Friday, June 1, 2018
Spygate : The Mother of All American Political Scandals
THE RUSSIAN ATTEMPT TO INFILTRATE THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN VS. THE OBAMA SPYGATE. On Thursday, we found that the Russian effortto infiltrate the Trump campaign probably began sometime prior to the June 2016 meeting of Donald Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya, but got its big chance with the meeting arranged and attended by Russians with dubious connections to Russian military intel and money laundering. That is not the same thing as the "Spygate" scandal now sweeping over the Obama Deep State. • • • WHAT IS SPYGATE? The Washington Times' Rowan Scarborough wrote on Wednesday that Comey violated the FBI's own rulebook by using a Trump campaign 'spy' : "The FBI’s own guidelines restrict the deployment of informants to spy on Americans, such as the bureau’s decision to plant a human source among Donald Trump’s presidential campaign aides. The cautionary regulation is contained in the FBI’s nearly 700-page Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide. The restrictions are prompting national security analysts to say the FBI should have heeded its own rulebook, which encourages alternatives to human spies in any investigation, much less one into a presidential political campaign.The FBI should have focused, they say, on Russian agents who were meddling in the election by hacking computers and by spewing false information on social media." Scarborough says that, instead of following its own rulebook, the FBI during President Obama’s administration took the momentous step of recruiting a national security academic, Stefan Halper, to spy on Trump associates by striking up what seemed to be innocent professional contacts. • Halper was a “confidential human source,” which is an official category of spy regulated by the FBI domestic investigations directive. Scarborough states that : "Human sources are regulated under a program called 'Otherwise Illegal Activity,' or OIA. It is called 'otherwise illegal' because spying on Americans would be against the law if, as the policy says, the spying is 'engaged in by a person acting without authorization.' " • Who gives the "authorization"? Scarborough states that : "the protocol says the confidential informant must be approved by the Justice Department, meaning an Obama political appointee might have given the go-ahead in summer 2016. The guideline says a human source should be used only in 'limited circumstances,' which includes 'when that information or evidence is not reasonably available without participation in the OIA.' The rules also say that 'otherwise illegal activity' should be 'limited or minimized in scope to only that which is reasonably necessary.' " • Rowan Scarborough quotes a US official who told the Washington Times that the FBI should have targeted Russian intelligence officials first to determine whether there was evidence that they were contacting or colluding with Trump people before authorizing domestic spying by what the source called an 'agent provocateur.' " • John Dowd, President Trump’s former defense counsel, told the Washington Times that the FBI had a DUTY TO NOTIFY, not spy on, Trump people : "If you are concerned that the Russians are trying to penetrate a campaign or meddle with the election campaign process, you include the candidates and their top security professionals in that effort.” But, according to the final majority report of Devin Nunes's House Intelligence Committee, Obama Justice Department officials considered informing the Trump campaign that it was the target of Russian intelligence and decided not to. The Committee report recommended : “When consistent with national security, the intelligence community should immediately inform US presidential candidates when it discovers a legitimate counter-intelligence threat to the campaign, and promptly notify Congress.” • The joke of the week this past week was the attempt by leading ProgDems and their propagandist media to say that the Obama FBI was trying to "protect" candidate Trump. Jim Comey, fired by Trump as FBI director in May 2017, tweeted in defense of using a human source -- of course he did, because Halper’s role was approved under Comey’s watch. Comey tweeted : "Facts matter. The FBI’s use of Confidential Human Sources (the actual term) is tightly regulated and essential to protecting the country. Attacks on the FBI and lying about its work will do lasting damage to our country. How will Republicans explain this to their grandchildren?” • Republicans have no explaining to do, according to J.D. Gordon, a former Pentagon spokesman and Trump campaign national security advisor, who rejects Comey's argument : “Obama associates are misleading Americans about FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign. If the FBI merely wanted to ‘protect’ the campaign and avoid tipping