Fusion GPS — Christopher Steele Trump “dossier” is a Big Fat Lie

From Tabletmag.com, “Did Simpson Lie to Congress” by Lee Smith

The whole Russia Collusion Fusion GPS Christopher Steele “dossier” is turning out to be a big fat lie.

The Democrats were running the table on the GOP, with an eye to using the dossier as an instrument to impeach Trump should they retake the House in 2018.

But the last few weeks, Congressional and Senate Republicans, few of whom seem particularly enamored of Trump himself, are starting to push back, signaling their willingness to enforce established laws that prohibit activities like leaking intelligence intercepts for domestic partisan political purposes and lying to Congress. The back and forth has left partisans on both sides loathe to turn away lest they miss the latest update from CNN, MSNBC, or FOX, at the same time as outlets that basked for the past year in the non-stop attention of viewers—and the open checkbooks of advertisers—are suddenly worried about what happens if the biggest story since O.J. turns out to be a big lie.

Yes, after a year of wall-to-wall reporting inspired by or based on charges in the Steele dossier, the New York Times broke a story right before New Year’s Eve—a traditional dumping ground for bad news—stating that the FBI’s Russia investigation into the Trump campaign in fact had nothing to do with “a dossier compiled by a former British spy hired by [the Clinton] campaign. Instead, it was firsthand information from one of America’s closest intelligence allies” that kicked off the probe. According to the Times’ switcheroo, the origin point of the Trump-Russia investigation was a boozy May 2016 evening in a London bar where a 28-year-old Trump campaign aide named George Papadopoulos boasted to an Australian diplomat that “Moscow had thousands of emails that would embarrass Mrs. Clinton, apparently stolen in an effort to try to damage her campaign.”

Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch’s op-ed in the Times supported the new revised version of Russiagate holding that it’s not about the work that originated with their firm. “We don’t believe the Steele dossier was the trigger for the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russian meddling,” they wrote.

It’s not hard to see why the Times, which rejected the dossier before embracing it, is now backing off the dossier again. For all of the newsprint and air-time used to push the dossier for 14 months, nothing that hadn’t already been publicly reported prior to the 2016 campaign has panned out, nor have any of the accusations regarding Trump. There is also the fact dossier may have been used to secure a FISA warrant to spy on Trump’s associates, and therefore on the candidate himself, which would be a political scandal of a magnitude likely to transcend partisan divides.

For if the FBI and Department of Justice used a piece of opposition research paid for by a political campaign as evidence for a warrant to intercept the communications of a rival campaign—and the questions asked by congressional investigators suggest they did—then we are now living in a very different America than the one that generations of civil libertarians and small-government conservatives alike desired to maintain, and which large majorities in Congress have repeatedly voted for. The DOJ, the FBI and perhaps the CIA would be embroiled in a scandal likely to have long-lasting and sweeping consequences for intelligence collection, national security, and the safety and privacy of American citizens, to say nothing of how it will demoralize federal law enforcement, which will appear to be mired in partisanship and political corruption.

Read the whole thing.

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