A truly independent investigation of possible collusion between Russian officials and Trump supporters offers the only opportunity to restore confidence in the integrity of government in the USA. There is no other choice. It must be an independent, non-partisan investigation. And, just to be clear, it should be an investigation that is open-ended, meaning allowing for the possibility of collusion even before and beyond the 1996 election campaign.
The really sad news of the day is just the logical outgrowth of what has been the most narcissistic, egomaniacal, dishonest President in modern history. In the end (three months into his tenure) America is being held hostage; its foreign and domestic politics subsumed by a pathological liar, his childish tweets and obfuscations occlude everything rational and important before us today. The elevation of our national discourse, post election no less, to a back and forth about lies and innuendo does a disservice to the nation that is beyond comprehension. Yes, special prosecutor is needed, and we will all brace ourselves for a protracted back and forth with the Egomaniac in Chief. In the meantime the rest of the world will just watch as we make fools of ourselves for months if not years. We all burn while Trump fiddles. Such a shame.
That they will never act out of a sense of duty to the country, or in defense of democracy, is at this point obvious. But what’s truly astonishing is Republicans’ inability to even wake up and act out of self-interest and preservation. When do they open their eyes to the fact that this presidency does not end well, and that they’re clinging to a deeply toxic asset that stands to poison their brand (if there’s any justice) irrevocably?
Mr. Trump’s campaign attitude to, and declarations about, Putin and Russia were disquieting. Much has been written on the paper trail of money from Russian oligarchs and mafia figures going to Trump investments. Much has also been written about the connections of senior Trump officials – Manafort, Page, and Flynn – to Russia and their taking money to serve Putin’s interests. That Russia waged an “influence” war against the U.S. in 2016 at Putin’s instructions is the official conclusion of U.S. and allied intelligence agencies. The president’s obsessive attempts to mislead, confuse and spread false allegations speak to his nervousness about the on-going investigations of Russian links to his campaign. Why is he nervous and what is he hiding?
The president’s “brazen warning shots” may indeed “do enormous damage to public confidence in the F.B.I.’s investigation,” but the damage would have been a lot worse if he weren’t so obviously and demonstrably a habitual liar, particularly about topics like this. Perhaps he will one day stop and reflect on the value of a reputation for honesty, and on how much he has lost by sacrificing his own.
This controversy exposes the flaws in our system of checks and balances. The Department of Justice has jurisdiction over violation of federal law, including any alleged infractions committed by the president or members of his administration. But Trump can fire the attorney general and other officials in the department (including the FBI director), compromising their independence.
Congress can investigate members of the executive branch without fear of presidential retaliation. But the Republicans control both houses, and they have a powerful incentive to defend Trump so long as he supports their agenda.
James Madison did not foresee these contingencies when he defended the new federal government in “Federalist 10” against accusations of its potential for tyranny. This most important framer of the Constitution, who did not foresee the rise of political parties, argued that the social and economic diversity of the American elite would prevent the formation of conspiracies that could undermine the independence of the three branches of government.
Trump’s presidency may provide the acid test of that faith. Will the Republicans agree to appoint a special prosecutor, or will they insist on keeping the investigation “all in the family”?
President Trump is obviously no respecter of the truth. When is he credible? Incredible? Non-credible? Simply beyond belief and human comprehension?
Perhaps Jeremy Shapiro, a research director for the European Council on Foreign Relations, can help us resolve the issue: “It’s very easy to have a good meeting with Trump, it’s very pleasant and he’s very pleasant in person. He’ll promise you the world, and 48 hours later, he’ll betray you without a thought. He won’t even know he’ll be betraying you.”
In his fleeting present, Mr. Trump says what he feels and feels what he says. When he thereafter contradicts a former utterance–when he contradicts even often repeated campaign promises to his base–he should fall back on his most credible defense: President Trump’s attention span is so short as to be negligible. Perhaps this also explains his disregard for facts, broken campaign promises, disengagement from reality and disrespect for the truth. He is simply incapable of synthesizing his experience to the point that facts, fidelity, reality and truth matter.
The majority of humans enter a similar state only when sedated.
Trump, perhaps, habitually lies and sleep-bullies his way through life?
Trump clearly dwells in a Twitterverse all his own. He tweets even while committee hearings are underway.
President Trump’s short attention span, his narcissism, his paranoia and his disengagement from reality combine to make him psychologically and temperamentally unfit for office.
It is incredible that the Republicans are so brazen in focusing on condemning individuals who report a crime rather than those who commit the crime. Regardless of other issues, that attitude alone indicates that an independent investigation is needed. All Americans, and even residents of other countries who have had great respect for the US, such as myself, should insist that any challenge to democratic principles be met with a full independent inquiry.
