Once upon a time, before the Steele Dossier was exposed as the Clinton-purchased opposition research garbage that it is, it was widely assumed (with evidence) that the FBI had launched its Russia/Trump probe solely on the word of this former British spy. Once Americans were treated to the fact that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee paid for that dossier (and that Steele relied at least partially on Clinton allies like Sidney Blumenthal to pad his fiction), the FBI came up with another story. Oh, we didn’t rely on the Steele dossier at all, they told the New York Times. No, no, this investigation began when a Trump campaign aide named George Papadopoulos hinted to an Australian diplomat that Russia had thousands of Clinton’s emails over drinks at a London bar. THAT’S the ticket!
Well, perhaps that is the ticket. Perhaps that’s all it took to sic the FBI on the Trump campaign and initiate one of the most egregious and politically-motivated investigations in U.S. history. We’re not sure if this version of events makes the FBI or the Obama administration look any better, but that’s the story they’re going with. It certainly doesn’t explain why they thought it excused them to send a spy into Trump World. It certainly doesn’t explain why they relied, exclusively, on the Steele dossier to get a warrant against Carter Page. And it certainly doesn’t explain why they waited until January 27, 2017 – AFTER Trump’s inauguration – to interview Papadopoulos for the first time.
But yeah, it’s a story.
Now Papadopoulos’s wife, Simon Mangiante, is raising public questions about the collusion investigation and her husband’s role in setting it off. In an interview with The Daily Caller this weekend, Mangiante said that the only reason that Papadopoulos plead guilty to lying to the FBI in the first place was that Robert Mueller threatened to charge him as an agent of the Israeli government.
“George had nothing to do with Russia,” she told the DC. “This whole investigation appears to be based on gossiping.”
Mangiante said that Papadapoulos had met a couple of times with Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud, who mentioned that Russia had possession of Clinton’s missing 30,000 emails, which were a hot topic in the news at that time.
“He never saw those emails,” she said, referring to Misfud. “He never did anything. Mifsud never offered [my husband] anything. He just talked about emails.”
Indeed, this doesn’t even seem to be in dispute. Papadopoulos is charged with lying to agents about the exact timing of his meetings with Mifsud (even though it was Papadopoulos himself who brought his name up originally!) He certainly isn’t charged with conspiring against the United States, colluding with Russia, treason, or any other relevant crime. His biggest error seems to have been drunkenly spouting off to an Australian diplomat at a time when Russia – unbeknownst to him – actually did have some emails. Not the ones he was talking about, but…too close for comfort. Close enough to launch an investigation, apparently.
And yet, here we still are, all these many months later. Mueller’s still going at it, still charging people with crimes that have NOTHING to do with the central claim: That the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. This is a farce of epic proportions, and it was never anything else.