The Doctrine of Media Untruth

By Victor Davis Hanson . May 24, 2020

When knowledge, wisdom, independent thought, even basic competence were no longer requisites for success, then the media naturally slid into mediocrity, and mastered networking and obsequiousness instead of valuing independence.

As a general rule, when the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Public Radio, Public Broadcasting Service, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, and CNN begin to parrot a narrative, the truth often is found in simply believing just the opposite.

Put another way, the media’s “truth” is a good guide to what is abjectly false. Perhaps we can call the lesson of this valuable service, the media’s inadvertent ability to convey truth by disguising it with transparent bias and falsehood, the “Doctrine of Media Untruth.”

Take the strange case of the respective records of liberal New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Florida counterpart Ron DeSantis. Both states have roughly equal populations, with Florida slightly larger by about 2 million. Both have populations that travel daily back and forth between their respective major cities. Both are major international tourist and travel hubs. Both have widely diverse populations.

Both have large numbers of retirees and long-term-care homes. Yet, New York has suffered 14 times the number of coronavirus deaths as has Florida. Florida is now increasingly open, and on May 19 saw 54 deaths attributed to the virus. That same day, New York was completely locked down and yet saw nearly twice that number at 105 deaths.

One would never know from the media of the contrasting fates of the two states during the epidemic.DeSantis is often rendered little more than a reckless leader who exposed Floridians to needless danger. Cuomo, in contrast, increasingly is deified by the media as likely presidential timber who finesses press conferences in the lively fashion of his legendary beloved father, and iconic liberal, Mario Cuomo.

Yet on the principle of media’s commitment to untruth, the public legitimately could deduce from the hagiographic news coverage that the frenetic Cuomo has proven the most incompetent governor in the nation in dealing with the virus. He sent the infected into vulnerable long-term care homes. He neither applied social distancing to, nor cleaned, mass transit. And Cuomo exaggerated his need for some medical supplies, while neglecting shortages in others.

In contrast, the media furor at DeSantis is a good guide to his successes in both mitigating viral fatalities while charting Florida’s path back to economic normality.

Hagiography of the Unfit and Unprofessional

The media assures us that failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is a statuesque heroic figure who is an experienced state politician, a successful polymath, and would be a valuable asset as Joe Biden’s vice-presidential pick, but even better—wink-and-nod—a likely next president.

That new media consensus narrative is best typified by a recent and obsequious promo piece in the Washington Post. So given the media deification and the Doctrine of Media Untruth, we might assume that Abrams never has held statewide office, in incoherent fashion could not concede her legitimate defeat in the last Georgia gubernatorial race, and until recently still had not paid off an enormous credit card, student, and tax debt well over $200,000.

In other words, read the media narrative on Abrams and without knowing much else, one could conclude that she is not a photogenic candidate; she is not gracious in defeat; and she is without much experience of victory. Her baggage and lack of even a statewide constituency would mostly hurt a Biden ticket, which explains why his opponents hope that she is the vice-presidential nominee.

The Doctrine of Media Untruth was a valuable guide during the serial psychodramas to abort Donald Trump’s presidency. When Yale psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee was canonized for tele-diagnosing Donald Trump as unhinged and in need of forced removal under the 25th Amendment, we knew the media glorification signaled she was unprofessional in making such a diagnosis of a patient she never met, and would never dare offer such a long-distance mental assessment of presidential candidate Joe Biden, based on his obvious cognitive impairment, memory lapses, and frequent cul-de-sac patterns of thought.

Trump’s antics simply lured the snails out of their shells and showed the public they were glorified slugs all along.

The more that CNN and MSNBC put ambulance-chasing lawyer Michael Avenatti on the air, and gushed about his tailored suits, his possible presidential gambit, his cocky take-downs of Trump, and his advocacy of supposed female victims of the predatory Brett Kavanaugh, the more we knew he was a fraud, a criminal, and likely a legal predator of his own clients. That he was sent to prison was predictable the more one heard the media gush.

Do we remember that for a while “Bob” Mueller was Washington’s hallowed prosecutor, investigator, or inquisitor par excellence? No wonder he had assembled a “dream team” of “all stars” who, as “hunter-killer” squads of legal eagles, would tear apart Trump’s supposedly doddering third-stringers and send Trump either to jail or into ignominious exile. So, the more that legal eagle narrative saturated the liberal media landscape, the more we knew the opposite was true.

Mueller himself had a spotty history. He was both physically and cognitively unable to run an effective two-year high-intensity investigation. He was the un-Durham—as leaky and hodge-podge as the latter’s probe is quiet and professional. Mueller likely outsourced his tasks to an incestuous group of partisan and progressive lawyers, many of them incompetent, with conflicts of interest and blinded by partisanship.

