Not long ago, CNN and MSNBC, along with everyone from The New York Times and Washington Post to Bloomberg and Brookings, cited 18 U.S. Code 371 as a legal statute President Trump had possibly violated. This conspiracy statute is broad and deals with two or more individuals who conspire “to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose.”
After two years of a Mueller probe started by leaked memos from James Comey, and investigations fostered by a debunked dossier purchased by Hillary Clinton and Democrats, 18 U.S. Code 371 can ironically be used against those who investigated President Trump, without evidence he or anyone around him committed crimes associated with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) hack.
As for the alleged hacking, The Daily Beast’s Kevin Paulson wrote “Both the DNC and the security firm Crowdstrike, hired to respond to the breach, have said repeatedly over the years that they gave the FBI a copy of all the DNC images back in 2016.” Since the U.S. government never analyzed DNC servers in order to confirm the accuracy of Crowdstrike’s copies, and the DNC hired Crowdstrike, there’s an obvious conflict of interest in trusting a firm outsourced by Democrats. Like the Steele dossier, Americans were forced to take the “word” of people linked to Democratic Party funding that Russia had something on Trump, and that only endless investigations would put the allegations to rest.
With the Mueller probe done and no further indictments on the horizon, along with the fact no evidence was found of Trump colluding with Russia (hence, no further indictments), President Obama’s FBI officials now face a litany of criminal referrals from Rep. Devin Nunes and other Republicans. In addition to leaking classified memos and lying to Congress, conspiracy charges will be one aspect of the referrals Nunes sends to Attorney General William Barr.
The Trump administration will now embark on a journey to discover how and why these McCarthy-era probes were started in the first place. Most importantly, what evidence was used to form the basis of investigations targeting Trump?
How Did the Trump Investigation Take Hold?
The answer to this question is a dossier purchased by Trump’s political rivals that Obama’s Justice Department warned the FBI about, long before the Mueller probe. This warning is highlighted in an article by John Solomon titled “DOJ official warned Steele dossier was connected to Clinton, might be biased”:
Ohr’s testimony now debunks that claim, making clear he started talking to FBI and DOJ officials well before the FISA warrant or election had occurred. …the FBI did have derogatory information on Steele: Ohr explicitly told the FBI that Steele was desperate to defeat the man he was investigating and was biased.
And the FBI knew the motive of the client and did not have to speculate: Ohr told agents the Democratic nominee’s campaign was connected to the research designed to harm Trump’s election chances.
Such omissions are, by definition, an abuse of the FISA system.
Don’t take my word for it. Fired FBI Director James Comey acknowledged it himself when he testified last month that the FISA court relies on an honor system, in which the FBI is expected to divulge exculpatory evidence to the judges.
‘We certainly consider it our obligation, because of our trust relationship with federal judges, to present evidence that would paint a materially different picture of what we’re presenting,’ Comey testified on Dec. 7, 2018. ‘You want to present to the judge reviewing your application a complete picture of the evidence, both its flaws and its strengths.’
Comey claims he didn’t know about Ohr’s contacts with Steele, even though his top deputy, McCabe, got the first contact.
But none of that absolves his FBI, or the DOJ for that matter, from failing to divulge essential and exculpatory information from Ohr to the FISA court.
Lying to a FISA court is a crime, as is deliberately misleading FISA judges. Former FBI director James Comey, former deputy director Andrew McCabe, and Peter Strzok, a former counterintelligence agent, initiated investigations into the Trump campaign without the existence of a crime linked to Trump, using gossip and hearsay in the form of a dossier to obtain a FISA warrant.
There was also a conversation between George Papadopoulos and an Australian ambassador linked to the Clinton Foundation, as well as a Trump Jr. meeting with a Russian attorney Loretta Lynch allowed into the country with a special visa. Yet neither of these events resulted in any indictments of Trump or Trump Jr.
Suspicion Alone Sparked This Huge Witch Hunt
How is it that FBI officials justified an investigation based purely on suspicion?
While Democratic Sen. Mark Warner calls the notion that Obama spied on Trump a “long-debunked spying conspiracy theory,” it’s doubtful he and other Democrats would have accepted Bush or Trump obtaining a salacious dossier and then using it to investigate President Obama or Hillary Clinton. There was no reason to use a dossier purchased by Trump’s political rivals, nor was there any reason to use the hearsay from a London Barr (Alexander Downer’s account of the Papadopoulos conversation) without any evidence of a link between Trump and the alleged DNC hack.
Comey, Strzok, and McCabe almost certainly conspired to utilize a compilation of salacious and unverified allegations as evidence to begin a probe, especially since the Department of Justice had already warned the FBI about endless issues pertaining to the dossier.
We already know Strzok wanted to stop Trump from becoming president, as reported in a New York Times piece by Michael S. Schmidt titled “Top Agent Said F.B.I. Would Stop Trump From Becoming President”:
New texts released Thursday by the Justice Department’s inspector general show that the F.B.I. agent overseeing the investigation into President Trump’s campaign pledged to stop Mr. Trump from becoming president.
‘[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right?’ asked a top F.B.I. lawyer, Lisa Page, in one text. ‘Right?!’
Peter Strzok, the agent overseeing the F.B.I.’s investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russia, answered, ‘No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.’
The exchange, in August 2016, came shortly after the investigation into Russian tampering with the election began.
Could you imagine the media outrage if Clinton were indicted in 2016 and Strzok had texted “We’ll stop” Clinton? Strzok’s text messages are sufficient evidence to prove intent of a conspiracy, along with the constant media leaks that resulted in McCabe and FBI counsel James Baker coming under criminal investigation.
Finally, in addition to the incriminating texts between Strzok and Lisa Page, as well as the fact Bruce Ohr notified the FBI about why the agency shouldn’t use the Steele dossier to obtain a FISA warrant, Comey committed a crime by leaking classified memos to initiate the Mueller probe. According to a press release, at least one memo Comey leaked was classified:
After a review of the seven memoranda created by former Director Comey, it is now clear that four are marked classified at various levels of sensitivity. Former Director Comey reportedly provided copies of four memos to Columbia Law School Professor Daniel Richman. If true, that would mean at least one disclosed memo contained information now-marked classified.
See a pattern?
FBI officials leaking information for political purposes while using a dossier purchased by Clinton should never have been the hallmarks of a two-year investigation into a duly elected president. Now that endless probes have resulted in zero evidence Trump colluded with Vladimir Putin to hack the DNC or purchase Facebook ads, Americans need the truth about the origins of the Mueller probe.
Without Trump declassifying further documents, the public record alone is enough to charge Comey, Strzok, and McCabe under existing conspiracy statutes for conducting sprawling investigations and utilizing government agencies purely for political outcomes.