Trump associate Roger Stone reveals new contact with Russian national during 2016 campaign

 3:40
Roger Stone did, actually, meet with a Russian

Roger Stone, a close Trump ally, met with a Russian man in May 2016 claiming to have “dirt” that could help Trump be elected. 

 — One day in late May 2016, Roger Stone — the political dark sorcerer and longtime confidant of Donald Trump — slipped into his Jaguar and headed out to meet a man with a “Make America Great Again” hat and a viscous Russian accent.

The man, who called himself Henry Greenberg, offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton, Trump’s presumptive Democratic opponent in the upcoming presidential election, according to Stone, who spoke about the previously unreported incident in interviews with The Washington Post. Greenberg, who did not reveal the information he claimed to possess, wanted Trump to pay $2 million for the political dirt, Stone said.

“You don’t understand Donald Trump,” Stone recalled saying before rejecting the offer at a restaurant in the Russian-expat magnet of Sunny Isles, Fla. “He doesn’t pay for anything.”

Later, Stone got a text message from Michael Caputo, a Trump campaign communications official who’d arranged the meeting after Greenberg had approached Caputo’s Russian-immigrant business partner.

“How crazy is the Russian?” Caputo wrote, according to a text message reviewed by The Post. Noting that Greenberg wanted “big” money, Stone replied, “waste of time.”


(The Washington Post)

Two years later, the brief sit-down in Florida has resurfaced as part of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s sprawling investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, according to Caputo. Caputo said he was asked about the meeting by prosecutors during a sometimes-heated questioning session last month.

Stone and Caputo, who did not previously disclose the meeting to congressional investigators, now say they believe they were the targets of a setup by U.S. law enforcement officials hostile to Trump.

They cite records — independently examined by The Post — showing that the man who approached Stone is actually a Russian national who has claimed to work as an FBI informant.

Interviews and additional documents show that Greenberg has at times used the name Henry Oknyansky. Under that name, he claimed in a 2015 court filing related to his immigration status that he had provided information to the FBI for 17 years. He attached records showing that the government had granted him special permission to enter the United States because his presence represented a “significant public benefit.”

There is no evidence that Greenberg was working with the FBI in his interactions with Stone, and in his court filing, Greenberg said he had stopped his FBI cooperation sometime after 2013.

Greenberg, in text messages with The Post, denied that he had been acting on the FBI’s behalf when he met with Stone.


Henry Greenberg, who has also called himself Henry Oknyansky, at a Jan. 31 meeting of the Miami Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board at Miami City Hall. (Miami City Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board)

An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Mueller’s office.

The meeting took place two months earlier than federal officials have said a counterintelligence operation was officially opened and before WikiLeaks began releasing hacked Democratic emails.

It came in the same time period as other episodes in which Russian interests approached the Trump campaign. A few weeks earlier, Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos was told in London that the Russians had dirt on Clinton. And it was two weeks before the sit-down at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer who he had been told could offer information that would hurt Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to help his father.

Trump and his allies have said that the meetings were inconsequential and that there was no collusion.

Stone and Caputo’s interactions with Greenberg mean that at least 11 Trump associates or campaign officials have acknowledged interactions with a Russian during the election season or presidential transition. Those interactions have become public in the year and a half since a Trump spokeswoman said no one associated with the campaign had communications with Russians or other foreign entities.

It is not clear how seriously investigators are taking the Florida meeting. Caputo said prosecutors during his interview seemed to have intense interest in the interaction, as well as the role of Greenberg.

Reached by phone, Greenberg, 59, initially denied Stone’s account of a meeting.

“This is wrong information,” Greenberg said.

Later, in text messages to a Post reporter, Greenberg changed his story, acknowledging that he’d met with Stone and providing a skeletal account of the encounter that matched Stone’s in some ways. Unprompted, Greenberg used essentially the same language as Stone to describe Stone’s reaction: “Trump will never pay for anything.”

Stone said Greenberg was alone at the meeting. But Greenberg said he was accompanied by a Ukrainian friend he identified only as Alexei, who he said had been fired from a job with the Clinton Foundation, a global charitable organization founded by Hillary Clinton’s husband, former president Bill Clinton. Greenberg provided no evidence the man had worked for the Clinton Foundation, and a foundation spokesman said the group has never employed a man with the first name of Alexei.

