That is his most unpardonable scandal in the media's eyes.
In his impromptu interview on Wednesday, President Trump put his finger on one of the fallacies underpinning the Russian investigation: that his “fighting back” against what amounts to an impeachment drive disguised as a probe constitutes obstruction of justice. Trump’s refusal to provide the rope for his own hanging is treated by the ruling class as the greatest scandal in the story. Hence, this week’s “outrage” is not that senior officials at the FBI harbored animus against Trump but that he had the gall to notice it.
Out came the ruling class’s mandarins to chastise Trump for allegedly asking once-acting FBI director Andrew McCabe his party affiliation — all while the same media outlets withheld from viewers the damning texts of McCabe’s subordinates. Anyone who has read those texts — which make references to an “insurance policy” against Trump and the possibility of “investigation leading to impeachment” — would understand Trump’s curiosity. If he didn’t treat McCabe as above politics, well, that’s because McCabe wasn’t above politics.
Even under less politicized circumstances the media’s pieties about an impeccably neutral and independent FBI would be tedious. But in today’s feverishly anti-Trump climate, they are simply absurd. Moreover, the premise underlying these sham pieties is baldly undemocratic and would deny the chief executive the power to control the executive branch. All the high-sounding babble about a transcendent FBI is an attempt to separate Trump from his own constitutional powers. The texts between Peter Strzok and his colleague-mistress Lisa Page speak to the dangers of that FBI mythology; it engendered in them an astonishing degree of entitlement and self-indulgence. They spent their days spinning grand plans of “fixing” the people’s mistake.
The two still work at the FBI, which the media takes in stride. CNN’s legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, upon reading the texts, said, “So what?” Sensing that it is losing the game, the media responds by moving the goalposts back. To the extent that it even covered the Strzok-Page tweets, it did so as part of a smear against “paranoid” Republicans — a rich charge coming from a media that has spent over a year and a half swallowing the conspiracy theory of Trump-Russian collusion whole.
In the media’s reckoning , the scandal is always the conservative complaint, not the misbehavior that occasions it. One can only laugh at the “experts” trotted out to knock down the charges of bias at the FBI, such as Philip Mudd, a friend of Mueller’s who worked at the CIA and FBI, whose very unhinged punditry on CNN confirms the bias he is denying. With bulging eyes, a reddening face, and his obsessive anti-Trump gibbering, Mudd is hardly a poster boy for apolitical intelligence agencies. He is, if anything, a prototype of the deep state that Trump is battling. MSNBC brought out David Ignatius to pooh-pooh allegations of misbehavior at intelligence agencies. Never mind that he is a conduit for politically-motivated leaks from them.
Oh, the “secret society” to which Strzok-Page referred is just a joke, insists the media. Maybe so, but all jokes contain an element of truth. Was Evelyn Farkas joking when she bragged about all the deep staters leaking anti-Trump material to the press? Back then, during the hysterical days of the Trump transition, figures like Farkas wanted everyone to know they belonged to the resistance. Senator Ron Johnson says a whistleblower has informed his committee that anti-Trump officials held off-site meetings. Given all the leaking from the FBI before and after Trump’s victory, clearly designed to embarrass and subvert him, that claim is completely plausible.
The media can mock Johnson, Congressmen Gowdy, Nunes and others, but it is the media’s own lack of oversight that looks clownish. The media, which is supposed to be in the information business, spends most of its time trying to suppress information, and shills for stonewalling government agencies that do the same. It was the Benghazi investigation, which the media tried to short-circuit, that kicked loose Hillary’s private e-mail server, which produced many distant and ironic ramifications, the most recent of which is the exposure of Strzok’s texts.
The media only likes Republicans when they are passive and self-defeating. They are supposed to stand still while journalists smear them, dictate their policies, and determine their defenses, if any. What the media and the deep state can’t abide in Trump is his unwillingness to substitute their judgment for his. At the root of all the frenzied coverage is the ruling class’s arrogant pining for its lost privileges. They long for a past in which Republican presidents didn’t fight back.
Jeffrey Toobin (YouTube screenshot)