Thursday, July 30, 2020

Senate expands inquiry into Obama's Russia-collusion probe


Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa

In a dramatic expansion of the inquiry into the Obama administration's now-debunked Russia collusion claims against the Trump campaign in 2016, two senators have requested documents from the CIA, the Director of National Intelligence and the State Department.

Just the News reported Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., the chairman of the Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, of the Finance Committee have dispatched letters to those agencies and the FBI.

They appear to focus on officials who disseminated  Christopher Steele's discredited anti-Trump dossier, an opposition research document funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign that was used by the FBI to obtain warrants to spy on the Trump campaign.

Among them are longtime Clinton associate and former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, who has admitted he received and provided copies of the Steele dossier. Others are Clinton associates Cody Shearer and Sidney Blumenthal. Shearer, a relative of Talbott, wrote a similar dossier that was provided to Steele.

Also in the crosshairs are former State Department officials Victoria Nuland, Jonathan Winer and Kathleen Kavalec.

"The senators also made their most sweeping demands for records from CIA, including any information the spy agency provided the FBI concerning the credibility of Steele as a human source. Recently declassified footnotes from Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz's report on Russia probe abuses revealed that the CIA had raised red flags about Steele's reporting, including that he had been targeted with Russian intelligence agency disinformation about Donald Trump while writing the dossier," Just the News reported.

The letter to the FBI and Department of Justice lists 17 categories of information the senators seek in their review of the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane operation. They include potential conflicts of interest related to the Obama administration's policy decisions with respect to Ukraine and Burisma Holdings.

They also seek records linked to James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Rod Rosenstein, Michael Flynn, Glenn Simpson Kevin Clinesmith, Bruce Ohr, Stefan Halper ,Steele's contact with State Department officials and any "information provided to or received from the CIA about persons affiliated with the Trump campaign."

The senators request "any correspondence to or from the U.S. Embassy in London about the FBI sending any official or affiliated person to the United Kingdom to gather information about … anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign."

From the CIA they want records of any requests for assistance from foreign allies in the Russia collusion case.

JTN reported the CIA "also was pressed for records concerning the conduct of former Obama-era director John Brennan, including his contact about the Russia probe with fired FBI Director James Comey and then-Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid as well as any travel he took to Ukraine, Russia's neighbor."

Johnson already had been given permission to subpoena Blue Star Strategies for its investigation of Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company that paid Hunter Biden more than $3 million while his father was Barack Obama's point man for Ukraine policy.

Joe Biden, meanwhile, boasted of pressuring Ukrainian officials to fire a prosecutor investigating Burisma by threatening to withhold a billion dollars in American loan guarantees.


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