Why do the Democrats keep moving the goal posts on when the Russian investigation of Trump campaign began?

Andrew McCarthy:
Exactly when is the “late Spring”?

Of all the questions that have been asked about what we’ve called the “Origination Story” of the Trump-Russia investigation, that may be the most important one. It may be the one that tells us when the Obama administration first formed the Trump-Russia “collusion” narrative.

See, it has always been suspicious that the anonymous current and former government officials who leak classified information to their media friends have been unable to coordinate their spin on the start of “Crossfire Hurricane” — the name the FBI eventually gave its Trump-Russia investigation.

The Original Origination Story: Carter Page
First, they told us it was an early July 2016 trip to Moscow by Carter Page, an obscure Trump-campaign adviser.

As we’ve observed, that story became untenable once a connection emerged between the Bureau’s concerns about Page and the Steele dossier. The dossier, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, portrayed Page’s Moscow trip as seminal to a Trump-Russia conspiracy to hack Democratic email accounts and steal the election from Hillary Clinton.

It turned out, however, that the dossier was a Clinton-campaign opposition-research project, the main allegations of which were based on third-hand hearsay from anonymous Russian sources. Worse, though the allegations could not be verified, the Obama Justice Department and the FBI used them to obtain surveillance warrants against Page, in violation of their own guidelines against presenting unverified information to the FISA court. Worse still, the Obama Justice Department withheld from the FISA court the facts that the Clinton campaign was behind the dossier and that Steele had been booted from the investigation for lying to the FBI.

Origination Story 2.0: George Papadopoulos
With the Page origination story cratering, Team Obama tried to save the day with Origination Story 2.0: Papadopoulos did it. In this account, George Papadopoulos, an even more obscure Trump-campaign aide than Page, triggered the investigation by telling Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, in May 2016, that he’d heard from a Kremlin-connected academic, Josef Mifsud, that Russia had thousands of emails potentially damaging to Clinton.

But this rickety tale had the signs of an after-the-fact rationalization, an effort to downplay the dossier and the role of Obama officials in the genesis of the probe. There were curious questions about how the twentysomething Papadopoulos came to be meeting with Australia’s highest-ranking diplomat in the United Kingdom, and about how and when, exactly, this Australian information came to be transmitted to the FBI.

Moreover, there are two basic flaws in version 2.0. First, Papadopoulos’s story is actually exculpatory of the Trump campaign: If Russia already had the emails and was alerting the Trump campaign to that fact, the campaign could not have been involved in the hacking. Second, there is confusion about exactly what Mifsud was referring to when he told Papadopoulos that the Russians had emails that could damage Clinton. Democrats suggest that Mifsud was referring to the Democratic National Committee emails. They need this to be true because (a) these are the emails that were hacked by Russian operatives, and (b) it was WikiLeaks’ publication of these hacked DNC emails in July 2016 that spurred the Aussies to report to their American counterparts about the encounter, two months earlier, between Papadopoulos and Downer — to whom Papadopoulos reported Mifsud’s emails story. But if the Australians really did infer that Mifsud and Papadopoulos must have been talking about the hacked DNC emails, the inference is unlikely. As the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross has reported, Papadopoulos maintains that he understood Mifsud to be talking about the 30,000-plus emails that Hillary Clinton had deleted from her homebrew server. That makes more sense — it was those emails that Donald Trump harped on throughout the campaign and that were in the news when Mifsud spoke with Papadopoulos in April 2016. While there are grounds for concern that Clinton’s emails were hacked, there is no proof that it happened; Clinton’s 30,000 emails are not the hacked DNC emails on which the “collusion” narrative is based.

There was also the curiosity of why, if Papadopoulos was so central, the FBI had not bothered to interview him until late January 2017 — after Trump had already taken office.

The Real Origination
With the revelation last week that the Obama administration had insinuated a spy into the Trump campaign, it appeared that we were back to the original, Page-centric origination story. But now there was a twist: The informant, longtime CIA source Stefan Halper, was run at Page by the FBI, in Britain. Because this happened just days after Page’s Moscow trip, the implication was that it was the Moscow trip itself, not the dossier claims about it, that provided momentum toward opening the investigation. Then, just a couple of weeks later, WikiLeaks began publicizing the DNC emails; this, we’re to understand, shook loose the Australian information about Papadopoulos. When that information made its way to the FBI — how, we’re not told — the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation was formally opened on July 31. Within days, Agent Peter Strzok was in London interviewing Downer, and soon the FBI tasked Halper to take a run at Papadopoulos.

I’m not buying it.

The real origination story begins in the early spring of 2016 — long before Page went to Russia and long before the U.S. government was notified about Papadopoulos’s boozy conversation with Downer.

Last week, as controversy stirred over the possibility that the Obama administration had used a spy against the Trump campaign, the eagle eye of the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel caught a couple of key passages from the House Intelligence Committee’s recent report on Russian interference in the election — largely overlooked passages on page 54.

It turns out that, in “late spring” 2016, the FBI’s then-director James Comey briefed the principals of the National Security Council on “the Page information.” As the Washington Examiner’s Byron York observes in a perceptive column today, NSC principals are an administration’s highest-ranking national-security officials. In Obama’s National Security Council, the president was the chairman, and among the regular attendees were the vice-president (Joe Biden), the national-security adviser (Susan Rice), and the director of national intelligence (James Clapper). The heads of such departments and agencies as the Justice Department (Attorney General Loretta Lynch) and the CIA (Director John Brennan) could also be invited to attend NSC meetings if matters of concern to them were to be discussed.
...
There is more.

It looks like the Democrats and their cohorts in the intelligence and DOJ have been looking for excuses for an investigation that was well underway before they kept coming up with bogus reasons for starting it.   Usually, people make false statements because they think the truth will not advance their cause.  I suspect that is the case here.  The Obama administration was trying to scuttle the Trump camapign from the time he looked like a iable canidate.

Comments

  1. Possibly as soon as 2009 with the explosion of outside contractors accessing raw data without FISA. Birthers getting too close to the truth? Trump was probably an early target, one of many. I'm sure Obama had a vendetta after that, maintained contractor monitoring of Trump and could have stepped it up before Trump announced in June 2015.

    Surveillance with blackmail could explain a lot of the unexplainable during Obamacare, SCOTUS decision and so much more.

    ReplyDelete

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