The right-wing conspiracy theory about a “secret society” of FBI agents trying to overthrow President Donald Trump has abruptly collapsed, showing that the president’s defenders are clutching at straws and the “house of cards” being built as his defense is quickly falling apart.
on Thursday, several news outlets reported that special counsel Robert Mueller is wrapping up the obstruction of justice portion of his investigation.
This comes just as the latest pro-Trump conspiracy theory about an insidious plot by “deep state” operatives to take down the president has been exposed as a misunderstanding of an offhand joke between former FBI investigators Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
Here’s the actual exchange provided by a separate Congressional Republican source. It was “Sent within hours after Mr. Trump won the presidency, it shows Strozk and Page expressing concern in texts about what lay ahead”:
“Seems kind of depressing,” Page wrote Strzok. “Maybe it should just be the first meeting of the secret society.”
This little, sad joke has been blown up into a full on conspiracy by Republicans.
On Wednesday, however, Rep. Ron Johnson (R-WI), head of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, conceded that he didn’t know what the words meant when he blew the whistle on an imaginary society and was forced to admit that he had no evidence of an actual renegade FBI group and that the text from Page could have been sent in jest.
Ron Johnson, who raised alarms this week about the FBI agents’ “secret society” text, just told me: “It’s a real possibility” the text was written in jest.
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 25, 2018
Yup. Johnson is now fleeing the conspiracy theory he knowingly seeded, so that he can avoid accountability for his Trump Russia distraction bomb. Republicans are in line with Johnson, so many of them working to distract from Trump Russia in what can only be seen as a deliberate betrayal of their country and oath.
These are not the actions of serious, responsible, patriotic people.
As noted by Vanity Fair, Republican congressmen and Fox News have been breathlessly hyping the text story since Monday, but “outside the bubble however, Trump’s house of cards is already falling apart.”
Trump’s “sense of victimization plays well on Fox News, and with Trump’s base, but it’s not a real legal strategy,” Vanity Fair’s Abigail Tracy wrote.
“The disconnect between ‘fake news’ and reality, and Trump’s difficulty differentiating between the two, could be dangerous as he prepares to face Mueller,” she said.
In the meantime, Trump’s allies in Congress and the conservative media are carpet-bombing the FBI and Mueller’s credibility with a confidential memo authored by former Trump transition team official Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and other attacks.
However, Tracy warned, Trump’s political defenders will only be of use to him so long as Republicans remain the majority in Congress. If the Democrats are able to take the House and Senate in 2018, the president will lose his protective cordon of lawmakers.