“He was very upset, and he wants to tell his story,” Greenberg said in a text. “He told Mr. Stone what he knew and what he want.”

Greenberg denied that he asked for money, saying that it was his friend who spoke with Stone.

President Trump and his allies previously accused the FBI of unfairly targeting his campaign following revelations that another FBI informant, Cambridge University professor Stefan A. Halper, approached Papadopoulos and two other campaign advisers starting in July 2016 to gather information about their possible ties to Russia.

“If you believe that [Greenberg] took time off from his long career as an FBI informant to reach out to us in his spare time, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I want to sell you,” Caputo said in an interview.

In a separate interview, Stone said, “I didn’t realize it was an FBI sting operation at the time, but it sure looks like one now.”

The Florida meeting adds another layer of complexity to Stone’s involvement in the Russia probe. For months, as several of Stone’s employees and associates have been subpoenaed or have appeared before the Mueller grand jury, it has been clear that the special counsel has been scrutinizing repeated claims by Stone that he communicated with WikiLeaks via a back-channel source before the group’s 2016 release of hacked Democratic Party emails.

Stone has said it’s possible he will be indicted, speculating that Mueller might charge him with a crime unrelated to the election to silence him. He said he anticipates that his meeting with Greenberg could be used in an attempt to pressure him to testify against Trump — something he says he would never do.

Last year, in a videotaped interview with The Post, Stone denied having any contacts with Russians during the campaign.

“I’ve never been to Russia. I didn’t talk to anybody who was identifiably Russian during the two-year run-up to this campaign,” he said. “I very definitely can’t think of anybody who might have been a Russian without my knowledge. It’s a canard.”

Stone and Caputo said in separate interviews that they did not disclose the Greenberg meeting during testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence because they had forgotten about an incident that Stone calls unimportant “due diligence” that would have been “political malpractice” not to explore.

Caputo said that he was asked during a session with the committee in July whether he’d ever been offered information about the Clinton campaign by a Russian, and he either answered “no” or that he could not recall.

However, Stone and Caputo said their memories were refreshed by text messages that Caputo said he no longer has in his possession but was shown during a May 2 interview.

Caputo’s attorney on Friday sent a letter amending his House testimony, and he plans to present Caputo’s account of the Greenberg incident to the Office of Inspector General for the Justice Department, which has announced it is examining the FBI’s use of informants during the Russia probe. Stone said his attorney has done the same.

Documents and interviews reveal a quirk-filled story that spans three decades and two continents. It touches down in locales as distinct as a hipster Miami art gallery and a riverfront construction site. But, like so much of the drama swirling around the 2016 election, its roots lie far away from American ballot boxes — in the Russian capital of Moscow.


Michael Caputo arrives at the Hart Senate Office Building to be interviewed by Senate Intelligence Committee staffers on May 1. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Though they never met, both Caputo and Greenberg lived heady existences in Moscow in the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a period when the city had a frisson of artistic and creative energy that Caputo compares to “Paris of the 1920s, but with Kalashnikovs.” Caputo had moved to Russia to develop a Rock-the-Vote-style campaign for Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

Greenberg was already a familiar figure in the city’s social whirl. He married a Russian actress and moved to Los Angeles. Court records show that, after being charged in 1994 with assault with a deadly weapon, he entered a plea in which he was convicted without accepting guilt.

According to a declaration he filed in court, Greenberg spent almost two years in the custody of the U.S. immigration service. He said he decided in 2000 to return to Russia, where, according to interviews and local media coverage, he resumed a glamorous life.

For a time, he shared an apartment at a fashionable Moscow address with John Daly, a producer of hit films including “The Terminator,” and he was well known by expats from the Moscow club scene.

“He was an up and down kind of guy. Charming. Very ingratiating and personal,” said Edward Bass, a movie producer who knew Greenberg in Moscow in that time.

According to accounts in Russian media, he was arrested in 2002 and charged with a decade-old $2.7 million fraud. The Moscow Times reportedthat authorities found three passports with false names in his apartment and photographs that appeared to show him posing with movie directors Steven Spielberg and Oliver Stone.

The Post was unable to determine the outcome of the case from public records. Greenberg denied wrongdoing, saying that he was not convicted and that the case was closed.

Greenberg returned to the United States, according to immigration records that he submitted as part of his federal court filing in 2015.

He attached to the statement government documents outlining his immigration history.

