Tag Archives: FBI

Nothing ‘illegal’ about 25th Amendment

Former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe has gotten the nation’s attention.

“60 Minutes” interviewed McCabe; the program aired Sunday night. McCabe revealed that immediately after Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey, a senior Justice Department official — Rod Rosenstein — tossed out the notion of invoking the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This is the one that allows for the removal of a president if a majority of the Cabinet deems him unable to perform the duties of his office.

What was Donald Trump’s response to McCabe’s allegation? He called it “illegal”; he said McCabe was “treasonous’; he called McCabe a “disgrace” to the FBI and to the country.

Sheesh, already!

Let’s back up for just a moment.

Trump fired Comey over “the Russia thing”; Trump said so himself in a 2017 interview on NBC. The “Russia thing” is the investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russians who interfered in our 2016 election.

He later said Comey’s firing was greeted with praise from within the FBI ranks. McCabe said Sunday that is false. He said Comey was highly respected by his staff, by field agents and everyone who knew him at the FBI.

As for the “illegality” of what McCabe said was discussed, there is nothing illegal about invoking an amendment to the nation’s governing document. A majority of Congress sent the amendment to the states; it was ratified in February 1967. It’s all legal!

There is some dispute over whether deputy AG Rosenstein actually proposed such a move.

However, the president is popping off with utter ignorance once again about the legality of an actual constitutional amendment.

Don’t believe what you see and hear!

Donald Trump thinks he governs a nation of rubes, boobs and goofs.

Why in the world would he tell the nation that the video it saw and the audio it heard of intelligence chiefs disputing the president’s assertions about national security threats were doctored, made up, taken out of context?

Their U.S. Senate committee testimony was “totally misquoted” he said by the media that are in the business of conveying “fake news.”

According to The Huffington Post: “Now the president contends that was not their testimony. “They said that they were totally misquoted . . . it was taken out of context. . . . They said it was fake news,” he said Thursday. He encouraged reporters to “call them.”

Huh? What the . . . ?

What in the world is this individual thinking, smoking or ingesting?

CIA Director Gina Haspel, FBI Director Christopher Wray and DNI Dan Coats all said the same thing: Donald Trump is wrong by saying ISIS is defeated, that North Korea is no longer a nuke threat and that Russia isn’t involved in attacking our electoral system.

I heard ’em say it, Mr. President. I heard ’em with my own ears and saw ’em with own eyes.

I believe our intelligence chiefs. Not you!

Intel chiefs providing ‘fake news’? Are you serious, Mr. POTUS?

Donald J. Trump’s penchant for prevarication has taken a stunning new turn. Yes, it’s stunning even for this president of the United States.

He now says that his intelligence brain trust — three individuals he appointed to their posts — are providing “fake news” while challenging his own (false) assertions about the U.S. effort at combating terrorism around the world.

Trump’s handpicked appointees — Gina Haspel at CIA, Christopher Wray at FBI and Dan Coats as director of national intelligence — all say that North Korea still poses a nuclear threat, that ISIS is not defeated, that Russia interfered in our 2016 election and is planning to do the same thing in 2020.

Trump now says they were quoted “out of context” and that the media twisted their comments.

Huh? What the . . . ? Is this clown for real?

Good, ever-lovin’ grief! I’ve heard their complete comments given this week during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. They weren’t taken out of context. There was nothing to dispute.

They have spoken, as the saying goes, “truth to power.” They are challenging Trump’s assertion that “ISIS is defeated,” that North Korea is “no longer a threat” and that Russian strongman Vladimir Putin has “denied” Russian interference in our election.

Simply astonishing!

New ‘grownups’ emerge in Trump administration

I was mistaken when I wondered whether former Defense Secretary James Mattis would be the “last” grownup who could serve in the Donald Trump administration.

Mattis quit as defense chief, citing Trump’s impulsiveness and the profound differences the president and the defense secretary had on their view of the world. He planned to stay until the end of February; but then Trump showed him out at the end of 2018, declaring that he “essentially” fired Mattis.

More of grownups have emerged. They are FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

These three counter terrorism experts have contradicted the president on the threats posed to the world by the Islamic State and the North Koreans.

And yet the president insulted all of them collectively. He insulted the agencies they run. The president hurled insults at the professional men and women who work day and night protecting us from forces that seek to do us harm.

Wray, Haspel and Coats need to stay put. They need to protect us not just against foreign forces and enemies of the state, but also against the ignoramus who masquerades as the president of the United States.

