Tag Archives: FBI

Comey stakes his anti-Trump claim

It’s no big surprise, but it still is a bit jarring to hear this statement from the former director of the FBI.

James Comey, whom Donald J. Trump fired a year ago for reasons that still baffle me, now says Americans should do all they can do to remove the president from office in 2020. Americans should use “every breath we have” to that end, according to Comey.

Comey got canned while he was in the middle of investigating whether Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russian operatives who had interfered in our campaign. Then he declined to give the president some kind of idiotic “loyalty pledge.”

Trump wouldn’t have it, so he fired Comey. He notified the FBI director by tweet. Great, eh? Classy, yes?

Comey already has declared his displeasure with the president on a number of levels. He contends that Trump has no moral compass; he has no external reference points to guide his thoughts; he acts on impulse.

So his stated desire that Americans should spare no effort to defeat Trump in 2020 is no surprise.

Given that Trump has managed to politicize damn near every function of the executive branch of government and has denigrated law enforcement at the highest levels, Comey’s outburst remains a bit a jolt to the system.

This is no surprise, either: I agree wholeheartedly with him. Thus, I am going to do my part.

Trump sounding more guilty by the hour

I long ago quit imploring Donald J. Trump to stop using Twitter the way he does. It’s now an accepted — in some circles — method the president uses to communicate with us more normal Americans.

I now am looking at those tweet tirades in another light.

The more furious they become, the angrier, the more outlandish the outbursts, the more it looks to me as though the president’s nervousness is on display.

To be honest, Trump’s seeming anxiety over the progress of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into the “Russia thing” is making me nervous. It’s beginning to frighten me at some level.

I don’t want the president to do something foolish, such as, oh, throwing out pardons left and right; or ordering the acting attorney general to fire Robert Mueller; or, God forbid, send our troops into battle in a “wag the dog” scenario that would divert/deflect attention from his political trouble.

My view of the president’s unfitness for the office he holds only has strengthened as the nation and the world have watched him writhe in anger at the so-called “witch hunt” I hope is drawing to a close.

Despite all the comparisons we made over the past week between Trump and the late George H.W. Bush, I am more concerned about the comparison between Trump and Mueller.

Trump’s hysteria stands in stark and telling contrast to the buttoned-up, tight-lipped, totally secret conduct of Mueller and his legal team. That the president would take to Twitter to blast Mueller as a partisan hack, a closet Democrat, a “friend” of fired FBI boss James Comey and, thus, intent on destroying his presidency is both laughable and disgraceful on its face. Mueller is a pro, he’s  Republican, he is a man of impeccable character and he’s trying to get to the truth behind all the allegations that have swirled around Donald Trump’s campaign and administration.

I only can conclude that the more Trump rants and roars at Mueller, the more culpable he appears to Americans who need to know the truth about their president.

Comey scores a victory

Former FBI director James Comey has given up his effort to avoid testifying before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in private, behind closed doors.

But . . . he scored an important concession from the committee in return: The panel will release to the public the full transcript of what House members ask him and Comey’s answers to the inquiries.

Comey was summoned to appear before the committee to tell members about his firing by Donald Trump and about the FBI investigation into alleged collusion with Russian government agents who attacked our electoral system. We might get to know what was said at the time and what if anything his dismissal might reveal to those of us who are concerned about whether the president obstructed justice by firing the FBI boss.

Comey’s reluctance was centered on the nature of the questions that committee members might ask and whether Republican members in particular would be overly hostile. He wanted it all done in public, in front of the nation and the world. He sued to have it his way, but then backed away when Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., agreed to release the transcripts for public scrutiny.

Comey in effect got what he wanted. The public will be allowed to see what he said, what the committee asked him and will be able to discern the nature of the inquiry.

The former FBI director said in a tweet: Grateful for a fair hearing from judge. Hard to protect my rights without being in contempt, which I don’t believe in. So will sit in the dark, but Republicans agree I’m free to talk when done and transcript released in 24 hours. This is the closest I can get to public testimony.

Hey, it’s close enough, Mr. Director. Talk to us after it’s done. We’re all ears.

Trump wanted DOJ to prosecute Hillary and Comey? Wow!

Donald J. Trump won’t ever acknowledge it, but he well might owe a huge debt to a guy he managed to get pushed out of the White House, former White House counsel Don McGahn.

The New York Times is reporting that Trump wanted the Justice Department to prosecute Hillary Clinton and former FBI director James Comey, two Trump political foes.

McGahn, who left the counsel’s office this past month, reportedly said “no.” He then told the president he lacked the authority to initiate such a request. Moreover, he told Trump any such action might prove to be impeachable, if not illegal.

And so … the story gets weirder by the day.

What we have here, according to the NY Times, is a case of supreme abuse of power by the president of the United States against two people he detests. Hillary Clinton is on the president’s sh** list because she opposed him for president in 2016; Comey is there because he was investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system and who declined to agree to a loyalty pledge to the president.

Do you think special counsel Robert Mueller — who took over the “Russia thing” probe after Comey was canned — is interested in this bombshell? I would bet yes. He is. Very interested.

