May 17th, 2017

Trump and the Comey memo

First, let’s get some semantics out of the way.

Did Trump “ask” Comey to stop the Mike Flynn investigation?

What does it mean to “ask” for something, or to request it? Ordinarily it’s not such a difficult concept to grasp. “Asking” uses language like this:

Please do [fill in the blank] for me.

An order has a different level of demand:

You must [fill in the blank]

Then there’s a desire that something happen, a hope:

I’d really like it if you were to [fill in the blank].

It’s a statement of a wish, but it’s not the same as asking and most definitely not the same as ordering.

But what if you are the president? Are presidents allowed to express wishes to FBI directors, for example? Are presidents’ wishes FBI directors commands?

Here’s what’s been reported by the NY Times (courtesy of its usual informant, anon):

The story said the Oval Office meeting took place in February on the day after Flynn resigned. The existence of the memo, written by Comey “immediately” after the meeting, was shared “with senior FBI officials and close associates,” according to the report.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump allegedly told Comey. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Although the various news outlets involved have characterized this as “asking,” it’s not, even if it happened just that way.

That does not make it okay, however. Presidents are not supposed to interfere with investigations—that would be, if the interference contained certain elements, obstruction of justice. And although I’m not up enough on the law to say for certain whether that includes even voicing a hope, my guess is that such a statement could at least arguably be considered a possible interference with an investigation. And today, Jonathan Turley weighs in on the question of whether the reported Comey memo would constitute obstruction of justice, or even an impeachable offense (that doesn’t need to rise to that level), and he answers “no.”

I wonder how many people agree with him. So far, quite a few legal experts seem to agree that the memo, if true, would not constitute evidence of criminality.

We may find out a lot more about this particular Trump/Comey exchange, however:

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sent a letter to Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe asking that all Comey memos or recordings related to his meetings with Trump be turned over to the committee by May 24.

The committee “is going to get the Comey memo, if it exists,” Chaffetz tweeted. “I need to see it sooner rather than later. I have my subpoena pen ready.”

There are many smoking guns that could sink Trump, but this one may be the most potentially serious one of all. Or it may turn out to be another case of a media distortion of what actually happened. And even if they are reporting accurately, it would be Comey’s word against Trump’s, because there were no other witnesses to the exchange.

We are in dangerous waters, however, and that is the case whether Comey is telling the truth or not.

[NOTE: Gregg Jarrett makes on interesting point:

Under the law, Comey is required to immediately inform the Department of Justice of any attempt to obstruct justice by any person, even the President of the United States. Failure to do so would result in criminal charges against Comey. (18 USC 4 and 28 USC 1361) He would also, upon sufficient proof, lose his license to practice law.

So, if Comey believed Trump attempted to obstruct justice, did he comply with the law by reporting it to the DOJ? If not, it calls into question whether the events occurred as the Times reported it.

Obstruction requires what’s called “specific intent” to interfere with a criminal case. If Comey concluded, however, that Trump’s language was vague, ambiguous or elliptical, then he has no duty under the law to report it because it does not rise to the level of specific intent. Thus, no crime.

There is no evidence Comey ever alerted officials at the Justice Department, as he is duty-bound to do. Surely if he had, that incriminating information would have made its way to the public either by an indictment or, more likely, an investigation that could hardly be kept confidential in the intervening months.]

[NOTE II: Here’s another article well worth reading.]

58 Responses to “Trump and the Comey memo”

  1. Cornhead Says:

    1. Comey told Congress, under oath, that there had been no interference with the FBI’s investigation about Russia.

    2. Where are all of Comey’s memos about meetings with Obama?

    3. Where are the FBI internal memos re the Hillary Clinton investigation? How did Cheryl Mills get immunity?

    4. Why is this Russia investigation taking so long?

    This whole thing is complete BS.

  2. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    So, either Comey broke the law by failing to report Trump’s obstruction of justice or Trump in Comey’s opinion was not trying to obstruct justice? In which case, it’s either of no importance or they both are guilty of obstruction of justice?

  3. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Cornhead,

    It extends far beyond simple, politically motivated BS. The Obama administration engaged in multiple instances of obstruction of justice. The rule of law only applies to the Left’s enemies. The rule of law is a core principle of the right, not the left for which it’s a convenient tool with which to bludgeon their enemies. Lying, false accusations, character assassination… it’s all justified by the ends sought.

  4. Cornhead Says:

    GB

    MSM and Dems out to destroy Trump. He’s helping them a bit. GOP has to stick together. McCain and others need to wake up. This is war.

