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The Bureaucrat as Hero

November 4, 2019


If impeachment ever does succeed in bringing down Donald Trump, the real hero will be that most maligned of all government figures–the career federal civil servant. The impeachment effort was going nowhere until the now-famous and still anonymous “whistleblower”, who is apparently a career CIA intelligence officer, decided to stand up for the law and the constitution.

Before the whistleblower memo forced it to act, the Democratic establishment was wringing its hands in fear of political blowback for proceeding with impeachment despite the ample justification already in plain view. That’s exactly where we would still be today had not a career civil servant thrust the stinking evidence under their collective noses.

Let’s also add Robert Mueller to the parade of the pusillanimous. Two years of work, and his investigation did little more than flesh out what had already been uncovered by investigative journalists even though he had subpoena power and they didn’t. Despite his vaunted–and as it turned out, overblown–reputation for relentless integrity, he never ventured into the heart of the matter, i.e., the counter-intelligence aspects of Trump and his campaign or the financial ties of TrumpWorld. He never put Trump or any of his family members under oath, or presented them with subpoenas for documents. He then presented his findings in a report couched in impenetrable language and failed to draw clear conclusions in terms the public could understand, allowing William Barr to present a false version which then stuck. When offered a chance to correct the record in a public Congressional hearing, Mueller again punted.

If the whistleblower had not come forward, we would still be hopelessly mired in a morass where Trump officials openly defy the law and thumb their noses at subpoenas to testify and provide documentation while they run out the electoral clock. Now at least there is a chance to get the American public to pay attention.

It was the whistleblower’s report that made possible a growing parade of courageous civil servants who have risked their careers to corroborate the allegations and to add detail and context. So let’s give a salute to career foreign service officers like Marie Yovanovich, Bill Taylor, Mike McKinley, and George Kent who ignored orders from the White House to shut them up. Let’s thank NSC professionals like Fiona Hill, and  Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman who was in on the infamous Trump call to Ukranian President Zelinskyy and has testified to omissions in the memorandum of the call. And let’s recognize the integrity of Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson who followed the law and protected the whistleblower and thereby kept all of this from disappearing into the cesspool of the Trump White House. Let’s hope they keep coming.

And while we’re at it, let’s give some props to all the career civil servants across the federal government who are trying to do what they can to protect the mission of their agencies in the face of wanton destruction being carried out by Trump appointees. These are not the “deep state”. They are people who take their obligations to the law and to the American people seriously. And they are trying their best to hold things together until Trump is gone along with the legion of grifters he installed to eviscerate and corrupt the federal government.

Now we’ll have to see if the American people care about these things as well, or if we as a nation have become so manipulated by disinformation that we can’t distinguish between truth and lies and so cynical that we don’t even bother to try.

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