The New York Times is out with a new report this weekend that pokes holes in the theory that the Steele dossier was the impetus for the FBI launching a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. Instead, it appears, the FBI became alarmed about potential Russian election meddling and collusion between Trump associated and Russian official due to former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos.
According to the Times, Papadopoulos — who recently pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller — told an Australian diplomat that he knew that Russia had dirt on 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016, George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.
About three weeks earlier, Mr. Papadopoulos had been told that Moscow had thousands of emails that would embarrass Mrs. Clinton, apparently stolen in an effort to try to damage her campaign.
When leaked Democratic emails were first published online two months later, Australian officials passed along that info to the United States, which then prompted the bureau to begin its inquiry. The Times report also reveals that Papadopoulos was a significant member of the campaign and not just a “coffee boy.”
Interviews and previously undisclosed documents show that Mr. Papadopoulos played a critical role in this drama and reveal a Russian operation that was more aggressive and widespread than previously known. They add to an emerging portrait, gradually filled in over the past year in revelations by federal investigators, journalists and lawmakers, of Russians with government contacts trying to establish secret channels at various levels of the Trump campaign.
Regarding the dossier, Republicans in Congress and members of the conservative media — not to mention the president himself — have been trying to make the case that the salacious document was the basis for the FBI investigation and used to obtain FISA warrants. Therefore, a lot of effort has been placed on discrediting the dossier and showing corruption within the FBI as it relates the handling of the document.
The NYT report is extensive and contains a whole lot of juicy details, so check it out right here.
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