The Russia collusion story has persisted for over two years, and the investigation is still ongoing. The FBI officially opened the investigation on July 31, 2016, and there has yet to arise any convictions or even charges directly related to the purpose of the investigation, that being collusion with Russia by Trump and/or the campaign. A lack of progress has not deterred the investigation from continuing, and has thus cultivated suspicion as to an alternative motive behind the investigation. Such suspicion may now be amplified, as GOP Rep John Ratcliffe says the FBI knowingly withheld evidence that “directly refutes” the Trump-Russia probe.
“Ratcliffe suggested that the FBI failed to include evidence regarding former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, in an interview with Fox News,” Daily Caller reports. “Ratcliffe noted that the FBI opened its investigation on July 31, 2016, after receiving information from the Australian government about a conversation that Papadopoulos had on May 10, 2016, with Alexander Downer, the top Australian diplomat to the U.K.”
Australian diplomat Downer claimed that Papadopoulos revealed to him that Russians had shared with the Trump campaign that they had derogatory information on Hillary Clinton. This was used as evidence by the FBI to open an investigation.
However, “Ratcliffe, a top member of the House Judiciary Committee, suggested on Sunday that the FBI and Justice Department had information that contradicted its intelligence on Papadopoulos,” Daily Caller reports.
Ratcliffe said in his interview, “Hypothetically, if the Department of Justice and the FBI have another piece of evidence that directly refutes that, that directly contradicts that, what you would expect is for the Department of Justice to present both sides of the coin to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to evaluate the weight and sufficiency of that evidence.”
However, this is not what took place. The FBI catered to one side of the story, effectively cultivating a particular narrative. Ratcliffe notes this when he added, “Instead, what happened here was Department of Justice and FBI officials in the Obama administration in October of 2016 only presented to the court the evidence that made the government’s case to get a warrant to spy on a Trump campaign associate.”
Ratcliffe went on to suggest that if a batch of FBI and Justice Department documents were declassified, his claims about withheld intelligence on the Papadopoulos case would be well supported. Trump originally planned to declassify documents but has since rescinded the order.
Some suspect that Trump is perhaps keeping this tool in his back pocket leading up to the midterms. A data dump that cleared the Russia collusion air once and for all would act as a great morale boost for republicans in the lead up to the crucial day in November.