Rantt Rundown: Dismantling Donald Trump’s Narrative About The FBI Informant
Day 488 of the Trump presidency
President Trump, in coordination with House Republicans, has concocted numerous schemes to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation – which he is a subject of. There was last year’s White House-engineered “unmasking” scandal fueled by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA). There was this year’s dubious memo alleging FISA warrant abuses against Trump Campaign Adviser Carter Page (who was suspected of being a Russian agent), pushed by none other than Devin Nunes. And there was the scandal surrounding the anti-Trump text messages from the FBI’s Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, a charge also led by Devin Nunes and other Republicans. All of these ended up being hot air, but nevertheless, they persisted.
Now, we have this claim:
Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president. It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a “hot” Fake News story. If true – all time biggest political scandal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2018
Which led to this abuse of power:
I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018
The President of the United States just demanded the Justice Department investigate his political opponents in an effort to undermine the Justice Department’s Russia investigation–a probe he is a subject of
Trump backs his autocratic rhetoric with actionhttps://t.co/ODaFtMNsbf
— Rantt Media (@RanttMedia) May 20, 2018
Trump’s narrative that this campaign was “infiltrated” for “political purposes” is quite the inflammatory claim and one that he has no evidence of. But that did not stop him from intervening in the Justice Department’s investigation that he is a subject of. Not only did he make this demand, which Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein then referred to the DOJ’s Inspector General, Trump met with Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. In that meeting, President Trump got these officials to agree to share classified information with Republican lawmakers about this informant. The name has been published elsewhere, but Rantt Media has decided not to participate in the doxing of a U.S. Intelligence source.
This all comes as House Republicans call for a second special counsel to investigate the FBI.
If you only listen to President Trump and the GOP propaganda machine, then you’d think the FBI literally embedded someone into the Trump campaign as part of a deep state conspiracy to take down a presidency that hadn’t even begun and looked unlikely at the time. Like almost everything this President says, the known facts don’t agree.
What has been reported is that this FBI informant met with at least three Trump campaign advisers who the FBI believed were having contacts with Russian nationals. This was during the counterintelligence phase of the investigation and is typical in an operation of this nature.
Former FBI counterintelligence agent Asha Rangappa explains how the informant was not spying on the Trump campaign, but, as part of the counterintelligence operation, may have been trying to protect the campaign.
But Trump and his backers are wrong about what it means that the FBI reportedly was using a confidential source to gather information early in its investigation of possible campaign ties to Russia. The investigation started out as a counterintelligence probe, not a criminal one. And relying on a covert source rather than a more intrusive method of gathering information suggests that the FBI may have been acting cautiously — perhaps too cautiously — to protect the campaign, not undermine it.
I love it when the @nytimes verifies my op-ed theory. The idea that the FBI was trying to “do in” Trump is hogwash. They were being cautious and slow (perhaps too much so, IMO) so as not to draw attention to their investigation. pic.twitter.com/pTmNwqOqBa
— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) May 19, 2018
Just to be clear, the big NYT and WaPo pieces explaining the real story with the FBI informant have reduced the narrative being pushed by Trump, Nunes and their loyal propagandists to a pile of smoking rubble. https://t.co/6wfNUydHrz
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) May 19, 2018
None of the known evidence indicates this was politically motivated. And if it was, wouldn’t the FBI have leaked the fact that the Russia investigation was underway before the election, rather than send a letter relating to the Clinton email probe?
This, like many of Trump’s other baseless efforts to undermine a legitimate investigation, has been allowed far too much oxygen. There isn’t enough universal pushback from the Democrats and many in the media have failed to successfully fact-check and give proper context to Trump’s claims.
For those who need an update, in its first year, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election has already yielded 75 charges filed against 22 people or companies, at least 5 guilty pleas (3 of which came from Trump’s associates), and 1 person sentenced. It’s also discovered other foreign nationals seeking to provide help to the Trump campaign, found evidence of potential criminal wrongdoing which sparked a separate investigation into Trump’s “fixer” Michael Cohen (now being handled by the Southern District of New York), and appears to have compiled a pretty solid case for obstruction of justice. We haven’t even touched on Trump’s potential money laundering and election law violations.
