Long before the special counsel probe ended in confirming there was no collusion between President Trump and Russia, the U.S. government knew there was no evidence of a vast conspiracy between Trump and a foreign power.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate “ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials” on May 17, 2017. President Obama’s director of national intelligence James Clapper had access and was privy to all the “evidence” the U.S. government collected since the Russia investigation began in July 2016.
From July 2016 until Clapper’s appearance on “Meet the Press” in March 2017, not one shred of evidence linked anyone in Trump’s campaign to allegations listed in the Christopher Steele dossier or Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos’s meeting with Australian diplomat Alexander Downer. Clapper stated to Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on March 5, 2017 that the National Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Central Intelligence Agency had collected “no evidence” regarding “improper contacts” between Trump and Russia:
CHUCK TODD: Well, that’s an important revelation at this point. Let me ask you this. Does intelligence exist that can definitively answer the following question, whether there were improper contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials?
JAMES CLAPPER: We did not include any evidence in our report, and I say, ‘our,’ that’s N.S.A., F.B.I. and C.I.A., with my office, the Director of National Intelligence, that had anything, that had any reflection of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians. There was no evidence of that included in our report.
CHUCK TODD: I understand that. But does it exist?
JAMES CLAPPER: Not to my knowledge.
CHUCK TODD: If it existed, it would have been in this report?
JAMES CLAPPER: This could have unfolded or become available in the time since I left the government.
CHUCK TODD: At some–
JAMES CLAPPER: But at the time, we had no evidence of such collusion.
So, President Obama’s top intelligence official and a man with access to FBI, CIA, and NSA surveillance on President Trump’s campaign stated categorically that no evidence existed of “any reflection of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians.” This was two months before Rosenstein appointed Mueller special counsel, and Clapper’s knowledge dated into 2017. So why did Rosenstein appoint Mueller?
Furthermore, the intelligence gathered for the reports Clapper referenced was compiled in 2016 and resulted in assessments of confidence, not any guarantees or certainty of the Russians even hacking the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Clapper’s referenced joint Department of Homeland Security and FBI report begins with an actual warranty disclaimer:
DISCLAIMER: This report is provided ‘as is’ for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within. DHS does not endorse any commercial product or service referenced in this advisory or otherwise.
This report makes serious allegations of election interference, alongside a disclaimer that states DHS “does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information” of Russia interfering in the election.
The description of Russia’s cyber campaign against the United States is not backed by the United States in terms of a legal guarantee, as stated in the disclaimer. There is no certainty or guarantees regarding Democratic Party suspicion that Trump obtained Facebook ads or helped Russians hack the DNC in this report. The DHS report, like Clapper’s admission on “Meet the Press,” is simply a guess based on suspicion, not a statement on evidence. Like Obama CIA director John Brennan said during congressional hearings (0:15 on the link), “I don’t do evidence, I do intelligence.”
As for the ODNI report Clapper compiled from the DHS report and intelligence derived from the NSA and possibly other agencies, there’s an even more amusing warranty disclaimer within Annex B, the last page of the document:
Judgments are not intended to imply we have proof that shows something to be a fact. Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary…
High confidence generally indicates that judgments are based on high quality information from multiple sources. High confidence in a judgement; such judgments might be wrong.
Therefore, if the FBI and CIA are highly confident that Russia hacked the DNC in order to embarrass Clinton, or that Facebook ads were part of a sophisticated Russian campaign, the ODNI report categorically states “such judgments might be wrong” and “judgments are not intended to imply we have proof that shows something to be a fact.” Americans still don’t know which Russian Facebook ads influenced a specific number of voters in certain swing states to vote Trump, nor did the U.S. government ever confirm the DNC-hired Crowdstrike’s analysis of DNC servers.
Finally, the infamous Steele dossier is linked directly to Hillary Clinton, as explained in a Washington Post article titled “Clinton campaign, DNC paid for research that led to Russia dossier” by Adam Entous, Devlin Barrett, and Rosalind S. Helderman:
The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund research that resulted in a now-famous dossier containing allegations about President Trump’s connections to Russia and possible coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, people familiar with the matter said.
Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research.
After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community…
The Clinton campaign and the DNC, through the law firm, continued to fund Fusion GPS’s research through the end of October 2016, days before Election Day.
Since both the DHS and ODNI reports have warranty disclaimers stating nothing written in them should be taken as fact, and the Steele dossier used by fired FBI officials James Comey, Peter Strzok, and Andrew McCabe is linked to Clinton’s funding, why was President Trump investigated by Mueller? The narrative of Russian meddling is only bolstered by “high” to “moderate” confidence assessments of the NSA, FBI, and CIA, not certainty.
Mueller’s appointment, and the behavior of FBI and intelligence officials that preceded this two-year investigation, point to violations of U.S. Code 371 and a conspiracy to defraud the United States. If mere allegation, suspicion, and dossiers were enough to form investigations then Attorney General William Barr should simply pick up Peter Schweizer’s “Clinton Cash,” a book documenting alleged pay to play schemes of the Clinton Foundation, to generate evidence to open a special counsel into the Obama-era uranium deal.
Democrats, however, would never allow what they did to President Trump to be leveled at them, and nothing about Clinton warrants suspicion in their minds. Ultimately, Barr and Republicans must uncover why Clapper and others investigated Clinton’s political rival with “no evidence” of a crime.