It's "bigger than Watergate," but it's not this administration that's in trouble; it's the previous one.
Here's the big story at WaPo, "'Bigger than Watergate': Trump joins push by allies to expose role of an FBI source."
And also, from yesterday at NYT, "A Secret Mission, a Code Name and Anxiety: Inside the Early Days of the F.B.I.'s Trump Investigation." (Also at Memeorandum.)
Still more, from Mollie Hemingway, at the Federalist, "10 Key Takeaways From the New York Times’ Error-Ridden Defense of FBI Spying on Trump Campaign." Still more, at NRO, "Spinning a Crossfire Hurricane: The Times on the FBI’s Trump Investigation."
And most of all, see Kim Strassel, at WSJ, "Was Trump’s Campaign ‘Set Up’?":
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes appeared on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday, where he provided a potentially explosive hint at what’s driving his demand to see documents related to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Trump-Russia probe. “If the campaign was somehow set up,” he told the hosts, “I think that would be a problem.”Keep reading.
Or an understatement. Mr. Nunes is still getting stiff-armed by the Justice Department over his subpoena, but this week his efforts did force the stunning admission that the FBI had indeed spied on the Trump campaign. This came in the form of a Thursday New York Times apologia in which government “officials” acknowledged that the bureau had used “at least one” human “informant” to spy on both Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. The Times slipped this mind-bending fact into the middle of an otherwise glowing profile of the noble bureau—and dismissed it as no big deal.
But there’s more to be revealed here, and Mr. Nunes’s “set up” comment points in a certain direction. Getting to the conclusion requires thinking more broadly about events beyond the FBI’s actions.
Think of the 2016 Trump-Russia narrative as two parallel strands—one politics, one law enforcement. The political side involves the actions of Fusion GPS, the Hillary Clinton campaign and Obama officials—all of whom were focused on destroying Donald Trump. The law-enforcement strand involves the FBI—and what methods and evidence it used in its Trump investigation. At some point these strands intersected—and one crucial question is how early that happened...
1. So a few important points on that new NYT "Hurricane Crossfire" piece. A story that, BTW, all of us following this knew had to be coming. This is DOJ/FBI leakers' attempt to get in front of the facts Nunes is forcing out, to make it not sound so bad. Don't buy it. It's bad.— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 17, 2018
2. Biggest takeaway: Govt "sources" admit that, indeed, the Obama DOJ and FBI spied on the Trump campaign. Spied. (Tho NYT kindly calls spy an "informant.") NYT slips in confirmation far down in story, and makes it out like it isn't a big deal. It is a very big deal.— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 17, 2018
3. In self-serving desire to get a sympathetic story about its actions, DOJ/FBI leakers are willing to provide yet more details about that "top secret" source (namely, that spying was aimed at Page/Papadopoulos)--making all more likely/certain source will be outed. That's on them— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 17, 2018
4. DOJ/FBI (and its leakers) have shredded what little credibility they have in claiming they cannot comply with subpoena. They are willing to provide details to friendly media, but not Congress? Willing to risk very source they claim to need to protect?— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 17, 2018
5. Back in Dec., NYT assured us it was the Papadopoulos-Downer convo that inspired FBI to launch official counterintelligence operation on July 31, 2016. Which was convenient, since it diminished the role of the dossier. However . . .— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 17, 2018
6. Now NYT tells us FBI didn't debrief downer until August 2nd. And Nunes says no "official intelligence" from allies was delivered to FBI about that convo prior to July 31. So how did FBI get Downer details? (Political actors?) And what really did inspire the CI investigation?— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 17, 2018
7. As for whether to believe line that FBI operated soberly/carefully/judiciously in 2016, a main source for this judgment is, um . . .uh . . . Sally Yates. Who was in middle of it all. A bit like asking Putin to reassure that Russia didn't meddle in our election.— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 17, 2018
8. On that, if u r wondering who narrated this story, note paragraphs that assure everybody that hardly anybody in DOJ knew about probe. Oh, and Comey also was given few details. Nobody knew nothin'! (Cuz when u require whole story saying u behaved, it means u know you didn't.)— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) May 17, 2018