ADRIANA COHEN: Holding the FBI to account
The conspiratorial plotting against Donald Trump before and after the 2016 presidential election makes Watergate look like tiddlywinks, and with each passing day, we see a growing body of evidence of seismic corruption at the FBI and elsewhere to subvert our democracy.
Our system of government, which is based on free elections, is in jeopardy, given the mounting evidence that powerful officials during the Obama administration attempted to engineer who won the 2016 presidential election and then — when their preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton, failed to get elected — went after Trump, his family and his associates. If that’s not alarming enough, a dossier commissioned by a company the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee hired to do opposition research was used as a ruse to spy on Trump associates.
The intention was to upend a duly elected president members of the “deep state” despise. Add it up and this is what political coups look like in corrupt Third World regimes.
Shockingly, we’re witnessing this unfold at the Department of Justice at a level only the former KGB could appreciate.
On Fox News Channel on Tuesday, Reps. Trey Gowdy and John Ratcliffe said they had reviewed newly uncovered texts between Trump-hating FBI agent Peter Strzok and Lisa Page referring to an anti-Trump “secret society” within our government. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson explained, “What this is all about is further evidence of corruption — more than bias but corruption — at the highest levels of the FBI. And that secret society — we have an informant that’s talking about a group that were holding secret meetings off-site.”
Is special counsel Robert Mueller part of this alleged “secret society”? And what about Clinton, fired FBI Director James Comey and other members of the Obama administration who have an ax to grind with Trump? Were they colluding with operatives within U.S. intelligence agencies and the DOJ to impeach a sitting president?
Make no mistake. Mueller’s Russia investigation isn’t to see what role the Kremlin played in the 2016 election. That’s a public relations cover story to justify the over-the-top, take-no-prisoners probe. What the investigation is really about is a search by anti-Trump forces to find any law, obscure or otherwise, Trump may have broken to remove him from office.
In a newly uncovered Strzok text sent two days after Mueller was appointed special counsel, he questioned whether the investigation would lead to removing Trump from office. In an exchange with Page on May 19, he asked, “An investigation leading to impeachment?”
That indicates that was the true genesis of the probe and continues to be the end goal.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and Gowdy, who is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, released a statement concerning the 384 pages of new text messages between top FBI officials they obtained:
“The contents of these text messages between top FBI officials are extremely troubling in terms of when certain key decisions were made by the Department of Justice and the FBI, by whom these decisions were made, and the evident bias exhibited by those in charge of the investigation. The omission of text messages between December 2016 and May 2017, a critical gap encompassing the FBI’s Russia investigation, is equally concerning. Rather than clearing up prior FBI and DOJ actions, these recently produced documents cause us to further question the credibility and objectivity of certain officials at the FBI.”
Michael Horowitz, the DOJ’s inspector general, has since recovered some of the missing text messages between Strzok and Page.
Congress must release the House Intelligence Committee’s memo outlining serious abuses related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act against Trump and his associates during and after the election, as well as the recovered texts between the disgraced FBI agents.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray must also investigate the alleged secret society, as well as any and all malpractice at the DOJ associated with the Russia investigation and the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email investigation.
If Sessions and Wray fail to deliver answers, they should resign. They will have proved to be ill-equipped to protect our democracy and root out corruption in the highest echelons of our government.
Voters must demand transparency and accountability, or they will continue to witness the unraveling of our democracy and system of justice — one text at a time.
Adriana Cohen is a syndicated columnist with the Boston Herald. Follow her on Twitter @AdrianaCohen16.