Trump has denigrated Wray, Haspel and Coats in their assessment of the threats posed to this country. The president said ISIS has been defeated. He said North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat. He is wrong on both counts. The three intelligence experts said so, but Trump responded by calling them “naïve” and said they need to be “educated.”

No, they do not. The president of the United States has demonstrated yet again that he is unfit to hold the office to which he was elected.

Trump tosses needless insults at intelligence brass

Try for a moment to wrap your arms around this bit of idiocy.

Donald J. Trump, the guy admits to not wanting to read policy briefings, has declared that the nation’s top-level intelligence command is “naïve.”

He wrote this on Twitter:

The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong! When I became President Iran was making trouble all over the Middle East, and beyond. Since ending the terrible Iran Nuclear Deal, they are MUCH different, but….

….a source of potential danger and conflict. They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge. There economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back. Be careful of Iran. Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!

These individuals, all seasoned political figures and national intelligence experts, have contradicted the president’s assertions about Iran, North Korea and the Islamic State.

CIA Director Gina Haspel, a career spook who has spent her entire career with the spy agency, says Iran is complying with previous restrictions enacted designed to keep the Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons. Trump calls Iran an existential threat to the Middle East.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, a veteran U.S. senator from Indiana with serious foreign policy chops, said the Islamic State poses a dramatic threat to the civilized world. Trump says the United States and our allies have “defeated” ISIS in Syria.

FBI Director Christopher Wray, who’s forged a career in law enforcement and counter-terrorism, joined his colleagues in suggesting that North Korea is still looking to develop nuclear weapons. Trump has said that North Korea is no longer a threat.

Who do you believe? The seasoned, experienced and serious intelligence professionals? Or do you believe a political novice with zero experience in anything even remotely connected with intelligence, counter-intelligence or counter-terrorism? The serious public servants or the man who spent his entire public life devoted to self-promotion, self-aggrandizement and self-enrichment?

I am going to go with the intelligence and law enforcement pros.

Now I must ask: How much of this denigration of their skill, knowledge and experience are they going to take from the carnival barker who managed to get elected president of the United States?

Trump vs. Intelligence Brass

Let’s just ponder for a moment a remarkable U.S. Senate committee hearing.

Donald Trump says the Islamic State has been defeated; he says North Korea no longer presents a nuclear weapons threat; he stands by his decision to pull the United States out of a deal that bans Iran from obtaining nukes.

Then we heard this from our nation’s intelligence leadership, CIA Director Gina Haspel, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats:

  • ISIS has thousands of fighters and is planning guerrilla attacks against innocent victims and nations it considers to be enemies.
  • North Korea is working toward developing nuclear weapons and that those weapons are likely to pose a direct threat to the United States of America.
  • Iran is continuing to comply with the agreement that seeks to prevent the Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons.

I am left to ask: What in the name of national security is the president of the United States thinking?

Oh, I know the answer. He isn’t thinking.

‘I have never worked for Russia’

I suppose I’d never thought I would hear the president of the United States have to answer such a question.

“Have you ever worked for Russia?” came the question from a reporter.

Donald J. Trump — who had fielded that question from Jeannine Pirro on Fox News — didn’t exactly say “no” to Pirro. Then he had to say it to the reporter on the White House grounds.

I find it astonishing in the extreme that the president of the United States would ever ask the question. It has become necessary because of The New York Times story that disclosed that the FBI launched an investigation into whether Trump had become an “agent” of Russia. I just will not believe the FBI launched this probe because someone inside the J. Edgar Hoover Building wanted to “get” the president.

Do you recall the time Richard Nixon felt compelled to tell the nation that “I am not a crook”? He wasn’t very convincing at the time he said it in 1973. It turned out that while he wasn’t a “crook” in the classic definition of the term, he was corrupt enough to have to quit just ahead of a certain impeachment and trial by Congress.

This is the backdrop we might be facing yet again with the presidency of Donald J. Trump. He has called the NY Times report an “insult” and says the questions about whether he worked for Russia are “insulting.”

Meanwhile, special counsel Robert Mueller is finishing — reportedly — his report we hope will get to the truth about Trump’s relationship with Russia, if any exist. The president keeps telling us there is no relationship. He keeps yapping about the “hoax” and that Mueller is in the middle of a “witch hunt.”

It’s just frightening on its face that our head of state, our commander in chief is having to answer questions about whether he works for the nation’s No. 1 geopolitical foe.