Disturbing indeed that this investigation will have to somehow shine a light on the truth through the fog of lies this White House occupant has already generated and will keep generating as long as he is there. Will this investigation be enough? Will an independent investigation team be required? How long will it take for the truth to come out and what will be the ramifications to our nation?
What disturbs me even more is that we have a damaged, defensive, and dysfunctional administration right out of the gate. The rest of the world is watching, either with trepidation or with designs on how to take advantage of this situation. How did America come to this?
Today was a sad day for American democracy. The revelations by Mr.Comey throw a big question mark on the fidelity of the 2016 elections. During the campaign Mr.Trump openly praised Russia’s hacking capabilities and whether in jest or not invited them to solve Mrs. Clinton’s email muddle. Mr. Trump expressed doubt about our electoral process and said he loved leaks. After winning by electoral votes but trailing by 3 million popular votes he accused widespread voter fraud. Now after his wire tapping charge is found to be baseless he is wanting the source of leaks investigated. While Mr.Comey’s sincerity to conduct a proper investigation cannot be doubted, his own pre election performance was anything but stellar. If he was duty bound to inform Congress of finding Mrs. Clinton’s emails in disgraced ex Congressman Mr. Weiner’s computer, he must similarly have been duty bound to inform on her major opponent’s team’s potential collusion with Russia. One wonders why the difference in handling the two issues? If a theft occurs one needs to find the thief first not why the robbery occurred. But that clearly is what Trey Gowdy and the GOP are doing.
From the front page “The testimony of Mr. Comey and that of Adm. Michael S. Rogers, his National Security Agency counterpart, will most likely enervate and distract Mr. Trump’s administration for weeks, if not longer…” This says it all. I’m sure many are pleased and satisfied feeling they have Trump on the ropes and have a topic with legs. Personally I am not looking forward to 4 years of infighting with no progress for the American people.
I’m afraid I don’t trust Comey. Good for him for saying yes there is an investigation, but he showed very flawed judgement during the election. With a straight face, he testified that he wouldn’t discuss details of any investigation until it was complete. And yet that is exactly what he did right before the election. Another loose cannon? We need a hero.
When will the public humiliation end? He has reduced the USA to a punchline.
Every tweet is evidence of panic.
Every rally is a last hurrah.
Every Russian connection is a liability.
Every conspirator is one who will take a deal with the FBI for immunity.
Every day is one day closer to the end.
Pence, you gonna use the same Bible as last time? Better keep it handy. In the meantime, keep your distance. Stay out of the implosion. Just watch from afar. It will be majestic.
Thank God that the Trump White House is incompetent. Can you imagine being in this situation with a competent President?
I applaud the NYT position that supports the appointment of a special prosecutor. But why in heaven’s name do you believe that such a person should be chosen by Rod Rosenstein? He was endorsed by Trump for his present job, and he is a Republican. Get serious, NYT. The special prosecutor must be chosen by bipartisan agreement or, better yet, by the courts. I smell whitewash.
Stop the nomination process! No President under investigation for possible criminal activity should be allowed to appoint a Supreme Court Justice. This President may have used felonious means to attain his office. The investigation by the FBI and/or independent prosecutor must be completed and the President cleared of wrong doing before such a privilege is granted. Any Republican that felt it appropriate to hold up a nomination on the basis of an ongoing Presidential campaign should also be able to see that any incoming President needs to be legitimate before he/she can appoint a member to the highest court in the land.
I have never seen a phrase made with such unbridled cynicism as “The goal must be to make American political parties and democratic institutions less vulnerable to efforts to distort the electoral process…” The idea that congress through a select committee can or would do anything to actually improve what little is left of our democracy is both laughable and tragic.
In the last decade our courts have decimated the Voting Rights Act. Both parties have practice gerrymandering with impunity. The Senate has become a millionaires club and the 30,000 lobbyists that crawl around the capital have more influence that the voters do. At the state level our representatives don’t even write legislation, the corporate lobbying group ALEC does it for them.
Polls like Pew Trust and Gallup regularly verify policies that the majority of people support only to have congress either do the opposite or nothing at all. A recent study by two prominent political scientists concluded that we have become an oligarchy, which is a system more responsive to money than to its citizens.
Yet, the major media would have us believe that this degradation of our democracy doesn’t really exist, or it pales in the face of Russian seeking to “influence our elections” by releasing a hand full of emails that almost no one read.
Trump’s administration is a cesspool and he deserves to be impeached. But congress is no better. Next time have ‘none of the above’ on the ballot.
Not haunting. Frightening.
Maybe I’m too old — I remember the Watergate saga so well. There was an astonishing new revelation every day. But as sinister as Nixon was, there seemed to be a certain logic in his thinking and actions. With this new Administration, I see the sinister part, but not the logical part.
The truth is less important than blocking information to the public. Amazing