Meet the crummy little Russian operative who helped Halper in the Steele dossier bid to Get Trump
One of the enduring mysteries of the phony, scurrilous "Steele dossier" used to justify so much government abuse of power against President Trump is the question of who came up with it.
Who was the crummy little Russian operative who made up all the stuff about Trump and the peeing prostitutes in the Moscow hotel room (such a sick imagination), as well as the erroneous nonsense about Russia having a Miami consulate?
It was all made up dreck, and the Democrats, commissioning former U.K. intelligence official Christopher Steele to procure it in 2016, actually paid millions and millions of dollars for it.
I mean, if fake is what they wanted, I could have written something fake for them, for much less. Anyone can do fake. They even could have written it themselves and kept all their money.
But for some reason it was important to these Democrats to shell out big, big bucks for fake, and the Steele dossier was the result.
The dossier was nominally "opposition research" but more consequentially, somehow ended up as the deep-state basis for launching the FBI and CIA efforts to investigate, smear, and try to force President Trump from office. That included the mendacious FISA warrants to illegally spy on Trump operatives such as Paul Manafort and Carter Page.
That might explain why they paid millions for such fakery. Turns out the particular guy they paid to write the fake stuff mattered to them - a former chief of one of the KGB's successor outfits, known by its Russian initials SVR, Vyacheslav Trubnikov.
He's the crummy little Russian bureaucrat who cooked the whole thing up. And he happened to be good pals with CIA-linked Stefan Halper, the Cambridge University millionaire, who also entrapped hapless George Papadopoulos* using his buddy's dossier as the pretext which then fueled an undercover FBI operation.
Here's why it's a scandal, from Undercover Huber, an investigative whiz on Twitter who is believed to be a former federal prosecutor, who put this out this morning:
NEW: The FISA warrant applications on Carter Page directly relied on information sourced to Vyacheslav Trubnikov, former head of Russia's SVR foreign intelligence agency and "good friend" of FBI CHS Stefan Halper— Undercover Huber (@JohnWHuber) April 18, 2020
Which really raises some questions about Halper. Did he really do both things - commission the phony dossier, nominally to help Hillary Clinton, but in reality to get a federal investigation going, and then, as that ball got rolling, took part in the investigation itself, bagging little Papadapoulos?
If so, this sounds one heck of a conflict of interest. It actually sounds like collusion. With the Russians. The real kind.
Because, as Undercover Huber notes in a later tweet, look at what it amounts to:
So yeah, the FBI/DOJ were using unverified information from a "former" Russian head of the new KGB in order to spy on an American citizen, who was actually a CIA asset. Great work everyone!
Undoubtedly, Trubnikov was being used a fig leaf to make the dossier look important to FISA judges. If anyone ever asked, Trubnikov would be the source, which is why his name appears on the endnotes. He'd carry the water, making it all look true. Because the KGB never lies to westerners, does it? (Even Fiona Hill, the Russia-abhorring former National Security Council aide who testified against Trump during impeachment hearings said she could recognize the smell of disinformation in the whole thing.)
And it also raises questions about whether Halper was behind some of the strange doings of Trubnikov in 2016, such as his getting out and about with the NPR reporters, chatty all of a sudden (these guys don't do chatty), giving the U.S. government-financed (in part) reporter some war stories to get his name out there, maybe in reality to give the FISA judges something to Google as they assessed the merit of the FISA application. Halper also invited Trubnikov to conferences at Cambridge University in 2012 and 2015, according to Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller. That, according to Undercover Huber, writing in the comments section, ironically came as Halper was sounding a phony alarm about Gen. Michael Flynn being the subject of a Russian honeytrap operation. You wouldn't bring in a guy like Trubnikov if you really thought the Russians were up to something.
Halper got paid millions for his Pentagon "contracts." Was he paying guys like Trubnikov? Or, as Sen. Chuck Grassley asked earlier this year, did the U.S. government actually pay those millions for the Steele dossier?
And beyond Halper, it raises questions about the FBI and whether it knew the dossier was commissioned and fake - some evidence suggests it did -- and nevertheless used it as pretext to spy on Trump operatives to get them in jail for process crimes since they knew there was nothing on them.
As far as the Russians go, it's likely the Russians went along with this whole farce because they were convinced that Hillary Clinton was going to win the election. Might as well get in good on the ground floor to ensure that the easily bought Hillary would give them an easy ride. Plus, they'd have that dirt about how they made up the dossier on her behalf on her, to keep her docile.
Colluding with the Russians, to Get Trump, and then spreading years of lies to claim that Trump was doing the colluding, is pretty appalling.
As one of the commentators on Undercover Huber noted: Maybe this would explain why the left was so upset when President Trump had his Helsinki meeting with President Vladimir Putin, who might have told him the whole story, and then refused to release the minutes of the meeting.
They needed that Russia collusion narrative going. Now the evidence is pointing hard to John Brennan, James Comey and all their little operatives as being the real colluders with Russia, convinced they'd never be found out. This should make the upcoming Durham report, which will lay all this stuff out, something worth looking forward to.
Image credit: Twitter screen shot
*Correction: An earlier version of this piece misstated Papadopoulos' name. Thanks, Roger Luchs for noticing and letting me know.