Washed, Bleached, and Rinsed
The FBI brass must have needed hazmat suits to scrub DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on agency misconduct around the 2016 elections. The result of their mighty exertions is something like 500 pages of pasteurized tofu. I will be surprised if a new scandal does not erupt over exactly how the scrubbing went down, and I wouldn’t count out the possibility of the original unscrubbed report emerging from deep inside the FBI itself. You have to wonder how embarrassed Mr. Horowitz is, and whether he, or others seeking to defend his integrity, might do anything about it.
In any case, the report managed to whitewash or evade altogether the most troubling angles of the FBI’s role around this garbage barge of institutional roguery.
Among unanswered questions: just what were Bill Clinton and then Attorney General Loretta Lynch up to in their mysterious airport tête-à-tête July 2016, a few days before then FBI Director James Comey let Mr. Clinton’s wife, a presidential candidate, off the hook on the email server issue? How did Deputy FBI Director Andy McCabe consort with Clinton campaign bag-man and then Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe in a way that dropped nearly $700,000 into Mrs. McCabe’s own campaign war chest for a state legislative race? How did the wife of FBI higher-up Bruce Ohr get on the payroll of the Fusion GPS company that brokered the nefarious Christopher Steele “dossier?” How did the FBI conceal the Clinton campaign’s payments for the Steele dossier from judges who ruled on FISA warrants against Trump campaign associates?
Instead, the OIG report focused on the now-shopworn “love-bird” emails between FBI counter-espionage chief Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, finding only a vague “biased state of mind,” but nothing tied to any particular actions taken by them, despite overt declarations of intent by Strzok to “stop” Trump, presumably by using the powers of the FBI. Former FBI Director Comey got off with the equivalent of a wrist-slap on vague allegations of “insubordination” — to whom? What did insubordination have to do with Comey granting immunity to many Clinton campaign factotums before Mrs. Clinton was interviewed by the agency (not under oath, by the way, for reasons never advanced nor discussed in mainstream media).
If this is the end of all these matters then the FBI will remain permanently tarnished and the public interest will have been very poorly served by a tractable Inspector General who is sure to be a national joke in the months ahead — the pooch screwed by his own pack. The USA really can’t take a whole lot more institutional failure without irreparable political damage. Americans will become only more distrustful of our reckless leviathan state, and more inclined to disrespect it.
Meanwhile, the Mueller probe slogs on — a likely set-up from the get-go by the same cast of characters and their political allies, who set it in motion as a vengeful ruse against their own nefarious election meddling. They may easily find misdeeds in Donald Trump’s lifetime of sketchy real estate finaglings and associations, especially with mob interests that rule the New York City construction scene, and they have means to shift all that to the US attorney there, but after two years, the Russia collusion story itself looks like a figment.
Also meanwhile, more dangerous forces are loose on the international finance scene now, with the European Union twisting slowly slowly in the wind over a gale of unraveling bad debt. The situation will infect the global system, including this country, and the nation’s attention will shift to the cascading repercussions soon enough.