WASHINGTON—A new poll indicates that a majority of registered voters want President Donald Trump to declassify documents for public release pertaining to the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The results skewed along party and ideological lines. Only 48 percent of Republicans but 73 percent of Democrats polled want the president to release the documents, a 25 percentage point gap. Furthermore, only 46 percent of self-identified strong conservatives but 76 percent of strong liberals polled support the document dump.
The public’s appetite for such a release is understandable. The Mueller investigation into Russian meddling in our election now ranks among the most expensive in history. The preceding FBI investigation appears to have itself been scandal-ridden. And part of that scandal has been the failure of the FBI to mount an effective investigation into what appears to have been corruption by the Clintons of unprecedented scope.
The public wants to know what is going on.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russians alleged that the so-called Internet Research Agency budget devoted to U.S. election interference had risen to $1.25 million per month by September 2016, under which specialists had been instructed in February to “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump—we support them).”
The Mueller investigation has so far consumed $25 million, though it has also yielded approximately $48 million in revenue, mostly from Paul Manafort’s $42–46 million asset forfeiture, all of it unrelated to Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
As of Nov. 29, 2018, Mueller had indicted or received guilty pleas from 33 people and three companies, including pleas from five former Trump aides. The investigation has also led to the resignation of then-national security advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
Trouble at the Top
In fact, the investigation into Russian interference has arguably created more collateral damage among those involved in conducting it, as the investigation has involved the investigators in conduct that is, at least, inappropriate.
The first resignation was that of John Carlin, assistant attorney general and head of the Department of Justice (DOJ) National Security Division, who announced his resignation on Sept. 27, 2016, after filing the government’s proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications without disclosing known FISA abuses, though Carlin was aware the National Security Agency was conducting a compliance review which would, and did, uncover such abuse.
After Trump’s election, Sally Yates, deputy attorney general and acting attorney general, was fired Jan. 30, 2017, for insubordination for refusing to defend a Trump Administration policy, but it has subsequently come to light that she was also intimately involved in monitoring the 2016 Trump campaign.
Carlin’s replacement, Mary McCord, acting assistant attorney general and acting head of the National Security Division, announced her own resignation on April 17, 2017.
Then, on May 9, 2017, Trump fired James Comey, the FBI director who oversaw the exoneration of Hillary Clinton and the Trump investigation.
On July 27, 2017, Justice Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz discovered inflammatory anti-Trump and pro-Clinton texts sent by Peter Strzok, the deputy assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division, who conducted much of the work on both the Clinton exoneration and Trump investigation, and Lisa Page, an FBI attorney and Peter Strzok’s alleged mistress who also worked on the Mueller team.
Subsequently, Strzok was removed from Mueller’s team, demoted to the FBI Human Resources Division on Aug. 16, 2017, and ultimately fired. Page was likewise forced off Mueller’s team and demoted Aug. 16, 2017.
Later that year on Dec. 6, 2017, Bruce Ohr, the associate deputy attorney general who served as the unofficial liaison between the DOJ, FBI, and opposition researcher Fusion GPS, was demoted and stripped of his title.
Soon thereafter, on Dec. 20, 2017, James Baker, the FBI general counsel who allegedly participated in the “insurance policy” working group with Page and Strzok, was demoted and reassigned. In one text Strzok had said an insurance policy was needed in the unlikely event that Trump got elected.
Three days later, Andrew McCabe, the deputy FBI director mentioned repeatedly by Strzok and Page in their texts, announced his retirement effective March 22, 2018. Then on Jan. 8, 2018, Ohr was demoted a second time, removed as head of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.
Likewise James Rybicki, chief of staff for FBI Director James Comey and his successor Christopher Wray and another alleged member of the “insurance policy” working group, resigned after being forced out on Jan. 23, 2018.
Six days later, following an uproar over McCabe being allowed to wait until his pension took effect to resign, was forced to resign effective immediately.
In addition, David Laufman of the DOJ National Security Division and deputy assistant attorney general in charge of counterintelligence, who “played a leading role in the Clinton email server and Russian hacking investigations,” resigned on Feb. 7, 2018.
Two days later, Rachel Brand, the associate attorney general and No. 3 three official behind Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein who “played a critical role in Congress’ re-authorization” of section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, also resigned.
In all, at least a dozen senior DOJ and FBI officials have resigned, been demoted, or been fired in connection with the Clinton exoneration and Trump investigation.
Understandably, the American people want to know why.
Christopher C. Hull holds a doctorate in government from Georgetown University. He is president of Issue Management, Inc., distinguished senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute, senior fellow at Americans for Intelligence Reform, and author of “Grassroots Rules” (Stanford, 2007).
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.