Strassel: It's 'Resistance' Media and Dems Causing Long-Term Damage to America, Not Trump
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Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel argues in her newly released book that far-left Democrats and their “resistance” media supporters, and not President Donald Trump, are doing long-term damage to the United States.
“I think if you step back and you look at the last three years calmly and objectively, which admittedly seems beyond most people’s ability to do anymore, but if you step back and you do that, yes President Trump is norm-breaking in certain ways, none of us can deny that,” Strassel said in an interview with The Western Journal.
The author of “Resistance (At All Costs): How Trump Haters Are Breaking America” pointed to the president’s rhetoric, tweets and demeanor at times as examples of how his critics claim he is somehow undermining democracy.
“But if you look at the actual institutions that his administration oversees, it’s very difficult to come up with examples of lawbreaking or anything,” said Strassel, who was at the forefront of reporting on the pitfalls of the Trump-Russia collusion narrative throughout special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board member contended while Trump’s style is having no long-term negative impact on the country’s institutions, the resistance’s conduct is.
“For instance, it’s not on Trump that the public belief in the integrity of the FBI and the [Department of Justice] has fallen so precipitously,” Strassel said.
“That’s because of Jim Comey and Andy McCabe and their band of FBI leadership that broke a lot of rules along the way in doing a counterintelligence investigation into a presidential campaign,” she said.
The veteran journalist aimed some of her sharpest fire at the former FBI director.
“I think what did happen is that Jim Comey came down with the first undiagnosed case of Trump Derangement Syndrome,” Strassel said.
“This is a guy who thought the rules didn’t apply, and he didn’t like Trump, and that is a terrible combination to have in a person that has as much authority as the FBI director,” she said.
In a chapter titled “J. Edgar Comey,” Strassel cited a February 2018 poll showing only 39 percent of Republicans felt the FBI could be trusted “most of the time” or “just about always.”
The number for independents was not much better at 45 percent.
Additionally, 54 percent of Republicans felt the FBI was biased against Trump and his agenda.
Strassel believes the actions Comey took after Trump was elected were designed to try to justify the then-director’s and FBI’s questionable conduct during the campaign.
“[Comey] knew that probably a lot of the country was going to be astonished when it came out that he had launched a counterintelligence investigation,” she said. “So what’s the best way to sort of justify that? Make it look like it was a reasonable thing to do.
“You know, launch the dossier on the public. Get the Russian collusion narrative out there and get a special counsel [appointed] to make it look as though it’s a legitimate and serious thing.”
Getting then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself in March 2016 created a power vacuum that allowed Comey and the FBI to continue doing their thing, Strassel said, and it “worked brilliantly.”
Trump’s appointment of William Barr as attorney general in February finally brought the Russia investigation to a close, the reporter said.
“Bill Barr’s a known quantity in Washington, and he’s known as somebody that doesn’t play games,” Strassel said. “So I would wager that Bob Mueller said, ‘Alright our time is done. We need to wrap this up.’”
Mueller worked as a federal prosecutor under Barr in the early 1990s when the latter was serving his first stint as attorney general during the administration of George H.W. Bush.
In 1991, Barr was confirmed in a bipartisan voice vote to the position. Current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time, predicted Barr would be “a fine attorney general,” The New York Times reported.
In addition to the malfeasance at the FBI and DOJ, Strassel highlighted other examples of the resistance damaging American institutions, such as the Senate confirmation process for Supreme Court justices in light of how Trump nominee Brett Kavanaugh was treated.
The current impeachment inquiry into Trump is another example of the Democrats going against past norms, including not having a full vote of the House to authorize it in the first place.
“If you look at impeachment, for instance, we are watering down the entire concept, which is supposed to be one of the most serious and sober tools in the Constitution,” Strassel said.
“These days Democrats throw that word around as much as they do the word ‘motion’ or ‘hearing’ of anything else they’re supposed to do in the general course of their work,” she said.
“These are real standards that are being degraded. And that is going to be with us for a lot longer than any amount of time that Donald Trump is in office.”
Near the end of her book, the author turns her attention to her own profession, the media.
“The Washington press corps is almost uniformly part of the Resistance; it hates Trump, no longer bothers to hide it, and works every day to undermine the administration. That’s clear,” she writes.
Strassel contends that many political journalists have taken on the opposite role of what they should play during the Trump years, allowing themselves to be used as tools of resistance bureaucrats rather than purveyors of the truth.
“It’s hard to explain just how big a dereliction of duty this is,” she writes. “Reporters learn on day one that government officials exist to spin and lie, and they do it with impunity.
“And the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation fell, so clearly into the government-abuse-of-power stories that the press usually exists to expose — spying on a presidential campaign, wiretapping U.S. citizens.
“That story also came laden with facts that the press would normally view as glaring red flags — opposition research from the rival campaign, backdoor channels at the DOJ. And yet anything the people in power told it to write, the press wrote.”
Strassel offers multiple instances in her book of this conduct, including a December 2017 piece in The Times titled “How the Russia Inquiry Began: A Campaign Aide, Drinks and Talk of Political Dirt.”
The story was about Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos’s meeting with Australian diplomat Alexander Downer in London in May 2016.
According to the news outlet, Papadopoulos allegedly drank too much and told Downer that Russia had dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The Times cited only anonymous “American and foreign officials” as the sources for the story, saying they had “direct knowledge” of the meeting with the Australian.
Strassel argued this story was an attempt to obfuscate the true basis of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation: the Steele dossier. That document was pure opposition research commissioned and paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
Papadopoulos told The Western Journal this past summer that he believes The Times story about him was part of a “disinformation campaign” perpetrated by the “deep state.”
The former campaign adviser recounted that he only had one drink during his short meeting with Downer (which the Aussie requested) and his colleague, Erika Thompson.
Contrary to The Times story, Papadopoulos said he strongly rebuffed the two when they suggested Trump’s team was working in coordination with Russia.
Mueller’s team, in fact, found no evidence that Papadopoulos or any other Trump campaign member colluded with Russians, and he did not charge the former adviser with anything related to it.
Strassel told The Western Journal the establishment media has destroyed its reputation with stories like The Times’ Papadopoulos hit piece.
“How does the industry ever gain trust back?” she asked.
Overall, Strassel said she hopes what readers take away from her book is the understanding that “the battle we are having right now goes far beyond the current occupant of the White House.”
One day, Trump will leave 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., taking whatever people like or don’t like about him when he goes.
However, the resistance has run roughshod over some of America’s most sacred institutions, and it is unclear when or if the country will recover from the damage done.
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