Between 2008 and 2012, the records show, he repeatedly was extended permission to enter the United States under a “significant public benefit parole.” The documents list an FBI agent as a contact person. The agent declined to comment.

Immigration lawyer David Leopold, former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said the documents described an immigration history generally consistent with Greenberg’s claims that he had been allowed to enter the United States to assist law enforcement.

In a 2015 court declaration, Greenberg — using the last name Oknyansky — said he’d been giving information to the FBI since returning to Russia from the United States in 2000.

“Wherever I was, from Iran to North Korea, I always send information to” the FBI, he wrote. “I cooperated with the FBI for 17 years, often put my life in danger. Based on my information, there is so many arrests criminal from drugs and human trafficking, money laundering and insurance frauds.”

Greenberg did not respond to questions about his use of multiple names but said in a text that he had worked for the “federal government” for 17 years.

“I risked my life and put myself in danger to do so, as you can imagine,” he said.

By May 2016, Greenberg was in the midst of an eventually unsuccessful zoning fight to open a restaurant on the Miami River, according to public records. He showed up without an invitation at a gallery opening organized by Caputo’s public relations firm, according to Caputo’s business partner, Sergey “George” Petrushin.

Greenberg approached Petrushin and invited him to check out the possible restaurant site the next day, Petrushin said. According to Petrushin, Greenberg eventually said that he knew Petrushin was partners with Caputo and that he had information he wanted to share that would be helpful to Trump’s campaign.

Petrushin called Caputo and handed the phone to Greenberg to make his pitch.

At the time, Caputo said, Russia was not a major campaign issue, and the man’s accent raised no red flags for him.

“I said, ‘Let me get somebody to vet it for you,’ ” Caputo recalls saying.

Caputo knew just the guy: Roger Stone.

Stone had spent decades trying to persuade Trump to run for president. In the spring of 2016, Stone was no longer with the campaign — but he remained in touch with Trump and some in his orbit.

When Stone arrived at the restaurant in Sunny Isles, he said, Greenberg was wearing a “Make America Great Again” T-shirt and hat. On his phone, Greenberg pulled up a photo of himself with Trump at a rally, Stone said.

“We really want to help Trump,” Stone recalled Greenberg saying during the brief encounter.

By Greenberg’s account, he had limited contact with Stone, sitting at a nearby table while his friend Alexei conducted the meeting. “Alexei talk to Mr. Stone, not me,” he wrote. He added that he believes Alexei has moved back to Ukraine and that they are not in contact.

When Caputo followed up with Stone via text to ask if “anything at all interesting” took place, Stone responded with a single word: “No.”

Helderman reported from Washington. Alice Crites and Devlin Barrett in Washington and Natasha Abbakumova in Moscow contributed to this report.

Mr. Comey’s Bad Week

His memos to himself about Trump don’t help his public claims.

Former FBI Director James Comey arrives to speak about his new book "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership" at Barnes & Noble bookstore, April 18.
Former FBI Director James Comey arrives to speak about his new book “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership” at Barnes & Noble bookstore, April 18. PHOTO: DREW ANGERER/GETTY IMAGES

The James Comey book tour is off to a rocky start. The idea was to sell the former FBI director as the Beltway Boy Scout who stood up to a corrupt Donald Trump. But the more we learn about the events Mr. Comey was involved in, the more his self-styled reputation for truth-telling comes into question.

On Thursday news broke that the Justice Department inspector general has referred Andrew McCabe for potential prosecution after finding that the former FBI deputy director lied to investigators about a press leak. This started a back and forth between Mr. Comey, who said he might be a witness for the prosecution, and Mr. McCabe, each accusing the other of not telling the truth.

Potomac Watch Podcast

Jim Comey’s Private Memos
00:00 / 26:33

The testimony doing the most damage to Mr. Comey’s reputation comes from Mr. Comey himself in the memos he wrote following meetings with President Trump. After months of stonewalling, Justice finally released them to Congress Thursday. Mr. Comey said he told Mr. Trump, “I don’t do sneaky things. I don’t leak. I don’t do weasel moves.” So let’s help readers make a weasel assessment.

• Leaking. Mr. Comey writes in his memos that he told Mr. Trump he didn’t leak. But he later did precisely that when he leaked the memos of his conversations with the President to his friend, Columbia law professor Daniel Richman, on the understanding that the professor would then leak the contents to the New York Times.

