Here we go.
Donald Trump has accused the FBI of improper surveillance of his 2016 presidential campaign and has “demanded” that the Justice Department launch a probe into it.
DOJ has responded by asking its inspector general to conduct a thorough investigation into whether anything improper occurred with regard to the Russian meddling in our 2016 election.
“If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a statement.
OK, where do we stand?
It looks to me as though the president has pulled out all the stops in his strategy to discredit, disparage and disqualify the serious probe being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Mueller has been given the authority to determine to what extent if any the president’s campaign cooperated with Russians who meddled in our electoral process. What’s more, Mueller’s team is examining a whole range of related issues, such as potential obstruction of justice and possible Trump Organization business ties with Russians involved in the meddling.
Trump’s allegation, as he has done with other such accusations, comes with no evidence up front. The president just, um, said it.
Rosenstein’s decision is the right call. If what the president alleges proves true, then we have a serious problem on our hands. I am going to rely on the IG’s ability to conduct the kind of thorough investigation that doesn’t presume guilt, but instead examines what — if any — evidence exists to lend credence to what the president has alleged.
If the IG finds nothing, well, then we have a problem of an entirely different nature.
And it is just as serious as the first one.