|The Grand Turk|
|Turkey to host new summit to tackle Syria conflict|
|[ENGLISH.ALARABIYA.NET] will host a summit on Syria in February with the leaders of , Germany and amid ongoing tensions over the conflict, President said in comments published Thursday.|
It follows their meeting on Tuesday in London on the sidelines of the summit.
Deep differences remain over Turkey’s offensive in October against Kurdish in northern Syrian, who had been a key ally for the West against the ISIS.
That triggered a bitter verbal exchange between Erdogan and French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of the NATO summit.
But Macron said their four-way meeting had helped "clear up misunderstandings" despite the continuing refusal by Western powers to label Syrian Kurdish as terrorists.
"We agreed that we would do this four-way summit at least once a year. The second summit will be in Istanbul in February," Erdogan said, according to state news agency Anadolu.
He criticized the insistence of the three leaders on when Turkey would leave northern Syria.
"We said to them, ’What is your business there? Do you have a border?’ No. ’Are you harassed by any fire?’ No. ’Are there attacks?’ No."
Russian President is also due to visit Istanbul on January 8, with Syria and energy issues on the agenda.
|Putin says Russia ready to extend New START treaty by year-end|
|[ENGLISH.ALARABIYA.NET] Russia is ready by the end of this year to extend the New START nuclear arms control treaty without extra conditions and further discussion, President said on Thursday, Interfax news agency reported.|
The New START accord, which expires in February 2021, is the last major nuclear arms control treaty between Russia and the United States and limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads they can deploy.
The pact, which was signed in 2010 by US President and then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers.
The treaty, which can be extended by another five years, envisages a comprehensive verification mechanism to check compliance, including on-site inspections of each side’s nuclear bases.
Its expiration would remove any limits on Russian and US nuclear arsenals for the first time in decades.
Arms control advocates have argued that the failure to extend the pact would be highly destabilizing at a time when Russia-US relations have sunk to the lowest levels since the Cold War.
Putin and other Russian officials have repeatedly voiced concern about Washington’s reluctance to discuss the treaty’s extension.
"Our proposals have been on the table, but we have got no response from our partners," Putin said.
In Washington, a suggested the Trump administration is not interested in an immediate extension and sees no rush anyway as New Start doesn’t expire until February 2021.
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|DOJ watchdog finds FBI omitted details about Steele dossier in FISA renewal applications|
|[Washington Examiner] The Justice Department watchdog found omissions in renewal applications the FBI submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking warrants to monitor onetime Trump campaign aide Carter Page.|
A draft of Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report, due out next week, shows the FBI failed to convey to the court that not all of the information it used from British ex-spy Christopher Steele was entirely reliable, according to the Washington Post.
Steele was an FBI informant enlisted to research then-presidential candidate Donald Trump by Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm that had been hired by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign. Steele's Democratic funding, his strong desire for Trump to lose, and the possible flaws with his dossier were not revealed to the court governed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
His dossier on alleged ties between Trump and Russia was used by the FBI to obtain the authority to wiretap Page, an American who had suspicious connections to the Russians. The first warrant application was submitted in October 2016, after which there were three renewals at three-month intervals, including ones in January, April, and June 2017. Page was never charged with wrongdoing, and special counsel Robert Mueller determined in his investigation there was insufficient evidence to establish criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.
FBI agents interviewed one of Steele's subsources and found that Steele's raw intelligence, in need of further verification, was not completely reliable. Horowitz's investigators found the FBI failed to convey this information in the later applications, but according to sources familiar with a draft of the report, the omissions were "apparently" not sufficient enough for the watchdog to conclude the applications should have been rejected.
|Home Front: Politix|
|AG Barr Disagrees with IG on Whether Trump Surveillance Justified|
|[BREITBART] Attorney General William Barr reportedly disagrees with a finding by the forthcoming Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) report that the FBI had sufficient reason to monitor the Trump campaign in 2016.|
The FBI conducted surveillance on Trump campaign associates, including foreign policy aide Carter Page, on the basis of suspicions that the campaign might have been colluding with Russia to interfere with the 2016 election.
No evidence of collusion was ever found, though the surveillance continued well after the election, and the fact that the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign over Russia was leaked to Democrats and to the mainstream media.
The IG report is expected to criticize the FBI for the way in which it approached the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to obtain a warrant for that surveillance. The FBI partly relied upon the so-called "dossier" prepared by former British spy for Fusion GPS, an opposition research company being paid by the campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Republicans have claimed that the FBI failed to corroborate the unproven allegations in the dossier, and hid its political origins from the FISA court.
But there have been conflicting leaks about what the report, which is set to be released next Monday, will say about misconduct at the FBI. Several individuals have already seen drafts of the report, as they are mentioned in it.
The Washington Post reported Monday evening that IG Michael Horowitz, an appointee, had concluded that there was, in fact, sufficient evidence to justify what Barr earlier called "spying" on the campaign.
