John McCain Associate Who Pleaded the FIFTH in Steele Dossier Case, has Masters in SOVIET STUDIES

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Feb 24, 2018 No Comments ›› admin

By Ben Barrack

David Kramer is close to Senator John McCain. He also possesses a Masters Degree in Soviet Studies from Harvard. In November of 2016, he traveled to London to meet with former British spy Christopher Steele. The reason? Steele briefed Kramer on the now infamous and discredited Trump dossier. Steele allegedly used Russian sources to compile the dossier.

Like Kramer, Nellie Ohr – the spouse of former #4 at the Department of Justice Bruce Ohr – is very learned in Russian Studies. She has a PhD in Russian Studies from Stanford and is fluent in the language. Also like Kramer, Nellie is a central figure in the Steele Dossier scandal. She worked for Steele’s employer, Fusion GPS and was likely the liaison between her employer and the DOJ, through her husband.

This past December, Kramer told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) that he knew the identities of the Russian sources Steele used. However, he refused to reveal them. In response to a subpoena following that testimony, Kramer invoked his fifth amendment right to remain silent.

To be sure, invoking one’s fifth amendment right does not mean guilt. However, it does raise questions about why Kramer chose to do so. According to Sara Carter, Kramer might be the person who leaked the dossier to Buzzfeed last year. Here is audio of Carter on Hannity’s TV show at CPAC:

Shortly after that, legal expert Greg Jarrett focused on Kramer’s December testimony. In particular, if Kramer invoked his fifth amendment right to protect the dossier’s sources, it’s an illegal use of that right (fifth amendment only protects you against incriminating yourself, not others):

10 Questions from HPSCI Chariman

Earlier this week, HPSCI Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R) sent a list of 10 questions to former and current intelligence and State Department officials. Nunez gave those individuals until March 2nd to respond with answers or they would likely face subpoenas (don’t look for them to respond by March 2nd).


The timing of Kramer’s decision to invoke his fifth amendment right is now curious as well.

We’ve been here before

As mentioned, Kramer’s decision to plead the fifth does not imply guilt. However, it does provide additional smoke that leads to the same fire. The problem is that we’ve been here before.

During the Obama administration, there were several scandals that had the fifth amendment dynamic. No one was prosecuted for their role in any of those scandals and several invoked their fifth amendment right.

IRS Scandal – Lois Lerner

The problems at the IRS are institutional; they are bureaucratic. They are not the fault of any one person. However, IRS official Lois Lerner became a face central to that scandal. Like Kramer, Lerner pleaded the fifth. Also like Kramer, there was plenty of smoke coming off Lerner.

After it was learned that Tea Party groups were unfairly targeted by the IRS, Lerner became a central figure, thanks in large part to emails with her name on them.

After being called to testify in front of the House Oversight Committee, Lerner asserted her fifth amendment right:

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) objected, saying that Lerner waived her fifth amendment right when she made 17 assertions of fact. Gowdy’s point was that when someone pleads the fifth while simultaneously stating their innocence, they are subject to cross-examination.

This did not compel Lerner to testify either. She came back to the committee and asserted her fifth amendment right nonetheless:

Congress doesn’t have the power to indict anyone. Only the DOJ can do that. At the time, Eric Holder and then Loretta Lynch were the Attorneys General at the DOJ. Lerner was never going to be indicted on their watch. The reason was simple. They were guilty as well. Instead of pleading the Fifth, Holder and Lynch should have recused themselves.

Unfortunately, the Attorney General under Donald Trump – Jeff Sessions – was no different. In September of 2017, Sessions decided not to prosecute Lerner.

To this day, no one was prosecuted in the IRS targeting scandal.

Operation Fast and Furious

In 2009, the Obama administration kicked off Operation Fast and Furious. It was a plan to have the ATF force gun store owners to sell guns to straw purchasers. Those straw purchasers would take those guns into Mexico and give them to cartels. The ensuing deaths at the hands of those guns would point to the Americans who sold them.

Gun control was the endgame. The way there was an untold number of dead bodies. That plan backfired with Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed. Police found two of those guns at the scene.

