Culture Wars/Current Controversies

America This Week Transcript: Durham, FBI Whistleblowers, and “The Great Loyalty Oath Crusade”

Walter and I discuss “The Great Loyalty Oath Crusade” from Catch-22, the paradigm-shifting satire of the original House Un-American Activities Committee, whose memory was sadly revived last week

May 20, 2023
Left, FBI whistleblower Marcus Allen. Right, California’s Linda Sanchez, who asked him, “Do you believe it’s important for federal agents to have allegiance to the United States?”

This week’s episode of America This Week went over familiar ground in Catch-22, but Walter Kirn and I can argue honestly, we had no choice. House hearings involving three FBI whistleblowers directly evoked the memory of one of the most celebrated parts of that that novel. Add the release of Special Prosecutor John Durham’s report, and we had a lot to discuss.

The transcript, edited for length and clarity:

On the release of Special Prosecutor John Durham’s long-awaited Report on the origins of the Trump-Russia investigations:

Matt Taibbi: There would’ve been a time, I think maybe three or four years ago, where all the information that’s in this report would’ve been like manna from heaven, because we were lacking all those answers. How did this thing start? What actually is behind it? So for me there’s a little bit of an anti-climax in reading some of this. At the same time, it fully exposed the entire Russiagate era as a fraud. And there was no response. It landed with a complete thud. Nobody acknowledged it. Nothing. What was your response to it?

Walter Kirn: Well, first of all, you called it long-awaited. For me, it was so long-awaited that I’d forgotten it was even coming. Secondly, though it would’ve been nice to have this information a long time ago, the truth is, we had almost all of the information a long time ago. What we didn’t have was the certification of the information by a government authority, by a legal authority.

But Lee Smith wrote a book, The Plot Against the President, which largely included most of these points and details, which come down to this for me: this was an investigation which led to the Crossfire Hurricane, which led to the Mueller investigation, predicated on really nothing.

Matt Taibbi: Which led to the New York case, by the way.


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