There’s an FBI special counsel, Robert Mueller, investigating allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
But there also are developing congressional investigations into the origin of the allegations. As a report in Tablet Magazine suggests, it would be precedent-setting for a sitting president to use government channels and resources to make up allegations about a presidential candidate.
“To date the investigation into the Fusion GPS-manufactured collusion scandal has focused largely on the firm itself, its allies in the press, as well as contacts in the Department of Justice and FBI,” Tablet said. “However, if a sitting president used the instruments of state, including the intelligence community, to disseminate and legitimize a piece of paid opposition research in order to first obtain warrants to spy on the other party’s campaign, and then to de-legitimize the results of an election once the other party’s candidate won, we’re looking at a scandal that dwarfs Watergate – a story not about a bad man in the White House, but about the subversion of key security institutions that are charged with protecting core elements of our democratic process while operating largely in the shadows.”
In support of that idea, Tablet reported Mary Jacoby, the wife of GPS founder Glenn Simpson, boasted “on Facebook about how ‘Russiagate’ would not exist if it weren’t for her husband.”
Her claim was: “It’s come to my attention that some people still don’t realize what Glenn’s role was in exposing Putin’s control of Donald Trump. Let’s be clear Glenn conducted the investigation. Glenn hired Chris Steel. Chris Steele worked for Glenn.”
A Democratic lawyer acting on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid the opposition-research firm Fusion GPS to find dirt on Trump. Fusion GPS then hired ex-British spy Steele to write up the dossier, which features salacious claims that FBI officials admit are unsubstantiated.
Critics of the special counsel investigation believe the dossier was presented as evidence to a FISA court to obtain permission to spy on then-candidate Donald Trump.
Fox News reported Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants a senior Justice Department lawyer to determine whether or not a special counsel should be appointed to investigate contacted with Fusion GPS made by the wife of DOJ senior official Bruce Ohr .
Sessions said: “I’ve put a senior attorney, with the resources he may need, to review cases in our office and make a recommendation to me, if things aren’t being pursued that need to be pursued, if cases may need more resources to complete in a proper manner, and to recommend to me if the standards for a special counsel are met, and the recommended one should be established.”
Tablet reported its own investigation into the “evolution” of the collusion claims against Trump came “from a series of stories that Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson and his wife Mary Jacoby co-wrote for the Wall Street Journal well before Fusion GPS existed.”
“Understanding the origins of the ‘Steele dossier’ is especially important because of what it tells us about the nature and the workings of what its supporters would hopefully describe as an ongoing campaign to remove the elected president of the United States. Yet the involvement of sitting intelligence officials – and a sitting president – in such a campaign should be a frightening thought even to people who despise Trump and oppose every single one of his policies, especially in an age where the possibilities for such abuses have been multiplied by the power of secret courts, wide-spectrum surveillance, and the centralized creation and control of story-lines that live on social media while being fed from inside protected nodes of the federal bureaucracy.”
Tablet reported it had seen screenshots of a Facebook post from June 24, 2017, in which Jacoby said her husband should get credit for Russiagate.
Jacoby did not respond to Tablet’s request for comment.
Tablet said the history of the Steele dossier doesn’t begin with Steele or Nellie Ohr in the summer of 2016; it begins with a story that Glenn Simpson and Mary Jacoby co-wrote for The Wall Street Journal April 17, 2007.
The story, “How Lobbyists Help Ex-Soviets Woo Washington,” Tablet said, “details how prominent Republicans, including the 1996 Republican presidential candidate Robert Dole, opened doors in the American capital for Kremlin-affiliated oligarchs and other friends of Vladimir Putin.”
“Among those friends of Putin was Viktor Yanukovich, who would become president of Ukraine in 2010. According to the article, one of Yanukovich’s wealthy patrons paid a political fixer named Paul Manafort to introduce Yanukovich to powerful Washington, D.C., figures, including former Vice President Dick Cheney. Manafort figures prominently throughout the piece.”
In the 2016 campaign, when Trump hired Manafort, “you can bet that Simpson and Jacoby’s eyes lit up,” the report said.
Fusion quickly was involved in negotiations with the Clinton campaign and the DNC “to see if there was interest in the firm continuing the opposition research on the Trump campaign.”
The Washington Times reported Fusion “pitched other stories about the Republican presidential candidate to Washington reporters, including an attempt to tie him to a convicted pedophile who was once buddies with former President Bill Clinton.”
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, contends the connection between the Democrats and the anti-Trump dossier is well established, and the big questions now are whether the dossier was the grounds for a FISA warrant to conduct surveillance on the Trump campaign and whether the FBI and Justice Department used it as an “insurance policy” against a Trump presidency.
Jordan and other lawmakers grilled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about the work of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team, with a special emphasis on recently fired FBI official Peter Strzok and Bruce Ohr.
Strzok was fired by Mueller, allegedly for his barrage of anti-Trump text messages to his mistress, FBI attorney Lisa Page. A Strzok text message said an “insurance policy” was necessary in the unlikely event Trump won the election.
“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” texted Strzok. “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40,” he added in a text dated Aug. 15, 2016.
Jordan said he believes there is a major story behind that text message and that it likely explains why Mueller kicked Strzok to the curb in the Russia probe.
“Remember, Peter Strzok is Mr. Super Agent Guy at the FBI,” Jordan told WND and Radio America. “He ran the Clinton (email) investigation, interviewed (Cheryl) Mills, (Huma) Abedin, and Secretary Clinton. He’s the guy who did the famous exoneration letter that changed the term ‘gross negligence’ – a crime – to ‘extreme carelessness.’ He’s also the guy who ran the Russia investigation and interviewed Mike Flynn.
“So he gets kicked off the Mueller team, and we’re told it’s because of anti-Trump text messaging and Lisa Page. My belief is it’s got to be more than that, because, as I said in committee a couple of weeks ago, if you kicked everyone off the Mueller team who is anti-Trump, you wouldn’t have anybody left,” Jordan said.
So what might be the real reason for Strzok’s dismissal?
“It has to be something more, and my contention is it goes to the dossier, the dossier that I believe was used for securing the warrants to spy on Americans, the dossier that was put into the application that was taken to the FISA court to get warrants to spy on Americans associated with the Trump campaign,” Jordan said.
The congressman said he believes Strzok, who was the deputy head of counterintelligence at the FBI and ran both the Clinton and Russia investigations, “probably has his fingerprints all over that application.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio: