Donald Trump had fired the FBI Director and knew exactly what was coming.
“James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press,” he said in a familiar twitter tirade.
Within days, Trump’s fears proved founded. Leaks from Comey’s office were out on front pages of every newspaper worth the paper it’s printed.
One single memo, alleging Trump’s interference in an ongoing FBI investigation, devastated his presidency; landing it to quote one Washington hawk into ‘impeachment territory’.
On CNN, Trump’s actions were being termed “Nixonian.”
But becoming the second US president in history, after Richard Nixon of Watergate, to be impeached is by far much farfetched.
For starters, Republicans currently dominated both Congress and Senate.
And, lest we get carried away, no one has proven any wrongdoing or let alone launched an investigation on Trump himself.
But a political hurricane is storming Washington. And no one knows with certainty what it will sweep in its wake.
What we know, though, with gruesome certainty is that the 45th US president is under enormous pressure over the Russian Affair an alleged Russian interference in an election that parachuted him from Trump Tower into White House.
On 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, a president with precious little public office experience is discovering that he has precious few he can trust.
The spectre of leaks looms larger.
“No politician in history and I say this with great surety has been treated worse or more unfairly,” complained Trump.
Earlier in the week, Trump’s off-the-cuff remarks, to (guess who?) visiting Russian Foreign Secretary Sergey Lavrov, deemed divulging of classified information by the media, pushed his presidency further the downward spiral.
Some insider, once again, had leaked his comments. But why bother you with this chatter from DC when all week you have been arguing about the ruling party’s CEO who said the North will not produce a president or something close to that (exact words lost in translation)?
Am I simply an anarchist rejoicing at Trump’s plight? Nope.
Perhaps , the take home message here is that when conventional systems fail, sometimes it’s the responsibility of any patriot to resort to measures such as whistleblowing. Far from just marvelling at the spectre in Washington, this must serve us a lesson to our fledgling democracy.
Sometimes you can only stop impunity by releasing to the public truths powerful people want hidden. The tragedy of our nation is that we haven’t done that enough.
Leaking official documents, a far more touchy debate even in the most advanced democracies, is mostly an illegal part of whistleblowing.
Documents, as all reptiles of journalism will attest to, is the blood that fuels our profession.
Without leaked documents, investigative Hearts of Leakers journalism sneezes .
Without investigative journalism, our societies turn into sewer.
Often, leakers face jail or abrupt end to careers if caught. American intelligence contractorturned-whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, is still holed up abroad afraid of inevitable jail at home as a consequence.
But as another US president, Thomas Jefferson, reminds us: “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.”
And what is the alternative?
Burying our heads in the sand like an Ostrich?
Meanwhile, our societies are destroyed; corruption robs our children a decent future; lives are needlessly lost; those injured are denied justice and so forth.
We all perish simply for closing our eyes and hope, somehow, those who ruin our societies get tired of it at some point.
And such an alternative is not simply unacceptable and suicidal, it’s an act of petulance of the highest order.
That’s the tragedy of our society!