As for McGahn, he might be emerging as a hero in this ongoing drama. He well might have saved Trump’s backside by refusing to knuckle under to his demand to seek a DOJ prosecution of Clinton and Comey. He also might emerge as a hero to those of us who believe he might have a serious story to tell Mueller about how the White House, how it ignores the rule of law, and how the president is driven by impulses he cannot control.

I believe we are witnessing this saga taking a seriously dangerous turn. It likely won’t be pretty.

Going to name this suspect

I made a command decision regarding this blog some time back that I wouldn’t use the names of mass murderers connected with shootings.

The guy nabbed today as a suspect in the series of pipe bombs mailed to prominent political figures gives me a chance to make an exception.

The FBI, the Postal Service inspector’s crew, local police have taken Cesar Sayoc into custody. He’s been charged, so far, with five counts related to the sending of these devices to various individuals who either have criticized Donald Trump or been criticized by the president.

Why the change of heart? Heck, I don’t know. I guess I just feel like using this guy’s name.

Sayoc faces a prison term of 58 years if he’s convicted of the crimes for which he’s been charged. He’s 56 now, so if he serves a full federal prison term, he’s likely to die in the slammer.

I’ve published the names of other terrorists, such as Mohammad Atta, one of the monsters who flew a jetliner into one of the Twin Towers on 9/11. I’m going to put Sayoc into the same category.

Thankfully, he didn’t kill anyone. But he stands as one of the nation’s most notorious criminal suspects.

It’s amazing in the extreme that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies were able to make this arrest so quickly. FBI Director Christopher Wray said it succinctly today when providing some details into the arrest: Once the FBI obtained fingerprints and DNA from one of the envelopes intercepted, they knew they could zero in quickly on the suspect, Wray said.

It turns out Sayoc has a criminal record. His name is easy to spot on the criminal information data bases available to law enforcement officials.

I take my hat off to the various agencies that secured this arrest. Yes, I know we all have to mindful of the fact that Sayoc hasn’t been convicted of anything; therefore, we have to use the word “alleged” and “suspect” generously while commenting on this guy.

I have a hunch that we’ll be able to remove the qualifiers in pretty short order.

Good work, FBI … you have earned your stripes

I am going to say something that has yet come out of the mouth of the president of the United States.

It’s no scoop, and the folks who will get these good words don’t need them from little ol’ me. I’ll offer them anyway.

The FBI deserves the highest praise possible for the swift work it did in apprehending a suspect in connection with the pipe bombs being directed at Democratic Party political figures.

Donald Trump has yet to say “FBI” out loud in public while discussing the ongoing crisis. He must feel a bit sensitive about the agency because of the work it has done with regard to that other matter, the one dealing with Russia and the 2016 election.

That, though, is not part of this story. The story of the moment is about a guy who’s been arrested for using the postal system to terrorize politicians, CNN, a major Democratic donor, a former attorney general … all of whom have either criticized the president or has been the target of his own criticism of them.

And while I’m on the subject of those who were targeted, two of them happen to be former presidents, neither of whom has been mentioned specifically — by name — by the current president.

Back to my point. The FBI is without question the nation’s pre-eminent law enforcement agency and it is arguably the best in the world. That the agency could zero in quickly on someone using DNA and fingerprint results speaks to the belief among many of us that they have their man in custody.

POTUS equates partisan concerns with big FBI bust

Check out this tweet from the president of the United States. It speaks volumes about the priorities of Donald John Trump.

FBI, Postal Service and local police have arrested a man and charged with committing acts of terrorism against Democratic political figures as well as against CNN.

What concerns the president? He is just so damn worried that the “‘Bomb’ stuff” might be serving as a drag on Republican candidates for public office. He wants GOP partisans to “go out and vote!”

I don’t begrudge the president for urging voters of his party to help elect friendly politicians.

However, I do begrudge the timing of this Twitter message.

As I look back at the message, I am drawn to where Trump says, “Very unfortunate. What’s going on.” I cannot tell if the unfortunate aspect deals with (a) the possibly dwindling fate of Republican politicians or (b) the crime that has been alleged and the acts of terror committed against Democratic partisans and a major news network.

Disgusting.

Media are doing their job

The media — broadcast and print — have been vilified and pilloried by the president of the United States and those who adhere to his dangerous view of the media’s role in protecting our democratic system.

Indeed, CNN was targeted by someone or some group that has been assembling pipe bombs. It’s been the talk of the nation, if not the world.

Here, though, is something I want to share briefly regarding the media. They are doing their job in informing the public about what is happening in this investigation and hunt for whoever is responsible for terrorizing various political figures and the media.

I salute them as always for the job they are doing.

I’ve actually learned a great deal from reading and listening to the media coverage of this ongoing crisis.

For instance, I have learned more about the U.S. Postal Services investigative arm and how efficient it is in looking for those who use the USPS to deliver instruments of terror.

I also have learned more about the tremendous capability of the New York Police Department. New York City is where many of the initial packages were discovered; thus, the NYPD has been unleashed in the search for the perpetrator.

Also, I have gotten a keener understanding and appreciation of how the FBI cannot reveal too much to the public while it searches; the FBI doesn’t want to “educate” the bad guy(s) on how to continue their mission of terror.

This is a clear and obvious instance where the public needs an independent media to perform its service to the public, which is to inform us and chronicle the events of the day.

The media aren’t the “enemy of the people.” They are our allies.

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.