Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America relish enjoy watching the credibility of the Steele dossier implode even further now that disreputable Clinton fixer Sid Blumenthal is being implicated for feeding information to Steele. They also shake their heads as President Trump says he would love a government shutdown unless he gets his way on border security just weeks after Republicans successfully convinced Americans that funding the government should not be contingent upon passing an immigration bill. And they have no problem honoring the U.S. military with a parade as President Trump wants to do, but Jim says there are more pressing national security concerns, including long-term funding and pay raises.
Rep. Jim Jordan says the connection between the Democrats and an anti-Trump dossier is well established and he says the big questions now are whether the dossier was the grounds for a FISA warrant to conduct surveillance on the Trump campaign and whether the FBI and Justice Department used it as an “insurance policy” against a Trump presidency.
Last week, Jordan and other lawmakers grilled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about the work of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team, with a special emphasis on recently fired FBI official Peter Strzok and recently demoted Justice Department official Bruce Ohr.
Strzok was fired by Mueller, allegedly for his barrage of anti-Trump text messages to his mistress, FBI attorney Lisa Page. However, in addition to the political chatter came a Strzok text suggesting he expected Trump to lose the election but was planning to take action if the GOP nominee won.
“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” texted Strzok. “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40,” he added in a text dated Aug. 15, 2016.
Jordan thinks there is a major story behind that text and likely explains why Mueller kicked Strzok to the curb in the Russia probe.
“Remember, Peter Strzok is Mr. Super Agent Guy at the FBI. He ran the Clinton (email) investigation, interviewed (Cheryl) Mills, (Huma) Abedin, and Sec. Clinton. He’s the guy who did the famous exoneration letter that changed the term ‘gross negligence’ – a crime – to ‘extreme carelessness.’ He’s also the guy who ran the Russia investigation and interviewed Mike Flynn.
“So he gets kicked off the Mueller team and we’re told it’s because of anti-Trump text messaging and Lisa Page. My belief is it’s got to be more than that. Because as I said in committee a couple of weeks ago, if you kicked everyone off the Mueller team who is anti-Trump, you wouldn’t have anybody left,” said Jordan.
So what might be the real reason for Strzok’s dismissal?
“It has to be something more and my contention is it goes to the dossier, the dossier that I believe was used for securing the warrants to spy on Americans, the dossier that was put into the application that was taken to the FISA court to get warrants to spy on Americans associated with the Trump campaign.
“I believe Peter Strzok, who was the deputy head of counterintelligence at the FBI and ran both the Clinton and Russia investigations, probably has his fingerprints all over that application,” alleged Jordan.
While Strzok’s direct involvement with the dossier has yet to be proved, Jordan says the FBI’s connection to the dossier seems pretty clear.
“Did they pay Christopher Steele, the guy who wrote the dossier? It’s been reported that he was reimbursed by the FBI. Why are they paying the guy who was paid at the same time by the Clinton campaign. If the answer to that question is yes, I think that shows that this took place,” said Jordan.
He says the rest of the money trail is very well established.
“The Clinton campaign and the DNC paid Russians to influence the campaign. They paid the law firm, who paid Fusion GPS, who paid Christopher Steele, who took that money and paid Russians to get false information that was used to go get warrants to spy on Americans.
Jordan adds that if the FBI did pay for the dossier, the other lingering question is even more troubling.
“If that in fact happened, that definitely shows there was an effort to go after the Trump people and the Trump campaign with this ridiculous report the Clinton campaign paid for that we call a dossier,” said Jordan, who is stunned that Mueller is spending all his energies looking at possible crimes on the GOP side of this campaign.
“[The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee] paid Russians with campaign dollars to influence the election and what’s Mueller’s investigation looking at? The other campaign,” said Jordan.
When it comes to Bruce Ohr, at first blush there appears to be circumstantial evidence of impropriety, as a result of Ohr’s consultation with Fusion GPS Co-Founder Glenn Simpson and the revelation that Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS during the final months of the campaign.
Jordan says it goes a lot deeper than that.
“His wife not only worked there, she was hired specifically for the Russian project. Second, Bruce Ohr met with Christopher Steele during the campaign. So at the same time the DNC is paying Christopher Steele to put together this dossier, he’s also meeting with a top Justice official. That’s kind of strange,” said Jordan.
But he says the unlikely coincidences keep coming, mostly notably the post-election meeting between Ohr and Simpson.
“Did they meet to get their story straight and get their story straight and figure out, ‘We did this. What do we have to do to correct it and get our story straight.’ Or – maybe and – did they meet to say, ‘Maybe it’s time to double down. Maybe it’s time to go after President-Elect Trump,” said Jordan.
Jordan is increasingly confident his suspicions are correct given that the “unmasking” of Trump campaign officials began during the transition period.
“Never forget, it was during the transition, from Election Day until Inauguration Day, that we started to see all of this unmasking and all of these leaks from the intelligence community,” said Jordan, suggesting that timeline alone requires detailed testimony from Ohr.
Jordan says Congress will continue to pursue answers, beginning with deposing Strzok, Ohr, Page, and Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. He also wants to see the FISA application and what evidence was submitted to obtain warrants. He also wants all of this to take place in public so the American people can evaluate the facts for themselves.
The congressman also demands a second special counsel to look into all this since – if there’s any fire to the smoke – the Justice Department and FBI are incapable of investigating the matter.
“I don’t like special counsels. I never have. But I don’t know any other remedy,” said Jordan.