Barr reportedly disagreed, though a spokesperson for the DOJ dismissed reports of a dispute between Barr and Horowitz: "Rather than speculating, people should read the report for themselves next week," she said.
|Home Front: Politix|
|Will The FISA Report Address Whether Christopher Steele Lied To The FBI|
|[DAILYCALLER] One of the mysteries looming over the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation is whether dossier author lied to the bureau regarding his contacts with journalists. |
Two GOP senators, Chuck Grassley and , referred Steele for investigation in January 2018, but there have been no updates about the status of the probe.
That could change Monday when the Justice Department’s inspector general releases a report that will detail the FBI’s relationship with Steele.
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|Fusion GPS Leaders: Chris Steele Hired Us First ‐ to Find Manafort Dirt for Russian Oligarch|
|[Breitbart] Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm behind the infamous "pee dossier" on then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, was first hired by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to obtain damaging information on Paul Manafort ‐ weeks before the firm hired him to produce his now-discredited, conspiracy-weaving dossier.|
The explosive admission was made by Fusion GSP co-founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch in the pair’s recently-released book ‐ Crime in Progress ‐ and highlighted in a Monday report by American Greatness.
"Weeks before Trump tapped Manafort to run his campaign, Christopher Steele had hired Fusion for help investigating Manafort," write Fritsch and Simpson. "The matter had nothing to do with politics and was a typical commercial assignment."
The Fusion GPS co-founders say their firm cut a nominal agreement to "research Manafort’s finances" for a client of Steele, now infamous for authoring a dossier alleging collusion between President Trump and the Kremlin.
Fritsch and Simpson contend that the retired Secret Intelligence Service MI6 agent’s client was Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch and close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Deripaska sought to determine whether Manafort had stolen money from him, according to the book.
"[Christopher Steele] did not disclose the ultimate client for the job, and Fusion didn’t press the issue," claim the Fusion GSP co-founders.
American Greatness notes of the Fusion GPS-Steele deal: "That means Glenn Simpson represented not one but two Russian tycoons in 2016: At the same time Fusion was helping Steele on behalf of Deripaska, Simpson also was representing Prevezon, another company owned by a Putin-tied Russian also under investigation by the Justice Department for money laundering."
Notably, a timeline of events shows Fusion GPS’s investigation into Manafort occurred while they sought dirt on the 2016 Trump campaign.
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|Fiona Hill Details Relationship with Christopher Steele, Disparages Steele Dossier|
|[National Review] During her testimony, former National Security Council staffer Fiona Hill revealed that she had a three-year working relationship with Christopher Steele, the former British spy contracted by opposition-research firm Fusion GPS to produce the infamous Steele Dossier, but doubted the accuracy of his dossier, according to a transcript published Friday.|
"He was my counterpart when I was the director, the national intelligence officer," Hill told Representative Jim Jordan (R., Ohio). "When I had to do liaison meetings with the U.K., he was the person I had to meet with." Hill said she worked directly with Steele from 2006 to 2009.
Hill’s comments confirmed a Politico profile on Hill from September 30, which described her relationship with Steele. "She had a high opinion of Steele, and thought he was very smart," a foreign-policy veteran, and one of Hill’s close friends, told Politico.
Hill confirmed that she had met with Steele during the 2016 election, which was included in the Politico story.
“That was prior to the time that I had any knowledge about the dossier,” she stated. “He was constantly trying to drum up business, and he had contacted me because he wanted to see if I could give him a contact to some other individual, who actually I don’t even recall now, who he could approach about some business issues.”
Hill also discussed Steele’s dossier in the testimony, saying that upon reading it, she had had “misgivings and concern that [Steele] could have been played,” because “the Russians would have an ax to grind against him given the job that he had previously.”
“I don’t believe it’s appropriate for him to have been hired to do this,” Hill said of Steele’s contract with Fusion GPS. “I almost fell over when I discovered that he was doing this report.”
|Home Front: Politix|
|Alleged ‘Whistleblower’ Eric Ciaramella Worked Closely with Anti-Trump Dossier Hoaxer|
|[BREITBART] Eric Ciaramella, whom Real Clear Investigations suggests is the likely so-called whistleblower, was part of an email chain celebrating the eventual signing of a $1 billion U.S. loan guarantee to Ukraine.|
That and other emails show Ciaramella interfaced about Ukraine with individuals who played key roles in facilitating the infamous anti-Trump dossier produced by Fusion GPS and reportedly financed by ’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee. One of those individuals, then-Assistant Secretary of State for an Affairs Victoria Nuland (pictured), received updates on Ukraine issues from dossier author in addition to Nuland’s direct role in the dossier controversy.
Also part of the email chains was Christopher J. Anderson, who was a special adviser to former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker. Anderson testified to the Democrat-led House committees running the impeachment inquiry.
