One of the animating chapters in the Trump-Russian collusion saga was the claim that Russia infiltrated the Democratic National Committee’s email server in the spring of 2016. That hack, according to collusion truthers, and the subsequent release of damaging emails exchanged between top Democratic Party officials was central to Vladimir Putin’s scheme to sway the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.
But the evidence to support this widely accepted claim is sketchy at best and appears to be under appropriate scrutiny by prosecutors now examining the origins of the FBI’s pre-election investigation into the Trump campaign for “colluding” with Russia.
According to the transcript of a July call between Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s newly elected president, Trump raised the issue of “CrowdStrike” and suggested Ukraine might be in possession of the “server,” a reference to the DNC server.
“I would like you to do us a favor,” Trump said. “I would like you to find out what happened with the whole situation with Ukraine, with CrowdStrike. The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation.”
To say the least.
CrowdStrike’s Ties to Democrats
While lawmakers and pundits on the Left and NeverTrump Right breezed past Trump’s mention of CrowdStrike—either out of subterfuge or ignorance—it is significant.
CrowdStrike is a cybersecurity firm with strong ties to the Democratic Party. After the DNC server was hacked in early 2016, Perkins Coie, a politically connected law firm, hired CrowdStrike on behalf of the DNC to find out who was behind the intrusion. (Perkins Coie is the same law firm that hired Fusion GPS on behalf of the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign to dig up Russia-related dirt on Team Trump before the election.)
That isn’t the extent of CrowdStrike’s dubious political ties. Its co-founder, Moscow-born Dmitri Alperovitch, is associated with the Clinton Foundation; in 2015, CrowdStrike received $100 million in funding from Google whose chairman, Eric Schmidt, was a generous supporter of Hillary Clinton. CrowdStrike’s president is Shawn Henry, who headed up the FBI’s cybercrimes division during the Obama Administration when Robert Mueller was director.
According to an October 2016 profile in Esquire, at the same time, the Obama Justice Department was concocting the Trump-Russia collusion ruse, Alperovitch and Henry were working with top Justice officials on cyber “war games.” In March 2016—as the DNC email system allegedly was compromised by the Russians—Alperovitch and Henry organized “four teams of ten people—representing the government, the private sector, European and Australian allies” for the exercise. (Another participant included a former member of GCHQ, the British intelligence agency working with former CIA Director John Brennan in 2016 on the Russian collusion scheme.)
President Trump has reason to believe Ukraine played some early, significant role in the Russian collusion hoax.
Among the officials working with CrowdStrike on the exercise was John Carlin, Mueller’s former chief of staff and then head of the Justice Department’s national security division. Carlin facilitated the October 2016 FISA warrant for Trump campaign aide Carter Page; he also received regular briefings from then-deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe on both the Clinton email investigation and the Trump-Russia collusion probe. (Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community’s inspector general at the center of the so-called whistleblower controversy, worked directly for Carlin in 2016 and 2017.)
Probably just a coincidence, right?
Then, in June 2016—around the same time Christopher Steele began compiling his anti-Trump dossier and James Comey’s FBI was investigating Trump campaign aides—Alperovitch authored a report that concluded hackers tied to the Kremlin were responsible for the DNC server breach.
“CrowdStrike stands fully by its analysis and findings identifying two separate Russian intelligence-affiliated adversaries present in the DNC network in May 2016,” he wrote.
Who Are You Going to Believe?
That report remains the only piece of evidence to support the claim that Putin apparatchiks stole thousands of emails from the Democrats just months before the presidential election. But the document isn’t just part of political lore; it was legitimized both by the FBI and the CIA as the Obama Administration attempted to buttress its phony narrative about a conspiracy between Trump and Putin to steal the election from Hillary Clinton. The server, however, was never inspected by U.S. law enforcement or any other government agency.
In testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in June 2017, former FBI Director James Comey admitted that the DNC refused to surrender the server to his agents.
Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.): Did the FBI request access to those devices to perform forensics on them?
Comey: [coughs] Yes, we did.
Burr: Were you given access to do the forensics?
Comey: We were not. A highly respected private company got access and shared with us what they saw there.
When pressed by Burr, Comey admitted that the DNC denied “multiple” requests by the FBI for the device. “Ultimately it was agreed to that the private company [Crowdstrike] would share with us what they saw.”
What a joke.
But Comey wasn’t the only top Obama official to take the word of a company working for the very same law firm that also was coordinating the Steele dossier and planting negative news articles about Trump weeks before the election.
Former CIA Director John Brennan lifted much of the CrowdStrike paper for his infamous January 2017 intelligence community assessment about Russian election interference. “Russia’s intelligence services conducted cyber operations against targets associated with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, including targets associated with both major US political parties,” the report claimed.
The CrowdStrike report even made an appearance in the Mueller investigation, specifically, its prosecution of Roger Stone. But when Stone’s defense team wanted the unredacted forensic reports that supported CrowdStrike’s conclusion, Team Mueller admitted they didn’t have them because CrowdStrike performed the redactions in-house.
“In other words, the government allowed CrowdStrike and the Democratic Party’s legal counsel to decide what it could and could not see in reports on Russian hacking,” reported Real Clear Investigation’s Aaron Mate in a lengthy exposé on CrowdStrike earlier this year. Mate questioned the government’s reliance on a “potentially biased and politically conflicted source like CrowdStrike.”
Bad Actors Exposed at Last?
Despite the latest outrage and hysteria over Trump’s otherwise innocuous conversation with Zelensky, the president is not backing down. It’s clear he is committed to exposing the bad actors behind the biggest political scandal in American history, which is how the world’s most powerful law enforcement and intelligence apparatus was weaponized against him to sabotage his campaign and derail his presidency.
Trump has reason to believe Ukraine played some early, significant role in the hoax: As I reported on Wednesday, Joe Biden, Obama’s emissary to the country during the final years of his presidency, was a key figure in the collusion operation in 2016 and early 2017.
The Justice Department also confirmed that it is investigating Ukraine’s involvement.
“A Department of Justice team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is separately exploring the extent to which a number of countries, including Ukraine, played a role in the counterintelligence investigation directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election,” a department spokeswoman told The Federalist this week.
Hunter Biden’s shady business dealings in Ukraine aren’t the only scandals Democrats have to worry about right now. Finally exposing all the fabricated elements of the Russia collusion hoax, including the CrowdStrike report, will be a far greater threat to their electoral chances in 2020.