Last week we learned that in July of 2017, the Department of Justice issued a secret subpoena for phone records of Jason Foster, the lead congressional investigator looking into the FBI’s dirty smear and obstruction campaign candidate and later President Donald J. Trump. The Justice Department even subpoenaed the phone records of Foster’s wife.
What would happen to you if your boss caught you hacking into his phone records to snoop? In the real world, a boss with actual power over a subordinate would fire the snooper and call law enforcement to report a criminal invasion of privacy. But in the upside-down world in Washington, D.C., in which the FBI tail wags the constitutional dog, the FBI can spy on its constitutional masters and nothing happens.
Google waited six years to notify Foster about the snooping, pursuant to some policy that delays notification until after several years have passed. For context, it was October 2017 when these staffers uncovered the critical Clinton money connection between the purveyors of the Russia collusion hoax, Fusion GPS and their subcontractor, Christopher Steele. The FBI then knowingly committed grave misconduct by sponsoring the HillaryCa Clinton fabrications to a court in order to obtain a warrant and spy on Trump campaign figure, Carter Page. It told the court that intrusive surveillance was the only way to investigate its supposed belief that Page was a Russian spy. But Page was already a known and reliable source for the CIA and wrote an open letter to the FBI offering to meet with investigators and tell them anything they wanted to know. Since Page wasn’t the target, however, the FBI ignored the offer. Clearly, the FBI wanted to use the surveillance of Page as a pretext to also gather Trump campaign communications. To get the warrant, the FBI lied to a court to conceal Page’s history of cooperation with the government.
Instead of coming clean to the court or dropping the Russia collusion hoax, the FBI instead had the Justice Department use subpoenas to hack into phone records of Congressional investigators so it could figure out who was talking to Congress and how much Congress knew. When, in 2018, congressional investigators came close enough to make then Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein nervous, he threatened investigators with counter investigations into their personal records. As the journalist Margot Cleveland has noted, the threat simply reflected what the Justice Department was already doing.
By itself, this story demonstrates a grave subversion of the Constitution. Congress is the Article I branch of government which legislates the criminal laws and procedures that permit law enforcement activities. It approves the budget of the FBI. It represents the will of the American voters. But to hear the FBI or Justice Department tell it, the founders meant for the FBI to have “independence” from the political process. During his confirmation hearing, now-FBI Director Christopher Wray testified, “”If I am given the honor of leading this agency, I will never allow the FBI’s work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law, and the impartial pursuit of justice. Period. Full stop. My loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law.” But this is exactly the opposite of what has happened on Wray’s watch at the FBI.
Further, last week we learned the FBI used an astonishing 40 spies to follow around the Biden family, collecting now-public evidence of family corruption. Yet in 2020, the FBI intervened to encourage, if not direct, censorship of any news story that might inform the voting public about this corruption. In response to a lawsuit seeking to stop this kind of government interference with free speech and elections, the Justice Department vigorously fought to keep the censorship going. As of now, the Supreme Court lifted a temporary restraining order barring the government from interfering in the 2024 election and they are free to continue.
Why would the FBI invest so heavily in gathering dirt on the Bidens while simultaneously protecting them? Shortly before Trump left office, I cautioned that the FBI seemed more interested in gaining leverage over the Bidens than it was in solving any crimes that might involve them. In response, I wrote that President Trump should pardon, “the whole [Biden] family and everyone who could be used as a pressure point against Biden after January. If we must live with the marionette president, let’s cut a few of the strings that were intended for his control. Whether or not you believe Biden was legitimately elected last month, he still got more votes than Christopher Wray.”
Last month we learned more about the FBI’s efforts in a 2020 case involving the alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the news of which seemed conveniently timed to have an impact on the 2020 election, particularly given Michigan’s swing state status. A month before the election, the FBI announced it broke up this plot. Evidence now suggests that, in fact, the FBI constructed the plot from top to bottom. It funded and planned the operation, even to the point of introducing the principal suspects to one another. When the dust settled, the plot had more FBI actors and informants than actual defendants. The FBI kept its role secret until after the 2020 election allowing Democrats to use news of the plot to blame Trump’s “rhetoric” for inspiring domestic terrorism. After voting Trump in 2016, Michigan went blue again in 2020 by the narrowest of margins.
The FBI Michigan kidnapping caper suggests a much larger operation against so-called “MAGA extremists,” particularly given the president’s clear call for investigations that would kneecap his political opponents. It’s reasonable to suspect that the FBI has informants and undercover agents all over American trying to replicate more Michigan-style plots to grab headlines during next year’s election season. And the media has dutifully and gleefully carried whatever message the FBI has wanted to communicate, however absurd. In one headline that has not aged well, the Guardian claimed, “Far-right terror poses bigger threat to US than Islamist extremism post-9/11.”
If the Justice Department and the FBI are in business to protect the Constitution, they have been operating at a loss for some time. They seem not to notice the opioid epidemic and rising power of the drug cartels. They openly advocate for suppression of political speech and infiltrate political and religious organizations that might oppose the policies of the regime. When the Justice Department and FBI give pious speeches about their allegiance to the Constitution, we should jeer and mock these claims. If the FBI were honest, it would have to put up wanted posters of Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray in post offices.
The Constitution was never intended to justify surveillance and political interference by un-elected bureaucrats. Indeed, the framers wrote the Constitution to guard against rogue elements within the executive branch seizing unchecked power and subverting speech and elections. There’s no greater threat to the Constitution than these out-of-control institutions.