How we got here

Despite the best efforts of the shiftless Adam Schiff to keep the lid on the source of the dodgy Steele dossier, we know now that the Clinton presidential campaign paid for the Kremlin-aided smear job on Donald Trump before the election. Thanks to the reporting of Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes we also know that the Clinton campaign continued to extract value from the dossier after the election. Clinton and her operatives used it to frame her humiliating loss as a Russian conspiracy to steal the election. Allen and Parnes revealed:

Within 24 hours of her concession speech, [campaign chair John Podesta and manager Robby Mook] assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.

The plan was to push journalists to cover how “Russian hacking was the major unreported story of the campaign,” and it succeeded — as Paul Sperry put it in his excellent New York Post column on the subject — to a fare-thee-well. After the election, coverage of the fabricated scandal of Russian “collusion” was relentless and made a critical contribution to the congressional investigations that followed.

When President Trump fired then FBI Director James Comey, Comey had an inspired idea. He would strategically leak memos of his conversations with President Trump to his friend Daniel Richman at Columbia Law School. Richman in turn was to read the memos to New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt. If all went according to plan, the resulting story was to lead to the appointment of Special Counsel to investigate all things Trump (video below).

All went according to plan. Comey is a sophisticated Washington operator who has moved for a long time in rarefied law enforcement circles. He knew roughly everyone in the small world from which the Special Counsel would be drawn. When Rod Rosenstein appointed Comey’s friend and “brother in arms” Robert Mueller as Special Counsel, Comey was home free to ascend Mount Olympus and pronounce his deep thoughts via Twitter.

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