Tag Archives: Justice Department

Timing well could spell doom for Trump

James Comey apparently prefers to write memoranda to record important events.

When the then-FBI director met with Donald J. Trump in the White House — and when the president allegedly “asked” Comey to shut down an investigation — Comey wrote it down.

This occurred in February. The Trump administration was just a few days old. Comey was looking into the activities involving the just-fired national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Fast-forward to this past week. Trump fired Comey from his job as FBI director.

So, is there a connection? Is there linkage between the president’s so-called “request” for Comey to end the Flynn probe and Comey’s dismissal? Are the events tied together?

It looks that way to me. Does it to you? You don’t have to answer.

This is where this latest blockbuster revelation gets its legs. This is how a conversation threatens to swallow the president of the United States.

There are many more dots to connect. What about the former acting attorney general, Sally Yates, who Trump also fired? She warned the president that Flynn could be blackmailed because he had some sort of connection with Russian government officials. Then she’s out! Is there linkage to that dismissal as well to what we are learning today about what the president reportedly sought from the FBI boss?

At this point, absolutely nothing — not a single thing — is going to surprise me as this story continues to evolve.

I will not predict the president is going to pay a hefty political price. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m out of the predicting business.

This story, however, ain’t lookin’ good for the president.

So, ‘wiretap’ doesn’t mean wiretap?

The White House has issued one of the strangest “clarifications” in modern political history.

It was that Donald J. Trump didn’t mean “wiretap” when he referred to it in a series of tweets regarding an allegation he leveled at President Barack Obama.

He had said that Obama had ordered a “wiretap” of his Trump Tower offices during the 2016 presidential campaign. Yes, he used  a very close variation of that word.

But, but, but …

The White House said today he didn’t actually mean “wiretap.”.

Do you follow me? I didn’t think so. I cannot follow it, either.

Here’s one of Trump’s tweets: “How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”

OK, so he didn’t use the word “wiretap” in this tweet. “Tapp my phones,” though, means the same thing. Doesn’t it? I thought so.

Oh, but no-o-o-o. The president didn’t mean it, according to the White House press office.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has asked for a bit more time to provide proof — presuming that some might exist — that backs up the president’s scurrilous accusation that former President Obama broke the law.

By all means, let’s investigate this wiretap malarkey

I just answered “yes” to one of those “online polls” posted on MSN.com’s home page.

The question was this: Should there be an investigation of Trump’s allegation of wiretapping by the Obama administration?

Why “yes”? Why endorse the idea of a probe?

It’s simple. I don’t believe for an instant, a nanosecond, that President Obama was in any way responsible for any kind of wiretap of Trump Tower. I believe that Donald J. Trump made it up. He fabricated an allegation to divert attention from other matters plaguing his administration.

This is the president’s modus operandi, as he’s demonstrated time and again since announcing his candidacy in the summer of 2015. The heat gets too warm under his backside, he fires off a tweet making an outrageous declaration.

He did so again this past weekend with that ridiculous tweet accusing President Obama — with zero evidence — of “ordering” a wiretap, which of course he cannot do legally. Someone, according to Trump, tapped his Trump Tower offices looking for evidence that his campaign had inappropriate or illegal contact with the Russian government, which intelligence authorities have concluded sought to influence the 2016 election, to help Trump get elected.

I realize a congressional investigation — which Trump is seeking — would be costly. I also realize it would divert members of Congress from the myriad other tasks that await them, and for which the public already is paying them good money to address.

You know, things like the budget, national defense, public education — not to mention the many individual concerns that can be found that are unique to each of 435 congressional districts and in each of the 50 states.

If such a probe is done in a bipartisan manner, then I truly believe it would expose Trump to be the fraudulent, petulant liar many millions of us believe him to be.

Not that it would dampen Trumpkins’ enthusiasm for their guy.

Just get it on the record.

Still waiting for the outrage over mosque fire

This just in … investigators have determined that an arsonist set a fire that destroyed a mosque in the Texas coastal city of Victoria.

That silence we’re hearing from Washington, D.C. — namely from the Oval Office — over this despicable act is, well, a bit deafening.

Donald J. Trump hasn’t said a word publicly about it. Nor has our nation’s Department of Justice. Our national security adviser hasn’t uttered a peep; then again, what does one expect from Michael Flynn, who has called Islam a “cancer”?

Yes, we’re at war but supposedly not with Islam. We’re at war with terrorists who have perverted a religion.

I’m gratified, though, to read how the Victoria community has rallied behind the congregation that is suffering in the wake of the fire that destroyed the mosque in late January. I also am glad to know that federal authorities have joined state and local investigators in searching for the culprit who did this deed.

