It’s time for Rudy Giuliani to be interviewed by the FBI and/or the inspector general for the Department of Justice, on the record, so that any misstatement or misrepresentation that he might make can be prosecuted. The questions should focus on whether Giuliani and others have conspired with a cell of active-duty FBI agents to push a blatantly political prosecution of Hillary Clinton and thus alter the course of a presidential election.
I say that because by Giuliani’s own repeated public admission, we already have a pretty clear-cut case of highly improper, probably illegal communication and coordination between the Trump campaign and these unknown agents within the FBI. If those statements by Giuliani are true, then we need to find out who these agents are, so they can be dealt with appropriately.
Just to be clear: It’s fine for FBI agents to push their points of view within the agency. However, if they start leaking confidential information about investigations to a presidential campaign and by doing so participate directly if secretly in partisan politics, that is another matter entirely and is intolerable in a democracy.
For months now, Giuliani has been talking about having direct conversations with active-duty agents in the FBI who wanted — but could not get — a broader, more aggressive investigation into Clinton. Apparently, career federal prosecutors were telling this group of agents that they simply did not have anything close to the level of evidence needed to proceed against Clinton, pointing out that the primary source for their allegations, a book called “Clinton Cash,” had been widely debunked as inaccurate.
But the agents had other ideas, and based on Giuliani’s own statements, they have been communicating with the top echelons of the Trump campaign to get those ideas in play. Back in August, for example, Giuliani said on CNN that the decision by FBI Director James Comey not to prosecute Clinton “perplexes numerous FBI agents who talk to me all the time. And it embarrasses some FBI agents.”
In an appearance on Fox News on Oct. 26, Giuliani smugly claimed that something big was about to pop for the Trump campaign. “I think he’s [Donald Trump] got a surprise or two that you’re going to hear about in the next few days. I mean, I’m talking about some pretty big surprises. We’ve got a couple things up our sleeve that should turn this around.”
That was Wednesday. On Friday, two days later, Comey dropped the bombshell that additional emails had been found and required investigation.
On Oct. 28, in a radio interview, Giuliani said he wasn’t surprised by Comey’s announcement, because he had been in contact with former agents “and a few active agents, who obviously don’t want to identify themselves.” On Fox News on Nov. 2, Giuliani said again that “you have outraged FBI agents that talk to me. They are outraged at the injustice. They are outraged at being turned down by the Justice Department to open a grand jury. They are convinced that Loretta Lynch has corrupted the Justice Department.” On Fox News on Nov. 4, he again confirmed that he had been alerted beforehand about the release of emails. “This has been boiling up in the FBI. I did nothing to get it out. I had no role in it. Did I hear about it? Darn right I heard about it,” Giuliani said.
Similar statements about leaks by disgruntled active-duty FBI agents involved in the investigation have come from James Kallstrom, a close friend of Giuliani and a very ardent supporter of Trump. Kallstrom also happens to be a retired FBI assistant director and former head of its New York office. To get some idea of where Kallstrom is coming from politically, listen to how he described the Clintons in a recent radio interview:
“The Clintons, that’s a crime family. It’s like organized crime, basically. The Clinton Foundation is a cesspool. We don’t have enough time to talk about all the things they’ve done, screwing people, in Haiti and basically the public in general. And she’s a pathological liar, and she’s always been a liar. And God forbid if we put someone like that in the White House.”
That is not the statement of a cool-headed, apolitical law-enforcement professional who should be trusted to investigate a case like this. That is a rant worthy of a right-wing talk radio host out to get Clinton at any cost. And if there are any more like him within the active ranks of the FBI office in New York, they need to be exposed and removed from any case involving politics.
In the last day or two, Giuliani has finally seemed to grasp the enormity of what he has already publicly confessed to doing, and is attempting to take it all back. In an interview Friday with Wolf Blitzer, Giuliani claimed that contrary to his previous statements, he had learned about Comey’s announcement the same time as everyone else, and was just as surprised as everybody else.
“No, I’ve spoken to no current FBI agents, gosh, in the last eight months, nine months, ten months, certainly not about this,” Giuliani told Blitzer, contradicting his own repeated claims.
And his claim of a “pretty big surprise” coming that would change the election? According to Giuliani, he was referring to the launch of a big advertising push by the Trump campaign.
He also went Fox to pitch his new line.
“I’m real careful not to talk to any on-duty, active FBI agents,” he said Friday on Fox & Friends. “I don’t want to put them in a compromising position. But I sure have a lot of friends who are retired FBI agents, close, personal friends.”
Either Giuliani was lying before, when he repeatedly claimed communication with active-duty FBI agents, or he is lying now, after realizing the potential gravity of what he had confessed to doing. If the FBI is to restore its reputation as a nonpolitical law-enforcement agency that makes judgments based on evidence, not partisan politics, it needs to find out what’s going on in its own ranks. Because right now this stinks to high heaven.