Hillary Factor: Evidence now shows false Russia collusion story began and ended with Clinton
Sussmann trial testimony confirms earlier CIA, FBI evidence that Hillary Clinton approved dirtying up Trump with unproven Russia allegations.
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In an era where the hunt for disinformation has become a political obsession, Hillary Clinton has mostly escaped having to answer what role she played in spreading the false Russia collusion narrative that gripped America for nearly three years.
On Friday, that dodge ended with a most unlikely witness: her former campaign manager Robby Mook, who was supposed to be a witness helping the defense of her former campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann on a charge of lying to the FBI.
Instead, under cross-examination by Special Counsel John Durham's team, Mook was forced to concede two extraordinary facts.
First, the Clinton campaign wasn't "totally confident" about the accuracy of computer data suggesting Donald Trump had a secret communications channel to the Kremlin via Russia's Alfa Bank.
And second, Hillary Clinton herself personally approved spreading the story to the news media, despite the concerns about its accuracy.
"I discussed it with Hillary as well," Mook testified. "I don't remember the substance of the conversation, but notionally, the discussion was, hey, we have this and we want to share it with a reporter," Mook said.
Prosecutors asked Mook if Clinton approved leaking the story to the media.
"She agreed," Mook testified.
The testimony confirms what CIA Director John Brennan told President Barack Obama secretly in July 2016 and what the CIA later told the FBI two months later: There was intelligence that Clinton had approved a plan to dirty up Trump with Russia allegations to distract from her own email server scandal.
Kevin Brock, the FBI’s former assistant director for intelligence, called Mook’s revelation a “startling piece of testimony, particularly since he was a defense witness.”
“On the surface it looks like a major victory for John Durham,” Brock said. “Don't forget he's trying to paint an overall picture here. Sussmann is just one pixel on that photo.
“The trial is the vehicle that Durham is using to help bring out the truth, to tell a story of a political campaign that in two instances pursued information that was totally fabricated or at least misinterpreted with the Alfa Bank connection to Trump and use that disinformation to mislead the American voter,” he added.
Slowly over six years, the Russia collusion story has been exposed for what it was: a three-legged political dirty trick in which highly credible figures with deep law enforcement, intelligence and news media ties were paid by the Clinton campaign to flood the FBI, the CIA and the public with unproven allegations that Trump was secretly colluding with Russia to steal the election from Clinton.
The first leg of the collusion narrative was run by the former British spy Christopher Steele, who used his MI6 credentials and his prior ties to the FBI and high-ranking DOJ official Bruce Ohr to walk in his infamous dossier to U.S. law enforcement and intelligence in the summer of 2016. The FBI ultimately concluded Steele's dossier was riddled with Russian disinformation and disproved evidence.
The second leg was Sussmann, who crafted information from computer experts supporting Clinton into the tale of the Alfa Bank server back door. That narrative was flagged by Sussmann's team as unlikely even before he pitched it to the FBI, according to the indictment, and the theory was ultimately dismissed by the FBI and Russia Special Counsel Robert Mueller. "It wasn't true," Mueller testified to Congress in 2019.
The third leg of the dirty trick consisted of the efforts of federal bureaucrats inside the FBI, State Department and intelligence community — many of whom disliked Trump — who managed to deceive the FISA court, the Congress and the American public, often by using leaks to news media outlets to sustain a collusion story that had fallen apart within weeks of Steele's first approach.
And now multiple releases of evidence show Hillary Clinton herself was in on the false narrative — from start to finish.
By end of July 2016 as the plan was being set in motion, the CIA had enough evidence from Russian intercepts for Brennan to go to Obama and warn Clinton herself had approved the Russia collusion plan.
According to Brennan's notes from that briefing, Obama was told about intelligence that Clinton has personally approved a plan "from one of her foreign policy advisors to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security services" in the election.
By early September 2016, the CIA sends FBI Director James Comey and others the same warning it gave Obama, namely that Clinton has approved a plan to tie Trump to Russia to distract from her email scandal.
Mook confirmed Clinton's affirmation, which set in motion a leak to news media in September and October 2016, just weeks before Election Day, of computer data allegedly showing Trump had a secret communications channel to Putin through the Alfa Bank.
An FBI agent dismissed the evidence as not credible in just 24 hours, according to the testimony of an FBI agent this week. The CIA by early 2017 feared the data was worse, perhaps contrived, Durham has said in court filings. The CIA called the data "not technically plausible" and "user created," the filings stated.
But Clinton and her top foreign policy adviser, now Biden National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, pitched the story hard on social media just days before Trump was elected.
"Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank," Clinton tweeted after the first article on the allegations appeared in the press, sharing a statement from Sullivan. "This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow," Sullivan said of the allegations in the article. "This secret hotline may be the key to unlocking the mystery of Trump's ties to Russia. ... We can only assume that federal authorities will now explore this direct connection between Trump and Russia as part of their existing probe into Russia's meddling in our elections."
In the ensuing months, the FBI repeatedly knocked down the Alfa Bank story as not true. And yet, remarkably, an entire year later, after Clinton herself had set the false story in motion, she doubled down on it in an interview with USA Today's Susan Page.
"There certainly was communication, and there certainly was an understanding of some sort," the former first lady declared.
When Page pressed further whether the collusion story was real, Clinton said she was convinced.
"I think the evidence is very compelling that somebody had to help direct and coordinate the actions by the Russians," she added. "And that's what members of Congress and the special counsel are trying to get to the bottom of it. I'm convinced of it."
The evidence is now complete that Hillary Clinton was at the beginning and the end of the Russia collusion false story.
History will now add it to her biography of scandal, a three-decade legacy that includes the Whitewater S&L scandal, the White House travel office firings, the China fundraising scandal, the subpoenaed law firm records secreted away in the White House residence and the pay-to-play schemes of the Clinton Foundation.