What is a spy? The image of cartoon characters Boris Badenov and Natasha Fetale in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show comes up. Then, there are the fictional spies who use dead drops and code words. The FBI defines a spy as a foreign national who secretly and illegally collects information about the U.S. government. The converse is true, members of the U.S. intelligence community operating secretly in a foreign country are technically spies. Attorney General William Barr disagrees.
Barr came up through the FBI and was President George H.W. Bush’s attorney general. He knows the intelligence community rarely use that term. He and Donald Trump do not like FBI Director Christopher Wray’s truthtelling about the word. POTUS spoke to reporters on the White House Lawn:
‘Trump vs. The FBI, Part 85
The President says FBI Director Chris Wray gave a “ridiculous answer” in distancing himself from the term “spying”‘
Trump vs. The FBI, Part 85
The President says FBI Director Chris Wray gave a “ridiculous answer” in distancing himself from the term “spying” pic.twitter.com/CM3NfuiHII
— Josh Campbell (@joshscampbell) May 14, 2019
When Barr testified before a Senate subcommittee he used the calculated word “spy” with all of its combustible associations. During his own testimony, FBI Director Christopher Wray disagreed and put himself squarely on Trump’s hit list. Wray’s choice was to tell the truth or lie, and people around the president who tell the truth do not last very long. Fortunately, Wray has kept his head down — at least until now.
Trump spoke to reporters out on the White House lawn. He said the subpoena “seems very unfair to me:”
‘You know it’s really a tough situation because my son spent, I guess over 20 hours testifying about something that Mueller said was 100% okay. And now they want him to testify again. I don’t know why. I have no idea why. It seems very unfair to me.’
The president continued, saying he “didn’t understand” the FBI director’s response:
‘I didn’t understand (Wray’s) answer. I thought the attorney general answered it perfectly. So I certainly didn’t understand that answer. I thought it was a ridiculous answer.’
As he laid the groundwork during his testimony for his investigation into those who investigated Russia, Barr claimed, POLITICO reported:
‘I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal. I think spying did occur.’
Both Barr and Trump have been dropping word bombs, keywords that were meant to generate a negative emotion in his voters. The president said that the FBI “spied” on his campaign, and that was a crime. Worse, he called the investigations into Russia attacking the 2016 president elections, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, an “attempted coup” against him.
Wrong and wrong. There was no coup. That is a dangerous word for a man who may be projecting his own intentions. The FBI was simply doing its job. When a foreign country attacks the U.S., especial a treacherous country like Russia, it goes to work.
When the FBI director testified at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, a committee member asked him about the word. Wray said the words that drew Trump’s anger:
‘Well, it’s not the term I would use. Lots of people have different colloquial phrases. I believe that the FBI is engaged in investigative activity, and part of investigative activity includes surveillance.’
One of Trump’s advisors, Carter Page, was a squishy character who used to live in Russia and hung out with guys connected to Russian intelligence when he came home. Then, another Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos, was over in a London bar shooting off his mouth that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton for Trump.
The FBI would have been derelict if they had not investigated this. Still, they used a legal procedure with an extremely high bar of proof to obtain information on Page.
‘I have no idea what (Barr’s) talking about. The FBI doesn’t spy. The FBI investigates.’