Thank goodness for Victor Davis Hanson. He not only brings light to dark places like the FBI — he also redeems National Review as a legitimate home of conservative commentary.
Today’s column by Hanson is entitled “The FBI Tragedy: Elites above the Law,” yet Hanson doesn’t just condemn the top brass. As Hanson points out, top agents like Peter Strzok and Andrew McCabe who sabotaged President Trump came directly out of the FBI culture. That doesn’t mean the “rank and file” agents are guilt of anything. They still have the presumption of innocence, but they need to be wary of the temptation to go rogue or they might go the same route as Jim Comey and McCabe.
“… many of those caught up in the controversies over the Russian-collusion hoax were not recent career appointees. Rather, many came up through the ranks of the FBI. And that raises the question, for example, of where exactly Peter Strzok (22 years in the FBI) learned that he had a right to interfere in a U.S. election to damage a candidate that he opposed.
“And why would an Andrew McCabe (over 21 years in the FBI) think he had the duty to formulate an “insurance policy” to take out a presidential candidate? Or why would he even consider overseeing an FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s improper use of emails when his wife had been a recent recipient of Clinton-related PAC money? And why would McCabe contemplate leaking confidential FBI information to the press or even dream of setting up some sort of operation to remove a sitting president under the 25th Amendment? And how did someone like the old FBI vet Peter Strozk ever end up at the center of the entire mess — opening up the snooping on the Trump campaign while hiding that fact and while briefing the candidate on Russian interference in the election, interviewing Michael Flynn, preening as a top FBI investigator for Robert Mueller’s dream team, right-hand man of “Andy” McCabe, convincing Comey to change the wording of his writ in the Clinton-email-scandal investigation, softball coddling of Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, instrumental in the Papadopoulos investigation con — all the while conducting an affair with fellow FBI investigator and attorney Lisa Page and bragging about his assurance that the supposedly odious Trump would be prevented from being elected. …
“In sum, why did so many top FBI officials, some with long experience in the FBI, exhibit such bad judgment and display such unethical behavior, characterized by arrogance, a sense of entitlement, and a belief that they were above both the law and the Constitution itself? Were they really just rogue agents, lawyers, and administrators, or are they emblematic of an FBI culture sorely gone wrong?”
Hanson doesn’t stop there either. He goes on to eviscerate Saint Bob Mueller (the former FBI director), cataloging a host of errors in judgment made by Mueller, ranging from hiring a team of pro-Clinton partisans to his studied non-interest in investigating the origins of the Steele Dossier or the war on Trump waged by intelligence agencies. As Hanson notes, Mueller ultimately created a new and dangerous standard of guilt:
“Mueller … established a new but lunatic precedent in American jurisprudence in which a prosecutor who fails to find sufficient cause to indict a suspect nonetheless releases supposedly incriminating evidence, with a wink that the now-besmirched suspect cannot be exonerated of the alleged crimes. Think what Mueller’s precedent of not-not-guilty would do to the American criminal-justice system, as zealous prosecutors might fish for just enough dirt on a suspect to ruin his reputation, but not find enough for an indictment, thereby exonerating their own prosecutorial failure by defaming a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ suspect.”
Besides this travesty, as Hanson notes, Mueller’s report itself has become a kind of dirty trick used against the president.
“Mueller’s team continued the investigation, aggregating more than 200 pages of unverified or uncorroborated news accounts, online essays, and testimonies describing all sorts of alleged unethical behavior and infelicities by Trump and his associates, apparently in hopes of compiling their own version of something like the Steele dossier. Mueller sought to publish a compendium of Trump bad behavior that fell below the standard of criminal offense but that would nonetheless provide useful fodder for media sensationalism and congressional partisan efforts to impeach the now supposedly not-not guilty president.”
Rep. Devin Nunes has picked up this line of attack, too, and is now calling the report the Mueller Dossier! Bring on the indictments of the coup conspirators!