What Am I Missing Here?

When asked in today’s House Intelligence Committee meeting about President Trump’s tweets that the Obama Administration had put Candidate Trump and his campaign under surveillance, FBI Director James Comey said:

“I have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefully inside the FBI. The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all its components. The department has no information that supports those tweets.”

comeyHowever, on his own Director Comey also said

“I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts. As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.

Because it is an open ongoing investigation and is classified, I cannot say more about what we are doing and whose conduct we are examining.”

Now wait a minute. Comey says there is absolutely no evidence that there was any surveillance of Trump or individuals associated with his campaign … and then he says the FBI has had Trump and his associates under investigation since July?

Whaaa?

Is he truly asking us to believe that they were doing an investigation of Trump and his associates WITHOUT any surveillance? How do you do that?

Again I ask … what am I missing here?

w.

[UPDATE] A commenter asked for the source of the statement that the investigation started in July. Here you go, from the same testimony:

COMEY: It’s hard to say because I don’t how much longer it will take. But we’ve been doing this — this investigation began in late July, so for counterintelligence investigation that’s a fairly short period of time.

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53 thoughts on “What Am I Missing Here?

  1. I was listening to Mr Limbow while finishing a kitchen job and that double speak stood out in the first two sound bytes he played. They are attempting to claim they are not “wire tapping” Trump based on the grounds they did not write his name down, specifically. They did and are surveilling his businesses/ offices and homes, but that is not the same as surveilling him as long as they don’t use HIS name. Silent coup, this is what it sounds like.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” – Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass (1872), so I guess word twisters have been with us as long as words have been…

    Liked by 1 person

    • ‘That’s a great deal to make one word mean,’ Alice said in a thoughtful tone.

      ‘When I make a word do a lot of work like that,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘I always pay it extra.’

      ‘Oh!’ said Alice. She was too much puzzled to make any other remark.

      ‘Ah, you should see ’em come round me of a Saturday night,’ Humpty Dumpty went on, wagging his head gravely from side to side, ‘for to get their wages, you know.’

      (Alice didn’t venture to ask what he paid them with; and so you see I can’t tell you.)

      w.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. “and then he says the FBI has had Trump and his associates under investigation since July?” Please include that quote.

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  4. The whole show is a put on in my view, to me Comey is playing both sides and anyways to us these hearings are totally useless. NOBODY is going to tell the truth. It is all double speak and an attempt to deflect what is really going on and that is to stop Trump. And that is coming from both sides!

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    • Thanks, quneill. I’m constantly astounded by how the media mistakes the White House Press Corps for the the White House. Some tweet of the President’s will put the media in a big kerfuffle, and they get all distracted and flustered.

      Which would be OK, but then they ask “How much is the White House side-tracked by all of these things that are going on here? How much of the President’s agenda can they get done with all of this noise and confusion?”

      And meanwhile, as you say, the actual White House is not bothered in the slightest, because Trump is out “doing things”.

      w.

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      • Reminds me of a busy bar, bartender bouncing from customer to customer, cooks and wait staff bustling about, patrons talking and dancing and arguing and playing pool. A person walks in the front door, surveys the since and immediately declares there is no possibility that work is getting done and demands all employees be fired. That is the press and Democrat Party, talking and dancing and arguing and demanding the Trump Admin all be fired because no work is getting done, and all the while the work IS getting done, just like that bar. DJT simply ignores the noise, or throws in some random numbers just for sh*ts&giggles, and gets the work done. Outstanding!!!!!!

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      • “Some tweet of the President’s will put the media in a big kerfuffle, and they get all distracted and flustered.”
        I think this kind of opposition disorientation is what he specializes in. What is amazing is that with a little examination it’s so obvious. But he now has even Fox confused on some things like the initial media report on the Trump tower surveillance which he twittered and then the MSM insisted that he prove their own reporting.

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  5. The media showed part of the committee in the UK, cut in and then ignored the hard questioning about legality of the leaks and possible investigation. Also, Comey said that he could not comment on whether a court application had been sought to tap Trump. Why this has to be kept secret is incomprehensible. If the administration asked him to investigate Trump’s links with Russia in July, surely this must have been influenced by the then Democrat government.

