Posts Tagged ‘Federal Bureau of Investigation’

FBI, DOJ expected to make redactions despite Trump’s order to declassify Russia documents: Report

September 19, 2018

The FBI and Department of Justice are expected to redact some information in the materials President Trump has ordered declassified regarding the Russia investigation, according to a report Wednesday.

The president directed the Justice Department, FBI, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Monday to provide “immediate declassification” of materials relating to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant applications on Carter Page, FBI reports of interviews with DOJ official Bruce Ohr, as well as all text messages, without redactions, about the investigation from former FBI Director James Comey, his former deputy Andrew McCabe, Ohr, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page.

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Three people familiar with review of the materials told Bloomberg the agencies are expected to propose redactions on particularly sensitive materials, including classified sources and methods, before submitting them to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which will then turn over the materials to the White House.

Trump and his Republican allies have contended the Russia investigation has been tainted by anti-Trump bias before special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed. Democrats counter that, saying Trump and his allies only want to discredit the probe.

Despite any proposed redactions, the president has the authority to veto the agencies’ recommendations and declassify the material on his own.

[Opinion: How declassifying documents might backfire on Trump]

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/fbi-doj-expected-to-make-redactions-despite-trumps-order-to-declassify-russia-documents-report

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FBI, DOJ To Defy Trump Order; Redactions Planned As Top ‘Deep State’ Dems Demand Insubordination

September 19, 2018

Despite President Trump’s Monday order for the “immediate declassification” of sensitive materials related to the Russia investigation, “without redaction,” the agencies involved are planning to do so anyway, according to Bloomberg, citing three people familiar with the matter.

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The Justice Department, FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence are going through a methodical review and can’t offer a timeline for finishing, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the sensitive matter. –Bloomberg

Trump ordered the DOJ to release the text messages of former FBI Director James Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe, now-fired special agent Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Lisa Page and twice-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr.

Also ordered released are specific pages from the FBI’s FISA surveillance warrant application on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, as well as interviews with Ohr.

The DOJ and the FBI are expected to submit proposed redactions to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence – which will prepare a package for Trump to sign off on.

“When the president issues such an order, it triggers a declassification review process that is conducted by various agencies within the intelligence community, in conjunction with the White House counsel, to seek to ensure the safety of America’s national security interests,” a Justice Department spokesman said in a statement. “The department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are already working with the Director of National Intelligence to comply with the president’s order.”

The agencies are likely to cite national security concerns over revealing classified “sources and methods” pertaining to the Russia investigation – which will put them in direct conflict with Trump’s order. Trump, as president, has the power to override the agencies and declassify material on his own.

Trump’s order to release the documents comes after months of requests from GOP lawmakers, while the DOJ has repeatedly denied their requests for more transparency.

The FBI’s spy…

According to Bloomberg, the DOJ is interpreting Trump’s request to include information about the use of confidential informant (spy) Stephan Halper during the early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation. After taking in over $400,000 from the Obama Pentagon under the auspices of a research contract, Halper befriended and spied on members of the Trump campaign, including aides Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.

Showdown?

Top Congressional Democrats Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff and Mark Warner penned a joint letter to ODNI Director Dan Coates, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray demanding that the agencies defy President Trump.

Byron York

@ByronYork

Showdown? In letter, Pelosi/Schumer/Schiff/Warner order intel agencies to ignore presidential order on declassification until consulting with Congress. http://ow.ly/Mplg30lSrYn 

In the letter, the lawmakers “express profound alarm” at the decision to “intervene in an ongoing law enforcement investigation that may implicate the President himself or those around him.”

“Any decision by your offices to share this material with the President or his lawyers will violate longstanding Department of Justice polices, as well as assurances you have provided to us.”

The letter then demands that the agencies brief the Gang of Eight before releasing the materials “to anyone at the White House.”

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/388985966/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&show_recommendations=false&access_key=key-2N4JgANZHX1A9u2s8hFJ

In short, prepare for fireworks…

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-09-19/fbi-doj-defy-trump-order-redactions-planned-top-dems-demand-insuboordination

Devin Nunes: ‘Laughable’ to argue Trump’s declassification order endangers national security

September 18, 2018

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said it is “laughable” to claim President Trump’s order Monday to declassify documents related to the Russia investigation is a danger to national security.

The “mainstream media” is “buying the Kool-Aid,” Nunes, R-Calif., said in an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham reacting to a warning given hours earlier by his Democratic counterpart on the intelligence panel.

In a statement, Rep. Adam Schiff called Trump’s order a “clear abuse of power” and said he was previously informed by the FBI and Justice Department that they would consider the release of these materials the stepping past a “red line that must not be crossed as they may compromise sources and methods.”

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Rep. Adam Schiff

Nunes brushed off what he described as a political “play call,” which has been echoed by other Democrats, politicos, and legal experts. “It’s laughable that they are saying this will somehow endanger national security,” Nunes said. “This is really full transparency for the American people.”

Answering a push by his GOP allies in Congress, who have been clamoring to secure public evidence showing a tainted Russia investigation and bias in the top levels of the DOJ and FBI, the White House announced early Monday evening that Trump had ordered the declassification of certain key documents that Nunes and others have had their eyes on, and more.

Among them are about 20 pages of the June 2017 application to the FISA court seeking the authority to spy on onetime Trump campaign aide Carter Page, who had suspicious ties to Russia. While it’s not the first application submitted — there were four in total — Nunes explained this one contains the main details of the other three. The FISA documents were released earlier in the summer, but in heavily redacted form.

The GOP majority in the House Intelligence Committee, with the release of a memo in February that was declassified by Trump, raised the alarm about the FBI possibly misleading the FISA court by hiding the political origins of dossier, written by ex-British spy Christopher Steele and funded in part by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Trump and Republicans have repeatedly questioned the credibility of the Russia investigation, specifically how much the dossier — which contains unverified claims about Trump’s ties to Russia — was used by top federal law enforcement officials to justify launching it in 2016. Trump’s order Monday also covers documents on FBI interviews with DOJ official Bruce Ohr, who not only fed the bureau information he got from Steele, but also has a wife who had done work for Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that commissioned the dossier.

