Starting at the beginning of August 2016, the Obama Administration initiated a series of Deputies Meetings in the Situation Room with the same level of secrecy as their planning of the raid on Osama bin Laden.
It is advised you read the article about Brennan’s Working Group before you start.
But how did they get to the point of forming the meetings in the first place?
Well, we need to explain everything else that American intelligence was up to first.
This article will be split across two — the set-up to the meetings, and then the meetings themselves.
However, it should be noted that this article will be more of a crazed painting of events from January 2015 to the end of July 2016, while the next article will be incredibly focused on very specific events that occur from August 2016 to January 2017.
And with that out of the way, let’s begin:
In 2015, Anthony Ferrante was employed by the White House National Security Council.
On February 10, 2015, Lisa Monaco announced the creation of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center during a speech at the Wilson Center. Towards the end of the month, on February 25, President Barack Obama ordered Director James Clapper to form the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center officially.
In April 2015, Ted Kontek left his role as a Comoros Officer at the United States Embassy in Antananarivo, Madagascar to become an Intelligence Analyst at the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, focused on Russia, Eastern and Central Europe.
On April 24, 2015, Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland met with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at Arlington National Cemetery.
Four days later, on April 28, 2015, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a State Dinner for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his spouse, Akie Abe, which featured attendees such as Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary Ashton Carter, Director Clapper, Tom Daschle, Secretary John Kerry, Monaco, Shailagh Murray, Neil King, Ellen Nakashima, Ambassador Samantha Power, Ben Rhodes, Susan Rice and Speaker Paul Ryan.
On May 27, 2015, the United States Department of Justice indicted 9 FIFA officials and 5 corporate executives for racketeering conspiracy and corruption. The charges were announced by Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Director James Comey.
On June 2, 2015, the United States Senate voted to pass the USA Freedom Act, at a vote of 67–32. However, the United States Department of Justice — specifically, John Carlin — informed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court that the USA Freedom Act would allow for the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance to continue for another six months as part of a transition period, despite the fact that it had ‘officially’ shut down on May 30, 2015.
On June 16, 2015, Donald Trump rode down an elevator and announced his candidacy for the Republican Party’s nomination.
A few days later, on June 26, 2015, Inspector General Charles McCullough III notified Director Clapper and the United States Senate of the potential leak of classified information from May 22, 2015, when one of the e-mails released by the United States Department of State should have been marked as classified.
In July 2015, the Federal Bureau of Investigation hired CrowdStrike for a 1-year contract for a total of $150,000.00. On July 10, the Federal Bureau of Investigation officially opened the Midyear Exam investigation, following a Section 811 referral from Inspector General McCullough III on July 6.
Ten days later, on July 20, 2015, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates sent a letter to Inspector General Michael Horowitz, where she placed the United States Department of Justice’s National Security Division off-limits to oversight.
In the summer of 2015, the Gang of Eight was briefed by American intelligence officials in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility about Russian hackers targeting the Democratic Party.
In September 2015, the National Security Agency informed the Federal Bureau of Investigation that the computers of the Democratic National Committee may have been hacked. As such, Special Agent Adrian Hawkins then contacted the Democratic National Committee to pass along the information about their computer networks, which led to him speaking with staffer Yared Tamene.
Director Comey spoke with Attorney General Lynch during his preparation for testimony before United States Congress, where he wondered whether he should reveal the existence of the Midyear Exam investigation. It was agreed between all to refer to the investigation as a ‘matter’, initially suggested by Attorney General Lynch.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation also responded to a request from Latvian authorities, which they received in September 2014, which related to an investigation into Igor Krutoy, Viesturs Koziols and Ainārs Šlesers, as it was tangibly related to Donald Trump.
Agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, alongside Bruce Ohr — in a meeting arranged by Bruce and Christopher Steele — met with Oleg Deripaska as a part of “Operation Outreach” to try and recruit Deripaska as a source during the United Nations General Assembly.
In October 2015, Special Agent Hawkins contacted the Democratic National Committee repeatedly and left numerous voice mail messages for Tamene, which were then ignored, while Ferrante left his position as Chief of Staff of the Cyber Division at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Headquarters as he was hired as the Director For Cyber Incident Response and Cybersecurity Policy at the White House National Security Council.
