With the spotlight on the FBI over its role in the fake Russian dossier, The New York Times reported Saturday that the bureau was prompted to launch an investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia because of a loud mouth drunk, not the dossier.
According to The Times, a tipsy George Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat he knew that Russian officials had dirt on 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton after obtaining thousands of hacked emails.
More from The Times:
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.
The dossier from Christopher Steele, a former British spy the Clinton campaign hired, was widely suspected to be the impetus for the FBI launching a probe into the actions of Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
It didn’t help matters that a senior Justice Department official, Bruce Ohr, was linked to Fusion GPS, the research firm Steele worked for.
But the revelation that Papadopoulos, a member of the Trump campaign who recently pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, appeared to have inside information about Russian interference in the election was instead the driving factor, according to The Times:
The information that Mr. Papadopoulos gave to the Australians answers one of the lingering mysteries of the past year: What so alarmed American officials to provoke the F.B.I. to open a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign months before the presidential election?
It was not, as Mr. Trump and other politicians have alleged, a dossier compiled by a former British spy hired by a rival campaign. Instead, it was firsthand information from one of America’s closest intelligence allies.
The newspaper elevated Papadopoulos’ role, stating that he “played a critical role in this drama.”
All of which cancels out the theory that the FBI was led to take action over a highly questionable dossier.
Instead, the bureau reportedly acted only after Australian officials passed along their report of the drunken conversation two months later when leaked Democratic emails were first published online.
So, you see, no corruption within the FBI to influence the 2016 presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton. Nothing to see here at all, folks. Move right along.
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