Now we know that the Trump Dossier was commissioned by the Clinton presidential campaign in mid-2016 through the Perkins Coie law firm. Perkins Coie’s Marc Elias served as counsel to the Clinton campaign. He called on the Fusion GPS firm to do a number on Donald Trump with the services of former British MI6 man Christopher Steele. If we take his work at face value, Steele consulted with a few friends of Vladimir Putin for some old fashioned Soviet-style disinformation courtesy of Putin himself. Here we had the effectual “collusion” of a presidential campaign with the Russians, though it has somehow escaped the scrutiny of American law enforcement authorities.
In her Wall Street Journal column “Lifting the Steele curtain” this past Friday Kim Strassel called the dossier “one of the dirtiest tricks in U.S. political history.” At the heart of her column she focused on the shrewdly evil introduction of the dossier during the campaign. Analyze this:
“Details from the dossier were not reported before Election Day,” ran a recent CNN story. Hillary Clinton herself stressed the point in a recent “Daily Show” appearance. The dossier, she said, is “part of what happens in a campaign where you get information that may or may not be useful and you try to make sure anything you put out in the public arena is accurate. So this thing didn’t come out until after the election, and it’s still being evaluated.”
This is utterly untrue. In British court documents Mr. Steele has acknowledged he briefed U.S. reporters about the dossier in September 2016. Those briefed included journalists from the New York Times, the Washington Post, Yahoo News and others. Mr. Steele, by his own admission (in an interview with Mother Jones), also gave his dossier in July 2016 to the FBI.
Among the dossier’s contents were allegations that in early July 2016 Carter Page, sometimes described as a foreign-policy adviser to Candidate Trump, held a “secret” meeting with two high-ranking Russians connected to President Vladimir Putin. It even claimed these Russians offered to give Mr. Page a 19% share in Russia’s state oil company in return for a future President Trump lifting U.S. sanctions. This dossier allegation is ludicrous on its face. Mr. Page was at most a minor figure in the campaign and has testified under oath that he never met the two men in question or had such a conversation.
Yet the press ran with it. On Sept. 23, 2016, Yahoo News’s Michael Isikoff published a bombshell story under the headline: “U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin.” Mr. Isikoff said “U.S. officials” had “received intelligence” about Mr. Page and Russians, and then went on to recite verbatim all the unfounded dossier allegations. He attributed all this to a “well-placed Western intelligence source,” making it sound as if this info had come from someone in government rather than from an ex-spy-for-hire.
The Clinton campaign jumped all over it, spinning its own oppo research as a government investigation into Mr. Trump. Jennifer Palmieri, the campaign’s communications director, the next day took to television to tout the Isikoff story and cite “U.S. intelligence officials” in the same breath as Mr. Page. Other Clinton surrogates fanned out on TV and Twitter to spread the allegations.
The Isikoff piece publicly launched the Trump-Russia collusion narrative…
Kim also raised the question whether FISA warrants on figures around the Trump campaign were procured in part on basis of the dossier. She concluded that “it is fair to ask if the entire Trump-Russia narrative—which has played a central role in our political discourse for a year, and is now resulting in a special counsel issuing unrelated indictments—is based on nothing more than a political smear document.” She asked: “Is there any reason to believe the FBI was probing a Trump-Russia angle before the dossier? Is there any collusion allegation that doesn’t come in some form from the dossier?”
Tucker Carlson had Kim on his Fox News show last night to reiterate the thesis of her column (video below). Here it is, in four minutes.