Newsweek, the once-widely read magazine, is joining the rest of the press, heavily invested in Trump’s guilt, in hysterics over Attorney General Bill Barr’s use of the word “spying” to describe the FBI’s investigation of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign. The Daily Briefing by reporter Nicole Goodkind, posted Thursday afternoon, had the bizarre headline “William Barr Is Redefining What it Means to ‘Spy.’” So what does it mean?
It’s as if the press has suffered an attack of mass amnesia and forgotten what the simple word “spy” means, now that there’s a risk people will see Mueller’s untouchable investigation through the unflattering prism of possibly illegal government surveillance – something journalists were actually concerned about once.
Goodkind engaged in some mindreading to assume Barr is a Trump flunkie for not delivering the anti-Trump goods and declaring Trump guilty of something (of course Barr is only reading from Mueller’s report, which neither Goodkind or anyone else we’ve heard from has read).
Attorney General William Barr exonerated President Donald Trump of all wrong-doing in the Russia investigation last month, and now he wants to take things a step further.
In a Senate hearing Wednesday, Barr suggested that the U.S. government had spied on Trump during his campaign and said that he would open another inquiry into the origins of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
“I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal,” Barr told senators. “I think spying did occur, yes,” because of a probable “failure among a group of leaders in the upper echelon” of the FBI.
This was a severely slanted take from someone who hasn’t read Mueller’s actual report but seems to know what’s in it better than Barr himself.
Mueller delivered a nearly 400-page report last month with evidence that Russia had worked to influence the results of the 2016 election and that President Trump may have obstructed justice. Just days later, Barr released a four-page memo absolving the president of wrongdoing.
But yesterday Barr indicated that he not only wanted to exculpate Trump of wrongdoing, he wanted to avenge him as well.
It’s an odd statement to make because the origins of Mueller’s probe are already well-known.
Goodkind doesn’t offer an alternate description of what word she’d prefer to use in place of “spying.” What else would you call electronic surveillance, issuing FISA warrants, and the use of informants like Cambridge University academic Stefan Halper? The idea that the Trump administration may have some justification in its claims of its campaign being spied upon is anathema and can’t yet be processed by the liberal press.
There is no evidence that government agents were illegally spying on the Trump campaign.
Notice that “spying” was quietly modified to “illegally spying.”
Goodkind sounded rather desperate in her attempt to discredit the very idea that the FBI would spy on someone (a strange defense of domestic surveillance from the press).
The “spying by the government” line is a conspiracy theory that has been touted by the right and by President Trump’s own camp. In 2017, Kellyanne Conway suggested that former President Barack Obama had used microwaves to spy on Trump.
“Conspiracy theory”? Again, it’s public knowledge that Obama’s FBI and Justice Department were spying on the Trump campaign for its contacts with Russians -- the question now being whether it was justified surveillance.
She went to the discredited, “collusion”-shouting Rep. Adam Schiff for backup.
House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff questioned Barr’s fitness to serve at the Department of Justice. "I had deep concerns about him given how he got the job, but this is far worse than I would have imagined,” he told Politic
Almost as soon as Barr made the comments, he attempted to walk them back.