Greenwald: Journalists Should Not Stop Scrutinizing Clinton Just Because Trump is Unfit for Office

StoryAugust 29, 2016
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Glenn Greenwald

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and one of the founding editors of The Intercept.

Media outlets have launched massive investigations into Donald Trump’s business and tax history, as well as probes into the lives and past work of his current and former campaign managers Steve Bannon and Paul Manafort. But are these same outlets and journalists refusing to scrutinize Hillary Clinton? For more, we speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: So, we’ve talked a lot about Hillary Clinton, and she did get a lot of negative attention this past week over these—the revelations of the Associated Press, but not as much as she would have, because of all that Donald Trump has been saying and tweeting and representing. Glenn Greenwald, what are your comments on Hillary Clinton’s opponent, Donald Trump?

GLENN GREENWALD: I mean, Donald Trump is—I mean, the tactic of the Democratic Party in the last 25 years—they know that ever since they became the party of sort of corporatism and Wall Street, they don’t inspire anybody, so their tactic is to say the Republican Party is the epitome of evil. Even when they have conventional nominees like Mitt Romney or John McCain, they demonize them and say they’re this unparalleled threat to democracy. In this election, just by coincidence, it happens to be true.

The person that the Republican Party has nominated, on a personal level, is extraordinarily unstable and vindictive and dangerous and narcissistic, in a way that you really wouldn’t trust him to occupy any minor political office, let alone command the military of the United States and the entire executive branch. The rhetoric that he’s been embracing over the past 18 months is extraordinarily frightening, because, even if he loses, he is emboldening extremist nationalism, racism, all kinds of bigotry. He’s giving license for its expression. He is serving as a galvanizing force for these very dangerous elements, not just in the American political culture, but in Europe and elsewhere throughout the right. And it’s just unthinkable to allow him anywhere near the White House, given the things that he wants to do, from deporting 11 million people to barring all Muslims from entering the country, and so many of the other things that he’s said. Even though he’s so unstable you don’t know if he would do any of them, the instability itself is so risky.

And so, this has become the real problem, is he is such a kind of dangerous presence on the American landscape that a lot of people have become afraid of doing their jobs and scrutinizing his opponent. And I think that that also is quite dangerous, even though I understand the motives behind it.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you, Glenn, about a piece you just recently wrote. It’s headlined "As Israel Prospers, Obama Set to Give Billions More in Aid While Netanyahu Demands Even More." Explain.

GLENN GREENWALD: You know, one of the things that happens during the election campaign is that all the focus of the media, and therefore the American public, goes to the personalities of the two candidates, and the U.S. government does incredibly important things, consequential things, that get ignored. And that’s a perfect example.

So, the United States already is by far the biggest benefactor of the Israeli government. We already give $3 billion a year in taxpayer money, in military aid, all sorts of other forms of aid, including diplomatic cover as they bomb Gaza, as they occupy the Palestinians, as they violate international law. It’s because the U.S. government enables this. And we transfer all this money to Israel, even though, in many ways, Israel is more prosperous and thriving and its citizens enjoy more benefits than American citizens do, including universal healthcare and free college, which Israelis enjoy but the U.S. doesn’t, as we transfer billions of dollars to them.

And so, one of the things that President Obama is doing, with almost no attention, is he has negotiated a deal with Israel to significantly increase the amount of money that Israel gets for 10 years, so no government, no future Congress can even reverse it, to give them many, many billions more than we’re already giving them. And the position of the Israeli government is "We’re angry that it’s not even more." There are some nuances there, such as questions about how much of that money has to be used to buy weapons from American manufacturers, but the idea is to keep Israel militarily superior to its neighbors to ensure that they can continue to dominate the region without challenge, and also domestic political reasons, for the Democratic Party to show voters who care about Israel, namely evangelical and Jewish voters, that they are doing even more for Israel. And it’s incredibly consequential. Given what Israel does to the Palestinians, it’s incredibly immoral. And yet it’s all being done with almost no debate, no bipartisan dispute and virtually zero media attention.

AMY GOODMAN: Glenn, we have to break, then we’re going to come back to wrap up this discussion. Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, speaking to us from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he lives. Stay with us.

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