Tag Archives: FBI

Moment of ‘truth’ on alleged WH tapes on tap

Donald J. Trump could have prevented a lot of the hubbub surrounding his presidency. He chose to keep it roiling.

The president is now supposed to tell the nation Thursday whether he actually recorded conversations he had with former FBI director James Comey.

Few people close to the matter believe that Trump recorded them, yet he managed to tweet something right after he fired Comey that the former FBI boss had “better hope” there are no tapes.

Come clean, Mr. President.

The president once again has demonstrated the behavior of a juvenile delinquent. He and his White House staff have refused to answer the question: Did the president record conversations with Comey? Rather than answer the question, the president has played coy in a stupid and childish game of political chicken. So have his press spokespeople.

Suppose on Thursday that the president declares he was just kidding. He didn’t intend to threaten the release of tape recordings. He was trying to run a bluff on Comey and the media.

Will that end this discussion? Will it put to rest the idiotic notion that this guy disseminates public policy via social media? I doubt it seriously.

I suppose it’s fair to wonder whether the president’s penchant for social media petulance will ever enable him to win the trust of Americans and our nation’s allies. If he puts to rest the ridiculous report of audio recordings, then how can we believe anything that this guy says going forward?

Then again, if he has tapes stashed away, we’re talking about a serious game-changer.

I’m going to stick with the notion that Donald Trump will seek to wiggle away from that moronic tweet.

Trump doth protest too much?

You’ve heard it said, no doubt, that someone with something to hide “doth protest too much” at the hint of questions about whatever it is he or she might be hiding.

It’s a Shakespearean statement, coming from “Hamlet.”

So it could be with Donald John Trump, who’s forgoing his “unity” pledge with another series of tweet tirades against special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian operatives to influence the 2016 presidential election.

The president detests Mueller. He wants him out, or so many have speculated. Trump just might do something seriously foolish by asking deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to remove Mueller. Or, he could do something even more foolish than that by removing Rosenstein and Mueller in one fell swoop.

Here’s my Trump question of the day: If the president is innocent of any of the allegations leveled against him, why not let Mueller do his job — after releasing every single shred of information he would ask of the president, his campaign team and his White House organization?

If he’s clean, the record will show it. Isn’t that how it works?

Let’s end the debate over whether Russians hacked us

Here’s a thought to ponder going ahead: Let’s all just stop arguing over whether the Russians — government agents or “patriots” — hacked into the U.S. electoral system while seeking to influence the 2016 election outcome.

Let us now settle on the fundamental question: Did the Donald John Trump presidential campaign commit treason by colluding with the Russians?

Former FBI Director James Comey had much of the nation enthralled for two hours today as he testified before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee. He confirmed what 17 intelligence agencies have determined already: The Russians sought to influence the election. Russian President Vladimir Putin — one of the more untrustworthy individuals on the planet — said that Russian “patriots” might have been responsible for the deed.

Now we get to the Main Event. The Seventh Game. The Bottom of the Ninth Inning.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has been handed a huge mound of information to digest from his former colleague, Comey.

The president had said Wednesday when word of Comey’s testimony leaked out that he felt “vindicated” by what he heard. After today, I’m betting real American money the president feels a whole lot less vindicated.

No one can know with any degree of certainty whether Mueller is going to produce evidence of criminality on the part of the campaign or the president himself.

Comey’s dismissal as FBI director, as he was investigating the Trump campaign-Russia allegations, was shocking all by itself. Then came the crap storm of motives, reversals, changes in story and contradictions — from the president himself.

And in the midst of all this, Donald J. Trump — of all people — called Comey a “grandstander” and a “showboat.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/08/james-comey-robert-mueller-trump-case-file-239319

Kettle, met pot.

I do not believe a grandstanding showboat appeared today before he Senate panel. I believe the nation saw a meticulous lawyer and administrator who defended the agency he led from unfounded attacks by the president of the United States.

James Comey, moreover, has handed Robert Mueller a full arsenal of ammunition to use as he continues his arduous task of determining whether there was collusion with an foreign adversary to undermine our nation’s electoral process.

More chaos in looking for FBI boss? No-o-o-o!

What? Do you mean to say that Donald Trump’s search for a new FBI director has become an exercise in chaos and confusion?

Why, I simply cannot believe it.

Actually, of course I can. And I do believe it.

The president likely didn’t have a hiring plan ready to execute when he canned FBI Director James Comey a few weeks ago. Indeed, the director reportedly didn’t even know he was getting fired until he heard something on TV while he was preparing to meet with FBI agents in California. And then, he thought it was a prank, a joke. Well, it damn sure wasn’t a joke.