On October 19, 2015, the Trump campaign and the Carson campaign both requested protection using the United States Secret Service from the Department of Homeland Security. A few days later, on October 23, Ben Carson led Donald Trump in the polls in Iowa.
Four days later, on October 27, 2015, Director Brennan, Admiral Rogers, Deputy Director David Cohen, Director Clapper, Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes, David Ignatius, Director Bernard Bajolet and John Sawers attended the 2nd The Ethos and the Profession of Intelligence Conference, hosted at Georgetown University by the Central Intelligence Agency.
The next day, October 28, the Central Intelligence Agency’s Open Source Center was re-designated as the Open Source Enterprise and incorporated into the Directorate of Digital Innovation.
In November 2015, Special Agent Hawkins again contacted the Democratic National Committee, where he warned them that their information was being transferred to Russia.
On November 1, 2015, minimisation requests started to be carried out in relation to FISAs, although they did not match the applicable minimisation procedures, at the National Security Agency. Two days later, on November 3, Carson led Trump in the national polls, and another two days, November 5, led to both Carson and Trump receiving their protection from the United States Secret Service.
In December 2015, Monaco, Director Comey and Attorney General Lynch attended the 27th Annual Remembrance Ceremony for the Pan Am 103 Bombing at Arlington National Cemetery.
On December 3, 2015, an additional 16 officials were indicted in the FIFA case, which were announced by Director Comey and Attorney General Lynch.
Throughout 2016, the National Security Agency collected the records of 151 million American phone calls through the use of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court orders on 42 individuals.
Also in 2016, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the National Counterterrorism Center used 5,288 search terms associated with Americans for queries related to raw e-mail messages, while the National Security Agency distributed 3,914 reports which contained information about Americans gathered in warrantless surveillance programs.
The National Security Agency also collected metadata through pen register orders for 41 targets, while the United States Government as a whole made less than half of 48,642 national security letter requests — some of which were used in conjunction with the future Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
“The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said. That has become a politically contentious point, with Mr. Trump’s allies questioning whether the F.B.I. was spying on the Trump campaign or trying to entrap campaign officials.” — The New York Times
In January 2016, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s security clearance was put up for its five-year review by the Obama Administration, while the Federal Bureau of Investigation continued to hold its counterintelligence case on Carter Page open from 2013.
On January 7, 2016, Director Clapper announced the leadership team for the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center, with Director Tonya Ugortez to lead, and Maurice Bland and Thomas Donahue as members.
A few days later, on January 16, 2016, Peter Foster and Matthew Holehouse published the article “Russia accused of clandestine funding of European parties as US conducts major review of Vladimir Putin’s strategy” in The Telegraph, which discussed the United States Congress ordering Director Clapper to investigate Russian influence in European political parties.
At the end of the month, on January 29, 2016, Andrew McCabe was named the Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation by Director Comey, where he replaced the retiring Mark Giuliano. The day after, the Sanders campaign requested protection from the United States Secret Service.
On February 1, 2016, Andrew McCabe officially became the Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The same day, Senator Ted Cruz led Trump in the Iowa caucus, with 27.7% of the vote ahead of Trump’s 24.3%.
The next day, February 2, 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation admonished Steele over an unknown action. The day after that, on February 3, Senator Bernie Sanders officially received protection from the United States Secret Service.
Two days later, on February 5, 2016, Monaco published the article “To Prevent Pandemics, World Must Focus on Preparedness” in The Huffington Post.
On February 8, 2016, Admiral Rogers announced a plan to reorganise the National Security Agency, in a project named “NSA21”, which would merge both the spying and hacking arms with the computer security division into one Directorate of Operations.
Between February 12–14, 2016, the Munich Security Conference was hosted, which was attended by Director Clapper, Director Robert Hannigan, Dmitry Alperovitch, Secretary John Kerry and Senator John McCain.
Between February 22–28, 2016, an inter-agency meeting was held by the United States Government, where they discussed the incoming business visit of Oleg Deripaska.
In the middle of this, on February 25, 2016, Charlie Savage published the article “Obama Administration Set to Expand Sharing of Data That N.S.A. Intercepts” in The New York Times.
