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CONFIRMED: Senators call for DoJ/FBI to investigate ‘Trump Dossier’ author Christopher Steele

Republican Senators say”significant inconsistencies” in ex British spy’s statements to authorities

Alexander Mercouris

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The Russiagate has taken an extraordinary twist with confirmation that two Republican Senators – Senator Grassley, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Lindsey Graham, have written to the US Justice Department requesting that Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled the Trump Dossier, be investigated because of “significant inconsistencies” in the statements he has made to the authorities.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has disclosed the request in a tweet

Senators Grassley’s and Lindsey Graham’s letter to the Justice Department, addressed to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray, reads as follows

Dear Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and Director Wray

Attached please find a classified memorandum related to certain communications between Christopher Steele and multiple US news outlets regarding the so-called “Trump dossier” that Mr. Steele compiled on behalf of Fusion GPS for the Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee and also provided to the FBI.

Based on information contained therein, we are respectfully referring Mr. Steele to you for investigation of potential violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, for statements the Committee has reason to believe Mr. Steele made regarding his distribution of information contained in the dossier.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.  If you have any questions, please contact Patrick Davis or DeLisa Lay of Chairman Grassley’s staff at (202) 224-5225.

Note that to the best of my knowledge this is the first official confirmation from the US government that Christopher Steele himself provided the Trump Dossier to the FBI.

Note also that this is merely a request that the Justice Department and the FBI undertake an inquiry into certain of Steele’s actions.  It is in no sense a statement that Steele is guilty of any offence.

18 U.S.C. § 1001 – the provision in the US Code referred to in the letter – reads as follows

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—

(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;

(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or

(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;

shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both. If the matter relates to an offense under chapter 109A, 109B, 110, or 117, or section 1591, then the term of imprisonment imposed under this section shall be not more than 8 years.

(b) Subsection (a) does not apply to a party to a judicial proceeding, or that party’s counsel, for statements, representations, writings or documents submitted by such party or counsel to a judge or magistrate in that proceeding.

(c) With respect to any matter within the jurisdiction of the legislative branch, subsection (a) shall apply only to—

(1) administrative matters, including a claim for payment, a matter related to the procurement of property or services, personnel or employment practices, or support services, or a document required by law, rule, or regulation to be submitted to the Congress or any office or officer within the legislative branch; or

(2) any investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee, subcommittee, commission or office of the Congress, consistent with applicable rules of the House or Senate.

Given that the memorandum attached to the Senators’ letter is classified and has not been disclosed it is impossible to say what are the “statements” which Christopher Steele has made which are being referred to, or what the “significant inconsistencies” in those statements are, or why Grassley and Lindsey Graham think there may be grounds to suspect breaches of 18 U.S.C. § 1001.

Most are interpreting the Senators’ letter to mean that the Senators are saying that there are grounds to believe that Christopher Steele has misled the US authorities about his contacts with journalists.  Whilst that is the most likely interpretation of the letter, a careful study of the letter’s very careful wording does however leave open the possibility that the memorandum attached to the letter touches on the contents of the Trump Dossier

What suggests that the Senators may have concerns about the contents of the Trump Dossier are certain statements they have made following their sending of the letter.

Here is what Senator Grassley is reported to have said

I don’t take lightly making a referral for criminal investigation. But, as I would with any credible evidence of a crime unearthed in the course of our investigations, I feel obliged to pass that information along to the Justice Department for appropriate review.

Everyone needs to follow the law and be truthful in their interactions with the FBI.  If the same actions have different outcomes, and those differences seem to correspond to partisan political interests, then the public will naturally suspect that law enforcement decisions are not on the up-and-up.

“Maybe there is some innocent explanation for the inconsistencies we have seen, but it seems unlikely. In any event, it’s up to the Justice Department to figure that out.

Note that this comment appears to leave open the possibility that Steele may not have been fully truthful to the FBI.

Lying to the FBI is of course the offence for which Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos have been indicted.

