Deception & Misdirection

The Cast of the Trump-Russia Collusion Hoax


The following is an archive of “bios” of more than 200 of the most prominent people who kept the Trump-Russia collusion hoax alive. For an introduction to the archive, see “Introducing the Trump-Russia Collusion Hoax Archive.” For other CRC content on Russiagate, see this growing list.

The bios will be posted in batches in the coming days and weeks. Hyperlinks in the table of contents will become active as each batch is added. Please send any corrections or updates to [email protected].

The Cast by Category

Obama/Comey-Era OfficialsA–C | D–M | N–R | S–Z

DNC and Clinton Associates

Media: BuzzFeed | CNN | Entertainment | MSNBC | NYT | Wash Post | Other Media

Members of Congress

Foreign Officials

Activists

Editor’s Note: Major Updates




[Top]

Obama/Comey-Era Officials

Ahmad–Conlon

Zainab Ahmad. Special Counsel Prosecutor. Investigated multiple Trump associates. Prosecuted former National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn for false statements to FBI. Department of Justice dropped all charges against Flynn in May 2020 when exculpatory information in an FBI note of January 2017 was made public through court filings.

Trisha Anderson. FBI Deputy General Counsel. In October 2016, she signed an FISA warrant application improperly targeting Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. Testified before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees in August 2018 that two higher officials—FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates—had already signed before she did. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and the origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Greg Andres. Special Counsel Prosecutor. Prosecuted Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates. Manafort was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison; Gates to 45 days—both for financial crimes unrelated to Trump-Russia collusion, the stated rationale for investigation.

Brian Auten. U.S. government intelligence analyst. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

David Axelrod. Former Chief Strategist, Barack Obama presidential campaigns. Senior Advisor to the President. Described June 2016 meeting of Donald Trump Jr., Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and advisor Jared Kushner with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya in Trump Tower as “very close to espionage,” yet did not mention DNC-funded Fusion GPS’s role in providing materials to Veselnitskaya for the occasion.

James Baker (FBI). Former FBI General Counsel. Reassigned from post in December 2017 and resigned from the FBI May 2018. House Judiciary and Oversight Committee testimony from October 2018 shows Baker was under criminal investigation for alleged leaks to journalists David Corn of Mother Jones and Mike Isikoff of Yahoo. After leaving the FBI, Baker held positions at the R Street Institute and Brookings Institution and as a CNN legal analyst. In June 2020 Twitter announced Baker had joined its legal team.

James Baker (DOD). Director, Office of Net Assessment (ONA), U.S. Department of Defense. In January 2020, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sent letter to Baker and announced expanded probe into ONA contract compliance after reviewing “troubling documents” related to FBI informant, Stephan Halper. Per court documents, Michael Flynn’s legal team believes Baker was behind leak to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius about his phone calls with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

Joe Biden. Former U.S. Vice President. Senior official within the administration that improperly surveilled and investigated opposition presidential campaign and transition team. Per January 2017 memo from outgoing National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Biden was present at January 5, 2017, White House meeting where President Obama and FBI Director James Comey allegedly discussed withholding information from incoming administration regarding Russia. Unmasked identity of Gen. Michael Flynn.

Dana Boente. Former Acting Attorney General. In March 2017, waived standard operating procedure to authorize FBI Director James Comey to publicly announce active investigation into the Trump campaign during nationally televised House Intelligence Committee testimony. Reassigned from Department of Justice to become FBI General Counsel, then later fired as details of Flynn investigation became public.

Jennifer Boone. FBI Deputy Assistant Director, Counterintelligence Division. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

John Brennan. CIA Director. Reportedly under investigation (as of December 2019) by U.S. Attorney John Durham over CIA assessments and public statements on the now-discredited Steele dossier, which alleged vast conspiracy between Trump campaign and Russia. Signed with MSNBC/NBC as an analyst in February 2018. In a NY Times opinion piece, Brennan called Trump’s denial of Russia collusion “hogwash.” Unmasked identity of Gen. Michael Flynn.

Josh Campbell. Special Assistant to former FBI Director James Comey. CNN law enforcement analyst. Author of Crossfire Hurricane: Inside Donald Trump’s War on the FBI. Used FBI experience to provide legitimacy for CNN reports that insinuated guilt of Trump and associates while omitting exculpatory information.

John Carlin. Assistant Attorney General. Former Chief of Staff to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller. Key figure in FISA abuse scandal, which improperly targeted Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. Department of Justice Inspector General Report outlined “17 significant errors or omissions” in FISA warrant applications.

James Clapper. Director of National Intelligence (DNI). House Intelligence Committee transcripts from 2017 released in May 2020 show Clapper was unaware of any direct evidence showing Trump-Russia collusion. Despite this, Clapper legitimized the Comey investigation of collusion in an interview with MSNBC in May 2017, saying that a “cloud” was hanging over the Trump administration because of the collusion allegation. In December 2017, Clapper asserted that Russian President Vladimir Putin was managing President Trump as if Trump were an intelligence asset Putin had recruited. Clapper also unmasked the identity of Gen. Michael Flynn.

Kevin Clinesmith. UPDATED 8.19.20. FBI Attorney. Altered CIA email to delete exculpatory information in FISA warrant application targeting Trump advisor Carter Page. Department of Justice Inspector General referred for criminal proceedings. In November 2016 after Trump’s election, wrote series of notable text messages, including “Viva la Resistance.” Later served as a Special Counsel Attorney. On August 19, 2020, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement in relation to altering an email from an other agency [i.e., the CIA].

James Comey. FBI Director. Led FBI through an unprecedented investigation of a presidential campaign, transition, and administration that used improper surveillance and leaks to media. In April 2018, hinting at the most salacious of the claims from now-discredited Steele dossier, he alleged Russians may have blackmail material on President Trump. Decided to publicly announce an active investigation into the Trump campaign during House Intelligence Committee testimony in March 2017 on live national television. Department of Justice Inspector General referred Comey for criminal prosecution in September 2019. Unmasked identity of Gen. Michael Flynn.

Patrick Conlon. Director, Obama White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (OIA). Unmasked identity of Gen. Michael Flynn. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

[Top]

Dempsey–Mueller

Mike Dempsey. Acting Director of National Intelligence. Unmasked identity of Gen. Michael Flynn. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Michael Dreeben. Special Counsel Prosecutor. Investigated multiple Trump associates. Former Deputy Solicitor General. Argued over 100 cases before the Supreme Court.

Stuart Evans. Department of Justice, National Security Division. FBI texts show he had “continued concerns” about “potential bias” of a source in FISA application. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Kyle Freeny. Special Counsel Prosecutor. Prosecuted Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates. Manafort was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison; Gates to 45 days. Both for financial crimes unrelated to Trump-Russia collusion, the stated rationale for investigation. Donated to presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Tashina Gauhar. Department of Justice, National Security Division. Involved in FISA abuse scandal targeting Trump advisor Carter Page. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Carl Ghattas. FBI, National Security Branch. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations. Believed to have information on FBI payments to British ex-MI-6 agent Christopher Steele and origins of Steele dossier.

Andrew Goldstein. Special Counsel Prosecutor. Investigated multiple Trump associates. Prosecuted Trump advisor George Papadopoulos for false statements to FBI. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Southern District of New York, serving under Preet Bhahara. Donated $3,300 to Barack Obama campaigns in 2008 and 2012.

Stefan Halper. Professor, Cambridge University. Former White House staff during Nixon, Ford, and Reagan administrations. FBI informant who sought out Trump advisors Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and Sam Clovis, misrepresenting himself as interested in working for Trump. In January 2020, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) announced expanded probe into Pentagon ONA contract compliance after reviewing “troubling documents” related to Halper’s more than $1 million in payments.

Curtis Heide. Special Counsel Investigator and FBI agent. Investigated multiple Trump associates. Lead agent in prosecution of Trump advisor George Papadopoulos for false statements to FBI. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Kathleen Kavalec. State Department Official. Communicated with British ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele and Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr before and after 2016 election. Donor to the campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Adam Jed. Special Counsel Prosecutor. Investigated multiple Trump associates. One of four prosecutors to resign from Roger Stone case in February 2020 after Department of Justice rescinded their recommended sentencing of 7–9 years as “extreme, excessive and grossly disproportionate.Represented government against Little Sisters of the Poor to enforce Obamacare contraception insurance mandate.

David Laufman. Department of Justice Counterintelligence Chief. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Stephen Laycock. FBI Assistant Director of Intelligence. Previously led counterintelligence at FBI Washington Field Office. In communication with State Department official Kathleen Kavalec about British ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele in October 2016. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Jacob Lew. Treasury Secretary. Unmasked identity of Gen. Michael Flynn. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Loretta Lynch. Attorney General. Oversaw unprecedented Department of Justice investigation against opposition presidential campaign and transition. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Andrew McCabe. FBI Deputy Director. CNN legal analyst. Led FBI through unprecedented investigation against a presidential campaign, transition, and administration through surveillance, investigations, and leaks to media. Fired for lying to investigators about media leaks in March 2018. Department of Justice Inspector General referred McCabe for criminal prosecution. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Mary McCord. Acting Assistant Attorney General. Per court filings, Michael Flynn’s legal team requested FBI notes of interviews with McCord showing when she knew Flynn did not have “clandestine relationship with Russia.” Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Denis McDonough. Obama White House Chief of Staff. Unmasked identity of Gen. Michael Flynn. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Arthur “Danny” McGlynn. Acting Assistant Secretary of Treasury, Intelligence Directorate. Unmasked identity of Gen. Michael Flynn. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Jonathan Moffa. FBI Official. Counterintelligence analysis section chief during 2016 elections. Revealed in August 2018 congressional testimony that use of FBI informants and other “counterintelligence assets” was much more widespread than previously admitted. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Michael Morell. CIA Acting Director and Deputy Director. In October 2016, publicly accused Trump allies of “working on behalf of the Russians.”

Sally Moyer. FBI Attorney. Moyer’s congressional testimony in 2018 shows FBI wanted Department of Justice’s Bruce Ohr to establish contact with British ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele to assess his reliability a month after Steele dossier was used to obtain FISA warrant on Carter Page. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Robert Mueller. Special Counsel and former FBI Director. Led unprecedented investigation and prosecutions against a presidential campaign, transition, and administration. Led team of 19 prosecutors, including numerous Democrat donors; 40 FBI agents; intelligence analysts; and support staff. Interviewed approximately 500 witnesses. Issued 2,800 subpoenas, nearly 500 search warrants, more than 230 orders for communication records. Conducted nearly two-year, $32 million investigation into Trump-Russia collusion and found none. Mueller nevertheless prosecuted six Trump associates for unrelated crimes, costing them and hundreds of others millions of dollars in personal legal fees and public defamation.