    Something never brought up by the media in the UK is- why is it wrong for a possible incoming president to talk to representatives of a foreign country in order to form a policy. If the Russian ambassador wishes to talk about a way out of confrontation, sanctions, Syria etc why is it wrong to discuss this. Presumably, when the Trump team member who met Russians, and were then dismissed after leaks from security, this was not in secret and there was not intention to harm the US position.

    Lastly, there is assertion, not evidence, that the hacks were Russian. They do not say why the hacks were not private Russsian hackers or whether other hackers could have released information to Wikileaks, or whether the private computers could have easily been hacked and were a security risk to the US.

    Needless to say, the media are ignoring all this and just discussing Trump’s wrong- doing and whether he will last the presidency.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My time in military I was taught a very valuable truth. The person in command is responsible for all actions of their subordinates. Barrack Hussein Obama was President, all actions taken by all members of all US government agencies lie at his feet, he was in command they obeyed his orders. Funny how only Republicans are held to this standard, Democrats always escape their legal liabilities.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Exactly, now whatever happened to that sign off the desk, maybe it’s up in the attic somewhere or down in the cellar. You’ll know it when you see it, it’s the one that says ” The buck stops here”.

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        • People need to be shouting from the roof tops that there are over 100 Officers and NCOs currently serving time in prison for the actions of their subordinates. Actions they were not involved directly in nor had knowledge of at the time they occurred. It is long past time for government officials, elected, appointed and hired, to be held to the same legal standard as a corporal, lieutenant or general.

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    • Assange insists that the hacks were not Russian, but even with his high long term credibility, that matters little to Libs (and doesn’t meet their objectives). As for the DNC hacks, beats me how they could even know that it was the Russians, since the attack was based on the simplest of hacking procedures concerning a faulty password.

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  6. They are also not reporting the finding that there was no interference with the voting counting, despite having made much of this before.

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  7. Oddly enough, Judge Napolitano stated that the president could wire tap anyone he wanted, and it was legal. He did not need to seek a court order. Not sure what legal grounds that statement comes from, you’d have to ask him. But the obvious truth is this, putting myself in Obama’s shoes. There are what, 16 or 17 “lack of intelligence” agencies working under the president. Only the FBI is actually subject to public scrutiny since they are part of law enforcement. WHY would I, if I was Obama, use the FBI to surveil Trump? I have the CIA and the NSA among others that can do it clandestinely and do not need to seek any court action. I would NOT use the FBI under any circumstances if I wanted it to be done in secret, thus Comey is probably not lying when he says the agency knows nothing about the wire tapping.

    Napolitano said the leaks on Killary Clinton came from the intelligence communities because they did not want her to be elected president due to her handling of confidential/secret documents that put their people in harm’s way and the deaths of some. As for Comey, he was played by the intelligence community like a fine instrument, and has no credibility and nothing to lose nor gain by anything he says. I think, however, he is trying to make the public realize that the FBI did not have anything to do the actual wiretapping.

    And yes, you can be watching what people are doing and still not listening to their phone calls. And if you have a mole in place, you can generally know with who and what was said on those phone calls without actually listening to them. Finally, since the NSA records every damn call from everyone, WHY would anyone else need to “wiretap” when you only have to go to them to hear them? Nothing else to add.

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    • If you go back to the legislation that created the FISA court, it has verbage in it that says something along the lines of: “notwithstanding anything else in this act, the President does not have to ask permission of the FISA court”

      The issue is that the President (as head of the Executive Branch) is the ultimate authority of that branch. Everything that his subordinates do is done as a result of the delegation of the power held personally by the President. The fact that the Executive Branch is co-equal to the other two branches means that there are very real restrictions on what limits Congress can put on the President. The FISA court was a processes put in place to allow subordinates in the Executive Branch to have a process in addition to the President’s personal authority. But it didn’t reduce that authority.

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      • Under the auspices of National Security a President can order surveillance of citizens without warrant, the reasoning being the process of attaining a warrant could endanger National Security.

