Maybe There Was an FBI Conspiracy …

Trump Maladministration

If just about anyone but Paul Waldman had written this, I wouldn’t give it a second look. He argues that the real conspiraccy within the FBI was to stop Clinton from getting elected.

… a group of FBI agents in the bureau’s New York office seems to have been doing everything it could in the fall of 2016 to make sure Clinton wouldn’t become president. We don’t know their names. We haven’t read their texts. We may eventually learn the full extent of the actions they took, since the inspector general is conducting a separate investigation that involves them. But to this point, it has been something only the most dedicated aficionados of the story of how James B. Comey all but handed Trump the election knew anything about.

Let’s begin with the fact that during 2016, the FBI’s New York office was by numerous accounts the epicenter of an effort to undermine Clinton through leaks to the media and prominent Republicans. As one report put it just before the election, “Deep antipathy to Hillary Clinton exists within the FBI, multiple bureau sources have told the Guardian, spurring a rapid series of leaks damaging to her campaign just days before the election.” As one agent put it, “The FBI is Trumpland.” A former Justice Department official told Vanity Fair in 2017, “It was widely understood that there was a faction in [the New York] office that couldn’t stand her and was out to get her.”

Their efforts became critical when the office, in the course of its investigation of Anthony Weiner, husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin, acquired Weiner’s laptop on Sept. 26, 2016, and found on it thousands of emails to and from Clinton. Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and Trump’s most slavish water carrier, said last week: “We had whistleblowers that came to us in late September of 2016 who talked to us about this laptop sitting up in New York that had additional emails on it. So good F.B.I. agents brought this to our attention.” It’s a bit curious to characterize FBI agents who rushed to tell a Republican congressman about Weiner’s laptop within just a few days of its discovery, and before they had gone through the emails to see whether there was anything problematic about them (which, it turned out, there wasn’t), as “whistleblowers.” Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said yesterday that Nunes never told him at the time.

At the same time, there were agents leaking information about investigations into the Clinton Foundation to none other than Rudy Giuliani, who would then go and air the charges on Fox News. Two days before Comey would tell Congress that the bureau had reopened the investigation into Clinton’s emails — a blockbuster announcement that may well have thrown the election to Trump — Giuliani said on Fox News, “I do think that all of these revelations about Hillary Clinton finally are beginning to have an impact. He’s got a surprise or two that you’re going to hear about in the next two days.”

Going just by what was plainly visible in public, it certainly seemed that the FBI was giving Trump protections not being extended to Clinton.

Josh Marshall wrote something about this last week. He provides a timeline with details about the Anthony Weiner laptop episode that I did not know. Among othere things, agents in the New York office discovered the emails on the laptop in late September, and soon after contacted Devin Nunes and “other members of Congress” — but, apparently no Democrats — about them. Rudy Giuliani also got a heads up about the emails from FBI agents before the discovery was public.  Here’s a portion of the timeline:

Giuliani tells Fox News on October 25th: “I do think that all of these revelations about Hillary Clinton finally are beginning to have an impact. He’s got a surprise or two that you’re going to hear about in the next two days.” The following day: “I mean, I’m talking about some pretty big surprises.”

October 28th: James Comey sends letter to Capitol Hill disclosing discovery of Clinton emails “that appear to be pertinent to the investigation.”

October 31st: Loretta Lynch and Comey discuss letter to Congress and issue of anti-Clinton bias in New York Field Office, a pattern of bias she says “has put us where we are today.” According to Lynch, Comey said it had become clear to him “that there is a cadre of senior people in New York who have a deep and visceral hatred of Secretary Clinton. And he said it is, it is deep. It’s, and he said, he said it was surprising to him or stunning to him … and it was hard to manage because these were agents that were very, very senior, or had even had timed out and were staying on, and therefore did not really feel under pressure from headquarters or anything to that effect.” (IG Report, p. 387)

November 2nd: Rudy Giuliani tells Megyn Kelly: “You have outraged FBI agents that talk to me. They are outraged at the injustice. They are outraged at being turned down by the Justice Department to open a grand jury. They are convinced that Loretta Lynch has corrupted the Justice Department. You’ve got people in the Justice Department in charge of this investigation who are defense lawyers for Clinton people.”