• Classification. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the inspector general is now conducting a review because at least two of the memos that Mr. Comey gave Mr. Richman contained classified information, contrary to Mr. Comey’s claim that it was all unclassified.

• Hillary Clinton’s role in the dossier. When Mr. Comey first briefed the President on the Steele dossier, he limited it to the sexual and salacious aspects. He also omitted a point Mr. Trump had a right to know: The dossier was compiled by Christopher Steele on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign through the research firm cutout, Fusion GPS.

An earlier House Intelligence Committee report notes that none of the FBI’s applications for a FISA warrant on former Trump campaign associate Carter Page mentioned the links to the DNC or Clinton campaign even though “the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials.” Presumably that includes Mr. Comey, but why didn’t he tell that to Mr. Trump?

• Michael Flynn . Mr. Comey says Mr. Trump’s request that he “let this go” in reference to Mr. Flynn, his first National Security Adviser, is “evidence” of obstruction. But far from suggesting the President encouraged the FBI director to close his eyes to a crime, the memos make clear Mr. Trump was making the case Mr. Flynn hadn’t done anything wrong.

• Loyalty. In his new memoir, “A Higher Loyalty,” Mr. Comey likens Mr. Trump to a mob boss in his demand for loyalty. But the Comey memos make clear that Mr. Trump raised the issue of loyalty after complaining about leaks and wondering about Mr. McCabe, whom Mr. Trump had criticized during the campaign.

He also had reason to be suspicious: The fact that Mr. Trump had been briefed on the Steele dossier did soon leak—and became the news peg that CNN used to report that the dossier existed, after which BuzzFeed published the entire dossier. Just because Mr. Trump is paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get him.

We know from Mr. Comey himself that he wanted these memos leaked to the New York Times in hopes of having a special counsel appointed. In that he succeeded. But contrary to his claims, the memos suggest little reason for appointing a special counsel: Far from looking to obstruct an investigation into Russian collusion, Mr. Trump urges Mr. Comey to continue to investigate in hopes that this would show that the ugliest details in the Steele dossier weren’t true.

Mr. Trump’s motives were personal vindication because he feared his wife might believe the allegations, and Mr. Trump should not have made the request. But asking for an investigation to disprove the Steele dossier undermines the charge that Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey to obstruct justice. We don’t know what other evidence special counsel Robert Mueller has, but hanging an obstruction rap on the Comey memos isn’t going to work.

Courtesy: WSJ

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Justice Department Watchdog Probes Comey Memos Over Classified Information

Former FBI director has said he considered the memos, which he gave to a friend to release to media, personal documents

The Justice Department inspector general is conducting an investigation into classification issues related to memos written by former FBI director James Comey.
The Justice Department inspector general is conducting an investigation into classification issues related to memos written by former FBI director James Comey. PHOTO: RALPH ALSWANG/ABC/ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON—At least two of the memos that former FBI Director James Comey gave to a friend outside of the government contained information that officials now consider classified, according to people familiar with the matter, prompting a review by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog.

Of those two memos, Mr. Comey himself redacted elements of one that he knew to be classified to protect secrets before he handed the documents over to his friend. He determined at the time that another memo contained no classified information, but after he left the Federal Bureau of Investigation, bureau officials upgraded it to “confidential,” the lowest level of classification.

The Justice Department inspector general is now conducting an investigation into classification issues related to the Comey memos, according to a person familiar with the matter. Mr. Comey has said he considered the memos personal rather than government documents. He has told Congress that he wrote them and authorized their release to the media “as a private citizen.”

Mr. Comey gave four total memos to his friend Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor who is now a professor at Columbia Law School, people familiar with the matter said. Three were considered unclassified at the time and the one was that was classified contained the redactions made by Mr. Comey.

As FBI director, Mr. Comey had the legal authority to determine what bureau information was classified and what wasn’t. Once he left government, however, the determination fell to other officials. The FBI deemed the memos classified sometime during 2017, one of the people familiar with the matter said.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly accused Mr. Comey of mishandling classified information in a bid to discredit the former FBI director, whom he fired last year. The public feud between the two men has intensified this week, as Mr. Comey has granted several interviews while promoting a memoir that is highly critical of Mr. Trump.

“James Comey Memos just out and show clearly that there was NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION. Also, he leaked classified information. WOW! Will the Witch Hunt continue?” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter Thursday.

