the national interest

Trump’s Latest FBI Conspiracy Theory Is His Craziest Yet

WITCH HUNT! Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump has tweeted out a spectacular new discovery in the deep-state conspiracy against him. Texts from two FBI agents reveal they were investigating Trump’s ties to Russia as early as December 2015, half a year before James Comey said:

The only publication reporting this is Gateway Pundit, a right-wing site known for breaking news of astonishing conspiracies that turn out to be false. Gateway Pundit scoured the internet and found snippets of info proving the Las Vegas shooter was a liberal Democrat, the Washington Post paid Roy Moore’s accusers, the Parkland shooter was a Democrat and the student activists puppets, and so on. Gateway Pundit is so deranged that its editor was removed from a panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference, which is a freak show for right-wing trolls.

The latest Gateway Pundit “scoop” seizes upon released texts from Page and Strzok, two FBI agents who used their work phones to communicate because they were having an affair, which has made their texts public property. Conservatives have pulled several of these messages out of context to paint lurid conspiracies. This text finds that they mentioned “oconus lures,” an apparent reference to spies outside the United States. Page and Strzok were requesting spies, therefore, Gateway Pundit concludes, “the FBI was engaged in Spygate” — i.e., the investigation of Trump’s campaign — “long before they let on.”

Assuming that is what the texts mean, nothing in the messages makes any reference either to the Trump campaign or to Russia. It’s not surprising or scandalous that FBI agents would be using espionage tradecraft. Gateway Pundit seems to have invented the crucial factual element of the conspiracy out of thin air.

It does seem to represent a new step that Trump is citing right-wing conspiracy theorists who operate at a full level further removed from reality than the right-wing conspiracy theorists he customarily cites.

Trump’s Latest FBI Conspiracy Theory Is His Craziest Yet