Bipartisan Incoherence & Media Malevolence
After a storm of criticism this week following Sally Yates testimony over why, despite recommendations from assistant attorney general Sally Yates and former president Obama, President Trump took 18 days to fire Michael Flynn and another storm about FBI director Comey’s purportedly inaccurate testimony concerning Huma Abedin’s release of classified emails to her disgraced husband, where both Democrats and the mainstream media were once again clamoring for Mr. Comey’s resignation, a new storm has erupted when, based on the detailed bipartisan recommendations reflected in a memo from current assistant attorney general Rod Rosenstein, the President terminated Mr. Comey’s tenure at the FBI.
The Democrats and the mainstream media have apparently turned on a dime and now find Mr. Comey to have been a selfless public servant and hero whose firing has caused a crisis because they speculate it did not involve their reasons for demanding his ouster, but more nefarious factors, again purportedly involving the Russians. The hypocrisy is consistent with almost everything the Democratic Party and mainstream media do nowadays but that does not mean that the firing may not have been inappropriate for reasons we do not know about. It just makes the Democrats and the mainstream media look exactly like what they’ve become, utterly unreliable, and the President questionable.
Still, the Rosenstein memorandum bears analysis (most who will opine on this matter probably will not read it), especially with reference to the bipartisan urging for the action taken. I quote Mr. Rosenstein’s memorandum on which the firing was premised (link to the entire memorandum is provided):
My perspective on these issues is shared by former Attorneys General and Deputy Attorneys General from different eras and both political parties. Judge Laurence Silberman, who served as Deputy Attorneys General under President Ford, wrote that “it is not the bureau’s responsibility to opine on whether a matter should be prosecuted.” Silberman believes that the Director’s “Performance was so inappropriate for an FBI director that [he] doubt[s] the bureau will ever completely recover.” Jamie Gorelick, Deputy Attorney General under President George W. Bush, to opine that the Director had “chosen personally to restrike the balance between transparency and fairness, department from the department’s traditions.” They concluded that the Director violated his obligation to “preserve, protect and defend” the traditions of the Department and the FBI.
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who served under President George W Bush, observed the Director “stepped way outside his job in disclosing the recommendation in that fashion” because the FBI director “doesn’t make that decision”. Alberto Gonzales, who also served as Attorneys General under President George W Bush, called the decision “an error in judgement.” Eric Holder, who served as Deputy Attorneys General under President Clinton and Attorneys General under President Obama, said that the Director’s decision “was incorrect. It violated long-standing Justice Department policies and traditions. And it ran counter to guidance that I put in place four years ago laying out the proper way to conduct investigations during an election season.” Holder concluded that the Director “broke with these fundamental principles” and “negatively affected public trust in both the Justice Department and the FBI”.
Former Deputy Attorneys General Gorelick and Thompson described the unusual event as “read-time, raw-take transparency taken to its illogical limit, a kind of reality TV of federal criminal investigation,” that is “antithetical to the interests of justice”.
Donald Ayer, who served as Deputy Attorneys General under President HW Bush, along with former Justice Department officials, was “astonished and perplexed” by the decision to “break with longstanding practices followed by officials of both parties during past elections.” Ayer’s letter noted, “Perhaps most troubling… is the precedent set by this departure from the Department’s widely-respected, non-partisan traditions.”
This incident, as do so many others, makes clear that the United States political system is in crisis, not just due to Mr. Trump but even more so due to the dishonesty of the Democratic Party and the mainstream media and the uncertain but risky policies of the current Republican administration. While the issue involving the woeful inadequacy of both major political parties is possible to resolve by a citizenry that discards them both, the problem with a dishonest mainstream media may prove fatal to the possibility of democratic government. A functioning democracy requires a politically active citizenry provided with accurate and complete information enabling it to make appropriate electoral decisions. Without it, democracy is doomed.
We have neither.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved