Tag Archives: FBI probe

Let’s hear the other side of this memo matter

We now know what Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee think of Robert Mueller’s investigation into the “Russia thing.”

Let’s now hear what Democrats on the panel think about it.

Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes released “The Memo” that alleges bias in Mueller’s probe into whether the Donald Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russians who hacked into our electoral system and influenced the outcome of the 2016 election.

The memo has touched off a firestorm, caused an earthquake, initiated a tsunami — pick your metaphor.

So, let’s hear what Democrats think. Nunes can make that happen, given that he’s the chairman. So can the president, who’s at the center of all this tumult.

If we’re going to talk about “transparency,” and some members of Congress are doing so, then let’s be totally transparent.

I want to hear what Democrats are saying about their GOP colleagues’ effort to discredit the Mueller investigation.

C’mon! Come clean!

Inquiring minds — such as yours truly’s — want to know. Hey, we deserve to know.

Trump is wearing us out; just think, it’s only been a year!

We are on the verge of marking the first year of one of the more, um, consequential presidencies in the history of the American republic.

I use the term “consequential” with caution. I do not mean to suggest that Donald John Trump Sr.’s first year in office has produce much in the way of positive consequence. I mean to suggest that the consequence has been important in ways few of us could have imagined.

On Jan. 20, 2017, Trump took his presidential oath and then delivered one of the darkest, most forbidding inaugural speeches in history. The most memorable line spoke of how he intended to end “the American carnage.”

Did he end it? Uh, no.

It has gone downhill from there.

Chaos has led to confusion, which has led to controversy, which has brought us resignations and dismissals of top administration aides and advisers. The president’s reliance on Twitter as his main method of conveying policy proclamations has been, well, also quite consequential. 

The president has continued to lie about his foes, his policies, his pronouncements … everything, or so it seems.

He has insulted world leaders. Seemingly all of them. Our friends and our enemies have been on the receiving end of Trump tantrums and tirades — all via Twitter.

Trump has reshaped the American presidency. He has demanded loyalty to himself. He fired FBI director James Comey when he failed to receive such a pledge.

Yes, it’s been a hell of a ride so far. It is bound to get a lot bumpier, provided the special counsel, Robert Mueller — appointed to look into that “Russia thing” — is allowed to do the job to which the Justice Department appointed him to do. Will it result in something terribly, um, “consequential” regarding the future of the Trump administration? Let’s find out.

As for the president’s first year, it’s been the longest such stretch of time I can remember. I’m old enough to recall quite a few of these historical events.

I know I have just peeled the first layer of skin off the presidential onion with this blog post. I mean, there’s just so much.

Still, I hope you get my drift. I considered this guy unfit for the office to which he was elected while he was running for it. My feelings about his fitness have changed. He’s worse — more consequential — than I thought.

Now, let’s get ready for Year No. 2.

Law and order party now talking ‘purge’ at FBI

How can the political party that prides itself on being the champion of “law and order” now contain members who are doing all they can to undermine that principle?

That appears to be happening within the ranks of the Republican Party.

Members of Congress, being goaded by those in the conservative mainstream media, are ratcheting up their criticism of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the “Russia thing” that instigated the president’s dismissal of former FBI director James Comey.

The Justice Department appointed Mueller to be special counsel, enabling him to begin looking into allegations that the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian agents who had hacked into our nation’s electoral process. The FBI, meanwhile, keeps getting hammered by some on the right and the far right and, oh yes, by Donald Trump, the nation’s president.

The FBI and DOJ are now being called “biased” against Trump. What? I thought the president extolled the FBI back when it was investigating Hillary Rodham Clinton’s email usage while she served as secretary of state.

Apparently that’s all changed. Trump now says the FBI needs a thorough housecleaning. It needs top-to-bottom reorganization, he says. It has a new director, Christopher Wray, whose hands are being zip-tied by the president’s tweets and assorted public comments about the FBI.

There once was a time when the FBI was considered the premier investigative law enforcement agency in the entire world. Few people thought to impugn the agency’s integrity or that of the men and women who run it. That time seemingly passed the night of Nov. 8, 2016 when Donald Trump got elected president.

The president, though, in recent days has talked about Mueller treating him “fairly” and has actually dialed back some of his fiery, anti-FBI rhetoric.

Those of us who pay attention to the president are concerned that he’ll reload and start lobbing more artillery at the agency when given the chance.

Is this what the GOP “base” wants to hear from the president? That he is disparaging and disrespecting an institution that hard-core Republicans used to support?

