Jetty Jumper

Mueller conflict Russian oligarch

Rate this topic

16 posts in this topic

What did this Russian oligarch gain by spending millions to rescue an FBI guy? What did the US gov. give him?

 

Mueller may have a conflict — and it leads directly to a Russian oligarch
By John Solomon
Special counsel Robert Mueller has withstood relentless political attacks, many distorting his record of distinguished government service.
But there’s one episode even Mueller’s former law enforcement comrades — and independent ethicists — acknowledge raises legitimate legal issues and a possible conflict of interest in his overseeing the Russia election probe.
In 2009, when Mueller ran the FBI, the bureau asked Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska to spend millions of his own dollars funding an FBI-supervised operation to rescue a retired FBI agent, Robert Levinson, captured in Iran while working for the CIA in 2007.
 
Yes, that’s the same Deripaska who has surfaced in Mueller’s current investigation and who was recently sanctioned by the Trump administration.
The Levinson mission is confirmed by more than a dozen participants inside and outside the FBI, including Deripaska, his lawyer, the Levinson family and a retired agent who supervised the case. Mueller was kept apprised of the operation, officials told me.
Some aspects of Deripaska’s help were chronicled in a 2016 book by reporter Barry Meier, but sources provide extensive new information about his role.
They said FBI agents courted Deripaska in 2009 in a series of secret hotel meetings in Paris; Vienna; Budapest, Hungary, and Washington. Agents persuaded the aluminum industry magnate to underwrite the mission. The Russian billionaire insisted the operation neither involve nor harm his homeland.
“We knew he was paying for his team helping us, and that probably ran into the millions,” a U.S. official involved in the operation confirmed.
One agent who helped court Deripaska was Andrew McCabe, the recently fired FBI deputy director who played a seminal role starting the Trump-Russia case, multiple sources confirmed.
Deripaska’s lawyer said the Russian ultimately spent $25 million assembling a private search and rescue team that worked with Iranian contacts under the FBI’s watchful eye. Photos and videos indicating Levinson was alive were uncovered.
Then in fall 2010, the operation secured an offer to free Levinson. The deal was scuttled, however, when the State Department become uncomfortable with Iran’s terms, according to Deripaska’s lawyer and the Levinson family.
FBI officials confirmed State hampered their efforts.
“We tried to turn over every stone we could to rescue Bob, but every time we started to get close, the State Department seemed to always get in the way,” said Robyn Gritz, the retired agent who supervised the Levinson case in 2009, when Deripaska first cooperated, but who left for another position in 2010 before the Iranian offer arrived. “I kept Director Mueller and Deputy Director [John] Pistole informed of the various efforts and operations, and they offered to intervene with State, if necessary.”
FBI officials ended the operation in 2011, concerned that Deripaska’s Iranian contacts couldn’t deliver with all the U.S. infighting. Levinson was never found; his whereabouts remain a mystery, 11 years after he disappeared.
“Deripaska’s efforts came very close to success,” said David McGee, a former federal prosecutor who represents Levinson’s family. “We were told at one point that the terms of Levinson’s release had been agreed to by Iran and the U.S. and included a statement by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointing a finger away from Iran. At the last minute, Secretary Clinton decided not to make the agreed-on statement.”
The State Department declined comment, and a spokesman for Clinton did not offer comment. Mueller’s spokesman, Peter Carr, declined to answer questions. As did McCabe.
The FBI had three reasons for choosing Deripaska for a mission worthy of a spy novel. First, his aluminum empire had business in Iran. Second, the FBI wanted a foreigner to fund the operation because spending money in Iran might violate U.S. sanctions and other laws. Third, agents knew Deripaska had been banished since 2006 from the United States by State over reports he had ties to organized crime and other nefarious activities. He denies the allegations, and nothing was ever proven in court.
The FBI rewarded Deripaska for his help. In fall 2009, according to U.S. entry records, Deripaska visited Washington on a rare law enforcement parole visa. And since 2011, he has been granted entry at least eight times on a diplomatic passport, even though he doesn’t work for the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Former FBI officials confirm they arranged the access.
Deripaska said in a statement through Adam Waldman, his American lawyer, that FBI agents told him State’s reasons for blocking his U.S. visa were “merely a pretext.”
“The FBI said they had undertaken a careful background check, and if there was any validity to the State Department smears, they would not have reached out to me for assistance,” the Russian said.
