Footnote 43

Last week, John Solomon of The Hill broke a major story: in October 2016, the FBI’s general counsel, James Baker, met with a senior lawyer from Perkins Coie, the law firm that acted as bagman for the Clinton campaign and the DNC in hiring Fusion BPS to fabricate smears against candidate Donald Trump. (The Clinton campaign and the DNC funneled their payments to Fusion GPS through Perkins Coie so they would look like payment of legal expenses in campaign reporting, thereby concealing the fact that the Clinton campaign was behind the Fusion GPS smears. Is such an elementary circumvention of campaign reporting laws a crime? I don’t know.) In that meeting, the lawyer passed on allegations about Russia, Trump and possible hacking. That is what Baker told a congressional committee in an unclassified setting.

Now, Solomon expands on that story by pointing out that the intelligence agencies tried to hide information about that meeting from Congress and the American people:

[C]onsider Footnote 43 on Page 57 of Chapter 3 of the House Intelligence Committee’s report earlier this year on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Until this past week, the footnote really had garnered no public intrigue, in part because the U.S. intelligence community blacked out the vast majority of its verbiage in the name of national security before the report was made public.

From the heavy redactions, all one could tell is that FBI general counsel James Baker met with an unnamed person who provided some information in September 2016 about Russia, email hacking and a possible link to the Trump campaign.

Not a reporter or policymaker would have batted an eyelash over such a revelation.

Then, last Wednesday, I broke the story that Baker admitted to Congress in an unclassified setting — repeat, in an unclassified setting — that he had met with a top lawyer at the firm representing the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and received allegations from that lawyer about Russia, Trump and possible hacking.
***
it was, in turns out, the same meeting that was so heavily censored by the intel agencies from Footnote 43 in the House report — treated, in other words, as some big national security secret.

What makes this so extraordinary is that the FBI and the DOJ would have Americans believe that a contact with a lawyer for a political party during the middle of the election is somehow a matter of national security that should be hidden from the public.

Well, that argument was proven to be a lie by the very way the interview with Baker played out last Wednesday on Capitol Hill. Baker was not interviewed in a “SCIF” — a “sensitive compartmented information facility” routinely used to discuss super-secret, highly sensitive information. There was no claim of classification over any information he provided Congress that day.

So we can now say with some authority that the earlier redaction in Footnote 43 was done in the name of a national security concern that did not exist.

Which raises the question of what the real reason was that it was hidden from public view. I think the answer can be found in an earlier set of documents that DOJ and FBI fought hard to keep secret — the text messages of those FBI love-birds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. What we learned from their messages was that the investigation was a whole lot more about politics and and a whole lot less about verified intelligence.

There is now a concrete storyline backed by irrefutable evidence: The FBI allowed itself to take political opposition research created by one party to defeat another in an election, treated it like actionable intelligence, presented it to the court as substantiated, and then used it to justify spying on an adviser for the campaign of that party’s duly chosen nominee for president in the final days of a presidential election.

The FBI and the CIA cannot be trusted. They have been hopelessly compromised by their effort to swing the 2016 presidential election in Hillary Clinton’s favor, and to bring down the Trump presidency after he won the election. Dishonest redactions tell us they have something important to hide, and it isn’t hard to see what that is. The veil of secrecy is slipping, and what we are seeing is the worst political scandal in American history. President Trump should declassify all documents having to do with the the FBI’s Russia investigation, the surveillance conducted on the Trump campaign, and related matters at the earliest possible moment.

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