With all that’s coming out now about the government spying on people in the Trump campaign, there’s one thing that really jumps out at me, and I don’t think it’s gotten much attention, at least not yet.
According to the report by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the FBI had considered giving Trump a heads-up on their concerns about some of the associations of Carter Page and Paul Manafort. If that is correct, it would surely make good sense to have done it. If the FBI was so concerned about Russians and their possible effect on the outcome of our election, wouldn’t that have been the thing to do?
But the committee’s report goes on to say that then-FBI Director James Comey and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch decided against briefing him. According to the Daily Caller News Foundation, various reports say that U.S. officials did not want to do that because it might tip off any Russian agents who might be circling around Trump. You have to read down ten paragraphs or so in their story to get to this stunner, and to me, it’s a case of burying the lede. (I’ll wait for you to come back if you’d like to read the story now.)
So, let me get this straight. The FBI had concerns about some of the associations Carter Page and Paul Manafort might be bringing to the table at Trump Tower, but they chose NOT to warn Trump about it and sent in human “informants” (spies) instead. Gosh, if they’d tipped off any Russian agents, the agents might have gone away. Problem solved, right? Get the Russians out of our election! No –- they WANTED the Russians sniffing around the Trump campaign. If the Ruskies got scared off, it would be a lot harder to spin out the story of Russian “colllusion.”
Besides, it sure looks like the “informant” (spy) played a role in setting up the players, most obviously in the case of George Papadopoulos, who was sent on that fishy trip to London on the pretense of getting a writing assignment that paid him $3,000 but concerned a subject on which no report appears to have been published. It was on the London trip that Papadopoulos met Australian diplomat (and Hillary associate) Alexander Downer, whose story supposedly led to the opening of the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation and the FISA warrants. (Comey, in typical bureau-speak, said it was part of a “broader mosaic of facts.”) But Papadopoulos’ drunken reference to stolen Clinton emails appears to have been “fed” to him beforehand by this “informant” (spy).
The only way it makes sense for them not to have alerted Trump is if the government’s main concern wasn’t the Russians, but Trump. They COULD have tipped him off --- maybe even enlisted his aid in trapping some Russian operatives; wouldn’t that have been great? --- but they chose not to. If pressed, you can bet the FBI will excuse the inexcusable by saying this is just “standard operating procedure.” If it is, there’s something terribly wrong within our intelligence community.
On the other hand, Hillary’s campaign and her tenure at the State Department featured plenty of Russian contacts, some of whom funneled money to her. Apparently the FBI and DOJ were too busy figuring out how to avoid charging Hillary with numerous felonies to bother spying on her.
It’s really still a mystery what prompted the investigation into “collusion” in the first place. What was that “broader mosaic of facts”? The DOJ is still refusing to provide committee chairman Devin Nunes with the documentation on that. And in breaking news, Trump is officially demanding, as of Monday, that the current DOJ address the issue of surveillance for political purposes, specifically to find out if the Obama administration was behind it.
Nothing seems serious enough to have warranted the investigation, let alone the spying. The Christopher Steele “dossier” was unsubstantiated, as Comey himself has said. The FBI had known Carter Page since 2013, when a Russian operative approached him and he shared some academic research, and he cooperated with the government in its investigation of the Russian spy ring. He wasn’t found to have done anything wrong. As for Papadopoulos, he appears to have been set up, and even then, he told the “informant” (spy) that he didn’t know anything about Russian interference. Michael Flynn was induced to plead guilty to making false statements when his interrogators didn’t even think it was deliberate. Regarding Paul Manafort, if the FBI had legitimate concerns about his Russian ties and any potential for those ties to impact our election, they might have at least briefed Trump on what they knew.
It would have gone a long way towards keeping the Russians out of our presidential campaign. If that’s what they’d wanted to do.
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