Confirmation bias is the tendency to interpret new information as confirming one’s existing beliefs, even when the information is at odds with those beliefs. If you’re looking for a real-world example of this phenomenon, look no further than California Congresswomen Maxine Waters (D).
After listening to testimony Monday by FBI Director James Comey, in which he confirmed something everyone already knew — which is that his agency is investigating possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump’s election team and Russia — Waters triumphally tweeted:
Get ready for impeachment.
— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) March 21, 2017
But then she turned around and confirmed another bias, this one against Comey, of whom she said in a statement posted to her official site:
I think the American people now understand one reason why I believe FBI Director Comey has no credibility and why I’ve said that we need an independent commission to uncover the truth. Today, in publicly confirming the FBI is investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and the Kremlin’s possible coordination with individuals associated with the Trump campaign, Director Comey also disclosed that the investigation has been ongoing since July 2016. Director Comey needs to answer one question: If he had information about the extent of Russia’s efforts to hack Donald Trump’s political opponents last July, why would he effectively advance their efforts by releasing a letter confirming a review of “newly uncovered” Clinton emails recovered from an unrelated investigation in October that turned out to reveal no new information? Why did special circumstances in that instance warrant the FBI Director publicly commenting on Clinton emails but not the fact that Russia was waging an attack on our democracy, possibly in coordination with individuals associated with the Trump campaign?.
I believe that Director Comey bears some responsibility, along with the Russians, in adding to the confusion and misinformation campaign that led to the election of Donald Trump. Now, Director Comey presides over an FBI under a Department of Justice headed by an Attorney General who lied under oath, and both serve under a President who has shown he will stop at nothing to obstruct and distract from any credible investigations of his campaign’s ties to Russia.
Even more troubling, based on the House Intel Republicans’ exclusive focus during today’s hearing on the leaks and not the Russian cyberattacks, it is clear to me that the House Intelligence Committee under the leadership of Chairman Nunes cannot be trusted to thoroughly investigate this matter. In fact, the Republicans’ questioning was more in line with President Trump’s incendiary tweets than the actual intelligence the members received from the public servants charged with ensuring our national security. Republicans must remember that Russia is not our ally and they better believe that the Russians and Putin would order a cyberattack on Republicans if it suited their geopolitical goals. Given the political motivations driving the White House and Republicans in Congress, we need a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the Russian interference in our election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
Fox News reported:
Some have noted that Waters’ latest tweet also comes less than 24 hours after the directors of both the FBI and the National Security Agency confirmed to the House Intelligence Committee that they have seen no evidence to support President Trump’s claim that President Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower.
In February, Waters suggested that the president was “leading himself to impeachment” over what she called his “unconstitutional” executive order on immigration. At the time, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer responded by suggesting that it’s comments like that one that make “you realize that [lawmakers] really missed the message that voters sent this November.
As for Waters, she has been beating the drum for impeachment since before Trump’s inauguration. Recently she posted a picture to her website titled “Trump’s Kremlin Klan” for which she claimed authorship. Maybe she views this is another piece of evidence of the president’s guilt. It’s hard to know what — or if — Maxine Waters thinks.
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