Saturday, May 19, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

Kept from the golf course by rain in the Washington area, Trump once again turned to Twitter to try to sell his conspiracy theory that the FBI spied on his campaign for his political enemies. He wrote, "If the FBI or DOJ was infiltrating a campaign for the benefit of another campaign, that is a really big deal. Only the release or review of documents that the House Intelligence Committee (also, Senate Judiciary) is asking for can give the conclusive answers."

There are two problems with Trump's theory. First, as president, Trump can know--and presumably does know--all the details of the FBI's counter-intelligence work aimed at Russian infiltrators of his campaign. Moreover, Trump has learned--the hard way--that the FBI and DOJ operate independently of the political portion of the executive branch.

Second, the word "if." There is evidence that the FBI was working with an informant because of alarming reports that the Trump campaign was in danger of being compromised by Russia--even before most of its senior leadership took a meeting with Russian agents offering "dirt" on Hillary Clinton. The person in question appears to be a foreign policy expert who worked for three Republican presidential administrations.

Trump, who is the President of the United States of America, hasn't provided any evidence to support his version of events.

Why should I care about this?

  • Guilty or innocent, Trump is entitled to a defense--but innocent people don't usually attack the concept of the rule of law itself.
  • It's bad when a president attacks his own Justice Department for political purposes.