President Trump has issued an executive order for his Justice Department to investigate his FBI. There are essentially two ways you can look at this development. One, you can ask the question: "CAN he do this?". Two, you can further ask, "SHOULD he do this?". Perhaps not surprisingly, my answer to question one is yes and my answer to question two is definitely NO!
Of course, the underlying reason for the President's demand for such an investigation is the assumption that the FBI planted an informant in the Trump campaign with the express purpose of digging up dirt on all things Trump, thus helping to elect Hillary Clinton President. This sort of glosses over the fact that the FBI had warned about Russia's intention to infiltrate the campaign, a warning the campaign blithely ignored. It also overlooks the reality that two members of the campaign, Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, had at least a tangential connection to agents of Russian intelligence. In effect, when the FBI pointed an informant in the general direction of the Trump campaign, what it was doing was pursuing a lead. This is called prudent police work and is something we should always expect from the Bureau.
This opens up a host of questions for me. I mean, what is the President up to with his extraordinary demand? For one thing, why did the Trump campaign ignore the FBI's warning about possible infiltration in the first place? Is it possible that Trump and Company just didn't care? Or is there a more sinister explanation possible?
My curious mind next wonders just how well the Trump campaign vetted its staff? I mean, did anyone in the campaign even bother to do a background check on these two bozos? Carter Page, for one, had been associated with a Russian spy ring as early as 2013. An actual spy was caught, tried and convicted in this case. Did anyone even bother to ask Mr. Page about his past, dubious connections with Russian intelligence?
And finally, I'm curious about the President's motivations. Is he really trying to get information about an outrageous act of political interference on the part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation? Is he seeking true enlightenment, or is he more interested in pure obfuscation? You may pardon my skepticism but I'm smelling the faint aroma of political diversion here! Or, to put it another way, Mr. Trump's curiosity falls more into the category of "throw enough poop against the wall and maybe some of it might stick!". This whole episode seems more like an attempt to turn solid police procedure into something sinister.
Naturally, the President would like to see the entire Mueller investigation disappear. It's been going on for over a year now and promises to be around for quite some time to come. To that end, Mr. Trump has sent out his Sycophants-in-Chief, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Pence, to call for an end to the proceedings. That's why, in some ways, this call for an investigation of the FBI seems kind of puzzling. After all, doesn't it stand to reason that adding another layer of investigation over another will only serve to stretch out the investigation even further? Hardly a sound strategy for wrapping things up.
My guess is that there's more here than meets the eye. I suspect the President wanted to provoke an angry response from Rod Rosenstein, hoping he'd ignore the President's demand for an investigation of the FBI. In that way Mr. Trump would be justified in firing Mr. Rosenstein for insubordination. Then he could replace Mr. Rosenstein with someone, let's say, more pliable. In effect, this demand for an investigation is nothing more that a shallow attempt at ending the Mueller investigation.
Ultimately I believe it will prove to be a losing strategy. Yes, it would put a halt to Mueller's probing into areas President Trump would like to keep a deep dark secret. And it certainly would keep Mr. Trump, his family and associates safe from the long arm of the law. But that wouldn't end the investigation. It would only serve to shift it from the law courts to the court of public opinion, thus placing Mr. Trump's reputation at least at the tender mercies of the media. And we all know how the media feels about Mr. Trump! So, go ahead Mr. Trump, get your investigation, but be careful what you wish for!
Filed under: Politics