By: Mollie Hemingway
“…the New York Times revealed the FBI’s surprisingly flimsy justification for launching a retaliatory investigation into President Donald Trump, their chief adversary during their recent troubled era.
The Saturday New York Times article appeared on page one, above the fold, with the almost laughable headline “F.B.I. Investigated if Trump Worked for the Russians.” The online version of the story was headlined “F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia.” Nine paragraphs into the story, the reporters admit that there is and was literally “no evidence” to support the idea Trump worked for Russia.
The top of the article, however, immediately presented the FBI-friendly interpretation of the agency’s motivations as fact — without evidence and despite strong evidence to the contrary — saying the FBI began its investigation because they were “so concerned by the president’s behavior” rather than saying it was because they were “so concerned he’d continue to expose their behavior” or “so concerned he’d hold them accountable for their political investigations.”
The article accepts FBI spin that arguing for better relations with the nuclear-armed Russia “constituted a possible threat to national security” that could only be explained if Trump was “knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.” Because FBI officials personally opposed Trump’s foreign policy, and that of the tens of millions of Americans who voted for him, the FBI was “suspicious” of him, we’re told. The reporters admit the reckless decision by FBI officials was “an aggressive move” that disturbs many former law enforcement officials.
The FBI never had a good reason to investigate Trump, according to information in the article, but even the justifications they use are erroneous. For example, all three items mentioned here are inaccurately framed and presented:
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.
First, Trump never called on Russia to hack Clinton, despite repeated media claims to the contrary. Clinton had already destroyed her server, along with 30,000 emails she claimed were about yoga, while she was under investigation for mishandling classified information. Trump was highlighting that tons of hackers could have already accessed her insecure server when it still existed and, if they had, those emails should be released so that Americans would know what foreign governments undoubtedly already did. It was a way to highlight her reckless handling of classified information and the global security concerns of that.
Second, having a foreign policy different from those who seek conflict with Russia is neither a problem nor any of the FBI’s business. In fact, it’s a big part of why the American people voted for Trump. The American people get to determine who sets foreign policy, and they do so through elections. The FBI does not get to set foreign policy by running criminal and counterintelligence investigations to punish those who step outside their preferred approach. They have no constitutional authority to do that.
Third, even if the Republican Party had changed its convention platform regarding Ukraine, which it had not, that is also neither a problem nor any of the FBI’s business. It’s shocking and scandalous that the FBI thinks it should criminalize foreign policy disputes.” (Read more: The Federalist, 1/14/2019)