Report: FBI Investigation Into Trump-Russian Connects Instigated by Clinton Opposition Researcher
But wait, there's more.
The FBI investigation into potential connections between the Trump campaign and the Russian government began just weeks after a former British spy doing opposition research for Hillary Clinton supporters briefed bureau agents on evidence he had collected on such ties, Yahoo News reported Monday.
According to Chief Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff, Christopher Steele, a former British MI-6 intelligence officer specializing in Russian operations, had been hired as an investigator by Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm working on behalf of Clinton. On July 5, 2016, Steele went to the FBI with what he’d compiled on contact between Trump advisers and Kremlin officials.
The early contact between Steele and the bureau now appears to have set in motion a chain of events that led to Monday’s extraordinary testimony by Comey that the bureau has been actively investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin since “late July” — or more than three months before Election Day.
If true, this would put the match of the fuse for this Russian business in the hand of someone with a vested interest in helping Hillary Clinton take down Trump. Further, the calendar raises an intriguing possibility.
The Curious Timing of the Plane on the Tarmac
Why is the July 5th date significant? For starters, it is the day FBI Director James Comey stood in front of the nation, explained all the egregious ways Hillary Clinton had violated and flouted the law in the handling of classified information, then said he was recommending against prosecuting her.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch quickly accepted the recommendation.
Days earlier, on June 27, Lynch had secretly met on a tarmac in Phoenix with Bill Clinton. In the dust-up after the rendezvous was revealed, Lynch recused herself from the Hillary email investigation.
But perhaps all eyes were on the wrong prize. Perhaps emails had as much to do with the meeting as photos of grandchildren. Let’s add Steele into the mix.
Would Steele have taken his bag of goodies to the FBI first? No. He would go to his client, Fusion GPS. The opposition research firm then goes to their client, and soon the Clinton campaign has their hands on explosive allegations that Donald Trump is in cahoots with the Russians. What are the Clinton’s going to do with the information?
Naturally, bring the goodies to someone who can do the most damage with it. Namely, their old friend, the Attorney General of the United States.
Bill’s pitch would be pretty simple: “We have information to share about potential criminal wrongdoing and interference in the election by a foreign power, and I have to deliver it to you personally.” (This would also explain the still-simmering mystery over why Lynch would agree to meet with Clinton, knowing that, given the on-going Hillary investigation, such a meeting was a gross breach of ethics.)
If Lynch Bites
Here’s the beauty. If Lynch bites, you have Donald Trump under investigation during the final months of the campaign. You have justification to have friendly electronic ears and eyes trained on his operations, and who knows what will emerge? Even if she doesn’t bite, you and your billion dollar campaign war chest still have Steele’s information to use politically.
Or maybe Lynch just says, “Bill, don’t get me involved. If you really have something, have your guy take it to the FBI.”
Is that what happened? We do know that within days of that prearranged secret meeting, the Clinton opposition researcher was knocking on Comey’s door and an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia was set in motion with all the snooping and surveilling that would entail. We also know the fruit of that intelligence was spread around the administration and friendly media outlets like orange slices at a youth soccer tournament.
Questions for the Attorney General-Turned #Resistance Champion
If Lynn has a few moments between her calls of support for the anti-Trump resistance, perhaps she can answer a few questions:
- “When did you first hear of any Trump-Russian connections?”
- “From whom?”
- “What action did you take with that information?”
- “When did the White House get wind of it?”
- “Did you discuss in any way shape or form Donald Trump, his associates and/or the Russians during your secret meeting with Bill Clinton?”
- “Would you care to say that under oath?”
- “Given you met with the husband of Donald Trump’s opponent right around the time the FBI got involved in investigating Trump, did you recuse yourself from that investigation?”
- “Do you consider yourself a political opponent of Donald Trump?”
- And finally, “Do you agree with The Federalist‘s Mollie Hemingway that ‘we really should be having a conversation about the surveillance of a political opponent during a campaign and what that means’?”
Perhaps Lynch already did have a conversation about the surveillance of a political opponent during a campaign.
“A Big Gray Cloud”
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif) says the FBI bombshell announcement of the on-going investigation — presented by Comey with the permission of an Obama hold-over at the Department of Justice — has left a “big gray cloud” over Trump’s White House.
So let a full investigation continue. And as more sunlight enters into the situation it’ll be curious to see who, despite the clouds, ends up burned.