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Wray Is Right, Trump Is…Tweeting

FBI Director Chris Wray told the House Homeland Security Committee that his agency sees Antifa as more of a “movement” than an organization, and that the Russians are indeed trying to influence the 2020 election, including “to denigrate Vice President Biden.”

In response, President Trump tweeted that it’s the FBI that’s letting Antifa “get away with ‘murder’.” He also deflected on Russia, tweeting “But Chris, you don’t see any activity from China, even though it is a FAR greater threat than Russia, Russia, Russia. They will both, plus others, be able to interfere in our 2020 Election with our totally vulnerable Unsolicited (Counterfeit?) Ballot Scam. Check it out!”

There’s no evidence that counterfeit ballots get counted as votes. There’s no evidence that, given the current state of voter rolls, this November’s election can be “rigged” by a large number of mail-in ballots–as long as current laws and safeguards are observed. I’ll make the exception here that monkeying with current laws by activist federal judges could open the door to some level of fraud, or at least confusion.

Trump eggs on voters to “vote twice, while Democrats would love to do some day-before-election-day ballot harvesting if they feel they’re running behind in certain states, then have late-arriving ballots counted. Both sides are playing a stupid and dangerous game of chicken.

As for Antifa, to be clear here: Wray is right. Antifa doesn’t have a headquarters. It “recruits” people by having young people get on video throwing Molotov cocktails at police. Bored, idealistic, “woke” kids with more money than brains then find themselves doing the same thing, in kind of a viral Youtube incarnation of anarchist thuggery.

“I by no means mean to minimize the seriousness of the violence and criminality that is going on across the country, some of which is attributable to people inspired by or who self-identify with that ideology or movement,” Mr. Wray said. “We’re focused on that violence, that criminality.”

F.B.I. Director Warns of Russian Interference and White Supremacist Violence, New York Times, September 18, 2020

The FBI’s job is to investigate criminal activity and foreign spying on U.S. and our interests. From the FBI’s viewpoint, Antifa is what Wray says it is. That doesn’t detract from the Democrats’ cynical weaponization of violent demonstrators, the media’s blind eye on “mostly peaceful” riots, and the general blessing the rioters get from the left to go ahead and smash, burn, and (sometimes) kill innocents and police officers as long as it helps them politically.

Attorney General William Barr is also correct, in calling Antifa as “the ramrod for the violence.” But if the group had an actual “organization” it would have been taken down, raided, and its leaders indicted long ago. If there was an organization, you’d see Trump screaming on Twitter at Barr and the DOJ for not going after them hard enough.

Wray is also correct about the Russians and election interference. This is a big and continuing problem. The Russians have gotten quite good at the social engineering domain of warfare. It’s a cold war again, but this one is totally different than the last. Instead of a missile gap, there’s a troll gap (I guess you could call it, for lack of me coming up with anything better).

Trump, being a troll at heart, defends trolling, even if it’s by the Russians, and especially if it helps him politically (which it does). China might be a greater threat, which is arguably true, but it’s Russia that’s attempting the election rigging, not China.

Both political parties and tribes are cynically using criminal activity to benefit their side, and that’s disgusting. Both sides are undermining the legitimacy of very well developed election processes such as mail-in absentee ballots, and the U.S. Postal Service. If anything, they’re both helping the Russians “sow divisiveness and discord.”

This election has devolved into a mud wrestling match between two old men and their tribes. The imagery is nauseating, and the outcome will matter far less than either side pretends.

All of this further cements my thoughts on how to vote, that a Trumpy White House, with a few key competent cabinet members, and a do-nothing deadlocked Congress is better than a far-left steamroller. I’m grateful that Chris Wray is doing his best to stay above the spectacle. We will need that for the next four years.

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