Trump and His Allies Spent Christmas Waging War on Our Republic
They are determined to undermine the FBI, the special counsel, the rule of law, and the concept of truth itself.
By Jack Holmes December 27, 2017
While you were celebrating the holidays—and the fact you can say “Merry Christmas” again—President Trump and his allies launched an all-out attack on the people and institutions leading investigations into him. Because this is how we live now, the day after Christmas saw the president tweet about an ongoing Justice Department investigation, an action that in the past would have kicked off a major White House scandal.
Dec 26th trump tweet: WOW, “Dossier is bogus. Clinton Campaign, DNC funded Dossier. FBI CANNOT (after all of this time) VERIFY CLAIMS IN DOSSIER OF RUSSIA/TRUMP COLLUSION. FBI TAINTED.” And they used this Crooked Hillary pile of garbage as the basis for going after the Trump Campaign!
This followed up on Trump’s Christmas Eve tweets about his victory in the War on Christmas—as well as this Freudian masterpiece:
trump tweet: The Fake News refuses to talk about how Big and how Strong our BASE is. They show Fake Polls just like they report Fake News. Despite only negative reporting, we are doing well – nobody is going to beat us. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
But back to all the noise about The Dossier and WOW, FBI TAINTED. First of all, it’s never a good idea to get your national security news (or legal advice) from Fox & Friends, but that is unfortunately where the President of the United States gets a great deal of information. The Friends bounced off a report from the conservative Washington Times claiming FBI and Justice Department sources have told congressional investigators they’ve been unable to verify claims of Russian collusion in The Dossier, which is the extensive catalogue of the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia compiled by a former British intelligence agent. This could well be true, although the BBC reported way back in March that other details of The Dossier had already been verified. But ultimately, it’s a sideshow anyway.
As former FBI and CIA officer Phillip Mudd reminded us on CNN last night, The Dossier is just one part—and not a particularly large one—of the Russia probe.
What does this dossier have to actually do with the investigation? Robert Mueller we know has acquired financial records, email records, phone records, interviews. That combination of information has led to four indictments and two guilty pleas. In none of those four indictments has the dossier cropped up. Those guilty pleas included people who said, admittedly, in front of a court, that they lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. So the president’s trying to mix apples and oranges. He’s trying to get us to focus on the dossier. The indictments so far don’t have anything to do with that.
Jim Sciutto, the host, echoed that notion by adding that The Dossier is also a very small part of the separate House and Senate investigations. Put simply, there is so much more to the Russian question than this one document, even if it once was making the biggest news.
That hasn’t stopped Trump’s authoritarian lackeys from going entirely off the rails on this. They have seized on The Dossier (which was compiled by a firm initially hired by The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news outlet, and which later received funding from the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign) and used it as a cudgel to attack the FBI, Robert Mueller, and the Russia probe in general. Freedom Caucus loon Jim Jordan got in early with a salvo on December 20. The president himself tweeted an attack on Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe on Christmas Eve:
Dec 24th trump retweet from fox news: -FBI’s Andrew McCabe, “in addition to his wife getting all of this money from M (Clinton Puppet), he was using, allegedly, his FBI Official Email Account to promote her campaign. You obviously cannot do this. These were the people who were investigating Hillary Clinton.”
Tuesday, the similarly unhinged Louie Gohmert suggested Mueller had a personal vendetta against the president and would “love to get Trump’s scalp.” Congressman Francis Rooney went for the gold medal, calling for the FBI to be purged of top leadership, whom he said are part of the “Deep State”:
Dec 26th MSNBC tweet: WATCH: GOP Rep. Francis Rooney calls for ‘purge’ of FBI, accuses some in the agency of being a part of the ‘deep state’
Trump, of course, got his post-Christmas ammunition from Fox News. MSNBC ran the segment in question, and it’s a study in propaganda:
Both The Washington Post and Politico have published reports indicating this is all part of a comprehensive strategy on the part of Trump and his allies to undermine the investigation’s credibility by making it a partisan issue. If they can throw enough accusations around about bias in Mueller’s team or the FBI, Trump’s base will rally behind him on the basis that this is all “Fake News” or part of a “Deep State” campaign against him. (The idea the FBI harbors left-wing anti-Trump radicals will be news to the left-wing groups the FBI has relentlessly hounded since at least the 1960’s.) This would give Trump the political cover to start pardoning his associates on the basis they were victims of a biased investigation—a “Witch Hunt”—an explicit part of the plan, according to Politico, that would prevent them providing incriminating testimony.
All of this depends on the public being unable to parse the details of the probe. It also depends on Trump’s quest to erase the line between truth and falsehood, a staple of authoritarianism that undermines the rule of law, the free press, and any other checks on the power of the executive. If nothing is true, anything can be true. Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier suggested Trump’s FBI attacks are “the conduct of someone who could become a tyrant.” Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said in an op-ed last week that our republic is at an “inflection point,” where we must decide what kind of society we are. They’re not wrong.
The president and his allies’ opinions about the FBI or Robert Mueller are not relevant to the investigation they are conducting. The law is the law. If the president or his associates broke it, they must face the consequences. If they are not accountable to the press, and they are not accountable to the law, then to whom or what are they accountable?