NSA Chief Russia Hacked '16 Election Congress Must Investigate
The Budapest Bridge: Hungary’s Role in the Collusion Between the Trump Campaign and the Russian Secret Service
April 13, 2017 1:22 pm·
Dr. András Göllner’s essay is the first installment of a two part series in HFP.
It was during the 2016 Presidential election campaign, and for the first time in American electoral history, that a hostile foreign power, aided and abetted by one of the candidates, was able to decisively intervene and significantly influence the outcome of an American election.
American public opinion, the mass and social media, the political establishment and, the country’s secret services, are bitterly divided about the veracity of the relationship between the Russian secret services and Donald Trump’s campaign team. Most commentators claim that even if conclusive evidence of collusion were to be found, it is well nigh impossible to prove, that the relationship had any tangible impact on the outcome of the election.
This first, of a two part series, summarizes some fresh evidence about the nature of the collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign. It will provide some empirically verifiable evidence of the electoral impact of the Russian leaks, in the context of the strategic aspirations of the Trump campaign.
We do not claim to have any insight into the evidence at the disposal of the FBI about the alleged collusion between the Trump team and the Russian secret service. What we have, is evidence, that the FBI is forbidden by law to investigate, because it lies outside the territory of the USA.
This series argues that the place where the FBI, Congress, and the American mass media should be looking for evidence, about the collusion between senior Trump staffers and the Russian secret service is not in America, but in far away Hungary, a member of NATO, the European Union, and a champion of Vladimir Putin in the West.
The Chain Bridge in a foggy Budapest. Photo source: piusz / muemlekem.hu
Our investigation has uncovered „the smoking gun” about the relationship between the Trump campaign and the Russian secret services. It shows that the connection between the Russian secret services and the Trump campaign is not a direct one. It did not run through the Russian embassy in the US or through the spies that have been expelled by Obama. It did not run through New York City or Moscow, or in conversations between campaign staff and the Russian ambassador to the US. It ran through Budapest, which is the European Headquarters of Putin’s FSB. Budapest was the „bridge” between the Trump campaign and the Russian secret service.
Some of our evidence is well known. It is known, for example, that the Russians and the Trump campaign had identical strategic interests. They both wanted to position Hillary Clinton as a „crooked and untrustworthy” candidate. What has not been known, up to now is, that the unacknowledged architect of this grand strategy was the notoriously secretive Arthur J. Finkelstein, a long time New York associate of Donald Trump, going back to the Roy Cohen days.
Finkelstein is perhaps the most bitter opponent of Hillary Clinton amongst a small circle of pro-Republican campaign gurus, and a frequent flyer to many of the capitals where Putin is seen as a hero. Finkelstein introduced Paul Manafort years ago to Putin’s pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs, who use their corporate hats, to advance Putin’s fortunes abroad. Finkelstein also had a big hand in Manafort’s addition to the Trump team. Finkelstein has also served as chief political strategist for the past 10 years, to Putin’s most loyal follower in the Western alliance – the Hungarian PM, Viktor Orbán. Finkie, as Orbán is fond to call him, also works for some of the most notorious autocrats of the former Soviet Republics, and always indirectly, so his pay-masters can’t be easily identified – a skill that he passed on to Trump’s ex-campaign chairman, Manafort.
As Steven Bannon confessed to the Hollywood Reporter, after the elections, polling and visceral messaging, a Finkelstein specialty, played a critical part in the Trump campaign. It is not a coincidence, that the campaign’s senior pollster was Tony Fabrizio, who learned his craft on Finkelstein’s knees. Virtually the entire top tier of the Trump campaign, including Roger Ailes and Roger Stone, have close personal ties to the man, who is known worldwide, as „The Merchant of Venom”.
While Finkelstein has been consciously kept out of the Trump campaign’s limelight, the campaign worked from his playbook, and that playbook had an important, hitherto unseen chapter on the art of dealing with Russia’s secret services. This series argues, that the Trump campaign had not only criminal intent (aiding and abetting Russian hacking of a political opponents’s confidential data base) but benefited from its criminal activities, by cornering the political market. (As our evidence about Finkelstein’s role in the campaign began to gather momentum, Finkelstein became unreachable. His friends and associates say, that he is undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer. We hope this is not yet another Finkelstein maneuver to throw people off his scent. We wish him speedy recovery so we can ask him directly, what he was doing on „the Budapest Bridge”.)