In the end, Team Mueller’s chief legacy was burning through more than $32 million in federal funds, hiding evidence, rigging a now-withdrawn indictment of Michael Flynn, initially hiding the amorous unprofessionalism of Lisa Page and Peter Strzok—and Mueller himself testifying before Congress that he knew little of anything about the Steele dossier and Fusion GPS, the fonts of his own investigation.

Mythology of the Weak and Pathetic

The country once knew little of Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). But once the media sanctified his role after the 2018 election as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, we knew what lay ahead. No sooner had the Renaissance Schiff assumed the chairmanship of the committee than we were lectured ad nauseam how he was a Harvard Law graduate, with a sly sense of humor, who had he not blessed the country with his stellar political career otherwise might well have been a successful Hollywood screenwriter. He ran his committee with flair and competence lacking under the former chairman, the supposedly plodding dairy farmer Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). In other words, we quickly discovered the truth through the Doctrine of Media Untruth.

Each time Schiff assured the media of “bombshells,” that the “walls were closing in,” or that there were all sorts of new top-secret, classified, rarified information known only to him, which would shortly “prove” Trump “collusion,” we understood that he was a con man and prevaricator who had no proof at all or any such evidence. Whatever report he issued (cf. the “Schiff memo”), would certainly be dishonest and not factual. And, of course, it was.

Empowering of the Deceptive Expertocracy

Nowhere has the Doctrine of Media Untruth been more helpful than in following Trump during the coronavirus epidemic. The media fixated on hydroxychloroquine because Trump said it might be a game-changer and he took it himself as a prophylactic. That ensured that the ubiquitous, long-tested, mostly safe, and cheap anti-malarial, anti-lupus household drug would suddenly be declared useless and deadly.

Would the media ever repent and empirically report that in some cases hydroxychloroquine is considered to be efficacious in treating the early symptoms of the disease by front-line doctors, in line with a series of pre-COVID-19 studies that it could be helpful against SARs-like viruses?

If tomorrow Barack Obama gave a press conference, and should confess that when he travels he takes the drug, given its general safety and scattered reports it might have prophylactic value against COVID-19, we would soon read headlines of a “miracle drug” that is cheap, accessible, and vital to the world’s poor and at-risk.

When readers are told that Trump is an idiot for suggesting that the virus might end up like a bad flu year, that his advocacy for opening up the country is a death sentence, that his travel ban was too late and too porous, and that the economy has been wrecked permanently by his incompetence, then we should assume that the death tolls by autumn might approximate or slightly exceed the flu’s lethality in years like 1957-8 or 1967-8, that states that open up do not have much greater spikes in virus morbidity than do states that do not, that the travel ban saved thousands of lives and would likely not have been issued by most traditional presidents so early, and that the economy likely will begin its ascendance by autumn.

Finally, early on in the COVID-19 crisis, the media consecrated Dr. Anthony Fauci as the godlike man of science, in antithesis to the buffoonish, pre-Enlightenment fool Trump. If Fauci uttered a truism, it reverberated across the media world as gospel—but also as a sly putdown of the oblivious, oafish president. So, under the Doctrine of Media Untruth, the more the Fauci hallowing grew, the more we knew he had feet of clay.

The more Fauci was brilliant, prescient and sibyllic, the more we knew that he came late to the danger, had once declared the virus to be not much of a threat, suggested that hook-ups and cruise trips need not be too much derailed by the virus, declared that opening up locked-down states would be a terrible idea, fueled wild modeling estimates of several hundreds of thousands soon to die from the virus, doubted the efficacy of masks, and warned we should not expect an effective vaccination for years.

In other words, under the Doctrine of Media Untruth, the more Fauci was turned into a god and an anti-Trump avenging angel, the more he was human and not especially any more prescient medically than Trump was politically.

Today, the public knows that if Fauci issues a periodic warning from on high, listeners should contextualize it as a valuable data bit, collate his warning with underappreciated economic realities, consider that it might be seen as a subtle putdown of Trump, and move on—all the more so as the media blares out that Trump ignores the latest brilliant forecast from the Einsteinian viral master.

Trump Draws Them Out

The hatred of Donald Trump explains some, but not all, media bias. During the Obama years, a media cohort came of age assuming that the hip, young, educated, urban classes like itself were in permanent ascendance. It did not need to worry about listening to others, venturing beyond coastal corridors, or questioning whether it was really educated or merely branded with mostly mediocre degrees.

Being in the media was analogous to being issued a union card or belonging to the late Soviet party: one was part of an unthinking herd, mouthing platitudes, and hoping to get by and ahead that way.

When knowledge, wisdom, independent thought, even basic competence were no longer requisites for success, then the media naturally slid into mediocrity, valued youth and looks, rank partisanship, obeisance to conventions and stereotypes, and mastered networking and obsequiousness instead of valuing independence.blob:https://rodolfoscafe.wordpress.com/bc4a7576-32e0-4540-88d3-c58b7d80bd53

Trump’s antics simply lured the snails out of their shells and showed the public they were glorified slugs all along.

