The inspector general report is careful in its conclusions, but damning on the facts.
That won’t be the message from Democrats and most of the press, who will focus on a few episodes they will claim cost Hillary Clinton an election. Watch for them to blame former FBI Director James Comey, whom the report faults for “a serious error of judgment,” for having “concealed information” from superiors, and for “violation of or disregard for” departmental and bureau policies.
True, the report is damning about the man who lectures Americans on “higher loyalty.” It describes how an “insubordinate” Mr. Comey was, as early as April 2016, considering how to cut his Justice Department bosses from a public statement exonerating Hillary Clinton. He hid this scheme for fear “they would instruct him not to do it”—and therefore was able to “avoid supervision.” He then “violated long-standing Department practice and protocol” by using his July 5 press conference for “criticizing Clinton’s uncharged conduct.” In October, he made public that the FBI had reopened the investigation, even though the Justice Department recommended he not do so. Mr. Comey went rogue, and President Trump had plenty of justification in firing him in May 2017.
Yet it is the report’s findings on the wider culture of the FBI and Justice Department that are most alarming. The report depicts agencies that operate outside the rules to which they hold everybody else, and that showed extraordinary bias while investigating two presidential candidates.
There’s Loretta Lynch, who felt it perfectly fine to have a long catch-up with her friend Bill Clinton on a Phoenix tarmac and whom the inspector general slams for an “error in judgment.” Read the rest of this entry »
D. O’Connor writes: A little over 40 years ago, Richard Nixon went from a landslide re-election winner to a president forced to resign in disgrace. Nixon’s downfall was the direct result of his unsuccessful attempts to politicize through patronage of an independent, straight-arrow FBI. The commonsense, ethical lesson from this for all government officials would be to avoid attempts to use our nation’s independent fact-finder as a partisan force.
There is as well, of course, a more perverse lesson to be learned from Nixon’s downfall at the hands of an independent FBI, to wit: there is much power to gain by politicizing the Bureau, but only if its upper-leadership team is all on partisan board. Emerging evidence increasingly suggests, sadly, that this was former FBI Director James Comey’s leadership strategy in our country’s most sensitive investigations.
In the years running up to the 1972 election, Deputy Associate FBI Director Mark Felt, serving under feisty bulldog J. Edgar Hoover, staunchly refused the entreaties of Nixon lieutenants to act politically, e.g., to whitewash an ITT/Republican bribery scheme and to lock up innocent war protestors. Felt, the natural successor to Hoover, fell out of White House favor as a result.
Following the death of Hoover in May 1972, Nixon appointed in place of Felt the decent but politically malleable L. Patrick Gray. When six weeks later five burglars were arrested in the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, Nixon’s Justice Department tried to limit, through Gray, the scope of the FBI’s investigation. Unfortunately for Nixon, regular Bureau agents, led quietly but spectacularly by Felt, fought these attempts, with a far worse result for Nixon than if the Bureau had been left alone to do its job. Read the rest of this entry »
‘It’s Not Syping Spying, it’s Investigating Spying’.
The revelation, stemming from recent reports in which FBI sources admitted sending an agent to snoop on the Trump camp, heightens suspicions that the FBI was seeking to entrap Trump campaign aides. Papodopoulous has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, while Page was the subject of a federal surveillance warrant.
“If the FBI or DOJ was infiltrating a campaign for the benefit of another campaign, that is a really big deal,” President Trump tweeted Saturday, calling for the FBI to release additional documents to Congress.
The Halper revelation also shows the Obama administration’s FBI began prying into the opposing party’s presidential nominee earlier than it previously admitted. Read the rest of this entry »
A Higher Priority: The Investigation of James Comey Raises Serious Questions Over His Leaking Of FBI MaterialPosted: April 24, 2018
Jonathan Turley writes:
… The release of the memos already contradicts critical aspects of Comey’s explanation for his leaking of the information. What is troubling is that many have worked mightily to avoid the clearly unprofessional aspects of Comey’s conduct. Comey could well be accurate in his account of Trump and justified in his concerns over Trump’s conduct but that does not excuse the actions that he has exhibited in both the leaking of the memos and the timing of his book. Comey’s best-selling book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, could prove tragically ironic if Comey showed a higher loyalty to himself in responding to his own firing rather than the investigation that he once headed. In the very least, there remains a serious question of Comey’s priorities in these matters.
Here is the column:
One day after the disclosure that the Justice Department inspector general has recommended criminal charges against former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, it has been confirmed that fired FBI director James Comey is under investigation by the same office for leaking information to the media. This disclosure followed the release of the Comey memos, which seriously undermined both Comey and his cadre of defenders. Four claims by Comey are now clearly refuted, and the memos reaffirm earlier allegations of serious misconduct.
James Comey was a leaker
For more than a year, various media experts have advanced dubious defenses for Comey, including the obvious problem that the man charged with investigating leaks became a leaker himself when as it suited him. Clearly, Comey removed the memos and did not allow for a predisclosure review of the material. Moreover, the memos were withheld by Comey’s surrogate, a Columbia University law professor, who reportedly read the information to the media.