Putin’s Trojan Horse and the Trump campaign
During the past 7 years, and much of it thanks to Finkelstein’s successful Hungarian consulting practices, Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s current PM, managed to transform this small Central European country into a pale shadow of it’s former democratic self. Orbán, by his own admission, is Putin’s most supportive champion inside the Western alliance and the first and only Western leader to publicly endorse Trump as a candidate. By conservative estimates, Budapest is home to approximately 1000 members of the Russian secret service, most of them in the possession of Hungarian passports provided for by Hungary’s pro-Russian Ministry of the Interior. (These passports can be had for a hefty fee -300,000 Euros a pop – and after waiting only 30 days, which allows no time for a thorough vetting of the applicant. If passports were to be given to foreign aliens under such circumstances in the US, Homeland Security would be purged from top to bottom. In Canada, the minister would have to resign. In Hungary, this „passport business” has been subcontracted out to some of the most corrupt people in Viktor Orbán’s immediate entourage.)
The Hungarian government’s corrupt passport system, enables Russia’s top operatives to work and travel without any restrictions within the EU, and more importantly, to travel to the USA without a visa. Hungary’s bank laws provide an impenetrable financial shelter to those who are dealing with Putin’s secret services. Orbán’s Ministry of the Interior provides a protective umbrella against internet and telephone snooping. It is no coincidence that Europe’s most notorious right-wing populists, anti-Semites and anti-Muslim radicals, such as Holland’s Gert Wilders and Britain’s Nick Griffin, have established residences in Hungary. It is no coincidence that Putin is a frequent secret visitor. It is also not a coincidence that Finkelstein has a home in Budapest, and was, until recently, in weekly contact with Vladimir Putin’s most loyal Hungarian surrogate, Viktor Orbán.
Finkelstein and Orbán’s top Hungarian strategist, Árpád Habony, have a London based joint company, close to the headquarters of Wikileaks. The Russian leakage of embarrassing information about Hillary Clinton, was coordinated through Budapest, and London, and was designed to lower Clinton’s trustworthiness at pre-planned moments during the campaign. Clinton’s trustworthiness ratings, her public opinion support plumeted, on average, 5% points after each well timed leak, and especially during the closing stages of the campaign. These leaks dominated the news cycles at critical junctions in the campaign. Carefully orchestrated, they drove the all important pro-Trump social media (Facebook, Snapchat, twitter) that left the Clinton campaign grasping for air in the critical battle ground states. Arguing that the leaks had no concrete effect on the outcome of the election in the targeted states, is equal to saying that birds can fly without wings.
Some argue, that one of the reasons why Paul Manafort, Carter Page, and Roger Stone offered to voluntarily testify before the congressional committee is, that they were not the principals in the transactions, that took place on „the Budapest bridge”. We argue, that their eagerness to testify early has an entirely different explanation. They simply wanted to get through the congressional screening process early, before the proverbial brown matter hits the fan, and before the learning curve of the congressional investigators goes up a notch.
Who were the principals on „The Budapest Bridge” the FBI and Congress should investigate particularly closely, apart from Arthur Finkelstein ? The investigations should include Jo Anne Barnhart, Finkelstein’s close personal friend, and managing director of the Hungarian government’s secretive lobby arm in the US, the „Magyar Foundation”. It should include another Finkelstein protegé, and Hungarian lobbyist, ex-congressman Connie Mack IV. The latter is the recipient of a 5 million dollar contract, through a third party, to promote Putin’s Hungarian disciple in America. The Congressional investigators should also talk to Senator Sessions’ right hand man during the campaign, J.D. Gordon, who travelled six times to Budapest, and considers Putin’s Trojan Horse as one of the finest leaders within the Western alliance. Last, but not least, the FBI and the Congressional team should investigate Sebastian Gorka, Bannon’s „terrorism expert” and a man with a 15 year connection to anti-American, pro-Russian, pro-Iranian radicals in Hungary.
