A reporter who has been breaking stories on the Russia investigation since it began two years ago points out that there were at least six different FBI or intelligence-related operatives with similar characteristics and modes of operation who made entrees to key figures in the Trump business organization or his presidential campaign between March and October 2016.
John Solomon, in a column for the Hill, noted that in the mafia’s heyday, the FBI was trained to pay attention if a mobster was in town. If five or more mobsters showed up in the same neck of the woods, “a meeting of consiglieri or La Cosa Nostra’s council was likely happening.”
Another mob characteristic to note, he said, was that the mobsters usually had the same “calling card,” the same excuse for being in town.
“Early in my reporting that unraveled the origins of the Trump-Russia collusion probe, tying it to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and possible Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses,” Solomon wrote, “I started to see patterns just as in the old mob meetings: FBI or intelligence-connected figures kept showing up in Trump Town USA during the 2016 campaign with a common calling card.”
Solomon said the “question now is, who sent them and why?”
“If this were a mob case, agents would not stop until they knew why each character appeared and who sent them,” Solomon wrote.
He said President Trump can help by declassifying relevant documents, as he promised months ago.
“The American people deserve to know how much of the Trump-Russia probe was the result of agent provocateurs and political muckrakers and FISA cheaters, and how much was legitimate law enforcement work,” Solomon said.
The FISA reference was to the Obama Justice Department’s use of the “Steele dossier” of unsubstantiated political dirt on Trump funded by the Clinton campaign to obtain a warrant from a FISA intelligence court to spy on the Trump campaign in 2016.
Solomon said his interviews with more than 50 witnesses in the Trump case and reviews of hundreds of pages of court filings confirm, among other things, that nearly all of the contacts “involved the same overture — a discussion about possible political dirt or stolen emails harmful to Hillary Clinton, or unsolicited business in London or Moscow.”
Several of the contacts occurred before the FBI formally launched a legally authorized probe alleged Trump collusion on July 31, 2016.
The recipients of the overtures are well known, including Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., Michael Cohen, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Sam Clovis and Roger Stone.
Some of the instigators also are known: Professor Stefan Halper, Russian businessman Hank Greenberg, former MI6 agent Christopher Steele and former FBI informer Felix Sater.
Solomon pointed out that Trump campaign figures were contacted by at least two Russian figures along with intelligence or diplomatic figures connected to two of America’s closest allies, Britain and Australia.
“The chances that so many would converge into then-candidate Donald Trump’s circle, in such a short period around an election, are about as rare as winning the Mega Millions lottery,” Solomon concluded. “In other words, most were not coincidences. A few, maybe, but not all.”
He noted that the the House Intelligence and Senate Judiciary committees demanded to be secretly briefed on payments to “undercovers.”
But the lawmakers have been “pretty tight-lipped since, except to express concerns that the public would be alarmed by what was divulged.”
Solomon has deduced from these members of Congress that some of the contacts that occurred in 2016 were related to the “dossier.”
The FBI, he said, “clearly dispatched informers, agents and other operatives to gather evidence to bulk up the uncorroborated Steele dossier,” so agents could get a FISA warrant in October 2016 to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Solomon said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. recently told him he believes there may have been abuses of the FISA process.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., went further last week, “suggesting the effort to gather evidence beyond the Steele dossier might be the most problematic of all because it was designed to be a political ‘insurance policy’ against Trump winning the presidency.”