Tag Archives: FBI

Here is why the FBI report on Kavanaugh should go public

The FBI investigation into whether Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh lied to the Senate during his testimony before the Judiciary Committee is heading to the Senate for its review.

It’s supposed to be for senators’ eyes only.

Hah! Don’t bet on it staying that way.

Republicans will leak the parts of the report that buttress Kavanaugh’s bid to join the nation’s highest court; Democrats will leak those parts that do damage to Kavanaugh.

My strong preference, quite obviously, is for the entire FBI finding to be made public. Send them to the rest of us, the bosses, the folks for whom the president works, for whom Congress works, for whom the Supreme Court works.

The FBI investigation was supposed to be “comprehensive,” according to Donald John Trump’s own words. It wasn’t. The FBI didn’t talk to Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers in 1982. It didn’t talk, yet again, with Kavanaugh. It didn’t talk to two other women who have leveled accusations against Kavanaugh.

The report isn’t comprehensive. It is a perfunctory effort.

And now only the Senate will see it in detail, such as it is.

Do you believe senators will keep its contents secret? Neither do I.

We’re likely to hear what both sides want us to hear. It’s only going to inflame passions even more … as if we need more division in this country.

Perjury: a SCOTUS dealbreaker for certain

The FBI has embarked on an investigation into whether Brett Kavanaugh is a suitable choice to take his seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.

The nominee stands accused of sexual assault. He has denied it vehemently. His accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, has affirmed her allegation with equal vehemence. He said, she said … blah, blah, blah.

The fate of Kavanaugh’s court nomination, however, might hinge on whether he lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee about how much beer he drank while he was in high school. No kidding, man! That’s the deal — maybe, perhaps, possibly.

If the FBI determines that he lied under oath to the Senate panel, well, it’s over. Kavanaugh shouldn’t be seated on the nation’s highest court.

Let us also remember that in 1998, the U.S. House of Representatives — led by its Republican majority — was looking for a reason to impeach President Bill Clinton. The president gave it to them when it was determined he lied — also under oath — to a federal grand jury about whether he had a sexual relationship with a White House intern.

The House impeached the president. The Senate tried him, but he was acquitted.

The clear lesson here for Judge Kavanaugh is that the oath he took to tell the whole truth before the Senate committee is every bit as binding as the oath that President Clinton took to tell the truth to the grand jury.

Senate causes heads to spin

My noggin is spinning.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has voted 11-10 — along partisan lines — to recommend confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

But, man, there’s a major catch in that vote.

One of the committee Republicans, Jeff Flake, wants the FBI to conduct an investigation into the allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Christine Ford when they were in high school; he wants the Senate to delay its full floor vote for a week to enable the FBI to learn more about what allegedly happened.

It’s now up to Donald Trump, the president of the United States, to issue the order to the FBI.

Without an investigation, Flake might become a “no” vote if a full Senate vote occurs with an FBI probe. So might two other key GOP senators, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.

I’m doing the math. That leaves the Senate GOP with 48 votes to confirm Kavanaugh.

They need50.

Are we clear now? Clear as mud?

I’m thinking now of Winston Churchill’s classic analysis of democracy, how it’s the “worst system” of government ever devised … but it’s the best system we can have.

It’s messy, folks.

Trump keeps savaging DOJ, law enforcement

I don’t know why this continues to nag me, annoy me, bother me to no end. It just does and I have to vent a bit.

Donald J. Trump went off on another Twitter tirade against one of his favorite targets: the federal law enforcement network headed by the Department of Justice.

He said in Nevada that he has gotten rid of some of the people he believes needed to go: FBI Director James Comey, deputy FBI boss Andrew McCabe, FBI agent Peter Strzok.

Then the president refers to a “stench” in the Justice Department that needs to go. By association, he disparages and denigrates — yet again! — the many fine career prosecutors, agents and mid-level staffers who do the job they took an oath to do. Which is protect Americans against those who would do us harm.

The president just can’t bring himself to say out loud that he is proud of those individuals, that they are doing great work on behalf of the nation they serve.

Oh, no. Instead, he concentrates his remarks exclusively on those at the top of the chain of command who he thinks are doing the country a disservice. How are they doing that? By continuing to look carefully, meticulously and with tremendous detail the many questions that continue to swirl around the Trump administration.

The president keeps tossing the word “disgrace” around. The real disgrace, as I see it, occurs with the conduct of the president.

He is trying to bully the head of the Justice Department, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the head of the FBI, Christopher Wray, and all the intelligence pros who do their jobs with diligence and dedication.

Right there is the disgraceful behavior of a president who doesn’t know what the hell he is doing.

FBI probe would answer many questions, right?

Christine Blasey Ford has leveled an accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; she wants the FBI to examine it thoroughly before she testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee that is considering whether to recommend Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the high court.

As a friend and former colleague of mine has asked on social media: One wants an FBI investigation. One doesn’t want an FBI investigation. Which one would you believe?

Ford wants the FBI to examine her allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. Kavanaugh doesn’t want the FBI to look into the allegation.

Hmm. My friend does pose a fair question.

The FBI took all of three days to conclude an investigation in 1991 when a University of Oklahoma law professor, Anita Hill, accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. She testified before the Judiciary Committee, as did Thomas. The committee recommended Thomas’s confirmation and the full Senate then confirmed him in a 52-48 vote.

Thus, if the FBI can help determine the veracity of the allegation made against the current high court nominee, why would the person accused of wrongdoing oppose it?

Wait for FBI probe: What’s wrong with that?

Christine Ford has leveled a serious accusation against Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s nominee to join the U.S. Supreme Court.

She intends to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but wants the FBI to conduct a thorough investigation before she talks about her allegation: that Kavanaugh assaulted her sexually when they were teenagers.

