Andrew McCarthy, a former U.S. District Attorney, highlights the division of our country into two realities with the headline of a recent column: “Grassley-Graham Memo Affirms Nunes Memo — Media Yawns.” To those of us in McCarthy’s reality (that is, real reality), the known information is enough to start challenging the wisdom of certain assumptions. Here’s his admission:
I spent many months assuring people that nothing like this could ever happen — that the FBI and Justice Department would not countenance the provision to the FISA court of uncorroborated allegations of heinous misconduct. When Trump enthusiasts accused them of rigging the process, I countered that they probably had not even used the Steele dossier. If the Justice Department had used it in writing a FISA warrant application, I insisted that the FBI would independently verify any important facts presented to the court, make any disclosures that ought in fairness be made so the judge could evaluate the credibility of the sources, and compellingly demonstrate probable cause before alleging that an American was a foreign agent.
I was wrong.
That sort of admission is no easy thing. One needn’t be a dyed-in-the-wool Never Trumper to want to be able to place the FBI’s integrity as a more-reliable bulwark than the credibility of Donald Trump and his multiple unsavory associates. Even people who believe sincerely and wholeheartedly that even the most-unsavory people deserve due process could up to now disbelieve that agents in the FBI and Justice Department would have been this boldly corrupt.
For a telling display, on this count, give a listen to Jonah Goldberg’s rant at the beginning of his recent podcast with Megan McArdle (before McArdle was on the microphone). Goldberg, whom many list prominently among conservative Never Trumpers, becomes audibly angry that evidence of this corruption is mounting to the point of being a useful point of leverage for President Trump if his goal is to discredit the investigation of his alleged “collusion.”
Sure, the malfeasance of government officials under the aegis of President Obama can be a separate matter from whether President Trump’s campaign cooperated inappropriately with Russia, but Goldberg goes much too far attempting to insulate the former from evidence of the latter. Moreover, for some values of the variables on each side, corruption of State and the FBI under Obama can be much, much worse even than actual “collusion.”
At some point, one would have to acknowledge that what the government agents did (Dare we call them the “deep state”?) was so out-of-bounds that the need to acknowledge and condemn it has transcended the point at which one can say “of course I acknowledge and condemn that, but Trump…”. Many of us who reluctantly voted for President Trump did so because we suspected the rot was this bad and would be made worse under Hillary Clinton if she’d made it over the finish line. Those who remain skeptical should ask themselves what level of government corruption would outweigh their dislike of Trump.