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Miles from the Mainstream
D. R. ZUKERMAN, proprietor

*********** Did Domestic Politics Lead to Russiagate?

January 5, 2018 --

Politico, December 20, reported a secret effort by House Republicans "to build a case that senior leaders of the Justice Department and FBI improperly -- and perhaps criminally -- mishandled the contents of a dossier that describes alleged ties between President Donald Trump and Russia...." Letters that are in the public record, from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley to James Comey, then FBI director, and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, suggest that there is nothing really secret about what congressional Republicans are trying to do -- if only the media would pay attention to this public record. Among other things, the letters, in part, ask for information concerning possible political conflicts of interest that should have prompted Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe to recuse himself from investigating the Hillary Clinton email matter.

The Grassley letters to the FBI director, and, more recently to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, express concern that the FBI was not impartial in handling the Clinton and Trump investigations during the 2016 presidential concern -- and, indeed, seem to suggest that the bureau was working to defeat candidate Trump The first Grassley letter, to director Comey, is dated March 6, 2017, and was prompted by a Washington Post report that the FBI agreed to pay former British spy Christopher Steele for his anti-Trump dossier. The most recent letter LPR has seen, dated June 28, 2017, is from Chairman Grasssley to Mr. Rosenstein, concerning Deputy Director McCabe and the FBI's failure to be responsive to the chairman's inquiries.

The following is taken from a long paragraph in Grassley's June 28, 2017 letter to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein:

"First, the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General is examining [the] failure [of Acting Director Andrew McCabe] to recuse himself from the Clinton investigation due to his political relationship with [Virginia Gov. Terry] McAuliffe. Second, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is investigating allegations that he violated the Hatch Act by engaging in political campaign activities. Third, he is also reportedly the subject of pending Equal Employment Opportunity (EE0) complaint by a female FBI agent for sex discrimination, who alleges she was targeted for retaliation because of her complaint. According to new press reports, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn provided a letter for support for the complainant in that case which raises serious questions about why Mr. McCabe also faield to recuse himself from investigations involving Mr. Flynn...."

The New York Times, in a December 24 story reporting that McCabe plans to retire soon, called McCabe " an unlikely lightning rod who has been repeatedly attacked by President Trump and congressional Republicans," but did not mention that he has been investigated for conflicts of interest. In view of the ties of McCabe and his wife to Gov. McAuliffe, LPR wonders if the "unlikely " in "unlikely lightning rod" is an attempt at...fake news.

In his March 28, 2017 letter to FBI Director Comey, Chairnman Grassley wrote, in part, that the Judiciary Committee "requires information to determine: (1) the extent whch which FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has been involved in the FBI's investigation of President Trump's associates and Russia; (2) whether that involvement raises the appearance of a conflict of interest in light of his wife's ties with Clinton associates; and (3) whether Mr. McCabe has been or should be recused from the investigation." This letter indicated the chairman's concern that politics was at the root of the FBI's probe of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Chairman Grassley, in an April 28, 2017 letter to Comey, sought information on any payment made by the FBI to Christopher Steele, the former British spy who gathered the material in the anti-Trump dossier that remains uncorroborated. The Grassley letters, through June 28, indicate frustration with the FBI's refusal to provide the requested information.

Of course, more recent reports have revealed significant anti-Trump bias at upper levels of the FBI and the Justice Department. Rasmussen reported a poll, December 18, that 48 percent of respondents believe senior FBI and Justice officials broke the law in an effort to defeat Mr. Trump's presidential bid. Forty-one percent disagree. The longer the Mueller probe drags on, the more impatient the public will get -- to be derided by elites for its "deplorable" approach to politics.

LPR has a hunch that the House Republicans cited in the Politico report are reviewing documents to determine if, in fact, the real meddling in the 22016 presidential election originated from domestic sources intent on making sure Donald J. Trump did not get elected president.

After all, the now infamous texts between FBI agent Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, reported in The New York Times December 24, to have been "close to Mr. McCabe," are evidence of a strong anti-Trump mindset.

Did McCabe and others at the FBI and Department of Justice share that mindset? Please note: Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein has been vigorous in defending special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. LPR is not aware that Rosenstein's defense of Mueller extends to McCabe, as well.