1. When this ridiculous episode is recounted in history books, if it is, it will only be as an example of how the news media worked in tandem with Democrats to undermine the President of the United States, and deeply wounded American democracy and the public trust as a result. I suppose if it is recounted, it will either be as one of the many factors that led Americans to express disgust for both the news media and the Democratic party, forcing the first to shape up and the latter to re-invent itself, or, under the worst case scenario, to explain how the United States lost its Constitutional government.
2. A President of the United States fired an FBI director who deserved to be fired, and everything else is political warfare and public disinformation. A President firing someone he had the power to fire and that most Americans rightly believed should be fired cannot be a scandal, a crisis, or anything else worthy of the hysterical coverage this story has received. The coverage of the story is the antithesis of the journalism ethics tenet that journalists cover stories but do not create them.
3. President (and candidate) Trump is certainly at fault for handing his enemies sticks to beat him with. I put this is exactly the same category with a voluptuous woman walking into a bar full of drunken, rowdy men and doing a provocative dance to the jukebox as they hoot and drool. She should be safe, but she isn’t, and she should know that she isn’t. The drunken dogs should be trustworthy not to sexually assault her, but they aren’t, When she ends up like Jodie Foster in “The Accused,” it is her sexual assailants who are guilty, but it is not blaming the victim to ask, “What the hell were you thinking?”
4. Of course, as has been proven at nauseating length here and elsewhere, President Trump does not think, at least in the professional sense of the word. It was stupid to throw out compliments to Vladimir Putin. It was stupid to make defensive-sounding comments about the Russian hacks because he didn’t want to admit that any factors led to his election other than his essential brilliance. One indication that there are no sinister connections between Trump and Russia is that if there were, it would be mind-numbingly moronic for Trump to do anything but show hostility to the country and its leaders. It is only slightly less moronic for him to say these things when he has nothing to hide regarding “Russian ties.”
[An aside: a recent commenter on another thread repeated the oft-cited nonsense that Trump must be smart (like he says) because he has an IQ of 160. If Donald Trump scored 160 on an IQ test, then IQ tests should be thrown out and never used again. However, that claim is imaginary. (IQ tests don’t prove you are “smart,” either, but that’s a different issue.) A researcher once estimated Trump’s IQ based on his admission to Wharton and the gross average IQ of Wharton grads, which is itself a phony number. Then this (incompetently) estimated figure was used by other hacks in some of those “Who was the smartest President?” articles, which estimate the IQs of the Presidents using the same kind of bad reasoning as the process that arrived at the figure for Trump (it was 156, not 160). In truth, nobody knows what Trump’s IQ is. Everybody knows, however, or should, that he does and says an astounding number of dumb things, many of which mostly have the effect of harming him, or his ability to do his job.]
5. Evidence of the above was the President putting out as one of the reasons he fired Comey that he wanted the Russian investigation concluded and felt that Comey was allowing it to drag on. I view this as signature significance for a stupid man, even if it is true and innocent, which I’m sure it is.
The Russian investigation is that rarity, an actual political witch hunt. The “Trump is a traitor” narrative is the Left’s version of “Obama is a Kenyan,” and serves exactly the same purpose: to smear and illegitimize an elected President of the United States. I therefore regard anyone embracing it with the same contempt and vanishing respect I regarded anyone who repeated the slander that Barack Obama wasn’t a citizen (this group of self-disgraced included Donald Trump.) Of course Trump wants the Russian investigation concluded. It’s a waste of time, and it is being used as part of a non-stop political war by the news media against the Office of the President and the institutions of democracy. All right, that’s why I want the investigation over; Trump wants it over because he knows it is an ongoing personal insult to him, pushed along by Democrats and Republicans, like John McCain, who he deliberately made into enemies with his big, undisciplined mouth.
I suppose the President should get points for being honest against his own interests, but all this statement did was allow “the resistance” to say, “AHA!”
6. The amount of fake stories the news media has issued and repeated to manufacture this “crisis” is staggering, and proves the bias and untrustworthiness of what currently passed for U.S. journalism. Most of these “scoops” were thinly (and unethically) sourced by anonymous figures with unrevealed biases…also a journalism ethics breach. Some examples (and not the only ones):
Report: Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein threatened to resign if the President didn’t make it clear that his memo was not the impetus for Comey’s firing. Fact: It never happened. Rosenstein told a reporter that he was not quitting and has never threatened to.
Report: Shortly before being fired, Comey had asked for more money to pursue the Russian investigation. Fact: During a Senate hearing yesterday, Acting FBI Director McCabe said under oath that he knew of no such request. (Note: an individual with a name in a position to know who says something didn’t happen has more credibility than “anonymous sources” who say it did happen. ) Said McCabe: “I believe we have the adequate resources to do it. I can assure you we are covered.”
Report: Firing Comey “interferes” with the Russian investigation. Fact: Of course it doesn’t.
“Simply put, you cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing. We don’t curtail our activities. We continue to focus on our mission to get the job done.”
7. One story that is almost certainly true is the account that the President asked Comey during a private dinner if Comey would promise to be personally loyal to Trump, and that Comey refused. Trump’s question was ignorant, though prompted by legitimate paranoia, such as the unprofessional and unethical conduct of Sally Yates before she was fired. The President’s administration is teeming with hard-left Obama loyalists leaking to the press and coordinating with Democrats to sabotage his agenda. An FBI Director cannot be “loyal” to the executive in the sense that Trump is used to from a lifetime in business. Comey’s answer was the ethical one.
Telling tales about his conversations with the President, however, is not ethical, or professional.
I wish I could promise that this is the last Ethics Alarms post about the topic.