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Cramer's blind devotion to Trump has clouded his perspective

Jim Shaw

FARGO — The effort to discredit the FBI and Justice Department's Russia investigation is scary...

Unfortunately, Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., is among those leading the effort.

"I don't think people care about the Russia investigation," Cramer said. "People are tired of it."

I like Cramer. He is friendly and accessible. However, on this issue he is dead wrong. I and millions of other Americans very much care about this investigation. I want to know what Russia did to meddle with our election, why President Trump's family and aides met with the Russians, and what they did. I want to know why President Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey, if there's nothing to this issue.

One of the things that bothers Cramer is the FISA warrant used against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. That allowed electronic surveillance against Page. Cramer says issuing the warrant was motivated by Trump's opponents, and was a one-sided application. So, Cramer is pointing fingers at the FBI and the Justice Department.

"It tells me how powerful unelected parts of our government have become," Cramer said. "For the FBI to regain the trust, it has to behave in a more transparent way. There's an arrogance that has set in with some of these agencies."

The reality is, it's extremely difficult to get a FISA warrant. FBI agents have to detail probable cause of interaction with foreign agents and the threat to the U.S. Then it has to be approved by several chains of command in the FBI and Justice Department before a federal judge will agree to it.

Former North Dakota U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon is an expert on FISA warrants. Purdon says these cases are handled by FBI agents and career prosecutors who are nonpolitical, and just want to defend the country from foreign espionage.

"I'm old enough to remember when the Russians were the enemy and the FBI were the good guys," Purdon said. "People are denigrating the work of several FBI agents and prosecutors working to dispel Russian spies. All they want to do is protect America from Russia and we're criticizing their efforts. That's not how it should work."

"Confidence has been eroded in the Mueller investigation," Cramer said. "Investigators were stonewalled by the FBI."

Purdon, who has been an active Democrat, spent time working with Mueller, who is a Republican.

"There's nobody I have more faith and confidence in than Bob Mueller," Purdon said. "He's a straight shooter who will follow the facts wherever they take him."

Cramer's devotion to President Trump has apparently clouded his perspective. Cramer and others in his camp are motivated by partisan politics to recklessly assault the FBI and undermine the investigation. They should be motivated by threats to our national security, democracy, freedom, and the rule of law.

Anyone not giving me a standing ovation after reading this column will be charged with treason.