New facts show that the so-called Russia conspiracy was in fact a product of savvy Russians and credulous, willing, and very dishonest Democrat operatives.
This Trump-Russia collusion narrative is looking more and more like an incredibly intelligent mix of publicly available facts wrapped around some damning pieces of knowing slanders and fictions, all of which were then given the imprimatur of verisimilitude by attaching a retired British spy, Christopher Steele’s name to the whole misbegotten mess. None of the damning pieces have been proven, though several key bits have been disproven. Edward Jay Epstein recently opined at Powerline that the Steele Dossier, to the extent it seems to contain actual information from Russian sources, seems to contain Russian curated disinformation at best.
I am rapidly concluding that the Dossier may represent more than Russian meddling. Certainly Russia meddled. That’s what it does. But in this case, it seems to have gotten some help on the home front. There are far too many coincidences, far too many things that don’t make sense, and in several cases, dogs that don’t bark, for me to believe that, within America’s borders, those working on the Steele Dossier assembled it in good faith as honest, genuine investigatory work. It might be, but that is not the direction in which the known undisputed facts point at the moment.
In addition to reading this post, I recommend you read two other things. The first is Victor Davis Hanson’s article, Hillary’s “sure” victory explains most everything. The second is my post briefly explaining FISA and the questions that the FBI and DOJ have yet to answer about abusing FISA in the Trump-Russia matter. Both will help make sense of the events of the past two years and the tale I tell below.
In the coming days, I will also publish a detailed timeline listing all the relevant events and explaining why many of the key ones are problematic. It is very long. Before throwing you into that deep end, this post simplifies the timeline narrative and lets you see most of the major the issues without having to hack your way through the . . . I would say weeds, but it really is a triple-canopy jungle.
This post, relying on the facts set out in my soon-to-be-published timeline, gives you an insight into what was going on in the Hillary campaign. You’ll see that the evolving Trump-Russia narrative dovetailed perfectly with the struggle Hillary’s campaign had to overturn voters’ firm conviction that it was impossible for anyone to be more corrupt than Hillary.
So, with that preamble, let me ask you to step back in time and pretend you’re a top political operative in the DNC Now, close your eyes and make spooky noises as you travel back through slime, time and space. When you open your eyes, you see that the calendar on the wall shows that today is April 30, 2016.
April 30 . . . and your gal, Hillary Clinton, is tapped as a shoe-in for the nomination. And looking at the crowded Republican primary field, you know it’s a hop, skip and a jump from nomination to her walk on a red carpet, showered with a glittering combination of male tear drops and fragments of glass from the broken ceiling, as she heads to her coronation . . . uh, inauguration.
It’s a beautiful vision. But in the meantime, something has gone wrong. Very wrong.
Now, don’t misunderstand — not everything has gone wrong. The DNC is an arm of Clinton, Inc., bought and paid for, and it is doing her bidding. The DNC has stacked the primary deck in her favor and Hillary has virtually all the super-delegates in her bag.
The MSM is on her side and is pushing Donald Trump’s nomination on the theory that he will be her weakest opponent, Donald Trump. The MSM’s work seems to have paid off, as it is becoming ever more apparent that Trump is going to win the Republican nomination. All of that is great . . . but there are still a few irritants preventing you from reveling in the moment.
The main irritant is that Hillary is still on the ropes with the public for the email scandal that was first exposed almost a year ago. And worse, that public — including all those darn Deplorables — will get to vote for President in six months.
These likely voters know that Hillary, while Secretary of State, put tens of thousands of America’s secrets at risk by running them through an unsecured private server, the entire purpose of which was to thwart Congressional investigations and watchdog groups, something itself completely illegal. (This particular irritant, incidentally, if proven can be punished with 20 years in prison and a ban on ever again holding public office – which may explain why Comey didn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole when he exonerated Hillary on 5 July.) The Russians and every other American competitor and enemy, from China to Iran to the fat boy in Pyongyang, may have copies of all her emails during her time as Secretary of State, exposing both her and our nation to blackmail.
