Tag Archives: James Comey

Why ‘fight’ Mueller if there’s nothing there?

Donald John Trump’s friends and advisers are encouraging him to fight special counsel Robert Mueller.

The special counsel is up to his eyeballs in investigating a whole array of issues involving the 2016 presidential election. They involve whether Russia sought to meddle in our electoral process; they also involve questions into whether the president’s campaign colluded with Russian government agents in seeking to sway the election. There also are questions about Trump’s financial dealings in Russia and with Russians.

The president says it’s all “fake news” concocted by his political enemies. He keeps denying anything happened. There was “no collusion,” he says.

So, why fight the special counsel? Why not just let Mueller do his job and then produce, um, nothing!

If Donald Trump is as pure as he keeps suggesting he is, then he would welcome a thorough investigation … wouldn’t he? If he is innocent of all those “fake news”-inspired allegations, then it stands to reason that he would endorse Mueller’s findings that there’s nothing there.

That’s right, isn’t it?

Except that Trump keeps acting like he’s got something to hide. Those tax returns still aren’t known to the public. He keeps changing his story. He actually has acknowledged publicly that he fired former FBI Director James Comey over “the Russia thing.”

Is this a “hoax,” as you say, Mr. President? If it is, then ignore those advisers who are telling you to fight.

James Comey: in the political bulls-eye

James Comey is man under siege.

Think of it. The former FBI director is taking incoming rounds from Hillary Rodham Clinton, who blames him for costing her the 2016 presidential election. Her new book “What Happened” seeks to lay out the case that Comey’s 11th-hour decision to take a fresh look at Clinton’s “email controversy” cost her crucial votes down the stretch.

So, does that make Comey a sort of Trump toadie? Is he snuggling with the Trumpkins now that their guy, Donald John Trump, got elected president against Hillary Clinton?

I don’t believe so.

White House staffers now want Comey to be investigated for his leaks to the media in the wake of his sudden firing by Trump as FBI director earlier this year. Let’s not forget that Comey was in the midst of an investigation into the “Russia thing,” which prompted Trump to can him in the first place.

Comey’s allies come to his defense.

Has the former FBI boss committed a crime by leaking information to the press? No chance. He didn’t leak any classified or confidential information. What’s more, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the media against efforts to prevent them from doing their job.

Comey has become a principal figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s expanding investigation into the Russia matter.

His role in the email controversy involving Hillary Clinton really is irrelevant in the context of the here and now, which is the Russia investigation. It’s worth mentioning only to highlight what I believe is James Comey’s curious position in the crosshairs of leaders in both political parties.

For the record, I don’t believe Comey’s decision to take a fresh look at Clinton’s e-mail mess by itself determined the outcome of the election. Clinton lost to Trump because she made too many other mistakes down the stretch; she snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Nor do I believe Comey should be investigated by law enforcement over his leaks to the media after his shocking dismissal as FBI director. He didn’t break the law.

Keep standing tall, Mr. Comey.

Hoping that Hillary calls it a career

Hillary Rodham Clinton is beginning to resurface.

Her book is out, the one that “explains” why she lost a presidential election she should have won. I’ll stipulate that I haven’t read “What Happened.” I have every intention of doing so. I’m curious as to what this candidate who should have been elected in 2016 says about her stunning election loss.

I’ll simply fall back to a position I took not long after Donald J. Trump got elected president of the United States.

My hope for the Democratic Party is that they find a fresh face, a novice to the national political stage, a rookie to run against whomever the Republicans nominate for president in 2020.

It shouldn’t be Hillary Clinton. And if the Republican Party honchos were to ask for my opinion, I’d say they shouldn’t renominate the incumbent president. Hey, I just told ’em that very thing. Imagine that!

Hillary will lay a lot of blame on FBI Director James Comey and his strange reopening of the e-mail probe late in the campaign. She’ll blame the Russians for hacking into our electoral system. She will blame the media for the way they covered her campaign. Sure, she also is going to take a lot of the blame herself.

From where I sit out here in Flyover Country, it’s that last element that deserves the bulk of the cause for her stunning loss.

Clinton was a lousy candidate. She spent too much time down the stretch in states she had no prayer of winning and too little time in those battleground states that flipped from supporting Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 to backing Trump.

