Abrams: Questioning FBI integrity bad for law enforcement

Dan Abrams Live

(NewsNation) —  Tuesday night on Fox News, Jesse Watters took opinion programming to another level when he went off on a tirade against law enforcement, which was totally unfounded.

He went after both top brass and, more disgustingly, the rank and file without providing a scintilla of evidence. Worse yet, he then tried to adopt a “back the blue” posture toward the end of the program after having spent much of the hour just completely smearing law enforcement.

Let me say right off the top: This isn’t about Jesse Watters, per se. I like Jesse personally. I think he’s a talented personality, and I agree with him on some issues. This is about the incredible influence of cable news, not just on the far right but on the far left, as well, with MSNBC or CNN.

Whether we like it or not, what they say matters. This is about what happens when misinformation and ginned up outrage impact not just the public, but powerful members of our government, who then repeat it, and worse yet, act on it.

It started with a monologue where Watters fumed about the Clintons and the Bidens mixing some facts with half truths and some outright fabrications. But then he just went squarely after the FBI.

“If you want to know how corrupt our FBI really is, just look at the people involved in yesterday’s raid. Everyone’s crooked – from the judge who signed the warrant to the attorney general to the guys running the FBI. The entire Justice Department is rotten to the core. We know that Washington’s FBI field office orchestrated yesterday’s raid at Mar-a-Lago,” Watters said Tuesday.

He hasn’t seen the affidavit filed with the court. Still, he goes on to suggest that evidence was planted without any evidence and accuses the hardworking law enforcement officers of committing serious offenses, not just the big brass, and then Watters dramatically ratcheted up the rhetoric.

“The Bureau’s now interfered in three straight presidential elections on behalf of the Democrats, three straight. Wray needs to be fired, and we need to clean house and prosecute all these bad guys for prosecutorial misconduct,” Watters said. “We need to take their pensions and disbar them for life. They’re at war with us. It’s time we act like it.”

I assume by us, he means his Republican Party. But wait, the FBI interfered in three state elections on behalf of the Democrats? What about James Comey in 2016? The former FBI director is still a pariah on the left with many Democrats convinced that he was the biggest factor in swinging the election to Donald Trump when he made that announcement 11 days before the election about the Hillary Clinton investigation. If the FBI had wanted to put its finger on the scale for the Democrats in 2016, wouldn’t they have leaked the Trump Russia investigation? They didn’t.

But here’s the real problem: A cable news host spouting off nonsense is one thing, but then Watters went a step further and tried to shame a U.S. senator, South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, into agreeing with him.

“So Lindsey, you know, I hate when these things happen with Trump, they have these horrible raids against the president at Mar-a-Lago. Republicans come out and say we, you know, we need hearings. This is that we need hearings. The party is pissed. Senator, we need a lot more than hearings. Are we going to get that,” Watters questioned.

Graham replied: “Well, what we need is the predicate for the warrant because we’re talking 90 days before a midterm election, right? Ninety days, we’re talking about raiding the home of the former president of the United States, the most likely nominee of anybody on the planet to be running in 2024. Is it plausible the FBI would open up an investigation of Donald Trump without merit? Hell, yeah, they’ve done it before.”

But that wasn’t enough for Watters as he repeated his charges at the FBI, while Graham just nodded along in agreement.

“You know, and I love having you on, Lindsey. You know, you and I have debated about things and I’ve seen you pretty spitting mad over Ukraine. But you don’t seem as mad as you were about this than you’ve been mad about Ukraine. I don’t understand why people aren’t lighting their hair on fire. I don’t understand why people aren’t out in the street, or they doctor evidence. We know they plant evidence. We know they hide evidence. We know they lie. We know they leak. I mean, this is not anything new. This has been years they’ve been doing this. We can’t just say ‘Oh, you know, we’re waiting for the guy to come out and, and give a statement about what is predicated.’ I mean, what? These people are out of control, senator. This country is, like, well, we’re on the edge of a cliff. Man. I’m telling you, this country is at the edge of a cliff here,” Watters said.

Graham replied: “Yeah, no, I got you. I understand exactly what you’re saying. You’re dead right. I lived the Mueller investigation. Is it plausible they would open up an investigation against Donald Trump without merit? Hell yeah, it’s plausible. They’ve done it once. Have they done it again?”

Look, Jesse is putting us on the edge of a cliff. That’s the problem with what they do. They manufacture outrage.

Graham is on the Senate Judiciary Committee. I agree that we’d all like to know more about what happened, but this is how our politics get radicalized.

A host hoping to induce outrage pushes a U.S. senator to get more outrageous, to call for people to take to the streets and become enraged, even though as Graham points out, we don’t have all the information yet.

Shortly after Watters’ show, two other Republican senators parroted the Fox News host’s rhetoric.

First, Marco Rubio: “I actually don’t think they went in looking for documents. I think that was probably their excuse that they found some Obama donor judge to write him a ruse. Yeah, they found some Obama donor judge to write and not even judge, a magistrate, to write and give them the search warrant. I think they went in looking to see whatever they could find. Their argument is alright, we were here looking for documents. We didn’t find those. But look what we did find or who knows what happened while they were in there because the lawyers weren’t allowed to see it. These people are obsessed, the far left, they will stop at nothing.”

So, the FBI with its Republican leader and generally conservative agents are now the far left?

Then there was Rand Paul, who said: “People distrust so much the government that we’ve gotten to the point where, for example, do I know that the boxes of material they took from Mar-a-Lago that they won’t put things in those boxes to entrap him? How do we know?”

They don’t trust the government because you say stuff like that. U.S. senators just casually suggesting the FBI is using ruses and schemes to obtain warrants and they’ve planted evidence following the lead of Fox’s Jesse Watters.

And here’s the kicker — later in the show, Watters does a segment in support of the police.

Come on. Those of us in the marginalized moderate majority don’t want the dangerous outrage mongering. We want facts. We want reasonable analysis. We want to be able to support law enforcement across the board, call them out when they deserve it, and when the facts support it. But sweeping generalizations about how all police officers or corrupt or the Capitol Police or FBI are all targeting innocent people is bad for law enforcement and it’s bad for the people they serve — all of us.

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