Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy argues in a new Fox News Op-Ed that the FBI under James Comey purposely deceived then-President-elect Donald Trump to hide the fact that he was the true target of the Russia probe.
Harvard law school professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz told Fox News on Monday he agreed with this assessment.
McCarthy’s piece was in response to an article in The New York Times on Friday reporting that the FBI had opened an investigation into whether Trump was secretly working on behalf of Russia following firing Comey in May 2017.
“But in truth, the only thing the story shows is that the FBI, after over a year of investigation, simply went overt about something that had been true from the first,” McCarthy argued.
“The investigation commenced during the 2016 campaign by the Obama administration — the Justice Department and the FBI — was always about Donald Trump.”
McCarthy — a 20-year veteran U.S. attorney, who successfully prosecuted the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing — went on to contend the FBI and DOJ tried to cover their tracks after Trump’s surprise win over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by doctoring the files about its counterintelligence investigation to indicate the focus of the inquiry was people ancillary to the campaign, like advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.
“(T)he FBI realized that Trump was soon going to have access to government intelligence files,” McCarthy explained. “If they honestly told the president-elect that they had been investigating his campaign in hope of making a case on him, they had to be concerned that he would shut the investigation down and clean house at the FBI and DOJ.
“So, they misleadingly told him the investigation was about Russia and a few stray people in his campaign, but they assured him he personally was not under investigation.”
The Fox News contributor argued that when Comey briefed Trump about the Steele dossier in January 2017, he reportedly spoke of the salacious aspects of it without telling him that, if it were taken at face value, it would implicate him in possible espionage with the Kremlin concerning the 2016 election.
“The FBI was telling the president-elect that the allegations were salacious and unverified, yet at that very moment they were presenting them to a federal court as information the judges could rely on to authorize spying,” McCarthy noted.
He then contended that Trump’s firing of Comey in May 2017 provided the FBI the entree to reveal the true target of the investigation, the president, for an alleged crime of obstruction of justice.
McCarthy characterizes that DOJ and FBI’s assessment as “rash” because there has been no evidence Trump has taken any steps to interfere with the Russia investigation before firing Comey or since.
He concluded: “Make no mistake, though: The investigation was always about Donald Trump, from Day One.”
Dershowitz told Fox News on Monday he agreed with McCarthy’s view: The investigation was always about the president. He said it was never about former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, or former national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn or Page.
“Judge (T.S.) Ellis said on the record the case against Manafort is not about Manafort,” Dershowitz observed. “It’s an attempt to squeeze him to get him to sing, perhaps to compose against the real target of the investigation, Donald Trump.”
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“Here you have a judge who is conducting the trial making that accusation. You don’t need me and McCarthy to make it,” Dershowitz said.
“It’s self-evidently true,” he added. “All these other people are collateral damage.”
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