[Top]

Neufield–Rosenstein

Mike Neufield. Treasury Department official. Unmasked identity of Gen. Michael Flynn. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Sean Newell. Deputy Chief of Counterintelligence, Department of Justice. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Victoria Nuland. Assistant Secretary of State. In June 2016, signed off on meeting between British ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele and FBI Legal Attaché in Rome. Revealed in Senate Intelligence Committee testimony that Steele had visited State Department HQ weeks before election in October 2016. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Barack Obama. Presided over administration that conducted unprecedented surveillance and investigation of opposition presidential campaign and transition team. Per January 2017 memo from outgoing National Security Advisor Susan Rice, allegedly discussed with FBI Director James Comey withholding information from incoming administration regarding Russia.

Bruce Ohr. UPDATED 9.15.20. Associate Deputy Attorney General. Department of Justice Inspector General report of December 2019 showed Ohr concealed numerous meetings with ex-British spy Christopher Steele from his superiors. Despite closure of FBI investigation Crossfire Hurricane into Trump campaign for lack of cause, Ohr served as backchannel to FBI, meeting with officials 13 times to present information from Steele. Ohr retired from the DOJ at the end of September 2020, prior to a disciplinary review decision that reportedly may have led to his termination.

Nellie Ohr. Spouse of Bruce Ohr. Researcher for Fusion GPS, firm hired by Clinton campaign and DNC through Perkins Coie law firm to investigate Donald Trump and any links to Russian organized crime. Fusion GPS commissioned British ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele to write series of political opposition research, a.k.a. Steele dossier. In May 2019, Ohr was referred to Department of Justice for criminal investigation of false statements to Congress.

Stephanie L. O’Sullivan. DNI Principal Deputy Director. Former CIA Official. Unmasked identity of Gen. Michael Flynn. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Lisa Page. FBI Attorney, Counsel to Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Special Counsel Attorney until removed in July 2017 over anti-Trump texts. MSNBC legal analyst. In February 2018, Department of Justice released nearly 400 pages of text messages from 2015 to 2017 with Page’s FBI colleague and paramour Peter Strzok. Texts show intense disdain for Donald Trump, discussed “insurance policy” in case of his election, and referenced media leak strategy, among other things. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Joseph Pientka. FBI agent. Accompanied Peter Strzok to interview new National Security Advisor Michael Flynn at White House in January 2017, resulting in false statements charge. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Samantha Power. UN Ambassador. Unmasked identity of Gen. Michael Flynn seven times. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Elizabeth Prelogar. Special Counsel Prosecutor. Former law clerk to Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan. Investigated multiple Trump associates for Russian contacts. Prosecuted Paul Manafort. Donated to Clinton and Obama presidential campaigns, 2016 and 2012.

E.W. “Bill” Priestap. FBI Counterintelligence Director. Peter Strzok’s supervisor. Priestap’s 2017 handwritten notes following discussions with FBI leadership regarding Gen. Michael Flynn included: “What’s our goal? Truth/admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired.” When notes unsealed in May 2020, Department of Justice dropped all charges against Flynn. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

James Quarles. Special Counsel Prosecutor. Former Watergate Prosecutor. Investigated multiple Trump associates. Former colleague of Special Counsel Robert Mueller at Wilmer Hale law firm. Donated nearly $33,000 to Democrats, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns.

Sarah Raskin. Deputy Secretary, Treasury Department. Unmasked identity of Gen. Michael Flynn. Spouse of Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), member of House Judiciary Committee, and a driving force behind impeachment of President Trump. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Jeannie Rhee. Special Counsel Prosecutor. Former Department of Justice official. Former colleague of Special Counsel Robert Mueller at Wilmer Hale law firm. Investigated multiple Trump associates. Prosecuted Trump advisor George Papadopoulos for false statements to FBI. Donated more than $16,000 to Democrats since 2008 including max donations to Hillary Clinton campaign in 2015 and 2016. Attorney for Clinton Foundation and former Obama advisor, Ben Rhodes. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Steve Ricchetti. Chief of Staff to Vice President Biden. Biden 2020 campaign chairman. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Susan Rice. National Security Advisor. Per January 2017 memo to herself, Rice alleges that President Obama and FBI Director James Comey discussed withholding information from incoming administration regarding Russia. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Ben Rhodes. Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications. House Intelligence Committee transcripts from 2017 released in May 2020 show Rhodes was unaware of any evidence showing Trump-Russia collusion, but sat for media interviews encouraging investigation of that alleged collusion. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Rod Rosenstein. Deputy Attorney General. Responsible for Trump-Russia investigations once Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself as a former campaign advisor. Appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller in May 2017, authorizing investigation into Russian government links and/or coordination with presidential campaign and “any matters that arose or may arise from that investigation.” Signed improper FISA warrant renewal targeting Trump advisor Carter Page. Congressional Republicans prepared contempt resolution against Rosenstein for stonewalling requests for materials and interviews of officials believed to be involved in wrongdoing. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

[Top]

Sanz-Rexach–Zelinsky

Gabriel Sanz-Rexach. Department of Justice official involved in FISA abuse scandal against Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Nathan Sheets. Under Secretary, International Affairs, Treasury Department. Unmasked identity of Gen. Michael Flynn. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall. Deputy Secretary of Energy. Unmasked identity of Gen. Michael Flynn. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Steve Somma. FBI counterintelligence investigator, NY Field Office. Department of Justice Inspector General report on FISA Abuse identifies Case Agent #1, reported by the New York Times as Somma, for being “primarily responsible for some of the most significant errors and omissions” of the 17 found in FISA warrant application against Trump advisor Carter Page. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Peter Strzok. FBI counterintelligence deputy director. Special Counsel investigator until removed in July 2017 over anti-Trump texts. Fired from FBI, August 2018. Involved in multiple key aspects of Trump-Russia, including drafting and approving Crossfire Hurricane investigation into Trump campaign in July 2016 based on third-hand rumors from Australian diplomat in London and ordering investigation into Gen. Michael Flynn remain open in January 2017 despite lack of derogatory information. In February 2018, Department of Justice released nearly 400 pages of text messages with Strzok’s FBI colleague and paramour Lisa Page, from 2015 to 2017. Texts show intense disdain for Donald Trump, discussed “insurance policy” in case of his election and referenced media leak strategy among other things. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Adam Szubin. Acting Under Secretary, Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Treasury Department. Unmasked identity of Gen. Michael Flynn. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Brandon Van Grack. Special Counsel Prosecutor. Department of Justice Chief of Foreign Agent Registration Act Division. Investigated multiple Trump associates. Prosecuted Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Lead prosecutor against Gen. Michael Flynn. Abruptly withdrew from Flynn case in May 2020 when exculpatory information from January 2017 was released through court filings. Accused by Flynn legal team of withholding evidence despite 2018 court order. Barack Obama campaign donor.

Andrew Weissman. Special Counsel prosecutor. Former FBI General Counsel under Director Robert Mueller. MSNBC legal analyst. Investigated multiple Trump associates. Lead prosecutor against Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates. Manafort was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison; Gates to 45 days. Both for financial crimes unrelated to Trump-Russia collusion, the stated rationale for investigation. Former task force lead in prosecution of Arthur Anderson accounting firm in relation to Enron scandal; persuaded judge in Arthur Anderson case to instruct jurors they could convict the firm even if no employees knew they were committing crimes. Arthur Anderson firm destroyed, but Supreme Court overturned Arthur Anderson case, 9-0, because of the trial judge’s jury instructions. Donated $2,300 to Barack Obama campaign and at least $2,000 to DNC. Attended Hillary Clinton Victory Party on election night, November 2016.

Jonathan Winer. State Department official, International Law Enforcement. Special Envoy to Libya. Former counsel to Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). State Department contact for ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele. Winer shared now-discredited Steele dossier materials with State Department leaders prior to 2016 election. Source to Yahoo News’ Mike Isikoff. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Christopher Wray. FBI Director. Replaced James Comey in July 2017. Defended Trump-Russia investigations before Congress. Congressional Republicans prepared contempt resolution against Wray for stonewalling requests for information and interviews of FBI agents believed to be involved in wrongdoing. Denied Ukraine meddling in 2016 election despite evidence in the public domain since 2017. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Sally Yates. Acting Attorney General. Fired for defying Trump executive order regarding ban on travel and refugees from certain Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. Involved in events leading to dismissal of Gen. Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor. Documents released in May 2020 show Yates claimed President Obama notified her of Flynn’s phone calls with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, not her subordinate, FBI Director James Comey. Among 53 Obama/Comey-era officials targeted by subpoenas from Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2020 regarding Crossfire Hurricane and origins of Trump-Russia investigations.

Aaron Zebley. Deputy Special Counsel. Former FBI Chief of Staff to Director Robert Mueller, later colleague of Mueller at Wilmer Hale law firm. Investigated multiple Trump associates. Previously represented Justin Cooper, a former Hillary Clinton aide who was involved in setting up her private email server while Secretary of State.

Aaron Zelinsky. Special Counsel prosecutor. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney, Maryland, serving under Rod Rosenstein. Investigated multiple Trump associates. Prosecuted Trump advisor George Papadopoulos for false statements to FBI. Prosecuted Roger Stone for false statements to Congress. One of four prosecutors to resign from Roger Stone case in February 2020 after Department of Justice rescinded recommended sentencing of 7–9 years as “extreme, excessive and grossly disproportionate.

[Top]

DNC and Clinton Associates

Andrew Brown. National Data Director for Democratic National Committee. According to August 2017 House Intelligence Committee testimony, Brown engaged outside firm, CrowdStrike, to provide security for DNC computer network which was hacked in 2016. FBI Director James Comey testified to Congress in January 2017 that DNC refused to grant FBI access to hacked servers. Represented by Marc Elias of Perkins Coie law firm at House Intelligence Committee hearing.

Sidney Blumenthal. White House Senior Advisor, Clinton administration. Clinton Foundation official. Journalist/columnist with Salon, The New Yorker, The Guardian and others. Together with fellow Clinton associate Cody Shearer, Blumenthal was involved in second anti-Trump dossier paralleling efforts by ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele. State Department official Jonathan Winer revealed that before 2016 election both Blumenthal and Steele met with him to provide different dossiers which alleged alarming activity between Trump and Russia.

Thomas Catan. Former Wall Street Journal reporter. Along with former WSJ colleagues, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, co-founded Fusion GPS. With funds from the Democratic National Committee, Clinton Campaign via Perkins Coie Law Firm, and former Senate staffer Dan Jones, Fusion GPS commissioned the now-discredited Steele dossier from ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele, alleging vast conspiracy between Trump campaign and Russia. At House Intelligence Committee hearing in October 2017, Catan invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Alexandra Chalupa. Democratic National Committee contractor. Former Clinton White House aide. Visited Ukraine Embassy in Washington, DC, during March 2016 for meeting with Ambassador Valeriy Chaly and staff regarding Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort business dealings in Ukraine. When the New York Times ran a story in August 2016 profiling Manafort’s past with Ukrainian political parties, he was fired from Trump campaign.

