trump "coup." Hard to imagine much in the way of voluntary answers. The questions, though, crack a little light on the direction of their investigation.
Question No. 12 is an eye-opener. It lists 40 people and entities from whom the senators seek dossier-client-communications "to, from, copying, or relating to."
These include the Fusion GPS team; Christopher Steele and British associates; one genuine "Putin-linked" Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, and his British lawyer, Paul M. Hauser; two old Clinton circle intimates, "hatchet man" Sidney Blumenthal and "shady" Cody Shearer, who, we have recently learned, prepared a second anti-Trump report, which Steele also passed to the FBI; and, of course, the DOJ/FBI group.
The senators also want to see dossier-client communications with former DCIA and Gus-Hall-voter John Brennan, heretofore clinging to the outer, darker edges of the "coup" web; also Daniel J. Jones, a former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer for Senator Feinstein. Ditto for whether the DNC/Hillary officials were communicating about the Steele "dossier" with State Department officials Jon Winer, Kathaleen Kavalec, Victoria Nuland.
What a very wide web of subversion Question No. 12 pencils in! Whether all of these people participated in the Dossier Conspiracy remains to be seen. However, ties already criss-cross the web in the case of Clinton associates Blumenthal, Shearer and State Department official Jonathan Winer.
For followers of red threads, Shearer is the brother-in-law of Strobe Talbott, a senior Clinton administration official and, more recently, Hillary confidante.
Russian intelligence considered Talbott, a principal architect of Clinton administration Russia policy in the 1990s, to be what is termed a "trusted contact." Pete Earley broke this news in his 2009 book Comrade J.
To review what a "trusted contact" is (in case anyone ever stumbles across any):
Russian intelligence, Earley explains, uses this label "to identify highly placed sources of information -- people whose information could be trusted. It was usually only reserved for extremely top officials like Fidel Castro's brother, who is now running Cuba." Strobe, Raul -- that's special, all right.
A "special unofficial contact" is not (necessarily) a spy, but someone so close to the Russians that they are subject to manipulation, as thought to be Talbott's case. As Earley relates, during a Russian security investigation, the FBI went to then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and asked her please not to discuss the investigation with Talbott lest he spill the beans.
As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton corresponded with Talbott from 2010-2013 via her notorious private email. These 30 emails are manly warm little notes about Cuba, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and the like, often to arrange telephone chats.
Back to the Shearers. Cody's brother, Derek Shearer, also Strobe Talbott's brother-in-law and Yale roommate, is another old "FOB," who garnered a Clinton ambassadorship to Finland after, as Derek touchingly put it, "working behind the scenes with Cody and Sid Blumenthal ... to defend you and to attack your enemies."
What better training for a diplomatic mission in a country adjoining Russia? Perhaps the proximity to Socialist Paradise was exciting to Derek, who just ten years earlier was promoting the "economic democracy" of 1960s Marxist revolutionary Tom Hayden, then transitioning into elected politics, as a euphemism for "the S-word" -- socialism. Now he's a professor at Obama's alma mater, Occidental (where Obama is remembered as a Marxist revolutionary, himself).
Where was I? Trump. Russia. State Department. Right. Drawing on an unknown foreign source (Russian? Brighton Beach?), Cody Shearer, described by Dick Morris as "Hillary’s go-to guy when it came to underhanded opposition research," wrote his own derogatory file on Trump. Sidney Blumenthal passed Cody's file to State Department official Jonathan Winer. Winer gave it to Steele, who presented it, "unvetted," as they say to indicate total garbage, to the FBI. Cody Shearer's typical bag of dirty tricks, in other words, was elevated, laundered by its own chain of custody.
As if to neutralize the shock of this story by owning up to it as perfectly boring, government business as usual, Jonathan Winer wrote an op-ed this week to confirm all, although he professes a risible ignorance when it comes Blumenthal's widely known, even notorious associate Cody Shearer. Hyper-connected, Democrat warrior Winer (who apparently can't use Google) calls Cody "a journalist I did not know." Winer is also shocked, shocked that Steele took the Blumenthal-Shearer notes and dumped them on the FBI. ("I did not expect them to be shared with anyone in the U.S. government.")
Winer also confirms that he was sharing Steele's stuff around Foggy Bottom, too.
Summarizing recent accounts, the Daily Caller brings Secretary of State John Kerry aboard.
