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BUSH: Follow the money, don't chase it
FROM THE EDITOR

BUSH: Follow the money, don't chase it

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During Watergate, a secret source told Bob Woodward to "follow the money." Almost 50 years later, Woodward is apparently getting tips from Deep Pockets instead of Deep Throat. Instead of following the money, he's chasing it.

I have no idea how it happened but during a pandemic in an election year, no one stopped the President or members of his staff and advisors from sitting down for recorded interviews with one of the guys who broke the Watergate story and helped bring down a corrupt President five decades ago. That is a pretty significant failure in judgment.

Now, six months later, those chickens have come home to roost.

There are a lot of explosive statements being played and replayed on cable news outlets and I doubt that drumbeat goes silent for a couple of months.

Most of the time when President Donald Trump faces a scandal, supporters attack the press and shout "fake news." That will be harder to do this time since the words being used to attack him are his own.

They aren't just on the record. They're recorded. Once again, a lot of people knew about this and watched it happen. It's hard to believe no one had the wisdom or courage to stop it.

You'll never find people accusing me of being an apologist for the Trump administration. I've been a janitor, a funeral home assistant, night manager at a hotel and spent more than a quarter of a century doing just about every job a newspaper needs to have done. But even with my range of experience, I couldn't do the job of trying to make lemonade out of the daily harvest of lemons from President Trump's orchard.

But even as someone who will never wear a MAGA hat, how am I supposed to feel the urgency of all of these claims from Bob Woodward, John Bolton, Michael Cohen, Mary Trump and others who are cashing in on the anti-Trump crowd's appetite for salacious details?

It isn't that I don't believe them. Woodward has the recordings. Bolton was in the room where it happened. Cohen admits to committing some crimes himself.

But there is something about motive that troubles me with these opportunistic authors. When Deep Throat told Woodward to follow the money during the Richard Nixon administration, he didn't go meet with Carl Bernstein and start working on a book that would publish during an election cycle months later. He went to his editor and convinced him to publish the shocking material quickly.

If this were just a Stormy Daniels or excessive golf trips scandal, I could forgive Woodward for holding it back and cashing in. But during a pandemic when many of the claims being made are that the President knew what was going on and downplayed the severity of the disease leading to thousands of unnecessary deaths, Woodward isn't a savior, he is a co-conspirator.

If what is being alleged is true, not only did Trump know what was happening and downplay it, but Woodward had a recording and didn't mention it in one newspaper article, one television interview or on any social media platform even as the death toll rose.

I don't even care if Woodward, Bolton or Cohen's accusations are true. Like most people in the world, I had made my mind up about Trump long before the ink hit their pages. Trump supporters won't be swayed. Trump opponents didn't need any more evidence.

But if Woodward's claims in his book are true, I'm sure there are a lot of families who would have loved for that information to be available before their loved ones got very sick or died.

I'm not taking issue with the facts in these books. I'm just saying it is irresponsible to know these things and withhold that knowledge for months to make a profit.

Kent Bush is the editor of the Rapid City Journal. Reach him at kent.bush@lee.net

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