The story has changed yet again – or has it? Last night we saw Donald Trump get busted trying to place secret limitations on the FBI probe into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. This forced him to back down by posting a tweet instructing the FBI to take any investigative angle it wants. Experts quickly confirmed that his tweet was a legally binding order which immediately took the shackles off the FBI. Now a very different claim is being floated.
NBC News, the same outlet that first exposed Donald Trump’s meddling, is now claiming this afternoon that the FBI has not changed course. According to its sources, “the president’s Saturday night tweet saying he wants the FBI to interview whoever agents deem appropriate has not changed the limits imposed by the White House counsel’s office on the FBI investigation.” But that’s not – how can we put this – possible.
For this to be true, the FBI would be illegally ignoring the order that Donald Trump gave in his tweet last night. In fact, late last night, after the tweet was posted, the New York Times reported that the FBI had in fact quickly begun moving on the claims made by Julie Swetnick. So why is the FBI telling NBC that it’s ignoring orders by not investigating the Swetnick claims? There are at least a couple different possible explanations here.
The first could be that the NBC News source within the FBI is simply mistaken. Considering how many times Rod Rosenstein’s resignation has been falsely reported in the past few weeks alone, it’s a reminder that sources don’t always give major news outlets legitimate information. The second explanation could be that the FBI is purposely putting out misinformation in the hope of assuaging Donald Trump, so that he’ll spend the next week thinking he’s getting his way, instead of spending the next week continuing to meddle. Keep in mind that the FBI leaked the restrictions to begin with in order to force Trump’s hand. It’s clearly playing him here.
The real question is how the Resistance is going to spend the rest of the week. Will they start calling people like Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski on the phone, and urge them to demand that Donald Trump keep his hands off the FBI Kavanaugh investigation? Or will the Resistance simply spend the week yelling pessimistic things on social media about how Trump and Kavanaugh are going to get away with everything? We shall see.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report