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      • Napolitano is just wrong
        =============
        U.S. Code › Title 50 › Chapter 36 › Subchapter I › § 1802
        (a)
        (1) Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year if the Attorney General certifies in writing under oath that—

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  8. WE, your posed conundrum is troubling, because Comey has (or at least had) a very good stand up reputation. So I offer a legally precise reconciliation.
    First, lets presume when Trump tweeted “wiretap” he meant general surveillance. Lets further stipulate that an investigation beginning in July about possible Trump campaign/Russian connections as the Democrats alleged would involve surveillance. BUT the Trump campaign is not Trump. Manafort did work for the proRussian, now deposed Ukrainian premier Vanukovich and was apparently paid over $12 million. Vanukovich is a Putin pal, now residing in Moscow. Manafort was for a time Trumps campaign manager before being replaced by KellyAnne Conway. Others affiliated with the campaign who had known independent Russian connections include Carter Page and Roger Stone. Personally, I think there is no there, there to the Democratic allegations. They got hacked, they lost the election, and are flinging mud at the wall to see what sticks.
    IMO Comey was being precisely correct and careful with his words. I don’t think he was being disingenuous. Too much at stake, too big a stage.

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    • Ristvan, your comments are always interesting.

      Comey was in a box. Trump had somehow figured out that he had been spied on, and he tweeted to that effect.

      Comey had to say both that there was no surveillance of Trumpworld (Trump and his associates) and that there has been an ongoing investigation of Trumpworld/Russia since July.

      Tough call.

      Not only that, but he testified that unlike the common practice of reporting such investigations to the Intelligence Committees every quarter, he said that the investigation was kept secret from both from July until now … right, like the President somehow didn’t know that his FBI was investigating his worst nightmare, Donald Trump?

      As you point out, Comey is generally regarded as honest. So he was sweating bullets and using every lawyers trick to avoid pointing out the huge inconsistencies

      Now, you can make any kind of “legally precise reconciliation” of that you want. I’m sure that you can find a torturous path through his testimony that never quite strays over the line to outright lying … but that hardly qualifies it as “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”.

      Next, did members of the Trump campaign have contacts with the Russians? Sure. And John Podesta’s brother was a lobbyist for a Russian bank.

      But an endless string of investigations by the FBI, by the media, by the CIA, and by the NSA have all come to the same conclusion.

      THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF ANY COLLUSION BETWEEN TRUMPWORLD AND THE RUSSIANS!!!

      This has been reported over and over, and despite that, here you are again making accusations and waving your hands and mumbling about how Comey was talking ONLY about Trump’s associates because “the Trump campaign is not Trump” … say what? The campaign is not Trump, but it absolutely includes Trump, that’s just legalistic evasion.

      Best regards to you and yours,

      w.

      Liked by 2 people

      • WE perhaps you react in haste to any slightly alternative perspective. We agree there is no there, there concerning the Dem allegations. Said so clearly. Read your own post. Comey did not say there was no surveillance of ‘Trumpworld’ (your phrase). He said there was (caveat, to his/Justice knowledge) no surveillance of Trump or of Trump Tower in NYC. He did not say he had not reported quarterly. He declined to answer the posed question and there was (stupidly) no follow up. Finally rather than ‘hand wave and mumble’ (your words), I specifically cited three individuals associated with the campaign at that time that could plausibly be inferred to have created the investigated connections. This will in my opinion come to naught (as said in the original comment) but Comey has tomoutmit to rest to silence the Dems. Washington politics is a vicious blood sport.
        Regards.

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        • Thank, Rud. As you point out about Comey:

          Comey did not say there was no surveillance of ‘Trumpworld’ (your phrase). He said there was (caveat, to his/Justice knowledge) no surveillance of Trump or of Trump Tower in NYC.

          And at the same time he said that there had been an eight month secret investigation of Russia/Trump, an investigation which he had not disclosed to the Intelligence Committee. He said that he didn’t report on it because there was no DNI … but in fact the DNI did not leave office until January 20 2017. So that dog won’t hunt.

          I still have to ask, what am I missing here? Trump realized that the Obama Administration had spied on him, and he was very pissed off about it. Comey says no, no, that there was never surveillance of Trump … but oh, by the way, we’ve been running an investigation to “investigate” Trump/Russia so secret that we haven’t even reported about it to the Intelligence subcommittees.

