On November 8, 2016, Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States. This presented an immediate problem for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Department of Justice and the other agencies connected to “Brennan’s Working Group”. They were all participants in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, and their boss’s boss’s boss was going to be the man they were investigating. It also presented problems for Christopher Steele.
In December 2016, Randall Coleman resigned from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Between December 4–10, 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Headquarters informed their New York Field Office to continue its investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
On December 5, 2016, Bruce Ohr was interviewed by agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“That did not stop F.B.I. agents from collecting coveted information from Mr. Steele. While the F.B.I. could no longer consider him a confidential informant, former officials said, agents eager to assess the dossier as part of their counterintelligence investigation into links between Trump associates and Russia’s election interference could still document what he was telling a third party — Mr. Ohr.
And when Mr. Ohr approached the F.B.I. about his relationship with Mr. Steele, bureau officials saw an opportunity.
Mr. Ohr met with Mr. Steele almost a dozen times beginning in late 2016 through May 2017, according to congressional officials. F.B.I. agents interviewed Mr. Ohr after the meetings and documented the information.” — The New York Times
Between December 5–10, 2016, the House Intelligence Committee viewed a classified letter in a secure meeting room written by Senate colleagues surrounding the Central Intelligence Agency’s assessment of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 United States Presidential election. The viewing was held by a member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s counterintelligence team. The meeting lasted for two hours.
On December 6, 2016, Sally Moyer texted her boyfriend that she was frustrated about having to be on call for President-elect Trump’s inauguration due to her own personal hatred for him.
On December 9, 2016, Senator John McCain passed the Steele memos over to Director Comey directly, having received it from David Kramer, who in turn received it from Glenn Simpson. On the same day, President Obama requested for a review to be carried out by the American intelligence agencies on Russian interference in United States elections from 2008 onward. Bruce Ohr also met Glenn Simpson for coffee, where Simpson handed Bruce a thumb drive.
On the same day, Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller — with contributions from Julie Tate — published the article “Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House” in The Washington Post. Meanwhile, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane published the article “Russian Hackers Acted to Aid Trump in Election, U.S. Says” in The New York Times.
The next day, on December 10, 2016, Adam Entous and Ellen Nakashima — with contributions from Julie Tate — published the article “FBI and CIA give differing accounts to lawmakers on Russia’s motives in 2016 hacks” in The Washington Post.
A reporter also sent an e-mail to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where they asked whether the organisation agreed with the conclusion that Russia assisted President-elect Trump with his victory. The e-mail was responded to by Special Agent Peter Strzok.
On December 12, 2016, Bruce Ohr was interviewed again by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Bruce also received a forwarded e-mail from Glenn Simpson, which led to the two speaking over the phone. Representative Devin Nunes also sent a letter to Director Comey, Director Brennan, Director Clapper and Director Vincent Stewart about their conflicting statements about the Russian cyber attacks.
On December 13, 2016, Director Comey — alongside others — declined to brief the House Intelligence Committee on their conflicting assessments of the Russian cyber attacks. Meanwhile, Special Agent Strzok and Lisa Page sent each other their final texts as they would no longer be officially collected by the internal system.
On December 15, 2016, Special Agent Strzok and Lisa Page texted each other that one of the sister intelligence agencies was leaking information to the mainstream media for political reasons. The two also discussed adding classified information to the Assessment, as they wondered if it would be declassified. The same day, John Podesta published the article “John Podesta: Something is deeply broken at the FBI” in The Washington Post.
In mid-December 2016, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe attended a Situation Room meeting with Director James Clapper, Director John Brennan and Secretary John Kerry, which was hosted by Susan Rice. The attendees discussed ‘heavy, medium and light’ plans to retaliate against the Russian Government for their interference in the presidential election.
On December 16, 2016, Special Agent Strzok texted Lisa Page about the article “FBI in agreement with CIA that Russia aimed to help Trump win White House” in The Washington Post, as he lamented that the Central Intelligence Agency was more successful at leaking stories to benefit them than the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Meanwhile, two agents texted each other that something would be followed up on December 18.
On Sunday, December 18, 2016, Attorney General Loretta Lynch was interviewed by Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union”, where she said she regretted her tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton. At the same time, John Podesta was interviewed by Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press”, where he said he had not been contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation since October 9, 2016.
Two agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation then texted each other about another person’s future trip to London, with a topic expected to come up during the visit. Special Agent Strzok and Lisa Page, meanwhile, discussed the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s contributions to the Intelligence Assessment on Russian interference.
The next day, on December 19, 2016, Special Agent Strzok and Lisa Page texted each other about the impact of their actions on the world stage and how many stories they had influenced, while Special Agent Strzok wanted to grab a drink as he reflected on whether or not he could have handled things differently during the presidential election.
On December 20, 2016, Bruce was again interviewed by agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Special Agent Strzok then texted Lisa Page that an agent had met with Bruce and acquired more information for the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
On December 28, 2016, President Obama signed Executive Order 13757, which authorised sanctions on Russia in response to their interference in the presidential election.
On December 30, 2016, intelligence analysts were confused as to why President Vladimir Putin had not responded to the sanctions placed upon Russia by the United States Government, which led to the discovery of the communications between Michael Flynn and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
In late December 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation started to review the intercepted communications of Michael Flynn and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, although they could find zero evidence of wrongdoing.
In January 2017, the legal team of Julian Assange approached Adam Waldman to discuss negotiations with the Trump Administration.
In early January 2017, Waldman and Bruce Ohr discussed via telephone and encrypted text messages the topic of Assange. In the meantime, Waldman himself met with Assange on three different occasions throughout the month.
On January 3, 2017, Attorney General Lynch signed off “Procedures For the Availability or Dissemination of Raw Signals Intelligence Information By the National Security Agency Under Section 2.3 of Executive Order 12333 (Raw SIGINT Availability Procedures)”.
Special Agent Strzok also texted Lisa Page about Bill Priestap’s reluctance to provide information to Director Clapper, who would then provide the information to the White House. Two agents also texted each other about one of them bumping into Deputy Director McCabe in the garage, as well as preparation to frame a case in a specific way at a future meeting on January 6, 2017.
On January 4, 2017, Ali Watkins published the article “The FBI Never Asked For Access To Hacked Computer Servers” in BuzzFeed News, as Flynn informed Donald McGahn that he was under federal investigation for Flynn Intel Group’s contract with Inovo BV.
On January 5, 2017, Director Comey, Director Brennan, Director Michael Rogers and Director Clapper visited the Oval Office to brief President Obama on the Intelligence Community Assessment and the 2-page summary of the Steele dossier, which was presented by Director Comey. President Obama asked which person would brief President-elect Trump on the Steele memos, which Director Comey said he would do.
After the initial Oval Office meeting, Director Comey stayed behind and met with President Obama, Susan Rice, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and Vice President Joe Biden, where they discussed a federal investigation to be done ‘by the book’ and whether the White House should share certain information with the Trump transition team due to the Russian interference, especially in the case of Flynn, who was under his third federal investigation for his calls with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Secretary Jeh Johnson then contacted Director Comey via telephone, who warned Director Comey to be careful when talking with President-elect Trump.
On January 6, 2017, Director Comey, Director Brennan, Director Rogers and Director Clapper visited Trump Tower in New York, where they met with and briefed President-elect Trump, Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus and the national security team on the Intelligence Assessment.
After the briefing had been completed, Director Comey and President-elect Trump met one-on-one, where Director Comey briefed him on the 2-page summary of the Steele memos, focusing on the ‘golden shower’ accusations within. During this conversation, President-elect Trump informed Director Comey that he wanted him to remain as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In response, Director Comey wrote a memo about his interactions with President-elect Trump.