In interviews, Mr. Comey has called Mr. Trump “morally unfit” to serve in the White House. He and Mr. Richman didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

“A person who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about and treats women like they’re pieces of meat, who lies constantly about matters big and small and insists the American people believe it, that person’s not fit to be president of the United States, on moral grounds,” Mr. Comey told ABC News this month.

The situation around Mr. Comey’s handling of his memos is analogous to the investigation the FBI under his leadership conducted of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016. While serving as secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton used a personal email server rather than a government account. After leaving government, thousands of her emails were determined to have contained classified information.

Mrs. Clinton’s defense was that they weren’t classified at the time she circulated them and were only upgraded to classified later. A small number of her emails were determined to have been classified at the time they were sent. Mr. Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation drew criticism from both Republicans and Democrats.

Republicans said Mrs. Clinton should have been charged, while Democrats said the investigation was without legal basis and was mishandled—particularly Mr. Comey’s decision to announce shortly before Election Day that he was reopening the probe. Mrs. Clinton lost the election to Mr. Trump.

No charges were ever filed against Mrs. Clinton or her aides and Mr. Comey said that his investigation found no evidence of intent to violate the laws governing the handling of classified information.

As Mr. Comey noted in his statement explaining his decision not to bring charges against Mrs. Clinton, typically the Justice Department doesn’t bring cases concerning mishandling of classified information unless there is some intent. Careless or inadvertent release of classified information is rarely prosecuted.

Mr. Comey’s memos were written contemporaneously to create a record of his interactions with Mr. Trump. He told Congress last year he hadn’t kept written records of his interactions with previous presidents but decided to do so with Mr. Trump because of the “nature of the person.”

Mr. Comey has said he intended to get the information to the public through the media by giving the memos to Mr. Richman—in part to prompt the appointment of a special prosecutor designed to continue the FBI’s investigation without political inference.

“My judgment was, I need to get that out into the public square,” Mr. Comey told Congress last year. “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.”

Those memos formed the basis for Mr. Comey’s testimony in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee last year, in which he accused the president of trying to shut down an investigation into purported Russian interference in the 2016 election. The president has denied trying to thwart the probe.

Mr. Comey’s tactics were successful—special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed shortly after he was fired as FBI director. Mr. Comey’s memos are now part of the wide-ranging probe being conducted by Mr. Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election, as well into whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice when he fired Mr. Comey last year, allegations that Mr. Trump denies. Russia has denied interfering in the election.

“I was honestly concerned he might lie about the nature of our meeting so I thought it important to document. That combination of things I had never experienced before, but had led me to believe I got to write it down and write it down in a very detailed way,” Mr. Comey told the committee.

The memos were given to Congress this week. They were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets. Much of the material in the memos has been previously disclosed in congressional testimony and Mr. Comey’s book.

Write to Byron Tau at byron.tau@wsj.com and Aruna Viswanatha at Aruna.Viswanatha@wsj.com

Corrections & Amplifications 
President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday about James Comey’s memos. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Mr. Trump tweeted Friday. (April 20, 2018)

Courtesy: WSJ

Donald Trump Just Changed His Story About James Comey’s Firing

He now says it had nothing to do with Russia.

Evan Vucci, left, and Andrew Harnik)/AP Photo

President Donald Trump said Wednesday morning that he did not fire then-FBI Director James Comey because of the bureau’s investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia, contradicting a claim he famously made last year in a nationally televised interview.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Slippery James Comey, the worst FBI Director in history, was not fired because of the phony Russia investigation where, by the way, there was NO COLLUSION (except by the Dems)!

Here’s what Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt last May: “When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.’”

Trump’s comments to Holt came as White House aides were asserting that Comey’s firing was not related to the Russia investigation but was initiated by top Justice Department officials over Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Things seem to have come full circle.

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Uranium One informant says Moscow paid millions in bid to influence Clinton

An FBI informant involved in the controversial Uranium One deal has told congressional committees that Moscow paid millions to a U.S. lobbying firm in a bid to influence then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by helping former President Bill Clinton’s charities during the Obama administration.

The Hill first reported late Wednesday that informant Douglas Campbell gave a 10-page statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, House Intelligence Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and was interviewed for several hours behind closed doors by committee staff.

In the statement, obtained by Fox News, Campbell said Russian executives told him that Moscow was hiring APCO Worldwide in an effort to influence the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton.

