Tag: Boris Epshteyn

EXCLUSIVE: Devin Nunes Has Top Secret Clearance Revoked

Sources with links to the intelligence community report that Devin Nunes, the former leader of the Russia inquiry, and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee* has had his TS/SCI clearance revoked.

As we reported in April, Nunes obstructed justice when, in collusion with Michael Ellis, his former lawyer on the Intelligence Committee, he blurted out evidence in an ongoing criminal case.

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As we also reported, this evidence included revealing one White House staffer, Boris Epshteyn, was still under investigation. From that report:

sources stated Epshteyn was named to the FISA court in June as a target, but – and I re-emphasize this point – that application was denied by the court.

Knowing the above, his departure from the White House after two epic failures by Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is not, I believe, a coincidence. Mr. Epshteyn has not been indicted (as far as I know) still less convicted of any crime. But it seems fairly obvious to me that Nunes is obstructing justice in plain sight

Mr. Nunes still retains a security clearance, sources say. But he has been denied access to the most sensitive intelligence information. This is an extraordinary situation for a member of the House Intelligence Select Committee and reflects appallingly on Paul Ryan and on the House Oversight Committee, respectively the elected official and the Republican-led Committee responsible for ensuring the integrity of Congress.

In a later story we also reported exclusively that sources with links to the intelligence community said that Boris Epshteyn paid hackers from the Kelhios botnet on behalf of both the FSB, of which, these sources say, he is an agent, and Donald Trump. We will expand on this reporting later today. Mr. Epshteyn has emphatically denied he is an FSB agent. He has refused to answer our questions as to whether he is a registered agent of influence of the Russian state under FARA. Our report has been updated to reflect Mr. Epshteyn’s denials. Nevertheless, we continue to report what we have been told on the matter by sources with links to the intelligence community.

*correction – Mr. Nunes formerly led the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia inquiry. He is still (disgustingly) its Chairman, as tweeps have pointed out.

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EXCLUSIVE: Federal Marshals Execute Seizure Warrants At Trump Tower

Donald Trump Sealed Indictment Started With Eric Schneiderman

 

Sources: Boris Epshteyn Paid Russian Hackers For Both Team Trump and FSB

Exclusive: Sources linked to the intelligence community say it is believed that a Russian hacker of the election, Pyotr Levashov, was paid directly by Boris Epshteyn on behalf of both Trump and the FSB.

boros

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Sources say the indictment on April 20th of Levashov in the US district court in Connecticut (where an FBI counterintelligence division is based) represents the first concrete move in court that openly leads towards the impeachment of Donald Trump and the prosecution of dozens of members of his team – because this hacker, the sources suggest, was compensated by Team Trump and the FSB jointly, and Team Trump, sources say, know it.

Mr. Epshteyn’s lawyers have denied to me in writing that he was ever an agent of Russia, and have said that neither he nor his parents were ever agents of the Russian state. However, I stand by my prior and current reporting on this public figure, who, until recently, was a member of the US Government as staff at the White House, as well as maintaining a constant public presence as a surrogate of Mr. Trump’s during the campaign, and on television for the White House after it.

Multiple sources with links to the intelligence community report that:

Trump Tower was a “command and control” center for the Kehlios botnet, dismantled by the FBI;

That the “Trump server” with a Trump Tower IP address, that was communicating with servers owned by Alfa Bank in Russia, and with Spectrum Health, had the data packets it sent opened on the hour by human members of Trump’s data team, located near to Trump Tower;

As I have previously reported here at patribotics, the server was ‘washing’ the DNC’s stolen, hacked ‘Vertica” database with voter registration databases – but new sources report further information that images were also sent from or to Russia, and opened by members of Trump’s own team on an hourly basis

That “Pyotr Levashov'” or “Peter Severa”, indicted by the FBI for running the Kehlios botnet, was recruited for the hacking effort by Mr. Epshteyn, who, sources say, was working for both the FSB and team Trump;

That in 2015, Trump Hotels was fined a pittance of $50,000 for malware and credit card fraud after it failed to correct an earlier “breach”, but that this was deliberate, as the credit card malware would later be repurposed to be used in the election;

Kcmc.jpeg

That human accounts pushing out fake memes authorized by Russia were paid, via the Kelhios botnet being operated from Trump HQ, using bitcoin and a spam payments system previously used for pornography;

