On Monday, the Inspector General’s office within the Department of Justice released its long-awaited report on the origins of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election – a report that broadly rejected President Donald Trump’s conspiracy theory that the whole thing was a “deep state” conspiracy to keep him from office.
The counterintelligence investigation was properly launched and without any signs of political bias or agenda, concluded the report. While there were errors made throughout the process, they were innocent – and devoid of any broader political biases or coordinated effort to “get” Trump.
So it shouldn’t be terribly controversial that in the wake of the report’s release that FBI Director Chris Wray supported its main conclusions.
“The inspector general did not find political bias or improper motivations impacting the opening of the investigation or the decision to use certain investigative tools during the investigation,” said Wray – adding that there was no evidence of political bias in the seeking of a FISA warrant to wiretap the phone of then-Trump campaign official Carter Page.
Except that this is Trump we are dealing with – a man who has never cared terribly much about the facts, especially when they don’t comport with his own views.
Which brings us to this tweet that Trump sent on Tuesday morning:
“I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me. With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!”
So, because Wray affirmed the findings of a report prepared by Trump’s own administration, he is attacked by the President by name and told that “With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI.”
Happy Tuesday, Chris Wray!
You’ll remember and, if not, I’ll remind you, that Wray was put into his job by Trump. This is no holdover from the last administration. And yet, simply because Wray affirmed the basic findings of the IG report, suddenly he is Trump’s enemy.
This is how Trump operates, of course. People who disagree with him – even for perfectly valid reasons like, you know, facts – have been cast as insufficiently loyal or, worse, part of some broad group of so-called “deep state” that he believes has long aimed to undermine his presidency.
Wray is the latest but not the first member of the Justice Department to get crosswise with Trump. The President fired then-FBI Director James Comey in the spring of 2017 and jettisoned Jeff Sessions as attorney general the day after the 2018 midterms. He also dumped deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe in March 2018 just days before McCabe was set to retire.
All of these men were, in Trump’s mind, part of the problem. They weren’t on his side at all times, which had to mean – because of the way the President sees the world – that they were loyal to someone or something else.
But consider this: If people with long and distinguished careers are dismissed for stating known facts, then we are in a very, very dark place indeed.