Democrats have decried the GOP efforts, characterizing them as a means to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. In his statement Monday, Schiff accused Trump of deciding to “intervene in a pending law enforcement investigation by ordering the selective release of materials he believes are helpful to his defense team and thinks will advance a false narrative.”

Meanwhile, there has been talk that Trump could be breaking the law with his order; not in regards to the Russia documents, but rather with the unexpected move of ordering the unredacted release of text messages of current and former officials, including ex-FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Ohr, and former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who became infamous for their anti-Trump text messages.

“There could very likely be Privacy Act implications,” former Justice Department attorney Scott Hodes told Politico.

While Nunes and others, like Trump ally Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., praised Trump for allowing transparency to win, there remain hurdles. In a statement Monday evening, the Justice Department suggested that the declassification effort, which will involve multiple agencies, will take some time.

“When the President issues such an order, it triggers a declassification review process that is conducted by various agencies within the intelligence community, in conjunction with the White House Counsel, to seek to ensure the safety of America’s national security interests. The Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are already working with the Director of National Intelligence to comply with the President’s order,” a DOJ spokeperson said.

Even when the documents are declassified, Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano warned that some of them may not see the light of day. “Just because something is no longer classified doesn’t mean it’s public,” he said on air.

Former government officials explained to the Wall Street Journal that members of Congress, including those in the House Intelligence Committee, could obtain them and then release some of the documents themselves. They would also be subject to freedom of information laws.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/devin-nunes-laughable-to-argue-trumps-declassification-order-endangers-national-security

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Trump Orders Declassification Of FBI Documents Sought By House Republicans

September 18, 2018

President Trump has ordered the intelligence community to “provide for the immediate declassification” of several documents related to the FBI and the Department of Justice, the White House press secretary announced Monday.

The documents in question are specific pages of the June 2017 FISA warrant application related to onetime Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, all FBI interview reports prepared in connection with all FISA warrant applications in connection with Page, and all FBI reports of interviews with Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr prepared in connection with the FBI’s Russia investigation.

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Additionally, Trump has ordered the DOJ and the FBI to release all text messages related to the Russia investigation — in unredacted form — of former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Lisa Page and Ohr.

“When the President issues such an order, it triggers a declassification review process that is conducted by various agencies within the intelligence community, in conjunction with the White House Counsel, to seek to ensure the safety of America’s national security interests,” a spokesperson for the Department of Justice said in a statement. “The Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are already working with the Director of National Intelligence to comply with the President’s order.”

One of Trump’s allies in the House cheered the president’s decision. “I commend President Trump for his decision to declassify numerous documents, including several redacted pages of the Carter Page FISA application and important messages relating to the Russia investigation,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said in a statement. “My colleagues in Congress and I have requested these documents for months, but have faced lengthy and unnecessary delays, redactions, and refusals from officials at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” Gaetz, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, added that he looks “forward to the forthcoming release of these documents, and reviewing them closely.”

But the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee criticized Trump’s move. “President Trump, in a clear abuse of power, has decided to intervene in a pending law enforcement investigation by ordering the selective release of materials he believes are helpful to his defense team and thinks will advance a false narrative,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in a statement that also raised concerns about the possibility that intelligence sources and methods could be compromised by the release ordered by Trump.

It is not clear from the statement when the declassification and release of the documents will occur. But when it does it would be the latest move by Trump and his administration to release previously secret documents at the heart of claims by the president’s allies on Capitol Hill. Those allies, particularly conservative Republicans in the House, contend that the FBI’s Russia investigation is biased against Trump at its core and from its early stages.

In July the administration released the previously classified warrant application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court made by the FBI in 2016 seeking permission to surveil Page’s communications. But those documents were heavily redacted, with entire pages blacked out. Earlier this year, in February, a memo by House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., was also declassified and released. And later that same month, a countermemo by Democrats on the same committee was declassified and released in redacted form.

Although Monday’s announcement had been anticipated, the news comes as the Trump administration is grappling with sexual-assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

A month ago, the president made headlines when he revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, a persistent Trump critic on TV and on Twitter, who played a role in referring information to the FBI that would spark the bureau’s Russia investigation. The revocation of Brennan’s clearance and the release by the White House of the names of a number of other individuals in federal law enforcement or the intelligence community whose clearances might also be in jeopardy occurred as prosecutors were wrapping up the presentation of their case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and as former Trump aide Omarosa Manigault Newman was on a media tour promoting a new book critical of Trump and his administration.

In another headline-grabbing move Monday that had likewise been anticipated, the Trump administration announced it was imposing 10 percent tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports, the latest salvo in the president’s escalating trade dispute with China.

https://www.npr.org/2018/09/17/648883919/trump-orders-declassification-of-documents-about-fbi-sought-by-house-republicans

Robert Mueller investigation and a disparity of justice

August 24, 2018

Robert Mueller is determined to sniff out any wrongdoing he can find—on one side.

When Justice Is Partial

Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill, June 13, 2013.
Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill, June 13, 2013. PHOTO: YURI GRIPAS/REUTERS
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U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami took a few moments in his Tuesday statement about Michael Cohen’s plea deal to sing neutrality’s praise: “His day of reckoning serves as a reminder that we are a nation of laws, with one set of rules that applies equally to everyone.”

Noble words, and they used to mean something. But a disparity of justice is at the heart of our current crisis of faith in institutions. Americans aren’t outraged that the Federal Bureau of Investigation felt obliged to investigate allegations leveled at campaigns, or that a special counsel is looking at Russian electoral interference. They are instead furious that Lady Justice seems to have it in for only one side.

The country has watched the FBI treat one presidential campaign with kid gloves, the other with informants, warrants and eavesdropping. They’ve seen the Justice Department resist all efforts at accountability, even as it fails to hold its own accountable. And don’t get them started on the one-sided media.

