Turning over rocks to see what crawls out is a lot of fun. You could ask any little boy. But when little boys become big boys and go off to Washington, the temptation to turn over rocks is greater than ever. “Fun” quickly becomes something heart-stopping and jaw-dropping. Seriously ugly creatures thrive under the rocks in Washington.
“Anecdotally, at least,” former agents of the FBI tell National Public Radio, they have had to answer family, friends and even strangers who ask one question: “What is going on with the FBI?”
Everyone else wants to know, too. All at once it’s the question heard all over town.
What’s going on is that serious allegations have been raised that senior executives of the FBI were involved in conversations, before the 2016 election, about what to do about Donald Trump if, as seemed unlikely but possible, he defeated Hillary Clinton and became the president of the United States. An FBI informant informed Congress that several of these executives — the informant called it “a secret society” — continued to hold secret meetings “off-site” after the election.
This would have been just as incredulity, consternation and disbelief had begun to turn to anger and desperation among Democrats, certain establishment Republicans and the major organs of the mainstream media — the big newspapers and the television networks — that could not imagine Donald Trump as president, and they set out to cripple his administration any way they could. Undoing a national election had never been attempted before, but somebody had to make the old college try.
Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, the Republican chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Administration, in a television interview Tuesday called evidence of the secret meetings “corruption at the highest level of the FBI.” Speculation that a scandal “too big to believe” was about to emerge has been growing in Washington for weeks. Now something seems about to pop.
The speculation was fed by the revelation by the senator of email texts between an FBI agent and his mistress describing the meetings of the purported “secret society.” The FBI agent, Peter Strzok, the deputy director of counterintelligence during the agency’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s missing emails, was removed by Robert Mueller from his Russian collusion investigation, so called, for suspected bias against President Trump.
Indeed, some might call it bias. In one exchange with his mistress, Lisa Page, a staff lawyer with the FBI, Mr. Strzok referred to the president as “a douche” and an “utter idiot,” and said earnestly that Mrs. Clinton “just has to win.” He continued: “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office, that there’s no way [Donald Trump can be] elected, but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk.” There was no clear indication of the identity of “Andy,” but there are suggestions that it was Andrew McCabe, the deputy director of the FBI.
This has all the marks of the Washington scandal. The usual suspects are lining up as if in assigned roles, ready for their close-ups. The pooh-poohers of the big media are scoffing that “Republicans are trying to impose a partisan, Trump-loyalist litmus test on America’s top law-enforcement agency.” The battle wagons of The Resistance are circling the FBI to try to keep damage to a minimum.
Thousands of Strzok-Page emails have disappeared, as if consigned to the briny deep of the sea of forgetfulness, recalling the thousands of emails that went missing from Hillary Clinton’s secret server, and before that, there was the infamous 18 -minute gap in one of the incriminating Nixon tapes. Alexander Haig ascribed that gap as the work of “a sinister force,” and perhaps the sinister force was at work again to erase the Strzok-Page emails. Sen. Johnson says Congress must keep digging. The scandal is growing legs.
Outrage is growing on the right. Mr. Strzok’s texts to his lady love, says Joe DiGenova, the Washington lawyer, former U.S. attorney in Washington and student of machinations of the Justice machinery, tells Tucker Carlson of Fox News that the Strzok-Page exchanges suggest there was a plot to exonerate Hillary Clinton and if that didn’t work, to frame Donald Trump with a falsely created crime.
“Members of the ‘secret society’ no doubt continue to still talk to one another,” he says. “We are at a point now where the FBI has lost all credibility and its integrity.” Others are calling for another special counsel. He or she could investigate Mr. Mueller and friends while he investigates Donald Trump. This should be an interesting summer.