The Madness of Progressive Projection

By Victor Davis Hanson | AMERICAN Greatness | Oct. 6, 2019

https://amgreatness.com/2019/10/06/the-madness-of-progressive-projection/

The only Trump “crime” was in his winning an election he was not supposed to win. So after the election, prior illegal acts were redefined as legal, and legal ones as illegal.

Strangest among all the many melodramas of the last two weeks were the blaring headlines that President Trump had dared to talk with the Australian Prime Minister—and referenced the role of foreign governments and in particular Australia in U.S. electoral politics in 2016.

Given the hue and cry of Democrats in the last three years, they should have been delighted that the president was peremptorily warning foreign nations to cease to currying favor with presidential candidates and asking them to hand over what information, if any, they had of past “collusion.” In fact, they were outraged and once again returned to “collusion” charges, as if Trump were subverting the 2020 election.

I Accuse You of Doing What I Did!

Unfortunately, projection is now an encompassing explanation for almost everything the Left alleges. After all, the Australian government’s own connection with U.S. elections is only on the American political radar because in 2016 its former foreign minister, Alexander Downer, who had steered a large Australian donation to the Clinton Foundation, may have colluded with intelligence agencies to entrap George Papadopoulos, a minor and transient Trump campaign employee, to find dirt on the Trump campaign. Bringing up Australia is like the Left leaving a scented trail to its own past miscreant behavior.

Take the Ukraine. It would be hard for any Democrat politico to argue that Ukraine was not involved in 2016 to feed faux-charges of “collusion” to Hillary Clinton—a fact even the liberal press once repeatedly conceded. Ukrainians were only too happy to meet and consult with U.S. intelligence officials when they assumed Hillary Clinton was to be elected, and their yeoman service in frying the sure loser Trump would somehow be appreciated and awarded.

When Joe Biden makes the accusation that Trump was colluding with the new Ukrainian president to reopen investigation of the Biden influence-peddling conglomerate, naturally we knew that Ukraine in general had been leveraged in the past to help the Clinton campaign, and by Biden himself in particular to enrich his own son. Poor contorted Ukraine now backpedals as fast as it can—from trying to help destroy Trump in 2016 to suggesting in 2019 that it regrets having done so. And soon it will hedge its cooperation in 2020—unsure whether the Democrat colluders of 2016 will return to power and it can expect to be punished for renouncing them in 2019.


In surreal fashion, every charge that Biden levels against Trump’s supposed thought crimes amounts to more evidence of his own real wrongdoing in using threats to cut off aid to a foreign nation in exchange for dropping investigation of his wayward son. The latter’s only apparent qualifications for employment are shameless readiness to play on his father’s position.

Projection as a Leftist symptom came to the fore during the Mueller investigation when Mueller’s dream team of progressive attorneys began pressuring a number of minor Trump former campaign officials, and eventually his national security advisor, on trumped up charges—from leaking sensitive documents, to obstruction of justice, to lying to federal officials, to collusion (whatever that non-legal term denotes) with foreign governments and in particular Russia. In each case, Mueller ended up hunting down possible misdemeanors while ignoring likely felonies.

Leaking? By James Comey’s own admissions he had leaked confidential presidential memos he composed for the expressed purpose of later using them as insurance policies against Trump, some of which material was classified as secret.

As far as lying to federal officials, Mueller simply ignored that Andrew McCabe was under federal referrals for lying to investigators about his own strategic leaking of FBI investigatory material. Both McCabe and Comey likely lied to a FISA court by not apprising judges that their prime evidence, the Steele dossier, was not verified, its foreign author severed from FBI contractual employment, and many of its assertions known to be demonstrably untrue.

The Left has accused critics of Biden of indulging in supposition and hearsay and using unnamed sources—despite the fired Ukrainian prosecutor’s insistence that he was dismissed due to Biden’s interference and demands to end the investigation into the likely criminality of Biden’s own son Hunter. Yet, the so-called “whistleblower” complaint admittedly is without any firsthand evidence, and rests entirely on two nothings—second and third-hand information the complainant claims he heard, and sources within the White House for such rumors that remain anonymous, in other words accusers of the president who refuse to identify themselves.


In truth, the “whistleblower” is no such thing. He or she is a disgruntled and partisan intelligence bureaucrat, who violated the whistleblower statutes by first going to Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D.-Calif.) staff on the House Intelligence Committee to get help in translating his narrative into Mueller/Steele dossier legalese, and in strategizing the timing of his accusations. Expect a series of John Brennan-surrogate intelligence agency whistleblowers to follow once it is established that now hearsay is admissible and there is no downside to violating the statutes by first conferring with Adam Schiff’s staff.

Conflict of What?

