“They Were Right To Do It”: Swalwell Praises FBI For Using Campaign Briefing To Investigate Trump [Updated]

440px-Eric_Swalwell_114th_official_photoAs I discussed in a column this weekend, Democratic members have spent years mocking allegations that there was any spying or surveillance of Trump or his campaign by the FBI. That was just a conspiracy theory. Now however there is proof that the FBI used a briefing in August 2016 of then candidate Trump to gather information for “Crossfire Hurricane,” the Russia investigation. It turns out that it did not really matter after all and Rep. Eric Swalwell did not miss a step. He simply declared that such targeting of the opposing party and its leading presidential candidate was the right thing to do. That’s it. A conspiracy theory suddenly becomes a commendable act.

The document, a seven-page summary of Trump’s intelligence briefing, undermines past claims that there was no spying or intelligence operations directed against the campaign or Trump.

Nevertheless, Swalwell told Martha MacCallum on Fox: “I hope they do it if a Democratic candidate ever does that with any country … So, Martha, remember right before this meeting occurred, candidate Trump said, ‘Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you have Hillary’s emails.’ And what do they do? They actually did it. So think about it.”

It is indeed worth thinking about. Most people took Trump’s statement as a taunt of Clinton and the press.  He stated “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens.”

Trump insists it was a joke. That is how many took it but, in fairness, he is later asked by NBC reporter Katy Tur whether he was encouraging a foreign country to hack into emails, he said, “Now, if Russia or China or any other country has those emails, I mean, to be honest with you, I’d love to see them.”  That does not sound quite as jovial and many of us criticized him for such an irresponsible statement.

However, that is not collusion with the Russians or a crime of any kind. Indeed, not only did Robert Mueller and the Inspector General find no evidence of any contact by the campaign with Russian intelligence or officials, but former Deputy Rod Rosenstein stated recently that he would not have approved on the continued investigation if he knew about the false information used as the basis for the investigation. He said he would have stopped the investigation and has called for the continued investigation into the bias shown by various officials who were key to the investigation.

There was a time when, after Mueller found no evidence of such collusion, leaders like House Intelligence Committee Chair Peter Schiff assured the public that he had evidence of such collusion.  Schiff never produced the evidence.  So Swalwell and others are left where we began with the campaign statement of Trump to suggest that the statement alone is a fair basis for an investigation into him and his campaign.  Swalwell even justifies the FBI (in a Democratic Administration) using a campaign briefing to gather information on Trump and his campaign.

Note the FBI did not simply call and demand for answers about Trump’s public comments. It used a briefing for investigative purposes while assuring Trump that the briefing was solely for his benefit. This is a briefing that the FBI strongly encourages candidates to accept in the interests of national security.

Swalwell also added “By the way, he says in the meeting, ‘Joe, are the Russians bad?’ It’s like, yes, the Russians are bad and don’t eat glue. Like, should we even have to tell you that? … He told the country for years, but he was never given this briefing.”

They “don’t eat glue?”  The report states that Trump asked whether Russia or China was presenting a greater threat in intelligence activities in the United States. It describes basic questions of comparison by Trump and his aides. Here is what the document actually said:

Trump asked the following question,”Joe, are the Russians ~se they have more numbers are they worse than the Chinese?” Writer responded by saying both countries are bad. The numbers of IOs present in the U.S. is not an indicator of the severity of the threat. Writer reminded Trump the Chinese asymmetrical presence in the U.S [had to be] considered when making comparisons.

During the ODNI briefs, writer actively listened for topics or questions regarding the Russian Federation . During Mull i gan ‘ s brief, he stated the U. S . i s the world leader in Counterterrorism. Trump then asked,” Russia too? ” During a discussion regarding nuclear testing, Russia and Chi na were brought up as cheating o n the Nu c l ear Test Ban Treaty . Trump asked,”Who ‘ s worse? ” – stated,”They are b oth bad , but Russia is worse .” Trump and Christie turned toward each other and Christie commented ,” Im shocked .”

Back to the main issue, the document shows an agent who was reporting on what was said and observed for Operation Crossfire Hurricane.  As stated in the column, my concern is that there has been reporting on this document but little analysis of its implications. We spent three years of analysis on Russian collusion theories that proved to be based on false information. The media eagerly pursued analysis of possible Russian moles or a Manchurian candidate in our midst. Similarly, there was ample (and in my view justified) analysis of how the Ukraine scandal might have involved the use of government authority for political benefit. Yet, there is no substantive analysis of how the Obama Administration conducted an investigation of the opposing party’s leading candidate. Even with new documents showing that the FBI quickly refuted the claims used to justify the investigation, there is no interest in that story.