If taking and disclosing memos were perfectly proper, why the surrogate and subterfuge? More importantly, Comey did not disclose the memos to Congress or hold copies for investigators. If Comey was not a leaker, then any fired FBI agent could do the same with nonpublic investigatory material. If the inspector general agreed with that position, then federal laws governing FBI material would become entirely discretionary and meaningless.
The memos were FBI material
Various media experts and journalists also defended Comey by portraying the memos as essentially diary entries. When I argued that the memos clearly were FBI material subject to limits on removal and disclosure, the response was disbelief. Legal expert and former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa said that these constituted “personal recollections,” and CNN legal expert and Brookings Institution fellow Susan Hennessey wrote, “It’s hard to even understand the argument for how Jim Comey’s memory about his conversation with the president qualifies as a record, even if he jotted it down while in his office.”
The plain fact, then and now, is that it’s hard to understand that it would be anything other than a record under federal rules. These were memos prepared on an FBI computer, in the course of an FBI investigation. All FBI agents sign a statement affirming that “all information acquired by me in connection with my official duties with the FBI and all official material to which I have access remain the property of the United States of America” and that an agent “will not reveal, by any means, any information or material from or related to FBI files or any other information acquired by virtue of my official employment to any unauthorized recipient without prior official written authorization by the FBI.” Read the rest of this entry »
Below is my column in USA Today on the rapid demise of James Comey and Andrew McCabe, who have fulfilled the very stereotypes drawn by President Donald Trump. Comey continues to spin the controversy over his book as fulfilling what he saw as a need for ethical leadership (i.e., Comey himself). Comey acknowledged that he never asked Mueller if he should wait on the book. Why? If you are so committed to the FBI and this investigation, why would you not ask about the possibly deleterious effects of a tell-all book (which discussed both public and nonpublic evidence). Clearly the book was not helpful to the investigation, but that did not matter to Comey who saw the greater need as advancing himself as the personification of virtue and ethics — while cashing in on the first tell-all book from a former FBI Director.
Here is the column:
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The House memo reveals disturbing facts about the misuse of FISA.
Now we know why the FBI tried so hard to block release of the House Intelligence Committee memo. And why Democrats and the media want to change the subject to Republican motivations. The four-page memo released Friday reports disturbing facts about how the FBI and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court appear to have been used to influence the 2016 election and its aftermath.
The White House declassified the memo Friday, and you don’t have to be a civil libertarian to be shocked by the details. The memo confirms that the FBI and Justice Department on Oct. 21, 2016 obtained a FISA order to surveil Carter Page, an American citizen who was a relatively minor volunteer adviser to the Trump presidential campaign.
The memo says an “essential” part of the FISA application was the “dossier” assembled by former British spy Christopher Steele and the research firm Fusion GPS that was hired by a law firm attached to the Clinton campaign. The memo adds that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told the committee in December 2017 that “no surveillance warrant would have been sought” without the dossier.
This is troubling enough, but the memo also discloses that the FBI failed to inform the FISA court that the Clinton campaign had funded the dossier. The memo says the FBI supported its FISA application by “extensively” citing a September 2016 article in Yahoo News that contained allegations against Mr. Page. But the FBI failed to tell the court that Mr. Steele and Fusion were the main sources for that Yahoo article. In essence the FBI was citing Mr. Steele to corroborate Mr. Steele.
Unlike a normal court, FISA doesn’t have competing pleaders. The FBI and Justice appear ex parte as applicants, and thus the judges depend on candor from both. Yet the FBI never informed the court that Mr. Steele was in effect working for the Clinton campaign. The FBI retained Mr. Steele as a source, and in October 2016 he talked to Mother Jones magazine without authorization about the FBI investigation and his dossier alleging collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. The FBI then fired Mr. Steele, but it never told the FISA judges about that either. Nor did it tell the court any of this as it sought three subsequent renewals of the order on Mr. Page. Read the rest of this entry »
Andrew C. McCarthy writes:
… First, the main questions that we need answered are:
- Were associates of President Trump, members of his campaign, or even Trump himself, subjected to foreign-intelligence surveillance (i.e., do the FISA applications name them as either targets or persons whose communications and activities would likely be monitored)?
- Was information from the Steele dossier used in FISA applications?
- If Steele-dossier information was so used, was it so central that FISA warrants would not have been granted without it?
- If Steele-dossier information was so used, was it corroborated by independent FBI investigation?
- If the dossier’s information was so used, was the source accurately conveyed to the court so that credibility and potential bias could be weighed (i.e., was the court told that the information came from an opposition-research project sponsored by the Clinton presidential campaign)?
- The FBI has said that significant efforts were made to corroborate Steele’s sensational claims, yet former director James Comey has acknowledged (in June 2017 Senate testimony) that the dossier was “unverified.” If the dossier was used in FISA applications in 2016, has the Justice Department — consistent with its continuing duty of candor in dealings with the tribunal — alerted the court that it did not succeed in verifying Steele’s hearsay reporting based on anonymous sources? Read the rest of this entry »
Alex Pappas reports: FBI Director Christopher Wray said Tuesday that his chief of staff, James Rybicki, was leaving the bureau, a development that follows President Trump taking aim at other senior FBI officials who worked under the former director, James Comey.
