So, here’s a list of the revelations from the past few weeks surrounding the FBI’s investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government:
- Text messages between FBI agents Peter Strzok and his mistress Lisa Page talked openly about a “path you threw out for consideration in [deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe’s office]” as an “insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40,” with reference to a Trump election. Strzok worked heavily on the Hillary investigation, and crafted the language exonerating her. He was also deeply involved in the Trump-Russia collusion investigation;
- According to Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and John Ratcliffe (R-TX), text messages between the pair referenced a “secret society” working against Trump;
- The FBI somehow “lost” a batch of text messages between Strzok and Page, conveniently identified as the period between December 2016 and May 2017, when special counsel Robert Mueller took over the probe;
- The FBI changed its language regarding Hillary Clinton before Hillary was even interviewed;
- House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) compiled a 4-page memo that purportedly blows the lid off of FISA malfeasance in the Trump-Russia collusion case. Presumably, the suggestion here is that the FISA warrant on Trump foreign policy advisor Carter Page, which launched the investigation, was garnered based on a partisan smear oppo report from the Democrat-paid Fusion GPS, working hand-in-glove with the FBI. Nunes wants the memo released.
Republicans have been shellacking the FBI for months. Trump said last month that the FBI’s reputation was “in tatters.” And now Republicans in the House and Senate are suggesting that players within the FBI worked in corrupt fashion to deny Trump the presidency, and then to destroy his presidency after his election.
That’s one case.
Then there’s the other case: that the FBI has been investigating credible allegations of Russian collusion against the Trump campaign, that while there are motivated anti-Trump players in the FBI, they had little or no impact on the direction of the probe (one Strzok text apparently informed Page that Strzok thought the probe was going nowhere), and that Republicans are now tearing into the FBI in order to discredit the organization on behalf of saving the Trump presidency. The phrase “deep state” has been thrown around so much lately that it’s hard not to see a conspiratorialism pervading the Right. Plus, if President Trump really believes that the FISA warrant on Carter Page was obtained on corrupt grounds, he could just declassify that warrant.
Now, it’s quite possible that the FBI will come up with nothing in the Russia probe — but that they will come up with nothing honestly. It’s also possible that the FBI was perverted by the Obama administration in order to cover for Hillary Clinton, but not to target Trump, which would be a scandal all its own. Finally, it’s possible that the FBI is indeed filled with people motivated to end Trump’s presidency.
But we simply don’t know enough to answer which of these options is correct. And here’s the problem: every option will now cripple Americans’ basic faith in their institutions. If Republicans are right, the FBI has become a hotbed of corruption. If they’re lying, the Republican Party has become a corrupt vehicle ready to undermine valuable law enforcement institutions in defense of Trump. There is no in-between.
And that means no matter how this ends, it ends ugly.