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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

How Trump could spin the investigation of devices sent to Democrats

President Donald Trump gestures after giving his speech

President Donald Trump gestures after giving his speech at the White House in Washington on Thursday. Credit: AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta

President Donald Trump's efforts to politicize FBI and Justice Department investigations are by now legion. He's condemned a special Russia probe as a "witch hunt," denounced working law-enforcement personnel and demanded his 2016 election opponent be prosecuted. He's issued and then reversed opinions of ex-aides in legal trouble and even pardoned a former sheriff who defied a court order against jailing people without reasonable suspicion.

Now somebody has sent suspicious packages to at least 9 people who just happened to be condemned by Trump, including the previous president, vice president and Secretary of State. 

The authorities are expected, as always, to carry out a  straightforward, scientific probe. Political suspense might intensify when it is complete, with a possible motive identified. If the suspect or suspects come from the Trump or "alt-right" camp, the president could recite an "innocent-until-proven-guilty" incantation as he did in the matter of Jamal Khashoggi's presumed murder or the rejected allegations against Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Conversely, you can expect full-fledged blame against the "out" party to spew forth if Trump loyalists' predictably far-fetched theories of a "false flag" crime by leftist provocateurs prove credible just this once.

If the devices prove to have been scary but less than dangerous the spinning will proceed  around that.

We only know for sure that Trump’s reaction will center on how he, not the criminal-justice system, looks under the circumstances.

The Republican president has railed on Twitter against outspoken critics who later became targets of these “bombs.” He also used rallies for the purpose. 

Sometimes the finger-pointing echoes or is echoed by sympathetic media such as Fox and Breitbart.

A short sampler of attacks:

  • Claiming George Soros “paid for” anti-Kavanaugh protest signs (Twitter, Oct. 5).
  • "Collusion between Hillary, the Democrats and Russia." (Rally, Oct. 10).
  • Noting Barack Obama in 2005 cited a need forvsecure borders. (Twitter Oct. 23).
  • If he fought Joe Biden it "would not last long." (Rally, Oct. 6).
  • "Robert De Niro, a very low IQ individual." (Twitter, June 18).
  • "John Brennan, the worst CIA director." (Twitter, Aug. 20).

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