On January 7, 2017, Director Comey sent an e-mail to Deputy Director McCabe, James A. Baker and James Rybicki with his memo from his meeting with President-elect Trump the day before.
On January 10, 2017, Ken Bensinger, Miriam Elder and Mark Schoofs published the article “These Reports Allege Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia” in BuzzFeed News, which revealed the Steele dossier to the world after Bensinger had taken photographs of it during a meeting with David Kramer on December 29, 2016.
Special Agent Strzok then texted Lisa Page as he watched CNN with Bill Priestap, as he decided to use the dossier as a pretext to interview people. Special Agent Strzok also noted that they had three versions of the memos — David Corn’s, John McCain’s and Glenn Simpson’s — and said that the BuzzFeed News release matched the McCain version.
The same day, Director Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, where he revealed that the Democratic National Committee had refused the Federal Bureau of Investigation access to their computer servers.
On January 11, 2017, President-elect Trump contacted Director Comey via telephone to deny the allegations within the Steele memos and explain the events of Miss Universe 2013. Meanwhile, Attorney General Lynch attended a ceremony at the United States Department of Justice to celebrate her upcoming departure as Attorney General of the United States.
The day after, on January 12, 2017, Attorney General Lynch signed off “Central Intelligence Agency Intelligence Activities: Procedures Approved by the Attorney General Pursuant to Executive Order 12333”. Intelligence officials also briefed the United States Senate on the 2-page synopsis of the Steele dossier.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz, meanwhile, opened an investigation into the conduct of the United States Department of Justice. The Obama Administration then announced a change to the rules for the National Security Agency, which allowed the sharing of private information between the other intelligence agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
David Ignatius also published the article “Why did Obama dawdle on Russia hacking?” in The Washington Post, which featured a quote from a senior United States government official that revealed the existence of the calls between Michael Flynn and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Separately, Waldman visited Assange at the Ecuadorean Embassy, then texted Bruce to arrange a meeting between the two of them.
On January 13, 2017, Katie Giblin sent an e-mail to all Inspector Generals and suggested they should expect to be replaced, although McGahn reached out to Inspector General Horowitz directly. Lisa Page and an agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation texted each other, as the agent had been in touch with the Central Intelligence Agency and wanted to speak with Lisa, Baker and Deputy Director McCabe. Waldman also visited Assange for a second time at the Ecuadorean Embassy, while Special Agent Strzok started to contact identified sources related to the Steele dossier.
Meanwhile, Director Comey and other intelligence chiefs sat with House Democrats, including Representative Nancy Pelosi, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Representative Jerrold Nadler and Representative Adam Schiff, behind close doors to discuss Russian cyber attacks, which led to House Democrats confronting Director Comey about his actions during the final months of the 2016 United States Presidential election. Representative Wasserman Schultz questioned why Director Comey never contacted her about Russian intrusions.
On January 15, 2017, Attorney General Lynch delivered her final speech at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL. Meanwhile, Reince Priebus, during an interview with Chuck Todd on ANC News’s “This Week”, said that President-elect Trump had no intention to remove Director Comey from his position.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: “We just heard Bernie Sanders say he thinks that FBI Director James Comey should think about stepping down. President-elect Trump was very tough on the FBI director during the campaign, said he disagreed with his final decision on Hillary Clinton, repeated again this week that he thinks Hillary Clinton was guilty as hell. Does he have confidence in FBI Director Comey?”
REINCE PRIEBUS: “Yes, he has confidence in Director Comey. We have had a great relationship with him over the last several weeks. He’s extremely competent. But, look, his term extends for some time yet. There’s no plans at the moment in changing that term. And we’ve enjoyed our relationship with him and find him to be extraordinarily competent.”
A few days later, on January 18, 2017, Director Comey held a conference call with a number of Special Agents-In-Charge at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where he informed them that President-elect Trump had no intention of removing him from his position. At the same time, Peter Stone and Greg Gordon published the article “FBI, 5 other agencies probe possible covert Kremlin aid to Trump” in McClatchy.
On January 19, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Yates, Director Brennan, Director Clapper and Director Comey discussed plans on how to inform the incoming Trump Administration about the calls between Michael Flynn and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, which were under federal investigation. They attempted to decide on which person to inform: Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Donald McGahn, Reince Priebus or President-elect Trump himself. However, Director Comey was against informing any of them about the calls.
“The internal debate over how to handle the intelligence on Flynn and Kislyak came to a head on Jan. 19, Obama’s last full day in office.
Yates, Clapper and Brennan argued for briefing the incoming administration so the new president could decide how to deal with the matter. The officials discussed options, including telling Pence, the incoming White House counsel, the incoming chief of staff or Trump himself.
FBI Director James B. Comey initially opposed notification, citing concerns that it could complicate the agency’s investigation.” — The New York Times
On the same day, Lisa Page texted Special Agent Strzok the article “To Obama With Love, and Hate, and Desperation”, which was published in The New York Times on January 17, where she mentioned her internship under President Clinton in the mail room. She then texted Special Agent Strzok about a different New York Times article which frustrated her about a topic which needed to stop.
This was because Michael S. Schmidt, Matthew Rosenberg, Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo — with contributions from Jonathan Martin — had published the article “Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates” in The New York Times.
The next day, on January 20, 2017, the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, Special Agent Strzok texted Lisa Page about the article “Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates” and said that the article would undermine the investigation. Meanwhile, Glenn Simpson reached out to Bruce Ohr and requested for him to contact him.
Donald John Trump was then inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States.
After January 20, 2017, Senator Mark Warner and another Democrat Senator who had reviewed the information gathered by bipartisan computer scientist organisation about the connection between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank servers passed the information to the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for review. The Central Intelligence Agency then pushed for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate further.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation — alongside the Central Intelligence Agency and lawyers from the White House — then reviewed the potential new security clearance for Michael Flynn, who had been selected as the next National Security Adviser by President Trump.
On January 22, 2017, President Trump announced an event honouring law enforcement officials at the Blue Room in the White House, where he met Director Comey for a second time. Carol E. Lee, Devlin Barrett and Shane Harris — with contributions from Paul Sonne and Damian Paletta —also published the article “ U.S. Eyes Michael Flynn’s Links to Russia” in The Wall Street Journal.
On January 23, 2017, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller published the article “FBI reviewed Flynn’s calls with Russian ambassador but found nothing illicit” in The Washington Post. Bruce Ohr was again interviewed by agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
At his first press briefing, Sean Spicer informed the press that Flynn’s conversations with Ambassador Kislyak touched on four different subjects but not sanctions, which was noticed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Justice.
Acting Attorney General Sally Yates contacted Director Comey to discuss Spicer’s comments about Flynn and Ambassador Kislyak, where they both agreed to inform Donald McGahn of the intercepted communications and the discussions between the two about sanctions.
Special Agent Strzok, meanwhile, texted Lisa Page amid concern that a plan they had developed could potentially fail and his confusion over the actions of Jennifer Boone and her department, the Counterproliferation Section. This was followed with a text link to Hope Hicks’ Wikipedia page.
INCOMING: “I can feel my heart beating harder, I’m so stressed out about all the ways this has the potential to go fully off the rails.”
OUTGOING: “I know. I just talked with John, we’re getting together as soon as I get in to finish that write up for Andy this morning. I reminded John about how I had told Bill and the entire group that we should wait 30 to 60 days after the inauguration to change how were managing this stuff. As it is, he went ahead, and everything is completely falling off the rails. I think our stuff is good on our cases, but I have no hope or understanding about what they’re doing on Jens side of the house [REDACTED]”.
