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FBI Agents Association Sees Spike in Donations After Trump Twitter Attacks

FBI agents look in a parking lot for evidence from an improvised explosive device that was detonated in Williamsburg, Va., on Oct. 20, 2017. (Rob Ostermaier/The Daily Press via AP)

WASHINGTON — The FBI Agents Association saw a flood of donations after President Trump went after the Bureau in a series of tweets.

At the beginning of the month, Trump tweeted that the FBI’s “reputation is in Tatters – worst in History!” On Dec. 23, Trump fired off a series of tweets against FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a career FBI agent whose wife ran for a state Senate seat in Virginia in 2015 and received donations from the Democratic Party and then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s political action committee. The day after Christmas, Trump tweeted “FBI TAINTED” in citing the morning’s Fox and Friends show and called the Steele dossier, compiled by a former MI6 officer, a “pile of garbage.”

FBI general counsel James Baker was reassigned last week as congressional Republicans charged that he might have had a hand in getting the Steele dossier, which former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said was partially corroborated and partially “yet to be determined,” to reporters. David Corn of Mother Jones, who first reported on the dossier’s existence, said Baker was not one of his sources. “Wow, ‘FBI lawyer James Baker reassigned,’ according to @FoxNews,” Trump tweeted Dec. 23.

Benjamin Wittes, a Brookings Institution fellow and editor in chief of the Lawfare blog, wrote in May about what his friend James Comey, the former FBI director, told him about his interactions with Trump. On Saturday, Wittes tweeted, “The President is impugning the integrity of the FBI by attacking two honorable public servants: Jim Baker and Andy McCabe. I just donated $1,000 to the @FBIAgentsAssoc in their names. I urge others to give as well and tweet that you did so to #thanksFBI.”

That was followed by a tweet from former CIA Director John Brennan: “Andy McCabe & Jim Baker epitomize integrity, competence, and respect for rule of law. Not surprised @realDonaldTrump fears them, along with the rest of FBI. I just donated to @FBIAgentsAssoc as a small way of saying #thanksFBI”

The FBI Agents Association reported that people did give.

“This month, more than 2,000 donors contributed over $140,000 to our two charitable funds,” the association tweeted Tuesday. “This money will send the children of deceased agents to college and help FBI families in need.”

The association’s Memorial College Fund helps sends children of deceased agents to college, while the Membership Assistance Fund helps agents and families facing hardship or tragedy.

On Dec. 19, the association released a statement from president Thomas O’Connor on “the real story of the FBI,” defending agents’ professionalism and results.

“As Special Agents, we swear an oath of allegiance to the Constitution, and to defend it against all enemies foreign and domestic,” O’Connor said. “This oath is more than words, it is the tie that binds Special Agents together and the foundation for the high standards of professionalism that we must satisfy. The procedures for enforcing these standards are rigorous and effective, and the public can rest assured that the Bureau employs the world’s finest law enforcement professionals.”

“Attacks on our character and demeaning comments about the FBI will not deter Agents from continuing to do what we have always done — dedicate our lives to protecting the American people. The true story of the FBI cannot be reduced to partisan talking points… ultimately, the true story of the FBI is about real results and not sound-bites.”

O’Connor highlighted statistics from the Office of the Inspector General’s 2016 FBI audit: 460 terrorist plots disrupted, 133 counterintelligence cases involving espionage against the United States, 250 disruptions of national cyber threats, 22 “high-priority drug trafficking organizations dismantled,” and more.

“Controversies of the day fade, but the sworn duty of Special Agents endures,” O’Connor continued. “Special Agents are focused on the Constitution and protecting the public. Their work should be recognized, not denigrated.