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Trump partisans attack America from within

Dana Milbank on

WASHINGTON -- Thursday was Pearl Harbor Day, the anniversary of one of the deadliest attacks on American soil and perhaps the most unifying day in American history.

This year some of us marked Pearl Harbor Day by attacking America from within.

For five hours on Thursday, President Trump's partisans delivered a reckless and sustained attack on the FBI and the special counsel. They amplified Trump's claim that the FBI's "reputation is in Tatters -- worst in History" and that Robert S. Mueller III's Russia probe, which has already secured guilty pleas from two Trump campaign officials and the indictments of two more, is part of a system that is "rigged," "phony," "dishonest" and using a "double standard."

Shamefully, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee launched an all-out assault on the special counsel and the FBI -- choosing to protect Trump at the cost of Americans' faith in the justice system and the rule of law.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., the chairman, echoed Trump's "tatters" claim and told FBI Director Christopher A. Wray that Mueller's probe and the Clinton email probe have been tainted by "bias."

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said he has a "hunch" that "pro-Clinton, anti-Trump bias" at the FBI was behind a secret "warrant to spy on Americans associated with the Trump campaign."

 

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., called former FBI director James B. Comey an "egomaniac rogue" and speculated that the FBI paid for the "dossier" on Trump's activities in Russia.

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., speculated that anti-Trump bias led the FBI to conclude that Russia interfered in the U.S. election, and he threatened Wray: "I think you're walking into a contempt of Congress."

This is calumny. Mueller is a longtime Republican who was appointed FBI director by George W. Bush. He was named special counsel by Rod J. Rosenstein, also a Republican, who was appointed by Trump himself to be deputy attorney general. Comey, a Republican who served in Bush's Justice Department, made political contributions to John McCain, Mitt Romney and other Republicans. Wray, a Republican who also gave to GOP candidates, was appointed by Trump.

The slander is based on the fact that several of Mueller's underlings made political contributions that went mostly to Democrats, including Clinton; that one member of Mueller's team opposed Trump's first travel ban (which was struck down and withdrawn), and anti-Trump texts between one of Mueller's people (since taken off the case, with the incident under review by the Justice Department inspector general) and his girlfriend.

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