The next day, on January 24, 2017, Deputy Director McCabe contacted a scheduler to arrange an interview for Special Agents Strzok and Joe Pientka with Flynn in the White House, under orders from Director Comey. The two special agents then interviewed Flynn about his conversations with Ambassador Kislyak.
Michael S. Schmidt and Adam Goldman then published the article “Trump Is Said to Keep James Comey as F.B.I. Director” in The New York Times.
Between January 24–27, 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigation submitted a renewal application for Carter Page’s October 2016 FISA to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
On January 25, 2017, Bruce Ohr was again interviewed by agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. At the same time, Bruce texted Christopher Steele and set up an encrypted conversation to contact each other, then arranged to have further contact the next day.
At the same time, an unknown person attempted to withdraw $150,000.00 from the account of the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, but the withdrawal was blocked by Citibank. The United States Department of the Treasury then passed the information onto the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
On January 26, 2017, Acting Attorney General Yates informed McGahn and James Burnham of the conversations between Flynn and Ambassador Kislyak, and said that Flynn had lied about them and that he could be subject to blackmail. McGahn then briefed President Trump, Bannon and Priebus on his conversation with Acting Attorney General Yates and the situation surrounding Flynn.
On January 27, 2017, George Papadopoulos — with his mother, Kiki, in attendance — was interviewed by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation at his house, where one topic of discussion was Joseph Mifsud. During the interview, Papadopoulos lied about his interactions with the Russian contacts. Papadopoulos also applied on the day for the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary in the United States Department of Energy.
Meanwhile, Representative Jason Chaffetz sent a letter to Director Comey, where he requested information about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s utilisation of Datto, Inc.’s storage node. At the Federal Bureau of Investigation itself, Bruce Ohr was once again interviewed by agents, while Special Agent Strzok texted Lisa Page the article “Russian Charged With Treason Worked in Office Linked to Election Hacking” in The New York Times.
In the evening, President Trump had a one-on-one dinner with Director Comey. During the conversation, Director Comey informed the President that he was not the target of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
On January 28, 2017, Director Comey wrote another memo, this time about his one-on-one dinner with President Trump from the day before.
On Monday, January 30, 2017, President Trump fired Acting Attorney General Yates from her position after she refused to implement the travel ban. Andrew Weissmann sent an e-mail to Acting Attorney General Yates, where he thanked her for her resistance against the President, while Mary McCord sent an e-mail to both her and Matthew Axelrod as she requested a call. At 02:57 P.M., Acting Attorney General Yates sent herself an e-mail which contained a letter document.
The next day, on January 31, 2017, Steele and Bruce texted each other about the dismissal of Sally Yates, while they also discussed ‘their guy’ who Steele wanted to prevent from returning home. Steele also requested a new contact point at the Federal Bureau of Investigation for him to use.
In February 2017, Carl Ghattas was promoted to the position of Executive Assistant Director of the National Security Branch at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Washington Field Office, while George Papadopoulos retained counsel and spoke with agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation again. A number of other agents also found Joseph Mifsud in Washington, DC.
Around this time, agents at the Counterintelligence Department of the Federal Bureau of Investigation also met with Hope Hicks for the first time in the White House Situation Room, as apparently Hope had received e-mails which may have been part of a Russian intelligence operation. Hope pressed for more information about the Russian intelligence efforts to reach out to her.
A few days later, a senior agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation spoke with Hope and provided her with numerous names of Russian individuals who had contacted her that had fallen onto the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s radar. Hope then informed McGahn of the meetings afterwards.
“After he took office, senior F.B.I. counterintelligence agents met with Ms. Hicks in the White House Situation Room at least twice, gave her the names of the Russians who had contacted her, and said that they were not who they claimed to be. The F.B.I. was concerned that the emails to Ms. Hicks may have been part of a Russian intelligence operation, and they urged Ms. Hicks to be cautious.” — The New York Times
On February 3, 2017, Waldman met with Bruce Ohr in Washington, DC. Waldman also contacted David Laufman, where they discussed a potential deal for Julian Assange’s arrival in the United States, which included a one-way passage to leave the Ecuadorean Embassy. An agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation also texted: “Nothing like a 4:00 am email that British [REDACTED] needs to talk urgently. I’m on the road in 10….”
Two days later, on February 6, 2017, Bruce Ohr was — yet again — interviewed by agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, while WikiLeaks tweeted: “When is #Vault7?” Special Agent Strzok and Lisa Page texted each other about numerous topics, including Boone’s Counterproliferation Section’s control over a country that concerned Special Agent Strzok, the Trump Administration’s new politics towards said country, and a meeting scheduled about it by Deputy Director McCabe.
On February 7, 2017, WikiLeaks tweeted: “Who is #Vault7?”, which included pictures of Assange, Snowden and Manning. Meanwhile, an agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation texted another and asked about a conversation recently held with Boone.
On February 8, 2017, Harold T. Martin was indicted by the United States Department of Justice for wilful retention of national defence information, which was announced by Attorney Rod Rosenstein, Mary McCord and Special Agent-In-Charge Gordon B. Johnson.
James Rybicki sent an e-mail to Director Comey for him to contact [REDACTED] at 06:45 P.M. on behalf of Senator Warner. Director Comey responded and asked whether Director Comey himself had requested to set up the call, while he also said that he met with President Trump in the Oval Office and would be writing another memo. Rybicki then told Director Comey it was at the request of Senator Warner, while Director Comey informed Rybicki that he had spoken with Flynn in the lobby of the White House.
Two agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation then texted each other, where one of them had heard from [REDACTED] that they went to Flynn’s office but were unable to gain something.
On February 9, 2017, Moyer texted her boyfriend, Special Agent [REDACTED], about her hatred of President Trump, as she said she would refuse a Presidential Award For Public Service should be offer one to her. At the same time, the Federal Bureau of Investigation concluded a database check on Steele in relation to the Human Source Validation Report. WikiLeaks also tweeted: “How did #Vault7 make its way to WikiLeaks?”
The next day, on February 10, 2017, Steele and Bruce texted each other to arrange a conversation over FaceTime for the next day. Elsewhere, Jim Sciutto and Evan Perez — with contributions from Pamela Brown and Marshall Cohen — published the article “US investigators corroborate some aspects of the Russian dossier” in CNN.
Around this time, Deputy Director McCabe gathered over a dozen officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, invite-only, where he said: “Fuck Flynn and then we fuck Trump”.
“Mere days before Gen. Michael Flynn was sacked as national security adviser, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe gathered more than a dozen of his top FBI disciples to plot how to ruin Flynn’s aspiring political career and manufacture evidence to derail President Donald Trump, according to FBI sources.
McCabe, the second highest ranking official, emphatically declared at the invite-only gathering with raised voice: ‘Fuck Flynn and then we Fuck Trump,’according to direct sources. Many of his top lieutenants applauded and cheered such rhetoric. A scattered few did not.” — True Pundit
On Monday, February 13, 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s leadership and Special Agents-In-Charge engaged in a video teleconference where they discussed Flynn, where one executive suggested that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had a personal motive to ruin Flynn and his career. Meanwhile, Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Philip Rucker — with contributions from Karen DeYoung and Greg Miller — published the article “Justice Department warned White House that Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail, officials say” in The Washington Post.
“Three FBI employees told Circa they personally witnessed McCabe make disparaging remarks about Flynn before and during the time the retired Army general emerged as a figure in the Russia case.
