Three men linked to Russian spies were in 'unhinged' Oval Office meeting with Donald Trump: report

Three men linked to Russian spies were in 'unhinged' Oval Office meeting with Donald Trump: report
Image via @RusEmbUSA/Twitter.

One of America's top counterintelligence experts revealed his thoughts on Saturday on the three men linked to sanctioned Russian spies who were present for a key White House meeting plotting Donald Trump's coup attempt.

"Four days after the electors met across the country and made Joe Biden the president-elect, Donald Trump was still trying to find a way to hang on to the presidency," Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) said in Tuesday's public hearing of the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol.

"On Friday, December 18th, his team of outside advisers paid him a surprise visit in the White House that would quickly become the stuff of legend," Raskin explained. "The meeting has been called unhinged, not normal and the craziest meeting of the Trump presidency. The outside lawyers who'd been involved in dozens of failed lawsuits had lots of theories supporting the big lie, but no evidence to support it."

At the meeting, the idea of using the U.S. military to seize voting machines.

"In the wee hours of December 19th, dissatisfied with his options, Donald Trump decided to call for a large and wild crowd on Wednesday, January 6th, the day when Congress would meet to certify the electoral votes," Raskin explained. "Never before in American history had a president called for a crowd to come contest the counting of electoral votes by Congress or engaged in any effort designed to influence, delay, or obstruct the joint session of Congress in doing its work required by our Constitution and the Electoral Count Act. As we'll see, Donald Trump's 1:42 AM tweet electrified and galvanized his supporters, especially the dangerous extremists in the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, and other racist and white nationalist groups spoiling for a fight against the government."

In a thread posted to Twitter, former FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Peter Strzok noticed a pattern among some of the participants. Strzok had also headed the FBI's counterespionage section.

Strzok said the meeting had 'staggering counterintelligence issues' presented the three of those in attendance.

"Mike Flynn, who was paid by an organ of Russian state media to travel to Moscow to attend a dinner where he was seated next to Putin. Flynn later plead guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations he had with the Russian Ambassador about election interference," he noted.

"Patrick Byrne, one of several men once in an intimate relationship with convicted Russian agent Marina Butina. Byrne gave money to Butina after her return to Russia, where she ran for the Duma, hounded Navalny, and supported the invasion of Ukraine," Strzok continued. "Rudy Giuliani, who repeatedly met with and took info from sanctioned Russian agents like Andrii Derkach, despite USIC warnings to the White House in 2019 that Trump’s personal lawyer 'was the target of an influence operation by Russian intelligence.'"

"So in this tiny meeting in the Oval Office where options to upend US democracy were advanced to the President of the United States, there were not one, not two, but three people directly linked to sanctioned and convicted agents of the Russian government," Strzok noted. "While I doubt Russia planned it, their efforts to gain access to Trump’s inner sanctum succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. And it demonstrates just how successful seemingly amateurish intelligence activity can be."

He included a Russian Foreign Ministry photo from inside the Oval Office of Trump meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

The meeting occurred in May of 2017, one day after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey for investigating Russia's successful efforts to help Trump win the 2016 election.

"President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State," The Washington Post reported a few days later. "A Russian photographer took photos of part of the session that were released by the Russian state-owned Tass news agency. No U.S. news organization was allowed to attend any part of the meeting."

Here is the thread Strzok posted to Twitter:

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