By the time of March 2016, agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation had met with Tamene and his team from the Democratic National Committee twice in person. The same month, another agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation started to work with the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, which was funded by the United States Embassy’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
In early March 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was provided with a letter supposedly addressed to Leonard Benardo at the Open Society Foundations, an advisory board member. The letter itself was apparently stolen by Russian hackers, and then provided to the Federal Bureau of Investigation through a foreign source in relation to the Midyear Exam investigation.
The letter itself described an alleged meeting between Attorney General Lynch and a member of the Clinton campaign — specifically, Amanda Renteria — where Attorney General Lynch had suggested they would not pursue the Midyear Exam investigation too deeply. The letter was supposedly written by Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
“His misgivings were only fueled by the discovery last year of a document written by a Democratic operative that seemed — at least in the eyes of Mr. Comey and his aides — to raise questions about her independence. In a bizarre example of how tangled the F.B.I. investigations had become, the document had been stolen by Russian hackers.
During Russia’s hacking campaign against the United States, intelligence agencies could peer, at times, into Russian networks and see what had been taken. Early last year, F.B.I. agents received a batch of hacked documents, and one caught their attention.
The document, which has been described as both a memo and an email, was written by a Democratic operative who expressed confidence that Ms. Lynch would keep the Clinton investigation from going too far, according to several former officials familiar with the document.
Read one way, it was standard Washington political chatter. Read another way, it suggested that a political operative might have insight into Ms. Lynch’s thinking.” — The New York Times
“From the moment the bureau received the document from a source in early March 2016, its veracity was the subject of an internal debate at the FBI. Several people familiar with the matter said the bureau’s doubts about the document hardened in August when officials became more certain that there was nothing to substantiate the claims in the Russian document. FBI officials knew the bureau never had the underlying email within the explosive allegation, if it ever existed.
After the bureau first received the document, it attempted to use the source to obtain the referenced email but could not do so, these people said. The source that provided the document, they said, had previously supplied other information that the FBI was also unable to corroborate.” — The Washington Post
If you recall from my previous article, there are two sections devoted to the Netherlands and to the United Kingdom, both of which state:
“According to nearly a dozen people who either attended the meeting with the president-elect or were later briefed on it, the four primary intelligence officials described the streams of intelligence that convinced them of Mr. Putin’s role in the election interference. They included stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee that had been seen in the Russian military intelligence networks by the British, Dutch and American intelligence service.” — The New York Times
So the Leonard Benardo letter was provided either by the Netherlands or by the United Kingdom. As Director Robert Hannigan only truly began paying attention to Russian interference in the United States when GRU metadata was discovered on the Democratic National Committee computer servers, which was around March 27, 2016, it could be assumed that the Netherlands was the originator, as the letter was provided in early March 2016. However, the counterargument is that GCHQ was also involved since late 2015.
It should be noted that Representative Wasserman Schultz, Benardo and Renteria were never interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
At some point in spring 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened an investigation into Paul Manafort, which was an outgrowth of a criminal investigation into his prior Ukrainian work. This would eventually lead to an old FISA being renewed towards the end of 2016 on him.
The next day, agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation with prosecutors from the Southern District of New York met with Carter Page to ask him about his contacts with Russian intelligence from 2013.
On March 4, 2016, the top court of Romania approved a request from American authorities to extradite Marcel “Guccifer” Lazar from Romania to the United States on an 18-month temporary extradition.
Between March 7–13, 2016, Director Comey visited Australia and met with Attorney General George Brandis and Justice Minister Michael Keenan.
On March 8, 2016, Attorney General Lynch ruled herself out of the running for Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat at the Supreme Court of the United States, following his untimely passing. The next day, on March 9, the United States Department of Justice’s oversight personnel conducted a review at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where they discovered that they had disclosed FISA information to people outside of the organisation.
The next day, on March 10, 2016, President Obama and First Lady Obama hosted a State Dinner for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his spouse, Grégoire Trudeau. It was attended by people such as Secretary Ashton Carter, Adam Entous, Secretary Jeh Johnson, Denis McDonough, Shailagh Murray, Neil King, Ambassador Samantha Powers, Ben Rhodes and Susan Rice. On the same day, Spencer Ackerman published the article “FBI quietly changes its privacy rules for accessing NSA data on Americans” in The Guardian.
