Wednesday morning, Donald Trump was a busy little tweeter. At 11:10 AM, when Trump was scheduled to be in a national security briefing, he did a little “leaking” of his own, though he decries it constantly. One can only assume that bits and pieces of the ongoing FBI “secret society” saga that Republican Senator Ron Johnson has tried to advance came up during the briefing, because Trump had a tweet he just couldn’t wait until the end of the meeting for:
NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2018
Those texts, of course, are the ones that were briefly “missing” (they’ve since been “found,” as they were never actually missing) between censured-and-dismissed agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The two exchanged multiple texts during an inappropriate relationship they had which, at first glance, seemed to indicate that they were biased against Donald Trump during an FBI investigation.
That was not the case, but Senator Johnson only sheepishly withdrew his charge of a “secret society” after being roundly mocked in the media for not recognizing that the texts he had been looking at described an ongoing joke between the two agents.
Now that embarrassment is happening all over again, only to the President himself.
After tweeting about these “bombshell” texts, right-wing news outlets like FOX and others breathlessly quoted the messages, claiming that the agents were referring to the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton — which would be HUGE news, going by these texts:
“TPs for D” refers to “talking points for the Director [of the FBI, James Comey],” so when conservative outlets got wind of it, thinking it referred to the Clinton investigation, they assumed that Agent Page was saying that Barack Obama — POTUS at the time — wanted to know all the details about that investigation.
Unfortunately for the idiots at FOX News, the math doesn’t quite work.
The Clinton investigation was closed in July of 2016. It wasn’t reopened until October of that year. These texts were sent in September. Put back in the context of what was going on at the FBI at the time — a probe into Russian interference in the election, about which Obama publicly said he told Putin just a few days after this text exchange to “knock it off.” Associates of the two agents, in fact, said the same thing, according to the Wall Street Journal‘s report from Wednesday.
Put in that context, there’s nothing strange at all about Obama wanting to “know everything” about the FBI’s intelligence. In fact, there really isn’t a context in which it wouldn’t have been okay for the president to want to know what was up with his leading intelligence agency. But this has turned out to be — if it’s even possible — even less of a nothingburger than the far-too-hyped Nunes Memo.
Keep digging, idiots.
Featured image via Win McNamee/Getty Images