Rybicki, who served in the same position under Comey and continued his role under Wray, came under scrutiny from Republicans in recent months over his role in the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
But federal law enforcement sources told Fox News that Rybicki was not fired. His departure, they said, has “been in the works for a while.”
“Jim Rybicki notified me last month that he will be leaving the FBI to accept an opportunity in the corporate sector,” Wray said in a statement. “While this is an exciting move for the whole Rybicki family, Jim will be dearly missed by the FBI family — and by me personally.”
According to his FBI biography, Rybicki began his career at the Department of Justice in 2001 and has worked at the Office of Legislative Affairs, the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the National Security Division.
“His many years of dedication to the bureau and DOJ, his level-headed judgment and earnest professionalism, and his steady good cheer have been an asset to us all and have contributed greatly to the safety and security of our nation,” the FBI director said.
Wray said he has tapped attorney Zachary Harmon to replace Rybicki.
“Fortunately, I am pleased that Zachary Harmon has agreed to return to government service as our next chief of staff,” Wray said, mentioning how he has “worked closely together” with Harmon in the past. Read the rest of this entry »
Fusion DoJ: It’s Getting Hard to Tell Where the Clinton Campaign Ends and the Federal Law Enforcement Apparatus BeginsPosted: December 14, 2017
James Freeman reports: Is animus toward President Donald Trump a prerequisite for landing a job with special counsel Robert Mueller ? Recent revelations in Washington also raise again the question of what former President Barack Obama knew about the decisions of his FBI Director James Comey to exonerate Hillary Clinton and investigate Mr. Trump in 2016.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
A top FBI agent and an FBI lawyer, who were involved in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email arrangement and the probe into Russian electoral meddling, exchanged texts disparaging then-candidate Donald Trump, including calling him an “idiot” and a “menace,” according to copies of the messages the Justice Department provided Congress.
Peter Strzok, 47 years old, was one of the highest-ranking agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He was removed from his post with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling this past summer after a Justice Department watchdog launched an inquiry into the texts.
The messages between Mr. Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page include one in which Ms. Page tells him in August 2016: “Maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace.”
The New York Times reports on another 2016 text:
On July 27, Ms. Page wrote, “She just has to win now. I’m not going to lie, I got a flash of nervousness yesterday about Trump.” That text message was sent after the Clinton investigation had been closed. Days later, the F.B.I. began investigating possible coordination between Russian officials and the Trump campaign.
Recently the Journal’s Kim Strassel noted the stone wall against congressional oversight that has been constructed by Mr. Mueller, his Department of Justice colleagues, and Mr. Mueller’s deputies, many of whom have demonstrated their political opposition to the President.
Is there really no way to run a special counsel’s office or a federal law enforcement agency without appointing liberal political activists—or at least people with close ties to the President’s adversaries—to senior roles? Fox News reports:
A co-founder of the opposition research firm Fusion GPS acknowledged in a new court document that his company hired the wife of a senior Justice Department official to help investigate then-candidate Donald Trump last year.
When the flawed story broke, the investigations editor was out of town.
While Haris was away, his group published a story on CNN.com that reported — citing a single anonymous source — that Senate investigators were looking into a meeting between a member of President Trump’s transition team, Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci, and an executive of a Russian investment fund before Trump took office. The story seemed to advance the narrative of ties between Trump campaign officials and people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
One problem: When challenged on the particulars of the story, CNN acknowledged that it couldn’t stand by it. It retracted it and apologized to Scaramucci on Saturday. On Monday, Haris and the editor and reporter of the piece, Eric Lichtblau and Thomas Frank, resigned from CNN.
The sequence of events led Trump to take a kind of victory lap on Tuesday. He turned to Twitter to bash CNN and other media outlets (including The Washington Post) that have aggressively reported on his associates’ connections to Russian officials during the 2016 campaign and pre-inaugural period.
“Wow, CNN had to retract big story on “Russia,” with 3 employees forced to resign. What about all the other phony stories they do? FAKE NEWS!” Trump tweeted. He added later, “Fake News CNN is looking at big management changes now that they got caught falsely pushing their phony Russian stories. Ratings way down!”
In fact, CNN isn’t looking at “big management changes,” according to senior executives at the network. But Trump — long resistant to admitting his own falsehoods— is unlikely to correct his tweet anytime soon. He has also been silent about errors committed by other news organizations, such as Fox News, that he deems to be friendly. Read the rest of this entry »
Another widespread cyber attack is causing massive problems across Europe Tuesday.
Ukraine has been hit particularly hard as government and company officials have reported serious intrusions across the Ukrainian power grid, banks and government offices. The country’s prime minister says that the cyber attack affecting his country is “unprecedented,” but “vital systems haven’t been affected.”
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Pavlo Rozenko on Tuesday posted a picture of a darkened computer screen to Twitter, saying that the computer system at the government’s headquarters has been shut down.