The bureau employees, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said they did not know the reason for McCabe’s displeasure with Flynn, but that it made them uncomfortable as the Russia probe began to unfold and pressure built to investigate Flynn. One employee even consulted a private lawyer.
‘As far as the troops in the field, the vast-majority were disgusted with the Russia decision, but that was McCabe driving the result that eventually led [former FBI Director James] Comey to make the decision,’ said a senior federal law enforcement official, with direct knowledge of the investigation.
FBI agents’ concerns became more pronounced when a highly-classified piece of evidence — an intercepted conversation between Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak — suddenly leaked to the news media and prompted Flynn’s resignation as Trump’s top security adviser.
‘The Flynn leaks were nothing short of political,’ one FBI employee said, noting the specific contents of the conversation were known by only a handful of government officials when they leaked. ‘The leaks appeared to be targeted to take Flynn out.’” — Sara Carter and John Solomon, Circa
“He said he also had talked to another whistleblower who witnessed a video teleconference last February between bureau leadership and their special agents in charge on the day former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned over lying to Vice President Pence over his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.
Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday to making false statements to the FBI.
DeSantis said the person he spoke with said a senior FBI executive made an inappropriate comment suggesting the bureau had a personal motive in investigating Flynn and ruining his career. DeSantis wants the FBI to tell him if the videotape was saved.” — John Solomon, The Hill
On February 14, 2017, Bruce Ohr was interviewed by agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation once again. Meanwhile, Special Agent Strzok texted Lisa Page about the article “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence” written by Michael S. Schmidt, Mark Mazetti and Matt Apuzzo in The New York Times, where he said that Michael Kortan ran through Director Comey’s thinking / narrative on the article.
Peter Baker, Glenn Thrush, Maggie Haberman, Adam Goldman and Julie Hirschfeld Davis — with contributions from Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt — then published “Flynn’s Downfall Sprang From ‘Eroding Levels of Trust’” in The New York Times, which Special Agent Strzok and Lisa Page also texted each other about.
PETER STRZOK: “Bottom line Mike ran through boss’ thinking/timeline/narrative on this. Bunch of additional detail (redacted) has etc”
LISA PAGE: “K. Did you mention my attendance to kortan?”
PETER STRZOK: “Not to Mike, he had left. The guys left seemed to think no, said Mike was going to talk to you.”
Special Agent Strzok and Lisa Page also texted each other to discuss moving forward with Flynn’s 302s.
PETER STRZOK: “Also, is Andy good with F 302?”
PETER STRZOK: “Fyi, have wrap at 345. Done at 430.”
LISA PAGE: “Launch on f 302.”
PETER STRZOK: “K thank you. Andy still leaving early?”
At the same time, the executive assistant for Senator Warner, Christina, texted Waldman to confirm that their numbers were connected, which was followed by a series of incoming and outgoing calls by Senator Warner and Waldman.
Meanwhile, President Trump, Vice President Pence, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Director Comey met with each other in the Oval Office at the White House for a terrorism threat briefing. After the briefing was completed, President Trump and Director Comey had a one-on-one meeting. After the meeting, Director Comey met with Attorney General Sessions. Director Comey followed this with the authorship of his fourth memo about the private meeting.
After February 14, 2017, Director Comey shared his memo about the private Oval Office with senior officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. However, Director Comey and the senior officials also decided to keep the information secret from the agents working the Russia investigation.
On February 15, 2017, Reince Priebus discussed with Deputy Director McCabe the article “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence” in The New York Times. After the conversation, Deputy Director McCabe contacted Priebus and informed him that the Federal Bureau of Investigation would not publish a statement to refute the report. Shortly after, Director Comey contacted Priebus via telephone, where he confirmed that no statement rebuttal would be released or leaked.
Elsewhere, Waldman texted Senator Warner about Assange’s attempts to speak with the United States Government.
On February 16, 2017, Evan Perez published the article “Flynn changed story to FBI, no charges expected” in CNN. Meanwhile, Waldman and Senator Warner shared texts that Assange would release devastating information that would affect the Democratic Party, former President Obama, the Central Intelligence Agency and national security. Later, Senator Warner contacted Director Comey with regards to Waldman’s offer for Assange to testify before he could release any devastating information that would affect United States national security.
A few days later, on February 23, 2017, Jim Sciutto, Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz, Manu Raju and Pamela Brown published the article “FBI refused White House request to knock down recent Trump-Russia stories” in CNN.
On Sunday, February 26, 2017, Senator Warner contacted Waldman via telephone to inform him that Director Comey had said to stand down on Assange. Waldman then contacted Laufman, who disagreed with Senator Warner and Director Comey’s stand down order.
The next day, on February 27, 2017, Special Agent Strzok and Lisa Page texted each other about the article “Former President George W. Bush Levels Tacit Criticism at Trump” in The New York Times, and reflected on how their actions have caused massive problems.
On February 28, 2017, Loretta Lynch was in a video posted by Senate Democrats.
LORETTA LYNCH: “I know that this is a time of great fear and uncertainty for so many people. I know it’s a time of concern for people who see our rights being assailed, being trampled on, and even being rolled back. I know that this is difficult, but I remind you that this has never been easy. We have always had to work to move this country forward to achieve the great ideals of our Founding Fathers. And it has been people, individuals who have banded together, ordinary people who simply saw what needed to be done and came together and supported those ideals, who have made the difference. They’ve marched, they’ve bled — yes, some of them have died. This is hard. Every good thing is. We have done this before; we can do this again.”
On March 1, 2017, Director Comey received a telephone call from the White House, which led to a conversation between Director Comey and President Trump. Director Comey then sent an e-mail to Rybicki about the telephone call with President Trump, where they had discussed Attorney General Sessions.
Attorney General Sessions, meanwhile, met with Inspector General Horowitz, with Jody Hunt in attendance. Special Agent Strzok and Lisa Page then texted each other about the release of an article by The New York Times and how the mainstream media looked to preserve their reputation, followed by discussion of a BBC News article which started with “Trump Russia”.
The next day, on March 2, 2017, Attorney General Sessions discussed his recusal issues in his conference room with Judy Hunt, Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente, Jim Crowell, Tashina Gauhar and Scott Schools. Attorney General Sessions then announced his recusal from the investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election.
On March 3, 2017, Waldman texted Senator Warner, where he said he had returned to Washington, DC and offered a chance to meet with himself, Jack and their wives, and somebody named “BB”. Meanwhile, President Trump started to formulate a plan to fight against the leak culture within the Trump Administration.
On March 4, 2017, President Trump tweeted: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Followed by: “Is it legal for a sitting President to be ‘wire tapping’ a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW” And finally: “I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!”
In response, Director Comey requested for the United States Department of Justice to publicly reject President Trump’s announcement that Trump Tower had been wiretapped in October 2016.
On March 5, 2017, Lisa Page and Special Agent Strzok texted about reading Twitter, as somebody was tweeting the hashtag “#FoxNews” recently.
On March 6, 2017, Senator Chuck Grassley sent a letter to Director Comey regarding the Steele dossier, the 302s, the actions of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and BuzzFeed News.
The next day, on March 7, 2017, Robert Kelner at Covington & Burling LLP sent a letter to Heather Hunt at the United States Department of Justice’s FARA Registration Unit to submit a Foreign Agents Registration Act registration and supplemental disclosure statement in relation to Flynn Intel Group and Flynn himself.
Meanwhile, WikiLeaks started to release Vault 7, which Waldman texted Senator Warner about with a link to the release. Steele, meanwhile, contacted Bruce via text about Senator Grassley’s letter, as he was concerned about compromising sources and the operations of Orbis Business Intelligence, and the two arranged a call. Steele also returned to work at Orbis Business Intelligence at the same time.
