Reporting, Reproach, and Our Republic

According to The Wall Street Journal of September 18, 2021, on September 17, 2021 attorney Michael Sussman was indicted by Special Counsel John Durham for lying to the FBI regarding Donald Trump’s association with Russians. Specifically, Sussman (allegedly) lied about the Russian-based Alfa Bank and the Trump Administration. Mr. Sussman was an attorney for the law firm Perkins Coie and was working for the Clinton Campaign  when he presented then FBI general counsel James Baker documents purporting to show “secret internet communications between the Trump Organization and the Russian-based Alfa bank” on September 19, 2016.

The indictment reads that Sussman represented himself to the FBI General Counsel as a “good citizen” and was not working “for any client” and not an advocate for a candidate. It turns out that he was lying to the FBI, something that is taken quite seriously by our federal government. Just ask Martha Stewart about lying to the FBI. The first question should be: How competent is an FBI who can be fooled by someone (even a lawyer, who are universally generalized as being adroit liars) who misleads them about their employer. I’m pretty sure that having access to tax records and financial transfers (of which it seems that the federal government can review) might reveal that someone is getting money transfers from a firm associated with a political campaign. I guess that the IRS is too busy examining citizens with more than six-hundred dollars in their bank account than to verify the income of wealthy and powerful liars.    

Now, after losing an election where this immeasurable damage has been done, it turns out that it was all a lie…
This entire incident is a conspiracy theorist’s dream.

Of course, this disparaging information was “leaked” to a media that was drooling for any report of this kind, even if only from an unreliable source and incapable of verification. So the Trump Administration fought for years over an unreliable and unverified rumor which was constantly and insistently claimed as a fact.

Now, after losing an election where this immeasurable damage has been done, it turns out that it was all a lie. After the damage has been done the federal charges are brought with timing that couldn’t have been worse. While the media reported that the Trump Administration was “being investigated” for collusion with Russians, which was technically true, the source of the investigation was a total fabrication. Exoneration of the Trump Administration at this time is largely irrelevant. The damage has been done.

This entire incident is a conspiracy theorist’s dream. It seems that the mainstream media will consider unverified information as fact, especially if those unverified facts support their position.  While I frequently chide myself for attacking the rich, powerful elites of the United States, time and again they justify my censure. There are citizens of this country who put their own agendas (read wealth) above the principles of our republic, specifically, democracy, one of our founding and most precious principles. While free speech might be an unchallengeable principle, deliberate lies used to undermine our democracy are in a different class altogether. Free speech for one’s own personal gain is one thing; lying to undermine our democracy is quite another.

Perhaps I missed the profuse apologies and bitter condemnation of Sussman that the mainstream media undertook, or perhaps all I detect is a deafening silence.

Jeffrey Neil Jackson

Jeffrey Neil Jackson is an
Educator & Literary Mercenary

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