In June 2015, real estate mogul Donald Trump announced that he was running for President. I must admit I wasn’t impressed. There was nothing in his record to indicate he believed in anything I believed in, and he was a totally inexperienced candidate. What I didn’t realize was that experience comes in many different forms–successfully doing business in a city known for corruption, creating a television show that ordinary people enjoyed, and navigating the social waters of the elite–attending Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, etc. (I guess the political left didn’t hate him until he was a Republican and ran for President.) I really didn’t take him seriously. I suspect a lot of other people shared that opinion. The White House was supposed to go to Hillary Clinton–that was her reward for stepping out of the 2008 Democrat primary election, so it really didn’t matter who the Republicans ran. However, the economy was stuttering, unemployment was high, and Americans didn’t seem to have a lot of spending money in their pockets.
Well, around the summer of 2016 the Democrats began to take Donald Trump seriously as a candidate. So seriously in fact that they decided to use the power of government (on an international scale) to keep him from being elected and to prevent him from doing anything if he was elected.
The Guardian posted an article on July 30 about those efforts.
The article reports:
Two of the most senior intelligence officials in the US and UK privately shared concerns about “our strange situation” as the FBI launched its 2016 investigation into whether Donald Trump’s campaign was colluding with Russia, the Guardian has learned.
Text messages between Andrew McCabe, the deputy director of the FBI at the time, and Jeremy Fleming, his then counterpart at MI5, now the head of GCHQ, also reveal their mutual surprise at the result of the EU referendum, which some US officials regarded as a “wake-up call”, according to a person familiar with the matter.
While Russia had previously been viewed as a country that would seek to interfere in western elections, the Brexit vote was viewed by some within the FBI as a sign that Russian activities had possibly been successful, the person said.
Their exchanges offer new insights into the start of the FBI’s Russia investigation, and how British intelligence appears to have played a key role in the early stages.
In one exchange in August 2016, Fleming noted that members of the FBI and MI5 had “met on our strange situation”, a veiled reference to discussions about Russian activities, according to the source.
…The exchanges underscore a sensitive issue in the US – namely the role foreign intelligence services played in the FBI’s decision to initiate an investigation into the Trump campaign.
On 31 July 2016, the FBI opened a covert counterintelligence investigation codenamed “Crossfire Hurricane” into the then presidential candidate’s possible collusion with Russia.
The investigation was eventually taken over by the special counsel Robert Mueller, who has said there were “multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election” by Russia.
Mueller’s 448-page report did not establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, but it did identify incidents in which Trump attempted to obstruct justice in the investigation, and did not clear the president of wrongdoing.
US and UK intelligence agencies frequently share information, but the exchanges between McCabe and Fleming appear to reflect a desire for a direct line of communication given what was seen as a developing problem on both sides of the Atlantic.
This is the key paragraph:
In his text message about the August 2016 meeting, Fleming appeared to be making a reference to Peter Strzok, a senior FBI official who travelled to London that month to meet the Australian diplomat Alexander Downer. Downer had agreed to speak with the FBI about a Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, who had told him that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee in the race. The meeting was first reported by the New York Times.
This is the context of these activities–the British ‘deep state’ wanted Brexit to fail, and the American ‘deep state’ wanted Donald Trump not to be elected. The FBI was using overseas sources to do spying on political candidates that would have been illegal if it had been done domestically. The Russians did not interfere in the 2016 election other than placing ads and fake comments on Facebook. The real interference came from the American intelligence community–something that is totally illegal. Those involved need to be held accountable.