There’s very little information about who might be behind the disruption, but technology experts who examined screenshots circulating on social media said it bears the hallmarks of ransomware, the name given to programs that hold data hostage by scrambling it until a payment is made.
“A massive ransomware campaign is currently unfolding worldwide,” said Romanian cybersecurity company Bitdefender. In a telephone interview, Bitdefender analyst Bogdan Botezatu said that he had examined samples of the program and that it appeared to be nearly identical to GoldenEye, one of a family of hostage-taking programs that has been circulating for months. Read the rest of this entry »
Itay Hod reports: Three CNN employees have handed in their resignations over a retracted story linking president Trump to Russia, the network announced Monday.
Thomas Frank, who wrote the story in question; Eric Lichtblau, an editor in the unit; and Lex Haris, who oversaw the unit, have all left CNN.
“In the aftermath of the retraction of a story published on CNN.com, CNN has accepted the resignation of the employees involved in the story’s publication,” a network spokesperson told TheWrap in a statement.
On Thursday, CNN investigative reporter Thomas Frank published a story involving an investigation into a Russian investment fund with possible ties to several Trump associates.
According to the network, an internal investigation found that “some standard editorial processes were not followed when the article was published.”
Citing a single unnamed source, the story reported that Congress was investigating a “Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials.”
CNN explained Monday that “these types of stories” usually would go through several departments, including fact-checkers, journalism standards experts and lawyers.
But the network says there was a “breakdown in editorial workflow” which “disturbed the CNN executives who learned about it.”
The network’s investigative unit was told during a meeting on Monday that the retraction did not necessarily mean the facts of the story were wrong. But, rather, “the story wasn’t solid enough to publish as-is,” according CNN.com.
The story, which only appeared on the network’s site, was quickly disputed on Friday, as one Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci — who was mentioned in the story — pushed back on Frank’s reporting, insisting he “did nothing wrong.” Read the rest of this entry »
The FBI tried to claim that the shooting at the baseball field was spontaneous and had no target, despite all evidence to the contrary.
Mollie Hemingway writes: The FBI gave an utterly bizarre update on its investigation into an attempt to assassinate Republican members of Congress. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) remains in the hospital from the attempt on his life in which two police officers and a congressional staffer were also shot. The hospital upgraded his condition to “fair” and said he faces a long recovery.
Americans may know, thanks to public social media profiles, that attempted murderer James Hodgkinson was an active Democratic activist and Bernie Sanders campaign volunteer who hated Republican members of Congress. He held membership in multiple social media groups strongly opposed to Republicans, such as “The Road to Hell Is Paved With Republicans,” “Join the Resistance Worldwide,” “Donald Trump is not my President,” “Terminate the Republican Party,” “Boycott the Republican Party,” and “Expose Republican Fraud,” among dozens of other groups. He was a voracious consumer of liberal media and believed the conspiracy theory that Donald Trump colluded with Russia to secure the White House.
The FBI admits that Hodgkinson:
- vociferously raged against Republicans in online forums,
- had a piece of paper bearing the names of six members of Congress,
- was reported for doing target practice outside his home in recent months before moving to Alexandria,
- had mapped out a trip to the DC area,
- took multiple photos of the baseball field he would later shoot up, three days after the New York Times mentioned that Republicans practiced baseball at an Alexandria baseball field with little security,
- lived out of his van at the YMCA directly next door to the baseball field he shot up,
- legally purchased a rifle in March 2003 and 9 mm handgun “in November 2016,”
- modified the rifle at some point to accept a detachable magazine and replaced the original stock with a folding stock,
- rented a storage facility to hide hundreds of rounds of ammunition and additional rifle components,
- asked “Is this the Republican or Democrat baseball team?” before firing on the Republicans,
- ran a Google search for information on the “2017 Republican Convention” hours before the shooting,
- and took photos at high-profile Washington locations, including the east front plaza of the U.S. Capitol and the Dirksen Senate Office.
A police officer has been stabbed in the back and neck at an airport in Michigan, police say.
The officer is in hospital recovering. “Please keep the officer in your prayers,” said Michigan State Police on Twitter.
The Bishop International Airport in Flint has been evacuated and additional officers have been stationed at city hall, officials say.
The officer appears to have been targeted, police tell local media.
Local media report that the officer is Lieutenant Jeff Neville, who is now in a stable condition.
One suspect is in custody.
The incident took place shortly after 09:00 local time on Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »
If you end the rule of law, you begin the rule of power, and the rule of power means the folks with the most guns rule.
Kurt Schlichter writes: You have to wonder how liberals think this works. So, a manifestly conflicted special counsel leading a pack of maxed-out Democrat donors decides Donald Trump has to be kicked out of office for “obstructing justice” regarding a cynical lie about him cavorting with the Kremlin and…then what? President Pence, until they do the same thing to him? Or do we just skip right to President Felonia von Pantsuit, shrug our shoulders, and give up on our foolish dream of having a say in our own governance?
Straightforward from here is…chaos.