On March 8, 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency coordinated on an investigation into the release of Vault 7 by WikiLeaks. Senator Warner and Waldman texted each other about Vault 7’s release and their concerns for further leaks, while Waldman confirmed with Senator Warner’s Congressional office that dinner had been scheduled between the two of them for March 18, 2017.
On March 9, 2017, Pamela Brown and Jose Pagliery published the article “Sources: FBI investigation continues into ‘odd’ computer link between Russian bank and Trump Organization” in CNN. Waldman texted Senator Warner that the United States Department of Justice had reached out to him via telephone, which led to Senator Warner requesting Waldman to contact him.
Elsewhere, President Trump’s assistant left a voice mail message for Attorney Preet Bharara, who then spoke with Attorney General Sessions’ Chief of Staff about the call. Nigel Farage and Christian Mitchell visited Assange for 40 minutes at the Ecuadorean Embassy as part of an attempt to gain an interview for LBC Radio. Assange and WikiLeaks later hosted a press conference to discuss the Vault 7 leaks.
The next day, on March 10, 2017, Attorney General Sessions requested the resignations of 46 United States Attorneys at the same time that Acting Deputy Attorney General Boente contacted the United States Attorneys individually to inform them of the situation. However, President Trump declined the resignations of Deputy Attorney General Boente and Attorney Rosenstein.
Meanwhile, Tim Mekeel — with contributions from Tim Stuhldreher — published the article “FBI gets Lititz firm’s help in probe of Russian bank’s ‘odd’ interest in Trump Hotels marketing mails” in Lancaster Online. At the same time, Scott Glover, Pamela Brown and Shimon Prokupecz published the article “The super-secret division in charge of the Russia investigation” in CNN, which was a look at the counterintelligence department at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Waldman also texted Senator Warner to try and arrange a call for the day, and after an attempted phone call, Senator Warner asked to reschedule for the weekend.
On March 14, 2017, Mike Moore published the article “EXCLUSIVE: FBI’s Own Political Terror Plot; Deputy Director and FBI Brass Secretly Conspired to Wage Coup Against Flynn & Trump” in True Pundit.
On March 15, 2017, the indictments against Dmitry Dokuchaev, Igor Sushchin, Alexsey Belan and Karim Baratov for hacking Yahoo! and millions of e-mail accounts in 2014 were announced by Attorney General Sessions, Director Comey, Mary McCord, Brian Stretch and Paul Abbate.
Meanwhile, a complaint was passed to the Inspection Division at the Federal Bureau of Investigation with regards to a media leak which involved a statement overheard in early February 2017 from the executive management, which featured comments made by Deputy Director McCabe about Flynn and President Trump.
“BREAKING: McCabe, who’s under grand jury investigation for lying about leaking, in early 2017 ordered FBI’s Inspection Div to open internal probe into who leaked to Sara Carter & John Solomon at Circa News that McCabe had made disparaging remarks about Gen. Flynn in staff meetings.” — Paul Sperry, March 8, 2019
Ali Watkins also published the article “Former Top Trump Aide Mike Flynn Was Investigated By The FBI, Source Says” in BuzzFeed News, while Representatives Schiff and Nunes sent a letter to Director Comey, Director Rogers and Director Mike Pompeo to request information on leaks of classified information and potential unmasking of American citizens to be collected by March 17, 2017.
Waldman also received a text from Daniel J. Jones, at the request of Steele, where he requested to meet. Two agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation texted each other about a product they had written for Senators Lindsey Graham and Sheldon Whitehouse two nights previous on March 13, 2017, which had not been sent to them.
In mid-March 2017, Waldman sent an e-mail to Laufman about Waldman’s conversation with Assange about the potential deal placed forward by the intelligence community in February 2017.
On March 16, 2017, Waldman met with Jones, where the two discussed the Democracy Integrity Project, Fusion GPS and the funding behind the two. Waldman and Senator Warner then texted each other, as Waldman wanted to arrange a call on Steele’s request.
The next day, on March 17, 2017, Special Agent Strzok texted Lisa Page that employees on Capitol Hill were leaking information to The Washington Post in preparation for Director Comey’s testimony on March 20. Senator Warner also visited a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, which he texted Waldman about as the two tried to arrange a telephone call with each other.
After March 17, 2017, Special Agent Strzok texted Lisa Page about the leak investigation being carried out by Attorney General Sessions, as he wanted the investigation to focus on people within the White House and the United States Department of Justice over the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“In the text, Steele writes Ohr, ‘Hi! Just wondering if you had any news? Obviously, we’re a bit apprehensive given scheduled appearance at Congress on Monday. Hoping that important firewalls will hold. Many thanks.’
Ohr writes back later that day, saying ‘Sorry, no new news. I believe my earlier information is still accurate. I will let you know immediately if there is any change.’” — Sara Carter
On March 20, 2017, Director Comey and Director Rogers testified before the House Intelligence Committee. During the testimonies, Representative Nunes requested for anybody with evidence of wiretapping or surveillance of President Trump’s campaign team should speak with the Committee.
A letter was also sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation by Senators Patrick Leahy and Al Franken, where they requested an investigation into Attorney General Sessions. Upon receipt of this letter, Deputy Attorney General McCabe authorised a federal criminal investigation into Attorney General Sessions.
Meanwhile, Peter Stone and Greg Gordon published the article “FBI’s Russian-influence probe includes a look at Breitbart, InfoWars news sites” in McClatchy, which was worked on by Penn Quarter Group. Senator Warner, meanwhile, texted Waldman to arrange a telephone call for the day after, as he wanted to speak with Steele. Waldman — then in Germany — contacted Steele.
On March 21, 2017, Senator Warner and Waldman attempted to have a call again, but Waldman being in Germany at the time made this difficult, although Waldman informed Senator Warner that he had spoken with Steele the day before.
The next day, on March 22, 2017, Senator Warner and Waldman again tried to reach each other, as Senator Warner prepared to deliver a speech. Senator Warner then texted to Waldman: “We have so much to discuss u need to be careful but we can help our country”.
On March 23, 2017, Kevin G. Hall and Tim Johnson published the article “Russian techie says the FBI still hasn’t called, and now he’s back in the news” in McClatchy. Senator Warner and Waldman then texted each other to arrange a trip, where Senator Warner requested Waldman reach out to the Senator’s scheduler so that they can discuss Paul Manafort.
On Friday, March 24, 2017, Waldman agreed to speak with the scheduler, and requested Senator Warner have the scheduler contact him.
On March 25, 2017, Senator Warner texted Waldman and suggested that they needed to speak, with Waldman agreeing to have a conversation. Waldman then provided Oleg Deripaska’s schedule, where he said Deripaska would be in London, England from March 27–30, 2017, and that a meeting could be scheduled between Senator Warner and Deripaska.
On March 26, 2017, Waldman texted Senator Warner about a potential idea, when Senator Warner texted back to arrange a call after he completed his interview with NBC News‘s “Meet the Press”. Senator Warner then contacted Waldman via telephone, then Waldman attempted to contact Senator Warner back but the call was missed. Waldman confirmed he was in London, England.
In late March 2017, Waldman visited Assange twice at the Ecuadorean Embassy.
On Monday, March 27, 2017, Waldman texted Senator Warner, where he awaited a call from Senator Warner’s scheduler and a letter for Steele, with another issue that Waldman wanted to raise. At the same time, Deripaska arrived in London.