Hillary Clinton. 2016 Democrat presidential nominee. Former First Lady. Former Secretary of State. Within 24 hours of losing election to Donald Trump she ordered her campaign co-leaders John Podesta and Robby Mook to advance conspiracy theory that Russian interference was the reason for her defeat. Clinton alleged Trump was a Russian “puppet” during the 2016 campaign and reiterated the statement in January 2019. In October 2019 Clinton expanded her conspiracy theory to include the possibility that 2016 Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) were also being used as Russian assets.

Marc Elias. General counsel to Clinton 2016 and Kerry 2004 presidential campaigns. At Perkins Coie law firm, represents numerous Democratic political groups and individuals, including the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Priorities USA, U.S. senators, governors, and U.S. representatives. Served as financial link between Hillary Clinton campaign, DNC, and Fusion GPS research firm, which commissioned the now-discredited Steele dossier compiled by British ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele. Sued by Trump campaign advisor Carter Page in January 2020.

Brian Fallon. Press secretary to 2016 Clinton campaign. Former Department of Justice spokesman. Former spokesman for Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). CNN political analyst. Began pushing Trump-Russia conspiracy theories during 2016 election, stating, “There’s plenty of reason to think there’s an affinity between Putin and Trump.” Told CNN’s Don Lemon in October 2017 that it would have been “campaign malpractice” not to purchase Fusion GPS opposition research into Trump.

Peter Fritsch. Former Wall Street Journal reporter. Along with former WSJ colleagues, Glenn Simpson and Thomas Catan, co-founded Fusion GPS. With funds from the Democratic National Committee, Clinton Campaign via Perkins Coie Law Firm, and former Senate staffer Dan Jones, Fusion GPS commissioned now-discredited Steele dossier from ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele, alleging vast conspiracy between Trump campaign and Russia. At House Intelligence Committee hearing in October 2017, Fritsch invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Shawn Henry. President of CrowdStrike Services and chief security officer of CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity company based in California. Former career FBI official specializing in cyber-investigations. At House Intelligence Committee hearing in December 2017, described work with Democratic National Committee to investigate 2016 hacking. May 2020 report on Henry’s declassified congressional testimony from 2017 demonstrated that DNC had refused to let FBI directly investigate the hacked server, that all of FBI’s information came from CrowdStrike (a DNC-paid cybersecurity contractor), and that Henry repeatedly said under oath in December 2017 that his firm did not have “concrete evidence” that data were taken electronically or identifying who took it.

Robby Mook. Campaign manager to 2016 Clinton campaign. Former staffer to Dean 2004 and Clinton 2008 presidential campaigns. Aggressively pushed Trump-Russia conspiracy theories during campaign, saying GOP platform was being rewritten to become “more pro-Russian.” Within 24 hours of Hillary Clinton losing election to Donald Trump, she ordered her campaign co-leaders John Podesta and Robby Mook to advance conspiracy theory that Russian interference was the reason for her defeat. In March 2017, raised possibility that Trump aides could be “prosecuted for treason” if FBI proves coordination with Russia on the election.

Jennifer Palmieri. Director of communications to 2016 Clinton campaign. Former Obama White House director of communications. In 2016, reportedly engaged in media tour with campaign colleague Jake Sullivan to promote theory that Russian government was helping Trump campaign. In March 2017 Washington Post opinion piece declared the “Russian plot succeeded” in electing Trump, accused President Trump of “curious pro-Putin bent,” took credit for helping Clinton accuse Trump of being a “puppet” of Putin during 2016 presidential debate, and urged Congressional Democrats to talk about Russia’s “attack on our Republic . . . relentlessly, above all else” to the point of acts such as blocking U.S. Supreme Court appointments.

John Podesta. Campaign chairman to 2016 Clinton campaign. Former Clinton White House chief of staff. Founder, Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank, which promoted Trump-Russia conspiracy theories through its Moscow Project. Within 24 hours of Hillary Clinton losing election to Donald Trump she ordered her campaign co-leaders John Podesta and Robby Mook to advance conspiracy theory that Russian interference was the reason for her defeat. In April 2019 Washington Post op-ed, accused presidential candidate Trump of teaming up with “hostile foreign power to undermine an election” and that Trump campaign and the Kremlin “were in regular contact.”

Cody Shearer. Clinton family associate via brother-in-law Strobe Talbott (deputy secretary of state, Clinton administration). Compiled anti-Trump dossier in 2016 paralleling now-discredited Steele dossier. Passed dossier to fellow Clinton associate Sidney Blumenthal who passed to State Department official Jonathan Winer. Winer passed to Steele and Steele passed to FBI in October 2016.

Glenn Simpson. Former Wall Street Journal reporter. Along with former WSJ colleagues, Peter Fritsch and Thomas Catan, co-founded Fusion GPS. With funds from the Democratic National Committee, Clinton Campaign via Perkins Coie Law Firm, and former Senate staffer Dan Jones, Fusion GPS commissioned now-discredited Steele dossier from ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele, alleging vast conspiracy between Trump campaign and Russia. In May 2018, Sen. Chuck Grassley accused Simpson of lying to Congress.

Jake Sullivan. Senior policy advisor to 2016 Clinton campaign. Former national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden. Former State Department official who secretly met with Iranian government officials in 2013 to lay groundwork for Iran nuclear deal. In 2016, reportedly engaged in media tour with campaign colleague Jennifer Palmieri to promote theory that Russian government was helping Trump campaign.

Michael Sussman. Lawyer at Perkins Coie, represented Democratic National Committee and 2016 Clinton campaign. Former Department of Justice official. Together with colleague Marc Elias, served as financial link between DNC and Clinton campaign to Fusion GPS, which commissioned British ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele to conduct opposition research against Trump campaign. Sued by Trump campaign advisor Carter Page in January 2020.

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Former chair of Democratic National Committee. Forced to resign in July 2016 after news reports that DNC had colluded with Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary over primary opponent, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). In May 2019 said of Trump-Russia collusion allegations that President Trump was “hiding the fact that there was collusion, there was obstruction of justice to cover that up.” Former Florida congresswoman. Key figure in Imran Awan scandal over congressional IT security breach, computer theft, and bank fraud, 2016–2018.

Media

[Top]

Media

BuzzFeed

Ken Bensinger. BuzzFeed investigative reporter. Central figure in BuzzFeed becoming first news outlet to publish the now-discredited Steele dossier. David Kramer, a former aide to late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) testified in a libel case that he allowed Bensinger to privately view the now-discredited Steele dossier on his phone in late December 2016. Allegedly Bensinger took photos of dossier without his knowledge. BuzzFeed published dossier on January 10, 2017.

Anthony Cormier. BuzzFeed investigative reporter. Promoted Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. Co-authored false January 2019 story allegedly sourced to federal investigators claiming President Trump instructed his personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress (a bombshell that caused Democrats to assert impeachment was necessary if the allegation were proven true). The office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller responded (in what CNBC characterized as a “rare public rebuke” of media) declaring the BuzzFeed report “not accurate.” The fake story was cited by left-leaning journalist Glenn Greenwald as one of the “The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story.”

Jason Leopold. BuzzFeed investigative reporter. Promoted Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. Co-authored false January 2019 story allegedly sourced to federal investigators claiming President Trump instructed his personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress (a bombshell that caused Democrats to assert impeachment was necessary if the allegation were proven true); the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller responded (in what CNBC characterized as a “rare public rebuke” of media) declaring the BuzzFeed report “not accurate.” The fake story was cited by left-leaning journalist Glenn Greenwald as one of the “The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story.” In 2006, falsely reported in Truth Out that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove faced imminent indictment over Valerie Plame scandal, leading a writer in Columbia Journalism Review to describe Leopold as a “serial fabulist.” In 2002, Salon removed story Leopold authored over accuracy and plagiarism concerns. Fired from LA Times in 2000 over violent outburst.

Ben Smith. Former editor-in-chief at BuzzFeed. Became media columnist at New York Times, January 2020. Responsible for BuzzFeed becoming first news outlet to publish the now-discredited Steele dossier. In January 2018, wrote New York Times opinion column bragging “I’m Proud We Published the Trump-Russia Dossier.” In January 2019, defended reporters Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier after they co-authored false January 2019 story allegedly sourced to federal investigators claiming President Trump instructed his personal lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress (a bombshell that caused Democrats to assert impeachment was necessary if the allegation were proven true). The office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller responded (in what CNBC characterized as a “rare public rebuke” of media) declaring the BuzzFeed report “not accurate.” The fake story regarding Cohen was cited by left-leaning journalist Glenn Greenwald as one of the “The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story.”

CNN

Reza Aslan. Host of CNN’s Believer with Reza Aslan series, cancelled in 2017 after Aslan’s expletive-filled Twitter attacks on President Trump. Aggressively pushed Trump-Russia conspiracy theories based on now-discredited Steele dossier. Said in February 2018 Twitter statement that “Steele Dossier is not “faulty intelligence,” that “most of it has been proven” and that he was willing to bet “there’s a pee pee tape somewhere too.” Said in July 2018 Twitter statement that President Trump “thinks he’s Russia’s president.” Among lawsuit top targets of attorneys for Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann, who was falsely accused of instigating clash in Washington with left-learning protestors on National Mall. In January 2019, Aslan Tweeted, “Honest question. Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s?”

Paul Begala. CNN political commentator. Former counselor to President Bill Clinton. Advanced Trump-Russia collusion conspiracies. In July 2017, on CNN panel alleged that Trump associates, including the president’s son, were “abetting” a “hostile foreign power” and suggested instead “we should debating” the idea of “retaliating massively” with measures such as “blow up the KGB, or GSU (sic), GRU.”

Carl Bernstein. CNN political commentator. According to Washington Post analysis, CNN “anchors and guests repeatedly defended the Steele dossier on the grounds that it had been corroborated in some fashion.” Was one of four CNN reporters given an award by White House Correspondents Association for “their January 2017 report on how the intelligence community believed Russia had compromising information on then President-elect Trump”—thus an award for their work repeating debunked allegations linked to the now-discredited Steele dossier.

Wolf Blitzer. Host of CNN’s The Situation Room. Provided significant coverage to promotors of now-debunked Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. According to Washington Post analysis, CNN “anchors and guests repeatedly defended the Steele dossier on the grounds that it had been corroborated in some fashion.”

Erin Burnett. Host of CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront. Provided significant coverage to promotors of now-debunked Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. According to Washington Post analysis, CNN “anchors and guests repeatedly defended the Steele dossier on the grounds that it had been corroborated in some fashion.”

Alisyn Camerota. Co-host of CNN’s New Day. Provided significant coverage to promotors of now-debunked Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. According to Washington Post analysis, CNN “anchors and guests repeatedly defended the Steele dossier on the grounds that it had been corroborated in some fashion.” In December 2017 Camerota asserted U.S. federal intelligence community had “corroborated all the details” of Steele dossier.

