Sixteen months after the Russiagate investigation was started it has produced
(1) a sloppily drafted though aggressively worded indictment against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates relating to their business dealings in Ukraine which does not touch on the Russiagate collusion allegations;
(2) a cynical and in my opinion oppressive indictment against George Papadopoulos – which has resulted in his guilty plea – because he mixed up the dates of his first meeting with a Maltese professor, but which also does not touch on the Russiagate collusion allegations;
(3) rumours of a third indictment against Michael Flynn because of his alleged failure to register properly his lobbying work for the Turkish government, but which apparently will also not touch on the Russiagate collusion allegations; and
(4) relentless hounding of Carter Page, whose “crime” is that he has longstanding and openly acknowledged business contacts in Russia and that he gave a public speech during the election at Moscow’s New Economic School.
By comparison we now know:
(1) that the DNC was financially dependent on Hillary Clinton who by way of a fundraising agreement with the DNC signed in August 2015 gained control – before the US Presidential election took place – of the DNC’s finances and strategy and and a say in its senior appointments.
We know this is so because no less a person than Donna Brazile – the DNC’s former chair – has now told us as much. In her words
The agreement — signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and [Clinton campaign manager] Robby Mook with a copy to [Clinton campaign counsel] Marc Elias— specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised….
…[Clinton’s] campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.
(2) that the Hillary Clinton controlled and funded DNC paid for the Crowdstrike report into the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC’s and John Podesta’s computers, whilst refusing the FBI access to those computers; and
(3) that the Hillary Clinton controlled and funded DNC paid for the Trump Dossier, which it is now confirmed provides the frame narrative followed by the Russiagate investigation. Moreover it seems that the Hillary Clinton campaign directly provided some of the funding for the “research” that led to the Trump Dossier;
(4) that though the broad outlines of the Russiagate allegations have been around since the start of the Russiagate investigation sixteen months ago, we know about (1) and (3) only now because up to now Hillary Clinton, the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign have concealed them.
The last four points are not speculations. They are incontrovertible facts.
To understand their importance it is necessary to go the recent article by Joe Lauria – in my opinion the single most important article anyone has written about Russiagate, and one which the Huffington Post disgracefully has sought to suppress – and a further article by Mike Whitney, which goes over the same ground though in rather more detail, and which is based on (as it admits) on Joe Lauria’s article.
Many things that are actually said about investigations are simply not true. By way of example, it is very rare for motive to be a good or reliable guide to establishing the perpetrator of a crime.
However “follow the money” is one of those things which is commonly said about investigations which in the great majority of cases is actually true. In this case the money does not point either to Moscow or to Donald Trump; it points to Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.
The last four points also beg a host of other questions, but there is one overriding one.
This is whether the entirety of the Russiagate allegations – both the hacking allegations and the collusion allegations – are based on the DNC/Hillary Clinton funded Crowdstrike report and the DNC’Hillary Clinton funded Trump Dossier, or whether any other evidence exists, however flimsy, which purports to corroborate them.
Joe Lauria and Mike Whitney have looked into this question in detail and have basically concluded that there is none and that the Russiagate allegations are indeed based entirely on the Crowdstrike report and the Trump Dossier.
I have long since believed the same thing, though I have not delved into the matter as deeply as Joe Lauria and Mike Whitney have done.
There have been various hints at various times from the usual ‘anonymous sources’ that other ‘evidence’ that supposedly corroborates the Russian collusion allegations also exists.
There have for examples been rumours – never confirmed – of human agents supposedly employed by the secret services of one of the Baltic states and/or of Britain and/or of Ukraine and/or of some other NATO or US allies (the story repeatedly changes) who supposedly have provided independent evidence confirming the Russiagate allegations.
However whenever actual ‘evidence’ purporting to prove the Russiagate allegations comes to light it invariably turns out after close study to originate either with the Crowdstrike report or (far more often) with the Trump Dossier.
My opinion is that the stories of human agents have been intentionally spread in order to conceal the extent to which the Russiagate collusion allegations depend in their entirety on the Trump Dossier.
