What follows is will, at least initially, likely appear to many to be small potatoes compared to the impropriety of the FBI and Justice Dept. with respect to the FISA application (which was ostensibly to surveil for evidence of possible Russian tampering with US election, but more likely to surveil Carter Page to get dirt on Trump). What is done about these potatoes, however, will reveal much about whether 1) Washington elites are circling the wagons to defend their positions, their perks, and the perception that they are working for the public good and in the interest of the people, and 2) the FBI can be trusted to investigate matters that could reveal the FBI’s own misconduct.
Senators have called for that investigation, but little has been said about it since.
The House Intelligence Committee Memo on FISA Abuse says, “…Steele improperly concealed from and lied to the FBI about those contacts.”
Lying to the FBI is a crime. Steele’s alleged crimes are vastly more consequential than the process crime for which Scooter Libby was convicted, and any process crime Mueller is likely to come up with. Steele’s crimes, described in the report, led (if we are to give the FBI the benefit of the doubt that FBI would not have used the report even if the FBI knew the report’s allegations were fabricated) directly to the FBI using an unverified set of assertions in Steele’s dossier to support a FISA application, the violation of an American citizen’s Constitutional rights, the disrepute of the FBI and Justice, and the fiasco known as the Mueller Russian investigation.
With allegations against top level FBI and Justice Dept. people (that they used their awesome powers to tamper with the presidential election for partisan political advantage) are serious. (I’ve heard that the “seriousness of the charge” is a sufficient basis on which to investigate.) Specifically the allegations are that top FBI and Justice personnel conspired with the Hillary campaign and the DNC to protect the country from Trump being elected. If such is true, failing to prosecute the criminality of a central player in this melodrama (Steele) cannot be justified.
The likes of this horrible abuse of authority are becoming standard procedure. The stated reason for not prosecuting Hillary for her failure to protect top secret information as required by law was that she did not intend to do anything wrong. That, however, is not exculpatory because intent was not an element of the crime she committed. (The fact that the FBI relied on this bogus excuse supports the allegation that the top FBI people were protecting Hillary.) That similar abuse of power occurred in the IRS scandal is undeniable, yet no one was prosecuted. (There are many more instances of partisan abuse of authority, but these are sufficient to establish the point.)
That government officials can abuse their powers to achieve their political objectives, attempt to conceal their wrongdoing (drag their feet and stonewall), and not prosecute governmental wrongdoing when it comes to light is ruinous to good governance and essential to a well-functioning country. That the press provides cover for such misconduct (if a Democrat commits the acts) shows why Benjamin Franklin was correct to doubt that America could keep the republic the founders bestowed on the country.