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September 25, 2017

Academy award nominated actor and Grammy Award winning hip-hop artist Will Smith was born in 1968 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

America's Leadership Crisis

POSTED: June 09, 2017, 7:00 am

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Screenshot of CNN coverage of Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, 2017

It is an image to be etched in the nation’s history. The sight of a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), under oath, in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, labeling the President of the United States a liar should be a moment of national introspection. The testimony of James Comey on Capitol Hill yesterday should be distressful to all Americans and trouble anyone who has genuine concern for the welfare and future of this nation.

This is not a moment to take refuge in partisanship or demean those who are courageous enough to come forward and speak truth. Our nation is in a leadership crisis at the highest level of our government. So much so, that the majority of Americans believe not only that the President of the United States is not telling the truth, but that the nation’s leader, who is sworn to uphold the Constitution, has no regard for the law.

Some of what we are witnessing is the should be expected result of when worlds collide. We have a sitting president who has never been a public servant prior to assuming office. Donald Trump is accustomed to a world in which his “empire” caters to him, is loyal to him and is beholden to his every whim. Prior to arriving at the White House, he marked his territory with his name emblazoned on the often-garish buildings in his real estate portfolio. He knows no other lifestyle. Now, as the nation’s 45th president Donald Trump is encountering a world with rules that cannot be so easily bent to accommodate his ways, and where the law stands as an obstacle to one’s impulsiveness. He has learned that the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is not like his personal attorney or legal counsel for the Trump Organization. CEO Donald Trump ran up against a public service lawyer who is beholden to the law, and not the wishes of the corporate suite. It’s the difference between the government and private enterprise. It is that distinction that is at the heart of the unraveling of this administration.

What we know from James Comey’s testimony on Thursday is that it raises more questions than provides answers. The two most glaring questions are whether the President of the United States obstructed justice by trying to derail an active F.B.I. investigation and what role is Russia playing in undermining our democratic processes. These concerns arise from what we currently know but there is reason to suspect that special counsel Robert Mueller may uncover other information of a criminal nature during the course of his investigation. What we know is unsettling. It’s what we don’t know that could plunge this nation into a constitutional crisis.

“Our nation is in a leadership crisis at the highest level of our government. So much so, that the majority of Americans believe not only that the President of the United States is not telling the truth, but that the nation’s leader, who is sworn to uphold the Constitution, has no regard for the law.”

Beyond the expected calls on the Hill for impeachment proceedings by some Democrats and the head in the sand approach by many Republicans, the American public needs to reconcile what we are witnessing. This is not Watergate. It is something that could have far more damaging and sinister implications. Given the specter of a foreign agent exploiting our internal systems and the possible collusion by officials at the highest ranks of our government, and the appearance of possible financial improprieties, the agenda and movements of this administration is suspect. This includes weapons sales, favorable concessions to industry, alignment with bad foreign actors at odds with our national interests, the administration of law, and trade allowances. Quite frankly, it potentially is much larger than the question of whether an enemy state engaged in acts of espionage that are shocking even when juxtaposed against the normal relations of nations. The things that we don’t know at this time potentially could expose this nation to irreparable harm.

Ironically, we are a nation of skeptics, and despite memories of the Vietnam War and Watergate, we still hold hope that those we elect to lead us will act in our best interest. Whatever harm done by those crises of the 1970s many Americans still cling to the hope that leadership will exceed our doubts. That hope in Mr. Trump’s leadership was already eroding during the campaign season. It is now eviscerated by the barrage of Tweets, defensive press briefings, insults and impulsiveness that has come to be the modus operandi of the Trump White House. This president has given us no reason to doubt the veracity of James Comey or the belief that Moscow has embedded itself in the civic business of America. That’s the real tragedy and concern. Just by virtue of the significance of the office, the President of the United States should be given the benefit of the doubt by a public willing to exercise patience in hearing an explanation for any perceived indiscretions. We cannot afford to extend that courtesy to this president. It is simply the dilemma we face. Our Constitution calls for a president. What America needs is a leader.


Walter Fields is Executive Editor of NorthStarNews.com.

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