We’re from the FBI and we’re here to help you, Mr. Trump

Asha Rangappa, a former FBI agent, argues that the FBI didn’t spy on the Trump campaign (or use an informant, as she delicately puts it) to go after Donald Trump. Rather, it did so to protect him.

Rangappa argues that the FBI should have investigated alleged Russian infiltration of the Trump campaign aggressively and directly, given the gravity of this threat. However, she continues, it elected to investigate quietly through an informant in order to avoid casting public suspicion on the campaign and to thereby avoid injuring Trump.

It’s a creative argument but there are a few problems. First, it assumes, in Rangappa’s words, the “infiltration of a U.S. presidential campaign by a hostile foreign power present[ing] a grave national security threat of the highest order.” But there was no evidence of such infiltration at the time the FBI began spying, nor is there any now, two years and vast of amounts of investigating later.

Given the absence of the factual predicate upon which Rangossa bases her argument, her case crumbles.

Second, it’s implausible, in any event, to suppose that anti-Trumpers like Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok were out to protect the Trump campaign. Read just a small fraction of the Strzok-Lisa Page emails and tell me you think otherwise.

We know what would have happened if the FBI’s spy had found even the slightest evidence of Russian influence in the campaign. The FBI would have leaked his findings to the New York Times and/or the Washington Post. These organs would then have magnified the extent of such influence and relentlessly peddled the notion that Trump was Putin’s man.

The FBI could not attempt this, though, without a little bit of evidence. It had none. That’s why it used an informer — to try to obtain some, not to “protect” Trump.