Conflict of Interest? We are hearing allegations that Attorney General Barr cannot investigate any of the whistleblower’s accusations because he is mentioned as interested in learning from the Ukraine any information available concerning 2016 interference into the U.S. election—this coming at a time when a nondescript, mostly unethical and quite disturbed Hunter Biden parlayed his ignorance about foreign affairs, the oil business, and Ukraine into a lucrative “consultantship,” predicated on the wink and nod reality that his dad, who knew quite well what his heretofore miscreant son had landed upon, was overseeing U.S.-Ukrainian aid.

But conflict of interest is in fact the entire basis of the last three years of endless investigations of the 2016 election and purported Trump “collusion.” Do we remember the contortions taken by Andrew McCabe to ignore the fact that he was “investigating” Hillary Clinton emails, shortly after Clinton-related funds were given to his own wife, a candidate for the state legislature in Virginia?

A blatant conflict of interest was the intertwine of Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, two of Mueller’s investigators and previously at the nexus of investigating almost every alleged wrongdoing of Trump. Neither disclosed that they were conducting FBI business as supposed independent investigators while conducting an affair.

Neither disclosed that they were investigating supposed Trump crimes while communicating daily their disgust for Trump, their disdain for his supporters, and their boasts about stopping the Trump candidacy and later his presidency. Neither disclosed why and when they were fired from the Mueller team, perhaps in deference to Robert Mueller’s unethical gambit of staggering their departures, claiming each was merely “reassigned,” and not disclosing their absences until weeks after they left.

Their conflicts of interest turned to farce when we learned that the two helped reclassify their former boss James Comey’s secret memos of presidential conversations as non-felonious “confidential”—a sort of replay of Strzok’s earlier rewording of the Comey assessment of the Clinton email scandal to ensure she would not be charged with a felony.

The locus classicus of conflict of interest was the Loretta Lynch/James Comey investigation of candidate Hillary Clinton. Comey has admitted he handled the Clinton examination in expectation she would win the presidency (and thus become his new boss). Lynch has confessed (but only after being caught by the media) that she met secretly with Bill Clinton at a time when the Justice Department was supposedly investigating his wife. We are asked to believe that their respective private jets actually bumped into each other on the Phoenix tarmac (someone should count the nation’s average daily landings of private jets and compute the possibility of such a happenstance meeting) and that they suddenly decided to have a chat about their grandchildren and other mutual family gossip.

The Collusion Boomerang

Collusion? Mueller found no proof that Trump colluded with Russian officials. But to come to such a conclusion, by needs he had to ignore all the evidence leading to an open and shut case, that Hillary Clinton used three firewalls—the Democratic National Committee, the Perkins Coie legal firm, and Fusion GPS opposition research team—to hide her payments to British national Christopher Steele, an admitted Trump-hater, who hired Russian fabricators to find dirt on Trump, and then created a mostly mythical “dossier” on Clinton’s opponent.

In turn, the dossier was seeded among fellow traveler Trump haters in the DOJ, FBI, DNI, and CIA like Bruce Ohr, John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, and Andrew McCabe. These partisan allies of the Democrats working in government made sure that it was leaked to the media before the 2016 election.

Obstruction? Trump was not referred for wrongdoing on obstruction, because even the partisan Mueller team believed that they could never indict him after his tenure was over, given the paucity of actionable evidence. After all, it is hard to obstruct justice if a crime did not take place. But given that a FISA court was deluded, classified documents leaked, government officials caught lying, and foreign governments found to have compiled dirt on a presidential candidate, and no one yet has been charged—the question arises, “Why?”

Who made the decision to quash the investigation of Hillary Clinton after she destroyed over 30,000 emails under subpoena? Who excused Obama officials after they knowingly misled federal FISA court justices? Who leaked information about a surveilled phone call between Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador? Who decided that it was acceptable for Samantha Power to request over 260 times the unmasking of names of American citizens swept up in government surveillance, many of which were illegally leaked to the press and most of which Power denied requesting and alleged others had used her name to do so? Somewhere, somehow there was a great deal of obstruction and distortion of justice that so far has prevented the pursuit of these criminal acts.

Destruction of evidence? House Democrats are demanding that the supposed transcript of the Trump phone call to the Ukrainian president be kept safe, as if it might “disappear.” This in the aftermath of revelations that Hillary Clinton bleach-bitted over 30,000 of her emails under subpoena, and had her mobile devices crushed. This in the aftermath of the Mueller teams and FBI sheepishly conceding that hundreds of text messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok simply “disappeared.” This in the aftermath of the hard drives of the supposed hacked DNC computer never being turned over to the FBI but instead to the Ukrainian connected Crowdstrike, and whose current whereabouts are not really known to this day.

Recently David Gergen warned that if the “whistleblower” were injured, it would be Trump’s fault. I am assuming Gergen knows that three presidential candidates have boasted of their desires to beat up the president or see him disappear for good in an elevator. Rhetorically killing the president is a favorite pastime of Hollywood celebrities. Does Gergen remember the fate of Rep. Steve Scalise (R.-La.) and the attempted take-out of the many Republican congressional leadership by an unhinged Bernie Sanders zealot? Or the threats issued by Rep. Maxine Waters (D.-Calif.) to hound and harass Trump officials throughout their daily routines?

