Attorney General William Barr has appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe. That’s a good thing, as is the inclusion of the heads of both the CIA (Gina Haspel) and FBI (Christopher Wray), along with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. Given that Robert Mueller’s report cleared President Donald Trump of collusion, investigating the investigators is also a very necessary thing. No wonder Democrats are panicking.
Why? Because the considerable resources of the United States intelligence community and federal law-enforcement agencies were turned on the political opponents of those in power before the 2016 election. As Barr put it last month, “Yes, I think spying did occur.” This is the sort of thing we’d expect from the likes of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey, and, of course, Vladimir Putin in Russia. In America, such abuse should raise grave concerns … even if the administration had a good reason for doing so, which it clearly didn’t.
Case in point: In 2007, Charles Stimson, a DOD official in George W. Bush’s administration, criticized the Gitmo Bar — a name for the attorneys representing the terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay — and suggested that clients of those firms should make them choose between representing al-Qaida or corporate retainers. He was run out of office for that “offense,” even though the Gitmo Bar provided al-Qaida with far more than Jane Fonda gave the North Vietnamese.
Imagine if the Bush administration had turned the FBI on the Gitmo Bar the way Barack Obama’s administration turned the FBI on the Trump campaign. Does anyone think that MSNBC, CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post would be giving those investigators the same deference they demanded on Mueller’s behalf? If you believe that, we at The Patriot Post have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.
We need answers. We needed answers about other problematic actions in the past, like Operation Fast and Furious, the IRS targeting of the Tea Party, and the targeting of journalists Sharyl Attkisson and James Rogan over their reporting, to name a few of Obama’s “non-scandals.” Of course, we never got those answers. All we got were whitewashes.
With the end of the Mueller probe, we now need to know what prompted the FBI’s actions before, during, and after the 2016 election. What evidence was used to justify spying on the opposition party’s presidential campaign? Why did investigators choose the techniques they chose? Were the omissions in the FISA applications honest mistakes, or was something more sinister involved? And what was behind the “unmasking” of American citizens caught up in surveillance?
Many conservatives have been understandably skeptical of the FBI’s conduct. If there were honest mistakes, let’s reveal them and make changes so they’re not repeated. And if there were deliberate abuses, let’s punish those responsible.
After all, it’s worth remembering that Donald Trump’s only “crime” was running against — and defeating — Hillary Clinton for the presidency of the United States.