And they are now witnessing unequal treatment in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. Yes, the former FBI director deserves credit for smoking out the Russian trolls who interfered in 2016. And one can argue he is obliged to pursue any evidence of criminal acts, even those unrelated to Russia. But what cannot be justified is the one-sided nature of his probe.

Consider Mr. Cohen, the former Trump lawyer who this week pleaded guilty to eight felony charges. Six related to his personal business dealings; the other two involved campaign-finance violations arising from payments to women claiming affairs with Donald Trump. The criminal prosecution of campaign-finance offenses is exceptionally rare (most charges are civil), but let’s take Mr. Khuzami’s word for it when he says Mr. Cohen’s crimes are “particularly significant” because he’s a lawyer who should know better, and also because the payments were for the purpose of “influencing an election” and undermining its “integrity.”

If there is only “one set of rules,” where is Mr. Mueller’s referral of a case against Hillary for America? Federal law requires campaigns to disclose the recipient and purpose of any payments. The Clinton campaign paid Fusion GPS to compile a dossier against Mr. Trump, a document that became the basis of the Russia narrative Mr. Mueller now investigates. But the campaign funneled the money to law firm Perkins Coie, which in turn paid Fusion. The campaign falsely described the money as payment for “legal services.” The Democratic National Committee did the same. A Perkins Coie spokesperson has claimed that neither the Clinton campaign nor the DNC was aware that Fusion GPS had been hired to conduct the research, and maybe so. But a lot of lawyers here seemed to have been ignoring a clear statute, presumably with the intent of influencing an election.

“Liberty and Justice for All”

Prosecutions under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) are also exceptionally rare, though Mr. Mueller is getting media kudos for hammering the likes of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates for failing to register as lobbyists for foreign entities. The law is the law.

But under this standard, where are the charges against the principals of Fusion GPS, who Sen. Chuck Grassley has said look to have been lobbying on behalf of powerful Russians against a U.S. sanctions law, with its payment again funneled through a law firm? This was a sideline to its dossier work, but Mr. Mueller usually has no issue with sideline charges.

Or what about an evenhanded look at dossier author Christopher Steele ? FARA also requires foreigners to register if they act on behalf of a foreign principal. Recently disclosed emails from senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr show the British Mr. Steele pleading the case to the Justice Department on behalf of a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska.

Of the seven U.S. citizens Mr. Mueller has charged, five have been accused of (among other things) making false statements to federal officials. But there have been no charges against the partisans who made repeated abjectly false claims to the FBI and Justice Department about actions of their political opponents. There have been no charges against those who leaked classified information, including the unprecedented release of an unmasked conversation between former national security adviser Mike Flynn and a Russian ambassador. Nothing.

Some of these charges might not stand up in court, but that’s beside the point. Plenty of lawyers would poke holes in the campaign-finance charges against Cohen, or the “lying” charges against Mr. Flynn. Special counsels wield immense power; the mere threat of a charge provokes plea deals. It’s the focus that matters.

Prosecutors can claim all they want that they are applying the law equally, but if they only apply it to half the suspects, justice is not served. Mr. Mueller seems blind to the national need for—the basic expectation of—a thorough look into all parties. That omission is fundamentally undermining any legitimacy in his findings. Lady Justice does not wear a blindfold over only one eye.

Write to kim@wsj.com.

Appeared in the August 24, 2018, print edition.

Five things to know about Bruce Ohr, and the “afraid we’ll be exposed” email

August 19, 2018

President Donald Trump has recently attacked Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, linking the figure to his allegations of bias in the federal Russia probe.

Ohr has long drawn intense scrutiny from figures on the right, but he received broad attention after Trump said Friday that he is planning to revoke his security clearance following the president’s controversial decision to revoke the clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan.

By  JACQUELINE THOMSEN
The Hill

Bruce Ohr in Washington, D.C. on June 3, 2010.
Bruce Ohr in Washington, D.C. on June 3, 2010. PHOTO: C-SPAN

While it’s unclear in what full capacity the official is currently serving at the Department of Justice (DOJ), Ohr and his wife have caught the attention of Republican lawmakers, who are now seeking to interview the couple, among other figures.

From Ohr’s ties to intelligence firm Fusion GPS to the president’s threats, here are five things to know about the Justice Department official.

Trump is threatening to take away Ohr’s security clearance

The president told reporters Fridaythat he is planning on revoking Ohr’s security clearance “very quickly,” calling the official “a disgrace.”

“For him to be in the Justice Department and doing what he did, that is a disgrace,” Trump said.

If Trump follows through on the promise, it would be the first time he pulled a security clearance from a current DOJ staffer, a move that would likely inflame tensions between the president and the intelligence community.

Trump pulled the security clearance for Brennan, a vocal critic who served as CIA chief under former President Obama, earlier in the week and the White House has reportedly drafted documents for the president to revoke several other former officials’ clearances.

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Nellie Ohr and Bruce Ohr

It’s unclear how revoking Ohr’s clearance might affect his ability to do parts of his job. Those who have maintained their clearances after leaving government have mostly done so to preserve current officials’ ability to ask them questions about particular issues.

Ohr was demoted over his ties to Steele

Ohr, who previously served as associate deputy attorney general, was demoted late last year over his contacts with former British spy Christopher Steele, who assembled the controversial dossier alleging ties between Trump and Russia.

The longtime government prosecutor was demoted in December 2017 after the DOJ learned he had been in touch with Steele. Ohr also worked as the head of Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces before being removed from that position as well.

While the agency has not commented recently on Ohr’s current role at the DOJ, a source familiar with his position told CNN this week that Ohr is serving as an attorney in the DOJ’s criminal division.

The agency pointed The Washington Post to a June statement from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the No. 2 official at the DOJ.

