Trump Watch: Spygate? A Monster Story!

Has Trump lost touch? In a single minute, on 25 May, before leaving to give the commencement speech at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, he managed to fire four tweets about Spygate. That’s the term he uses to talk about the FBI informant that supposedly “infiltrated” his campaign in 2016.

“Worse than Watergate!” Trump had tweeted a few days ago. But this time, it was a long statement, 190 words long, very unusual for Trump. So it had to be broken up to fit into Twitter’s framework.

Summarizing the four tweets, here is what he said: Spygate is a “monster story” but the “corrupt Mainstream Media hates” it (meaning it won’t share it); the “Informant” was “paid a fortune” (sic, how can he judge that?); and he was set up “way earlier than the Russian Hoax” began (not true).

Then he pretends to be horrified: “Can anyone even imagine having Spies placed in a competing campaign, by the people and party in absolute power, for the sole purpose of political advantage and gain?” Obviously not the case in a democracy like the U.S.

Yet that gives him the opportunity to chuckle, despite spending “far more money” than he did, the Democrats “LOST!” (in capital letters). Then he refers to what a Fox News journalist said (always Fox News, not part of the Corrupt Media):

And he concludes his diatribe with the observation: “Democrats are so obviously rooting against us in our negotiations with North Korea.” In fact, Democrats are so evil that “they are coming to the defense of MS 13 thugs, saying that they are individuals & must be nurtured”. And, Americans beware, Democrats are after your wallets: they are “asking to end your big Tax Cuts & raise your taxes instead.” Clearly, “Dems have lost touch!”

Then he let 10 minutes pass, presumably contemplating his oeuvre. Then realizing he had mentioned North Korea in the last tweet, he decided to refer to that bit of news (that he had slammed the door shut on the planned June 12 Summit; that North Korea leader Kim Jong-un seemed to try to re-open the door) with a closing, victorious-style tweet, heralding “an enduring prosperity and peace”, provided one gave it time and, of course, “talent”:

Trump’s talent for deals, who else’s?

Deconstructing Spygate

Let’s start with Trump’s reference to Mollie Hemingway who on Thursday was on the Tucker Carlson Tonight show – obviously watched by Trump (don’t be surprised, he never gets his news in written form):

As you can see, Ms. Hemingway is upset and convinced the DoJ and the FBI are hiding secrets – conveniently forgetting that the FBI is the domestic intelligence and security service of the country and its main Federal law enforcement agency…under Trump’s watch. It helps to remember what’s what.

So don’t expect the FBI to reveal everything it does, it’s not in its DNA, or more simply put: It’s not its mandate.

As to the suggestion Trump makes that the informant was placed “earlier”, before the “Russian Hoax” began, that’s not the case. Intimation of Russian interference  began much before the 2016 presidential campaign started (more about that below).

Then, you might have wondered as I did what this jibe at Democrats “obviously rooting” against him in his North Korea negotiations and “coming to the defense of MS 13 thugs” was all about. And I’m leaving aside his conclusion that “Dems have lost touch” because they are asking “to end your big Tax Cuts & raise your taxes instead” (they haven’t): No need to comment on that.

Within a couple of hours, the New York Times, always quick on the draw, had noted that Trump’s claims were plain wrong: The Democrats “neither cheered on Mr. Trump’s withdrawal” from a summit with North Korea “nor defended the violent gang MS-13.”

Leaving all this partisan brouhaha aside, what is there to cheer about the breakdown in talks with North Korea? It’s a case of being between Scylla and Charybdis, or in modern terms: you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. The status quo of a nuclear North Korea is unacceptable, a would-be meeting with Kim Jong-un is fraught with peril given the impulsive nature of both leaders and their bullying tendencies. Not to mention their total lack of experience in diplomacy.

Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat leader in Congress, summed it up nicely in a tweet:

As to the MS-13 gang, what politician is out there defending them? Nobody.

What did happen was something very different.

Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority leader from California, in her weekly news conference, objected to Trump’s description of all illegal immigrants as “animals”. That’s it, no mention of the MS-13 gang. Not every immigrant is part of that gang, or any gang for that matter. And many MS-13 gang members are American-born, second or third-generation Americans.

The problem with all this: Trump is out to muddy the waters.

Why would the FBI cover Trump’s campaign? No reason at all. Here was a candidate with obvious and known contacts with Russia (his beauty pageants, his real estate deals, his 2013 trip to Moscow) and a campaign manager, Paul Manafort, with known ties to Ukraine and several Russian oligarchs who were Putin friends, if not Putin himself.

That made it logical to target Trump’s campaign.

The hacking and interference from Russia had been feared well before campaigns started, and as soon as September 2015 the FBI had warned the Democratic National Convention (DNC) that one of its computers was compromised.

Also it’s worth remembering that President Obama, back in the summer of 2016, was accused of reacting too slowly to news of Russian interference and of doing nothing to defend the DNC even after the break-in and theft of documents became known. It took the Wikipedia leaks to finally spur him to launch an investigation.

But these, for Trump, are inconvenient truths. What he is interested in is to raise a swirl of news around Spygate and North Korea, so that we forget the more important issues at hand: His trade war with China, his break- up with his European allies over the Iran Deal, his systematic destruction of environmental protection regulations.

All these policy moves, once they become operative, constitute a real threat to America’s “peace and prosperity”. Something to worry about, but Trump, with his tweets, is out to distract us.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

Featured Credit Image: This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY



About the Author /

Claude Forthomme is a writer and an economist. A graduate of Columbia University, Claude held a variety of jobs before starting a 25-year career at the United Nations (Food and Agriculture), ending as Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia. She authored many fiction books under various pen names in both English and Italian; she is considered a prime exponent of Boomer literature and has founded the Boomer Lit Group on Goodreads. Her poetry has been included in "Freeze Frame", an international poetry anthology curated by British poet Oscar Sparrow (Gallo Romano Media, 2012).

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