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GOP intel chairman destroys conspiracy about FBI missing texts hyped by Trump and Fox

A Republican senator totally dismissed Fox News’ latest smear campaign against the FBI, hours after Trump hyped it.

By Eric Boehlert - January 23, 2018
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Richard Burr
North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr

Just hours after Donald Trump hyped the latest in a never-ending string of GOP-concocted conspiracies designed to malign and undercut the FBI, the Republican chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence totally dismissed it in two simple sentences.

In doing so, he not only dinged Trump’s latest talking point, but he also dented the hysterical Fox News coverage that has been dominating the channel as it continues to scramble in its endless attempts to protect him from law enforcement.

After the FBI notified congressional leaders that five months’ worth of text messages between FBI staffers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page — who both worked previously as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team — were missing, House Republicans teamed up with Fox to try to turn that minor news into the seeds of a massive, anti-Trump cover-up within the FBI.

Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs demanded to know why the Department of Justice leadership hadn’t been arrested for the supposed mishandling of the texts. And of course, the kerfuffle is being hyped as “worse than Watergate.”

And on Tuesday morning, Trump began waving his arms around about the story, while botching the facts.

But Tuesday afternoon, North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, the top Republican on the Senate’s Russia investigation, told a CNN reporter that the missing FBI texts are of no great concern, and the FBI is working to resolve the problem:

Strzok was removed from Mueller’s team last summer after it was discovered that the FBI agent had mocked Trump in text messages.

But rather than applaud Mueller for removing any possibly biased players from his team, the GOP and Fox News have tried to crucify Mueller, and the agents, for it.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal this month, Trump even preposterously claimed that the exchanges between Strzok and Page amounted to “treason.”

Several House Democrats blasted the latest attacks in a statement: Jerrold Nadler, ranking member of the Judiciary Committee; Elijah E. Cummings, ranking member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee; and Adam Schiff, ranking member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

“Republicans are now attacking the FBI in order to undermine Special Counsel Mueller and protect President Trump, but their claims are directly at odds with the facts,” the statement said. “These Republican attacks show their desperation at the fact that Mueller already has obtained two guilty pleas, two indictments, and at least two cooperating witnesses.”

And yet Republicans and Fox News are already busy assembling their next FBI conspiracy: Both teams are hyperventilating over the possibility that a rogue “secret society” exists within the agency, designed to plot against Trump during the 2016 campaign.

It just never ends. Even when their own colleague completely dismisses their latest unhinged fantasy.


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