The former assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI warned of America’s allies exploiting President Donald Trump’s shutdown of the federal government.
NBC News national security contributor Frank Figliuzzi joined MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House” with Nicolle Wallace on Tuesday to analyze the in-depth report on the shutdown released by the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA).
“If he wanted to end the Russia investigation, this was a diabolical way to do it. The self-proclaimed law and order president has effectively brought the wheels of justice to a grinding halt with his self-created, self-perpetrated government shutdown,” Wallace explained.
“The FBI Agents Association announcing in a 72-page report today that, ‘the shutdown has eliminated any ability to operate’ — that’s according to one agent and that, “the U.S. Attorney’s office is unable to issue grand jury subpoenas for financial institutions’ — that’s according to another,” Wallace reported.
“Donald Trump has the entire federal government shut down over border security, but it turns out his shutdown may be the graver threat to our security,” she noted. “The report details the damage being done to the nation’s premier law enforcement agency, as the shutdown enters its second month.”
“I read this report with my eyes rolling back in my head and my stomach sinking,” Wallace added.
Figliuzzi explained the report from his perspective as a former special agent.
“It’s the FBI’s job to counter the greatest threats facing America, but now what’s possible is the greatest threat of all is coming from the Oval Office and our president — it’s an insider threat,” he warned.
“The agents who contributed to this report came from field offices all over the country, they wrote about something as simple as not being able to pay for an informant’s phone card,” Wallace noted. “The idea we would burn a source — burn a line of information on the counter-intel side, or the counterterrorist side — over a phone card that we can no longer pay for, seems to be a stain on American credibility.”
“Would you agree with that assessment?” she asked. “And would you put the blame squarely on the president?”
“There are Champagne corks being popped back in the Kremlin right now, because they couldn’t have engineered a better scenario than a demoralized FBI that can’t pay its bills, can’t pay informants and, yes, the leadership is responsible for this,” Figliuzzi replied.
“The leader responsible for this is the guy who said he owns this and he’ll take — he’ll take it on the chin for the shutdown and that’s Donald Trump,” he concluded. “So that’s a reflection of the degree to which our president is putting self-interest over national interest.”