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What Happened To Integrity?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

It’s clear President Trump is barely treading water the last two weeks. And in some ways it’s his own fault – he has a habit of blowing holes in his own boat.

He seems to do it on purpose, at least sometimes, because he prefers to function in chaos. But in all the swirling accusations and denials of the past few weeks, there’s one question I haven’t seen asked: If those making allegations against the president are telling a provable truth, why haven’t they come forward?

In what was billed as a “bombshell,” The New York Times reported Tuesday that former FBI Director James Comey kept notes of a meeting with the president in which it is alleged the president asked him to drop the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Well, he didn’t actually ask him. He reportedly said, “I hope you can let this go,” to the director. That’s different from ordering him to drop the investigation, and any lawyer could easily blow that up in court. But this isn’t going to a court of law. This matters in the court of public opinion, and it’s being spun as obstruction of justice.

My question is this: If Comey thought it was an attempt to obstruct justice, why did it come out only after he was fired?

Comey might not be the best example of this given every elected official has called him both a paragon of virtue and history’s greatest monster within the last year – sometimes in the course of the same week. But now he’s back to being virtuous to Democrats, and his alleged notes – the Times reported on them without having seem them; they were reportedly read to a reporter over the phone – are treated as if they were carved into stone.

That makes me wonder why he didn’t resign if he truly believed the president was trying to pressure him into obstructing justice. If he would have resigned and announced why, that would have been the end of the Trump presidency. He didn’t. All indications are he had every intention of completing his term as FBI Director, another 6 1/2 years. Wouldn’t integrity require resignation? It would for me, but I’m not the head of the FBI.

I also have to wonder why Interim FBI Director Andrew McCabe would testify just last week that no one has ever tried to interfere with the investigation into the Trump team if Comey thought the president was trying to obstruct justice. Wouldn’t a man of integrity not just jot this in his diary, but tell his second-in-command as well if he thought it was an attempt to intimidate?

This question of integrity does not apply to journalists. They are what they are. But it does apply to all their anonymous sources leaking about allegations against the president. I’m perfectly willing to believe any or all of them – that he damaged national security in his meeting with the Russians, that he fired Comey to stop the Russia investigation, that he’s this, that, or the other thing. All I ask for is some proof.

Is no one brave enough to put their name to an allegation? Does no one have the integrity to go public, provide proof and answer questions about their charges?

If the president is, as has been implied in the national security leaks, a threat to the country, why hasn’t anyone who has sworn an oath to defend the country said, “I can’t do this anymore; the world has to know”?

If there’s evidence of the Trump campaign plotting with a foreign government to cheat in the election, no job should hold a person who has evidence of it from coming forward.

How could someone with any integrity continue to work for a man who embodies the very threat they’re supposed to protect the country from?

If losing their job is the concern, they would be the most protected whistleblower in history. Moreover, they would not be able to spend the advance for the book deal in two lifetimes. Not to mention the speaking fees and cable news contributorships that undoubtedly would follow. Money, simply put, would not be an issue.

Instead, we get vague drips and wild allegations reported anonymously, backed up only by the word of someone in the least-trusted profession in the country. And the recent history of journalism does not add to its credibility.

There’s an old saying, “Put up, or shut up.” If you’ve got the goods, let’s see them. Show me the proof and I’m ready to believe. And there are millions of Americans willing to do the same. I say this as someone with a long, documented history of not being a fan of Donald Trump.

What I’m not willing to do is take the word of people unwilling to put their name to a charge, nor am I willing to believe The New York Times or any newspaper without some proof. It may not matter to them, but my integrity won’t allow it.

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