Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley, a self-described liberal who teaches at George Washington School of Law, slammed the mainstream media on Friday for its “willful blindness to mounting evidence of wrongdoing in the Russian investigation.”
What’s the background?
On Friday, the Justice Department announced the first indictment resulting from U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation.
The DOJ revealed that former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith will plead guilty to falsifying a document that was used to obtain a surveillance warrant Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Clinesmith is accused of altering an email document to downplay Page’s association with the CIA.
What did Turley say?
According to the constitutional lawyer, the DOJ’s announcement is more evidence of the media’s willful ignorance to the facts surrounding the Russia investigation, with regard to activities conducted by FBI agents and top DOJ officials.
“The implications of this criminal plea is enormous but the media has engaged in a pattern of willful blindness to mounting evidence of wrongdoing in the Russian investigation by FBI and DOJ figures,” Turley began.
“Notably, the Flynn plea was widely reported as a major conviction despite the fact that the agents themselves stated that they did not believe Flynn intentionally lied. Pleas by others resulted in less than a month of jail, including Papadopoulos who received only 14 days,” he added.
“Those pleas were given endless and breathless discussion in the media. This is a direct and major falsification by a critical figure in the Russian investigation. It follows referrals for criminal charges against other figures like Andrew McCabe. None of that seems to matter,” Turley continued.
Indeed, in the early days of Robert Mueller’s investigation, the media widely reported on each new development, suggesting the indictments stemming from Mueller’s probe were evidence that Trump’s campaign committed wrongdoing in the 2016 election.
However, that changed completely last year when Mueller concluded that Trump’s campaign, in fact, did not collude with Russia.
Still, the media has been slow to accept the Mueller investigation’s findings, and, as Turley noted, the wrongdoing done by government officials who oversaw and played critical roles in the Trump-Russia investigation.
In an op-ed for The Hill, Turley summarized this investigative double-standard being employed by Democrats.
“So, just to wrap up, we have a collusion investigation that was shown to be based on false or unreliable information. It was launched and maintained by officials who were accused by an inspector general of misconduct, false statements, or procedural errors, and now we have an actual criminal guilty plea. Yet many in Washington continue to insist there is no reason for Durham to keep digging. As Biden says, ‘Gosh almighty,'” Turley wrote.