Sunday, November 06, 2016

The Candidate of the FBI: One Donald Trump

Several articles have questioned why FBI decided to use the ten days or so before this election to tar the Hillary Clinton campaign with as many brushes as it could find.  Could this be politics?  Or just stern and impartial investigators following the tiniest letter of the law about when to publish new information?

I cannot tell.  But it turns out that last week's giant Clinton scandal has already fizzled to nothing, as Comey's most recent letter about the FBI investigation into Hitlery* demonstrates:

In other words, this new investigation has found nothing new, Hitlery won't be sent to prison or burned as a witch, at least yet.  For that you must wait until the impeachment rounds begin, should she win on Tuesday.

But isn't it delicious to see the FBI again in the J. Edgar Hoover terms?  A state within a state, a sovereign power with its own political goals?   The Guardian writes that the FBI is "Trumpland,"  where many agents openly discuss their desire to have Trump as their boss.  Vanity Fair tells one story about the hilarious happenings inside the FBI:

Throughout her campaign, Hillary Clinton has battled accusations of fostering a “pay for play” culture at the State Department, giving undue access to major Clinton Foundation donors. So far, Republicans have failed to find a smoking gun, but the narrative has served its purpose: tarnishing the public perception of the Democratic nominee and her family’s namesake charity. For this, no one deserves more credit than Peter Schweizer, Breitbart editor-at-large and the author of Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich. The controversial, mostly discredited book has been held up by many as irrefutable proof of wrongdoing, or at least common venality, by the Clintons. It also found plenty of eager readers within the Federal Bureau of Investigation, The Wall Street Journal and New York Times report, galvanizing a number of F.B.I. agents to launch an investigation into the Clinton Foundation, based mostly on assertions made by Schweizer in the book.

Why is that hilarious?  Because the author himself admits that his book doesn't prove any wrongdoing:

The argument is certainly a compelling one. Even Schweizer—whom the Journal reports was interviewed on several occasions by the F.B.I. agents interested in the Clinton Foundation—has conceded that he does not have any “direct evidence” to prove that the Clintons have done anything beyond the pale. During an interview with ABC’s This Week in April 2015, the author said, “The smoking gun is the pattern of behavior,” and when pressed by host George Stephanopoulos, added, “It’s not up to an author to prove the crime.” 

I suffer from this odd naivete which assumes that people who work in, say, the FBI are actually trained in how to investigate evidence.  Then I wake up to news of this sort, and dark humor is the only good response.  But imagine someone launching an investigation just on the say-so of a propaganda book!  I've read enough of those books to know that you have to be very biased not to interrogate the evidence in them.

Then there's this tweet:

 That sentence may be the first one in which I love acronyms!


*  Hitlery is the endearment the Trump people use for Hillary Clinton.  Note that last week's campaign probably did what it was intended to do:  Stop some voters from bothering to vote for H. Clinton.