The revelations from Robert Mueller’s report are sinking in -— and American politics are sinking ever lower. On Sunday one of President Trump’s attorneys, Rudy Giuliani, told an incredulous Jake Tapper that “there’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians.” When Tapper challenged him — “I’m not talking about crime. I’m talking about ethics” — Rudy asked, “We’re going to get into morality?”
Yes, Tapper said on “State of the Union.” And we should! Later in the morning on “Reliable Sources,” I argued that journalists should stand up for decency and morality, especially when the people in power don’t.
Morality is not partisan. Decency is not exclusive to any one political party. People can disagree about what’s immoral and what’s indecent, but it is important to have the conversation. And journalists can help lead the way.
Many members of the media strive to live up to a code of ethics, like the one promoted by the Society of Professional Journalists.
“Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough. An ethical journalist acts with integrity,” the SPJ code states.
White House of lies
The Mueller report revealed a house of lies — a White House of lies — reaffirming the sad reality that deceit is THE story of the Trump age.
Past administrations have bent the truth, of course, but Trump’s White House breaks the truth in half — and then lies about breaking it. And it’s broken us in half… or maybe into thirds. Some Americans are sick of all the deceptions; others have become immune; and others have accepted it. That’s one of the reasons why this report is so important. It is a detailed, dispassionate description of who, what, when, where, why and how. The lies are listed in clinical detail.
The L.A. Times led with this angle on Sunday — the headline said “Mueller report exposes all the president’s liars” — here’s the story by Chris Megerian…
– When will we hear more from Mueller?
– Will the redacted portions of his report come out?
– Mueller referred 14 cases to other offices. 12 of those were totally redacted. What are they? When will we find out?
– What will come of right-wing media’s demands to “investigate the investigators?”
– Will polls show that any minds were swayed by the report’s revelations?
– Will more Democrats move to start an impeachment process?
– How much legal jeopardy do Trump, his company and his family members still face?
– How aggressively is Russia still attempting to influence our elections?
A “broken system of accountability?”
Ezra Klein, who wrote “The problem with impeachment” for Vox, joined me on Sunday’s show. An impeachment inquiry is “very likely merited,” he said, but the process “needs a lot of bipartisan support,” and that support doesn’t exist. This is emblematic of America’s “broken system of accountability,” he said.
In a working system, Trump’s “clear pattern of obstruction of justice would merit and should merit an impeachment inquiry,” but the system is “broken…”
Monday’s most important phone call?
With reps grappling with impeachment Q’s while “back home in their districts on a recess, House Democrats will convene on Monday on a caucus conference call in the hopes of getting on the same page,” the NYT’s Emily Cochrane and Catie Edmondson wrote.
On ABC’s “This Week,” Rep. Adam Schiff essentially summed up the entire debate: “What we are going to have to decide as a caucus is: What is the best thing for the country? Is the best thing for the country to take up an impeachment proceeding because to do otherwise sends a message that this conduct is somehow compatible with office? Or is it in the best interest of the country not to take up an impeachment that we know will not be successful in the Senate?”
Hey, let’s hear from GOP lawmakers…
I understand why there’s a lot of interest in Democratic lawmaker reaction to the Mueller report, but I’d really like to hear more from Republicans. Mitt Romney is one of the few who’s spoken up…
FOR THE RECORD
– Former acting solicitor general/current MSNBC analyst Neal Katyal tweeted: “Now that I’ve digested it, the single thing leaping out about Mueller Report is it is far more devastating to Trump than anything most anticipated…”
– Former FBI agent/CNN analyst Asha Rangappa wrote: “Folks, the collusion is happening in plain sight, as we speak, in denying that the actions taken by the campaign were wrong, unethical, immoral, and un-American. Unless Trump acknowledges that Russia interfered in our election, he’s giving the thumbs up for them to do it again…”
– Dan Rather tweeted: “Remember when there was a passionate debate about whether the press should use the word ‘lie’ to describe the lies coming out of this administration? Seems so quaint and long ago…”
– McKay Coppins said the report was just a “political Rorschach test, where participants glanced at the news and then screamed their conclusions…”
A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.