Elder Patriot – Andrew C. McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor with the SDNY. He’s most famous for having led the 1995 prosecution against Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman and eleven others following the first World Trade Center bombing.
Having cultivated his legal instincts inside the Department of Justice, McCarthy has frustratingly been willing to give every benefit of the doubt to the Spygate conspirators within the DOJ and FBI as evidence continued to mount.
It appears that is no longer the case. His last few articles, following the questionable single charge brought against Julian Assange, the centerpiece of the Russian hacking narrative, reveal a firm belief that something was indeed rotten within the broader intelligence community.
President Trump called attention to McCarthy’s latest article with a late morning tweet:
A must read, Andy McCarthy’s column today, “Dirty dealings of dirt devils who concocted Trump-Russia probe.” The greatest Scam in political history. If the Mainstream Media were honest, which they are not, this story would be bigger and more important than Watergate. Someday!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 16, 2019
McCarthy’s entire column can be accessed by clicking on the headline below:
By Andrew C. McCarthy April 15, 2019 |
What follows are some of his important conclusions:
There is no doubt that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign. As Barr made clear, the real question is: What predicated the spying? Was there a valid reason for it, strong enough to overcome our norm against political spying? Or was it done rashly? Was a politically motivated decision made to use highly intrusive investigative tactics when a more measured response would have sufficed, such as a “defensive briefing” that would have warned the Trump campaign of possible Russian infiltration?
The fact that spying had occurred was too clear for credible denial. The retort, then, was misdirection: There had been no spying on Donald Trump or his campaign; just on a few potential bad actors in the campaign’s orbit.
It was nonsense then, and it is nonsense now.
The FBI was spying, and it was doing so in an investigation of the Trump campaign. That is why, for over two years, Washington has been entranced by the specter of “Trump collusion with Russia” — not Page or Papadopoulos collusion with Russia. Comey went to extraordinary lengths to tell the world that the FBI was not merely zeroing in on individuals of varying ranks in the campaign; the main question was whether the Trump campaign itself — the entity — had “coordinated” in Russia’s espionage operation.
It is easy to understand why Obama officials needed to discuss withholding information from Trump. They knew that the Trump campaign — not just some individuals tangentially connected to the campaign — was the subject of an ongoing FBI counterintelligence probe. An informant had been run at campaign officials. The FISA surveillance of Page was underway — in fact, right before Trump’s inauguration, the Obama administration obtained a new court warrant for 90 more days of spying.
In each Page surveillance warrant application, after describing Russia’s espionage operations, the Justice Department told the court, “The FBI believes that the Russian Government’s efforts are being coordinated with Candidate #1’s campaign[.]” Candidate #1 was Donald Trump — now, the president-elect.
The fact that the Trump campaign was under investigation for collaborating with Russia was not just withheld from the incoming president; it had been withheld from the congressional “Gang of Eight.”
McCarthy recounts the fact that FBI Director Comey had assured President Trump that he was not the target of the investigation but that doesn’t square with the public narrative leaks coming from sources close to the FBI were fueling.
Note that Comey did not refer to “potential coordination” between, say, Carter Page or Paul Manafort and Russia. The director was unambiguous: The FBI was investigating “potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.”
Perspicaciously, Comey’s unidentified adviser connected the dots: (a) because the FBI’s investigation focused on the campaign, and (b) since the campaign was Trump’s campaign, it was necessarily true that (c) Trump’s own conduct was under FBI scrutiny.
That brings us to a final point. Congressional investigations have established that the Obama Justice Department and the FBI used the Steele dossier to obtain FISA court warrants against Page.
It is a major investigative step to seek surveillance warrants from the FISA court. Unlike using an informant (a human spy), for which no court authorization is necessary, applications for FISA surveillance require approvals at the highest levels of the Justice Department and the FBI. After going through that elaborate process, the Obama Justice Department and the FBI presented to the court the dossier’s allegations that the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russia to undermine the 2016 election.
The Obama administration decided that this norm did not apply to the Trump campaign. If all the Obama administration had been trying to do was check out a few bad apples with suspicious Russia ties, the FBI could easily have alerted any of a number of Trump campaign officials with solid national-security credentials — Rudy Giuliani, Jeff Sessions, Chris Christie. The agents could have asked for the campaign’s help. Instead, Obama officials made the Trump campaign the subject of a counterintelligence investigation.
That only makes sense if the Obama administration’s premise was that Donald Trump himself was a Russian agent.