If you’re like me, you get an initial impression of a story but then, after thinking about it for another day or so, you sometimes realize there are even more far-reaching implications than anyone is talking about. Such was the case for me and my research staff after reading about the newly declassified footnotes from the IG report on the FBI’s FISA warrant applications.
Yes, we know that Russia might have been running a disinformation campaign on Christopher Steele. (This could be true even though we have reason to believe that a lot of it actually came from Glenn Simpson with Steele’s name attached.) We know the Russians had information by summer of 2016 that he was working for Fusion GPS to help Hillary.
Yes, we know that the FBI knew about this possible Russian involvement --- BEFORE the FISA warrant application was renewed to spy on Carter Page and before the Mueller special counsel had been appointed. (I believe they were duty-bound to alert the FISA Court of any problem with information in their original application, but they ignored that and blithely went on to renew it three more times.)
But there’s something MORE we know: that, contrary to what the FBI said and the Intelligence Community concluded in their January 2017 report, Russia was NOT doing this to help Trump. They weren’t even doing it just to “create chaos,” although that was a plus.
So what was their actual goal? Well, class, if they were doing it to help Trump, if they were “colluding” with Trump to win the election, wouldn't they have been spreading damaging stories about HILLARY? Why would they be spreading phony stories like the one about Trump attorney Michael Cohen going on a suspicious trip to Prague (he never went), or the one about Trump frolicking with incontinent hookers in a Moscow hotel (it didn’t happen)? These are two examples of stories, as revealed in the IG footnotes, that the FBI thought might have come from a Russian disinformation campaign. Who does that kind of story help? I’ll give you a hint: not Trump.
And why would Christopher Steele’s sub-source be a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton, as is revealed in the footnotes? Who would his information be intended to help? Hint: Not Trump.
Why would Steele himself, an ardent Clinton supporter who was hired by Hillary and the DNC, who was “desperate” to make sure Trump didn’t win and who had a deadline of Election Day to get his anti-Trump “dossier” out, be doing this project in the first place? Who was he trying to help? Not Trump.
So where does anyone get the idea that the Russians were trying to hurt Hillary and help Trump?
That was the FBI’s narrative in the summer of 2016 and onward, and it led to years of ridiculous investigation, but the truth was actually just the opposite. Everyone connected with this scheme --- Steele, his sources and sub-sources, Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS, the Democratic National Committee, Hillary’s lawyers, the top echelon of the FBI, the director of the CIA, the special counsel team, Democrats on the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, allies at the DOJ and State Department, and, obviously, RUSSIA --- was aligned with Hillary. They were all trying to hurt Donald Trump and help Hillary Clinton, whom they surely believed would be the next U.S. President. This isn’t a wild conspiracy theory; with all we know now, any other conclusion defies logic.
RELATED READING: More IG footnotes show the FBI was NOT "duped" by Russia
I would add that with a group of this size, power and scope aligned with Hillary, the then-President of the United States was aware of their activities. Hard to prove, but, again, it defies reason to think he wasn't informed about a lot of it. As Lisa Page texted to Peter Strzok in September 2016: “POTUS wants to know everything we’re doing.”
Here’s a concise report on what the footnotes, just released by acting Director of National intelligence Richard Grenell, reveal:
It was so important for the FBI and whoever else was working with them to “get” Trump that they violated the rights of innocent Americans such as Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, who were literally caught in the “Crossfire.” Papadopoulos even got jail time.
And speaking of George Papadopoulos, Lindsay Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has just declassified and released documents and transcripts relating to him and the FBI’s targeting of him. The material he released falls into three categories:
1) Declassified information related to “Crossfire Hurricane.”
2) Timeline of correspondence sent and received by the Committee regarding FISA abuse investigation.
3) Corrective action taken by the DOJ and FISA Court as a result of FISA abuse investigation.
We learn from the correspondence that the DOJ has produced the following documents:
–- Transcript of conversation between Papadopoulos and the FBI confidential human source (CHS, or “SPY”).
–- Another transcript of conversation between Papadopoulos and the aforementioned SPY.
--- The original FISA warrant application to spy on Carter Page.
--- Renewals one, two and three of the original Carter Page application (written AFTER the FBI knew of the problems with the “dossier” used therein).
--- A July 2018 letter from the DOJ to the FISA Court alerting them to some of the errors and omissions in the Carter Page application.
You can read the transcript of the conversation between George Papadopoulos and the SPY here, at the link.
When Papadopoulos was informed that this material had been declassified, he had an interesting reaction. A big question, of course, is who sent Hillary supporter and Australian diplomat Alexander Downer to London to meet with Papadopoulos in the spring of 2016? Recall that the FBI said their conversation, in which Papadopoulos reportedly said the Russians had damaging information about Hillary (which appears to have been fed to him by another CHS), is what sparked the opening of “Crossfire Hurricane.” Here’s what Papadopoulos tweeted on Thursday evening:
"Senator Graham in his letter to Australia made it clear that Alexander Downer was instructed to meet with me. Mueller’s team acknowledged he was recording me after I reported him to them (the irony). The key question is, who put the Clinton errand boy up to it? DURHAM KNOWS.” (Emphasis mine.
So we can add Alexander Downer --- and whoever sent him to London --- to the massive column of Spygate characters who were out to HELP HILLARY WIN. And, yes, we can add Russia, too. Much more to come, because Durham knows.