The Senate Judiciary Committee released new documents relating to the FBI’s probe into whether President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russia to steal the election. The new documents reveal that in early 2017, the FBI had “little, if any, evidence” of ties between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin and already had misgivings about the so-called Steele Dossier.
Despite this lack of evidence, the FBI, spurred on by anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok, continued to look for something to pin on Trump and further the false narrative that Trump was an agent of Russia. The information in this new trove of documents isn’t anything groundbreaking, it’s just more evidence that the investigation and narrative was weak to begin with, yet media outlets are either ignoring the documents or downplaying them. For example, Politico headlined its article about the documents as boring as possible, titling it, “Graham releases declassified docs on early months of Russia probe,” referring to Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The article, however, describes just how flimsy the case was against Trump even though media outlets rushed to suggest his administration would crumble and the election was illegitimate:
The documents suggest that even as press reports began to describe connections between Americans in Trump’s orbit and figures in Russia’s shadowy intelligence services, the FBI had gathered little, if any, evidence that such ties existed.
“We have not seen evidence of any officials associated with the Trump team in contact with [intelligence officers],” wrote Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who helped initiate and lead the Russia probe, in internal notes accompanying a Feb. 14, 2017, New York Times article. “We are unaware of ANY Trump advisors engaging in conversations with Russian intelligence officials.”
Those contacts, Strzok wrote, were limited to Russia’s then-ambassador to the U.S. and the Russian Embassy’s liaison to Congress.
The documents also revealed that Strzok was skeptical of the dossier alleging Russia collusion and scandalous acts between Trump and Russians, compiled by ex-British Intelligence Officer Christopher Steele.
“Graham also released a 57-page memo detailing the FBI’s interview with a top source for Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence agent whose unverified dossier on Trump described a nefarious, yearslong plot to aid his election. That document, which formed part of the basis for the FBI’s surveillance of a Trump campaign adviser in 2016, was crafted largely through a network of six sources relied on by this associate of Steele’s — and some of its most explosive and salacious findings were based on thinly sourced speculation,” Politico reported. “In his New York Times annotation, Strzok also indicated that Steele may not have been able to adequately judge whether the sources he relied on for his dossier were reliable. Strzok, who was fired from the bureau in 2018 after drawing Trump’s fury over private text messages that revealed his disdain for the president, raised strong doubts about the Times article, which described “repeated” contacts between Trump aides and Russian intelligence agents.”
The article is laid out to absolve Strzok of anti-Trump bias, yet it confirms that even though the FBI had no evidence to investigate, it continued for two years, while the media lapped up every dubious leak.
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