Democrats howled in protest when Richard Nixon absolved himself of wrongdoing in the Watergate scandal by saying, “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” But today’s Democrats, caught out in a political dirty trick far greater than Watergate, adopt the same arrogant posture. Spying isn’t spying if Democrats do it, they have implicitly said in response to the investigation by Department of Justice special counsel John Durham. He is establishing that it was the Obama administration and the Hillary Clinton campaign, not the Trump campaign and Putin, that colluded during the 2016 election.
It is laughable to hear all the villains in this saga — from Hillary Clinton to John Brennan to Christopher Steele — prattle on about the purity of democracy after they assaulted it so egregiously in 2016. The Obama administration’s investigation into Trump-Russia collusion was a dirty trick from beginning to end. Its genesis traces to John Brennan, a virulent anti-Trump partisan who had no business running the CIA. He turned it into something approaching a branch office of Hillary’s campaign. It is no wonder, as Durham tells us in a recent legal filing, that one of her lawyers felt comfortable pitching anti-Trump propaganda to CIA officials.
The FBI liaison to Brennan was Peter Strzok, the agent who infamously told his mistress that he was going to “stop” Trump. That Brennan and Strzok spearheaded the investigation into Trump-Russia collusion tells you all you need to know about its partisan origins. They would later solemnly spin their partisan fishing expedition as a “counterintelligence probe” into foreign interference in the election. Former FBI director James Comey even tried to spin it as an investigation into the campaign, not Trump — an obviously bogus explanation given that he never tipped Trump off to his alleged fears.
Even at this late date, the media, to the extent that it acknowledges the Durham investigation, still casts the Obama administration’s blatant spying on the Trump campaign as proper and dutiful. The chutzpah of it all is breathtaking. Reporters continue to treat Trump as the villain, not the victim, in the story. Never mind that Durham’s findings show the spying on Trump to be even more extensive than anyone realized.
Now we know why the denials of spying on Trump Tower were so lawyerly. Both the Obama administration and Hillary’s dirt-diggers targeted it for surveillance. Comey, who never directly denied Trump’s complaint, was able to intercept communications at Trump Tower through FISA warrants based on nothing more than Hillary’s campaign smears.
Walter Duranty, the New York Times correspondent famous for his defense of Stalin, won prizes for overlooking the transgressions of Russian leaders. His successors at the Times win prizes for making them up. Putin did not compromise Trump or his campaign, yet the reporters who peddled that line now have the gall to snort at Durham’s “narrative.” Their pathetic quibbles only make sense if you accept the double standard and Trump derangement syndrome driving them: that spying isn’t spying if done against a Republican the ruling class has deemed odious.
The Obama administration sent a “confidential informant” into Trump’s campaign — Stefan Halper, a Cambridge professor, who befriended Trump campaign volunteers to pump them for information — yet reporters refuse to call that “infiltration.” Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot — if a Republican administration paid an ostensible Democrat to hang out with members of a Democratic presidential campaign for the purpose of nailing them. And imagine further that that infiltrator came up with nothing but the Republican administration unleashed FISA warrants on one of his targets anyways. That’s what the Obama administration did to Carter Page. Halper’s secret courting of Page didn’t turn up anything incriminating. But instead of shutting the operation down, the Obama administration increased the spying on him. Comey got a warrant against Page that even fudged his status as a former CIA asset.
If a Republican administration behaved like this and did so at the prodding of Republican opposition researchers, the media would never stop talking about it. Reporters strain at Republican gnats and swallow Democratic camels. Reporters have spent the last year tearing their hair out over “threats to democracy,” even as they buried the growing evidence of Hillary’s election meddling. To hide their journalistic malpractice, they now have to defame Durham as a paranoid right-winger in hock to the Republicans. (READ MORE: John Durham’s Explosive Motion)
But if anything, it appears that Durham has been too restrained in his investigation. It looks like many of the principals in this travesty, John Brennan and Peter Strzok chief among them, will go unpunished. They have all failed upward, getting television gigs and book contracts, perches from which they get to comment on the very scandal they stoked. Jake Sullivan, who told lies about Russia for Hillary in 2016, is now Biden’s national security adviser. And then there is the domineering Biden aide Susan Rice, who summed up perfectly the double standard that has sanitized all the 2016 political mischief. She called the spying “by the book.”