From the diaries.
In a perfect world, when the FBI is tasked with investigating a political figure for some felony or other, the agents would do so without political–or any other–bias. They would look at the case objectively and exercise appropriate due diligence until their work is done.
But this isn’t a perfect world, so what is the next best thing? If the FBI has a case against, say, Hillary, who do you want in charge, the fella who wears MAGA underwear or the lady with the “I’m With Her” bra? Clearly, the former, because you can be confident that he’ll pursue the case and leave no stone unturned, without any real or perceived or faintest whiff of a conflict of interest.
And that is the real scandal, which occurred while Obama was president, when Tarmac Lynch was AG and when Comey was FBI Director. The person in charge of the Hillary email investigation had the appearance of wearing boxers with these logos sprinkled all over.
Andrew McCabe ran the FBI office that was in charge of investigating Hillary’s use of official State Department emails on a home-brewed server. Mr. McCabe is married to Jill McCabe, who ran for a US Senate seat in Virginia as a Democrat, and she collected over $600,000 from a PAC that was ran by Terry McAuliffe, one of Bill and Hillary’s most loyal sycophants. To recap, the woman who lets Andrew have sex with her is a one-step-removed big-time Hillary loyalist. Mr. McCabe had no business being on the case.
The other scandal was when the Attorney General of the United States (who was appointed by partisan Democrat President Obama), had a private meeting on an airliner with a partisan Democrat ex-president who is married to a partisan Democrat who was the subject of an FBI investigation. Mere days later, it was announced that the investigation was over, with no further action taken. She isn’t called Tarmac Lynch (at least by me) for no reason.
What about Comey? To me, it’s a mixed bag. He testified this to Congress: “I have been a registered Republican for most of my adult life, not registered any longer.” We don’t know when Mr. Comey left the GOP or if he became un-registered or if he re-registered with a different party. Personally, I’d like to know.
Second thing. Comey had Peter Strzok as the number two person in charge of the Hillary email investigation. Strzok was biased at the time given his pillow-talk text messages with his co-worker mistress, although it’s unclear exactly when senior law enforcement officials learned of the text messages. Did Comey know about this at the time? I doubt it, but would like to hear confirmation one way or the other. When Mueller heard about the affair and the texts, he sacked Strzok immediately. Strzok was one of the people who advised Comey to use “extremely careless” language instead of “grossly negligent”, the latter of which had legal ramifications.
Third, it was always mystifying that Comey dismissed Hillary because she did not have ill intent. To me, it was an artificial threshold. The real threshold was whether or not she violated the law, intent be damned. That’s kind of what “gross negligence” is about. Did Comey come to this conclusion on his own, or was he persuaded by now-known partisan Peter Strzok? Either way, it doesn’t speak well for Comey.
Fourth, Comey drafted a letter clearing Hillary before all the FBI’s work was done. I haven’t heard an explanation from Comey, who has laid low since meeting with Congress. There are reasons for doing it, but this needs more exploration.
Fifth, while he was under no obligation to make public statements about the Hillary investigation, both of them hurt the Hillary campaign. I’ve argued with a lot of liberals who are absolutely convinced that Comey stole the election from Hillary. Maybe he did, or not, but he had to have known that he was helping the Trump campaign. For Comey, I’m reserving judgment on him until we learn more from the Inspector General.
A word about Peter Strzok. I don’t really care that, while on Mueller’s team, the guy was disinclined towards Trump as I’d rather not have an investigator who is favorably inclined towards the person he’s investigating, but I do have an issue with him when he investigated Hillary. I also have a problem with FBI agents who are unethical (schtupping a fellow FBI colleague who is not his wife falls under that category, IMO) and stupid (see my comment about his pillow-talk texts).
What about Aaron Zebley? He is on Mueller’s team and previously represented one of Hillary’s IT employees. My answer to that is Big Whoop. Better than him defending Lewandowski after he shoved that Breitbart woman.
What about the three members on Mueller’s team who donated to Democrats? Same answer: Big Whoop. There’s no “ah hah!” moment here. What about Weissman for saying something nice about Sally Yates? Still the same answer. An investigation has better integrity if the investigators are more against than for the person they are investigating. That was a serious problem when Obama was president, but our mainstream media wasn’t so interested in pursuing that, and it’s not a such a serious problem today under the present Special Counsel.
What about Mueller himself? No scandal that I can see, as long as he stays within the instructions that Rosy Rosenstein gave him. His detractors should just breathe.
Update: Over at JustSecurity, Ryan Goodman explains why conservatives should embrace Mueller and his investigation. Some excerpts below.
First, with so much media and expert attention focused on whether “collusion” is a crime and on the recent spate of indictments and guilty pleas, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the principal task of the special counsel’s office is a counterintelligence investigation—not a criminal matter. Mueller’s primary directive from the Deputy Attorney General is to get to the bottom of Russia’s interference in the US election and provide an authoritative account.
Goodman goes on to say that there was no “political litmus test” in choosing the investigators, but even if that litmus test was anti-Trump, so what.
Second, with so much attention focused on Russian activities in the 2016 general election battle between President Trump and Hillary Clinton, it’s easy to overlook the Kremlin’s interference in the GOP primary. Yet the Kremlin’s use of social media and other intelligence activities threatened to damage the modern Republican Party from within by driving popular sentiment toward the alt-right (read: white nationalist) fringe.
Third, let’s assume that conservative writers like Andy McCarthy and others are correct that the Trump campaign and the President himself did nothing criminal as to Russian election interference. Unnecessary for our analysis, but we could also assume that these conservative commentators are correct that the Flynn plea agreement indicates that Mueller’s investigation into Trump campaign collusion has effectively reached a dead end. (Alex Whiting and I draw a different inference from the Flynn plea, so let’s assume her that Alex and I are wrong on that score.) If the McCarthy view is correct, then the best way to remove the albatross of the Russia investigation from around the President’s neck is to let Mueller’s investigation run its course. A report from Mueller that vindicates the President will be especially persuasive if it comes from the current mix of professionals on the special counsel’s team.