For the second time in less than a week, the New York Times has taken a shot at the Horowitz Report on the origins of the Russia collusion “investigation.”
The first story claimed that although Inspector General Michael Horowitz would find that a few mistakes were made by the FBI and/or CIA, there was no bias exhibited by the intelligence community as they tried to prove that candidate Donald Trump was a Russian asset. I’m willing to believe that characterization of the Horowitz report because it mirrors the tone of the first Horowitz report on how the FBI handled its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s stolen and deleted emails — sloppy but no bias.
Horowitz basically blew up any claim that he was a straightshooter with that report. After all, he included the Strzok-Page text messages insulting Trump and his voters and demanding that people vote for Hillary, and then had the audacity to say there was no evidence that their bias influenced the investigation into Trump. What did he want? A signed confession?
At the same time, many analysts have warned that the Times could be running interference for the Deep State, and trying to spin the report into a harmless document before it is actually released on Dec. 9. The second story by the Times that just came out certainly supports that theory.
The headline claims, “Russia Inquiry Review Is Expected to Undercut Trump Claim of F.B.I. Spying,” but in fact the story undercuts the idea that the New York Times is a legitimate newspaper rather than a tool of the Deep State. Author Adam Goldman is a master of sleight of hand, as he sets up a huge straw man in the lede of the story and then mercilessly wrestles it to the ground.
Here’s the lede:
The Justice Department’s inspector general found no evidence that the F.B.I. attempted to place undercover agents or informants inside Donald J. Trump’s campaign in 2016 as agents investigated whether his associates conspired with Russia’s election interference operation, people familiar with a draft of the inspector general’s report said.
Well, isn’t that wonderful! But here’s a question: Do you remember anyone any time any where ever claiming that the FBI HAD planted or ATTEMPTED to plant “undercover agents or informants” within the Trump campaign? I don’t, and I’ve been following this case as closely as anyone.
There has never been any serious claim that the FBI planted agents within the Trump campaign. The allegation, pretty much proven for years, is that the FBI targeted people within the Trump campaign by using undercover agents and informants from OUTSIDE the campaign to try to entrap members of the campaign into saying or doing something stupid.
Goldman doesn’t stop there, although he should have. Instead he lays out many more straw men such as claiming that President Trump was wrong when he said that the Obama administration had wiretapped him. Well, President Trump wasn’t personally wiretapped so far as we know, but clearly people associated with his campaign were, including Carter Page. That meant the FBI could listen to any conversations Page had with other members of the campaign. And remember that the day before President Trump took office, the Times ran a front-page story that said “Wiretapped Data Used in Inquiry of Trump Aides.” The “newspaper” has been trying to backpedal fro that headline for years now because somehow they let the cat out of the bag.
It seems pretty clear to me based on the diversionary reporting of the Times that Trump supporters are going to be disappointed in the new Horowitz Report. There will be lots of evidence of wrongdoing by the FBI and CIA in its 1,000 or so pages, but there will also be lots of excuses and handwringing. Coulda, woulda, shoulda, but really folks there was no plot against the president, no conspiracy to undermine an election, just a bunch of overzealous government agents who followed appropriate “law enforcement” techniques and would never dream of spying on a political campaign.
It is plain that spying took place, even as admitted by the New York Times:
Mr. Trump and his allies have pointed to some of the investigative steps the F.B.I. took as evidence of spying, though they were typical law enforcement activities. For one, agents had an informant, an academic named Stefan A. Halper, meet with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos while they were affiliated with the campaign. The president decried the revelation as an “all time biggest political scandal” when it emerged last year.
The F.B.I. did have an undercover agent who posed as Mr. Halper’s assistant during a London meeting with Mr. Papadopoulos in August 2016. And indeed, another Trump adviser, Peter Navarro, reportedly pushed Mr. Halper for an ambassadorship in the Trump administration.
Mr. Halper turned down the job and told the F.B.I. that Mr. Navarro had made the overture, according to a person familiar with the offer.
Yeah, OK, so now we are just supposed to accept the idea of the FBI hoping to entrap members of political campaigns by using undercover agents as long a sthey don’t actually plant those agents in the campaign itself! And how about the fact that the entire investigation was based on smears planted by Trump’s political opponents!
It’s hard to believe, but we are now totally dependent on Sen. Lindsey Graham getting to the bottom of the Horowitz Report and the plot against President Trump when he has Horowitz testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Dec. 11. How much do you want to bet that Graham just praises Horowitz and gavels everything to a close with a polite slap on the wrist to the FBI and CIA?
If so, then we have to wait for the criminal investigation of US Attorney John Durham, and hope that he is not beholden to the Justice Department and the Deep State. But even so, it is entirely possible that Durham’s report won’t be concluded till (conveniently) after the November 2020 election. President Trump’s future, and our nation’s, is in the hands of knaves and fools.
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Frank Miele has spent four decades in the news business and now offers conservative commentary to counter the left-wing bias in the national media. If you enjoy reading these daily essays, you can find products of interest to conservatives on my Amazon storefront including my books such as “Why We Needed Trump” or “The Media Matrix.” You will also find must-read books by other conservative authors and great deals on pro-Trump gear and paraphernalia. (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Due to Amazon rules, personal friends and family must shop elsewhere!) I also encourage you to subscribe to Heartland Diary on YouTube by clicking here to get the latest News Conservatives Can Use. I need 1,000 subscribers to be able to get YouTube to pay me. Remember to check out my column on Mondays at Real Clear Politics.