Here is what Senator Lindsey Graham is reported to have said

After reviewing how Mr. Steele conducted himself in distributing information contained in the dossier and how many stop signs the DOJ ignored in its use of the dossier, I believe that a special counsel needs to review this matter

Lindsey Graham has previously made known his concern about the way the Trump Dossier has shaped the Russiagate inquiry, and he has all but confirmed that information drawn from the Trump Dossier was used to obtain from the FISA court surveillance warrants which made possible surveillance of members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 Presidential election.

Lindsey Graham’s comment following release of his and Senator Grassley’s letter to the Justice Department – specifically his words about the Justice Department “ignoring stop signs in its use of the Trump Dossier – suggests that it is concerns about the content of the Trump Dossier and the uses to which it was put which has at least in part triggered the Senators’ letter.

Needless to say the Democrats and others who believe or have a vested interest in the Russiagate conspiracy theory have reacted badly to Grassley’s and Lindsey Graham’s letter.

Dianne Feinstein, the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has issued this statement

I think this referral is unfortunate as it’s clearly another effort to deflect attention from what should be the committee’s top priority: determining whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the election and whether there was subsequent obstruction of justice.

I’ll continue to stand strong against any efforts to undermine Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, as well as the ongoing congressional investigations. Getting to the bottom of what happened remains a top priority for me, as I hope it does for everyone on the judiciary committee.

A lawyer for Fusion GPS – the firm which on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign commissioned the research which led to the Trump Dossier – has made this statement on behalf of his client

After a year of investigations into Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, the only person Republicans seek to accuse of wrongdoing is one who reported on these matters to law enforcement in the first place. Publicising a criminal referral based on classified information raises serious questions about whether this letter is nothing more than another attempt to discredit government sources, in the midst of an ongoing criminal investigation. We should all be skeptical in the extreme

The difficulty the Democrats and Fusion GPS face in dismissing the Senators’ letter is that neither Grassley nor Lindsey Graham are obvious Trump loyalists.

Grassley is a famously independent Senator who has no personal attachment to Donald Trump and who has no special reason to back him.  Here is what CNBC had to say about Grassley as recently as 4th January 2018

Grassley is not a Trump toady. First off, he took his time in his decision to eventually put the Trump judicial nominees on the fast track.

Second, Grassley handled another incident last month with a prudent level of independence. When Trump critics were rightfully questioning some of his judicial nominees who did poorly in their congressional confirmation hearings, Grassley didn’t rush to defend the nominations.

And he did clearly and publicly tell the White House to rescind the nominations of the two most egregiously embarrassing judicial nominees.

Those nominees did step aside, and there wasn’t a nasty Trump tweet or anything else in response. Grassley literally forced the Trump team to adjust course, and he did it without starting World War III.

What’s in it for Grassley? It’s hard to find anything. He was just re-elected in 2016 to his seventh term and he’s 84. He also comes fromIowa where the polls say President Trump’s support has very much eroded. That means his support for the president could make the next year or so a nightmare back home. Finally, the hint of disastrous scandal that swirls around the Trump team could stain Grassley’s reputation by association.

But all of the above just adds to Grassley’s value for the White House.

He doesn’t have to help Trump in these endeavors, but he is. He has more to lose than to gain, but he persists and now with the FBI scrutiny, he’s taking it to a new level.

As for Lindsey Graham, he is one of the most extreme anti-Russia hawks in the Senate and is an implacable opponent of Donald Trump’s wish for a rapprochement with Russia.  He was also until just a few months ago one of Donald Trump’s most trenchant Republican critics in Congress.  He was also someone who pulled out all the stops to prevent Donald Trump from winning the Republican nomination.  Here is one of his tweets from 3rd May 2016

In view of this, if people like Grassley and Lindsey Graham are saying that Steele has questions to answer then it defies logic to say that it is wrong for Christopher Steele to be asked those questions.

