Hate Means Never Having to Admit You’re Wrong

It was a stunningly predictable revelation: those $5 million bribes we’ve been hearing about for years? The bribes from Burisma that went to the “Biden crime family”? The bribes Republicans say are the reason why Biden needs to be impeached? Yeah, those bribes were just a fantasy, cooked up by a guy with a wardrobe full of flammable trousers, who has just been arrested by the FBI.

In a more perfect world, one might think that the indictment of star informant Alexander “Hot Pants” Smirnov might cause Republicans, and their cheerleaders at Fox, One America News, and, on the radio, Rush Limbaugh’s pale replacements Clay Travis and Buck Sexton, and so forth and so on, ad infinitum and ad nauseam, to reconsider, and perhaps temper their rabidity by just a notch. If that more perfect world in fact exists, it must be in some other galaxy far, far away.

Smirnov—a “globe-trotting businessman who speaks Russian,” according to the New York Times—became an FBI informant in 2010. His take for this service has reportedly run into six figures. As recently as last July, he was, though anonymous, a hero to the GOP.

One Senator in particular harangued and browbeat the FBI for months, demanding that it release its FD-1023* on Smirnov.

“Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today [July 20, 2023] released an unclassified FBI-generated record describing an alleged criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Joe Biden and a Ukrainian business executive. …

“For the better part of a year, I’ve been pushing the Justice Department and FBI to provide details on its handling of very significant allegations from a trusted FBI informant implicating then-Vice President Biden in a criminal bribery scheme. While the FBI sought to obfuscate and redact, the American people can now read this document for themselves, without the filter of politicians or bureaucrats, thanks to brave and heroic whistleblowers. What did the Justice Department and FBI do with the detailed information in the document? And why have they tried to conceal it from Congress and the American people for so long? The Justice Department and FBI have failed to come clean, but Chairman [U.S. Rep. James R.] Comer and I intend to find out,” Grassley said. [Emphasis added.]

It now appears that the FBI sat on Smirnov’s allegation because they did not believe it. Lack of credibility, however, has not shaken Senator Grassley’s faith. In a statement provided to the blog Bleeding Heartland, Grassley’s staff claimed the indictment ‘confirms several points Senator Grassley has made repeatedly.’” [Emphasis added.]

Fox News’ Chad Pergram reported—which is to say, stenographed—further comments from Grassley the next day: “Today’s indictment makes clear that, without Senator Grassley’s oversight and exposure of the FD-1023, the agency would have continued neglecting its duties and failing to provide… transparency….”

Similarly, Fox’s Sean Hannity dismissed Smirnov’s lies as “a very, very small part of what is the large body of evidence in the Biden impeachment inquiry,” according to Media Matters’ Matt Gertz, whose ability to transcribe portions of Hannity’s diatribes reveals a superhuman tolerance for boring tripe. Once in a while, though, he is rewarded.

First, Gertz demonstrates how Hannity tortures the English language: “I’m mad that the FBI informant, the 1023 form in this case, that now this guy has been charged. It appears that Alexander Smirnov was not to be trusted.”

Then, in a brief, uncharacteristic flash of clarity, Hannity speaks the truth: “I guess I was stupid.”

It is vitally important, when trying to find one’s way through the muck and mire of modern Republicanism, to a) wear sturdy hip-boots, or perhaps one of those old hard-hat diving rigs, and b) remember that every accusation is a confession.

If Republicans are claiming that the FBI has been covering up for the “Biden Crime Family”… do we really have to spell it out?

On January 6, 2021, with the last days of his presidency trickling away, Donald Trump exhorted a mob that had assembled at his invitation—“It will be wild”—to march on the Capitol and stop Congress from naming his successor.

As offenses against domestic tranquility go, it was right up there with shooting a man on Fifth Avenue. A reasonable person might fairly have expected that, shortly after noon on January 20th, 2021, a phalanx of federal law enforcement officers would ascend the steps of the Capitol and begin a perp walk.

And yet, as the Washington Post reported last June, “more than a year would pass before prosecutors and FBI agents jointly embarked on a formal probe of actions directed from the White House to try to steal the election. Even then, the FBI stopped short of identifying the former president as a focus of that investigation.”

This curious inaction would be less troubling in isolation. Alas, it appears to be part of a pattern: Rudy Giuliani’s prescient “We got a couple of surprises left,” days before James Comey’s gratuitous revival of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails; Bill Barr’s whitewashing of the Mueller report; the FBI’s resistance to searching Mar-a-Lago….

More recently, there’s Charles McGonigal, former head of counterintelligence for the FBI’s New York office—Ground Zero for any investigation into Trump shenanigans. McGonigal pled guilty to taking bribes from Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with ties to Vladimir Putin, and is now doing time.

But so what? Who cares? That’s all old news, anyway.

* “[A] form our special agents use to record raw, unverified reporting from confidential human sources (CHSs). FD-1023s merely document that information; they do not reflect the conclusions of investigators based on a fuller context or understanding. Recording this information does not validate it, establish its credibility, or weigh it against other information known or developed by the FBI in our investigations.” – FBI

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