Yes, I also believe in that malady called Clinton Fatigue. We had two terms of her husband, President Bill Clinton; and along the way, we got a big dose of first lady Hillary Clinton, too. Do you recall when candidate Bill told us in 1992 if we elect him, we’d get her as well in a sort of two-for-one deal?

She ran for the U.S. Senate in 2000 as she and her husband were to leave the White House and she served her new home state of New York with competence and some level of distinction.

She challenged Sen. Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination and took him to the wire. The new president’s payback was to appoint her secretary of state, a post she held for Obama’s first term.

Clinton won the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination believing the election was hers for the taking. She wasn’t alone. I was among the millions of pseudo-experts who thought she’d win in a record-setting landslide. I’ve been eating crow ever since.

Her time has come and gone. She’s yesterday’s heroine.

I do not want her to run again. She had my support once already. I’m not sure I can back her a second time.

Her book is likely to produce some interesting reading. That is it. However, the future of her political party, I believe, belongs to someone who’s going to emerge from nowhere.

Firing Comey a big mistake? Yeah … do ya think?

I didn’t expect to agree with Stephen K. Bannon on anything.

But you know what? The former chief strategist for Donald John Trump Sr. said something on “60 Minutes” that makes me rethink that notion.

He said the president’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey is the “biggest political mistake in recent political history.”

I believe Bannon is on to something.

Trump canned Comey because of the “Russia thing.” He said initially the Russia probe wasn’t a factor; Vice President Mike Pence said the same thing. Then the president blabbed to NBC News anchor Lester Holt that, yep, Russia was the reason.

Then came Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who was hired by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to become special counsel. Mueller is off and running; he has hired a crack team of legal eagles; the “Russia thing” is getting pretty damn serious.

Mueller is examining whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian computer hackers who sought to meddle in our electoral process in 2016. He is going full bore, as he should. Had the president not fired Comey, Bannon said, there would be no Mueller, no special counsel, no need for concern among Trumpkins that Mueller has smelled blood in the political water.

Bannon is a tremendously objectionable character. He is back where he came from, as editor in chief of Breitbart News. Bannon had no business in the West Wing. His political experience is just a shade greater than Donald Trump, who had none before he entered the 2016 presidential campaign. Bannon is a right-wing provocateur and political hack who once sat on the “principals committee” of the National Security Council. Then the president wised up and removed him.

However, Bannon is likely quite correct about what Trump may have done to his presidency by kicking Comey out the door and ushering in the Age of Mueller.

And isn’t it fascinating that someone who professes such admiration for Donald Trump might have given the special counsel — Mueller — an even more inviting target by talking about potentially grievous political consequences the president has delivered to himself?

Putin, Russians can declare: Mission Accomplished

If Vladimir Putin were so inclined, I might expect to see the Russian president unfurl a banner in Red Square that reads, in Russian of course, “Mission Accomplished.”

The Russians meddled in our 2016 election. They sought to influence its outcome. They attacked our electoral process. They declared a form of war against our democratic process.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded as much. I believe them. The winner of the 2016 presidential election, Donald John Trump, has yet to draw that conclusion.

Oh, no. Instead, he has disparaged our intelligence apparatus. He has sought to deflect criticism of the Russians through equivocation, saying that “it could be anybody” who meddled in our election.

Now, do I believe the Russians actually swung the election in Trump’s favor? Do I believe their meddling, by itself, resulted in a Trump victory? No. I believe the president defeated Hillary Rodham Clinton legally. I also believe Clinton made too many fatal mistakes down the stretch to salvage a campaign that she should have socked away long before Election Day.

But you see, the Russians have succeeded famously. They have thrown the U.S. political discussion into near hysteria. Accordingly, they have accomplished one of their primary missions, which is to cast doubt on our electoral process.

We’ve got congressional committees examining the interference. The FBI is examining it, too. The president fired former FBI Director James Comey over the “Russia thing,” and the Justice Department has appointed a first-rate special counsel, Robert Mueller, to conduct an independent probe of that Russia matter.

There might be indictments forthcoming. The president himself might find himself in a world of political hurt. Trump has been so consumed by this investigation that he cannot take the time he needs to fill critical spots within the nation’s executive government branch.

I cannot predict how all these investigations will conclude. I feel fairly confident in suggesting that no matter the outcome, that Vladimir Putin has succeeded wildly in undermining the electoral process of the world’s remaining superpower.

