FBI businessman

‘Astonishing’ Lack of Checks and Balances in FBI’s Russia Probe

US President Donald Trump has, more than once, labelled the FBI’s probe into possible collusion between himself and the Russians as a total ‘witch hunt’.

Now Senator Lindsey Graham, the Republican head of the US Senate judiciary committee, is out to prove the President right.

Graham says he plans to ask the FBI about a report it launched to probe into whether Trump has been working on Russia’s behalf, suggesting the agency may have gone too far.

I am going to ask the FBI director – was there a counterintelligence investigation opened up regarding the president as being a potential agent of the Russians? I find it astonishing,’ Senator Graham said on Fox News.

If this really did happen, congress needs to know about it,’ he added. ‘How could the FBI do that? What kinds of checks and balances are there?

This follows a report by The New York Times on Friday that the FBI opened the counterintelligence investigation in 2017 following the dismissal of ex-FBI director James Comey, on the basis that Trump was a threat to national security.

Mind you, The New York Times is hardly a bastion of Trump support.

At the time of his dismissal, Comey was leading an investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Claim that Trump is threat to national security, ‘ludicrous’

US intelligence agencies have claimed Moscow tried to influence the election in favour of Trump. Russia has denied this and Trump has repeatedly said there was no collusion.

As NYT reported, the counterintelligence probe was instigated in part by growing alarm about Trump’s behaviour, in particular over comments he made hinting that he fired Comey over the Russia investigation, which is now being run by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Trump ripped into the NYT story on Saturday, saying it was ‘the most insulting article I’ve ever had written’.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was Trump’s previous CIA director, also blasted the story, when asked about it on the CBS Face the Nation show:

The notion that President Trump is a threat to American national security is absolutely ludicrous.’

Democratic lawmakers on Sunday said the report provides justification for legislation to protect the Mueller probe.

On Saturday, the Washington Post alleged Trump has made efforts to conceal details about his conversations with Putin.

The paper reported that Trump took notes from his interpreter, instructing him not to discuss the details of his conversation with others.

Perhaps this is because Trump works in environment in which there are few people he can trust?

Indeed, it often seems that the backbone of the Washington apparatus is fundamentally opposed to his tenure as president.

Reuters could not independently verify the Post report.

When he takes the interpreter’s notes and wants to destroy them so no one can see what was said … it raises serious questions about the relationship between this president and Putin,’ the Senate’s No.2 Democrat, Dick Durbin, said on ABC.

Trump later denied he was concealing anything with regards to his meetings with Putin.

Further evidence of Trump derangement syndrome

A few final notes.

Not too long ago, former president Obama was pushing for a ‘reset’ on Russian relations, so it smacks of hypocrisy that they are currently howling at Trump’s actions.

For posterity, a quote from the man himself:

But the larger point that I want to emphasize here is that there is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even rig America’s elections, in part because they’re so decentralized and the numbers of votes involved. There’s no evidence that that has happened in the past, or that there are instances in which that will happen this time. And so I’d advise Mr. Trump to stop whining and go try to make his case to get votes.

How quickly the narrative changes. Russia spent a mere $100,000 on Facebook ads during the election.

To say nothing of the $500,000 that Bill Clinton received for a speech in Moscow…as the NYT has reported previously.

Trump derangement syndrome appears to be in full swing.

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