Victoria residents and leaders are teaching a valuable lesson of compassion and empathy that I wish would be heard by those who sit around the offices in the West Wing of the White House.

It’s interesting, too, that authorities have issued a press release that says this: “At this time, the evidence does not indicate the fire was a biased crime.”

According to the Texas Tribune: “Federal, state and local agencies are investigating the Jan. 28 blaze, which grabbed international headlines in part because it roared through the mosque hours after President Donald Trump signed his executive order barring refugees from entering the country and restricting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.”


Keep looking, folks. Something tells me you’re going to find something that does indicate “bias.”

IG takes aim at FBI boss

James Comey is under the microscope yet again.

The Justice Department’s inspector general is launching an investigation into the FBI director’s conduct in the days immediately preceding the 2016 presidential election.

At issue is whether Comey’s 11th-hour letter to Congress about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s e-mail controversy had a direct impact on the election outcome.

Clinton believes it did. Donald Trump, who won, is dismissing the impact of the letter. Wow! Imagine that.


What gives this upcoming probe its legs is that the IG works also for the Justice Department, the same agency that employs the FBI director.

Comey’s letter is believed by many to have stalled Clinton’s momentum in the final days of the campaign. Trump’s team contends that their guy was gaining momentum anyway and would have won with our without Comey’s intervention.

Of course, it should be noted that Comey said a few days after announcing he had sent the letter to Congress that his agency determined — as it had done in the summer of 2016 — that Clinton didn’t commit a crime in her handling of the e-mails.

The Clinton team, though, believes the damage had been done.

Comey has drawn intense and angry fire from congressional Democrats who believe his letter — which he revealed 11 days before the election — was directly responsible for Trump’s victory.

My hope for this probe is that Trump will let it go forward. If he calls off the DOJ dogs — or fires Comey — after he takes office, the president-elect will unleash yet another storm of suspicion that he has something to hide.

Let’s answer the question: Did the FBI director act improperly when he injected himself and his agency directly into an intense campaign for the presidency of the United States?

This inquiring mind wants to know. I am quite certain I am not alone.

Trump gets ahead of himself over Clinton inquiry


Donald J. Trump perhaps thought he was being magnanimous in declaring he wouldn’t seek a special prosecutor to examine whether Hillary Rodham Clinton broke any laws while she served as secretary of state.

Except for one thing … or so I understand.

The president-elect has no actual authority to make such a ruling.

That process starts and stops with the Justice Department and the FBI. Moreover, I am pretty sure the feds have determined already that Clinton didn’t commit any crimes while she used a personal e-mail server.

The FBI actually has made that declaration twice.

FBI Director James Comey said in July that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges against Clinton. Eleven days before the election, Comey then said he was examining some newly discovered e-mails to see if they contained any new information. Nine days after that, Comey said his initial conclusion stood.

Of course, that didn’t stop the future president-elect from convicting Clinton of crimes she didn’t commit. He vowed to pick a special prosecutor.

Now he says he won’t.

That’s not his call to make.

Sessions pick for AG is the most galling of all


Jeff Sessions is likely to be confirmed as the nation’s next attorney general.

It’s been said that “to the victors go the spoils.” In Sessions’ case, the victor happens to be a U.S. senator who was among Donald J. Trump’s earliest and most vocal supporters in his winning bid for the presidency.

Trump has rewarded the Alabama Republican with a nomination to become the nation’s top lawyer, its top law enforcement officer, its primary legal eagle.

The irony — not to mention the potential consequence — of this appointment is too rich to overlook.

Sessions has served in the Senate since 1997. For nearly a decade he’s been a member of the very “club” that once rejected an earlier nomination for Sessions to become a federal judge.

President Reagan nominated Sessions to the federal bench in 1986. Sessions, though, seemed to have this thing about African-Americans. He allegedly made some racist comments while serving as a federal prosecutor. He once said something akin to endorsing the Ku Klux Klan until he learned that some KKKers “smoked pot.” Sessions declared that to be a “joke,” that he was just kiddin’ around.

Well, the Senate rejected his judicial nomination. Sessions, though, decided to join the club. He was elected in 1996 and since then has been passing judgment on other judicial nominees who’ve come before the Judiciary Committee, where he serves.

Thus, the irony.

Sessions will be confirmed eventually, but only because senators are deeply resistant to rejecting one of their own, no matter how repulsive he may be.

The Justice Department has made great strides in recent years — under Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch — in ensuring equal protection under the law for all Americans. Does one really expect an Attorney General Jeff Sessions to continue that trend?

I fear that the attorney general’s office is going to take a decidedly less-aggressive posture in enforcing civil rights violations when they occur. I also am wary of anything Jeff Sessions says about his commitment to ensuring equal justice for all Americans.

