Muftic: Why Spygate became Liegate
Last week Donald Trump lit a firecracker in the media, claiming the FBI had planted a spy in his campaign during the 2016 campaign and called it “Spygate, a scandal worse than Watergate”. Spygate became Trump’s lie- gate, Democrats charged, with good reason.
The challenge was for the Trumpsters to prove there was a spy embedded in the campaign..just as they were challenged to prove that Trump Tower was wired by the FBI (still waiting) for political reasons. For that reason the White House called a meeting of its most devoted Congressional partisans, Rep. Devin Nunes and Rep. Trey Gowdy, to meet with the FBI and Department of Justice to get the evidence they thought would justify Pres. Trump’s inflammatory claims and to unmask the informant. After a great deal of feathers flying, eventually an established select group, “the gang of eight” security cleared bi-partisan Congressional members, were invited for a second sit-down.
Spygate has turned out to be a farce after the bi-partisan group listened to the details of the FBI’ s use of an informant, an American professor in England, to have conversations in England with Americans about whom they already had evidence of connections to both Russians and the Trump campaign during 2016. There was no FBI embed in the Trump campaign headquarters or staff. The purpose of the informant’s use was part of the then ongoing investigation into the Russians’ activities. The use of clandestine informants is a fundamental, common practice of our intelligence services and in the case part of an authorized investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign.
The President tied this accusation about a spy in his midst to his rhetoric that it was being undertaken by “a criminal deep state” and his charges were quickly embraced and promoted by his loyal one-sided media brigades. However, even those he appointed in the position to know, Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State and recently director of the CIA, said there is no such thing as deep state in the State Department or the CIA in testimony before Congress last week.
That such a charge can be easily believed by the public without any evidence is not surprising. A large bipartisan majority feels that national policy is being manipulated or directed by a “Deep State” of unelected government officials, a recent Monmouth poll concluded. There is always been a wariness of the power of the federal government among citizens in this country, as that same poll found.
But now we have reached the unhealthy stage of paranoia with many ready to believe the slightest bit of unproved evidence to confirm our worst fears or support Donald Trump. This is thanks to Donald Trump’s demagogic playing on these fears to protect himself when he is the subject of a criminal investigation. He had demanded unmasking of the informant and the disclosure of evidence uncovered in Mueller’s investigation of the investigators of him, the investigation’s subject. This is the mother of all mothers of conflict of interests, because it could be used to get his supporters’ stories in sync in testimony before a grand jury, or to prepare his defense. These demands took place in the midst of an ongoing investigation that flies in the face of every norm and rule in criminal cases. Such “disclosure” takes place after an indictment, not before. As a sop to put off Trump’s threats of firing Mueller and his boss, Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, critics charge Rosenstein agreed to the White House demands for the meeting and to order an inspector general’s investigation of whether Department of Justice improperly surveilled the Trump campaign in 2016 for political reasons.
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Diane Howell, 77, only leaves her house right now for errands and essentials. As part of the age group considered most vulnerable to COVID-19, she’s felt isolated as she avoids most social interactions.