- Right-winger Twitter users have started theorizing that the FBI didn’t have time to investigate tips about Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz because they were distracted by the Russia investigation.
- Donald Trump Jr. reportedly liked one tweet that espoused this unsubstantiated theory.
- FBI Director Christopher Wray pre-emptively poured cold water on claims like these on Tuesday with a cheeky comment during his Senate testimony.
- The FBI employs over 35,000 people. They run more than just a couple investigations at once.
Less than 24 hours after the shooting stopped at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Wednesday, several prominent right-wing figures and journalists started pushing a theory about why the FBI failed to follow established protocols and follow up on tips about the suspected shooter.
Kurt Schlichter, a conservative columnist at Townhall, tweeted early Thursday morning that the FBI failed to investigate multiple tips about the suspected shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, because they were too busy with the investigation into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.
Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., reportedly liked Schlichter’s tweet despite its highly speculative assertion, the according to the Washington Examiner.
Schlichter was responding to an open question posed by conservative commentator and author Jack Posobiec, who then also jumped onboard the bandwagon to echo this theory.
Posobiec is referring to former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in December to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russian officials.
Posobiec expanded upon his theory in a second tweet that referenced communications between FBI agent Peter Strzok and his colleague and mistress Lisa Page that were released last year.
Strzok and Page came under fire from Republicans because they espoused anti-Trump views in texts they sent each other. Strzok, who had been working on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, was removed from the investigation in July after Mueller learned of his political inclinations.
According to the FBI’s website, the agency employs about 35,000 people nationwide – Strzok and Page were but two agents working for the bureau.
After Posobiec, right-wing journalist and conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich, who infamously peddled the debunked Pizzagate conspiracy that claimed 2016 Democratic president nominee Hillary Clinton was running a sex ring out of a pizza parlor, also added his own two cents to the conversation.
Such unsubstantiated claims about the FBI have become more commonplace after months of partisan attacks on the bureau as a result of the Page-Strzok texts, the controversial memo released by Rep. Devin Nunes, and Trump’s own verbal assaults on the agency and its leaders.
Despite the extensive media attention the Trump-Russia investigation has received, it is a myth that the entire FBI is only handling a handful of investigations – although the exact number cannot be known because ongoing investigations are classified, the bureau is likely conducting hundreds of probes simultaneously.
FBI Director Christopher Wray, whom Trump appointed after his dismissal of former FBI Director James Comey, pre-empted the kinds of claims Posobiec, Cernovich, Schlichter, and others have been making on social media during his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this week.
“Although you would never know it from watching the news, we actually have more than two investigations,” Wray told lawmakers on Tuesday. “Every day – many, many, many times a day – I’m confronted with unbelievable examples of integrity and professionalism and grit. There’s 37,000 people in the FBI who do unbelievable things all around the world.”
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