John Avlon: Mike Pence's tweet about the search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home echoes Trump's deeply political line of argument. He says idea that the FBI targeted Trump for political reasons was never substantiated. Avlon says the idea originated in 2016 when Trump lashed out at the FBI for not indicting Hillary Clinton. Trump has not moderated since declaring the probe a "witch hunt," he says, and Pence has good reason to be frustrated with him, Avlon writes. He adds that the idea that FBI was acting on political motivation during the Trump-Pence administration was not substantiated by an internal review or by an explicitly political one led by Trump’s attorney general, William P. Barr.
Trump stoked the idea that the FBI was out to get him for one obvious reason: It ensured that his supporters and his allies in conservative media would approach the investigations into his actions as themselves suspect. If you want to appeal to a Republican audience, casting this as Democrats-against-Trump is valuable. Republicans from both the pro- and less-pro-Trump segments of the GOP get to express outrage at a group that Republicans are primed to distrust. As the years passed, affection for Trump was correlated to detesting his enemies. Cast the FBI as the left, and you gain support on the right. Cast the GOP as the swamp or the Deep State or even the Elites, depending on who’s doing the casting. In polling released on Tuesday, 2 in 5 Americans said they thought