Tag Archives: FBI

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.

Troubles dog lawmaker and … Trump

Chris Collins isn’t exactly your run-of-the-mill back-bench member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

He’s a Republican from upstate New York. He now is in a good bit of legal trouble, taken been into custody by the FBI on an insider trading charge. He has pleaded not guilty. Yes, Rep. Collins is entitled to mount a vigorous defense.

However, he also is known for something else: Collins was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald J. Trump’s candidacy for the presidency of the United States.

Right there is what makes this case a good bit larger than it otherwise might be.

Collins has been accused of calling members of his family to deliver some insider information on the purchase of drug-company stocks. It’s a serious charge to be sure. Rep. Collins also allegedly was brazen and blatant in his flouting of the law. He allegedly boasted about it.

Then we have the political backdrop of the upcoming midterm election. Democrats think they have momentum on their side in their attempt to flip Congress back to Democratic control.

This burgeoning difficulty regarding Rep. Collins, the pledge to “drain the swamp” and the assertions that this guy thinks he’s above the law doesn’t bode well for Republicans.

Then we have the president …

Two events: contrasting styles, confusing messages

The juxtaposition of two events the other day — just hours apart — speaks volumes about the incoherence of the Donald Trump administration and its outlook on national security threats.

Five members of the president’s national security and intelligence team stood before the nation and delivered a stern, but unified message. The Russians attacked our electoral system in 2016 and are doing so as we speak. These men and one woman were serious in their tone. They were measured. They all spoke with concern in their voices and delivered an urgent message: Our national security is at risk as is our electoral democratic process.

Then came the hysterical rants of the commander in chief. Six hours after the White House press briefing, Donald Trump stood before a campaign rally and bellowed “hoax!” in describing the Russia attack. He launched into an idiotic tirade against Democrats, against the “fake, fake, disgusting media,” and damn near every other perceived foe out there on the horizon.

The contrast in style and in message couldn’t be more profound.

Or more frightening.

Trump is the man in charge. The individuals who are charged with protecting our national security answer report to a goofball! It’s as clear as that.

Trump continues to deny the obvious attack on our electoral process. He continues to equivocate and make excuses. He doesn’t understand what his national security adviser, the homeland security secretary, the director of national intelligence, the FBI director and the National Security Agency director all know with absolute clarity.

The Russians have attacked us. They are continuing to do so.

The president is giving the Russians “aid and comfort” by undermining the concerns expressed by our national security team.

Disgraceful.

Just how can they tolerate being undermined?

This is as baffling and confusing a circumstance as any I can find within the Donald Trump administration.

Several key intelligence and national security officials — including at least two Cabinet-level authorities — declare for all the world to hear that the Russians attacked our electoral system in 2016; they all say the same thing, that the Russians acted alone and that they are in the process of doing the same thing to our 2018 midterm election. They enter the White House press room, listen to press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders say a few words, then they all speak in unison.

Then the president of the United States, Donald John Trump, flies to a campaign rally and declares the Russian attack a “hoax.” He blames Democrats and the so-called “fake and disgusting news” for fomenting the notion that the Russians interfered in our election, that they sought to manipulate the outcome.

The baffling and confusing part?

How do these individuals charged with administering our intelligence and national security agencies tolerate being undermine, undercut and undone by the commander in chief?

How in the name of their sacred oaths do they stay on their jobs while the president continues to disparage and disrespect them? He undermines their work, insults their intelligence and does damage to our national security.

Surely they cannot all be without principles. Surely they must understand what Donald Trump is doing to their credibility and that his insistence that the Russia attack is a “hoax” gives aid and comfort to a hostile foreign power.

I won’t call it “treason,” at least not yet … but damn!

It is inching very close to it.

WH trots out intelligence officials to state the obvious

If we only could hear this kind of language come out of the mouth of the president of the United States.

Five top U.S. intelligence officials today stood before the media and declared in virtually a single voice that Russia interfered in our 2016 election; the Russians acted alone; they sought to undermine our democratic process; they are engaging in such electoral interference at this moment.

Stunning, eh? Sure it is! They all are telling Americans what millions of us know already.

“The threat is not going away. Russia attempted to interfere in the last election and continues to do so to this day,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said.

One key White House source, though, remains oddly tepid. The president of the United States himself cannot yet bring himself to condemn in the strongest language possible the actions of Russian intelligence officials.

Donald J. Trump needs to step up. He needs to weigh in. He needs to tell the public that he has laid down the law to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and has told him — in no uncertain terms — that severe punishment will await the Russians if they persist in sabotaging our electoral process.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, moreover, still doesn’t know what Trump and Putin said behind closed doors in their summit in Helsinki, Finland. It’s been — what? — three weeks since the summit. The DNI, the nation’s top intelligence official, still doesn’t know what they said? That is unconscionable!

I am going to give credit where it is due. The intelligence chiefs are telling us the truth. They have confirmed what many of us have known all along.

The man at the top of the executive branch of government chain of command, though, needs to speak clearly and without equivocation about the things his top national security and intelligence advisers have declared.

Comey ratchets up partisan battle cry … weird

James Comey these days is a private citizen — more or less — and, thus, is entitled to speak his mind about any issue under the sun.

