This is kind of a big deal, given that we’ve been inundated for almost two years, from some “conservative” sources even, with the notion that George Papadopoulos was the entire catalyst for the Russia investigation.
The media began to propagate this nonsense the moment the Steele dossier started to fall apart. As the credibility of the investigation was crumbling, they needed a new story for why what the FBI did was righteous and just.
Back in 2017, The New York Times ran a story entitled “How the Russia Inquiry Began: A Campaign Aide, Drinks and Talk of Political Dirt,” which was clearly seeded by current and former FBI officials to cover for themselves.
WASHINGTON — During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016, George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.
This was false at the time, although it became conventional wisdom for far too long. Papadopoulos actually never mentioned dirt or emails to Misfud at the meeting. As a result, Mueller of course never charged Papadopoulos with anything except mixing up his dates via a technicality (namely when he “officially” became part of the Trump campaign vs. just being told he would become part of it). There was no conspiracy.
Then, earlier this month, we started to see the walk back begin from the Times.
Weeks before Mr. Papadopoulos met with Ms. Turk and Mr. Halper, the F.B.I. had opened its investigation into the Russia effort — based largely on information that Mr. Papadopoulos had relayed to an Australian diplomat about a Russian offer to help the Trump campaign by releasing thousands of hacked Democratic emails.
Now, The New York Times is suddenly admitting that Papadopoulos was never even the major reason the investigation started, much less the only reason. You won’t see this in any headlines, but it’s there.
That information partly formed the basis for opening the Russia investigation. F.B.I. agents traveled the following month to London to interview the diplomat and then mounted an operation targeting Mr. Papadopoulos and several other Trump campaign aides with personal ties to Russia.
From the sole reason, to the larger reason, now to only “partly.”
None of this is an accident. What’s happening here is the gear up for the blowback that is coming when IG Horowitz releases his report on the Trump-Russia investigation. The New York Times knows they are about to get caught with their pants down so they’ve been quietly moving the goalposts to give themselves cover.
This is also happening because FBI officials, present and former, are realizing they are about to be exposed. So they need the media to run and rewrite the narrative for them (again). That’s why we’ve seen so many leaks lately and the admission, after years of denying it, that spying did occur. It’s all pre-reaction to try to soften the blow.
We’ve known all along that the Papadopoulos story was farcical garbage. No serious person ever believed an entire investigation into a Presidential campaign was predicated on a low-level staffer having a drink. Yet, we were fed that tale for years with no question. Now, that narrative is going down in flames and it’s about time.