Obstruction of justice, anyone? Anyone?

James Comey believes that Donald J. Trump has obstructed justice.

That is the conclusion of a legal analyst who’s been following “the Russia thing” as closely as anyone in the United States of America.

Comey is the former FBI director whom the president fired because, according to Jeffrey Toobin, Comey declined to pledge complete loyalty to the president. Comey’s agency was conducting an investigation into whether Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russian government officials who are believed to have hacked into our nation’s electoral process.

Toobin’s article appeared in The New Yorker. He lays out what Comey would tell the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Here’s The New Yorker article.

I encourage you to read it.

So many questions to be asked. So many answers yet to be found.

Something tells me the roughest part of the ride awaits the president and his embattled team.

No tapes, just intimidation?

What are we to surmise from Donald John Trump’s admission that he didn’t record conversations with former FBI Director James Comey?

Here is what I want to draw from it.

It is that the president tried to bully and intimidate the former FBI boss who he fired over the “Russia thing,” meaning the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged connection with Russian government hackers.

The bigger question is whether the intimidation constitutes an obstruction of justice by the president of the United States. Special counsel .Robert Mueller is looking into it; he’s hiring a team of lawyers to assist him in this probe.

Trump’s initial tweet about whether Comey should “hope” no tapes exist tells us plenty about the president’s state of, um, mind. The tweet certainly implied there might be some recording. Now the president has admitted that he didn’t do it, but left open the possibility that a third party recorded the conversation.

Oh … please!

The president is a bully, a phony, a bluffer and a serial liar.

None of it constitutes grounds for removal from office by itself. It does make me wonder, yet again, how this guy got elected president in the first place.

No WH tapes? Well, who knew?

Donald J. Trump campaigned for president claiming he wasn’t a “politician.” However, he’s developed the art of the standard politician’s dodge.

He implies something, then takes it back and then suggests someone else might be responsible for what he referred to in the first place.

The president today tweeted a statement that said he did not tape any conversations with former FBI Director James Comey just prior to firing him. That settles it, yes?

I guess so.

Except that now he suggests that a third party might have taped conversations he and Comey allegedly had about whether the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign over that infamous “Russia thing.”

This past month, Trump tweeted something that stated Comey “had better hope” no one had recorded the meetings. The implication seemed clear: Trump might have done so himself. Today he said he didn’t.

Then he added this morsel via Twitter: “With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey,” he tweeted.

Good ever-lovin’ grief, man. He is the president of the United States of America. He has at his disposal every possible resource to know with absolute certainty who could have done such a thing within the confines of the White House, if not the bleeping Oval Office itself.

This clown continues to play games with the system and, most of all, with the people he purports to represent as their president.

Read The Hill’s report of the president’s disclosure here.

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.

Top lawyer ‘lawyers up’; more to come, maybe?

If you’re keeping score, it’s good to know how many of Donald J. Trump’s key administration staffers have hired lawyers to represent them.

You have the president’s son-in-law and senior public policy adviser, Jared Kushner seeking outside counsel; Vice President Mike Pence has hired a lawyer to represent him and might be able to use campaign funds to pay for the counselor’s advice; today we got word that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has joined the lawyering-up club.

And oh yes, the president himself has hired a team of lawyers.

Why all this legal eagle activity? You know the reason, but I’ll mention it anyway. Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether the Trump campaign worked in cahoots with Russian hackers, who tried to influence the 2016 election outcome.

Of all the people mentioned here, I find Sessions’ decision to be most interesting. He’s the nation’s top lawyer. He runs the Department of Justice. He also has recused himself from anything to do with the Russia investigation.

Throughout all of this Russia investigation, we hear the president toss out terms like “witch hunt” and “fake news.” He doesn’t condemn the notion that Russian government goons might have sought to influence the election.

The special counsel has a lot of information to sift through. The former FBI director, James Comey, told Senate committee members that the president pressured him to back off a probe into the Russia matter. The president launches into those tweet tirades that seem to undermine his own message, not to mention his legal defense against whatever might be tossed at him.

We’re a long way from knowing the truth behind all of this.

The high-priced legal community is riding a serious gravy train, thanks to the concerns being expressed by the president of the United States and some among his senior team members.