With Friends Like These….by Craig Fuller

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Mr. President, you should tell your friends to stop ‘helping!’”

The heavily scrutinized memo released by Republicans on Capitol Hill purportedly helping President Trump – or, so he says – actually does far more damage.

Here’s why for four reasons:

If read to the end, the memo concludes by revealing that an investigation was open by the FBI when it learned that a Trump campaign aide was bragging about the fact that they had access to Clinton emails. This had nothing to do with the “dossier” that the Committee questions.

The memo also revealed that a very involved process leading to the approved use of electronic surveillance of an American citizen was actually completed no fewer than four times with a special court agreeing each time that there was sufficient reason to engage in the surveillance of a citizen who was involved in the Trump campaign and believed to have contact with Russians and people connected to Russian intelligence.

Omitted from the discussion is the faulty notion that a work product associated with professional opposition research should be viewed with great skepticism. As one who has engaged professional investigators to conduct such research, I can tell you that these investigators are not paid to create political spin or campaign rhetoric. They work to learn what can be found that might raise concerns. In my case, the professionals were engaged to look into the background of the candidates with whom I was associated. Yes, smart campaigns actually delve into the backgrounds of their own candidates in order to learn what might be discovered by others. The fact something is revealed that could be of concern does not make it factually correct. But, when found by a professional using sources considered to be credible, these findings should be examined closely. If something potentially illegal is discovered, then once in the hands of the proper officials it should be investigated and not dismissed.

Finally, stepping up hostilities with one of the most respected law enforcement groups in the world seems a high-risk gamble. The FBI is not infallible, but to disrespect the work of the individuals that currently serve and those who formerly served in the FBI will have consequences. And, what do you know? It only took a few days to learn that while the Republican’s memo suggests surveillance began on this American citizen associated with the Trump campaign in 2016, TIME magazine was provided with information that this citizen was actually on the radar three years earlier and being looked at after bragging that he was an advisor to Russians back in 2013. I somehow doubt that we’ve seen the last of facts that support the actions of the nation’s leading investigative body.

This breakdown between a key Committee of Congress with important oversight responsibilities over our intelligence agencies, aided and abetted by the White House, and the very agencies of the Federal government they oversee is a serious problem that will not be quickly or easily resolved.

It is high time to stop encouraging friends to do really foolish things!

The author suggests this link for future reading.

Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Karen.

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Letters to Editor

  1. James Nick says:

    Kudos to Mr Fuller for an excellent expose of the transparent propaganda play by Republicans with the Nunes memo. But he misses the mark when he admonishes the friends of the current White House occupant to stop “helping” out by doing “foolish things”.

    There was nothing foolish about it. The memo was co-written by the White House and House Republicans and released with malice aforethought. It was red meat for the base produced at the behest of Sean Hannity, the trump whisperer, who made it his mission to make certain there was a receptive audience waiting with baited breath for, even demanding that, the memo be released.

    The whole drama continues to unfold as planned and orchestrated. It’s if a magician is out on stage performing a trick while someone else is explaining all along the way exactly how he is doing the trick, even showing how all the smoke and mirrors work, but it still leaves 35%-40% of the audience completely enthralled. An audience that has shown itself to be notoriously incurious, willfully ignorant, and not at all interested in looking behind the green curtain lest they catch a glimpse of the real world and the cynical wizard that is manipulating them.

    And the gambit appears to be working as intended so far. 45 has done nothing since the memo’s release but use it to vindicate himself of any complicity with the Russians, praise Nunes as a national hero, demonize the Democrats with his juvenile taunts of them being treasonous, and hint at using it as the instrument he will use to justify firing Mueller.

    Is all this corrosive and destabilizing for our justice system, if not our democratic institutions as a whole? Certainly. But it is not a foolish thing as far as the crime syndicate running the show now is concerned, that’s for sure. It has hit its target audience and may eventually serve its intended purpose.

  2. Deirdre LaMotte says:

    This man is such a weasel I want to know where the great men are…like GHW Bush. He stood with what was right when David Duke tried to run for office. Mr. Bush basically told him to take a hike. Where are Republicans now?? They are cowering with fear that Trump will “Twitter” them; they are nothing but spineless creatures that history will vilify and that this leaves all of us
    wondering “God, what has our Party become???” It makes me sick. I am so upset at ALL of this weird Trumpism that I really do not know how the Republican Party can recover.
    So. I read that many hold their noses thinking that their 401 will do better….really? And to what are we as a nation willing to lose? Absolutely everything I stand for.

    Thank you, again, for this piece.

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