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Daily Archives: May 16th, 2017

This is possibly one the few thinking members of Congress while a member of the Republican party (not Dupublican), he does not follow the party line without question which makes him more of a statesman. MA.


Gabrielle Levy • May 15, 2017, at 12:01 p.m.
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse said President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey contributes to an “erosion” of public trust in U.S. government institutions in light of the bureau’s ongoing investigation into potential collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian officials.
“The timing is very troubling,” he said Monday on ” CBS This Morning.” “Once you get to a place where there’s an active investigation, the FBI director is not supposed to be in a political chain of command, and that’s the appearance of this situation and it’s timing.”
“I think we have a crisis of public trust right now, and we need to restore that,” he also said during the interview. “The FBI’s a really special institution and the American people need to be able to know they can believe in it. The FBI director has a 10-year term for a reason, because it’s supposed to be insulated from politics. I want to restore the rule of law but also the institutional conventions around that so there’s more trust.”
The remarks echoed those Sasse made Sunday on CBS’ ” Face The Nation,” when the outspoken Nebraska freshman said Trump’s dismissal of the FBI director should be considered separately from concerns over Comey’s performance.
“Director Comey … is a fundamentally honorable man, but people can think that he executed his job in all sorts of clunky and imperfect ways,” he said.
“That’s a different question than whether or not he should have been fired the way he was last week, and I’ve been critical of that decision,” he continued. “I think it exacerbates the erosion of trust in our institutions. So I’m disappointed in the timing of the firing, but I want to preserve room that there are lots of reasonable reasons that people across the political spectrum can argue about the way the FBI leadership conducted its business in the 2016 cycle.”

Sasse, who two years into his first term in the Senate has earned a reputation for challenging his own party’s orthodoxy, declined to speculate on why Trump decided to fire Comey.
“I’m not sure how this president makes lots of decisions, so I honestly don’t know,” he said. “I do know that we are in the midst of a civilization-warping crisis of public trust, and we need to talk honestly about our institutions that need to be restored and need to have the ability for people in five and eight and 10 years to trust these institutions.”
Sasse said his concerns extend to what he sees as an environment in which political candidates will be forced to contend with leaks of private records that include some faked information but enough real data so as to be believable.
“We need to have a shared civic understanding of America before we get to partisan and policy differences. There are important fights to be had in policy. But we first need a civic sense of what America is,” he said. “And here’s what comes next in things like Russian interference in America and in other countries in the age of cyber war over the next decade. I’m obviously concerned about 2016, but I’m far more concerned about 2018 and 2020, because here is what comes next.”

With the media, Congress and institutions already deeply unpopular, Sasse said, the nation is vulnerable in such an environment.
“We’ve got a bunch of different institutions that have 9 percent and 12 percent and 15 percent public trust and public approval,” he said. “America can’t work that way, because we need a shared narrative about how we are as a people, what government can and can’t do, and what the beating heart of the First Amendment and free press and freedom of assembly and speech and religion means to us.”

“We’re going to need to have some institutions that we can rely on and believe are apolitical, when the public has more and more doubt,” he added. “And, right now, Washington isn’t at all focused on the long-term challenge of rebuilding a shared narrative about America and institutional trust in our [public] servants.”

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