Now The Hill reports that Trump’s selection and vetting process is turning into another kind of joke.

http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/336171-trump-fbi-director-interviews-chaotic-report

The Hill and other media have reported that several candidates have dropped out of the running to replace Comey. Meanwhile, the president’s team reportedly is scrambling to find someone to fill the post much in the manner it is fighting to fill so many other senior positions within the administration.

Indeed, it appears that jobs once thought to be career builders for aspiring public servants now have been seen as career enders.

It well might be that the post of FBI director has joined that dubious roster of government jobs that no one wants.

Indeed, given the chaos throughout the Trump administration we’ve seen to date, who can blame any top-notch law enforcement professional or legal eagle for their reluctance at stepping onto that political minefield?

Jared Kushner is no RFK

I keep hearing chatter that compares Jared Kushner’s lack of experience to Robert F. Kennedy.

I must now take up the cudgel for my first political hero … and it’s not Jared Kushner.

Kushner is under investigation by the FBI and Congress for something related to his father-in-law’s 2016 presidential campaign. He allegedly had some contact with Russian government officials that might be improper, it not illegal.

One of the arguments being offered is that Kushner doesn’t have any experience with government or public policy. They note that his father-in-law, the president, got around federal anti-nepotism laws when he appointed Kushner to be a senior policy adviser in the West Wing of the White House.

It’s the RFK thing all over again, some of them insist.

Hold the phone!

President-elect John F. Kennedy picked his brother to be attorney general shortly after winning the 1960 election. JFK joked at the time that a government job would give his brother some valuable experience when he decided to go into law.

I want to make a couple of points about Robert Kennedy.

One is that he had government experience. He had served as legal counsel to a Senate committee chaired by the infamous Sen. Joe McCarthy. He also served as a legal staffer working with his brother, Sen. JFK, on  a Senate committee that looked deeply into organized crime within the labor movement.

After that, Bobby Kennedy then managed his brother’s presidential campaign. Sen. Kennedy won the presidency by a narrow popular vote and Electoral College margin over Vice President Richard Nixon.

Compared to the absence of any government exposure as it regards Kushner, RFK brought much more experience to his job as U.S. attorney general.

And, indeed, he used his Justice Department office as a bully pulpit against organized crime and in the fight to enact civil rights legislation. Oh, and he also played a significant role in heading off nuclear war with the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

With that, I shall now cease listening to any further comparison between Jared Kushner and Robert F. Kennedy.

There is no comparison to be made, except to point out how utterly unfit Kushner is to perform the duties to which he’s been assigned.

Can’t we find a law enforcement pro to lead FBI?

We live in a gigantic country that is full of qualified patriots who are steeped in law enforcement experience.

One of them, somewhere, ought to be able lead the FBI. Don’t you think? One of them ought to be tough enough to withstand the pressure of leading an organization under intense fire at the moment as it probes questions about the president of the United States.

I mention this because a leading politician, former Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, announced that he no longer wants to be considered for the FBI directorship.

Lieberman had received a lot of pushback from U.S. Senate Democrats who, I reckon, haven’t forgiven him for backing Republican Sen. John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. Lieberman ended up leaving the Democratic Party and served for a time as an independent in the Senate.

In reality, though, Lieberman would have been a terrible choice. Why? He’s a politician. He’s got decades of political experience in Connecticut and in Washington. He’s not a bad guy. He came within just a few votes of being elected vice president in 2000 as Al Gore’s running mate.

The FBI — which has been reeling since Donald J. Trump fired former director James Comey — needs a pro to serve as director. It needs an inherently non-political figure. It needs someone whose integrity cannot be questioned by anyone on either side of the partisan aisle. It needs a director who can withstand the heat that is sure to come as the FBI probe into Donald J. Trump’s Russia connection gets closer to its conclusion.

Who would that person be? I haven’t the faintest idea.

As one of more than 300 million American citizens, I am absolutely certain that someone lives in this great country of ours who fits the bill perfectly.

Timing well could spell doom for Trump

James Comey apparently prefers to write memoranda to record important events.

When the then-FBI director met with Donald J. Trump in the White House — and when the president allegedly “asked” Comey to shut down an investigation — Comey wrote it down.

This occurred in February. The Trump administration was just a few days old. Comey was looking into the activities involving the just-fired national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Fast-forward to this past week. Trump fired Comey from his job as FBI director.

So, is there a connection? Is there linkage between the president’s so-called “request” for Comey to end the Flynn probe and Comey’s dismissal? Are the events tied together?

