(WSJ) Let’s give plausible accounts of the known facts, then explain why demands that Robert Mueller recuse himself from the Russia investigation may not be the fanciful partisan grandstanding you imagine.
Here’s a story consistent with what has been reported in the press—how reliably reported is uncertain. Democratic political opponents of Donald Trump financed a British former spook who spread money among contacts in Russia, who in turn over drinks solicited stories from their supposedly “connected” sources in Moscow. If these people were really connected in any meaningful sense, then they made sure the stories they spun were consistent with the interests of the regime, if not actually scripted by the regime.
The resulting Trump dossier then became a factor in Obama administration decisions to launch an FBI counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign, and after the election to trumpet suspicions of Trump collusion with Russia.
We know of a second, possibly even more consequential way the FBI was effectively a vehicle for Russian meddling in U.S. politics. Authoritative news reports say FBI chief James Comey’s intervention in the Hillary Clinton email matter was prompted by a Russian intelligence document that his colleagues suspected was a Russian plant.
OK, Mr. Mueller was a former close colleague and leader but no longer part of the FBI when these events occurred. This may or may not make him a questionable person to lead a Russia-meddling investigation in which the FBI’s own actions are necessarily a concern.
But now we come to the Rosatom disclosures last week in The Hill, a newspaper that covers Congress.
Here’s another story as plausible as we can make it based on credible reporting. After the Cold War, in its own interest, the U.S. wanted to build bridges to the Russian nuclear establishment. The Putin government, for national or commercial purposes, agreed and sought to expand its nuclear business in the U.S.
The purchase and consolidation of certain assets were facilitated by Canadian entrepreneurs who gave large sums to the Clinton Foundation, and perhaps arranged a Bill Clinton speech in Moscow for $500,000. A key transaction had to be approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department.
Now we learn that, before and during these transactions, the FBI had uncovered a bribery and kickback scheme involving Russia’s U.S. nuclear business, and also received reports of Russian officials seeking to curry favor through donations to the Clinton Foundation.
This criminal activity was apparently not disclosed to agencies vetting the 2010 transfer of U.S. commercial nuclear assets to Russia. The FBI made no move to break up the scheme until long after the transaction closed. Only five years later, the Justice Department, in 2015, disclosed a plea deal with the Russian perpetrator so quietly that its significance was missed until The Hill reported on the FBI investigation last week.
For anyone who cares to look, the real problem here is that the FBI itself is so thoroughly implicated in the Russia meddling story.
Read the full story here: The FBI’s Political Meddling – WSJ