National Review Senior Editor David French Gets Owned on his Trump Hating Drivel
Guest post by pro-Trump attorney Techno Fog:
On Tuesday National Review senior writer David French published his latest screed attacking President Donald Trump.
“The FBI’s Counterintelligence Investigation of Trump Was Prudent and Proper”
Here’s a question posed by David French in a January 15, 2019 article available at National Review:
“What should the FBI do when it possesses information that causes trained counterintelligence officials to fear that the president of the United States is – either knowingly or unknowingly – falling under the influence of a hostile foreign power?”
He states the answer is found in Executive Order 12333, which he says “helps us understand why the FBI” thought it had the “authority and responsibility to allegedly open a counterintelligence investigation of the president.” This leads him to conclude that the FBI’s investigation of President Trump after Comey’s firing was proper and prudent.
French gives the wrong answer because his question starts with the wrong premise. Executive Order 12333 grants authority, draws boundaries, and defines duties and responsibilities on how investigations may take place.
The real starting point is whether the FBI possessed “information” that caused trained counterintelligence officials to fear that President Trump was falling under Russia’s influence. Before getting to the “information” supporting French’s premise, one should ask what French does with evidence. Look no further than his continued support for the Iraq war. Where does that evidence lead French? Or… where does French lead that evidence? Hundreds of thousands dead and trillions spent aren’t enough to change his mind.
Back to Russia. French provides the following to support his theory that a reasonable counterintelligence professional would be concerned about the Russian influence over Trump. His bullet points, my rebuttals.
· Trump’s sharing of classified information with Russia.
Innuendo without substance. Of course, Trump has every right as President to release or share classified information, even with adversaries. French doesn’t tell the reader what the classified information was because it undercut’s French position. Per Washington Post and New York Times reporting, the intelligence related to an apparent ISIS plot to use laptop computers against civilian aircraft. It’s a given that Russia and the US share intelligence on Islamic threats. Both sides have exchanged valuable information in the past. Trump’s disclosure was a continuation of that beneficial relationship. (The leak of the discussion is what should raise alarms.)
· Trump firing Comey and bragging to the Russians that “he did it because of the Russia investigation.”
Wrong. The New York Times article on the meeting quotes Trump as telling a Russia official: “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.” Don’t forget that in Trump’s interview with Lester Holt after Comey’s firing, Trump admitted that Comey’s firing would lengthen the investigation. He rightfully thought that Comey was the “wrong man for that position.”
· The campaign’s meeting to get Russian dirt on Hillary.
A perfectly legal meeting that involved no quid pro quo and provided no “dirt.” The ‘right’ to collect evidence isn’t limited to law enforcement. Opening investigations into campaigns for doing campaign things is a dangerous, politically-motivated abuse of power.
· A Moscow licensing project (Trump World Tower Moscow) that French calls “an extraordinarily lucrative business deal,” where Trump’s lawyer and “’fixer’ was in contact with a representative of the Putin regime.”
From a review a CNN report on the Moscow deal, it appears that the licensing deal would have been consistent with other Trump projects. It would not have been “extraordinarily lucrative” by Trump’s standards. Moreover, as reported by Forbes Magazine in March of 2017, “Trump’s international hotel licensing and management business only makes up $220 million of his estimated $3.5 billion fortune.” All perfectly legal, and French’s insinuation that the deal was so extraordinarily lucrative that the attempt to reach an agreement on Trump World Tower Moscow should be investigated by counterintelligence officials is a joke.
· Trump’s hiring of Paul Manafort, and Manafort’s sharing of polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, who is alleged to have ties to Russian intelligence.
Manafort had been on the radar of US counterintelligence since 2014. Surveillance stopped sometime in 2016 because nothing was there – before it was supposedly restarted after the Fusion GPS-linked Trump Tower meeting. How about that. Also, Manafort’s EDVA trial revealed that he had cooperated with officials regarding Russia/Ukraine in previous years.
· “Russian operatives” reaching out to George Papadopoulos “with an offer of sharing ‘dirt’ on Hillary in the form of ‘thousands of emails.’”
Did that really happen? Compare that statement with the Special Counsel’s Papadopoulos sentencing memorandum, which states “The Professor told the defendant that the Russians had ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.” The Professor is Joseph Mifsud, who has ties to Stefan Halper and is more likely to be a Western asset (UK intelligence) than a “Russian operative.”
· Michael Flynn being paid “tens of thousands of dollars by Kremlin-backed interests.”
French is hiding something. He doesn’t acknowledge that this was done with the knowledge of US intelligence and ignores reports that Flynn (1) attended a “defensive” briefing prior to the Russia Today event; and (2) Flynn briefed intelligence officials on what he learned during his Russia trip.
· Roger Stone’s “substantial efforts to communicate with Wikileaks.”
The communications with Wikileaks would have been known prior to Comey’s firing. This provides zero justification for opening the alleged new investigation. (The counterintelligence investigation started with lower level campaign officials was all about Trump, make no mistake. This writer theorizes that the FBI opened a new line of inquiry into the already-existing investigation, perhaps by taking a stronger line in targeting Trump than they previously had done.)
There you have it. For French, all this is sufficient to target a sitting President with a counterintelligence investigation. Even if it crumbles under examination.
He closes by writing “The FBI wasn’t abusing its power.” This deference is undeserved, considering the motives of the officials, the lies to the FISA court (GOP/Trump platform, allegations that “the Russian Government’s efforts are being coordinated with [Carter] Page”), the violation of FISA protocols, the use of paid political operatives as assets, etc.
Think on that for a moment. Maybe the question French should ask is whether the counterintelligence investigation is a continuation of that misconduct.