Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC weren’t the only ones prepared to pay for the development of a dossier on Donald Trump in the fall of 2016. Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported that a few weeks before the 2016 election, the FBI reached an agreement with Christopher Steele to pay the former spy for continuing to his work on the anti-Trump dossier he was developing for Clinton and the Democrats. The Post cited “several people familiar with the arrangement.”
Ultimately, says the Post, the FBI did not pay Steele. “Communications between the bureau and the former spy were interrupted as Steele’s now-famous dossier became the subject of news stories, congressional inquiries and presidential denials,” it reported.
The Post didn’t quote the “presidential denials.” One suspects the denials were false or misleading. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have helped cause the agreement between the FBI and Steele to fall through.
We now know that Steele was being paid by the Clinton campaign. Those payments were due to end once the election took place. The FBI agreed to keep funding the research Steele had performed for Hillary Clinton.
The agreement reportedly was reached before the election. If Clinton won, as the parties to the agreement probably expected, the FBI would take over financial responsibility for the apparatus she was funding in order to discredit her political opponent, even after he was defeated. If Trump won, the FBI would take over financial responsibility for trying to discredit the president-elect.
Here we have evidence of collusion between a presidential candidate and governmental operatives — collusion between Clinton and Democrats on one side and the FBI on the other.
The Post did its best to spin this story as reflecting badly on. . .President Trump. Reporters Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman stated:
While Trump has derided the dossier as “fake news” compiled by his political opponents, the FBI’s arrangement with Steele shows that the bureau considered him credible and found his information, while unproved, to be worthy of further investigation.
Or maybe it shows naked partisanship on the part of some in the FBI.
Hamburger and Helderman also said:
The FBI sometimes pays informants, sources and outside investigators to assist in its work.
But when was the last time it paid informants, sources, or outside investigators to compile a dossier on a major party’s nominee for president?
I love this sentence from the Post’s report:
The revelation that the FBI agreed to pay Steele at the same time he was being paid by Clinton supporters to dig into Trump’s background could further strain relations between the law enforcement agency and the White House.
Yes, that could happen. The revelation could also discredit the FBI and taint some of its key findings about Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election. If the Trump-Russia collusion investigation continues to come up empty, that almost surely will be the revelation’s effect.
I’d like to know who in the Obama-Comey FBI made this extraordinary deal with Steele, who approved it, and who knew about it. In this season of investigations, another one may be in order.
NOTE: I have modified this piece slightly to reflect that the Post story in question is from earlier this year.