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Concerning that FBI “spy”…

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Why wouldn’t the FBI have inserted an informant into the Trump campaign, if they (the FBI) had good reason to believe there was illegal hanky-panky going on? That’s what the FBI does, for crying out loud—it investigates.

What sort of hanky-panky? Well, for starters, the FBI was hearing all sorts of nefarious stories about mysterious and disturbing connections between top Trump campaign managers and the Trump family with enemy foreign governments, especially Russia. They had the Steele dossier, from a respected source, much of which has turned out to be true. They had background material on Trump associates who were as sleazy and mob-connected a bunch of grifters as any the FBI had ever encountered (Hello, Michael Cohen). And they had Trump himself, with his outrageous lies and vast history of cons. So, I repeat: Why wouldn’t the FBI be curious about what was going on?

And, of course, they were. Any law-abiding, patriotic American would expect the nation’s top law enforcement agency to investigate what looked like a huge crime, happening in broad daylight, at the upper echelons of the campaign of the Republican nominee for President. To have turned a blind eye to such unprecedented events would have been the gravest dereliction of duty in the agency’s history.

And now the central figure in this intrigue, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, pretends to be outraged that “a spy” was informing on his campaign! Trump has been frantically searching for something, anything to throw shade on the Mueller investigation (and on the Justice Department that allows it to continue). His lie about Obama wiretapping Trump Tower kept Fox News, Breitbart and Rush Limbaugh in orgiastic nirvana for a few days, until its utter falseness caused it to collapse. There followed the months of “witch hunt!” which similarly have led nowhere, except to cheer on diehard Trump supporters who would celebrate him even if (as he once said) he were to shoot a bunch of innocent people in the middle of Fifth Avenue. And now, this “spy” ridiculousness.

For a little taste of how Republicans are playing the “spy” story, look no further than yesterday’s lead editorial in the right wing’s favorite newspaper, the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal. It does not dispute that the FBI had (and has) the legal right and duty to investigate the activities of individuals who appear to be breaking major U.S. laws. Instead, it plays to the Trumpian lie that any investigation of him, his family or his campaign by the FBI is “partisan politics.” Well, it’s only partisan when it’s Trump whose ox is being gored. When he calls for the FBI to investigate Hillary Clinton, it’s not partisan politics! ROTFLOL.

The Wall Street Journal goes blithely on. We can’t recall a similar case, even in the J. Edgar Hoover days, when the FBI decided it needed to snoop on a presidential campaign.” Perhaps that’s because never before in our history has there been so much evidence of collusion between a presidential campaign and a hostile power. The Wall Street Journal notes with pleasure that “Devin Nunes, the House Intelligence Chairman, is seeking documents to learn exactly what happened,” the same Devin Nunes who is likely to be charged with obstruction of justice for leaking House minutes to the White House in the middle of the night, and who has faithfully tried to obstruct and impede the Mueller investigation every step of the way. (So unpopular has Nunes become in his own California district that “his seat is no longer considered ‘safe Republican,’” The Hill reports.)

But for me, the most outrageous part of this “spy” fabrication is the Wall Street Journal’s demand that “The public deserves to know who tasked the informant to seek out Trump campaign officials, what his orders were, what the justification was for doing so, and who was aware of it.” It’s easy to see through their ploy. It doesn’t matter to the Trump crowd what actually happened in the campaign, what laws Trump and his associates violated, or what the Russian government did to interfere with our election. The answers to those things would get Trump into trouble. Therefore, distract attention from those things by inventing fake news that rightwing media can repeat over and over and over, Goebbels-like, the Big Lie which, if restated enough, will convince some people that maybe, just maybe there’s fire behind that smoke.

There isn’t fire, of course. Whatever the FBI did was legal, sound and appropriate. The FBI investigates when it believes serious crimes have been committed. This is why the FBI eventually dropped all interest in Hillary Clinton: She never committed any crimes, despite the “Crooked Hillary” smear campaign that Trump led and continues to resort to. The FBI has not, however, dropped interest in Donald J. Trump, and for good reason: the evidence of his crimes, and those of his associates, continues to mount with each passing day.

 

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