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AltScalesOfJustice @AltScalesOfJust
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[THREAD] I’d like to take a break from sharing & commenting on political news reports for a moment & just offer some personal observations from where I sit in the DOJ

As always, I don’t speak for the @TheJusticeDept. These are just my personal thoughts, feelings, & observations
I’ve worked in multiple parts of the DOJ, including in the @FBI. I worked closely with Mueller, and like to feel like I got to know him fairly well. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, and for his integrity
But more importantly, I got to know the FBI and other parts of DOJ. Wording it that way is part of our current problem, though. There is no “FBI” and “DOJ”. They aren’t monolithic beings with single thoughts. There are the *people* who work at the FBI and DOJ
And there are more than a hundred thousand of us. We are Democrats, Republicans, independents, old, young, straight, gay, many races, many religions
We are an organization, like the ones you all work for, or who have loved ones who work for. We have a shared mission, but as many thoughts about how to best execute that mission as there are people
We work together very well. We’re family, & support each other when needed. But we also argue, and bicker, & often have very strong differences of opinion. Across DOJ I’ve been very impressed with the integrity of the employees and their dedication to their organization’s mission
Nothing is perfect, though, and no matter how carefully you vet applicants, every large organization has some people who are just out for themselves or otherwise aren’t focused on what is right
I have had some significant confrontations over the years with a few individuals who I felt were not being forthright and were putting their own agendas above ethics. But those have been very rare
And DOJ is very serious about self-policing & looking for any violations of policy or ethics rules. They internally put out regular reports of internal investigations where people were found violating ethical rules, & the punishments they received, up to and including termination
The reports may not be public, but they serve to remind employees that the FBI does not turn a blind eye to ethical violations, and that they actively look for violations and will take action on them
The FBI’s motto, “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity” truly is part of their culture and leadership aggressively seeks any violations, especially of the integrity part, and deals with them
We are human, and every human has personal thoughts and feelings. Sometimes very strong. We talk, text, tweet, joke, complain. AND we take our responsibilities seriously. And our shared mission comes first
Debaters in high school have to learn to argue from either side of an issue, regardless of their personal thoughts. Lawyers get paid to research and build the strongest case they can for their client, whether or not they personally like the client
Similarly, agents and investigators pursue the facts of a case. Facts are not Republican or Democrat. Facts are objective reality. INTERPRETATIONS about what those facts MEAN can be strongly divided along partisan lines
That is where the talking heads, talking points, and political spin come in. They try their hardest to convince their audiences that the objective facts support their subjective desires and beliefs
Every human on this planet has biases. Every judge, every lawyer, every politician, every coworker, every spouse. I do. (This anonymous account is one avenue for expressing mine.) You do, no matter whether you strongly agree or disagree with me
Agents and investigators are trained to recognize those biases, separate facts from opinions, and record and follow the facts. Whether they go the direction their biases would prefer or not
We aren’t robots, and it can be almost impossible to completely remove biases. That’s why there are checks and balances, layers of independent reviews, and laws and processes that help to ensure that personal biases are not driving legal actions
The FBI has very strong internal investigations, and self-police very well. The internal disciplinary announcements remind everyone of the consequences of violating ethical rules. The FBI does not look the other way or ignore them
But I have never worked with anyone who took that more seriously than Director Mueller. One exchange I witnessed sticks with me as best representing Robert Mueller the leader
After a meeting with a Senator, folks were standing around informally chatting. The Senator asked Mueller what his biggest challenge was as Director of the FBI
Mueller answered, “Getting the truth. People tell me what they think I want to hear, but decisions are only as good as the information on which they are based. Getting to the truth is my biggest challenge.”