David Chalian. CNN political director. According to Washington Post analysis, CNN “anchors and guests repeatedly defended the Steele dossier on the grounds that it had been corroborated in some fashion.” Helped promote now-debunked Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. Fired by Yahoo News after 2012 Republican National Convention incident where he stated (in reference to a hurricane then hitting the Gulf Coast) that GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney was “happy to have a party with black people drowning.”

Anderson Cooper. Host of CNN’s AC-360. Provided significant coverage to promotors of now-debunked Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. According to Washington Post analysis, CNN “anchors and guests repeatedly defended the Steele dossier on the grounds that it had been corroborated in some fashion.”

Chris Cuomo. Host of CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time. Provided significant coverage to promotors of now-debunked Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. According to Washington Post analysis, CNN “anchors and guests repeatedly defended the Steele dossier on the grounds that it had been corroborated in some fashion.” Brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo—threatened to throw man down flight of stairs in August 2019 for calling him “Fredo.

John Dean. CNN legal analyst commenting on Trump-Russia collusion theories after what Politico described as a “bidding war” between rival networks for his commentary. Former White House Counsel, Nixon administration. Convicted of obstruction of justice in Watergate probe and served four months in prison during 1974. Despite role as paid network contributor, was invited by House Democrats to testify after Mueller Report did not provide evidence of criminal conspiracy between Trump campaign and Russian government. Dean argued in testimony that Trump-Russia collusion allegation still contained “remarkable parallels” to Watergate.

Sam Feist. CNN Bureau Chief for Washington, DC. Provided significant coverage to promotors of now-debunked Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. According to Washington Post analysis, CNN “anchors and guests repeatedly defended the Steele dossier on the grounds that it had been corroborated in some fashion.”

David Gregory. CNN political analyst. According to Washington Post analysis, CNN “anchors and guests repeatedly defended the Steele dossier on the grounds that it had been corroborated in some fashion.” Formerly hosted NBC’s Meet the Press until dismissed in August 2014, reportedly over bad ratings; replaced by Chuck Todd.

Steve Hall. CNN intelligence analyst. Former career CIA agent, including Moscow station chief. Aided Trump-Russia collusion conspiracies. Used expertise about Russian agencies to provide legitimacy to CNN coverage insinuating guilt of Trump and associates. Co-authored August 2017 New York Times op-ed (“Oh, Wait. Maybe It Was Collusion.”) arguing collusion and compromise of President Trump by Russian agents was plausible and needed to be investigated. Similarly, in April 2019, after Mueller Report failed to assert collusion, followed up with Washington Post essay titled: “No Collusion? I Managed Russia Operations at the CIA. Read Between the Lines.”

Juliette Kayyem. CNN national security analyst. Former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS), Obama administration. Used DHS expertise to provide legitimacy to CNN reports insinuating guilt of Trump and associates. In January 2019, Kayyem tweeted clip of her CNN segment with host Don Lemon and John Dean asking: “How would a president compromised by the Russians behave, and give me any moment the past two years when Trump behaved differently.” Washington Examiner reporter Byron York responded on Twitter to Kayyem with eight refutations, such as “4) Would a president compromised by the Russians launch a ferocious attack that killed 200-300 Russian fighters in Syria?”

Don Lemon. Host of CNN’s CNN Tonight. According to Washington Post analysis, CNN “anchors and guests repeatedly defended the Steele dossier on the grounds that it had been corroborated in some fashion.” Lemon said in November 2017 that “much of the dossier has been corroborated.”

Ryan Lizza. Former CNN analyst. Political journalist. Advanced Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories. In September 2017, authored column in The New Yorker, “A Dizzying Week of Trump-Russia Revelations,” which he described as “a good one for Trump-Russia conspiracy theorists” and raised possibility that the Trump campaign and Russia “knowingly colluded in a clearly illegal and perhaps treasonous manner.” In December 2017, Lizza was fired by The New Yorker and suspended from CNN for alleged “improper sexual conduct.”

Evan Perez. CNN senior justice correspondent. According to Washington Post analysis, CNN “anchors and guests repeatedly defended the Steele dossier on the grounds that it had been corroborated in some fashion.” Was one of four CNN reporters given an award by White House Correspondents Association for “their January 2017 report on how the intelligence community believed Russia had compromising information on then President-elect Trump”—thus an award for their work repeating debunked allegations linked to the now-discredited Steele dossier.

Manu Raju. CNN congressional correspondent. According to Washington Post analysis, CNN “anchors and guests repeatedly defended the Steele dossier on the grounds that it had been corroborated in some fashion.” In December 2017, CNN was forced to correct Raju story which falsely claimed Donald Trump Jr. had private access to Wikileaks document files when it was already public knowledge. Was cited by left-leaning journalist Glenn Greenwald for his part in producing one of the “The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story.” In May 2020, former U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) identified Raju as a reporter who aided Democrats to advance Trump-Russia narrative, noting “no leak too low for Manu Raju and CNN.”

Jim Sciutto. CNN Chief National Security Correspondent. According to Washington Post analysis, CNN “anchors and guests repeatedly defended the Steele dossier on the grounds that it had been corroborated in some fashion.” Was cited by left-leaning journalist Glenn Greenwald for his part in producing one of the “The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story.” Was one of four CNN reporters given an award by White House Correspondents Association for “their January 2017 report on how the intelligence community believed Russia had compromising information on then President-elect Trump”—thus an award for their work repeating debunked allegations linked to the now-discredited Steele dossier. Was an Obama-era political appointee at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China.

Brian Stelter. Host of CNN’s Reliable Sources. Provided significant coverage to promotors of now-debunked Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. According to Washington Post analysis, CNN “anchors and guests repeatedly defended the Steele dossier on the grounds that it had been corroborated in some fashion.”

Jake Tapper. Host of CNN’s The Lead and State of the Union. According to Washington Post analysis, CNN “anchors and guests repeatedly defended the Steele dossier on the grounds that it had been corroborated in some fashion.” Was one of four CNN reporters given an award by White House Correspondents Association for “their January 2017 report on how the intelligence community believed Russia had compromising information on then President-elect Trump”—thus an award for their work repeating debunked allegations linked to the now-discredited Steele dossier.

Jeffrey Toobin. CNN legal analyst. New Yorker staff writer. Author of True Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Investigation of Donald Trump. Advanced Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories. Regarding Mueller Report, stated in April 2019 that President Trump’s “frustration at leaks and investigation are evidence of guilt, not innocence,” leading New York Post columnist Sohrab Ahmari to award Toobin “honorable mention” on a list of “Top 10 things the media got wrong about ‘collusion’ and ‘obstruction.’”

Jeff Zucker. President, CNN Worldwide. Formerly President and CEO, NBC Universal. Provided significant coverage to promotors of now-debunked Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. According to Washington Post analysis, CNN “anchors and guests repeatedly defended the Steele dossier on the grounds that it had been corroborated in some fashion.” CNN was cited by left-leaning journalist Glenn Greenwald for producing three of the “The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story.”

Entertainment Media

Stephen Colbert. Comedian. Host of CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. From 2017 to 2019, advanced Trump-Russia collusion narrative and other conspiracy theories on daily late night comedy show. In October 2017, after Special Counsel announced indictment of Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos for false statements to the FBI, Colbert mocked denial of Russia collusion as “fake news.”

Bill Maher. Comedian. Host of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. From 2017 to 2019, advanced Trump-Russia collusion narrative and other conspiracy theories on weekly late night comedy show. In August 2018, Maher said about Trump that it is “super obvious already” that “he is a Russian asset” and that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s evidence will be “fool proof.”

Michael Moore. Documentary filmmaker. Advanced Trump-Russia collusion narrative and other conspiracy theories. In February 2017, tweeted that President Trump is a “Russian traitor” who should vacate the White House, adding “We can do this the easy way (you resign), or the hard way (impeachment)”. In July 2018, Moore accused Trump of “televised treason” and said “no more proof” is needed for impeachment.

MSNBC

Mika Brzezinski. Co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe. Provided significant coverage to promotors of now-debunked Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple reported that “media outlets such as CNN, MSNBC and others “touted” the [Steele] dossier with flimsy corroboration in the early months of the Trump presidency.” Speaking of Trump family and associates in December 2017, Brzezinski said “I think they’re shocked that the noose is tightening and that people might go to jail for the rest of their lives.” In January 2018 Brzezinski and co-host Joe Scarborough congratulated BuzzFeed editors for being sued over being first media organization to release now-discredited Steele dossier.

Ken Dilanian. NBC national security correspondent. Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple reported that “media outlets such as CNN, MSNBC and others “touted” the [Steele] dossier with flimsy corroboration in the early months of the Trump presidency.” Was cited by left-leaning journalist Glenn Greenwald for producing one of the “The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story.” Dilanian cited in media reports related to allegations of “pay to publish” scheme from Fusion GPS research firm after federal court filings revealed it had paid journalists to publish Russia investigation stories. In July 2019, the Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway referred to Dilanian as “the Fusion GPS-connected NBC reporter who is highly implicated in the Russia collusion conspiracy theory.”

Frank Figliuzzi. MSNBC analyst. Former FBI Counterintelligence Director. Aggressively promoted Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories, stating to MSNBC’s Brian Williams in July 2018 that President Trump was “compromised financially or personally” by Russia and had thus “made the decision to side with the other team.”

Chris Hayes. Host of MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes. Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple reported that “media outlets such as CNN, MSNBC and others “touted” the [Steele] dossier with flimsy corroboration in the early months of the Trump presidency.” In November 2018 Hayes called President Trump an “American president who has been compromised by the Russians.” In late November 2019 Hayes gave friendly interview to Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, co-founders of Fusion GPS, allowing them to defend the findings in the now-discredited Steele dossier that their firm produced. In 2004 Hayes worked at League of Conservation Voters in Wisconsin, where he says he “was knocking on doors there trying to persuade persuadable voters to vote for John Kerry and not George W. Bush.”

Kyle Griffin. MSNBC senior producer to current and former anchors Lawrence O’Donnell and Chris Matthews. Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple reported that “media outlets such as CNN, MSNBC and others “touted” the [Steele] dossier with flimsy corroboration in the early months of the Trump presidency.” Griffin also aggressively promoted Trump-Russia collusion conspiracies from personal twitter account with over 700K followers, including a story cited by left-leaning journalist Glenn Greenwald as one of the “The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story.”

Rachel Maddow. Host of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show. Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple reported that “media outlets such as CNN, MSNBC and others “touted” the [Steele] dossier with flimsy corroboration in the early months of the Trump presidency.” Wemple also wrote that “Maddow became a clearinghouse for news increments regarding the dossier,” quoting Maddow as saying on a March 2017 broadcast that “all the supporting details are checking out, even the really outrageous ones,” and that the details were “starting to bear out under scrutiny.” See also: “Rachel Maddow Rooted for the Steele Dossier to Be True. Then It Fell Apart.

