I’m not, as I have repeatedly explained, a fan of equating Donald Trump with Adolf Hitler. While Trump is surely a malignant narcissist, Hitler was an extreme sociopath completely devoid of a conscience. See the Night of the Long Knives if you don’t know what I mean.
But there is one aspect in which I think a comparison between the Trump administration and Hitler’s administration is fair, and that has to do with propaganda.
Trump, and the GOP, are completely feckless in their use of propaganda. Basically, they’ve picked up where Fox News and right wing talk radio left off, and now of course, the Trump administration, GOP, Fox News and right wing talk radio are essentially walking in lockstep.
There are many examples of their out-and-out propaganda, but let’s just remember a few:
- The claim that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election.
- The claim that the investigation of Trump’s collusion with the Russians in 2016 is a witch hunt.1
- The claim that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign.
- The claim that the Mueller report exonerated Trump of wrongdoing.
- The claim that the Ukrainian’s meddled in the 2016 election on Hillary Clinton’s behalf.
Most recently, of course, there has been the claim by the Trump administration that the investigation of Trump by the FBI and their use of FISA warrants was politically motivated. The Inspector General of the Justice Department has been looking into the conduct of this investigation (known as “Crossfire Hurricane“) for several years, and on December 8, 2019 they released a 476 page report.2
Inspector General’s Horowitz reported found 17 errors that we made by members of the FBI3 in the conduct of their investigation, and especially with respect to their applications to the FISA court for warrants to surveil Carter Page and other members of the Trump administration. However, what Horowitz did not find is any evidence of political bias in opening up the investigation.
And of course, Trump and the GOP immediately claimed that the IG’s report found evidence of political bias.
I’m not quite sure why one should bother to have an investigation, if the people who requested and authorized the investigation are simply going to lie about it’s results.
It’s hardly the first time this has happened. Attorney General Bill Barr lied about the findings of the Mueller report, of course. In case you forgot.
Barr also has another investigation going right now led by John H. Durham, the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, who had previously led investigations into the FBI handling of the Whitey Bulger case, the destruction by the CIA of videotapes of detainee investigations, and the legality of “enhanced” interrogation techniques used by the CIA. Now he’s been tasked by AG William Barr to lead a Department of Justice probe into the origins of the FBI investigation into Russian interference. Even though that’s what the IG had essentially already been investigating.
You know that Trump and Barr will just keep investigating until they find someone (anyone!) who is willing to say that some aspect of the investigation into Trump’s campaign was illegal. Then they can crow again about how the “deep state” and all of the establishment was out to get him, and how all the Democrats are still trying to reverse the 2016 election.
- If want wants to see a witch hunt, their could be no better example of that than the Republicans pursuit of Hillary Clinton in both the Benghazi investigation and the investigation of her private email server.
- The Executive Summary establishes that the FBI opened Crossfire Hurricane on July 31, 2016, just days after its receipt of information from a friendly foreign government reporting that, in May 2016, during a meeting with that government, then Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopou los “suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist this process with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Mrs. Clinton (and President Obama).”
- These 17 errors prove what I’ve always believed, which is that the FBI is not nearly as competent as people have believed it to be.