The Nature of Projection

A cynic might conclude that the last past wasted three years were really not about Trump at all. He was entirely irrelevant, and was referenced largely as a means to preempt investigation of massive Obama-era illegality in 2016, which centered on warping the law to destroy his supposed widely detestable and dangerous campaign that threatened Democratic control of the government. As a result, in almost every instance of alleged Trump wrongdoing the accusers only bring attention to themselves and their own actual wrongdoing.

What is behind this strange collective psychological condition of projecting one’s own guilt on to another? In part, out of embarrassment that Hillary Clinton blew an election despite having the edge in money, the media, and the popular culture, Trump was recalibrated as a cheater. Otherwise it was impossible to accept that the Manhattan wheeler-dealer had outsmarted, out-campaigned, and out-hustled the progressives’ best and brightest—and worse yet might have every intention of keeping his campaign promises to undo the entire Obama agenda.

For tens of thousands of government careerists, by and large political partisans of the Democrats, using any means necessary was justified by the supposedly noble ends of ending the coarse Trump. Groupthink ensued that led to mass hysteria, as the fantasies needed to invoke the 25th Amendment, the Logan Act, and the emoluments clause, meant that their own “collusion” and “obstruction” simply no longer mattered. One would have thought Trump got caught on a hot mic offering a quid pro quo to Vladimir Putin or monitoring the communications of Associated Press reporters.

Instead the zeal and loudness with which one advanced Trump collusion narratives brought both careerist and psychological rewards. The old scandals like Uranium One, the shenanigans around the Iran Deal, the hot mic Obama quid pro quos, and the Hillary email fix were shrugged off, as proof of progressive zeal put to a good cause. To raise the question of  unequal application of the law is now dismissed as “whataboutism.”

In sum, had Trump just lost the election, the illegal use of the intelligence agencies by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s administration would have been an insider topic of pride. A now defeated and humiliated Trump would never have been charged with collusion and obstruction during the 2016 campaign. Instead, he would be written off a naïf who never understood leftwing warnings analogous to Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D.-N.Y.) later admonition, that Trump was being “really dumb,” given that, “You take on the Intelligence Community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.” Or Samantha Power’s postelection smirk, “Not a good idea to piss off John Brennan.”

The only Trump “crime” was in his winning an election he was not supposed to win, which then “pissed” off the wrong people and of course amounted to acting “dumb” with the intelligence agencies. So after the election, prior illegal acts were redefined as legal, and legal ones as illegal.

https://amgreatness.com/author/victor-davis-hanson/

Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is an American military historian, columnist, former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He was a professor of classics at California…

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The Fright of James Comey

By Victor Davis Hanson| May 5th, 2019

In a recent op-ed, fired FBI Director James Comey was back again preaching to the nation about the dangers of Donald Trump and his capacity to corrupt any top-ranking federal official of lower character than Comey’s own.

Comey seems to have become utterly unhinged by Donald Trump, especially when the president, in his thick Queens accent, scoffs in the vernacular—quite accurately, given the transgressions of the FBI hierarchy—about “crooked cops.” What an affront to Comey’s complexity, his subtlety, his sophistication, his feigned Hamlet-like self-doubt—at least as now expressed in his latest incarnation as Twitter’s Kahlil Gibran.

One can say a number of things about the timing of Comey’s latest sermon and his characteristic projection of his own sins on to others.

First, Comey’s unprofessionalism was home-grown and certainly did not need any help from President Trump. His schizophrenic behavior both as a prosecutor and investigator in the Hillary Clinton email matter was marked by exempting Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin from indictment, despite their lying to his own federal officials about their knowledge of a private Clinton email server. Comey wrote his summation of the Clinton email investigation before he had even interviewed the former secretary of state. He was hardly independent from a recused Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the Clinton email investigation. As her rubbery courier he bent to her directives on all key decisions that led to de facto exoneration of likely next president Hillary Clinton.

Second, Attorney General William Barr is soon to receive a number of criminal referrals from Congress, inspectors general, and perhaps other prosecutors. He won’t allow collusion hysteria to cause him to recuse himself in the manner in which Jeff Sessions sidelined himself and elevated Rod Rosenstein.

In anticipation of that bleak reality, Comey seems to be prepping his own defense by a transparent preemptive attack on the very official who may soon calibrate Comey’s own legal exposure. Comey should at least offer a disclaimer that the federal prosecutor he is now attacking may soon be adjudicating his own future—if for no other reason than to prevent a naïf from assuming that Comey’s gambit of attacking Barr is deliberately designed to suggest later on that prosecutor Barr harbored a prejudicial dislike of likely defendant Comey.

