Did Donald Trump run a good campaign

Trump propagates a new conspiracy theory

The president's supporters accuse the FBI of allowing itself to be involved in a party-politically motivated operation. The alleged evidence on this is thin.

When American President Donald Trump can hardly stop getting excited about a matter on Twitter, it usually means that someone has stepped on his feet. It is also the rule that Trump becomes aware of such events when they are discussed on the news channel Fox News.

Not a good weekend

In addition to the latest bloodbath at an American school, three topics dominated the news situation over the weekend and they had to go up the president's nose like a bad smell. On the one hand, his skins seemed to be swimming away in view of a summit meeting with the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, who made it clear that he was not giving up his nuclear arsenal for a sandwich - even if there was a lot of butter on the bread.

On the other hand, it was about Trump's number one irritant topic: the investigation by special investigator Robert Mueller about the Russian influence on the presidential election, about possible complicity of figures from Trump's environment and the question of whether the president had obstructed the judiciary in clearing up these questions.

The focus was on two strands that overlapped. In the first, the "New York Times" reported on another, previously hidden, meeting of Trump's son Donald Junior in New York's Trump Tower during the election campaign. Three people - two of them with good relations with Arab Gulf monarchs, the third a former Israeli secret service agent - are said to have offered Trump help from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on the one hand, and a campaign to influence social media for his election campaign on the other. Mueller's investigators followed up, and one of the three men cooperated with the special investigator.

According to the Times, various interrogations were subsequently carried out in the United States, Israel and elsewhere. The question is whether Trump's campaign staff accepted illegal aid from abroad and whether this was done in consultation with Russia. According to American services, Moscow carried out a large-scale Internet campaign in favor of Trump, partly by influencing the flow of news, partly by hacking the Democrats' computer systems.

The second strand concerns a long-running but recently particularly violent campaign to discredit the FBI and the Justice Department. Under the leadership of David Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and seconded by Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, the judicial authorities are accused of allowing the Obama administration to use them to "spy on" Trump's election campaign. .

It is no coincidence that the allegations are reminiscent of the Watergate campaign that killed President Richard Nixon. The main question is why the FBI launched an operation in 2016 to investigate the relationship between Trump's campaign staff and Russian emissaries as part of counter-espionage. Recently, the focus is on a mysterious FBI informant who is said to have met three people from Trump's environment in the summer and fall of 2016. Nunes asked the Justice Department to reveal the name. This refused because the revelation could endanger ongoing operations and even human lives.

It is now known that the informant is former university professor Stefan Halper, who has been working as an informant for the FBI and intelligence services for some time and previously worked for the Republican presidents Reagan and the two Bushes. According to the Wall Street Journal, the fact that he asked three figures close to Trump to inquire about their relations with Moscow should worry all those “who want to keep the judicial organs and the secret services away from party politics”. In doing so, the paper deliberately conceals the fact that foreign powers were already exerting intense influence on party politics in 2016, because Trump's election campaign staff allowed this to happen.

So what should the judiciary and secret services have done when they received information? Watch in silence? Or try to get to the bottom of the matter? A former FBI employee who was just publishing a book about the devastating effects of fake news and social media then corrected the facts a little. If the FBI hadn't followed up on these leads, he said, he'd be blamed for gross negligence. After all, American democracy cannot be indifferent to whether it is infiltrated by Russian moles.

Good reasons

A look at the timeline should also convince the skeptics of the FBI operation that the Federal Police had good reasons to want to learn more about the Russia connection. Because it was in June when Trump's son, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his campaign manager Paul Manafort met with Kremlin emissaries in New York's Trump Tower because they were hoping for compromising material about Hillary Clinton. This is on record, and Halper, the FBI informant, began his inquiries in July, one month after the meeting.

However, this does not prevent Trump from describing the FBI operation as a political assassination that must be investigated by the Department of Justice. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein agreed in that he instructed the Control Board to investigate the matter. There will be consequences if it turns out that the operation had unfair motives. The word “if” marks the big difference.