Nice work if you can get it.
Highly imaginative fiction writer and British ex-spy Christopher Steele was being paid by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, through law firm Perkins Coie and opposition research company Fusion GPS, to do something he’d probably do for free: dig up any kind of salacious, unverified Russian gossip he could find on then-Presidential candidate Donald Trump and write it up as a “dossier” to give to the FBI. Steele couldn’t stand Trump and had told Bruce Ohr at the Justice Department that he was “desperate” to keep Trump from winning the election. He must have had a great time while raking in the money; they say that if you’d do it even if you weren’t getting paid, it’s not really work.
But in addition to being paid by Hillary for damaging Trump, Steele was also being paid by the FBI –- at the same time, for doing the same thing! The FBI reportedly paid him on 11 occasions. They dismissed him (at least officially) in November of 2016 for lying and leaking to the media, but then they continued to obtain information from him through a back channel conduit, Ohr, who at that time was fourth in command at the DOJ. Curiously, although Ohr testified that the FBI knew of this connection, he said his colleagues at the DOJ were not aware of it.
Ohr and his wife Nellie were also profiting from Steele’s dirt-digging, as Nellie was being paid by the same firm, Fusion GPS, that was paying Steele. Those funds had come originally from...the Clinton campaign. And Ohr is still pulling down a paycheck at the Justice Department; I assume he still has his security clearance if he’s still working there. Not sure if Nellie Ohr is still working for Fusion GPS. But after all this time, neither Bruce nor Nellie Ohr has been interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Mueller has been much more interested in a young campaign advisor, George Papadopoulos, and his possible role in some sinister plot to collude with Russians to help Trump. Yes, Papadopoulos apparently lied to FBI investigators asking him about some contacts he’d had. But according to John Solomon, writing for THE HILL, European professor Josef Mifsud told the FBI in February of 2017 that there was nothing nefarious about his contacts with Papadopoulos. He told them specifically that there was no talk of hacking Hillary Clinton’s emails or any other underhanded cybersecurity intentions.
In fact, just hours after his FBI interview, Mifsud followed up with an email, saying, “I re-affirm that the content of our conversations was always on wide geo-strategic issues.” They had talked about “how the Trump then-campaign team looked to develop a conversation on Europe/UK...and with Russia” (which is not sinister –- it’s what any serious candidate for President would be needing to learn how to do) and “the fallout in policy in the deteriorating relationship between the major countries in the world today.” In other words, it was very broad and general, having nothing to do with collusion or some sinister plot.
Mifsud had told the FBI that he’d introduced Papadopoulos to a Russian academic named Dr. Ivan M. Timofeev, whom he said was “a director of a think tank in Moscow with strong links to a number of U.S. institutions.” In his letter, he clarified that “Dr. Timofeev and I have been collaborating for a number of years on a number of geo-strategic issues, mainly pertaining to publications/training for diplomats/international experts on energy security and their implications on international relations.” What? They were focused on insanely dry subjects like those, and not cloak-and-dagger spy stuff?
Mifsud went on to insist the connection they made had been intended “to create a mutual understanding on world affairs and how we can contribute to peace and security.” What? It wasn’t to make George Papadopoulos an agent of the Kremlin?
To make one particular point crystal clear, he bold-faced this sentence in his email: “Cybersecurity was never the direct emphasis of any of our communications.” What? They weren’t hatching a plot to hack Hillary’s emails?
Speaking of hacking Hillary’s emails, I wonder at this point who DIDN’T hack them. The world didn’t need anyone associated with the Trump campaign to hack into her server. We now know that the Chinese were accessing, real-time, virtually everything that went through that illegal, non-secure home-brew server. That’s the kind of information that spies are known to kill for. Recall that at one time Trump joked about the Russians perhaps finding Hillary’s deleted emails and turning them over to us; he could easily make the same joke about China. They’ve probably got ‘em. Why aren’t investigators more concerned about THAT?
It seems that all the enormous power of the federal government is focused in all the wrong places. Obvious criminal Hillary Clinton gets a pass, on everything. The President gets never-ending investigation when there is no evidence of crime. Christopher Steele lies and participates in a plot to deceive the FISA court and gets to cool his heels in London. George Papadopoulos takes innocuous meetings, is used as part of a set-up to investigate Trump and ends up in legal peril. Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had nothing to do with Russian “collusion” but faces probable life in prison for some old bank and tax charges. Hillary’s campaign henchmen absolutely do fund Russian “collusion” yet go on with their lives. Retired Gen. Michael Flynn appears not to have lied under oath or to have done anything else wrong but is still financially ruined. Bruce and Nellie Ohr were part of the FBI’s FISA abuse plot and haven’t been questioned by either Robert Mueller or U.S. Attorney John Huber. And though Bruce Ohr apparently didn’t tell his superiors at the DOJ about his role as conduit between Steele and the FBI, he still works there.
None of this is right –- it’s all backwards. As John Solomon points out, they’re criminalizing perfectly normal political conduct and letting the criminals go.