Friday, May 31, 2019

Re FBI; Barr Has a Point

Saw in surfing that AG Barr said something to the effect the FBI should not have investigated Trump.

I suspect my fellow liberals and Democrats will be aghast at the idea: no one should be above the law, etc.

But I'm old enough to think he has something of a point.  Apparently the FBI transcripts from their wiretapping of Martin Luther King have just been released, which should serve as a reminder of the power J. Edgar had in his heyday through the suspicion he had files on everyone in DC. 

My point is that investigations are power, and we should have checks and balances applied to the FBI when they investigate possible misdoing by high official, or candidates for high offices.  From what I understand of the background of the FBI investigation into Russian meddling and the involvement of the Trump campaign it was conducted well and had some oversight.  Certainly President Obama was aware of the proceedings and tried to take action.  But that seems to have been based on the judgment of the officials involved, not the operations of any particular legal structure.

To me, the whole Trump-Russian mess raises big questions: what sort of help can/should campaigns accept from noncitizens, from nonresidents, from citizens of friendly nations, from citizens of  possible adversaries, or members of the government of adversaries?  How is that defined in relation to the First Amendment?  To the extent we now have laws against such help, or decide to add them in the future, how should investigations of possible breach of such laws be handled?  We can't leave it to the FBI director--J. Edgar proves that.  We can't leave it to the appointed heads of Justice or the elected head of the government, can we?

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