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Today’s focus is on problems at the senior levels of the FBI. The agency has 35,000 employees and a nine billion dollar budget. Robert Mueller was director from 2001 to 2013. James Comey followed until dismissed in 2017. So, we can call it the Mueller/Comey FBI Because they put in place, or maintained, the senior agents at headquarters. With so many employees, it is doubtful these men had a large effect on the foot soldiers of the agency; the women and men who do the real nitty gritty work and probably are dismayed at the revelations of the conduct of senior staff. We know that Bob Mueller was so taken with Peter Strzok and Lisa Page that he took them with him when he was appointed to lead the investigation of Trump and his minions concerning Russian interference in our election. Of the 16 lawyers Mueller took with him, nine made donations to democrats. The other seven gave no political donations
Then when the Strzok/Page indiscretions were uncovered, he quietly removed them from the investigation but allowed them to resume their careers at the FBI. When the story broke, and only then, did Mueller fess up to what he had done with the FBI miscreants.
These are not the actions of an honest broker.
We open with Victor Davis Hanson who claims Hillary’s sure victory explains a lot of the conduct of the FBI senior staffers.
… The traditional way of looking at the developing scandals at the FBI and among holdover Obama appointees in the DOJ is that the bizarre atmospherics from candidate and President Trump have simply polarized everyone in Washington, and no one quite knows what is going on.
Another, more helpful, exegesis, however, is to understand that if we’d seen a Hillary Clinton victory in November 2016, which was supposed to be a sure thing, there would now be no scandals at all.
That is, the current players probably broke laws and committed ethical violations not just because they were assured there would be no consequences but also because they thought they’d be rewarded for their laxity. …
… Hillary Clinton herself was not worried about even the appearance of scandal caused by transmitting classified documents over a private home-brewed server, or enabling her husband to shake down foreign donations to their shared foundation, or destroying some 30,000 emails. Evidently, she instead reasoned that she was within months of becoming President Hillary Clinton and therefore, in her Clintonesque view of the presidency, exempt from all further criminal exposure. Would a President Clinton have allowed the FBI to reopen their strangely aborted Uranium One investigation; would the FBI have asked her whether she communicated over an unsecure server with the former president of the United States?
Former attorney general Loretta Lynch, in unethical fashion, met on an out-of-the-way Phoenix tarmac with Bill Clinton, in a likely effort to find the most efficacious ways to communicate that the ongoing email scandal and investigation would not harm Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. When caught, thanks to local-news reporters who happened to be at the airport, Lynch sort of, kind of recused herself. But, in fact, at some point she had ordered James Comey not to use the word “investigation” in his periodic press announcements about the FBI investigation.
How could Lynch in the middle of an election have been so silly as to allow even the appearance of impropriety? Answer: There would have been no impropriety had Hillary won — an assumption reflected in the Page-Strzok text trove when Page texted, about Lynch, “She knows no charges will be brought.” In fact, after a Clinton victory, Lynch’s obsequiousness in devising such a clandestine meeting with Bill Clinton may well have been rewarded: Clinton allies leaked to the New York Times that Clinton was considering keeping Lynch on as the attorney general.
How could former deputy director of the FBI Andrew McCabe assume an oversight role in the FBI probe of the Clinton email scandal when just months earlier his spouse had run for state office in Virginia and had received a huge $450,000 cash donation from Common Good VA, the political-action committee of long-time Clinton-intimate Terry McAuliffe?
Again, the answer was clear. McCabe assumed that Clinton would easily win the election. Far from being a scandal, McCabe’s not “loaded for bear” oversight of the investigation, in the world of beltway maneuvering, would have been a good argument for a promotion in the new Clinton administration. Most elite bureaucrats understood the Clinton way of doing business, in which loyalty, not legality, is what earned career advancement. …
… A final paradox: Why did so many federal officials and officeholders act so unethically and likely illegally when they were convinced of a Clinton landslide? Why the overkill?
The answer to that paradox lies in human nature and can be explored through the hubris and nemesis of Greek tragedy — or the 1972 petty burgling of a Watergate complex apartment when Richard Nixon really was on his way to a landslide victory.
Needlessly weaponizing the Obama FBI and the DOJ was akin to Hillary Clinton’s insanely campaigning in the last days of the 2016 campaign in red-state Arizona, the supposed “cherry atop a pleasing electoral map.”
