The focus seems to be shifting in the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. While Democrats demanded the investigation and have tried to keep the focus on allegations of Trump/Russia collusion, the evidence — and top Republicans — seem to be pushing the investigation in a different direction: whether those involved in the creation of the Trump “dossier” that was at ground zero of the investigation violated the law.
The New York Times reported last week — in typical liberal style — that:
Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a senior committee member, told the Justice Department that they had reason to believe that a former British spy, Christopher Steele, lied to federal authorities about his contacts with reporters regarding information in a dossier, and they urged the department to investigate. The committee is running one of three congressional investigations into Russian election meddling, and its inquiry has come to focus on, in part, Mr. Steele’s explosive dossier that purported to detail Russia’s interference and the Trump campaign’s complicity.
And while the folks over at the Times attempt to paint a picture of Republicans persecuting “one of the people who sought to expose” “Russian interference in the presidential election,” the fact is that if Steele (shown) “lied to federal authorities about his contacts with reporters regarding information in a dossier,” he is no hero; he is a criminal.
Considering that the “dossier” Steele authored for Fusion GPS — which was illegally funded by the DNC and the Clinton campaign — is itself rife with misstatements, false statements, factual errors, and fantastic speculation presented as evidence, it is not difficult to believe that Steele would lie to federal authorities. And it is only fitting that the fraudulent “dossier” — which served as the launching platform for all of these investigations — should find itself (and its author) at the center of an investigation. As to the fraudulent nature of the “dossier,” there is little (if any) room for any other view. As this writer wrote after the document was made public:
Besides the misspellings and factual errors, the document is rife with such poor grammar formatting, a high school teacher would be forced to either return the document as incomplete or give it a failing grade. Furthermore, the “dossier” accuses Aleksej Gubarev and his company XBT Holding of “using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct ‘altering operations’ against the Democratic Party leadership.” (A botnet is a group of Internet-connected computers often used to send spam e-mails or conduct other hacking operations.) Again, as before, the claim of the report lacks anything resembling evidence, and is — in fact — contradicted by facts.
Considering the following points, it is difficult to draw any other conclusion than that the intelligence community deliberately used a document that is fraudulent on its face in a politically motivated disinformation campaign for the purpose of either keeping Trump out of the White House or at the very least deligitimizing his presidency from the start.
• Aleksej Gubarev, who is supposed to have been “recruited under duress” by the FSB as a “hacking expert” to run a botnet operation to hack the DNC and Clinton campaign, was never even contacted by intelligence agents.
• Trump associates Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, and Carter Page, who were supposed to have handled all the heavy lifting in Trump’s dirty deal with Russian intelligence, deny having done so and the intelligence community has provided no proof that they did.
• Michael Cohen has proved — by his passport — that he was not even out of the country at the time the report claims he was meeting with Trump’s FSB handlers; in fact, Cohen has never been to Prague.
Even a cursory investigation by any low-level agent of the intelligence organizations involved in this fiasco would have shown them that there is nothing to this document. Instead, the closest any intelligence official has come to admitting that it is a fraud is when Director of National Intelligence James Clapper admitted that the “document is not a U.S. Intelligence Community product” and that the intelligence community “has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable.” Of course, this concession falls short.
Regardless of the fact that the “dossier” has been completely discredited, the anti-Trump Left has attempted recently to take it out of moth balls, dust it off, and hold it up as evidence of Trump/Russia collusion. In fact, as this writer reported in a recent article, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) used her position as a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday to release the transcript of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson's August interview with Senate Judiciary Committee investigators. In that interview, Simpson's lawyer claimed that Simpson has to be “very careful to protect his sources,” adding, “Somebody's already been killed as a result of the publication of this dossier and no harm should come to anybody related to this honest work.”
So now, a year after the publication of the “dossier,” its author may face legal charges for lying to investigators about contacts he had with reporters in regard to the claims found in the document. A letter, dated January 4, 2018 and signed by Grassley and Graham was sent to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray. That letter says:
Attached please find a classified memorandum related to certain communications between Christopher Steele and multiple U.S. news outlets regarding the so-called “Trump dossier” that Mr. Steele compiled on behalf of Fusion GPS for the Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee and also provided to the FBI.
Based on the information contained therein, we are respectfully referring Mr. Steele to you for investigation of potential violations if 18 U.S.C. § 1001, for statements the committee has reason to believe Mr. Steele made regarding his distribution of the information contained in the dossier.
18 U.S.C. § 1001 (a) (1) addresses anyone who “in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact." The penalty for violating the law is a fine and up to five years imprisonment.
It appears that Steele had contact with reporters and is at least one source of the “leak” that led some media to report on the “dossier” last year. It also appears that Steele lied to investigators about those contacts. The funny thing about liars is that the safest bet is to doubt everything they say and everything they write.
Grassley — apparently keenly aware of the partisan animosity surrounding this issue — said, “I don’t take lightly making a referral for criminal investigation,” adding, “But, as I would with any credible evidence of a crime unearthed in the course of our investigations, I feel obliged to pass that information along to the Justice Department for appropriate review.”
With the focus of one investigation after another shifting from spurious and unconfirmed speculation of Trump/Russia collusion and toward the people and organizations that led America down that rabbit trail, things are starting to get interesting.
The liberal media is making Steele out to be a persecuted hero, and Democrats have come out swinging. For instance, Feinstein — besides releasing the transcript of Simpson's interview with her committee’s investigators — made a statement about the referral for criminal investigation, saying, “It’s clearly another effort to deflect attention from what should be the committee’s top priority: determining whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the election and whether there was subsequent obstruction of justice.”
Photo of Christopher Steele: AP Images