          Perhaps you can believe both of those at the same time. If so … what am I missing? Trump was indeed surveilled, spied upon by the Administration of a President who would have liked nothing more than to destroy his candidacy.

          I don’t get your defense of the Obama Administration or of Comey in this matter. Using the machinery of the entire spying apparatus to gather dirt on your political opponents is somehow OK with you? If not, now’s the time to say so and stop defending it …

          w.

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          • Willis, I am not defending the indefensible Obama administration. Nor am I defending Comey, except in the sense that he is threading a needle I really as a licensed lawyer can appreciate. I am saying the US intelligence community ‘concluded’ (without presenting any evidence other than conclusions) that Russia tried to influence the election in favor of Trump. Fact. Now, that is not the inverstigation. The investigation is whether there was Trump campaign collusion to that supposed Russian effort. I think not, and said so atbthenbeginning. That last is the tightrope Comey is walking that I am defending on his behalf here.
            I find that often apparent disagreements can get resolved by being more specific and detailed. Generalities usually hide the ‘truth’.

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          • Rud, I’m clearly not getting my point across, likely my fault. Let me try again.

            Comey has admitted that there has been an eight-month secret investigation of Trump et al. to see if any of them were colluding with the Russians.

            Let me make it simple, a yes or no answer. As you say, specificity helps.

            Do you think that during the eight months that the FBI, the NSA, and/or the CIA have been secretly investigating Trump, that they have done so WITHOUT using one single surveillance technique on him?

            Here’s Jim Comey facing the same question.

            Here’s another yes or no question.

            Do you think it is proper for the Obama Administration to initiate a secret investigation of the opposition presidential candidate DURING AN ELECTION CAMPAIGN AND WITHOUT ONE SINGLE SCRAP OF EVIDENCE OF WRONGDOING?

            I mean seriously, wouldn’t you want to have at least one bit of actual evidence of wrongdoing before starting down that politically charged highway?

            I’m interested in your answers.

            My best to you, thanks for continuing the discussion,

            w.

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          • Answer to your simple question: yes, that is possible. To use your own phrase, they were investigating Trumpworld/Russia. There are other actors in Trumpworld who are much more logical investigation targets than Trump. I specifically named 3 that could rise to the level of probable cause for a judicial ‘search warrant’ like surveillance permission. And Manafort continues to look worse and worse based on today’s new AP finds about his work a decade ago.
            Second point, you said without a single scrap of evidence. The intelligence community came out in Sept. And said the DNC and Podesta hackings had Russian fingerprints. True? Dunno, but a far cry from ‘without a single scrap of evidence.

            Now, we know today (Wed) that in fact that this apparently ‘legal’ surveillance apparently in fact did pick up some direct Trump stuff. Utterly unsurprising. You surveil Manafort when he was head of Trumps campaign, you will pick up Trump stuff for sure. Supposed to throw it out rather than spread it around. The Obama administration apparently did not do so (broke surveillance rules) and now House Intel committee Chair Nunes says he has written evidence provided from inside the intel community. So Trump is being at least partly vindicated as expected. The Obama admin caught yet again playing dirty pool.
            My initial comment was not about any of that. It was only about Comey’s statements to Congress on Monday. As was the focus of your post starting this thread. I will stand by my analysis of them and that. He did the best he could under the circumstances. That was good enough for me. Perhaps not for you. Even under your (under the circumstances inapplicable) “the truth, the whole,truth, and nothing but the truth” standard, Comey technically met that standard on Monday. My only point then, and now. Did itnever occur to you might be ‘right in a general sense but I might be right in a narrower sense. I offered that olive branch in my initial comment. IMO you woild have been wiser to take it tahn go off about handwaving and mumbles. My comment was the opposite of mumbles. You, OTH, mumbled.

            FWIW , I also think Comey played the Clinton private server thing as best possible. Did HRC violate the law? Yes. Was it intentional? Maybe, depends on intricacies of classification. I personally think so. Was there ever a prior prosecution precedent in this gray area? No. So Comey put the FBI findings in front of the only jury he should, the voters. Then, when the Abedin/Weiner stuff materialized, he did the only thing he could. Announce reopening the investigation. And when turned out to be duplicates, again did the only thing he could–dups, false alarm, back to previous stance. Despite the heat he took.
            For that he has earned my deep respect, which I am explaining here despite apparently upsetting you a bit.

