An axiom of politics is that scandals are about sex or money. The politician at the center of a scandal got caught with a live boy or a dead girl. The public loves those stories, so it becomes a scandal, even when the politician is from the inner party, as was the case with Bill Clinton. Alternatively, the politician confused his money with public money or someone else’s money and someone blabbed. This is almost always the heart of local political scandals, where political machines run on graft.
It’s something to keep in mind as the years long FBI scandal has apparently entered a new phase during the lock down. The General Flynn cases was surprisingly dismissed, after a document dump by the Department of Justice revealing gross misconduct by the FBI and DOJ. Everyone sort of knew Flynn was setup, as is always the case when people are charged with lying to the FBI, but the extent of the entrapment scheme appears to lead to the inner circle of former President Obama.
Then there is the release of the transcripts of testimony to the House committee investigating the Russian collusion hoax. At the time, everyone in official Washington was required to pretend it was legitimate, so the House brought in over 50 people to answer questions under oath, behind closed doors. Those mostly unredacted transcripts have proven to be revelatory. Everything about the official narrative, according to the sworn testimony of the people involved, was entirely fake.
Probably the most amazing thing in those documents thus far is the fact that all of these people have been able to maintain a complex series of lies. The old adage about three can keep a secret if two are dead does not apply here. It’s not just the people at the core of the story either. Peripheral people, who have plenty of reasons to run to the media and tell their story have maintained a rigid discipline not seen since the heyday of the Italian mafia. Even now, they still refuse to rat out their friends.
That is the part of this that need special emphasis. Why are all of these people risking their freedom to maintain an obvious lie? Take, for example, the story about the Russians hacking the DNC e-mail system and handing the contents to Wikileaks. Just a few months ago they were repeating the claim that they were brought into investigate the crime and found that the Russians had gained access to the server. Yet, they testified under oath that they found no such information.
Putting that aside, the question is what was driving all of this from the start. Sex and money are not the motivators. The other thing that drives political scandal is power, which makes some sense here. The Clinton campaign, like the Nixon campaign in the 1972 election, was not content to just win with their massive advantages. Instead they decided to cheat with help from their friends in the intelligence services and apparently people in the White House. That may be the starting point.
The trouble with that theory is Team Obama really never liked Hillary Clinton all that much and did little to help her campaign. While it is possible that the people in the FBI and CIA were happy to help, it seems unlikely that the White House was going to be enthusiastic for such a caper. The bizarre Susan Rice e-mail to herself regarding the Flynn entrapment scheme suggests the White House really hated Flynn and was willing to do anything to keep him from re-entering government.
Adding to the intrigue is the fact that the DOJ in their filing to dismiss the Flynn case left breadcrumbs leading to that memo. There was plenty of information of general misconduct by the FBI and the DOJ, as well as Flynn’s original defense team, to warrant dropping the case. The government could have done one of those dramatic “to protect the integrity of the system” announcements that would leave open the issue of Flynn’s guilt, but close the issue from further discussion.
One possibility here is the Obama administration had been exploiting a workaround to the limits on domestic spying. By making Flynn the target of an investigation, the FBI could monitor his electronic communications and track his movements. This means they could know who he was meeting with as a member of the Trump team and monitor what he was discussing with them. In other words, the entire fraudulent Flynn case was just a way to spy on the campaign and later the transition team.
This would be the second and possibly third example of this play. It is quite clear that they used the same tactic on Carter Page. They faked up a case for him being an international spymaster, so they could monitor him and everyone in contact with him during the campaign. They may have been working the same angle on George Papadopoulos, the low-level foreign policy adviser. In other words, this may be a pattern of behavior that was standard operating procedure.
This ultimately may be what the Durham investigation is about in the end. A domestic spying system had evolved in which private companies worked with public officials to get around domestic spying limits and put the results to use for the inner party. The FBI and CIA would make raw information of their legitimate surveillance available to private contractors, who would leak it to the press or party members. Those press reports were then used to obtain warrants for wider domestic surveillance.
That could be the power motivator behind this. The reason for the Russian collusion hoax was to cover up the operation from the Trump administration. Team Mueller could threaten anyone making the wrong noises about it and the whole thing would remain hidden from the administration and the public. Still, that does not explain the amazing discipline of the conspirators. At this stage, a private party like Crowdstrike should be looking to cut a deal with the Feds. Yet they are sticking to their story.
One possibility is that there really is something much bigger at the heart of this conspiracy than simple spy games. Maybe the Seth Rich assassination looms larger than anyone realizes. Maybe that secret e-mail system running out of Hillary Clinton’s spare toilet is involved. Maybe it is simply ideological fervor. We know from their private communications that most of these people were fanatics. Their Trump hatred was just one aspect of their zeal to serve the inner party.
Government will always be corrupt, as men are not angels. Whether it is the lust for power or the temptations that come with power, corruption is part of the human condition. A much more serious problem is a government overrun by fanatical ideologues. That may be the heart of this scandal. The long march through the institutions has been followed by a radicalization of the institutions. The inner party now operates like a religious cult, rather than a political operation.
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