- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 9, 2019


Now there are two British-produced anti-Trump dossiers, deepening the president’s suspicions about the U.S.-U.K. “special relationship.”

First came Christoper Steele, a former British spy who maintains close contacts with his country’s Secret Intelligence Service. In 2016, from his London offices, Mr. Steele churned out 17 allegation-filled memos at the request of his Democratic Party handlers.

A second dossier, written by London’s top man in Washington, Kim Darroch, who resigned Wednesday morning, appeared this week in the Daily Mail. Like the Steele papers, the Darroch dossier has been written in segments and is filled with anti-Trump vitriol.

Even before the extraordinary disclosures, President Trump was deeply suspicious of the British government’s role in investigating him and his allies about Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Sourced to shadowy Kremlin figures, the Steele dossier told a tale of deep and widespread conspiracy between Mr. Trump and the Kremlin. The document, coming as it did from someone connected to British intelligence, gained wide acceptance inside the Obama administration’s Justice Department.

Mr. Steele and his Moscow sources made a dozen major allegations against Mr. Trump. All were proved untrue with special counsel Robert Mueller’s March report on Russian election interference.

Mr. Steele shared his gossip with MI6 headquarters, raising questions about whether London’s top spies believe his criminal charges against Mr. Trump and whether they spread the material among the U.K. Cabinet.

Now comes British dossier No. 2. Mr. Darroch’s two years of secret cables went straight to the Foreign Office, where they were likely distributed to the seats of power, including No. 10 Downing St.

To what degree they poisoned Mr. Trump’s connections to Prime Minister Theresa May’s government may be told one day.

Like the publication of the Steele dossier in January 2017 by BuzzFeed, the debut of the Darroch dossier had immediate impact.

Mr. Trump went on Twitter to declare that he was no longer dealing with Mr. Darroch. The White House promptly disinvited him from an elegant, CEO-filled Treasury Department dinner Monday night for the visiting emir of Qatar.

As a backdrop, Trump associates and the president have another suspicion about America’s top ally.

George Papadopoulos, as a Trump volunteer in London, encountered at least two FBI spies, professor Stefan Halper and a supposed associate, as he worked in 2016 to try to set up a Trump-Kremlin meeting. He suspects other informants were dispatched to make contact with him, and he believes the British spy service helped.

“The US-UK scandal that is going to hit headlines this week is about the MI6, in coordination with the CIA, running Stefan Halper at me in London,” Papadopoulos tweeted after the Darroch story broke.

Mr. Trump believes Mrs. May knows something about it.

“I may very well talk to her about that,” Mr. Trump told reporters in May before leaving on a state visit to Britain. “There are rumors that the CIA or FBI were involved with the U.K. having to do with the Russian hoax, and I very well may talk to her about that.”

There are connections. Mr. Halper, a consultant in Washington and professor at Cambridge University, is a business partner of Richard Dearlove, a former director of MI6.

Mr. Steele, in a London court where he is being sued for defamation, filed a declaration saying he shared dossier material with the intelligence service.

Mr. Darroch, in his series of secret cables, attacked virtually all aspects of Mr. Trump’s rule, including scandals, Russia, trade and Iran. The ambassador described America’s commander in chief as “inept,” “insecure” and “incompetent.” The Trump White House is “uniquely dysfunctional.”

The ambassador also repeats a Democratic Party talking point that Mr. Trump is somehow indebted to Moscow.

The Mueller report told of no Trump working relationship with the Kremlin over the years. Democrats, principally President Obama’s intelligence chiefs, have accused Mr. Trump of being an agent of Russia without offering proof.

Mr. Darroch wrote of a possible Russian-Trump conspiracy: “The worst cannot be ruled out.”

Mr. Trump tweeted Tuesday: “The wacky Ambassador that the U.K. foisted upon the United States is not someone we are thrilled with, a very stupid guy.”

Some of Mr. Trump’s former campaign aides see a pattern of poisonous British behavior toward an American president.

“Ironically, Trump and dozens of his associates like me suffered through years of a media firestorm thanks in part to British intelligence figures like Christopher Steele and his colleagues,” J.D. Gordon, a former Pentagon spokesman and campaign national security adviser, told The Washington Times. “Yet if the cables and subsequent leaks were intentional, perhaps it’s not so ironic after all. Regardless, he should be recalled by London immediately.”

At one point last year, Mr. Trump planned to declassify documents pertaining to the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation. He backed off partly because, he said, “key allies” protested.

More recently, he empowered Attorney General William P. Barr to release material from the investigation as he sees fit. Mr. Barr appointed the U.S. attorney for Connecticut to investigate how the FBI went after Trump aides.

After months of allegations from Mr. Steele, former Obama aides and Democrats, no Trump ally was charged with conspiring with Russia’s election meddling.

“The U.K. knows that the president and Congress read and know about the U.K.’s interference in the 2016 election and are now trying to get ahead of the declassified info that’s going to hit the headlines,” Papadopoulos said. “The U.K. is nothing more than a hindrance to U.S. interests in this new era.”

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