As Donald Trump and his surrogates in Congress do their best to smear the Mueller investigation into Russian interference and discredit any forthcoming charges he may bring against the administration, let’s remember this is Trump’s favorite tactic.
President Trump wants you to believe the media are biased against him, the courts are biased against him, and the Washington establishment is biased against him.
Even the intelligence agencies that found Russia interfered in our election to help put him in office are biased against him.
In other words, all the watchdogs, gatekeepers and referees of the law in our country are not to be trusted. Only Trump is to be trusted to tell the truth and act in your favor. Remember his famous, demagogic, “I alone can fix it” speech at the Republican National Convention?
Most repugnant have been his attacks on Special Counsel Bob Mueller.
A man of character and integrity, Mueller served in the Marines in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals, the Purple Heart and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.
A registered Republican, Mueller was appointed FBI Director in 2001 by George W. Bush and served for over 10 years. Yet somehow, now this president and his allies in Congress think they can paint Mueller as a Democrat puppet.
They argue he is leading a biased investigation, a claim meant to protect Trump and shield him from whatever damning evidence Mueller’s team uncovers.
Have they no dignity? During the campaign last year, conservatives such as Sean Hannity shrieked about a looming constitutional crisis if we were to elect a President Clinton with control over the very Justice Department investigating her. We now face that exact scenario with President Trump; and not only does the GOP ignore it, they want the president to fire the officials leading the investigation.
Leaving aside the question of collusion, they seem totally uninterested in even getting to the bottom of how Russia interfered or how it may be stopped in the future.
In the Oval Office Trump said to former FBI Director James Comey, “I hope you can let [the investigation into Michael Flynn] go.” Later at a dinner, he told Comey, “I need loyalty. I expect loyalty.” It’s a good thing federal law enforcement officials don’t work for the president. They are not his employees; they work for the American people, and it is to us their loyalty belongs. Trump needs to recognize that.
It seems quaint now that Republicans were outraged over something as trivial as Hillary Clinton using a private email server – but today, when we know for a fact members of Trump’s team lied about contacts with a foreign adversary whom we know worked to smear Hillary and make Donald president, those same Republicans want to quash the investigation.
At the center of the controversy are anti-Trump, pro-Clinton texts exchanged between an FBI agent on the Clinton and Russia probes, Peter Strzok, and FBI lawyer Lisa Page. The GOP claims this shows bias in Mueller’s team (never mind the fact that Mueller removed Strozk from his team as soon as the texts were discovered in July).
As journalists of integrity themselves, the editors of this newspaper should raise their voices in objection to President Trump’s vilification of the media. Career civil servants in law enforcement should rail against Trump’s demonization of federal officials.
We as a people should be outraged that our president feels he can dictate to us what is true and what is not. Whom would he have us believe?
Let’s count ourselves fortunate to live in a country where the president doesn’t get to decide that question.