Before March 14, 2016, Director Brennan made a secret trip to Moscow, Russia, where he met with people at the Federal Security Service (FSB) and another Russian individual. On March 14 itself, Director Clapper visited New Zealand to speak with Prime Minister John Key.
On March 24, 2016, Secretary Kerry, Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland and Jonathan Finer visited the Kremlin to meet with President Vladimir Putin.
Four days later, on March 28, 2016, Michael Kortan briefed Director Comey, as the Director was preparing for a counterterrorism session hosted by the Department of Homeland Security with President Obama.
On the final day of the month, March 31, 2016, the 4th Annual Intelligence Community Women’s Summit was hosted at the Charles J. Bonaparte Auditorium at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Headquarters, which was attended by Director Comey, Director Clapper and Attorney General Lynch, while Marcel “Guccifer” Lazar was extradited from a prison in Arad, Romania to Alexandria, VA.
In April 2016, the Defense Intelligence Agency renewed the security clearance of Lt. Gen. Flynn. The same month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation — and numerous other intelligence agencies — opened an investigation into the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Embassy’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs then donated a $500,000.00 package of scanning equipment, hardware and software to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.
On April 1, 2016, during the extradition of “Guccifer”, he was questioned on the plane by an agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and an employee of the United States Department of State. Following this, “Guccifer” then arrived at a federal court in Alexandria, VA. According to “Guccifer”, the conversation on the plane centred on assigning the blame of the hacks on the Russians, followed by the creation of “Guccifer 2.0”’s identity.
On April 18, 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation discontinued outside contractors’ access to the raw FISA information, which was done on the orders of Admiral Rogers. The day after, on April 19, Glenn Simpson’s wife Mary Jacoby visited the White House.
Two days later, on April 21, 2016, President Obama left the United States to visit London, England, where he remained until April 24.
On April 28, 2016, outside government contractors officially lost access to the database controlled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency.
In May 2016, Steele provided information to American intelligence agencies on Mikhail Kalugin, the Head of the Russian Embassy’s Economics Section.
On the first day of May, minimisation requests which did not meet the applicable minimisation procedures stopped being made at the National Security Agency.
The next day, on May 2, Director Comey e-mailed Deputy Director McCabe, James A. Baker and James Rybicki about the Midyear Exam investigation, as he had drafted a statement to exonerate Hillary Clinton.
On May 11, 2016, Sidney Blumenthal was interviewed by Alisyn Camerota on CNN’s “New Day”, where he suggested that the United States Department of Justice would exonerate Hillary Clinton, and referred to the investigation as a “security review”.
ALISYN CAMERON: “The big fear of many Democrats, who I’ve spoken to, is that Hillary Clinton will become the nominee of the Democratic Party and then something will happen during the general. There will be some bombshell, another shoe will drop and it will scuttle her race. How confident are you that that won’t happen?”
SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL: “I’m very confident that, er, that will not happen.”
ALISYN CAMERON: “How do you know?”
SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL: “My understanding is that this is a security review. It’s certainly not a criminal investigation.”
ALISYN CAMERON: “But it is an investigation.”
SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL: “It’s an inquiry, er, into whether or not anyone intentionally put classified information where it shouldn’t be. And my understanding is they will conclude and the Department of Justice will issue a statement at the end that that was not the case. And then all those who were involved in this kind of, er, political hysteria will have to unravel it.”
On May 16, 2016, Rybicki sent an e-mail response to Special Agent PEter Strzok, Jonathan Moffa, Trisha Anderson and Bill Priestap — with Deputy Director McCabe and David Bowdich copied in — where he looked for comments on the Clinton exoneration statement. The same day, President Obama hosted a Medal of Valour event at the White House, which was attended by Attorney General Lynch and Director Comey, who met with President Obama, alongside Karol Mason.
Two days later, on May 18, 2016, Director Clapper said at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, DC that he had seen evidence of the cyber attacks on the 2016 United States presidential campaigns, and that both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security would advise the campaigns to fight against cyber-threats.