  5. Cornhead Says:

    The number one most effective defender of Trump is Laura Ingraham. She was his best advocate during the campaign. She needs to take charge.

  6. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    Trump (as Trump) benefits as this since he is constantly looking for excuses for his failures. Trump as President loses a lot because he has yet to see that he needs Congress to get things done. GOP Senators in particular no longer fear getting on the wrong side of a trump tweetstorm.

    When Obama took office, French President Sarkozy asked his aides if Obama was weak. Of course Barry embarrassed Sarkozy by turning down a dinner with Sarkozy for a date night with Michele. Trump if nothing else knows how to piss people off. This may have looked good in the campaign, but now the knives are out. Trump now looks weak and everyone knows it. He is not perceived as being in command which is much more important than the particular scandal of the hour. Reagan would have good naturedly made a joke and defused the issue. (and he would have never fired someone the way Trump did Comey).

    Strength in a leader is not the same as the bravado Trump claims. It is the ability to inspire your team, get things done and make opponents realize you have many allies.

  7. Bill Says:

    I dunno.

    Just from the outside looking in: Trump has a conversation with Comey in February. Might have suggested it would be good for all this to go away

    In May it doesn’t look like it’s going away (regardless of the merits). So Trump fires Comey amidst conflicting reasons from his staff and himself regarding why.

    Trump, in an interview, mentions that the Russian thing was at least on his mind when he fired Comey. Trump is used to firing people, and disloyalty is a big bad with him. He may still be thinking too much like a CEO (no, Nikki Haley, the President is not America’s CEO)

    He then tweets a PUBLIC message to Comey threatening him against “leaking” something to the press, and implies he has his own taped evidence (against Corey’s memo, perhaps?)

    Maybe Trump does. I don’t know.

    But with all that out together, and knowing Trump’s naivete about the new reality he’s a part of as President, it doesn’t seem that crazy to me that he might have tried some of his deal making persuasion on Comey.

    I don’t know enough to know if that’s a crime or impeach able. But it’s not very smart.

  8. Griffin Says:

    Comey really is a duplicitous snake in the grass. Pretty interesting article out there about his time as deputy AG under Ashcroft.

    Trump’s biggest may end up being not firing him on day one.

  9. arfldgr Says:

    your about to see the Great Punkin!!!
    Dont you remember who James IS?

    Never ceases to amaze…

    few lawyers piped up on immigration, and few lawyers seem to be piping up on: 44 U.S.C. §§ 2201–2207

    Executive Order 13489 – Issued by President Barack Obama on January 21, 2009, restored the implementation of the PRA of 1978 as practiced under President Reagan’s Executive Order 12667 and revoked President Bush’s Executive Order 13233.

    Those damn EO and stuff i said to read… hmmmmm.

    In 1974, Congress passed the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974, placing the presidential records of Richard Nixon in federal custody to prevent their destruction

    In 1972, decades worth of official and unofficial Federal Bureau of Investigation records had been destroyed, upon the death of J. Edgar Hoover, by his longtime secretary, Helen Gandy. The Presidential Records Act of 1978 expanded such protection of historical records, by mandating that the records of former presidents would automatically become the property of the federal government upon their departures from the Oval Office, and then transferred to the Archivist of the United States, thereafter to be made available to the public after no more than 12 years.

    now here is where it gets interesting and where the Great Punkin will come from!!

    you see… he is doing it AGAIN… everyone WANTS to assume he did X and Y and the left for some reason, keeps forgetting we live in a modern era with records and things and video and they keep getting snagged by this… dont they? from hate hoaxes to inconvenient emails and open mics, and surveilance tapes no one knew were there for years, etc.

    As president, what gets recorded permanently, and at the presidents discression can be turned from top secret to public? think carefully as to the power of the president to do that? and the lefts assumptions… if they were in little league they would sit the bench permanently for batting so badly

    from the law

    The term “documentary material” means all books, correspondence, memoranda, documents, papers, pamphlets, works of art, models, pictures, photographs, plats, maps, films, and motion pictures, including, but not limited to, audio and visual records, or other electronic or mechanical recordations, whether in analog, digital, or any other form.

