Is the government shutdown also Vladimir Putin's fault? Following a report released Tuesday by the FBI, we imagine it's only a matter of time before Rachel Maddow and the rest of the left-leaning cable news commentariat come to that conclusion.
In a 72-page-report and press conference, the FBI on Tuesday attacked President Trump for allowing the shutdown (now in its 32nd day) to continue and listed all the ways that break in funding for the DOJ (where the FBI is housed) has impacted its ongoing investigations (though it's worth noting that, according to media reports, the Mueller probe has continued without much of an interruption). Among the functions that have been interrupted: The US attorneys office can't issue grand jury subpoenas, ongoing investigations have been interrupted, agents are struggling to work without pay, and efforts to thwart sex trafficking and anti-gang operations (including investigations into MS-13) have been delayed.
The FBI shared a summary of these gripes in a twitter thread published by the FBI Agents Association. Though agents are still working cases, some agents are struggling to feed their families. All of this culminated with Agents Association President Tom O'Connor calling on lawmakers to pass legislation funding the FBI.
Today at 11:30 am, members of FBIAA's National Executive Board gather for a press conference to discuss the current and lasting impacts of the #GovernmentShutdown on FBI operations and national security. Updates will be shared on this thread. pic.twitter.com/hkmcIX5Jfi— FBI Agents Association (@FBIAgentsAssoc) January 22, 2019
Opening statement from FBIAA President @tfoconnor83: "I want to make one point clear: Agents were working cases yesterday, are working cases today, and will be working cases tomorrow. They are doing so without pay and under increasingly challenging conditions." pic.twitter.com/gpKYVkA8MJ— FBI Agents Association (@FBIAgentsAssoc) January 22, 2019
"Last night I delivered food to our office break room for those in the office who are in need. The FBI family always comes together in times of crisis, but it's truly sad that we must resort to this."— FBI Agents Association (@FBIAgentsAssoc) January 22, 2019
"As we said in our petition to elected leaders warning that the failure to fund the FBI could undermine important work on January 10, this is not about politics for Special Agents. For the FBI, financial security IS national security."— FBI Agents Association (@FBIAgentsAssoc) January 22, 2019
"The failure to fund the FBI undermines essential FBI operations, such as those designated to combat crimes against children, drug and gang crime, and terrorism."— FBI Agents Association (@FBIAgentsAssoc) January 22, 2019
The FBIAA has compiled stories from active FBI Special Agents about the #GovernmentShutdown's impacts on their work in a report titled "Voices from the Field." Below are some excerpts on FBI operations. The full document can be downloaded at https://t.co/X9MwpvFCIq. pic.twitter.com/UKqS586f2V— FBI Agents Association (@FBIAgentsAssoc) January 22, 2019
Regarding the future of the FBI, @tfoconnor83 says, "The failure to fund the FBI is creating long-term problems by making it more difficult to recruit and retain skilled and experienced Special Agents." Below are excerpts from Voices from the Field on this topic. pic.twitter.com/PMOFBqMJXR— FBI Agents Association (@FBIAgentsAssoc) January 22, 2019
"Our leaders must listen to the voices of the men and women who are committed to protecting our country. We ask our leaders to listen to the Voices from the Field. There is no time for delay - fund the FBI now." pic.twitter.com/54ppJ3EsZy— FBI Agents Association (@FBIAgentsAssoc) January 22, 2019
Some of the anecdotes included in the report offered more details about how the shutdown has affected investigations.
"I have been working a long-term MS-13 investigation for over three years," one FBI employee wrote in the report. "We have indicted 23 MS-13 gang members for racketeering, murder in aid of racketeering, extortion, money laundering and weapons offenses. ... Since the shutdown, I have not had a Spanish speaker in the division. We have several Spanish speaking informants. We are only able to communicate using a three-way call with a linguist in another division."
Several agents claimed that, because the FBI currently cannot pay confidential informants, efforts to curb narcotics trafficking have fallen by the wayside because the bureau is "unable to do undercover" or confidential human source operations that require purchases of guns or drugs from dealers on the street.
In other words, Trump is using the shutdown to exact his revenge on the FBI...and he doesn't care whether it hampers investigations into gangs and drug traffickers.
Read the full report here.