How Investigating the Trump Campaign Backfired on Obama’s Embeds
If you strike at a presidential candidate, you better defeat him
Confirmations of the Obama administration’s investigation of the Trump campaign keep trickling out. Naturally, the media has shown no interest in them. It wants evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, not evidence that Obama’s embeds were sniffing around Trump’s computer server — an abuse of power no different than LBJ wiring Nixon’s campaign plane to see if he was colluding with the Vietnamese.
In light of these new confirmations, an honest media would have called James Clapper back to explain his elliptical denial. “The FBI investigated a Trump server in its Russia probe,” reports the online publication Circa News in a piece co-authored by John Solomon, the respected former Washington Post reporter and Washington Times editor. Can Clapper deny that the FBI investigated a Trump server? Can Comey? Can Lynch? Can Brennan? They have all fallen silent. Comey pathetically tried to confuse people by leaking out to friendly reporters that he wanted the controversy addressed by Justice Department officials. But what would he want them to deny? The investigation into Trump’s server that he had his officials conduct?
According to Circa News, the FBI “used traditional investigative techniques to review a computer server tied to the the [sic] soon-to-be-president’s businesses in Trump Towers in New York but located elsewhere.”
Traditional investigative techniques? That sounds even more ominous than the FBI just wiretapping individual members of Trump’s campaign. Using “traditional investigative techniques to review” Trump’s computer server could mean anything. Did agents talk to Trump’s employees? What did these employees say to them or show them? How do you use traditional investigative techniques to review Trump’s computer server without dislodging information about him? That is the abuse to which Trump, with his crafty intuition, was drawing attention with his tweets.
If you strike at a king, you better kill him. To apply that adage to this scandal, if you investigate a presidential candidate’s campaign and business, you better find something. And the Obama embeds didn’t. That compounds the scandal of their criminal leaks. It is bad enough that they planted stories in the press to the effect that the Trump campaign was under government investigation for ties to Russia. But now it is coming out that they did so knowing full well that that investigation had turned up nothing. That gives the Justice Department an even stronger reason to investigate these criminal leakers. They were breaking the law for the sake of inflicting maximum political damage on a candidate (and then president) by leaving the impression of wrongdoing while knowing that none had occurred.
“Agents were examining allegations of computer activity tied to Russia,” reports Circa News. “Very quickly, they concluded the computer activity in question involved no nefarious contacts, bank transactions or encrypted communications with the Russians, and likely involved routine computer signals.”
So in the month before the election the FBI was investigating a presidential candidate’s computer server and found nothing—and all at the bidding of John Brennan, Obama’s Trump-hating CIA director, who had urged it on the pretext of “intelligence” from a Baltic state, and at the bidding of Hillary’s campaign, which desperately wanted attention diverted from Comey’s investigation into her. On October 31, the New York Timesreported, “Hillary Clinton’s supporters, angry over what they regard as a lack of scrutiny of Mr. Trump by law enforcement officials, pushed for these investigations.” The headline on that story was: “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia.”
That wasn’t the headline the Obama embeds and Hillary supporters wanted. So they continued leaking. Then lo and behold, the day before the election, an article appeared in Heat Street, written by the anti-Trump journalist, which stated:
Two separate sources with links to the counter-intelligence community have confirmed to Heat Street that the FBI sought, and was granted, a FISA court warrant in October, giving counter-intelligence permission to examine the activities of “U.S. persons” in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.
Contrary to earlier reporting in the New York Times, which cited FBI sources as saying that the agency did not believe that the private server in Donald Trump’s Trump Tower which was connected to a Russian bank had any nefarious purpose, the FBI’s counter-intelligence arm, sources say, re-drew an earlier FISA court request around possible financial and banking offenses related to the server. The first request, which, sources say, named Trump, was denied back in June, but the second was drawn more narrowly and was granted in October after evidence was presented of a server, possibly related to the Trump campaign, and its alleged links to two banks; SVB Bank and Russia’s Alfa Bank. While the Times story speaks of metadata, sources suggest that a FISA warrant was granted to look at the full content of emails and other related documents that may concern US persons.
Heat Street’s sources wanted Americans to think Trump’s computer server had a nefarious purpose. Notice the misleading construction of the opening sentence in the second paragraph cited above. The second part of the sentence is not “contrary” to the first. No matter how many warrants the FBI was pursuing, it wasn’t finding anything. But Obama’s embeds and Hillary’s supporters needed voters to think it was. Yes, a powerful government tried to tip the election — ours.
By now, it is clear that the essence of Trump’s tweet — that the Obama administration investigated his campaign/business — is true. But by the time this is all over, it may even come out that his direct communications were compromised, either by FBI agents interviewing Trump employees about his computer server (a cagey FBI agent can get employees of a company to share anything) or through “backdoor searches” that the intelligence community exploits, as related in this Hill story:
The intelligence community may legally conduct so-called “backdoor searches” of Americans’ communications, without a warrant, if the target of the surveillance is not a U.S. citizen.
If Trump or his advisors were speaking directly to foreign individuals who were the target of U.S. spying during the election campaign and the intelligence agencies recorded Trump by accident, it’s plausible that those communications would have been collected and shared amongst intelligence agencies, surveillance law experts say.
Thanks to Obama’s last-minute executive order, 16 government agencies now have access to that data. That is how Michael Flynn’s chat with the Russian ambassador ended up on the front page.
The Obama embeds were fiendishly busy in October, at once investigating Trump’s computer server and leaking to the press about it, all on the gamble that their exertions would help catapult Hillary into the White House. They gambled wrong.