Today, the Washington Post’s David Ignatius served up the establishment’s version of the GPS Fusion-FBI story. His column is called “The truth about the FBI’s Russia probe.”
I present the column because I think it’s important to know how the other side is portraying the matter. Let it never be said that we’re living on a different planet.
I have a few thoughts on the column. First, Ignatius is offering the side of the story told to him by his contacts at the FBI. These are not disinterested sources. They may well be telling the truth, but we shouldn’t exclude the possibility that they aren’t.
Second, Ignatius isn’t telling the whole truth. He says that Christopher Steele was hired by GPS Fusion, which was “paid to dig up dirt on Trump, first by Republican opponents, then by Clinton supporters.”
But GPS Fusion hired Steele, the author of the anti-Trump dossier, when it was being paid by “Clinton supporters,” not when it was being paid by Republicans. Moreover, GPS Fusion was paid by the Clinton campaign, with the money funneled through the law firm representing the campaign. Ignatius’ own newspaper has so reported. But Ignatius talks not of the Clinton campaign but of “Clinton supporters.”
Second, Ignatius speaks of Steele’s sources without telling the reader that among his key sources were Russians with connections to the government. I assume Ignatius omits this seemingly significant detail because he doesn’t want his readers to realize that the Clinton campaign, through Steele, was colluding with Russians.
Does anyone imagine that if Trump or his supporters had used an investigator who relied on Russian sources with ties to the regime, Ignatius would have omitted this fact? Of course not.
Third, Ignatius, though doing his best to prop up Steele as a reliable good source (the FIFA investigation and all that), neglects to note that his major claims about Donald Trump could not be corroborated. Ignatius also fails to discuss what, if anything, the FBI did to corroborate them.
Fourth, Ignatius avoids the question of whether the FBI used uncorroborated information from Steele’s dossier to obtain warrants to engage in surveillance of Trump campaign staffers. If the FBI did this, then it’s a major scandal. The widespread suspicion (including by Lindsey Graham) that the FBI did use dossier information to obtain warrants fuels much of the criticism of the bureau that Ignatius tries to counter or deflect.
We don’t know for sure yet whether the FBI used dossier information in its filing with the FISA court. Thus, Ignatius has a reasonable excuse for not discussing this matter. If it becomes clear that the FBI did, in fact, use dossier information, it will be interesting to see whether Ignatius lets his readers know.
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