off the Russians, as we’re being told, they should have informed Mr. Trump of specific allegations about suspected individuals before the surveillance began. Failing that, it [what the FBI actually did by planting at least one spy inside the Trump campaign] looks like one large sting-and-smear operation against the entire campaign, including Mr. Trump.” • So, that is "Spygate" -- the federal government illegally planting spies inside the Trump political campaign for political purposes. • • • THE STEELE RUSSIA DOSSIER. The reason Russian infiltration attempts and Spygate get mixed together is simple. While the Russians were working to compromise -- or at least get inside information and feed Fake information to -- the Trump campaign with their chosen infiltrators, Comey's FBI was gearing up to use Fake information about Russian influence -- the famous "collusion" -- to trap and destroy Donald Trump and his campaign, and later his presidency. The FBI apparently chose Stefan Halper, who has reportedly performed classified work for the US intelligence community over a long period. He is also tied to Britain’s spy service, MI6, through former director Richard Dearlove. They are now partners in the intelligence consultancy Cambridge Security Initiative. The Washington Times says : "Another MI6 link to the Trump-Russia investigation is former spy Christopher Steele. With funding from the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party, Mr. Steele wrote an anti-Trump Dossier and fed his Kremlin-sourced information to the British government and the FBI....Halper, who opposed Mr. Trump’s election and endorsed Mrs. Clinton, targeted at least two Trump volunteers : Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. He first encountered Mr. Page at a conference in Cambridge, England, after the volunteer spent a few days in Moscow in early July 2016 during which he delivered a public commencement speech. Mr. Halper also made a number of contacts with Papadopoulos and paid him for a research paper, according to reporting by The Daily Caller." • Papadopoulos was under FBI scrutiny for making contacts with Russian-connected people in an effort to arrange a Trump-Kremlin meeting, which never happened. He has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about when he joined the Trump campaign and his meeting with Joseph Mifsud a Moscow-linked professor from Malta. The Washington Times says : "The professor told him he heard that the Kremlin owned thousands of Clinton emails, an apparent reference to the 33,000 messages she ordered destroyed by her law firm before investigators could acquire them. Papadopoulos has not been charged in any conspiracy. Mr. Page has denied under oath any wrongdoing and has not been charged. What role the Steele Dossier played in the FBI’s decision to activate Mr. Halper is unclear. Mr. Steele began feeding Dossier charges to the bureau in July 2016. The FBI planned to pay Mr. Steele $50,000 to continue investigating Mr. Trump, but the agency fired him after he went to Mother Jones magazine with his story of Trump-Russia collusion. Before Mr. Steele’s firing, the FBI embraced his reporting and used it as the bulk of its evidence to obtain a [FISA] court order for wiretapping and surveillance of Mr. Page, an energy investor who once lived in Moscow. The bureau relied heavily on the Dossier to obtain three warrant renewals from a judge, taking the surveillance into the fall last year , long after Mr. Page had left the campaign in which he played a minor role and never spoke with Mr. Trump. Mr. Steele reported an 'extensive conspiracy.' To date, none of his collusion charges has been proved publicly. Trump people named in the Dossier have called it a work of fiction." • • • WHO WAS, AND IS, COLLUDING ABOUT WHAT?. The US edition of the UK Spectator published on May 25 an article titled "For Your eyes only: A short history of Democrat-spy collusion, How highly placed members of one administration mobilised the intelligence services to undermine their successors." The writer is Roger Kimball -- an American social commentator and the editor and publisher of The New Criterion and publisher of Encounter Books, whose early 1990s book is titled "Tenured Radicals : How Politics Has Corrupted Higher Education." Kimball endorsed Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. • Roger Kimball's Spectator article asks : "Who what where when why? The desiderata school teachers drill into their charges trying to master effective writing skills apply also in the effort to understand that byzantine drama known to the world as the Trump-Russia-collusion investigation. Let’s start with “when.” When did it start? We know that the FBI opened its official investigation on 31 July 2016. An obscure, low-level volunteer to the Trump campaign called Carter Page was front and center then. He’d been the FBI’s radar for a long time. Years