Politics

Trump Says He’ll ‘Get Involved’ After FBI Fights to Keep Texts Secret

President Donald Trump weighed in this weekend in an ongoing fight between the FBI and a conservative group seeking text messages from former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe – and issued a thinly veiled warning in the process.

In a Twitter post on Saturday, Trump wanted to know why the bureau isn’t being cooperative with the conservative group Judicial Watch, which has been taking an aggressive stance on government documents.

“Why isn’t the FBI giving Andrew McCabe text messages to Judicial Watch or appropriate governmental authorities,” Trump wrote in the tweet.

“FBI said they won’t give up even one (I may have to get involved, DO NOT DESTROY). What are they hiding? McCabe wife took big campaign dollars from Hillary people…..”

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That “(DO NOT DESTROY)” part was pretty clearly meant to dissuade the FBI from unexpectedly finding out the text messages were somehow “lost.” The FBI has a history of losing key parts of evidence when it comes to its activities regarding Trump and Hillary Clinton.

For instance, thousands of texts between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page, McCabe’s direct employee at the bureau, were “lost” by the FBI, only to be found when the Justice Department’s Inspector General’s Office used special “forensic tools” to recover them electronically.

In this case, according to Fox, Judicial Watch is seeking texts from McCabe that involve his wife, Jill McCabe, and her unsuccessful 2015 campaign for state Senate in Virginia.

A political action committee supporting Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe – a longtime friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton — donated about $467,500 to Jill McCabe’s campaign, according to Fox.

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The Virginia Democratic Party spent another $207,788, according to Fox.

Judicial Watch and other conservative groups have long complained that the support for Jill McCabe’s wife by Clinton-backers like the McAuliffe amounted to influencing the way the FBI conducted its investigations of Hillary Clinton and its treatment of Trump.

In an op-ed published by The Washington Post in April, Jill McCabe wrote that her husband’s involvement in the Clinton email investigation came only after her state Senate campaign had been lost.

So, she argued, there could be no connection between McCabe’s handling of the Clinton/Trump investigations and the money that flowed from Clinton’s inner circle to McCabe’s wife’s political organization.

Not that long ago, the questions could have stopped there. However, given the furor that has surrounded and grown about the way the FBI treated the Clinton investigation compared to the lengths it’s gone to investigate Trump associates, questioning from groups like Judicial Watch is unavoidable.

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In a follow-up tweet Saturday, Trump laid out the reason he’s backing Judicial Watch’s request for records.

Many conservative commentators – like National Review’s Andrew McCarthy –  have noted that Trump could be much more involved in the struggle over documents between the FBI and Congress and conservative groups.

As the president, Trump is the final authority on what is classified and what is not classified. If he wanted everything released, he could simply order it released – if it hasn’t been lost.

Saturday’s tweet was one sign that involvement — even if it stops short of a general release order — might be coming.

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