Former Top Lawyer at the FBI Fed Up With Trump and Barr Conspiracy Theories
After the release of the Mueller report the more conspiratorial minded members of the right-wing, egged on by Attorney General William Barr, concocted theories to suggest that the FBI "spied" on the Trump campaign for some nefarious purposes. Trump's Department of Justice debunked this theory last year.
Newsweek: "...After Trump tweeted last year about "Spygate," which alleged the FBI planted a spy in his 2016 presidential campaign, DOJ investigated. They found nothing to support Trump's claims of an FBI spy or inappropriate behavior, according to a joint statement from the bipartisan group of lawmakers known as the "Gang of 8" that attended a classified DOJ and FBI briefing...."
Like all good conspiracy theories, however, this one has survived because it represents a world view, an underlying set of assumptions about the Federal government. Trump supporters want to believe it because it would support their "deep state" narrative of a cabal of government officials acting to undermine the President.
In a speech hosted by the Brookings Institution in Washington yesterday, Jim Baker, the former FBI general counsel, attacked what he called the, "BS that is said about the origins of the (Russia) investigation." It was not started as a vehicle to "spy" on Trump and was not predicated on the "Steele dossier." It was part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
CNN: "Refuting a debunked theory peddled by Trump and his Republican allies, Baker said that the investigation began in July 2016 because of a tip that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos had inside information about Russian meddling. Trump has asserted, without any evidence, that the investigation started based on a dossier compiled by a former British spy."
"The Papadopoulos information is what triggered us going down this path," Baker said. "... It would have been a dereliction of our duty not to investigate this information."
So, in other words, what Trump and Barr call "spying", others would call "investigating", and with regard to Russian interference in the election and their contacts with Trump campaign officials, there was plenty of investigating to do.
Bakers comments yesterday corroborate those of others at the FBI who were involved in the Russia probe.
CNN: "In effect, the highest ranks of the FBI during the Russia investigation have now all publicly rebuked Trump's comments about the probe. This includes Baker and [FBI Director James} Comey, who excoriated Trump at a CNN town hall on Thursday night, calling him a "chronic liar" and "immoral" leader."
Baker's comments are unlikely to change many minds among Trump supporters, however. This particular conspiracy theory is the linchpin to their belief that shadowy figures in the federal government have conspired to prevent Trump from "draining the swamp" or some such nonsense.
Youtube has the Baker interview at Brookings here: