This is one development President Donald Trump’s supporters will need to remember come November — and the mainstream news media and Democrats are hoping the country forgets.
With the tidal wave of coronavirus news reports swamping pretty much every other development in the news these days — and understandably so — it’s easy for even major news items to vanish beneath the surface of American political life.
But this one is one that can’t be swept away.
As Fox News reported, the Justice Department Inspector General reported Tuesday that the FBI’s failure to follow its own supposedly rigorous process for obtaining a secret warrant to investigate the Trump presidential campaign is part of a pattern of almost criminal carelessness in the nation’s premier law enforcement agency.
According to the IG’s report, the office reviewed 29 of about 700 FBI requests for warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act between 2014 and 2019.
The audit showed every single one had problems with documentation, errors, or — most damningly — “inadequately supported facts,” according to the report.
The #FBI’s bungling of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications runs far deeper than the well-known problems with the bureau’s surveillance of the Trump campaign according to a newly-released inspector general’s audit. #TWTFrontPagehttps://t.co/IZKSCbi3ll
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) April 1, 2020
In a masterpiece of bureaucratic understatement, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote that the documented “deficiency in the FBI’s efforts to support the factual statements in FISA applications … undermines the FBI’s ability to achieve its ‘scrupulously accurate’ standard for FISA applications.”
That’s pretty dry language for describing what amounts to a corruption — intentional or otherwise — of the secret court system set up to protect Americans from being spied on by their own government.
Republicans on Capitol Hill were more colorful.
In a Twitter post, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote that the audit shows the FBI’s problem with its FISA applications go far beyond the warrants it received to investigate Trump campaign aide Carter Page – warrants that turned out to be shaky at best.
“We r learning FBI flubs on Carter Page spying case r just tip of iceberg,” Grassley wrote. “IG audited 29 other spying applications on Americans+found problems w EVERY ONE OF THEM! Constitutional rights r at stake when FBI fails 2justify use of spying tools Reforms needed 2protect civil liberties.”
We r learning FBI flubs on Carter Page spying case r just tip of iceberg IG audited 29 other spying applications on Americans+found problems w EVERY ONE OF THEM! Constitutional rights r at stake when FBI fails 2justify use of spying tools Reforms needed 2protect civil liberties
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) March 31, 2020
Naturally, Grassley got a lot of criticism from liberals demanding how he could be focusing like a little thing like the FBI abusing its powers to spy on American citizens when the nation is facing a health crisis.
And the #Resistance Democrats and mainstream media would nothing like more than for the country to get so distracted by the coronavirus crisis that its voters forget how Trump opponents in the Justice Department, FBI and major media institutions spent three years investigating the Trump administration based on slanted, incomplete or outright false information.
But the reality is that the United States is a nation of more than 300 million people with a constitutional form of government more than 230 years old. It’s been through world wars and changed the face of the globe and a Civil War that nearly ripped the country apart. The coronavirus crisis — as serious as it is — is going to pass.
What the country looks like moving forward is going to depend a lot on how a supposedly self-governing people react to the kind of governmental behavior documented in the Horowitz report.
In the Senate, South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has announced he wants Horowitz to appear for hearings on the new report, according to National Review.
That will doubtless revive questions in Horowitz’s previous report that found multiple, glaring problems with how the FBI handled the Page investigation — the subject of Horowitz’s previous appearance before Graham’s committee (which did not go well for the FBI).
Republican Jim Jordan of Ohio, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, officially asked Democratic Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York to schedule hearings on the matter as well. Considering Nadler’s chief interest in his office is attempting to remove Trump from the White House, it’s a fair bet that isn’t going to happen during the 116th Congress.
With Congress barely able to muster its members last week to pass the massive $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, legislative business such as Judiciary Committee hearings is going to be on hold for the foreseeable future.
But even if the coronavirus flood hasn’t peaked yet, it’s inevitable that it’s going to recede at some point.
When it does, Republicans, Trump supporters and all American voters are going to need to remember exactly what was happening in their government before COVID-19 cases wiped out every other consideration.
Democrats and the liberals in the media who spent years assuring the country that the FBI’s reputation is unassailable, that the FISA court system was a rock-solid guarantor of American liberty against police-state abuse, are going to have a lot to answer for.
And no American should forget it.
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