Musing about law, books, and politics

Why the Trump-FOX-GOP keeps repeating false talking points about the FISA warrant.

Jason Draut asked this: 

Yes, a Fox-Trump-GOP talking point is that Carter Page FISA warrant used to kick off the Special Counsel investigation was invalid, therefore the Special Counsel investigation was a sham and Trump was a victim.

This is what Trump was getting at here⤵️

The claim is nonsense. 

To get a warrant, the FBI shows its evidence to a judge who then decides whether to issue the warrant. 

In this case, the judge weighed the FBI’s evidence & decided there was enough to support the warrant.

The FOX GOP argument is that because Steele was hired by Clinton, Steele was biased and the evidence is therefore tainted. 

The first problem with this argument: There is no evidence that the FBI misled the judge about the source of the evidence.

The second problem: showing that an informant was biased isn’t enough to invalidate a warrant. Most (or all) informants are biased. What matters is the reliability of the evidence.

The GOP-Trump claim that the dossier was tainted because Steele was “foreign” or originally hired by Clinton has no legal validity.

Another problem: We don’t know all the evidence shown to the judge because of the redactions.

But we do know that an independent judge made the decision, and there is no reason to believe the judge made a mistake.

This is why the most Sen. Graham could say was that a warrant based on Steele’s dossier was “disturbing.”

Besides, even if a warrant turns out to be invalid, it just means that evidence obtained by means of the warrant isn’t admissible in court, which doesn’t help the defendant if other evidence corroborates the crime. It also doesn’t mean the defendant is innocent.

Trump’s theory is that Comey, McCabe, Strzok and other FBI “Deep State” operators conspired against him.

James Comey points out one absurdity: If the FBI was out to get Trump, why didn’t they use the information to damage the candidate in 2016?

Comey said the accusations against the FBI are based on “dumb lies.”

Remember: Trump’s supporters embrace his lies for a reason.

As @ddale8 explains ⤵️ they argue that his lies point out an important truth, and they care about the deeper truth.

For Trump supporters, the lie—“the warrant was illegal”—points to a deeper truth.

To understand the “deeper truth,” remember that MAGA specifically means take America backwards to an era when white men (especially wealthy white men) could do whatever they pleased.

If you missed my thread on the meaning of MAGA, click here.

Q: What stops Trump from taking America back to the days of robber barons—when white men were free to grab and cheat?

A: The laws and agencies that stop them from cheating.

That includes the FBI.

When David Koch was the Libertarian Party 1980 vice presidential candidate, he advocated abolishing (among other things) the FBI, CIA, and IRS.

The far right wing sees any FBI power as an abuse of power—because they don’t think the FBI should exist.

That’s why they’re trying to destroy and “needlessly smear. . .”

They don’t think the FBI should exist because they think that a central government—and the laws promulgated and enforced by a strong central government—infringes on their “liberty.”

It’s hard to pinpoint the definition of “deep state.” 

Geoff Nunburg on NPR  offers this definition: a cabal of leftist officials and bureaucrats lodged deep in the government who are working to thwart people like Trump.

What is the “Deep State” that Trump talks of? 

It is that part of government that prevents him from doing whatever he wants; the laws and regulatory agencies that enforce those laws.

The deep state is the part of government the far right wing doesn’t think should exist.

They see themselves as victims of the deep state. 

In a recent interview, Trump said, “Nobody has been treated badly like me.”

It’s definitely counterintuitive that members of the Fox-Trump-GOP view themselves as victims—but they do.

They see themselves as victims because they pine for the good old days when these laws and agencies didn’t exist and they could do whatever they pleased.

Prof. @jasonintrator explains that far right wing movements always cast themselves as victims.

Thus another “deeper truth” to the lie that the FISA warrant was illegal was that the FISA warrant is just another instance of people like Trump being targeted.

This is why doesn’t matter what facts you show them, or what law you show them . . .

They will look past the facts and the law and insist that the FISA warrant was illegal and Trump was a victim. 

[BTW, People in the comments on Twitter are doing a good job adding facts I left out, like this one:

‏As long as I’ve come this far, I’ll point out that this is why I’m skeptical that the impeachment hearings (when they happen) will change the minds of the GOP.

As I argued in this Slate article, we know the Fox-Trump-GOP is immune to the truth:

Moving forward, we must keep in mind the fact that the Fox-Trump-GOP is immune to the truth.

Take a look at this chart.

Perhaps this is why Trump’s support remains at about 40%, no matter what he says, or what evidence comes out against him.

Rebecca Burrell asked this:

Sigh. More silliness. Sometimes I think our energy is better directed toward community organizing than playing whack-a-lie, which will never end. 

Liars can lie faster than we can whack ’em.

Playing whack-a-lie keeps us from planning and moving forward.

I believe the endless stream of Trump lies not an accident.

I sometimes think Trump thinks up the most provocative thing he can say and then laughs while everyone goes into a spin.

[View as a Twitter thread]