Saturday, May 13, 2017

Basically Everything Trump Has Been Saying About Comey Is Meant To Mislead


In an OpEd in Thursday's NY Post, Paul Sperry asserts that the real reason Señor Trumpanzee canned Jim Comey was because the FBI wasn't investigating something Trump is obsessed with: "Obama aides’ illegal leaks of classified information-- leaks aimed at undermining the incoming Trump administration." Trump sees the Flynn scandal through this prism. No one else seems to have gone off on this tangent, which some congressional Republicans are starting to cling to. Instead, most everyone is reading Trump's own deranged quotes and threats and following the evidence. Michael Schmidt at the NY Times, for example, pointed out how pretty much everything in Trump's interview with Lester Holt was just more of his bullshit. (Only 33% of Americans consider Trump honest; the rest of the country knows he's an inveterate liar.) For example, Schmidt opens his report with a doozy: "Only seven days after Donald J. Trump was sworn in as president, James B. Comey has told associates, the F.B.I. director was summoned to the White House for a one-on-one dinner with the new commander in chief." Trump told Holt-- in a shifty manner than indicated he was lying-- that Comey requested the dinner so he could ask to keep his job. Instead the premise of the dinner was Trump asking Comey-- twice after Comey didn't do it the first time-- to pledge loyalty to him personally.
As described by the two people, the dinner offers a window into Mr. Trump’s approach to the presidency, through Mr. Comey’s eyes. A businessman and reality television star who never served in public office, Mr. Trump may not have understood that by tradition, F.B.I. directors are not supposed to be political loyalists, which is why Congress in the 1970s passed a law giving them 10-year terms to make them independent of the president.

Mr. Comey described details of his refusal to pledge his loyalty to Mr. Trump to several people close to him on the condition that they not discuss it publicly while he was F.B.I. director. But now that Mr. Comey has been fired, they felt free to discuss it on the condition of anonymity.

...Mr. Comey’s associates said that the new president requested the dinner he described, and said that he was wary about attending because he did not want to appear too chummy with Mr. Trump, especially amid the Russia investigation. But Mr. Comey went because he did not believe he could turn down a meeting with the new president.

During the meal, according to the account of the two associates, Mr. Comey tried to explain to Mr. Trump how he saw his role as F.B.I. director. Mr. Comey told Mr. Trump that the country would be best served by an independent F.B.I. and Justice Department.

In announcing Mr. Comey’s dismissal on Tuesday, the White House released documents from the attorney general and the deputy attorney general that outlined why Mr. Comey should be fired.

Mr. Trump said in the NBC interview, “Regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey.”

“In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story,” Mr. Trump said.
After Trump's crazy Friday morning tweet threatening Comey, Peter Baker, quickly penned a Times report on that focused on the idea of secret tapes. "The suggestion," he wrote, "that the president may be surreptitiously recording his meetings or telephone calls added a sensational new twist at the end of a week that roiled Washington. Mr. Trump and his White House aides later refused to say whether the president tapes his visitors, something Mr. Trump was suspected of doing when he was in business in New York."
No president in the past 40 years has been known to regularly tape his phone calls or meetings because, among other reasons, they could be subpoenaed by investigators as they were during the Watergate investigation that ultimately forced President Richard M. Nixon to resign. Phone calls with foreign leaders, though, are typically transcribed with the knowledge of other participants.

Democrats expressed shock. “For a president who baselessly accused his predecessor of illegally wiretapping him, that Mr. Trump would suggest that he, himself, may have engaged in such conduct is staggering,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. “The president should immediately provide any such recordings to Congress or admit, once again, to have made a deliberately misleading-- and in this case threatening-- statement.”

Representatives John Conyers Jr. of Michigan and Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrats on the judiciary and oversight committees, sent a letter to the White House on Friday demanding copies of any recordings if they exist. The letter noted that “it is a crime to intimidate or threaten any potential witness with the intent to influence, delay or prevent their official testimony.”

Asked if the president records his conversations, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, would not say. “The president has nothing further to add on that,” Mr. Spicer said, repeating the answer or some variation of it several more times as reporters pressed.
CNN reported that Comey is "not worried about any tapes" and that "if there is a tape, there's nothing he is worried about" that could be on it.

Meanwhile, ABC News was reporting that Comey is furious at the lack of respect the White House showed him in the way he was fired. There are many at the FBI who feel the same way and some have hinted that Trump will be sorry for the way he treated Comey.

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At 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it a good idea to use the fruits of the surveillance society to decide which presidents are legitimate?

At 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, 7:50, it is not a good idea. But it is a realistic one, since the "private" sector has far more surveillance capacity than does the government. Since political "contributions" come more from the "private" sector than anywhere else (Bernie not withstanding), the "investors" are going to protect their "investments" in purchased politicos by any means necessary.


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