before, it was known, the Russians had made some overtures to him but 1) they concluded that he was an 'idiot' not worth recruiting and 2) he had actually aided the FBI in prosecuting at least two Russian spies." • Kimball dismisses the Page episode as the beginning of the Trump-Russia-Colluson investigation, saying : "We now know that the Trump-Russia investigation began before Carter Page. In December 2017, the New York Times excitedly reported in an article called 'How the Russia Inquiry Began' that, contrary to their reporting during the previous year, it wasn’t Carter Page who precipitated the inquiry. It was someone called George Papadopoulous, an even more obscure and lower-level factotum than Carter Page. Back in May 2016, the twenty-something Papadopoulous had gotten outside a number of drinks with one Alexander Downer, an Australian diplomat in London and had let slip that 'the Russians' had compromising information about Hillary Clinton. When Wikileaks began releasing emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee in June and July , news of the conversation between Downer and Papadopoulos was communicated to the FBI. Thus, according to the Times, the investigation was born." • But, Kimball adds : "There were, however, a couple of tiny details that the Times omitted. One was that Downer, an avid Clinton supporter, had arranged for a $25 million donation from the Australian government to the Clinton Foundation....They also neglected say exactly how Papadopoulos met Alexander Downer. As it turns out, George Papadopoulos made several new friends in London. There was Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor living in London who has ties to British intelligence. It was Mifsud -- who has since disappeared -- who told Papadopoulos in March 2016 that the Kremlin had 'dirt' on Hillary Clinton. Then there is Stefan Halper, an American-born Cambridge prof and Hillary supporter. Out of the blue, Halper reached out to Papadopoulos in September 2016. He invited him to meet in London and then offered Papadopoulos $3,000 to write a paper on an unrelated topic. He also pumped him about 'Russian hacking.' 'George, you know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?' Halper is said to have asked him. He also made sure Papadopoulos met for drinks with his assistant, a woman called Azra Turk, who flirted with him over the Chardonnay while pumping him about Russia. Halper also contacted Carter Page and Sam Clovis, Trump’s campaign co-chair." • Kimball asks : "Is Stefan Halper, the 'spy' on the Trump campaign, at the origin of the Trump-Russia meme?" No, says Kimball : "The real fons et origo is John Brennan, Director of the CIA under Obama. As Trump’s victories in the primaries piled up, Brennan convened a 'working group' at CIA headquarters that included Peter Strzok, the disgraced FBI agent, and James Clapper, then Director of National Intelligence, in order to stymie Trump’s campaign....little by little the truth is emerging, a mosaic whose story is gradually taking shape as one piece after the next completes now this face, now another." • Kimball offers this bottom line : "A cabal of CIA and FBI operatives, including the Director of the CIA, John Brennan, along with other members of the intelligence 'community,' prominently including James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, and various members of the Obama administration, colluded to undermine Donald Trump’s campaign. Like almost everyone else, they assumed that Hillary Clinton was a shoo-in, so they were careless about covering their tracks. If Hillary had won, the Department of Justice would have been her Department of Justice, John Brennan would still be head of the CIA, and the public would never have known about the spies, the set-ups, the skulduggery. But Hillary did not win. For the last 16 months, we’ve watched as that exiled cabal shifted its efforts from stopping Trump from winning to a desperate effort to destroy his presidency. Thanks to the patient work of Devin Nunes, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and a handful of GOP Senators, that effort is now disintegrating. What is being exposed is the biggest political scandal in the history of the United States : the effort by highly placed -- exactly how highly placed we still do not know -- members of one administration to mobilise the intelligence services and police power of the state to spy upon and destroy first the candidacy and then, when that didn’t work, the administration of a political rival." • Kimball calls it by its correct name -- "banana republic behavior." But, Kimball says it looks now as if "those responsible for this effort to undermine American democracy and repeal the results of a free, open, and democratic election will be exposed. Let’s hope that they are also held to account." • • • DID MIFSUD WORK FOR UK INTELLIGENCE? On May 23, the Epoch Times, a