• Russiagate: “Why did this ever start in the first place?”

    March 30, 2019

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    Posted in: Democracy, Trump


    The end of the Special Counsel’s investigation into the non-existent conspiracy between Trump and the Russians has created an army of “Mueller Truthers,” demanding additional investigations. But Republicans are also demanding to know more, specifically how the FBI came to look into collusion, and what that tells us about the tension between America’s political and intelligence worlds. In Rudy Giuliani’s words “Why did this ever start in the first place?”

    The primordial ooze for all things Russia began in spring 2016 when the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, through a company called Fusion GPS, hired former MI6 intelligence agent Christopher Steele to compile a report (“the dossier”) on whatever ties to Russia he could find for Donald Trump.

    Steele’s assignment was not to investigate impartially, but to gather dirt aggressively – opposition research, or oppo. He assembled second and third hand stories, then used anonymous sources and Internet chum to purported reveal Trump people roaming about Europe asking various Russians for help, promising sanctions relief, and trading influence for financial deals. Steele also claimed the existence of a “pee tape,” kompromat Putin used to control Trump.

    Creating the dossier was only half of Steele’s assignment. The real work was to insert the dossier into American media and intelligence organizations to prevent Trump from winning the election. While only a so-so fiction writer, Steele proved to be a master at running his information op against America.

    In July 2016 Steele met with over a dozen reporters to promote his dossier, with little success. It could not be corroborated. Steele succeeded mightily, however, in pushing his information deep into the FBI via three simultaneous channels, including the State Department, and via Senator John McCain, who was pitched by a former British ambassador retired to work now for Christopher Steele’s own firm.

    But the most productive channel into the FBI was Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr. Ohr’s wife Nellie worked for Fusion GPS, the front company for Steele, having previously done contract work for the CIA. Nellie passed the dossier to her husband, along with her own paid oppo research, so that he could use his credibility at DOJ to hand-carry the work into the FBI. Bruce Ohr, despite acknowledging it broke all rules of protocol and evidence handling, did just that on July 30, 2016. He stressed to then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe the material was uncorroborated and had been compiled by Christopher Steele, who wanted it used to stop Trump.

    The dossier landed in welcoming hands. The FBI immediately opened an unprecedented investigation called Crossfire Hurricane into the Trump campaign. It sent agents to London to meet Australian ambassador Alexander Downer, who claimed to have evidence George Papadopoulos, one of Trump’s junior-level advisers, was talking to Russians about Hillary’s emails. The FBI’s timing of the new investigation into Trump – only days after they closed their investigation into Clinton’s email server – can be considered a coincidence by those of good heart.

    Peter Strzok, the senior FBI agent managing the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, and Lisa Page, a lawyer on his team (the two were also lovers), purposefully kept investigation details from political appointees at DOJ to the extent that only five people actually knew the full measure of what was going on, ostensibly to prevent leaks.

    In fact, the point seems to have been to avoid oversight, given how weak the evidence was supporting something as grave as the Republican nominee committing treason. If you are looking behind the headlines for why Trump fired Andrew McCabe, besides his personal sympathies for Hillary, look there. Strzok and Page appear to have had an agenda of their own. In a text they wrote “Page: ‘[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Strzok: ‘No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.’”

    With a wave of a hand the dossier the FBI was warned was partisan bunk was transformed into evidence. Steele himself morphed from paid opposition researcher to paid clandestine source for the FBI, with the fact that he had recently retired from a foreign intelligence service, British or not, ignored. It was all just an excuse anyway to unleash the vast intelligence machine against Trump, the imagined Manchurian Candidate.

    Papadopoulos, the man in London, as a linchpin was also preposterous. He was a kid on the edges of the campaign, who “bumped into” a shady Russian professor who just happened to dangle the most explosive thing ever, Hillary’s emails. Papadopoulos then met the Aussie ambassador to Britain, Alex Downer. Papadopoulos gets drunk, tells the tale, which then falls whole into the FBI’s lap. Ambassador Downer, by the way, had previously arranged a $25 million donation to the Clinton Foundation. Papadopoulos was introduced to Downer by an Australian intelligence agent who knew him through her boyfriend, stationed at the Israeli embassy as a “political officer.”

    Carter Page’s case was more of the same. Page, as a key actor in the Steele dossier, wold serve as an early excuse to get FISA surveillance eyes and ears on the Trump campaign. The FBI had a paid CIA asset, University of Cambridge professor and American citizen Stefan A. Halper, contact Page and dangle questions about access to Clinton emails.

