by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
On Friday night, the New York Times published what was clearly intended to be a blockbuster report that, following the firing of FBI director James Comey on May 9, 2017, the bureau formally opened an investigation of President Trump. But in truth, the only thing the story shows is that the FBI, after over a year of investigation, simply went overt about something that had been true from the first. The investigation commenced during the 2016 campaign by the Obama administration – the Justice Department and the FBI – was always about Donald Trump.
We have to remember: The FBI believed the Steele dossier – the collection of faux intelligence reports compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, who was ultimately working for the Hillary Clinton campaign. The Justice Department on four occasions brought surveillance applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), in which the FBI swore that it believed the dossier allegations.
Ostensibly, the surveillance application targeted Carter Page. But Page was just a side issue. The dossier was principally about Trump – not Page, not Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, or other Trump associates referred to by Steele. The dossier’s main allegation was that Trump was in an espionage conspiracy with Russia to swing the election to Trump, after which Trump would do Putin’s bidding from the White House. The FBI and the Obama Justice Department could not verify the dossier, but they undeniably believed it.