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.

Now it’s the grand jury system under attack

Grand juries do an important task within the criminal justice system.

They hear evidence from prosecutors and then decide whether a criminal complaint merits an indictment, which is a formal accusation of a crime that needs to be decided by the courts.

Now, though, the grand jury “system” has come under attack as it relates to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Donald Trump campaigned had an improper relationship with Russian government hackers seeking to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

Who are the attackers? I’ve heard it come from right-wing talking heads on conservative media outlets. For example, Sean Hannity of Fox News said the grand jury that Mueller has impaneled is inherently biased against Trump. Hannity echoes the president’s description of Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt.”

Fascinating, yes? Sure it is. These are the same fools who called for grand jury investigations into Hillary Rodham Clinton’s missing e-mails. This is the “lock her up!” crowd that didn’t give a damn about any presumption of innocence and wanted a grand jury to find a reason to imprison the former U.S. senator, secretary of state and 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee.

These individuals make me want to puke.


I now want to say a few words about the grand jury system.

It’s not perfect, but it works. Indeed, I have some intimate knowledge of the Texas grand jury system. I served on a grand jury for three months here in Randall County. I was asked to serve by a jury commissioner who was picked by 181st District Judge John Board; the jury commissioner, a friend of mine, was tasked with finding qualified individuals to serve on a grand jury.

I eventually was seated on the grand jury and we met in Canyon each week. We heard complaints brought to us by law enforcement. It was an educational process to be sure. Did we indict every criminal suspect named in a complaint? Hardly.

We would hear from prosecutors who would explain the circumstances surrounding the complaint. We would ask questions of them, talk among ourselves and then decide whether to issue an indictment. It was clean, simple and most importantly, it was done honestly and in good faith.

Granted, the stakes involved in our list of hearings fall far, far, far short of what awaits the grand jury that will consider the assorted Donald J. Trump matters that Robert Mueller will bring forward.

It angers me in the extreme, though, to hear partisan, talking-head hacks disparage for political purposes a segment of our criminal justice system that can — and does — bring great value to the delivering of justice.

Time for you to quit, Mr. Attorney General

If I read Donald Trump’s comments about Attorney General Jeff Sessions correctly, it appears the president is pretty damn angry at the man he picked to lead the Department of Justice.

It also looks as though Trump’s confidence in his AG has vanished, which suggests to me that it’s time for the attorney general to hit the road.

The president has broken sharply with one of his earliest U.S. Senate supporters, saying he never would have picked Sessions if the attorney general would recuse himself from a deepening investigation into Trump’s connections with Russian government officials. Actually, Sessions’s recusal was one of the more noble aspects of his time as AG, given that he couldn’t possibly be trusted to be impartial and unbiased as he was a key player in Trump’s transition team after the 2016 election.

Trump is showing signs of extreme anxiety as the special counsel’s investigation picks up momentum. Indeed, the president also said in an interview with the New York Times that the counsel, Robert Mueller, must stay away from the Trump family financial issues as he pursues the facts behind the so-called “Russia thing.”

As for Sessions, he can’t do his job as the nation’s top legal eagle. The man who appointed now appears to have lost faith in him because he decided to do the right thing by recusing himself. Beyond all of that, his own testimony before Senate committee members has been rife with holes and has produced seemingly more questions than answers about his own role in the Russia matter.

And so … the mystery deepens and the crisis continues.

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.

New House chairman says ‘no’ to Russia probe

U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy isn’t going to join the hunt for the truth into the “Russia thing.”

You might not believe this, but this news doesn’t upset me.

Why, you ask? Well, Gowdy — the new chairman of the panel — says he is going to let special counsel Robert Mueller lead the probe. What’s more, Gowdy’s committee is only one of several congressional panels charged with looking at this matter. The others are the Senate Intelligence and House Intelligence committees, and Senate and House Judiciary committees. They appear to be on the hunt.

So, it’s fair to suggest: Who needs the House Oversight and Government Reform panel to do the same job?

The “Russia thing” deals with the Trump presidential campaign’s alleged relationship with the Russian government. Russian goons hacked into the 2016 presidential election and they have generated considerable congressional interest.

Gowdy will have a role to play anyway. He serves on the House Intelligence and Judiciary panels. He won’t remain silent.

Still, his decision to forgo any hearings is at odds with what his predecessor as chairman, former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, wanted to do. Chaffetz wanted the panel to be more active in the probe.

I am not discouraged that we’re going to root out the issues related to this matter.

You go, special counsel Robert Mueller!

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.