In short, such hubris was not just what Peter Strzok in August 2016 termed an “insurance policy” against an unlikely Trump victory. Instead, the Clinton and Obama officials believed that it was within the administrative state’s grasp and their perceived political interest not just to beat but to destroy and humiliate Donald Trump — and by extension all the distasteful deplorables and irredeemables he supposedly had galvanized.
Roger Simon on what do we do about the FBI?
Suppose what many are now suspecting is completely true — that the FBI, or parts of it, exonerated Hillary Clinton and her cohorts with a mock investigation, attempted to swing our presidential election against Donald Trump and then continued to undermine the new administration after they had won with illegitimate claims of Russian collusion orchestrated by sleazy political lowlifes?
While this is not quite Stalinist — no one was tortured in Lubyanka or sent to the Gulag for life — it’s not all that distant. It’s tantamount to an internal coup d’état that is still ongoing. And just as in many coups throughout history, many of the participants are convinced they are doing the right thing, that they are on the side of justice, even though they are bending it, especially because they are bending it. The ends justify the means, as the old homicidal slogan goes.
Peter Strzok and Lisa Page — that low-rent Hero and Leander of the Beltway — certainly believed that. You know that from the contents of their compulsive text messages even though five key months are suddenly “missing.” The inside of the FBI, particularly at the higher reaches, seems to have been filled with a band of smug, self-righteous ideologues who would do anything, erase or rephrase anything, to get their way. And then lie about it. Either that or quote scripture. Or form “secret societies.”
Or just cover up, as Robert Mueller did when Strzok and Page were caught, literally and ideologically, with their pants down. He simply shipped them off Soviet-style to FBI Siberia, not saying a word to the public, hoping no one would notice, hoping it would be ignored that those “secret societies” and “insurance policies” they referred to smack of exactly the kind of behavior that would open one to RICO charges in a normal FBI investigation. This coverup only came out by accident months later. …
… One way of reading all this is that, despite the obvious political biases of these officials, the FBI acted impartially when it came to investigating Trump, did everything on the up and up when it came to wiretapping his campaign, and suffered an innocent technical problem that erased exchanges between two key officials.
Another way of reading this is that corrupt FBI officials used the immense power at their disposal to illegally eavesdrop on private citizens, fuel a costly and bogus investigation into Trump — while giving Hillary Clinton a free pass on her own scandals — and then tried to keep these machinations under wraps.
We are not conspiracy-mongers here. And we, like everyone in the country, want to be able to trust that our federal law enforcement officials aren’t serving as political pawns.
But the facts keep pointing to the latter interpretation.
The editors at Investor’s Business Daily weigh in.
First there is the memo circulating among lawmakers on Capitol Hill regarding how the FBI went about obtaining its warrants to wiretap Trump campaign officials during the campaign.
The speculation is that the memo — drafted by the House Intelligence Committee — will confirm what many already suspect, that the FBI used a phony “dossier” — which was nothing more than a factually challenged compilation of gossip and innuendo secretly financed by the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign — to get those warrants.
To hear from House Republicans who’ve seen it, the memo is explosive. …
Mollie Hemingway reports how the FBI can create a negative Trump administration story while offering another pretense. This one is by Andrew McCabe, deputy director of the agency. Seems a story broke that claimed Trump officials had many contacts with Russian officials. McCabe called Reince Priebus asking to see him.
… McCabe claimed to want Priebus to know the FBI’s perspective that this story was not true. Priebus pointed to the televisions that were going non-stop on the story. He asked if the FBI could say publicly what he had just told him. McCabe said he’d have to check, according to the book.
McCabe reportedly called back and said he couldn’t do anything about it. Then-FBI director James Comey reportedly called later and also said he couldn’t do anything, but did offer to brief the Senate Intelligence Committee on the matter later that week, suggesting they’d spill the beans publicly. You’ll never guess what happened next, according to the book:
“Now, a week later, CNN was airing a breaking news story naming Priebus. According to ‘multiple U.S. officials,’ the network said, ‘the FBI rejected a White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump’s associates and Russians known to U.S. intelligence.’”
Priebus was stunned by the implication that he was pressuring law enforcement. Had he been set up? Why was the FBI leaking this information when one of its top officials had initiated the conversation? …