Background: In part one of this assessment, I wrote, “If the defiled-bed narrative in the Steele dossier is, indeed, a reconstitution of the narrative that motivated the Anwar [Ibrahim] case, the consequences are not just that the Steele Dossier was cribbed from another case and thus cannot be true, but that those who inserted the story are guilty of a grievous offense, whose yolk was formed by corruption on a scale unknown in the history of presidential politics in America.” The criticality of the Steele dossier to the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation cannot be overstated.
Senators Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham, in a January 4, 2018 letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, wrote concerning the “FBI’s reliance on Mr. Steele’s dossier in two applications it filed for surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). . . . Both relied heavily on Mr. Steele’s dossier claims, and both applications were granted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).” Thus, the Steele dossier was central to the FBI’s case to permit collection against a US citizen who had worked on the Trump Campaign. This, in turn, exposed much of the Trump campaign to collection.
Those seeking to overturn the results of the 2016 election then made an argument to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein as to the need for a special counsel, though there has been no public specification of the supposed crime. These facts, and the lack of any known limits on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, have led to the present morass that has enveloped the Trump administration. Given broad authorities and no known description of the referred crime to be investigated, this onslaught has been repurposed to seek an economic crime within the Trump business empire or to register charges or aspersions concerning obstruction of justice. This series of actions is of great political utility to those who wish to unseat the President.
A defiled-bed narrative is at the core of both the Anwar and the Trump inquisitions. In Anwar’s case, bodily fluids on a mattress purportedly proved the crime for which he was accused in his Muslim-majority country. In President Trump’s case, he supposedly watched two prostitutes urinating on the hotel bed in Russia where the Obamas had previously slept. Amazingly, in the Los Angeles Times in 1999, former Fulbright Senior Scholar to Malaysia Robert A. Hooper wrote an article entitled, “A Dress Turns Into a Mattress: Malaysia’s Own Monicagate.” In it, Hooper gives evidence that the Anwar sex scandal was purposely packaged by Malaysian officials to emulate the Clinton-Lewinsky matter. Such is the nature of tropes and narratives in fiction.
Hollywood constantly reuses and repurposes storylines. Why? Because they worked before. Those who do not understand literature often believe that an original plotline is the supreme creation of fiction. It is not; the depiction of character is the acme of writing. Of William Shakespeare’s thirty-nine plays, only three were built upon original plotlines, and two of these three were either written at the request of Queen Elizabeth or written for a performance that she was to attend. It was a depravity of character that both the Anwar and the Trump narratives were designed to convey; their assembly, in each case, almost certainly relied on proven parts.
Possession of knowledge: In part one, I noted, “Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Brennan, Susan Rice, and Ben Rhodes all knew about Anwar’s sodomy case; they also surely knew it to be the most important cudgel that kept the ruling party in Malaysia in power. It was this knowledge that was likely repurposed in an attempt to sabotage the Trump campaign and presidency.” Who else within the orbit of President Obama or Hillary Clinton knew of the Anwar case?
It may be reasoned that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Attorney General Loretta Lynch also had to have known, for their work in suppressing the alleged 1MDB fraud, which involved billions, was entwined with Malaysian politics and, thus, with Anwar’s nemesis, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Loretta Lynch reportedly said of the matter, “a number of corrupt officials treated this public trust as a personal bank account.” At the time of McCabe’s and Lynch’s 2016 joint press conference concerning 1MDB, Department of Justice officials, in an official FBI statement, described America’s asset recovery actions, pursuant to the case, as “the largest single action ever brought under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.”
Kleptocracy means “rule by thieves.” To know that both McCabe and Lynch were personally involved in the 1MDB case, but to believe that they did not know of the circumstances and the fate of the principal opposition leader to Prime Minister Najib Razak’s regime, strains credulity.
William Clinton also knew of the circumstances of Anwar’s imprisonment. The New York Times, in an October 15, 1998 article, titled, “In Protest, Clinton Downgrades Visit to Malaysia : U.S. ‘Horrified’ About Anwar,” noted, “The United States intensified its criticism of Malaysia on Wednesday over the treatment of the dismissed deputy prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim.” The article continued, “A senior U.S. official said it was ‘horrifying’ that ‘one of the most respected of Asia’s new generation of leaders’ had apparently been beaten in detention and denied access to his lawyers and family. The official, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, Stanley Roth, also made it clear that President Bill Clinton’s trip to Malaysia next month to attend the annual summit meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum was being given unofficial status by the White House as a gesture of top-level concern.”
Thus, to state President Clinton did not know of the circumstances of the Anwar case is to believe he was not told the reason for the downgrade in the status of an important overseas trip to a country he had not visited before as president. Mahathir Mohamad was the prime minister of Malaysia when Anwar was first arrested in 1998. It is therefore curious that William Clinton, in a December 2008 trip to Malaysia, as reported by The Star, a Malaysian newspaper, is said to have relayed the following, “But what Clinton revealed about Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was more interesting. He listed down the names of leaders he admired during his term as US president. They included South Africa’s Nelson Mandela, Palestine’s Yasser Arafat and China’s Jiang Zemin. ‘And certainly, Dr Mahathir.’” Placing Mahathir (and Yasser Arafat) in the company of Nelson Mandela betrays an unscrupulousness on the part of the former president that is remarkable in its boldness.
Stanley Roth, the assistant secretary of state who announced the downgrade of President Clinton’s trip to Malaysia, due to the Anwar controversy, later left government and went on to work for Boeing as a vice president with an international portfolio. In her January 12, 2016 Washington Examiner article, “Nine times Clinton Foundation donors got special access at State,” journalist Sarah Westwood noted, “But emails released since then show Boeing, which has donated between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, enjoyed other perks while Clinton served as secretary of state. For example, Clinton’s closest aides approved security clearance for Stanley Roth, a high-ranking executive at Boeing, to join diplomats on a presidential delegation to Mongolia in June 2009.”
Many questions swirl. Why are so many former officials, who served the Clinton and the Obama administrations, steeped in the Anwar case? Are these other connections just coincidences, too? When does a series of coincidences become something else? Can an absolute nexus be established between the Anwar and the Trump allegations?
The Department of State: In an extraordinary op-ed, published by The Washington Post on February 8, 2018, attorney Jonathan M. Winer, who served previously as the special envoy for Libya for the Department of State, from September 2013 through January 2017, wrote, “In the summer of 2016, [Christopher] Steele told me that he had learned of disturbing information regarding possible ties between Donald Trump, his campaign and senior Russian officials. . . . In September 2016, Steele and I met in Washington and discussed the information now known as the ‘dossier.’”
Discussing what transpired, Winer observed, “I was allowed to review, but not to keep, a copy of these reports to enable me to alert the State Department. I prepared a two-page summary and shared it with [Assistant Secretary of State Victoria] Nuland, who indicated that, like me, she felt that the secretary of state needed to be made aware of this material.”
Such commentary is in seeming opposition to Nuland’s February 5, 2018 interview with Politico. In that interview, Nuland stated the following with regard to the State Department’s role in the 2016 election, “We were, as career employees, precluded from being involved in any kind of politics, so I wasn’t thinking about Russians coming here and meeting with political actors. And frankly, it’s normal for big powers to try to meet with both campaigns, both foreign policy teams . . . .”
Nuland added, “What I did was say that this is about U.S. politics, and not the work of — not the business of the State Department, and certainly not the business of a career employee who is subject to the Hatch Act, which requires that you stay out of politics. So, my advice to those who were interfacing with him was that he should get this information to the FBI, and that they could evaluate whether they thought it was credible.”
The Hatch Act is a law that prohibits executive-branch employees, with the exception of the president and the vice president, from engaging in certain forms of political activity. As codified by attorneys employed by the Congressional Research Service in 2016, the Hatch Act requires that, “[a]n employee may not engage in political activity — (1) while the employee is on duty; (2) in any room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties by an individual employed or holding office in the Government of the United States or any agency . . . [Employees] [m]ay not use their official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the result of an election.”
What, therefore, did Winer, an attorney with years of experience in government, and Nuland, a career ambassador, do? According to Winer, both felt that Secretary of State John Kerry should be informed of this material. Nuland, in her interview, said, “Secretary Kerry was also aware. I think he’s on the record and he had the same advice.”
It can be argued that the obvious political ramifications of the Steele information and dossier should have caused officials at the Department of State, in their governmental capacities, to disengage immediately from any discussions of such materials in any of their work-related roles. It does not seem that this occurred.
Later, Winer met with Sidney Blumenthal, a close confidant of Hillary Clinton; according to Winer, “I spoke with an old friend, Sidney Blumenthal . . . At the time, Russian hacking was at the front and center in the 2016 presidential campaign. The emails of Blumenthal, who had a long association with Bill and Hillary Clinton, had been hacked in 2013 through a Russian server. While talking about that hacking, Blumenthal and I discussed Steele’s reports. He showed me notes gathered by a journalist I did not know, Cody Shearer, that alleged the Russians had compromising information on Trump of a sexual and financial nature.”
Reportedly, Shearer has not worked as a professional journalist in years; he has, however, been closely associated with the Clinton machine; his brother was given an ambassadorship by President Clinton and his late sister was married to one of Bill Clinton’s closest confidants, Strobe Talbott, who served as deputy secretary of State during the Clinton presidency.
