Republican smear campaign against FBI continues propaganda aimed at sowing confusion


Joseph McCarthy set the pattern for smearing people and institutions during the McCarthy period in the 1950’s. He spread lies and innuendo accusing people of being communists, including high-level State Department officials, without any evidence to back up his charges. “I have a list,” he would say.

In 2018, Congressional Republicans are following firmly in McCarthy’s footsteps, smearing Robert Mueller and his team who are conducting an investigation into Donald Trump’s relationships with Russia and Russian agents, pursuant to processes established by law.

Trump himself has led the smear campaign, repeatedly committing acts of obstruction of justice in full view of the public, attacking James Comey, Robert Mueller, Rod Rosenstein, Andrew McCabe and others. Now that Mueller’s investigation is closing in on the president and his closest advisers, Republicans have become hysterical in their efforts to protect Trump.

In doing so, Republicans are continuing a pattern of seeking to obstruct both the Special Counsel’s investigation and those of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. Chairman Devin Nunes of the House Committee has become an openly partisan champion of the president, leading his defense and diversionary tactics, instead of seeking to lead an impartial investigation.

Today, the focus is on the release of a memorandum drafted by Republican staff members of the House Intelligence Committee, possibly with direct White House input. The memo (reportedly four pages long) has been denounced by the new Trump-appointed head of the FBI, Christopher Wray, as misleading and highly tendentious. In a clear demonstration of the malicious intent of the Republicans who approved the release of this memo, they also have refused to release a Democratic memo written in rebuttal.

The smear campaign alleges that a FISA warrant issued against Carter Page was based on the Christopher Steele dossier, and that the warrant was illegally obtained because the dossier was cited, among other intelligence sources, as justification for the warrant.

The facts are that Christopher Steele brought his memo to the FBI because of his concerns over Russian subversion and involvement with the Trump campaign. The FBI checked his allegations against independent intelligence that they had. They then went to the FISA court for the warrant. Trump’s own FBI went back to the FISA court to obtain an extension of the warrant.

The interesting thing here is that many of the most important allegations in the Steele dossier have been subsequently corroborated, and none of its allegations have been disproved.


“The Christopher Steele dossier on Trump’s collusion with Russia and subsequent corroboration,” The Trenchant Observer, September 7, 2017.

“More on the “Golden Showers” dossier prepared by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele: Sources,” The Trenchant Observer, March 7, 2017.

Ken Bensinger, Miriam Elder (BuzzFeed News World Editor), and Mark Schoofs, “These Reports Allege Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia; A dossier, compiled by a person who has claimed to be a former British intelligence official, alleges Russia has compromising information on Trump. The allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors,” BuzzFeed, January 10, 2017 (3:20 p.m.; updated at 6:09 p.m.).

The text of Christopher Steele’s dossier on Trump and Russia, is found here.

The pattern of obstruction of justice by the president and his supporters is blazingly clear.

For the text of the relevant statutes on obstruction of justice, see

“Update: Trump’s Ongoing Obstruction of Justice (October 10, 2017) — with links to Brookings Report,” Trump Impeachment: Opinions and Developments Related to the Potential Impeachment of Donald Trump (, October 10, 1017).

Now, to distract from the clear facts of obstruction, the president and his supporters, including almost the entire Republican membership of the House and the Senate, are engaged in all-out attempts to divert attention from the central facts of Trump’s obstruction of justice and contacts with Russians and Russian agents. And also the fact that this week the Trump administration refused to impose sanctions on Russia and Russians mandated by law. Indeed, the head of one of Russia’s intelligence agencies, himself prohibited from entering the U.S. by earlier U.S. sanctions, traveled to the U.S. to meet with top intelligence officials–a fact which Trump concealed from the public and which only became public as a result of Russian media reports.

Republicans have aided and abetted Trump’s close relations with the Russians, and now even his failure to implement sanctions ordered by Congress in response to Russian intervention in the 2016 election. Trump has taken no firm measures to prevent Russian iterference in this year’s November elections.

Republicans, like Trump, have failed and continue to fail to protect the United States from Russian subversion.

They will enter the November elections as fierce supporters and enablers of a pro-Russian president who will not lift a finger to protect the country and its electoral processes from ongoing Russian intervention.

The Trenchant Observer

About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.