Except that he’s not just an ordinary private citizen, such as, say, I am. He’s a former FBI director who is near the center of a raging firestorm relating to the man who fired him, Donald Trump, and a special counsel who is looking at whether Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system.

So, when he puts out a tweet that calls for Democrats to win the midterm election, let’s just say it gives me some pause. Comey writes: Democrats, please, please don’t lose your minds and rush to the socialist left. This president and his Republican Party are counting on you to do exactly that. America’s great middle wants sensible, balanced, ethical leadership.

Comey’s entry onto the partisan battlefield seems oddly out of place and it borders on unseemliness.

His obituary will include the words “FBI director,” and that means he will be identified forever as the head of the nation’s top law enforcement agency. He’s not a politician and shouldn’t be considered as such.

Comey is a legal and law enforcement pro who ought to leave the partisan rhetoric to the politicians who have practiced it far longer than the former FBI director.

Bizarre.

Now it’s a hoax, Mr. President?

Which is it today, Mr. President?

You said just the other day that the Russian attack on our electoral system in 2016 occurred. You accepted finally the U.S. intelligence agencies’ view that the Russians did it.

Then you send a message out today that calls it a “hoax”?

Let’s look back for a moment.

All of our nation’s intelligence bosses — FBI, CIA, director of national intelligence, National Security Agency, the Joint Chiefs of Staff — have been singing off the same hymnal page. The Russians did it! They acted alone!

You have denigrated their work. You have stood next to the Russian president and accepted his lying, prevaricating denial.

Then you backed off of that and said you now believe the U.S. spooks.

Now you call it a hoax.

Man, oh man. I am getting confused, Mr. President. You’re making my ears bleed. My head is spinning. I need smelling salts. I’m getting a case of rhetorical vertigo.

You won’t listen to me. I mean, you don’t listen to DNI Director Dan Coats, or CIA Director Gina Haspel, or anyone for that matter on anything!

I’ll offer this bit of unsolicited advice: Why don’t you just keep your unpresidential trap shut, let the special counsel, Robert Mueller, finish his job and then let the chips fall where they will fall?

Trump aides should ‘reevaluate’ their role? Do you think?

Trey Gowdy, the lame-duck South Carolina congressman who recently worked over FBI agent Peter Strzok over his conduct in the Russia interference investigation, has taken the gloves off — more or less — with members of the Trump administration.

Gowdy made an appearance today on “Fox News Sunday” and said that members of the administration should consider quitting if Donald Trump continues to ignore their best advice on how to handle Russia and other matters.

According to The Hill: “It can be proven beyond any evidentiary burden that Russia is not our friend and they tried to attack us in 2016,” Gowdy told host Bret Baier. “So the president either needs to rely on the people that he has chosen to advise him, or those advisers need to reevaluate whether or not they can serve in this administration. But the disconnect cannot continue.”

“Need to reevaluate whether or not they can serve … “?

I’d be willing to bet real American money that those advisers already are reevaluating their future with the Trump administration. They are likely doing it privately, swearing loved ones to secrecy.

The true shocker would occur if some of them actually turned in their West Wing security badges and walked out the door.

Indeed, the president has demonstrated an astonishing capacity to ignore the advice he gets from the “best people” who are equipped with the “best minds” with whom he has surrounded himself.

Moreover, he has shown a mind-boggling willingness to blindside those advisers with tweets and other pronouncements that one might expect to have been done only with close consultation with those experts.

Exhibit A: The amazing reaction from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to news that Trump had invited Vladimir Putin to the White House for a second summit later this year. “OK,” Coats said with a tone of exasperation. “That’s going to be special.”

How can someone as accomplished and serious as Coats — a two-time Republican U.S. senator from Indiana — actually avoid “reevaluating” whether he should remain as part of the Trump national security team?

Chaos and confusion continue to reign supreme in the Trump administration.

‘Attack on our system’? Sure thing, Mr. POTUS

An FBI raid on the office of a former Donald Trump lawyer and confidant is back in the news.

It turns out the FBI obtained record from Michael Cohen that he recorded a conversation with the then-president elect, Donald Trump, about a payment to a Playboy model with whom Trump allegedly had a relationship about a decade ago.

I mention the FBI raid because I just watched Trump’s reaction to the raid earlier this year. Perhaps you remember what he said. He called it an “attack on our system.” He vilified the FBI for conducting what he called an illegal raid on a “good man,” Cohen.

Given what we know these days about the Russian attack on our democratic system, I find the president’s assertion that the FBI rises to that level utterly absurd on its face.

The attack on our system occurred in Moscow when Vladimir Putin ordered the hacking of Democratic operatives’ files in an effort to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

And the raid itself? It was done properly. The FBI obtained a federal court order, as required by law. Indeed, Cohen himself said the agents were courteous and respectful while they scooped up the evidence they sought and delivered to special counsel Robert Mueller.

All this baloney about “witch hunt,” and “attacks on our system” need to be put in their proper perspective. To hear the president of the United States use this kind of language only intensifies what we know to be the facts about this man’s election.

The attack came not from within, but from the Kremlin.