Gooooood Morning Ethics Alarms Readers in Vietnam (3, 501 views so far)!!
1. I am three new rationalizations and at least two Comments of the Day behind. Sorry.
2. One of the more creative efforts to make Donald Trump Jr.’s aborted opposition research meeting seem significant, sinister and one more step to the impeachment “the resistance” and the news media so, so desperately want is this article in the Washington Post, by a Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, the director of the Intelligence and Defense Project at Harvard’s Belfer Center, who was a director of intelligence and counterintelligence at the Department of Energy and previously a CIA intelligence officer in domestic and international posts. His analysis is a masterpiece of projection, supposition, unwarranted assumptions and exaggeration. Rolf’s argument is that the meeting is important because it constituted a “green light” to Russia that the Trump campaign approved of Russian meddling in the election, would not blow the whistle on it, would be open to more serious involvement, and would respond to such action with future quid pro quo favors. All of this, simply based on the willingness to meet on the hopes of acquiring dirt on Hillary Clinton.
It is useful a a microcosm of the entire Russia-Trump conspiracy theory, and indeed conspiracy theories generally. Applied to an agreement between a married man and a single woman to have drinks together, the fact that the man never tells his spouse about the meeting means that the man thought the meeting was illicit, was open to having adulterous sex with the woman, would react favorably to the woman’s subsequent efforts to undermine his marriage, and was a green light to the woman to escalate her seduction. But as in the case of Trump’s meeting, a married man having drinks with an unmarried woman is not illicit, no matter what Mike Pence thinks, and is not proof of any further actions or unethical intent no matter what conclusions the woman leaps to. There is also the disconnect that under Mowatt-Larssen’s analysis and his version of the Russian thinking, Donald Trump Jr was central to the Trump campaign rather than incidental. He also seems to think the right hand in this chaotic organization knew what the right hand was doing, which we know not to be true.
3. On the other hand, we get a hint of the kinds of people advising the Trump campaign from this “defense” of the meeting by Jack Kingston, a former Republican representative from Georgia and a senior adviser the campaign. He said,
“Do you really think — let’s ask ourselves this: Do you really that think they would put anything in writing, and this wouldn’t have a huge red flag if they thought, “Oh gosh, we’ve got to cover this up?” If this was a significant meeting, they would have gone in there and erased those emails. They would have said, “Let’s come out with a statement on this.” This would have been done several months ago. For whatever people believe about Paul Manafort, he is a serious player. He is the adult in the room in this situation. And he would have said, “If you did any emailing on this, erase it.” But because it was an irrelevant meeting, with irrelevant information, I’m sure they just shrugged it off and said it’s one more set of conmon and women coming in and having some angle that we’re just going to dismiss.”
This is signature significance. This sleaze-ball’s argument isn’t that the campaign wouldn’t have done anything illegal or unethical, just that it was savvy enough to institute a cover-up if it did. Moreover, he isn’t sufficiently smart or ethical to realize that this sounds terrible to anyone with half-functioning ethics alarms. And this guy was in Congress! That should give you faith in your government; I know it makes me proud.
Kingston is self-evidently corrupt, and is a World Class fool.
Did you know President Trump hires only the best people?
We can at least be grateful that this jackass wasn’t appointed to a Cabinet post.
4. This lawsuit is too silly to warrant a free-standing post, but the lawyers willing to bring it deserve mockery and derision.They include former Obama White House counsel Ian Bassin, former Justice Department lawyer Benjamin Berwick, former U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner and University of Michigan law professor Richard Primus. Shame on all of them.
They are behind an invasion of privacy lawsuit against the Trump Presidential campaign by Protect Democracy, a group of lawyers who worked in the Obama administration, and who have joined the ranks of partisan professionals driven to the edge of madness by the Democratic defeat in 2016.The suit contains no actual evidence that the Trump campaign was involved in the hacking and release of the DNC emails. It just relies on publicly known facts that people who really want to believe there was “collusion” think shows there must have been something illicit going on. The suit even cites as evidence the Republican Party platform and support for weakening or lifting U.S. sanctions against Russia.
This is abuse of process as harassment, vindictiveness, and grandstanding, and completely unethical. It’s also damning, as the lawsuit’s theory is that the individuals and their party had a right to lie, cheat and deceive the electorate, and that it was an outrage that the American public found out about it all before November 8.
5. Which is worse, do you think, that the Trump campaign had slugs like Jack Kingston working for it, of that lawyers highly placed in the Obama Administration would file a suit like this and not see how it makes them and the entire Democratic Party look?
I’m not sure, but I need to take a shower.