Backgrounder

Reconstructing the Summer of 2016: The First Clues of the Conspiracy

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February 5, 2018 10:06 a.m.

The national press is now sifting over just what triggered the original Russia probe in the summer of 2016. Ironically the Nunes Memo appears to confirm something Republicans have been at pains to deny: that it was the Australian intelligence tip about George Papadopoulos that triggered the initial probe in July 2016. But if we look at, or for, one single trigger I think we will miss a major part of the story, maybe the story itself.

Going back months before summer 2016, the FBI had been investigating a series of cyberattacks on the DNC and other political committees. This in itself was not that surprising: hacking for intelligence gathering is a part of intelligence work. It’s not welcome. But it’s part of the routine cat and mouse of modern intelligence gathering. But certainly, some people at the FBI’s counter-intelligence division must have noticed in March when Trump announced that a man the FBI had surveilled for years as a possible Russian agent would be his top advisor on European and Russian affairs. That’s Carter Page.

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