Opinion

Collusion Confusion: Who Really Colluded With The Russians?

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A year after Donald Trump Jr. was first raked over the coals for meeting with a Russian national, the charge that this amounted to illegal “collusion” has resurfaced, as the president’s critics become increasingly desperate for a scintilla of evidence supporting that narrative.

Given the continuing revelations peeling away the shiny exterior of the rotten Steele Dossier, however, the collusion gun may be pointing back on its shooters: John Brennan, James Comey, Hillary Clinton and their underlings.

George Stephanopoulos recently revived the questionable theory that receipt of information by a campaign from a foreign national is a crime because information is “a thing of value.” Good luck with that. It is, after all, difficult for all but the most biased to believe that Trump Jr. could not legally receive evidence of a crime committed against his father’s campaign. Certainly, the case for Trump Jr.’s criminality would be stronger if he were planning to use the promised information in some illegal manner.

We can accept the theory that if Trump Jr. were planning to use the information fraudulently in his father’s presidential campaign, then he might face criminal jeopardy. Of course, there is no evidence that young Trump was planning anything other than receiving legitimate documentary evidence of a Clinton crime, without any hint of criminal intent. To the contrary, he might be criticized if he were seen to be condoning Clinton’s criminal activity by not investigating it.

But hypothetically, what if his father had hired secret agents to work closely with the Kremlin to try to falsely charge Clinton with electoral crimes? What if he enlisted corrupt intelligence officials to use this false information to surveil Clinton through a FISA warrant and to investigate her if she won? If this hypothetical ever came to pass, it would amount to earth-shakingly criminality making Watergate look like child’s play.

None of this hypothetical fraud, however, can realistically be applied to the Trump campaign. Neither Trump nor his son tried to gin up false electoral charges against Clinton, and certainly the intelligence agencies, the heads of which hated Trump, would not have cooperated if he did so.

Wouldn’t the scenario outlined here be applicable to Hillary Clinton and her supporters heading the CIA and FBI, John Brennan and James Comey? After all, the three of them joined to pursue charges against Trump both before his election, trying to prevent it, and then pursued them after the election in order to delegitimize him, using as a basis the now-discredited Steele Dossier.

But how could anyone contradict their assertion of good-faith belief in the truth of the Steele Dossier documenting these Trump crimes?  

The answer, unfortunately, for Brennan, Comey and Clinton, is Sergei Millian.

Millian is a Belarus-born Russian and American citizen, who is the founder and Director of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce. It should come as no surprise that these same agencies — the CIA and the FBI —  have had Sergei Millian on their watch list for years as a suspected Russian asset, which common sense would readily suggest.

Millian actually claims to have moved easily in Kremlin and Russian intelligence circles, indeed, the basis he claimed for knowledge of kompromat on Donald Trump.

Even Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson has admitted that Millian’s outfit is a “shadowy kind of trade group.” Simpson observed, “Russians are known to use chambers of commerce and trade groups for intelligence operations.” Moreover, Millian was associated with Rossotrudnichestvo, a foreign youth-outreach Russian government agency thought to be a Russian intelligence front in America. Even Millian downplayed his own Trump connections once he drew public attention in 2016.

So what if Millian is, in fact, a Russian asset?

The problem this raises for Clinton and her group is that Steele used him as a source, actually both Source D and Source E, in his Dossier. If there was any doubt about this, it was dispelled when one version of the Dossier given to the FBI referred to Millian by name.

These agencies knew that Millian was a source, knew he was a Russian asset and knew he was lying about any claim relating to the Trump campaign. And Steele does not cite him as a Kremlin source, but as a supposed insider in the Trump Organization and the Trump campaign.

It was Millian who, claiming such status, affirms that Trump was colluding with Putin, and also that he had witnessed the peeing prostitute activity in a Moscow hotel room in 2013, the supposed kompromat on Trump.

The statements, in turn, were major components of the basis for the FBI’s seeking and obtaining a FISA warrant. The scurrilous allegations were obviously embraced by the FBI because it began paying Steele for continuing to pursue them.

In any case, Millian was a central, perhaps critical, part of the Steele Dossier — the only major “source” coming from the Trump side. The others all claimed to be sources within the Kremlin halls, from which sensible analysts would suspect disinformation.

Why is this so important? Although no member of the public has seen the entire FISA application, it is a solid bet that Peter Strzok, James Comey, Bruce Ohr and, of course, John Brennan, made no effort to tell FISC that they knew these key Millian allegations were false, that he was not a Trump insider, that he had no knowledge of the campaign’s doings and that he was likely a false-flag Russian asset — all important failures of disclosure.  

We know as well that Steele had several sources who, unlike Millian, claimed to be speaking with knowledge of Putin and/or his intentions. So there was clear Russian governmental “collusion,” through Steele as a conduit, between the Russian government feeding Steele false allegations and our government agencies and Clinton, who paid Steele for his Russian information.  

It would be intellectually dishonest, however, to contend that merely receiving “dirt” from Kremlin sources amounts to illegal collusion. Although common sense would tell us that the Steele’s supposed Kremlin sources were likely giving nothing but disinformation pap, it is possible that Brennan, Comey and Clinton were so blinded by partisanship that they believed these sources.

But there can be no doubt that all involved — Brennan, Comey, Clinton, Nellie and Bruce Ohr — knew of the falsity of the critical Millian allegations. The charges made by Millian became the core of the anti-Trump narrative, leaked at first by the unscrupulous Harry Reid, after a private briefing by Brennan. They were also key in the post-election efforts to delegitimize Trump’s win and to begin an investigation culminating in the appointment of Special Counsel Mueller.

So we have reasonable certainty that Brennan, Comey and Clinton, including their top associates, engaged in illegal collusion to commit fraud in league with the Russian government, the purpose to interfere with and sow discord in our electoral processes. Whether federal law enforcement — led by Tower of Jello Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — will prosecute this clear criminality is quite another question.

So when the likes of Stephanopoulos again dredge up the collusion narrative, grasping for the straws of Trump Jr.’s twenty-minute Russian meeting, the discussion that it begins should end with this conclusion: Yes, there was illegal, fraudulent electoral collusion with the Russian government, but its perpetrators were not named Trump. 

John D. O’Connor is the San Francisco attorney who represented W. Mark Felt during his revelation as Deep Throat in 2005. O’Connor is the co-author of “A G-Man’s Life: The FBI, Being ‘Deep Throat,’ and the Struggle for Honor in Washington” and is a producer of “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House” (2017), written and directed by Peter Landesman.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.