by George Rasley
After 300 political campaigns I can say one thing about the Steele dossier with some authority: It was no opposition research memo, at least as the term is understood by any political operative with even the thinnest ethical sense would understand the term, it was a good old-fashioned smear that no one even bothered to pretend was true, merely “credible” to its recipients.
Back in January of 2017, soon after the Steele dossier story broke and before President Trump was even inaugurated, many of us were asking how such trash could justify the claim that President-elect Donald Trump was essentially acting as an agent of Moscow.
Robert Romano, writing for our friends at Americans for Limited Government, summed-up the questions nicely in his article, “Did Obama politicize false intel to portray Trump as a Manchurian Candidate?”
Wrote Mr. Romano:
As CNN infamously reported on Jan. 10, “Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN. The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work U.S. intelligence officials consider credible.”
The report added, “The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump.”
Those memos were then published by Buzzfeed, and were immediately found to contain multiple false allegations, including that Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen had traveled to Prague to meet with Russian agents and even that Trump had even gathered intelligence on behalf of Russia.
As award-winning, investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson later put it in an outstanding article for The Hill, “It’s incredible to think of how many FBI and Justice Department officials would have touched the multiple applications to wiretap Trump campaign adviser Carter Page — allegedly granted, at least in part, on the basis of unverified and thus prohibited information — if normal procedures were followed.”
Attkisson quotes a former FBI agent as saying, “DOJ verifies the accuracy of every fact stated in the [FISA warrant] application. If anything looks unsubstantiated, the application is sent back to the FBI to provide additional evidentiary support – this game of bureaucratic chutes and ladders continues until DOJ is satisfied that the facts in the FISA application can both be corroborated and meet the legal standards for the court. After getting sign-off from a senior DOJ official…”
As Mr. Romano summarized back in January of 2017:
Now the Russia theme is forming the basis for the opposition to Trump and, who knows, maybe his impeachment — after all, being labeled a foreign agent by the intelligence community probably qualifies as an impeachable offense for many members of Congress, with the added bonus that it need not be proven.
Or in the least, the moves could be designed to box Trump in so that the national security state can dictate policy to Trump on Syria, Ukraine and other hot spots that Russia has a stake in. Already, Trump nominee for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has called not sending arms to Ukraine an act of weakness by the Obama administration. Is all the Russia talk getting to top Trump officials that now they feel a political need to act tougher in the face of Moscow? If so, then it might be having its desired effect. I seem to have missed the part of the debate where Trump called for escalating the war in Ukraine, which shares a border with Russia.
Either way, this is looking a whole lot like a setup.
It seems clear to us that the Russia collusion hoax was not a procedural breakdown, it was a criminal conspiracy to violate the constitutional rights of President Trump, Carter Page and various other individuals who were caught up in the net cast by the illegal acts behind the FISA warrant applications.
It is our recommendation that Senator Lindsey Graham, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, subpoena those who signed the FISA warrant applications, put them under oath and ask them point blank, “On what basis did you believe the information in the Steele dossier to be true?”
Once that question is answered, then Judiciary Committee investigators should start working their way backwards through the chain of command at the FBI and DOJ to find out who ordered the normal FISA warrant verification and factfinding process to be waived. Only at that point will the real extent of the conspiracy against President Trump be revealed, so that action may begin to punish those who perpetrated it.
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George Rasley is editor of Richard Viguerie’s ConservativeHQ.com. A member of American MENSA he is a veteran of over 300 political campaigns, including every Republican presidential campaign from 1976 to 2008. He served as lead advance representative for Governor Sarah Palin in 2008 and has served as a staff member, consultant or advance representative for some of America’s most recognized conservative Republican political figures, including President Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. He served in policy and communications positions on the House and Senate staff, and during the George H.W. Bush administration, he served on the White House staff of Vice President Dan Quayle.
Photo “CNN” by Josh Hallet. CC BY 2.0.