The FBI and DOJ are giving the appearance of investigating Hillary’s wrongdoings, but giving her exoneration a veneer of an honest investigation takes time. The FBI needs to interview witnesses and give them immunity. They need time to make side deals to destroy evidence. The grand jury needs . . . whoops, forgot: Unlike virtually every other criminal case the DOJ and FBI investigate, they haven’t bothered to impanel a grand jury. Someone needs to write (and edit) an exoneration statement, so it doesn’t get thrown together carelessly at the last minute, after you’ve heard and discarded the evidence. And all of this is a pain in the ass when you keep getting interrupted by having to do all these check-the-box “key” witness interviews.
And all the while all this is going on, no one trusts Hillary. She can’t shake the scandal, despite her trying out a new excuse – usually laughable, as even you admit – on a weekly basis.
Still worse, Hillary is facing a real primary challenge from Bernie the Red, despite the fact that the super-delegates will ensure he can’t possibly win. Still, he’s seriously hurting m’lady’s “inevitability” narrative, especially because young Democrat voters, those with the stars still in their eyes, are almost as bothered as the Deplorables are by Hillary’s email “issues.”
Finally, to pile on the irritants bedeviling inevitability. you learn that Hillary’s Campaign Chairman, John Podesta, fell for a phishing scam and now Wikileaks has all the DNC’s and Podesta’s emails. Who knows what dirty laundry lies at the bottom of that black hole?
So many problems it makes even the most confident head spin. You shake yourself — time to get back to concentrating on pulling this tired old donkey across the finish line. You decide that what you are going to need is an opponent who makes Hillary look like an angel dressed in shining white robes; one that makes her seem an avatar of ethics and purity in comparison.
Impossible? You say, Ha!
As the calendar ticks towards the end of May, DNC’s outside attorney, Marc Elias, of Perkins Cole, recommends the DNC hire Fusion GPS to do their opposition research on Donald Trump, he having finally won the Republican nomination.
The DNC and Fusion GPS huddle, then make a curious decision. Despite Russia being the one place in the world where Donald Trump has only done business once — the one night of 2013’s Miss Universe pageant — and where neither he nor his family maintains any business interests, they decided to concentrate most, if not all, of their opposition research on Russia. That was a bold move, indeed.
According to Glen Simpson of Fusion GPS, it was Trump’s complete lack of business interests in Russia that made Simpson concentrate on Russia as the most fertile ground for opposition research. To reasonable people, this might seem strange, with only months until the election and a pressing need to get opposition research on Trump.
Nevertheless, the DNC agreed with this Simpson’s sage decision. At great expense, the DNC hired a former spy / Russian specialist to do the research, even though he hadn’t set foot on Russian soil in 25 years. Talk about trying to fish for sharks with a minnow in an Indiana duck pond!
But wait! within days, Fusion GPS and Steele didn’t just catch a shark in that pond. Hell, they didn’t even catch Jaws. They caught Jaws’s much bigger brother, a Megalodon, in that duck pond. It was pure opposition research gold that they struck — the Mother Lode. It was the equivalent of winning the Power Ball lottery, the Irish Sweepstakes, striking oil as you dig in your back yard, and getting bitten by a polar bear and a black bear, all on the same day. You would need a year with a supercomputer to calculate the odds. What they caught was exactly what Hillary needed. Amazing.
Within days of hiring Steele, Fusion he was able to discover that Trump was a long time Russian intelligence asset who had been regularly exchanging “intelligence information” with Russia for five years. It did not bother them that one would be hard pressed to identify any specific information Trump had that might have been of value to Putin or vice versa back in the years from 2011-2014. Maybe Putin cared about the daily cost of a Big Mac in the Bronx and Trump wanted to know . . . what? Putin had nothing for him.
The beauty of the whole Fusion GPS / Steele thing is that, when you are charging treason, there really is no reason to get to that level of detail anyway. Just say “oligarchs” and kind of wave your hand. That’ll give you probable cause for . . . well, nothing, actually.
But there was more — and it was even better (if you’re the DNC). Someone told Steele that Trump wasn’t being paid in money. He was collecting his fees in Russian prostitutes. And still more — it turned out Trump was a pervert, with the FSB (the Russian security service) having conducted something akin to a honey-pot sting to get it all on tape.
Steele knew he was on to something here. There is nothing like a juicy sex scandal. Just ask a Clinton. And Trump was suddenly even more likely to be blackmailed than Hillary.
Interestingly, Steele’s sources also took time to note that, of course, Russia has assembled some compromising material on Hillary. It shows, Steele’s sources tell him, nothing too much, really, just a bit of hypocrisy, that she took different positions in public and private on some issues. Moreover, Steele’s sources took the trouble identify how Russia came by that material. It is a surprisingly bland and innocuous list — an intercept from this, an email from that, etc. Why would Steele list that, you wonder, only to note that none of things he mentions are emails from Hillary’s time as Secretary of State. Whew! Dodged that bullet, eh? Can you hear those dogs not barking?
There was more. Steele contended that Putin was helping Trump because he “hates and fears” Hillary for . . . well, just leave that part blank. It’s enough to know that he did and it’s so much more fun if you guess, all the while picturing Vlad shaking in his boots at the thought of facing America’s mighty Hillary, may all love her and despair. Perhaps it was her avarice he feared, given that Russians had already paid her (or the Clinton Foundation, which is the same thing) $140 million just to lock up a fifth of America’s uranium.
Well, by golly, by now it had become the Steele’s patriotic duty to get all this to the FBI. Did the DNC and Fusion approve of that? Who knows. But fortuitously for them, the FBI would then be duty bound to open up an investigation, given that Steele’s name was attached to the Dossier.
If this later proved to be a DNC/Fusion/Steele dirty trick, well, one can investigate forever trying to prove a negative. The one thing that was certain was that it would take longer to investigate than the three months left before the coronation . . . er, election. And if it just happened to leak out in the meantime that the FBI was investigating Trump as an agent of Russia and a pervert (the world’s only germaphobe who liked to stand around watching hookers pee), well, these things happen.
Meanwhile, another DNC hire through Marc Elias, Crowdstrike, claims that it was the Russians who phished John Podesta (a claim still not verified to this day by an FBI examination of the server). Robby Mook then seeded the ground for the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, claiming publicly that not only did the Russians “hack” the DNC, but “the experts” tell him that they did so to help Trump.
Interlude – Steele Dossier
It’s the end of June now. As you wait for that first sweet golden leak, so to speak, of the dossier, let’s take the time to gild the dossier a bit.
You adjust your tinfoil hat and begin looking at what you’ve got to work with. For starters, Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, a long-time Republican operative stretching back to the Ford administration, made a lot of money lobbying for a Putin crony before 2014. And then there are those two third-tier people in the outer orbit of the Trump campaign, George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, both members of a foreign policy advisory board for Trump and both of whom sought better relations with Russia. Moreover, Page had long been visiting Russia. You know he’s maintained a small amount of stock in a Russian company and regularly speaks at conferences there.
Hmmmm, let’s start with . . . Papadopoulos. We’ll claim that he admitted to a foreigner that, before the DNC hack was made public, he already knew that Russia had thousands of Hillary’s emails.
Now, you might ask, doesn’t everyone in the FBI and 90% of everyone else paying attention to her email scandal know that Russia probably has thousands of Clinton emails from her time as Secretary of State? After all, she didn’t even have as much security on her account as an average guy in Dubuque had on his AOL account back in 1996. Couldn’t Papadopoulos have been referring to that kind of knowledge?
True, but why clarify his reasonable guess that Russia hacked Hillary’s private email when you can conflate it with the hack into the DNC server, something that the DNC conveniently attributed to Russia? Hell, even in the FBI’s indictment against Papadopoulos for lying, the Fibbies seem to go the extra mile not to clarify precisely which emails Papadopoulos was talking about.
All we need to do, if we’re Hillary’s team, is pretend as if Papadopoulos was talking about the Wikileaks emails, not her emails from Secretary of State. The implication then, is that Papadopoulos was in on the Russian hack into the DNC, which he knew about before it went public, rather than his referring to Hillary’s own unsecured server.
And let’s say for good measure that Manafort, who is a bit of a sleazy character, is coordinating Trump’s information exchanges with Russia using Carter Page and others as his agents. Yeah, it’s complicated, but the more names we throw around, the more it sounds as if we’re talking about something real. And let’s say that, if Trump wants to get information from Putin (whatever the heck info Putin has that’s of value to Trump), Trump must start criticizing NATO.
You might ask at this point whether Trump hasn’t already been badmouthing NATO for a while? Yes, but apparently Vlad wants to hear more emotion in his voice.
Then, to really make the case about Trump helping Russia, Trump will have to take a bold stand against the Magnitsky Act that Putin hates so much. At least, he’ll have to take a bold stand within the Dossier’s pages and in the fever swamps of conspiracy theorists. Who cares that Trump never said a word about the Act? And please be assured, it’s only a coincidence that the Magnitsky Act is the same act Clinton opposed in 2012 as she was making bank from Russia-related donations to The Clinton Foundation.
At this point, although the Dossier hasn’t been made public, you’ve been sure to seed rumors about Trump and the Russians. You and your operatives go from one media outlet to another talking about the fact that it sure is strange that Trump is saying nice things about Putin. You are very grateful that decades of MTV and Instagram have left a public with such short attention spans that they have no memory of President Obama, in 2012, snarkily telling Romney, who was concerned about Russia, that the 80s were calling to get their foreign policy back.
A sane person might think that this carefully planted up-swelling of talk about Trump’s cozy relationship with Russia would trouble Trump during the primary campaign – but you will be amazed to know (at least according to the Dossier’s backers) that it helped him. Steele says he heard someone who heard someone who said that the Russian tumult in the press helped Trump by “deflecting” attention away from the “bribes and kickbacks” involved in his corrupt business deals in China and other Asian countries.
Whoa!!! Bribes and kickbacks in places Trump actually does business (as opposed to Russia, where he does no business)? So what are these “bribes and kickbacks?” you might ask. Ahh, there is only a limited amount of room to write in the dossier, so Steele leaves that part blank.
If you’re a Hillary backer, you’ve also got material to work with when you find out that Carter Page took a private trip to Russia — scheduled more than a month in advance — to speak at a university. The innocent and uninitiated might think it’s part of Page’s ongoing, out-in-the-open business relationship with Russia, but Hillary’s nomenklatura know better.
Obviously, Page’s speech and trip must be an act of treason. Moreover, if you need more facts, Steele’s got them.
Guess what? Russians attended Page’s speech! Even better, didn’t someone hear Page meet with Igor Sechin, who offered him a commission worth upwards of $10 billion dollars to roll back the Magnitsky Act?
And no, dear sane person, it is irrelevant that Carter is a nothing in terms of government power and is also working for a man who, most believe, cannot possibly win the election. What matters is that someone told Steele that he heard someone say that they heard someone say that they overheard that conversation.
Wow. Just think: After banking $140 million, Hillary to tried to do in the Magnitsky Act back in 2012. Now, here’s someone who is not in any position whatsoever to make the act go away, and the price tag to do it has gone up by almost 10,000%. That’s some serious Venezuelan-style hyperinflation.
Fortunately for Putin, he doesn’t really need to bribe Page for information about Trump and the American political scene. He has a ready and willing source of people to spy for Mother Russia for much less than the cost to interest Mr. Page. And this is the moment, dear people, when we dive deep in the conspiracy vortex because we’re about to end up where every extreme conspiracy for the last 115 years always ends:
According to Steele, the real source of money and information here is Jews – in this case, Russian Jews. Right out now, you can just see Steele and the bright minds at Fusion GPS talking excitedly amongst themselves. They’re certain that, if they can get word to the American people about a Jewish conspiracy, ordinary Americans will know for certain that all of these crazy allegations – the ones about peeing and the Magnitsky Act and hacks into the DNC and $10 billion bribes to nobodies – are all true.
After all, one can’t have an international conspiracy without the Jews. This has been a hard-and-fast rule since the Russian government published the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion in 1903. Heck, why stop at 1903? The Jewish element has been a requirement for international conspiracies going back to the days of the Crusades and the blood libel.
