You know, there are times where you wonder how much dynamite you have to stick in the ears of the liberal media before they hear anything. With the Trump dossier, alleged FISA abuses, and Carter Page, Trump’s former foreign policy adviser for his 2016 campaign, back in the news, the fact checkers at the Associated Press tried to say it’s not right to call the infamous dossier a “Clinton campaign document” because…a couple of close aides didn’t know what was going on, or something. Yeah, that’s an understatement. If they knew, Hillary would be president. The Clinton campaign didn’t know a lot, but this attempt by the liberal media spin away the ramifications of the Steele dossier, also known as the Trump dossier, is just mind-numbingly stupid. Here’s the spin cycle on maximum (via CBS News) [emphasis mine]:
TRUMP: "It was classified to cover up misconduct by the FBI and the Justice Department in misleading the Court by using this Dossier in a dishonest way to gain a warrant to target the Trump Team. This is a Clinton Campaign document. It was a fraud and a hoax designed to target Trump ...."
THE FACTS: Wiretap requests are routinely classified to protect sources and methods, not to cover up misconduct by the FBI or Justice Department.
Multiple news organizations, including The Associated Press, requested that the government release the documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The New York Times and others sued for its release, resulting in the documents being posted to the FBI's website.
It's also not correct to call the Steele dossier a "Clinton Campaign document." Steele was hired by Fusion GPS, a private research firm that in turn was hired by a law firm that represented the Democratic campaign. But Clinton's closest aides said they didn't learn about the research until after the election, which is probable considering they never raised the allegations publicly.
First, even The Washington Post reported that this was a joint Clinton-Democratic National Committee venture. Here’s the Cliff Notes version, folks. A law firm working with the Clinton campaign, along with the DNC, retained the services of the research firm Fusion GPS. GPS then hired former MI6 spook Christopher Steele to get dirt on Trump; Steele’s sources included former and current officials within the Kremlin (via WaPo):
Some of the pushback on the left has focused on the fact that a still-unidentified Republican client retained Fusion GPS to do research on Trump before the Clinton campaign and the DNC did. Thus, they argue, it's wrong to say the dossier was just funded by Democrats.
But the dossier's author, Steele, wasn't brought into the mix until after Democrats retained Fusion GPS. So while both sides paid Fusion GPS, Steele was only funded by Democrats.
Yes, the conservative Washington Free Beacon also hired Fusion to do research on multiple GOP presidential candidates, but the information gleaned in that operation was public, and none of it appeared in the Trump dossier.
The Trump dossier is not an intelligence brief. It’s a piece of partisan campaign opposition research that was allegedly used to secure a FISA warrant to spy on Page. That, along with other aspects of the FISA process in this incident, is at the heart of the controversy here. The dossier is alleged to be the “insurance policy” that disgraced FBI Agent Peter Strzok referred to in a text to Lisa Page, a former FBI lawyer with whom he was having an extramarital affair. The two exchanged tens of thousands of texts that were anti-Trump, while Strzok was a key player in two of the most sensitive FBI investigations in recent memory: the Hillary Clinton email probe and the counterintelligence investigation into whether the Trump campaign collude with the Russians. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now quarterbacking the Russia investigation. It embarrassed the FBI. The notions of anti-Trump bias and the fixing of investigations have embroiled the Department of Justice. Strzok and Page did text about how they felt the FBI was going too hard on Hillaryduring the email probe, and that Strzok reportedly did nothingwhen presented with evidence that the former first lady’s unsecure and unauthorized email server was breached.
But we’ve digressed from the fact checkers’ aversion to face facts here.
“It's also not correct to call the Steele dossier a "Clinton Campaign document,” they said. Wait—what was that again Washington Post [emphasis mine]:
The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump's connections to Russiaand possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said.
Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research.
After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, according to those people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The Clinton campaign and the DNC, through the law firm, continued to fund Fusion GPS's research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day.
“The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump's connections to Russia,” well—that sounds like it was a “Clinton campaign document,” folks. There are many questions here. Some have been unanswered for months, and while Congress has asked for documents that could lead to the truth, the DOJ has decided to drag its feet on disclosure.