Ciaramella’s name comes up in six Obama-era government emails that were released by the State Department as part of two previous Freedom of Information Act requests. At the time of the exchanges, Ciaramella served as the Director for Baltic and Eastern European Affairs for the Obama-era National Security Council, where he worked on Ukraine policy. He is now an analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency.
One email, titled, "Loan Guarantee," involved Nuland, who was reportedly a key champion of the Ukraine loan guarantee policy.
"Hurray," a celebratory Nuland wrote in response to a translated Ukrainian government announcement about the signing of the $1 billion loan guarantee. The announcement singles out as being present for the conclusion of an agreement leading to the loan guarantee.
Ciaramella was one of several people CC’d in the email, which was sent from the U.S. ambassador at the time, Geoffrey Pyatt, who was another key champion of the loan guarantee to Ukraine along with Nuland.
The email is one of several that shows Ciaramella in the loop with such as Nuland working on Ukraine policy under the .
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|Who will be the first to flip in spygate criminal investigation?|
|[Legal Insurrection] It was clear after the release of the Mueller Report that Attorney General William Barr was determined to get to the bottom of the spying on Trump and his campaign.|
Because of that expressed determination, Barr became a public enemy. On May 2, 2019, I wrote, Bill Barr is going to expose Spygate, and the Democrat-Media Russia Collusion Complex is panicking:
It was Barr’s comments about spying on the Trump campaign, and his pledge to investigate that spying, that explains the frenzy to take down Barr. That spying, regardless of whether lawful, has the potential to be a scandal that could touch deep into the Obama administration, and some former officials who loom large in the anti-Trump resistance.
When Barr appointed John Durham to handle the investigation, later in May, the finger-pointing among those involved in investigating Trump started, leading to the the pressing question was Who’s going to cut a deal first in Spygate?
|Home Front: Politix|
|Hiillary claims Tulsi Gabbard is a Russian Asset (not from a satire site)|
|[NationalReview] Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asserted that the Russians are attempting to undermine the 2020 election by backing Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) as a third-party candidate, stating "she's the favorite of the Russians."|
"Steele and Fusion GPS told me"
Appearing on Obama campaign manager David Plouffe's podcast, Clinton made a number of claims regarding Russian meddling in U.S. elections, including that Gabbard's substantial social-media support relies on Russian bots. Gabbard was the most-searched candidate after the first and second Democratic debates.
"I think they've got their eye on someone who's currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate," Clinton said on the podcast. "She's the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far."
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|Memos from Steele dossier made their way ‘directly' to Soetoro|
|[World Tribune] A new book by the founders of Fusion GPS reveals that then-President Barack Obama received the memos that made up the unverified anti-Trump dossier.|
The Hoover Institution’s Paul Sperry tweeted: "BREAKING: In new book "Crime in Progress," set for release next month, #Spygate archvillain Glenn Simpson reveals that he was first hired to investigate Trump in "the fall of 2015" and that memos from his now-discredited Steele dossier made their way directly "to President Obama".
Simpson and Peter Fritsch are the founders of Fusion GPS, the political opposition research firm that oversaw the compilation of the dossier by ex-British spy Christopher Steele. The dossier contained numerous allegations that the Trump campaign was aided by Russian government operatives. None of the allegations have been proven.
Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential election hid their payments to Fusion GPS and Steele through their law firm Perkins Coie.
Perkins Coie paid Fusion GPS who then paid Steele to compile the dossier.
Though the FBI knew the dossier was unverified, the bureau nonetheless used it has key evidence in its counterintelligence investigation into the campaign and in obtaining FISA warrants to spy on Trump campaign associates.
Publishing giant Random House announced that the book, titled Crime in Progress: Inside the Steele Dossier and the Fusion GPS Investigation of Donald Trump, will be released on Nov. 26.
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|Democrats' Fear of Durham About to Reach Panic Level|
|[PJ] The important news of the day--far beyond the inevitable tedious impeachment jousting--is that John Durham's investigation of the provenance of the FBI's counterintelligence investigation of possible Trump-Russia collusion has expanded, according to several administration officials.|
Fox News previously reported that Durham would be reviewing the days leading up to the 2016 election and through the inauguration.
However, based on what he has been finding, Durham has expanded his investigation adding agents and resources, the senior administration officials said. The timeline has grown from the beginning of the probe through the election and now has included a post-election timeline through the spring of 2017, up to when Robert Mueller was named special counsel.
That's the same Robert Mueller who testified under oath he was "not familiar" with Fusion GPS after years investigating a supposed scandal instigated by that company. This eye-rolling lie is far more significant than anything he has prosecuted others for. This is the same Mueller who also lied, administration officials just informed us, in denying, again under oath, he interviewed for the FBI job before becoming special counsel.
Actually, it's worse. As the president's former lawyer John Dowd put it: "Capt. Robert Mueller, USMC, sits in front of his commander in chief being interviewed for FBI director knowing he is going to investigate the president and never says a word."