On May 25, 2016, “Guccifer” pleaded guilty to hacking roughly 100 e-mail and social media accounts of American politicians, while Evgeny Buryakov was sentenced to 30 months in prison for conspiring to act as an agent of the Russian Federation without notifying the Attorney General, with his sentence announced by Carlin and Attorney Preet Bharara.
The day after pleading guilty, on May 26, 2016, “Guccifer” was interviewed by agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where he denied hacking Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server and said he had lied to Fox News on May 4, 2016 and May 7, 2016 about the subject.
At some point in late spring 2016, Attorney General Lynch and Director Comey discussed whether to inform the Trump campaign about Carter Page’s past interactions with the Russian spy ring — where they ultimately decided against it.
In June 2016, Natalia Veselnitskaya was granted a B-status non-immigrant visa to conduct legal work in the United States by the United States Department of Justice, which came with six months of entry permission.
On June 7, 2016, agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewed “Guccifer” once again. The same day, Carter Page attended a private meeting with foreign policy experts at Blair House, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi — other attendees at the time included Secretary Carter and Attorney General Lynch.
On June 9, 2016, Susan Rice informed attendees at a Washington Post event that peace between Russia and Ukraine could be accomplished before the end of 2017.
“The White House is pushing hard to have a Russia-Ukraine peace deal implemented by the time President Barack Obama leaves office, top national security adviser Susan Rice said on Thursday.
Rice, who coordinates foreign policy at the White House, said she saw potential for resolution in the Ukraine crisis by the end of the year, and said U.S. officials were intensifying their work with French and German counterparts on the Minsk deal, signed in February 2015.
‘This is something that could get done between now and the end of the administration if the Russians in particular exhibit sufficient political will,’ Rice said at a Washington Post event. Obama is set to leave office on Jan. 20, 2017.
‘We are hopeful if the Russians want to resolve this — and we have some reason to believe they might — we have the time and the wherewithal and the tools to do so,’ Rice said.” — Reuters
Before June 14, 2016, executives at the Democratic National Committee met with agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where they requested for the United States Government to attribute the hacking of the Democratic National Committee to Russia.
On June 22, 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation held a close-up meeting of their future 10 day training course at the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.
Five days later, on June 27, 2016, Bill Clinton was scheduled to leave Phoenix, AZ, but learned that Attorney General Lynch would be arriving at Sky Harbor International Airport, and intentionally delayed his exit. Bill then noticed Attorney General Lynch’s private plane parked on the west side of the airport, where he then walked over to the aircraft, as Attorney General Lynch’s Federal Bureau of Investigation detail did not stop Bill from entering the aircraft.
During the time on the plane, Bill and Attorney General Lynch allegedly spoke about grandchild, travel and golf for roughly 30 minutes. At the time, Attorney General Lynch’s husband, Stephen Hargrove, was also on the plane.
The same day — June 27 — Director Clapper signed the “Coordination of Clandestine Human Source and Human-Enabled Foreign Intelligence Collection and Counterintelligence Activities in the United States”, while Director Brennan and Chief Alex Younger of the Secret Intelligence Service spoke with each other.
The next day, on June 28, 2016, Attorney General Lynch held a press conference, where she denied that she and Bill spoke about the Benghazi probe nor any issues being investigated by the United States Department of Justice. At the same time, Maria Zakharova accused the United States of using the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to pressure Russian diplomats.
On June 29, 2016, Director Brennan gave remarks at the Council On Foreign Relations. The same day, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together on international money laundering asset recovery and Ukrainian high-level officials’ bribery and corruption, which was attended by Director Artem Sytnyk and Acting Deputy Assistant Director Mathew S. Moon.
On June 30, 2016, Special Agent Strzok and Lisa Page texted each other about the changing of wording for an article: “He changed President to ‘another senior government official’.”
In July 2016, security at Trump Tower in New York was increased, with residents having to provide identification to enter the building and guests having to fill out applications to visit residents.
Monaco announced that sanctions would be used against both Russia and China after multiple cyber attacks had targeted transportation systems and power grids, but said that the sanctions would only be used when the conditions were right.
