It has always been assumed that the “dirt” the Russian spy told low-level Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos they had on Hillary Clinton consisted of incriminating emails. Wall Street Journal columnist and investigative reporter Kimberley Strassel turns this theory on its head in her latest article. She points out that Papadopoulos was not told by the “informant” and, more importantly, did not pass on to then-Australian ambassador to the U.K. Alexander Downer in their May 2016 conversation at a London bar that the damaging information took the form of hacked emails. Papadopoulos was only informed (and only communicated to Downer) that they had “dirt” on Clinton.
This is significant because the FBI, supported by the mainstream media, has maintained that the counterintelligence investigation was initiated by this conversation. Furthermore, Strassel said “Notably (nay, suspiciously) absent or muddled are the details of how and when that information made its way to the FBI, and what exactly was transmitted.”
Robert Mueller and the press have been only too happy to go along with these mistaken assumptions because it facilitates their narrative.
In December 2017, the New York Times published an article stating that the Papadopoulos/Downer conversation triggered the Trump Russia collusion investigation. This was an attempt to take the focus off the damaging story of alleged surveillance abuses by Obama’s DOJ and FBI. Specifically, the FBI’s surveillance of Carter Page, another low-tier Trump advisor, started when the FBI applied for a FISA warrant based upon the uncorroborated Trump dossier.
And now, the renewed scrutiny of what exactly was discussed between Papadopoulos and Downer, and when and how precisely the FBI learned of it, threatens to explode the FBI’s explanation for why they opened the investigation.
Strassel provides a timeline of events starting with an April 2018 interview of Downer by a national Australian newspaper. He said he reported the story “back to Australia a day or two” after the meeting and that “after a period of time, Australia’s ambassador to the US, Joe Hockey, passed the information on to Washington.”
My reporting indicates otherwise. A diplomatic source tells me Mr. Hockey neither transmitted any information to the FBI nor was approached by the U.S. about the tip. Rather, it was Mr. Downer who at some point decided to convey his information—to the U.S. Embassy in London.
That matters because it is not how things are normally done. The U.S. is part of Five Eyes, an intelligence network that includes the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The Five Eyes agreement provides that any intelligence goes through the intelligence system of the country that gathered it. This helps guarantee information is securely handled, subjected to quality control, and not made prey to political manipulation. Mr. Downer’s job was to report his meeting back to Canberra, and leave it to Australian intelligence. We also know that it wasn’t Australian intelligence that alerted the FBI. The document that launched the FBI probe contains no foreign intelligence whatsoever. So if Australian intelligence did receive the Downer info, it didn’t feel compelled to act on it.
But the Obama State Department did—and its involvement is news. The Downer details landed with the embassy’s then-chargé d’affaires, Elizabeth Dibble, who previously served as a principal deputy assistant secretary in Mrs. Clinton’s State Department.
When did all this happen, and what came next? Did the info go straight to U.S. intelligence? Or did it instead filter to the wider State Department team, who we already know were helping foment Russia-Trump conspiracy theories? Jonathan Winer, a former deputy assistant secretary of state, has publicly admitted to communicating in the summer of 2016 with his friend Christopher Steele, author of the infamous dossier.
Meanwhile, something doesn’t gel between Mr. Downer’s account of the conversation and the FBI’s. In his Australian interview, Mr. Downer said Mr. Papadopolous didn’t give specifics. “He didn’t say dirt, he said material that could be damaging to her,” said Mr. Downer. “He didn’t say what it was.” Also: “Nothing he said in that conversation indicated Trump himself had been conspiring with the Russians to collect information on Hillary Clinton.”
For months we’ve been told the FBI acted because it was alarmed that Mr. Papadopoulos knew about those hacked Democratic emails in May, before they became public in June. But according to the tipster himself, Mr. Papadopoulos said nothing about emails. The FBI instead received a report that a far-removed campaign adviser, over drinks, said the Russians had something that might be “damaging” to Hillary. Did this vague statement justify a counterintelligence probe into a presidential campaign, featuring a spy and secret surveillance warrants?
Unlikely. Which leads us back to what did inspire the FBI to act, and when? The Papadopoulos pretext is getting thinner.
At this point, the story has taken on so much water that it would be irresponsible to accept it as the truth. It is becoming more obvious by the day that the real collusion and obstruction of justice lies at the feet of Obama administration officials.
Any day now, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz will release his report on the DOJ/FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server during her time as Secretary of State. Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz is now scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, June 11th at 2 pm, to answer questions. The event will be “streamed live and open to the public.” The hearing is called “Examining the Inspector General’s First Report on Justice Department and FBI Actions in Advance of the 2016 Presidential Election.”
John Crudele of the New York Post said he’s “hearing that the report will be very critical of the former heads of the CIA and the FBI — as well as the agencies themselves.” He added:
The phrase “constitution crisis” keeps coming up and I don’t think that is an exaggeration as to what might happen because of the report’s findings, many of which will remain classified and not released. The Democrats will need to counter the report with a sizeable offensive.
Rush Limbaugh believes that Obama officials are going into “CYA” ahead of the report’s release. He offers James Clapper’s concession that the FBI used “informants” – he just hates the term “spy” – to “protect” the Trump campaign from the Russians, as setting the stage for what may come to light from the IG report.
Although the report will be redacted, we are certain to discover fresh information, which will bring us closer to the full story. Hopefully, all of the new revelations will continue to diminish the once certain blue wave in the November midterm elections.
We will arrive at the truth, but it may be more slowly than we wish.
Maintaining a Republican majority in the House, which is looking more likely every day, is a necessity.
The Truth Must be Told
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