“Mr. Ohr is a career employee of the department. He was there when I arrived. To my knowledge, he wasn’t working on the Russia matter,” Rosenstein told the House Intelligence Committee at the time. “When we learned of the relevant information, we arranged to transfer Mr. Ohr to a different office.”

The FBI interviewed Ohr about his contacts with Steele. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has asked that the reports that include the interviews be declassified.

Ohr’s wife worked for the firm behind the Steele dossier

Much of the scrutiny on Ohr has surrounded his ties to Steele, whose dossier made salacious and unverified claims on the relationship between Trump and Russia.

Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, has worked for Fusion GPS, the firm that funded Steele’s research behind the document.

The Post reported that Bruce Ohr’s financial disclosure form listed his wife’s occupation as an “independent contractor.”

However, it’s unknown how large or small of a role Nellie Ohr played in the research that went into the dossier.

court filing from the co-founder of Fusion GPS said the firm contracted with Nellie Ohr to help “with its research and analysis of Mr. Trump.”

Ohr knew both Steele and the head of Fusion GPS

The Hill’s John Solomon reported earlier this month that Bruce Ohr and Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson had met shortly after Trump won the 2016 election, and that Ohr wrote in handwritten notes that it was believed that Trump’s former longtime personal lawyer Micahel Cohen was the “go-between from Russia to the Trump campaign.”

“Much of the collection about the Trump campaign ties to Russia comes from a former Russian intelligence officer (? not entirely clear) who lives in the U.S.,” Ohr also wrote in the notes.

The Post reported that Simpson and Ohr knew each other from organized crime conferences, and that Steele also knew the DOJ official from their work in the same field.

Simpson testified before the House Intelligence Committee that Steele had recommended he talk to Ohr after Trump’s election victory.

And emails obtained by The Hill also showed that Steele had contacted Ohr ahead of the 2016 election, with the British intelligence officer writing that he wanted to discuss “our favorite business tycoon!”

It’s unclear who Steele was referring to in the email. The two men had previously discussed Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, but it also may have referred to Trump.

Conservative lawmakers will question Ohr

The Hill reported earlier this month that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) is preparing subpoenas for Ohr, his wife and Simpson.

“We plan to interview the people [mentioned] in the coming weeks and we will issue subpoenas to compel their attendance if necessary,” a GOP House Judiciary aide told The Hill.

Lawmakers are now set to question Ohr during a closed-door interview on Aug. 28.

Conservative lawmakers have pointed to Ohr’s ties to Steele and Simpson as evidence of bias against Trump in the DOJ and in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

Those Republicans have previously seized on the inclusion of information provided by Steele to the FBI in an application to obtain a surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

The warrant application, released last month, showed that the FBI cut off ties with Steele after discovering he was sharing information with the media.

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http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/402464-five-things-to-know-about-bruce-ohr-the-doj-official-under-fire-from
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CHRISTOPHER STEELE TOLD DOJ’S BRUCE OHR HE WAS ‘AFRAID THEY WILL BE EXPOSED’ AFTER COMEY’S FIRING

Chuck Ross | Reporter

Dossier author Christopher Steele told Justice Department official Bruce Ohr after James Comey’s firing last year that he was “afraid they will be exposed.”

What exactly Steele was concerned about having exposed after Comey’s May 9, 2017 firing is not made clear in Ohr’s notes, which were reported by Fox News.

The text message is part of a trove of emails, text messages and handwritten notes that the Justice Department has provided to Congress as part of an investigation into the government’s handling of the Steele dossier.

Steele told Ohr in a May 10, 2017 phone call that he was “very concerned abt Comey’s firing — afraid they will be exposed,” according to Fox.

Steele’s interactions with Ohr have been a focal point for congressional Republicans in their investigation into the government’s possible abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The dossier, which Steele wrote on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC, was used to obtain FISA warrants on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Republicans say that the dossier was not verified when the FBI used it to obtain the spy warrants.

Page, an energy consultant who joined the Trump team in March 2016, has vehemently denied the dossier’s allegations about him. In the 35-page report, Steele alleges that Page was the Trump campaign’s main contact to the Kremlin.

Justice Department documents given to Congress show that Steele and Ohr were in contact all throughout 2016 and 2017, though Ohr’s involvement was not revealed until December. Following a report from Fox News on Ohr’s contacts with Steele and Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, he was demoted as assistant deputy attorney general at the Justice Department. (RELATED: Glenn Simpson’s Claims About His Interactions With Bruce Ohr Don’t Add Up)

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who was Ohr’s boss, has told Congress that he was not aware of Ohr’s contacts with Steele or Simpson. It is unclear if Rosenstein’s predecessor, Sally Yates, knew what Ohr was up to.

Steele first reached out to Ohr in January 2016 seeking help for a Russian oligarch named Oleg Deripaska. Text messages and emails suggest that the former MI6 officer lobbied Ohr to keep an eye on the status of negotiations between Deripasksa and the U.S. government for the billionaire’s visa. Deripaska is a close ally of Vladimir Putin’s. He has also worked with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. (RELATED: Emails Show Christopher Steele Lobbied DOJ Official On Behalf Of Putin-Linked Oligarch)

Ohr also corresponded with Steele after the 2016 election about the Russia investigation. By that time, the FBI had ended its relationship with Steele because he made unauthorized disclosures to the media. Steele met with numerous reporters in September and October 2016 about his Trump-Russia findings.

Ohr provided a dozen briefings to the FBI from November 2016 to May 2017 about his interactions with Steele.

An added wrinkle is that Ohr’s wife, a Russia expert named Nellie, was directly involved in the anti-Trump investigation. She worked as a researcher for Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that hired Steele.

http://dailycaller.com/2018/08/17/christopher-steele-bruce-ohr-exposed-comey-firing/

What Was Bruce Ohr Doing?

August 17, 2018

Justice releases some damning documents, but much of the truth is still classified.

Bruce Ohr in Washington, D.C. on June 3, 2010.
Bruce Ohr in Washington, D.C. on June 3, 2010. PHOTO: C-SPAN
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The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department have continued to insist they did nothing wrong in their Trump-Russia investigation. This week should finally bring an end to that claim, given the clear evidence of malfeasance via the use of Bruce Ohr.

Mr. Ohr was until last year associate deputy attorney general. He began feeding information to the FBI from dossier author Christopher Steele in late 2016—after the FBI had terminated Mr. Steele as a confidential informant for violating the bureau’s rules. He also collected dirt from Glenn Simpson, cofounder of Fusion GPS, the opposition-research firm that worked for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and employed Mr. Steele. Altogether, the FBI pumped Mr. Ohr for information at least a dozen times, debriefs that remain in classified 302 forms.

All the while, Mr. Ohr failed to disclose on financial forms that his wife, Nellie, worked alongside Mr. Steele in 2016, getting paid by Mr. Simpson for anti-Trump research. The Justice Department has now turned over Ohr documents to Congress that show how deeply tied up he was with the Clinton crew—with dozens of emails, calls, meetings and notes that describe his interactions and what he collected.

Mr. Ohr’s conduct is itself deeply troubling. He was acting as a witness (via FBI interviews) in a case being overseen by a Justice Department in which he held a very senior position. He appears to have concealed this role from at least some superiors, since Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified that he’d been unaware of Mr. Ohr’s intermediary status.

Lawyers meanwhile note that it is a crime for a federal official to participate in any government matter in which he has a financial interest. Fusion’s bank records presumably show Nellie Ohr, and by extension her husband, benefiting from the Trump opposition research that Mr. Ohr continued to pass to the FBI. The Justice Department declined to comment.

But for all Mr. Ohr’s misdeeds, the worse misconduct is by the FBI and Justice Department. It’s bad enough that the bureau relied on a dossier crafted by a man in the employ of the rival presidential campaign. Bad enough that it never informed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of that dossier’s provenance. And bad enough that the FBI didn’t fire Mr. Steele as a confidential human source in September 2016 when it should have been obvious he was leaking FBI details to the press to harm Donald Trump’s electoral chances. It terminated him only when it was absolutely forced to, after Mr. Steele gave an on-the-record interview on Oct. 31, 2016.

But now we discover the FBI continued to go to this discredited informant in its investigation after the firing—by funneling his information via a Justice Department cutout. The FBI has an entire manual governing the use of confidential sources, with elaborate rules on validations, standards and documentation. Mr. Steele failed these standards. The FBI then evaded its own program to get at his info anyway.

And it did so even though we have evidence that lead FBI investigators may have suspected Mr. Ohr was a problem. An Oct. 7, 2016, text message from now-fired FBI agent Peter Strzok to his colleague Lisa Page reads: “Jesus. More BO leaks in the NYT,” which could be a reference to Mr. Ohr.

The FBI may also have been obtaining, via Mr. Ohr, information that came from a man the FBI had never even vetted as a source—Mr. Simpson. Mr. Steele had at least worked with the FBI before; Mr. Simpson was a paid political operative. And the Ohr notes raise further doubts about Mr. Simpson’s forthrightness. In House testimony in November 2017, Mr. Simpson said only that he reached out to Mr. Ohr after the election, and at Mr. Steele’s suggestion. But Mr. Ohr’s inbox shows an email from Mr. Simpson dated Aug. 22, 2016 that reads, in full: “Can u ring.”

The Justice Department hasn’t tried to justify any of this; in fact, last year it quietly demoted Mr. Ohr. In what smells of a further admission of impropriety, it didn’t initially turn over the Ohr documents; Congress had to fight to get them.

But it raises at least two further crucial questions. First, who authorized or knew about this improper procedure? Mr. Strzok seems to be in the thick of it, having admitted to Congress interactions with Mr. Ohr at the end of 2016. While Mr. Rosenstein disclaims knowledge, Mr. Ohr’s direct supervisor at the time was the previous deputy attorney general, Sally Yates. Who else in former FBI Director Jim Comey’s inner circle and at the Obama Justice Department nodded at the FBI’s back-door interaction with a sacked source and a Clinton operative?

Second, did the FBI continue to submit Steele- or Simpson-sourced information to the FISA court? Having informed the court in later applications that it had fired Mr. Steele, the FBI would have had no business continuing to use any Steele information laundered through an intermediary.

We could have these answers pronto; they rest in part in those Ohr 302 forms. And so once again: a call for President Trump to declassify.

 

What Are the FBI and CIA Hiding?

August 1, 2018

The agency might have led the bureau down a rabbit hole in the 2016 Trump counterintelligence probe.

George Papadopoulos in London.
George Papadopoulos in London. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
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Did the Central Intelligence Agency lead the Federal Bureau of Investigation down a rabbit hole in the counterintelligence investigation of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign?

Although the FBI’s case officially began July 31, 2016, there had been investigative activity before that date. John Brennan’s CIA might have directed activity in Britain, which could be a problem because of longstanding agreements that the U.S. will not conduct intelligence operations there. It would explain why the FBI continues to stonewall Congress as to the inquiry’s origin.

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John Brennan. Photo by J. Scott Applewhite, The Associated Press.

Further, what we know about the case’s origin does not meet the threshold required by the attorney general guidelines for opening a counterintelligence case. That standard requires “predicate information,” or “articulable facts.”

From what has been made public, all that passes for predicate information in this matter originated in Britain. Stefan Halper, an American who ran the Centre of International Studies at Cambridge, had been a CIA source in the past. Recent press reports describe him as an FBI informant. Joseph Mifsud, another U.K.-based academic with ties to Western intelligence, met with Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos on April 26, 2016. Mr. Mifsud reportedly mentioned “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Then, on May 10, Mr. Papadopoulos met with Australian Ambassador Alexander Downer in London, to whom he relayed the claim about “dirt” on Mrs. Clinton.

