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Congress is slowly closing in on exposing the media’s shameful role in perpetuating the Trump-Russia collusion myth on the American people. Prominent news organizations are the accomplices—if not coconspirators—in the biggest political scandal in U.S. history. Now, two years later, there is no sign of surrender: A ludicrous article in New York magazine on July 8 suggested Donald Trump has been a Russian intelligence asset for 30 years.
Fully invested in pushing the phony Trump-Russia plotline in a malicious attempt to destroy Trump’s presidency, the media are intensifying this narrative and creating new villains in the process.
Enter Rep. James Jordan (R-Ohio).
The Ohio congressman has been under a relentless media siege since NBC News reported on July 3 that Jordan ignored “sexual abuse” by a team doctor when Jordan was an assistant coach for the wrestling team at The Ohio State University from 1986 to 1994. The article is short on evidence of sexual abuse but quotes a few of Jordan’s former teammates who insisted the congressmen knew of the inappropriate behavior by Dr. Richard Strauss and did nothing about it. In April, the university announced it would investigate allegations against Strauss, who committed suicide in 2005.
The NBC News report offered mostly innuendo from less-than-credible sources: One accuser is an ex-con who did time in prison for mail fraud, drug possession, and stealing from investors; another is a shady business owner with a “long history of litigation and an apparent bone to pick with the Jordan family” who allegedly sent a disturbing picture to the widow of a former OSU wrestler.
But the initial story did provide one telling clue about where the Jordan smear job originated: Perkins Coie, the same law firm that hired Fusion GPS on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016 to produce the infamous “Steele dossier.” Perkins Coie is overseeing OSU’s investigation into Strauss and has “interviewed more than 150 former students and witnesses and is engaged in further investigative efforts.”
Coincidence? Not a chance.
The hit piece did what it was supposed to do: Ignite a firestorm of controversy for the six-term congressman and rumored replacement for departing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Every major news outlet from Fox News to the New York Times to the Washington Post subsequently hammered the story; some Democratic activists demanded that Jordan resign. Comparisons between Jordan and Roy Moore, the Alabama Republican accused of sexually molesting young girls four decades ago, are making the rounds on social media. The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday insisted the unfounded claims will “complicate” Jordan’s future political career.
Anatomy of a Smear
On Wednesday, he tweeted that CNN was contacting more than 100 of his former staffers and interns “asking for dirt on me. Getting desperate!” (Several smug reporters insisted the dirt-digging was solid journalism on display. A CNBC correspondent sniffed that “calling around and asking people questions is called “reporting.”)
So, why Jim Jordan? Not only is he a longshot candidate to replace Ryan, Jordan is a central player in the escalating battle between the Justice Department and Congress to get to the bottom of the politically-motivated investigation into the Trump presidential campaign. Jordan, a four-time state wrestling champ (he lost only one match in his entire high school career) and lawyer, has an especially combative relationship with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. In December 2017, Jordan had a heated exchange with Rosenstein over the Justice Department’s use of the Fusion GPS-produced Steele dossier to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign associates.
Jordan is keenly focused on the role of Peter Strzok, the FBI’s former counterintelligence chief and the political whack-a-mole who seems to pop up at every turn of the investigation. Jordan visibly rattled Rosenstein during a congressional hearing on June 28 with a series of questions about Strzok. The congressman asked Rosenstein why he instructed Strzok to refuse to answer several questions about Fusion GPS owner Glenn Simpson during Strzok’s closed-door testimony to Congress. “When I asked Peter Strzok whether he ever communicated with Glenn Simpson, he gave us the answer he gave us dozens of times,” Jordan said. “On advice of FBI counsel, I cannot answer that question.”
Now, thanks to a list released by congressional Democrats this week, we know that Jordan asked Strzok directly about his communications with Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele. Jordan also asked Strzok how long it took the FBI to compile the FISA application to spy on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page, which Rosenstein reauthorized.
That was on June 27. One week later, the “Jordan ignored sexual abuse” story dropped.
The reason why, as they say, is that Jordan is over the target and that target is Glenn Simpson. In a Venn diagram of the 2016 Justice Department, the news media, and the Democratic political machine, Simpson sits in the intersection of all three. He hired Steele, he peddled the dossier to his pals in the news media, and he very likely had contact with FBI officials, including Strzok, even though he testified under oath last year that he did not.
And Fusion GPS is still at it. The firm is working with Dan Jones, a former staffer for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to continue pushing the Trump-Russia collusion narrative in the press. According to The Federalist, Jones has raised about $50 million from seven to 10 liberal donors in New York and California to keep Simpson’s scheme alive. (Jones is on a list of 15 Simpson cronies who Rep. Devin Nunes [R-Calif.] wants Congress publicly to depose.) Keeping the dossier-sourced, Trump-Russia plotline legitimate means tearing down anyone who tries to expose its rotting core. That’s why Jordan is now Press Enemy No. 1.
But Simpson may soon find himself tagged with that dubious title. He told Congress last year that he did not have any contact with the FBI. A new email released this week, however, shows Strzok mentioned the Fusion GPS owner in January 2017 and suggested Simpson gave the agency a copy of the dossier, which is why Strzok has refused to answer the question about whether he had contact with Simpson. Simpson also was not truthful when he told Congress that he was not conducting anti-Trump opposition research after the 2016 election.
Unfortunately, while Congress keeps peeling back all the layers to this scandal, innocent people suffer. Trump associates such as Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn and dozens of others have been smeared and even bankrupted by this malicious scheme; Jordan is just the latest victim.
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Photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images