This week, special counsel John Durham released a 316-page report detailing the origins of Operation Crossfire Hurricane—the FBI’s investigation into supposed connections between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
The report is an astounding expose of corruption and collusion—not between former President Donald Trump and Russia, but between the Hillary Clinton campaign, friendlies at the FBI, and top officials at the Obama administration.
As it turns out, Crossfire Hurricane was initiated based on sheer conjecture. That conjecture was trafficked by Clinton’s 2016 campaign. And that conjecture served as the basis for a four-yearlong witch hunt into a bevy of allegations that ultimately came to nothing.
The story began, Durham reports, in late July 2016, when Australia provided information to the U.S. Embassy in London surrounding conversations between Australian diplomats and low-level Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, in which Papadopoulos had allegedly suggested that the “Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist” in the process of releasing information about Clinton.
This information alone was utilized as the predicate for launching the full-blown Trump-Russia investigation within three days after receipt of the flimsy information.
Top FBI officials greenlit the investigation, including Peter Strzok, deputy assistant director of counterintelligence and devoted Trump-hater. The investigation, Durham notes, was launched “before any dialogue with Australia or the Intelligence Community, and prior to any critical analysis of the information itself.”
What could have prompted this eagerness? The FBI, as Durham acknowledges, was already in possession of the so-called Steele Dossier, a compendium of lies and innuendo created by Fusion GPS at the behest of the Clinton campaign. The FBI had also been approached by a second source working with Fusion GPS in July 2016.
There appears to have been a push for an investigation prompted by the desires of the Clinton campaign and the perceived necessity of stopping Trump. The FBI’s Assistant Legal Attache in London knew the Papadopoulos information was thin but told the Office of the Inspector General that FBI management was “pushing the matter so hard that ‘there was no stopping the train,’” making it his job to “grease the skids.”
Meanwhile, in July 2016, U.S. intelligence agencies found out about Russian intelligence suggesting that Clinton had approved a campaign plan to gin up allegations of Trump-Russia collusion.
On Aug. 3, CIA Director John Brennan “met with the President, Vice President and other senior Administration officials, including but not limited to the Attorney General (who participated remotely) and the FBI Director” and briefed them on the so-called Clinton Plan.
Nobody decided to put a hold on the Trump-Russia investigation, despite the relevant fact that all involved now knew of allegations that the entire situation had been drummed up by the Clinton campaign.
And so, in short, we now know that top officials at the White House and the FBI were aware of Clinton’s plan to disseminate information falsely claiming Trump-Russia collusion; the FBI knew full well that the intelligence it had making such accusations was flimsy at best; they all went ahead anyway. For the rest of the election cycle and much of Trump’s presidency, the Democrats, media, and intelligence community continued to parrot the Trump-Russia collusion lie.
This collusion is significantly worse than Watergate. It involves the former secretary of state and Democratic candidate for president laundering false intelligence information to the FBI; and the FBI, overseen by the candidate’s political allies in the Obama administration, using that information as the predicate to open a full-scale investigation knowing full well that the Clinton campaign could well be behind the allegations in the first place.
This is patently insane. It destroys any semblance of legitimacy in the FBI. It implicates former President Barack Obama, President Joe Biden, James Clapper, Brennan, and a bevy of other high officials in weaponization of the government to stop Trump.
The Russia hoax was much more than a hoax, it turns out. It was a nefarious plan, enacted at the highest levels of government, to corrupt an election and undermine a presidency.
Reproduced with permission. Original here. Ben Shapiro is host of “The Ben Shapiro Show” and editor emeritus of The Daily Wire. A graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, he is a New York Times bestselling author whose latest book is “The Authoritarian Moment: How the Left Weaponized America’s Institutions Against Dissent.”