    EVERYTHING is recored except for what is explicitly personal!!! and that would be known before hand… not to mention that this makes almost all records available publicly except what is witheld, but even what is witheld can be public if the presdient decides

    is anyone but me seeing the chess game here?
    obama didnt know how to play chess… let alone star trek 3d chess… or you think somone who thinks people in europe speak austrian not german, and we have how many states?

    you guys dont see that IF he follows the rules on things, they bounce off of him… you guy dont get that when the world wants you string you up by your balls from a lampost and NEEDS AN EXCUSE… they run themselves ragged, hurt their credibility, and more as they try to catch you at a game your not playing!!!

    wait… out of this your going to find out who in the republican party was entryism from dems and all that…

    now, dont you guys remember who comey is?

    1) Comey served on the board of banking giant HSBC
    [what lawsuit did they have then? laundering what? and was at the choke point for the KPMG stuff. “Clinton foundation received up to $81m from clients of controversial HSBC bank” // HSBC Holdings has partnered with Deutsche Bank through the Clinton Foundation to “retrofit 1,500 to 2,500 housing units, primarily in the low- to moderate-income sector” in “New York City.” (helping deblasio) the Foundation projected “$1 billion in financing” for this Green initiative to conserve people’s energy in low-income housing units.]

    2) he handled favorably for Clinton Sandy Berger
    [He limited the scope of the criminal investigation of Sandy Berger, which left out former Clinton administration officials who may have coordinated with Berger in his removal and destruction of classified records from the National Archives. ]

    3) Berger, Lynch and Cheryl Mills were all employess of Hogan & Hartson
    [this is the firm that did clinton tax returns, and a patent for software that was part of the clinton server! and In 1999, President Bill Clinton nominated Lynch till she left to be at hogan and hartson]

    4) Comey earned $6 million in one year alone from Lockheed Martin, Lockheed Martin became a Clinton Foundation donor that year. / Lockheed Martin is also a member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, which paid Bill Clinton $250,000 / Lockheed Martin won 17 approvals for private contracts from the Hillary Clinton State Department.

    6) Peter Comey serves as “Senior Director of Real Estate Operations for the Americas” for DLA Piper. James Comey was not questioned about his relationship with Peter Comey [i say look to families and lineage in this game, like jarrets parents, obamas parents, ayers parents, etc… duh duh duh // DLA Piper is the firm that performed the independent audit of the Clinton Foundation in November during Clinton / DLA Piper ranks #5 on Hillary Clinton’s all-time career Top Contributors list, just ahead of Goldman Sachs.]

    7) Peter Comey has a mortgage on his house that is owned by his brother James Comey, the FBI director. // he bought a $950,000 house in Vienna, Virginia, in June 2008. He needed a $712,500 mortgage from First Savings Mortgage Corporation. But on January 31, 2011, James Comey and his wife stepped in to become Private Party lenders. They granted a mortgage on the house for $711,000. Financial records suggest that Peter Comey took out two such mortgages from his brother that day. [no conflict of interest here, move along]

    8) James Comey redesigned the FBI AND at the beginning of the Obama administration, Peter Comey became “a real estate and construction consultant” for Procon Consulting. // Procon Consulting’s client list includes “FBI Headquarters Washington, DC.”

    what did Procon Consulting do for FBI Headquarters?
    According to the firm’s records:

    Procon provided strategic project management for the consolidation of over 11,000 FBI personnel into one, high security, facility.

    Since 1972 the Federal Bureau of Investigation has had its headquarters in a purpose built 2.1 million square foot building on Pennsylvania Avenue. Having become functionally obsolete and in need of major repairs, GSA and the FBI were considering ways to meet the space needs required to maintain the Bureau’s mission and consolidate over 11,000 personnel.

    Procon assisted GSA in assessing the FBI’s space needs and options for fulfilling those needs. Services provided included project management related to site evaluations, budgeting, due diligence, and the development of procurement and funding strategies.

    In June 2011, Peter Comey left Procon Consulting to become “Senior Director of Real Estate Operations for the Americas” for DLA Piper.

    Lawsuits again
    According to Law360 // Two real estate services businesses filed a $10 million suit against the law firm Monday alleging it stiffed them on as much as $760,000 of work done at DLA Piper’s Chicago office and improperly gave proprietary information to a competitor.

    AND this is the public stuff, what would a president with agencies separate from the FBI have on these people and read? nothing?

    still think it was the russians helping the anti communists so that the communist hillary would lose? or that wiretapping meant getting my information, and not a direct example of methodology?

    there is so much more…

  10. Oldflyer Says:

    I withhold my opinion until the alleged memos are publicly available. I am sorry, but just because the NYT says there is a memo, and speculates (?) what that memo says, if it exists, simply means nothing to me.l

    Continuing a theme of mine. Surely, Trump is capable of learning fairly basic lessons, so unless there is some pathology involved it is time that he understands that the President must be very circumspect about what he says, and who he says it to. I no longer accept the self-serving explanation by his apologists that it is all a grand strategy.