Perhaps unaware of Shearer’s connection to Strobe Talbott, though Winer had served as a deputy assistant secretary of state while Talbott was at the department, Winer continued, “What struck me was how some of the material echoed Steele’s but appeared to involve different sources. On my own, I shared a copy of these notes with Steele, to ask for his professional reaction. He told me it was potentially ‘collateral’ information. . . . I agreed to let him keep a copy of the Shearer notes. . . . I did not expect them to be shared with anyone in the U.S. government. But I learned later that Steele did share them — with the FBI, after the FBI asked him to provide everything he had on allegations relating to Trump, his campaign and Russian interference in U.S. elections.”
Shearer and Blumenthal had in common with Winer a strong connection with Libya. Mark Hemmingway wrote in the Weekly Standard on February 6, 2018 that, “The third member of the ‘secret spy network,’ was Cody Shearer. Among other things, the three men were trying to leverage their connections to Hillary Clinton . . . Emails show that Clinton took the advice and assessments of Blumenthal’s crew seriously. It’s further worth noting that Jonathan Winer was appointed the State Department’s Special Envoy for Libya in September of 2013, after Clinton stepped down as secretary of State and his longtime boss John Kerry took over. However, given his position specifically involved overseeing what was going on in Libya, it’s likely he was apprised of what Blumenthal, Shearer, and Drumheller were up to, years before he helped get Shearer’s anti-Trump opposition research to Steele.” (Note: Tyler Drumheller, a former CIA agent, was also affiliated with Blumenthal and Shearer. Drumheller died of cancer in 2015.)
Jonathan Winer has had a successful career in government as well as important positions in the private sector. According to his LinkedIn profile, Winer worked for APCO Worldwide from May 2008 to August 2013 as a senior director and, since August 2017, has served as a senior counselor on the company’s international advisory council; Winer is also an attorney in private practice. APCO Worldwide is a public affairs and strategic communications company that spans the globe, and has been the subject of recent reports by journalists.
On October 19, 2017, circa wrote, “A Russian company, whose former executive was the target of an FBI investigation and who admitted to corrupt payments to influence the awarding of contracts with the Russian state-owned nuclear energy corporation, paid millions of dollars in consulting fees in 2010 and 2011 to APCO Worldwide, Inc., an American lobbying firm, to lobby the U.S. regulatory agencies.” Subsequently, circa corrected their article to, in their words, “clarify that payments to APCO were made by a Russian company rather than an individual; and to emphasize APCO’s statement that their work was unrelated to the acquisition of Uranium One by the parent company of its client.”
On November 28, 2017, John Solomon and Alison Spann wrote in The Hill that, “The Clinton Foundation’s donor disclosure site vastly understated support that the Clinton Global Initiative received from APCO Worldwide, a global communications firm that lobbied on behalf of Russia’s state-owned nuclear company. The site, created to detect conflicts of interest for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton because of her family’s various charitable efforts, shows APCO gave between $25,000 and $50,000 over the last decade. But according to interviews and internal documents reviewed by The Hill, APCO was much more generous and provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in pro-bono services and in-kind contributions to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) between 2008 and 2016.”
On the same date of their story, The Hill published a refutation by APCO Worldwide: it stated, in part, “APCO Worldwide’s activities involving client work on behalf of Tenex and The Clinton Global Initiative were totally separate and unconnected in any way. All activities on these two unconnected activities were appropriate, publicly documented from the outset and consistent with regulations and the law. Any assertion otherwise is false, unfounded and a lie.” (Note: Tenex is part of Russia’s state-owned, nuclear-energy monopoly, Rosatom. Please see my two, recent, energy-related articles, published by Disobedient Media, for background information, unrelated to APCO, concerning Russia’s nuclear energy activities.)
Malaysia: APCO Worldwide has been active in Malaysia, with offices there. Anwar Ibrahim, on March 30, 2010, alleged that APCO Worldwide had engineered Prime Minister Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia initiative, which sought coalescence, in the nation, for the putative purpose of instilling unity and productive governance. Anwar further contended that this plan was, itself, based on APCO Worldwide’s supposed work in creating the One Israel alliance of three Israeli parties, in anticipation of the Knesset’s 1999 elections. Malaysia’s The Star, on March 31, 2010, quoted Anwar, “The Government should cease its relationship with Apco immediately and a Royal Commission of Inquiry be formed to investigate the scandal of Apco’s involvement in Malaysia, which had affected national security and integrity.”
