I survived, barely.
Watching part of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee this morning, I felt like my head was going to explode -- a common side effect of listening to Republicans talking about anything relating to the Mueller investigation.
GOP members of the committee were shocked, no, let's make that SHOCKED!!!, to learn that an FBI agent and a FBI lawyer exchanged text messages about their desire for Trump to lose the 2016 election.
Well, so did most of the country, judging from Trump's huge popular vote loss by some three million votes. So there was nothing surprising about the content of the texts.
Senior F.B.I. officials who helped investigate Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign last year wrote in text messages that Hillary Clinton “just has to win” and described a potential Trump victory as “terrifying,” according to texts released Tuesday night.
A top counterintelligence agent, Peter Strzok, exchanged the messages with Lisa Page, a senior F.B.I. lawyer. Some messages criticized Mrs. Clinton’s team, the Obama administration, Congress and other Democrats. But the two appeared appalled at some of Mr. Trump’s comments during the campaign and feared that he would politicize the F.B.I.
For example, after Mr. Trump made an apparent sexual allusion related to the size of his hands, Ms. Page wrote: “This man cannot be president.” In another exchange, Mr. Strzok wrote of a potential Trump presidency, “I’m scared for our organization.” He also referred to Mr. Trump as a “douche.” The messages were turned over to Congress and obtained by The New York Times.
I heard a lot of blathering from Republican committee members that Rosenstein needed to appoint a special counsel to investigate the FBI staff who are working with a special counsel, Mueller, on the investigation of the Trump campaign's possible collusion with Russia (among other things; Trump's nefarious nature leaves many avenues for lawbreaking),
Because... um, just because.
No good reasons were provided, because there aren't any. Obviously FBI agents are free to have political views, just as every American is. And they can exchange text messages about those views, just as every American can. Rosenstein tried to enlighten them on these obvious facts.
Instead, Mr. Rosenstein mounted a step-by-step defense of Mr. Mueller’s conduct. He noted that department rules prevented Mr. Mueller from taking political affiliation into consideration when hiring for career positions, and he distinguished between officials holding political views and making investigative decisions out of bias. He said Mr. Mueller would be careful not to allow the latter.
“We recognize we have employees with political opinions. And it’s our responsibility to make sure those opinions do not influence their actions,” Mr. Rosenstein said after Representative Steve Chabot, Republican of Ohio, read out the names of members of Mr. Mueller’s team and political contributions they had made to Democratic causes.
This is insane.
Doesn't Representative Chabot realize that given his way of thinking, Democrats would have a right to be equally outraged if other members of Mueller's team had made political contributions to Republican causes? Which, almost certainly, some have.
The irrationality of Congressional Republicans never fails to astound me. In this country people who identify with a political party basically have two choices, Republican or Democrat. Law enforcement personnel tend to lean rightward, so likely more FBI staff are Republicans than Democrats.
Regardless, whichever party an FBI agent involved with the Mueller investigation belongs to would be a problem, according to to the weird worldview of Republicans on the Judiciary Committee.
If they're a Democrat, they're biased against Trump. If they're a Republican, they're biased toward Trump.
Oh, but there's another option. FBI agents are professionals who are able to separate their personal political views from the work they do. This was the absolutely correct stance taken by Rod Rosenstein.
The only unprofessional people in the committee room were the fanatic Republican House members who were unable to distinguish fact from fiction given their zeal to provide cover to our Liar/Groper in Chief, Donald J. Trump. It was astounding to see supposedly law-and-order Republicans attacking another Republican, Rosenstein, about what the Justice Department in a Republican administration is doing.
For the sake of keeping my head in one piece, I sure hope Democrats regain control of Congress in 2018 -- at least the House of Representatives, where the maximum GOP craziness lies.