According to The Post, Kerry was briefed in late September or early October 2016 on information collected by Steele.
Jonathan Winer, who at the time served as the State Department’s Special Envoy for Libya, put together a two-page memo on Steele’s allegations that was provided to Kerry.
Jonathan Winer goes back over thirty years with John Kerry, to the beginning of Kerry's Senate career. On the topic of red threads, Kerry is himself one of the longest around, beginning around 1970 when the decorated US naval officer met secretly with Madame Binh, a close associate of Ho Chi Minh and the top Communist Viet Cong negotiator to the Paris Peace talks. That would be during the Vietnam War. In 1971, Kerry held a press conference in Washington, calling on the Nixon administration to accept Madame Binh's proposal. Jerome Corsi summed up:
From Paris where Kerry received the communist message, to Washington, D.C., where he mouthed that message, Kerry became Lo Duc Tho and Madame Binh’s surrogate spokesperson.
It is sickening all over again to realize that this alone -- negotiating with, representing the shooting enemy -- did not sink Kerry's ambitions for highest office.
Future Kerry staffer Jonathan Winer, a teenager at the time, was clearly not repelled. In fact, he must have been quite impressed. He is enthusiastic in his recollection of interviewing Kerry for his high school newspaper in 1972. Winer was 17 and Kerry was 27 and running for Congress in Massachusetts.
As a 1976 Yale grad and 1981 NYU JD, Winer would go to work for incoming freshman Sen. Kerry as counsel and principal legislative assistant. On taking office in 1985, Kerry would almost immediately decamp with Sen. Tom Harkin to Managua on a trip arranged by the notorious pro-Soviet think tank, IPS, to parley with Soviet client Daniel Ortega.
Kerry and Harkin returned to Washington, where, in an uncanny repeat of the earlier Kerry episode, they presented another communist peace plan.
Ortega, meanwhile, turned up to Moscow, where he was showered in $200 million in brotherly love from Comrade Gorbachev.
Winer stayed on Kerry's staff until 1993.
So many red threads, all of them woven into a giant cloak of invisibility -- not individual red team jerseys. How did that happen? How did it not happen? The forces pressing different vectors of the communist agenda against our constitutional form of government have been legion, their shields sure to deflect charges, even questions, about communism or disloyalty (or treason) as "Red-baiting" and "McCarthyism" (much like Muslim subversives deflect similar charges and questions today as "Islamophobia"). This may be an aside, but seeking insight into Winer's Senate staff work for Kerry -- he worked on the BCCI scandal, for example -- I find myself struck by something about Kerry's signature effort to expose the Central American drug-running operations parralelling US support for the Contras. Somehow this Senate investigation missed what appears to be a seething mass of evidence of cocaine-trafficking and money-laundering in then-Gov. Bill Clinton's Mena, Arkansas. Was that just one of those things? Or team loyalty? More generally, how could such exhaustive investigations, Kerry's and others, completely miss (or obscure) evidence of Moscow's and Peking's role in the international drug trade?
So many red threads.
Leaving Kerry's staff, Winer would enter the Clinton State Department in 1993.
In addition to his long association with Kerry, Winer told MSNBC that his friendship with Steele dates back to 2009, which is also the year Steele retired from MI6. Steele's 22 years in British intelligence included a stint in the early 1990s in Moscow, and three years heading the Russia desk (2006-2009). I don't know whether Winer's career ever sent him to Russia, but Winer did tweet last year about "when I worked #Russia in Moscow" ... something about "sparrows."
"Sparrows" is cool espionage-speak for women seeking to honey-trap the other side.
Winer left the Clinton State Department to practice law, PR, and, in 2004, to serve as an adviser and spokesman for John Kerry's presidential campaign.
I am updating here, having previously glossed over Winer's private sector years. As Jordan Schactel points out, Winer was a vice president at APCO Worldwide (2008 - 2013), during which time the Russian government put the lobbying firm on a $3 million/year retainer. Why? According to FBI information William Campbell's testimony, The Hill is reporting, Campbell
[Campbell] was told by Russian nuclear executives that Moscow had hired the American lobbying firm APCO Worldwide specifically because it was in position to influence the Obama administration, and more specifically Hillary Clinton. ...
Campbell added in the testimony that Russian nuclear officials “told me at various times that they expected APCO to apply a portion of the $3 million annual lobbying fee it was receiving from the Russians to provide in-kind support for the Clintons' Global Initiative."