    Back during the Gary Powers U2 incident, it was stated that President Eisenhower felt so strongly that a President should never lie to the country that he always had a surrogate do it. Trump must realize that every word he speaks is open to interpretation by unfriendly people with big megaphones or printing presses.

    I desperately want him to succeed; but, he is stepping on his own message, and compromising the odds for success. On top of everything else, I believe he is running the risk that a significant segment of the GOP Congress will begin to distance themselves from him. Their survival instincts will trump (no pun) any loyalty.

  11. parker Says:

    DC is well known for its foot dragging, rumor mongering, and back stabbing. Until there is a smoking gun, I am not going to take any of the claims and counter claims seriously. Same goes for leaking Isreali intelligence.

  12. Ann Says:

    Just read that the reporter responsible for the Comey memo story also broke the story about Hillary’s private email server in 2015.

  13. Yancey Ward Says:

    In this day and age, how hard is it to take a picture of a memo you are reading to a reporter so that it can be reproduced with the actual press report? It isn’t hard at all, but think about it- since a certain event in 2004, how many pictures of documents important to a news story’s credibility have you seen? I can’t think of any, and it has only gotten easier and easier to produce them, too.

    Given Comey’s obvious lack of a report of interference, including his own damned testimony prior to getting fired, what can he really say next Wednesday? Does anyone really expect him to say that Trump did interferee with the investigation after saying he didn’t? Part of me thinks that Trump let him get on the record just so he could fire him last week.

  14. Yankee Says:

    1. Does the memo exist in the first place?

    2. Who leaked the alleged memo to the NY Times?

    3. Why did that person leak this alleged memo?

    I thought that the Left would go crazy after the election, regardless of the result. But since Mr. Trump ended up winning, the actions of the Left indicate that they wish to destroy him, by any means necessary, no matter what.

    Does anyone else see the irony in how a scandal from the Obama administration is being used to damage President Trump? (Hillary Clinton’s secret e-mail server and how that was handled, with the media all the while telling us how scandal-free the Obama administration was.)

    We should expect more negative coverage from the media, and more attempts to damage Mr. Trump from the deep state. But in the long run, the best advice is still never bet against Trump.

  15. Mr. Frank Says:

    Trump has lots of very sharp people in his administration, but it appears that he does not listen to anyone. I wonder how many people have told him to quit Tweeting.

    What concerns me is the precedent being set by the left and MSM of attacking any Republican president from day one. If Trump resigned and Pence became president, he would be attacked immediately.

  16. Richard Saunders Says:

    Cornhead – “4. Why is this Russia investigation taking so long?”

    Because there is no there there, and they’re too embarrassed or too Democrat (Mr. McCabe?) to say it. The FBI has had more than enough time to pull Trump’s LLC and partnership tax returns and interview every investor in and every lender to a Trump deal. (So has the MSM — IIRC, WAPO had 22 reporters investigating Trump, according to Bob Woodward, although it would be a bit harder for them as they don’t have access to those tax returns.)

    As usual, you’re right — it’s complete BS.

  17. Big Maq Says:

    “MSM and Dems out to destroy Trump. He’s helping them a bit. GOP has to stick together.” – Cornhead

    This is the problem right from the beginning in choosing a man like trump as a candidate.

    He doesn’t hold the same principles. He had shown he was barely competent at running a campaign. He has no impulse control. And, he is mutable.

    The calculus of supporting him now is essentially we fear that to be critical on any points of real concern is to surely lose to the dems.

    In order to get anywhere, it comes down to having to suck it up and defend the man, no matter what.

    If trump himself is “helping them a bit” (a huge understatement, IMHO), then what is stopping him from just continuing on, again and again and again and again, ad infinitum?

    There HAS to be a feedback loop, learning, and course correction.

    Is there ever an “after action report” (as they use in the military)?

    Is there any self-assessment going on in this WH?

    Without that, there is little promise that trump might change, and help the GOP get back on track with the focus it needs in bringing about much of the change we all think is needed in DC.
    .

    “As someone who frequently cautions against hair-on-fire freakouts, I’ll just say that this one smells like it has the potential to metastasize, and leave it at that. For now, let’s resist the urge to screech “impeach” or “fake news,” and see where the evidence leads” – Guy Benson (hat tip to Ann for the original link)
    https://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2017/05/16/congress-should-subpoena-comey-and-his-alleged-memo-about-trump-pressure-on-flynn-investigation-n2327807

    Who knows the truth on this matter with the Comey memo.

