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Column: Dear Ben Shapiro, You’re wrong about Trump

Column: Dear Ben Shapiro, You’re wrong about Trump


Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro has a theory about Trump and Comey. (Photo by Gage Skidmore/ Flickr via Creative Commons)



Saket Rajprohat
/ Senior Columnist

June 20, 2017

Dear Ben Shapiro,

You have been completely wrong since May 10, the day after Trump fired Comey.

In the June 8 episode of The Ben Shapiro Podcast, one of the most popular conservative podcasts in the nation, you declared you were “exactly correct” in your wildest theory to date — that Donald Trump fired James Comey not because he had anything to hide concerning the Russian investigation, but because Comey would not publicly announce that Trump was not personally under investigation. Later, you add that because of Comey’s recent testimony, the Democratic narrative that Trump and his administration colluded with the Kremlin is completely debunked, and that it proves Trump’s innocence, vindicating your theory.

But simply, you’re wrong. I’d like to tell you why Comey’s testimony advanced the Democrats’ narrative and how this is evidence of an even greater need in American politics for an FBI that exists independent from the executive branch in order to preserve the integrity of the investigative system.

You say the Democrats hoped that Comey would confirm Trump’s collusion with Russia during the 2016 election, which would markedly suggest that Trump fired Comey to cover it up. And you’re right until here — but you’re wrong in implying that this is the entirety of the Democrats’ claims against Trump.

Democrats point toward Trump’s possible obstruction of justice in firing Comey, his inappropriate and unconfirmed Twitter rants and his willingness to exchange classified information with the Russians as evidence of his guilt.

Comey’s testimony explained that Trump wanted the FBI director to come out and say to the public that Trump himself was not the subject of any ongoing investigation, the same statement that he made to Trump in private. The president also decided to highlight this in his letter to James Comey firing him.

But the next day, Trump went to the rose garden to deny all the claims Comey made in his testimony, later saying that he would go under oath to confirm this belief.

So at least up until this, you’re right — this is not playing out how Democrats had expected.

But while you see Democratic defeat, the Democrats see victory.

Not only did the testimony beg the question, among Republicans and Democrats alike — is Trump’s relationship with Russia more than what he’s led America to believe? This is a question that Republicans haven’t yet considered, and thanks to the testimony, we may finally have some answers.

Above all of this though, in the June 9 episode of your podcast, you mention Trump made a mistake in calling Comey a liar. This mistake was undoubtedly the best thing that could have happened for the Democrats because if Trump goes under oath and says Comey was untruthful in his statements, either Comey or Trump will commit perjury for lying about the other — and just like you Ben, I trust Comey’s memos to be the truth.

But these are nitpicky details when our president’s actions point to a hidden a connection between his administration and the Russian government.

The most relevant evidence of this occurred in early January. During a meeting with many staffers present, the topic of Comey’s employment came up. Realizing that this conversation was one that shouldn’t have witnesses present, Trump decided to clear the room and speak with Comey privately.

(Illustration by Maria Heines | Staff Illustrator)

In defense of this, I imagine you may look to Republican Senator Susan Collins and the point she made during a CNN interview on June 9, where she explained that Comey was initially the one that cleared the room in a separate meeting in early January, and perhaps the president had taken that as how all his interactions should go with Comey. This argument does not make sense because the first interaction the two had was to discuss Trump’s alleged “Russian hooker” tapes, something that could be potentially embarrassing for the president. The second interaction, on the other hand, dealt with nothing embarrassing, but rather a threat to Comey himself on whether he wanted to remain in his position.

There is a reason the FBI is supposed to be both nonpartisan and independent in its work. The influence any branch of government could have on the FBI can severely affect investigations, exactly as we are seeing now. It simply doesn’t make sense for a president to ask the FBI director for loyalty and still maintain the ability to fire them. With this loophole, no investigation on the president could ever be properly conducted.

So in the end, this all comes back to your initial theory that Trump is innocent and that the Democrats lost their narrative from Comey’s testimony. With these facts, it is obvious there is some form of collusion with the Trump administration and Russia, and it is not smart to say Trump is innocent based on a few of his words.

Your arguments — like the president’s — are falling through the cracks. Trump’s “concern” over the investigation for finding people that “did something wrong”, his calls to end any investigation involving Russia and firing director Comey all point toward his guilt, as clear as vodka.

Sincerely,

A fan

Saket primarily writes on politics for The Pitt News.

Write to Saket at smr122@pitt.edu.

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