The New York Times reported Friday that after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the bureau began to investigate whether Trump was “knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”
This isn’t newsworthy
By Arthur I. Cyr
The report in The New York Times and elsewhere of the FBI’s focus on Russian influence on President Donald Trump has news media center stage, but is the item really so newsworthy? Yes, but not for the reasons usually given.
According to the reports, after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, some in the agency began investigating whether the president was “working on behalf of Russia.” Trying to do business in Russia, while a candidate for president of the United States, is stupid but not illegal.
Then, after intelligence arose that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, special counsel Robert Mueller was formally appointed to investigate Russian involvement in the Trump campaign. The Justice Department, which includes the FBI, initiated this. The separate informal efforts by the FBI, if true, indicate malice as well as vigilantism.
The latest “news” provides Trump further ammunition to condemn Washington institutions and reinforce his committed public base. Along with the government shutdown over border security, this can be an applause theme for his 2020 re-election campaign.
But a more significant story is the long-term deterioration of the FBI. The partisan behavior exemplified by FBI representatives regarding Trump shouldn’t be tolerated.
That’s the real news story.
Arthur I. Cyr is the director of the A.W. Clausen Center for World Business at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
What others are saying
Asha Rangappa, The Washington Post: “If the counterintelligence case against the president was eventually closed because it found that Donald Trump did not pose a threat to U.S. national security, Trump should welcome special counsel Robert Mueller’s report reaching Congress. This conclusion would stop the speculation about Trump’s relationship with Russia and reassure the American public that his loyalties remain with the United States. But if it wasn’t, and the threat to national security is ongoing, then informing Congress of the nature of the threat is paramount. This would be the only way that Congress can determine whether it should take the ultimate step to neutralize the damage that the president could inflict on the nation — through impeachment and removal from office.”
Alan M. Dershowitz, The Hill: “The issue I am raising, which is the propriety of a special counsel report including information and opinions regarding alleged noncriminal political sins, is worthy of serious nonpartisan discussion. It goes to the proper functions of the FBI, prosecutors, special counsels and grand juries in a democracy that subjects them to checks and balances. This important national debate should take place before Mueller concludes his report.”
Andrew McCarthy, FoxNews.com: “After Trump was elected, the FBI realized that Trump was soon going to have access to government intelligence files. If they honestly told the president-elect that they had been investigating his campaign in hope of making a case on him, they had to be concerned that he would shut the investigation down and clean house at the FBI and Department of Justice. So, they misleadingly told him the investigation was about Russia and a few stray people in his campaign, but they assured him he personally was not under investigation. This was not true. The investigation was always hoping to find something on Trump.”
What our readers are saying
Almost two years of investigations and not a shred of criminal evidence presented against President Donald Trump. Only rehashing old news, harassing his associates, or punishing associates of old crimes that should have been brought up a long time ago.
— Jeffrey Lyons
No doubt Trump is compromised. No innocent person would act the way he acts when it comes to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has never attacked Putin but has attacked everyone from Pope Francis to President Barack Obama … and the FBI, Chief Justice John Roberts, the court and leaders of our Western allies.
— Abraham Eseku
When Trump was asked if he was a Russian agent, he could only say he was insulted. No “yes” or “no” response from him.
— Sam Nada
Interesting how many of the think pieces against Trump use terms like “suggest,” “point to,” “imply,” “potential” or “seems to.” I’m not a Trump fan, but I’ll wait for definitive proof to be presented.
— Walt Kozlowski
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