by Ryan Nelson
Almost every time Sean Hannity or Donald Trump accuses the FBI of corruption, they add a tag line at the end of their words that the “rank and file” members of the FBI are innocent and it is only the “upper echelons” of the FBI leadership that are dirty. Why?
I was sitting in my car before work one morning catching up on the morning’s news. I read a tweet by Donald Trump that made me laugh out loud by myself in the car. He accused the Federal Bureau of Investigation & the Department of Justice of bias in favor of Democrats, then, as an afterthought, added his usual tag line when he disparages his FBI: “Rank & File are great people!”
Here is the tweet:
“The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans – something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago. Rank & File are great people! (@realDonaldTrump Feb 2, 2018 06:33:58 AM, italics added by author)
This is not the first time that the President has talked about how the FBI and DOJ are corrupt and against him. This tweet, however, was the funniest. He throws the ‘rank and file’ line on to the end of his tweet like “oh, yeah, I forgot this.”
Hmm…I think I’ve heard the ‘rank and file’ line before…somewhere…oh Yeah, Sean Hannity mentions it nightly on his show. Mr. Hannity’s point is similar to the President’s. He states that the current and former FBI leadership are corrupt and biased against Donald in favor of Hillary Clinton.
Here is a quote from Sean Hannity during his show on January 23, 2018:
“Now, also tonight, the walls are closing in on those responsible for this massive corruption, abuse of power at the top levels of government and what we are now calling state-sponsored sabotage.
Now, with this flood of news exposing all of this malfeasance, special counsel Robert Mueller and his spokespeople in the media are working overtime. They want to create as many distractions as possible and discredit anybody that is telling the truth, like us on the Fox News Channel, for daring to report on the truth.
Now, to be perfectly clear, for those that don’t pay attention, and want to advance the lies and false narratives, we are not and never have been, and never will be talking about rank and file members of the FBI, the DOJ, and the intelligence community. They honor us with their service every day and there is no show on television that has and will continue to support these hardworking people that do such a service to their country.”
When I first heard Mr. Hannity’s argument that the rank and file members of the FBI are good, moral people, while its leadership is corrupt, something didn’t sit right with me. “Ok,” I thought, “that’s nice. The rank and file are good, law abiding people. But why did Hannity feel the need to say specifically ‘rank and file’ members of the FBI are innocent directly after besmirching the FBI’s leadership?”
I soon came to see that Mr. Hannity (as he does often) repeats the same basic argument he’s been making since the Russia Investigation began. Almost nightly, Mr. Hannity would let loose a barrage of unfounded accusations about the FBI, ranting about how the FBI is corrupt and “this will make Watergate look like a kid stealing a candy bar from the store.” Then after his tirade, Sean Hannity would add his rank and file tagline.
I postulate that Mr. Hannity and Mr. Trump don’t really care about the rank and file members of the FBI, they are collateral damage implicit in Hannity and Trump’s accusations against the institution. I will offer as evidence the most recent Tweet by President Trump where he calls into question the FBI’s ability to focus on more than one investigation at a time:
Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!( @realDonaldTrump 2/17/18)
Hey, where is the part where the rank and file are good people? I don’t believe Mr. Trump and Mr. Hannity will mention ‘rank and file’ members of the FBI again. The gloves are off. Hannity and Trump have dropped their masquerade about caring about the rank and file because it never really mattered to them in the first place. They know that by accusing the leadership of the FBI, they are implicitly blaming the rank and file members of the FBI.