In saying this I of course admit that I have been a skeptic about the Trump Dossier all along.  On 11th January 2017 – immediately after it was published – I called it a clever fabrication.  On 31st March 2017 I said that its account of Russian government decision making was absurd.

The great mystery for me is how it came to pass that the FBI, the Justice Department, the US intelligence community, the Obama administration, many members of Congress, and most of the media, ever came to give any credence to this bizarre dossier.  That it took so long for its credibility even amongst Republicans to collapse frankly astonishes me.

In light of this the fact that there are now calls for Christopher Steele to be asked questions about his actions does not surprise me, and though I have no intention of anticipating the results of any inquiries into his actions I am not surprised that calls for such inquiries into his actions are now being made.

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BARR: No collusion by any Americans

Trump never used his powers to interfere with Mueller, and thus had no “corrupt intent” in the matter.

Alex Christoforou

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Attorney General Barr found no one in the Trump campaign colluded with “Russia” to meddle in the 2016 US election.

A devastating blow to Democrats and their mainstream media stenographers.

Trump reacted immediately…

Via RT…

With the full report on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into claims President Donald Trump colluded with Russia about to be released, Attorney General William Barr is giving a press conference about its findings.

Barr maintains the allegation that the Russian government made efforts to interfere in the election through the Internet Research Agency, an alleged Kremlin-control “troll farm”, as well as “hacking efforts” by the Russian intelligence agency GRU.

The bottom line, Barr says, is that Mueller has found Russia tried to interfere in the election, but “no American” helped it.

Barr explained the White House’s interaction with the Mueller report, whether Trump used executive privilege to block any of its contents from release, as well as on how the Justice Department chose which bits of the 400-page paper to redact.

On the matter of obstruction of justice, Barr said he and his deputy Rod Rosenstein have reviewed Mueller’s evidence and “legal theories”, and found that there is no evidence to show Trump tried to disrupt the investigation.

He said Trump never used his powers to interfere with Mueller, and thus had no “corrupt intent” in the matter.

Most of the redactions in the report were made to protect ongoing investigations and personal information of “peripheral third parties”.

Barr said that no-one outside the Justice Department took part in the redacting process or saw the unredacted version, except for the intelligence community, which was given access to parts of it to protect sources.

Trump did not ask to make any changes to Mueller’s report, Barr said.

Trump’s personal counsel was given access to the redacted report before its release.

A number of Trump-affiliated people, as well as Russian nationals, have been indicted, charged or put on trial by Mueller over the course of the past two years, but none for election-related conspiracy. Still, Democrats in Congress as well as numerous establishment media personalities have been insisting that Barr, a Trump pick for AG office, is somehow “spinning” its findings in order to protect and exonerate Trump, and are calling to see the full report as soon as possible.

They have equally condemned Barr’s decision to hold a news conference before the report is release, claiming he is trying to shape the public perception in Trump’s favor.

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Moscow’s Strategy: To Win Everywhere, Every Time

The main feature of Moscow’s approach is to find areas of common interest with its interlocutor and to favor the creation of trade or knowledge exchange.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Important events have occurred in the Middle East and North Africa in recent weeks that underline how the overall political reconfiguration of the region is in full swing. The Shia axis continues its diplomatic relations and, following Rouhani’s meeting in Baghdad, it was the turn of Adil Abdul-Mahdi to be received in Tehran by the highest government and religious authorities. Among the many statements released, two in particular reveal the high level of cooperation between the two countries, as well as demonstrating how the Shia axis is in full bloom, carrying significant prospects for the region. Abdul-Mahdi also reiterated that Iraq will not allow itself to be used as a platform from which to attack Iran: “Iraqi soil will not be allowed to be used by foreign troops to launch any attacks against Iran. The plan is to export electricity and gas for other countries in the region.”

