And it was a long time coming.
By Charles P. Pierce – Esquire.
(Optional Video Accompaniment To This Post)
Of all the astonishing things in an astonishing (and increasingly grim) presidential campaign, the sudden involvement of elements of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the act of ratfcking a candidacy is even more amazing than the fact that there is a vulgar talking yam one step away from running almost the entire federal government. There hasn’t been a hotter hot mess in Washington since John Mitchell was running both the Department of Justice and a criminal conspiracy to obstruct same.
On Thursday, for example, thanks to the folks at Think Progress, we discovered that the Feebs are now investigating their own Twitter account.
ThinkProgress has learned that the FBI’s Inspection Division will undertake an investigation of the account. Candice Will, Assistant Director for the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, said she was referring the matter to the FBI’s Inspection Division for an “investigation.” Upon completion of the investigation, the Office of Professional Responsibility will be referred back to the Office of Professional Responsibility for “adjudication.” Federal law and FBI policy prohibit employees from using the power of the department to attempt to influence elections.
Yeah, horses, barns, that whole thing. The important thing to remember is that one portion of the FBI seems to be at war with another portion of the FBI and that almost everybody has a gun.
But, by far, the most astonishing revelation has been that, in launching their probe into the Clinton Foundation, the Feebs in charge relied for source material on Clinton Cash, the meretricious hit job by veteran GOP ratfcker Peter Schweizer, as The New York Times tells us. (Schweizer runs a rightwing chop shop founded by Steve Bannon, the Breitbart slug who’s running the Trump campaign.) Keep the Timesin mind, because it gets better.
In August, around the same time the decision was made to keep the Manafort investigation at a low simmer, the F.B.I. grappled with whether to issue subpoenas in the Clinton Foundation case, which, like the Manafort matter, was in its preliminary stages. The investigation, based in New York, had not developed much evidence and was based mostly on information that had surfaced in news stories and the book “Clinton Cash,” according to several law enforcement officials briefed on the case. The book asserted that foreign entities gave money to former President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, and in return received favors from the State Department when Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state. Mrs. Clinton has adamantly denied those claims.
If that seems a rather anodyne description of the book, it should, because, more than most publications, the Times has a good reason to soft-pedal the impact of Clinton Cash on federal law enforcement. In April of 2015, in an act that both reminded us all of how the Times was Ken Starr’s lapdog regarding the Clintons in the 1990s and presaged the abysmal coverage that followed of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign, the Times—and, alas, Marty Baron’s Washington Post—entered into an unprecedented deal with Schweizer, whose history as an ideological picklock already was well-known.
At the time, we pointed that out to the regulars here in the shebeen, and commented on how that decision was both ethically bizarre and perfectly predictable.
Again, why not just wait until you can order the damn thing on Amazon, rather than climbing under the covers with someone whose CV contains a stint as a hack in the service of Princess Dumbass Of The Northwoods? The answer can be found in the first story that the Times produced under this arrangement.
But Clinton Cash is potentially more unsettling, both because of its focused reporting and because major news organizations including the Times, The Washington Post and Fox News have exclusive agreements with the author to pursue the story lines found in the book.
Got that? The book has credibility because the New York Times cut a deal with the author. Because of this, the author, and his curious resume, are washed in the blood of the Lamb. (It’s God’s own little joke that Judy Miller’s out there shilling for her longform alibi at the same time that her old employers are touting this unique “arrangement.) I will make the Toby Ziegler bet with Carolyn Ryan that her newspaper linked up with this character because her newspaper has had a hard-on for the Clintons from the time it botched the original Whitewater story right up until last Sunday, when its star political columnist went off her meds again.
If you want to find the source point at which the elite political media began mainstreaming dangerous political pollution—which is to say, when the notion of Donald Trump as an actual presidential candidate took shape—you can do worse that pick this particular moment, when the Times decided that we were all just haggling about the price. The pollution has poisoned the election and it appears to have poisoned the FBI into a kind of self-destructive madness.
And there’s less than a week left to find the antidote, assuming anyone really wants to look for one.