    But the sum of trump’s own actions have given it great plausibility, despite the msm’s bias.

    So given his history of falsehoods and misdirection, we are supposed to throw in to defend him not knowing if this is true or not, just based on our assumption of his good character trumps media bias?

    Cripes, the guy won’t even release his own tax returns after promising he would.

    So every GOP voter / supporter is supposed to get on board and stick their necks out on this?

    Pence lost significant credibility on the Comey firing, looking like a sucker the very next morning.

    How’s that for payback in support of trump?
    .

    THIS is very much what I am getting at when I said trump needs to build trust and credibility!!!!

    But, y’all have all kinds of excuses on why trump does this or doesn’t do that, etc., etc., declare he is playing 1024-D-quantum chess, and offer plenty of blame for everyone else but trump.

    It is times like this, and especially in worse times, that he needs it most.

    But, he’s squandered it.
    .

    I want trump to be a success in conservative terms, but Jes.. H. C. he is proving by the day he may very well eff it all up anyway, and trash the GOP / conservative brand of ideas.

    Let’s hope this proves to be the “fake news” trump and team keep claiming on anything that comes up.

    But, I wouldn’t be putting any money on it.

    Thought Experiment: Would anyone here seriously do so?

  18. Big Maq Says:

    “3. Why did that person leak this alleged memo?” – Yankee

    If the memo is for real, then it is called “whistle blowing”.

    If it is something much less than it is purported to be, then that might be an interesting question brought up in federal court addressing the felony charges on the leaker.

    A story like this is a “bet your company” type of one, as the fallout could seriously damage the NYT (and it would be well deserved), if this proves false, or a cry wolf.

  19. Ann Says:

    Big Maq:

    The NY Times probably has great confidence in the reporter who broke the story because of his track record with Hillary’s private email server.

  20. Bill Says:

    Today Trump claimed that no politician in history has been treated worse or more unfairly than him.

    Because everything’s about him.

    This is nonsense on stilts and takes a lot of gall to say. Abraham Lincoln was surely treated worse. I think GWB was treated worse (but that’s over 8 years of non stop Bushitler nonsense. Trump is just getting started)

  21. ColoComment Says:

    http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/intelligence/315793-fbi-found-no-wrongdoing-in-flynns-calls-with-russian

    1) Comey’s FBI reported Flynn cleared, re: phone calls with Russian guy, on January 23rd. See linked NYP article.
    2) Flynn resigned effective February 13th.
    3) Trump and Comey met the next day, February 14th.
    4) Comey then, some unknown time later, allegedly wrote his memo, that no one has seen.

    What investigation was Trump supposed to have inappropriately intervened in or obstructed? What am I missing here?

  22. ColoComment Says:

    Oops, the article is from The Hill.

  23. Yancey Ward Says:

    Colocomment,

    Flynn reportedly didn’t file the right financial disclosures at some point during his brief time in the Trump Administration- a problem that he rectified later, but too late to save his position. I am guessing there is literally nothing to charge him with that would seem like an abuse of power itself to any sane human being, but you have to remember what Comey helped to do to poor old Scooter Libby.

  24. Yancey Ward Says:

    That should have read, “that wouldn’t seem”.

  25. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    The GOP can’t stick together. You have a fractured party with fundamentally opposed factions stemming from fundamentally opposed interests.

    It’s foolish to imagine that a Pres. Cruz would be able to get substantive cooperation out of the RINO side. Foolish to imagine that a Pres. Bush, Rubio or Kasich would truly support and work for conservative solutions.

    The RINO oligarchy is not going to vote for a reduced government, reduced entitlements, reduced debt or controlled borders. They’re not going to vote for reestablishing a viable free market health care system.

    On all of those issues, they are on the democrat’s side.

    Like it or not, Trump is the only game in town and right now, the left is beating him up like a pinata.

  26. OldTexan Says:

    Wow, so many folks who know stuff or think they know stuff and their stuff is different from other stuff. I am sitting in the cheap seats and waiting for the replay to have any idea what’s going on.

    I also think we might be in one of those important time frames when nations change from one thing to another. Like Spain, France, Britain and of course Germany. We like to say it can’t happen here but can it?

    I hope not.

