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Kimberley Strassel @KimStrassel
, 21 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
1) It is never fun to tackle fact checkers, but this one is a case study in that modern art of omitting details, stating unsupportable assertions as fact, slipping things in, manipulating a narrative. Opinion as "fact." So let's go through it.…
2)"Ohr exists in a netherworld — a subject of fascination in right-leaning media". Right, though piece fails to note that is because mainstream media is more "fascinated" by Omarosa than it is the news that a high ranking DOJ official--
3)--whose wife worked for Clinton oppo-research group Fusion GPS--was feeding said oppo research to the FBI. And that the FBI was taking it even after having officially terminated Fusion employee Christopher Steele as a source, for breaking FBI rules.
4)"Ohr is less of a central player." The guy was among highest ranking DOJ officials. And anybody who works for one central player in this drama (DOJ) and has dozens of contacts with all the other central players (Fusion, FBI, Steele) is by definition pretty central.
5) "Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community." Noble Steele, right? Only fails to note he looks also been working for/helping a Russian oligarch, even as he wrote dossier hyping Trump-Russia. Goes to credibility, no?
6)"the dossier is actually several memos, based on conversations with Russian sources" Well, so says Steele and Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS cofounder). fact checker just takes their word for it. But some suspect a few non Russians might have had some input.
7)"the probe into the Trump campaign originally was sparked by a separate matter that Steele never wrote about." So says the FBI. But it notably won't provide any docs to back this up, and only came up with the Papadopoulos story after dossier was exposed.
8) (I thought fact checkers existed to question unsupported claims?)
9) "(Bruce Ohr’s 278e financial disclosure form lists her as an “independent contractor.”)" This bland statement (i am assuming purposely) omits the key point: That this description masked where she really worked--Fusion--which Ohr should have disclosed, but didn't.
10) "Bruce Ohr and Steele knew each other, apparently because of organized-crime issues." Maybe. But their relationship in early 2016 was Steele lobbying Ohr on behalf of Russian oligarch, about visas and sanctions. Important "fact," right? (gets slipped in at end of piece)
11) "Simpson said Steele suggested he speak to Ohr after the “very surprising” victory by Trump." This statement, and quote that follows, make it sounds like Simpson's outreach was just a casual, "let me do the right thing" moment AFTER the election. But it omits...
12) that Simpson was in touch with Ohr months earlier, at start of Trump-Russia probe. Specifically, an email to Ohr from Simpson in August reads: "Can u ring." Which is a pretty familiar way to email someone you rarely talk to.
13)"But Steele and Simpson did not know that" Really? How can Fact Checker make such a claim? Steele was in continuous contact with high ranking DOJ official, who could easily have apprised him on probe. Steele also had contacts in FBI and in State Dept.
14) "Steele and Ohr had been in contact before the election, though it’s unclear how much Ohr knew about Steele’s work for Fusion." Um, maybe a fair amount, given all the summer contact between Steele, Simpson and Ohr? Why downplay it?
15)"The two men had had a continuing discussion about Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska in 2016" Again, that "discussion" involved a foreign national (Steele) lobbying DOJ official. At end we hear only that Steele was "concerned" re Deripaska. no description of his requests.
16) "And Bruce Ohr apparently spoke to Simpson on Aug. 22, according to phone logs reviewed by York." Doesn't note it was Simpson that demanded a call. Also slipped in late in piece, like no big deal, rather than back in main timeline describing Simpson outreach to Ohr.
17) "He appears to be only a messenger." Wow. So DOJ official passes along Clinton oppo to FBI, from a discredited source. Doesn't tell that his wife is profiting from this venture. No big deal. Just a "messenger." Imagine if official in Bush DOJ had done this to Obama team.
18) "At this point, it’s unclear what Ohr even told his friend at the FBI about Steele’s information" Wow again. Where does this "friend" come from? why put it that way? Ohr was debriefed by FBI agents at least 12 times, contents in official 302s. This isn't water cooler talk
19) "There is also, as yet, no evidence that senior Justice Department officials were even aware of Ohr’s sideline communications with Steele about the Russian probe." Wow times three. That some in DOJ didn't know is one of the problems. Who set this up? Who was kept in dark?
20) "Trump’s mention of Ohr’s wife appears gratuitous. Her role in the matter, as yet, appears minimal." She worked for the main player in this drama, Fusion. And Fact Checker has zero ability to make that claim, since we still don't know her role. Bizarre.
21. THE PINOCCHIO TEST: There are no facts wrong here, so no pinocchios based on WaPo's preferred pinocchio standard. But fact checkers are also more than capable of rearranging words and details to create a misleading narrative. so, pinocchios galore on that front.
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