FBI slams secret Nunes memo alleging Feds spied on Team Trump for political reasons
Partisan nonsense engulfs law enforcement
What's the plan?
So what is the goal of this campaign to release a memo that seemingly everyone, apart from its authors and their supporters, are extremely critical of?
The goal, it appears, is to protect President Trump from potential fallout from the Mueller investigation into Russia's apparent tinkering with the presidential election to help swing it Donald's way.
Mueller has already accused several members of Trump's campaign team of serious offenses, and others are known to be actively working with the investigation in return for leniency. The reality, however, is that Mueller himself is unlikely to argue for specific actions to be taken against individuals, and in particular the president himself. Instead, he is expected to follow protocol and outline what he has discovered, leaving any subsequent actions to the FBI and DoJ.
Which is why the Republican political establishment has embarked on an extraordinary effort to undermine the standing of top officials in both agencies.
The firing of former FBI director James Comey by President Trump after he allegedly refused to pledge his loyalty to the president is what sparked the special investigation by Mueller. Since then, the president, his team and congressional supporters have repeatedly attempted to pressure the Feds to drop the probe.
Last week, it was revealed that Trump's hand-picked replacement for Comey, Christopher Wray, threatened to resign following pressure from the president, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to fire FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe – who Trump reportedly sees as a threat. Trump apparently asked McCabe at a private meeting who he had voted for. The president also reportedly referred to the deputy director's wife as a "loser" during a call with McCabe.
Earlier this week, McCabe announced he would be retiring early, effective immediately.
Not only that but it was also reported last week that the White House general counsel Don McGahn had also threatened to resign several months ago after President Trump told him he was considering firing Mueller.
Watch out Rod
Meanwhile at the Department of Justice – the other agency that would take action against members of the Trump Administration and potentially the president himself – the person in charge of the Russian investigation is deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.
Rosenstein was placed in charge of the Mueller investigation after Attorney General Sessions recused himself when he was himself implicated in Russian interference in the presidential election, having repeatedly given inaccurate statements over his meetings with Kremlin officials.
President Trump has repeatedly and publicly complained about Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the probe, even reportedly considering firing him for having done so.
As a result, Rosenstein has become the target of constant attacks from the Trump administration and some Republicans. The Nunes memo – which we can expect to see some point this week – reportedly fingers Rosenstein with the strong implication that his decision to extend surveillance of Carter Page was politically motivated as part of an effort to dig up dirt on the Trump campaign.
The effort is to undermine Rosenstein, likely in an effort to force him out of his job or give President Trump a reason to fire him, before Mueller's investigation is completed and handed over to Rosenstein to consider what next steps to take.
If that effort is ultimately successful, whoever moves up at both the FBI and the DoJ will know that their predecessors were fired for not shutting down the Russia probe and that they both became the targets of constant political attacks after they refused to indicate their loyalty to President Trump.
In short, Trump is trying to install his own men in the two government agencies that may be in a position to question his presidency when the findings of the Mueller report are released. Depending, of course, on what Mueller finds.
Unfortunately for the United States, that protective effort has led to the blinkered, amoral, partisan cancer that has infected so many other parts of the capital being forced into the nation's top law enforcement agencies.
Incidentally, memo coauthor Trey Gowdy said today that he would not stand for reelection. ®