Because normal Americans are woke to the scam. No, the affidavits of a zillion DC/NY establishment types attesting to Robert Mueller’s impeccable integrity – ever notice how the guy trying to hose us always has the establishment’s “impeccable integrity” merit badge – are not going to make us unsee the fact that he’s carrying water for an establishment that thinks we need to just shut up and obey.
Now, pulling off the soft coup is going to be harder than they think. The establishment has not thought this out. They sort of assume that if they squelch Trump then everything somehow just goes back to them being in unchallenged control. Wrong.
Mueller can’t indict Trump – that stupid Constitution, always getting in the way! No, the goal is for Mueller and his crack team of committed liberal activist lawyers to generate some head-shaking, tsk-tsk, more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger, report claiming Trump “obstructed” the probe into Hillary’s Trump/Russia collusion lie that even the liberals reluctantly acknowledge never happened.
But their problem is that impeachment is a purely political act – this isn’t going to get tried before some leftist DC judge and a 96% Democrat DC jury. No, they have to convince the Republican members of the House of Representatives to impeach and, well, have you taken a look at a political map of the US lately? It’s as red as a baseball field full of conservatives after a Bernie Bro shows up with a rifle. Read the rest of this entry »
Oh my god! Investigate!
Matt Vespa writes: Prior to the testimony given by Attorney General Jeff Sessions before the Senate Intelligence Committee this week, there was a lot of chatter about his third undisclosed meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Depending on whom you read, like the LA Times or the Associated Press, Sessions denied the third meeting, while NBC News says the attorney general said it was “conceivable” a third rendezvous occurred, but he cannot recollect what happened. He did stress that nothing improper had occurred.
Sessions has been under fire for answers he gave to Sens. Al Franken (D-MN) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) about his interactions with the Russians, including two meetings that he did not disclose. At the same time, both questions were within the parameters of the 2016 campaign, not in his former capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The second meeting at the RNC Convention was facilitated by an initiative from the Obama administration. To rehash, here’s what was asked of Sessions during his confirmation hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee:
FRANKEN: CNN just published a story alleging that the intelligence community provided documents to the president-elect last week, that included information that “Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.” These documents also allegedly say “there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.” Again, I’m telling you this as it’s coming out, so, you know.
But if it’s true, it’s obviously extremely serious, and if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?
SESSIONS: Senator Franken, I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.
FRANKEN: Very well.
[LEAHY:] Several of the President-Elect’s nominees or senior advisers have Russian ties. Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after Election Day?
[Sessions] RESPONSE: No. Read the rest of this entry »
Syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor on the New York Times being forced to correct an editorial that cited a long-debunked theory about Sarah Palin and 2011 shooting of Gabby Giffords. Plus, how to de-escalate rhetoric.
“Commonsense suggestion by a journalist, am talking to attorneys this [morning] and exploring options,” she said. “[By the way], wonder WHY someone would no longer be in public eye? Think constant libel & slander have anything to do with it?”
— Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) June 15, 2017
(2/2) …WHY someone would no longer be in public eye? Think constant libel & slander have anything to do with it? 🤔
— Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) June 15, 2017
Attached to one of her tweets was an article that questioned whether Palin has “a libel case” against the Times.
The paper on Thursday corrected an editorial that claimed there was a “clear” link between the shooting of Giffords and Palin.
The original version of the Times editorial, which focused on the shooting Wednesday at a recreational congressional Republican baseball practice outside of Washington, D.C., said “the link to political incitement was clear” in the Giffords shooting … (read more)
Shame on the New York Times. Shame.
Its editorial about yesterday’s shooting doesn’t just twist the truth; it may be libelous.
David French writes: The New York Times published its editorial in response to yesterday’s vicious, violent, and explicitly political attack on Congressional Republicans — an attack that wounded four and left Representative Steve Scalise in critical condition in a Washington-area hospital — and it is abhorrent. It is extraordinarily cruel, vicious, and — above all — dishonest. The editorial doesn’t just twist the truth to advance the board’s preferred narratives; it may even be libelous, a term I choose carefully.
Yesterday’s shooter, James Hodgkinson, left little doubt as to his political leanings and his political motivations. He was a vocal Bernie Sanders supporter, belonged to Facebook groups with names such as “Terminate the Republican Party” and “The Road to Hell is paved with Republicans,” and he was constantly sharing angry anti-GOP messages and memes. Before opening fire, he reportedly asked whether the players on the baseball field were Democrats or Republicans. In other words, all available signs point to an act of lone-wolf progressive political terror. Read the rest of this entry »
Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) and Attorney General Jeff Sessions got into a heated exchange when Mr. Wyden accused Mr. Sessions of “stonewalling” by declining to answer questions about his conversations with President Trump.
Bob Fredericks writes: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) comically mocked the allegations that Attorney General Jeff Sessions collluded with the Russians during a campaign event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington during a campaign …
“It’s just like through the looking glass. I mean, what is this? I explained how in good faith I said I had not met with Russians because they were suggesting I as a surrogate had been meeting continuously with Russians. I didn’t meet with them.”
