Friends with opposing views have asked me to give the conservative perspective of on-going developments in the investigation of Russian meddling in the last presidential election. I am happy to do so, with the caveat that a host of investigations are underway and there is a great deal we do not know at this time. I am keenly interested to know the truth about any Russian meddling in our political system, wherever it may have occurred. If there were parties in this country who “colluded” or participated in that effort, Republican or Democrat, we should all demand that those individuals be brought to justice.
For over a year the exclusive focus has been on the Trump campaign, despite the lack of factual evidence of collusion. The recent spate of indictments may not vindicate Trump as he has proclaimed, but we know for sure that those indictments do not implicate him or his team. In announcing the indictments the DOJ’s Rod Rosenstein stated that the conduct by the Russians was intended to promote discord in the US and undermine public confidence in democracy. The Democrats, the media and a disappointing number of establishment Republicans were anxious to take the bait. Mrs. Clinton continues to refer to Russia as one of her excuses for Mr. Trump winning the election.
Ironically, while we have yet to see evidence of Trump “collusion” with any foreign power, what we do know to date from the various investigations is that the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign paid for Russian disinformation and used it in the presidential campaign against Mr. Trump, and it was further used by the FBI to engage in a spying operation against Mr. Trump. We know:
A company called Fusion GPS was engaged to collect compromising data on the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.
Fusion GPS engaged Mr. Steele, a foreign national, who in turn solicited information concerning Mr. Trump from sources in Russia. Mr. Steele used that information to prepare a “dossier” that contained the information described by the FBI as “salacious and unverified”.
Although the DNC and the Clinton campaign both initially denied any involvement with the dossier, Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented the DNC and the Clinton campaign, later admitted to paying Mr. Steele’s employer, Fusion GPS for the dossier on behalf of the DNC and Clinton campaign. It has been reported that Fusion GPS ultimately received over $10 million for its work.
In addition to the obvious financial motive, Mr. Steele told the Department of Justice in September 2016 that he was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.”
The “salacious and unverified” information provided by the Russians to Mr. Steele was used by the DNC and the Clinton campaign to try to influence the presidential election.
Despite knowing the source of the information in the dossier was derived from unverified sources in Russia, and that the foreign author of the report was both financially and politically motivated, the dossier was used by the FBI to obtain a warrant to surveil members of the Trump campaign. As of today, we still do not know the extent of that surveillance.
It has been reported that there were other sources used to corroborate the dossier. The “corroboration” of the dossier appears to have been by reference to a Yahoo news report. It has since been learned that the Yahoo report was based on information Mr. Steele provided to the Yahoo reporter. In effect, the author of the dossier was used to corroborate the dossier.
Finally, text messages from FBI personnel involved in the investigation, released only after the threat of a subpoena, include the message “POTUS wants to know everything we’re doing.” The text begs the question, what was the “everything” the FBI was doing, and what was being reported to President Obama?
We may yet see evidence of illegal acts by members of the Trump team, I have no way to know, but as I said above, I am keenly interested. It seems my liberal colleagues, on the other hand, are utterly disinterested in learning the truth about Democrat “collusion” with Russian sources and domestic political surveillance by the FBI. For perspective, how is the phrase “Nixon Administration spies on McGovern” more worthy of outrage than the phrase “Obama Administration spies on Trump”? The present situation appears far worse, as Nixon’s tricks did not include paying for and using Russian disinformation. I am anxious to know the truth.