Paul Begala, a political commentator and former adviser to President Bill Clinton, said on CNN Wednesday that the FBI tipped the 2016 election away from Hillary Clinton and did not harm Donald Trump.
National Review editor in chief Rich Lowry argued that skepticism around Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation results from other intelligence officials treating Trump as an adversary. Lowry took issue with an argument made by former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa, who said the FBI shouldn’t have told Trump about his campaign being investigated, which was a precursor to Mueller’s probe.
"Russia was and is our adversary; the Trump campaign is not our adversary. And the problem is, you have high-level intelligence officials going on the outside, going crazy on Twitter and making it clear they considered a domestic political campaign their adversary," Lowry said. "That is wrong and that is why there is so much skepticism and doubt around this."
Rangappa defended the FBI’s actions as investigating specific individuals rather than Trump’s whole campaign. When Rangappa attempted to say her previous argument was not that Trump was an adversary but that the Russians were, Begala launched into how Trump is like an "autocrat" and should not have received such treatment from the FBI.
"The FBI tipped the election to Donald Trump, Rich," Begala told Lowry. "This is what he does: like every autocrat, he assaults truth first. He is president because of the FBI – the FBI was investigating both candidates. They cleared Hillary and yet trashed her and attacked her and in the end, tipped the election to her opponent."
"They never cleared Trump – still haven’t – and they never breathed a word about it. So if they had a spy in there to undermine the Trump campaign, they did a hell of a job," Begala added.
"It’s possible, Paul, that the FBI messed up in both instances," Lowry answered.