The evidence continues to mount that during the Obama administration, the FBI used George Papadopoulos as a prop to legitimize launching its investigation into the Donald Trump campaign. While the FBI claimed it initiated Crossfire Hurricane on July 31, 2016 in response to reports that Russian-linked individuals told Papadopoulos the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton, that story seemed shaky from the start.
Since then, text and email messages between former MI6 spy and Fusion GPS dossier author Christopher Steele and twice-demoted Department of Justice attorney Bruce Ohr raised the possibility that information Steele fed the FBI through Ohr was the true justification for the the FBI targeting the Trump campaign. A Wednesday tweet from Carter Page gives further credence to the suggestion that the Hillary Clinton campaign-funded Steele dossier served as the basis for the FBI’s interest in the Trump campaign.
In his tweet, Page included a screen grab of a July 2016 text message from Washington Post reporter Damian Paletta (who was then working for the Wall Street Journal) asking the former Trump campaign advisor about his supposed meeting in Moscow with Igor Sechin, and another meeting Page reportedly had with “a senior Kremlin official—Divyekin—and he said they have solid kompromat on Clinton as well as Trump.”
The details in Paletta’s text mirror the information contained in the Steele dossier memorandum dated July 19, 2016. The July 26, 2016, date of the text indicates Steele must have shared his supposed intelligence with the Washington Post reporter around that time. Here are relevant sections in the dossier memorandum, below.
It is difficult to fathom that Steele would share the details of his dossier with a reporter but not with his long-time friend Ohr when Steele met with Bruce and his wife Nellie on July 30, 2016 in Washington D.C. Yet, in his memorandum on the Russian investigation, incoming House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff claimed “Steele’s reporting did not reach the counterintelligence team investigating Russia at FBI headquarters until mid-September 2016, more than seven weeks after the FBI opened its investigation, because the probe’s existence was so closely held within the FBI.”
A second detail from this week’s reporting on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation adds further evidence to the fraud the FBI pushed in pointing to Papadopoulos as the basis for the Russian probe. Papadopoulos’ purported Russian connection was a Maltese academic named Joseph Mifsud, who supposedly told Papadopoulos that the Russians had dirt on Clinton. However, as I noted previously, in February 2017—more than six months after the FBI launched their investigation into the Trump campaign—Mifsud spoke at a State Department-sponsored function in Washington D.C., at which time the FBI interviewed him. Mifsud later returned to Italy and disappeared.
Contrast the FBI’s kid-glove handling of Mifsud, the supposed Russian agent, with how Mueller’s team treated a London-based academic named Ted Malloch. Malloch made news again this week when Jerome Corsi, a former bureau chief for InfoWars and WorldNetDaily author, claimed Mueller’s team wanted him to testify that he “was the conduit to WikiLeaks and Assange for Roger Stone, who in turn had been a conduit to the campaign.”
While Corsi denied contacting WikiLeaks’ founder, Corsi reportedly forwarded Malloch an email from Stone, in which Stone wrote: “Get to Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending WikiLeaks emails.” Corsi claims he never heard back from Malloch and had no contact to Assange.
Unlike the FBI’s friendly tete-a-tete with Mifsud while the latter spoke at a State Department event, the FBI intercepted Malloch at Boston’s Logan airport following a flight from London, and interrogated him. Malloch described the experience as “bewildering and intimidating,” noting agents “separated him from his wife” and inspected his cell phone. Malloch claimed the agents “seemed to know everything about” him.
Whether anything comes of the special counsel’s current focus on Stone and Corsi is yet to be seen. But what should be clear by now is that the FBI never expressed a similar interest in Mifsud, the purported Russian connection whose tip about “dirt” on Clinton supposedly justified launching the investigation into the Trump campaign in the first instance.
Why might that be? Because Steele was always the FBI’s source—they just couldn’t admit it publicly.
This article has been updated to note that Paletta was working for the Wall Street Journal at the time of the text quoted here.