Fortunately for Steele et al, aside from Trump’s beloved daughter, her husband, and their children (whose Jewishness has never stopped the Democrats from calling Trump an anti-Semite) there is another Jewish person close to Trump: His attorney, Michael Cohen, is a Jew!. More shockingly, Cohen is married to a Russian Jew, as Steele makes sure to note. To buff up the story even more, Steele claims that Cohen had a “clandestine meeting” with Russian agents in Prague in August to discuss the ongoing relationship and the payment of money, and to clean up the Manafort mess.
Here’s the moment at which you, the sane person, point out that Cohen can prove he never traveled out of the country at time he was alleged to be meeting with Russian agents in Prague? To the true conspiracy theorist, this is a bagatelle that can easily be ignored. Haven’t you heard of astral projection? Enough with the petty facts from petty people who aren’t alive to the enormity of all the rumors, inferences, guesses, speculation, and lies about Trump and Russia.
End of the Interlude – Steele Dossier
Having compiled a really splendid, if almost entirely false and certainly libelous, Dossier, all that the Hillary camp has to do is wait for it to leak out. Americans will then see that, while Hillary may have taken a knife to America’s security like Edward Snowden on steroids and while she may be a compulsive liar who is so arrogant she thinks she’s above the law, Trump is even worse. And you thought we couldn’t make Hillary an angel by comparison? Oh, ye of little faith.
But you, once again acting sane, feel compelled to as what happens if key points in the Dossier get disproven?
You are asking the wrong question. This is the appropriate question:
Accepting as true that there’s no way the Dossier can be verified before the election, do you really think the FBI and DOJ will be investigating anything associated with either Hillary or the Trump Dossier after Hillary’s coronation? Hillary will be on the throne and Chuckie Schumer will be bringing her Chardonay every day as he tells her stories about what it’s like to be the Senate Majority Leader.
Do you really think the FBI and DOJ will be doing anything more with the subpoenas from the House Intel Committee than using them for toilet paper in the FBI latrines, just as they and the rest of the Obama agencies have been doing for the past eight years? In a year, they’ll say that they’ve been unable to prove or disprove key parts of the Dossier and close the investigation. All of the underlying information is classified and we can’t talk anymore about it. Poof, the investigation ends. Poof, FBI misuse of FISA warrants never gets examined.
In other words, if you’re in Hillary’s camp and are 99.9% certain that she’s going to win – a victory that you’re just putting the coffin-nail in with the Dossier – this is a no-lose situation. Disabling Trump through the Dossier will raise Hillary’s chances of victory to 100% and once she’s won, her emails, her cover-up, and her arrogant above-the-law mentality will all be forgiven and forgotten by voters blinded by the wonder that is President Hillary.
Now it’s time, once again, to creep back into one of the devious little brains at the DNC as we imagine that person’s thoughts in the three-month countdown to the election. . . .
July 31 . . .
So now it’s the end of July, with the election only three months away. Comey and the Clintonistas at DOJ and FBI finally came through with the Hillary exoneration but the whole thing took way too long. Yes, there is still a lot of heartache among the fascist Rethuglicans over the travesty of justice, but the Dowager Princess of Chappaqua can brazen her way through that, just as she did through Vince Foster, White Water and Benghazi. Besides, what the hell are they going to do about the sham investigation after the coronation?
Still, even though Hillary’s been cleared (sort of), Trump hasn’t yet been properly besmirched. The Steele Dossier is not getting leaked and we can’t understand why. After all, we know what the FBI is doing. Fusion GPS has on its payroll the wife of one of the DOJ’s head honchos, so that line of communication should be open. And it’s certainly nice that the FBI is using the Dossier to get FISA warrants to listen in on Trump and his campaign team. Maybe that will lead to something.
Yes, all that is well and good, but this Dossier was meant for public consumption. And with three months to go, the public still hasn’t learned that Trump is even more corrupt than Hillary.
How the hell can the FBI and other intel agencies investigate the Steele Dossier we fed to them without it all leaking out? Does someone in the FBI really think that the agency has to confirm the Dossier before getting it out into public? This is worrisome. The clock is clicking and this “gold” needs to get spent in the public domain. Hillary needs time to start measuring the drapes.
August 31 . . .
Two months left before the election and the dossier still hasn’t leaked. Enough with this waiting around. Call a damn press conference now. I want Wapo, the NYT, AP, Yahoo. . . . Hell, I want every major news organization not named Fox in front of me now. Have Steele and Fusion GPS personally brief them all, damn it. If the FBI won’t leak this, we will!!!
