By Doug Porter
The Daily Beast’s Wayne Barrett has written a blockbuster of a story detailing the rebellion going on inside the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
It’s a tale of active and former agents, many of them with ties to former NYC Mayor Rudy Guliani, whose actions amount to a law enforcement thumb on the scale of democracy.
Guliani’s law firm has long been general counsel to the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA), which represents 13,000 former and current agents. The group’s leader, agent Rey Tariche, resigned from the FBI New York office on Monday following Director James Comey’s release of a memo saying the agency was once again looking into Hillary Clinton.
From Barrett’s story:
Two days before FBI director James Comey rocked the world last week, Rudy Giuliani was on Fox, where he volunteered, un-prodded by any question: “I think he’s [Donald Trump] got a surprise or two that you’re going to hear about in the next few days. I mean, I’m talking about some pretty big surprises.”
Pressed for specifics, he said: “We’ve got a couple of things up our sleeve that should turn this thing around.”
The man who now leads “lock-her-up” chants at Trump rallies spent decades of his life as a federal prosecutor and then mayor working closely with the FBI, and especially its New York office. One of Giuliani’s security firms employed a former head of the New York FBI office, and other alumni of it. It was agents of that office, probing Anthony Weiner’s alleged sexting of a minor, who pressed Comey to authorize the review of possible Hillary Clinton-related emails on a Weiner device that led to the explosive letter the director wrote Congress.
Comey’s note to FBI staff explaining his decision to inform Congress about the renewed Clinton probe was immediately leaked to Fox News. Now it turns out New York office FBI agents initiated an investigation of the Clinton Foundation based on discredited claims made by Clintoncash author Peter Schweitzer.
Jim Kallstrom, former head of the New York FBI office and frequent guest on Fox News, founded a charity called Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation. This group was the sole beneficiary to of a $1 million Trump donation triggered by a Washington Post expose of the candidate’s failure to follow through on a pledge to donate funds raised at a nationally televised fundraiser for veterans’ causes in Des Moines on Jan. 28.
The beneficiary of the actions was supposed to be Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump. Based on the polling I’ve seen, they’ve failed in their attempts to build a narrative that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was once again guilty of some unspecified conduct to be revealed in emails.
Going beyond the Daily Beast story, Judd Legum at Think Progress reports the FBI is now investigating its own Twitter account. (Yeah, you read that right.)
The account at issue, @FBIRecordsVault, had been dormant for more than a year. Then on October 30 at 4 a.m., the account released a flood of documents, including one describing Donald Trump’s father Fred Trump as a “philanthropist…”
…The strange tweets come days after James Comey released a letter revealing that the department was reviewing some emails that could be relevant to the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server. The Justice Department opposed release of the letter, arguing that it violated department protocols.
Since that time, there has been a series of leaks about FBI activity that appear to be designed to damage Hillary Clinton and benefit Donald Trump. An anonymous source for example, leaked to the Wall Street Journal that there was an investigation — including “secret recordings” — into the Clinton Foundation. The New York Times, also citing anonymous sources, reported that the FBI believed that Russia was just trying to disrupt the U.S. election, not help Donald Trump.
William J. Clinton Foundation: This initial release consists of material from the FBI’s files related to the Will… https://t.co/Y4nz3aRSmG
— FBI Records Vault (@FBIRecordsVault) November 1, 2016
Kevin Drum at Mother Jones marvels at the foolishness of the Clintoncash connection, which came about because the FBI overheard some guy (not connected to the Clintons) talking about a book he’d read…
Holy crap. The field agents got started on this because they read Clinton Cash, the latest in a 25-year stream of books insisting that the Clintons are our era’s Borgia family. Then they got even more interested because some guy—literally just some guy—was recorded blathering about the foundation.
This is what Hillary Clinton has faced ever since 1992. It started in Arkansas, where this kind of character assassination is basically just political sport, and then got exported to Washington DC when Bill Clinton ran for the presidency. There’s nothing in Schweizer’s book except yet another CDS victim insisting that if two things happened at the same time, somehow the Clintons were responsible for it and he’s got the proof right here!
And now it turns out the FBI is full of middle-aged white guys who apparently read the book, listen to lots of Rush Limbaugh, and just know that if they look a little harder they’ll find the one Jenga brick that causes the whole Clinton edifice to finally collapse. Jesus Christ.
Charles P Pierce at Esquire points out just how ludicrous this is in a column titled ‘The FBI Is Self-Destructing at the Worst Possible Moment’:
Of all the astonishing things in an astonishing (and increasingly grim) presidential campaign, the sudden involvement of elements of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the act of ratfcking a candidacy is even more amazing than the fact that there is a vulgar talking yam one step away from running almost the entire federal government. There hasn’t been a hotter hot mess in Washington since John Mitchell was running both the Department of Justice and a criminal conspiracy to obstruct same.
— Garance Franke-Ruta (@thegarance) November 3, 2016
Washington Post columnist Jenifer Rubin, certainly no fan of the Clintons (Or Democrats for that matter) says it’s time for heads to roll:
We have gone from well-established practices that keep the FBI insulated from politics to a political free for all where agents and the director feel free effectively to engage in opposition research…
…Clinton will likely win, but that’s beside the point. If Obama doesn’t do it first, she should add to her to-do list for the first day in office: Replace FBI director.
Preaching to the Choir
I don’t need to suggest to most readers of this column how they should feel about Donald J Trump. But I do feel obligated to call attention to Charles M. Blow’s powerful op-ed in the New York Times:
There is no way to make a vote for him feel like an act of principle or responsibility. You can’t make it right. You can’t say yes to Trump and yes to common decency. Those two things do not together abide.
If you are voting for Trump, you are voting for coarseness, corruption and moral corrosion. Period. And if you are not actively voting against him, you are abetting his attempt to hijack American greatness and sink it with his egotism.
On Election Day, America faces a choice, and it’s not a tough one, but a stark one. It is the difference between tolerance and intolerance. It is the difference between respect and disrespect. It is the difference between a politician with some flaws and a flaw threatening our politics.
Donald Trump is America’s existential threat. On Tuesday, America has an opportunity to defend itself.
Finally, while most of the country was watching an absolutely incredible seventh game of the World Series last night (Go Cubs!), the audience at the Country Music Awards (something I’d never watch) was getting blown away by Beyonce, backed by the Dixie Chicks. Needless, to say, the Make America Great Again crowd took to twitter to express their outrage, probably because they’d been informed the new green Starbucks cups were not part of this year’s corporate attack on Christmas.
I ask you to enjoy the video, but the Country Music association has gone and made a copyright claim on it.
On This Day: 1507 – Leonardo DaVinci was commissioned by the husband of Lisa Gherardini to paint her. The work is known as the Mona Lisa. 1921 – Striking milk drivers dumped thousands of gallons of milk on New York City streets. 1957 – Sputnik II was launched by the Soviet Union. It was the second manmade satellite to be put into orbit and was the first to put an animal into space, a dog named Laika.
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