It all started in London. That’s where the origins of the Trump/Russia collusion hoax — about to be unearthed by Attorney General Bill Barr — are to be found.
It turns out that there was, in fact, a foreign power determined to meddle in the U.S. elections.
But it wasn’t Russia. It was Britain.
The charge that Russia was meddling in the 2016 American election had its roots in Great Britain. As Attorney General Barr digs deeper, he will find, as Eileen McGann and I wrote in our book “Rogue Spooks” in June 2017, “British fingerprints — of both official and unofficial spooks — are all over the efforts to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office.”
From the start of his campaign, the British were worried about Trump. His strong support for Brexit roiled the UK establishment and his charge that NATO was obsolete discomforted them.
Hillary Clinton, a time tested member of the international community of diplomats who would never rock the boat, was much the safer choice.
And when Trump began to question U.S. military commitments abroad and complimented Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s leadership style, they were alarmed. British alarm bells rang loudly when Trump hired Paul Manifort — who had worked for Putin’s allies in Ukraine — to run his campaign in the spring of 2016.
Could Trump be trusted?
Britain felt the sting of a revived cold war more keenly than the U.S. did. It was to the UK that most of the exiled Russian oligarchs fled.
By 2016, London became the home to more billionaires than any other city (80 — surpassing New York’s 56). And it was to there that Putin’s vengeance followed them.
When KGB operatives appeared to be responsible for the murder of dissident oligarch Alexander Litvinenko while he lived in London, fears of Russian power began to escalate in the UK.
And now British intelligence wondered if Donald Trump’s praise of Putin and his eagerness for business deals in Moscow might signal a more compliant American attitude toward the Kremlin.
And so, there followed a long series messages from London to Washington and Langley. At first, they were genuine wakeup calls, but then they became a British attempt at facilitating regime change in the U.S.
– It was Britain that first warned U.S. intelligence that the Russians had hacked the Democratic Party’s computers.
– During the campaign of 2016 and after, the UK routinely and frequently passed along to the U.S. classified information about Trump associates.
– Christopher Steele, a former MI-6 agent, allegedly wrote the flawed and phony dossier that appeared to lay out the evidence against Trump. While Steele was retired from MI-6, the KGB always says “MI6 officers are never ex.”
– It was Steele who, while secretly in the pay of Clinton, went to the FBI in July 2016 to tell them about his dossier and urge them to investigate Trump and his associates.
– It was the former UK ambassador to Russia, Sir Andrew Wood (a business associate of Steele) who alerted Sen. John McCain to the existence of the Steele dossier and who arranged a clandestine transfer of the document to an associate of Sen. McCain at Heathrow Airport.
– Steele shared his intelligence about Trump with his former associates at MI-6 and, indeed, may have received some of it from these old comrades in the first place.
– The Director of MI-6, Alex Younger, used information from Steele’s dossier in his first public speech after assuming his duties.
– Robert Hannigan, the popular director of GCHQ (the UK’s NSA) resigned abruptly three days after Trump’s inauguration citing family reasons and giving only six hours notice. The Daily Mail speculated that his resignation might have been linked to “British concerns over shared intelligence with the U.S. in the wake of Donald Trump becoming president.”
– When Steele’s involvement with the dossier was revealed publicly, MI-6 issued a D notice to block further disclosure. A D notice is a government directive that can prevent publication for national security reasons to protect the identity of British spies. This D notice blocked any publication of Steele’s role for nine hours, giving him enough time for him to leave London to avoid embarrassing questions.
– UK Prime Minister Theresa May was briefed on the Steele Dossier before the Trump inauguration and chose to stay silent about it.
We eagerly await the results of Attorney General Barr’s investigation of who was on the receiving end of this process of subversion of a sitting U.S. president.
But we hope that there is a parallel investigation in Britain about which individuals did the sending.
Theresa May would never do it. But the Brexit allies, led by former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson — now seeking to take over the Tory party — might.
Did the UK seek to develop, embellish, perpetuate and spread the false narrative of Trump-Putin collusion and did its intelligence operatives work hand-in-hand (perhaps as the senior partner) with the U.S. Intelligence Community in this giant hoax?
It’s time for President Trump to ask them the hard questions.