    Halper had earlier been trying separately to entrap Papadopoulos (the professor offered the inexperienced campaign aide $3,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to London to write a white paper about energy), and also met with Trump campaign co-chair Sam Clovis in late August, offering his services as an adviser. Clovis declined. Ultimately both Papadopoulos and Page also rebuffed Halper, though both would later encounter a young woman in London claiming to be Halper’s assistant who tried to reinterest the boys.

    Though to obtain multiple FISA warrants the FBI characterized him as an “agent of a foreign power,” Carter Page was never charged with anything. Halper dropped off the media’s radar, but is almost certainly a U.S. intelligence asset. He had earlier worked with British intelligence to pay for Michael Flynn to visit the UK. Halper’s main U.S.-based funding source is an internal Pentagon think tank. The Washington Post reported Halper had in the past worked for CIA directly. Halper was implicated in a 1980s spying scandal in which CIA officials gave inside information on the Carter administration to the GOP. Halper also married into a senior CIA official’s family.

    It is clear the FBI was desperately trying to infiltrate Halper into the Trump campaign as part of a full-blown intel op, recruiting against Trump’s vulnerable junior staff. Even though the recruitment failed, the bits and pieces learned in the process were good enough for government work. At issue was that Steele’s dossier formed a key argument in favor of a FISA warrant to spy on Trump personnel. The dossier was corroborated in part in the warrant application by citing news reports that later turned out to be themselves based on the Steele dossier. In intelligence work, this is known as cross-contamination, a risky amateur error the FBI seems to have taken a chance on hoping the FISA judge would not know enough to question it. The gamble worked.

    The FBI needed something as backup, so their investigation into Trump, now focused on the FISA surveillance, could be said not to have rested entirely on the dubious Steele dossier. Surveillance, intended and incidental, would eventually include Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon, Carter Page, Paul Manafort, Richard Gates, Michael Cohen, and likely Trump himself.

    Had Hillary won the story would have ended there, in fact, likely would never have come to light. But with Trump’s victory, the dossier had one more job to do: prep the public for all to come.

    There has been no discussion as to why, in possession of information the FBI seemed to believe showed the Russians were running a global full-court press to themselves recruit inside Trump’s inner circle, Trump was never offered a defensive briefing. Such a warning – hey, you are in danger – is common inside government. But in Trump’s case it never happened. Instead, in echo of the dark Hoover years, the FBI used its information to try and take down Trump, not protect him.

    Though the dossier had already been widely shared inside the media, the State Department, and the intelligence community, it was only on January 6, 2017 Comey briefed it to president-elect Trump. No one really knows what was said in that meeting, but we do know after holding the dossier since summer 2016, only four days after the Trump-Comey meeting Buzzfeed published the document and the world learned about the pee tape. Many believe someone in the intel community gave “permission” to the media, signaling Brennan, Clapper, Hayden, et al, would begin making public statements the dossier “could be true.”

    John Brennan was a regular on television and other media claiming over two years there was evidence of contacts between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, pimping off his time as CIA director to suggest he had inside information. He went as far as testifying before Congress in May 2017 that there was evidence of contacts between Russian officials and Trump campaign figures, though now says he might have been given “bad information.”

    After that, no item that could link the words Trump and Russia was too small to add to the pile of pseudo-evidence.

    It would be easy to dismiss all this as a wacky conspiracy theory if it wasn’t in fact the counter-explanation to the even wackier, disproved theory Donald Trump was a Russian asset. It is possible to see Russiagate as a political assassination attempt, using law enforcement as the weapon. Someone might do well to double-check if Christopher Steele was in Dealey Plaza during the Kennedy assassination.

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • John Poole said...


      The photo of Hillary Clinton as crazed with politically oriented ambition may explain how our current awful political carbuncle occurred. I mourn for us as a species and mourn for Hillary as
      one of us who is terribly afflicted with public validation.

      03/30/19 11:29 PM | Comment Link

    • Ian said...


      I think that you missed the information about the supposed Russian professor in London. Joseph Mifsud is Maltese and is actually an MI6 asset. He was clearly placed with British Security Service personnel via photos and university association. Apparently he is currently in hiding in Italy.


      03/31/19 1:14 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      So, since there is nothing to investigate, you are all in favor of releasing the entire unredacted Mueller report, right?

      Given what we know about the moral character of Demented, why would anyone give this creep the benefit of the doubt that he would enjoy watching whores pee on a mattress? It is not out of the question he probably fucked them both with Putin watching

      03/31/19 9:59 AM | Comment Link

    • Hillary Shelost said...


