Blinded By Hate

I’ve just read what I believe is by far the most lucid, balanced perspective yet on the Russia/collusion investigation’s background and sustaining fuel, written by Andrew McCarthy in National Review; I urge you to read it too: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/455426/steele-dossier-fusion-gps-glenn-simpson-trump-russia-investigation.

By way of background, McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor, so he has a deep knowledge of the relevant law and processes. National Review, for its part, is and always has been at the heart of the neverTrump movement – conservative intellectuals whose loathing of our President matches or exceeds that of, say, The New York Times, but in their case it is based more on the sense that electing a man of Trump’s character and (presumed lack of) principles is a terrible betrayal of conservative values than on particular policy differences that its editors have with him – so no article in that publication can be expected to concede an inch on character grounds by defending Trump’s behavior, where that is at issue.

My summary of McCarthy’s thesis is as follows: that the Democrat-funded Fusion/GPS opposition research, which was based on hearsay likely sourced from Russian operatives (and which contained zero hard evidence of a conspiracy, of which there is also no other hard evidence) was improperly used by the FBI to help persuade a FISA judge to allow the FBI to wiretap Trump associates and instigate the probe (in part because senior FBI agents were, and almost certainly still are, convinced that Trump is unfit to be President). The FBI’s behavior was further highly compromised by the wildly improper involvement of a senior Justice Department staffer – Bruce Ohr – whose wife was a Fusion/GPS employee at the time of the FISA application. Based on the Ohrs’ involvement, the published comment about an “insurance policy” against the possibility of a Trump presidency by Peter Strzok, who was a leader of the investigation for the FBI, and the many leaks from that organization about the resulting investigation, it is clear that the FBI team was determined to flush out any information that could damage Trump’s electoral prospects, by means fair or foul. FWIW, it’s also clear that the exact same FBI team was determined to exonerate Hillary for her illegal mistreatment of classified information.

Meanwhile, Trump has not ordered that this fruit-of-the-poisoned-tree chain of misbehavior on the FBI’s part be made public, as he could easily do by ordering the FISA application to be declassified. Why might that be so? McCarthy speculates that Trump has not done so in spite of the fact that the evidence-free Fusion/GPS dossier was improperly characterized by the FBI as the crucial last piece of “evidence” required to convince a FISA judge of ongoing crimes, and thereby to convince the judge to approve the wiretaps, because it was not the only evidence submitted to the judge. The other evidence, McCarthy suggests, was character evidence reflecting very badly on Trump (which would have made the dossier’s allegations more plausible) – and that the evidence of bad character, unlike the Fusion allegations, is both well-documented and highly plausible.

In other words, Trump knows that the Russia/collusion allegation is baseless, therefore unprovable, and that the investigation was initiated in crucial part via deeply improper behavior by the FBI, but he would rather wait until that information comes out through Mueller than allow the – quite possibly true – other information about his ethically, and maybe legally, challenged business dealings be made public. So the investigation grinds on, fueled by its own momentum and a lot of people’s revulsion against Trump.

To me, McCarthy’s explanation makes sense on every level.

***

McCarthy also makes the point that just because a lot of people at the FBI – and in the press – think, and may even have evidence, that Trump was considerably less than upstanding in some of his business dealings does not give them the right to interfere in an election by improperly instigating an investigation, illegally leaking facts and innuendos, etc. Fear on the right that the “deep state” of partisan Democrats in government is illegally trying to manipulate the process in their own interests, personal or ideological, are well justified by the FBI’s behavior. At a minimum, such behavior – like the partisan behavior of the IRS in the 2012 election – seriously diminishes respect for our previously trusted institutions of government.

In this particular election, the American public had to choose between two distinctly unsaintly candidates. For a complex variety of reasons, according to the rules of the contest, they chose Trump.

***

I no longer display the number of subscribers to Civil Horizon, but if I did, you might have noted that in recent months I have lost a few. Generally speaking, the site’s subscriber list has been stable for years. I see changes in the list – and I know how many times each post is downloaded – but I have no idea who has read which posts unless readers contact me about them.

About 40% of the 132 subscribers are friends – generally people I have known for a long, long time – the others are presumably people who stumbled across a post or two and found them interesting. Of the friends who are or have been subscribers, I know that at least half disagree with the political orientation of what I write. They sometimes take issue with me offline.

If you are a longtime reader, you know that my view of our President has been becoming more favorable over time. I have been much more impressed than not by his appointments (one of whom is a close friend) and policy initiatives, and I am coming to understand and to sympathize with his antagonistic relationship with the press. I do not put his character, his behavior or his policies, on a pedestal – far, far from it – but I think we are far better governed today than we were under Obama or would have been under Hillary, and I am grateful for that.

As my thinking has become more sympathetic to Trump, with each post on that topic I have been losing subscribers – and not just any subscribers, but old friends. Over the years I have written lots of strongly ideologically slanted posts, and apparently my friends who have been subscribers found them interesting rather than offensive, but it seems that some just cannot stomach any post that treats Trump as other than the devil incarnate. Well, actually, … it’s worse than that. Not only have they decided that they cannot stand the particular posts that explain why I am coming to think that Trump may prove to be a good President, via cancelling their subscriptions they are signalling that they no longer wish to read any of my posts.

I mention the loss of old-friend-liberal-subscribers because I find the level of Trump-hatred out there to be out of all proportion with what he has done or (to me) looks likely to do. Trump is driving the press – and my liberal friends and former subscribers – absolutely insane. They hate him with a pure and abiding passion, cannot believe that he won, abhor his policies – and, it seems, they will shun his supporters and do anything to get rid of him. This is precisely the mentality that, in McCarthy’s account and I believe in fact, led the FBI to improperly try to interfere in the election.

On a personal level, I think that’s kind of sad; as to the wrongful behavior of our elites, I think it’s horrifying.

 

M.H. Johnston

4 comments to Blinded By Hate

  • Anonymous  says:

    You don’t know who I am, but if I turn out to be the last one on your list I’ll look you up and buy you a beer.

    • M Johnston  says:

      But since I don’t know who you are, how would I know if you’re last? Probably not relevant, though: I still have 132 subscribers, and only lose an average of one per Trump-sympathetic post. Surely I won’t write that many more over the next 3-7 years.

  • Aaron  says:

    Good analysis of McCarthy’s piece, Mark. I agree with most of it. One question, though. Given the level of anti-Trump animus at the highest reaches of the DOJ/FBI, in other parts of the intelligence community (Brennan and Clapper), and in the media, don’t you think that any “other information about his ethically, and maybe legally, challenged business dealings”, whether dossier-related or not, would have been leaked by now? Especially if that information could be used to make Trump look really, really bad? The fact that it has not suggests to me at least that there may be no there there. Well, we shall find out.

    On Trump-hatred: politics is a substitute religion for many people, especially on the left and especially in the northeast. It’s a matter of faith, not to mention self-regard and self-interest. It is indeed sad that you have lost friends and subscribers because of it, but not surprising. I’m old enough to remember when it was possible to agree to disagree about politics in an amicable way. Those times are gone, I’m afraid.

    • M Johnston  says:

      I hope you’re right!

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