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          • So, after all that, your point is they were investigating Trump and they lied about it. Thank you, counselor, you may return to your seat.

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          • ristvan March 22, 2017 at 2:43 pm
            Rud, thanks for your answers. My question was:

            Do you think that during the eight months that the FBI, the NSA, and/or the CIA have been secretly investigating Trump, that they have done so WITHOUT using one single surveillance technique on him?

            Answer to your simple question: yes, that is possible. To use your own phrase, they were investigating Trumpworld/Russia. There are other actors in Trumpworld who are much more logical investigation targets than Trump. I specifically named 3 that could rise to the level of probable cause for a judicial ‘search warrant’ like surveillance permission. And Manafort continues to look worse and worse based on today’s new AP finds about his work a decade ago.

            Yes, you are indeed a lawyer. Yes, it’s theoretically possible to investigate a man’s campaign during an election without surveilling the campaign headquarters and the man himself.

            So I see I asked the question wrongly, I wasn’t specific enough. My bad.

            Second point, you said without a single scrap of evidence. The intelligence community came out in Sept. And said the DNC and Podesta hackings had Russian fingerprints. True? Dunno, but a far cry from ‘without a single scrap of evidence.

            Comey said that there was no evidence that either Trump or his people had colluded with Russia. Yes, the hackings had Russian fingerprints. So what? Everyone from the CIA to the teenage kid down the streets uses Russian software to disguise their identity. You’d be an idiot not to. This was pointed out at the time. It was highlighted by John McAfee himself a couple months ago. It was verified by the Wikileaks look at CIA technology for leaving Russian footprints.

            Plus which, you seem to be totally unaware that the “Russian fingerprints” were NEVER SEEN BY ANY U.S. AGENCY. Why? Because the DNC refused to let their server be examined by US officials. So no, Rud, I’m not impressed in the slightest by a second-hand sighting of Russian “fingerprints”, nor should you be.

            In addition, it makes no sense for the Russians to throw away potentially valuable blackmail material. Nor is there evidence that the Russians gave it to Assange, who has denied it, as has his offsider.

            However, that wasn’t my question, whether there were Russian footprints at the DNC. My question was as follows:

            Do you think it is proper for the Obama Administration to initiate a secret investigation of the opposition presidential candidate DURING AN ELECTION CAMPAIGN AND WITHOUT ONE SINGLE SCRAP OF EVIDENCE OF WRONGDOING?

            In response you point to Russian wrongdoing against the DNC … say what? Your justification for the Obama Administration spying on the Trump campaign is that there were Russian footprints around the DNC?

            Gotta say, Rud … you are reaching. Russian footprints at the DNC excuse Obama Administration spying on Trump? … say what?

            Now, we know today (Wed) that in fact that this apparently ‘legal’ surveillance apparently in fact did pick up some direct Trump stuff. Utterly unsurprising. You surveil Manafort when he was head of Trumps campaign, you will pick up Trump stuff for sure. Supposed to throw it out rather than spread it around. The Obama administration apparently did not do so (broke surveillance rules) and now House Intel committee Chair Nunes says he has written evidence provided from inside the intel community. So Trump is being at least partly vindicated as expected. The Obama admin caught yet again playing dirty pool.

            So my assumption was correct and yours was not. The investigation DID surveil Trump as I said it had.

            Next, Manafort. Manafort worked for the Russians a decade ago. So surveilling him now, without any evidence that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia, seems totally unjustifable.

            My initial comment was not about any of that. It was only about Comey’s statements to Congress on Monday. As was the focus of your post starting this thread. I will stand by my analysis of them and that. He did the best he could under the circumstances. That was good enough for me. Perhaps not for you. Even under your (under the circumstances inapplicable) “the truth, the whole,truth, and nothing but the truth” standard, Comey technically met that standard on Monday. My only point then, and now. Did itnever occur to you might be ‘right in a general sense but I might be right in a narrower sense. I offered that olive branch in my initial comment. IMO you woild have been wiser to take it tahn go off about handwaving and mumbles. My comment was the opposite of mumbles. You, OTH, mumbled.