— Attorney General Jeff Sessions
“Mr. Sessions, are you familiar with what spies call trade craft?” Cotton asked, prompting the attorney general to warily reply, “A little bit.”
“That involves things like covert communications and dead drops and brush passes, right? Do you like spy fiction? Do you like Jason Bourne or James Bond movies?” Cotton continued before slamming the probe.
“Have you ever, ever in any of these fantastical situations heard of a plot line so ridiculous that a sitting United States senator and an ambassador of a foreign government colluded at an open setting with hundreds of other people to pull off the greatest caper in the history of espionage?” he asked, prompting Sessions to laugh for the first time during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. Read the rest of this entry »
Special counsel’s team includes former Clinton Foundation lawyer, contributors to Obama, Hillary, more.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich sparked a mini-meltdown in the media Monday with a tweet challenging the fairness of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair,” he tweeted. “Look who he is hiring.check fec [sic] reports. Time to rethink.”
He’s not wrong about the donations. Four top lawyers hired by Mueller have contributed tens of thousands of dollars over the years to the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates, including former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton.
One of the hires, Jeannie Rhee, also worked as a lawyer for the Clinton Foundation and helped persuade a federal judge to block a conservative activist’s attempts to force Bill and Hillary Clinton to answer questions under oath about operations of the family-run charity.
Campaign-finance reports show that Rhee gave Clinton the maximum contributions of $2,700 in 2015 and again last year to support her presidential campaign. She also donated $2,300 to Obama in 2008 and $2,500 in 2011. While still at the Justice Department, she gave $250 to the Democratic National Committee Services Corp. Read the rest of this entry »
Greg Evans writes: Full-page ads in today’s The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post feature a striking image and little text to explain: “The Russians Are Here” says a banner headline, above a Washington Monument shrouded in an old Soviet-style hammer and sickle flag.
Smaller text at the bottom of the page reads: THERUSSIANSAREHERE.ORG. An anti-Trump faction? An alarmist watchdog?
Nah. The ad actually is a well-disguised For Your Consideration ad for FX’s The Americans, and the web address opens with a photo of gun-toting stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys surrounded by laudatory critics’ quotes. Click on the page’s “FYC” icon and up pops a roster of 11 cast members FX suggests is Emmy-worthy.
Another click takes you to a page full of videos of Season 5 episodes, plus a few promos. Read the rest of this entry »
Deregulation: Former FBI director James Comey‘s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee was the fixation of Washington on Thursday. But the big story was on the House side of Congress, which passed a bill to repeal the ruinous Dodd-Frank banking law.
The Financial Choice Act, approved in the House by a 233-to-186 vote (no Democrats voted for the bill), has generated almost zero attention. But it has the potential to be the most economically beneficial legislation Congress will consider this year.
Put simply, Dodd-Frank has been a complete failure. Signed into law by President Obama almost seven years ago in the wake of the financial crisis, this massive law was supposed to, in his words, “be good for the economy … foster innovation … stop taxpayer bailouts once and for all.”
It has lived up to zero of those promises.
Dodd-Frank’s 22,000 pages of regulations, which cost $36 billion to comply with in the first six years, has choked competition in the banking industry, made banking more expensive, harmed economic growth and, to top it off, failed to make the banking system safer or end “too-big-to-fail.”
Since Dodd-Frank became law, for example, more than 1,700 banks have disappeared — more than one a day, on average. The banking industry got more concentrated.
Kurt Schlichter writes: That towering doofus James Comey crushed the spirits of millions of democracy-hating geebos when, trapped by his own prior testimony, he was forced to admit the truth on national television. And that truth, as those of us not caught up in the whirlpool of Menschian insanity and liberal wishcasting all know, is that the whole Russia thing is a wheelbarrow of fresh Schumer squeezed out by Hillary and her minions in order to create a narrative – any narrative – that would hide the bitter truth. We rejected her, and now we’re rejecting the Russia idiocy too.
Poor Comey, having to contort his grossly-elongated body into something like a pose of victimhood in front of the unforgiving glare of the TV lights. And all the time watched by eager, credulous resisters, taking their day off from their usual routine of sponging and posing, and gathering at mid-day to view the proceedings from lame urban bars with dorky names like “The Peculiar Muskrat & Sons,” while clutching cucumber-infused IPAs and sipping twee mixed drinks specially-formulated so that their femboy imbibers don’t start crying because they taste actual alcohol.
Where were the TREASON BOMBSHELLS OF TREASON!!!!!!!!!!! they were promised? Probably somewhere near the jobs they were promised they’d get with their degrees in Intersectional Feminist Marketing or Gender Neutral Namibian Poetry that they took out $250,000 in loans to pay for.
