The New York Times has published another bombshell with a story that President Trump was named as a possible national security threat in a counterintelligence operation that was launched after his inauguration.
If true, this is likely the only time in history that the FBI has investigated whether a sitting president was either a knowing or unknowing agent of a foreign power. However, the real benefit of the investigative story may not be the original suspicion, but rather how it could explain the course that both sides have taken into our current quagmire. What if there were no collusion or conspiracy but simple cognitive bias on both sides, where the actions of one seemed to confirm precisely the suspicions of the other?
There are now two possibilities. The first of those is that Trump really was some “manchurian candidate” placed in the Oval Office by Russia and controlled from afar by Vladimir Putin. Many are unlikely to ever accept any other possibility, though the New York Times story does not suggest that this counterintelligence operation found any basis for the original allegation. Indeed, the problem arose when part of the operation was made public. Such inquiries are usually completed and never disclosed. In this case, various forces led to a partial disclosure that Trump associates were investigated and that Trump himself might have been compromised.
Now to the more intriguing theory that is more consistent with known facts. We have a clear picture of what the two sides saw at the start of the Trump administration. At the FBI, investigators, including then director James Comey, actively considered the unthinkable possibility that the president was controlled by Russia. At the White House, Trump believed that his associates and campaign had been placed under investigation by federal officials with close ties to Democratic figures. What happened next could be a lesson in cognitive bias, and it could indeed explain a lot.
At the start of the Trump administration, the FBI has a dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele and opposition research firm Fusion GPS, alleging a myriad of suspicious financial and personal connections between Trump and Russia. It also had an investigation into the Russia connections of Trump adviser Carter Page. There was Trump encouraging Russia to locate the hacked emails of Hillary Clinton and some evidence of Russia internet trolling and hacking operations. There also was the curious refusal of Trump to criticize Russia, an anomaly within Republican politics.
Soon after the inauguration, Trump started to counterpunch against what he saw as a deep state conspiracy. He asked Comey if he would be loyal and to go easy on resigned national security adviser Michael Flynn. He eventually fired Comey. He lashed out on social media against the FBI. He said in an interview that he had the Russia investigation in mind when he fired Comey. He met with Russians the very next day in the Oval Office and told the diplomats, “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That is taken of.”
No charges were ever brought against Page, who appears to have been pursuing business interests in Russia. Moreover, investigative journalist Michael Isikoff, who broke the dossier story, admitted recently, “When you actually get into the details of the Steele dossier, the specific allegations, we have not seen the evidence to support them, and, in fact, there is good grounds to think that some of the more sensational allegations will never be proven and are likely false.” Even the New York Times bombshell now reports that “no evidence has emerged publicly that Trump was “secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials.”
However, the FBI back then did not know all of that. From the perspective of the counterintelligence operation, every one of those moves confirmed the concern that Trump may have been working for Russian interests. They understandably began an investigation into whether Trump was acting not erratically but by design to conceal his Russian influence.
Now go back to the same period after the inauguration. Trump had just won an unwinnable election against the establishment. He had expected much of the government to be hostile to his administration. He soon learned that the FBI secretly investigated some of his aides. Then the dossier story hit. The Clinton campaign first denied funding the dossier but later admitted that it funded the effort at a considerable expense, with the money hidden as legal costs by its lawyer and his firm.
From the perspective of Trump, it all fit pattern of a deep state conspiracy of Clinton operatives and establishment officials. Soon, Trump witnessed events that confirmed his suspicions. Key FBI officials like Andrew McCabehad Democratic connections and his wife, Jill McCabe, received roughly $700,000 from a close Clinton ally and the Virginia Democratic Party in her campaign for the state legislature. Then emails surfaced, showing sentiments of clear bias against Trump from relevant figures like McCabe and lead FBI investigator Peter Strzok, including discussion of “insurance policies” against his election and resistance against his administration.
Trump also learned that the dossier was given to the FBI by the wife of Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, who worked closely with former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. Nellie Ohr was employed by Fusion GPS to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump. Everything that Trump was seeing confirmed the theory of a conspiracy of Democratic operatives and deep state figures against his administration.
The result is two separate narratives that fed off the actions of each other.
The purpose of the investigation is to show an investigation (notably, not a “matter”) was happening. No matter that nothing, of course, was found to be wrong.
They knew where the dossier came from, who paid for it and that they had not verified ANY of it.
Well, they could. The FBI and Mueller have found no evidence to support their suspicions, if those suspicions were ever even based on real suspicions, so they could declare such. They could say they were just trying to do their job and they did it; NOTHING has been found to indicate Trump has done anything wrong. Why don’t they? It would be easy; the left wouldn’t like it but the nation would heave a sigh of relief; the markets would go nuts.
The longer they go WITHOUT doing so only reinforces Trump’s (and our) suspicions. This story presents a nice theory, but it really doesn’t hold up.
@Deplorable Me: Mueller was hand picked for his complete and utter lack of ethics and basic human decency. His record shows it, his team is lots more of the same.
In April 2018 Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told President Trump in a private meeting that he [Trump] was not a target of “any part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.”
In May 2018 House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy told reporters FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein assured him and several lawmakers that the ongoing Russian witch hunt “has nothing to do with Donald Trump.”
So Wray & Rosenstein both lied to Congress and to the President.
How does this add/subtract weight from the idea that there is bias on both sides and all motives are pure?
Not necessarily. It could also be that the characterization of the “investigation” being one into the obvious and readily apparent Russian collusion of Trump and his team is the lie. I think this article presents an interesting premise and possibility, but it doesn’t hold up.
If intended to take into a court of law, there was never even enough suspicion of Trump’s collusion to promote suspicion. There was absolutely nothing but an unfounded HOPE that SOMETHING could be found to haul Trump out of the White House and instantly replace him with Hillary (no, I realize how stupid and impossible this sounds, but we are not talking about people who are not stupid and dependent upon the impossible).
If this article described reality, Mueller, the FBI and DOJ would be proclaiming that they have thoroughly investigated the insinuation and have found nothing; we had only the best of intentions and are happy to clear the President of all accusations. But, they haven’t and they won’t because there IS an agenda and it has nothing to do with seeking justice.
PT still holds all the cards and they know it. Watch how even more unhinged the Red cockroaches become as we get closer to D-day.