Rep. Jim Jordan joined Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton on Tuesday for a live-streamed “Deep State Update.” Other panelists included retired Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, radio host and Daily Caller editor Vince Coglianese, and Judicial Watch attorney Michael Bekesha. Judicial Watch was a major promoter of right-wing Benghazi and Clinton email obsessions.
“It’s an incredible story,” said Fitton about the supposed deep state conspiracy to protect Hillary Clinton and take down Donald Trump. In December, Fitton was honored, along with James O’Keefe, Frank Gaffney, Sean Hannity and other right-wing activists, by Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
The narrative about Russian involvement in the U.S. election was designed from the beginning as a deep state campaign against Trump, said Shaffer, who had some surprisingly specific data to share from what he claimed were his own sources within the deep state. In 2016 and 2017, he said, 71 percent of the FBI’s foreign counterintelligence budget was diverted into efforts to absolve Clinton and convict Trump.
Shaffer, who has promoted Benghazi conspiracy theories and compared the FBI to the Gestapo last year after a raid on Paul Manafort’s home, suggested during the Judicial Watch discussion that the Defense Department should take over the FBI’s mission until everything is sorted out.
Fitton asked Coglianese to share his views from his “disinterested” perspective at the right-wing Daily Caller (Fitton did not appear to be joking). Coglianese said the recently released Comey memos were “relevatory,” making much of the fact that Trump’s demand for “loyalty” from Comey during a one-on-one meeting came after a discussion of leaks.
Jordan said he believed that the leak of information to CNN about the controversial Steele dossier was orchestrated by former Director of Intelligence James Clapper, who is now working for CNN. Fitton claimed that former President Barack Obama is “in the middle of this,” saying the Russia probe had been “orchestrated in the Oval Office” to defend Clinton and target Trump.
The Mueller investigation has found no evidence of Trump campaign coordination with the Russians, Jordan said, arguing that there is evidence of a money trail from Democrats to Russians over the Steele dossier.
Fitton and Bekesha complained that the FBI and Justice Department are not responding more quickly to their request for documents about the investigation and for emails that were found on Clinton’s private email server.
Fitton declared that Robert Mueller’s investigation is a “zombie investigation” and that the FBI’s leadership is “thoroughly corrupted” and complained that members of Congress are “afraid to take on Mueller.”
Judicial Watch’s panelists seemed sensitive about being called conspiracy theorists, with Shaffer insisting that his deep state statistics were “not tinfoil hat stuff.” Coglianese said he has “a natural aversion to conspiracy theories of any kind,” while insisting that the deep state should scare anyone who looks into it.
But if you are concerned about being called a conspiracy theorist, it doesn’t help to sound an awful lot like Infowars’ Alex Jones railing about the “Clinton crime syndicate” and its “deep state” allies.
It’s worth noting that a few years ago, Jordan promoted the right-wing conspiracy theory that the Obama administration’s Department of Homeland Security was hoarding ammunition to keep it away from Americans.