I know, I know.
It’s bad form these days to ask people to wait for evidence. It’s much easier to jump to conclusions. If you’re a Democrat, you likely concluded long ago that President Trump was guilty of some nefarious dealings with Vladimir Putin — dealings that resulted in the unjust frustration of Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions. This leads to the bizarre spectacle of CNN covering Russia and Trump nonstop for months, without much to go on.
If you’re a Republican, you likely concluded long ago that the Trump-Russia investigation is, as Trump says, a “witch hunt” dedicated at alleviating Democratic upset over Hillary’s loss. This leads to the bizarre spectacle of talk radio hosts fulminating against the FBI and Robert Mueller for months, without much to go on.
But here are a series of statements, none of which are mutually exclusive, and all of which have some evidence to support them.
- The FISA Warrant That Launched The Trump-Russia Investigation May Have Been Based On The Steele Dossier. We don’t know if this is true. If it is true that the FBI used a Fusion GPS dossier compiled at the behest of Democrats in order to launch a FISA application against Trump foreign policy advisor Carter Page — and thereby launch a further investigation into other Trump campaign officials — that still doesn’t discredit the entire investigation. We just don’t know.
- The Trump-Russia Investigation Could Come Up With Evidence Nonetheless. George Papadopoulos has already pled guilty to obstruction of justice. His plea is the only one dealing specifically with campaign activity and Russia. But that doesn’t mean that the investigation has come up with nothing. We just don’t know.
- FBI Agents Were Biased Against Trump. We know that Peter Strzock and Lisa Page disliked Trump. They made that eminently clear in their text messages. We also know that Strzock worked to change language in the FBI finding about Hillary Clinton that essentially let her off the hook. These are plainly-stated facts.
- The FBI Could Be Biased In Favor Of Defending Its Biased Employees. We found out this week that the FBI conveniently lost a batch of text messages between Strzock and Page from December 2016 to May 2017. That looks pretty awful. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be recovered, or that the texts themselves are more damning than what’s already appeared.
- The FBI Investigation Into Trump Could Still Be Operating Normally. Strzock, the source of all evil, texted Page that he didn’t think Mueller would find anything on Trump-Russia collusion. Mueller also fired Strzock. This cuts against the narrative that the FBI investigation or Mueller investigation is a gotcha campaign against Trump. And virtually every government office has bad apples. The question is whether the bad apples poisoned the barrel.
- The Mueller Investigation Could Be A Gotcha Game On Obstruction. Or It Could Be a Real Investigation Into Real Attempted Obstruction. It looks like Trump may be in the crosshairs of an obstruction investigation, as I wrote this morning. And it may very well be that such an investigation is a politicized witch hunt. Perhaps Trump says ill-advised things and fires people in the dumbest possible fashion because he’s Trump, not because he’s seeking to protect friends and family from something nefarious. Maybe not. We don’t know yet, because we don’t have all the information.
So, here we stand. We don’t know much of anything yet. But if you’re a Democrat, you’ll seize on the possibility of points 2, 5 and 6. If you’re a Republican, you’ll bank on 1, 3, 4, and 6. But here’s the thing: you don’t have to rule any of these points out. They’re all simultaneously true right now.
So here’s the recommendation. Before we declare Trump a devious criminal or a wounded innocent, before we declare the FBI a bag of Democratic manure or a rectitudinal institution hell-bent on justice, let’s wait for the evidence to come in.
Or we can yell at each other.
I have a feeling which one we’ll pick.