What exactly was it that sparked the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign to investigate potential collusion with Russia?
In December of 2017, the New York Times told us that it was interactions involving former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos that sparked their investigation – which is in direct contradiction to statements made by former CIA Director John Brennan, who claims that it was he who did so by relaying British intelligence to the FBI. “I was aware,” Brennan said in May, “of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons that raised concerns in my mind about whether or not those individuals were cooperating with the Russians, either in a witting or unwitting fashion, and it served as the basis for the FBI investigation to determine whether such collusion—cooperation occurred.”
The “finding” was based on DNS logs – and spread by Hillary Clinton herself
The fact that there are conflicting narratives as to how the FBI’s investigation started proves that launching an investigation which could derail the Trump campaign was priority #1 – while coming up with a specific reason to justify it was secondary. All they were certain of (or at least pretended to be certain of) was that Trump colluded with the Russians.
And it didn’t matter how they “proved” it, especially to Fusion GPS, which was feeding the FBI their bogus opposition research. We’re now learning just now of how one popular bogus conspiracy theory before the election, which alleged Donald Trump maintained a computer server in Trump Tower during the campaign which allowed him to communicate directly with Russia, was pushed by Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson (who later denied doing so). Slate Magazine published the “bombshell” story alleging that a server in Trump Tower was communicating with Alfa Bank, Russia’s largest bank. The “finding” was based on DNS logs – and spread by Hillary Clinton herself.
The left-wing publication The Intercept later debunked the story, pointing out that Trump Tower’s server was sending promotional emails promoting Trump hotels, not secret messages to Russia. In reality, among those thousands of people receiving emails included Alfa Bank employees who’ve stayed at Trump properties.
The truth of the matter didn’t stop Glenn Simpson, however. According to notes written by Bruce Ohr obtained by the Washington Times, Simpson actively pushed the discredited conspiracy theory in an effort to have the Justice Department investigate. The fact that Simpson would lie for political purposes isn’t the story here – it’s that he lied to Congress about it. To summarize the key parts of the Times’ report:
- Simpson told senators he didn’t know whether there was any dedicated Trump-Alfa server and drew no conclusions, according to a transcript of his August 2017 closed-door testimony.
- Simpson continued to push the theory even after it was discredited. In December 2016, Ohr met with He made note of Simpson, saying: “The New York Times story on Oct. 31 downplaying the connection between Alfa servers and the Trump campaign was incorrect. There was communication and it wasn’t spam.” If Ohr’s note taking is correct, Simpson was clearly pushing the Alfa narrative.
- When questioned during his Senate testimony by Heather Sawyer, Sawyer asked “Do you have any information there have been reports about potential communications between a server at Alfa Bank and potentially servers that belong to the Trump organization or Trump — some entity associated with Donald Trump? Do you have any information about those particular reports?” Simpson responded: “That’s kind of an open-ended question. I think what I said is we were asked about that and it wasn’t — that information wasn’t generated by us and I’m happy to say it’s beyond our competence to have generated, but in the course of being asked about it, you know, people gave us information. I don’t know what else to say.”
- In Ohr’s notes, Simpson is quoted on another occasion as referencing an “Alfa server in US as link to campaign.”
It’s either Simpson lying, or Bruce Ohr. Of course, since Ohr never expected his notes to be read, it’s probably Simpson lying.
Chuck Grassley already caught Simpson in one lie, when Simpson told his committee that he had no anti-Trump clients. Still no word on how Simpson, the man funded by the Clinton Campaign to produce opposition research on Trump, managed to say that with a straight face.