The Steele Report, the Ur document of the vast Russia-Trump conspiracy theory, is back with Glenn Simpson reviving it through Fusion GPS’s usual channels in the media. And here, in the New Yorker, Jane Mayer disgraces herself further by playing the same tired old dishonest games.
In paragraph 3, Mayer mentions that, “Fusion was the firm that hired the former British spy Christopher Steele to research Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign.” The most salient piece of information, that Fusion was hired by the Clinton campaign, is buried until much further down.
Why bury your lede unless you’re actively spinning.
And that’s exactly what Mayer does, trying to revive the lie that Steele had originally been funded by the Free Beacon, not true, and suggesting that Fusion GPS’s anti-Trump campaign was a bipartisan venture and that Hillary knew nothing about it.”
“At that point, Fusion switched clients and political parties, pitching its services to Marc Elias, the lawyer for the D.N.C. and Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign. Clinton’s identity, too, was kept hidden, in this case behind the screen of Elias’s law firm, Perkins Coie.”
Yes, I’m sure the sort of consumate political insiders who would be hired for opposition research would have absolutely no idea who Perkin Coie tends to work for or who might want hit pieces on Trump.
Seriously, they knew nothing.
Contrary to the conspiracy theories that the right later spread, Simpson and Fritsch write that they never met or spoke with Clinton.
Of course not. Why would they?
This was a dirty tricks campaign run by her campaign. Why would Hillary need to speak to Simpson, when she had people for that sort of thing. And not even Hillary would probably be stupid enough to get her own fingerprints on a campaign that involved blatant violations like injecting their content into the government in order to target the political opposition.
I’m assuming. With the Clintons you never know.
“As far as Fusion knew, Clinton herself had no idea who they were. To this day, no one in the company has ever met or spoken to her,” the book reads.
The technical term for that is plausible deniability.
But note. Jane Mayer isn’t saying this. She’s quoting the book. An abstraction. And there’s the “as far as Fusion knows” nonsense. It doesn’t say that Hillary didn’t know about the operation. Just that she didn’t have the Fusion GPS name.
These denials read like a massive admission if you read between the dirty lines.
As I reported, although Steele went to the F.B.I. with his findings out of a sense of duty and, by the late summer of 2016, knew that the F.B.I. was seriously investigating Trump’s Russian ties, the communication channels were so siloed that the Clinton campaign was unaware of these facts.
Yes, I’m sure this extensive operation was carried out with the help of Clinton allies in the government, but not the Clinton campaign.
Again, another meaning plausible deniability distinction.
Does anyone care if the illegal campaign to take down Trump was so siloed that the Steele arm was run by the campaign while the campaign to inject Steele into government investigations was run by officials if they were all working for the same cause and were part of the same larger network? Making it a more cell-based conspiracy doesn’t lessen the crime.
According to the Fusion GPS founders, the real story of their role in the Trump investigation was filled with missed cues and human foibles. They portray themselves as hardened gumshoes who became concerned and tried to do their civic duty and report “a crime in progress,” which has been spun by their detractors into a conspiracy.
Hardened WSJ “gumshoes”. Who work as mercenaries for political interests. And were working for the Clinton campaign.
It’s crazy that anyone would see a conspiracy in Clinton campaign contractors pushing material into a government investigation. Crazy.
You would have to be some sort of conspiracy theorist to think that Fusion GPS was doing what it was hired to do, instead of charitably working to destroy Trump on their own time.
Is anyone stupid enough to believe this? Clearly Jane Mayer thinks so.
As I wrote in my Profile of Steele, he was working on behalf of the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Simpson and Fritsch fill out this picture further. Deripaska, a hugely rich associate of Putin with a clouded reputation, had hired an American law firm, which had, in turn, hired Steele, to help them track down millions of dollars that the oligarch believed had been stolen from him by Paul Manafort, a former business associate of Deripaska who was about to become the manager of Trump’s Presidential campaign. So, from the start, Fusion, Steele, Russia, and Trumpworld were on a collision course.
That would suggest, if anything, the Clinton campaign was working with the Russians or, at the very least, benefiting from Putin’s agenda.
Despite the fact that the fabled pee tape has never surfaced and Trump immediately denied its existence, Simpson and Fritsch write that Steele remains confident that his reports are neither a fabrication nor the “hoax” of Trump’s denunciations
Smear merchants remain confident that guy they hired to smear Trump wasn’t making up stuff. Film at 11.
Simpson and Fritsch acknowledge that several of Steele’s most sensational allegations remain unproven and that others were almost surely wrong, such as his sources’ claim that the Trump fixer Michael Cohen went to Prague during the summer of 2016 to pay off the Democrats’ e-mail hackers. But they argue that Steele was substantially right, and prescient, to see and try to warn America of Russia’s efforts to subvert the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.
There you go folks, it’s fake but accurate.