The revelation that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee funded the ongoing production of the infamous anti-Trump dossier leads former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy to assert there are even more critical questions that need answers now.
On Tuesday, the Washington Post revealed that after months of denying any connection to the dossier, it is now confirmed that the Clinton campaign and the DNC provided part of the funding for the ongoing work into the dossier after the still unknown Republican who first started the project backed down.
The Post story points out the funding from the Democrats and the Clinton team ran from April-October 2016. It was only after the Democrats got involved that former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele was brought onto the investigation.
In addition, the report states the FBI briefly picked up the tab for the work on the dossier to continue even after Election Day. The bureau dropped the effort after Steele’s identity was made public.
McCarthy says some things are now clearer about this controversy.
“What we now know is that the source of all this, to the extent that it was funded, were obviously opponents of Donald Trump.
“Apparently, it was initially a Republican outfit or rival of Trump’s that started this ball rolling. Around April or so of 2016, the effort was taken up by the Clinton campaign and the DNC through a law firm called Perkins Coie,” said McCarthy.
As the Washington Post explained, the Washington-based research firm Fusion GPS was already working on the dossier when the Democrats and the Clinton campaign started funding the effort. Perkins Coie did the finances, paying Fusion GPS from the Clinton campaign and the DNC through the law office.
And McCarthy says that’s not the only odd role played by Perkins Coie in the sordid 2016 campaign.
“That…is the same law firm that retained Crowdstrike, which is the cybersecurity outfit that examined the Democrat National Committee servers when they learned that they were hacked, also around April of 2016. I think it’s a very interesting coincidence that these two scandals seem to be colliding at this point,” said McCarthy.
The reaction to the Democrats being deeply connected to the dossier is drawing an interesting response from the left. Just months after accusing Trump campaign officials of collusion and possible treason for being willing to meet with Russians at Trump Tower to get a look at opposition research on Clinton, they say there’s nothing to see in Clinton and the DNC funding an effort, based largely on Russian contacts, to torpedo Donald Trump.
“The first I learned of Christopher Steele or saw any dossier was after the election,” former Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon told the Post.
“But if I had gotten handed it last fall, I would have had no problem passing it along and urging reporters to look into it.Opposition research happens on every campaign, and here you had probably the most shadowy guy ever running for president, and the FBI certainly has seen fit to look into it. I probably would have volunteered to go to Europe myself to try and verify if it would have helped get more of this out there before the election,” said Fallon.
McCarthy says the differing responses are jarring.
“The media acts horrified that Trump would be doing opposition research on Hillary and with respect to this story on the dossier, we’re now supposed to see it as politics as usual. So there is a double standard in the coverage,” said McCarthy.
However, McCarthy is not letting the Trump team off the hook. He says they created their own public relations nightmare.
“The biggest problem the Trumps had is that they weren’t forthcoming about the reason for the meeting. When they were originally asked about it, they said there had never been any such meeting. Then when it turned out there was a meeting, they said it was about one thing and then when it turned out the New York Times had their emails, they came clean about what the meeting was about,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy says there are many critical questions going forward. For him, the most important issues concern the federal government use of a dossier funded by partisans to instigate surveillance on Trump associates.
“Specifically, there’s a claim that they’ve used information that was in this dossier that we now know was paid for by the Clinton campaign. The report is that they used information from that dossier in presenting their warrant application to the FISA court and then they were given authority to do this eavesdropping,” said McCarthy.
He says that may or may not constitute a scandal depending upon the facts.
“That’s not necessarily a scandal, as long as they corroborated whatever information from the dossier they used before they brought it to the court and as long as they had a good faith reason for the people they wanted to surveil were actually acting as Russian agents.
“If any of those things isn’t true, that would be a big problem,” said McCarthy.
He says another key question is what the court was told about how and where the feds go their intelligence.
“It would also be very useful to know what representations did they make about the source of the information that they got from the dossier, assuming they did that as reported,” said McCarthy.
The dossier story is just one headache for the Clintons and their associates. In the past week, reports also reveal special counsel Robert Mueller is now conducting a criminal inquiry into the Podesta Group, which has close ties to Clintons. John Podesta served as chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
In addition, congressional hearings will soon be held to follow up on revelations that the FBI conducted an undercover investigation into the Russian bribery scheme to steer U.S. nuclear policy in Moscow’s favor, including the awarding of 20 percent of America’s uranium supply to the Russians. Despite years worth of evidence, the FBI did not intervene to stop the Uranium One contract.
McCarthy says there are two critical questions to be answered on that emerging story.
“I’d like to see testimony from this witness who’s been identified as they informant in that Uranium One deal, where Russia ended up getting 20 percent of our uranium reserves and the Clinton Foundation was grotesquely enriched,” said McCarthy.
He’s especially dumbfounded that the uranium deal was allowed to proceed.
“Not only how did it help the national security to allow Russia to acquire these reserves, but why was that allowed to be done when we had a pending provable, prosecutable racketeering investigation on the outfit that was acquiring the reserves?” said McCarthy.