Elsewhere, Director Comey met with Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes for a lunch meeting at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Headquarters in Director Comey’s office, where they discussed the independence of Rod Rosenstein.
On March 28, 2017, Waldman texted Laufman about Assange to arrange a discussion with the United States Government surrounding the topic of Vault 7 and WikiLeaks. At the same time, Jones was interviewed by agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where he discussed Penn Quarter Group’s role and how it would assist the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the mainstream media and Capitol Hill.
On March 29, 2017, Ken Dilanian published the article “Senate Intel Committee May Interview Ex-UK Spy Christopher Steele” in NBC News.
Meanwhile, Senator Warner and Waldman texted each other about Steele’s desire to have a letter sent by Senator Warner first before engaging with the Senate Intelligence Committee. At the time, Waldman had left a message with Andrea, and was having dinner with a client.
On March 30, 2017, Director Comey wrote his fifth memo, which was about a 11 minute conversation with President Trump about the Russia investigation and a call he had with Acting Deputy Attorney General Boente.
Waldman and Senator Warner again texted each other, where Waldman warned the Senator that Steele was concerned about the leaks coming from the Senate Intelligence Committee. Senator Warner pushed for a call between himself, Waldman and Steele, but Waldman said Steele was meeting with his lawyers. Senator Warner then suggested a meeting in London to avoid a paper trail.
Steele himself texted Bruce about the leak issues surrounding the Senate Intelligence Committee, which made Steele reconsider Orbis Business Intelligence’s involvement with the procedure. Elsewhere, Deripaska left London.
On the final day of the month, March 31, 2017, Senator Warner and Waldman texted each other again, as Senator Warner wanted to know of updates on Steele, and whether Waldman had heard about Manafort from his ‘other guy’. Waldman had spoken with the ‘other guy’ on March 30, 2017. Waldman then informed Senator Warner that their ‘other other guy’ — a contact at the United States Department of Justice — had gone silent for 72 hours after Waldman provided information to him. Waldman was then contacted by the United States Department of Justice and informed that they had received his information and were considering it.
SENATOR MARK WARNER: “Keep me informed also any news from ur other guy on manafort”
ADAM WALDMAN: “My other guy, like Steele, very mistrustful of USG. He’s been essentially shut out of the country and dragged through the mud. I explored this question w him last night in person.”
Also, Senator Grassley sent a letter to Acting Deputy Attorney General Boente, where he requested a review of the United States Department of Justice’s lack of enforcement over the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
In April 2017, Representative Schiff reported the prank call he received from “Vovan” and “Lexus” — where they had discussed an offer to obtain naked photographs of President Trump — to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Waldman, meanwhile, visited Assange another three times throughout the month.
On April 2, 2017, David J. Lynch published the article “FBI plans to create special unit to co-ordinate Russia probe” in The Financial Times.
On April 5, 2017, Laufman wrote an e-mail to Waldman, where he asked for clarification as to whether Assange would be willing to travel to the United States or whether he would only leave the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, also known as the “safe passage agreement”. Meanwhile, Senator Warner texted Waldman for an update on Steele, who texted back and said Steele still wanted a bipartisan letter before moving forward with anything.
At the same time, Mifsud informed Anna in Kiev, Ukraine that he had been questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which was the last time they saw each other.
On April 6, 2017, reporters at The Wall Street Journal contacted Waldman to ask whether he was Steele’s intermediary for the Senate Intelligence Committee. Waldman then texted Senator Warner about the incident, as he had denied to the reporters that he was involved, and then asked when Manafort would testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The next day, on April 7, 2017, Senator Warner texted Waldman that there were no updates on Manafort potentially testifying as the Senate Intelligence Committee was still in the process of reviewing documents. At the same time, Assange and WikiLeaks published more documents in relation to Vault 7, which detailed specifics of the malware used by the Central Intelligence Agency for cyber attacks.
On Monday, April 10, 2017, Senator Warner texted Waldman and asked whether there were any updates, to which Waldman responded:
- Steele still wanted his bipartisan letter from the Senate Intelligence Committee.
- Assange was open to discussions after having made concessions after Waldman had reached out to the United States Department of Justice.
- Deripaska was open to testifying but was interested in Manafort’s current condition.
Waldman also stated he would be with Deripaska between April 18–24, 2017, and that he would bring Ben Stiller to Capitol Hill in May 2017 and asked whether he should bring Stiller to meet Senator Warner, to which he agreed.
On the same day, Special Agent Strzok texted Lisa Page about a media leak strategy being worked on with the United States Department of Justice.
On April 11, 2017, Ellen Nakashima, Devlin Barrett and Adam Entous published the article “FBI obtained FISA warrant to monitor former Trump adviser Carter Page” in The Washington Post. Director Comey wrote his sixth memo, which discussed his telephone call with President Trump from that day, while Waldman texted Senator Warner to contact him to discuss Steele, Assange and Deripaska.
Elsewhere, Andrew Weissmann hosted a meeting with Trial Attorney Ann Brickley, Assistant United States Attorney Ariel Shreve, Special Agent Jeffry Pfeiffer, Supervisory Special Agent George W. McEachern and Supervisory Special Agent Karen A. Greenaway with the journalists Chad Day, Jack Gillum, Ted Bridis and Eric Tucker of The Associated Press at 1400 New York Avenue in Washington, DC (which is the United States Department of Justice), where they discussed Paul Manafort and the black ledger.
On April 12, 2017, President Trump was interviewed by Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business, where he said that he had confidence in Director Comey, but kept his options open in terms of removing him from the position.
As a result of the meeting the day before, Jack Gillum, Chad Day and Jeff Horwitz published the article “AP Exclusive: Manafort firm received Ukraine ledger payout” in The Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Matthew Rosenberg and Matt Apuzzo — with contributions from Adam Goldman and Michael S. Schmidt — published the article “Court Approved Wiretap on Trump Campaign Aide Over Russia Ties” in The New York Times. Special Agent Strzok then texted Lisa Page about the leaked articles from The Washington Post and The New York Times regarding Carter Page.
On April 13, 2017, Luke Harding, Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Nick Hopkins published the article “British spies were first to spot Trump team’s links with Russia” in The Guardian, as Director Pompeo declared WikiLeaks to be a non-state hostile intelligence service.
On Friday, April 14, 2017, Special Agent Strzok texted Lisa Page about the recent stories in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian.
“Strzok wrote, ‘Also, apparently Times is angry with us about the WP (Washington Post) scoop and earlier discussion we had about the Schmidt piece that had so many inaccuracies. Too much to detail here, but I told Mike (redacted) and Andy they need to understand we were absolutely dealing in good faith with them,’ Strzok texted to Page on April 14, 2017. ‘The FISA one, coupled with the Guardian piece from yesterday.’ (The New York Times did not respond immediately for comment. The Washington Post also did not respond immediately for comment.)” — Sara Carter
The next day, on April 19, 2017, Waldman texted Senator Warner and confirmed that he would be open to having a discussion bout Steele, Assange and Deripaska, and then said he was in the Maldives.
At the same time, Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz and Manu Raju — with contributions from Pamela Brown and Marshall Cohen — published the article “FBI used dossier allegations to bolster Trump-Russia investigation” in CNN.
On April 20, 2017, Senator Warner texted Waldman and suggested they should talk, but Waldman was in the middle of a client dinner. Waldman then stepped out and tried to contact Senator Warner but missed him, only for the Senator to text back later to see whether he was still awake.
Attorney General Sessions then announced during a news conference that leaks had become a priority for the United States Department of Justice.
On April 21, 2017, Mary McCord announced that she would leave her position at the United States Department of Justice at the end of May 2017.