            I understood all along that in a narrow legal sense that Comey picked his way through a minefield without going over the line of the truth. I said so above, that he’d done the best under the circumstances. So I agree with you.

            However, while that is of interest to lawyers, as you point out above the Obama Administration was playing dirty pool, and Comey’s statement did not admit that in any way, shape or form. That’s why lawyers are roundly hated—because they can lie while telling the truth. You’ve insisted all along that Comey has been telling the truth, and I’ve agreed with you. What you haven’t admitted is that in the process he was lying through his teeth by omission …

            FWIW , I also think Comey played the Clinton private server thing as best possible. Did HRC violate the law? Yes. Was it intentional? Maybe, depends on intricacies of classification. I personally think so. Was there ever a prior prosecution precedent in this gray area? No. So Comey put the FBI findings in front of the only jury he should, the voters. Then, when the Abedin/Weiner stuff materialized, he did the only thing he could. Announce reopening the investigation. And when turned out to be duplicates, again did the only thing he could–dups, false alarm, back to previous stance. Despite the heat he took.

            I have mixed feelings about what Comey did. He found out that Clinton had an illegal server that was obviously set up to avoid FOIA requests. Not only that, but when it was found out, it was illegally bit-bleached to remove any incriminating evidence. Meanwhile, Hillary was lying about it, and Obama knew about it … and when it was investigated, it still contained documents that were classified “SECRET’ on board.

            I fail to see how there is not a crime in all of that. You’re a lawyer, so you might be able to pick your way though it without finding a crime of any kind, and that’s what Comey did.

            His most astounding statement to me was that she couldn’t be guilty of criminal negligence because she didn’t have the requisite intent … only a lawyer could say that negligence requires intent with a straight face.

            Comey faced a terrible choice. If he did what he should have done and indicted her for a) avoiding FOIA and b) bit-bleaching her illegal server and c) lying about it, he would have been hated forever by half the people in the US for being the man who threw the election.

            However, in fact that was his job. And he failed to do it. Instead he chickened out, and punted. I can understand that, although I think it was wrong. It was certainly the second-best option, and beat saying nothing.

            I wrote some months ago that I approved of his putting it before the true jury, the voters. What he did NOT do, however, was a) to tell the people that they were deliberately being made the jury, and (b) he did not put out all of the facts in the manner that a prosecutor would have. Instead he prejudged the case and said that he thought that she was not only innocent but not even chargeable. That was a joke.

            So like you, I approved of his actions. In my case however, my approval was tempered by the fact that he should have just done his job in the first place, and if he did not do it he should not have given his opinion. Instead, he should have laid out all of the evidence so we could do it. He did neither.

            For that he has earned my deep respect, which I am explaining here despite apparently upsetting you a bit.

            I don’t care if you admire him or not. That seems important to you, but it is meaningless to me. I have my own opinion of him, but this is not about either your or my opinion.

            It is about his actions in this case. If he had been honest, he would have said what you said, that the Obama Administration was playing dirty pool. He did not do that. Instead, he lied by telling the truth. His lawyerly evasion of the truth protected Obama and attacked Trump’s credibility. To me, that’s politicking by the head of the FBI, and that is a very bad thing.

            And while this certainly impresses me in terms of his lawyerly tap-dancing skills, it equally certainly depresses me as a citizen. I want my FBI Director to be four-square against dirty pool, and even you admit that he is evading that ugly reality rather than admitting it.

            Thanks for defending your position, and no, your position doesn’t upset me. Yes, it’s the usual lawyerly eminently reasonable and entirely logical bullshit that conceals the truth … but I’m old enough to know that’s what lawyers do.

            w.

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  9. I just get the feeling Comey is hanging around waiting for us all to die of old age. It would look bad on President Trump if he sacked Comey and there would be a field day of criticism saying it was a political move. However it seems to be at the point where it would be better for the President to go ahead and do it, then absorb the flack, that being the lesser of two evils. Reason for dismissal, lack of progress.

