Trump was FBI target

Having read an advance copy of Andrew McCarthy’s Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency, I posted my review/appreciation on the book’s official publication date earlier this month under the heading “All the president’s men, Obama style.” In the book McCarthy provides a penetrating analytical framework within which to understand the biggest scandal by far in American political history.

The Department of Justice Inspector General report released this past Thursday exposes one key thread of James Comey’s misconduct in the counterintelligence investigation of Trump the candidate and Trump the president. I posted a PDF of the report yesterday in “Jumpin’ Jim Flash.” This counterintelligence investigation was the so-called “insurance policy” intended to prevent Trump’s election or to take Trump down if he somehow prevailed. That’s what it was all about.

The IG report vindicates McCarthy’s analysis in crucial respects. He explains how so in his NR column “Trump Was Always the Target of the Russia Investigation.” Do not miss it. It is essential and chilling reading.

I think I disagree with my friend Mr. McCarthy on his concession in the book to Comey’s good faith in running the investigation of Trump the candidate and Trump the president. (I say “I think” because if I had the opportunity to talk with him about it he might persuade me otherwise.) By contrast with McCarthy, I think that the conduct of Obama, Brennan, Comey and their underlings in the investigation is rife with bad faith.

The IG report can be read to support Andy’s interpretation of Comey’s misconduct as undertaken in good faith. As late as January 2017, Comey appears to have labored under the delusion that the Steele Dossier was exactly what it purports to be. Comey’s attempt to elicit incriminating statements from Trump during the initial briefing of Trump based on the story of the putative pee tape seems to show how seriously Comey took the dossier.

The Steele Dossier was the linchpin of the FBI investigation (PDF posted below via Scribd). Yet it is, as Andy demonstrates several times over in the book, absurd on its face. Moreover, although it was never “verified” as required by law, the FBI seized on it to procure the FISA warrant taken out on Carter Page. It remains “unverified” to this date.

Even worse, taken at face value, the Steele Dossier rather obviously appears to constitute Russian disinformation. Did Barack Obama, John Brennan, and James Comey take it at face value? I doubt that they really believed that Christopher Steele picked up the phone and got the lowdown on Trump from the friends of Vladimir Putin. You have got to be kidding me.

In my view McCarthy’s analysis of the dossier in the book belies the good faith he attributes to Comey et al. McCarthy nevertheless provides the reader all the information necessary to arrive at his own conclusion on this point.

As I noted in my appreciation of the book, when Trump improbably won the election, Obama and his men turned the investigation into an ongoing effort to undo it. McCarthy shows how, after Trump’s inauguration, the effort continued secretly under Trump’s nose. The IG report confirms this point and adds details. McCarthy cites the details from the IG report in the linked NR column.

If Comey took the Steele Dossier at face value despite the FBI’s inability to verify any relevant assertion in it — if he thought that Christopher Steele picked up the phone and got the lowdown from the friends of Vladimir Putin, as the dossier purports to have done — he is an idiot, but I doubt that he is an idiot. By January 2017 Comey had had nearly half a year to verify the relevant allegations of the Steele Dossier, yet what he had was too much of nothing.

Now what? We await the answer.

I can’t find a review of McCarthy’s book in the organs of the mainstream media. Word has nevertheless gotten out. Encounter Books publisher Roger Kimball apprises me that the book is a bestseller: it debuts on The New York Times hardcover nonfiction bestseller list tomorrow at number 9 and previously reached number 2 or 3 at Amazon for a week.

I urge you to take the book in with your own eyes. The book can be previewed in excerpts posted by NR here, here, here, and here.

Steele Dossier by Scott Johnson on Scribd

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