President Donald Trump has characterized the three-year-long investigation into alleged collusion between his 2016 campaign team and Russia as a “hoax” and “failed coup.” Now, it looks like he just got the smoking gun he needed to prove him right.
According to Fox News, an FBI official who worked on then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s team probing alleged Trump–Russia collusion told Justice Department interviewers earlier this month that he thought the investigation was a “dead end.”
“A three-year hoax”
The comments were made by William J. Barnett, who, according to Fox, said he believed the investigation into alleged collusion came from a “get Trump” attitude at the FBI, but that the evidence was “not there.”
Citing a 302 form filed by the FBI last week, Fox reported that “Barnett told investigators that he thought the FBI’s Trump–Russia probe was ‘opaque’ and ‘with little detail concerning specific evidence of criminal events.'”
It’s an argument President Trump himself has made time and time again — and in response to the latest news, the commander-in-chief doubled down.
A three year HOAX. A failed COUP! https://t.co/hKBrtMwsZY
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2020
“Unsure of the basis”
According to Fox, Barnett was originally assigned to investigations into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and ex-campaign chairman for Trump, Paul Manafort. Fox said Barnett felt the investigation into Flynn, in particular, was on shaky ground.
It “was not clear” what those who opened the probe were looking “for or at,” Barnett reportedly said.
Still, the FBI official told interviewers at the Justice Department that he followed orders that he felt were made within legal bounds and continued his investigations despite his apprehension. After six weeks, however, he said he was “still unsure of the basis of the investigation concerning Russia and the Trump campaign working together, without a specific criminal allegation,” Fox reported.
According to the New York Post, Barnett said that “[w]hile he believed that Flynn was an ‘outlier’ in the investigation…he did believe there were grounds to probe ‘the other three subjects in Crossfire Hurricane.'” But that doesn’t mean investigators handled everything the right way.
“[I]ncidents involving Trump were taken in the most negative manner, or in some cases misinterpreted,” Barnett told interviewers, according to the New York Post.
It seems this new information poses more questions than it answers. Will we ever see accountability?