Republicans and partisans continuously objected to the Mueller investigation before the final report was issued for a number of reasons. Among them included that some of the prosecutors whom Robert Mueller appointed to assist him had donated money to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. That alone was enough reason not to trust the results---at least until the results were published in a final report that didn’t recommend prosecution for conspiring with the Russians in the 2016 election, or attempting to obstruct justice.
It is important to clarify that despite Donald Trump’s claim to have been “exonerated”, he wasn’t. Not by a long shot. Yet for a man who repeatedly claimed that the investigation was a witch hunt and a hoax, one would think if he really believed his own words he would have been fine with letting it run its course knowing that it was futile.
Despite the pejorative use of the acronym RINO (Republican in Name Only) to describe Rob Rosenstein by those who self-servingly proclaim themselves to be real Republicans, the deputy attorney general who appointed Mueller was in fact a Republican. Mueller is also a lifelong Republican, and Republicans didn’t object when George W. Bush appointed him to be the FBI Director. Republicans also had no objections to all of Trump’s top appointees to the Department of Justice despite being fundraisers and campaign supporters. (In fairness, all presidents, including Democrats, appoint their political supporters to top level justice positions.)
Regardless of how you interpret Mueller’s findings, the bottom line is that there was insufficient evidence, in his opinion, to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that anyone associated with the campaign had committed a crime.
At first Trump was elated. But that changed when he realized that Mueller did not exonerate him and left skeptics debating the report’s conclusions. Now Trump wants the investigators investigated. Trump is still hung up on information in the Christopher Steele dossier, part of which was used to get a FISA warrant against Carter Page, who had worked on Trump’s campaign prior to conducting the electronic surveillance.
Some of the details in the dossier are pretty salacious and embarrassing, especially if true, although those details have not been verified. Trump loyalists claim, with no first-hand knowledge, that the dossier was the basis for the issuance of the FISA warrant. Until the application or affidavit, which is classified, is released, anyone’s opinion concerning it is based on conjecture, and the fact that reputable people report that the dossier was the basis for the issuance of the warrant does not make it true.
So now the president has given Attorney General William Barr the unprecedented authority to declassify intelligence secrets from the FBI, CIA, and presumably other intelligence agencies to determine if Trump was the target of the FBI to thwart Trump’s election.
The real danger in this is the compromise of highly sensitive sources in the intelligence communities. Couple that with why anyone would want to work with our intelligence agencies if there is no guarantee of protection.
I’ve laid out in previous Agitators the factual basis that predicated the Mueller investigation, information available from numerous public sources. Trump has done everything in his power, including coopting his media friends, to undermine the FBI. The FBI has served this country well for more than a century. In the 1970s, Senator Frank Church (D-Idaho) held hearings concerning misconduct relating to electronic surveillance and other misdeeds. Out of those hearings came legislation and Attorney General Guidelines for conducting sensitive investigations. They have proven effective over the decades. FBI agents don’t want to risk their careers, their pensions and being charged with felonies for breaking the law.
Trump has exploited being a victim for too long. If our intelligence capabilities are handicapped going forward, look to him for the blame. His public pronouncements declaring that he believes Putin when Putin says he didn’t interfere with the 2016 election in spite of the heads of our intelligence agencies stating otherwise is disgraceful. He continues to claim that Obama had the FBI bug Trump Tower during the campaign, a claim without a scintilla of evidence, a claim denied by all intelligence agency heads, and a claim that would be next to impossible to occur if you knew the legal and practical logistics of doing it.
Barr has appointed the U.S. Attorney from Connecticut to head up the investigation to investigate the investigators. Perhaps there should be a follow up investigation to determine if that investigation was legitimate. Putin would love it. His Russian doll a perfect metaphor.