That does not of course mean that none of these human agents exist. However given the nature of undercover intelligence work and of the sort of people who are drawn to it, if they are asked to corroborate lurid allegations of the sort which appear in the Trump Dossier they are more likely than not to do so if for no other reason than to keep their employers happy. The debacle of the Iraqi WMD allegations in 2002 and 2003 is a perfect case study of this.
Four facts which makes me think the Trump Dossier is indeed the original source of the Russiagate collusion allegations are
(1) that its early entries appear to be the earliest written documents to have made those allegations;
(2) that it is becoming gradually clear that the Trump Dossier was the only evidence cited to support those allegations in the classified version of the 6th January 2017 ODNI report provided to President Obama and to President elect Trump;
(3) that the contents of the Trump Dossier were used to persuade the FISA court to grant at least one FISA surveillance warrant against Carter Page (see Mike Whitney’s excellent discussion of this); and
(4) that the FBI and the US intelligence community have gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal the extent to which they depend on the Trump Dossier to provide them with the frame narrative for the Russiagate investigation, even though that is something which is now confirmed.
For a good illustration of (4) see the massive Washington Post article of 23rd June 2017, which obviously derives from intelligence sources, and which – as I have pointed out previously – clearly shows that the initial “evidence” of Russian meddling in the election provided by the CIA to the Obama White House in August 2016 was the early entries of the Trump Dossier. The article is however careful to avoid naming the Trump Dossier though a simple process of deduction shows that this is the “evidence” the article is referring to.
It is impossible to avoid the impression that the reason the FBI and the US intelligence community are concealing the fact that they depend on the Trump Dossier to provide them with their frame narrative is because they do not want to admit to the fact that the whole Russiagate investigation rests upon it and is ultimately no more than a gigantic fishing expedition to try to prove it true.
Needless to say, since the allegations in the Trump Dossier are not true, this fishing expedition is catching nothing and the Russiagate investigation is going nowhere.
In my opinion all this provides compelling reasons to broaden the scope of the Russiagate investigation to look at what is the true scandal of the 2016 election: that US citizens involved in the Trump campaign – including, it is becoming increasingly clear, Donald Trump himself – were under surveillance by the FBI and the US intelligence community during the US election because of two reports – the Crowdstrike report and the Trump Dossier – paid for by the Hillary Clinton controlled and funded DNC.
Given the evidence of extreme bias on the part of the FBI and the US intelligence community in favour of Hillary Clinton that this shows, it would also be appropriate in my opinion to look into the FBI’s and the Justice Department’s extraordinary handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s misuse of her private email server.
On 31st October 2016 – before the election – I touched on how extraordinarily protective of Hillary Clinton that handling appeared to be
Which brings me to the subject of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
I am not an expert on the US law in question. However it looks to me like a standard law for the handling of classified or confidential material, of which there are many. As is common with such laws, it is a law of what the British call “strict liability” ie. motive is irrelevant, and a crime is automatically committed if the the terms of the law are breached.
What that means is that it is technically irrelevant whether Hillary Clinton breached the terms of the law intentionally or carelessly (as she says). If she breached the terms of the law then she is or should be guilty of the crime set out in it.
I think it is fair to say that most people familiar with this law agree that Hillary Clinton was very fortunate not to have been prosecuted when the FBI first investigated her over the emails. Most of these people also agree that anyone else in the same position would almost certainly have been prosecuted if they had done the same thing.
As it happens Hillary Clinton not only failed to provide any remotely satisfactory explanation of why she used a private server in breach of the terms of the law, but she has also admitted deleting tens of thousands of emails (apparently on the grounds they were “private”) and of having destroyed hard drives to make retrieval of these emails impossible.
Again I think it is fair to say that most people who know about these things would expect in those circumstances a prosecution for obstruction of justice; and that most of these people think that Hillary Clinton is either very privileged or very lucky that no such prosecution was brought against her.
Hillary Clinton is by all accounts a very capable lawyer. As a lawyer she would have been required to keep clients’ information confidential as a normal part of her work. Hillary Clinton was also one of the lawyers involved in the hearings of the Watergate scandal, in which mishandling of confidential information was a central issue. She cannot therefore claim to be ignorant about these sort of issues.