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    • FBI director has a term of 10 years. Deliberate to prevent political influence. Trump CANNOT sack Comey, precisely the purpose of that law. Read up more before commenting. Your opinion is an example of the reason the law was designed the way it was. Don’t like,it, get Congress to change the law. Same response as Gorsuch to Whitehead’s whining yesterday about dark money supporting Gorsuch. Which was a brilliant put down after which Whitehead shut up. Sometimes even really dumb folks know when they have been bested.

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      • ristvan March 22, 2017 at 2:54 pm

        Trump CANNOT sack Comey, precisely the purpose of that law.

        Dang … gotta love it. For an arrogant lawyer you sure haven’t done your research.

        The Congressional Research Office said:

        There are no statutory conditions on the President’s authority to remove the FBI Director.

        Nor is this just parliamentary theory. William Sessions was fired as FBI Director by Bill Clinton. Per the report cited:

        President William J. Clinton removed Sessions from office on July 19, 1993, citing “serious questions … about the conduct and the leadership of the Director,” and a report on “certain conduct” issued by the Office of Professional Responsibility at the Department of Justice.19 Some Members of Congress questioned the dismissal,20 but they did not prevent the immediate confirmation of Sessions’s successor.

        I did, however, love your assertion that the questioner should “Read up more before commenting”, as well as your charmingly ignorant claim that laws had to be changed to let the President fire the FBI Director … Medico, cura te ipsum!

        I’m afraid you lost that trial, Rud … better luck lawyering next time.

        w.

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        • For the sake of being clear–because I wasn’t and should have been–the 10 year FBI director term is established by a 1968 law (Act of Congress) and is subject to Senate confirmation. Under that law, the FBI was deliberately set up as one of the most independent executive branch organizations. The Fed is one of two others. The CFPB is being constitutionally challenged on grounds that it is too much so. Headed to SCOTUS, that Elizabeth Warren special.

          It is true that a president can dismiss such an independent Director. Sessions case. BUT what was not discussed upthread was the ‘constitutional’ circumstances applicable to those independent situations. The established ‘common law’ precedent (admittedly not a lot) is a presidential determination of the equivalent of grounds for impeachment of a federal judge appointed for life under similar circumstances. That comprises a commen sense standard. Sessions was accused of converting FBI funds to private use (home travel and more). That would be grounds for impeaching a federal judge. No such allegation exists agains Comey. So looking at the ‘law’ as a whole, Trump has no grounds to act. And if he tried, the optics would likely result in the Dems screaming to impeach Trump on Nixon Watergate grounds. Russiagate rather than Watergate.
          My, how this conversation has gotten ugly. Yes, I am a Harvard trained lawyer. Proud of it, although not of Harvard.

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          • ristvan, you say:

            ristvan March 24, 2017 at 1:22 pm

            For the sake of being clear–because I wasn’t and should have been–the 10 year FBI director term is established by a 1968 law (Act of Congress) and is subject to Senate confirmation.

            For the sake of being clear, the problem wasn’t that you weren’t clear. Here is what you said:

            Trump CANNOT sack Comey, precisely the purpose of that law.

            That’s crystal clear. The problem wasn’t clarity, the problem was that you were wrong. You were totally clear, capitals and all … but you were totally wrong.

            You said that the President could not fire an FBI Director, with CAPITAL LETTERS indicating it’s not possible under any circumstances.

            I pointed out that (a) in fact there is no legal bar to Trump firing Comey whether for cause or not and (b) directly contrary to your incorrect claim, a President in the past had indeed fired an FBI Director.

            In response, you talk all learnedly about historical precedents and maybe they apply, and the Sessions case and the like … but no admission that you were 100% wrong.

            One of the reasons why lawyers are among the most distrusted classes of folks in the US is that like you, far too many lawyers simply won’t admit when they are wrong. You could have said “Ooops, I see I was wrong to say a President can’t fire an FBI Director, let me try that again”.

            But noooo … the ristvan can’t admit that he is wrong. He can be unclear, or misinterpreted, or misunderstood, but never wrong.

