GOP lawmakers call for second special counsel

Skeptical of Mueller's investigation, a group of GOP lawmakers are calling for a special counsel to investigate the special counsel.

Posted: May 23, 2018 7:23 AM
Updated: May 23, 2018 7:23 AM

President Donald Trump is all in on pushing the idea, accurate or not, that the FBI may have inserted a spy into his campaign.

He teased it again Tuesday, on the odd occasion of a meeting with the South Korean President.

"A lot of people are saying they had spies in my campaign," he said of the FBI he now leads, as his foreign counterpart looked on. "If they had spies in my campaign that would be a disgrace to this country. It would be very illegal."

The truth, which appears to be that the FBI spoke with a confidential source about his dealings with Trump campaign officials, requires some nuance. But as with his unfounded claims that then-President Barack Obama "wiretapped" his phones at Trump Tower, the President has taken a kernel of truth and contorted it into an all-out conspiracy theory of entrenched bureaucrats out to get him.

Some of his Cabinet secretaries are joining him. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Tuesday that she was "unfamiliar" with the US intelligence community's repeated and unanimous assessment that Russia meddled in the 2016 election in an effort to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.

Trump's tortured relationship with his Department of Justice is the heart of the "deep state" fears he brought into the White House but it seems to have festered as morsels of information emerged about the methodical and apparently wide-reaching special counsel investigation into possible collusion with Russians by Trump campaign officials.

Trump has not been cowed into silence by the probe, but rather has lashed out on social media and during talks with reporters, calling the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller a "witch hunt."

If you put together the wiretapping allegation, the apparently failed demands of personal loyalty from people like former FBI Director James Comey and now the teased idea of a government spy infiltrating his campaign, you come away with the picture of an executive ready to uproot portions of government.

"You have a President who truly believes there is such a thing as a 'deep state,' the FBI is at the center of the deep state and is out to get him. There simply has been no evidence brought forth to support that," Bob Baer, a former CIA agent and a CNN analyst, said Monday.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called Trump's spy theory "a major threat to the rule of law."

In attempting to protect himself from Mueller and erode trust in the special counsel and FBI with these outbursts, Trump has also declared war on the institutions of American government, inviting the public to question them in the same way he does.

It's working, too.

CNN's most recent polling, conducted in May, suggested Republicans were shifting more negative on the Mueller probe as the President turned his rhetorical fire against it.

And it's not just the Mueller probe that Americans, particularly Republicans, are beginning to doubt.

A Pew survey released in February showed the favorable view of the FBI among Republicans and Americans who lean Republican was down 10 percentage points -- from 65% to 55% -- in one year. Negative views of the FBI among that subset rose from 21% in 2017 to 36% in 2018. Democrats, meanwhile, view the FBI more favorably.

That's still a majority favorable view for the FBI in February. Trust in government more broadly is much lower, 18%, according to a Pew survey out in December.

Trump seizes on that distrust and fuels it with his "deep state" conspiracy rhetoric.

Trump has been fueling theories about conspiracies for years. When he didn't like Obama, he became a major backer of the silly but subversive idea that Obama was not born in the US and therefore not a legitimate president. Later, when Trump was the underdog to win the White House, he said over and over that the system was rigged, presumably so he could dispute the results if he lost.

But he won. When he didn't win the popular vote, he became adamant that millions of votes had been cast illegally, oddly working to cast doubt on the Rust Belt wave that swept him in. Frustrated by court decisions, he's called out the 9th Circuit and said the system is "broken and unfair." And now, faced with Mueller, he cries "witch hunt" and suggests a "deep state" within government was spying on him.

Trump does not trust the government he leads -- and if that wears off on people, it could end up being a legacy of his presidency.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 443562

Reported Deaths: 5918
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin921721468
Ramsey39534730
Dakota32680325
Anoka30733358
Washington19904223
Stearns17728184
St. Louis13503239
Scott1185394
Wright11519102
Olmsted1031671
Sherburne813664
Carver689336
Clay646678
Rice597866
Kandiyohi551571
Blue Earth536333
Crow Wing478173
Otter Tail451362
Chisago447932
Benton416085
Winona384546
Douglas371566
Nobles366346
Mower360127
Goodhue342857
Polk327056
McLeod322244
Morrison309343
Beltrami307446
Lyon299035
Itasca281543
Becker280638
Isanti280640
Carlton278042
Steele27019
Pine264413
Freeborn238720
Todd230529
Nicollet222636
Brown212634
Mille Lacs212145
Le Sueur207615
Cass204723
Meeker198233
Waseca188015
Martin168826
Wabasha16802
Roseau165216
Hubbard147638
Redwood138827
Renville136339
Houston133613
Dodge13244
Chippewa130732
Cottonwood125618
Fillmore12135
Wadena118214
Rock109412
Sibley10767
Aitkin106733
Watonwan10598
Faribault103814
Kanabec96818
Pennington96715
Pipestone93423
Yellow Medicine92614
Murray8625
Jackson85010
Swift83017
Pope7355
Marshall70115
Stevens6968
Clearwater68314
Lac qui Parle65416
Lake62615
Wilkin6219
Koochiching58410
Unassigned49468
Lincoln4811
Big Stone4523
Grant4257
Norman4218
Mahnomen4077
Kittson36819
Red Lake3154
Traverse2443
Lake of the Woods1771
Cook1130

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 302245

Reported Deaths: 4203
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45206441
Linn17616270
Scott15300161
Black Hawk13616228
Woodbury12927175
Johnson1198649
Dubuque11275148
Pottawattamie8896112
Dallas879569
Story860433
Webster467269
Cerro Gordo461966
Sioux453151
Clinton447161
Warren436237
Marshall425161
Buena Vista391129
Muscatine384375
Des Moines379140
Plymouth348667
Wapello340097
Jasper317855
Lee312528
Marion300452
Jones269149
Henry262630
Carroll252833
Bremer241648
Crawford227822
Boone215316
Washington213831
Benton207943
Mahaska190636
Jackson190531
Tama185357
Dickinson183526
Delaware171836
Kossuth170141
Clay165519
Wright162324
Fayette159022
Buchanan157820
Hamilton157728
Harrison153862
Hardin153729
Winneshiek153019
Clayton150448
Cedar150019
Butler146123
Page143515
Floyd137436
Cherokee137325
Mills135516
Lyon133332
Poweshiek131424
Hancock128524
Allamakee126327
Iowa122522
Calhoun12189
Grundy119422
Jefferson119123
Winnebago118029
Madison11789
Mitchell115034
Louisa114129
Cass112141
Chickasaw110511
Sac110115
Emmet109931
Appanoose109038
Union108122
Humboldt104219
Guthrie102124
Shelby101126
Franklin100918
Unassigned9180
Palo Alto9009
Keokuk84225
Montgomery84022
Howard82119
Monroe80418
Clarke7757
Pocahontas77211
Ida73730
Greene6867
Davis68421
Adair68220
Lucas6458
Osceola6349
Monona62916
Worth5943
Taylor5909
Fremont5025
Van Buren49412
Decatur4784
Ringgold4269
Wayne41421
Audubon4118
Adams2933
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