And that Pyotr Levashov, aka Peter Severa, is also connected to one Dante Jimenez, another top spammer who himself connects back to Hostkey – the Russian company controlled by Vladimir Putin, with servers in the Russian academy of sciences, that hosts Wikileaks

Sources further attest that the FBI intercepted the traffic between the Alfa Bank server and Mr. Trump’s server, and know exactly what was transmitted

Sources further report that there were at least two other “mother servers”, other than the one with the Trump Tower IP address, and the Spectrum Health server that simultaneously pinged Alfa Bank. Sources indicate that one of these two servers was at Spectrum Health, and transferred messages to Russia via a method called “iodine xfer transfer”, but that the US intelligence community intercepted all such messages

Sources close to the intelligence community indicate that the indictment of Pyotr Levashov in Connecticut this week represents the FBI ‘making its move’ to begin proceedings against Trump and his team, as, these sources say, Trump and many of those working for his campaign are well aware that they are tied by data to the criminal activities of Mr. Levashov

Multiple, other sources with links to the intelligence communities of more than one country, who were not the original sources on my exclusive story that Carter Page took a recording of Donald Trump to Moscow, confirm that this story is true.

There will be extensive further reporting on this exclusive story; please check back for updates.

Carter Page Went to Moscow With a Tape of Donald Trump Offering Treason For Hacking

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UPDATED: Boris Epshteyn has denied some parts of this story, which I report within the text. 

Sources with links to the intelligence community say it is believed that Carter Page went to Moscow in early July carrying with him a pre-recorded tape of Donald Trump offering to change American policy if he were to be elected, to make it more favorable to Putin. In exchange, Page was authorized directly by Trump to request the help of the Russian government in hacking the election.

On November 7th I reported that the FBI had been granted a FISA warrant to investigate the activities of two Russian banks, Alfa Bank and Silicoln Valley Bank. I also reported that an earlier attempt to obtain a FISA warrant, in June, had failed in the court because it named Donald Trump himself and three of his associates. In an exclusive at Patribotics, I reported that these named associates were Carter Page, Paul Manafort, and Boris Epshteyn.

Sources close to the intelligence community now report that this application was made because a recording exists of all three men discussing the possibility of Page taking the tape of Trump to Moscow as an earnest of good faith. (Update: Mr. Epshteyn has denied he is on any such recording, but I am not sure if he is denying the conversation took place and have asked his lawyers to clarify). There is a minor dispute over whether Trump himself is also on that tape, as well as the tape that was delivered to Moscow by Carter Page of Trump making this promise. A separate source with links to the intelligence community reported to me several months ago that Boris Epshteyn, alone of the four men named in the first FISA application, is an actual FSB agent (he has strenuously denied this). Paul Manafort is registering as an agent of a foreign power [update: he has yet to do so]; Carter Page has admitted, from public reporting, to have met with Russian intelligence agents.

It may therefore be surmised that Page, Manafort and Epshteyn, in this conversation wherein they discussed taking the Trump tape to Moscow, were all acting in concert as agents of the Russian state first and foremost, and Trump staffers second. Because the provision of such a tape to Putin would clearly be the ultimate in kompromat on a future American President (far worse than any sexual blackmail tape).

The FISC judge, as I reported, rejected that application, made in June. Director Comey likely proved to the satisfaction of the court that Page, Manafort and Epshteyn were acting as Russian agents. But he may have felt that Trump, by now the nominee, was just a very stupid patsy. And the planned trip had not taken place.

Director Comey redrew this request and presented FISC with a new warrant application. The Washington Post says that there is a FISA warrant on Page, but it does not say that there is NOT a FISA warrant on the other two men named in the June application. I will therefore assume from now on that the July FISA warrant granted targets Page, Manafort and Epshteyn.

Page had always seemed weirdly confident about his relationship with Trump. He had the tape of Mr. Trump offering to change policy. Sources say that this tape was played in meetings with Russian intelligence officers in Moscow, and that several Western intelligence sources have recordings of the meetings and the tape which they supplied to US intelligence.

The Washington Post does not name the date in July when Director Comey obtained his warrant. It seems likely however that it would not have been before July 5-8, when Page was in Russia. Furthermore, my own story on the separate FISA warrant granted on the two Russian banks states that Director Comey specifically sought permission to examine existing transcripts and intercepts on US persons as they related to this inquiry into money laundering into the Trump campaign.

