Andrew McCarthy’s FOX News column “FBI Russia investigation was always about Trump” is only his most recent contribution to our understanding of the greatest scandal in our history — the one underlying the presidential election of 2016, from the Clinton campaign to the highest reaches of the Obama administration. He takes the occasion of the New York Times story on the FBI’s investigation of President Trump (see my comments here) to recapitulate what we have learned so far. Consider the following excerpt:
On Friday night, the New York Times published what was clearly intended to be a blockbuster report that, following the firing of FBI director James Comey on May 9, 2017, the bureau formally opened an investigation of President Trump. But in truth, the only thing the story shows is that the FBI, after over a year of investigation, simply went overt about something that had been true from the first. The investigation commenced during the 2016 campaign by the Obama administration – the Justice Department and the FBI – was always about Donald Trump.
We have to remember: The FBI believed the Steele dossier – the collection of faux intelligence reports compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, who was ultimately working for the Hillary Clinton campaign. The Justice Department on four occasions brought surveillance applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), in which the FBI swore that it believed the dossier allegations.
Ostensibly, the surveillance application targeted Carter Page. But Page was just a side issue. The dossier was principally about Trump – not Page, not Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, or other Trump associates referred to by Steele. The dossier’s main allegation was that Trump was in an espionage conspiracy with Russia to swing the election to Trump, after which Trump would do Putin’s bidding from the White House. The FBI and the Obama Justice Department could not verify the dossier, but they undeniably believed it.
If you believe the dossier, then of course Trump is the main focus of the probe….
After Trump was elected, the FBI realized that Trump was soon going to have access to government intelligence files. If they honestly told the president-elect that they had been investigating his campaign in hope of making a case on him, they had to be concerned that he would shut the investigation down and clean house at the FBI and DOJ. So, they misleadingly told him the investigation was about Russia and a few stray people in his campaign, but they assured him he personally was not under investigation.
This was not true….
JOHN adds: Andy’s point is well-taken, but let’s not lose sight of the blindingly obvious. The Times reports that senior officials at the FBI say they began investigating whether Donald Trump was a Russian agent because he fired their boss. And the Times thought that story reflected badly on Trump?