Posted by Curt on 2 December, 2018 at 10:16 am. 1 comment.

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Back in the mafia’s heyday, FBI and IRS agents had a set of surveillance rules.

If one mobster showed up in town, pay notice. If two arrived, be suspicious. If three or four were in the same vicinity, something was going down.



And if five or more headed to the same neck of the woods, a meeting of consiglieri or La Cosa Nostra’s council was likely happening. (This, because there were always five families in New York and some adjunct families elsewhere that made up the council’s leadership.)

There also was another rule of thumb: Mobsters would always have the same calling card, or excuse, to be in town. Attending a funeral (the mid-1980s mob meeting in Chicago) or a vacation in the sticks (the infamous 1957 gathering in upstate New York) were some of the more memorable ones.

Early in my reporting that unraveled the origins of the Trump-Russia collusion probe, tying it to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and possible Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses, I started to see patterns just as in the old mob meetings: FBI or intelligence-connected figures kept showing up in Trump Town USA during the 2016 campaign with a common calling card.

The question now is, who sent them and why?

Interviews with more than 50 witnesses in the Trump case and reviews of hundreds of pages of court filings confirm the following:

  • At least six people with long-established ties to the FBI or to U.S. and Western intelligence made entrees to key figures in the Trump business organization or his presidential campaign between March and October 2016;
  • Campaign figures were contacted by at least two Russian figures whose justification for being in the United States were rare law enforcement parole visas controlled by the U.S. Justice Department;
  • Intelligence or diplomatic figures connected to two of America’s closest allies, Britain and Australia, gathered intelligence or instigated contacts with Trump campaign figures during that same period;
  • Some of the conversations and contacts that were monitored occurred on foreign soil and resulted in the creation of transcripts;
  • Nearly all of the contacts involved the same overture — a discussion about possible political dirt or stolen emails harmful to Hillary Clinton, or unsolicited business in London or Moscow;
  • Several of the contacts occurred before the FBI formally launched a legally authorized probe into the Trump campaign and possible collusion on July 31, 2016.
  • The recipients of these overtures are all household names, thanks to the infamy of the now very public probe — Paul ManafortDonald Trump Jr., Michael Cohen, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Sam Clovis and Roger Stone, to name a few.

    Some of the instigators of the contacts have been acknowledged in public: Professor Stefan Halper, Russian businessman Hank Greenberg, former MI6 agent Christopher Steele and former FBI informer Felix Sater, who is “Individual 2” identified in the Cohen plea deal this week.

    Others I identified through interviews, but U.S. officials have asked me to keep them private to avoid compromising their identities or nexus to intelligence and law enforcement work.

    The chances that so many would converge into then-candidate Donald Trump’s circle, in such a short period around an election, are about as rare as winning the Mega Millions lottery. In other words, most were not coincidences. A few, maybe, but not all.

    And that leaves the biggest question: Who dispatched or controlled each emissary?

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