It would seem that we are headed down a path with the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia that pits three of the least trustworthy entities in America against each other: The President, who is under investigation; the man he fired, former FBI Director James Comey; and a divided news media that has taken sides long before all of the relevant facts are out.
It doesn’t take much to accurately label Donald Trump a liar. Whether it is Russia, electoral votes, or campaign promises, the President has given us very little in the way of truth. Trump typically favors a grandiose style reminiscent of a carnival barker: loud, braggadocios, and light on substantial facts.
James Comey is a more complex story, but he has a flair for the dramatic. The Guardian recounted a 2004 event when Comey was the acting Attorney General:
It had the air of Hollywood. On the night of 10 March 2004, James Comey, the nominee to lead the FBI for the next ten years, rushed to the hospital bedside of his terribly ill boss, Attorney General John Ashcroft.
There, he eventually confronted White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, who were trying to get the pancreatitis-stricken Ashcroft to renew a still secret and illegal surveillance program on Americans’ electronic communications. Neither Ashcroft nor Comey, then acting attorney general because of Ashcroft’s condition, would reauthorize the program. When Gonzales authorized the program to go forward without a Justice Department certification, Comey threatened to resign, along with his staff and FBI Director Robert Mueller.
The threats worked: President Bush blinked, and Comey won modifications to the secret surveillance program that he felt brought it into compliance with the law.
However, Comey was the one that signed off on a legal opinion just two months later that confirmed the legality of the warrantless wiretapping program. Many questions remain about why Comey took such dramatic actions to fight against a program that he may have supported. It smelled of a publicity stunt.
Comey also greatly exaggerated the Department of Justice’s case against al Qaeda associate Jose Padilla. Padilla was held by the military without being charged and without access to legal protections. Comey went to the press to detail how Padilla sought to build a “dirty bomb” out of “uranium wrapped with explosives” and that it would have caused “mass death and injury.” However, experts say that taking such action with uranium would have been “the equivalent of blowing up lead.”
Of course, with Comey there is also the bizarre timing and methodology of the announcement that the FBI had uncovered additional emails in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server. He announced the new findings on October 28th, just a week and a half before the 2016 election.
Further complicating the matter is that the corporate media has formed itself into two camps: those that will relish in anything if it is anti-Trump, and the decidedly right-wing media that will stand by their President, no matter how bad the allegations get.
The Washington Post was openly celebrating that they may have found damning information on the President earlier this week, while Conservative outlets were busy plugging their ears, shouting “fake news,” and pretending that there is nothing peculiar going on with Trump.
Banner on @foxandfriends right now: “RUSSIA: IT DIDN’T HAPPEN”
— Sarah Boxer (@Sarah_Boxer) May 16, 2017
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2017
Polls show that America doesn’t really trust the media and trust in the President is purely partisan. As for Comey, he doesn’t exactly get a warm reaction from voters either. So who do we trust? If we cannot trust the President, nor do we have faith in Comey to tell the truth, and we have no faith that the media will accurately or fairly report on the matter, how will we really know what happened?
The answer about trust and uncovering the facts is simple – we will never again have unfettered access to the truth. When we have built an industry of lying politicians by continually voting them in office on both sides of the aisle, and when we continue to read, like, and share only news that fits our particular worldview, the truth becomes irrelevant. Lying directly benefits the politician and the corporate media outlet alike.
Trump is likely going to screw up and clearly break the law along the way. He may already have. He may be forced from office prior to 2021, especially. But those who support Trump will simply blame it on a biased media. They will be emboldened and seek to push even more Trumpian candidates, feeling that the world is against them.
On the other side, no matter if Trump breaks the law or not, the word “impeach” is sure to be thrown around on a daily basis while the world waits for the next Trump lie. Meanwhile, the political coffers will be continually stuffed and the ad-supported media will flourish, leaving the American people enraged and blind to the truth.