…By failing to properly inform the American public of the true nature of Donald John Trump, our media, our intelligence services, and our FBI allowed a Russian asset to take the White House. Those three institutions failed, catastrophically, and their combined failures cost almost half a million lives and came this close to ending the republic.
James Comey, the FBI Director, disclosed the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, but not the far more dangerous one into Trump’s ties to Russia; that dunderheaded decision effectively handed Trump the presidency. The intelligence services did not speak out in 2016, because of the strict practice of not discussing counterintelligence cases—as if there could be a bigger counterintelligence failure than a Russian puppet installed in the White House who subsequently killed half a million of us. The media didn’t speak out because of institutional fear, or shoddy leadership, or worry about ratings and clicks, or laziness, or incompetence, or corruption, or all of the above. The Russia story exposes Trump, but it also highlights these enormous, embarrassing institutional failures.
By the grace of God and Nancy Pelosi, or else just dumb luck, we made it through four years of Trump with the republic intact. But if we do not learn from our mistakes, another Trump will come along—a Josh Hawley, maybe—who will succeed in ending the American experiment. It’s time for these institutions to come clean and admit they fucked up. The first step to recovery, after all, is admitting there is a problem.
IN THE EARLY 90s, a New York executive who worked for a prominent financial services company flew to London to attend a conference. While there, he hobnobbed with another executive, an American who worked in the firm’s Moscow office. Accompanying the Moscow executive were some Russian nationals-KGB officers moonlighting as security and logistics detail for the company.