On Saturday, April 22, 2017, Waldman texted Senator Warner and reminded him about the time differences between the United States and the Maldives, which led to the two still struggling to speak with each other.
Matt Apuzzo, Michael S. Schmidt, Adam Goldman and Eric Lichtblau — with contributions from Emily Baumgaertner, Mark Landler and Kitty Bennett — then published the article “Comey Tried to Shield the F.B.I. From Politics. Then He Shaped an Election.” in The New York Times.
On April 23, 2017, Waldman and Senator Warner shared more texts, as Senator Warner offered to call on his way to New York City, while Waldman said he would be travelling to Munich, Germany the next day and that he would be in Canada and then Washington, DC from April 28, 2017.
The next day, on April 24, 2017, Waldman left the company of Deripaska and travelled to Munich.
On April 25, 2017, Rod Rosenstein was confirmed by the United States Senate to become the next Deputy Attorney General of the United States at a vote of 94–6.
Waldman then texted Senator Warner and said Steele still wanted a bipartisan letter from the Senate Intelligence Committee — specifically from Senator Warner and Senator Richard Burr — with the letter specifically stating a desire for Steele and Christopher Burrows to help in the investigation. Waldman also stated Steele would speak with Jones — who was also in touch with Senator Warner. Waldman attempted to convince Steele to speak with Senator Warner without the letter at the Senator’s request, but failed. However, Waldman said Jones would visit Senator Warner directly.
On April 27, 2017, Special Agent Strzok and Lisa Page texted each other about providing access to the mainstream media for an article previously released.
The next day, on April 28, 2017, Waldman arrived in Canada or Washington, DC. Senators Patrick Leahy and Al Franken also sent a follow-up letter to the one from March 20 to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where they requested an update on the status of the investigation into Attorney General Sessions.
In May 2017, Deputy Director McCabe was interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Office of Public Relations, where he denied approving agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation to speak with The Wall Street Journal. At the same time, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Inspection Division expanded their pre-existing investigation of media leaks to determine the source of information in The Wall Street Journal’s article “FBI in Internal Feud Over Hillary Clinton Probe” on October 30, 2016 written by Devlin Barrett.
On May 2, 2017, Steele and Bruce texted each other to organise a WhatsApp conversation for the next day, while Jim Sciutto, Manu Raju and Pamela Brown — with contributions from Gloria Borger — published the article “Sources: Former Acting AG Yates to contradict administration about Flynn at hearing” in CNN.
The next day, on May 3, 2017, Director Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, where during the testimony, he said that neither he nor anybody at the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been anonymous sources in news reports regarding either Crossfire Hurricane or Midyear Exam. The testimony was watched by President Trump, who then decided to fire Director Comey. Meanwhile, Steele and Bruce had their WhatsApp conversation.
On Thursday, May 4, 2017, President Trump, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller arrived in Bedminster, NJ, while Senator Warner met with Sigal Mandelker in his office, where they discussed the Russia investigation and the need for access to documents.
Between May 4–7, 2017, President Trump and Miller wrote a draft letter about the dismissal of Director Comey, which was opposed by Donald McGahn. The draft letter was then provided to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein.
On May 8, 2017, Sally Yates and James Clapper testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which Special Agent Strzok and Lisa Page texted each other about in the context of unmasking. Elsewhere, Bruce Ohr was again interviewed by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
PETER STRZOK: “You watching Sally? Also, talked with Bill, he thinks I should mention applying for the job to Andy, so I’ll figure that out through [REDACTED] (assume not you though happy to if it makes sense).”
PETER STRZOK: “FUCK! Clapper and Yates through Graham questions are all playing into the ‘there should be an unmasking request / record’ for incidental collection incorrect narrative.”
The same day, President Trump returned to Washington, DC, where the draft version of the drafted letter was passed out during an Oval Office meeting, which was attended by McGahn and Vice President Mike Pence. McGahn then provided Miller with a marked version of the draft letter to dismiss Director Comey, and followed this with a meeting held with President Trump to discuss the Russia investigation.
McGahn then arranged a meeting with President Trump, Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in the Oval Office to discuss how to dismiss Director Comey from his service. Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein were provided the draft version of the letter crafted by President Trump and Miller. Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein agreed to write his own version.
On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, two agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Inspection Division interviewed Deputy Director McCabe in his office under oath, where he lied about leaking to The Wall Street Journal.
Elsewhere, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein outlined the reasons for the dismissal of Director Comey to Attorney General Sessions, which was followed with a letter written by Attorney General Sessions to President Trump, requesting for the removal of the Director.
President Trump then fired James Comey as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
At the time of the dismissal, James Comey — former Director — was visiting the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Los Angeles Field Office when he learned he had been fired through news reports on nearby television screens, which was followed by Keith Schiller delivering him his termination letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Headquarters. This made Andrew McCabe the Acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Shortly after, President Trump met with Acting Director McCabe in the Oval Office to have an introductory conversation. Meanwhile, Special Agent Strzok and Lisa Page sent numerous text messages to each other about the dismissal of Comey, the actions of Sally Moyers, the actions of Acting Director McCabe and their decision to try and open a case while Acting Director McCabe is in charge of the intelligence agency.
PETER STRZOK: “So Sally took off but has her cell. And we need to open the case we’ve been waiting on now while Andy is acting.”
DAVID GELIOS: “I just saw CNN reporting that Director Comey has been fired by President Trump. I have no notification from HQ of any such thing. If I receive any information from HQ, I will advise. I’d ask all to stand by for clarification of this reporting. I am only sending this because I want everyone to know I have receive no HQ confirmation of the reporting. I hope this is an instance of fake news.”
RENAE MCDERMOTT: “Unexpected news such as this is hard to understand but I know you all know our Director stood for what is right and what is true!!! … He truly made us better when we needed it the most.”
Bruce and Steele then organised a call to speak with each other.
CHRISTOPHER STEELE: “B, obviously it’s chaotic with you over there right now but we should probably talk gain over the next couple of days if you can. Do let me know what might work. Best.”
Ultimately, during the evening, members of the counteintelligence team at the Federal Bureau of Investigation had drinks with each other in Washington, DC due to the dismissal of Comey.
On May 10, 2017, Steele agreed to speak with Bruce, while Representative Chaffetz sent a letter to Inspector General Horowitz to request that his investigation expand and include the dismissal of James Comey.
Special Agent Strzok then texted to Lisa Page: “We need to lock in [REDACTED]. In a formal chargeable way. Soon.”
At the same time, President Trump met with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office.
“President Trump told Russian officials in the Oval Office this month that firing the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, had relieved ‘great pressure’ on him, according to a document summarizing the meeting.
‘I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,’ Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. ‘I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.’
Mr. Trump added, ‘I’m not under investigation.’
The conversation, during a May 10 meeting — the day after he fired Mr. Comey — reinforces the notion that the president dismissed him primarily because of the bureau’s investigation into possible collusion between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russian operatives. Mr. Trump said as much in one televised interview, but the White House has offered changing justifications for the firing.” — The New York Times
“The White House document that contained Mr. Trump’s comments was based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office and has been circulated as the official account of the meeting. One official read quotations to The Times, and a second official confirmed the broad outlines of the discussion.” — The New York Times
Acting Director McCabe and the Federal Bureau of Investigation then opened an investigation into President Trump and whether or not he obstructed justice for dismissing James Comey and whether President Trump was an asset of Russia.
“In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.
The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.
