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After meeting with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and White House chief of staff John Kelly and beseeching them not to publicly release a dubious, GOP-concocted hit report on the FBI, the bureau went public with its “grave concerns” on Wednesday.

Clearly hitting the Republican’s ongoing smear campaign led by House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes — which is playing out against the backdrop of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia and obstruction of justice investigation — the FBI statement said: “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

Then again, it’s extremely rare for a major political party in this country to wage a months-long campaign to destroy the FBI in hopes of protecting their president who remains the center of a special counsel investigation.

On Wednesday, moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia lashed out on the pending GOP mini-report, which emerged from the House Intelligence Committee, calling it a “scam” and “asinine.”

The extraordinary development, and the fact that the FBI feels it needs to now go public regarding its battle with House Republicans and the White House, comes one week after Trump’s own Department of Justice sent out a warning signal about the GOP’s smear campaign.

It “would be extraordinarily reckless for the Committee to disclose such information publicly without giving the Department and the FBI the opportunity to review the memorandum,” the Justice statement stressed.

Democrats, members of the intelligence community, and officials at the Justice Department and FBI have stressed that the smear memo, which is basically just partisan oppo research, does not provide an accurate description of how the FBI has functioned with regard to the Russia investigation.

And that’s precisely why GOP House members have refused to corroborate their report. Specifically, they refuse to share with anyone what the sources are for the cherry-picked memo. House Republicans won’t even share that information with Republicans in the Senate.

But the White House needs to create a massive diversion from the Russia and obstruction of justice probes, so they’re poised to join forces with House Republicans and publicly release the shoddy, reckless report.

And they’ll do it over the FBI’s “grave concerns.”

 

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)


Twitter has restricted access to a tweet posted Monday by Rep. Matt Gaetz, in which the Florida Republican called for what commenters described as extrajudicial killings of protesters.

"Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?" Gaetz tweeted, joining Donald Trump and other Republicans in blaming anti-fascists for the violence across the country at protests over the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes, even as Floyd said he could not breathe. Autopsies have found that Floyd died of asphyxia.While Gaetz's tweet is still up, users have to click on it to see its contents. It's covered by a box that reads, "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible."

Democratic lawmakers called out Gaetz in response to the tweet and urged Twitter to remove it from the social media platform.

"Take the Gaetz tweet down right now @twitter. RIGHT NOW," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted Monday night. "The survivors of mass shootings are lighting up my phone. They are scared to death this will inspire someone to start shooting into a crowd tonight. They are right."

After Twitter took action against his tweet, Gaetz said, "Their warning is my badge of honor."

"Antifa is a terrorist organization, encouraging riots that hurt Americans. Our government should hunt them down. Twitter should stop enabling them. I'll keep saying it," Gaetz said in a tweet that he pinned to the top of his profile page.

Donald Trump has demanded that the antifa movement be labeled a domestic terrorist organization.

However, as factcheck.org noted, "There is no such official federal designation for domestic terrorism organizations." Even if such a designation existed, the site said, it would be "difficult or questionable" to categorize antifa in that manner because it is not an organized group with a hierarchy and leadership.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.