      The entire thing should be released and the entire crew arrested and sent to GITMO where they can held before a military tribunal and tried for treason. This makes Watergate look like child’s play. The head of the DNC, Hillary, Comey, Obama, Podesta and the entire crew committed treason and deserve to be hung.

      04/2/19 6:32 AM | Comment Link

    • michael kosak said...


      Rich Bauer- how does it feel to be that stupid? I feel like it must hurt or something for all you dumbbells to be so miserable all the time.

      HilLIARy didn’t hire Steele to FIND evidence of Trump’s ‘ties to Russia’, she hired Steele to MANUFACTURE dirt. That should horrify you.

      He gave her a totally fake “dossier” and she never complained, after paying $8 million…

      Why would you pay $8 million for something then find out it is 100% fake… and not complain?

      Try to think… come on, you can do it.

      04/2/19 7:36 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Of course Demented cheated on his wife. Hell, the creep cheats at golf too. No wonder as he is so fricken fat he can’t see his balls.

      04/2/19 11:33 AM | Comment Link

    • John Bauer said...


      Bauer- you have shown yourself to be in need of therapy. Your Trump fixation and all the sexual comments are not becoming an adult adjusted male. I sense you are estranged from any form of family. Prove me wrong and have your wife reply to me!

      04/2/19 4:29 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Bauer- your fixation on Trump and sexual comments are unbecoming an informed adult male. I sense you are estranged from females. Prove me wrong and have your wife or girlfriend respond.

      04/2/19 4:33 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...



      You may think I’m crazy but your Presidunce is nuts.

      Speaking to reporters in the White House Tuesday, President Trump misstated his father’s place of birth as Germany, rather than New York City.

      “My father is German, right? Was German. And born in a very wonderful place in Germany, so I have a great feeling for Germany,” Trump said during a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who is from Norway.

      Trump’s father, Frederick Christ Trump, was born in the Bronx on Oct. 11, 1905.

      Tuesday’s misstatement was not the first time that the president has incorrectly identified his father’s birthplace. In a 2018 interview with “Fox News Sunday,” Trump did the same.

      “I was there many, many years ago,” the president said of the European Union, which was not founded until 1993. “Meaning, my parents were born in the European Union. I love these countries; Germany, Scotland, they are still in there, right?”

      04/2/19 10:13 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      So what is the “oranges” of the Presidunce?

      04/2/19 10:18 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      The Russians have been trying to interfere in our elections since 1917. I guess we are supposed to believe the mistakes — and results — of the last election have been recast with claims of Russian meddling and Trump being a Russian agent.

      The Clinton Dems took a gamble and lost on this. The Mueller Report should by all means be released — it’s the American citizens’ right to know. I still struggle understanding why the investigation was framed the way it was, and maybe there is more contained in the report not yet released to the public. Maybe?

      This report is all about the last election. However, too many Americans did not get out and vote, and this problem repeats each election cycle. I worked in the former USSR, I do not trust the Russians. The Washington Post can state the Russian propaganda influenced Americans to not vote — but seriously, how hard would the Russians have to try on this? Unfortunately, we are doing their work for them. Americans should be legally required to vote, just like in Australia. There is also corruption by both parties that needs to be remedied, but both the Washington Post and NY Times omitted coverage of topics that should have garnered front page space in their papers but were lost to an unprecedented mono-focus on Mueller investigation-related topics that dominated their papers. Real reform on a host of topics, or at least educating Americans on serious matters — has been lost.

      The misuse of intel resources by our political establishment needs reform. March marked the anniversary of the Iraq war, itself predicated on false intel. Even the UK eventually conducted the Chillcot Investigation. The results were not surprising but the fact this investigation occurred is. The US has not had this and you have to wonder, if there had been a similar Chilcot investigation here — could that have helped prevent misuse of intel resources during campaigning?

      04/3/19 1:42 AM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl orda said...


      And both parties are guilty of misusing intel to target each other. The Mueller investigation revealed both parties’ candidates trying to dig stuff up on the other. There are other take-aways in the Mueller report that serve as lessons for what needs to be fixed, and that report should be released

      04/3/19 1:49 AM | Comment Link

    • Procopius said...


      “… how weak the evidence was supporting something as grave as the Republican nominee committing treason.” This is ridiculous. He could not have been charged with treason, because the U.S. is not at war with Russia (yet), so Russia is technically not an “enemy” in the context of the clause defining “treason” as a crime. In fact a lot of people were aware all along that no supporting evidence has ever been presented, and apparently Mueller did not find any either. We really won’t know until the report has been released by Senator Nadler. Don’t trust anything from Attorney General Barr.

