Former FBI deputy for counterintelligence, Frank Figliuzzi, made a passing comment confirming what many have suspected since the early days of the Russia investigation.
During a Wednesday panel discussion, the group discussed the recent revelations uncovered in the GOP-led Senate Intelligence Committee report about President Donald Trump's campaign coordinating with Russia. Figliuzzi explained that the differences between that report and the previous report issued by special counsel Robert Mueller are that Mueller was bound by only seeking criminal behavior. By contrast, the U.S. Senate could make whatever conclusions they wanted.
"It's been playing out for four years. We've felt this way for four years now," Figliuzzi explained. "One of the initial thoughts I have, Nicole, is this is further validation that the FBI knew what it was doing, had valid concerns, and while for many people this may sound like a Tom Clancy novel, this is not new to anybody who's ever worked counterintelligence. In fact, it's not new to any global corporate executive in a targeted industry, who travels regularly."
Figliuzzi's comments come as Attorney General Bill Barr called on one of his U.S. Attorneys to investigate Mueller, the FBI, and the team of people who looked into the Trump campaign working with Russia to win in 2016.
"This is what happens," he continued. "And there is published, credible research regarding Trump that even dates back earlier than this. Earlier than 1996, when Trump first came on the radar screen of the Russian intelligence services, and that's allegedly back when he married Ivana, and she had a relative that was reportedly an asset of the East German intelligence service, reporting to the Russian intelligence service. So, when a wealthy individual who might someday go into politics and has a lot of money to invest in real estate travels to Russia, or for that matter to China, they are on the radar screen."
He went on to explain that the next step the countries do is figure out how to compromise them.
"And let me say this, two thoughts: One, if he did anything like is reported in the report, it's on video—number one. No. 2, the bigger question for all of us, Nicole is, what's the context?" he continued. "Does it matter. Can you be compromised if you have no shame? In other words, if it's true that he may have been intimate with a former Miss Moscow, right? To him, or he may have -- he had multiple women in a hotel in Russia, as is alleged here, does he care? Can he be compromised in a man [who] has no shame? I think the larger context is, what else is it that they have on him that we don't know, that he would not want to get out? That's what I'm focused on."
Finally, Figliuzzi said that there is more counterintelligence information in the Senate report because they weren't bound by the same standards that Mueller was.
"What you're seeing here is straight-up counter-intel," he closed. "Is someone working for another government, and are they compromised?"
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