Courtesy of WaPo:
“Spygate” made its debut on Wednesday morning during Trump’s “executive time,” the period during which he watches “Fox and Friends” before starting his official day. The term is a shorthand meant to refer to a scandal that Trump has insisted is potentially the worst in American history, easily eclipsing Watergate.
SPYGATE could be one of the biggest political scandals in history!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2018
Not to damp his enthusiasm or anything, it’s also a scandal for which there’s no public evidence.
Trump’s claim is that the FBI put a “spy” in his campaign at the behest of Barack Obama’s White House as part of an effort to undercut his candidacy by alleging collusion with the Russians. It’s hard to square that claim with 1) Trump’s repeated insistence that the Russia investigation began only after he won as an excuse for the Democrats’ loss, and 2) the fact that America only learned about the investigation into Russian collusion after voting had already occurred. If Obama and the Democrats put a spy in his campaign to undercut his chances, they made a small strategic error by not mentioning anything publicly before votes were cast. But that’s the claim because internal consistency is not a requirement for any conspiracy theory, much less this one.
As it stands, the evidence that there was a “spy” — or multiple “spies” — within his campaign is as follows:
- A professor based in Britain reached out to Trump campaign advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page before the election, apparently to evaluate any connections they might have had to Russian actors. The professor also had coffee once with senior adviser Sam Clovis, during which they discussed China.
- A former adviser, fired in the middle of the campaign, is telling people that he knows of another spy, but hasn’t offered any evidence to that effect.
- A “lot of people” are saying there were spies in the campaign, per Trump.
Actually, the only “evidence” for this conspiracy theory comes from Trump himself and Fox News which serves to amplify his groundless claims.
Clapper has now admitted that there was Spying in my campaign. Large dollars were paid to the Spy, far beyond normal. Starting to look like one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history. SPYGATE – a terrible thing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2018
(This is demonstrably untrue by the way.)
Even Trump’s own newly appointed Secretary of State was not willing to support this conspiracy theory.
Courtesy of Politico:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that he does not believe there are “deep state” forces at work at the State Department or CIA, despite President Donald Trump’s claims of government employees conspiring against him.
Trump wrote on Twitter Wednesday, “Look how things have turned around on the Criminal Deep State,” a reference to the reports that a federal informant had contacted the Trump campaign in 2016, which the president and his allies have characterized as the FBI spying on him in its investigation of Russian interference in the election.
“I haven’t seen the comments from the president,” Pompeo said during a hearing on Capitol Hill. “I don’t believe there’s a deep state at the State Department.”
However there is a method to Trump’s madness, and he let the cat out of the bag to one of his associates:
Trump told one ally this week that he wanted “to brand” the informant a “spy,” believing the more nefarious term would resonate more in the media and with the public.
These are the tactics of a frightened criminal who is willing to burn everything down in the desperate hope of escaping justice.
But do you know what? With the help of Fox News and some sycophantic Republicans on the hill, Trump will manage to spread this bullshit like a fine fertilizer to nurture and grow even more outlandish conspiracies that the can then throw at the Mueller probe in the hopes of derailing it or at least slowing it down.
Update: I am just going to stick this at the bottom of this post as a reminder of just what Trump is so terrified will be discovered about his presidency.
If Clapper is correct that Donald Trump is only in office because Russia put him there, the Trump Russia investigation isn’t just a matter of crime and punishment. It’s not a typical Washington scandal. It is a critical nexus between the rule of law and national sovereignty. pic.twitter.com/3PuJ5UpaMm
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) May 24, 2018
His presidency is illegitimate and he is panic stricken that it will become common knowledge.