After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, law enforcement began using a controversial technique to prevent future attacks. Reporters working for the radio podcast “This American Life” compared it to the premise of the 1998 movie, “The Truman Show.” If you haven’t watched that, it’s about a man who unwittingly stars in a complex television show in which all the figures in his life are actors.
“This American Life” No. 387 profiles the sting operation that successfully led to a felony conviction against Hemant Lakhani for selling a shoulder-fired missile to terrorists. Upon his arrest, Lakhani asked, “Where is everyone else?” referring to the numerous players in the conspiracy. His lawyer then broke the news: they were all government agents. Every aspect of the “conspiracy” was provided by the government, including the hotel room where the transaction took place, the fake missile, the fake terrorist, the fake missile supplier, etc.
Like the main character in “The Truman Show,” Lakhani unwittingly starred in an elaborately staged piece of fiction that slowly drew him into committing an overt act that led to his arrest and conviction even though all the other conspirators were simply actors using props and scripts.
“This American Life” notes these “Truman Show” prosecutions have led to several highly publicized arrests and convictions of “terrorists” who were radicalized, financed, and encouraged by federal agents. In some instances, “This American Life” reported, the “terrorists” were simply lonely, low-IQ, near-homeless people seduced by the money and attention the government used to bait them into the crimes.
New Strzok-Page texts reveal “Media Leak Strategy.” @FoxNews So terrible, and NOTHING is being done at DOJ or FBI – but the world is watching, and they get it completely.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2018
In several eerily similar instances related to the Russia investigation, actors attempting to entice Donald Trump campaign officials were connected to either the U.S. government or to Hillary Clinton-retained opposition research firm Fusion GPS, or both. Are we watching “The Truman Show,” Russia edition, starring Donald Trump?
1. Joseph Mifsud Plants an Idea in Papadopoulos’s Head
Consider first the April 2016 conversation in London between Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos and professor Joseph Mifsud. Misfud planted in Papadopoulos’ head the idea the Russians had damaging information about Clinton. Misfud is a Maltese professor who may also be “an FBI informant or an asset of a foreign government,” although the truth about him remains under wraps.
Shortly after that meeting, Australian Ambassador Alexander Downer, who once “arranged one of the largest foreign donations to Bill and Hillary Clinton’s” foundation, reached out to Papadopoulos for a meeting. Downer scooped up the rumor Misfud apparently planted. He then passed that rumor back to Elizabeth Dibble, who “previously served as a principal deputy assistant secretary in Mrs. Clinton’s State Department.”
Next, Henry Greenberg, a longtime FBI informant, tried something similar with Trump campaign staffer Michael Caputo. Greenberg claimed to have “unspecified dirt” on Clinton. Trump campaign associate Roger Stone rebuffed the offer when Greenberg asked for money for the information.
2. The Trump Tower Entrapment
This brings us to the crown jewel of the Trump-Russia conspiracy theorists: The Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr. Like a scene from “The Truman Show,” Fusion GPS is connected to many of the actors and the essential prop: the file on Clinton used as bait for the meeting.
Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya was in America to represent a Russian client she shared with Fusion GPS. This allowed her to attend the Trump Tower meeting. Veselnitskaya approached Trump Jr. through the son of Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov, claiming to have documents and information from the Russian government that would incriminate Clinton. She did not have documents from the Russian government. Her bait was a file on Hillary Clinton that Fusion GPS had created.
Let’s stop here. If the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory were true, then at the time Veselnitskaya offered the meeting to Donald Jr., she should have been able to offer him some of the emails Russia had allegedly stolen. The Democratic National Committee alleges that Russia stole emails from the DNC server in April of 2016—approximately a month and a half before the Trump Tower meeting.
So why would it be necessary to use Fusion GPS research as bait if Veselnitskaya actually represented the Russian government? Probably because the Veselnitskaya file on Hillary was a Fusion GPS-created phony prop. Like Truman noticing the fake elevator or the actors who just keep repeating the same fake behavior, Trump Jr. appeared to have smelled a rat during the meeting and left.