Then, over the past two years, evidence emerged tying him to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, the first defendant charged by Mueller’s Russia probe with money laundering and illegal lobbying.
Deripaska once hired Manafort as a political adviser and invested money with him in a business venture that went bad. Deripaska sued Manafort, alleging he stole money.
Mueller’s indictment of Manafort makes no mention of Deripaska, even though prosecutors have evidence that Manafort contemplated inviting his old Russian client for a 2016 Trump campaign briefing. Deripaska said he never got the invite and investigators have found no evidence it occurred. There’s no public evidence Deripaska had anything to do with election meddling.
Deripaska also appears to be one of the first Russians the FBI asked for help when it began investigating the now-infamous Fusion GPS “Steele Dossier.” Waldman, his American lawyer until the sanctions hit, gave me a detailed account, some of which U.S. officials confirm separately.
Two months before Trump was elected president, Deripaska was in New York as part of Russia’s United Nations delegation when three FBI agents awakened him in his home; at least one agent had worked with Deripaska on the aborted effort to rescue Levinson. During an hour-long visit, the agents posited a theory that Trump’s campaign was secretly colluding with Russia to hijack the U.S. election.
“Deripaska laughed but realized, despite the joviality, that they were serious,” the lawyer said. “So he told them in his informed opinion the idea they were proposing was false. ‘You are trying to create something out of nothing,’ he told them.” The agents left though the FBI sought more information in 2017 from the Russian, sources tell me. Waldman declined to say if Deripaska has been in contact with the FBI since Sept, 2016.
So why care about some banished Russian oligarch’s account now?
Two reasons.
First, as the FBI prepared to get authority to surveil figures on Trump’s campaign team, did it disclose to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that one of its past Russian sources waived them off the notion of Trump-Russia collusion?
Second, the U.S. government in April imposed sanctions on Deripaska, one of several prominent Russians targeted to punish Vladimir Putin — using the same sort of allegations that State used from 2006 to 2009. Yet, between those two episodes, Deripaska seemed good enough for the FBI to ask him to fund that multimillion-dollar rescue mission. And to seek his help on a sensitive political investigation. And to allow him into the country eight times.
I was alerted to Deripaska’s past FBI relationship by U.S. officials who wondered whether the Russian’s conspicuous absence from Mueller’s indictments might be related to his FBI work.
They aren’t the only ones.
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told me he believes Mueller has a conflict of interest because his FBI previously accepted financial help from a Russian that is, at the very least, a witness in the current probe.
“The real question becomes whether it was proper to leave [Deripaska] out of the Manafort indictment, and whether that omission was to avoid the kind of transparency that is really required by the law,” Dershowitz said.
Melanie Sloan, a former Clinton Justice Department lawyer and longtime ethics watchdog, told me a “far more significant issue” is whether the earlier FBI operation was even legal: “It’s possible the bureau’s arrangement with Mr. Deripaska violated the Antideficiency Act, which prohibits the government from accepting voluntary services.”
George Washington University constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley agreed: “If the operation with Deripaska contravened federal law, this figure could be viewed as a potential embarrassment for Mueller. The question is whether he could implicate Mueller in an impropriety.”
Now that sources have unmasked the Deripaska story, time will tell whether the courts, Justice, Congress or a defendant formally questions if Mueller is conflicted.
In the meantime, the episode highlights an oft-forgotten truism: The cat-and-mouse maneuvers between Moscow and Washington are often portrayed in black-and-white terms. But the truth is, the relationship is enveloped in many shades of gray.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Laura Ingram has John Salomon on reporting this Russian guy was approached by 3 FBI guys and FBI guys said they think Paul Manifort is colluding with Russia and the Russian guy laughs and says that's ridicules.

 

This was two months before FBI when to the FISA court with their fake documents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oleg is also reporting 3 FBI agents approached him 2 months before the election with a plan to frame Trump............. Seems like all the real Russians have ties to the Deep State and the Democrats. How much did this guy donate to HRC Foundation? I have posted it before..................

