THEIR VIEW: This isn't real oversight

Published on Friday, 25 May 2018 18:47
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If Republicans are trying to uncover serious FBI misconduct, they aren’t acting like it. Instead, every move President Donald Trump and his lackeys in Congress have made lately suggests they are constructing, at the expense of the reputation and effectiveness of federal law enforcement, a slanted, a-factual narrative to discredit any negative stories that might emerge from the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller III.

The latest is a Thursday meeting Trump arranged between top Justice Department officials and two Republican members of Congress to review highly sensitive department materials relating to the beginnings of the Russia investigation, materials that the department has strongly resisted sharing with lawmakers. One of those members, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, Calif., has already proved himself willing to abuse his office to help the president. Democrats have been excluded from the meeting, even though they want a seat at the table.

Passing secret information to pro-Trump spinners in a session closed to anyone unsympathetic to the president is not legitimate congressional oversight. There is no reason to exclude Democrats if Republicans intend to be honest.

It should go without saying - but apparently does not - that the conspiracy theory is absurd. If the FBI’s goal had been to undermine Trump’s campaign, why would the Justice Department have sat on the information it had about that campaign’s ties to Russia, even as then-FBI Director James Comey publicly lambasted Hillary Clinton for poor judgment on her private email server?

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that the “Criminal Deep State” is “caught in a major SPY scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before!”

The most natural inference from such rhetoric is that it is intended to hide guilt on the part of the president or his senior staff. But some combination of incompetence and malevolence is also a possible explanation. The only way to know is to allow Mueller to complete his investigation.

The Washington Post

Posted in New Britain Herald, Editorials on Friday, 25 May 2018 18:47. Updated: Friday, 25 May 2018 18:49.