In our second installment, we shall provide some empirically verifiable evidence about Gorka’s Hungarian associates, and his 15 year track record in Hungary as an enemy of democracy and the rule of law. That alone should make for his rapid exit from his strategic position in the White House. Our own findings fully support the call of three American senators – Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Ben Cardin of Maryland – who, on March 17, sent a joint letter to the US Justice Department asking the agency to look into whether Gorka “falsified his naturalization application or otherwise illegally procured his citizenship.” We will argue, that Trump’s senior campaign associate, failed to disclose the full extent of his neo-fascist, anti-American, anti-Democratic political ties in Hungary prior to being given American citizenship. By marrying an American multimillionaire, a Trump campaign donor with connections in high places, Gorka managed to secure access to the White House on behalf of forces, that, are diametrically opposed to America’s national interests.
In our second installment we shall provide further evidence of „the smoking gun” in the Trump campaign, and in Mr. Gorka’s closet.
To be continued in HFP on Friday…
http://hungarianfreepress.com/2017/04/1 ... t-service/
The Budapest Bridge: Hungary’s Role in the Collusion Between the Trump Campaign and the Russian Secret Service (Part 2)
April 14, 2017 5:59 pm·
This is the continuation of Part 1 of Dr. András Göllner’s essay, which appeared in HFP on Thursday.
In the first part of this series, we argued, that the key players in Trump’s electoral scam have slipped under the FBI’s radar because US laws prohibit the Agency to pursue evidence outside the territory of the US. We also argued, that working with the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior, an adjunct of the Russian secret service, would be the kiss of death to any American investigation.
We offered concrete evidence of the Orbán government’s payment of millions to influential Republicans, such as Connie Mack IV, with the aim of whitewashing the Orbán regime’s ties to the Russian secret service. The publicly available information that we accessed is but the tip of the iceberg, of a massive effort by Hungary to mislead Congress and American public opinion.
It is not our job to tell the FBI or US Congressional bodies how to pursue their job. But it is our duty to inform the representatives of the American people in which direction they should look in pursuing the truth. The second instalment of this report is designed with this purpose in mind.
The electoral impact of the Russian hackings
Evidence about the impact of the Russian hackings on the outcome of the 2016 US elections is so overwhelming that it’s blinding. Trump’s principal campaign message was, that Hillary Clinton cannot be trusted to fix the problems that plague America. She was portrayed day after day, as “Crooked Hillary” the woman who belongs behind bars, rather than in the White House. Every single time, the Russians released some of the DNC’s stolen e-mails, they were feeding this narrative and added oxygen to Trump’s fire.
It is important to acknowledge, that Donald Trump himself, was above board: he openly abetted Putin to disclose what Russia’s secret services stole from the DNC’s data base. The impact of the Wikileaks disclosures is irrefutable. Their impact on Clinton’s trustworthiness rating can be retroactively measured and verified. These leaks measurably increased Clinton’s negatives, played into the Trump campaign’s narrative, decreased her competitiveness at critical moments of the campaign, and especially in the marginal battleground states. While presidential candidates may lie, numbers do not.
The architects of the scam
In our first installment, we argued, that the dynamic behind the numbers was not an accident but was part of a conscious campaign strategy, developed by a trusted Trump advisor, Arthur J. Finkelstein, whose modus operandi is to remain completely out of the public limelight. Even Finkelstein’s closest associates acknowledge his genius in evading detection. Larry Weitzner, CEO of political consulting firm Jamestown Associates, says this about his mentor: “He prefers to work behind the scenes and let the candidate do the talking, unlike other [consultants] who prefer to be Fox TV stars.” A CNN report on Finkelstein had this to say about him: “He is the stuff of Hollywood: A man who can topple even the most powerful foes, yet so secretive that few have ever seen him. Finkelstein has been compared to criminal mastermind Kaiser Sose in The Usual Suspects, who lay so low that some doubted he really existed.”
Finkelstein was Trump’s pick for the anti-Hillary onslaught. Trump knew him well, and used him on previous occasions. He too is a member of the gang that admired the techniques of Roy Cohen, the brain child of McCarthyism, the man, who developed the science of making accusations stick without proper regard for evidence. Finkelstein has been instrumental in numerous Republican victories in New York state. His entire life was dedicated to demonizing Democrats and progressive ideas. And most importantly, he spearheaded the “Get Hillary” campaign in 2006 – he held a decade long personal grudge against Hillary. Finkelstein fit Trump’s aspirations like a fine leather glove fits a hand.
Finkelstein spent most of his time during the Trump campaign in Budapest, off the publicly disclosed campaign payroll. Until recently, and parallel to his “hidden” role in the campaign, he was in virtually daily contact with Hungary’s pro-Russian prime minister. Leakage of the hacked documents, according to our sources was coordinated through Budapest, the European HQ of the FSB, and with Orbán’s knowledge. It is Orbán’s personal ties to the players on “The Budapest Bridge”, that makes him a liability now in the White House. He is drawing too much heat, as the Congressional investigations begin to cast a wider net. . Orbán was hoping for an early visit with Trump, as a token of the American President’s gratitude. With the Congressional investigations under way, plans have changed. In a fit of anger, Mr. Orbán recalled his Ambassador to Washington, Réka Szemerkényi.
We have learned that the London based joint company, set up by Finkelstein and Habony at the start of the Trump campaign (Danube Business Consulting Ltd) played an important role in the transfer of the hacked documents to Assange and Wikileaks. We suggest that apart from Finkelstein, his American consulting partner in Hungary, George E. Birnbaum, and Finkelstein’s Hungarian affiliate, Árpád Habony, Tamás Lánczi, the CEO of Danube Business Consulting should all be questioned under oath. The financial records of the company should be scrutinized, with the assistance of the Scotland Yard. But the net should involve all the players we have named in our first installment.
The line of questioning of those who used the „Budapest Bridge” is also critically important. One of the first questions the FBI, the House and Senate committees should ask Roger Stone, and under oath is this: Does he know of Finkelstein’s “silent” role in the campaign? Was he in contact, during his visits to London with Tamás Lánczi, the Director of Danube Business Consulting, Ltd, and did any of his discussions with Lánczi pertained to the hacked documents of the DNC and their transfer to Wikileaks ?
One of the first things the FBI should do, along with the Congressional intelligence Committees, is to examine J.D. Gordon’s Hungarian agenda book. Gordon was Jeff Sessions’ deputy during the campaign, and served as National Security Advisor to the Trump campaign. He travelled six times to Budapest, the European Headquarters of the Russian secret service. He should be questioned under oath and asked point blank: Who paid for his visits to Hungary, during the campaign? Why was it so important for him to spend so much time in this small, politically insignificant country, as a member of the Trump campaign team? Did he meet Finkelstein or Habony in Budapest, or Lánczi in London? Who were the oligarchs or officials he met in Hungary, and did he ever examine his contacts’ connections to the Russian secret services? Does he know anything about the corrupt passport business run by Orbán’s government? He should also be questioned under oath, why he would classify the Orbán regime as the Trump presidency’s “model” when Orbán, publicly declared, that his government’s “model” is Communist China, and Putin’s Russia, and Erdogan’s Turkey?
Hungary today is anything but a democracy. According to a press release, on March 21 of this year, Hungary’s Civil Liberties Union, and more than one hundred of the country’s top non-government organizations notified the world, that the Orbán regime has declared war on Hungary’s civil society. The freedom of the press is highly restricted. Two years ago, Republican Senator John McCain, referred to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán as a “neo-Fascist dictator”. Things have become even more desperate since then. . Last week, Hungary’s highest ranking privately owned university – the Central European University – was the victim of a retroactive law, that singled it out for special treatment and without any consultations, because its principal donor is the US financier, George Soros. By the end of year it will have to shut its doors, like its sister University in St Petersburgh. Most international experts, refer to the Orbán regime as Russia’s Trojan Horse in the Western alliance. Given its anti-democratic, pro-Russian track record, it took many Hungarians by surprise, that top Trump advisor J.D. Gordon traveled to Budapest during the campaign and declared that „The team of President-elect Donald Trump deeply admires the Hungarian leader. With Trump in the White House, a new chapter will be opened in American-Hungarian relations. Mr. Trump and Mr. Orbán will become good friends”? Could Trump’s friendship with Putin’s Hungarian disciple hold the clue to how Russia manipulated the margins in the battleground states, the margins, that according to Finkelstein’s pick for the top polling post in the Trump campaign, Tony Fabrizio, led to Clinton’s defeat?
