Ethical Quote Of The Month: David French

“For more than a year, I’ve been challenging conservative readers to look at Trump’s actions and imagine how they’d react if Democrats were behaving the same way — to apply the same standards to their team that they’d apply to their opponents. Now, I want to challenge my progressive readers: Consider how you would respond to the federal bureaucracy with the opposite ideological imbalance. Would you have confidence that it would apply the law and Constitution fairly? Would you be alarmed if you found that a senior FBI agent so biased and reckless was playing a key role in the investigation of a Democratic president?”

——National Review writer David French, in his article, “Peter Strzok’s story will hurt public trust in the federal government at the worst possible time.”

The Strzok story, an embarrassment to the Special Counsel’s inquiry, is just one more that the mainstream media has, in sequence, tried to ignore, spin, bury, and brush off as a “conservative” obsession.  French is a credentialed “Never-Trumper,”{ but he knows an appearance of impropriety, poor oversight and conflicts of interest when he sees them:

…Robert Mueller had months ago asked a senior FBI agent to step down from his role investigating the Trump administration. [He] was caught in an extramarital affair with an FBI lawyer. The affair itself was problematic, but so was the fact that the two were found to have exchanged anti-Trump, pro-Hillary Clinton text messages….

…This agent, Peter Strzok, also worked with FBI director James Comey on the Clinton email investigation. In fact, he was so deeply involved in the Clinton investigation that he is said to have interviewed Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, and to have been present when the FBI interviewed Clinton. According to CNN, he was part of the team responsible for altering the FBI’s conclusion that Clinton was “grossly negligent” in handling classified emails (a finding that could have triggered criminal liability) to “extremely careless” — a determination that allowed her to escape prosecution entirely. After the Clinton investigation concluded, Strzok signed the documents opening the investigation into Russian election interference and actually helped interview former national-security adviser Michael Flynn. In other words, it looks like a low-integrity, reckless, biased bureaucrat has played an important role in two of the most important and politically charged criminal investigations of the new century. Yes, it’s good that Mueller removed Strzok when he discovered the text messages. No, Strzok is not solely responsible for the conclusions reached in either investigation. But his mere presence hurts public confidence in the FBI, and it does so in a way that further illustrates a persistent and enduring national problem: America’s permanent bureaucracy is unacceptably partisan.

…It is to Robert Mueller’s credit that he took swift action against Strzok. It’s a problem that, as the Wall Street Journal observes, he “kept this information from House investigators.” For a critical mass of the public to have confidence in Mueller’s investigation, it must be as transparent and accountable as humanly possible. A proper investigation into Russian interference in our election is vital to the health of our democracy. A biased and opaque probe, however, will do far more harm than good.

French is bending over backwards to be fair, but he goes so far he may snap. Mueller must know his team, and he must understand, or one would think he would, that if he finds anything that justifies action against the President of the United States, it is essential that there be no hint of bias or partisan conflicts. How could he allow someone like this to play a key role in his investigation? The Wall Street Journal asked,quite reasonably,

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team is emphasizing its ejection of FBI agent Peter Strzok immediately upon learning about anti-Trump texts he exchanged with another FBI employee, Lisa Page, before the 2016 election. But when did the FBI learn of the messages? …[W]hen did the FBI dig up and turn over that very first tranche? How long has the bureau known one of its lead investigators was exhibiting such bias? Was it before Mr. Mueller was even appointed? Did FBI leaders sit by as the special counsel tapped Mr. Strzok? In any case, we know from the letter that the inspector general informed both Messrs. Rosenstein and Mueller of the texts on July 27, and that both men hid that explosive information from Congress for four months. The Justice Department, pleading secrecy, defied subpoenas that would have produced the texts. It refused to make Mr. Strzok available for an interview. It didn’t do all this out of fear of hurting national security, obviously. It did it to save itself and the FBI from embarrassment.

Yet when the President made some derogatory tweets about the FBI, the news media as one treated it as if he were committing blasphemy. The tweet, as usual, were foolish and unprofessional. Trump was wrong to send them, as usual, but I don’t see how anyone can argue that the substance of what he wrote is wrong.

Since French wrote his piece, we learned more about the damning e-mails that Strzok sent to his paramour, such as this one:

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way he [i.e. Trump] gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

In another exchange that month,  Page forwarded a Trump-related article to her lover and wrote: “Maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace.” He thanked her and assured: “Of course I’ll try and approach it that way.”

Wait—what was the “insurance policy” against Trump’s presidency? Isn’t that ominous by definition? If someone who was that dedicated to preventing a Trump Presidency ends up playing a crucial role in investigating matters that could end it, doesn’t that fatally taint the credibility of the investigation? As I noted earlier, it looks like Peter Strzok is Mueller’s Mark Fuhrman.

 

18 Comments

Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement

18 responses to “Ethical Quote Of The Month: David French

  1. adimagejim

    The laws originally written for all to observe are now clearly only intended to apply to some. Those of us to whom the law is apparently still intended to apply, have grown weary of the elites, their media sycophants and their constant equivocating in the face of Constitutionally passed laws.