  27. The Other Chuck Says:

    Whether Trumped asked, hoped, or directly ordered Comey to drop any further investigation of Flynn, the meaning was clear. When your boss, who can fire you without cause, at any time, expresses an interest in and a desire relating to an investigation, and then subsequently does fire you, after having publicly complemented and praised your independence, there is no doubt what is taking place.

    Trump praises Comey on Oct. 31, 2016:

    “And I have to give the FBI credit. That was so bad what happened originally,” Trump said, referring to Comey’s announcement in July to not recommend charges against Clinton to the Justice Department. “And it took guts for Director Comey to make the move that he made in light of the kind of opposition he had where they’re trying to protect her from criminal prosecution. You know that. It took a lot of guts.”

    “I was not his fan,” he added, “but I’ll tell you what: What he did, he brought back his reputation. He brought it back.”

    The GOP nominee also advised the FBI chief to “hang tough.” “A lot of people want him to do the wrong thing,” Trump suggested. “What he did was the right thing.”

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/10/trump-praises-james-comey-230542

    A day after Comey was fired Trump spilled the beans:

    “When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.’ ”

    “I was going to fire Comey. He [Rosenstein] made a recommendation . . . but regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey.

    Over the “Russia thing.” To STOP the investigation. He admits it. What more needs to be said?

  28. TommyJay Says:

    As of a day ago, my recent prediction came true. Impeachment is on the table because Republicans put it there. Sen. John McCain and Rep. Justin Amash both went on the record on how they were contemplating impeachment.

    So now we have an independent counsel, Mr. Mueller, to investigate everything Trump for the next several years. Why? Because Sessions stupidly recused himself, and Rosenstein is a coward. Rosenstein could have managed this investigation himself, but couldn’t/wouldn’t take the heat.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to see all of James Comey’s after-meeting memos to himself during his tenure as Director? Jason Chaffetz said he might subpoena them (sigh) but he has no power to enforce those subpoenas.

    I saw Dershowitz on CNN trying to get a word in edgewise to Jeffrey Toobin’s torrent. He expressed some dismay that Trump played loose with Israeli intelligence, but said that there was nothing illegal about it. He said, however, that the leaker to the media committed a major crime and that he held him most responsible for the damage to Israeli intelligence.

  29. AesopFan Says:

    arfldgr Says:
    May 17th, 2017 at 4:42 pm
    your about to see the Great Punkin!!!
    Dont you remember who James IS?

    Never ceases to amaze…
    * * *
    Thanks for the info – all news to me.
    As a favorite detective fiction writer always has her character say: Just follow the money.

    (Emma Lathen’s John Putnam Thatcher, an investment banker FWIW. I love her books.)

  30. Big Maq Says:

    @The Other Chuck – the difference might be the legal standard vs the ethical standard.

    We know trump is capable of having crossed the line with Comey on the investigation, even if it is only out of negligent ignorance, but let us see what the specific facts of the case tell us.

    I’m expecting that the Comey memo won’t be so clear cut, and both sides will be able to spin it. Maybe if Comey testifies it may come out, but that looks bad for him too.

    See Neo’s last link – to ZipDialog. He explains some of the things that Comey would have done wrong along the way too.

    To me, those outlined decisions by Comey fit with the list of “performance issues” Rosenstein wrote about.

    Comey was d*mned by both parties throughout the election and now, if true, does he report it? resign? maybe he just chose to sit on it and gave trump a chance, like we all were urged to.

    Or, is this all made up and a means for Comey to exact revenge?

    Regardless of what is true, for a candidate who claimed great competency, one thing is for sure, trump crapped his own pants on his handling of Comey, and it is obvious to anyone who is paying minimal attention.

    How much more rope does trump have, even if this eventually blows over? IDK.

    What is the point of no return wrt trust and credibility?

  31. AesopFan Says:

    Geoffrey Britain Says:
    May 17th, 2017 at 7:30 pm
    The GOP can’t stick together. You have a fractured party with fundamentally opposed factions stemming from fundamentally opposed interests.
    * * *
    See this by Victor Davis Hanson:
    http://34.201.232.221/2017/05/17/nightmares-realities-never-trump/
    During the 2016 election, and the current Trump presidency, there have appeared four implicit tenets to the conservative “Never Trump” position that, we are supposed to understand, justified not voting for him, actively opposing him, or voting for Hillary Clinton:

    1) The character flaws of the inexperienced and uncouth Trump would eventually nullify any positive agenda that he might enact; not opposing such a boorish character undermines one’s reputation as an empirical and fair-minded conservative;

