Wednesday was a bad day for Donald Trump’s “spygate” conspiracy theory. All through the day and into the evening influential Republicans and Trump allies debunked the theory with one person admitting “This whole thing is fake.”
Perhaps the most important defector from the “spygate” camp was House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who is one of nine lawmakers briefed on the classified details of the FBI’s operation that gave rise to Trump’s claims of an FBI spy being implanted inside his presidential campaign.
Others expressing doubts include Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano and prominent legal scholar Alan Dershowitz, both of whom have an extended history of being Trump defenders and supporters.
In an interview on Fox News Gowdy had this to say: “I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got.” He added that the FBI intelligence gathering operation was focused on Russian activities, and had “nothing to do with Donald Trump.” According to Gowdy:
“It looks to me like the FBI was doing what President Trump said: ‘I want you to do, find it out. President Trump himself in the Comey memos said, ‘If anyone connected with my campaign was working with Russia, I want you to investigate it.’ Sounds to me like that was exactly what the FBI did.”
Gowdy also said Trump should testify before Mueller. “If he were my client … I would say, if you’ve done nothing wrong, then you need to sit down with Mueller,” he said.
Concerning legal scholars and the media, the defection of Napolitano, a judge and Fox News legal expert, is particularly noteworthy. With him and Dershowitz contradicting the president’s assertions about “spygate” it will be much more difficult for Trump to continue pushing his bogus conspiracy theory about the FBI and the Obama administration.
In a television interview yesterday Napolitano went out of his way to defend Gowdy’s comments, agreeing with the Congressman, and saying:
“The use of an informant––this professor that we’re asked not to mention his name on air––to belly up to a bar and have a conversation with someone in the campaign is such a stunningly unremarkable event, because law enforcement does this all the time. Now, Rudy Giuliani said they put an undercover FBI agent on the campaign. There is zero evidence for that. That is such an outlandish and outrageous allegation. It should not have been made without showing any evidence.”
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, a former Department of Justice legal counsel, said that “spygate” was just another attempt by Trump to undermine and discredit the Mueller probe:
“This is a constant moving of the goalposts to make the FBI look sinister,” Toobin said. “Every time someone clears the FBI and says this investigation was appropriate, well, no, that is not really the question. It’s a different question. This whole thing is fake. This is all designed by Donald Trump and Devin Nunes to discredit whatever Mueller comes up with.”
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about yesterday’s media interviews concerning “spygate” is that there were NONE given by Trump supporters like Jim Jordan from Ohio and Matt Goetz from Florida. These Trump apologists seem to have gone silent, and according to Politico, did not return their phone calls requesting comments. Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and Devin Nunes have also not give public statements one way or another concerning “spygate.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to provide evidence yesterday to support the “spygate” theory but she couldn’t do it. Her attempts at defending the president have grown lame, which is just one more sign that the entire “spygate” conspiracy theory may be falling apart.
Trump has previously admitted that “spygate” is nothing more than a PR stunt that he is using to divert attention from not only Mueller but also the many other legal problems of himself and his attorney Michael Cohen. Although some people will always believe the president’s lies, it appears in this case that more and more people have concluded that there is nothing of substance to support “spygate” so the president would be better off if he stopped talking about it.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.