Jim Crawford: Investigation starts with conclusion first

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 6, 2023

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, has just been promoted from back-seated radical Republican bomb-thrower to chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee and chair of the new select committee on the “weaponization” of the federal government against, well, people like him.

Jordan, who likes to be called a conservative, is a morphed-Republican Donald Trump supporter extraordinaire on a mission to right the wrongs of attacks upon ex-President Trump.

His task is daunting, but Jordan is a high-energy 1,000 words-a-minute congressman whose destiny seems now linked to that of Don Quixote, undertaking an impossible challenge with a saber forged from paper-mâché.

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Jordan goes where others have gone before him. Even now, Special Counsel John Durham is winding down his ignominious investigation into FBI mistakes and crimes from the Mueller investigation of Trump.

Durham, an experienced prosecutor, may have the worst record of anyone so tasked, two trial losses and zero trial wins.

Durham’s problem was that his edict, when appointed by then-attorney general William Barr, was to prove Trump’s claim that the Trump-Russia investigation was a Democratic “witch hunt” and that the FBI was corrupt and Trump the truth teller.

Now, as Jordan and his committee undertake their efforts, they are, like Durham, beginning their project bound by a premise of the innocence of the Trump campaign’s engagement with Russia and Russian operatives and influencers. That assumption can only lead them to the same outcome as Durham unless their standards of what constitutes fact are considerably more loosely defined.

Standing in the path of the claim of proving “the weaponization” of the FBI and the Department of Justice is an insurmountable giant windmill in the form of a bipartisan Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee report on the Trump campaign-Russia connections in the 2016 election.

During that 2016 campaign, then-candidate Trump said, “I have nothing to do with Russia -for anything.” (July 27, 2016). That statement, as documented in the 966-page Senate investigation report, is a lie. Had Trump told the truth, his campaign might well have taken a fatal blow. When Trump later admitted (2018) that he had personally signed a letter of intent to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, he justified the lie as a business consideration.

But that was far from the only connection of the Trump campaign with Russian influencers, oligarchs and suspected agents. According to the Senate report, Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, had his assistant, Rick Gates, share campaign polling data with Russian agent Konstantin Kilimnik. Roger Stone, a longtime Trump confidant, was the connection to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, a link to Russian election tampering and a relationship known to Trump to be used in the campaign.

An additional obstacle to Mr. Jordan’s new task is the Mueller Report, which documents at least 10 occasions when Trump could have committed obstruction of the investigation, if he were so charged. However, the Department of Justice had determined it would not charge a sitting president with any crime during his term in office.

Ultimately, it is most likely that the Jordan-led select committee will ignore the Senate Intelligence Committee report and the potential obstruction of justice incidents within the Mueller Report to construct an entirely new narrative of the events. In the new narrative, Don Quixote will vanquish the stubborn old facts and replace them with tales of the historic innocence of one who would later lead an insurrection to overthrow the evil government.

That is what Trump conservatives will define as free speech for their repressed minority.

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.