Fact checking

The election period is starting to heat up as evidenced by more letters to the papers. A few in particular were worthy of mentioning, one by Martin Steffel getting special attention. Also, Jerry Grudem’s assault on “free stuff” and Jerry Miller’s “Trump will be hard to beat” because he gave his followers some of what he promised…but nothing for the “common good” where most of the voters are.

Steffel’s letter (published July 10) was rife with inaccuracies. He states men heading the FBI, CIA, and DOJ formed a “coup” plotting group shortly after Trump announced his plans to run for president.  Consensus among them was that Trump would be a “disaster.” Smart people.

In 2015, James Comey headed the FBI, John Brennan was head of the CIA, and the other man  mentioned was Loretta Lynch, a woman, Attorney General, head of the DOJ. Illegal for them to do more than their investigative roles. Any coup plotting would be illegal and worthy of substantial penalties.

He states that Christopher Steele, author of the “Steele Dossier” exposing Trump/Russian ties, was fired from his job in the UK. In fact, Steele was part of Britain’s Secret  Intelligence Service M16 from 1987 until he retired in 2009 as a high ranking official in M16. Wasn’t fired. Founded Orbis Business Intelligence, became an FBI informer on the Russian probe but was released for leaking information to the press.

He stated the dossier cost $12 million. It actually cost $168,000. It wasn’t a book as stated but merely a collection of 17 memos written as Steele found activities between Russia and the Trump campaign to be troubling. The Mueller Report cost $12 million with later DOJ add-ons raising it to $17 million. He has the Dossier and Mueller’s report  confused.

The idea the “coup” plotters  could escape oversight inquiries and the press is inconceivable. There is no documentation that such a “coup” was even investigated until now. Attorney General  and  personal  Trump Attorney and protector, Bill Barr, has launched an investigation into the “investigating agencies” to try to uncover the “coup” membership and bring them to justice.

The $17 million Mueller Report is a bargain. It has exposed the danger of outside interference in our internal affairs which helped elect the most unqualified, inept, embarrassing  president in our history. No, the Russians didn’t hack the voting machines but with the help of social media attacks on Hillary, aided by Republican James Comey’s  handling of  the Clinton email issue, the minds of millions of voters were affected, some switching but most deciding not to vote for either candidate.

We need to voice our opinions but don’t just make “stuff” up. This election is critical to the future of our country and the values we share with our global partners. It is important that our communications, at all levels, returns to a culture of honest, informative, and accurate portrayals of facts the American people are entitled to. False information, at best, can be confusing and misleading and at worst can be dangerous.

Lee  Purrier

Park Rapids

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