Today's big news is that the FBI did not start investigating the Trump-Russia connection based on Christopher Steele's dossier. It all started in May of 2016
, when Trump adviser George Papadopoulos went drinking with a friend named Alexander Downer, who was connected with the Australian diplomatic corps. Georgie told his Aussie pal that Moscow had stolen lots and lots of Democratic emails.
This all happened in the Kensington Wine Rooms. In vino veritas
The Aussies held onto this info for a while, until those stolen emails found their way online. At that point, the Australians decided to call the FBI -- who, shortly thereafter, also had THAT dossier to work from.
I'll be amazed and amused to see how the right-wingers spin this. In recent weeks, Trump and his supporters have twisted themselves like Plastic Man in their attempt to give the impression that the FBI somehow did something wrong
when the Bureau decided to pay attention to these leads. Obviously, the Bureau would have been remiss if they had ignored this information.
The Trumpers have even told us that the fact that the FBI took this information seriously means that Hillary colluded with the Russians.
No, it doesn't make sense to me either. The people who think this way -- if "think" is indeed the right term -- must live in a surrealist painting. For the Trump-loving conspiracy buffs among us, things don't need
to make sense; in their world, logic can only obscure the beatific vision.
I'm sure that Trump will now tell us that Georgie-poo may have known all about the Great Russian Mail Theft in May of 2016, but nobody else in the Trump campaign knew. Not Trump, not Roger Stone, not Paul Manafort, not nobody. Just George.
Nevertheless, that "George dunnit" yarn is something you have
to believe if you insist on going along with Trump's protestations of innocence.
The most interesting paragraphs of the NYT are buried way, way down:
It is unclear whether Mr. Downer was fishing for that information that night in May 2016. The meeting at the bar came about because of a series of connections, beginning with an Israeli Embassy official who introduced Mr. Papadopoulos to another Australian diplomat in London.
It is also not clear why, after getting the information in May, the Australian government waited two months to pass it to the F.B.I. In a statement, the Australian Embassy in Washington declined to provide details about the meeting or confirm that it occurred.
Seems to me that the NYT writers are hinting at more than they can say. What was the nature of these connections? Who is this other Australian? And what the hell do the Israelis have to do with this? Was this Israeli official helping Team Trump? Was he or she working with the Australians?
What the hell is going on here?
Look, I know that it has become a bit of a cliche: Here I go again, sounding the paranoia alarms simply because Israel was mentioned in a story involving a covert operation. But we really do need to know if the Israelis were in any way involved with helping Trump get elected. Conversely, they may have been worried about the Trump contacts with Russia.
Or perhaps they simply stumbled into this business -- although it's hard to believe that one could just stumble
into the world of George Papadopoulos in May of 2016.
Other sources. Digby
directs our attention to this piece
published in the Guardian back in April.
GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information, they added.
Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, sources said.
The European countries that passed on electronic intelligence – known as sigint – included Germany, Estonia and Poland. Australia, a member of the “Five Eyes” spying alliance that also includes the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand, also relayed material, one source said.
Looks to me as though the Beast With Five Eyes was on to Trump from the very beginning. Apparently, everyone knew about Team Trump's collusion with Russia except for Donald Trump.
It seems very possible that someone decided to get Georgie-poo sloshed because that someone needed to verify the SIGINT.
So here's the big big BIG question, the question which (as longtime readers know) I've been asking for a while: Why was a Trump presidency allowed to happen?
The spooks had major dirt on Trump. They could have upended his presidential bid early on, back when he was comparing dick sizes with Marco Rubio.
Perhaps they simply presumed that Trump, vulgar and unstable creature that he is, would simply destroy his own candidacy. But I've long favored another view.
I think that Trump had helpers
within the intelligence community.
Never forget that Cambridge Analytica is composed largely of right-wing British intelligence veterans. Never forget that CA had strong ties to the American intelligence community.
Never forget that James Comey could have told the world about the FBI's investigation of Trump. If Comey had done so, he'd probably still be running the Bureau.
There's a deep, subterranean level of the Trump/Russia story that no-one (on either the right or the left) wants to talk about. A spooky
level. And I'm talking about our
spooks, not the FSB. Even the liberal media rarely glimpses this aspect of the story.
Fun historical facts.
Do you know why Adolf Hitler joined the fledgling NSDAP? He was a spy, working for Army intelligence. He was sent into the group to compile a report on their operations.
Also: Did you know that NSDAP got a lot of money early on from Henry Ford? Ford might be considered the Putin of his day, channeling big money to far-right causes. The Ford money came in at a time when German industrialists disdained Hitler's movement. Without Ford, Hitler would have remained a footnote figure.
Here's the important part: These overseas bucks were covertly "washed" through German military intelligence. Even in the early days, there were people in that world who wanted the Nazi party to succeed. Now, you can call this operation anything you like -- but if you want to use the right
terminology, you had better feel comfortable using the word conspiracy
Don't believe me? Look it up in Poole's Who Financed Hitler?
book on the topic.
What's past is present. History repeats itself.