It looks that way to me. Does it to you? You don’t have to answer.

This is where this latest blockbuster revelation gets its legs. This is how a conversation threatens to swallow the president of the United States.

There are many more dots to connect. What about the former acting attorney general, Sally Yates, who Trump also fired? She warned the president that Flynn could be blackmailed because he had some sort of connection with Russian government officials. Then she’s out! Is there linkage to that dismissal as well to what we are learning today about what the president reportedly sought from the FBI boss?

At this point, absolutely nothing — not a single thing — is going to surprise me as this story continues to evolve.

I will not predict the president is going to pay a hefty political price. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m out of the predicting business.

This story, however, ain’t lookin’ good for the president.

‘Less than ideal,’ Sen. Rubio?

“Certainly it’s less than ideal, but it is what it is.”

Those words of “wisdom” came from U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican who once battled with Donald John Trump for his party’s presidential nomination.

He got involved in that juvenile and petulant verbal p****** match with the eventual GOP nominee and president.

So now that Trump has become entangled in what is looking more and more like a serious constitutional crisis, his former foe says “it is what it is”? That’s it?

Young man, it’s a lot worse than that!

What we have on our hands, Sen. Rubio, is a situation in which the president of the United States of America reportedly has asked the then-FBI director to back off an investigation of a former national security adviser.

Rubio is too young to remember an earlier constitutional crisis, but Richard Nixon did something quite similar regarding a break-in at the Watergate office and hotel complex. He had it on tape. The Senate got its hands on that tape and, well, that was all she wrote for President Nixon.

I am not about to predict a similar outcome for the current president, but as of this evening, it doesn’t look good.

Does this president have an inherent hatred for his enemies? Or is he just clueless about the consequences of his actions? I am going to give Trump the benefit of the doubt and presume that he just doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing as president of the United States.

Whatever the context or the circumstance, the Senate and the House of Representatives will need to hear from James Comey personally and will need to know precisely what he gleaned from the president’s “request” for him to drop the FBI probe of Michael Flynn.

Can you say ‘obstruction of justice’?

OK, let’s take a quick look at a sequence of some troubling events.

* Donald J. Trump takes the oath of office as president of the United States.

* Twenty-four days later, he fires his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, because Flynn supposedly lied to the vice president about conversations he had with Russian government officials.

* The FBI starts looking at Flynn’s involvement with Russia.

* The president and FBI Director James Comey meet to discuss various matters and Trump then — allegedly — asks Comey to stop the investigation into Flynn, whom Trump describes as “a good guy.”

* Comey doesn’t do as Trump asks.

* Trump fires Comey as FBI director because, according to the president, he was spending too much time on the “Russia thing.”

Let me think. Does that sound like an obstruction of justice? It does to me.

I believe, dear reader, we just might have an impeachable offense on our hands.

Merrick Garland at FBI? Holy cow, man!

What in the name of political contrition might be happening in Washington, D.C.?

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch “The Obstructionist” McConnell has just endorsed someone for FBI director that he fought tooth and nail to keep off the U.S. Supreme Court.

That would be U.S. District Judge Merrick Garland, whom then-President Barack Obama nominated for the high court in 2016, only to be rebuffed when McConnell refused to let Garland have so much as a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The FBI has a vacancy at the top, thanks to Donald John Trump’s firing of Director James Comey. Now we hear that Garland might be considered for the job. And with McConnell’s blessing to boot!

Is McConnell trying to make nice with someone he stiffed?

According to The Hill: “I think if he picks someone with a deep background in law enforcement, who has no history of political involvement, a genuine expert — and the reason I mention Garland is he’s an example of that — it will serve him well, serve the country well and lead to a more bipartisan approach,” McConnell said.

Sounds like a good choice for the Supreme Court, too, don’t you think?

Whatever. The notion that Merrick Garland would be considered for the FBI director’s job is nearly as shocking as Comey’s firing by Trump. Still, as McConnell noted, Garland does have prosecutorial experience, given that he led the federal government’s case against the late Timothy McVeigh, the monster who blew up the Murrah Federal Courthouse in Oklahoma City in April 1995.

Do I think Garland would be a good pick to lead the FBI? I understand that he happens to be a straight arrow, a Boy Scout, a guy with an impeccable judicial reputation. It seems to me those traits would serve him well as head of the nation’s top federal law enforcement agency.

I am just wondering, though: Does he want the job?

If he does, and the president nominates him, then I believe hell will have frozen over and that the sun will rise the next day above the western horizon.