Tag Archives: James Comey

‘Fake news’ a product of Trump himself? Well, golly!

This is getting good.

As more details come out about special counsel Robert Mueller’s long-awaited report into collusion, obstruction and other matters, the more we learn about the “fake news” hoax that Donald Trump keeps alive.

Mueller seems to have concluded that the “fake news” Trump kept criticizing was quite true. The only fake news was coming from the Trump administration.

Imagine that, will ya?

Those of us who know better likely aren’t terribly surprised to hear this kind of thing from the special counsel. Trump is the godfather of “fake news,” given his own penchant for lying and as well as his defamation of others, such as lie he perpetuated about Barack Obama’s place of birth.

The matter about why he fired FBI director James Comey is a shining example of “fake news” originating from within the White House. White House press flack Sarah Sanders said Comey had lost confidence of his key aides within the FBI. Wrong! He was fired because of the Russia investigation.

Fake news!

Will any of this sink into Donald Trump’s thick, but vacuous skull? Heavens no! It still remains worthy of note.

Donald Trump is the King of Fake News. The media he loathes and calls the “enemy of the people” are doing what they need to do, which is expose Trump as the liar he has proven to be.

‘No obstruction’? Not true, Mr. President

Robert Mueller’s report on “collusion” and “obstruction of justice” says the following: ” . . . if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

Donald Trump has declared, therefore, that the special counsel has determined “there was no collusion, no obstruction” of justice.

Yep. He said that. He also is mistaken.

Attorney General William Barr, though, agrees with the president, which I suppose isn’t surprising, given that Trump nominated him to the post.

The obstruction of justice door remains wide open, based on what I understand Mueller has determined.

It is true — and I accept his findings — that he didn’t have enough evidence to proceed with a complaint against the president or his 2016 campaign team.

Although . . .

Mueller does chronicle several instances where Trump sought to remove key individuals from investigative posts. One of them happened to Mueller himself. Go figure.

Trump fired FBI director James Comey because of “the Russia thing.” Then he bragged about getting rid of him during that infamous Oval Office meeting with Russian officials. He sought to get Justice Department officials to fire Mueller; they wouldn’t do it. Then-White House counsel Don McGahn also declined to carry out the order.

So there isn’t a case that can be prosecuted under the law, Mueller states. He doesn’t exonerate the president. He doesn’t clear him of obstruction. My reading of what he concluded simply is that he didn’t have enough solid evidence to file a formal complaint.

Ahh, but he does leave the door open for Congress to act as it sees fit.

I’m going to let the president crow about the “no collusion” matter. He won that fight. Mueller and his team have concluded that Trump and his campaign did not knowingly cooperate with Russians who hacked into our electoral system and dug up dirt on Hillary Rodham Clinton.

However, the obstruction matter is alive and kicking.

It ain’t over, Mr. President. Not by a long shot!

Obstruction of justice remains an open question

I get that special counsel Robert Mueller III has declined to declare that Donald Trump obstructed justice in the search for what happened when Russian attacked our electoral system in 2016.

I have pledged to accept the special counsel’s findings. And I do!

But . . . Americans need to see what made him make that determination. We need to be able to assess for ourselves why Mueller, a good man and a meticulous prosecutor, concluded that there was insufficient evidence to make a formal complaint that he obstructed justice.

Let’s look at what we know so far.

  • The president sought a statement of loyalty from former FBI director James Comey; he didn’t get it. He suggested that Comey should let go of his investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn; Comey didn’t swallow that bait, either. He then fired Comey.
  • Trump told NBC-TV’s Lester Holt that he fired Comey because of “the Russia thing.”
  • POTUS welcomed Russian diplomatic officials into the White House and told them in the Oval Office that firing Comey had removed the Russia matter from the table; he hurled assorted epithets at Comey.

I don’t know how one defines “obstruction of justice.” I certainly don’t know how Robert Mueller defines it, either.