Chris Matthews. Host of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews. Author. Former Carter-era White House speechwriter, former Chief of Staff to Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill (D-MA). Provided significant coverage to promotors of now-debunked Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple reported that “media outlets such as CNN, MSNBC and others “touted” the [Steele] dossier with flimsy corroboration in the early months of the Trump presidency.” Agreed with one guest (March 2017) that now-discredited Steele dossier was “gaining a lot more credibility.” In March 2020, abruptly resigned from MSNBC after allegations surfaced of sexually suggestive comments to women in the workplace.

Lawrence O’Donnell – Host of MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. Former aide to Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY). Provided significant coverage to promotors of now-debunked Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple reported that “media outlets such as CNN, MSNBC and others “touted” the [Steele] dossier with flimsy corroboration in the early months of the Trump presidency.” In August 2019 O’Donnell promoted conspiracy theory that President Trump obtained a loan co-signed by “Russian oligarchs”; MSNBC was forced to fully retract the story the next day in an incident characterized by media critic Wemple as “uncorroborated, wish-fulfillment garbage that O’Donnell presented to his viewers” that was “was mocking the core idea of journalism.”

Joe Scarborough. Co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe. Former Florida congressman. A Republican, Scarborough was rated 96 percent by American Conservative Union. Provided significant coverage to promotors of now-debunked Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple reported that “media outlets such as CNN, MSNBC and others “touted” the [Steele] dossier with flimsy corroboration in the early months of the Trump presidency.” In January 2018 Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski congratulated BuzzFeed editors for being sued over being first media organization to release now-discredited Steele dossier. On December 2017, Scarborough predicted the Special Counsel investigation would lead to President Trump’s removal from office: “He thinks, ‘This worked with Rosie. I’ll do with this Comey. I’ll do this with Mueller.’ He has no idea that he’s going down.”

Chuck Todd. Host of NBC/MSNBC’s Meet the Press. Provided significant coverage to promotors of now-debunked Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple reported that “media outlets such as CNN, MSNBC and others “touted” the [Steele] dossier with flimsy corroboration in the early months of the Trump presidency.” Todd said in late November 2019, during friendly interview with Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, co-founders of Fusion GPS (the firm that hired Christopher Steele) that some of the Steele dossier’s “larger findings, some could argue, have been proven true.” Stated in April 2018 that memos written by former FBI Director James Comey gave “more, not less, credence” to the Steele dossier.

Katy Tur. Host of MSNBC Live with Katy Tur. Author. Provided significant coverage to promotors of now-debunked Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple reported that “media outlets such as CNN, MSNBC and others “touted” the [Steele] dossier with flimsy corroboration in the early months of the Trump presidency.”

New York Times

Matt Apuzzo. New York Times investigative reporter. Awarded 2018 shared Pulitzer Prize for “deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the president-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration.” In April 2019, the central theme of collusion was exposed as false when 448-page Special Counsel Report was released to the public.

Dean Baquet. New York Times executive editor. From 2017 to 2019, aggressively pushed Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. Referencing the FBI’s credulous acceptance of now-discredited conspiracy theories, New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin wrote that Baquet had turned the the New York Times into “an errand boy” for former FBI Director James Comey’s “corrupt team of G-men,” and that “Never before has a single media institution played such a destructive role in the nation’s life.” Reporters under Baquet’s supervision were awarded 2018 shared Pulitzer Prize for “deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the president-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration.” In April 2019, the central theme of collusion was exposed as false when 448-page Special Counsel Report was released to the public.

Jo Becker. New York Times investigative reporter. Awarded 2018 shared Pulitzer Prize for “deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the president-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration.” In April 2019, the central theme of collusion was exposed as false when 448-page Special Counsel Report was released to the public.

Maggie Haberman. New York Times White House reporter. Awarded 2018 shared Pulitzer Prize for “deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the president-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration.” In April 2019, the central theme of collusion was exposed as false when 448-page Special Counsel Report was released to the public. Contributed to January 2019 report stating Trump campaign advisor Paul Manefort wanted polling data sent to “a Russian oligarch close to the Kremlin” when in reality Manefort wanted data sent to two Ukrainians. This report received an honorable mention on left-leaning journalist Glenn Greenwald’s list of “The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story.”

Mark Mazetti. New York Times investigative reporter. Awarded 2018 shared Pulitzer Prize for “deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the president-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration.” In April 2019, the central theme of collusion was exposed as false when 448-page Special Counsel Report was released to the public.

Ali Watkins. New York Times reporter. Central figure in 2018 leak investigation into Senate Intelligence Committee Director of Security, James Wolfe. Investigation showed three year romantic relationship with Wolfe, 57, while Watkins, 26, was breaking national intelligence-related stories. Wolfe was sentenced to two months in jail for leaking information to Watkins and other reporters. New York Times reassigned Watkins from Washington, DC, to New York City and provided a mentor to oversee her work. Newspaper executive editor Dean Baquet stated Watkins was being provided a second chance but that it was “unacceptable” for a “reporter to have an intimate relationship with someone he or she covers.”

Washington Post

Martin Baron. Washington Post executive editor. Washington Post promoted many significant Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. Newspaper was cited by left-leaning journalist Glenn Greenwald for producing two of the “The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story.” Washington Post reporters were awarded 2018 shared Pulitzer Prize for “deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the president-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration.” In April 2019, the central theme of collusion was exposed as false when 448-page Special Counsel Report was released to the public.

Devlin Barrett. Washington Post Justice Department reporter. Was part of reporting team that was awarded 2018 shared Pulitzer Prize for “deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the president-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration.” In April 2019, the central theme of collusion was exposed as false when 448-page Special Counsel Report was released to the public.

Jeff Bezos. Owner, Washington Post. One of the planet’s richest billionaires. Founder and CEO, Amazon. Newspaper was cited by left-leaning journalist Glenn Greenwald for producing two of the “The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story.” Washington Post reporters were awarded 2018 shared Pulitzer Prize for “deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the president-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration.” In April 2019, the central theme of collusion was exposed as false when 448-page Special Counsel Report was released to the public.

Max Boot. Washington Post opinion columnist. CNN national security analyst. Senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relations. Born in Moscow. Advanced Trump-Russia collusion and other conspiracies. In January 2019, authored column “Here are 18 reasons why Trump could be a Russian asset” that reached this conclusion: “I can’t think of anything that would exonerate Trump aside from the difficulty of grasping what once would have seemed unimaginable: that a president of the United States could actually have been compromised by a hostile foreign power.”

Jackson Diehl. Washington Post Deputy editorial page editor. Promoted publication of opinion columns alleging debunked conspiracy theories regarding collusion between Russia government and 2016 Trump presidential campaign. In April 2019, the central theme of collusion was exposed as false when 448-page Special Counsel Report was released to the public.

Adam Entous. Washington Post national security reporter. Awarded 2018 shared Pulitzer Prize for “deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the president-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration.” In April 2019, the central theme of collusion was exposed as false when 448-page Special Counsel Report was released to the public. In November 2017, Entous was caught on a hidden camera profanely casting doubt on Trump-Russia story.

Tom Hamburger. Washington Post investigative reporter. MSNBC analyst. Awarded 2018 shared Pulitzer Prize for “deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the president-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration.” In April 2019, the central theme of collusion was exposed as false when 448-page Special Counsel Report was released to the public.

Rosalind Helderman. Washington Post investigative reporter. Awarded 2018 shared Pulitzer Prize for “deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the president-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration.” In April 2019, the central theme of collusion was exposed as false when 448-page Special Counsel Report was released to the public. In September 2018, J.D. Gordon, an advisor from 2016 Trump campaign, alleged that Helderman received and published leaked material from his supposedly confidential 2017 interview with federal investigators working for the Special Cousel; Gordon repeated the allegation shortly afterward on Fox News.

David Ignatius. Washington Post opinion columnist. Novelist. Writing about now-discredited Steele dossier in September 2018, Ignatius said “much” of it had “been confirmed.” Ignatius identified in February 2019 opinion by Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel as “a dependable scribe” who helped U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) become “an effective “regurgitator of fantastical Trump-Russia collusion theories.” Strassel wrote that Ignatius “was the original conduit for the leak about former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn’s conversations with a Russian ambassador, and the far-fetched claims that Mr. Flynn had violated the Logan Act” and that “Schiff has now dictated to Mr. Ignatius a whole new collusion theory” to replace the Trump-Russia narrative that imploded following the central theme of collusion being exposed as false when the 448-page Special Counsel Report was released to the public.

Greg Miller. Washington Post national security correspondent. Awarded 2018 shared Pulitzer Prize for “deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the president-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration.” In April 2019, the central theme of collusion was exposed as false when 448-page Special Counsel Report was released to the public.

Ellen Nakashima. Washington Post national security reporter. Awarded 2018 shared Pulitzer Prize for “deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the president-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration.” In April 2019, the central theme of collusion was exposed as false when 448-page Special Counsel Report was released to the public.

Josh Rogin. Washington Post opinion columnist. CNN foreign policy analyst. Wrote July 2016 column titled “Trump campaign guts GOP’s anti-Russia stance on Ukraine” that a central theme in Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories. In reality the proposed amendment was edited to strike “lethal defensive weapons” from section otherwise pledging support for Ukraine, and was consistent with President Obama’s opposition to sending lethal aide to Ukraine. Rogin’s report was based on claims of Diana Denman, a delegate to 2016 RNC National Convention; during House Intelligence Committee testimony in 2017, released in May 2020, Denman stated that despite her rejected language the final GOP platform retained strong position against Russian interference in Ukraine.

Other

Natasha Bertrand. Politico national security reporter. Previously with Atlantic and Business Insider. MSNBC analyst. Advanced Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories in now-discredited Steele dossier. In February 2019, Washington Post media critic Eric Wemple denounced MSNBC for putting Bertrand on the air, saying she “heaped credibility on the dossier” with “winks and nods from MSNBC hosts” and that she was responsible for a “highlight reel” of media appearances providing “great deal of thumb-on-scale speculation regarding the dossier.”

Jack Bryan. Writer, director and producer, 2018 documentary film Active Measures, which promoted Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theory.

Jonathan Chait. Writer for New York magazine. MSNBC frequent guest. One of mainstream media’s most credulous believers in Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. Author of long-form essay in July 2018 New York repeating assertions from now-discredited Steele dossier that President Trump was a Russian intelligence asset for decades; repeated claim during MSNBC interview. Wrote April 2018 New York essay titled “I’m a peeliever and you should be too,” which repeated most salacious of rumors from now-discredited Steele dossier and asserted “Christopher Steele is credible.”

Kyle Cheney. Politico congressional correspondent. CNN and MSNBC analyst. Pushed Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories in now-discredited Steele dossier. In May 2020, former Rep. Trey Gowdy singled out Cheney as aiding Democrats in spreading false narratives in Russia investigation noting, “Kyle Cheney is just an acolyte for Adam Schiff.” According to Washington Post media critic analysis, CNN “anchors and guests repeatedly defended the Steele dossier on the grounds that it had been corroborated in some fashion.”

