Hillary Clinton has endorsed the idea of obtaining political dirt from overseas, saying her campaign’s Kremlin-sourced dossier was “part of what happens in a campaign.”
President Trump is taking heat from Democrats for telling ABC News on Wednesday that he would listen to negative information from a foreign country about a political opponent in 2020.
That is basically the same position Mrs. Clinton took when interviewed on Nov. 1, 2017 on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”
A week earlier, the nation cleared that the Christopher Steele dossier and its dozen conspiracy charges against Trump associates were financed by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The Robert Mueller report effectively destroyed the dossier. His 22-month investigation failed to establish a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to interfere in the election against Mrs. Clinton.
Mrs. Clinton was asked on the show about the dossier, whose sources are listed in the document as Kremlin intelligence and government leaders.
“It’s part of what happens in a campaign where you get information that may or may not be useful and you try to make sure anything you put out in the public arena is accurate,” she said, “So this thing didn’t come out until after the election and it's still being evaluated.”
She provided this chronology:
“When Trump got the nomination of the Republican Party, the people doing it came to my campaign lawyer, and said, would you like us to continue it,” she said. “He said yes. He is an experienced lawyer. He knows what the law is. He knows what opposition research is.”
The dossier didn’t begin until June 2016 when Fusion GPS, Mrs. Clinton’s opposition research firm, sought funds from her campaign, via her law firm, to pay Mr. Steele.
Mr. Steele’s allegations did surface before election day.
Fusion arranged for Mr. Steele to brief a number of Washington reporters. Yahoo News wrote a story in September outlining Mr. Steele’s assertions that a Trump volunteer, Carter Page, discussed bribes with top Vladimir Putin associates for removing U.S. sanctions.
The Clinton campaign quickly cited the story.
Jennifer Palmieri, the Clinton campaign’s communications director, said on one broadcast, “Michael Isikoff had a piece yesterday about Carter Page, who is a foreign policy adviser of Trump’s and that he had met with someone from the Kremlin that, I mean, you know, according to Michael’s reporting that U.S. intelligence officials believe is behind the hack.”
The Mueller report cleared Mr. Page of any election interference.
Also before the election, then-Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, wrote a letter to the FBI summarizing Mr. Steele’s charges. The letter was leaked to the New York Times which published a story.
Clinton operatives busily circulated the dossier before and after the election.
A Fusion GPS middleman took the dossier to the FBI on several occasions. The Clinton law firm also tried to sell Mr. Steele’s charges to the Justice Department.
The FBI put the dossier to extensive use. It cited Mr. Steele to judges to obtain a wiretap on Mr. Page for a year. It briefed both President Obama and President-election Trump.
FBI agents were briefed by Mr. Steele in July 2016 and again in October in Europe.
The FBI offered Mr. Steele $50,000 to continuing investigation Mr. Trump, though it never confirmed former British spy’s allegations.
The Justice Department inspector general is investigating how the FBI used the dossier.
In addition, Attorney General William Barr has tapped John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to investigate how the Obama Justice Department and FBI decided to target the Trump campaign.
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Author: Rowan Scarborough