by WorldTribune Staff, January 15, 2019
It was touted by talking heads throughout the major media as a “bombshell” report – with the exception of CNBC, which called it “explosive” – that could ultimately undo the president.
The Jan. 11 New York Times page one article was headlined “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”.
While the major media focused on the first eight paragraphs of the piece, it was in the ninth paragraph that reporters Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt and Nicholas Fandos admitted that there is literally “no evidence” to support the idea that Trump worked for Russia.
Several analysts and politicians said the real “bombshell” in the report was evidence that the FBI had other motives for investigating Trump.
FBI officials quoted in the story “cited their foreign policy differences” with Trump, “his lawful firing of bungling FBI Director James Comey, and alarm that he accurately revealed to the American public that he was told he wasn’t under investigation by the FBI, when they preferred to hide that fact,” senior editor Mollie Hemingway wrote for The Federalist.
The New York Times report “provides evidence of a usurpation of constitutional authority to determine foreign policy that belongs not with a politically unaccountable FBI but with the citizens’ elected president,” Hemingway wrote.
“For one of the nation’s largest newspapers to suggest that this makes the president – and not the FBI – look bad actually validates two of Trump’s biggest complaints: the media are hopelessly biased, and there really is a ‘deep state’ out to to overturn the 2016 election,” Hemingway wrote.
Mark Penn, a Democrat and former strategist for Bill and Hillary Clinton, wrote in an op-ed that the FBI and the Justice Department’s actions “appear to be wholly without justification – and were based instead on politically inspired emotion and hysteria.”
“I didn’t support Donald Trump, and there are lots of things he does I don’t support,” Penn wrote. “But the idea that he was the Manchurian candidate working for the Russians when he ran on an America First platform is patently ridiculous.”
Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor and senior fellow at the National Review Institute, said the only thing the report showed was 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.”
“The FBI and Justice Department settled on this novel and flawed legal theory: Even though the president has constitutional authority to fire subordinates and weigh in on investigations, he may somehow still be prosecuted for obstruction if a prosecutor concludes that his motive was improper,” McCarthy wrote. “The FBI, hot-headed over the director’s dismissal, concluded that this obstruction theory was a sound enough basis to go overt with the case on Trump they had actually been trying to make for many months.”
House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, California Republican, said in a statement: “This is yet more evidence that FBI leaders actually had no real evidence against the Trump team. Instead they were simply trying to undermine a president they didn’t like and avenge Comey’s firing. By relying on the Steele dossier – a fraudulent document funded by Democrats and based on Russian sources – FBI leaders were either complicit or too oblivious to notice they were being used in a disinformation operation by the Democratic Party and Russian operatives.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said he found the Times‘ report “astonishing” and said he would investigate.
“To me, it tells me a lot about the people running the FBI, McCabe and that crowd,” Graham said. “I don’t trust them as far as I can throw them. So, if this really did happen, Congress needs to know about it and what I want to do is make sure how could the FBI do that? What kind of checks and balances are there?”
Joel B. Pollak, senior editor-at-large at Breitbart News, noted that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said the FBI’s leadership needed a “vacuum cleaner.”
“At this stage, that may be too little, too late. The FBI, as such, may never recover the public trust,” Pollak wrote. “The best solution may be to scrap the FBI and start fresh with a reorganized agency under a new name and with an improved commitment to neutrality and accountability.”