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New DOJ Notes Reveal FBI Panic After Trump Tweeted He Knew He Was Being Spied On

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New DOJ Notes Reveal FBI Panic After Trump Tweeted He Knew He Was Being Spied On

News Analysis

Newly released notes taken by high-level Department of Justice (DOJ) officials during a March 6, 2017, meeting with FBI leadership expose some of the lengths the FBI engaged in to cover up its spying on the 2016 campaign of President Donald Trump.

The notes were made public by lawyers for former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann in an attempt to exonerate him from charges that he lied to FBI. Although the notes do not exonerate Sussmann, they do contain a lot of information about the FBI.

The meeting at which the notes were taken took place just two days after Trump’s March 4, 2017, tweet in which he accused former President Barack Obama of having wiretapped Trump Tower. Trump’s tweet caused panic among FBI leaders, as they were not sure how Trump knew about the Russian collusion claims.

The notes show that they attempted to hide their tracks after being retweeted.

By March 2017, FBI leadership already knew with near-certainty that the Trump-Russia collusion claims were a hoax. The FBI knew Clinton’s campaign planned to denigrate Trump and portray him as Putin’s puppet. FBI knew also that the Steele dossier, which was the main source of the allegations about Trump-Russia collusion, contained not one claim.

Epoch Times Photo
FBI agent Peter Strzok during testimony before Congress on July 12, 2018. Strzok was in charge of both the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server use and the counterintelligence investigation into Donald Trump. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

In reality, by that time, the FBI had spent three days interviewing Steele’s main source, Igor Danchenko. He disavowed almost every claim made in Steele’s dossier. Also, the FBI knew that they were not following through on their Alfa Bank Story. It claimed that Trump’s server had communicated with a Russian bank. This information was brought to them originally by Sussmann.

In short, all claims about Trump-Russia collusion were falsely dismissed by the FBI.

But things took a sudden and dramatic turn on March 4, 2017, when Trump said on Twitter that he knew that Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower, a very public claim of spying that set off alarm bells with both FBI and DOJ leadership. Trump’s tweet so alarmed these DOJ and FBI officials that the topic dominated a meeting two days later that included FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and the acting U.S. attorney general, Dana Boente.

The problem with the FBI was that they didn’t realize how much Trump knew about his actions. Just a day earlier, on March 3, 2017, radio host Mark Levin had reported that the Obama administration had obtained Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants that involved Trump and several of his campaign advisers. Levin also reported that Trump’s off-the-cuff joke in July 2016–“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing”–had become the basis for the Russia collusion accusations.

But, as we know now, FISA warrants were not the only things that FBI leadership was involved in. The FBI was actively spying on the Trump campaign and the incoming Trump administration’s transition communications, a fact that also was revealed in the new notes. Not only had the FBI spied upon Trump’s campaign advisor Carter Page but they also spied for George Papadopoulos. They even tried to lure Papadopoulos to London where they attempted to arrange him in an elaborate, but clumsy, sting.

Carter Page
Carter Page, petroleum industry consultant and former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump, in New York City on Aug. 21, 2020. (Brendon Fallon/The Epoch Times)

Ussmann also made new false accusations that Trump was involved in the Russian Yota telephone. Rodney Joffe, a tech executive with strong ties to FBI who had used his access to private data to spy on Trump at Trump Tower as well as at the White House was another example.

Trump probably knew only what Levin reported about the previous day-that there had been a FISA warrant for a campaign aide. But the FBI leadership did not know much and assumed that Trump knew more.

The discussion at the March 6 meeting was dominated by Trump’s tweet, with the FBI’s McCabe kicking things off by stating that the bureau was trying to determine what was behind Trump’s tweets.

Epoch Times Photo

At the meeting, three DOJ officers–Tashina Gahar, Mary McCord and Scott Schools–took notes. One of McCord’s notes shows that McCabe claimed that Sussmann represented clients during his Alfa Bank investigation. The FBI released the notes. Sussmann originally told FBI that he wasn’t representing anyone, but was simply acting as a good Samaritan. It’s that lie to the FBI by Sussmann that he has been charged with and Sussmann’s lawyers are hoping to sow doubt by introducing that single sentence that appears to say otherwise.

