Democrat attempts to obstruct the investigation of the FBI have failed

Fred Barnes:
Democrats have tried to block the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of the FBI and its probe of the Trump presidential campaign. They have failed. And the Senate Judiciary Committee is investigating the actions of the FBI on its own.

Democrats made a fatal mistake. In their eagerness to quash scrutiny of the FBI, they embraced a dossier of unverified claims about President Trump put together by British ex-spy Christopher Steele. It blew up in their laps—and in the FBI’s even more so—after it was used improperly to justify the wiretap of a minor Trump adviser, Carter Page. It was a partisan document, having been financed by Democrats.

The dossier was heavily relied on in the FBI’s wiretap application. Only a part of that application has been released publicly, the rest redacted. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House committee, has asked the Justice Department to unmask the redacted sections, or at least two dozen specific pages.

There are bigger questions that the full application cannot answer. Yet these are on the minds of Nunes and other Republicans on both committees. Who in the Obama administration authorized the request for the wiretap during the final months of the 2016 campaign? (It was approved on October 21.) Which officials were involved? How did they intend to use the material they might obtain? What laws might have been violated?

At a committee meeting on March 17, 2017, ranking Democrat Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), cited the dossier as if it were unquestionably true. He described Steele as “a former British intelligence officer who is reportedly held in high regard by U.S intelligence.”

Steele’s tales about Page were from Russian sources who had not been vetted. In other words, the items had not been checked out, which a thorough investigation would have required. “Steele has not been in Russia since his cover as a British spy was blown nearly 20 years ago,” according to Andy McCarthy of National Review. The FBI later cut its ties with Steele for leaking information to reporters. Nonetheless, Democrats treated him as Mr. Reliable.

“The Trump campaign,” Schiff said, “is offered documents damaging to Hillary Clinton, which the Russians would publish through an outlet that gives them deniability, like WikiLeaks. The hacked documents would be in exchange for a Trump administration policy that de-emphasizes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and instead focuses on criticizing NATO countries for not paying their fair share.”

Once it turned its focus on the FBI, the Nunes committee was a target for Democrats and the media. The Senate Intelligence Committee and other Republicans were less interested in the FBI wiretap. So until the Senate Judiciary Committee jumped in, Nunes was alone. And the Judiciary Committee’s conclusions were often ignored by the media when they were much like the House committee’s.

For instance, last winter when Nunes put out a memo that said the wiretap application had depended on the Steele dossier, he was pilloried. The Judiciary Committee agreed, but it got the cold shoulder. It was cost-free to attack Nunes. It was risky to clash with Judiciary chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), both political big boys.

It takes strenuous effort for a dissenting idea—like clashing with the FBI—to get traction. With Grassley and Graham on the same side as Nunes, the task got easier—three leaders rather than one. Ideas fade without leaders. Graham has been especially valuable. He’s an engaging figure who’s taken seriously by reporters and never hides from the press.

Nor can an idea emerge in a press blackout. That came close to happening. Next to Trump, Nunes is probably the most disliked Republican in Washington by the elite media and their hangers-on. While the mainstreamers echoed each other, there were five journalists who broke with the accepted narrative.
The Democrats and the mainstream media were determined to help each other in a coup attempt against teh President and the FBI-DOJ was the main vehicle for that coup attempt.  They all hate Nunes because he exposed the emptiness at the heart of the plot as well as the corruption within the FBI which was doing the bidding of the Clinton campaign.   There is still some stonewalling going on that needs to be beaten back.  The coup plotters are hoping to bury their plot if the Democrats win in 2018.


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