Comey’s opinion of his own rectitude is formidable – he’s the only honest guy there is, you know – and he loves to be seen furrowing his brow under the crushing weight of his own goodness in a way Ben Sasse no doubt envies during those moments when Senator Sanctimony isn’t busy grinning like a moron at liberal media jerks’ racial epithets. However, similarly exaggerated is Comey’s opinion of himself as a cunning bureaucratic player. He thinks he’s the King of the DC Power Gamers; instead, he’s more like that feckless Games of Thrones prince who ends up losing his Harry Reid. Read the rest of this entry »
PUNDITOCALYPSE! Alan Dershowitz: Comey Confirms that I’m Right – and All the Democratic Commentators are WrongPosted: June 8, 2017
Alan Dershowitz writes: In his testimony former FBI director James Come echoed a view that I alone have been expressing for several weeks, and that has been attacked by nearly every Democratic pundit.
Comey confirmed that under our Constitution, the president has the authority to direct the FBI to stop investigating any individual. I paraphrase, because the transcript is not yet available: the president can, in theory, decide who to investigate, who to stop investigating, who to prosecute and who not to prosecute. The president is the head of the unified executive branch of government, and the Justice Department and the FBI work under him and he may order them to do what he wishes.
As a matter of law, Comey is 100 percent correct. As I have long argued, and as Comey confirmed in his written statement, our history shows that many presidents—from Adams to Jefferson, to Lincoln, to Roosevelt, to Kennedy, to Bush 1, and to Obama – have directed the Justice Department with regard to ongoing investigations. The history is clear, the precedents are clear, the constitutional structure is clear, and common sense is clear.
Yet virtually every Democratic pundit, in their haste to “get” President Trump, has willfully ignored these realities. In doing so they have endangered our civil liberties and constitutional rights.
Now that even former Director Comey has acknowledged that the Constitution would permit the president to direct the Justice Department and the FBI in this matter, let us put the issue of obstruction of justice behind us once and for all and focus on the political, moral, and other non-criminal aspects of President Trump’s conduct.
Comey’s testimony was devastating with regard to President Trump’s credibility – at least as Comey sees it. He was also critical of President Trump’s failure to observe the recent tradition of FBI independence from presidential influence. Read the rest of this entry »
Kevin Daley writes: Former FBI Director James Comey acknowledged that he orchestrated the leak of a memorandum detailing his private interactions with President Donald Trump during testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Thursday morning.
“I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter,” Comey said. “I didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons.”
He added that he did so in hopes that his account might spur the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the Trump campaign’s contacts with elements of the Russian government, and any subsequent cover up.
The leak to The New York Times’ Michael Schmidt appears to have come by way of Daniel Richman, a Columbia Law School professor and close friend of the former director. The New Yorker describes Richman as Comey’s “unofficial media surrogate.”
Comey told Maine GOP Sen. Collins that he transmitted the memos to TheNYT through a friend at Columbia Law School.
At the hearing’s conclusion, the president’s personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, told reporters that Comey conceded to making unauthorized disclosures to undermine the president. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the most interesting new disclosures today in the Comey hearing was the admission by former FBI Director James Comey that he intentionally used a “friend” on the Columbia law faculty to leak his memos to the media. Comey says that he did so to force the appointment of a Special Counsel. However, those memos could be viewed as a government record and potential evidence in a criminal investigation.
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Ian Schwartz reports: FOX News Chief Intelligence Correspondent Catherine Herridge reacts to former FBI director James Comey‘s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. Herridge said she can not recall a time when a former FBI director deliberately leaked a memo to start an investigation or change the entire focus of an investigation going forward.
“What you can draw here from that testimony is that once he left the office of FBI director, he was not necessarily a person of principle. He made a decision to leak information on an anonymous basis in the hope of really changing the entire focus of the Russia investigation going forward.”
“I can’t remember a time ever where a former FBI director has deliberately leaked the contents of a government document so it would get to a reporter in the hopes that it would prompt a special counsel investigation,” Herridge said Thursday afternoon.
“What you can draw here from that testimony is that once he left the office of FBI director, he was not necessarily a person of principle,” Herridge said. “He made a decision to leak information on an anonymous basis in the hope of really changing the entire focus of the Russia investigation going forward.”
CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS: I can’t remember a time ever where a former FBI director has deliberately leaked the contents of a government document so it would get to a reporter in the hopes that it would prompt a special counsel investigation. Read the rest of this entry »
How the AFP reports it:
Comey said that report was wrong and so are many reports that relate to intelligence material.
“In the main, it was not true. And again, all of you know this, many of the American people don’t. The challenge — and I’m not picking on reporters — about writing on classified information is the people talking about it often don’t really know what’s going on. And those of us that know what’s going on aren’t talking about it. And we don’t call the press to say, ‘hey, you got that thing wrong about this sensitive topic.’ We just have to leave it there.”
The ‘Independent’ Mr. Comey
The Senate Intelligence Committee released James Comey’s prepared testimony a day early on Wednesday, and it looks like a test of whether Washington can apprehend reality except as another Watergate. Perhaps the defrocked FBI director has a bombshell still to drop. But far from documenting an abuse of power by President Trump, his prepared statement reveals Mr. Comey’s misunderstanding of law enforcement in a democracy.
Mr. Comey’s seven-page narrative recounts his nine encounters with the President-elect and then President, including an appearance at Trump Tower, a one-on-one White House dinner and phone calls. He describes how he briefed Mr. Trump on the Russia counterintelligence investigation and what he calls multiple attempts to “create some sort of patronage relationship.”
