Friday, July 23, 2021

Our F.B.I. And Donald Trump


Something is rotten in Washington, D.C., something including, but extending beyond, the stench Donald J. Trump and his henchmen left behind.

In June, 2018 The New York Times' Jim Dwyer recalled "two weeks before the 2016 election, Mr. Comey disclosed that the F.B.I. discovered a laptop that had not been examined in the original investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s emails."

After most of the damage was done, FBI director Jim Comey announced that those were among the emails already reviewed. Amid speculation that Comey announced discovery of the emails because he feared that anti-Clinton agents in the NY office would have leaked them otherwise. Dwyer noted

On Oct. 25, 2016, three days before Mr. Comey’s stunning announcement, Mr. Giuliani appeared on a Fox morning television show.

“We got a couple of surprises left,” Mr. Giuliani said.

He chortled, and when asked to expand on the subject, replied, “And I think it’ll be enormously effective.”

On Thursday, Oct. 27, Mr. Giuliani appeared on another Fox show and said he was talking about “pretty big surprises.” He added, “We’ve got a couple of things up our sleeve that should turn this thing around.”

The news of the reactivated email inspection arrived the following day and may have helped propel Mr. Trump closer to the presidency.

It probably was the determining factor in the election. Nate Silver, then of FiveThirtyEight, would explain

Hillary Clinton would probably be president if FBI Director James Comey had not sent a letter to Congress on Oct. 28. The letter, which said the FBI had “learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation” into the private email server that Clinton used as secretary of state, upended the news cycle and soon halved Clinton’s lead in the polls, imperiling her position in the Electoral College.

The letter isn’t the only reason that Clinton lost. It does not excuse every decision the Clinton campaign made. Other factors may have played a larger role in her defeat, and it’s up to Democrats to examine those as they choose their strategy for 2018 and 2020.

But the effect of those factors — say, Clinton’s decision to give paid speeches to investment banks, or her messaging on pocket-book issues, or the role that her gender played in the campaign — is hard to measure. The impact of Comey’s letter is comparatively easy to quantify, by contrast. At a maximum, it might have shifted the race by 3 or 4 percentage points toward Donald Trump, swinging Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida to him, perhaps along with North Carolina and Arizona. At a minimum, its impact might have been only a percentage point or so. Still, because Clinton lost Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by less than 1 point, the letter was probably enough to change the outcome of the Electoral College.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has long been curious about the "investigation," first suggested by then-GOP Senator Jeff Flake, into the allegations against President Trump's nominee for the US Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. The New York Times has found

In a letter dated June 30 to two Democratic senators, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Chris Coons of Delaware, an F.B.I. assistant director, Jill C. Tyson, said that the most “relevant” of the 4,500 tips the agency received during an investigation into Mr. Kavanaugh’s past were referred to White House lawyers in the Trump administration, whose handling of them remains unclear.

The letter left uncertain whether the F.B.I. itself followed up on the most compelling leads. The agency was conducting a background check rather than a criminal investigation, meaning that “the authorities, policies, and procedures used to investigate criminal matters did not apply,” the letter said.

Ms. Tyson’s letter was a response to a 2019 letter from Mr. Whitehouse and Mr. Coons to the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, posing questions about how the F.B.I.’s review of Mr. Kavanaugh was handled.



So the Federal Bureau of (non-) Investigation received tips in their (non-) investigation and instead of looking into them, turned them over to the White House, which the FBI knew wanted to whitewash the case. Tyson's letter can only be generously labeled a response to the Whitehouse-Coons letter, given that the agency ignored it during the Trump Administration.  The Justice Department and the White House no longer are under corrupt leadership.

Trump followers have for years bleated about the "deep state."  Maybe the Administration was the party overwhelmingly responsible for the Kavanaugh sham. However, the FBI certainly was a willing partner, running interference for a guy who probably wouldn't have gotten to the White House without its help.

 

 

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