Ben Shapiro & Dan Bongino Debate over Spygate

Ben Shapiro is skeptical about the claim that the FBI was targeting Trump personally during the 2016 election season, an issue he addressed in his show last week. Fellow conservative commentator Dan Bongino responded to Shapiro’s analysis on Monday. Finally, Shapiro added some closing thoughts.

Shapiro questions why the FBI and the Clinton campaign did not release any of their damaging information prior to the election.

First, they never dreamed that Hillary would lose the election. There were a few polls, such as Rasmussen, IBD/Tipp, and Gravis, that showed Trump slightly ahead leading up to the election. With the exception of a slight dip in support following the WikiLeaks email release during the Democratic Convention, the majority of polls showed Hillary with a comfortable lead throughout the season.

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Also, the information could have been easily traced back to the Clinton Campaign and ultimately, but perhaps less easily, to the FBI. This would have eroded her support by reinforcing all of the negatives commonly associated with the Clintons.

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Next, Shapiro asks, “Why didn’t the FBI target other members of Team Trump? Why not Trump himself?”

The FBI targeted Carter Page and George Papadopoulos because they could come up with somewhat plausible pretexts for doing so. What credible reason would they have, if caught, for investigating Trump specifically? They targeted Page because of his prior connections to the Russian government. The Russians had once tried to recruit him as a spy and Page had informed the FBI about those attempts.

A warrant to surveil Carter Page offered the FBI substantial access to Trump campaign phone calls and emails without having to provide a reason for why they were spying on Trump specifically.

Papadopoulos was a young, naïve, easy to manipulate target. I believe Rush Limbaugh’s theory that he was told the information twice so he would later repeat it to Downer and thus, give the FBI a pretext for targeting him.

It’s not difficult to imagine a young man, especially after a few drinks, wanting to impress the Australian ambassador with the inside information that the Russians had damaging information on Hillary Clinton. “I’m so important that the Russian government has approached me twice with this information.” This plan was pure genius.

Shapiro also questions Bongino’s claim that:

Trump had been targeted by the Steele dossier, which seems like a broad definition of “targeted,” given that the dossier was compiled by Fusion GPS, the dossier didn’t break until well after the election, and the FBI ran down the dossier during the election without violating confidentiality.”

The dossier was prepared as part of what FBI official Peter Strzok referred to as an “insurance policy, “ an instrument with which to undermine Trump if, against all odds, he were to win the election. This is exactly how it’s been used and has worked like a charm to sow doubt about Trump and to delegitimize his presidency.

Finally, Shapiro wonders why Trump doesn’t simply declassify the documents, such as the Carter Page FISA warrant, that could so easily answer the questions we’ve all been asking. “Bongino claims that Trump doesn’t declassify because to do so would somehow interfere with or prejudice ongoing leak investigations.” Shapiro believes most documents could be released without affecting ongoing investigations.

I agree with Shapiro completely on this point. Even if a leak investigation were compromised, the clarity provided by the declassified documents to the endless inquisition that the Mueller investigation has become would far outweigh any damage. It is a mystery why Trump hasn’t ordered the release of the documents already.

The material that has been declassified so far has not posed a threat to our national security. Portions of it have, however, portrayed Obama intelligence officials in a less than flattering light, and their reluctance to reveal additional information is understandable. Some of the documents may even provide evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

But why Trump does not simply order the DOJ and the FBI to produce the documents requested by Congress leaves me stumped. He needs to do so soon. If the midterms were held today, the House majority could go either way. This is a much more favorable scenario than that of a month or two ago, and the momentum is certainly on the Republicans side. But, there is still a 50% chance the Democrats could win control. Trump needs to declassify all the documents that Congressional investigators have requested. As a result, the clouds of doubt about his possible collusion with the Russians can be eliminated prior to the election.

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