In his online appeal for money after being fired this week, disgraced former FBI agent Peter Strzok credited an unlikely source to vouch for his victim status: The Weekly Standard.
At one time a leading conservative magazine, the Standard declared last month that Strzok’s plight was merely an “overwrought tale of bias” and the case against him is “just sound and fury.” The article brushed off Strzok’s actions as “several bad judgment calls” and blasted Congressional Republicans for continuing a criminal investigation into the now-unemployed G-man.
Strzok is following only 32 people on his newly-verified Twitter account. Bill Kristol, the editor-at-large of the Standard, is one of them.
What Kelly points out is stunning –
On July 24, 2016, just days before Strzok helped launch a counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign, Kristol gave Strzok and the Obama Justice Department a big assist from the anti-Trump Right by posting a flawed and questionably-sourced article. “Putin’s Party” is compelling evidence that Kristol and the Standard were far from mere sideline observers as the Trump-Russia collusion scam took shape in the summer of 2016.
At the very least, the timing of the article suggests there was careful coordination between the central players—including the Hillary Clinton campaign—and Bill Kristol to derail Trump’s candidacy just weeks before the election. But the article’s content also serves to raise alarming questions about the claims by many Republicans that “conservatives” had no knowledge of or involvement with the Christopher Steele dossier.
Let’s back up a bit. On the morning that Kristol’s piece posted, the Trump-Russian election collusion story was in its embryonic stage—nearly all American voters that summer remained blissfully unaware of the details in this preposterous story—but secretly it was being peddled to the media by Fusion GPS, a political opposition research firm hired by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to dig up Russian-related dirt on Donald Trump. Talking points produced by Glenn Simpson, the head of Fusion, and contained in the Steele dossier, were making the rounds in the D.C.-NYC media claque during July 2016. (At the same time, Steele was working with the FBI and alerting the agency to his dubious findings about the Trump campaign.)
Kristol’s article hits on every single one of the Simpson-Steele talking points: Trump forced the GOP to water-down language on the Ukraine in the party’s platform (it didn’t happen); the Russians were behind Wikileaks’ release of the DNC’s hacked emails (unproven); Trump encouraged foreign powers to interfere in the election (he didn’t); and Trump would not honor U.S. commitments to NATO (an overblown assessment of Trump’s NATO criticism nearly all the Republican candidates made). He listed a handful of unknown Trump campaign associates who would soon become household names, including campaign manager Paul Manafort; national security advisor, Lt. General Michael Flynn; and foreign policy aide Carter Page. (Strzok and the FBI formally opened their investigation into the three men—and campaign aide George Papadopoulos—on July 31, 2016.)