But at worst Mr. Comey’s account of Mr. Trump reveals a willful and naive narcissist who believes he can charm or subtly intimidate the FBI director but has no idea how Washington works. This is not new information.
When you’re dining alone in the Green Room with an operator like Mr. Comey—calculating, self-protective, one of the more skilled political knife-fighters of modern times—there are better approaches than asserting “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.” Of course the righteous director was going to “memorialize” (his word) these conversations as political insurance.
Mr. Trump’s ham-handed demand for loyalty doesn’t seem to extend beyond the events of 2016, however. In Mr. Comey’s telling, the President is preoccupied with getting credit for the election results and resentful that the political class is delegitimizing his victory with “the cloud” of Russian interference when he believes he did nothing wrong.
Mr. Comey also confirms that on at least three occasions he told Mr. Trump that he was not a personal target of the Russia probe. But Mr. Comey wouldn’t make a public statement to the same effect, “most importantly because it would create a duty to correct” if Mr. Trump were implicated. This is odd because the real obligation is to keep quiet until an investigation is complete. Read the rest of this entry »
Judson Berger reports: James Comey plans to testify Thursday that in the months before he was fired as FBI director, President Trump sought his “loyalty” while also pressing him to “lift the cloud” of the Russia investigation and lay off Michael Flynn, according to written testimony released ahead of his Senate committee appearance.
The prepared remarks for his opening statement, released by the Senate Intelligence Committee, also make clear that Comey repeatedly assured Trump he was not personally under investigation.
Comey’s statement detailed several meetings he had with Trump dating back to January.
He extensively described a Jan. 27 dinner where he said Trump told him: “I need loyalty. I expect loyalty.”
Comey plans to say as well that Trump sought help ending any probe of former national security adviser Flynn, reiterating previously published reports about such claims.
Comey’s testimony will mark his first Capitol Hill appearance since his firing a month ago. Lawmakers are eager to hear his side, amid a raft of reports suggesting Trump had pressured Comey over investigations of Russian meddling in the election and coordination with his associates.
Trump has denied pressuring Comey as well as any collusion with Russia.
If Comey’s opening statement is any gauge, Thursday’s testimony will be explosive. Read the rest of this entry »
The Private Jim Comey.
The media are pitching James Comey’s Thursday testimony as the biggest since Watergate, and the former FBI director may provide high Trump ian drama. Let’s hope Congress also challenges Mr. Comey on matters he’d rather not talk about.
The politically savvy Mr. Comey has a knack for speaking in congenial forums such as the clubby Senate Intelligence Committee he’ll address Thursday. By contrast he is refusing to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee—where he came under a grilling in May, days before he was fired—though there is no bar to him testifying more than once.
Circa News is also reporting (and we have confirmed) that Mr. Comey is refusing to answer seven questions sent to him in a letter from Judiciary on May 26. The bipartisan request is from Republican Chairman Chuck Grassley and ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein, as well as the chairman and ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism.
The questions are aimed at discovering how the contents of Mr. Comey’s famous “memo” to himself came to be splashed across the press. This still private memo reportedly says President Trump asked Mr. Comey to back off an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and its contents surfaced in the New York Times not long after Mr. Comey was fired—courtesy of an unidentified Comey “associate.”
The Judiciary letter asks if Mr. Comey created other memos about interactions with Justice Department officials or Mr. Trump; if he shared the contents of his memos with people inside or outside the Justice Department; if he retained copies of the memos, and if so to turn them over to the committee.
We’re told Mr. Comey replied via email that he didn’t have to answer the questions because he is now a “private citizen.” But that same private citizen will be opining in front of a national TV audience before a committee investigating serious questions of law and intelligence … (read more)
…but probably won’t.
David Harsanyi writes: Almost a month after President Donald Trump fired him, former FBI Director James Comey is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.
Comey will reportedly claim that the president asked for his “loyalty” but that he “demurred.” A keeper of meticulous notes, Comey will also likely testify that the president asked him to drop the Michael Flynn investigation only days after the national security advisor was fired. “I hope you can let this go,” the president purportedly told Comey. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.”
One imagines that special counsel Robert Mueller would not have agreed to allow Comey to testify publicly in the middle of ongoing investigation if the content of his testimony implicated the president in a criminal offense. Comey also won’t be able to shed light on the ongoing investigations. Still, there’s lots of anticipation out there. And there are a slew of questions Comey should answer.
For instance: As the former head of the FBI, do you believe your private conversation with the president rose to the level of obstruction of justice? Was it your impression that the president was speaking extemporaneously about an investigation, offering an opinion about its prospects and your actions, or do you believe he was demanding or insisting that the FBI drop the investigation into Michael Flynn?
Do you believe the president exhibited criminal intent?
Were there any other occasions in which the president brought up Flynn, or any other ongoing investigation of his campaign or administration officials? If so, what was the substance and tone of those conversations? Read the rest of this entry »