Veselnitskaya met with Fusion GPS founder Glen Simpson immediately before and after the Trump Tower meeting. Also in the meeting was Rinat Akhmetshin, who had known Simpson for “over a decade” prior to the meeting. In other words, the Russian actors in the Trump Tower meeting were cast from Fusion GPS’s rolodex.
3. Stefan Halper’s Information Plants
In the last few months, we learned of another actor with ties to the FBI, Stefan Halper. He appears to be on retainer with the Central Intelligence Agency. He paid to have Papadopoulos come back to London in July 2016. In a private moment, Halper is said to have told Papadopoulos, “George, you know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?” Papadopoulos told Halper he didn’t know anything about emails or Russian hacking, and Halper dropped the topic.
4. Bruce Ohr’s Recruitment of a Russian Oligarch
Finally, we recently learned that Bruce Ohr attempted to recruit yet another Russian act in the show. On September 1, The New York Times revealed that Ohr attempted to recruit Russian oligarch Oleg V. Deripaska, whom the Times says is Vladimir Putin’s favorite oligarch.
Ohr and Steele had relationships with Deripaska going back to 2014. They dangled an offer of visas to get Deripaska to accept the role. Deripaska has denied that Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort had served as a link between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Then there is this stunning admission near the end of the article: “Mr. Deripaska, though, told the F.B.I. agents that while he had no love for Mr. Manafort, with whom he was in a bitter business dispute, he found their theories about his role on the campaign ‘preposterous.’ He also disputed that there were any connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to the person familiar with the exchange.”
After almost two years of Trump-Russia, we learned over the Labor Day weekend that their man inside Putin’s inner circle called the government’s theory of this conspiracy “preposterous.” That seems like something the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court might have wanted to know before continuing to grant permission to spy on an American.
Is this also something acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein knew before approving of the spying? Did he receive any briefings directly from Ohr about the Deripaska operation?
The New York Times’ anonymous source admits to illegally leaking the classified details of the failed Ohr/Steele Deripaska project to prevent the president from “cherry-picking” from it for his own political benefit. Fortunately for supporters of constitutional governance, such deep state actors outsmart themselves by continuing to confirm the DOJ’s interest in countermanding the results of American elections. Recall, in addition to attempting to engineer this Trump-Russia sting, Fusion GPS paid Ohr’s wife to help create the Trump-Russia dossier.
5. The Comey-Trump Meeting Setup
The final act of the DOJ’s Trump-Russia “Truman Show” was the January 2017 meeting between former FBI director James Comey and president-elect Trump, in which Comey revealed the dossier’s key salacious allegation that Putin had blackmail information on Trump. In this meeting, the top FBI official accomplished something a Mueller investigator cannot replicate: An unguarded interview between the president and law enforcement over the truth of the dossier.
Without an attorney present or time to prepare, Trump gave a spontaneous answer as Comey played a concerned advisor warning the president. The president expressed shock and gave the response an innocent person would give by asking if Comey could investigate to get the real facts out.
The show is now over. Truman’s analog, President Trump, is wise to the phony actors pretending to represent Russia. The election, likewise, is long over. Yet the Mueller investigation continues. These pre-election scenes have all been acted out and cannot be (truthfully) retroactively engineered. Mueller has ready access to the details of these scenes, as they are already known to those in the government and Fusion GPS who directed and scripted them.
Yet we are told that revealing the details of this sting operation will somehow interfere with the ongoing investigation. In reality, it’s the other way around. It’s not that the details of the sting need to be kept secret to protect the ongoing investigation. The DOJ keeps the investigation going as a pretext to continue obstructing inquiry into the sting.
The sting appears to constitute a Clinton campaign attempt to subcontract the DOJ to interfere with the U.S. election. The future fairness of our elections requires accountability. DOJ needs to come clean to the voters and their elected representatives.
This article has been corrected respecting the year in which the Trump-Comey meeting took place.