    2) Trump is a liberal wolf in conservative sheep’s clothing; at any given moment he will break his campaign promises and revert to his 1980s New York Democratic self. Or, Trump has no ideology and is an empty vessel willing to embrace almost any ideology he finds efficacious to his ambitions of the moment. Either way, he will do the conservative cause real damage;

    3) Trump’s base supporters, while not irredeemables and deplorables, are prone to nationalist extremism and embrace certain prejudices that are antithetical to conservative values;

    4) Clinton’s progressive agendas would not do as much damage to the nation as would Trump’s uncouth character. Thus the defeat of the Republicans in 2016, or the failure of an ensuing Trump presidency, would be cathartic. Only a Trump implosion would teach Republicans never again to allow such an untried and dangerous populist nationalist without political experience to highjack their party, while cleansing the movement of some odious figures and unpalatable ideas that have no business in it—or both.

    How true have these nightmares so far played out?
    * * *
    RTWT

  32. AesopFan Says:

    Richard Saunders Says:
    May 17th, 2017 at 5:23 pm
    Cornhead – “4. Why is this Russia investigation taking so long?”

    Because there is no there there, and they’re too embarrassed or too Democrat (Mr. McCabe?) to say it.
    * * *
    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/05/preliminary-thoughts-on-the-comey-memo.php
    “UPDATE: Gregg Jarrett of Fox News argues that if Comey believed the president’s statements to him amounted to obstruction of justice, then Comey himself committed a crime unless he promptly reported those statements to the Department of Justice. However, if Comey concluded that Trump’s language was vague, ambiguous or elliptical, then he had no duty under the law to report it because the statements weren’t criminal.

    From all that appears, Comey did not report Trump’s statements to the DOJ. A memo to the file, even if shared with a few confidantes, wouldn’t constitute the reporting required in the event Comey believed Trump committed a crime.”

  33. AesopFan Says:

    And this by Andrew McCarthy:
    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/447710/donald-trump-obstruction-justice-james-comey-russia
    “Up until now, veiled orders have not been thought the equivalent of obstruction. On April 10, 2016, President Obama publicly stated that Hillary Clinton had shown “carelessness” in using a private e-mail server to handle classified information, but he insisted that she had not intended to endanger national security (which is not an element of the relevant criminal statute). The president acknowledged that classified information had been transmitted via Secretary Clinton’s server, but he suggested that, in the greater scheme of things, its importance had been vastly overstated. On July 5, 2016, FBI director James Comey publicly stated that Clinton had been “extremely careless” in using a private email server to handle classified information, but he insisted that she had not intended to endanger national security (which is not an element of the relevant criminal statute). The director acknowledged that classified information had been transmitted via Secretary Clinton’s server, but he suggested that, in the greater scheme of things, it was just a small percentage of the emails involved. Case dismissed. Could there be more striking parallels? A cynic might say that Obama had clearly signaled to the FBI and the Justice Department that he did not want Mrs. Clinton to be charged with a crime, and that, with this not-so-subtle pressure in the air, the president’s subordinates dropped the case — exactly what Obama wanted, relying precisely on Obama’s stated rationale. Yet the media yawned. Of course, they’re not yawning now. Now it is Donald Trump, not Barack Obama, sending Comey signals. So now, such signals are a major issue — not merely of obstruction of justice, but of high crimes and misdemeanors.

    Context is critical, and we don’t have it. All we know is that Trump hoped the criminal investigation would be dropped — but again, did not order it to be dropped — and vouched for Flynn’s character. That may have been inappropriate under the circumstances, but it was not corrupt. Comey surely found it awkward, but he clearly did not perceive it as obstruction. The former director is a highly experienced and meritoriously decorated former prosecutor and investigator. He knows what obstruction of justice is. And the Jim Comey I’ve known for 30 years would not stand for political interference in law enforcement. If he had understood Trump’s remarks as a directive or, worse, a threat, he would have resigned. It is not enough to say that he did not resign. Unlike the investigation of Mrs. Clinton, the investigation of Flynn has continued. Plus, Comey does not appear to have indicated to his subordinates, to his Justice Department superiors, or to Congress that he felt threatened. Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein and Comey’s former deputy (now acting director) Andrew McCabe have not intimated, even vaguely, that their investigative activities have been hampered. Again, the investigation is proceeding apace. There is no question that obstruction of justice is an impeachable offense. But media hyperventilating notwithstanding, the basis for claiming at this point that President Trump obstructed justice is not there . . . unless you also think President Obama obstructed justice last April.”