      04/3/19 8:01 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Maybe Demented is telling the truth that his father was born in Germany. Maybe Trumps birth certificate is a fake. Birthers need to know. If Frederick Christ Trump was an illegal alien, does that make Demented the antiChrist?

      04/3/19 8:34 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Bauer- it is quite possible that Trump becomes incapacitated in his first or if he wins in 2020- second term. It might be an actual stroke or a psychotic episode. Then Pence with his MACA hat (Make America Christian Again) will try and steer this nation to a bona fide theocracy. I’ll take Trump’s nuttiness over Pence’s

      04/3/19 9:49 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Why did this start in the first place?

      Because the Dumbest Country on the planet voted for the Dumbest guy on the planet to represent them?

      Trumpie: Hillary wanted to put up wind. Wind. If you ― if you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations: Your house just went down 75 percent in value. And they say the noise causes cancer. You tell me that one, OK? “Rrrrr, rrrrr” ― you know the thing that makes the ― it’s so noisy. And of course it’s like a graveyard for birds. If you love birds, you’d never want to walk under a windmill because it’s a very sad, sad sight. It’s like a cemetery. We put a little, we put a little statute for the poor birds. It’s true. You know in California, if you shoot a bald eagle, they put you in jail for five years. And yet the windmills wipe ’em all out. It’s true. They wipe ’em out. It’s terrible. And I told the other day at CPAC. Great people at CPAC. We had an incredible thing. I had nothing to do. It was early on a Saturday morning. I had just gotten back from dealing with Kim Jong Un. We had a walk. He wasn’t ready for a deal but that’s OK because we get along great. He wasn’t ready. I told him, you’re not ready for a deal. That’s the first time anybody has ever told him that and left. It never happened to him before. Nobody’s ever left. But I said you’re not ready for a deal, but we’ll make a deal. We have a good relationship. We have a good relationship. But I told a story about, at CPAC. The woman, she wants to watch television. And she says to her husband, “Is the wind blowing? I’d love to watch a show tonight, darling. The wind hasn’t blown for three days. I can’t watch television, darling. Darling, please tell the wind to blow.” No, wind’s not so good. And you know, you have no idea how expensive it is to make those things. They’re all made in China and Germany, but the way, just in case you’re ― we don’t make ’em here, essentially. “

      You don’t have to be a Weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.

      04/5/19 10:15 AM | Comment Link

    • Neville J. Angove said...


      I have found other verifiable support for some of the comments for this piece.
      I have found nothing it this piece for which I can verifiable contradictions.
      In total, it is the best piece of have read about this scam against Trump.
      In unionist argot, Russiagate is an “ambit” claim by the DNC. In political argot, it is an example of “…if you thrown enough mud, some will stick.”

      04/7/19 12:26 AM | Comment Link

    • Neville J. Angove said...


      I left out a few word in my comment (#17). I hope it is because I am tired. I have added them here.

      “I have found other verifiable support for some of the comments for this piece.
      I have found nothing it this piece for which I can find verifiable contradictions.
      In total, it is the best piece on this matter I have read about. This scam against Trump!
      In unionist argot, Russiagate is an “ambit” claim by the DNC. In political argot, it is an example of “…if you thrown enough mud, some will stick.” The “truth” is irrelevant, It seems.”

      04/7/19 12:33 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Idea for your next article – War with Russia over Venezuela: Why it shouldn’t happen in the first place. Keep it simple with lots of cartoons because Demented has the attention span of a fruit fly. He will never read that intell vets article on Venezuela you signed.

      “Hey, Don, while you may have a lust for Venezuela oil, don’t fall for the neocon lies. It ain’t worth it. The dumbass Amerikans fall for neocon lies over and over, but you’re smarter than them. Hell, you made a living of fleecing the rubes. So call your friend Putin and make a deal for the Moscow Tower if you promise not to invade oilrich Venezuela. ( you can insert cartoon of Demented on his knees before Putin on top of Trump Moscow Tower). Time the big announcement just before the election that you threatened Russia with shock and awe if it didn’t stay out of our oil. Declare war nstead on the real threat to US like the wind turbine freaks who are killing us with their cancer machines and solar farms. Hindsight is 2020, The past is prologue. Keep feeding shit to the dumbass Amerikans and keep them in the dark”

      04/7/19 12:05 PM | Comment Link

    • xfmx said...


      excellent post, blog

      04/8/19 4:28 PM | Comment Link

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