The Russia Hoax has Collapsed
The final nails are finally being hammered into the “Russian collusion” narrative’s coffin, and new developments from the past week should cause even Trump’s most hysterical critics to reconsider (which they won’t, of course).
Dan documented the death of the collusion narrative yesterday on the podcast. If you missed it – here’s what you need to know.
Comey Deflects Dossier Dirt
After speaking with the House Judiciary and Oversight Committee, fired FBI head James Comey came out firing against Fox News and Trump. “So another day of Hillary Clinton’s emails and the Steele dossier. This while the President of the United States is lying about the FBI, attacking the FBI and attacking the rule of law in this country. How does that make any sense at all?” Comey asked, before then blaming distrust of the FBI on Fox News.
Though truly, Comey should be blaming distrust of the FBI on the FBI’s actions. Even former assistant FBI counterintelligence division director Bill Priestap acknowledged that dossier wasn’t verified before being used to justify surveillance on members of the Trump campaign team. And as we documented in “Spygate,” there are countless other procedures the FBI ignored or violated in using the Steele dossier. Is concern over the FBI ignoring procedures to justify politically-motivated spying something that only concerns Fox News viewers? If so, that paints Fox News viewers in a positive light.
Of course, Comey is only deflecting to blame Fox News to deflect away from his own role in pushing the bogus dossier, which is even more bogus than we thought.
The Dossier – Glaring Errors Remain, Trump Critics Express Doubt, and Steele Admits Political Motivation
While it’s not like the dossier had any credibility in the first place, we can revise its “D-” grade for truthfulness to a straight “F” for a number of reasons.
- The dossier story that Michael Cohen visited Prague to pay Russian hackers remained unverified. Cohen’s spokesman Lanny Davis (a Clinton ally) laughed off the alleged Prague trip when asked about if it happened on MSNBC, telling host Kasie Hunt “No. No. Everybody, America, we all love Kasie’s show. No, no Prague, ever, never.” And Cohen, who is now turning on Trump, still denies the Prague story and hasn’t corroborated any elements of the collusion narrative (which he probably would if it were true).
- Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Greg Miller said during a book interview that sources at the FBI and CIA don’t believe that the Prague incident ever happened. Miller said that Post reporters “literally spent weeks and months trying to run down” leads from the dossier, and that they “sent reporters through every hotel in Prague, through all over the place, just to try to figure out if he was ever there, and came away empty.” Interestingly, that fact has yet to be reported in the Washington Post.
- “Russian Roulette” author Michael Isikoff (which pushes the collusion narrative) now acknowledges that the dossier is “likely false.”
- There’s no secret that the dossier is politically motivated (as indicated by the Clinton campaign funding its creation), but we finally have Steele on record admitting as much thanks to a lawsuit from Russian bankers smeared in his dossier. In an answer to questions from interrogators, Steele wrote “Fusion’s immediate client was law firm Perkins Coie. It engaged Fusion to obtain information necessary for Perkins Coie LLP to provide legal advice on the potential impact of Russian involvement on the legal validity of the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential election. Based on that advice, parties such as the Democratic National Committee and HFACC Inc. (also known as ‘Hillary for America’) could consider steps they would be legally entitled to take to challenge the validity of the outcome of that election.”
Is there anyone not in agreement that the dossier is a politically motivated hoax, except James Comey? It’s certainly not just “Fox News” saying as much, and thus far, the only evidence of attempted foreign meddling in the 2016 election came from the Clinton camp. Comey doesn’t have a problem with that, apparently.
The Framing of Flynn – New Information
In the past we’ve documented how Michael Flynn was setup, having not been charged with a crime relating to collusion, but rather for misremembering the contents of a telephone conversation he had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak over sanctions. In late December 2016, the two discussed the sanctions against Russia Obama had just passed, and Kislyak promised that Russia would not react with sanctions of their own. Other sanctions related to Israel were also discussed. Flynn reportedly didn’t recall discussing sanctions when quizzed by the FBI.
At worst, it seemed that Flynn simply misremembered his conversation, which is extremely likely.
In a stunning new development, we’ve learned from a 302 report that proper protocol wasn’t followed to protect Flynn against entrapment. A 302 report contains accounts from the agents of what they said and did while interviewing Flynn, and the FBI waited over half a year to detail the Flynn interview. Interestingly, there were two 302 reports, which Robert Mueller claims was due to a drafting error (though many are speculating it proves the 302 was edited). The 302 contains numerous pieces of damaging information, including:
- Flynn saying “yes, good reminder” when being asked about whether he discussed sanctions related to Israel with Kislyak (he did), even though the public was told Flynn lied in response to that question.
- The fact that Flynn spoke with representatives from thirty other countries on December 22nd, making it likely that Flynn could’ve been confusing his calls when answering the FBI’s questions.
- The revelation that Flynn had at least one other conversation with Kisylak (again, making it likely he could be truthful about the contents of a conversation he was confusing with another). Flynn thanks the FBI for this reminder (which isn’t indicative of an adversarial interview), and says he doesn’t remember if he discussed sanctions about Russia (which is radically different from a denial).
If I were asked to recall a random phone conversation while on vacation, I doubt I’d be able to do it. Add in thirty other calls, and faulty memory is to be expected. No one has yet to put forward a convincing motive for why Flynn would knowingly lie to the FBI. Given he didn’t do anything illegal, why would he bother?
For a more extensive summary, give the podcast a listen for yourself.