According to The Washington Post, in the aftermath of President Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey, agents are now focused in laserlike fashion on taking Trump down. Here’s the report:
Many employees said they were furious about the firing, saying the circumstances of his dismissal did more damage to the FBI’s independence than anything Comey did in his three-plus years in the job.
One intelligence official who works on Russian espionage matters said they were more determined than ever to pursue such cases. Another said Comey’s firing and the subsequent comments from the White House are attacks that won’t soon be forgotten. Trump had “essentially declared war on a lot of people at the FBI,” one official said. “I think there will be a concerted effort to respond over time in kind.”
The FBI director serves at the pleasure of the president. Trump’s firing of Comey might be a cover-up, as the Left claims; it’s just as likely (significantly more likely in my view) that Trump just wanted Comey gone, and Trump has terrible timing. But regardless, the notion that the members of the intelligence community are now empowered morally or legally to redouble their efforts to damage Trump is anti-republican and frightening. The intelligence community is not its own shadow government, poised to strike the head of the executive branch because he takes a measure for which he has full constitutional authority.
Months ago, just as President Trump prepared to take office, a wave of mainstream media reports emerged suggesting that the intelligence community hated Trump and would work to take him down. In January, Trump tweeted about the intelligence agencies leaking information about confidential briefings, in typical Trumpian fashion:
Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to “leak” into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
While the language was ridiculous, the concern wasn’t off base. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) threatened Trump with the intelligence community cudgel: “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday to get back at you. So, even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he is being really dumb to do this.” As I wrote at the time, “This is actually frightening stuff. The intelligence community isn’t its own government.”
In February, Trump enemies began endorsing the notion of an intelligence community coup. Then, in March, tape emerged of former Obama deputy assistant secretary of defense Evelyn Farkas explaining that she had told her friends in the intelligence community to preserve information on Trump before Obama left office out of “fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior [Obama] people who left, so it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy … that the Trump folks — if they found out how we knew what we knew about their … the Trump staff dealing with Russians — that they would try to compromise those sources and methods.” Farkas said that intelligence officials had distributed the information widely to avoid it being destroyed.
But this report from The Washington Post is on another level entirely. It isn’t second-hand discussions by a former official of conversations she supposedly had years ago. It’s contemporaneous reporting of what is happening right now inside the FBI. And that should frighten anyone of good conscience.