There was understandable criticism levied against the FBI when it admitted it did not investigate a January tip about Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old former student accused of killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week.
The FBI said it was provided information about Cruz’s “gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting” that was not properly forwarded to the bureau’s Miami field office.
But for some on the far right, the FBI’s lack of following up is being swept under the rug by the latest indictment from Special Counsel Robert Mueller—where 13 Russian nationals and three corporations linked to 2016 election meddling were charged. The indictment also said people linked to the Internet Research Agency, the Russian “troll farm,” narrowed its focus to help then-candidate Donald Trump get elected.
Despite the fact that the FBI’s mishandling of critical information about Cruz was covered by nearly every major news outlet in the country, the timeline of Mueller’s indictment being released shortly after the FBI’s admission of making a mistake was deemed too close to be a coincidence by some of the leading voices and websites that cater to the far-right.
Mike Cernovich, a far-right online personality, said the Department of Justice releasing Mueller’s indictment on Friday was a “great way to cover up the FBI’s failure to investigate and prevent a murder.” His tweet, sent on Friday, was retweeted more than 1,500 times and liked more than 3,000 times.
Meanwhile, Newsmax, a right-leaning website whose CEO Chris Ruddy has been described as a friend of Trump, ran a story that claimed Mueller’s indictments shifted the focus from the FBI’s mishandling of the Cruz tip.
“The FBI did nothing because they were too busy cooking up an indictment against Donald Trump. This is a failure of a major agency. It is terrifying that they would go this far as to take a nation that is still in shock and mourning, while the bodies are still in morgues, and release this nothing indictment. This announcement was made to cover up their own inability to prevent this tragic event,” wrote Michael Savage, an opinion author on the website.
In a thread discussing the indictment, on user Jabron661, said he believed the Department of Justice had the indictment “locked and loaded, ready to drop when they needed cover.”
While Fox News Host Judge Jeanine Pirro did not go as far as alleging a scheme to distract from the bureau’s failure to investigate the tip, she did take an opportunity to continue trying to sow discontent toward Mueller’s investigation.
“And so as hundreds of FBI agents chase Russians to create a non-existent Trump-Russia collusion and work the fake Hillary email investigation, or should I say ‘matter,’ they ignore credible tips loaded with probable cause,” she said about the FBI’s tip about Cruz, later adding: “This FBI was stained and politicized by Mr. Holier-than-thou Jim Comey, But the seeds were sowed by former FBI Director Bob Mueller, the one now investigating President Trump. It’s time to stop the charade, time to return the FBI to its original mission.”
— Jeanine Pirro (@JudgeJeanine) February 18, 2018
The notion has also caught some attention on Twitter.
I am sure that Mueller's half-baked indictments of Russian trolls were not done to deflect from the FBI's disastrous, incompetent handling of mass-murderer Nikolas Cruz. Nah.
— David Wohl (@DavidWohl) February 16, 2018
Does Anyone find the timing of this indictment announcement suspicious in the wake of the Florida Parkland school shooting. Would the #DeepState want to take the heat off #FBI screw up with missed citizen calls about Nikolas Cruz to divert attention away? https://t.co/NMUeE5ODuN
— mrsienk (@rsienkiewicz) February 18, 2018
If that 19 yr old Cruz was 1 of the 13 Russians, 17 kids would be alive.
FBI turned into a joke.
All they care about is Russia!#Mueller
— 🇺🇸GENESIS🇺🇸 (@Genesis33K) February 16, 2018
Though the president didn’t directly call the indictment a coverup, Trump did link the two in a tweet yesterday.