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Now that we know for sure that special counsel Robert Mueller, the U.S. intelligence community and Republicans on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees found no evidence that President Trump conspired with Russia to hijack the 2016 election, it is worth stepping back and evaluating the electoral impact of one of the greatest faux scandals in history.
Before doing that, though, let’s summarize what we now know about the origins of the investigation.
Hillary - Clinton - National - Committee - Law
Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee asked their law firm, Perkins Coie, to hire the political opposition research firm Fusion GPS to dig up dirt during the 2016 election on Trump and Russia. Fusion, in turn, hired former British intelligence operative Christopher Steele, who turned to a “retired” Russian intelligence officer in the United States to get most of this dirt.
Steele took his information to the FBI and senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr to interject it into law enforcement circles and make it a criminal matter. According to Ohr, Steele was “desperate” to defeat Trump and viewed his dossier as raw intelligence that was not verified. To augment that research, the Clinton campaign had a Democratic operative working with Ukraine’s embassy in Washington to research Trump's Russia ties, as well as a Ukrainian lawmaker feeding information to Fusion GPS.
Words - Evidence - FBI - Foreign - Intelligence
In another words, the main evidence used by the FBI to justify a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on the Trump campaign in its final weeks before the 2016 election, and for much of 2017, came from a political dirty-trick operation paid by Trump’s Democratic rival and run by a foreigner who disliked Trump.
That operation gathered uncorroborated evidence from foreigners in Russia and Ukraine who had their own motives for influencing the election.
FBI - Probe - Secrecy - Counterintelligence - Operation
Now, if the FBI probe ran with the secrecy of a normal counterintelligence operation,...
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