What we have learned so far

In her weekly Wall Street Journal column (accessible here via Outline) Kim Strassel notes what we have learned so far regarding “one of the greatest dirty tricks of our political times.” Kim, strike “one of the.” Making points we have made several times, noting a loose thread and calling for the declassification of documents revealing the rest of the story, Kim writes:

House and Senate investigators get pride of place for unraveling one of the greatest dirty tricks of our political times, in which a Democratic administration, party and presidential campaign either co-opted or fooled the FBI into investigating the Republican campaign. Lawmakers got to the bottom of this despite partisan attacks and institutional obstruction. Congress has taken that probe about as far as was ever going to be possible. The next steps are up to the White House.

In January 2017, CNN reported the explosive news that “classified documents” from a “credible” “former British intelligence operative” alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians. It sounded bad and set off a hysteria that led to the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the firing of national security adviser Mike Flynn, the launching of half a dozen investigations, and the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller. Senior officials, including Mr. Comey, watched all this in full knowledge of the dossier’s provenance. They said nothing.

It was left to the House Intelligence Committee, under Chairman Devin Nunes, to extract the real story: that the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign hired opposition-research firm Fusion GPS, which in turn retained a British gun-for-hire (Christopher Steele) to compile the so-called dossier; that Fusion injected this into the FBI, the Justice Department and the State Department; that this political dirt was a part of the FBI’s decision to launch an unprecedented counterintelligence investigation (which included human informants) into a presidential campaign; that this dirt was also the basis for a surveillance warrant against former Trump aide Carter Page; that the “credible” Mr. Steele was fired by the FBI; and that the FBI withheld the most sordid details from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which granted said warrant. And we separately know the Obama administration was engaged in the unmasking of U.S. citizens and leaking of classified information.

Congressional Republicans have the names, the actions, a timeline and the documents. The main elements are all there, and it’s thorough. Investigators tell me the only major open question is the role of Joseph Mifsud, the mysterious Maltese academic who approached then-Trump adviser George Papadopoulos in the spring of 2016. It’s unclear who, if anyone, Mr. Mifsud was allied with in that venture—the feds, the oppo players, former or current British intelligence? Congressional investigators were unable to track him down for an interview.

Yet the public doesn’t have this full story yet…

Whole thing here.

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