by WorldTribune Staff, August 4, 2021
On July 31, 2016, the FBI opened its Crossfire Hurricane investigation of the presidential campaign of Donald Trump that ended up effectively paralyzing the new administration’s executive operations before they started.
While bureau operatives had been looking into alleged “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia before Crossfire Hurricane, it was on July 31, 2016 that the FBI “started the process that led to a million leaks, enormous damage to candidate Trump, and then President-elect Trump, and then President Trump, the abuse of the government’s secret surveillance court to wiretap a low-level Trump adviser, efforts to impeach the president, more leaks, media hysteria, and, finally, the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller, who could not establish that collusion — he called it ‘conspiracy’ or ‘coordination’ — ever took place, much less that Trump or anyone associated with him was involved with it,” the Washington Examiner’s Byron York noted.
The FBI’s egregious abuse of power in constructing the Russia hoax “did incalculable damage to the country. Certainly, some portion of the distrust of the FBI that exists today is the direct result of the bureau’s fruitless pursuit of Trump,” York wrote.
Mueller’s investigation did result in the convictions of Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Roger Stone, and others, but York pointed out “those were mostly crimes of personal corruption, such as tax evasion, or process crimes, such as lying to investigators.”
Not one FBI target of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was ever charged with playing any role in any Trump-Russia plot. Mueller never established that any such plot existed.
“For that, the FBI sacrificed its standards and reputation,” York noted. “It did appalling things.”
One of the worst examples, York noted, was the hiring of Christopher Steele, the former British spy “who compiled the sensational and false dossier on Trump.”
Steele had been commissioned and paid by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, but “then the FBI hired him to continue his partisan, anti-Trump digging for the U.S. government,” York noted. “For anyone concerned about the ethics of law enforcement, it was an astonishing moment. As it turned out, the FBI had to back out of the deal when it became clear Steele was talking to the press in a desperate attempt to publicize his false charges before the election. But then the FBI established a back channel to Steele and kept using his material anyway.”
The FBI’s actions in pursuing Trump and his associates “led to one of the most atrocious scenes in recent political history, or perhaps all political history,” York wrote.
The nation’s top intelligence chiefs, including FBI Director James Comey, went to Trump Tower to brief President-elect Trump on the results of what was known as the Intelligence Community Assessment, that is, the investigation into Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 election. As the briefing ended, Comey asked to speak to Trump alone.
“When it was just the two of them, Comey relayed to Trump the most salacious, destructive, and ridiculous story in the Steele dossier: The allegation that, in 2013, Russian intelligence recorded a video of Trump in a hotel room watching prostitutes perform a ‘golden showers’ routine on a bed that had once been slept in by President Barack Obama,” York noted. “The person who fed Steele the story later said he thought it was a joke, the kind of thing people talk about in bars. But Comey, and other top intelligence officials, took it seriously, even though, at that very moment, FBI experts were failing in efforts to verify the dossier. No mind: Comey confronted Trump with it anyway.”
Trump denied that any such thing had ever happened.
“Finishing the meeting, Comey raced downstairs to a waiting FBI car, where he wrote down his version of the conversation as he traveled across town to report what he had learned to other members of the Crossfire Hurricane team,” York noted. “Within days, the story was leaked to the media, which reacted with a fit of hysteria, and the entire dossier was published on the Internet. The Trump presidency, which had not even begun yet, suffered irreparable damage. And it went on and on.”
Five years later, has anyone learned anything?
“It’s hard to say,” York wrote. “The FBI spent years stonewalling congressional investigators looking into Crossfire Hurricane. Mueller tried to act as if the Steele dossier never existed. Many Democrats continued to maintain they were right about collusion all along, no matter what Mueller failed to find.
“It has now been five years since a key date in that self-harm, the founding of Crossfire Hurricane. And it is not clear whether the FBI will ever fully repair its reputation.”