DOJ Releases 176 Pages of FBI "Notes" from Interviews with Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort & More

DOJ Releases 176 Pages of FBI “Notes” from Interviews with Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort & More

WASHINGTON, January 19, 2020 – The Department of Justice has released another 176 pages of documents in response to a CNN lawsuit in conjunction with BuzzFeed News.

According to an article entitled Justice Department Releases 176 more Pages of Mueller Documents to CNN and Buzzfeed,” CNN claims:

CNN has received another 176 pages of notes from major witness interviews during former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation — this time spanning the interviews with more obscure but well-connected witnesses, as well as with some of Mueller’s main targets, including George Papadopoulos, Carter Page and Paul Manafort.

This is the fourth time CNN has gotten documents like these from the Justice Department regarding the Mueller investigation, as part of a lawsuit in conjunction with BuzzFeed News.
The memos, called 302s by the FBI, were typed up by agents or prosecutors after they questioned each witness. Friday’s release landed with large chunks of the witness memos redacted and with several pages withheld from the public. The Justice Department has kept many of the memos heavily redacted as it continues to release them this year.
Despite a court order, the Justice Department is holding back Mueller memos regarding the interviews conducted with the President’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.
Page, who was investigated by Mueller and the FBI for potential collusion with Russians, appears to have had some of the more unusual interviews with investigators on the high-stakes Russia investigation.
He met on multiple occasions with FBI agents apparently without a lawyer present, according to notes taken by the agents. – CNN
The Justice Department has not clarified why the Kushner notes are not available, and CNN and Buzzfeed claim they will continue to pursue the documents.

The Daily Caller is reporting that:
The documents include the FBI’s interviews conducted in 2017 with Papadopoulos and with Page, as well as interviews with Russian associates of Page.

The records were provided to BuzzFeed News and CNN in response to Freedom of Information Act lawsuits for FBI notes, known as 302s, that were used in the Trump-Russia probe.

Papadopoulos and Page were two of the four original targets of Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign.

The probe was opened on July 31, 2016 and melded into the special counsel’s investigation on May 17, 2017, when the Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel.

A report of the investigation ultimately concluded that there was no evidence the Trump campaign or any associates conspired with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election. The report also said there was no evidence that any Trump aides worked as Russian agents.

The FBI agents who interviewed Papadopoulos did not mention the Downer tip.

The notes indicate that FBI agents sought Papadopoulos’s cooperation in obtaining more information from Mifsud. Notes from a Feb. 1, 2017 interview say that FBI agents said they were ‘seeking out PAPADOULOS’ cooperation specifically in an attempt to obtain further information about his London-based contact, JOSEPH MIFSUD.’

Papadopoulos told Congress on Oct. 25, 2018 that the FBI offered to pay him to travel to London to meet with Mifsud while wearing a wire. The notes do not refer to a request that Papadopoulos wear a wire, but they are heavily redacted.

Papadopoulos insisted in subsequent interviews that he did not tell anyone on the Trump campaign that Russia might have Clinton’s emails.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty on Oct. 5, 2017 to false statements charges. Papadopoulos acknowledged in the plea that he falsely stated he met Mifsud before joining the Trump campaign.

FBI agents interviewed Page five times in March 2017. A major focus of the interviews was Page’s trip to Moscow in July 2016, where he spoke at the New Economic School.

Page came under intense media scrutiny at the time of his trip. The Steele dossier alleged that Page met with two Kremlin insiders, Igor Sechin and Igor Diveykin, while in Moscow. Christopher Steele, a former British spy who wrote the dossier, alleged that Page discussed the exchange of blackmail material with Diveykin and the relaxation of U.S. sanctions on Russia with Sechin.

Page told agents in his first FBI interview, on March 9, 2017, that allegations in the dossier were ‘completely false.’

‘PAGE opined that using any material in the dossier would be an obstruction of justice,’ the notes say.

FBI agents wrote in notes from an interview the following day that Page indicated he was ‘comfortable with the belief he has been under surveillance over the last year.’

‘PAGE stated he has done nothing wrong, and he is open to ‘extreme’ vetting,’ they said. – The Daily Caller

It is unclear why the FBI did not mention the fact that Carter Page had been a long-time intelligence asset, and as such, had routinely briefed the CIA on Russia related matters.

According to Jerry Lambe of Law & Crime, Kushner:

‘Despite a court order, the Justice Department is holding back Special Counsel Mueller memos regarding the interviews conducted with the President’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner,’ CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz said Friday.

Senior United States District Judge for the District of Columbia Reggie Walton, an appointee of George W. Bush, had ordered the DOJ to turn over the same slew of documents provided to House congressional investigators, which included the 302 interview memos from the FBI’s interview with Kushner. While the Justice Department is entitled to redact documents in accordance with FOIA guidelines, no explanation was given for the missing documents, according to CNN.

‘But still, on January 2 and on Friday night, the Justice Department was to have handed over as much of the documents the House had read as it could under the public records access law. Kushner wasn’t in either January batch,’ the report stated. ‘It’s still not clear why. CNN and BuzzFeed continue to fight for access to more documents from the Mueller investigation in court.’

Judge Walton has already been critical of the Trump administration for what he perceived as its failure to properly staff the Executive branch divisions charged with complying with FOIA requests, and ordered the DOJ to provide a plan of action detailing its efforts to keep up with transparency and accountability mandates.

‘Otherwise, they’re just totally thumbing their nose at the objective of FOIA,’ he said. ‘The American public is going to become totally disillusioned.’

Thus far, the FOIA lawsuits have forced the DOJ to provide CNN and BuzzFeed with more than 800 pages of documents, some of which are heavily redacted ‘citing exemptions under FOIA to protect national security, attorney-client privilege, and ongoing investigations.’ However, both news organizations have pledged to challenge those exemptions. – Jerry Lambe, Law & Crime

President Trump’s administration claims they have provided thousands of pages of documents and have gone above and beyond what is legally required.

Here are all 176 pages in full:

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