My November 7th report directly connects the granting of the banking warrant to election hacking of the DNC. It is fair to say that, at the time of writing, I did not understand precisely how these two matters were connected. I now know and have reported that the server was washing databases of DNC hacked materials with voter registration materials. It is clear that, if my sources were correct, Director Comey would not have been able to listen to the recording of Mr. Trump played by Mr. Page in the offices of Russian intelligence in Moscow until he obtained that warrant, in October; his July warrant on Page came too late to affect a trip on July 5-7th.

When Carter Page returned to the RNC in Cleveland, he and Jeff Sessions, who recruited him to Team Trump via the Alfa Bank lobbyist Richard Burt, both met with the Russian spymaster Sergei Kislyak. From public reporting, we know that they not only changed the RNC platform on Ukraine at the behest of Russia, but also discussed lifting sanctions, a violation of the Logan Act.

Mr. Epshteyn was probably also present at that meeting. [Update – Mr. Epshteyn has issued a denial that he is an FSB agent, and has denied “meeting with Russian spymaster” Sergei Kislyak, as I have described the Ambassador. It is unclear to me from the wording of the letter whether he is denying that he ever met with Mr. Kislyak, or that Mr. Kislyak is a spymaster; I am seeking clarification]. The reason I say this is that I can personally report that Mr. Epshteyn, whom I had met several times in the green room at Fox News, and I, had a bet on – I bet him $100 that the Republican Party would not actually nominate the racist and sexist Donald Trump.

I lost that bet and made a point of texting Mr. Epshteyn at the conference to pay up. He was charming. I handed over the $100. He went back to Mr. Trump’s private suite.

I now realize that I was probably giving money directly to an agent of Russia (at Mr. Epshteyn’s request, I have changed this from “an FSB agent”. Mr. Epshteyn has not yet  clarified for me if he is an agent of Russia under FARA, so I am altering the text pending his answer). But if I could not hear what Mr. Page, Mr. Manafort, and Mr. Kislyak were discussing with the Russian Ambassador behind the door of Donald Trump’s suite, the FBI most certainly could.

I will produce a short timeline of the Trump-Russia story on this blog tomorrow. For now, the point is that intelligence sources say that Page, Manafort and Epshteyn, possibly also with Trump, are on tape discussing how Page should carry a recording of Donald Trump to Moscow, offering his bona fides in exchange for Russia’s help hacking the election (something that Epshteyn denies, specifically, he denies that he is on tape doing so – I have sought clarification as to whether the conversation happened, and will amend the text when I receive an answer); and that the said tape of Trump was played by Page to Russian intelligence, possibly including Mr. Diveykin, the Russian official in charge of hacking the election; and that multiple foreign intelligence services, among them the UK, Germany and Ukraine, have a tape of this; and that finally, in October, the FBI was able to listen to that tape.

So God bless America, and God Save the Queen.

 

 

 

 

Boris Epshteyn Named in FBI FISA Application; Did Nunes Obstruct Justice?

 

On November 7th, I reported at Heat Street that the FBI had obtained a FISA warrant covering the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

I reported that the FISA warrant had been granted after an earlier, failed application to the court in the summer named Trump and “at least three other men, who have either formed part of his campaign or acted as his media surrogates“.

Those names, sources said, were Donald Trump, with Paul Manafort and Carter Page (two men that had formed part of Trump’s campaign) and Boris Epshteyn, who at the time I reported, the eve of the election itself, had only acted as Mr. Trump’s media surrogate.

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Since that time, Mr. Epshteyn has become a part of government as a Transition Team official and now at the White House and I feel able to be explicit as to the names sources gave me as forming part of the summer application to the court.

It is important to note that the application to FISC made by the FBI in June* was denied. The FBI must, by definition, have represented to the FISA court that they believed Trump, Page, Manafort and Epshteyn were either actual Russian agents, or Russian “agents of influence”, which can be unwitting, as Brad C Moss, a national security lawyer, pointed out in my report for Heat Street.

