For years I have been saying that the Clintons lie when they do not have to, and they tell a gigantic whopper when a little white lie would be perfectly adequate. This time-honored observation explains many of their past run-ins with the law.
Now in the lurid aftermath of Hillary Clinton’s surprising defeat to Donald Trump we see a variation of my observation playing itself out. Eventually, it will probably land some of Hillary’s associates in jail; possibly it will snag even her. In 2016, despite being well ahead in the polls, the Clintons committed various misdemeanors when they did not have to, and they and their associates committed obvious felonies when simple misdemeanors would have been perfectly adequate.
Let us begin by following the money. At least $1.02 million came from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Clinton Campaign in 2015 to the legal firm of Perkins Coie, an obvious pass-through. Then it went from Perkins Coie to Fusion GPS, another obvious pass-through. Finally it reached its destination, Christopher Steele, an ex-British intelligence sleuth who was contemptuous of Mr. Trump, had close ties with the FBI and other U.S. intelligence agencies, and boasted of his world-wide connections with, among others, Russians.
He reportedly took $168,000 as payment for his services. That the DNC and Hillary’s campaign were firmly under Clinton control has been widely reported, most recently by Donna Brazile in her angry book about the campaign, “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House.”
Now let us follow some of the characters in this emerging scheme. To begin with, there is Mr. Steele feverishly flogging his famous “dossier.” It contains “salacious” material about Mr. Trump supposedly paying Moscow prostitutes to evacuate on a bed that President Barack Obama once slept in. The report is dubious because Mr. Trump is a well-known “germophobe” and because he was born fully equipped to befoul a bed on his own. But there is more. The dossier also contains information about Mr. Trump conducting business in Russia, presumably while he was fully dressed.
Mr. Steele took this information to the FBI, which then took it to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to get permission to spy on Carter Page, a low level adviser to Mr. Trump on foreign policy matters. Actually, by the time the FISA warrant was issued on Mr. Page he no longer worked for the Trump campaign, not that that matters.
Mr. Steele also went around peddling his dossier to members of the media. It would seem to me that in doing so Mr. Steele broke the law, he having promised the FBI not to talk to the media. What is more, the FBI broke the law by not informing the FISA court of the provenance of the material that it gave the FISA court and the material’s funding sources. Ultimately, Washington lawyers are going to be in high demand.
By the way, it appears that at least some of Mr. Steele’s information could have come from Russians, for instance the salacious stuff. So who has been colluding with the Russians? Agents of Donald Trump or agents of Hillary Clinton? And it is at this point that I shall introduce another set of characters that could have come from no other source than Hillary, Sidney Blumenthal and a man that The American Spectator profiled last week, Cody Shearer. He has not been heard of for some 20 years.
Mr. Shearer, The New York Times told us Saturday, “has been crisscrossing Eastern Europe for more than six months to secure the purported kompromat from a different Russian. ” Supposedly Mr. Shearer was dealing with different Russians than Mr. Steele’s contacts. Incidentally, Mr. Shearer is only identified by The Times as “an American political operative with ties to the Democratic Party.”
The Spectator identified him more completely as a longtime “hatchet man” for the Clintons. We supplied evidence. Mr. Shearer gave the fruits of his labors to Mr. Blumenthal who handed them over to an employee of the State Department, Jonathan M. Winer, whom he had known for 30 years. These fellows go way back. Mr. Winer insists that he did not share them with anyone at State, but he did share them with Mr. Steele who noted their similarities with Mr. Steele’s dossier. Mr. Steele then gave Mr. Shearer’s material to the FBI who presumably showed it to the FISA court.
While the Clinton campaign took considerable care to cover their tracks with their money trail and with commingling obvious Clintonistas like Mr. Blumenthal and Mr. Shearer with less-well known characters such as Mr. Steele, their efforts were not sufficient, as we can now see. Actually they rarely are.
If the Clintons were expert crooks they would not have been caught so many times over the years. When caught they always take refuge with their political friends and with the press. Perhaps this time they did not think they would have to, for they were so far ahead in the polls. It is bracing to think that if the Clinton campaign had won the presidency we would know nothing of their perfidy.
• R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is the author most recently of “The Death of Liberalism,” published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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