The operation was run out of Arizona. At the time, Patrick Cunningham was chief of the Criminal Division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, subpoenaed Cunningham.

Like Lerner, Cunningham pleaded the fifth. Instead, he should have given up bigger fish at the DOJ.

As was the case with the IRS targeting scandal, no one was prosecuted for their role in Operation Fast and Furious. Brian Terry gave all. In hindsight, his doing so prevented Operation Fast and Furious from being successful. The operation is responsible for an untold number of murders and that number continues to climb.

While Terry’s sacrifice had a very real hand in that, no one has paid a price.

Benghazi and Hillary’s Email Server

In 2014, the House Committee on Benghazi was created. As a result of its formation, we learned of Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Few remember that the Benghazi committee’s investigation actually uncovered a larger scandal.

The Benghazi committee requested documents during its investigation. As State Department officials were reviewing said documents, they discovered Hillary’s private email address. This led to discovery of her server.

While no one was prosecuted over the Benghazi attacks, which led to the death of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Hillary’s email server played a significant role in the 2016 election.

As was the case in previous scandals – at least up to this point – no one was indicted over Hillary’s private server.

However, plenty of individuals invoked their fifth amendment rights and were party to immunity agreements.

Bryan Pagliano

Take the case of Clinton IT Specialist Bryan Pagliano. In addition to pleading the fifth and getting immunity from prosecution, Pagliano refused to testify in front of Congress, a body that cannot prosecute anyone. Moreover, Pagliano refused to produce his immunity agreement.

Watch Gowdy, who was the Benghazi Committee chairman, talk about Pagliano’s decision to plead the fifth:

In October of 2016, Pagliano testified in front of Judicial Watch and pleaded the fifth 125 times. Again, why would someone with immunity need to invoke his fifth amendment right in front of a body that cannot prosecute him?

John Bentel

Another figure close to the issue of Hillary’s email server was John Bentel. All State Department employees are required to conduct business on secure government servers. Hillary did not do this.

Who knew what and when?

As the State Executive Secretariat’s Office of Information Resource Management (S/ES-IRM), Bentel was supposed to ensure compliance in this regard. However, State Department employees insisted that Bentel actively discourage them from objecting to Hillary’s server. Bentel later told the FBI that such concerns were never brought to his attention.

Like Pagliano, Bentel was also deposed by Judicial Watch. Also like Pagliano, Bentel invoked his fifth amendment right. He did so 90 times.

So, the man who knows plenty about Clinton’s trafficking in classified information pleaded the fifth despite getting immunity. Bentel also pleaded the fifth and got immunity.

Paul Combetta

The Clinton team relied on a company called Platte River Networks (PRN) for IT support. Paul Combetta worked for PRN. Moreover, Combetta deleted Hillary’s emails. He did so after they had been subpoenaed by Congress.

In testimony, Combetta refused to answer questions despite having an immunity agreement. Another PRN employee – Jim Thornton – also invoked his fifth amendment right. As you watch, look at the two men behind Combetta. Do they look like “counsel” or do they look like thugs?

When former FBI Director James Comey testified before Congress in September of 2016, he was asked about Combetta. Specifically, Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) asked Comey about why Combetta was given immunity. Comey’s answer was laughable.

Pleading the Fifth Works

When it comes to U.S. Government scandals, we know one thing. Invoking your fifth amendment rights works. It worked in the IRS scandal. It worked in the Fast and Furious scandal. To this point, it has worked in the Hillary private email server scandal.

Why wouldn’t David Kramer use that strategy?

If the Benghazi investigation led to the Hillary email scandal, the Hillary email scandal has led to the Trump / Russia conspiracy theory scandal. In reality, that conspiracy theory has led to a conspiracy reality. That reality? Trump didn’t collude with Russia.

Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) did.

Hillary and the DNC paid Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS paid Steele. Steele paid Russians. Russians gave Steele faulty intelligence on Trump. Steele gave that faulty intelligence to Kramer. Kramer then give it to the FBI.

Now the FBI is on the hook.

And Kramer is trying to get himself OFF the hook.

Based on the history of those who’ve pleaded the fifth when they’re part of government scandals, it’s a winning strategy.

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