To the contrary, Swalwell now insists that it was always a good thing if the Trump campaign was targeted or subjected to intelligence gathering.  Indeed, he wants it to happen again if a candidate makes a statement on the campaign trial that is deemed an invitation to a foreign power. According to Swalwell, an Administration not only can but should investigate the opposing party if it deems public campaign statements to be suspicious. So if a candidate like Bernie Sanders says that he wants to declassify most intelligence and be transparent with the Russians, should the FBI investigate him? What if he calls on Russia to supply leadership and support on domestic political issues or publicly supports figures under sanctions by the current Administration?  After all, Sanders was long criticized for visits to Russia and close associations in the country.  Is that now “the right thing to do” in Swalwell’s world to target such a candidate in an election year?

Swalwell has long been an example of rage overwhelming reason in our current politics. Yet, he embodies the dangerous reckless that is taking hold of our national discourse on both sides. Spinning such stories is now more important than maintaining long-standing bright lines against using national security powers to target opposing parties or candidates.

345 thoughts on ““They Were Right To Do It”: Swalwell Praises FBI For Using Campaign Briefing To Investigate Trump [Updated]”

  1. Professor, as is said. “Many a truth is told in jest.” President Trump’s jokingly seeking the aid of Russia to uncover Hilary’s missing emails was a jest that contained a core truth, i.e., that it would be beneficial to all if the emails were found. However, in the context it which it was delivered, it is clear it was a clever joke, not a nefarious message to the enemy.

    1. Swalwell is consistently disappointing. America has far better to offer than this tireless Schiff sycophant.

  2. An exchange to remember:

    FishWings says:July 26, 2020 at 8:16 PM
    John Lewis will be remembered as a true American hero.

    Reply
    Allan says:July 26, 2020 at 10:04 PM
    That might be true, but his district in Baltimore will be remembered as a pig sty.

    Reply
    FishWings says:July 26, 2020 at 11:30 PM
    Lewis represented Georgia 5th district.

    Reply
    Allan says:July 27, 2020 at 8:56 AM
    I didn’t mention any specific district. Lots of Baltimore is a pigsty. Is the 5th district where you live?

      1. An exchange to remember:

        FishWings says:July 26, 2020 at 8:16 PM
        John Lewis will be remembered as a true American hero.

        Reply
        Allan says:July 26, 2020 at 10:04 PM
        That might be true, but his district in Baltimore will be remembered as a pig sty.

        Reply
        FishWings says:July 26, 2020 at 11:30 PM
        Lewis represented Georgia 5th district.

        Reply
        Allan says:July 27, 2020 at 8:56 AM
        I didn’t mention any specific district. Lots of Baltimore is a pigsty. Is the 5th district where you live?

        ___________

        Yep, this is classic Allan.

        Some people call him Allan-Jethro Bodine, but even Jethro was smarter that Allan.

        1. That is right Anonymous the Stupid and because my brain freeze was pointed out to me I had the abiity to appologize to John Lewis in the same place I mispoke.

          You don’t appologize for anything because you are too Stupid to know when you are acting Stupid. Since you act Stupid almost all the time it would be better for you to keep your mouth closed. However, that would deprive the list of the ability to see what it is like to be forced to live without a brain.

          1. May your spouse be as faithful as trump, your children as honest and moral, and may all of your business partners be as ethical as he is. And, may your future happiness & success be directly proportional to how much Trump truly cares about anyone other than himself, including God, Allan.

            Bless your heart.

            1. Olaf, even though you believe you should have the power to dictate the morality of others, you don’t. I am not concerned with Trump’s domestic life. That is for him and his family. So far despite the many attacks on Trump’s ethics he seems to be at least if not more ethical than many in his position both before and after enterring politics. I have dealt with a number of those issues in prior discussions and Trump walked away clean

              If you had legitimate proof about anything significantly worse about Trump than others you would have mentioned those things. You didn’t which places your own morality in question. My relationships with my family are my business, not yours but for your edification I am married to one woman almost my entire adulthood. No other woman has been in my life. I have children all with advanced degrees and all have been published. Those in their particular fields are very likely to know who they are.

              May you, Olaf, have such a successful marriage along with successful children.

              Let us hear from you, Olaf, the one that makes claims about others forgetting to look in a mirror. As President what significant crimes did Trump commit? Give us a few of the most important, state the crime and your evidnece. If you don’t do that you are just blowing air demonstrating envy and lack of success.

                1. “sensitive”, No. I provided a bit of perspective so that you could look at your own life and perhaps improve it. I was being generous. Maybe whawt I said hit a sore point in your closest relationships so you are projecting.

                  I’ve listened to some of your postings and there isn’t much there.

            2. Not a big a big Trump fan, but If Trump is the standard against which people are measured – The left falls far short.

  3. “Swalwell also added “By the way, he says in the meeting, ‘Joe, are the Russians bad?’ It’s like, yes, the Russians are bad and don’t eat glue. Like, should we even have to tell you that? … He told the country for years, but he was never given this briefing.”