Considering that these two countries were mortal enemies during Saddam Hussein’s time, their rapprochement is quite a (geo)political miracle, owing much of its success to Russia’s involvement in the region. The 4+1 coalition (Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria plus Hezbollah) and the anti-terrorism center in Baghdad came about as a result of Russia’s desire to coordinate all the allied parties in a single front. Russia’s military support of Syria, Iraq and Hezbollah (together with China’s economic support) has allowed Iran to begin to transform the region such that the Shia axis can effectively counteract the destabilizing chaos unleashed by the trio of the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

One of the gaps to be filled in the Shia axis lies in Lebanon, which has long experienced an internal conflict between the many religious and political currents in the country. The decision by Washington to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel pushed the Lebanese president, Michel Aoun, to make an important symbolic visit to Moscow to meet with President Putin.

Once again, the destabilizing efforts of the Saudis, Israelis and Americans are having the unintended effect of strengthening the Shia axis. It seems that this trio fails to understood how such acts as murdering Khashoggi, using civilian planes to hide behind in order to conduct bombing runs in Syria, recognizing the occupied territories like the Golan Heights – how these produce the opposite effects to the ones desired.

The supply of S-300 systems to Syria after the downing of the Russian reconnaissance plane took place as a result of Tel Aviv failing to think ahead and anticipate how Russia may respond.

What is surprising in Moscow’s actions is the versatility of its diplomacy, from the deployment of the S-300s in Syria, or the bombers in Iran, to the prompt meetings with Netanyahu in Moscow and Mohammad bin Salman at the G20. The ability of the Russian Federation to mediate and be present in almost every conflict on the globe restores to the country the international stature that is indispensable in counterbalancing the belligerence of the United States.

The main feature of Moscow’s approach is to find areas of common interest with its interlocutor and to favor the creation of trade or knowledge exchange. Another military and economic example can be found in a third axis; not the Shia or Saudi-Israeli-US one but the Turkish-Qatari one. In Syria, Erdogan started from positions that were exactly opposite to those of Putin and Assad. But with decisive military action and skilled diplomacy, the creation of the Astana format between Iran, Turkey and Russia made Turkey and Qatar publicly take the defense of Islamist takfiris and criminals in Idlib. Qatar for its part has a two-way connection with Turkey, but it is also in open conflict with the Saudi-Israeli axis, with the prospect of abandoning OPEC within a few weeks. This situation has allowed Moscow to open a series of negotiations with Doha on the topic of LNG, with these two players controlling most of the LNG on the planet. It is evident that also the Turkish-Qatari axis is strongly conditioned by Moscow and by the potential military agreements between Turkey and Russia (sale of S-400) and economic and energy agreements between Moscow and Doha.

America’s actions in the region risks combining the Qatari-Turkish front with the Shia axis, again thanks to Moscow’s skilful diplomatic work. The recent sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, together with the withdrawal from the JCPOA (the Iranian nuclear agreement), has created concern and bewilderment in the region and among Washington’s allies. The act of recognizing the occupied Golan Heights as belonging to Israel has brought together the Arab world as few events have done in recent times. Added to this, Trump’s open complaints about OPEC’s high pricing of oil has forced Riyadh to start wondering out aloud whether to start selling oil in a currency other than the dollar. This rumination was quickly denied, but it had already been aired. Such a decision would have grave implications for the petrodollar and most of the financial and economic power of the United States.

If the Shia axis, with Russian protection, is strengthened throughout the Middle East, the Saudi-Israel-American triad loses momentum and falls apart, as seen in Libya, with Haftar now one step closer in unifying the country thanks to the support of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, France and Russia, with Fayez al-Sarraj now abandoned by the Italians and Americans awaiting his final defeat.

While the globe continues its multipolar transformation, the delicate balancing role played by Russia in the Middle East and North Africa is emphasized. The Venezuelan foreign minister’s recent visit to Syria shows how the front opposed to US imperialist bullying is not confined to the Middle East, with countries in direct or indirect conflict with Washington gathering together under the same protective Sino-Russian umbrella.

