The New Yorker had an amazing, detailed profile piece today on Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who authored the details in the now infamous Trump-Russia dossier.
For those who feel it their duty to defend Trump at any cost, even to the detriment of our nation, he’s probably better known as “Satan.”
That being said, the piece covers a lot of territory, regarding Steele’s background, training, character, and what went into the dossier.
For instance, many don’t understand that the dossier was incomplete. It was a collection of leads dug up by Steele during the course of his work, and that, contrary to popular opinion in Trumpland, Hillary Clinton, nor the Clinton campaign had a hand in crafting the work.
Another for instance is that over the course of Steele’s career, and long before the 2016 election, he became known as an expert on Russia and their tactics. Throughout his career, his investigations, on several occasions, turned up links to Trump (such as the Russian mobsters who had a base in Trump Tower), completely unrelated to the election, the Clintons, or anything else that should set off wails of anguished protest from the devotees.
What the piece seems to make clear is that Steele, who has long served as an ally to the American government, is now reeling that those he felt he was protecting are labeling him as a criminal.
Among many fascinating nuggets to be pulled from the piece, however, is how Trump chose his Cabinet.
So let’s talk about Mitt Romney, current candidate for Utah senator, former governor of Massachusetts, former wishy-washy Republican presidential candidate.
I say wishy-washy, because after the third debate against Barack Obama in the 2012 election, I’m pretty sure Romney voted for Obama, himself.
Romney is almost more of a RiNO than Trump.
That being said, I have no doubts that he’s a good guy, with good character.
He was also right about Russia.
Remember the exchange during the debates, when Romney deemed Russia our greatest geopolitical foe, and Obama scoffed, telling him that the 80s had called and wanted their foreign policy back?
Foolish, arrogant Obama.
Well, it seems Russia remembered that exchange, as well, and they weren’t happy about it.
One subject that Steele is believed to have discussed with Mueller’s investigators is a memo that he wrote in late November, 2016, after his contract with Fusion had ended. This memo, which did not surface publicly with the others, is shorter than the rest, and is based on one source, described as “a senior Russian official.” The official said that he was merely relaying talk circulating in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but what he’d heard was astonishing: people were saying that the Kremlin had intervened to block Trump’s initial choice for Secretary of State, Mitt Romney. (During Romney’s run for the White House in 2012, he was notably hawkish on Russia, calling it the single greatest threat to the U.S.) The memo said that the Kremlin, through unspecified channels, had asked Trump to appoint someone who would be prepared to lift Ukraine-related sanctions, and who would coöperate on security issues of interest to Russia, such as the conflict in Syria. If what the source heard was true, then a foreign power was exercising pivotal influence over U.S. foreign policy—and an incoming President.
So it’s one source, and it’s unconfirmed, but if true, it’s powerful.
Now the moves in Syria have not been, thankfully, particularly friendly towards Russia. Quite the opposite.
Those sanctions, though – Russia has skated, because our president has chosen to ignore his duty to implement them, over the majority decision pushed by Congress.
As fantastical as the memo sounds, subsequent events could be said to support it. In a humiliating public spectacle, Trump dangled the post before Romney until early December, then rejected him. There are plenty of domestic political reasons that Trump may have turned against Romney. Trump loyalists, for instance, noted Romney’s public opposition to Trump during the campaign. Roger Stone, the longtime Trump aide, has suggested that Trump was vengefully tormenting Romney, and had never seriously considered him. (Romney declined to comment. The White House said that he was never a first choice for the role and declined to comment about any communications that the Trump team may have had with Russia on the subject.) In any case, on December 13, 2016, Trump gave Rex Tillerson, the C.E.O. of ExxonMobil, the job. The choice was a surprise to most, and a happy one in Moscow, because Tillerson’s business ties with the Kremlin were long-standing and warm. (In 2011, he brokered a historic partnership between ExxonMobil and Rosneft.) After the election, Congress imposed additional sanctions on Russia, in retaliation for its interference, but Trump and Tillerson have resisted enacting them.
And while Trump loyalists are pushing this notion today that the FBI misled the FISA courts by using the dossier as the basis of the need for a surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign aide, Carter Page, that’s just not true. Multiple, independent sources went along with the information from the dossier that helped secure that initial warrant.
So did Trump disqualify Romney as Secretary of State, at the prompting of the Kremlin? Was the decision already made, and Trump’s initial courting of Romney simply his way of getting back at someone who had insulted him?
At this point, I’d say either is a possibility.