There was a rather disturbing story in Friday’s New York Times. The headline is F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia. The story is not disturbing for the reason the New York Times is flogging it, it is disturbing because it illustrates the extent to which senior law enforcement officials can use their power to attack political figures they perceive to be their enemies.
In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.
The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.
The investigation the F.B.I. opened into Mr. Trump also had a criminal aspect, which has long been publicly known: whether his firing of Mr. Comey constituted obstruction of justice.
Just consider that for a moment.
The FBI under Andrew McCabe and James Comey’s inner circle decided to, on their own initiative, launch both a criminal and counterintelligence investigation of the president of the United States. There is no evidence presented that Department of Justice was consulted about this much less approving it.
In this story, the New York Times falls back on old and debunked stories:
Mr. Trump had caught the attention of F.B.I. counterintelligence agents when he called on Russia during a campaign news conference in July 2016 to hack into the emails of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump had refused to criticize Russia on the campaign trail, praising President Vladimir V. Putin. And investigators had watched with alarm as the Republican Party softened its convention platform on the Ukraine crisis in a way that seemed to benefit Russia.
President Trump never called on the Russians to “hack into the emails” on Hillary Clinton. Clinton had used a hillbilly-engineered email server that was know to contain secret information, she was known to have used an unsecure smartphone for email access while in Russia, and when her goons “wiped” her server, some 30,000 emails were lost. Trump is clearly implying that the Russians already have those emails and they should release them. The “softening” of the GOP platform simply brought it into alignment with existing US policy of not providing lethal aid to Ukraine. A policy President Trump reversed in February 2018.
Other factors fueled the F.B.I.’s concerns, according to the people familiar with the inquiry. Christopher Steele, a former British spy who worked as an F.B.I. informant, had compiled memos in mid-2016 containing unsubstantiated claims that Russian officials tried to obtain influence over Mr. Trump by preparing to blackmail and bribe him.
Missing from this are a couple of key points. Steele was working under contract for the Clinton campaign. And Steele’s information overwhelmingly comes from current and former members of Russia’s intelligence apparatus and was obtained via intermediaries who were paid by Steele to gather derogatory information on Trump.
No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials. An F.B.I. spokeswoman and a spokesman for the special counsel’s office both declined to comment.
And, from the way anti-Trump stories leak, one has to conclude that anything found by anyone that substantiated the ridiculous Russia-collusion story would have leaked by now.
HotAir’s Allahpundit, though he makes a lot of really basic mistakes (Manafort didn’t give polling data to Russians and the data he gave the Ukainians was several months old), brings up an excellent point:
It’s counterintuitive but to me his public slobbering over Putin has always been a point in the “no collusion” column. An official who’s secretly working with Russia should be reluctant to make his Russian sympathies public. To believe that Trump’s pro-Russia blather is evidence of collusion you need to believe that he’s a clever tactical thinker who essentially hid in plain sight, expecting that people would be skeptical of collusion for exactly the reason I’m giving here. That would be the same brilliant tactical thinker who ignored funding for the wall for two years while Republicans controlled Congress only to decide that it was life-and-death the moment Democrats took over and the money became unavailable. Not likely.
How is this exercise of Deep State power justified?
As F.B.I. officials debated whether to open the investigation, some of them pushed to move quickly before Mr. Trump appointed a director who might slow down or even end their investigation into Russia’s interference. Many involved in the case viewed Russia as the chief threat to American democratic values.
“With respect to Western ideals and who it is and what it is we stand for as Americans, Russia poses the most dangerous threat to that way of life,” Ms. Page told investigators for a joint House Judiciary and Oversight Committee investigation into Moscow’s election interference.
This is nonsense. Russia is the international equivalent of an internet troll keyboarding from their Mom’s basement. It has the GDP of New York state. It’s military is incompetent on a very good day. It spent $100,000 in direct expenditures on the US election and the Washington Post’s investigation of that effort said it was ridiculously inefficient. The linkage of this to Comey’s firing is ridiculous. A week after Comey was fired, a special counsel was appointed so no action was needed by the FBI. And we know from since revealed text messages, that the FBI detailed some of its most virulent Trump-haters to Mueller’s team. Russia is not the most dangerous threat to our way of life. The most dangerous threat is the existence of a non-elected cabal of law enforcement and intelligence officials conspiring to overturn an election.
Rep. Devin Nunes responds to NYT FBI-investigating-Trump story: pic.twitter.com/paeNYrjhyI
— Byron York (@ByronYork) January 12, 2019
Why did they do it? I think Sean Davis hits the nail on the head:
Translation: Comey’s firing signaled that McCabe’s corrupt head was next on the chopping block, so the FBI cooked up yet another extortion scheme masquerading as an “investigation” to insulate the agency from political accountability. https://t.co/i7ATK66doK
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) January 12, 2019
And why are they bringing it up now? They are inoculating themselves for the inevitable official disclosure of what happened. They ran to a couple of their favorite reporters in the most friendly major publication for NeverTrump stories and the are giving their rationalization.
They leaked it after the Lisa Page testimony was leaked to the @epochtimes and they absolutely are trying to get out ahead of that. The New York Times story even mentions The Epoch Times having her testimony. https://t.co/kS3NtaJ4ky
— Shem Horne (@Shem_Infinite) January 12, 2019
All of this calls into question exactly what the hell Christopher Wray has been doing since his appointment. Anyone who saw any of the correspondence or received any instructions to participate in this idiocy and didn’t immediately inform the DOJ IG should be fired as they can’t be trusted to act with the Constitutional limits on their power.
I’m on Facebook. Drop by and join the fun there.