No official intel used to start FBI probe into Trump campaign-Russia collusion
April 22, 2018 By
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said Sunday his review of FBI and Justice Department “electronic communication” documents shows no intelligence was used to begin the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.
“We now know that there was no official intelligence that was used to start this investigation. We know that Sidney Blumenthal and others were pushing information into the State Department. So we’re trying to piece all that together and that’s why we continue to look at the State Department,” Nunes told Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures.”
Nunes, R-Calif., cited the Five Eyes agreement as a way of knowing no intel was used. The U.S., along with Canada, the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, make up the “Five Eyes,” or countries that share intelligence in a more-trusted fashion than other arrangements, like NATO, particularly due to years of trust and a common language.
“We are not supposed to spy on each other’s citizens, and it’s worked well,” he said. “And it continues to work well. And we know it’s working well because there was no intelligence that passed through the Five Eyes channels to our government. And that’s why we had to see that original communication.”
The California Republican said he is now investigating the State Department due to signs of “major irregularities,” in an effort to figure out how information about former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos – who reportedly met with a foreign policy expert and Cambridge professor with connections to the CIA and Britain’s MI6 in London in 2016 – was obtained by the FBI.
“We know a little bit about that because of what some of the State Department officials themselves have said about that,” Nunes said, adding that “We have to make sure that our agencies talk and they work out problems. We have to make sure that they don’t spy on either American citizens or that we’re not spying on British citizens.”
Still, Nunes doesn’t know whether the former secretary of state and then-Democratic challenger to Trump in the election, Hillary Clinton, was pulling the strings of the investigation launched against her political opponent. However, he said it is known that two long-time Clinton associates – including Sidney Blumenthal – were “actively” giving information to the State Department, which “was somehow making its way to the FBI.”
Bromwich has morphed into Michael Cohen in throwing around threats, including President Trump, for “continuing slander.” His client is a former public official and now a public figure under New York Times v. Sullivan. In that case, Justice William Brennan explained how the First Amendment was meant to give the free press “breathing space” to play its critical role in our democratic society. The result was not to bar lawsuits by politicians like Trump against the media but rather to require a higher showing of proof. He must prove that the media had “actual malice” where it had actual knowledge of the falsity of a statement or showed reckless disregard whether it was true or false.
That is a high standard for McCabe to shoulder. Moreover, a politician’s opinion of your service (like Trump’s) is generally not actionable unless it can be shown to be a false assertion of fact.
McCabe may be able to tap the thoroughly gullible for more money but he may find that discovery in litigation is the last place he wants to be with both Trump and Comey asserting opposing views of his conduct.