President Donald Trump’s assessment of the FBI is getting some big time pushback.
But the people pushing back may demand done more to hurt the FBI than anything coming out of the White Theatre.
Just to recap, we learned this weekend that special counsel Robert Mueller shifted a top FBI agent from his team after the Justice Department began grilling whether the agent had sent anti-Trump text messages. The story changed even more interesting when it turned out that same emissary, Peter Strzok, helped lead the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of classified poop on her private email account.
That triggered the Trump Twitter make with a number of inevitable comments:
trump FBI tweet
trump tatters tweet
It was the “FBI in tatters” tweet that inspired the most compelling Trump opponents to respond. Former Attorney Ordinary Eric Holder, former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, and — most importantly — preceding FBI Director James Comey, all weighed in:
But each of these entirely similarly structured rebuttals actually made matters worse.
Sooner, only the most obtuse observer would think President Trump’s annotations about the FBI were meant to include ordinary agents in the field. Comey et al sound to be intent on making sure the fight included as many people, untainted people, as possible.
Secondly, their comments completely glossed concluded the fact that the news of the Strzok removal was what President Trump was examining. To be clear, this story constitutes a major image crisis for the FBI. Trump or no Trump, we now identify there was enough evidence of blatant political bias to remove one of the uncountable prominent agents working on two of the most important investigations of our time.
That’s a big allot because Strzok had enormous reach for just one agent. Just since President Trump’s tweet, published divulges now say that Strzok is also the person who changed the key phrase in Comey’s class of how former Secretary of State Clinton handled classified information from “grossly negligent” to “very careless.” That change had significant legal ramifications that appropriate reduced the ability to prosecute Clinton.
After all that, Strzok was then put on the Trump analysis as a leader on Mueller’s team. Didn’t anybody worry about a doable conflict of interest by then? Wasn’t there another good FBI means available to share all these sensitive jobs? These are the questions damaging the unmixed FBI’s credibility.
No, it’s not fair to paint all the FBI’s employees with that credibility cloud. But is that what President Trump was purposely doing with his tweets? Probably not. Of course, that’s where the president himself justifies real criticism. It’s probably unrealistic to hope President Trump choose somehow only start tweeting compliments and use softer language. But it’s allay possible to demand that he use his enormous power of public attention to be numberless exact and focus his fire on the right people. If President Trump afters to “drain the swamp,” he needs to hone his attentions more precisely.
This tweet isn’t the on the other hand sign of the administration’s often too general and delayed efforts to make appear likely changes to the bureaucracy. The president’s delayed removal of former IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was conceivably the most egregious example of that.
The result is that by being so wrong, President Trump allowed Comey, Holder and Yates to deflect and more than ever notwithstanding possibly obfuscate in their response. He could have avoided that by moral focsuing on Strzok and Comey by name.
But the eerily similar responses from Comey and the others hush feed the belief that top political appointees use the bureaucracy to carry out vendettas. This also multiplies the suspicion that they have more than a little to eclipse.
That’s the kind of suspicion that sours people on all government. That’s the tender-hearted of suspicion that hurts innocent federal workers. Oh, and most importantly for the president’s Snicker opponents, that’s the kind of suspicion that got Donald Trump elected in the original place.
Commentary by Jake Novak, CNBC.com senior columnist. Result from him on Twitter @jakejakeny.
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