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Irony of Ironies: FBI Hated Clinton, Favored Trump Before Presidential Election; and a Probability Argument About Russian Interference

2018-02-21

A year later, the President accuses the FBI of anti-Trump bias; but before the election, most observers say FBI agents hated Clinton and thought she was corrupt.  While they weren’t uniformly pro-Trump, they were certainly anti-Clinton.  A Guardian article from before the election, on November 4, 2016, said:

The currently serving FBI agent said Clinton is “the antichrist personified to a large swath of FBI personnel,” and that “the reason why they’re leaking is they’re pro-Trump.”. . .

“There are lots of people who don’t think Trump is qualified, but also believe Clinton is corrupt. What you hear a lot is that it’s a bad choice, between an incompetent and a corrupt politician,” said a former FBI official. . . .

Justice department officials – another current target of FBI dissatisfaction – have said the bureau disregarded longstanding rules against perceived or actual electoral interference when Comey wrote to Congress to say it was reviewing newly discovered emails relating to Clinton’s personal server.

Comey’s vague letter to Congress, promptly leaked by Republican congressman Jason Chaffetz, said the bureau would evaluate communications – subsequently identified as coming from a device used by disgraced ex-congressman Anthony Weiner, whose estranged wife Huma Abedin is a Clinton aide – for connections to the Clinton server.

In other words, while not uniformly in Trump’s camp before the election, FBI agents and administrators generally were virulently anti-Clinton for several reasons: she was perceived as “liberal”, while FBI agents generally are conservative; the head of the New York FBI office ran a military charity that received large donations from Trump; Rudy Giuliani (a conservative politician) was close to members of the New York FBI.

In other news of December 2016, reported by the Guardian:

 

The revelation gives further credence to the CIA’s finding last week that the Kremlin deliberately intervened in the US presidential election to help Donald Trump. The president-elect has angrily denied the CIA’s assessment, calling it “ridiculous”.

As has been widely reported, the “president-elect” has never said anything negative about Vladimir Putin or the Russian government generally, despite his penchant for bad-mouthing all and sundry.  He has responded to criticism with crude insults and angry denials, so it is somewhat surprising that he has never had a bad word for Vlad “the Impaler.”  There is a certain consistency, however, in his remarks about world leaders: he lauds autocrats and despots, but has put-downs for democratic leaders, even conservative ones like Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull.

The president has been highly disruptive to the FBI, despite their apparent favoritism towards him before the election.  His attacks have appeared after the agency persisted in its investigation of his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and continued to investigate Russian interference in the presidential election.  He has attacked them despite the fact that there have been no substantial findings yet of coordination between his campaign and the Russian disruption efforts.  It is possible that there was no extensive effort by the campaign to assist Russia in its meddling and that Trump’s attacks are merely reflexive defenses in response to perceived threats.

Nonetheless, it is clear that there was an intense Russian effort to stir up discord within the American electorate and that they attempted to tilt the election towards Trump even before they realized that he would be the Republican candidate.  The Russians made covert efforts to encourage Americans to vote against Clinton and for any opposition candidate, even Jill Stein, but their efforts in Trump’s behalf were most extensive.  The effort, geared towards swing states in particular, had an effect on the election (although not a very large one) which was sufficient to cause Clinton to lose and Trump to win.

The argument which is made by some, that Russian sabotage of the election did not have a significant effect, is refuted by the following thought experiment.  Suppose the Russians had not made any effort to sabotage the election?  In that case, the demonstrator made up to look like Clinton dressed up as a prisoner behind bars would not have appeared at Republican events, because that demonstrator was paid for and arranged by Russian agents.  The Facebook ad showing a vote for Clinton as being a vote for the Devil and a vote for Trump as being a vote for Jesus would not have been produced, because it was done by Russian agents.  A number of other publicity stunts would not have happened, and we don’t really know how many.  If it were not for such incidents, especially Russian support for Jill Stein, the likelihood that Clinton would have been elected would have increased.

Therefore, were it not for Russian sabotage, Hillary Clinton might have been elected President of the United States in November 2016 despite the hostility of the FBI– with a greater probability.  The fact that Clinton never visited Wisconsin during the campaign might not have made any difference to the outcome.

(photo of socks the cat courtesy of pixabay.com and skeeze)

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