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Peter Strzok

Peter Strzok, the FBI’s deputy assistant director, went to London Aug. 2, 2016, two days after the case was opened, ostensibly to interview Mr. Downer about his conversation with Mr. Papadopoulos. But what about the earlier investigative activity? The FBI would not usually maintain an informant in England. It is far likelier that in the spring of 2016 Mr. Halper was providing information to British intelligence or directly to the CIA, where Mr. Brennan was already pushing the collusion narrative.

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James Clapper

James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, has acknowledged that “intelligence agencies” were looking into the collusion allegations in spring 2016. The Guardian, a British newspaper, reported that British intelligence had been suspicious about contacts between associates of Mr. Trump’s campaign and possible Russian agents. That prompted Robert Hannigan, then head of Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, to pass information to Mr. Brennan. With only these suspicions, Mr. Brennan pressured the FBI into launching its counterintelligence probe.

The FBI lacked any real predicate. But in the post-9/11 world, a referral from the CIA would cause some in the FBI to believe they had to act—particularly as the agency’s information originated with America’s closest ally. Shortly after the case opened that summer, Mr. Brennan gave a briefing to then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, telling him that the CIA had referred the matter to the FBI—an obvious effort to pressure the bureau to get moving on the collusion case.

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Harry Reid

As the FBI’s investigation progressed, it would use a surveillance warrant against Carter Page, a former member of Mr. Trump’s campaign, who had been in contact with Mr. Halper. A dossier prepared for the Clinton campaign by Christopher Steele, formerly of Britain’s MI6, was used to obtain the warrant.

The existence of the investigation was withheld from the congressional “gang of eight” because of its “sensitivity,” former FBI Director James Comey later said. The FBI continues to withhold the full details of the origin story from Congress. Their rationale is the “protection of sources,” as the origin lies with our best international partner.

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Although Mr. Brennan has exposed himself as a biased actor, the CIA has escaped criticism for using only thinly sourced information from British intelligence to snooker the FBI. Most damaging is the possibility that the CIA violated agreements with Britain by spying there rather than asking MI5 or MI6 to do so. And that may be what is really being withheld from Congress.

Mr. Baker is a retired FBI special agent and legal attaché.

Appeared in the August 1, 2018, print edition.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-are-the-fbi-and-cia-hiding-1533078662

Devin Nunes, Washington’s Public Enemy No. 1

July 28, 2018

What did the FBI do in the 2016 campaign? The head of the House inquiry on what he has found—and questions still unanswered.

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© Getty Images

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Tulare, Calif.

It’s 105 degrees as I stand with Rep. Devin Nunes on his family’s dairy farm. Mr. Nunes has been feeling even more heat in Washington, where as chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence he has labored to unearth the truth about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s activities during and after the 2016 presidential campaign. Thanks in large part to his work, we now know that the FBI used informants against Donald Trump’s campaign, that it obtained surveillance warrants based on opposition research conducted for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and that after the election Obama administration officials “unmasked” and monitored the incoming team.

Mr. Nunes’s efforts have provoked extraordinary partisan and institutional fury in Washington—across the aisle, in the FBI and other law-enforcement and intelligence agencies, in the media. “On any given day there are dozens of attacks, each one wilder in its claims,” he says. Why does he keep at it? “First of all, because it’s my job. This is a basic congressional investigation, and we follow the facts,” he says. The “bigger picture,” he adds, is that in “a lot of the bad and problematic countries” that Intelligence Committee members investigate, “this is what they do there. There is a political party that controls the intelligence agencies, controls the media, all to ensure that party stays in power. If we get to that here, we no longer have a functioning republic. We can’t let that happen.”

Mr. Nunes, 44, was elected to Congress in 2002 from Central California. He joined the Intelligence Committee in 2011 and delved into the statutes, standards and norms that underpin U.S. spying. That taught him to look for “red flags,” information or events that don’t feel right and indicate a deeper problem. He noticed some soon after the 2016 election.

The first: Immediately after joining the Trump transition team, Mr. Nunes faced an onslaught of left-wing claims that he might be in cahoots with Vladimir Putin. It started on social media, though within months outlets such as MSNBC were openly asking if he was a “Russian agent.” “I’ve been a Russia hawk going way back,” he says. “I was the one who only six months earlier had called the Obama administration’s failure to understand Putin’s plans and intentions the largest intelligence failure since 9/11. So these attacks, surreal—big red flag.”

Mr. Nunes would later come to believe the accusations marked the beginning of a deliberate campaign by Obama officials and the intelligence community to discredit him and sideline him from any oversight effort. “This was November. We, Republicans, still didn’t know about the FBI’s Trump investigation. But they did,” he says. “There was concern I’d figure it out, so they had to get rid of me.”

A second red flag: the sudden rush by a small group of Obama officials to produce a new intelligence assessment two weeks before President Trump’s inauguration, claiming the Russians had acted in 2016 specifically to elect Mr. Trump. “Nobody disagrees the Russians were trying to muddy up Hillary Clinton. Because everyone on the planet believed—including the Russians—she was going to win,” Mr. Nunes says. So it “made no sense” that the Obama administration was “working so hard to make the flip argument—to say ‘Oh, no, no: This was all about electing Trump.’ ” The effort began to make more sense once that rushed intelligence assessment grew into a central premise behind the theory that Mr. Trump’s campaign had colluded with the Russians.

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January 2017 also brought then-FBI Director James Comey’s acknowledgment to Congress—the public found out later—that the bureau had been conducting a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign since the previous summer, and that Mr. Comey had actively concealed the probe from Congress. Months earlier, when Mr. Nunes had seen media stories alluding to a Trump investigation, he’d dismissed them. “We’re supposed to get briefed,” he says. “Plus, I was thinking: ‘Comey, FBI, they’re good people and would never do this in an election. Nah.’ ”

When the facts came out, Mr. Nunes was stunned by the form the investigation took. For years he had been central in updating the laws governing surveillance, metadata collection and so forth. “I would never have conceived of FBI using our counterintelligence capabilities to target a political campaign. If it had crossed any of our minds, I can guarantee we’d have specifically written, ‘Don’t do that,’ ” when crafting legislation, he says. “Counterintelligence is looking at people trying to steal our nation’s secrets or working with terrorists. This if anything would be a criminal matter.”

