WHERE WAS THE “COLLUSION?”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Nov. 21, 2018) — On Wednesday evening, former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos urged Americans to contact their respective congressmen to urge declassification of documents not yet released from four FISA warrant applications on another former Trump campaign adviser, Dr. Carter Page.
“The British and Australians were actively seeking to undermine Trump and his associates in 2015-2016-2017. I lived this,” Papadopoulos tweeted.
Papadopoulos’s comments constitute an apparent reaction to reportage by Ben Riley-Smith of The (UK) Telegraph, who wrote an article to be published Thursday titled, “MI6 battling to stop Donald Trump releasing classified Russia probe documents.”
MI6 is the British intelligence service for which the Trump “dossier” author, Christopher Steele, once worked.
In July, more than 400 pages of documentation accompanying four FISA warrant applications on Page were released to the government-watchdog organization Judicial Watch after it sued for them. Approximately 20 pages remain classified, with Trump expressing his intent to release them in September, only to change his mind several days later.
It is believed that the dossier comprised the bulk of “evidence” submitted to the FISA court by the FBI and Justice Department to request the Page surveillance warrants, although the court was not informed that it was a political product compiled at the ultimate request of the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.
Early in Trump’s administration, then-FBI Director James Comey reportedly told Trump that the dossier was “salacious and unverified.”
A Twitter thread initiated by Riley-Smith containing an excerpt from his article contains a photo of Papadopoulos and the caption, “MI6 chiefs are secretly battling Donald Trump to stop him publishing classified information linked to the Russian election meddling investigation.”
The probe to which Riley-Smith referred is that now overseen by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Assumed from the FBI in May 2017 just after Comey was fired, Mueller is not only seeking to determine the extent to which the Kremlin may have interfered in the 2016 elections, but also whether or not anyone from the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russians to assure a Trump victory over Clinton.
In his seventh tweet of the thread, Riley-Smith wrote, “There is a wider story, of which this is a part. Britain’s intel agencies are increasingly getting dragged into a heated and partisan row in Washington about the origins of the Russia probe….”
Riley-Smith said that in an interview with The Telegraph, Papadopoulos said, “The British Government has a lot of explaining to do … Why was the British intelligence apparatus weaponised against Trump and his advisers?” Riley-Smith also quoted from a reported U.S. source who reportedly said, “Other figures in Trump orbit pushing similar claim” and wrote that “One former close adviser to the president: ‘You know the Brits are up to their neck.'”
Papadopoulos accepted a “guilty” plea last year for lying to the FBI but said he was reconsidering that decision in an interview three weeks ago with Fox & Friends’s Brian Kilmeade. As of now, however, he is scheduled to report to a federal prison next week, according to ABC News on November 16.
Papadopoulos has hinted that he, too was the subject of a FISA warrant during 2016 as well as Trump’s first national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn (Ret); and short-term campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Last year, Flynn accepted a “guilty” plea agreement for allegedly misrepresenting his conversations with then-Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak in December 2016. Earlier this year, Manafort was tried on 18 federal counts associated with his years-old consulting work and convicted on eight. His health is reportedly deteriorating rapidly in prison.
In recent interviews, Papadopoulos has said that during its questioning of him regarding whether or not he knew of “collusion” between members of the campaign and Russia, the FBI withheld information which would have eliminated a plea deal as one of his options. He has alleged that mysterious overtures made to him by strangers while he lived in London in 2016 emanated from a plot to attempt to prevent Trump from winning the election.
Trump has repeatedly said that no one in his campaign “colluded” with anyone and that in reality, the Democrats coordinated with Russians during the 2016 election cycle.
Papadopoulos has said that he believes former UK ambassador to Australia Alexander Downer was attempting to frame him when the two met at the Kensington Wine Rooms in London in May 2016. Following what Papadopoulos said was a hostile conversation, Downer reportedly informed the FBI through official channels that Papadopoulos appeared to have knowledge that “the Russians” possessed damaging information on Clinton.
He has also claimed that during the meeting, Downer warned him, as an extension of the Trump campaign, not to criticize then-UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who had voiced criticism of Trump as a presidential candidate.
A later tweet from Papadopoulos states that “The will of the people must be heard” in regard to the declassification of the 20-odd FISA warrant application material.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.