conservative-leaning American-Chinese news site dedicated to free speech and personal liberties, took up the Papadopoulos-Mifsud story line : "In 2016, Papadopoulos was 28 years old and worked as an oil and gas consultant. He joined the Trump campaign in March that year as an unpaid foreign policy advisor. Papadopoulos encountered Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese, during a trip to Italy in March. On April 26, 2016, Mifsud told Papadopoulos in London that Russia had 'thousands' of Hillary Clinton’s emails. Mifsud was said to be close to the Russian government and Putin. However, that could be a smoke screen. Mifsud was seen to hang out with prominent politicians in the United Kingdom, such as Boris Johnson and Theresa May. He was a close associate with Claire Smith of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee. They worked together to train diplomats of the Commonwealth countries in a school in Rome. This led some to believe Mifsud actually worked for UK Intelligence." • That is a new thread in the ever-expanding information about the role of UK's MI6 in the Trump-Russian collusion fantasy. • The Epoch Times reports that : "Two weeks after the London meeting, around May 10, Papadopoulos met Alexander Downer, the high commissioner (ambassador) of Australia, in a London bar. Before the meeting, Papadopoulos was introduced through intermediaries (including Mifsud) to a counselor to Downer who serves in Australia’s London embassy. The counselor reached out to Papadopoulos after his interview with the London Times was published, saying Downer wanted a meeting. During the drunken conversation, Papadopoulos boasted about his knowledge of Russians having Hillary Clinton’s emails. On July 22, 2016, Wikileaks started publishing emails from key figures in the Democratic National Committee. Australia, a member of the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance, passed Papadopoulos’ Bacchic babblings to the US intelligence. On July 31, the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump-Russia collusion." • The Epoch Times conclusion is stark : "To recap, the mysterious Joseph Mifsud planted the idea in Papadopoulos’ head that Russians had Hillary Clinton’s emails. Under the influence of booze, Papadopoulos blurted it out to Alexander Downer, as if he knew the matter first-hand....The hearsay traveled back to the United States. The FBI moved on the 'itel' at unprecedented speed....it accomplished its goal : turn Trump into a Russia colluder. Till this day, Trump is viewed with suspicion by many Democrats, despite Mueller’s probe having turned up absolutely nothing on Trump-Russia collusion. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty for lying to the FBI in October last year. He may not be the only Trump associate who got set up. Carter Page, another volunteer campaign advisor to Trump, may have been the victim of entrapment by US intelligence as well. The lead antagonist...Joseph Mifsud, vanished. Nobody could locate him, including his Ukraine fiance. He was last heard from on October 31, 2017." • • • THE "NATIONAL SECURITY LETTERS" ISSUE. The Epoch Times published an article -- "What the Use of Counterintelligence Letters Reveal About the Russia Investigation" -- on May 24. It was written by Marc Ruskin, a 27-year veteran of the FBI, and the author of “The Pretender : My Life Undercover for the FBI.” He served on the legislative staff of US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, N.Y. • Ruskin sheds light on the Comey FBI's use of national security letters. The New York Times reported on May 16 that the FBI had used national security letters and a “top secret” source to infiltrate the 2016 Trump presidential campaign, as part of its “investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia” -- ties that, if proven, would presumably be criminal in nature. Ruskin writes : "The article itself called it 'a major national security case' and, later, 'the Russia case' -- thus, in essence, a counterintelligence matter. Mary McCord, a Justice Department national security prosecutor and certainly an expert in such matters, refers to the case as 'a counterintelligence investigation.' " • Ruskin asks, "Which is it, criminal or counterintelligence? And why does this matter?" • The distinction is critical, says Ruskin : "In 1976, the Department of Justice...promulgated the Attorney General Guidelines. These were comprehensive, encyclopedic instructions regarding all aspects of all classes of investigations with which FBI employees, including special agents, analysts, and lawyers, may be involved. The guidelines cover national security (encompassing foreign counterintelligence), criminal, and terrorism investigations. But, by routinely characterizing the topic both ways, journalists and politicians cloud the public’s understanding of the true nature of the investigation. Worse, this dual description