by WorldTribune Staff, January 15, 2020
The only evidence presented in the investigations of the Trump campaign’s alleged “collusion” with Russia came from the bogus “dossier” authored by ex-British spy Christopher Steele, the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report established.
DOJ IG Michael Horowitz, for the first time in an official report, confirmed the reasons of why the FBI initially targeted four Trump campaign associates: Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort and Carter Page.
“The long FBI probe into a purported Russia election collusion was absent of any direct conspiracy evidence against a Trump associate except for the discredited Democratic Party-financed dossier and its impresario, Fusion GPS,” Rowan Scarborough noted in a Jan. 12 analysis of Horowitz’s report.
After the FBI opened its Crossfire Hurricane probe on July 31, 2016, agents led by Peter Strzok eventually settled on Flynn, Papadopoulos, Manafort and Page to investigate. Two ultimately were accused of conspiring with the Kremlin.
Only the dossier, written by Steele with $165,000 provided by Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign through Fusion GPS, presented evidence. No one else did.
The FBI’s Oct. 21, 2016 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) wiretap application to spy on Page contained one set of Russia election conspiracy claims. All came from the dossier and none was corroborated, according to Horowitz’s report.
“Another fact that underscores the lack of conspiracy evidence outside the dossier: The FBI did not seek a FISA warrant on any other Trump figure because it lacked documentation of probable cause,” Scarborough noted.
Special counsel Robert Mueller found no Trump conspiracy to hack computers and spread information warfare, as the dossier alleged. Horowitz also identified significant dossier “inaccuracies.”
The Crossfire Hurricane team first received dossier memos on Sept. 19, 2016, a month after it opened cases on the four Trump associates.
Here are the FBI’s written predications, called “electronic communications,” or ECs, as recounted by the Horowitz report. Each EC said the four may have “wittingly or unwittingly” helped Russia:
⦁ Manafort. The principal piece of evidence was that he did consulting work in Ukraine for a Russia-friendly political party.
⦁ Papadopoulos. The justification was that he heard in London from a Maltese professor that Russia owned thousands of Hillary Clinton’s emails. He relayed the gossip to the Australian ambassador to Britain over drinks. The ambassador reported the conversation to Washington after WikiLeaks released hacked emails. This tip was the central reason the FBI created Crossfire Hurricane.
⦁ Flynn. The FBI stated that “Flynn was an advisor for the Trump campaign, had various ties to state-affiliated entities of Russia and traveled to Russia in December 2015.”
⦁ Page. The New York-based energy investor and former Moscow resident “had extensive ties to various Russia-owned entities,” the FBI said, “and had traveled to Russia as recently as July 2016.”
“Those were the four predications pre-dossier. Not one cited any evidence of conspiring with Russians to interfere in the election,” Scarborough noted.
The Russia collusion claims weren’t made until the next month — and only by the dossier. Steele wrote that Page met with two shadowy Kremlin figures while in Moscow to deliver a public speech. Steele also said Page and Manafort worked as a team to coordinate with the Kremlin on its election interference.
Based on the Mueller and Horowitz reports, none of those allegations proved true. Page and Manafort never knew or spoke to each other. Page also denied meeting the two Kremlin figures.
As for Papadopoulos, no evidence emerged that he ever acted on the email information. He didn’t tell the campaign in New York, and he never tried to acquire the messages.
Flynn, the former top military officer for intelligence collection as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, seemed to have had routine engagements with Russian counterparts. He faced no allegation of a conspiracy. He, like the other three, never faced a conspiracy charge.
President Donald Trump also found himself under FBI investigation. Andrew McCabe, as the agency’s deputy director, opened a counterintelligence investigation after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017.
Steele, the dossier writer, accused Trump of being a longtime spy for Russia. No other source for that allegation has surfaced.
McCabe said in a CBS “60 Minutes” interview while promoting his memoir that he didn’t know whether Trump was a spy. At the FBI, Bruce Ohr, who was associate deputy attorney general, briefed McCabe on Steele’s claims.
Mueller, who had the full cooperation of 40 FBI agents as well as U.S. intelligence, showed no evidence in his March 2019 report that Trump was a Russian asset of any type.
Michael Caputo, a Trump campaign media adviser, went through hours of Mueller and congressional interrogations. He told The Washington Times that his inquisitors never presented evidence of any conspiracy.
“The special counsel was still trying to make a Russian conspiracy case in May 2018, and now we know from the IG report that they already knew better by then,” Caputo said. “They just couldn’t help themselves. They hated Trump, they had the power to keep investigating and they were damn sure going to use it as long as they could.”