Oct 31 . . .
This is insane. We briefed these MSM guys. And still, no one is leaking the Dossier? Just because the charges are treasonous, outlandish, and they can’t confirm them doesn’t mean these MSM types can’t report them.
At least Michael Isikoff at Yahoo and David Corn at Mother Jones wrote a bit about it. But who reads them, I ask you? And if they don’t get repeated in a media echo chamber, what good are they?
Yes, CIA Director Brennan personally briefed Congress about the charges in the Steele Dossier — we know that because Harry Reid all but leaked the underlying facts in an open letter to Comey, but that’s not good enough. The meme that Russia interfered in the election on behalf of Trump is out there, but it is not gaining traction with the idiot public
Worse yet, when the NYT tried to verify our story with the FBI, some idiot over there who is not on board the Hillary train told the Times that the FBI had been unable to verify any accusations of collusion. And the NYT ran that story. Today. Eight days before the election. The FBI and the NYT. Holy mother of. . . . Jeez, now I know how the Watergate burglars must have felt when they realized that their bugs weren’t properly installed. . . .
November 9 . . .
This . . . this can’t be happening. Hillary, we believed in you. We . . . we . . . the things we did for you. . . .
The things we did, like conducting a sham investigation of your email and ignoring the way you destroyed and otherwise hid evidence from Congressional Investigations; like granting immunity to people close to you even though we couldn’t possibly justify those grants; like spying on Trump during the campaign through the NSA . . . the Steele Dossier . . . the FISA warrants . . . all the subpoenas we ignored and the perjury. . . .
Oh, my God, if any of that comes out and we don’t control the FBI and DOJ, we may end up sharing a jail cell next to that broken down old harpy who couldn’t seal the deal. This is a catastrophe . . . must think. Must Think.
Okay, be calm. We can survive this. What did Ben Franklin say? “We have to all hang together, or we’ll all hang separately.” We need to go balls to the wall now with the Russian narrative more than ever — get the Steele Dossier out and knee cap Trump as soon as possible.
Get everyone in the Obama administration to start making use of all those FISA warrants. Have his people unmask everyone in the Trump transition team and put the MSM on speed dial. Talk to Ben Rhodes. He knows exactly how to create a media echo chamber. If he could sell the Iran deal, he can definitely save our collective asses on this one.
We need to turn the faucet from leak to fire hose. A leak a day is what we are shooting for. Facts are not necessary, innuendo will do provided that the headline has the word “Russia” in it. Be creative, people. Manufacture stuff if needed. Here’s an idea: Have someone say that the Trump administration is pressuring the FBI over this. McCabe can tell you how to do it if you can’t figure it out.
What was that? An NSA intercept has Michael Flynn talking to the Russian Ambassador about not overreacting to Obama sanctions. Wonderful. Get that to Andy McCabe and suggest that he open up a Logan Act investigation. Yeah, I know it’s true that the Logan Act is so dead that no one has been convicted of in 220 years, but so what? Opening an investigation provides us with cover and it’s not like anyone’s ever going to bring a Logan Act charge in court.
Wait a month, let Flynn’s memory fade a bit, then sandbag him with an unannounced criminal interview. If Flynn doesn’t remember exactly everything he’s said or done up to the date of the interview, then we get DOJ to charge him with perjury.
One more thing about Flynn: Make damn sure, the day of the interview, that it gets leaked to everyone in the MSM that Flynn is under investigation relating to Russia. No need to mention the Logan Act or that the facts that have nothing to do with any Russian collusion before the election.
Somebody call Clapper at ODNI. We need him to write a declassified Intel summary saying Russia interfered in the election on behalf of Trump and that all intelligence agencies agree. Say it’s all based on classified information, so no need to say whether the Dossier is all or part of the justification for the conclusion. Just get him to say it.
Who else, who else? Eureka!!!! If anyone knows Ben Smith at Buzzfeed, call him. Tell him to expect a delivery. . . .
[This has been updated somewhat to clarify confusing passages. The document’s core contents remain unchanged.]