makes it difficult to determine which set of rules the investigators are obliged to follow : those that govern criminal investigations, or those applicable to foreign counterintelligence (FCI) investigations. FCI investigations can be initiated at a lower bar of probable cause than criminal investigations, because FCI investigations typically do not result in criminal prosecutions; thus, the protections guaranteed to individuals by the Bill of Rights are less rigorously applied. Utilizing national security letters and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants, investigators and informants gather intelligence, and not necessarily evidence. The intel can then be used for countermeasures, such as expelling professional spies working under diplomatic cover, including Russian consular officials who are in reality Russian intelligence agents." • Ruskin points out that the extraordinarily ambiguous labeling of the underlying nature of the many investigations swirling around the 2016 Republican presidential campaign "would suggest that it is an FCI investigation. But, mixed in with the intel theme are both a special counsel and the US Attorney of the Southern District, who by definition are seeking to unearth criminal activity and bring the wrongdoers to justice." • Ruskin asks : "Have the standards for FCI investigations been utilized to circumvent the stricter standards required by the Constitution -- as delineated in the Attorney General Guidelines -- in order to provide an appearance of legitimacy to what would ordinarily have been unjustified, unauthorized, and potentially illegal uses of the FBI’s extensive array of fact-finding tools? Have the investigators first investigated, and then used, the results as the required 'probable cause' to proceed with criminal investigations? It is well-established jurisprudence that probable cause comes first, hence justifying subsequent law enforcement activity. Otherwise, prosecutors and investigators would be free to engage in what the courts call 'fishing expeditions,' that is, trolling for criminal subjects." • Ruskin notes that the NYT May 16 article states that “relying on FBI information and Mr. Steele’s, prosecutors obtained court approval to eavesdrop on Mr. [Carter] Page,” referring to former British spy Christopher Steele -- who, the newspaper concedes, was paid by the Democrats, but is still 'highly credible' in its estimation. These national security letters and the FISA warrants are tools from the counterintelligence arsenal -- not those of the criminal investigator -- and they require a minimal articulation of facts to meet the lower bar of probable cause." • Ruskin also highlights the FBI's use of leaks : "Compounding the misuse of the AG guidelines for FCI cases in order to develop criminal cases is the use of selective leaks -- the New York Times and the Washington Post articles are replete with references to information provided by 'current and former law enforcement officials' and 'people familiar with the matter,' thereby developing in much of the public the impression that Trump campaign officials engaged in criminal dialogue with Russian spymasters, and that prosecutions may be inevitable." • • • RUSSIAN INFILTRATION AND SPYGATE ARE INEXTRICABLY TIED TOGETHER. They both have the goal of compromising or destroying the Trump presidency. We can now see the wraparound -- the reason that the Russian effort to infiltrate the Trump campaign and the Obama-Deep State-FBI Spygate on the Trump campaign get mixed together. Both depend on Russian sources and use information coming from those unamed sources to develop story lines about Russian collusion, whether unintended (infiltration) or complicit (Spygate) on the part of the Trump team. • ProgDem leaders point to the number of indictments and convictions obtained by special counsel Robert Mueller, to remind the public that where there is smoke, there must be fire. But, we Deplorables easily see that all Mueller's cases involve money laundering, fraud, and misstatements to federal officials for unrelated matters. These are crimes. Are they authorized by the special counsel’s mandate? Not likely -- although we can’t be sure, because the DOJ has chosen not to share this essential information -- and this could point to evidence that its senior leaders may have more to hide than we thus far know about. • Spying or investigating? Just what was --perhaps still is, by Deep Staters -- the FBI up to?? The NYT on May 18 published what amounts to the admission that he FBI "Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign?" The NYT headline says the informant was not a "Spy.” • Ruskin explains there is no real difference : "What exactly does an informant do, other than to spy? An informant’s job is the same as that of an undercover agent : to gain the confidence of others, gather information, intelligence or evidence, and report back. The Cambridge Dictionary defines a spy as “a person employed by a country or organization to secretly gather and report information about another country or organization.” Thus, this informant was, by definition, a spy." • According to the NYT, the informant cultivated relationships with Trump campaign volunteers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page to lure then into disclosing information. The NYT then congratulated itself for protecting the non-spy informant’s identity -- after describing him as “an American academic who teaches in Britain...