"We need an independent investigation. Damn the lies, full throttle forward on the truth."
Dan Rather pulled no punches on Tuesday, slamming the Trump administration’s credibility after Michael Flynn resigned in disgrace following revelations that he lied about his connections to Russia.
In a Facebook post, Rather said the “spigot of lies” coming from the administration about its ties to Russia warrants an “independent investigation.”
“We deserve answers,” Rather said. “Those who are complicit in this scandal need to feel the full force of justice.”
The full post:
Watergate is the biggest political scandal of my lifetime, until maybe now. It was the closest we came to a debilitating Constitutional crisis, until maybe now. On a 10 scale of armageddon for our form of government, I would put Watergate at a 9. This Russia scandal is currently somewhere around a 5 or 6, in my opinion, but it is cascading in intensity seemingly by the hour. And we may look back and see, in the end, that it is at least as big as Watergate. It may become the measure by which all future scandals are judged. It has all the necessary ingredients, and that is chilling.
When we look back at Watergate, we remember the end of the Nixon Presidency. It came with an avalanche, but for most of the time my fellow reporters and I were chasing down the story as it rumbled along with a low-grade intensity. We never were quite sure how much we would find out about what really happened. In the end, the truth emerged into the light, and President Nixon descended into infamy.
This Russia story started out with an avalanche and where we go from here no one really knows. Each piece of news demands new questions. We are still less than a month into the Trump Presidency, and many are asking that question made famous by Tennessee Senator Howard Baker those many years ago: “What did the President know, and when did he know it?” New reporting suggests that Mr. Trump knew for weeks. We can all remember the General Michael Flynn’s speech from the Republican National Convention – “Lock her up!” in regards to Hillary Clinton. If Hillary Clinton had done one tenth of what Mr. Flynn had done, she likely would be in jail. And it isn’t just Mr. Flynn, how far does this go?
The White House has no credibility on this issue. Their spigot of lies – can’t we finally all agree to call them lies – long ago lost them any semblance of credibility. I would also extend that to the Republican Congress, who has excused away the Trump Administration’s assertions for far too long.
We need an independent investigation. Damn the lies, full throttle forward on the truth. If a scriptwriter had approached Hollywood with what we are witnessing, he or she would probably have been told it was way too far-fetched for even a summer blockbuster. But this is not fiction. It is real and it is serious. Deadly serious. We deserve answers and those who are complicit in this scandal need to feel the full force of justice.
While the Trump administration is trying to convince the American people that this was an isolated incident involving one man, Flynn, the questions surrounding Trump’s ties to Moscow have been going on for months – whether it’s the president’s foreign business entanglements, his public statements praising Vladimir Putin, or the fact that those around him seem to share his soft stance toward Moscow.
The latest revelation that Trump knew about Flynn’s actions for weeks and publicly lied about it sets off even more alarms.
As the New Yorker reported Monday: “As recently as last Friday, speaking to reporters on Air Force One, Trump claimed not to have seen the reports that Flynn brought up sanctions in his conversations with [Russian Ambassador] Kislyak. We now know, however, that F.B.I. agents interviewed Flynn in late January, and that the Justice Department then warned the White House that Flynn’s accounts of his phone calls were misleading and could potentially open him up to blackmail by the Russians.”
The fact that Trump sat on this information and didn’t do anything about it – then only decided to act after it garnered enough media attention – raises a whole separate layer of questions. And all of them, from top to bottom, need to be examined in a thorough and independent inquiry.
As Rather said, “Each piece of news demands new questions.”
Unfortunately, we now have a Republican Party who is largely willing to let the new president slide on this issue. Earlier in the day, in fact, GOP Sen. Rand Paul said the Trump administration shouldn’t be investigated because it’s not “useful” for Republicans to investigate Republicans.
But if there was ever a moment – or an administration – that demanded a thorough investigation, it’s this one.
The White House has shown they will lie about anything and everything, big or small, even when there is photographic evidence disproving one of their claims. There should be no more giving the administration the benefit of the doubt when they have proven time and again that they are not to be trusted.
It’s time for Democrats, Republicans, and those in the media to follow Dan Rather’s lead and put the country ahead of partisan politics.