Trump’s “America First” policy, coupled with the conviction of American exceptionalism, is driving international relations towards two poles rather than multipolar ones, pushing China, Russia and all other countries opposed to the US to unite in order to collectively resist US diktats.

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Nigel Farage stuns political elite, as Brexit Party and UKIP surge in polls (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 144.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party’s stunning rise in the latest UK polls, which show Tory support splintering and collapsing to new lows. Theresa May’s Brexit debacle has all but destroyed the Conservative party, which is now seeing voters turn to UKIP and The Brexit Party.

Corbyn’s Labour Party is not finding much favor from UK voters either, as anger over how Britain’s two main parties conspired to sell out the country to EU globalists, is now being voiced in various polling data ahead of EU Parliament elections.

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Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk:


The Guardian reports Tories Hit by New Defections and Slump in Opinion Polls as Party Divide Widens.

The bitter fallout from Brexit is threatening to break the Tory party apart, as a Europhile former cabinet minister Stephen Dorrell on Sunday announces he is defecting to the independent MPs’ group Change UK, and a new opinion poll shows Conservative support plummeting to a five-year low as anti-EU parties surge.

The latest defections come as a new Opinium poll for the Observer shows a dramatic fall in Tory support in the past two weeks and a surge for anti-EU parties. The Conservatives have fallen by six percentage points to 29% compared to a fortnight ago. It is their worst position since December 2014. Labour is up one point on 36% while Ukip is up two points on 11%.

Even more alarmingly for the Tories, their prospects for the European elections appear dire. Only 17% of those certain to vote said they would choose the Conservatives in the European poll, while 29% would back Labour, and 25% either Ukip (13%) or Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party (12%).

YouGov Poll

A more recent YouGov Poll looks even worse for the Tories

In the YouGov poll, UKIP and BREX total 29%.

Polls Volatile

Eurointellingence has these thoughts on the polls.

We have noted before that classic opinion polls at a time like this are next to useless. But we found an interesting constituency-level poll, by Electoral Calculus, showing for the first time that Labour would get enough constituency MPs to form a minority government with the support of the SNP. This is a shift from previous such exercises, which predicted a continuation of the status quo with the Tories still in command.

This latest poll, too, is subject to our observation of massively intruding volatility. It says that some of the Tory’s most prominent MPs would be at risk, including Amber Rudd and Iain Duncan-Smith. And we agree with the bottom-line analysis of John Curtice, the pollster, who said the abrupt fall in support for Tories is due entirely to their failure to have delivered Brexit on time.

The Tories are facing two electoral tests in May – local elections on May 2 and European elections on May 23. Early polls are show Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party shooting up, taking votes away from the Tories. If European elections were held, we would expect the Brexit party to come ahead of the Tories. Labour is rock-solid in the polls, but Labour unity is at risk as the pro-referendum supporters want Jeremy Corbyn to put the second referendum on the party’s manifesto.

Tory Labour Talks

The Tory/Labour talks on a compromise have stalled, but are set to continue next week with three working groups: on security, on environmental protection, and on workers’ rights. A separate meeting is scheduled between Philip Hammond and John McDonnell, the chancellor and shadow chancellor. The big outstanding issue is the customs union. Theresa May has not yet moved on this one. We noted David Liddington, the effective deputy prime minister, saying that the minimum outcome of the talks would be an agreed and binding decision-making procedure to flush out all options but one in a series of parliamentary votes.

May’s task is to get at least half of her party on board for a compromise. What makes a deal attractive to the Tories is that May would resign soon afterwards, giving enough time for the Tory conference in October to select a successor before possible elections in early 2020.

This relative alignment of interests is why we would not rule out a deal – either on an agreed joint future relationship, or at least on a method to deliver an outcome.

Customs Union

A customs union, depending on how it is structured, would likely be worse than remaining. The UK would have to abide by all the EU rules and regulations without having any say.

Effectively, it will not be delivering Brexit.

Perhaps May’s deal has a resurrection.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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