Finish your work, Mr. Special Counsel Mueller.

FBI is not known to traipse off on wild-goose chases

This isn’t an original thought that comes from yours truly, but I want to share it anyway. It comes from a couple of friends we met tonight for dinner in Frisco, Texas.

The thought is this: The FBI isn’t known as an agency that launches investigations into individuals or groups without first putting a lot of thought and doing a whole lot of homework into what it has learned.

It is against that backdrop that our friends shared their utter horror at the notion that the FBI would investigate whether Donald Trump, the president of the United States, might be acting as an agent for the world’s most hostile, anti-U.S. power — Russia.

The New York Times dropped that live rhetorical grenade in our laps the other day. The newspaper reported that it launched an investigation after Trump fired James Comey as head of the FBI and then acknowledged on national TV that he did so because Comey was wrapped up in that “Russia thing” involving Trump and Russian efforts to undermine our 2016 electoral process; special counsel Robert Mueller is knee-deep in that investigation, too.

Why did Trump fire Comey at that time? Was Comey onto something involving alleged “collusion”? Are there other key characters close to Trump who are involved?

Our friends’ point is that the FBI has no history of launching these kinds of investigations without some fact-based cause to do so. What’s more, it involves the president of the United States. Holy crap, man!

My question is this: What do you suppose was the outcome of that investigation?

Our friends responded: We’ll likely know the answer when Mueller releases his report.

Donald Trump: classic RINO

I know a lot of Republicans. They are friends of mine. By that I mean they’re actual friends, people with whom I’ve shared many ups and downs, highs and lows.

I haven’t yet had the nerve to ask any of them in person a question that has been bugging me ever since Donald Trump rode down the escalator in the summer of 2015 to run for president of the United States — as a Republican.

Why do they continue to support a guy who is a classic Republican In Name Only? Trump is the living embodiment of the term RINO.

He had no serious ties to the Republican Party before he declared his presidential candidacy. Those who fancy themselves as pure-bred Republicans, descendants of the Party of Lincoln, surely were aghast when he launched his campaign by invoking xenophobic rhetoric against Muslims and Latino immigrants.

Trump’s international trade policy is about as anti-Republican as any I can think of. He is a protectionist in the mold of labor-union bosses who tilt heavily toward the Democratic Party. Most GOP politicians I’ve encountered favor free trade, detest tariffs and do whatever they can avoid international trade wars; they damn sure avoid those wars when it involves our allies and strong trading partners.

Republicans used to detest federal budget deficits, let alone deficits that spiral out of control. That’s what the current GOP president is delivering with his tax cuts coupled with spending increases.

GOP politicians used to stand foursquare behind our intelligence community and law enforcement officials. Not this POTUS. He undermines and undercuts the CIA, the DNI and other spooks who say in unison that Russia interfered with our 2016 election. He blasts the FBI and the Justice Department, two agencies that usually are the darlings of GOP officials.

Donald Trump alienates our allies. He eschews virtually every normal diplomatic channel to communicate with them. Republicans normally would chafe against all of that, too.

But they don’t. They let Trump trample all over them.

Too few of them call out the president for what he is: a RINO. Yet they blast others of their own party to have the stones to criticize the president for being unfaithful to the political banner under which Donald Trump was elected as president.

Weird.

James Comey: They need to ‘speak the truth’

“People who know better, including Republican members of this body, have to have the courage to . . . speak the truth and not be cowed by mean tweets or fear of their base. There is a truth and they’re not telling it. Their silence is shameful.”

So said former FBI director James Comey when asked about the state of congressional Republicans.

He said later that members of Congress will have “tell their grandchildren” what they did while they served in Congress.

Comey has endured his share of barbs, bombs and beatings from Republicans in Congress ever since Donald Trump fired him from his post as FBI director. Indeed, the man who once was cheered by Republicans when he announced at the 11th hour of the 2016 campaign that he had more questions to ask Hillary Clinton about her use of a personal email server while she was secretary of state, is now a pariah among the GOP.

Comey is not standing by silently. He is seeking to challenge Republicans who remain silent while the president of their party threatens them, makes them “cow” in front of him.

I should point out, too, that Comey is a longtime Republican. He is no squishy progressive/liberal Democrat who’s been demonized by the president and many of his more ardent followers.

That is what — to my mind — gives Comey’s admonition to Republicans to tell their constituents “the truth” about what they are hearing from the president and his team of sycophants some much-needed gravitas.