A Coordinated Attack on the FBI Has Begun

I’ve been suggesting that what we are witnessing over the last week is a planned and coordinated attempt to discredit the Mueller investigation. It all started last Wednesday when Rep. Devin Nunes forced Fusion GPS (the firm that hired Christopher Steele) to publicly plead the fifth in front of the House Intelligence Committee. That was followed the next day by this tweet from Trump:

At the time, no one was talking about who paid for the Steele dossier because since last October, we’ve known that it was initially commissioned by Republicans and then taken over by Democrats. This week the Washington Post reported on the Democrats involved, but didn’t name the Republicans.

In the tweet above, the president basically insinuated that the FBI had colluded with the Russians and the Democrats to produce the dossier, and so I’ve suggested that it is very likely that they will be the next target. Take a look at how that was affirmed when Tucker Carlson interviewed Rep. Nunes (who has reversed his recusal from the Russia investigation) last night.

Their conversation focused completely on the role of the FBI with the Steele dossier, and is loaded with distortions and lies. Carlson even went so far as to ask, “So is there anything more terrifying than the prospect of an armed rogue agency?” Think about that. An interviewer refers to the FBI as “an armed rogue agency” and a member of Congress simply nods in agreement. Apparently the long knives have come out.

At the root of all of this is the assertion made in Trump’s tweet that the FBI paid for the Steele dossier (they considered doing so, but didn’t) and whether they actually investigated its assertions (gasp!) One thing that has been missing from most of the discussion about all of this is that when the dossier was shared with Sen. John McCain last December, he immediately turned in over to the FBI. As Martin has written, they already had it because it had been given to them by Christopher Steele. But the point is that it wasn’t just Democrats and the FBI who were concerned about what he was finding.

These attacks on the FBI, along with John Solomon’s lies and distortions about the fact that they investigated a racketeering scheme involving a Russian nuclear official, are designed to undermine the agency that was initially involved in investigating the Trump/Russia connection as well as Robert Mueller, who has taken it over as the independent prosecutor.

What we are witnessing is not only a president who is actively assisting an adversary (Russia) in their attack against us, but a willingness to tear down any person or institution that is attempting to stop him. He is being aided in that process by members of congress like Devin Nunes, as well as the entire right wing media (with occasional assists from the Washington Post and the New York Times).

As with much of Trump’s behavior, I only expect this situation to get worse. Other than that, I won’t make any predictions about what happens next. But based on my read of things, our democracy is in peril unless/until this president is stopped.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.