The left started jumping for joy a couple of weeks ago when a New York Times story made the absurd and quickly-disproven claim that Trump aide George Papadopoulos – NOT the Fusion GPS dossier – was responsible for kickstarting the FBI’s investigation into Moscow’s ties to the Trump campaign. After that was shown to be impossible, they jumped on the next grand revelation: Thanks to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s unilateral release of the Fusion GPS testimony, the left thought they had the smoking gun that would disprove the “it was all based on the phony dossier” story once and for all.
In the testimony, Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson told lawmakers that the only reason that the FBI took the dossier seriously was because they had a mole inside the Trump campaign. That mole had collected intelligence that lined up neatly with the information found in the dossier. Thus, the FBI was – according to this testimony – merely using the dossier as a back-up source and only taking it seriously because it corroborated evidence they already had. Presto-chango, the dossier is no big deal, and the Republicans can no longer go around trash-talking it as “Hillary’s opposition research” because it really doesn’t matter that much to the investigation in the first place.
“Essentially what he told me was they had other intelligence about this matter from an internal Trump campaign source,” Simpson said in his August testimony. “My understanding was that they believed [Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier] at this point — that they believed Chris’s information might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing and one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump organization.”
This was quite difficult to swallow right off the bat, and anyone who thought it was a little too convenient had their suspicions confirmed within just a few hours. NBC’s Ken Dilanian said on Twitter: “A source close to Fusion GPS tells me there was no walk-in source – that was a mischaracterization by Simpson of the Australian diplomat tip about Papadopoulos.”
Cue sad trombone music.
The tip that supposedly came from Papadopoulos could not have credibly corroborated the dossier’s findings because the FBI didn’t interview him until the following January. And even at that time, he apparently lied to the FBI about what he knew, since that’s what he’s now being charged with in a federal indictment. So none of this effectively downplays the importance the FBI put on the Steele dossier, and none of it eliminates the strong possibility that Obama’s intelligence community used a flimsy piece of Hillary-bought opposition research to begin spying on the Trump campaign.