« A Party in Search of a Vision | Main | The Demise of American Leadership »

What the Democrats are Getting Wrong about the Russia-Trump Investigation.

The New York Times and several other news organizations have reported that the FBI used an informant to follow up leads that indicated that some Trump associates had talked to Russians about the election, by having that informant talk to those Trump associates and report his findings to the FBI. Apparently this informant, a college professor who may now be working in the U.K, is someone both the FBI and CIA have used in the past and his identity is being protected so that either he, or those he has gathered information from in the past, are not put in danger. At least that’s the story being conveyed, mostly second hand through reporters, by the FBI.

President Trump has seized upon the report of this informant to claim that the FBI placed an informant in his campaign to spy upon him and his associates and that the operation may have been politically motivated by members of the Obama administration. Trump has demanded a Department of Justice investigation of the identity and activities of this informant and the circumstances surrounding the decision to use him. Democrats are in an uproar.

According to most Democrats and the liberal media, Trump has misunderstood a normal FBI operation designed to track down evidence of Russian interference in our election, misinterpreted as planting a “mole” in his campaign, and falsely attributed political motivation to government employees who are just doing their job and are mostly apolitical anyway. Even more worrisome, the president has breached a divide between the White House and the Justice Department that has, for at least 30 years, insured that no president ordered or interfered with Justice Department investigations, because such interference would be political and taint the objectivity—or at least the reputation for objectivity—of the DOJ and its investigative arm, the FBI. Hillary Clinton has accused Trump of creating a “full-fledged crisis” of democracy by his actions. James Clapper, former Director of the NSA, has labeled Trump’s call for an investigation of the FBI’s activities, “a disturbing assault on the Department of Justice.”

While all of the Democratic and liberal media complaints may be true, from a political point of view they miss some very important facts: In the first place, Trump may be just trying to gain cover by distracting people from the accusations against him and turning the FBI and the Mueller investigation into the ones being accused, but he is also voicing the opinions of FOX news, Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich and a number of others, who, have considerable following among American voters. A large part of the population, although they may not be focusing on the Russian investigation most of the time, hear FOX and hear the president and believe that he is right. They have always seen the investigation into Trump campaign collusion as politically motivated. They fastened on the revelations about anti-Trump emails back and forth between FBI agents Peter Sztrok and Lisa Page, as evidence of a vaster FBI plot against Trump’s campaign. At the least, the finding that two members of the FBI were that brazen about their political feelings, makes pronouncements about career federal employees being apolitical sound questionable, if not ludicrous. They point out that James Clapper, who is regularly interviewed by CNN and other liberal media outlets seems the last person to trust when he declares that the government doesn’t spy on its own citizens, since under his watch, the NSA did just that, and Clapper committed perjury in front of the Senate when he lied about it.

President Trump’s demand for an investigation is politically motivated nonsense, but only in the eyes of his opponents and not in the opinion of a very large number of voters who are suspicious of the political motivation behind everything anyone in government does. Yes, it has become a tradition for the president to not order DOJ investigations because that gets us back to the Johnson and Nixon eras when the DOJ was used for political purposes. But this time the president is asking for the DOJ to investigate itself in the person of the FBI, not some private citizen or political group. That may be a dangerous precedent, but it’s not the same thing as the kind of surveillance of private citizens and organizations as was done in the past.

The bottom line is that without an investigation and greater transparency about what the FBI was doing when it used an informant to collect information about the activities of people involved in the Trump campaign, about half the country will believe what the president and FOX news say, whether they are right or not. And when the election comes, we will have the same situation we had last time of a president who is able to win votes by portraying himself as both the staunchest opponent and the greatest victim of the Washington establishment. Instead of the truth that such an investigation might provide, we will continue with back and forth opinions and accusations that force people to form their beliefs, not on the basis of facts, but on the basis of allegiance to one side or the other. Only revealing what actually happened will force people to face the truth—whatever that might be.

Reader Comments (1)

President Trump isn’t confused about anything. After a year, there still isn’t any evidence the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russia. The entire Russian narrative was a deliberate disinformation campaign without any foundation instigated by President Obama’s DOJ in order to justify illegal spying on the openly despised Donald Trump. President Obama’s hate and later, fear, of Donald Trump is what drove these pathetic and unconstitutional actions. It’s an amazing feat that President Trump is actually winning the battle against such a unified cabal of political liars, cronies and thieves. Clapper and Comey are proven liars and leakers and if they weren’t part of the extant “exalted bureaucracy,” these two criminals would already be headed to prison. I think Holder and Lynch and Brennan are also potentially in big trouble. This witch’s brew of deep state and intelligence agency rogue actions is about ready to boil over. And if there was anybody on the Trump team doing anything illegal, they need to be locked up as well.

May 21, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMark Wheeler

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>