            After all, he’s a Harvard Lawyer and damn proud of it … folks like that couldn’t be wrong, could they?

            One thing I have found after writing more than 600 posts for the web, Rud. When I’m wrong I need to admit it fully and clearly and move on. Otherwise, as in this case, it just hangs around.

            I’ve been told that that is one reason people say I have credibility—because they’ve seen me admit when I’ve made a mistake. Paradoxical, but true—if you admit it when you are wrong people are more likely to believe you.

            Look, Rud, I do appreciate your insight and your views on things. And I’m sorry to be so harsh about this. But you’re like Racehorse Haynes, He was the lawyer who famously said:

            Say you sue me because you say my dog bit you. Well, now this is my defense:

            My dog doesn’t bite.
            And second, in the alternative, my dog was tied up that night.
            And third, I don’t believe you really got bit.
            And fourth, I don’t have a dog.

            And while that kind of legalistic tapdancing wins both kudos and court cases for lawyers, in informal discussions it is extremely frustrating.

            Best wishes and regards to you,

            w.

            Like

      • Sorry, wrong. The President, ya know, the person in charge of the EXECUTIVE BRANCH, can remove anyone he wishes in the Executive Branch and replace them, no reason needed. Clinton did it, both Bushes did it, Carter did it, Barri did it, every President has done it. Personally I think DJT should put Comey in charge of a special taskforce. He is supposed to have an incredibly astute legal and investigative mind so put it to work on something important, such as charitable foundations corruption.

        Like

        • 2h9, not exactly. There are legislative proscriptions. Trump can fire Janet Yellen–but only for cause. Just another example of why the law is nuanced, and broad brush generalities (like yours here) generally do not stand.

          Like

          • Actually, yes. The bureaucracy can fight him, in the end the President can remove people from positions in the Executive Branch. As an example he does not have to fire them, Yellen can simply be moved to a “new” post, that is a favorite of Democrat Presidents. Give them a “promotion” to a nice office with zero input into anything, review their work at the end of 60 days and then fire them for non-performance. So, in the end the Chief Executive of the Executive Branch, ya know, the President, does have the authority to fire, demote, move or replace anyone in the Executive Branch he so chooses. That entrenched scumbag Democrat f*cks are going to fight and do as much damage to America as they can on their way out is just what scumbag Democrat f*cks do when Americans shine light on their cockroach asses.

            Oh, and my reps in House did not support Obamacare 2.2, they stand for America against Ryan Da RINO.

            Like

    • Actually, DJT should place Comey, with much fanfare, in charge of a taskforce investigating charitable foundations corruption. The man is supposed to be a brilliant legal and investigative mind, so put him to work on something very important to the majority of Americans.

      Like

  10. There are two warrants, one national security to servile Trump’s associates and one criminal to tap Trump’s email server, not physically located in Trump Tower, to look at a possible connection between Trump and a Russian bank. Based on looking at the service the FBI concluded there was no criminal activity.

    Like

  11. Pingback: Tucker, Brit, and Jim | Skating Under The Ice

  12. The Judicial Watch joins the game:

    A government watchdog group Tuesday demanded that the nation’s intelligence czar and State Department determine if former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s secret email server damaged national security.

    In a lawsuit against the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and State, Judicial Watch demanded that they conduct an assessment of the damage and report it to the public.

    “The Obama administration conspired with Hillary Clinton regarding her emails, so it is no surprise that Obama officials wouldn’t want to hold her to account for her mishandling of classified materials,” charged Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This lawsuit is an opportunity for the Trump administration to get back to basics on the Clinton email scandal and find out what damage was done to our national security as a result of her illicit email practices.”

    The suit cited a 2014 rule requiring a damage assessment if there is a suspicion that classified information was compromised and damaged national security.

    Judicial Watch cited FBI Director James Comey’s statement on July 5, 2016, that Clinton’s unsecure email system contained classified information.

    w.

    Like

    • The Obama administration conspired with Hillary Clinton
      =========
      Clinton was clearly blackmailing Obama to guarantee her immunity when she stated publicly that other people knew she was using the server. The problem for Obama to explain is why he used an email alias when corresponding on her server. Why he didn’t use his official government email account.

      Like

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