At the same time, the Central Intelligence Agency’s Counterintelligence Mission Center started to serve as a conduit to the Federal Bureau of Investigation by using contacts developed by the Central Intelligence Agency between Russian individuals and members of the Trump campaign.
The Counterintelligence Mission Center was ran by one of the authors of the internal review of a deadly suicide bombing in Khost, Afghanistan in 2009, which killed 7 employees of the Central Intelligence Agency, an attack which took the life of Jennifer Lynne Matthews, the chief of the base and a mentor of Edward “Ned” Price.
On July 1, 2016, Ken Kurson published the article “EXCLUSIVE: Security Source Details Bill Clinton Maneuver to Meet Loretta Lynch” in Observer.
The next day, on July 2, 2016, Hillary Clinton was interviewed by agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation at their headquarters, where she was joined with David Kendall, Heather Samuelson, Cheryl Mills, Katherine Turner and [REDACTED], while the agents and attorneys present included Peter Strzok, David Laufman, the boyfriend of Sally Moyer, [REDACTED] and [REDACTED].
After the interview, Strzok and Lisa texted each other about Director Comey’s intentions to announce that they were nearly complete with the Midyear Exam investigation. Director Comey discussed over the telephone with the Midyear Exam investigation team about Hillary’s interview, where the team maintained that nothing had changed their view on the outcome of the case.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: “You interview Hillary Clinton I guess it was July 2nd– 2016. But actually, you’re not there?”
JAMES COMEY: “No ’cause I’m the dir– at that point, the director of the F.B.I. Only on TV is the director jumping out of helicopters and conducting interviews. My job is to make the final decisions. The pros will do the interview, the agents who had actually been investigating her and crawling all around her life for a year. And that’s the way it should be.”
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: “And after the interview, what did you learn?”
JAMES COMEY: “Spent a lotta time on the phone with the team that afternoon and learned that we didn’t find anything, the team didn’t, that changed their view of the case. That this was a case that the Department of Justice would never prosecute. And, most importantly, they didn’t want to do additional investigation. There was nothing she said that they believed we could prove was false. And there was nothing else they needed to run down to see if she was testifying to us falsely. And so the view of the team was, ‘We’re done here. Our view of this case is firm. No prosecutor would prosecute this case.”
The next day, on July 3, 2016, Director Comey and Rybicki started to rehearse the exoneration statement at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Headquarters. One day later, on July 4, Strzok texted Lisa that he was waiting for clarification on the Clinton e-mails from the United States Department of Justice, and whether or not they were classified, while he fact-checked Director Comey’s statement. Meanwhile, President Obama offered Hillary a ride in Air Force One for her July 5th trip to Charlotte, NC.
On July 5, 2016, Director Comey announced that the Federal Bureau of Investigation would be closing the Midyear Exam investigation, with zero recommendations of charges for Hillary, despite investigators having found classified information on her private server. His decision to announce was partly motivated by the Benardo letter, with another motivating factor being the Lynch-Bill tarmac meeting. At the same time, President Obama and Hillary arrived at Charlotte, NC for a Clinton Rally.
“Current and former officials have argued that the secret document gave Comey good reason to take the extraordinary step over the summer of announcing the findings of the Clinton investigation himself without Justice Department involvement.” — The Washington Post
“Then on July 5, Comey decided to announce on his own — without telling Lynch ahead of time — that he was closing the Clinton email case without recommending charges against anyone. Aides to Comey said he decided to act alone after Lynch met privately with Bill Clinton for nearly a half-hour on an airport tarmac in Phoenix about a week earlier — and have since said privately the Russian document was also a factor in that decision.” — The Washington Post
The same day — July 5 — Michael Gaeta met with Christopher Steele at his office in London, England, where he was shown the initial memos detailing apparent collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. After this meeting, Gaeta forwarded the reports to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York Field Office, where he accidentally sent it to the wrong department, leaving the memos stuck within an Organised Crime Unit for a number of weeks.
The next day, on July 6, 2016, Special Agent Strzok and Deputy Director McCabe visited Attorney General Lynch, alongside other agents and prosecutors, where they recommended zero charges for Hillary, described as a “unanimous recommendation”. Shortly after, the United States Department of Justice published Attorney General Lynch’s statement regarding the unanimous recommendation and stated there would be zero charges.
