Political animus on the part of FBI Investigators may be driving the entire investigation of Russian meddling, this undermining the integrity and reputation of the FBI and the potential for an actual, non-partisan investigation into a pattern of Russian meddling with US domestic politics.
According to the FBI ethics and Integrity Program Policy directive and Policy Guide, politcally-connected investigators of both the Clinton email probe and the Russian interference probes violated FBI policies in a gross manner. Here is the policy in full:
§ 45.2 Disqualification arising from personal or political relationship .
(a) Unless authorized under paragraph (b) of this section, no employee shall participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with:
(1) Any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution; or
(2) Any person or organization which he knows has a specific and substantial interest that would be directly affected by the outcome of the investigation or prosecution.
(b) An employee assigned to or otherwise participating in a criminal investigation or prosecution who believes that his participation may be prohibited by paragraph (a) of this
section shall report the matter and all attendant facts and circumstances to his supervisor at the level of section chief or the equivalent or higher. If the supervisor determines that, a
personal or political relationship exists between the employee and a person or organization described in paragraph (a) of this section, he shall relieve the employee from participation
unless he determines further, in writing, after full consideration of all the facts and circumstances, that:
(1) The relationship will not have the effect of rendering the employee’s service less than fully impartial and professional; and
(2) The employee’s participation would not create an appearance of a conflict of interest likely to affect the public perception of the integrity of the investigation or prosecution.
(c) For the purposes of this section:
(1) Political relationship means a close identification with an elected official, a candidate (whether or not successful) for elective, public office, a political party, or a campaign
organization, arising from service as a principal adviser thereto or a principal official thereof;
(2) Personal relationship means a close and substantial connection of the type normally viewed as likely to induce partiality. An employee is presumed to have a personal relationship with his father, mother, brother, sister, child and spouse. Whether relationships (including friendships) of an employee to other persons or organizations are “personal” must be judged on an individual basis with due regard given to the subjective opinion of the employee.
While defenders of the agents and staff involved in these investigations have cited protections for FBI employees which allow political activities on a limited basis, the issue here is related more to a conflict of interest.
This opinion piece in Fox News details the right’s partisan take on the investigation team and their bias. Of critical interest to all, however, should be the fact we have political partisans whose own bias in favor of one party, the Democrats, is demonstrated in relationships, attending political events, and texts which clearly show the persons involved cannot be neutral or fair.
As an example, FBI investigator Peter Strzok details in numerous texts with a fellow FBI employee, with whom he was allegedly having an affair, in which he made his animus against President Trump, and indeed everyone who voted for him, quite clear. The comments were over-the-top, the kind one expects from partisan activists. So then, would you wish to be investigated by someone who you later found out shared such extreme views with others about you? Some are imagining we live in a world where a deeply partisan-minded person filled with rage-level opposition to another person can then investigate them fairly and objectively.
What is worse about Strzok is how he refers to an “insurance policy” he discussed with Deputy FBI Director McCbabe in the event Trump won the election. A comity of action all evincing a design of delegitimatizing the elected President, if not removing him on potentially spurious grounds, can be discerned. While partisans both inside and outside the FBI and the Department of Justice, may performs acts of intellectual legerdemain to defend this, for at least those who voted for the President, this has demonstrated to them that the FBI and the Department of Justice are friends of the left and political opponents of the right.
This is not meant to say there is no Russian meddling in US domestic politics,. It has become general knowledge the Russians funded the anti-war movement, that Senator Ted Kennedy sought Russian help to win an election, and that Russian media and operative have spread disinformation and fake news to cause confusion. Indeed, some will argue the current state of affairs in which the elected President cannot fully govern and is being undermined by members of the executive branch, who some suispect seek his ouster by any means necessary, is quite beneficial to them. We also know that, beyond the allegations Russian meddled in the 2016 election, they used bribes and other illegal means to gain control over a substantial portion of American uranium, and that some suspect they favored the Iran deal, and we know they lobbied hard to prevent a crackdown of Hezbollah by the US.
All of these instances of Russian meddling in US domestic politics can and should be thoroughly investigated, but the political animus of investigators, who may have actually been party to manufacturing evidence in the form of the notorious dossier, renders this a near impossibility.
This loss of reputation and standing in the eyes of the public, especially the members of the public who are clearly so dismissed and disrespected by these partisan investigators, can and will decrease the effectiveness of these institutions. Cooperation and trust between conservative members of the public and these institutions will necessarily suffer. And this is all the more true as we see the weak sophistry being employed to defend this clear partisan bias, and animus, toward half the country. We are being asked to believe that it is perfectly fine that not only are their partisans investigating the President and his team, but that among these investigators there is not one person we might describe as a partisan FOR the President.