Over the past two weeks, Republicans have done everything possible to make it clear that opposition research is the worst thing in the world. Donald Trump has spent a sizable fraction of his daily Twitter rants attempting to make the idea that Democrats contributed to funding Fusion GPS not just equivalent to, but worse than, dealing directly with the Kremlin to optimize the use of stolen information.
So Trump will undoubtedly be shocked by Politico reports that the RNC also spent money on opposition research. Very special opposition research.
As the general election was taking shape last summer, the Republican National Committee initiated a series of payments to a low-profile firm started by retired CIA officers that worked closely with an ex-Russian spy.
Note: Not a former British agent. A former Russian spy. The RNC at first insisted that the payments had “nothing to do with Russia.”
But RNC officials now acknowledge that most of the cash — $34,100 — went toward intelligence-style reports that sought to prove conflicts of interest between Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state and her family’s foundation.
The research—the opposition research—attempted to find some connection between people who had donated to the Clinton Foundation and actions that Hillary Clinton took as secretary of state. And what did they put together in their effort to bring down Hillary?
The firm produced two dossiers that tried to make the case that Clinton intervened in Bulgaria and Israel, respectively, on behalf of energy companies …
So the RNC directly paid a firm that employed a Russian spy. On the other side, the DNC hired a firm, which employed a British spy.
The “crime” the RNC was out to prove: Hillary Clinton may have helped an Israeli energy firm.
The crime the DNC uncovered in their efforts: Donald Trump acting as a front for Russian interests in the United States.
And the truth is that neither effort to uncover information was itself a crime.