PETER STRZOK: “Oh! You know what J told me? Andy apologized to [REDACTED] following the AG brief!!!!!! [REDACTED] deserves no such thing, let alone from the DD. I get/hope he was trying to help out me and others at the working kevel, which I really appreciate, but still. I would have asked him not to do it.
LISA PAGE: “Yeah, that’s really annoying. Apologized for what?”
PETER STRZOK: “The surprise of the statement.”
The day after, on July 7, 2016, Director Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Oversight Committee, where he said that “Guccifer” had lied about gaining access to Hillary’s private e-mail server.
REPRESENTATIVE FARENTHOLD: “During your investigation, did you or anyone in the FBI interview the hacker Guccifer?”
DIRECTOR COMEY: “Yes.”
REPRESENTATIVE FARENTHOLD: “And he claimed he gained access to Sid Blumenthal’s e-mail account and traced them back to Clinton’s private server. Can you confirm that Guccifer never gained access to her server?”
DIRECTOR COMEY: “Yeah, he did not. He admitted that was a lie.”
On July 13, 2016, Director Brennan delivered remarks at the Brookings Institute, where he was introduced by General John R. Allen and moderated by Bruce Riedel.
A few days later, on July 19, 2016, Monaco visited the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, where she met with Director Clapper and Tonya Ugoretz. The same day, Secretary Kerry met with newly appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May. Director Brennan, meanwhile, participated in the Leadership Dinner at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, where he discussed the modernisation of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Open Source Enterprise.
On July 20, 2016, Donald Trump successfully became the official Republican Party nominee to become the President of the United States. Around this time, Susan Rice started to investigate materials from the National Security Agency which included the unmasked identities of American citizens.
The day after, on July 21, 2016, White House officials convened for a high-level security meeting, which featured people from the National Security Council, the United States Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security. During the meeting, the officials discussed the reports that Russia had hacked the Democratic National Committee.
Around this time, numerous American intelligence agencies informed the White House that the Russian Government was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.
On July 22, 2016, George Cottrell was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for blackmail and money laundering when he attempted to return to London, England with Nigel Farage at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, IL.
On July 23, 2016, Alexander Downer informed Elizabeth Dibble at the United States Embassy in London, England about his conversation with George Papadopoulos from May 10, 2016. Dibble then transmitted this information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Headquarters.
The next day, on July 24, 2016, Robby Mook of the Clinton campaign was interviewed on ABC’s “The Week”, where he stated that the Democratic National Committee’s e-mails had been leaked by Russians who wanted to help Donald Trump become the next President of the United States, where he cited CrowdStrike Services as his source.
On July 25, 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a statement that the breach into the Democratic National Committee’s server was being investigated. Nancy A. Youssef and Shane Harris then published the article “FBI Suspects Russia Hacked DNC; U.S. Officials Say It Was to Elect Donald Trump” in The Daily Beast.
On July 26, 2016, President Obama signed a presidential directive to place the Federal Bureau of Investigation in charge of responding to all cyber threats, and to allow the federal government an active role in investigating, preventing and mitigating attempts to hack into United States-based computer networks.
At the same time, Monaco attended the International Conference On Cyber Security, while Secretary Kerry met with Sergey Lavrov in Vientiane, Laos, where Lavrov denied Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election.
Shortly after, David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt — with contributions from Amy Chozick — published the article “Spy Agency Consensus Grows That Russia Hacked D.N.C.” in The New York Times.
On July 29, 2016, Joseph Menn, Dustin Volz and Mark Hosenball — with contributions from Warren Strobel, Yara Bayoumy, Ginger Gibson, Amy Tennery Luciana Lopez and Christian Lowe — published the article “Exclusive: FBI probes hacking of Democratic congressional group” in Reuters.
The day after, on July 30, 2016, Deputy Director McCabe received a telephone call from Bruce Ohr, where Bruce informed him about the breakfast he had with Steele, Steele’s associate and Nellie.
On the final day of July — July 31 — the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened its case to investigate Donald Trump, his associates, and Russia: Crossfire Hurricane, which was centred on four people: Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.
But after all of that, what did Director Brennan and President Obama do?