The one Russia-collusion narrative that Democrats have actively worked to suppress is coming back to haunt them.
Investigators from the House Intelligence Committee have issued subpoenas to the DOJ and FBI for information related to the now-infamous Trump dossier that, as we recently learned, was provided to the FBI even though it contained knowingly inaccurate allegations. It was also financed by a “senior Russian government official," according to testimony given to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
As expected, the move is being spearheaded by Republicans, while Democrats on the committee, including leading anti-Trumper Adam Schiff, are resisting the subpoenas, claiming this is the latest ploy to try and "discredit" the dossier's author, former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.
Here's the Washington Examiner, which first reported the news:
In the most significant escalation yet in the wrangling between Congress and the FBI over the Trump dossier, the House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed the bureau and the Justice Department for documents relating to the dossier, the FBI's relationship with dossier author Christopher Steele, and the bureau's possible role in supporting what began as an opposition research project against candidate Donald Trump in the final months of last year's presidential campaign.
In reality, Democrats may be worried that, if the background materials are finally publicized, they could terminally damage the Trump-Russia collusion narrative. Here's more from CNN:
"’We've got to run this thing to ground,’ said Republican Rep. Michael Conaway, who is heading the House Russia investigation. Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the panel, said the pair of subpoenas were issued over his objections last month and are designed to "undermine" the claims about the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.”
As Hermitage Capital’s William Browder told the Senate Judiciary Committee during testimony in July, the dossier, which contains allegations that the Russians had compromising information on President Trump, was actually funded by a senior Russian government source, who paid Democratic opposition research firm Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research into Trump. The story hasn’t gotten a lot of traction in the mainstream press, we believe, because it violates the Russia-Trump narrative that the media has worked so hard to build from nothing.
Here's the relevant exchange between Browder and Senator Lindsey Graham:
Graham: You believe that Fusion GPS should of registered under FARA, because they were acting on the behalf of the Russians?
Browder: That’s correct.
Graham: So, I just want to absorb that for a moment. The group that did the dossier on President Trump hired this British spy, wound up getting it to the FBI. You believe they were working for the Russians?
Browder: And in the Spring and Summer of 2016 they were receiving money indirectly from a senior Russian government official.
Graham: Okay. So, these are the people that were trying to undermine Donald Trump by showing the nefarious ties to Russia. Is that what you’re saying?
Browder: Well, what I’m saying with 100% certainty is that they were working to undermine the Magnitsky act and the timing of that.
Graham: But, the Fusion GPS products apparently as they hired a guy to look into Trump?
Republicans have rightfully argued that it is important to understand the genesis of the dossier and whether it was created to sabotage Trump during his successful campaign for president, and also whether Democrats intentionally tried to mislead the FBI.
The dossier was funded by a group called Fusion GPS that conducts political opposition research and was initially hired by anti-Trump Republicans during the primary before switching to the Democrats after Trump had secured the nomination. One of its co-founders, Glenn Simpson, a longtime investigative reporter at the Wall Street Journal, abruptly canceled voluntary testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee back in July.
As Reuters reminds us, the House intelligence panel is conducting one of several Congressional probes into alleged collusion between the Trump and Russia campaigns, as well as allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Russia, naturally, denies meddling in the election and Trump denies any collusion, and as the latest series of leaks have shown, Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the other investigators have shifted their focus in the "collusion" probe to "financial crimes" conducted by the subjects of the investigation. What they have is reportedly sufficient to try to nail Paul Manafort on some kind of financial-fraud related charge in the hope that he'll turn on the president to save his own neck.
While it remains unclear what materials they’re trying to subpoena, we hope that as more of this narrative is exposed to the public, the attempt by Trump’s opponents - supposedly including a "senior Russian government official" - to smear the president, while attempting to foment an FBI investigation based on false information – receives the publicity it deserves.