(National Sentinel) Deep State Corruption: A report over the New Year’s holiday weekend by The New York Times claiming that a once-minor figure in the presidential campaign of President Donald J. Trump is really responsible for the FBI’s counterintelligence probe of Team Trump is getting pushback from a former Justice Dept. prosecutor who says the story sounds like political cover for Democrats.
Andrew McCarthy, writing in National Review Online, said that the paper is attempting to save the “Trump-Russia collusion” narrative with “Collusion 2.0,” “in which it is George Papadopoulos — then a 28-year-old whose idea of résumé enhancement was to feign participation in the Model U.N. — who triggered the FBI’s massive probe by . . . wait for it . . . a night of boozy blather in London.”
The Times initially claimed in an April 2017 piece that former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page triggered the FBI’s counterintelligence probe after a June 2016 visit to Moscow. The FBI reportedly obtained a warrant from the secretive FISA court in order to launch surveillance of the entire Trump campaign a few months before the November 2016 election.
But, as McCarthy noted in his column, the change of narrative appears to be linked to ongoing revelations surrounding the now-infamous “Trump dossier,” a piece of opposition research commissioned by a Democrat-leaning firm, Fusion GPS, and paid for in large part by the campaign of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.
Republicans in Congress, and in particular House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes of California, increasing believe that the FBI used the dossier as a quasi-intelligence document to obtain the FISA warrant without ever the dossier’s salacious claims of espionage.
“[I]t turns out the Page angle and thus the collusion narrative itself is beset by an Obama-administration scandal: Slowly but surely, it has emerged that the Justice Department and FBI very likely targeted Page because of the Steele dossier, a Clinton-campaign opposition-research screed disguised as intelligence reporting,” McCarthy wrote.
“Increasingly, it appears that the Bureau failed to verify Steele’s allegations before the DOJ used some of them to bolster an application for a spying warrant from the FISA court.”
He’s not the only one who thinks so. House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said the same thing last month.
“The easiest way to clear it up is tell us what’s in that application and who took it there,” Jordan said in an interview following the committee’s attempt to get an answer to that question from senior FBI and Justice Department officials.
It is due to the persistence of Nunes and Republicans that the dossier story won’t go away, McCarthy said, prompting the need for Democrats and their allies in the media to craft another version of the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, to deflect attention away from the possible misuse of the document.
McCarthy noted further:
First, we were led to believe the dossier was no big deal because the FBI would surely have corroborated any information before the DOJ fed it to a federal judge in a warrant application. Then, when the Clinton campaign’s role in commissioning the dossier came to light, we were told it was impertinent to ask about what the FBI did, if anything, to corroborate it since this could imperil intelligence methods and sources — and, besides, such questions were just a distraction from the all-important Mueller investigation (which the dossier had a hand in instigating and which, to date, has turned up no evidence of a Trump-Russia conspiracy).
Lately, the story has morphed into this: Well, even if the dossier was used, it was only used a little — there simply must have been lots of other evidence that Trump was in cahoots with Putin. But that’s not going to fly: Putting aside the dearth of collusion evidence after well over a year of aggressive investigation, the dossier is partisan propaganda. If it was not adequately corroborated by the FBI, and if the Justice Department, without disclosing its provenance to the court, nevertheless relied on any part of it in a FISA application, that is a major problem.
The Times assigned a half-dozen top reporters and a researcher to the Page story, the former federal prosecutor noted, which meant the paper gave the story top priority. He noted further that despite the effort the paper put into the story, which allegedly included information gleaned from several insider sources, “the name George Papadopoulos” never appeared in the report about Page.
“It is an explosive problem, this use of the dossier by the Obama Justice Department and the FBI in an application to the FISA court for authority to spy on Trump’s associates. Politically, it suggests that the collusion narrative peddled by Democrats and the media since Trump’s victory in the November election was substantially driven by partisan propaganda,” wrote McCarthy.
He also said there were legal implications for the misuse of the dossier.
“Legally, it raises the distinct possibilities that (a) the FBI did not adequately verify the claims in the dossier before using them in an application to the secret federal court; and (b) the Justice Department of the then-incumbent Democratic administration did not disclose to the court that the dossier was produced by the Democratic presidential campaign for use against the rival Republican candidate,” he wrote.
CNN reported in April 2017 that the FBI did indeed use the dossier to obtain the FISA warrant.
“[N]ow, with the Page foundation of the collusion narrative collapsing, and with the heat on over the Obama administration’s use of the dossier, it is apparently Papadopoulos to the rescue,” McCarthy wrote.
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