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How soon you all forget Va Senator Mark Warner (D) had secret texts with Oleg's Deripask's US lobbyist , for the Oligarch to set up Meet with former MI6 Agent Christopher Steele. Remember Sen. Warner did not want a paper trail...............

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He is as honorable as they come,ask Steven Hatfill.

 

 

When Comey and Mueller Bungled the Anthrax Case
By Carl M. Cannon
RCP Staff
May 21, 2017
In the wake of Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, the Justice Department named Robert S. Mueller III as a special prosecutor to investigate possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. It was a decision greeted with a chorus of supportive croaking from inside official Washington, aka The Swamp.
“If anyone can stay on course and not be deterred by the whims of politics, it’s Bob Mueller,” said former Missouri senator and U.S. attorney general John Ashcroft. “A great choice,” added John McCain. “Somebody we all trust,” echoed California Congressman Darrell Issa.
“Impeccable credentials,” chimed in Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah. “Should be widely accepted.”
Democrats were even more extravagant. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said that “no better person” could have been named. Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin tweeted, “I have the highest regard for his integrity and intelligence.”
All this was dutifully reported in the press, which gushed over Mueller just as effusively. “Robert Mueller: The Special Counsel America Needs,” intoned the New York Times editorial board. Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, revealing a lack of self-awareness worthy of Trump himself, gleefully predicted disaster for the president.
“Mueller is a Trump nightmare: a pro, who ran the FBI for 12 years and is broadly respected in both parties in Washington for his competence and integrity,” Kristof wrote. “If Trump thought he was removing a thorn by firing Comey, he now faces a grove of thistles.”
Kristof never mentioned why he had as much reason to recuse himself from this subject as Attorney General Jeff Sessions did. I’ll explain later. First, I’ll say that when I heard Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had appointed Bob Mueller as a special prosecutor, I didn’t experience the same rhapsody as my capital compatriots. Why? Three reasons.
First, Jim Comey and Bob Mueller have a long history as professional allies. For Mueller to be brought in to investigate the behavior of the guy who sacked Comey seems a conflict of interest. Perhaps this is the wrong way to look at it, and that Mueller’s professionalism will supersede any personal loyalty. Okay, but here’s a second reason: These two guys, working in tandem, have a track record of bureaucratic infighting – with another Republican White House as their shared adversary -- that belies their reputations for being above political intrigue. This is not news. Some of the positive coverage in the last few days highlighted that episode. It’s a long and convoluted story, but the story line that took hold in Washington went like this:
In March 2004, Comey, then deputy attorney general, sped with sirens blazing to the hospital bedside of his boss, John Ashcroft, who was recovering from gallbladder surgery. At the time, the Justice Department was being pressured by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and Chief of Staff Andrew Card to sign papers reauthorizing a secret anti-terrorism domestic surveillance program initiated after 9/11. The clock was running out and the papers had to be signed or the program would lapse. But Comey, who had a dim view of the program’s constitutionality, wouldn’t do it. When he heard Gonzales and Card were on their way to the hospital, Comey rushed there, too, to stop them.
Comey had enlisted Bob Mueller, then FBI director, as an ally. Both men apparently told George W. Bush privately they’d quit rather than extend the program. “Here I stand, I can do no other,” Comey told Bush. That’s Martin Luther’s iconic line, and although in 2016 Hillary Clinton would come to see Comey as more akin to Judas than Luther, one thing is apparent: Jim Comey is a government appointee who thinks of himself in a manner many people find grandiose. Bush backed down in the face of the Comey-Mueller insurrection, but three years later Comey told his dramatic Ashcroft hospital bed story in a congressional hearing that eviscerated Gonzales, who was attorney general by then.
The third and most important factor tempering my enthusiasm for the new special prosecutor is that Comey and Mueller badly bungled the biggest case they ever handled. They botched the investigation of the 2001 anthrax letter attacks that took five lives and infected 17 other people, shut down the U.S. Capitol and Washington’s mail system, solidified the Bush administration’s antipathy for Iraq, and eventually, when the facts finally came out, made the FBI look feckless, incompetent, and easily manipulated by outside political pressure.