The investigation the F.B.I. opened into Mr. Trump also had a criminal aspect, which has long been publicly known: whether his firing of Mr. Comey constituted obstruction of justice.” — The New York Times
“In the days following Comey’s firing, McCabe quickly assembled his ‘Russia team’ of investigators, led by Peter Strzok, who was accused of anti-Trump bias when he was later fired by the bureau. McCabe says his team recommended he order a full investigation of the president, which he says he approved on May 10.” — Paul Sperry, Real Clear Investigations
Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz and Pamela Brown then published the article “CNN exclusive: Grand jury subpoenas issued in FBI’s Russia investigation” in CNN.
Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein were scheduled to speak with Michael Anderson, Adam Lee, Paul Abbate and William Evanina for the position of interim Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
On May 11, 2017, Acting Director McCabe, Director Dan Coats, Director Pompeo and Director Rogers testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee. It was also attended by James A. Baker and Lisa Page.
During this time, Senators Burr and Warner stepped out of the hearing to meet with Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. During the conversation, Senator Warner recommended the hiring of a Special Counsel to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, who took the recommendation under advisement. The conversation was then discussed between Special Agent Strzok and Lisa Page.
Waldman then texted Senator Warner to try and arrange drinks in Washington, DC before he left for New York, Los Angeles and Europe, as he was receiving more inquiries from Deripaska about Manafort.
Michael S. Schmidt — with contributions from Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman — published the article “In a Private Dinner, Trump Demanded Loyalty. Comey Demurred.” in The New York Times.
Later, President Trump’s exclusive interview with NBC News’s Lester Holt was aired.
On May 12, 2017, President Trump tweeted: “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Subsequently, Comey declined an invitation to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Meanwhile, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Inspection Division e-mailed Acting Director McCabe a draft signed sworn statement for his review and signature, which he then ignored. Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein also met with Acting Director McCabe, where they discussed the dismissal of Comey, which was then written about in a memo by Acting Director McCabe. The draft letter written by President Trump was then passed by Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to Acting Director McCabe.
Senators Patrick Leahy and Al Franken then sent their third letter, this time to Acting Director McCabe, where they requested an update of the investigation into Attorney General Sessions’ false testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Waldman texted Senator Warner that Deripaska and himself had received the letter from the House Intelligence Committee and suggested that Senator Warner may prefer Waldman speak with him rather than the House Intelligence Committee. Waldman also informed Senator Warner that he would leave Washington, DC on May 16, 2017.
Lastly, Betsy Woodruff and Jana Winter published the article “FBI Agents Worry White House Will Kneecap Russia Probe” in The Daily Beast, which was about the counterintelligence team having drinks with each other a few days before.
On Saturday, May 13, 2017, Steele and Bruce arranged a telephone call for that day.
On Sunday, May 14, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein met with officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation to discuss hiring a Special Counsel and potentially contacting Comey. Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein also considered hiring James Cole for the role of Special Counsel.
On May 15, 2017, in the middle of the night, Comey woke up thinking about President Trump’s comments about the potential of recorded tapes of their conversations. Comey then told Daniel Richman — a friend of 30 years — about his memos.
“I asked — the president tweeted on Friday after I got fired that I better hope there’s not tapes. I woke up in the middle of the night on Monday night because it didn’t dawn on me originally, that there might be corroboration for our conversation. There might be a tape. My judgement was, I need to get that out into the public square. I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. Didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons. I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel. I asked a close friend to do it.” — James Comey
Elsewhere, William Finnegan published the article “Taking Down Terrorists In Court” in The New Yorker, which featured a profile on the career of Zainab Ahmad. Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe — with contributions from Julie Tate and Ellen Nakashima — also published the article “Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador” in The Washington Post, which Special Agent Strzok texted Lisa Page about.
PETER STRZOK: “And WP push reporting T disclosed highly classified foreign govt info to Russians last week re CT threat…”
Bruce was, yet again, interviewed by agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and yet again one was Special Agent Pientka. Bruce and Steele also texted each other, where Steele had spoken with his wife, Katherine Steele, and Christopher Burrows, where they all agreed to move forward with a plan, which Bruce then spoke with his colleagues about at the United States Department of Justice.
CHRISTOPHER STEELE: “B, having now consulted with my wife and business partner about the question we discussed on Saturday I’m pleased to say yes, we should go ahead with it. Best C”
Waldman texted Senator Warner and asked whether Senator Warner wanted to discuss Deripaska or whether he and Deripaska should respond to the House Intelligence Committee.
On May 16, 2017, President Trump and Robert Mueller met each other to have a discussion, allegedly to interview Mueller for the position of Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to replace James Comey. After the interview, Mueller temporarily left his mobile phone behind in the Oval Office, which later had to be retrieved.
Elsewhere, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein met with Acting Director McCabe, where Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein allegedly mentioned the 25th Amendment.
This was followed with a meeting between Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, Acting Director McCabe, Lisa Page and three employees at the United States Department of Justice, where Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein discussed the possibility of wearing a wire to record President Trump during interviews for the role of Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“Discussion of the 25th Amendment was simply Rod raised the issue and discussed it with me in the context of thinking about how many other Cabinet officials might support such an effort. I didn’t have much to contribute, to be perfectly honest, in that — conversation. So I listened to what he had to say. But, to be fair, it was an unbelievably stressful time. I can’t even describe for you how many things must have been coursing through the Deputy Attorney General’s mind at that point. So it was really something that he kinda threw out in a very frenzied chaotic conversation about where we were and what we needed to do next.” — Andrew McCabe, 60 Minutes, February 2019
“Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the Cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the President. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.” — Anonymous, The New York Times
“Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was joking when he discussed wearing a wire to secretly record President Donald Trump and does not believe Trump should be removed from office through the use of procedures outlined in the Constitution’s 25th Amendment, according to Justice Department officials who requested anonymity to discuss the conversation.” — NBC News
Michael S. Schmidt — with contributions from Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman — then published the article “Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation” in The New York Times, which used Daniel Richman as a source using Comey’s memos, as Special Agent Strzok texted Lisa Page: “Nyt push”.
Special Agent Strzok and Lisa Page then texted each other about a second matter which they were briefed about, which had an unmemorable code name.
Waldman then left Washington, DC for New York.
On May 17, 2017, the United States Department of Justice — with the decision carried out by Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein — appointed Robert Mueller as Special Counsel for the Russia investigation. At 05:35 P.M., Donald McGahn entered the Oval Office and informed President Trump of Mueller’s appointment to Special Counsel.
Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and Acting Director McCabe then briefed the leaders of the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives and the Gang of Eight on the appointment of Robert Mueller. During the closed-door briefing, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and Acting Director McCabe informed them of the federal criminal investigations into both President Trump and Attorney General Sessions.
After May 17, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein provided a written order to Mueller for his investigation into Trump and Russia, while Acting Director McCabe informed agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation that they could be potential witnesses in a case regarding President Trump’s obstruction of justice.
Acting Director McCabe, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and Special Counsel Mueller then had a discussion over whether Acting Director McCabe or Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein should recuse from the Trump-Russia investigation.
On May 18, 2017, Benjamin Wittes published the article “What James Comey Told Me About Donald Trump” in Lawfare, as the text messages between Special Agent Strzok and Lisa Page resumed being officially collected internally. Stefan Halper also discussed the appointment of Special Counsel Mueller on BBC Radio 4.
It should also be noted that on May 26, 2017, Barry Meier and Jesse Drucker — with contributions from Michael S. Schmidt and Matthew Rosenberg — published the article “Russian Once Tied to Trump Aide Seeks Immunity to Cooperate With Congress” in The New York Times, which was about Deripaska.
And that’s it, that’s the end of the article.