Hillary Clinton has also served in the White House as a member of her husband’s administration, and was a US Senator before Obama appointed her US Secretary of State, when the scandal of the emails took place. Again the handling of secret and confidential information would have been a normal part of her work.
We are therefore talking about someone who has been handling confidential and classified information all her working life, and who is or should be fully aware of the relevant rules and protocols involved in handling it, and of the legal consequences of not abiding by them.
Speaking as someone who has also had experience of handling confidential information, I can say that after a time observing the proper protocols becomes second nature. It is well-nigh incredible to me – and I suspect to many other people – that this was not so in Hillary Clinton’s case.
It is also well-nigh incredible to me that a lawyer as experienced as Hillary Clinton would not in the event of an FBI investigation immediately take steps to ensure that all the evidence – meaning of course all the emails – was tracked down, carefully preserved, and handed over immediately to the FBI. That tens of thousands of emails were instead deleted, that hard drives were destroyed, and that emails should now be turning up months later in a laptop in the possession of the estranged husband of a senior aide who is being investigated on sex crime charges, would be quite literally beyond belief were it not actually happening.
All of these points have now been made – in far greater detail and at far greater length – in a brilliant dissection of the FBI’s and of the Justice Department’s extraordinary handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s misuse of her private email server by Andrew McCarthy for The National Review.
Reports are now circulating that the Justice Department is considering appointing another Special Counsel to look into these issues and conceivably also into the Uranium One issue.
I sincerely hope that this is so, though I hope that the focus of this investigation will be the actions of the DNC, the Hillary Clinton campaign, the Justice Department, the US intelligence community and the FBI during the election, not the Uranium One scandal, which though a tangled affair is one which is not directly related to the election, and which should therefore be investigated separately.
I would also hope that in time the two investigations – Robert Mueller’s Russiagate investigation and whatever separate investigation by the second Special Counsel is now established – before long will be merged into one.
I understand that the politics of the situation at the moment make it very difficult to sack Mueller and to close his investigation down. However the reality is that his investigation is going nowhere but is doing huge damage along the way, whilst – as I have previously pointed out – Mueller’s own deep and longstanding connections to the FBI make it impossible to see how he can conduct the expanded investigation which now needs to take place impartial way, making it essential that he go.
I hope that in time the logic of all this will become clear, and the absurdity of two Special Counsel carrying out investigations at cross-purposes with each other will become obvious.
There is a real scandal to investigate about the 2016 election. That scandal is not the Russiagate conspiracy theory, which it is now becoming clear rests entirely on two tawdry DNC/Clinton paid for reports: the Crowdstrike report and the Trump Dossier.
That scandal is how the vast surveillance machinery of the US state was brought to bear on behalf one Presidential candidate and against another, and how the US intelligence community – not Russia – meddled in a US election on behalf of one candidate and against another.
Previously, when I discussed this, I expressed skepticism that such an investigation of what is the real scandal of the 2016 election would ever happen
To say all this does not unfortunately mean that this scandal is going to play out the way it should, or that people will see it for what it really is.
Many powerful people in the US political system, including in the US’s Deep State, in the media and in Congress, are deeply implicated in this scandal, and they will fight tooth and nail any attempt to hold them to account, continuing to use the bogus Russia cover story to justify and protect themselves, as they have been doing successfully up to now.
Beyond that there are a great many people who have bought into the Russia story – bogus though it is – falling for the entirely wrong and repeatedly discredited psuedo-principle that there cannot be smoke without fire (there not only can be; there usually is).
Lastly, the paranoia about Russia in the US and in western Europe is now so great that it is easy to dupe many people by conjuring it.
Nonetheless, though it is far from sure that many people will be able to see the true scandal through all the smoke, the proof of the real scandal of the Presidential election of 2016 is now finally out there. It remains to be seen whether the highly corrupt and deeply compromised US political system retains sufficient vitality and integrity to investigate it.
All these obstacles lying in the way of a proper investigation of the real scandal of the 2016 election are still there as when I wrote those words in March. I am sorry to say that my skepticism that we will ever see a proper investigation of the real scandal of the 2016 election remains profound. However reports of the appointment of Special Counsel may show that I am wrong. I hope so.