    For how long can a system skewed in this way stand? Confidence must be restored or a new system must be established.

  2. Jack wrote, “The Strzok’ story, an embarrassment to the Special Counsel’s inquiry, is just one more that the mainstream media has, in sequence, tried to ignore, spin, bury, and brush off as a “conservative” obsession.”

    In a recent very conversation with an acquaintance in line at a local coffee shop, we were talking about the investigation and I said “this Strzok’ story is a really big deal” and here is his actual reply I’m pretty darn sure I’m quoting this accurately, “the Strzok’ story is a nothing burger and it doesn’t change a damn thing. Trump is guilty as hell and he’ll be impeached before the end of next year.” I followed that up with “what is this illegal thing is he guilty of” he replied with a very defiant “collusion with the Russians, it’s treason…” which I immediately broke in and said “well you must be in sole possession of the all the proof of this Russian collusion because no one else seems to be able to find it”. I got back a lot of random stuttering and a very firm “he’s guilty as hell and you know it” and he walk out of line and out the door with his last word. He’s an idiot partisan sheep!

    I suspect he’ll never talk to me again.

    • I don’t understand that kind of thing at all, and I hear similar from otherwise intelligent, fair, informed people. That is like someone insisting that LBJ killed Kennedy or Cheney was behind 9-11. There is no evidence. The news media is complicit in spreading the insanity: I read a report talking about how the “investigation was getting closer to Trump’s inner circle”, which is pure innuendo without substance, designed to sound suspicious. Flynn;s in trouble for lying and his own undisclosed deals. Manafort is in trouble for Turkey. If my associates get in trouble for conduct I had nothing to do with, the fact that they are or were close associates is meaningless. Trump was in the casino, reals estate and construction business. I bet he has associates that make Flynn and Manafort look like The Littlest Angel.

      • Other Bill

        The guy in the coffee shop sounds just like my son. This thing has turned him into an automaton. I’ve told him we can’t talk about it. His attacks get very personal. He acts as if my failure to believe in what he’s telling me is the only reason Trump has not been removed from office. I want to ask these kind of people, “Wait a minute. How many multi-million dollar paid speeches did Donald Trump give in Russia? How many Russian uranium deals have been OKed by the Trump administration after its charity received a few hundred million dollars? Why would and ex-President and a Secretary of State and Presidential candidate have such relations with our arch enemy?

    • adimagejim

      Can a civil society survive this kind of schism when we can’t even agree on verifiable facts? Seems genuinely and depressingly irreconcilable.

      • ”In a recent very conversation with an acquaintance in line at a local coffee shop”

        Reminds me of Starbuck’s Kumbayah “Let’s Have A Conversation About Race” initiative, which ended nearly as abruptly.

        Had you broached politics with this guy before?

        I think Lefties (most, not all), and especially those of the Madison, WI strain, assume that everyone is “cool” as in “ideologically certified.”

        If you slow-lob them in other encounters, and then surprise them with high heat, they feel betrayed.

        A feeling of betrayal, with a dollop second-guessing one’s perceptual fitness, can only lead to manifestly rude priggery in order to save face.

  3. ”Now, I want to challenge my progressive readers”

    The National Review has Progressive readers?

    • Aleksei

      Paul, that’s a good one. Although, perhaps some “open minded” progressive readers would check up on National Review. It’s probably one of the inoffensive outlets of Conservative thought online. If one can’t handle it, then they just can’t handle opposing viewpoints, period.

    • Chris marschner

      Bill Kristol at Nat. Review is a never Trumper. If you are a progressive you would want to use Kristol’s anti-Trump essays to bolster you debate arguments. A good debater would want to use the other sides arguments against Trump.

      • Why do that when unhinged hysterical accusations are way more fun?

      • (David French at the National Review is a Never-Trumper. Bill Kristol at The Weekly Standard is a N-T’er. I, at Ethics Alarms, am also a Never-Trumper.)

        • Aleksei

          Although, if I recall correctly, David French retired the term Never Trumper in regards for himself, since that was a position held during the election. He explained as having served its purpose, and to keep using that term would be denying reality.
          Would it be fair to say that one held a Never Trump position, and now one would holds a Trump critic/skeptic position?

          • Good distinction, and correct. That would describe me as well, perhaps especially me. He’s President, and deserves to be treated like every other President, and those who will not do that are rejecting what our institutions and values must be to function at all.

  4. Keep up the good fight, Jack!

  5. I don’t know these people, so it’s grain of salt time. But my actor brain fills in the blanks of WHAT the insurance policy is with a plan to vacate the FBI to get away from the Prez he doesn’t like. It doesn’t ring scandalous or sinister in my ears, but just like an escape valve. I’ve joked about what I’d do if my day job suddenly decided they don’t want me anymore. And that’s what I take that comment as instead of harbinger of weird. My 2 cents.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s