Then there was the Christopher Steele dossier, prepared for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign by the opposition-research firm Fusion GPS. Top congressional Republicans got a January 2017 briefing about the document, which Mr. Comey later described as “salacious and unverified.” Mr. Nunes remembers Mr. Comey making one other claim. “He said Republicans paid for it. Not true.” Mr. Nunes recalls. “If they had informed us Hillary Clinton and Democrats paid for that dossier, I can guarantee you that Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan would have laughed and walked out of that meeting.” The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website funded by hedge-fund manager Paul Singer, had earlier hired Fusion GPS to do research on Mr. Trump, but the Beacon’s editors have said that assignment did not overlap with the dossier.

All these red flags were more than enough to justify a congressional investigation, yet Mr. Nunes says his sleuthing triggered a new effort to prevent one. He had been troubled in January 2017 when newspapers published leaked conversations between Mike Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser, and the Russian ambassador. The leak, Mr. Nunes says, involved “very technical collection, nearly the exact readouts.” It violated strict statutory rules against “unmasking”—revealing the identities of Americans who are picked up talking to foreigners who are under U.S. intelligence surveillance.

Around the time of the Flynn leak, Mr. Nunes received tips that far more unmasking had taken place. His sources gave him specific document numbers to prove it. Viewing them required Mr. Nunes to travel in March to a secure reading room on White House grounds, a visit his critics would then spin into a false claim that he was secretly working with Mr. Trump’s inner circle. They also asserted that his unmasking revelations amounted to an unlawful disclosure of classified information.

That prompted a House Ethics Committee investigation. In April 2017, Mr. Nunes stepped aside temporarily from the Russia-collusion piece of his inquiry, conveniently for those who wished to forestall its progress. Not until December did the Ethics Committee clear Mr. Nunes. “We found out later,” he says, “that four of the five Democrats on that committee had called for me to be removed before this even got rolling.”

Meantime, the Intelligence Committee continued the Russia-collusion probe without Mr. Nunes. In October 2017 news finally became public that the Steele dossier had been paid for by the Clinton campaign. This raised the question of how much the FBI had relied on opposition research for its warrant applications, under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, to spy on onetime Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Throughout the fall, the Justice Department refused to comply with Intel Committee subpoenas for key dossier and FISA documents.

By the end of the year, Mr. Nunes was facing off with the Justice Department, which was given a Jan. 3, 2018, deadline to comply with Congress’s demands for information. The New York Times quoted unnamed government officials who claimed the Russia investigation had hinged not on the dossier but on a conversation with another low-level Trump aide, George Papadopoulos. The next day, the Washington Post ran a story asserting—falsely, Mr. Nunes insists—that even his Republican colleagues had lost confidence in him. “So, a leak about how the dossier doesn’t matter after all, and another saying I’m out there alone,” he says. “And right then DOJ and FBI suddenly demand a private meeting with the speaker, where they try to convince him to make me stand down. All this is not a coincidence.”

But Mr. Ryan backed Mr. Nunes, and the Justice Department produced the documents. The result was the Nunes memo, released to the public in February, which reported that the Steele dossier had in fact “formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application”—and that the FBI had failed to inform the FISA court of the document’s partisan provenance. “We kept the memo to four pages,” Mr. Nunes says. “We wanted it clean. And we thought: That’s it, it’s over. The American public now knows that they were using dirt to investigate a political campaign, a U.S. citizen, and everyone will acknowledge the scandal.” That isn’t what happened. Instead, “Democrats put out their own memo, the media attacked us more, and the FBI and DOJ continue to obfuscate.”

It got worse. This spring Mr. Nunes obtained information showing the FBI had used informants to gather intelligence on the Trump camp. The Justice Department is still playing hide-and-seek with documents. “We still don’t know how many informants were run before July 31, 2016”—the official open of the counterintelligence investigation—“and how much they were paid. That’s the big outstanding question,” he says. Mr. Nunes adds that the department and the FBI haven’t done anything about the unmaskings or taken action against the Flynn leakers—because, in his view, “they are too busy working with Democrats to cover all this up.”

He and his committee colleagues in June sent a letter asking Mr. Trump to declassify at least 20 pages of the FISA application. Mr. Nunes says they are critical: “If people think using the Clinton dirt to get a FISA is bad, what else that’s in that application is even worse.”

Mr. Nunes has harsh words for his adversaries. How, he asks, can his committee’s Democrats, who spent years “worrying about privacy and civil liberties,” be so blasé about unmaskings, surveillance of U.S. citizens, and intelligence leaks? On the FBI: “I’m not the one that used an unverified dossier to get a FISA warrant,” Mr. Nunes says. “I’m not the one who obstructed a congressional investigation. I’m not the one who lied and said Republicans paid for the dossier. I’m just one of a few people in a position to get to the bottom of it.” And on the press: “Today’s media is corrupt. It’s chosen a side. But it’s also making itself irrelevant. The sooner Republicans understand that, the better.”

His big worry is that Republicans are running out of time before the midterm elections, yet there are dozens of witnesses still to interview. “But this was always the DO/FBI plan,” he says. “They are slow-rolling, because they are wishing and betting the Republicans lose the House.”

Still, he believes the probe has yielded enough information to chart a path for reform: “We need more restrictions on what you can use FISAs for, and more restrictions on unmaskings. And we need real penalties for those who violate the rules.” He says his investigation has also illuminated “the flaws in the powers of oversight, which Congress need to reinstate for itself.”

Mostly, Mr. Nunes feels it has been important to tell the story. “There are going to be two histories written here. The fiction version will come from an entire party, and former and even current intelligence heads, and the media, who will continue trying to cover up what they did,” he says. “It’s our job, unfortunately, to write the nonfiction.”