David Corn. Mother Jones Washington bureau chief. Co-author with Mike Isikoff of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America. At the end of October 2016, prior to the 2016 election, Corn posted one of first media accounts sourced to Steele’s now-discredited allegation that Russians might have “blackmail” material on then-candidate Trump and revealed that it had been turned over to the FBI. In October 2018, former FBI General Counsel James Baker testified to Congress that prior to 2016 election, Corn gave him parts of the now-discredited Steele dossier, which the FBI didn’t have at the time, and that Corn seemed “anxious” to get the material to the FBI.

Franklin Foer. Staff writer at The Atlantic. Formerly of Slate, and The New Republic. Spread Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories, to include debunked claim that Trump Organization was communicating with Russia’s Alfa Bank via servers in Trump Tower. Debunked Russia bank story was cited by left-leaning journalist Glenn Greenwald as one of the “The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story.”

Greg Gordon. McClatchy special correspondent. Spread Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories sourced to now-discredited Steele dossier. In 2018, along with colleague Peter Stone, co-authored reports (later debunked) that were central to narrative that Trump campaign colluded with Russians. Reports repeated Steele dossier allegation that Special Counsel had evidence of Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen clandestine travel Prague in Summer of 2016 to meet with Russians. Two investigations by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and FBI Inspector General each reported Cohen did not make the trip to Prague.

Luke Harding. British journalist, foreign correspondent for The Guardian. Author of “Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia helped Trump Win.” Spread Trump-Russia collusion conspiracies. Stated on MSNBC Hardball program that now-discredited Steele dossier was “broadly correct” (November 2017). In November 2018, despite lack of evidence, authored bombshell report that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had secret negotiations with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, an allegation cited by left-leaning journalist Glenn Greenwald as one of the “The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story.”

Seth Hettena. Former AP investigative reporter. Author of Trump/Russia: A Definitive History, which the author says demonstrates that the president is “indebted” to Russia. In May 2018, a book review in The Guardian noted, “Seth Hettena has written a history of Trump’s business dealings in Russia that reads like a page-turning mob thriller.”

Mark Hosenball. Reuters investigative correspondent. Authored news reports based on classified leaks about Special Counsel investigation into Trump campaign contacts at 2016 GOP National Convention and alleged changes to the GOP platform. Reports revolved around allegations made by Diana Denman, an RNC convention delegate who proposed amendment to draft GOP platform for providing Ukraine with “lethal defensive weapons.” Claims that Trump campaign changed the GOP platform to favor Russia became a central theme in Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories. During House Intelligence Committee testimony in 2017 released in May 2020, Denman stated that despite her rejected language the final GOP platform retained strong position against Russian interference in Ukraine. Similarly, President Obama had also opposed sending lethal aide to Ukraine.

Julia Ioffe. Political journalist. Born in Moscow. Aggressively pushed Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories regarding Trump associates such as Carter Page and Jeff Sessions. In December 2016, fired from Politico for obscene tweet about Ivanka Trump.

Mike Isikoff. Yahoo News investigative reporter. Formerly of NBC News, Newsweek. Co-author with David Corn of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America. In September 2016, authored bombshell report that FBI was investigating Trump campaign advisor Carter Page for links to Russia. A catalyst for years of Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories, story used circular reporting as Isikoff relied on multiple sources at the FBI and State Department, Fusion GPS, and its contractor, British ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele to confirm Steele’s single source report, the now-discredited Steele dossier. In December 2018, Isikoff conceded “When you actually get into the details of the Steele dossier, the specific allegations, we have not seen the evidence to support them, and in fact, there is good grounds to think that some of the more sensational allegations will never be proven and are likely false.” In May 2005, Isikoff authored false report in Newsweek that U.S. interrogators flushed a Koran down a toilet at Guantanamo Bay military base. Newsweek retracted the report and apologized, yet the resulting worldwide riots led to 17 deaths and more than 100 injured.

David Cay Johnston. Investigative journalist. Author of It’s Even Worse Than You Think, What Trump Administration is Doing to America. Spread Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories. In April 2019, defended collusion conspiracy theories (after Mueller Report revealed no evidence) during debate with left-leaning journalist Glenn Greenwald.

Joshua Keating. Slate reporter. Formerly with Foreign Policy magazine. Authored misleading and biased news reports on Trump-Russia conspiracy theories, including debunked claim that Trump campaign “gutted” the GOP platform to benefit Russia. Reports revolved around allegations made by Diana Denman, an RNC convention delegate who proposed amendment to draft GOP platform for providing Ukraine with “lethal defensive weapons.” Claims that Trump campaign changed the GOP platform to favor Russia became a central theme in Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories. During House Intelligence Committee testimony in 2017 released in May 2020, Denman stated that despite her rejected language the final GOP platform retained strong position against Russian interference in Ukraine. Similarly, President Obama had also opposed sending lethal aide to Ukraine.

Ed Krassenstein. Co-founder of the Hill Reporter with brother Brian Krassenstein. The website repeatedly spread Trump-Russia and other conspiracy theories promoting claims of Christopher Steele and the now-discredited Steele dossier. In May 2019, Twitter banned Krassenstein brothers for life due to violating terms of service in “operating multiple fake accounts” and “purchasing account interactions.”

Brian Krassenstein. Co-founder of the Hill Reporter with brother Ed Krassenstein. The website repeatedly spread Trump-Russia and other conspiracy theories promoting claims of Christopher Steele and the now-discredited Steele dossier. In May 2019, Twitter banned Krassenstein brothers for life due to violating terms of service in “operating multiple fake accounts” and “purchasing account interactions.”

Harry Litman. Former U.S. Attorney, Western District of Pennsylvania. Advanced Trump-Russia collusion conspiracies on CNN and MSNBC. In January 2018, following U.S. Senate testimony by Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson regarding now-discredited Steele dossier, said of Simpson he was “a guy who obviously has genuine concern about the security information he’s coming across,” and “he’s coming at it in really a conscientious or even patriotic way.” In May 2018, Sen. Chuck Grassley accused Simpson of lying to Congress.

Jane Mayer. Reporter-at-large for the New Yorker. Advanced myths from now-discredited Steele dossier with extensive and flattering March 2018 profile of Christopher Steele, which included, for example, an interview with a Steele associate who compared his friend to George Smiley, an espionage hero created by spy novelist John le Carré. Mayer claimed in her March 2018 report that “key elements” of what Steele dossier alleged about Carter Page had “held up,” but subsequent report from FBI Inspector General revealed none of Steele’s substantive allegations about Page could be corroborated. In late November 2019 Mayer authored another piece for the New Yorker, giving favorable coverage to a book released by Fusion GPS principles Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch to defend the now-discredited Steele dossier; Mayer judged that the authors “present a mountain of evidence that Trump’s dealings with corrupt foreign players—particularly those from the former Soviet Union—are both real and go back decades.”

Josh Meyer. Politico investigative correspondent through September 2018. Reported classified leaks from congressional investigation, such as debunked claim in Steele dossier that Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen traveled to Prague in Summer of 2016 to meet with Russians; two investigations by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and FBI Inspector General each reported Cohen did not make the trip to Prague.

Keith Olbermann. Host 2016-2017 GQ web series, “The Resistance with Keith Olbermann” in which he repeatedly accused Trump and associates of Russia collusion. During November 2017 “Trump is lying about Russia” monologue, said “Trump is up to his neck in collusion” and “Trump is surrounded by individuals who are alleged to be already corrupted or compromised by Russia and Putin.”

Brian Ross. ABC investigative correspondent. Spread Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories. Reported on-air in December 2017 that President Trump ordered then-advisor Gen. Michael Flynn to contact Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign; truth was that Flynn was asked to interact with Russians only after Trump had won the election and Flynn was to be a presumed contributor to new administration’s foreign policy team. Ross was suspended after the network issued a correction and publicly apologized for his “serious error.” In July 2018, Ross left ABC after having been demoted to in-house production following his suspension.

Peter Stone. McClatchy special correspondent. Spread Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories sourced to now-discredited Steele dossier. In 2018, along with colleague Greg Gordon, co-authored reports (later debunked) that were central to narrative that Trump campaign colluded with Russians. Reports repeated Steele dossier allegation that Special Counsel had evidence of Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen clandestine travel Prague in Summer of 2016 to meet with Russians. Two investigations by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and FBI Inspector General each reported Cohen did not make the trip to Prague.

Craig Unger. Former deputy editor at New York Observer. Author of House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia, alleging money laundering through real estate.

Cenk Uygur. Former MSNBC show host. Creator of The Young Turks. Aggressively pushed Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories. In October 2018, promoted now-debunked conspiracy theory that Russia’s Alfa Bank computer server was communicating with Trump campaign. Debunked Russia bank story was cited by left-leaning journalist Glenn Greenwald as one of the “The 10 Worst, Most Embarrassing U.S. Media Failures on the Trump-Russia Story.”

Members of Congress

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Senate Judiciary Committee member. Leading Senate proponent of Trump-Russian collusion conspiracy theories. In December 2017, Blumenthal called Trump’s denial of Russian collusion “rotten to the core and doomed to unravel.” Claimed in a 2008 speech to have served in Vietnam during the Vietnam War; later recanted and said he had “misspoken” about his war record “on a few occasions” and that (during a six-year period serving in the Marine Corps Reserves) had never gone to Vietnam. Friendship with Bill and Hillary Clinton extends back to when the three were in law school together.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC). Chairman, Senate Intelligence Committee. Presided over three-year set of Trump-Russia investigations. Committee interviewed more than 100 witnesses and was plagued by investigation leaks and unauthorized contact with media. Sought leniency with federal judge for sentencing of James Wolfe, a top security aide convicted of lying to the FBI in a leak investigation. Widely criticized by Republicans when he approved subpoena against Donald Trump Jr. in May 2019. Resigned chairmanship in May 2020 after news reports of the FBI investigation against him for alleged insider trading.

Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN)Member of House Intelligence Committee. Spread Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories. In March 2017 implied 2016 GOP platform may have been changed to favor Russia by Trump and associates in response to “secret meetings” with Russian officials. Also in March 2017 promoted the veracity of the now-discredited Steele dossier, saying its “allegations are checking out.” Key intelligence committee figure in Imran Awan scandal over congressional IT security breach, computer theft, and bank fraud, 2016–2018.

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX). House Intelligence Committee. Prominent promoter of Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories sourced to now-discredited Steele dossier. During 2017 public hearing in U.S House proclaimed he relied on “the reputation” of Steele and said it was “important” that Steele “is a former accomplished British intelligence officer with a career built on following Russia” and “not someone who doesn’t know how to run a source and not someone without contacts.” Also in 2017 stated “many claims” in Steele dossier “are looking more and more likely, as though they are accurate.” Predicted in January 2018 MSNBC interview that Americans would be “very troubled” if they had been “able to listen to the testimony of Glenn Simpson from Fusion GPS” (the firm that produced the Steele dossier); said his “impression” after the interview with Simpson was “that the president should be concerned about issues of money laundering, of collusion and of obstruction of justice.” Said of now-discredited Steele dossier in March 2017: “Well, the dossier definitely seems right on these points. A quid pro quo relationship seems to exist between the Trump campaign and Putin’s Russia.” Involved in Imran Awan scandal over congressional IT security breach, computer theft, and bank fraud, 2016–2018. (In May 2018, Sen. Chuck Grassley accused Glenn Simpson of lying to Congress).

