If there is anyone betraying the best interest of the United States, I would argue that it is Donald Trump who is shredding our alliances and violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution daily. Yet like Hitler did with his opponents who recognized him for the threat that he posed to Germany, Trump is wildly claiming the it is U.S. intelligence agencies and the FBI that are the traitors. Trump seemingly views himself as the government in the form of a monarch and thereby any investigation of him and his dirty business dealings is "treason." While James Comey is hardly among my favorite individuals - his bungling of the Clinton email red herring helped elect Trump - in a column in the Washington Post he reminds us that facts matter and that Trump's baseless lies need to be confronted. One can only hope that the media listens and goes after Trump and his minions accordingly. Here are op-ed highlights:
It is tempting for normal people to ignore [Trump]
our presidentwhen he starts ranting about treason and corruption at the FBI. I understand the temptation. I’m the object of many of his rants, and even I try to ignore him.But we shouldn’t, because millions of goodpeople believe what a president of the United States says. In normal times, that’s healthy. But not now, when the president is a liar who doesn’t care what damage he does to vital institutions. We must call out his lies that the FBI was corrupt and committed treason, that we spied on the Trump campaign and tried to defeat Donald Trump. We must constantly return to the stubborn facts.
Russia engaged in a massive effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Near as I can tell, there is only one U.S. leader who still denies that fact. The FBI saw the attack starting in mid-June 2016, with the first dumping of stolen emails. In late July, when we were hard at work trying to understand the scope of the effort, we learned that one of Trump’s foreign policy advisers knew about the Russian effort seven weeks before we did.
Of course, nobody from the Trump campaign told us this (or about later Russian approaches); we had to learn it, months after the fact, from an allied ambassador.
But when we finally learned of it in late July, what should the FBI have done? Let it go? Go tell the Trump campaign? Tell the press? No. Investigate, to see what the facts were. We didn’t know what was true. Maybe there was nothing to it, or maybe Americans were actively conspiring with the Russians. To find out, the FBI would live up to its name and investigate. . . . If there was something to it, we didn’t want to let corrupt Americans know we were onto them. So, we kept it secret. That’s how the FBI approaches all counterintelligence cases.
And there’s the first problem with Trump’s whole “treason” narrative. If we were “deep state” Clinton loyalists bent on stopping him, why would we keep it secret? Why wouldn’t the much-maligned FBI supervisor Peter Strzok — the alleged kingpin of the “treasonous” plot to stop Trump — tell anyone? He was one of the very few people who knew what we were investigating.
We didn’t “spy” on anyone’s campaign. We investigated to see whether it was true that Americans associated with the campaign had taken the Russians up on any offer of help. By late October, the investigators thought they had probable cause to get a federal court order to conduct electronic surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser named Carter Page. Page was no longer with the campaign, but there was reason to believe he was acting as an agent of the Russian government.
There is a reason the non-fringe media doesn’t spend much time on this “treason” and “corruption” business. The conspiracy theory makes no sense. The FBI wasn’t out to get Donald Trump. It also wasn’t out to get Hillary Clinton. It was out to do its best to investigate serious matters while walking through a vicious political minefield.
But go ahead, investigate the investigators, if you must. When those investigations are over, you will find the work was done appropriately and focused only on discerning the truth of very serious allegations. There was no corruption. There was no treason. There was no attempted coup. Those are lies, and dumb lies at that. There were just good people trying to figure out what was true, under unprecedented circumstances.
Sadly, Attorney General William Barr is acting more like the consigliere to a Mafia crime boss than attorney general of the United States. Rather than protect the American people and the justice system, his sole allegiance appears to be to Trump.