[who] is well-known in Washington circles,” and providing the names of individuals the non-spy met with. "That," says Ruskin, "should protect his identity for as long it takes one to read the article. This, regarding an informant whose anonymity is deemed so critical that, according to the Washington Post, “the FBI has been working over the past two weeks...to lessen any danger to associates if the informant’s identity becomes known.” • Ruskin's condemnation of the FBI-DOJ actions is brutally frank : "The notion that an investigation, whether FCI or criminal, would be launched by the “surprising” news that the Russians were meddling in an election defies credulity. As described in former KGB General Oleg Kalugin’s memoirs, the Russians have been actively meddling in US elections since virtually the founding of the Soviet Union. Kalugin, as a KGB boss in New York and in Washington, oversaw Soviet interference in our electoral process in the 1960s and ‘70s. American politicians, Department of Justice officials, and media representatives who profess to be shocked and surprised by the behavior of the Russians in 2016 are being, at best, disingenuous." • • • WHO WAS THE LEADER OF THE ILLEGAL SPYING CABAL? American Thinker published an article by Daniel John Sobieski on May 26 with the title "Jarrett and Obama are Behind Spygate." • Sobieski has a fundamental point to make : "Unless we assume the FBI went completely rogue, it is inconceivable that the deployments of personnel to spy on the Trump campaign and make provocative contact with its lesser members could have occurred without the full knowledge and control of the occupants of the Oval Office. Obama may claim a scandal-free administration, but after Fast and Furious, the targeting of the Tea Party by the IRS, the Benghazi cover-up, Hillary's emails, to name a few, Spygate is just the latest. I use the plural 'occupants' because while Barack Hussein Obama may have been nominally the President of the United States, at the heart of every one of these scandals and virtually every administration move was Valerie Jarrett, who arguably could be considered our first female President. Jarrett, born in Iran to American parents, has been with the Obamas since her days as deputy chief of staff in the office of Chicago mayor Richard Daley, the younger. She hired Michelle Obama, then Michelle Robinson, to fill an opening in the mayor's office....Michelle Robinson asked for time to think and also asked Jarrett to meet Robinson's fiancé, Barack Obama. The three ended up meeting for dinner. After the dinner, Michelle took the job with the mayor's office, and Valerie Jarrett reportedly took the couple under her wing and 'introduced them to a wealthier and better-connected Chicago than their own.'....Not only did Valerie Jarrett become a mentor to the young Barack Obama, but she soon became what some have called Obama's Rasputin....She arguably has had more influence over Obama than anyone with the possible exception of Michelle Obama herself....Edward Klein, author of the best-selling book about Obama, 'The Amateur,' once asked Obama if he ran every decision by Jarrett, and the President responded, 'Absolutely.' A former foreign editor of Newsweek and editor of the New York Times Magazine, Klein describes Jarrett as 'ground zero in the Obama operation, the first couple's friend and consigliere.' If Obama ran every decision past Jarrett, the decision to plant spies in the Trump campaign certainly was among the most important. Obama's legacy was important to Jarrett, perhaps even more important than to Obama himself. She had to preserve it and ensure that the fundamental transformation of America continued. If Hillary could not win, Trump must be destroyed." • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also finds it inconceivable that the spying operation was launched without Jarrett signing off on it : "In a Tuesday appearance on Fox News, Newt Gingrich said that he believed former President Barack Obama and some of his top officials -- including Valerie Jarrett -- were involved in spying on Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign....'Presently, someone will figure out to ask what did Valerie Jarrett know and when did she know it?' Gingrich said. 