    They (swalwell) “don’t eat glue?” But swalwell wasn’t in the no-briefing briefing and eat the glue. And now look at him trying to SPIN AND SPIN his character as if her were a serious elected official.

    Swalwell, have another helping of glue!

    1. Of all the people in the House and Senate, Swawell is the least intelligent. He only got his position because his District, adjacent to my District, is mostly new immigrants , few of whom even speak English.

  4. “. . . not only did Robert Mueller and the Inspector General find no evidence of any contact by the campaign with Russian intelligence or officials, but former Deputy Rod Rosenstein stated recently that he would not have approved on the continued investigation if he knew about the false information used as the basis for the investigation.

    Ya see swalwell, you were played for a fool. You swallowed it hook, line and sinker. I said you were stupid. But it WAS you who couldn’t see the joke was a plain as the nose on your face. If I voted in your district, I would vote for Mickey Mouse, for much better representation.

  5. “. . .former Deputy Rod Rosenstein stated recently that he would not have approved on the continued investigation if he knew about the false information used as the basis for the investigation. He said he would have stopped the investigation and has called for the continued investigation into the bias shown by various officials who were key to the investigation.”

    Ya see swalwell, you are just as stupid as you appear to be. What a full sized JERK

  6. “Most people took Trump’s statement as a taunt of Clinton and the press. He stated “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens.”
    So swawall, you aren’t the first and you will not be the last to be made a fool of by a taunt.

    It was clear from the beginning, it was just a taunt. And you fell for it. Wow, you really are more stupid than most people think of you.

    1. Whether it was a taunt is not important.

      It was crystal clear it was an after the fact request for emails from the Clinton bathroom email server, NOT the DNC emails.

      That is a legitimate request. And Russia producing one of those emails would convict Clinton of recklessly violating the espionage act.

      1. John, since a SC ruling from the 1940’s, the espionage act requires intent, which is exactly why Comey’s decision to not prosecute that May was solid and near automatic. “Reckless” does not apply.

        1. So the sailor without any intent was jailed because of a photo he sent to his girlfriend of him on his ship should never have been convicted?

          You are full of misinformation to such an extent that if you say almost anything in argument I know it is likely untrue.

        2. “John, since a SC ruling from the 1940’s, the espionage act requires intent, which is exactly why Comey’s decision to not prosecute that May was solid and near automatic. “Reckless” does not apply.”

          FALSE, there are myriads of convictions – usually atleast one a year where ZERO intent is even alleged.

          One recent example was a Navy chief who used a cell phone to take a picture of the state of the Sub nuclear reactor he maintained.
          He was proud of the state of his duty station and he only shared the picture with other navy cheifs with the same security clearance as his.

          Further we were dealing with information that was at the lowest level of classification there is.

          Still he was convicted.

          Please cut the nonsense with vague claims about past SC rulings. You do not know what you are talking about.

          T$his has been self evident from the “collusion delusion”

          I do not honestly beleive the SC ruling you are asserting – actually exists, or if it does that it says what you claim.

          That would fly in the face of centuries of actual law.

          We have myriads of crimes that require recklessness not intent. Drunk driving at the top of the list.

          We also have a few crimes that require neither intent nor recklessness – Statutory rape.

          Scotus has never ruled that intent is required for a crime.

          It has however ruled that intent is required for a crime where intent is an element of the crime.

          The espionage act specifies MANY crimes, 2 of which do not require intent. 1 of which does not even require recklessness.

        3. Before expounding on things you clearly are ignorant of – here is the law.

          https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/793

          And addressing your claim – SCOTUS has actually repeatedly ruled the opposite.

          In most state law – mens rea – intent is an element of the crime. There are very few exceptions, crimes of negligence and statutory offenses like rape of an underage person.

          Federal law is not clear about intent – and scotus has ruled that were intent is not listed as an element of a crime, it is NOT required.

          If you accidentally shoot a bald eagle – thinking that you are shooting a fox in your hen house.
          It is still a crime. No intent required.

          Republicans have tried on several occasions to pass federal criminal reform that adds a default intent requirement to all federal law that does not explicity identify recklessness or explicitly indicate intent is not required.
          Democrats have thwarted this.

          As a result

          Yes, you can be convicted under the espionage act without intent. Intent is not requied for the vast majority of federal crimes.

  7. When Trump made the funny comment, the FBI had already confiscated the Clinton server, and it had been reported that 30,000 messages were missing.

    1. there’s a chinese saying for fart, “Fang pi” …. it is also an expression for lying, ie, “ni ge pi”

      when they speak, their mouths break wind

  8. Treason is a Capital Offense.. All Coup members will be Publicly executed . Either by the DOJ or by the American Taxpayers. If we do it, we eradicate them all.

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