If just about anyone but Paul Waldman had written this, I wouldn’t give it a second look. He argues that the real conspiraccy within the FBI was to stop Clinton from getting elected.
… a group of FBI agents in the bureauâ€™s New York office seems to have been doing everything it could in the fall of 2016 to make sure Clinton wouldnâ€™t become president. We donâ€™t know their names. We havenâ€™t read their texts. We may eventually learn the full extent of the actions they took, since the inspector general is conducting a separate investigation that involves them. But to this point, it has been something only the most dedicated aficionados of the story of how James B. Comey all but handed Trump the election knew anything about.
Letâ€™s begin with the fact that during 2016, the FBIâ€™s New York office was by numerous accounts the epicenter of an effort to undermine Clinton through leaks to the media and prominent Republicans. AsÂ one reportÂ put it just before the election, â€œDeep antipathy to Hillary Clinton exists within the FBI, multiple bureau sources have told the Guardian, spurring a rapid series of leaks damaging to her campaign just days before the election.â€ As one agent put it, â€œThe FBI is Trumpland.â€ A former Justice Department officialÂ told Vanity FairÂ in 2017, â€œIt was widely understood that there was a faction in [the New York] office that couldnâ€™t stand her and was out to get her.â€
Their efforts became critical when the office, in the course of its investigation of Anthony Weiner, husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin, acquired Weinerâ€™s laptop on Sept. 26, 2016, and found on it thousands of emails to and from Clinton. Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and Trumpâ€™s most slavish water carrier,Â said last week: â€œWe had whistleblowers that came to us in late September of 2016 who talked to us about this laptop sitting up in New York that had additional emails on it. So good F.B.I. agents brought this to our attention.â€ Itâ€™s a bit curious to characterize FBI agents who rushed to tell a Republican congressman about Weinerâ€™s laptop within just a few days of its discovery, and before they had gone through the emails to see whether there was anything problematic about them (which, it turned out, there wasnâ€™t), as â€œwhistleblowers.â€ Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee,Â said yesterdayÂ that Nunes never told him at the time.
At the same time, there were agentsÂ leaking informationÂ about investigations into the Clinton Foundation to none other than Rudy Giuliani, who would then go and air the charges on Fox News. Two days before Comey would tell Congress that the bureau had reopened the investigation into Clintonâ€™s emails â€” a blockbuster announcement that mayÂ well have thrownÂ the election to Trump â€” GiulianiÂ saidÂ on Fox News, â€œI do think that all of these revelations about Hillary Clinton finally are beginning to have an impact. Heâ€™s got a surprise or two that youâ€™re going to hear about in the next two days.â€
Going just by what was plainly visible in public, it certainly seemed that the FBI was giving Trump protections not being extended to Clinton.
Josh Marshall wrote something about this last week. He provides a timeline with details about the Anthony Weiner laptop episode that I did not know. Among othere things, agents in the New York office discovered the emails on the laptop in late September, and soon after contactedÂ Devin Nunes and “other members of Congress” — but, apparently no Democrats — about them. Rudy Giuliani also got a heads up about the emails from FBI agents before the discovery was public.Â Here’s a portion of the timeline:
Giuliani tells Fox News on October 25th: â€œI do think that all of these revelations about Hillary Clinton finally are beginning to have an impact. Heâ€™s got a surprise or two that youâ€™re going to hear about in the next two days.â€ The following day: â€œI mean, Iâ€™m talking about some pretty big surprises.â€
October 28th: James Comey sends letter to Capitol Hill disclosing discovery of Clinton emails â€œthat appear to be pertinent to the investigation.â€
October 31st: Loretta Lynch and Comey discuss letter to Congress and issue of anti-Clinton bias in New York Field Office, a pattern of bias she says â€œhas put us where we are today.â€ According to Lynch, Comey said it had become clear to him â€œthat there is a cadre of senior people in New York who have a deep and visceral hatred of Secretary Clinton. And he said it is, it is deep. Itâ€™s, and he said, he said it was surprising to him or stunning to him â€¦ and it was hard to manage because these were agents that were very, very senior, or had even had timed out and were staying on, and therefore did not really feel under pressure from headquarters or anything to that effect.â€ (IG Report, p. 387)
November 2nd: Rudy Giuliani tells Megyn Kelly: â€œYou have outraged FBI agents that talk to me. They are outraged at the injustice. They are outraged at being turned down by the Justice Department to open a grand jury. They are convinced that Loretta Lynch has corrupted the Justice Department. Youâ€™ve got people in the Justice Department in charge of this investigation who are defense lawyers for Clinton people.â€
And Nate Silver tweeted a couple of days ago:
Seems like those leaky, anti-Clinton NY FBI agents had an awful lot of influence on the media narrative about the various investigations. Especially on stories like this that downplayed Russian influence in the campaign: https://t.co/sQQWEaeKrV https://t.co/E3mb5E7oZ5
â€” Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) June 16, 2018
Almost looks like a conspiracy.