Similar questions should be put to all the other Finkelstein operatives in the US, especially to ex-Republican Congressman Connie Mack VI who is being paid millions by the Orbán regime, to cover up the Hungarian government’s duplicitous relationship with Russia’s secret services.
Liberty Bridge, Budapest
Last but not least, Sebastian Gorka should be made to testify under oath. What was he doing in Hungary between 1992-2008, before he came to America, and became a close advisor of Donald Trump? Is he, or is he not a member of the notoriously anti-semitic Order of Vitéz in Hungary, an order created by Admiral Horthy, the man who declared war on the USA during WWII? If Gorka covered up his membership in this order, that was created to „keep out Jews” and to protect „the purity of the Hungarian blood”, he should be immediately fired from his White House post, and his US citizenship should be revoked.
Mr Gorka should be asked under oath, if he had any contact during the campaign with the CEO of Danube Business Consulting Ltd, Tamás Lánczi, an old friend of his from Budapest, and part of the shaddowy circle of people with ties to Russia’s secret services. (Tamás Lánczi’s father, András Lánczi was Gorka’s Hungarian PhD thesis supervisor.) Gorka’s questioners should begin, by asking how he got to be working for the ex-communist stooge, Ernő Raffay, who became Deputy Minister of Defense in Hungary, and is best known for snitching on democrats in the communist era, and writing anti-Semitic books after 1990? Why did Gorka work for the neo-fascist, anti-Semitic journal, Demokrata, for years, undermining democracy in Hungary? Why did he work for 15 years alongside ex-communist stooges, neo-nazis, and pro-Iranian radicals in Hungary, who spread hatred about America, and idolise Vladimir Putin to this day?
In case Gorka claims ignorance about the political views of his friend and associates, here are some public statements from two of them, who are, to this day, the closest collaborators of the Hungarian Prime Minister – András Bencsik and Imre Kerényi. We have verifiable public statements from Gorka’s other political associates in Hungary, such as Tamás Molnár, a co-founder of Gorka’s extremist Party, from Zsolt Bauer, the notorious anti-Semitic hate monger, and another pro-Iranian member of this influential circle of friends, the shadowy István Lovas, who masquerades under many an alias. Their public conduct should ban them from any travel to the US. The congressional investigations should explore the ties between these pro-Iranian, pro-Russian extremists and Sebastian Gorka.
András Bencsik, is a former communist Party secretary, and was already well known as an anti-Semitic hate-monger when Gorka worked with him. Bencsik is a member of the Order of Vitéz, an order, that has sworn to uphold the values that Hitler’s most trusted Hungarian ally, Admiral Horthy stood for, until the end of WWII. Bencsik is not only a Hitlerite, but feels, along with Viktor Orbán, that Putin’s autocracy is the way forward for humanity. No wonder, Trump thinks so highly of the Russian dictator, when one of his closest advisors is a former protegé of András Bencsik, Hungary’s best known Putin fan. This is what Bencsik had to say about Vladimir Putin, and this at a time, when Gorka worked for him in Budapest: “Russia has finally shut the door on a chaotic 20th century…and has now embarked on clearly delineated, collectively derived path towards its national interest, one based on tradition, faith, and strength …in a very short time, Putin and Medvedev will determine the fate of world history” (András Bencsik, Demokrata, May 14, 2008.Translation by this author.)
