As tensions escalate in Washington over the Justice Department’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign as well as the alleged obstruction of justice that followed, another FBI employee has abruptly quit.
Rather than leaving his reasons up to interpretation, Josh Campbell, a former Supervisory Special Agent in the FBI who worked closely with James Comey (as he investigated the Trump/Russia scandal), released his thoughts on resignation to the public.
In an op-ed for The New York Times, Campbell explains why he felt he could best uphold his duty to America by quitting:
‘Why? So I can join the growing chorus of people who believe that the relentless attacks on the bureau undermine not just America’s premier law enforcement agency but also the nation’s security. My resignation is painful, but the alternative of remaining quiet while the bureau is tarnished for political gain is impossible.’
This resignation follows on the heals of #ReleaseTheMemo, a movement begun by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and fueled by conservative media. The memo was purported to vindicate Donald Trump by proving that the FBI and Department of Justice (under President Obama) were part of a conspiracy to improperly obtain permission to surveil Trump campaign members.
Only a small faction of the political world and media claimed this memo furthered Trump’s case for innocence.
If Trump wants to do the decent thing, he'll fire Rosenstein ASAP, to give him proper time to prepare his defense.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) February 2, 2018
The fallout from the @FBI exposure over obtaining a surveillance warrant under false pretenses is twofold: first, it justifies President Trump firing James Comey. And second, it exposes those media people who don’t feel this story is important as complete frauds.
— Bill O'Reilly (@BillOReilly) February 3, 2018
And of course Trump himself thinks he’s completely absolved:
This memo totally vindicates “Trump” in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2018
As we now know, the Nunes memo was not motivated by a genuine concern regarding transparency. It was simply a partisan attempt to discredit the investigative work being done by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.
Even before the memo was handed to the White House (which means before Trump had read the memo), Trump was already claiming victory. His plan to discredit those investigating him was only a stepping stone to his next goal: Get rid of Robert Mueller. And, if need be, fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (who oversees Mueller) to clear the way.
Rep. Nunes claimed that the memo would give evidence that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court warrant granted to the FBI, which allowed them to surveil Trump campaign member Carter Page, was granted purely based on the Steele dossier. He further claimed that the Steele dossier was politically motivated and paid for by the Democratic Party. This is partially true, but not the full picture. Nunes’ memo also alleges that the information regarding the partisan nature of the Steele dossier was not included in the FISA request.
As expected, Democrats claimed the Nunes memo was only telling one side of the story
The minority House Intelligence Committee Democrats said of the memo:
‘It fails to provide vital context and information contained in DOJ’s FISA application and renewals, and ignores why and how the FBI initiated, and the Special Counsel has continued, its counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s election interference and links to the Trump campaign.’
New reports are also showing the biased nature of the memo. The Washington Post released another bombshell early this morning, discrediting the main assertion of the Nunes memo:
‘The court that approved surveillance of a former campaign adviser to President Trump was aware that some of the information underpinning the warrant request was paid for by a political entity, although the application did not specifically name the Democratic National Committee or the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the matter.’
Digging into the actual implications of the memo, CNN’s Jake Tapper weighed in on the discussion:
The memo confirms that the counterintelligence investigation began with Trump adviser George Papodopoulos in July 2016. He was told in early 2016 by a Kremlin conduit of dirt they had on Clinton and has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians. https://t.co/wSxPYXf5Ah
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 3, 2018
Even stalwart Republicans are standing up against Trump and Nunes:
Sen. John McCain blasted President Trump for approving the release of a highly controversial memo, saying "if we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin's job for him" https://t.co/iPPaZhWLKM pic.twitter.com/z9hE30pjns
— CNN (@CNN) February 3, 2018
Most tellingly, even Trump-appointed justice department officials who were not part of the department (or FBI) during the department’s alleged “biased acts” bailed on Trump and came out against the Nunes memo.
Let’s not forget that Devin Nunes has tried to vindicate Trump before. The result of that fiasco was Nunes himself eventually backing away and admitting that the information he presented was not the smoking gun that he proclaimed.
Now Nunes is backing down again, admitting after being questioned on Fox News that he didn’t even read the whole FISA application before writing and releasing the memo:
‘Did you read the actual FISA applications?’
‘No, I didn’t.’
He went on to say that he appointed Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) to read the document, along with two investigators.
Interestingly, after Gowdy read the underlying documents (including the full FISA memo), he abruptly announced his intention to leave Congress instead of running for reelection. Gowdy also served with Rep. Nunes on the executive committee of Trump’s transition team.
When asked about the implications of the FISA memo, Gowdy said:
As I have said repeatedly, I also remain 100 percent confident in Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The contents of this memo do not – in any way – discredit his investigation.
— Trey Gowdy (@TGowdySC) February 2, 2018
With so much on the line, Josh Campbell’s act of bravery in calling attention to this unprecedented attack on the Department of Justice and FBI is adding another voice to the growing outcry against Trump’s abuses. In the midst of the private dissatisfaction with Trump and Nunes, Campbell calls for fellow members of the FBI to join him:
‘A small number of my current and retired colleagues have said that we should simply keep our heads down until the storm passes. I say this with the greatest respect: They are wrong. If those who know the agency best remain silent, it will be defined by those with partisan agendas.’
James Comey’s statement adds gravity to Campbell’s departure statement:
— James Comey (@Comey) February 3, 2018
Featured image: joshcampbell.org