Anwar’s allegations were controversial and met with broad opposition; reportedly, APCO Worldwide disputed strongly the veracity of Anwar’s claims, as did the Malaysian government. On April 22, 2010, Anwar was censured by Malaysia’s parliament for his allegations on this subject. This confrontation does demonstrate, however, that the senior leadership APCO Worldwide was, almost certainly, aware of Anwar Ibrahim and his political activities.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Jonathan Winer has authored two articles on matters relating to Malaysia, “Indonesia Bans Jemaah Islamiyah After Malaysia Arrests Leaders On Way to Syria,” (April 21, 2008), and, “Islamic D-8 Summit Agenda in Malaysia Promotes Trade, Energy Revenue Sharing,” (July 7, 2008). These articles are among many he has written on a broad range of subjects, including counterterrorism. In his professional profile, Winer notes that his work for APCO, for the period from May 2008 to August 2013, included, “Strategic advice to corporate, non-governmental and governmental clients and international organizations . . . .” He also noted, “[o]ngoing work on behalf of domestic and international clients in Washington, D.C., Pacific Rim . . . .” The Pacific Rim group of countries, of course, includes Malaysia; Winer’s profile does not, however, mention any specific work done in or for that country or its government.
A 2010 article, which appeared as a post, merits scrutiny because it was written by Tian Chua, a prominent Malaysian politician, who had been a member of the Malaysian parliament from 2008 to 2018, representing the Batu constituency in Kuala Lumpur. On March 30, 2010, Tian Chua wrote, “the real boss of Apco’s operations in Malaysia is based in Washington DC. The person in-charge of [Prime Minister] Najib’s image consultancy is Jonathan M Winer, the senior vice president of Apco Washington DC. Formerly, Winer served as the US deputy assistant secretary of state international law enforcement from 1994 through 1999. During his term as deputy assistant secretary of state, he was known to be an expert in terrorist finances. In U.S. domestic politics, Winer had once helped Kerry’s presidential campaign. Unfortunately unlike his boss John Kerry, Jonathan Winer is not a good friend of Anwar’s. Jonathan Winer had in fact started to help Najib to campaign against Anwar prior to the Apco contract.”
If this post be true, it raises questions about Mr. Winer’s intersections and communication with Steele, Blumenthal, Nuland, and other members of the government in the Obama Administration, for it is of note that Tian Chua’s post predates Winer’s meeting with Steele, about the dossier, by some six years.
Questions: A theorem in physics holds that information missing in one system must reside somewhere else. Can information be transferred if no information is received? The transactional nature of communication suggests this may not be possible. We know by Winer’s own words that he provided the Shearer material to Steele, who subsequently provided this obviously political material to the FBI. A question that must be asked is if the defiled-bed narrative, involving the acts purportedly performed by Russian prostitutes, was present in Steele’s dossier at the time he first spoke with Winer about the dossier’s contents. Whether the defiled-bed story was present or not, the source of this disgusting story must be ascertained.
Due to the number of Obama and Clinton administration officials who had knowledge of Anwar’s odyssey, it may be difficult, or impossible, to determine the absolute source of the convergent allegation against Donald Trump ─ if it did, indeed, arise from this channel. Foreign or intelligence sources for this allegation must also be considered. As I noted in part one, “Alternatively, the details of Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trials were well known to foreign policy and intelligence professionals since the inception of the case. Russian or allied intelligence officials had ample opportunity to reconstitute the specifics of the story so that it could become the salacious center of Christopher Steele’s collusion dossier.”
The dossier’s author Christopher Steele possesses the answer to the question as to the source of the scandalous allegation, though it might also be that the Anwar narrative was so well known within a certain stratum that Anwar’s case infused and transmuted general allegations concerning Donald Trump’s sexual proclivities, real or imagined. Such an evolution could have changed a generic sex story involving Donald Trump ─ through the course of several iterations of the Steele Dossier ─ so that the allegation could have begun to mirror the defiled-bed narrative that unseated and imprisoned Anwar.
Senators Grassley and Graham, in their aforementioned January 4, 2018 letter to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, seem acutely aware of the perils to truth inherent in a dossier that was permeable to those who may have wished to plant information. They wrote, “Simply put, the more people who contemporaneously knew that Mr. Steele was compiling his dossier, the more likely it was vulnerable to manipulation. In fact, in the British litigation, which involves a post-election dossier memorandum, Mr. Steele admitted that he received and included in it unsolicited ─ and unverified ─ allegations.”
Consequence: In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it was the practice of the time to employ regimental drummers to suck on the open wounds borne by soldiers from battle. This, to evacuate splinters, displaced fabric, and puss and thus allow such injuries to heal.
The Russian-collusion narrative, as presented most frequently by the press, is an open wound to our constitutional republic that threatens to turn gangrenous at any time, consuming what took centuries to build. Thus, we must open this wound as wide as need be, so that its detritus may be drained, for if the powers of the state can be manipulated to remove a duly elected president, who among us is safe?
Richard B. Levine was Director of Policy Development on the NSC Staff under President Ronald Reagan; after six years at the White House, he became the first Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Technology Transfer and Security Assistance, serving under three Secretaries of the Navy. He is the recipient of two Presidential letters of commendation and the Department of the Navy’s highest civilian decoration, the Distinguished Civilian Service Award. Mr. Levine received his baccalaureate, with honors, from the Johns Hopkins University. He holds an MBA from Harvard.