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  • COMMENTARY – The Real Scandal: A Vote of No Confidence

    The media have been reporting on so many scandals and pseudo-scandals that it is difficult to navigate through the fog. First there was the “Russians tried to influence the election” scandal, then they added “The Obama administration illegally surveilled the Trump election campaign” scandal, then we have “The deep state composed of Obama supporters is trying to take down Trump” scandal, and now we have the “Who leaked classified information all over the place?” scandal. There is no evidence for the first, and a lot of possibilities with the others. Getting to the bottom of it all will require thorough investigation.

    Here is where the real scandal is taking place: We can’t rely on anyone in the government to conduct a competent, unbiased investigation. Under Obama, the Justice Department, the FBI, and the IRS were compromised by partisanship the likes of which we have not seen since the Nixon administration. Yet no one was indicted, let alone convicted: Hillary Clinton in connection with Benghazi, the Clinton Foundation, and her emails; Lois Lerner for using the IRS to target conservatives; Black Panthers for interfering with the election process; Loretta Lynch for conspiring with Bill Clinton; Obama himself for ignoring the Constitution. Where was justice when we needed it?

    The bottom fell out with FBI Director James Comey’s detailed enumeration of Clinton’s transgressions followed by his unwillingness to recommend indictment. People on both sides of the political spectrum were shocked. How could we not attribute his decision to partisanship? Was he bought off?

    Today we have members of Congress expressing their opinions but no action. The public has lost confidence in the government’s ability to monitor itself. That is the scandal: Loss of confidence in our government. According to Pew Research Center, only 19% of Americans say they can trust the government “always” or “most of the time,” among the lowest levels in the past half-century. The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll gives Congress 16% approval and the federal government 22%. The Gallup poll said only 9% of respondents report “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in Congress. “Congress keeps getting worse,” says MSNBC, “and its support keeps reaching new depths, but the prospects for change appear remote, at best.”

    Congressional oversight, derived from the “implied powers” in the Constitution, is designed to monitor governmental activities via the congressional committee system. Many reports since 9/11 have criticized congressional oversight of the intelligence community. “There is no accountability,” said Sen. Chuck Hagel. “Oversight of the intelligence community is a joke.” The reason, said the late columnist Nat Hentoff, is the “culture of revolving-door cronyism.” As far back as 1978, Watergate prosecutor Leon Jaworski recommended that prominent citizens with no governmental ties be appointed to investigate branches of government.

    Another problem is that House and Senate Intelligence Committees lack the technical skills necessary for a hacking investigation. “Committee staff are underwater when it comes to poking into the nitty gritty of cyber warfare,” says The Intercept, “a longstanding problem made more relevant as attacks on U.S. government and politicians escalate.”

    The FBI has conducted an eight-month investigation into the so-called Russian scandal—which so far has yielded no proof—but they are reluctant to investigate the myriad of leaks of top-secret information and the unlawful surveillance of private citizens. Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has accused the FBI of refusing to cooperate with House investigations of NSA surveillance of the Trump campaign.

    I am living in hope that the Sessions Justice Department will change the ball game, although it concerns me that Sessions has recused himself from the Russian hacking issue. The Justice Department’s inspector general has announced a new investigation into the FBI’s actions leading up to the election, reports The Hill, “a probe that will focus on Comey’s public statements as well as FBI leaks and other relevant correspondences.” Perhaps we will eventually get to the bottom of things, but for now it appears unlikely.

     


    Ed Brodow

    Ed Brodow (USMC Retired), author of the brand new book, Tyranny of the Minority: How The Left is Destroying America and a contributor to DailyCaller.com and DailySurge.com. Brodow is one of the world’s leading negotiation experts and a staunch advocate of critical thinking. SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt dubbed him “The King of Negotiators.” Forbes Magazine agreed, ranking Ed as one of the nation’s top dealmakers. He is the author of six books, including the business classic, Negotiation Boot Camp: How to Resolve Conflict, Satisfy Customers, and Make Better Deals. For two decades, Ed’s acclaimed Negotiation Boot Camp® seminars have set the standard for “how to make a deal” in Corporate America. A nationally recognized television personality, Ed has appeared as negotiation guru on PBS, ABC National News, Fox News, Fortune Business Report, and Inside Edition. He is negotiation consultant to some of the world’s most prominent organizations, including Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, Learjet, Ritz-Carlton, Starbucks, McKinsey, Philips, Zurich Insurance, the IRS, the GSA, and the Pentagon. As a keynote speaker, Ed has enthralled more than 1,000 audiences in Paris, Milan, Athens, Singapore, Tokyo, Bangkok, Sao Paulo, Bogota, and New York with his charismatic stage presence, infectious humor, and practical ideas. In previous lives, Ed was a U.S. Marine Corps officer, corporate sales executive, and Hollywood movie actor.

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