On Tuesday’s edition of CNN’s “The Situation Room,” former CIA officer Phil Mudd told Wolf Blitzer that ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele’s decision to brief the Justice Department about his infamous dossier on President Donald Trump’s connections to Russia is going to end badly for him, and possibly for the rule of law.
“This will be a car wreck,” said Mudd. “Look, this isn’t about the Mueller investigation per se. It’s about the origins of the investigation and how the Department of Justice — and Attorney General Barr has talked about this repeatedly, his suspicions about how the Department of Justice originated the investigation. Obviously one of the documents was Christopher Steele, former intelligence operative, the information he uncovered about Donald Trump from Russian operatives.”
Steele’s dossier alleged a number of things that turned out to be true, like that Russia laundered intelligence they gathered on the Democratic Party through WikiLeaks and that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was involved in personally lucrative negotiations with Ukrainian oligarchs. Other parts of it are salacious and unverified, like the claim that Russian prostitutes performed urine-related sex acts for Trump and the Russian government was blackmailing him with video footage of the incident.
The dossier was not the sole source of information that prompted the FBI to open an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. However, the president’s allies have long tried to use the dossier’s spottier claims as evidence that the FBI’s investigation, and the subsequent appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, was illegitimate.
“Let me give you how this game ends,” said Mudd. “Christopher Steele shows up in front of the Department of Justice, and I’m guessing doesn’t have terrific answers for the quality of the information in that Steele dossier. I’m telling you, Wolf, this is not going to go well. I can’t believe he has perfect answers about the origins of the Steele dossier. I’m not even sure why he’s showing up. If I were him, I’d go to Disney World. I would not go to the Department of Justice, because it will not end up well.”
“The question here is not just what Steele found,” warned Mudd. “If it’s determined that Steele had a bit of questionable information, that’s fine. If it’s found that that questionable information played into, for example, the FISA warrant to look at Carter Page’s e-mails, that is a hot mess, and I think that’s where we’re headed from here.”
Ex-counterintel official explains how lobbying laws could bring down Rudy Giuliani
On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," former Justice Department counterintelligence official David Laufman explained to Chris Cuomo how President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani could go down for violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
"Why does this matter, this area of the law?" asked Cuomo.
"This was a statute enacted in the 1930s in response to pro-Nazi German elements of the United States, engaged in subversive propaganda activities so that the U.S. people or lawmakers when confronted with content, whether lobbying or an op-ed, can make an informed assessment based on who the real party is behind it," explained Laufman. "If it's a foreign party, the American people should be able to take that into account and assigning whatever weight they want."
Trump’s ‘adolescent’ letter to Turkey stuns ex-White House adviser: ‘It is unprecedented’
On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," David Gergen, a former White House adviser to four presidents, was astonished by President Donald Trump's letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an warning him "don't be a fool."
"I don't want to laugh about it because it's — this is a letter that was actually sent, at least, he says it was," said host Erin Burnett. "Have you ever seen anything like this?"
"Well, Erin, many presidents write tough letters, nasty letters, angry letters, frustrated letters. The normal presidents then put them in a jar in a file called 'burn before sending,'" said Gergen. "This had such an adolescent quality to it when I read it, I immediately called my researcher, and I said, see if this is fake."
Democratic senator burns Trump’s ‘belligerent’ behavior: ‘Something I have never seen in my 27 years in Congress’
On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) laid into President Donald Trump's behavior during his Syria meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
"You were there, you were inside the White House for that meeting," said anchor Wolf Blitzer. "What unfolded exactly?"
"Well, the president came in and he was in a belligerent state from the beginning," said Menendez. "He smacked down a whole bunch of papers on the table and said, you all asked for this meeting, I reluctantly agreed to it. No one had asked for the meeting. Speaker Pelosi said, Mr. President, we didn't ask for a meeting, we asked for a briefing to understand the consequences of your actions. He said, Well, then let's end the meeting. She said, while I'm here, it's my duty as the speaker to tell you that the House has just passed, I think 362, I forget exactly the number, a resolution opposing your decision and calling upon a strategy for ISIS. He just went on and said that's a political hit job and it went downwards from there."