His buddies in the Senate will confirm this nomination. I am hoping, though, for a thorough going-over regarding his record as a prosecutor and that silly rejection to the federal judgeship over things he said about many of our fellow citizens.

Perhaps one of his inquisitors will ask: “Sen. Sessions, if the Senate deemed you unfit to be a federal judge, why should it confirm you now as attorney general?”

Trump picks demonstrate anti-unity theme


Donald Trump has vowed to “unify” the nation after a bitter campaign that elected him the next president of the United States.

Who, then, does he pick for his national security team?

Let’s see: retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who will lead the National Security Agency, says that fear of Muslims is “rational”; Kansas U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, who will lead the CIA, believes Muslims contribute to the terror threat by refusing to repudiate terrorism; U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, whom Trump has nominated to be attorney general, was denied a federal judgeship in the 1980s because of allegedly racist comments he made as a U.S. attorney in Alabama.

Trump is making no apologies for targeting people of certain faiths and he is making no amends toward the African-American community by nominating someone with, um, a checkered civil-rights past to lead the Justice Department.


None of this should surprise anyone, I suppose. The president-elect is precisely who he says he is: a tough guy who vows to roll back many of the policies of the administration he will succeed.

According to the New York Times: “The reaction from Democrats was immediate and angry. ‘The president-elect has created a White House leadership that embodies the most divisive rhetoric of his campaign,’ Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon said on Friday. ‘To the extent that these become policies or legislative proposals, I commit to stopping them.’”

Perhaps the most amazing view from this national security team came from Gen. Flynn, who supports a national registry of Muslims and compares such registration to the internment of Japanese-Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. President Roosevelt overreacted grossly to a perceived threat from loyal Americans as the nation entered World War II and that overreaction has been universally condemned in the years since as a tragic mistake.

Oh yes. A new day is about to dawn in Washington, D.C. Let’s all get ready for some storm clouds that are beginning to boil up on the political horizon.

Public mistrust casts pall over FBI’s findings


This is what it’s come to in this country.

The head of the nation’s leading federal investigative agency offers a compelling argument for why he isn’t recommending a criminal indictment against a candidate for president.

And yet there remains doubt over whether the FBI did its job with integrity and professionalism.

FBI Director James Comey offered a detail explanation of his agency’s findings today in determining that it wouldn’t recommend seeking an indictment against Hillary Clinton over her use of a personal e-mail server while she served as secretary of state.

Here’s his statement in full. It’s worth reading.


Sure, he has scolded Clinton for being “careless” in her handling of e-mail messages sent from her server. But in his careful language, Comey assures us that no prosecutor worth a damn would find any reasonable cause to seek criminal charges over what transpired during Clinton’s tenure at the State Department.

Moreover, I also accept the declaration that the FBI director did his job with integrity.

As Comey said this morning: “I know there will be intense public debate in the wake of this recommendation, as there was throughout this investigation. What I can assure the American people is that this investigation was done competently, honestly, and independently. No outside influence of any kind was brought to bear.”

I accept those findings.

Memo to former president: Stay away from the action


Bill Clinton hasn’t blown his wife’s presidential candidacy apart.

But, oh man, he has stepped right into the middle of a place where he didn’t belong.

For that matter, the U.S. attorney general — Loretta Lynch — didn’t help matters one bit by agreeing to a brief, allegedly strictly “social” chat with the 42nd president of the United States.

The ex-POTUS and the AG met recently aboard Lynch’s airplane at Phoenix’s airport. They had a few laughs and chatted each other up about this and/or that.

But the ex-president has handed Republican candidate Donald J. Trump a gold-plated gift in the form of ammo to fire at Hillary Rodham Clinton. The ammo well might include accusations that her husband sought to “influence” an FBI investigation into that nagging e-mail controversy … the one involving Hillary Clinton’s use of her private e-mail account to send and receive State Department messages while she ran that huge federal agency.

The FBI is probing the matter and is expected to interview Democratic presidential nominee-in-waiting Hillary Clinton soon, presumably to get some answers to the Big Question: Did she compromise national security while using that e-mail service?

Lynch said immediately she would accept whatever recommendation the FBI makes regarding Hillary Clinton’s liability in this matter. She has all but recused herself from the investigation, even though the Justice Department still oversees the FBI and that FBI Director James Comey is her direct subordinate.

As for the former president, he needs to take his political antennae into whatever shop there is to fix it.

Until then, he needs to keep as low a profile as possible.

This e-mail mess is muddy enough as it is. The former president needs to — how do I say this clearly? — stay far, far away from it.