We do know that Mueller — according to Attorney General William Barr — has not “exonerated” Trump from any obstruction of justice accusation. He didn’t have enough evidence, again according to the AG, to accuse him formally, either.

We need to see the special counsel’s findings for ourselves.

What have a record already of Trump saying things that suggest obstruction of justice. It well might fall on Congress ultimately to decide whether he intended to do that very thing when he canned the FBI director.

Show us the report, Mr. Attorney General.

Waiting for that proverbial big shoe to drop

While the nation — perhaps the world — awaits word on what Robert Mueller III concluded in his exhaustive investigation into alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russians, it is good to understand what we do not yet know.

We don’t know whether special counsel Mueller found any sort of collusion between the Trump team and Russians who hacked into our election system. It’s good to understand that “collusion” is not a crime. Therefore, Mueller isn’t going to charge anyone with committing a criminal offense if they winked and nodded at Russians who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Rodham Clinton, Trump’s 2016 presidential opponent.

Nor do we know whether the president — in Mueller’s eyes — “obstructed justice” when he fired FBI director James Comey in the spring of 2017 because he was conducting a probe into that “Russia thing.” Again, there might not be any criminality involved with Comey’s firing, but there might be an intent that Mueller has identified.

Mueller has been mum on every aspect of his investigation. Thus, we don’t know if he’s going to give Trump the kind of tongue-lashing that Comey gave to Clinton when he concluded the FBI probe into her use of private e-mail servers while she was secretary of state. Do you recall how Comey said Clinton was guilty of “extreme recklessness”? It gave Republican opponents of Clinton plenty of fodder to toss at her while she sought the presidency in 2016. Will there be a similar scolding in store for the president when we see what Mueller has concluded?

It has been said in the past 24 hours that “We don’t know what we don’t know.” To put it another way, it is good to keep our traps shut and stop speculating about what Mueller has delivered to Attorney General William Barr.

Mueller had a narrow mandate when he accepted the special counsel job two years ago. It was to determine the extent — if any — of collusion between Trump’s team and the Russians. His work is done. We don’t know what he has concluded.

Is this the end of it? Does the president now slip/slide away out of the grasp of prosecutors? Umm. No. He’s still got Congress that will be hot on his trail. And let’s not dismiss those prosecutors in New York who are looking at other matters not connected to the Russians.

Mueller’s findings are still to be revealed.

Let’s just wait. Shall we?

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.

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.

We are entering dangerous new territory

Ladies and gents, boys and girls, we have entered a sort of Twilight Zone of American politics.

No one alive today can remember when the FBI opened an investigation into whether the president of the United States was acting as an agent for a foreign hostile power.

Until now. Allegedly.

The New York Times has reported that the FBI launched such a probe after Donald Trump fired James Comey from his post as FBI director. This is uncharted territory, even for a president who has launched many forays into heretofore unwalked paths.

This is, shall we say, dangerous and frightening in the extreme.

The NY Times reports that the FBI was concerned about Trump’s possible Russia connections even before he fired Comey. Indeed, as a Republican presidential candidate, Trump goaded the Russians into looking for those missing e-mails from Hillary Rodham Clinton, the president’s opponent in 2016. Then the president fired Comey in May 2017 and told NBC News anchor Lester Holt that he fired the FBI boss because of “the Russia thing.”

There now appears to be even more fodder — if you can believe it — for special counsel Robert Mueller to examine possible conspiracy to obstruct justice allegations against the president.

As is his custom, Trump fired off about a dozen Twitter messages this morning condemning what he continues to call “the failing New York Times” and “Lyin’ James Comey,” who he described as a “total sleaze” and a “disgrace.”

Comey is not a sleaze. Mueller is not engaging in a “witch hunt.” Trump himself is acting more like a desperate man looking for political cover.

Count me as one American who wants the Mueller probe to end soon and for him to lay all the facts on the table. Millions of Americans’ inquiring minds want to know the truth about their president.

Something tells me it won’t be pretty.

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.

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.