Opinion: The Times rides to Mueller’s rescue

  • Pat Buchanan
  • Creators Syndicate
12:00 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018 Opinion

What caused the FBI to open a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign in July 2016, which evolved into the criminal investigation that is said today to imperil the Trump presidency?

As James Comey’s FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller have, for 18 months, failed to prove Donald Trump’s “collusion” with the Kremlin, what was it, in mid-2016, that justified starting this investigation?

What evidence did the FBI cite to get FISA court warrants to surveil and wiretap Trump’s team?

Republican congressmen have for months been demanding answers to these questions. And, as Mueller’s men have stonewalled, suspicions have arisen that this investigation was, from the outset, a politicized operation to take down Trump.

Wiretap warrants of Trump’s team are said to have been issued on the basis of a “dirty dossier” that was floating around town in 2016 — but which mainstream media refused to publish as they could not validate its lurid allegations.

Who produced the dossier?

Ex-British spy Christopher Steele, whose dirt was delivered by ex-Kremlin agents. And Steele was himself a hireling of Fusion GPS, the oppo research outfit enlisted and paid by the Clinton campaign and DNC.

Yet, if Steele’s dossier is a farrago of falsehoods and fake news, and the dossier’s contents were used to justify warrants for wiretaps on Trump associates, Mueller has a problem.

Prosecutions his team brings could be contaminated by what the FBI did, leaving his investigation discredited.

Fortunately, all this was cleared up for us New Year’s Eve by a major revelation in The New York Times. Top headline on page one:

“Unlikely Source Propelled Russia Meddling Inquiry”

The story that followed correctly framed the crucial question:

“What so alarmed American officials to provoke the FBI to open a counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign months before the presidential election?”

The Times then gave us the answer we have been looking for:

“It was not, as Trump and other politicians have alleged, a dossier compiled by a former British spy hired by a rival campaign. Instead it was firsthand information from one of America’s closest intelligence allies.”

The ally: Australia, whose ambassador to Britain was in an “upscale London Bar” in the West End in May 2016, drinking with a sloshed George Papadopoulos, who had ties to the Trump campaign and who informed the diplomat that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Papadopoulos had reportedly been told in April that Russia had access to Clinton’s emails.

Amb. Alexander Downer, recalling his conversation with Papadopoulos, informed his government, which has excellent ties to U.S. intelligence, and the FBI took it from there.

The Times’ story pounds home this version of events:

“The hacking and the revelation that a member of the Trump campaign may have had inside information about it were driving factors that led the FBI to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russian attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of Trump’s associates conspired.”

A major question remains unanswered.

If, as the Times writes, the FBI was looking “into Russian attempts to disrupt the elections,” why did the FBI not open an investigation into the KGB roots of the Steele dossier that was written to destroy the Republican candidate, Donald Trump?

Consider what the British spy Steele and his former KGB/FSB comrades accomplished:

They have kept alive a special counsel’s investigation that has divided our country, imperiled the FBI’s reputation, preoccupied and damaged a president, and partially paralyzed the U.S. government.