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Late last week, with the “encouragement” of Acting Director of National Intelligence Rick Grenell, Adam Schiff finally released a trove of transcripts from his Russian Investigation.
Much has been said of what the Obama officials knew, when they knew it and how they went on friendly networks and flat out lied to the American people.
“On TV she said sh[e] had it but… Under Oath, Evelyn Farkas Admitted She Never Had Any Evidence,” Trump Jr. tweeted. “All these clowns did the same. Where’s the accountability?”
Today Evelyn Farkas is running for Congress.
One lie that should have been put to rest as far back as February 2018 is the Steele Dossier story of Alfa Bank. Steele claimed in his reporting that the founders of Alfa Bank had “illicit” ties to Vladimir Putin and there was an undercover messaging channel between the Kremlin and the Trump Organization. As with everything Trump-Russia, this soon was folded into the Democratic narrative.
This talking point was pushed to legitimacy by Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, who offered it to then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr. His wife, Nellie, worked for Mr. Simpson at Fusion GPS as an anti-Trump Russia investigator. “According to Mr. Ohr’s meeting notes, Mr. Simpson told him the server was a direct communication link to Alfa and proof of Trump-Russia collusion.”
This narrative all should have ended with a thud on February 27, 2018. It was on this date that then White House Communications Director Hope Hicks gave closed door testimony under oath to the House Intelligence Committee.
MR. SWALWELL: What do you know to be false that’s alleged in the dossier?
HICKS: There were a couple of things that I had been dealing with on the press end of things in September and October that, obviously, once the dossier came out, I knew had been, you know, cherry-picked and pitched to reporters or, you know, reporters had pulled out of whatever they had been provided. Specifically, the most common piece of information was the alleged connection between The Trump Organization and a server for a Russian bank.
MR. SWALWELL: So how do you know that it’s false that The Trump Organization’s server was connecting with Alpha Bank?
MS. HICKS: Because, as I was seeing these reporter inquiries, I had conversations with The Trump Organization lT team, the third-party vendor that was responsible for coordinating that kind of traffic, and that documented a lot of the logs that accounted for the traffic that was being described, and had data to support their conclusion that this was just basically spam, or, I guess I think what they called it was, like, lookup traffic, but that it wasn’t any kind of communication.
I held several conference calls with the reporters from various outlets and those folks from the lT team and Sendine (ph), who is the third-party vendor that arranges for things like, you know, hotel marketing emails, which might account for some of that kind of traffic.
MR. SWALWELL: Did you tell Mr. Trump that there were inquiries about Alpha Bank conducting lookups with Trump Tower?
MS. HICKS: l did, yes.
MR. SWALWELL: What was his response?
MS. HICKS: He had no idea what l was talking about.
MR. SWALWELL: You mean technically?
MS. HICKS: Both. Just, generally speaking, all of it, that there was some communication between servers, the party alleged to be involved, Alpha Bank, the lT folks. And I think he was just sort of at a loss for how this could possibly be a story we were dealing with.
Hicks explains clearly and concisely that President Trump had no idea what was going on with the Alfa Bank story, that the Trump IT people looked into, documented their findings and had logs to support their findings.
If that statement from Hope Hicks had been released to the public, the Alfa Bank story should have ended right then and there. Except that testimony was not released to the public. Why allow the Alfa Bank stories to continue? Because lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.
For example, four months after Hope Hicks’ testimony, Mother Jones ran a story about Justice Department nominee Brian Benczkowski. According to Mother Jones: “Several Senate Democrats have argued that Benczkowski should be disqualified due to previous work on behalf of a Russian bank with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin…”
“The Senate does not know if Alfa Bank has been, or still is, under federal criminal investigation, nor do we know the full story behind Alfa Bank’s suspicious contacts with the Trump Organization during the 2016 campaign,” the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee stated in their letter to Trump this week.
The Democrats knew they could not stop this nomination, so they tried to tarnish him, pushing to get Benczkowski to recuse himself from the Russia investigation because of Alfa Bank allegations Hope Hicks had essentially ended in secrecy months prior.
In April of 2019, soon after his testimony to Congress about the Mueller Report and over a full year after the Hicks statements under oath, Newsweek used Alfa Bank to attack Attorney General William Barr. What did Trump’s political opponents want of Barr? Like Benczkowski, they wanted Barr to recuse himself from the Russia probe.
“…some experts argue that Barr’s previous work in the private sector could conflict with his continuing supervision of the investigation into Russian tampering in the 2016 election campaign.
Why? A few of Barr’s previous employers are connected to key subjects in the probe. And some argue that, even if Barr didn’t break any rules, his financial ties to companies linked to aspects of the Russia investigation raise questions about whether he should—like his predecessor, Jeff Sessions—recuse himself.”
What was his conflict with Russia? “On Barr’s public financial disclosure report, he admits to working for a law firm that represented Russia’s Alfa Bank…”
Hicks’s comment about President Trump’s reaction upon learning of the Alfa Bank story was right on point. “And I think he was just sort of at a loss for how this could possibly be a story we were dealing with,” she told Eric Swalwell. And yet, here we are, years later, just now unwinding it all.
It’s funny that all the leaks from Schiff’s Russia Investigation were anti-Trump. But then again, it’s not really funny at all.
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