How ironic that Comey who used to lecture the nation on “obstruction” and the impropriety of Trump’s editorializing about the Mueller prosecutorial team, is now attacking—or perhaps “obstructing”—the Attorney General before he has even issued a single indictment.

Three, Comey somehow remains seriously delusional about the abyss between his sermonizing and his own unethical and likely illegal behavior.

Remember, James Comey assured the nation that the Steele dossier, contra the testimony of his subordinate Andrew McCabe (already facing criminal referrals) was not the chief evidence presented to a FISA court. That is likely untrue. And if it is not, Comey’s other evidence he presented is likely to be just as compromised.

Comey also misled a FISA judge by not admitting 1) that his submitted dossier evidence was compiled by a contractor paid by Hillary Clinton; 2) that ex-British spy Christopher Steele’s work was unverified; 3) that Steele’s relationship with Comey’s FBI has already been severed due to Steele’s unprofessional behavior; and 4) that submitted news accounts of “collusion” were in circular fashion based on the dossier itself. Had Comey’s behavior ever become standard procedure in FISA applications, there could be no longer a FISA court.

Comey also misled about his meetings with President Trump, as memorialized in his now infamous memos. He briefed the president on the Steele dossier—without telling Trump that it had been paid for by Hillary Clinton.

Comey likely also lied in telling Trump he wanted to brief him on the dossier in worries that the press might otherwise report on it first. In fact, his meeting with Trump by design was the necessary imprimatur the press had been waiting for to leak information from the dossier, which shortly followed.

Comey likely misled the president into thinking both that he was not under investigation by the FBI and that the FBI hierarchy did not leak confidential information to the press. In fact, neither assertion was true; both his deputy Andrew McCabe and Comey himself were chronic leakers. Comey swore under oath that he had never authorized anyone in the FBI to leak to the press, while his deputy McCabe swore in contrast that Comey was well aware that his subordinates were talking freely with the press in order to leak information selectively.

When he was no longer a U.S. government employee, Comey illegally took personal possession of at least seven confidential memos of presidential conversations, written on FBI time and equipment and thus still government property. He leaked at least three memos that were likely classified, apparently to seed his narratives to the media and to prompt the appointment of a special prosecutor as payback for his own firing.

That trick worked out well, since his friend Robert Mueller was soon appointed special counsel amid the general Russian “collusion” hysteria that Comey himself had long ago helped ignite. If any lower echelon employee had leaked in a similar manner to Comey, he would face an array of felony indictments.

Comey, remember, on more than 240 occasions reportedly claimed under oath he could not remember or did not know the answers to questions from Congressional inquirers. If a private citizen tried that with the IRS, he world likely face perjury charges.

Comey has never adequately explained his role in inserting FBI informants into a presidential campaign, and the degree to which his decision might have been taken in conjunction with other intelligence agencies or with the knowledge of the then-attorney general or President Obama. The New York Times of all publications is apparently investigating the use of FBI informants to sandbag the Trump campaign—during Comey’s directorship. To my knowledge, no previous FBI director—perhaps not even J. Edgar Hoover—had unilaterally placed FBI informants into a presidential campaign during the general election.

One way of looking at John Brennan’s and James Clapper’s nonstop cable news announcements of Trump’s “treason,” the Comey-McCabe whirlwind book tours and television confessionals, the Adam Schiff furrowed-brow predictions of huge bombshells soon to go off, and the general progressive media hysteria over the last two years or so is to appreciate a transparent effort at preemptive defense.

That is, Russian “collusion” and its bastard child “obstruction,” sought to divert attention from massive Obama Administration efforts at the CIA, FBI, Justice Department, and National Security Council to use the powers of government to first ensure that Trump was not elected and then, failing that, to distort and ruin his transition and presidency.

The effort initially was so easily green-lighted, because none of these Washington fixtures had any idea of the nature of the “smelly” Walmart folks or the supposedly toothless sorts who live apart from the two coasts, and thus they bet on the wrong horse—convinced that Hillary Clinton was a sure landslide winner, and their own skullduggery would be rewarded as loyalty in extremis by someone who trumped them all in skullduggery.

When Clinton crashed and burned, phase two of the now “resistance” was comprehensive stonewalling. The culpable adopted a preventative defense by accusing the very victim of their prior assault of being a disloyal, unpatriotic victimizer of American institutions—no doubt in their mind leading to Trump’s emasculation or impeachment and thus their own exoneration.

For a while, they got away with all that and more as Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) was for a time sandbagged off the investigation of Russian collusion at the House Intelligence Committee, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, as his conflicted deputy Rod Rosenstein took over the investigation and may have trafficked in Andrew McCabe’s melodramatic but ultimately ridiculous coup efforts—and as the media, in insult to injury fashion, put on television many of the very principals who had acted so unethically and illegally to contextualize and analyze their own crimes.