Gorka’s other Hungarian comrade in arm is, Imre Kerényi, who is, to this day, a senior advisor to the Hungarian autocrat, Viktor Orbán. Imre Kerényi was also a loyal communist party member prior to the fall of the dictatorship. He quickly remodelled himself into an anti-American pro-Russian, pro-Iranian advocate during the time Gorka associated with him in Hungary. This is what Kerényi has to say about America, Iran, and Putin’s Russia. “We are on the threshold a World War III, which the USA will lose…The American high-tech will be destroyed by a white powder.” (Imre Kerényi Médiaegyensúly. Budapest. Kairosz Publishers. 2003. pg. 263.Translation by this author.) In the 2006 Hungarian national election campaign, Mr. Kerényi spoke the following unforgettable words as he campaigned on behalf of his leader, Mr Orbán: “I can reassure all, that pretty soon, there will be a little mound where today, the White House stands in Washington, and on this mound, goats will be grazing peacefully” (ibid.,) While Gorka worked in Kerényi’s circle, the latter declared publicly, that “The USA is the world’s most despicable country, and even Hungary’s former overlords, the Russians are more likeable than the USA.” In the same speech, Orbán’s current senior advisor argued that Hungary’s political role model should be Iran, and the global Muslim resistance movement that is fighting the Americans in Iraq and elsewhere. (See: Tamás Bihari. “For Kerényi, the Muslims show the way” Népszava. February 28, 2006.) When Orbán, was asked for his views about Kerényi’s hatred of America, he replied, “I wish I had more people like him on my team.” With friends like Viktor Orbán, does Mr. Trump really need any enemies?
To this day, many people are puzzled why Trump and many on his campaign spoke so glowingly of Putin and his Hungarian disciple, Viktor Orbán. Many wonder why Viktor Orbán was the first and only European leader to publicly endorse Trump at the start of the campaign. This series has removed the blanket of secrecy, that shrouded “The Budapest Bridge” and the secretive “Merchant of Venom”, Arthur J. Finklestein, who swore to “get Hillary” for his master. We identified many of the players who traversed this bridge, and provided cover for the collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian secret service. With the backing of “Big Data” moguls like multi billionaire Roger Mercer, and an army of social media trolls, these people not only rigged the 2016 elections but delivered a fatal blow to the American body politics. It is not an exaggeration to say, that until now, they got away with murder.
http://hungarianfreepress.com/2017/04/1 ... ce-part-2/
Congressman Investigating Trump Goes to Russia’s Money Laundromat, Cyprus
The House Intelligence Committee sent one of its members to the Mediterranean country where Wilbur Ross, Paul Manafort, and sanction-dodging oligarchs have all had money.
04.14.17 2:05 PM ET
The House Intelligence Committee sent one of its members to Cyprus this week as part of its ongoing investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign, adding a new twist to the ongoing inquiry.
“Cyprus has a reputation as a laundromat for the Russians who are trying to avoid sanctions,” Rep. Mike Quigley told The Daily Beast. “It was extraordinarily helpful in understanding how the Russians launder money and why.”
The Democratic congressman did not go into detail about what he found during his four-day trip to the Mediterranean country. But publicly available reporting hints at how Cyprus may be tied to the committee’s investigation.
The Trump administration’s Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, was involved in a business deal with a Russian businessman with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin while he was the vice-chairman of the Bank of Cyprus.
And last month the Associated Press reported that Treasury Department agents obtained bank transaction information involving former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, specifically transactions going through Cyprus, which AP described as “known as a haven for money laundering by Russian billionaires.”
Cyprus has not been a primary topic of discussion within the scope of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian influence in the U.S. presidential elections, but Quigley said that the country played a significant role.
“The fact that Turkey, the U.S and Russia and other countries are really interested in Cyprus, because of its strategic location… the fact that Russians launder their money there to avoid sanctions, and the fact that key U.S. and Russia players were there—all make it really important for the Russia investigation,” Quigley explainedhttp://www.thedailybeast.com/a ... yprus.html
The Budapest Bridge - Note that Session's right hand man-JD Gordon, went to Budapest 6 times during the campaign.