Corruption is a serious issue that concerns the Peoples of all nations. Because modern governments exist solely to serve their Peoples, versus non-modern governments that exist solely to address the interests of the ruling class and impose order onto the territory’s population, any misuse of an official’s influence to further the personal interests of public officials and their affiliates, or special interests, at the expense of the “public good” is a form of corruption. Nations, such as Brazil and Russia, face an infestation of systematic corruption; whereas, the US and others struggle to beat back the weeds of corruption before they completely strangle government.
Acts of corruption range from near benign to detrimental, but one of the most insidious methods for implementing systemic corruption is to install sympathetic officials to key posts, change policies, and change laws in order to legitimately engage in acts of corruptions as though they are legitimate decrees from the ruling parties. Whether public policy change is an act of corruption or not can, and should, be debated. In the US, there is a healthy sensitivity to potential abuses of power that compels Americans to strongly react to questionable events. The firing of FBI Director James Comey is one story that has triggered this reflex.
Like President Donald Trump, most Americans tend to react based on their intuition. They often reach conclusions before all the facts are known and the counter arguments have been considered. They also tend to embrace facts that support their intuitively derived conclusions. As such, how a story is framed and presented greatly determines how strongly Americans will embrace the official version of events, thus placing an enormous burden of proof on those with dissenting views and evident, or question the official story, thus placing an enormous burden of proof on those defending the official position and established truth.
Donald Trump, for example, has championed the cause of the so-called birther movement, which questioned whether President Barack Obama was born in the United States and, thus, eligible to become President. Not even the usual step of releasing the “Long Form” of Obama’s birth certificate was enough to satisfy members of the birther movement. The mishandling of FBI Director James Comey’s firing has resulted in a similar response. Trump, for his part, went so far as to attempt to defuse the underlying “Russia issue” by claiming he has a certified later that proves he has no connections to Russia Like the birther issue, no amount of circumstantial or definitive evidence will exonerate the Trump Administration alone.
Furthermore, people are legitimately concerned that Comey was fired in order to derail an FBI probe investigating whether or not the Russian government attempted to interfere in the 2016 Election. The Trump Administration tried to justify the firing by claiming it was based on Comey’s mishandling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. It has since been revealed that the President had planned to remove Comey regardless of Rosenstein’s recommendations for personal reasons that appear to center on Comey’s public profile and his reluctance to swear personal allegiance to the President.
If Comey was fired to protect the President, or his associates, from investigation, the firing of the FBI Director was an act of corruption. If Comey was fired to hinder the investigation into Russia’s potential meddling in the 2016 Presidential Election, it was an act of corruption. On the other hand, the President does have the legitimate authority to dismiss an official from the Executive Branch simply because the official has fallen out of favor with the President. In trying to justify the firing of Comey, however, the Trump Administration, at the very least, utilized a politically-motivated, disingenuous argument that attempted to defuse potential backlash from the firing, which actually generated greater interest than simply firing Comey would have.
That said, the simple fact is that Donald Trump is notorious for his inability to effectively communicate his thoughts and engage in political spin. It was, in large part, his unpolished speech and lack of “statecraft” that helped him gain popularity in the GOP. It is, therefore, highly probably that he simply blundered this attempt to at PR. Even if Trump had simply fired Comey, because he was upset with him, the mishandling of the announcement has cemented the image of the President as politically dishonest. For those who saw Trump as someone more honest than the politicians in Washington, this example does a great deal to undermine trust in him. Rebuilding trust is a difficult process that will require Mr. Trump to be more transparent, responsive, and straightforward while it will take time.
In regards to the Russian probe, Trump has, at least, publicly offered his support. Because loyalty is a prime qualification in the Trump Administration, he and his staff must understand the Russian probe is not just about Donald Trump. For the politically-motivated, it is. Russia’s attempt to influence the US election may or may not have influenced the outcome of the election, but it does matter that the Russia government tried to influence the US political system. It matters when any foreign government tries to interfere in America’s democracy. It is an issue that has garnered the attention of the American People, because it happened in the US, but Russia and other have done the same things to the Peoples of the other nations, which is also why the US has to confront this issue.
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