This is 99% accurate.
My quibble is continuing to call it the Russia investigation. This is the Russia, UAE, Ukraine, Saudi, Turkey investigation. This is international corruption on a global scale. Trump’s candidacy was up for sale. The highest bidders are reaping the rewards. https://t.co/K6g5Dm0yE8
— Adam (@aalali44) May 23, 2018
With so much more to uncover, keep your eye on the ball and never take anything you see at face value.
- President Trump hosted South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House and signaled a potential delay in the planned June summit with North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un and backed away from one of his biggest demands. The New York Times reported:
President Trump opened the door on Tuesday to a phased dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, backing away from his demand that the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, completely abandon his arsenal without any reciprocal American concessions.
The president’s hint of flexibility came after North Korea declared last week that it would never agree to unilaterally surrender its weapons, even threatening to cancel the much-anticipated summit meeting between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump scheduled for next month in Singapore.
- The New York Times reported:
A significant business partner of Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer, has agreed to cooperate with the government as a potential witness, a development that could be used as leverage to pressure Mr. Cohen to work with the special counsel examining Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Under the deal reached with the New York attorney general’s office, the partner, Evgeny A. Freidman, a Russian immigrant who is known as the Taxi King, specifically agreed to assist government prosecutors in state or federal investigations, according to a person briefed on the matter.
The broadened scope of Mr. Freidman’s cooperation may prove worrisome not only to Mr. Cohen, who is the target of a continuing federal investigation, but also Mr. Trump.
- The Environmental Protection Agency did something very concerning.
— Chris Megerian (@ChrisMegerian) May 22, 2018
At what point do we start to call this administration a regime? https://t.co/wL6zNUouXu
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) May 22, 2018
- The Daily Beast reported:
At the same time Elliott Broidy was cashing in on his access to President Trump by pitching him on behalf of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, he was also receiving the biggest payouts in the history of his company from the U.S. government.
Monday, the Associated Press reported on the months-long 2017 lobbying effort carried out by Broidy and George Nader that brought the pair close to securing nearly $1 billion in contracts with the Saudis and the Emiratis in exchange for lobbying against their enemy, Qatar. Also during the pair’s lobbying blitz in the fall of 2017, Broidy’s company received its largest payouts to date from the federal government on contracts it had been seeking to secure for years, The Daily Beast has learned.
The company, a Virginia-based security firm called Circinus LLC, is owned by Broidy and has secured at least $800 million in foreign defense contracts since Trump took office. All of those payouts came after Broidy reportedly worked his contacts in D.C.—including Trump—to advocate for positions favorable to the countries that Circinus now lists as clients.
- Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee agreed with the U.S. Intelligence Community’s conclusion that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election with the intention to help elect Donald Trump. Today, the DHS Secretary claimed she wasn’t aware of this conclusion.
Woah —> DHS Sec. Nielsen said she hasn’t seen the Intelligence community report that claims Putin preferred President Donald Trump win the US election over Hillary Clinton.
“I don’t believe I’ve seen that conclusion. I’m not aware of that,” she said on the Hill.
— Marianna Sotomayor (@MariannaNBCNews) May 22, 2018
- NBC News reported:
The Trump administration is moving to reverse Obama-era rules barring hunters on some public lands in Alaska from baiting brown bears with bacon and doughnuts and using spotlights to shoot mother black bears and cubs hibernating in their dens.
- The Supreme Court dealt a blow to worker’s rights. NPR reported:
In a case involving the rights of tens of millions of private sector employees, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, delivered a major blow to workers, ruling for the first time that workers may not band together to challenge violations of federal labor laws.
Writing for the majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch said that the 1925 Federal Arbitration Act trumps the National Labor Relations Act and that employees who sign employment agreements to arbitrate claims must do so on an individual basis — and may not band together to enforce claims of wage and hour violations.
- Stacey Abrams made history.
Breaking News: History in Georgia: Stacey Abrams became the first black woman to be a major party’s nominee for governor after winning her Democratic primary https://t.co/y9jsLwUlcw
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 23, 2018