The release of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes' (R-CA) memo on Friday revealed that the two primary sources for launching investigations into the Trump campaign were both connected to the Clintons.
One source, the anti-Trump dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, was paid for by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and was used as the basis for obtaining a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign associate Carter Page. The memo states:
While the FISA application relied on Steele’s past record of credible reporting on other unrelated matters, it ignored or concealed his anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations. Furthermore, Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] without the Steele dossier information.
While this is certainly a damning revelation and suggests corruption within the FBI and DOJ, it does not change the fact that the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign was launched several months prior, in late July 2016. The memo states:
The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos. The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok.
The FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos began after Australia’s top diplomat in Britain, Alexander Downer, had drinks with Papadopoulos "at an upscale London bar in May 2016." The New York Times reports:
Exactly how much Mr. Papadopoulos said that night at the Kensington Wine Rooms with the Australian, Alexander Downer, is unclear. But two months later, when leaked Democratic emails began appearing online, Australian officials passed the information about Mr. Papadopoulos to their American counterparts, according to four current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of the Australians’ role.
Michael Smith, an investigative journalist in Australia, claims that Downer is caught up in a major scandal involving the Clinton Foundation that involves allegations of "mishandling millions of dollars contributed to the Clinton Foundation by the Aussie government." LifeZette reports:
The materials Smith is giving the FBI focus on a 2006 memorandum of understanding between the Australian government and the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton HIV/AIDs Initiative (CHAI). Smith claims the foundation received a “$25M financial advantage dishonestly obtained by deception” as a result of actions by Bill Clinton and Downer, who was then Australia’s minister of foreign affairs.
Also included in the Smith materials are evidence he believes shows “corrupt October 2006 backdating of false tender advertisements purporting to advertise the availability of a $15 million contract to provide HIV/AIDS services in Papua New Guinea on behalf of the Australian government after an agreement was already in place to pay the Clinton Foundation and/or associates.”
A third complaint concerns what Smith describes as “the $10 million financial advantage dishonestly obtained by deception between April 1, 2008, and Sept. 25, 2008, at Washington, D.C., New York, New York, and Canberra Australia involving an MOU between the Australian government, the “Clinton Climate Initiative,” and the purported “Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute Inc.”
Smith told LifeZette that he was "asked to provide the FBI with further and better particulars about allegations regarding improper donations to the CF funded by Australian taxpayers."
LifeZette's report in mid-January came after the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it launched a new investigation into "whether the Clinton Foundation engaged in illegal pay-to-play acts or any other illegal activities during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State in the Obama administration."