The only remaining mystery of this entire sordid mess is how the rotten onion will be peeled away. When indictments come down, will the likes of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson or James Baker or Bruce and Nellie Ohr be leveraged to inform on the likes of the Brennan, Clapper, Comey, and McCabe high stratum—that in turn will provide clarity about still higher officials to learn what Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Loretta Lynch, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and Sally Yates knew and when they knew it?

In the meantime, expect James Comey to continue his frenetic pace on TV, radio, and in op-eds attacking William Barr and Donald Trump in deathly fear that his illegal behavior may finally have a legal accounting.

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All the progressive plotters

by Victor Davis Hanson, American Greatness- April 7, 2019

When that did not work…

Right after the 2016 election, Green Party candidate Jill Stein—cheered on by Hillary Clinton dead-enders—sued in three states to recount votes and thereby overturn Donald Trump’s victory in the Electoral College. Before the quixotic effort imploded, Stein was praised as an iconic progressive social justice warrior who might stop the hated Trump from even entering the White House.

When that did not work, B-list Hollywood celebrities mobilized, with television and radio commercials, to shame electors in Trump-won states into not voting for the president-elect during the official Electoral College balloting in December 2016. Their idea was that select morally superior electors should reject their constitutional directives and throw the election into the House of Representatives where even more morally superior NeverTrump Republicans might join with even much more morally superior Democrats to find the perfect morally superior NeverTrump alternative.

When that did not work, more than 60 Democratic House members voted to bring up Trump’s impeachment for vote. Trump had only been in office a few weeks. Then San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer toured the country and lavished millions on advertisements demanding Trump’s removal by impeachment—and was sorely disappointed when he discovered that billion-dollar-fueled virtue-signaling proved utterly bankrupt virtue-signaling.

When that did not work, celebrities and politicians hit social media and the airwaves to so demonize Trump that culturally it would become taboo even to voice prior support for the elected president. Their chief tool was a strange new sort of presidential assassination chic, as Madonna, David Crosby, Robert de Niro, Johnny Depp, Snoop Dogg, Peter Fonda, Kathy Griffin, and a host of others linguistically vied with one another in finding the most appropriately violent end of Trump—blowing him up, burning him up, beating him up, shooting him up, caging him up, or decapitating him. Apparently, the aim—aside from careerist chest-thumping among the entertainment elite—was to lower the bar of Trump disparagement and insidiously delegitimize his presidency.

When that did not work, during the president’s first year in office, the Democrats and the media at various times sought to invoke the 25th Amendment, claiming Trump was so mentally or physically impaired that he was not able to carry out the duties of president. At one point, congressional Democrats called Yale University psychiatrist Dr. Bandy X. Lee to testify that Trump was unfit to continue. In fact, to prove her credentials, Lee edited The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump that offered arguments from 27 psychiatrists and other mental health experts. In May 2017, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein met secretly in efforts to poll Trump cabinet members to discover whether they could find a majority to remove Trump from office—again on grounds that he was mentally unbalanced. According to McCabe, Rosenstein offered to wear a wire, in some sort of bizarre comic coup attempt to catch Trump off-guard in a confidential conversation.

When that did not work, 200 congressional Democrats in late 2018 sued in federal court to remove President Trump, claiming he had violated the esoteric Emoluments Clause of the Constitution that forbids federal officials from taking gifts, jobs, and titles from foreign governments. They alleged Trump’s presidency has enhanced his overseas real estate holdings and interests. Yet, according to some sources, the various Trump companies have lost some $1 billion in value after he took office—to the delight of the same critics who swore he has profited enormously as president.

When that did not work, the ongoing “Resistance” both covertly and overtly sought ways to retard or destroy the Trump presidency—often by leaking presidential memos, conversations, and phone calls. An anonymous op-ed published in the New York Times on September 15, 2018 boasted of a plan of resistance to his governance and initiatives from those in the administrative state from inside the Trump Administration, most of them allegedly establishment Republicans.

When that did not work, progressive heartthrob lawyer and now indicted Michael Avenatti reintroduced pornographic film star Stormy Daniels to the public. He claimed that Daniels had somehow been tricked into signing a supposedly improper and now invalid non-disclosure agreement not to talk about an alleged sexual encounter of a decade earlier with private citizen Trump in an exchange for a payment of $135,000.

Allegedly, Trump’s acquiescence to Daniels’ veritable blackmail demands had now impaired her own opportunities of further profiting to a far greater degree from the past alleged tryst with a now President Trump. Until his recent indictment for a number of felonies, Avenatti himself had translated his work with Daniels into media celebrity-hood, appearing over 100 times on cable news shows to damn Trump, predict his impeachment, and prep his promised 2020 presidential run against Trump.

When that did not work, federal law enforcement officials stormed the offices of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, in search of incriminating materials. Cohen quickly was leveraged by federal attorneys, flipped, and offered anti-Trump testimonies and documents in exchange for leniency. He produced stealth tapes of private conversations with his own client Trump—and shortly afterward was disbarred by the New York State Supreme Court for pleading guilty to a series of felonies.