Ms. Strassel writes the Journal’s Potomac Watch column.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/devin-nunes-washingtons-public-enemy-no-1-1532729666

Officials’ Stark Warnings on Russia Diverge From White House View

July 23, 2018

Clashing assessments raise a question ahead of the next Trump-Putin summit: Can the U.S. formulate a coherent Russia policy?

FBI Director Christopher Wray, left, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein are among the U.S. law-enforcement and intelligence officials whose recent stark warnings on Russia election-meddling diverge from White House statements. The two men testified before the House Judiciary Committee on June 28.
FBI Director Christopher Wray, left, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein are among the U.S. law-enforcement and intelligence officials whose recent stark warnings on Russia election-meddling diverge from White House statements. The two men testified before the House Judiciary Committee on June 28. PHOTO: ALEX WONG/GETTY IMAGES

As the administration prepares for another summit meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, there is division within the U.S. ranks over Moscow’s intentions and whether the two sides will be able to cooperate on a range of issues including the conflict in Syria.

Mr. Trump has expressed hopes of working more closely with Russia in Syria, where Moscow has played a central role in cementing President Bashar al-Assad’s power. The administration raised the issue with Mr. Putin’s government during and after their meeting in Helsinki last week.

But the U.S. general overseeing the fight against Islamic State expressed doubt about deepening cooperation with the Russian military. “I’ve watched some of the things that Russia has done, it does give me some pause,” Gen. Joseph Votel said in an interview en route to Afghanistan.

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Gen. Joseph Votel

Gen. Votel heads the U.S. Central Command, which also oversees U.S. military operations in the Middle East, including Syria, where Russian has been carrying out air strikes to help Mr. Assad’s forces reclaim territory from Syrian rebels.

A parade of top officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Justice Department and intelligence agencies, as well as U.S. lawmakers, have issued warnings in recent days about Russian interference in U.S. elections. Mr. Trump and others in the White House say they have raised concerns about interference, and are focusing on other issues.

The skepticism has frustrated Russian officials who had hoped for an opening between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin to see eye-to-eye on thorny regional issues, terrorism and arms control.

Seeking to capitalize on the Helsinki meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday about potential cooperation in Syria and demanded the release of Russian citizen Maria Butina, who was arrested last week and charged with failing to register as a foreign agent. Mr. Lavrov called the accusations against her “fabricated.”

A statement from the U.S. State Department on Sunday said the men discussed Syria, counterterrorism and business-to-business ties but made no mention of Ms. Butina.

Before last week’s the Helsinki summit, Syria was seen as a potential area of cooperation between the two countries, especially since the U.S. is no longer providing covert support to Syrian rebels opposed to Mr. Assad. Mr. Trump has said he would like to eventually remove the approximately 2,000 U.S. troops in the country.

The White House’s paramount concern in Syria has been finding a way to evict Iranian forces. National Security Adviser John Bolton voiced hopes earlier this month that Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin might work together to scale back Iran’s role.

But no agreement to reduce Iran’s role was announced in Helsinki. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats expressed skepticism at the policy symposium that Russia would help.

“We have assessed that it’s unlikely Russia has the will or the capability to fully implement and counter Iranian decision and influence,” Mr. Coats said at the Aspen Security Forum. “It’s a big country. There are a lot of hot spots there. Russia would have to make significantly greater commitments from a military standpoint, from an economic standpoint. We don’t assess that they are keen to do that.”

Mr. Trump has said little about the Helsinki summit, including Syria. Russian officials said they are preparing to set up a working group with the U.S. to focus on getting Syrian refugees back home.

In his interview, however, Gen. Votel outlined the pitfalls of seeking to a closer military relationship with Moscow in Syria.

At present, the U.S. military maintains regular consultations with its Russian counterparts to avoid inadvertent confrontation in Syria—what the Pentagon calls “deconfliction.”

“I don’t see anything that we ought to be doing militarily right now beyond what we are currently doing,” he said.

“They have supported a regime that has pretty brutally attacked their people,“ Gen. Votel explained. ”They’ve actively worked to make sure that the Syrian regime wasn’t held to full accountability for their use of chemicals.”

“These are not things that give me great confidence that just by stepping over into the next level of coordination that things are going to be fine. I don’t,” Gen Votel continued. “It’s Russia. Let’s not forget that it’s Russia.”

Before the Helsinki summit, Russia pushed the U.S. to close an American base in southern Syria, where Iran is looking to open a corridor to shuttle weapons to its allies in Lebanon. It remained unclear if Mr. Trump had discussed closing the base in exchange for Mr. Putin’s help in containing Iran’s influence in Syria.

But Gen. Votel said he is opposed to closing the base, known as Al Tanf, which has been used to train Syrian militants battling Islamic State.

Another wild card that could complicate U.S.-Russia relations as a summit approaches is the possibility of more sanctions, which some in Congress have brandished if there is more Russian election interference.

While Russia had hoped that Mr. Trump’s election would lead to an easing of sanctions, a law passed last year by Congress and signed by Mr. Trump, along with existing executive orders, mandate punitive measures in response to Kremlin election interference, cyber attacks and military interventions in Ukraine and Syria.

The new law, Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or Caatsa, was invoked after special counsel Robert Mueller in February obtained indictments against several Russian companies and citizens for their alleged involvement in election interference. In that instance, the Treasury Department sanctioned the defendants.

The July 13 indictment of 12 officers from cyber units in Russia’s military-intelligence agency provided Treasury officials with information on additional Kremlin-linked actors with which to take similar action.

“Congress has provided important tools to hold Russia accountable for its meddling,” said Rep. Ed Royce, the California Republican who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “The administration needs to use them to the fullest extent.”

Write to Michael R. Gordon at michael.gordon@wsj.com

Appeared in the July 23, 2018, print edition as ‘Trump, Aides Diverge Further on Russia.’

https://www.wsj.com/articles/officials-stark-warnings-on-russia-diverge-from-white-house-view-1532288371

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