WTF? Paul Ryan’s Excuse for Trump’s Obstruction of Justice is ‘He’s New at Government’

Donald Trump’s still nascent presidency has had more go wrong than any administration before it. And it began falling apart from day one. His inauguration was a poorly attended flop that Trump had to lie about to save face. He’s had two executive orders banning Muslims struck down by federal courts. His attempt to repeal ObamaCare failed in the GOP-controlled House before passing and stalling in the GOP-controlled Senate. He still hasn’t produced a tax reform bill. His first National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, lasted less than three weeks. And, not surprisingly, he has lower approval ratings than any modern day president at this stage of their term.

Paul Ryan

All of this could have been (and was) predicted. During the campaign Trump was often criticized for his total lack of experience and temperament. Those were not idle complaints, but serious concerns for someone aspiring to such an important position. Leading the world’s richest, most powerful nation is not something you learn on the job. Which makes what Paul Ryan said on Thursday afternoon so bizarre (video below).

The Republican Speaker of the House was asked about Trump’s conversations with former FBI Director, James Comey, whom he later fired. Reporters wanted to know whether those conversations constituted obstruction of justice. Ryan offered that he would not have held similar conversations, but then gave this excuse for Trump doing so:

“The President’s new at this. He’s new to government. So, he probably wasn’t steeped in the long-running protocols that establish the relationships between DOJ, FBI and White Houses. He’s just new to this.” […] “He’s new at government, and so therefore I think that he — he is learning as he goes.”

Well that’s comforting. Ryan doesn’t seem troubled much that the President is such an amateur that he stumbled into an impeachable violation of the law. Trump is so ill-prepared for the job that he couldn’t even rely on more experienced staff to guide him through areas with which he was unfamiliar. And as far as Ryan is concerned, Trump should be excused because he’s still in training.

The problem with that is readily apparent. Trump’s cloddish behavior with Comey is just a taste of what can go wrong. What happens if Trump’s ignorance of “long-running protocols” causes him to crash headlong into an international incident? He has already shown a propensity for insulting our allies and praising hostile adversaries. What would prevent that from escalating into a full scale war? After all, Trump is still learning the ropes of this presidenty stuff.

The fact that America has a president who is patently unprepared for the job is frightening by itself. But compounding that with a Speaker who thinks it’s acceptable to tolerate an apprentice Commander-in-Chief is markedly worse. After all, the legislative branch of government is supposed to function as a check and balance on the executive branch. Unfortunately, it appears that Ryan will be about as effective as a drunken brakeman on a runaway train.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Comey Slams Trump’s Media Bashing About Russia: ‘As Unfake As You Can Possibly Get’

Throughout Donald Trump’s campaign for president, and his subsequent residence in the White House, he has displayed a visceral hatred for the media. Virtually any story that was the least bit critical was branded as “fake news.”

Comey Trump

Trump is especially sensitive to allegations stemming from his unsavory connections to Russia. The linkages between himself, his family, and his associates are plentiful and disturbing. And despite the confirmation of numerous meetings and investigations, Trump stubbornly denies any relationship. His belligerent denials are a rejection of reality and often attempt to shift blame elsewhere. For instance:

Thursday’s Senate hearing with James Comey briefly, but significantly, touched on this issue. The former FBI Director was asked specifically about Trump’s characterization of the Russian interference in the election. His answer was an unequivocal repudiation of Trump’s anti-media position:

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM): The President has repeatedly talked about Russia’s involvement in the U.S. election cycle as a “hoax” and as “fake news.” Can you talk a little bit about what you saw as FBI Director that demonstrates how serious this action actually was, and why there was an investigation in the first place?

James Comey: There should be no fuzz on this whatsoever. The Russians interfered in our election during the 2016 cycle. And they did it with purpose. They did it with sophistication. They did it with overwhelming technical efforts. And it was an active measures campaign driven from the top of that government. There is no fuzz on that. It is a high confidence judgment of the entire intelligence community. And the members of this committee have seen the intelligence. It’s not a close call. That happened. That’s about as unfake as you can possibly get.

What Comey is referring to is the overwhelming agreement that Russia actively interfered with the election. Seventeen separate intelligence agencies, from the State Department to the Pentagon, all independently affirm that. In fact, the only official resistance comes from the White House itself.

Having no credible argument to refute the consensus about Russia’s activities, Trump resorts to smearing the media. It’s a weak line of attack based entirely on his personal animus and driven by desperation and fear. But it’s also dangerous. Trump is purposefully denigrating an institution that is vital to the stability of a healthy democracy. He is attacking the very nature of the free press. And it is his intention to undermine the public’s confidence in all news providers. That is among the reasons that advocates for journalists branded Trump as “an ‘unprecedented threat’ to press freedom.”

Comey’s testimony reiterates what many have said before him. And it is a potent indictment of Trump’s irresponsible and reckless media bashing. And yet, the predictable result of his remarks will be an escalation by Trump of his assaults on the press. Hopefully the press will have the courage to defend their own honor and not let Trump get away with his self-serving campaign to destroy ethical journalism.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.