'Republicans & Dems are ripping themselves apart amid Russiagate distraction'
If there's no evidence Russia interfered in 2016 US election, then the FBI was not protecting the Trump campaign from interference but spying on the campaign in order to hurt it, independent journalist Joe Lauria told RT.
Donald Trump has ordered an investigation into his own investigators.
The Department of Justice's Inspector General will look into whether the FBI's 2016 probe into alleged Russia collusion was legal.
"The Department has asked the Inspector General to expand the ongoing review of the FISA application process to include determining whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election," spokeswoman for the Justice Department, Sarah Isgur Flores, said in a statement.
RT: How many political investigations is too many?
Joe Lauria: They are all politicized, it seems. And the two parties are ripping themselves apart. For people who disagree with both parties in one way, it is almost enjoyable to see them destroying each other. On the other hand, for the good of running a country, this is not a good thing to see. There is the Senate investigation, intelligence investigation, that is still going on. The House wrapped up theirs. Then there is the FBI investigating, and now there is the Inspector General saying that he would go ahead and investigate this new allegation that the FBI put an informant in there maybe at a sting operation. And there is the Mueller investigation as well.
So, there are about five going on. But I think this latest one of the Inspector General is quite interesting because we have discovered that the FBI had an informant that was talking to two members of the Trump campaign. And the same informant, his name is Stefan Halper, he worked in 1980 for the CIA and infiltrated the President Carter's campaign and spied on the campaign for the Reagan campaign, Carter was the president at the time. So, the opposition party, that of power, sent a spy into the political party in charge, the Democrats, to get dirt on President Carter that helped the Reagan campaign and they won. And that came out only a few years after that.
One of the things they did was steal a briefing book of President Carter before the debate. So, that same man 30 years later, now 73 years old has been the FBI's informant in the Trump campaign. We know from other text messages, that have been released, that there were very high-level members at the FBI who did not want Trump to become president and talked about getting an insurance policy against him.
They said they also had some very nasty things to say about. I am talking about Peter Strzok who was one of the heads of counterintelligence. These were the guys directing at that time this FBI investigation which James Comey, the former FBI director, said only began at the end of July 2017 and we now know Stefan Halper was already helping the two members of the campaign – George Papadopoulos and Carter Page - that this began at the beginning of July 2017.
They want truth about when they started to investigate and in the end of the day this all depends on whether there is any evidence that Russia had some nefarious effect on the 2016 election. Because if there is no evidence that Russia interfered in this election, then the FBI was not protecting the campaign in the US from interference by a foreign power as you have been hearing.
In fact, they were spying to try to hurt Trump's campaign, because people at high levels of FBI didn't want Trump to be elected. And I am not a supporter of either party but I do not want to see intelligence operatives inserting the cells in the political process. That is not what is supposed to happen in the US. And this is what we are perhaps seeing right now… People at the National Security Agency say that "administrations come and go, but we are always here."
So, all the intelligence agencies are always there with enormous power and governments come and go as they are elected. And we are hoping this is not a revelation that the FBI was trying to undermine the Trump campaign the way the same man undermined the Carter campaign in 1980 to the benefit of Ronald Reagan.
RT: Is this a new norm, where political conflicts are settled through legal means?
JL: It is becoming the norm here right now in the current situation that we are in. These political disputes should be, of course, decided by the voters, by the people of the country. Both campaigns should lay out honestly what they think they are going to do and the people decide…But what we are seeing now is quite a mess from the 2016 campaign…
We saw it going back to 2000 - George W. Bush against Al Gore - that it was not decided by the voters but the Supreme Court, ultimately. And there were lawyers, there was a legal process that decided who the president was. Because they couldn't get their act together in Florida and count the votes properly. Al Gore didn't demand an entire state-wide recount and there was enormous and vicious legal fights over that, obviously, because so much was at stake – who was going to be in the White House.
Now we are seeing more and more legal battles. And the decision by the people to elect Trump which upset a lot of other people is being challenged in a sense because the Russian government has been somehow blamed for putting Trump in the White House and we have not seen almost three years later any real strong evidence to support that.
But we are seeing evidence now, and the Republicans are fighting back, that maybe the FBI was trying to influence, in fact, the elections instead of the Russians. This is where we are at right now. And yes, it is a legal battle. It has nothing to do with the political process, i.e., elections.
RT: What does that say about the state of the US politics at this moment?
JL: We have another election coming up. And the Democrats are trying very hard to win back the House of Representatives. They have been using these Russiagate allegations as a way to try and get support - but it is not working. Polls show that Americans don't care about this issue. They care about healthcare, they care about jobs, they care about maintaining, not losing or getting back a middle-class lifestyle that so many people are falling out of. They are not interested in these kinds of legal battles.
This is two elite groups fighting one another in this kind of legal war and that has nothing to do really with the American people. It is a great distraction actually from the issues that are important to the American people. But it is consuming the White House, it is now consuming the FBI, it is consuming the Democratic Party… There is enormous tension between the both sides… The things are pretty ugly right now between the sides and I think it is going to get worse.
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