This, too, was an enormously complex case. But here are some facts: Despite the jihadist slogans accompanying the mailed anthrax, it had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein or any foreign element; the FBI ignored a 2002 tip from a scientific colleague of the actual anthrax killer, who turned out to be a Fort Detrick scientist named Bruce Edwards Ivins; the reason is that they had quickly obsessed on an innocent man named Steven Hatfill; the bureau was bullied into focusing on the government scientist by Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy (whose office, along with that of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, was targeted by an anthrax-laced letter) and was duped into focusing on Hatfill by two sources – a conspiracy-minded college professor with a political agenda who’d never met Hatfill and by Nicholas Kristof, who put his conspiracy theories in the paper while mocking the FBI for not arresting Hatfill.
In truth, Hatfill was an implausible suspect from the outset. He was a virologist who never handled anthrax, which is a bacterium. (Ivins, by contrast, shared ownership of anthrax patents, was diagnosed as having paranoid personality disorder, and had a habit of stalking and threatening people with anonymous letters – including the woman who provided the long-ignored tip to the FBI). So what evidence did the FBI have against Hatfill? There was none, so the agency did a Hail Mary, importing two bloodhounds from California whose handlers claimed could sniff the scent of the killer on the anthrax-tainted letters. These dogs were shown to Hatfill, who promptly petted them. When the dogs responded favorably, their handlers told the FBI that they’d “alerted” on Hatfill and that he must be the killer.
You’d think that any good FBI agent would have kicked these quacks in the fanny and found their dogs a good home. Or at least checked news accounts of criminal cases in California where these same dogs had been used against defendants who’d been convicted -- and later exonerated. As Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times investigative reporter David Willman detailed in his authoritative book on the case, a California judge who’d tossed out a murder conviction based on these sketchy canines called the prosecution’s dog handler “as biased as any witness that this court has ever seen.”
Instead, Mueller, who micromanaged the anthrax case and fell in love with the dubious dog evidence, personally assured Ashcroft and presumably George W. Bush that in Steven Hatfill the bureau had its man. Comey, in turn, was asked by a skeptical Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz if Hatfill was another Richard Jewell – the security guard wrongly accused of the Atlanta Olympics bombing. Comey replied that he was “absolutely certain” they weren’t making a mistake.
Such certitude seems to be Comey’s default position in his professional life. Mueller didn’t exactly distinguish himself with contrition, either. In 2008, after Ivins committed suicide as he was about to be apprehended for his crimes, and the Justice Department had formally exonerated Hatfill – and paid him $5.82 million in a legal settlement – Mueller could not be bothered to walk across the street to attend the press conference announcing the case’s resolution. When reporters did ask him about it, Mueller was graceless. “I do not apologize for any aspect of the investigation,” he said, adding that it would be erroneous “to say there were mistakes.”
Does this mean Comey and Mueller are bad guys? I’m not saying that. Mueller, for one, answered his country’s call and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps when many others of his generation were avoiding combat service in Vietnam. Both men have forsaken millions of dollars in salary at private law firms for public service. Neither has ever had a hint of personal scandal.
I know Steven Hatfill’s attorney, Thomas Connolly, well, and David Willman, a former newsroom colleague, even better—and I spoke to them last week about these events. Connolly said he thought Comey was a “decent guy” who was legitimately fooled by that business with the dogs. And while Willman and I were discussing whether Mueller’s reputation for competence was deserved, the reporter volunteered that he did not question the man’s integrity. Fair enough. I would, however, pose this query to the keepers of official Washington’s agreed-upon narrative.

 

While running for president, Donald Trump promised to “drain the swamp.” He won enough votes, in the right states, to make him president. So here’s the question: How does official Washington, which clearly does not want to be drained, think the 63 million people who voted for Trump will feel about an investigation run by D.C. insiders with a history of grandstanding – an investigation that some Democrats and commentators are saying aloud they hope will end in impeachment? And what will those Trump voters think of uncritical media coverage of this effort by a self-righteous press corps that has suddenly rediscovered its investigative-reporting impulses, and which behaves as if little of this relevant context is even worth mentioning?
Carl M. Cannon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John Soloman reporting tonight on Hannity said several in Congress figure that after the FBI tried to frame Trump with the Russian guy, Russian guy when home and told Russian Officials that the FBI is trying to get Trump on collusion with Russia.

Congress then concludes Russian Intelligence then started planting false stories to screw with Brennan's CIA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.