No, Christopher Wray, we don't trust you

No, Christopher Wray, we don't trust you
© Greg Nash

FBI Director Christopher Wray’s press conference Thursday, in response to the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general’s report on the FBI’s mishandling of the Clinton email server investigation, was nauseating and chilling. After listening to it, one could be forgiven for thinking that all that had really happened was some FBI employees had been caught taking red staplers or performing office hijinks.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Wray toed the same line as the Office of Inspector General (OIG)  report, claiming that there was no political bias on display.

 

Yet, anyone with more than a few brain cells can skim a dozen of the 568 pages in that document and see it is  replete with case after case of bias. Perhaps worst of all of those was FBI official Peter Strzok’s text message to fellow

FBI employee and reported lover, Lisa Page, that Trump wouldn’t become president because “We’ll stop it." Strzok, who was involved in investigating both the Clinton email scandal and Russian meddling in the 2016 election, claims, of course, that his texts are misunderstood and he totally didn’t mean anything by it.

Similarly, another FBI lawyer, also part of the Clinton investigation, proclaimed “Viva la Resistance!” in a text message. Yet another FBI employee said Trump voters were “all poor to middle class, uneducated, lazy POS.”

There's a word for such behavior: Bias.

The report concludes that, somehow, bias is not reflected in Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGillibrand urges opposition to Kavanaugh: Fight for abortion rights 'is now or never' Bannon announces pro-Trump movie, operation team ahead of midterms: report Fox News host hits Giuliani: Dossier isn't why Mueller probe was started MORE and her cronies skating on the entire issue of the email server. When 99.9999 percent of people reading this would be in jail if they similarly mishandled classified information, opening up top-secret data to hostile foreign actors, there's a word for that sort of significant preferential treatment: Bias.  

Instead of acknowledging the bias, Wray’s comments showed that, in fact, he is more loyal to the institution of the FBI than to the Constitution, the rule of law and the values of even-handed justice. One need look no further than the fact that Peter “We’ll stop it” Strzok still has his security clearance and is still employed by the FBI, cashing paychecks from the taxpayers.

Indeed, no one — save, perhaps, fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeTucker Carlson attacks press as ‘state media’ after Trump strips ex-CIA chief’s clearance Overnight Defense: Trump revokes Brennan's security clearance | Brennan fires back: 'I will not relent' | Defense firms bullish on 'Space Force' | Treasury targets Chinese, Russian firms for helping North Korea 17 times Brennan has torched Trump MORE and fired Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyTucker Carlson attacks press as ‘state media’ after Trump strips ex-CIA chief’s clearance Comey: Trump revoking Brennan's security clearance shows 'he will punish people who disagree with him' Trump draws bipartisan fire over Brennan MORE — has really suffered consequences for deliberate, biased actions and inactions. Wray made a mockery of those values Thursday and, in so doing, made a mockery of the FBI.

One of the ideas essential to this country is the rule of law — the idea that everyone, regardless of last name or position or wealth, stands equal before the law. The DOJ and the FBI serve as guardians of that ideal. When, by their actions, those institutions show they no longer hold those ideals sacred, they destroy the underpinnings of why the institutions exist — and, instead, make those a farce, a sham.

When storied institutions abandon the principles that are supposed to keep them serving the public good, they simply become tools for political power. That is how countries become banana republics. When people lose faith and trust in institutions because they feel those institutions are corrupt, then nothing is sacred. The institutions become easy to dismiss, especially when common sense tells us that they are not even-handed but, in fact, deeply and politically biased.

Many Americans no longer trust the FBI or the DOJ; some will say that is because of President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand urges opposition to Kavanaugh: Fight for abortion rights 'is now or never' Trump claims tariffs on foreign nations will rescue US steel industry: report Bannon announces pro-Trump movie, operation team ahead of midterms: report MORE’s constant drumbeat against them. Yet, frankly, those institutions are doing quite well all by themselves in destroying their credibility. We don’t need Trump’s tweets to remind us how badly the FBI botched its investigations.

If this country’s elites took even just five minutes for introspective reflection, perhaps they would realize just why Donald Trump was elected in the first place. Quite simply, we don't trust them. We saw their bias in the news, in politics, in policies and, yes, in the investigations they launched against the people we justly and duly elected.

We brought out the metaphorical political pitchforks in 2016 and sent our man to Washington. Then the elites struck back with their fake news, weaponized leaks and bogus investigations, and thought that Trump and his supporters would just take it sitting down.

Memo to ourselves: The days of just sitting and taking it are over. We are no longer content for business as usual, no longer accepting abuses of power being swept under the rug as the ruling class protects its own. We want reform, and we want a return to the ideals of rule of law and even-handed justice. If people have to be fired, or another special counsel appointed to investigate the DOJ and FBI with radical transparency as Trump declassifies everything, so be it.

Because this is about more than two institutions. It's about the ideals we were founded on, and whether we still believe in them.

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for President George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority, which trains conservative political candidates and activists.