The application that was successful, in October, named two Russian banks – rather than US persons suspected by the FBI to be agents of influence for a foreign power – as it targets- and was drawn more tightly under the ‘minimization’ doctrine around money laundering and financial offenses, I reported. But, the FISA warrant explicitly granted the FBI permission to examine the communications of U.S. persons as they related to this money laundering inquiry. I did not report any “wiretapping” of Trump tower, nor any surveillance; rather, my reporting faithfully reflected the views of my sources that a warrant was granted.

Indeed, rather than any concept of new surveillance, I reported that the FBI had sought permission to examine already existing evidence, provided to the CIA or NSA by allied intelligence services, that related to this inquiry – specifically, to the money laundering inquiry. They previously had been unable to listen to this evidence, or to read these intercepts, because they involved “U.S. persons”. Contrary to the Trump-Bannon bleating about “deep state”, sources indicated that Director Comey was most concerned to follow the law very precisely; “in order that the chain of evidence have a clear basis in a warrant”, as I said at the time.

Two months later Paul Wood of the BBC published a seminal report on the entire Russian war on American democracy, which included further exclusive details on the FISA warrant, which added to my own reporting and made the picture much clearer.

The existing evidence, he reported, was a tape made by a Baltic state’s intelligence service, of Russian money going into the Trump campaign. It was made in April, and involved a US person or persons. Wood exclusively reported a six-agency task force including the US treasury was set up to investigate this. (He also reported a second failed application to FISC in August, something I did not learn from my sources at the time, but which sources have since confirmed to be accurate). Therefore, ‘money laundering’ it may be, but ‘from Russia into the Trump campaign’ is the second part of that puzzle, and explains, we may postulate, why Comey described to Congress his national security investigation as including any criminal aspects. It is why the warrant against the Russian banks was sought in a FISC and not an ordinary court. As had I exclusively reported on November 7th, the case was both criminal and a top-level national security case.

Exposing new and unreported evidence in such a case as (I believe) both Trump and Nunes have done is itself a crime.

Wood did not specify, but I believe it to be a fair inference, that one of those US persons was Paul Manafort, who took over the Trump campaign in March, just before the tape was made in April. Carter Page wrote to the FBI demanding they stop investigating him; leaving only Mr. Epshteyn as the unreported name in the failed applications.

I cannot confirm whether Mr. Epshteyn is, as has been speculated about, ‘Source E’ in the Steele dossier, but he fits the description given of that source. What I can report is that sources stated Epshteyn was named to the FISA court in June* as a target, but – and I re-emphasize this point – that application was denied by the court.

Knowing the above, his departure from the White House after two epic failures by Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is not, I believe, a coincidence. Mr. Epshteyn has not been indicted (as far as I know) still less convicted of any crime. But it seems fairly obvious to me that Nunes is obstructing justice in plain sight –  and should be arrested.

When Nunes said:

I do not believe that was a slip of the tongue. I believe he referred to Mr. Epshteyn and tipped him off on live television.

Further, Mr. Nunes’ rants about FISA warrants (plural – I have only reported one, more, clearly, may exist) ought not to be assumed to be fact free. Instead, they should be assumed to be a completely illegal and garbled recitation of classified information illegally acquired and distributed by Nunes. When he says what he read “did not relate to Russia” he means he read details of a money-laundering investigation under FISA (but it did relate to Russia). When Nunes says he “did not hear the word Russia” nor would he need to if he were illegally reading transcripts of conversations involving money laundering, names and amounts. And when he refers to a member “of the Presidential transition team” on which he himself sat, I believe he is referring to Boris Epshteyn.

Mr. Epshteyn has, again, not even been indicted, far less convicted in any court. But IF he is indeed under a top secret investigation and his buddy and Trump lackey Nunes has just discussed both the evidence against him and the fact that he is under investigation, then it is Representative Nunes who needs to be arrested. The House Intelligence Committee should do more than demand that Speaker Ryan remove Devin Nunes as chairman of the Russian hacking inquiry. It should call Nunes as a witness, under oath. Having sat myself on a Select Committee, I know very well that politicians become friends with their opposite numbers. It is hard indeed to turn on a colleague with whom one is friendly. But the Committee must steel themselves to their manifest duty. Removal of Mr. Nunes from the House Intelligence Committee is now a matter of the national security of the United States at the highest level.

  • [correction: story originally wrongly wrote July; the Nov 7 story correctly sad June]