Victor Davis Hanson // National Review
In the 1970s, the military officer corps and the top ranks of the CIA, DOJ, and FBI were, in the eyes of the Left, synonymous with Seven Days in May— and Manchurian Candidate–like conspiracies. Yet in 2016, these same institutions had been recalibrated by progressives as protectors of social justice against interlopers and bomb throwers like Donald Trump. Whether it was scary or needed to have a secretive, unelected cabal inside the White House subverting presidential agendas depended on who was president.
During the Robert Mueller investigations, progressives usually defended the FISA-court-ordered intercepts of private citizens’ communications, despite the machinations taken to deceive FISA-court justices. Indeed, liberal critics suggested that to question how the multitude of conflicts of interest at the Obama DOJ and FBI had warped their presentations of the Steele dossier to the courts was in itself an obstruction of justice or downright unpatriotic.
News of FBI informants planted into the 2016 Trump campaign raised no eyebrows. Nor did the unmasking and leaking of the names of U.S. citizens by members of the Obama National Security Council. Former CIA director John Brennan and ex-director of National Intelligence James Clapper soon become progressive pundits on cable news. While retaining their security clearances, they blasted Trump variously as a Russian mole, a foreign asset, treasonous, and a veritable traitor.