Attorney General William Barr’s proposed investigation into the events surrounding the 2016 presidential campaign might have just gotten easier.
And for President Donald Trump supporters who have long disdained the whole idea of “Russian collusion,” the picture might be a lot clearer.
But for the FBI — both its former leadership and its current director — things might have just gotten a lot worse.
According to a report Tuesday by The Hill’s John Solomon, a State Department memo regarding former British spy Christopher Steele and his work for an unnamed client leading up to the 2016 election makes it crystal clear that FBI officials had to know Steele was working on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign when they received a copy of the infamous “Steele dossier” from the State Department in October 2016, before Americans even went to the polls.
Yet the bureau still used the dossier to obtain surveillance warrants for Trump campaign associate Carter Page — and by extension the Trump campaign — under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
According to Solomon, the memo was forced into public view through legal action by the conservative group Citizens United.
Written by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec, according to Solomon, the memo was a summary of an Oct. 11, 2016, meeting between Kavalec, Steele and Tatyana Duran, a colleague of Steele’s at the Orbis Security firm Steele founded.
According to Solomon, the notes — including the names of whoever they were intended for — are heavily redacted, on suspicious security grounds we’ll get to in a minute.
But even so, they all but scream that Steele was an operative for the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party, and that his employers were desperate for some way to smear Trump before Election Day arrived.
“Orbis undertook the investigation into the Russia/Trump connection at the behest of an institution he declined to identify that had been hacked,” Kavalec wrote, according to Solomon.
“The institution approached them based on the recommendation of Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch (specialists in economic crime, formerly of the WSJ) and is keen to see this information come to light prior to November 8,” Kavalec wrote. “Orbis undertook the investigation in June of 2016.”
Now, let’s see what “institution” Kavalec could have been referring to — one that was concerned with Russia and been “hacked” at just about that time in history? (Hint: The Democratic National Committee was coming apart at the time thanks to embarrassing revelations that were made possible because its computer systems had been hacked.)
The “institution” also approached Steele at the behest of Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, the founders of the “political research” firm Fusion GPS working for the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
Does anyone think the crack investigators at the Federal Bureau of Investigation couldn’t have figured out who was really behind Steele and his information – the information Steele’s employers were so “keen” to see come to light prior to Nov. 8?
Yet, as the world knows by now, the FBI used the Steele dossier to obtain its FISA warrants, essentially turning the nation’s premier law enforcement agency into an errand boy for the Democratic Party and its insufferably entitled nominee for president.
And even after the impossible happened, and Trump defeated the Hillary Clinton/Democrat juggernaut, the same people used the same tainted information to tarnish a legitimately elected president and — even worse — plague the country as a whole with doubts about its own government.
That’s disgraceful enough. But as Democrats used to be fond of saying: It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.
According to Solomon, Kavalec’s damning notes about the Steele encounter were kept from the prying eyes of the House Intelligence Committee’s probe of “Russian collusion.”
“They tried to hide a lot of documents from us during our investigation, and it usually turns out there’s a reason for it,” former Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, the California Republican, told Solomon.
(As to the current Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, the thoroughly deplorable Democrat from California, the less said the better.)
But here’s what may be the worst part: The FBI, under Trump-appointed Director Christopher Wray has drawn the thick black line of redaction over the rest of Kavalec’s notes regarding her meeting with Steele and Durban — until Dec. 31, 2041.
Given that she’d already written essentially that Steele’s Orbis firm was acting as a mercenary unit for the Clinton/Democrat machine, it’s tough to imagine what else might be classified.
As mentioned before, the recipients of Kavalec’s notes are unknown, but as Solomon writes, they must have been high enough up that their names require classification.
And possibly even more importantly, this is not some classification decision made in the final dark days of the Obama administration, or by former Director James Comey’s crew on its way out the door.
It was made only weeks ago, according to Solomon, with a note stamped “Classified by FBI on 4/25/2019 — Class: SECRET.”
So, crucial notes about a State Department interview with a man who was almost certainly behind an effort to use the power of the FBI to crush an American presidential campaign are being kept from the public eye until a full quarter-century after the election itself.
It was bad enough when the American public had reason to suspect the former leadership was corrupt enough to try to corrupt American election system itself.
It now appears that the current leadership of the FBI – under a director appointed by Donald Trump — might be playing a role in covering up just how deep the corruption ran.
But for all the miserable implications, and they are miserable, the Kavalec memo does make it harder for any FBI official – current or former – to pretend that the FBI or Obama Justice Department didn’t know who was really behind the “Russian collusion” story.
And since it was the “Russian collusion” story that led to the government literally spying on an American citizen’s campaign for the presidency, Attorney General Barr’s plan to investigate that very origin just got easier.
According to Solomon, David Bossie, president of Citizens United and an informal Trump adviser, said, “This new information proves why the attorney general must conduct a thorough investigation of the investigators.”
An “investigation of the investigators” doesn’t look good for any FBI official – current or former – at all.
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