President Trump slipped back into one of his bad, old habits this morning when he took to Twitter to level a new barrage of unstable accusations at former President Obama. In a tweet that seems to document Trump’s deteriorating mind in real time, he accused the “Obama FBI” of embedding an informant in his 2016 campaign.
The tweet is unsettling and paranoid for several reasons. The first problem is his implication that the FBI under Obama was an FBI unilaterally controlled by Obama.
While the FBI does indeed defer to the president on many things, it’s not some tool that he can simply wield as he wishes to attack his enemies. He can provide general guidance yes and makes key appointments, but there are very strict rules and protocols in place to prevent the president from using the nation’s premier law enforcement agency as his own personal army.
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The second, more obvious problem is in the accusation itself. As Time pointed out, Trump is referring to Andrew McCarthy, an editor at the right-wing publication National Review, who recently wrote that Glenn Simpson — one of the founders of Fusion GPS, the firm which collected information on Trump during the election season — claimed before the Senate that the FBI had a “human source” inside the Trump campaign.
The problem with Trump regurgitating this talking point is that Simpson himself later amended his comments and claimed that he had “misspoken” and mischaracterized the reality of the situation.
All of which is avoiding the central problem of Trump’s claims. If the FBI did embed an informant in his campaign, it wouldn’t have been for petty political purposes, it would have been because they had good reason to believe he or someone on his campaign team was committing crimes. In other words, all Trump’s tweet really does is call attention to the fact that the FBI may have had serious suspicions about his people colluding with foreign powers.
Wow, word seems to be coming out that the Obama FBI “SPIED ON THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN WITH AN EMBEDDED INFORMANT.” Andrew McCarthy says, “There’s probably no doubt that they had at least one confidential informant in the campaign.” If so, this is bigger than Watergate!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 17, 2018
Oh, and since it’s Trump he, of course, couldn’t even get his propaganda message correct on the first attempt. He originally spelt embedded as “imbedded,” once again demonstrating that the person America has chosen to be the most powerful man in the world can’t even manage basic literacy.
Once Twitter users pointed out the embarrassing typo he deleted the original tweet and reposted with the correct spelling. Unfortunately for him, the internet’s memory isn’t so easily erased.