Campbell said Russian nuclear officials “told me at various times that they expected APCO to apply a portion of the $3 million annual lobbying fee it was receiving from the Russians to provide in-kind support for the Clinton’s Global Initiative.”

“The contract called for four payments of $750,000 over twelve months,” Campbell said in the statement. “APCO was expected to give assistance free of charge to the Clinton Global Initiative as part of their effort to create a favorable environment to ensure the Obama administration made affirmative decisions on everything from Uranium One to the US-Russia Civilian Nuclear Cooperation agreement.”

In a statement to Fox News, though, APCO called Campbell’s assertion “false and unfounded.”

“APCO Worldwide undertook client work on behalf of Tenex in 2010 and 2011. It undertook work for the Clinton Global Initiative from 2008-2016,” APCO told Fox News. “These projects were totally separate and unconnected in any way. All APCO’s actions on these two unconnected activities were publicly documented from the outset, legally proper and entirely ethical. Any assertion otherwise is false and unfounded.”

Uranium One is a Canadian mining company whose sale to a Russian firm was approved in 2010. The U.S. government was involved because the sale gave the Russians control of part of the U.S. uranium supply. The transaction has faced renewed scrutiny after The Hill reported last year that the FBI had evidence as early as 2009 that Russian operatives used bribes, kickbacks and other dirty tactics to expand Moscow’s atomic energy footprint in the U.S., related to a subsidiary of the same Russian firm.

Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill want to know how the deal was approved the following year by an inter-agency committee.

The Campbell statement also described an earlier meeting with Russian officials outside Washington where they “boasted about how weak the U.S. government was in giving away uranium business,” and referred to then-President Barack Obama “with racial epithets.”

Campbell’s attorney Victoria Toensing said her client has reported a “strategic plan” by Russian President Vladimir Putin to “take over the uranium industry.”

“[The Russians] were so confident that they told Mr. Campbell with the Clinton’s help, it was a shoo-in to get CFIUS [The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] approval,” Toensing said on “Hannity.” “They were so confident in that that they even had him open up the new office because they were planning on the kind of business they were going to do as soon as CFIUS approved it.”

Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the 2014 Meeting of Clinton Global Initiative University at Arizona State University in Tempe March 22, 2014.

An FBI informant alleged that Moscow paid millions in an effort to influence then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  (Reuters)

Toensing told Fox News that Campbell was told by the FBI that Obama was aware of the information.

“He was told that President Obama had it in his daily briefing twice,” Toensing said.

Congressional Republicans have called for further investigation into Uranium One. Attorney General Jeff Sessions last year directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate “certain issues” requested by Republicans, including Uranium One and alleged dealings related to the Clinton Foundation, leaving the door open for the appointment of another special counsel.

But this week, Democrats have charged that Campbell’s statements and the Republican interest in them is a tactic to distract from the larger Russia probe clouding the Trump administration.

Democrats have accused Republicans of making “wild claims” against Clinton.

“Republicans have been talking directly to this individual while refusing to grant Democratic members access, despite multiple requests,” Ranking Members of the House oversight and intelligence committees, Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in a statement. “During this same time period, Republicans have been making wild and unsubstantiated allegations against Secretary Clinton on national television based on this individual’s information.”

Cummings and Schiff said that the Justice Department provided them with a “detailed briefing” that “directly contradicts these Republican allegations.”

Cummings and Schiff said Campbell never provided any evidence or made allegations regarding Clinton or the Clinton Foundation in any of their interactions with him.

The ranking members claimed that the Justice Department stated that “at no point did [the individual] provide any allegation of corruption, illegality, or impropriety on Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, President Clinton, the Uranium One deal, or CFIUS,” and said there were “no allegations of impropriety or illegality” regarding Clinton in the documents they reviewed.

The Justice Department told Fox News they would not confirm whether the Schiff-Cummings characterization was accurate.

Toensing disputed the Democrats’ claims, calling Schiff “disingenuous.”

The Clinton Global Initiative did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

Hillary Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill panned the informant claims, likening them to the controversial “Nunes memo” on alleged surveillance abuse released last week and newly released text messages between anti-Trump FBI officials.

Just this week the committee made clear that this secret informant charade was just that, a charade. Along with the widely debunked text-message-gate and Nunes’ embarrassing memo episode, we have a trifecta of GOP-manufactured scandals designed to distract from their own President’s problems and the threat to democracy he poses,” he said in a statement.