And Nate Silver tweeted a couple of days ago:

Almost looks like a conspiracy.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Drew  •  Jun 18, 2018 @5:38 pm

    If fighting fire with fire makes someone an arsonist what does fighting conspiracy theories with conspiracy theories make someone? The answer I keep coming up with is "unhinged" but somehow that doesn't seem strong enough.

  2. doug  •  Jun 18, 2018 @5:54 pm

    I read that there may be an active investigation into Rudy's involvement in particular. Nunes claims he got the info legitimately as protected "whistleblower" notification. Rudy had NO gov't status which would give him a fig leaf of an excuse to be on the inside of that information. He also has no status as a member of the free press.

    If Rudy gets charged, I will throw a party. All drinks are on me!

  3. c u n d gulag  •  Jun 18, 2018 @7:03 pm

    Soon, every girl and boy can have their very own conspiracy theory!

    But why stop at one?

    Yeeeeeeeeeesh…

  4. uncledad  •  Jun 18, 2018 @9:09 pm

    "Seems like those leaky, anti-Clinton NY FBI agents had an awful lot of influence on the media narrative"

    It took Nate Silver almost two years to figure that out? And he's suppose to be a polling genius? This was common knowledge at the time, Rudy was spouting off about it a week before Comey re-opened?

  5. someofparts  •  Jun 19, 2018 @11:55 am

    Remember this?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dismissal_of_U.S._attorneys_controversy

    "Allegations were that some of the attorneys were targeted for … their failure to initiate investigations that would damage Democratic politicians or hamper Democratic-leaning voters."

    I recently binge-watched Homeland from start to finish. The script plays like something written by those Trump-leaning agents, complete with a horrendous finale where a female President morphs into Stalin in a pantsuit.

     

  6. Tom_b  •  Jun 19, 2018 @12:04 pm

    I sure don’t want to join the tin-foil hat club, but there may be more conspiracies than we imagine. Who’d ‘a thunk the Russians were paying the NRA to undermine American Democracy? I mean, the gun nuts have been doing such a good job of that already, without apparent assistance.

  7. James F. Epperson  •  Jun 19, 2018 @12:40 pm

    The new tidbit is the revelation that Nunes was told about the Weiner laptop.  The rest of it—that the NY office hated HRC, that the laptop had been sitting around for four weeks, etc.—was talked about in 2016.

  8. elkern  •  Jun 19, 2018 @3:51 pm

    Yes.  I had suspected this – a bunch of FBI agents in the NY office, virulently opposed to HRC – as the only way to explain Comey's actions & words, throughout the 2016 campaign & since. 

    Further questions:

    1. Why don't/didn't Democrats scream bloody murder about this?

    2. Why did the MSM ignore the feeble bleats the Democrats did produce?

    The Democrats have gotten played, over & over again. 

    When Trump crowed about the election being rigged, they ridiculed him, while the GOP rigged the election via gerrymanders, voter purges, etc.

    When Trump complained about the FBI conspiring to tilt the election, Democrats ridiculed him, while Rudi's cronies leaked all over the place.

    Trump squawks about the "deep state", and the Democrats jump to defend the FBI, a Republican patronage haven.

  9. aj  •  Jun 19, 2018 @4:22 pm

    I'd like to think after watching McCabe  and comey, agents would not jump on GOP bandwagon. After pensions matter.

    Today the children are the subject of the new authoritarian state. No officials know anything. No one can answer questions. Trump and Miller cooked this up.sessions unleashed it for job security I suppose. Like Pruitt,  no matter how rotten you are, if you implement the agenda, it is okay.

  10. uncledad  •  Jun 19, 2018 @8:22 pm

    1. Why don't/didn't Democrats scream bloody murder about this?

    A: Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, these three are the weakest minority leaders in the history of the house/senate. They don't raise hell about anything, they aren't defending the democratic Party now against tRumps constant lies about the border, etc, they just cower in the corner because the polls have told them they are too divisive, in short they suck!

  11. priscianus jr  •  Jun 20, 2018 @3:03 am

    Elkern, The reason the democrats didn't scream bloody murder about this is that they, under the continuing misguidance of Hillary Clinton, were too busy screaming at Comey. I guess it's too complicated for them to follow it any deeper. This is not new! I raised this issue so many times over the past year and a half, here and elsewhere. Rarely was there any response.

     

    Repeat after me: Giuliani … hates … Comey. That is the key thing that was too complicated for Democratic messaging.