If you find the headline surprising – even shocking — or if it has you scratching your head, wondering why you have not heard that really important story, I should explain. Recently, the once-credible New York Times published an above-the-fold front-page story under the headline, “F.B.I. Opened Inquiry into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia.”
According to the Times, the FBI had opened a counterintelligence investigation on President Trump to see if he was an “asset” of Russia. That is about a 6-inch putt from claiming that the President of the United States was an agent of a foreign adversary – a traitor to his country. This is an extension of the dubious media narrative that there was a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Beyond the provocative headline, the article is a regurgitation of a bunch of old and relatively benign facts carefully and maliciously assembled to give credence-by-implication to a treasonous President narrative. Trump got business loans from Russians in his days as a developer – as did a lot of others, by the way. It is common for other countries to invest in America – and vice versa. There were those exaggerated meetings with Russian officials. Many of the meetings were nothing more than casual encounters at social functions – the sort of meetings Washington folks engage in all the time.
The investigation was launched after Trump fired FBI director James Comey. That, according to the media narrative, raised concerns at the FBI that Trump was trying to help Russia by obstructing the investigation into Russian interference. They failed to note that it was not the investigation into Russian interference that bothered Trump – and he said so on a number of occasions – it was the accusations of collusion by the Trump campaign and by Trump personally, that triggered the President’s ire.
If you follow the New York Times prosecutorial spin, the FBI leadership was acting properly because of the “evidence” and “suspicions” that arose from the firing of their boss. They note that it would have taken approvals from the highest ranks of the FBI to undertake an investigation of a sitting President. That is both true and, perhaps, the problem.
The story in the Times was red meat for the anti-Trump media. CNN and MSNBC led with stories that not only saw the FBI investigation as worthy, but that it was uncovering truths. According to the talking heads on the telly, this story was HUGE. Imagine … a President of the United States selling out the country.
One panelist after another picked up the prosecutorial theme – assuring us hyperbolically that this story is HUGE and literally declaring Trump to be an agent of Russia. Yes, some of those crony panelists went that far.
There was an interesting paragraph in the Times report that was buried deep in the article, where the less important stuff is usually reported – and where many readers fail to read. It said:
“No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials.”
Ponder this carefully. The Times gets leaked information from an unnamed source about an almost two-year-old investigation and has nothing regarding the outcome. No findings. That makes the entire story hardly worth of reporting – and certainly not the hype it got on the front page.
So, what we know is that the FBI conducted a notorious investigation and there is no evidence of collusion or any wrongdoing on the part of Trump or the campaign? By any standard of journalism ethics and integrity, THAT should have been the headline. But the Times – and all the other hyper-biased news media that seized on the story – ignored the lack of evidence to dwell only on the investigation. That is a lot like covering on a murder trial and then not reporting the verdict.
While the anti-Trump media could only see one conclusion from the reporting – even though there was NO conclusion – there is another very real possibility to consider. Was this investigation part of that “insurance policy” that “they” had in place to stop Trump. That jumped out of FBI agent Peter Strzok’s text messages to his colleague and paramour, Lisa Page, like a lighthouse on a moonless night. What did he mean by “insurance policy?” And who are the “they?”
I am way not a conspiratorial theory type, but it does look increasingly possible that a group of avowed Trump haters in the top ranks of the FBI may be involved in unusual activities associated with attacks on the Trump presidency. Comey produces a series of so-called “contemporaneous notes” about his meetings with Trump – and then admittedly leaks his notes to the media in order to trigger the appointment of a special counsel. This was a gross violation of FBI policy and arguably a criminal act.
By happenchance, the council named Robert Mueller, a former FBI director and close friend of Comey. He then staffs the investigative team with Democrats – including Strzok, who had to be removed from the team because of his extreme bias against Trump.
With Comey gone, the FBI leadership defaults to Comey crony Deputy Director Andrew McCabe – a staunch Trump antagonist who was subsequently fired for his own inappropriate actions and lies. McCabe’s wife was a staunch Clinton supporter who received $467,500 from Clinton bagman and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe in an unsuccessful run for public office in Virginia
Then there is that bogus dossier that was purchased from Russian operatives through a British agent, Christopher Steele, by the Clinton Campaign through Fusion GPS, a company hired by Clinton. It was then passed along to the FBI by Fusion GPS operative Nellie Ohr – the wife of FBI office Bruce Ohr, who became the Bureau’s primary contact with Steel. In a highly controversial action, the phony dubious dossier was then used by the FBI to obtain a FISA court warrant to surveil Trump campaign worker Carter Page. That was when the investigations into Russian meddling in our election was transformed into an investigation of criminal collusion and obstruction of justice by Mueller.
As the Mueller investigation got rolling, it became apparent that the primary objective was no longer Russian meddling, but an attempt to bring down Trump with a secondary investigation totally unrelated to Russia.
And now we learn that immediately following Comey’s firing, his cronies at the FBI undertook that counterintelligence investigation of the President. Of course, the Times story does not tell who authorized the investigation – although everyone agrees it would have had to come from “the highest level of the FBI.” That means McCabe & Co. Interestingly, the Times did not get any response from Bill Priestap, who heads up the Counterintelligence Division.
The Times story failed to reveal any specific examples of criminal or compromising actions by Trump and, more importantly, it did not tell the findings of the two-year-old investigation. If something had been found, you can be assured that the leaker would have provided that information.
On the heels of the Times article, the Washington Post published an article alleging that Trump had gone to extraordinary means to keep his conversations with Vladimir Putin confidential. According to the #NeverTrump press, this was both unprecedented and ominous – though the press did not know if this was Trump’s general practice, if he had personally retained the contemporaneous notes or without any knowledge of what was said.
The spin in the reporting assumed and suggested the worst possible explanations, which were dishonestly presented as fact-based. It is also possible that Trump – in view of all those leaks from the White House – simply wanted to keep the information out of the hands of possible leakers.
Despite the efforts of the #NeverTrump media to paint the President as an agent of Russia and a traitor to the United States – the likes of which have not been seen since Benedict Arnold — the idea of a cabal of rogue officials at the FBI plotting the overthrow of a duly elected President seems as real a possibility as all those other theories.
So, there ‘tis.