The Trump Russia probe started in London well before the FBI officially opened it

John Solomon:
The bridge to the Russia investigation wasn’t erected in Moscow during the summer of the 2016 election.

It originated earlier, 1,700 miles away in London, where foreign figures contacted Trump campaign advisers and provided the FBI with hearsay allegations of Trump-Russia collusion, bureau documents and interviews of government insiders reveal. These contacts in spring 2016 — some from trusted intelligence sources, others from Hillary Clinton supporters — occurred well before FBI headquarters authorized an official counterintelligence investigation on July 31, 2016.

The new timeline makes one wonder: Did the FBI follow its rules governing informants?

Here’s what a congressman and an intelligence expert think.

“The revelation of purposeful contact initiated by alleged confidential human sources prior to any FBI investigation is troublesome,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), an ally of President Trump and chairman of a House subcommittee that’s taking an increasingly aggressive oversight role in the scandal, told me. “This new information begs the questions: Who were the informants working for, who were they reporting to and why has the [Department of Justice] and FBI gone to such great lengths to hide these contacts?”

Kevin Brock agrees that Congress has legitimate questions. The retired FBI assistant director for intelligence supervised the rewriting of bureau rules governing sources, under then-director Robert Mueller a decade ago. Those rules forbid the FBI from directing a human source to target an American until a formally predicated investigative file is opened.

Brock sees oddities in how the Russia case began. “These types of investigations aren’t normally run by assistant directors and deputy directors at headquarters,” he told me. “All that happens normally in a field office, but that isn’t the case here and so it becomes a red flag. Congress would have legitimate oversight interests in the conditions and timing of the targeting of a confidential human source against a U.S. person.”

Other congressional and law enforcement sources express similar concerns, heightened by FBI communications suggesting political pressures around the time the probe officially opened.

“We’re not going to withstand the pressure soon,” FBI lawyer Lisa Page texted fellow agent Peter Strzok on Aug. 3, 2016, days after Strzok opened the official probe and returned from a trip to London. At the time, they were dealing with simultaneous challenges: the wrap-up of the Hillary Clinton email scandal and the start of the Russia-Trump probe.

Over several days, they exchanged texts that appear to express fears of political meddling or leaking by the Obama White House, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the CIA.
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There is more.

This increases my suspicions about the White House involvement as well as the intelligence agencies.  It makes Obama's statement to Susan Rice about doing "everything by the book" look even weirder.

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