Friday, February 17, 2017

Facts and truth are at issue, not leaks

President Trump and his defenders, clobbered by news reports showing dishonesty and infighting in the White House and the firing of the president's national security advisor, are attempting to change the subject. To hear Trump tell it, the secret (and lied about) conversations between Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador, as well as other contacts between the Russians and the Trump campaign and transition teams, are nothing. What's important, Trump claims, is the fact that the actions he and his minions have been trying to cover up were leaked to the press and broadcast to the public.

What could be worse than a fully informed electorate? 

In a rambling press conference Thursday, Trump attacked the news media with his usual accusations of dishonesty and "fake" news. Nowhere did Trump explain or excuse the contacts with the Russians.

Trump defenders have claimed that Flynn's discussions with the Russian ambassador were not only legal but routine. If that's the case, why did Flynn find it necessary to lie to the vice president about his conversation? After Flynn was fired, the New York Times reported the discovery of frequent contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. Trump has branded those reports as "fake news" but has not addressed the issues involved.

Many Americans, and especially elected officials and foreign policy specialists, are uncomfortable with the Trump administration's cozying up to Vladimir Putin's Russia. To have Russian contacts shrouded in secrecy and lied about only raises the level of discomfort.

Soon enough, Trump will find that he can rant all he wants about the "dishonest media" and "fake news," but, as Ronald Reagan once said, "facts are stubborn things," and in a free marketplace of ideas, truth will eventually win.

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