If a full and fair analysis of the Trump-Russian collusion hoax ever is conducted, it will reveal the collateral damage suffered by innocent people ensnared by the wicked, multi-faceted operation launched by Barack Obama’s White House in the spring of 2016.
There are plenty of infuriating passages in The Plot Against the President, a must-read book by journalist Lee Smith. But the description of how the hoax plotters targeted the family of Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) evokes particular outrage.
As chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes released a memo in February 2018 describing how Barack Obama’s Justice Department misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to obtain permission to spy on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Democrats did not want that memo out. In the days and weeks leading up its distribution, Smith describes how the crusade against Nunes “took an even more dangerous turn.”
An orchestrated assault against Nunes’ family, including his wife and three young daughters, posed such a threat that law enforcement agents were assigned to the grade school where Nunes’ wife works. Hackers imitated Nunes’ cell phone numbers; calls were made to up to two dozen relatives, including his 98-year-old grandmother and mother-in-law, so they would answer.
“Then they made it sound like I was kidnapped and that I’d better back off or something bad’s going to happen to me,” Nunes told Smith. “So clearly they had a whole plan where they called to threaten all of those people.”
The Nunes family is just one of the many victims savaged by the Trump-hating mob—an effort funded by wealthy partisans and carried out by their accomplices hunkered down in the national news media, on Capitol Hill, and in federal government agencies—attempting to take down Donald Trump. Every American, regardless of political affiliation, should know what they did, how they did it, who they hurt, and how they have corrupted our country’s most trusted institutions, perhaps permanently.
In that regard, The Plot Against the President is essential reading, especially as multiple investigations into what went down in the Obama Justice Department are coming to a head. (It was an Amazon #1 best-seller before its release late last month. It remains on several best-selling lists at the site.)
Smith’s book is the most comprehensive account yet of how these nefarious interests began conspiring in late 2015 and remain at work today. “The dirty tricks operation turned into an attempted coup after Trump’s election,” Smith writes. “Since Trump was elected without the consensus of the ruling party representing the coastal elite, Barack Obama’s intelligence chiefs…believed that his election was illegitimate. It was permissible, they believed, to remove him from office.”
These self-important, some might say sociopathic, officials include former FBI Director James Comey and former CIA Director John Brennan. “He’s a liar and a con man,” Nunes says of Comey—a generous description of the worst person ever put in charge of the world’s most powerful law enforcement agency.
Comey “has an ego that can’t fit on the planet earth,” Kash Patel, a former national security prosecutor who was one of Nunes’ top deputies, says bluntly. (In the book, Patel recalls his doctor asking in the summer of 2016 why his blood pressure was so high. “I told him it was Comey’s speech,” referring to the FBI director’s infamous July 5, 2016 press conference when he exonerated Hillary Clinton for her illicit email server and mishandling of classified material.)
Comey and company’s scheme included opening a counterintelligence probe into four Trump campaign aides, including the head of the organization; deploying spies into Team Trump; felonious leaks of classified government information to dishonest journalists determined to destroy Trump associates; politically motivated and poorly sourced documents presented as official government material with the imprimatur of the country’s most revered agencies—all culminating with the appointment of a special counsel armed with unfettered resources to search every nook and cranny of Trump’s orbit to find impeachable misconduct.
Nunes’ minimal team of fearless investigators, lawyers and communications specialists nicknamed their effort to expose the multi-pronged plot, “Objective Medusa.” Smith calls the group “a small handful of Americans, public servants, who stood up, assumed responsibility, and did the right thing at a crucial time. What they accomplished together speaks for all of them: they uncovered the biggest political scandal in American history.”
That team also has endured coordinated attacks against them; Patel, now a Trump White House advisor, is suing Politico for libel for an erroneous article recently written by Natasha Bertrand, nicknamed “Fusion Natasha” for her reputation as a shameless mouthpiece for Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that produced the infamous Steele dossier in 2016.
Bertrand is part of the Beltway echo chamber that plays a critical role in regurgitating whatever disinformation is fed to them by Fusion GPS, Obama and Clinton loyalists both inside and outside the federal government, and Democratic lawmakers such as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Nunes’ successor and nemesis on the House Intelligence Committee and one of the leaders of the crusade to impeach Trump. Smith, who provided similar coverage of Obama’s Iran Deal echo chamber, calls out the media’s participants.
Political operatives disguised as reporters working for Democratic propaganda machines disguised as legitimate news outfits like the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN and others intentionally have misled the American people about imaginary crimes committed by Team Trump. “The reporters’ sources weren’t whistle-blowers shedding light on government corruption,” Smith explains. “Rather, they were senior US officials abusing government resources to prosecute a campaign against the newly elected commander in chief.”
Journalists would then act as their own sources, citing each other’s flawed and, in some cases, fabricated stories as original reporting. The Washington Post between January 2017 and May 2017, the month Robert Mueller was named special counsel, relied heavily on illegally leaked information about intercepted phone calls between then-National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and the existence of a FISA warrant on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page. (The leaks and subsequent media onslaught against Flynn led to his ouster in February 2017.)
The criminal leakers, often cited as “senior government officials” in news articles, have not been caught.
Smith details the involvement of all the relevant players: FBI officials Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page; Justice Department officials Rod Rosenstein and Bruce Ohr; Clinton-supporting prosecutors on the Mueller team, including Kevin Clinesmith, an FBI lawyer many suspect will be charged with criminal wrongdoing related to the Page FISA warrant.
Mueller, Smith concludes, is culpable for fostering an above-the-law climate at the FBI. “As the father of post-9/11 FBI, he had been partly responsible for the dominant culture of the FBI’s upper echelon. He was protecting his legacy.”
Smith covers the development and handling of the Steele dossier, including “protodossiers” also produced by Fusion that predated the well-known work by the British intelligence officer-turned paid political operative. As Nunes’ committee zeroed in on Fusion’s bank records in late 2017, a story in the Washington Post finally confirmed that Fusion and Steele had been paid by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee in 2016.
Sadly, the victims of the cruel campaign against Donald Trump have piled up, and continue to suffer. Carter Page, Mike Flynn, George Papadopoulos are just a few. Smith tells the shocking tale of Svetlana Lokhova, a British academic falsely portrayed as a Russian asset to connect Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn to the Kremlin. (The Federalist’s Margot Cleveland wrote an in-depth article on Lokhova’s dramatic story.)
In an interview last month with Sean Hannity, Trump mentioned the human toll of the collusion hoax. “What happened to people who worked for me, good people . . . they went bust trying to pay for their legal fees,” the president said. “They came to Washington to do a fantastic job, they were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. And they left and they were dark people. They left dark.”
Nunes, on the other hand, appears energized and on the verge of redemption. Attorney General William Barr promised to excavate the corrupt origins of the Russia collusion hoax, especially the activity of operatives like Comey between Election Day and Inauguration Day. Barr has assigned a U.S. attorney to investigate the matter; at least one key player, John Brennan, admits that he expects to be questioned by a federal grand jury.
A long-awaited internal Justice Department report on how that agency abused the FISA process is finally expected to be issued next month. And the impeachment crusade shepherded by Schiff seems destined for failure.
“That’s why the establishment, the press, the permanent bureaucracy, the tech oligarchs, the urban aristocrats, the Deep State and all the rest of the ugly beautiful people, will never forgive Devin Nunes,” Smith explains. “It belittled them that he didn’t care he wasn’t their sort but was proud to be a farm kid.”
It looks like the farm kid, and all Americans who are not invested in this insidious, destructive plot, will prevail.