The irony for Democrats is that fallout from their overzealous get-Trump offensive could strengthen the president’s argument for a second term. He is a disrupter, if nothing else, and after the revelations contained in the Justice Department inspector general’s report, who can argue that some disruption wasn’t in order? “At more than 400 pages, the study amounted to the most searching look ever at the government’s secretive system for carrying out national-security surveillance on American soil,” wrote Charlie Savage in the New York Times. “And what the report showed was not pretty.”
What the report showed was that FBI officials deceived a court into obtaining warrants to wiretap Carter Page, a U.S. citizen and former Trump adviser, during the 2016 campaign. It also showed that a discredited “dossier” compiled at the request of Democratic operatives was “central and essential” to the FBI’s warrant application, something the anti-Trump media had long disputed. In a hapless effort to demonstrate that Mr. Page was working for the Russians, the agency manipulated documents and hid information that could have exonerated him.
Democrats are playing down these findings because, however badly the FBI behaved, it was in the service of taking down Mr. Trump. But voters might see things differently, and I don’t suspect that the president will stop talking about how his opponents in the government and the media have spent the past three years using lies and deception to portray him as a White House squatter.