Fox News’ Griff Jenkins contributed to this report.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Courtesy: Fox News

6 tortured arguments Republicans are making about the Nunes memo

 February 5 at 11:33 AM 
 2:09
Lawmakers react to release of GOP memo

Lawmakers from both parties weighed in on the Feb. 2 release of a disputed GOP memo alleging surveillance abuses by the FBI. 

If your case is only as strong as your weakest argument, then the Nunes memo is as big a flop as its critics allege.

Whatever you think about the memo or the issues that underlie it, its most ardent proponents — including Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) himself — have spent the three days since its release making some rather strained, counterfactual and even historically inaccurate arguments.

Below are a few of them that jumped out.

1. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) to Fox News on Friday night: “I would say that this is far bigger than Russia or Donald Trump, or even the Mueller probe. This is the first time in American history that politics has weaponized the FBI.”

In defense of Gaetz, who is 35 years old, he did not live through any part of J. Edgar Hoover’s nearly five decades in charge of the FBI and its predecessor.

But even before Hoover, what was then called the Bureau of Investigation was founded by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 to assist in Roosevelt’s trust-busting efforts. As the FBI’s own website says today, the bureau “was not yet strong enough to withstand the sometimes corrupting influence of patronage politics on hiring, promotions, and transfers.” By the 1920s, the FBI’s website recalls, it “had a growing reputation for politicized investigations. In 1923, in the midst of the Teapot Dome scandal that rocked the Harding Administration, the nation learned that Department of Justice officials had sent Bureau agents to spy on members of Congress who had opposed its policies.”

Hoover took over the bureau in 1924 on the promise to reform it. That … didn’t exactly happen. And for anybody who needs a refresher, read up on what the Church Committee found in the 1970s.

2. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Nunes to “Fox and Friends” on Monday: “As far as we can tell, Papadopoulos never even knew who — never even had met with the president.”

There is a photo of then-Trump adviser George Papadopoulos at a March 2016 meeting with Trump. It was put out by Trump’s own Twitter account. And according to a New York Times report, Trump even asked Papadopoulos questions.

Trump also told The Washington Post’s editorial board in an interview that Papadopoulos was an “excellent guy.”

 1:19
Trump on Papadopoulos: ‘He’s an excellent guy’

When President Trump met with The Washington Post editorial board he listed the members of his foreign policy team, calling Papadopoulos “an excellent guy.” 

3. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.): “Finally, there needs to be a discussion as to whether the Mueller investigation is truly needed, seeing that the main premise that launched the investigation turned out to not be credible and was both directed and funded by political opponents.”

Finally, there needs to be a discussion as to whether the Mueller investigation is truly needed, seeing that the main premise that launched the investigation turned out to not be credible and was both directed and funded by political opponents.

This argument is directly contradicted by the Nunes memo itself. As The Post’s Karen Tumulty and Rosalind S. Helderman detailed Friday, the memo says, “The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok.” This refers to Papadopoulos telling an Australian diplomat in London that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton — a conversation that was later reported to American authorities — and it happened three months before the FISA application to monitor Carter Page.

In other words, the memo confirms the investigation was launched months before the thing Duncan alleges was the “main premise” for its launch.

4. Nunes to Fox News on Friday: “I don’t believe that somebody like Mr. Page should be a target of the FBI, especially using salacious information paid for by a political campaign like this dossier. …”

To say that the FISA application to monitor Page was faulty and didn’t disclose enough is one thing; to argue that Page didn’t merit being monitored is quite another.

In 2013, for example, the FBI interviewed Page after Russian spies had attempted to recruit him. What’s more, two days after Nunes said this, Time magazine reported that Page had boasted in a 2013 letter that he had served as an informal adviser to the Kremlin.

The dossier included a number of unverified claims, including about Page, but there was plenty of other information out there that clearly made him of-interest to the FBI and U.S. intelligence. He had been on their radar for years, in fact. Nunes seems to be arguing rather strangely that Page is just a guy who was railroaded for no reason, but that ignores lots of publicly known evidence.

5. More Gaetz: “We do know what Andrew McCabe said, and he’s no, you know, talking head for the Republican Party. And Andrew McCabe said, but for this dossier, there never would’ve been a FISA memo. … That is a verifiable fact.”