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees. Intelligence Committee interviewed over 100 witnesses and was plagued by investigation leaks and unauthorized contact with media. Sought leniency with federal judge for sentencing of James Wolfe, a top security aide convicted of lying to the FBI in a leak investigation. In 2018, revelations surfaced that a Feinstein staff chauffer for two decades was a Chinese spy. In May 2020, questioned by FBI in an insider trading investigation about husband, Richard Blum; Feinstein had received classified briefings on coronavirus spread before his sudden stock sales.

Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA). House Intelligence Committee. Spread Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories. Referring to President Trump in January 2019, said “We are full blown into Manchurian Candidate territory” and that there was “an avalanche of evidence that Trump’s campaign and the candidate himself were sympathetic to Russian positions and were open to working with Russian affiliates and representatives, and frankly communicated very directly with very powerful oligarchs and Russian figures close to Vladimir Putin.”

Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT). House Intelligence Committee. Criticized then-majority Republicans for ending hearings into alleged Trump-Russia collusion after failing to corroborate assertions in now-discredited Steele dossier. In April 2018 accused Republicans of using the committee as a “mechanism for the defense of the White House, the president, and his campaign.”

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA). House Judiciary Committee. Repeatedly defended integrity of the now-discredited Steele dossier on social media, such as encouraging his Twitter followers to read it (March 2018) and saying its conclusions were “damning” and it “has lots of truth” (December 2018). In 2019, attacked Attorney General William Barr’s criminal inquiry into the origins of the Trump-Russia collusion investigation (such as the impact of the Steele dossier) and potential violations of the law by federal law enforcement officials.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Senate Armed Services Committee. Key figure in distribution of now-discredited Steele dossier. Per December 2017 legal deposition, McCain associate David Kramer testified that McCain directed him to visit London and meet with British ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele in December 2016. Kramer obtained copies when returning to Washington, passing one to McCain who passed to FBI Director James Comey. In his 2018 memoir, McCain defended his handling of Steele dossier, writing, “Anyone who doesn’t like it can go to Hell.”

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Speaker of the House, previously Minority Leader. Spread Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories, to include allegations of Russian blackmail, saying on NBC News’s Meet the Press: “”I want to know what the Russians have on Donald Trump.” Built on Russia themes to launch partisan impeachment against President Trump in 2019.

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL). House Intelligence Committee. Spread Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories on various media outlets. Said there were “clear examples of collusion and conspiracy” to a Chicago PBS affiliate (April 2019), “a public record of collusion” to MSNBC (March 2019), and “obvious evidence in plain sight and in previous court filings of collusion” to CNN (March 2019).

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). Senate Democratic leader. In Aug. 2017, following a classified briefing by CIA Director John Brennan, sent letter to FBI Director James Comey accusing Trump campaign of colluding with Russia, noting “the evidence of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s campaign continues to mount.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). Chairman, House Intelligence Committee. Previously Ranking Member. A primary and aggressive promoter of Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories sourced to now-discredited Steele dossier. Made collusion allegations in hundreds of media interviews on CNN, MSNBC, and elsewhere. Said on CBS in March 2019 there was “direct” and “abundant circumstantial evidence” of collusion. Endorsed Steele’s credibility in March 2017 hearing. Told CNN that Steele was a “well respected former British, former MI6 officer,” and said Republicans should want to investigate Steele’s claims rather than discredit them (October 2017). Admitted the since-discredited Steele dossier was an important part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant used to by FBI to conduct electronic surveillance on 2016 Trump campaign aide Carter Page (February 2018). Issued memo to entire membership of U.S. House (January 2018) defending FBI’s reliance on now-discredited Steele dossier when the FBI applied for FISA warrant on Page.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA). House Intelligence Committee. Spread Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories on various media outlets. Told CNN in February 2018 that “there is plenty of evidence to suggest that there has been money laundering going on in many of the real estate deals that were done by the Trump Organization” based on testimony she heard from Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson while Simpson defended the information in the now-discredited Steele dossier. Referencing a July 2017 committee she did not attend where 2016 Trump presidential campaign communications advisor Michael Caputo was a witness, accused Caputo of being Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “image consultant” and said Caputo “may have actually lied” during the appearance. Key figure in Imran Awan scandal over congressional IT security breach, computer theft, and bank fraud.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA). House Intelligence Committee. Aggressively pushed Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories based on now-discredited Steele dossier in media interviews on CNN, MSNBC, and elsewhere. Told MSNBC (January 2019) that he believed President Trump was a Russian agent: “I think all the arrows point in that direction, and I haven’t seen a single piece of evidence that he’s not.” Following August 2018 committee appearance by 2016 Trump Presidential campaign advisor Michael Caputo, Swalwell sent Caputo a threatening private message via Twitter late on a Saturday evening: “Nice to see you again. I hope you told the OSC [Office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller] the truth. They don’t [expletive deleted] around.”

Sen. Mark Warner (D-CA). Vice Chairman, Senate Intelligence Committee. Aggressively pushed Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. Said in March 2019 there was “enormous amounts of evidence” indicating Trump-Russia collusion. Involved in three-year set of Trump-Russia investigations when federal investigators knew within first year there was no evidence of collusion. Committee interviewed over 100 witnesses and was plagued by investigation leaks and unauthorized contact with media. Sought leniency with federal judge for sentencing of James Wolfe, a top security aide convicted of lying to the FBI in a leak investigation.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). Chairwoman, House Financial Services Committee. Previously Ranking Member. Spread Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories based on information from now-discredited Steele dossier. In March 2017 on MSNBC, said of Steele dossier: “We already know about the part about the coverage they have on him with sex actions is supposed to be true.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). Senate Intelligence Committee. Spread Trump-Russia conspiracy theories, particularly related to the National Rifle Association, submitting a Senate report alleging the NRA was a “foreign asset” tied to Russia. Involved in three-year set of Trump-Russia investigations when federal investigators knew within first year there was no evidence of collusion. Committee interviewed over 100 witnesses and was plagued by investigation leaks and unauthorized contact with media.

James Wolfe. Senate Intelligence Committee, director of security. In December 2018, sentenced to two months in prison for lying to the FBI about contacts with reporters. Classified and sensitive investigation leaks about multiple Trump associates were passed to three female reporters with whom Wolfe was in contact. Includes his girlfriend of three years, then-26-year old New York Times reporter Ali Watkins. Wolfe, then-57, had denied knowing Watkins to investigators until they showed him a photograph of the two together.

Foreign Officials

Valeriy Chaly. Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S. In March 2016, met at Ukrainian Embassy with Democratic National Committee (DNC) contractor Alexandra Chalupa where Chalupa allegedly sought information on Ukraine business dealings of Trump campaign’s Paul Manafort. In August 2016, authored opinion column in The Hill, “Ukraine’s Ambassador: Trump’s Comments to the World Send Wrong Message,” noting they “stand in sharp contrast to the Republican party platform.”

Igor Danchenko. U.S.-based Russian national born in Ukraine identified in July 2020 through declassified FBI documents and related investigative news reports as Christopher Steele’s primary subsource for anti-Trump election dossier in 2016. Served as a research analyst for five years at the Brookings Institution, left-leaning think tank based in a Washington, DC. DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded that the review of the Danchenko three-day FBI interview in January 2017 “raised significant questions about the reliability of the Steele election reporting.” In his July 2020 analysis of the FBI interview notes, Eric Felton of RealClearInvestigations concluded: “From the FBI interviews it becomes clear that [Danchenko] and his friends peddled warmed-over rumors and laughable gossip that Steele dressed up as formal intelligence memos.”

Richard Dearlove. British ex-MI6 director. In April 2017, fueled conspiracy theories by declaring, “Trump borrowed money from Russia” during 2008 financial crisis. In December 2017 provided legitimacy to now-discredited Steele dossier in BBC interview, saying it “probably” had “some credibility.” In February 2014, Dearlove and Cambridge Professor Stefan Halper hosted dinner for then-Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, where Flynn met Russian graduate student Svetlana Lokhova. In May 2019, Lokhova filed $25 million lawsuit against Halper, Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and MSNBC for stories falsely alleging a relationship with Flynn.

Alexander Downer. Australian ambassador to the U.K. and former foreign minister. In May 2016, Downer met with Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos for drinks at Kensington Wine Rooms in London. Downer claims Papadopoulos told him the Russians might release some damaging information on Hillary Clinton, which Papadopoulos denies. Downer reported conversation to U.S. counterparts and Australian authorities, leading to FBI Counterintelligence Deputy Director Peter Strzok opening the Crossfire Hurricane investigation into the Trump campaign in July 2016.

Serhiy Leschenko. Ukrainian member of parliament. Former editor-in-chief of Ukrayinska Pravda, an online newspaper. In August 2016, released Ukrainian “black ledger” alleging at least $1.2 million in 2007 and 2009 payments from Ukraine’s pro-Russia Party of Regions to firm owned by Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. New York Times story covering alleged payments resulted in Manafort’s immediate firing from Trump campaign.

Joseph Mifsud. London-based Maltese professor and former diplomat. In April 2016, allegedly told Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos in London that Russians had “thousands of e-mails” damaging to Hillary Clinton. In July 2019, during House Intelligence Committee hearing with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Republicans described Mifsud’s extensive contacts with Western governments and the FBI, despite James Comey publicly labeling him a “Russian agent.” Although Mueller Report doesn’t support Comey claim, it does indicate Mifsud lied to FBI three times, yet he was never charged, and his whereabouts remain unknown.

Christopher Steele. British ex-MI6 agent. Hired by Fusion GPS to research Trump links to Russia, funded by Clinton campaign and DNC via Perkins Coie law firm. The now-discredited Steele dossier claimed vast conspiracy between Trump campaign and Russia, leading to improper federal law enforcement surveillance and investigations into presidential campaign. Largely sourced by Russian disinformation and ultimately debunked, Steele’s 35-pages of memos led to waves of prosecutions and public defamation against Trump associates. In August 2018, FBI released documents showing Steele was a paid informant for unknown period. Steele has faced multiple libel lawsuits since 2017.

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Activists

Max Bergmann. Senior fellow, Center for American Progress (CAP) and director of The Moscow Project, a CAP Action Fund program that is one of the major activist groups advancing Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories. The CAP Action Fund reported $9 million in revenues in 2017. Former Obama administration State Department official, including speechwriter to Secretary of State John Kerry.