The contract called for four payments of $750,000 over twelve months. APCO was expected to give assistance free of charge to the Clinton Global Initiative as part of their effort to create a favorable environment to ensure the Obama administration made affirmative decisions on everything from Uranium One to the U.S.-Russia Civilian Nuclear Cooperation agreement."
Was this VP Winer's account?
In 2013 -- after a job well done? -- Winer returned to the State Department under John Kerry as Libyan special envoy in 2013. He left at the beginning of the Trump administration.
That's some Washington career, separating Winer from the typical Fusion GPS operative. Still, if not a hustler of the #Resistance, he can tweet like one.
The diplomat ... in wild anticipation of a Trump trial:
The legal mind .. arguing that "assaults on Hillary integrity" are a "Kremlin" plot.
The wise man ... following the Party line of the day (move away from the dodgy "dossier"):
And, of course, Deep State uber alles:
Josh Rogin expands on the Steele-Winer-State relationship in the Washington Post:
From 2014 through 2016, Steele did send periodic reports containing his own intelligence and analysis of Russia and Ukraine to Kerry’s State Department, officials confirmed to me. The connection was through State Department official Jonathan Winer, who was the U.S. special envoy for Libya from 2013 to 2016.
Winer had a prior friendship with Steele and passed on Steele’s analysis as a courtesy to the State Department’s Europe bureau, led at that time by Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland. The State Department received approximately one Steele report a month, a couple dozen in total, officials said.
Rogin goes on to reassure readers that this is "not uncommon." But isn't it a little strange?
News of the Steele-State "courtesy" arrangement orginated in Collusion, a new book by Guardian reporter Luke Harding, who talks about "more than a hundred" Steele reports that went to the State Department. Harding says these reports were "written for a private client but shared widely within the State Department and sent up to Secretary of State John Kerry and to Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland."
Harding continues: "One former State Department envoy during the Obama administration" -- our very own Jonathan Winer?? -- "said he read dozens of Steele's reports on Russia. The envoy said that on Russia, Steele was "as good as the CIA or anyone."
Just as though being "as good as the CIA" on Russia was a compliment...
Question: Why would a retired British agent make continuous submissions to the US State Department? Out of the goodness of his little heart? Out of undying loyalty to the US of A? Gee, might this sluice gate into Foggy Bottom be exactly what his mystery "private client" was paying him for all along? Aren't such questions obvious? Apparently not. Does Winer know the identity of Steele's "private client"? If so, did he inform Kerry? Then again, maybe they all know each other already. Since the highest officials of the FBI/DOJ did not reveal Steele's "private clients" to the FISA court, it is all too easy to assume the worst, whatever that may be.
This isn't even to suggest, necessarily, that there was even something deceptive about those Steele reports on Russia and Ukraine rolling weekly in to the State Department over several crucial years. Who knows? Steele might well have been building up a reputation for veracity on the American scene for his own reasons -- or his "mystery client's."
Harding practically says as much:
Steele's professional reputation inside U.S. agencies would prove important the next time he discovered alarming material, and lit the fuse again.
Winer, by the way, endorsed Steele's LinkedIn page ("international relations").
What was driving Steele in the first place? Was this British Lefty now desperately, even explosively anti-Trump, hoping to have an influence over US foreign policy on complementary British/Lefty/"mystery" program(s)? Are State/foreign spook "courtesy" arranagemet, as Rogin writes, really "not uncommon"? If so, is that a good thing? As if to reassure readers, Rogin stresses that Steele was providing his intelligence reports to the State Department for nothing. ("The State Department never tasked Steele, paid him or even worked with him directly, the official said. It’s not uncommon for private consulting or intelligence reports to be consumed by State Department officials. Winer declined to comment.") Given what we know of Steele's fulminating political intensity, this is not very comforting.
What was the man's mission? Are we looking at a potential vector of foreign disinformation?
See Exhibit A: In 2016, with help from his friends and contacts, Steele dropped a giant disinformation bomb, paid for by Democrats, with input from Russian and/or British intelligence, into the inner sancti of the US government, where senior US officials exploded it all over the Trump team. It can hardly be said often enough: If Hillary Clinton had won the presidency, the reverberations would not now be rocking the anti-Trump conspirators.
To be cont'd.