This claim made by Sussmann’s lawyers is in fact a sideshow. The notes are double hearsay evidence that was written six months after Sussmann had told the FBI exactly the opposite.

Michael Sussman
Michael Sussman (C) arrives for a court hearing at a federal courthouse in Washington on April 27, 2022. (Oliver Trey/The Epoch Times)

The real bombshells lie in the pages of notes Sussmann does not cite. These notes show the extent to which the FBI panicked over Trump’s tweet. According to FBI leaders, the first response was to inform Boente (acting attorney general) a series of lies regarding their investigation.

The FBI refers to Steele’s file as “Crown Reporting” which suggests that it is some kind of official UK intelligence. However, the majority of the information was made up by Steele or Danchenko, a fact FBI knew.

The new notes also revealed that FBI agent Peter Strzok lied to his DOJ superiors about what triggered Alexander Downer, the Australian ambassador in London, to come forward to the FBI with information regarding his meeting with Papadopolous. The FBI has maintained that Downer initiated the Trump-Russia probe. However, the FBI now claims Strzok lied to his DOJ superiors about what prompted Alexander Downer, the Australian ambassador in London, to come forward with information regarding the meeting with Papadopolous.

In truth, Downer came forward long before Trump made the joke.

The FBI also deceived the DOJ regarding the Carter Page FISA warrant. They claimed it was “fruitful,” but in reality, the warrant had not revealed anything nefarious. This was something that the FBI knew at the time.

Epoch Times Photo
Trump Tower on 5th Avenue is seen in New York City, on April 10, 2018. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid/File Photo)

The FBI may have tried to raise the allegations against Alfa Bank by making it appear that the Trump Organization sent an inquiry to Alfa Bank. This was also completely false. Within days of Sussmann submitting the Alfa Bank data, FBI realized that this was probably false and useless.

By Sept. 23, 2016, the FBI’s IT team had disproven the Alfa Bank allegations. The FBI tried to reaffirm the Alfa Bank allegations by making misrepresentations, but instead of admitting that it was wrong.

All of these exculpatory facts were not just hidden from interim DOJ officials at the March 6, 2017, meeting, FBI leadership twisted those facts to make them appear like there was a strong case against Trump when they knew there was no case at all.

But the meeting of March 6 was just the beginning. The FBI leadership knew that Trump could be watching them and immediately intensified their focus on Trump.

On March 5, 2017, the day following Trump’s tweet, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper went on CNN and claimed that there was no “wiretap activity mounted against the President-elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign.”

While Clapper took defensive measures, the FBI quickly went on the offensive and began its efforts almost immediately.

On March 15, 2017, FBI Director James Comey suddenly decided to brief the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sens. Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa), and Dianne Feinstein, (D-Calif.), were briefed by FBI Director James Comey about the Carter Page FISA Application. The FBI leadership thought Trump knew about it. Two days later, Comey provided them copies of the FISA warrant. Comey began briefing his congressional Gang of Eight, eight members of Congress briefed by executive branch on intelligence-related matters.

Epoch Times Photo
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper arrives on Capitol Hill to testify
before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Jan. 5. (AP PHOTO/EVAN VUCCI)

On March 20, 2017, Clapper suddenly changed his narrative, shifting from denying the existence of any spying to denying any abuse of the FISA process.

Also on March 20, Comey publicly testified to Congress, revealing for the first time the existence of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation into Trump and his campaign.

Comey accidentally admitted during his testimony that he also withheld notification to the FBI by the Gang of Eight of its counterintelligence investigation. Comey said that he had done so due to “the sensitive nature of the matter

The FBI and Obama intelligence officers would quickly come together to create Robert Mueller Special Counsel, who effectively tied down Trump for three years. They made sure that no or very little progress was made towards bringing to justice the Russian hoax perpetrators.

Jeff Carlson

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Jeff Carlson co-hosts Truth Over News, Epoch TV. Twitter: @themarketswork.

Hans Mahncke

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Hans Mahncke co-hosts Truth Over News, Epoch TV. Twitter: @hansmahncke

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