This may be a verifiable fact, but it hasn’t been verified yet — not hardly. As I wrote Saturday, McCabe’s exact comments to the House Intelligence Committee in December are disputed by Democrats, and the memo didn’t provide a direct quote.

There have been plenty of calls for an exact transcript of what McCabe, who was then the deputy FBI director, said to the committee. Until we see that, though, we’re relying on a partisan document that for some reason opted not to quote him.

6. Nunes on “Fox and Friends”: “If Papadopoulos was such a major figure, why didn’t you get a warrant on him? … Being drunk in London and talking to other diplomats saying you didn’t like Hillary Clinton, I think it’s kinda scary that our intelligence agencies would take that and use that against an American citizen.”

Yet again, Nunes seems to be not just raising concerns about the FISA application, but suggesting a key player — in this case, Papadopoulos — is being railroaded.

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Unfortunately, his summary of events is woefully slanted. Papadopoulos’s comments didn’t raise red flags with the Australian diplomat because he said he “didn’t like Hillary Clinton;” they raised red flags because he claimed to have knowledge that the Russians had dirt on Clinton.

That would later be revealed to be more than just idle chatter and the ramblings of an inebriated adviser. Dirt on Clinton was also promised in exchange for Donald Trump Jr. setting up that June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, after all.

Amber Phillips contributed to this report.

Hillary Clinton backer paid $500G to fund women accusing Trump of sexual misconduct before Election Day, report says

One of Hillary Clinton’s wealthy pals paid $500,000 in an unsuccessful effort to fund women willing to accuse President Trump of sexual misconduct before the 2016 election, The New York Times reported Sunday.

Susie Tompkins Buell, the founder of Esprit Clothing and a major Clinton campaign donor for many years, gave the money to celebrity lawyer Lisa Bloom who was working with a number of Trump accusers at the time, according to the paper’s bombshell report.

Bloom solicited donors by saying she was working with women who might “find the courage to speak out” against Trump if the donors would provide funds for security, relocation and possibly a “safe house,” the paper reported.

Former Clinton nemesis turned Clinton operative David Brock also donated $200,000 to the effort through a nonprofit group he founded, the paper reported in an article entitled, “Partisans, Wielding Money, Begin Seeking to Exploit Harassment Claims.”

Bloom told the Times that the effort was unproductive. One woman requested $2 million then decided not to come forward. Nor did any other women.

Bloom said she refunded most of the cash, keeping only some funds for out-of-pocket expenses accrued while working to vet and prepare cases.

The lawyer told the paper she did not communicate with Clinton or her campaign “on any of this.”

She also maintained that she represented only clients whose stories she had corroborated and disputed the premise that she offered money to coax clients to come forward, the paper reported.

Insight from Daniel Halper, contributing editor with the Washington Free Beacon and author of 'Clinton Inc.'

“It doesn’t cost anything to publicly air allegations,” Bloom said. “Security and relocation are expensive and were sorely needed in a case of this magnitude, in a country filled with so much anger, hate and violence.”

The Times article said it learned of Buell and Brock’s connection to Bloom from two Democrats familiar with the financial arrangements who also said Bloom’s law firm kept the money from Brock’s nonprofit group but refunded the $500,000 that Buell contributed.

Brock declined comment, according to the paper.

Clinton campaign representatives said they were unaware of his work with Bloom.

Buell would not comment on the financial arrangement, according to the Times.

Still, she claimed she was frustrated that Trump had escaped the repercussions that have befallen many other powerful men accused of similar misconduct.

The Times article expanded on a report in The Hill two weeks ago that said Bloom worked with campaign donors and tabloid media outlets during the final months of the presidential election to arrange compensation for the alleged Trump victims and a commission for herself, offering to sell their stories.

In one case Bloom reportedly arranged for a donor to pay off one Trump accuser’s mortgage and attempted to score a six-figure payout for another woman.

The woman with the mortgage ultimately declined to come forward after being offiered $750,000, The Hill reported.

The paper reported reviewing one email exchange between one woman and Bloom that suggested political action committees supporting Hillary Clinton were solicited, without naming which ones.

Bloom, who is the daughter of famous attorney Gloria Allred and, like her mother, specializes in representing women in sexual harassment cases, worked for four women who were considering accusing Trump. Two went public, and two declined.

Courtesy: Fox News

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