'What did Barack Obama know and when did he know it? Because what you're seeing happen is, on every single level -- and this is what happens with really big scandals -- they keep on folding and they keep on folding and they keep on folding.' " • Former GW Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer agrees that such an operation could have been authorized only with the full knowledge of Jarrett and Obama : "We need to know why did it begin, who authorized it and what role did Barack Obama have. Did he know the FBI had informants there? I'll guarantee you the answer is yes. No FBI would put informants in another presidential campaign without permission from the White House, including the President,' he said on 'Outnumbered.' " • Sobieski asks : "Can it be believed that, as key players in the Obama administration like Strzok and Page, as well as FBI director James Comey, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, number four at Justice Bruce Ohr, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and many others were linked in a vast criminal conspiracy to keep Hillary Clinton out of prison and Donald Trump out of the White House, Barack Obama was blissfully unaware of all this? Rather, it can be plausibly argued that he was orchestrating it -- perhaps not directly or by explicit orders, but rather by discussing the threat to his legacy Trump represented with his progressive minions and then simply saying, as crime bosses throughout history have done, 'You know what needs to be done. Do it.' This scandal did not occur in a vacuum any more than did the weaponizing of the IRS to target the Tea Party and other conservative groups before Obama's 2012 re-election campaign occurred in a vacuum. The agencies under Obama's control have been politicized before and used to intimidate and destroy his political opponents." • Another highly respected analyst, Andrew McCarthy of the National Review, notes that the Trump/Russia investigation did not originate with Carter Page or George Papadopoulos but with the Obama administration : "With the revelation last week that the Obama administration had insinuated a spy into the Trump campaign, it appeared that we were back to the original, Page-centric origination story. But now there was a twist : The informant, longtime CIA source Stefan Halper, was run at Page by the FBI, in Britain. Because this happened just days after Page's Moscow trip, the implication was that it was the Moscow trip itself, not the Dossier claims about it, that provided momentum toward opening the investigation. Then, just a couple of weeks later, WikiLeaks began publicizing the DNC emails; this, we're to understand, shook loose the Australian information about Papadopoulos. When that information made its way to the FBI -- how, we're not told -- the 'Crossfire Hurricane' investigation was formally opened on July 31. Within days, Agent Peter Strzok was in London interviewing [Australian Ambassador Alexander] Downer, and soon the FBI tasked Halper to take a run at Papadopoulos. I'm not buying it. The real origination story begins in the early spring of 2016 -- long before Page went to Russia and long before the US government was notified about Papadopoulos's boozy conversation with Downer....From the 'late spring' on, every report of Trump-Russia ties, no matter how unlikely and uncorroborated, was presumed to be proof of a traitorous arrangement. And every detail that could be spun into Trump-campaign awareness of Russian hacking, no matter how tenuous, was viewed in the worst possible light." • • • DEAR READERS, Fox News has reported that : "Steele is expected to sit down for a videotaped deposition on June 18 in London for civil litigation filed against Buzzfeed, which published the unverified Steele memos in January 2017. The Steele-written memos were funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton through Washington, DC-based law firm Perkins Coie, which hired Fusion GPS for $1.8 million. The unverified information was also used by the FBI and pushed to various journalists during the 2016 campaign." Evan Fray-Witzer, the Boston-based lawyer for Russian technology executive Aleksej Gubarev, who is suing Buzzfeed for defamation of his companies, said in a statement : “We look forward to asking both Mr. Steele and Mr. Simpson about the work they performed AFTER the election, which is when the memo [the Steele Russia Dossier] concerning our clients was written.’ ” • The evidence is piling up to show that the Obama-led FBI and DOJ not only used the Steele Russia Dossier -- and may even have encouraged its development -- they also used spies in their politically-based investigation of the Trump campaign. The use of the federal bureaucracy to unsuccessfully prevent Donald Trump's presidency, and to try to destroy it after he was elected, is both criminal and the biggest political scandal in American history. • Forget Contra. Forget Watergate. Spygate is the Mother of all American political scandals.