By: Graham J Noble
Politicians of all stripes quickly learn how to avoid giving straight answers to questions. Donald Trump is the first president in living memory who is not a politician, though, and he has not mastered the art of evasion. Either that or he simply prefers to take questions head-on. This tactic does not always serve him well, and his answer to a recent interview question opened the door for his detractors to pile on. Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former CIA Director John Brennan were both resurrected by the media to respond to Trump’s recent remarks regarding foreign influence in U.S. elections.
When ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Trump whether his son, Donald Trump Jr., should have contacted the FBI after being invited in 2016 to meet with a Russian national who allegedly offered dirt on Hillary Clinton, the president answered, “Give me a break – life doesn’t work that way.”
The ensuing exchange led Stephanopoulos to ask the president: “Your campaign this time around, if foreigners, if Russia, if China, if someone else offers you information on opponents, should they accept it or should they call the FBI?” Trump responded that, perhaps, the person in question should do both; look at the information being offered and notify the FBI. Stephanopoulos suggested this amounts to foreign interference in an American election, to which Trump responded: “It’s not an interference [sic]. They have information – I think I’d take it. If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI – if I thought there was something wrong.”
The wailing and gnashing of teeth that followed this interview prompted the anti-Trump cable networks to bring in two men who were embroiled in the Russia collusion hoax. One of these men, Andrew McCabe, was fired from the FBI and is fortunate not to have yet been charged with multiple counts of lying to federal investigators. The other is hysterical Trump critic Brennan, who is almost certainly a subject of the ongoing Department of Justice investigation into the genesis of the Russia collusion conspiracy theory.
McCabe’s Clinton Excuses
McCabe feigned horror at the idea that the president would be open to receiving information on a potential election opponent from a foreign source. At the same time, however, he dismissed the idea that the Hillary Clinton campaign had done anything wrong in 2016 when it paid for Russian-sourced and unverified information to use against Trump.
When asked by CNN’s Chris Cuomo about a possible analogy between the two situations, the former FBI official said: “There’s no equivalence between those two examples … For a campaign to hire a law firm, an American law firm who then turns around and hires an American research company that then contracts out with a foreign individual, that is not illegal.”
It is nothing short of alarming that a former deputy director of the FBI either does not understand the relevant laws or is deliberately misinterpreting them. In fact, it is illegal for a political campaign to “solicit, accept or receive” anything of value from a foreign national in connection to an election. The Clinton campaign certainly did solicit foreign-sourced information about her election opponent.
Regardless of how a political campaign obtains research on an opponent, if that information comes from an overseas source, it means the election has been opened to foreign influence. McCabe is trying to argue, though, that foreign influence is acceptable if the campaign in question used a U.S.-based intermediary to obtain the information.
However, there is a question about the interpretation of the relevant statute. What constitutes “something of value”? Does it refer to material goods, or does it encompass such things as vacations, invitations to events, promised favors in kind, and information? There is some dispute over this. Either way, the Trump campaign did not, after all is said and done, receive anything at all from the Russians that aided its cause, while the Clinton campaign did.
Brennan Is “Concerned”
John Brennan, meanwhile, resumed his farcical attacks on the president even as the DOJ investigation into the surveillance of the Trump campaign homes in on the agency he led – or, perhaps, because of that.
Brennan is now a contributor to MSNBC, a clear indication of where his political preferences lie. “I’m concerned about the upcoming presidential elections,” he told the struggling network’s Chris Matthews. “It’s clear that the Russians interfered to help Mr. Trump in 2016. Is Mr. Trump turning a blind eye because he doesn’t mind if the Russians involve themselves again to try to enhance his prospects for reelection?”
The very fact that Brennan cannot bring himself to address Trump as the president of the United States speaks volumes about how he feels – and about how he obviously felt during the 2016 election campaign. More disturbing, however, is the fact that a former CIA director routinely indulges in paranoid hypotheticals. This says a lot about how that agency was run during the Obama years.
Deep State A Law Unto Itself
Real liberals have always been concerned with the prospect of the federal government exerting unchecked power. There are extremely few true liberals in the ranks of the modern American political left, though. Former government officials like McCabe and Brennan prove, with every statement they make, that a “deep state,” which considers itself above both the law and the will of the American people, does indeed exist and does not tolerate interference from outsiders such as Donald Trump.
These deep state officials are aided and abetted by their lapdogs in the legacy media. That may be because the latter fear how much information the former has on them or it may be more of a symbiotic relationship, where the establishment media preserves its deep state sources by not rocking the boat.
A clear example of this was the recent suggestion by CNN’s crime and justice reporter, Shimon Prokupecz, that the CIA should be above scrutiny and, by extension, above the law. Speaking of the DOJ’s inquiries into CIA involvement in the Russia collusion hoax, Prokupecz said, “It’s troubling because it’s not … you don’t do this. The CIA kind of operates in their own world.”
The CIA is immune to oversight and foreign powers can influence U.S. elections so long as they funnel information through private American firms. This is the mentality of President Trump’s opponents. Since Trump’s inauguration, the narrative has been that anything is permissible until it benefits the president, at which point it becomes a crime.
The very idea of a “deep state” would evoke cynical laughter in the past. Nevertheless, it is alive and well, and few serious political observers would now deny it. Only through prosecutions and prison sentences will it be rolled back. Will such measures finally be taken? We have yet to see, but the next 18 months or so will reveal whether political leaders have the will to fight it. We will also find out whether the Department of Justice is merely a part of the deep state, or willing to apply the oft-repeated mantra that no one is above the law.
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