Tag Archives: James Comey

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.