When that did not work, Russian collusion hysteria continued to sweep the country. The moribund phony Steele dossier (that had failed to derail the Trump campaign and transition) was reignited by the media and progressive politicos after the firing of FBI director James Comey, leading to the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the emergence of Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein.

Rosenstein then appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel—in a series of events prompted by none other than fired James Comey, who admitted that he illegally leaked confidential, if not some classified, presidential memos to create the conditions necessary for such a special appointment. Mueller’s subsequent media darling attorneys—praised as the “dream team,” “all-stars,” “army,” “untouchables,” and “hunter-killer team”—of mostly Democratic partisans, some Clinton donors, and a few who had defended either the Clinton Foundation or Clinton aides then spent 22 months, and between $30-40 million trying to build a case. In the end, they leveraged mostly minor Trump satellites on process crimes, misleading testimonies, or past business deals in hopes of finding collusionary guilt. Leaking was a Mueller team trademark as each week the collusionary media announced another “bombshell” or “noose tightening” around the neck of Donald Trump—or mysteriously showed up at the home of the next Mueller victim, to wait for the arrival of SWAT teams to swoop into make an arrest.

When that did not work, congressional committees and the left-wing mob next went after William Barr, Trump’s “hand-picked” attorney general (are not all AGs “hand-picked” by the president?). Barr’s crime was that he had followed the law to the letter. And so Barr spent a few days after the arrival of the exonerating Mueller collusion report to ensure first, before releasing it to the public, that it did not endanger national security or besmirch the reputations of innocent named individuals. If in a blink, “collusion” had died, soon in its death throes it birthed “obstruction”—as if Trump’s objections to vast resources wasted on chasing an imaginary non-crime of collusion was obstruction

When that did not work, congressional committees mobilized to sue and force Trump to release at least six years of his private income tax records, elements of which already in bits and pieces had been leaked.

Are such efforts in the future to be institutionalized?

Will the Left nod and keep still, if Republicans attempt to remove an elected Democratic President before his tenure is up? Are appeals to impeachment, the 25th Amendment, the Emoluments Clause, the Logan Act, and a Special Counsel the now normal cargo of political opposition to any future elected president?

Is it now permissible in 2020 for Trump’s FBI director to insert an informant into the campaign of the Democratic presidential nominee? If Joe Biden is the 2020 nominee, will the Trump Justice Department seek FISA warrants to monitor the communications of Biden’s campaign team—in worries that Biden son’s business practices in the Ukraine had earlier compromised Biden who had intervened on his behalf by threatening to cut off aid to Ukraine? Will they investigate Biden’s propensity to hug and kiss under-aged girls? Will Trump’s CIA director contact foreign nationals to aid in spying on Biden’s aides? Will National Security Advisor John Bolton request that the names of surveilled Biden campaign officials become unmasked as a way of having them leaked to the media? Will Trump hire a British ex-spy to gather together rumors and gossip about Biden’s previous overseas trips and foreign contacts, especially in the Ukraine, and then see them seeded among the Trump CIA, FBI, Justice Department, and State Department? Is that the sort of country we have now?

America over the last half century had been nursed on the dogma that the Left was the guarantor of civil liberties. That was the old message of the battles supposedly waged on our behalf by the ACLU, the free-speech areas on campuses, and the Earl Warren Court.

Not now. The left believes that almost any means necessary, extra-legal and anti-constitutional or not, are justified to achieve their noble ends. Progressive luminaries at CNN and the New York Times have lectured us that reporters need not be disinterested any more in the age of Trump—or that it might be a crime to shout “lock her up” at a Trump rally. Will those standards apply to coverage of future Democratic presidents?

No reporter seems to care that Hillary Clinton hired a foreign national to work with other foreign nationals to sabotage, first, her opponent’s campaign, then his transition and his presidency, along with the wink and nod help from key Obama officials at the Department of Justice, State Department, National Security Council, FBI and CIA.

The final irony? If the CIA, FBI, and DOJ have gone the banana republic way of Lois Lerner’s IRS and shredded the Constitution, they still failed to remove Donald Trump.

Trump still stands. In Nietzschean fashion what did not kill him apparently only made him stronger.

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The Case for Trump

“I think Trump maybe one of those figures in history who appears from time to time to mark the end of an era and to force it to give up its old pretense”; July 2018, Henry Kissinger.

Backwater

Voters in 2016 preferred an authentic bad boy of the private sector to the public’s disingenuous good girl.

The republicans also had heir own sort of unpopular dogmas in addition to uninspiring national candidates:

a) Fair trade was seen as less important than free trade

b) Illegal immigration was largely ignored to ensure inexpensive unskilled labor for business.

c) Constant overseas interventions were seen as the necessary wages of global leadership.

d) Huge annual budget deficits were ignored.

Besides, the culture of the two coasts mattered more than what was in between’