Richard Blum. Billionaire investment banker and spouse of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). In 2019, donated $100,000–$499,000 to Center for American Project Action Fund, which operates The Moscow Project, a CAP Action Fund program that is one of the major activist groups advancing Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories. In 2020, investigated by the FBI for stock trades prior to the coronavirus pandemic global spread since his wife was receiving classified briefings at the time.

Diana Denman. Texas-based Republican activist. Delegate to 2016 RNC National Convention. Proposed amendment to draft GOP platform for providing Ukraine with “lethal defensive weapons.” Washington Post opinion column by Josh Rogin—based on interviews with Denman and GOP delegate Rachel Hoff claiming Trump campaign “changed the GOP Platform”— became a central theme in Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories. (Similarly, President Obama had also opposed sending lethal aide to Ukraine.) During House Intelligence Committee testimony in 2017 released in May 2020, Denman stated that despite her rejected language the final GOP platform retained strong position against Russian interference in Ukraine.

George Conway. Spouse of Trump White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway. Known for anti-Trump activism. Co-founder of the Lincoln Project, self-described Never Trump political figures with mission statement to “Defeat President Trump and Trumpism at the Ballot Box.” Stated in April 2019 that President Trump’s reaction to Mueller special counsel probe into alleged collusion was “worse than the misconduct that led to Nixon’s resignation.”

Evelyn Farkas. Former Pentagon official during Obama administration. Board member of Committee to Investigate Russia, a now defunct activist organization founded in 2017 by left-leaning Hollywood actor Rob Reiner to promote Trump-Russia collusion theories. House Intelligence Committee testimony from 2017 released in May 2020 show Farkas was unaware of any evidence showing Trump-Russia collusion despite suggesting otherwise during interviews on MSNBC.

Ryan Goodman. Co-founder, Just Security. NYU law professor. Former Obama administration Pentagon Official. Leads organization which aggressively pushes Trump-Russia conspiracy theories, to include questioning if President Trump is a Russian agent. Featured writers include left-leaning pundits, law professors, and ex-Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissman. Board includes Jake Sullivan, senior policy advisor to 2016 Clinton campaign.

Michael Hayden. Former CIA and NSA director, Obama and George W. Bush administrations. Retired Air Force General. Board member of Committee to Investigate Russia, a now defunct activist organization founded in 2017 by left-leaning Hollywood actor Rob Reiner to promote Trump-Russia collusion theories. Days before November 2016 election, authored opinion column in The Washington Post under the title “Trump Is Russia’s Useful Fool.”

Susan Hennessey. Senior fellow, Brookings Institution. Co-founder and executive editor of the Lawfare Blog. In 2017 Politico identified the the Lawfare Blog as “the one-stop shop for making legal sense of the Trump era.” Co-authored a July 2016 analysis at the Lawfare Blog purporting to be a “legal analysis” of whether Trump was a “Russian agent,” with the conclusion that the then-GOP presidential candidate was merely a “useful idiot” of the Russians. Written about virtually every aspect of Trump-Russia investigations, related prosecutions, breaking news developments and leaks.

Rachel Hoff. Republican LGBT activist. Former staffer to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). First witness interviewed by Special Counsel team, May 2017. Delegate to 2016 RNC National Convention. Proposed amendment to draft GOP platform for providing Ukraine with “lethal defensive weapons.” Washington Post opinion column by Josh Rogin—based on interviews with Hoff and GOP Delegate Diana Denman claiming Trump campaign “changed the GOP Platform”—became a central theme in Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories. (Similarly, President Obama had also opposed sending lethal aide to Ukraine). During House Intelligence Committee testimony in 2017 released in May 2020, Denman stated that despite her rejected language the final GOP platform retained strong position against Russian interference in Ukraine. In 2009, Hoff was convicted of voter fraud in South Dakota.

Jeh Johnson. Former Obama administration Secretary of Homeland Security and Department of Defense General Counsel. Board member of Committee to Investigate Russia, a now defunct activist organization founded in 2017 by left-leaning Hollywood actor Rob Reiner to promote Trump-Russia collusion theories. While at Pentagon, classified 2009 Ft. Hood mass shooting by radical Islamist Army Major Nidal Hassan as “workplace violence.”

Dan Jones. Researcher and former FBI intelligence analyst. Former staffer to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Democratic staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Leads the Democracy Integrity Project, an advocacy group with work product based heavily on research and information generated by individuals and organizations behind the now-discredited Steele dossier of unsubstantiated attacks on President Donald Trump. President of the Penn Quarter Group, an opposition research firm; reportedly told FBI in 2017 that Penn Quarter had secured $50 million from “wealthy donors” to hire Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS to continue investigation into alleged Trump-Russia collusion. 2017 tax filings show Democracy Integrity Project paid $3.3 million to Bean, LLC, parent company of Fusion GPS.

David Kramer. Senior fellow, McCain Institute. Former staffer to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Assistant Secretary of State during George W. Bush administration. Conducted opposition research against Donald Trump that included meeting with British ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele in London during 2016 and obtaining copy of the now-discredited Steele dossier. Kramer admitted to leaking dossier information to the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, CNN, NPR, McClatchy and BuzzFeed (the later published the unsubstantiated and later discredited allegations in January 2017).

Bill Kristol. Former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dan Quayle. Former Foreign Policy Advisor to McCain 2008 presidential campaign. Promotes “Never Trump” activism as editor-at-large of The Bulwark. Began calling for investigation of “Trump’s links to Putin” in July 2016, five months before Trump was elected. He is the chair of the stridently anti-Trump Defending Democracy Together (DDT) a leader of the related DDT Action Fund.

Leon Panetta. Former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director in Obama Administration. Former White House Chief of Staff in Clinton administration. In August 2018, said Trump’s behavior shows “clear signal that the Russians have something on him.” Board member of Committee to Investigate Russia, a now defunct activist organization founded in 2017 by left-leaning Hollywood actor Rob Reiner to promote Trump-Russia collusion theories.

Rob Reiner. Co-founder and board member of Committee to Investigate Russia, a now defunct activist organization founded in 2017 to promote Trump-Russia collusion theories. Left-leaning Hollywood celebrity best known for playing Michael Stivic, a.k.a. “Meathead” on 1970s sitcom, All in the Family. In a June 29, 2020, statement on Twitter accused Trump of having “colluded with Russia to steal an election.”

Daniel Richman. FBI special employee. Former federal prosecutor, Southern District of NY. Law professor, Columbia University. In June 2017 Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, confirmed that fired FBI Director James Comey used him as intermediary with NY Times to leak release of Comey official memos detailing private conversations with Pres. Trump and generate appointment of Special Counsel.

Jacki Schechner. Editor-in-chief of Committee to Investigate Russia, a now defunct activist organization founded in 2017 by left-leaning Hollywood actor Rob Reiner to promote Trump-Russia collusion theories. Former reporter with Al Gore’s now defunct Current TV.

George Soros. Hedge fund billionaire and major financier of left-leaning political organizations and social causes. Since 1980s, donated $32 billion to his philanthropy, Open Society Foundations. Hungarian-born American citizen, author and activist. In 2019, Open Society Policy Center donated in the range of $500,000–$999,000 to the Center for American Progress Action Fund which operates The Moscow Project. The Moscow Project one of the major activist groups advancing Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories. (The CAP Action Fund reported $9 million in revenues in 2017).

Neera Tanden. President, Center for American Progress (CAP). Aide to four Democratic presidential campaigns and a long-time confidante of Bill and Hillary Clinton. The Center for American Progress Action Fund operates The Moscow Project, one of the major activist groups advancing Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories. (The CAP Action Fund reported $9 million in revenues in 2017).

Rick Wilson. Florida-based Republican consultant. Never Trump activist. Co-founder of The Lincoln Project, self-described Never Trump political figures with mission statement to “Defeat President Trump and Trumpism at the Ballot Box.” In December 2019, wrote Rolling Stone opinion column accusing President Trump of “grotesque subservience to the Russian leader who helped elect him” and denouncing Trump supporters as “traitors” who “repeat the Kremlin-approved propaganda messages.” , Wilson resurrected an eight-year-old Twitter post from White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany in which the then-24-year-old woman praised Domino’s Pizza and received a swiftly favorable reply from the company. Wilson belatedly replied (in June 2020) to the November 2012 exchange, telling Domino’s it had “killed” its brand and added the “Everything Trump Touches Dies” hashtag. Domino’s replied: “Welp. It’s unfortunate that thanking a customer for a compliment back in 2012 would be viewed as political. Guess that’s 2020 for ya.”

Clint Watts. Senior fellow, Foreign Policy Research Institute. Former FBI agent, counterterrorism analyst. Frequent congressional witness on terrorism and intelligence issues. MSNBC analyst. Accused Republicans who support America First agenda as Russian pawns since Moscow benefits. Criticized House Judiciary Committee hearing with fired FBI agent Peter Strzok in July 2018 regarding Trump-Russia origins as “Investigation Theater” that also helps Russia.

Ben Wittes. Senior fellow, Brookings Institution. Co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Lawfare Blog. Former Washington Post editorial writer. Friend of James Comey. In 2017 Politico named him “the man behind what’s become the one-stop shop for making legal sense of the Trump era.” Written and/or spoke about virtually every aspect of Trump-Russia investigations, related prosecutions, breaking news developments and leaks. In November 2016, within two weeks of Trump winning the presidency, called the president-elect “among the major threats to the security of the country” and said that his coverage of Trump would not be similar to past presidents: “So in a way I never did with George W. Bush or Barack Obama or Bill Clinton—the other presidents I have covered as a journalist or analyst—I will write about the actions of the Trump presidency with the working assumption that our nation must be protected both by and from the president” [emphasis original]. Co-authored a July 2016 analysis at the Lawfare Blog purporting to be a “legal analysis” of whether Trump was a “Russian agent,” with the conclusion that the then-GOP presidential candidate was merely a “useful idiot” of the Russians. Both the July and November blog posts were sent out to FBI investigators as the FBI and Department of Justice were debating whether it was appropriate to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant for Trump campaign aide Carter Page. In a 2015 Twitter exchange, Wittes challenged Russian President Vladimir Putin to a fight and later in a blog post reiterated he was “serious” and that “Putin needs to man up and meet me in single combat in a location where he can’t have me arrested.” Claimed in May 2020 blog that it was Trump and his supporters who were “obsessed” with the Russia investigation.

 

Editor’s Note

This archive of “bios” of more than 200 of the most prominent people who kept the Trump-Russia collusion hoax alive, along with examples of their contributions, was carefully researched and documented by CRC researchers.

The bios will be posted in batches. Hyperlinks in the table of contents and index will become active as each batch is added. We will continue to update and expand the archive as circumstances dictate.

For a more detailed introduction to the archive, see “Introducing the Trump-Russia Collusion Hoax Archive.”

Please send any corrections and updates should be sent to [email protected].

Major Updates

October 13, 2020: Added “DNC and Clinton Associates” and “Foreign Officials” sections.

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