Good Morning, everybody!
1 Wait, What??? ABC has announced that suspended reporter Brian Ross will no longer handle stories involving President Trump after Ross returns from his suspension. The suspension, you will recall, was occasioned by his misreporting of a matter involving the Mueller investigation and causing a stock market dive as a result.
This makes no sense at all. Either Ross is a professional, competent journalist who can be trusted to report the news without allowing his biases to distort the facts, or he is not. If ABC deems Ross too unreliable and partisan to report on stories involving the President of the United States, then—can I say obviously?—is also too reliable to be a reporter at all.
In his weekly unhinged hate-rant against President Trump—this one claims that favoring “national security and sovereignty; economic nationalism; and deconstruction of the administrative state” proves the President is a Nazi—Charles M. Blow writes, “Trump’s continued attacks on the media — and on truth itself — is an attempt to weaken the watchdogs, to grease the skids toward more oligarchy, more authoritarianism, more fascism.”
Are even New York Times readers gullible enough to buy that absurd description of the news media any more? The Ross fiasco is only the latest in a chain of thousands, some more minor, many not, that prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the news media is not a respectable watch dog, and that truth is the farthest thing from its agenda. The op-ed page that Blow squats on is a daily display of deceit and anti-Trump propaganda. There has never been anything like it in the history of the legitimate press. The same day Blow’s screed appeared, Times editors went full race-baiter, publishing a column that cherry picked black athletes, celebrities and politicians the President has issued insulting tweets about, regardless of the topic or issue, to show that he’s obviously a racist. (For example, since the NFL player who stood during the Mexican national anthem while having Kaepernicked for weeks in games played in the U.S., the President tweeted criticism was racist.) My junior high school journalism teacher, who advised the student newspaper, would have flagged this is terrible journalism, but Timed editors think it’s just great,
2. Uh…NO. John Dowd, Trump’s personal lawyer, argued in an interview with Axios that the “president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case.” This argument’s a loser, John. The last President who made the claim was Richard Nixon. It might be a good topic for a law review article, but this is way too close to “the king can do no wrong” for a country founded on te proposition that a kind was doing wrong.
Dowd had a strange day. Dowd said that that he wrote a weekend tweet from Trump’s account after Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition.The Saturday tweet reads, “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!” The tweet raised the question of when the President knew Flynn had violated the law; Dowd’s statement raised other questions. How did he tweet for the President? Is his admission a way for the President to have plausible deniability, with his lawyer taking the blame? Trump runs his tweets through lawyers now?
If Dowd said he wrote the tweet and did not, that would be a serious breach of legal ethics.
3. Looks bad, is bad...Last summer, special counsel Robert Mueller fired Peter Strzok, one of the FBI’s top Russian counterintelligence experts, from his team of investigators after an internal investigation found that he sent text messages showing a political bias for Hillary Clinton and against President Donald Trump. (What an idiot.) Strzok. we now learn, led the investigation of the Hillary Clinton email server as the No. 2 official in the FBI’s counterintelligence division. Strzok, was revealed yesterday, was also the man who was responsible for changing “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless” in Comey’s final report on the Clinton email investigation. He was the agent who questioned Michael Flynn, too.
Incredibly, some left-tilting commentators read this embarrassing example of bias and conflict of interest as reflecting well on Mueller’s investigation. Why did the special counsel hide Strzok’s removal, then, all this time? Of course the fact that an open anti-Trump partisan was on Mueller’s team harms his investigation’s credibility. But this conclusion is being described as “conservative spin.”
Watchdogs, you know.
The most astoundingly lunk-headed reaction to the Strzok story, however came from “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd, who really said this to a suddenly dumber nation:
“Let me throw up these headlines, an FBI agent was just removed from Bob Mueller’s team for anti-Trump texts. Now, when you read the details of this, Danielle, I have to say, part of me thought, wait a minute, are we bordering into thought police territory? Number one. But we can set that aside here. But it does give the President a PR tool here and to at least throw to his supporters saying, “Aha! Bias in the Mueller probe.”
- That IS bias in the Mueller probe.
- “Are we bordering into thought police territory?” As I have long suspected, powerful journalists in the US no longer know what a disqualifying conflict of interest is. Does the name “Mark Furmin” ring a bell, Chuck? Was the fact that he had previously displayed racist attitudes that called into question the legitimacy of his findings in the O.J. Simpson case another example of “thought police”? Well? Chuck? Hello??
- Chuck really shouldn’t throw up on the air…ick.
4. And following as the night follows day…Naturally, President Trump couldn’t let the FBI embarrass itself alone, and had to issue a superfluous tweet:
“After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters – worst in History! But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness”
The attack was inappropriate and unpresidential, as well as stupid. It is also true. Ethics Alarms documented the incomprehensible FBI interview of Hillary Clinton, with no oath required and no recording, and with the candidate represented by Cheryl Mills, an aide/ lawyer who was also involved in the acts being investigated. Then there was the FBI’s non-handling of the improper Bill Clinton-Loretta Lynch meeting just as the investigation of Bill wife was nearing a conclusion. Documents show that FBI officials were concerned solely about the leaking of details of the tarmac meeting, not about what was discussed and the impropriety of the meeting itself. The agents wanted to know who blew the whistle on the suspicious liaison. In one email, for example, an FBI official writes “we need to find that guy.” An FBI official working on Lynch’s security detail even goes so far as to suggest non-disclosure agreements to keep the full facts from coming forth.
Like the Secret Service and the entire Justice Department, the FBI’s integrity, competence and ethics rotted way during the Obama Administration.