Did he mean that FBI agents were lying to him? No. What he recognized, and what he was referring to, was that there are many ways to communicate any information
Different methods can carry different connotations and implications, while still being true to the underlying facts. (Taken to an extreme, political spin abuses that and stretches it to, and beyond, its limits)
But human nature is to want to look good to your boss. At any individual layer, a person is likely to be inclined to convey information to their boss in a way that puts them in as good a light as possible, even while staying true to the facts
By itself, that isn’t likely to matter. But as information goes up a chain with many layers, like the game of telephone in elementary school, meaning can be changed significantly, through no ill intent of anyone involved
That is what Mueller was aware of, and to what he was referring. He didn’t just accept the information he was provided. He challenged it. He looked for biases, and whether it was being distorted in any way. He pushed to find the underlying truth
That made him a hard person to work for. But an excellent one. Mueller himself was a Republican, but I never once got any indication that his personal politics drove his decisions on actions or investigations in any way
And that is why he is the right man for this job. He won’t tolerate biases. Yes, two people associate with his team expressed their biases explicitly and in a way that brought into doubt their ability to set them aside and be objective
And Mueller immediately removed them from the team. Just to emphasize that point. It isn’t the BIASES that were the problem. Every human has them. It was evidence that they could not SET ASIDE their biases and be objective that was the problem
When I see the President, and others in Congress, and the conservative media attacking the integrity of the FBI and DOJ and branding them as corrupt, and as the enemy, I’ll be honest. It hurts. Many of you will cheer that. And that’s ok
But it hurts because I know how untrue it is. I know how important their integrity is to the people who work for these organizations. How important their missions are to them. How seriously they take setting aside biases and doing the jobs
There are always people who will hate us. We know that when we take a job like this. There are people who suspect us, and will fear we are just out to get them
We know that the justice system isn’t perfect, and that it lets people down at times. We want to do what we can to improve the systems to keep that from happening
We know we will receive a great deal of personal and professional criticism. No matter how dedicated we may be to upholding ethics and the truth, that just comes with the job. We accept it
But it’s different when those attacks are coming from the President of the United States, and from Senators and other senior members of the US Government
Those attacks are not any more true, but the effects are far more profound, and it is far more dangerous. When they say things like that, it gives the accusations weight and believability to the public the way individual fringe voices can’t
It pushes thoughts and behaviors toward the extremes, even to the point @FoxNews called for the @FBI to be shut down. That is an incredibly dangerous direction to be pushing the country
I know many people would cheer the thought of the FBI going away, or would at least just see it that one more group they didn’t quite trust was going away, so it wouldn’t be a bad thing
But the people who made the suggestions know full well the implications of what they were urging. Counterterrorism investigations would stop. Investigations aimed at blocking foreign spies from infiltrating the US would stop
Investigations into cross-state violent gangs, organized crime, child pornography, child trafficking, money laundering, and countless other serious crimes would stop
Yet the suggestion was made, and these attacks against independent investigative agencies were amplified with the media power of the @FoxNews platform, and were combined with their numerous attacks against the free press
Anyone who follows me knows how disappointed I am in our current leadership, and how much I strongly dislike and distrust @realDonaldTrump and the man he appointed as my ultimate boss, Jeff Sessions
But I would urge every one of you to take a step back. Don’t believe me without question. Don’t DISbelieve me without question. Look for the facts yourself. Look for your own biases. Look for the biases of *your* preferred media, whether left or right
And try to look through them. Watch news from “the other side.” Seek the underlying facts behind the spin that can support both narratives. And form your opinions and beliefs off of those
And please, learn about the signs of authoritarian governments, and the steps they take to seize power and suppress the people. You are witnessing them now
Sowing distrust of the media, and taking control of the media so only your message is seen as valid. Eliminating independent investigative and law enforcement agencies, and taking control of them as the enforcement arm of the dictator
Sowing distrust and fear and hatred of anyone different from them. Dehumanizing them. Defining anyone who doesn’t explicitly support them as the enemy. Encouraging violence against them
We are at a critical juncture. We have to stand strong as a country and reject any signs of authoritarianism, including these first steps that break down the pillars of our democracy and make room for the authoritarian leaders to secure their power
Or we can choose to sit back and do nothing. To be silent, and accept the narrative without question. To believe that things really are that corrupt and that any change must be for the better
I don’t know what we are going to do as a country. But I know what I choose to do as an individual. I will speak up. I will urge people to see through the spin, and to defend the free press and a land that upholds law and order
I will urge everyone to rally behind an exceptional man, and to push back against the conscious, coordinated efforts to discredit the Special Prosecutor’s investigation, and our nation’s law enforcement agencies as a whole
Let’s all support the investigation, and let the American legal system work the way it is supposed to. Let Robert Mueller uncover the facts. There is nobody better for that job
And let’s respect the results that come out of that investigation. I have no inside visibility into the investigation, so know nothing more than any of you
Based on just public information, I strongly believe that Trump and his associates are guilty of multiple crimes, both long before he was in office, and after he took office
But if Mueller’s investigation concludes that there were no crimes, and recommends not charging Trump with any wrongdoing, I will trust him and will accept the results
I would ask everyone to do the same. If Mueller recommends no charges against Trump, please support that
Likewise, if Mueller finds ample evidence of crimes and recommends filing charges, I would ask the country to support that, and not to dismiss them as the results of a corrupt, biased organization. They are not
We have to fight back against the polarization and distrust that are being pushed across the country. The media is not fake. It is not dishonest. It is not the enemy. But it does apply their spin to the facts, and that helps to polarize us
I’ll close by just asking everyone to let the investigation run its course, put your faith in the American system, and support our democracy. Support the free media. Please be aware of the current challenges to all of them, and don’t be complacent
Speak up. We want the truth. And we want our country to come together and grow stronger. We are at a critical juncture. How we act now will determine whether our democracy grows stronger, or crumbles under the current attacks
Let’s all defend our democracy, our free press, our *independent* law enforcement agencies, and the independent Special Prosecutor investigation to uncover the truth [END]
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