by WorldTribune Staff, August 5, 2018
The Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and a group of Russians claiming to have dirt on Hillary Clinton is “Exhibit A” in special counsel Robert Mueller’s collusion investigaton, but it “took place at the request of the Russians. They were the ones who approached the Trump campaign, not the other way around,” a columnist noted.
“By contrast, the Clinton campaign proactively sought dirt on Trump from Russian government sources,” Marc Thiessen wrote for The Washington Post on Aug. 2.
“They did it through cutouts. In April 2016, Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias retained opposition research firm Fusion GPS to compile incriminating information on Trump. Fusion GPS in turn hired Christopher Steele, a former British MI6 operative with sources among Russian government officials. The result was the salacious dossier, whose sources included ‘a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure’ and ‘a former top level intelligence officer still active in the Kremlin.’ Steele’s work was paid for by Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee. That means a paid agent of the Clinton campaign approached Russian officials for damaging material on Trump.”
Clinton “claims she did not know about Steele’s work. It doesn’t matter,” Thiessen wrote.
“Imagine if (Michael) Cohen, or another lawyer paid by the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee had hired a former British spy with campaign money to collect dirt on Clinton from Russian intelligence and foreign ministry officials. Do you think that everyone in Washington would be saying: ‘There’s no evidence Trump knew, so no big deal – nothing to see here’? Of course not.”
Clinton officials have also defended Steele’s work, Thiessen noted.
“Brian Fallon, Clinton’s campaign spokesman, has said he ‘would have volunteered to go to Europe and try to help’ Steele and would happily have spread dirt obtained from the Russians. ‘Opposition research happens on every campaign,’ he told The Post. He also said: ‘I am damn glad [Elias] pursued this on behalf of our campaign and only regret more of this material was not verified in time for the voters to learn it before the election.’ ”
Thiessen continued: “We also know that the Democrats covered up their involvement. The dossier was published by BuzzFeed in January, but it was not until Oct. 24, 2017 – more than nine months later – that Americans learned it was the DNC and the Clinton campaign that paid for it. If it did nothing wrong, why did Team Clinton leave Americans in the dark about its involvement for so long?”
However, Thiessen wrote, none of the revelations of the Clinton campaign’s dealing in dirt on Trump and then covering it up “calls into question the intelligence community’s assessment that the Russians wanted Trump to win – something Putin publicly confirmed in his Helsinki news conference with Trump. But the intelligence community assessment also found that the Kremlin expected Clinton to win. The Russians are not stupid. They were preparing for the prospect of a Clinton presidency, and they played both sides. That’s why millions of dollars in Russian cash were sloshing around Clinton World – including $500,000 Bill Clinton received for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin.”
The Russians “are playing a long game,” Thiessen wrote. “If we are to counter the Russian threat, we need to understand its complexities – and that means we have to look beyond Trump.”