How the Clinton machine flooded the FBI with Trump-Russia dirt … until agents bit
When at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That’s what Hillary Clinton’s machine did in 2016, eventually getting the FBI to bite on an uncorroborated narrative that Donald Trump and Russia were trying to hijack the presidential election.
Between July and October 2016, Clinton-connected lawyers, emissaries and apologists made more than a half-dozen overtures to U.S. officials, each tapping a political connection to get suspect evidence into FBI counterintelligence agents’ hands, according to internal documents and testimonies I reviewed and interviews I conducted.
In each situation, the overture was uninvited. And as the election drew closer, the point of contact moved higher up the FBI chain.
It was, as one of my own FBI sources called it, a “classic case of information saturation” designed to inject political opposition research into a counterintelligence machinery that should have suspected a political dirty trick was underway.
Ex-FBI general counsel James Baker, one of the more senior bureau executives to be targeted, gave a memorable answer when congressional investigators asked how attorney Michael Sussmann from the Perkins Coie law firm, which represented the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party, came to personally deliver him dirt on Trump.
“You’d have to ask him why he decided to pick me,” Baker said last year in testimony that has not yet been released publicly. The FBI’s top lawyer turned over a calendar notation to Congress, indicating that he met Sussmann on Sept. 19, 2016, less than two months before Election Day.
Sussmann’s firm paid Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS opposition-research firm to hire British intelligence operative Christopher Steele to create the now-infamous dossier suggesting Trump and Moscow colluded during the 2016 election.
By the time Sussmann reached out, Steele’s dossier already was inside the FBI. Sussmann augmented it with cyber evidence that he claimed showed a further connection between the GOP campaign and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Some was put on a thumb drive, according to Baker.
Baker’s detailed account illustrates how a political connection — Sussmann and Baker knew each other — was leveraged to get anti-Trump research to FBI leaders.