On March 3rd, Donald Trump made a series of tweets. Three were about a wiretap at Trump Tower. Two, however, were about Jeff Sessions meeting the Russian ambassador. Those tweets got lost in the resulting storm.
Over the past week, Devin Nunes obstructed justice on TV, both announcing that one White House staffer was under investigation and that “a transition team member” was recorded in a FISA intercept.
As we exclusively reported, that staffer was almost certainly Boris Epshteyn, named by Comey in his first failed FISA application in June.
Also as we exclusively reported, Michael Ellis is suspected of having leaked this material to Nunes.
But what would be so bad that it would cause Nunes to rush to the White House to illegally receive top-secret FISA evidence?
I believe that Jared Kushner is on tape talking to a Russian spy. Worse, I believe that as part of entirely legal and admissible FISA evidence, Donald Trump is also on tape talking to a Russian spy about money laundering.
Here is my reasoning. First,the facts. I reported that two Russian banks, SVB Bank and Alfa Bank, were the subjects, the named targets, of the FISA warrant looking at Russian money being laundered into the Trump campaign. This was a world exclusive on November 7th.
Permission was granted for the FBI to look at intercepts that involved US persons as they related to this campaign / money laundering.
Boris Epshteyn was named in an earlier version of this case to the court, and the warrant was then denied. But it is not a different case; rather, minimization was applied by the FBI before the warrant was granted.
Those are the facts of the matter on the warrant. It is also factually true that Jeff Sessions met with Kislyak, a spy recruiter, and perjured himself over it. It is further factually true that Jared Kushner snuck Kislyak into Trump Tower. Lastly, it is factually true that Jared Kushner met Gorkov, an FSB spy, at the request of Kislyak,
Second, informed speculation.
I believe that on March 3rd, Michael Ellis, newly placed in the White House, gave Donald Trump some very bad news (illegally). First he told him that Kislayak’s phone calls had been intercepted and his meetings taped – as is normal. Hence Jeff Sessions’ conversations with the spy-master were on tape. Worse, Ellis told Trump, members of Donald Trump’s own family had been taped talking to that same Russian ambassador. Lastly, he, Donald Trump, was also recorded – his phone was recorded – in Trump Tower – talking to Kislyak.
Trump would have blustered and demanded to know how this was legal. Ellis would have told him about the FISA warrant. My world exclusive stated this was granted in October, hence Trump’s squeals that “Obama” had him “tapped” “right before the victory”.
I believe that here Trump referred to the granting of the warrant as described by Ellis. Ellis may have said, for example, that the Justice Department had to authorize the application to FISC. Trump garbled this because he is galactically stupid.
I believe that the references to Trump Tower are because Jared Kushner’s meeting with Gorkov and Kislyak was indeed taped because SVB Bank is a direct target of the warrant. Epshteyn led an ‘invest in Moscow’ trip in 2014, Gorkov’s bank and SVB had signed a memo to “invest in US startups”. The latter bit is mentioned in the Steele Dossier.
As a named target, SVB Bank is legitimate – and US persons caught up in this are legitimate. Jared talking to Gorkov was fair game.
Kushner had snuck the Russian ambassador secretly into – Trump Tower. And Trump said “MY phones were tapped.” That means – I believe – that legal FISA intercepts involve not only Jared Kushner talking to Russian spies but also, because Trump called in to this secret meeting or meetings within Trump Tower, Donald J. Trump.
Michael Ellis probably called Nunes in with urgency because he saw Trump and Kushner named in intercepts. This explains why the equally galactically stupid and treacherous Nunes said that he read top secret FISA evidence ‘not to do with Russia’ and ‘Russia was never mentioned’. When you are looking at money-laundering and RICO offenses – as I report the FISA warrant was – you do not need to NAME Russia. You discuss dates, amounts of money and deals.
But (at the risk of repeating myself) this was indeed a FISA warrant, and was both a national security and criminal case. It was, as I reported in November, not about common or garden oligarch corruption or the Russian mob – it was about Russian money being funneled into the Trump campaign, as Paul Wood of the BBC makes clear in his exclusive report of January 12th.
When Ellis saw the actual intercepts involving Trump and Kushner, I postulate, he panicked and rang Nunes for a quiet midnight stroll in the White House grounds – because Trump needed some way to attack the legal and incidental evidence collected under FISA, and “fruit of the poisoned tree” is, quite literally, all these people have left.
But the tree is not poisoned, and the fruit is legally top notch.
How do you like them apples, Mr. Putin?