The FBI can pull together all the evidence it needs to presumably determine whether Ford’s allegation holds up. Or it could come up empty. Or it could produce a result with no definitive answer.

Ford is asking that the FBI do its investigation before she talks.

If it delays Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote, so be it. If his confirmation — should it occur — come until after the court convenes its next judicial term, so be that, too.

The allegation is profoundly serious. Kavanaugh has denied categorically what the accuser has alleged. He is entitled to mount a vigorous defense. Ford, too, is entitled to get a fair and complete hearing of the allegation she has leveled against a man who wants to join the U.S. Supreme Court.

Loyalty to what … not to whom

We’re hearing a lot these days about the word “loyalty.”

As Donald Trump fumes and seethes over the publication of an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times, the president and his allies keep talking about the “disloyalty” exhibited in the essay from a “resistance movement” inside the White House that seeks to protect the nation from Trump’s more dangerous impulses.

I am aware of the oaths that all these individuals take when they assume their public service jobs. The loyalty they pledge isn’t to the man, but to the law, to the U.S. Constitution and there’s an implied loyalty to citizens of the country.

Trump’s insistence of personal loyalty is misplaced and is the result of a man with no experience in public service.

It’s been reportedly widely for more than a year that the president fired FBI Director James Comey when he couldn’t extract a personal loyalty pledge from Comey. Attorney General Jeff Sessions seems to have been held to the same standard when he took the job as AG; when he recused himself from probe into “the Russia thing,” the president took that as an act of personal disloyalty.

A president who worked exclusively in the private sector prior to becoming a national politician doesn’t understand the implications of the oath he and his lieutenants take.

Once more, with feeling: These men and women pledge loyalty to the nation, its laws and the Constitution — not to the man at the top of the executive branch chain of command.

Remember the Archibald Cox firing, Mr. President

The buzz around Washington, D.C., is that Donald Trump well might dismiss Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then nominate someone to replace him who will ensure that special counsel Robert Mueller is sent packing.

What can go wrong with that notion? Try this: Let’s remember what happened when an earlier president fired a special prosecutor who was examining the details behind the Watergate break-in.

All hell broke loose, that’s what happened.

President Nixon ordered two attorneys general to fire Archibald Cox. Elliot Richardson and William Ruckelshaus quit rather than do the president’s bidding. The solicitor general, Robert Bork, stepped up and fired Cox.

It got a whole lot worse for Nixon. Allegations of obstruction of justice boiled to the surface. Then came the articles of impeachment approved by the House Judiciary Committee.

Donald Trump is miffed at Mueller’s investigation into the Russia collusion allegation. The AG, Session, recused himself from the probe. Why? Because he served as a key campaign adviser. He couldn’t investigate himself, so he backed away.

Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller, who has proceeded with all due meticulousness in his search for what happened. Trump calls it a “rigged witch hunt,” which it isn’t.

If he fires Sessions and then gets a new AG confirmed — which is no sure thing if the midterm election turns out badly for Republicans — there well could be a serious elevation of impeachment talk against Trump.

Such talk began to boil seriously after Nixon got Cox canned.

History, therefore, well might be ready to repeat itself.

Father and Son Goodlatte: miles apart

It’s often said about children and their parents that “The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Not so with Bob and Bobby Goodlatte, father and son.

Dad Goodlatte chairs the U.S. House Judiciary Committee; the Republican lawmaker serves the Roanoke Valley area of western Virginia. Son Goodlatte is a venture capitalist who lives in San Francisco.

Bobby doesn’t like the way the chairman treated former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who got fired today from the agency that employed him for many years.

Bobby Goodlatte is so angry with his dad that he has given money to the Democrat who’s running for the seat that Chairman Goodlatte is vacating at the end of the year.

Bobby wrote this via Twitter, according to Vox.com: “I’m deeply embarrassed that Peter Strzok’s career was ruined by my father’s political grandstanding. That committee hearing was a low point for Congress,” Bobby Goodlatte tweeted. “Thank you for your service sir. You are a patriot.”

Read the Vox story here.

You know, this isn’t all that uncommon. Many children of notable Americans veer far from where Mom and Dad earn their stripes.

Hey, I have a son who disagrees with me politically. I don’t hold it against him. To the best of my knowledge, he doesn’t hold my political leanings against me, either. I love him and he loves me … at least that’s what he says.

But I’m just a chump blogger.

However, that’s different from what is happening within the Family Goodlatte. Dad has been a key player in trying to get to the bottom of the “Russia thing.” The younger Goodlatte is angry over the way his father treated a career FBI agent, Stzrok.

This kind of thing happens on occasion.

As for whether the fruit has fallen far from the Goodlatte tree, it looks as though the wind carried it across our vast nation.

Now that he’s an ex-FBI agent, the gloves are coming off

Peter Strzok was caught sending e-mails that were critical of Donald J. Trump. The then-FBI agent told House committee questioners that at no time did he let his personal views affect the manner he did his job as a member of the FBI.

Well, guess what. Strzok just got canned by the FBI.

What does he have to say about that? Or, for that matter, about the president of the United States of America?

This item showed up on a Twitter account that reportedly is a parody of Strzok, who got a lot of air time during that daylong hearing before two House committees that wanted to know about what Strzok wrote in regard to the president.

I have been fired for expressing my personal opinion in private texts about a dictator that history will soon deem not only a Russian asset but an unhinged madman threatening the sovereignty of the United States of America.

They supposedly aren’t Strzok’s words, but my hunch is that he well might be thinking them as he ponders his sudden departure from the premier U.S. law enforcement agency.

I kind of think Americans haven’t heard anything near the last from  this fellow.