  34. AesopFan Says:

    Looks like we will find out … maybe.
    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/17/justice-dept-to-appoint-special-prosecutor-for-russia-probe-238524
    “As special counsel, Mueller will have broad investigatory powers to look into how Russia may have influenced the 2016 election. The investigation, which could take months and will follow a separate track from congressional inquiries, likely will involve accessing classified documents and interviews, and Mueller can also convene grand juries and seek indictments if he deems it appropriate. He will have access to all the information the FBI and Justice Department have compiled so far.

    Trump said in a statement after the announcement that he expected the probe would find no collusion between his 2016 White House campaign and foreign countries.”

  35. AesopFan Says:

    But will any voters actually care .. without the continuous drum-beat from the media and its cohorts?
    It took years to convince the public that Clinton and Nixon committed impeachable offenses (both of which were actual crimes), and the stories shorn of hyperventilation and incessant replay probably would have had little impact on the country (not excusing either of them, but I don’t think we have ever had a President who didn’t technically break some law while in office, even given their expanded leeway).

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/04/28/what-the-press-still-doesnt-get-about-trump-215049
    “There was lots of hand-wringing after the election about how the media had messed up. Were we too quick to believe the polls? Did we have any idea what real Americans actually thought? Did we give Donald Trump too much attention—or not enough? Now that journalists have spent a few months covering President Trump, we asked a range of media critics, political operatives, historians and more: What does the press still get wrong about Trump, and what do we just not get at all?”

  36. AesopFan Says:

    Michael Dougherty at NRO has a sobering thought:
    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/447703/trump-hatred-national-security-implications-troublesome
    “But now almost all of the justifiable anxiety about Trump’s character and behavior is transmuted into the Russian story. And frankly, we should be worried about how that plays out. For all the talk about how Russia is an unpleasant Eurasian gas station with a stunted economy, it’s still a nuclear power that feels itself humiliated. Our last two presidents both tried to improve relations with Moscow. And there are geopolitical situations where a president of the United States, Trump or someone else, would desperately need Russian help and cooperation. If the “get Trump” hysteria impedes that, it could do more harm than good. And it is a matter of hysteria right now….
    These stories and non-stories go viral for two reasons. Progressives are predisposed to believe they own the future, and so it is comforting to believe that their reversal of fortune over the past 18 months must be a dastardly plot from without. Russia’s super-competent interference saves their worldview from examination. They also love the role it allows them to play. Many progressives tend to feel guilty or embarrassed by activists who shout “America was never great.” They positively relish the idea that the so-called “Real American” rubes in flyover country elected a man committing treason. Now it is liberals’ turn to be tricorn-wearing patriots, wrapped in Old Glory. It’s not hard to imagine, however, how making Russia into a great Satan can present a danger to the United States and its allies. Presidents want better relations with Russia for a good reason. Russia is a powerful nation that can throw its weight around in important regions. The need for Russian help, or at least acquiescence, can present itself in several places, and Trump or his successors need the political room to ask for it.
    ….
    Of course, the best thing would be to have a president who does not make incriminating blunders when it comes to our relations with Russia. We don’t have that right now. But in the course of trying to generate enough panic or outrage to remove him, the anti-Trumpers who imagine themselves defending America from a malign Christofascist power bent on the destruction of C-SPAN may end up constraining this president’s or another’s ability to handle a very serious crisis.”

  37. AesopFan Says:

    Or you can … go there.

    https://spectator.org/the-russians-have-come/

    “Whhile contemplating the Democrats’ agitated preoccupation with the Russians’ intrusion into our 2016 presidential election, many thoughts occur. However, the salient thought for me, engendered by our Democratic friends’ anti-Russian rhetoric, is that many years ago, during the early stages of the Cold War, the John Birch Society tried to warn us. The society was raising the alarm, even as the Democrats are today. How did we greet them? What did the Birchers get for raising the specter of Russian imperialism and world domination?

    They were dismissed as political fanatics. Could it be that at some point in the present controversy about the Russians’ hacking Hillary Clinton the Democratic Party — led by such lights as Charles Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary, and Anthony Weiner — will go too far? The party will be dismissed as a Birchlike fever of fanatics,

    Stranger things have happened. Moreover, the angry denunciation of the Russians by leading Democrats could have serious consequences. What if President Vladimir Putin — a former officer of the KGB, if I am not mistaken — is no longer amused by the Democrats’ excesses? What if he takes their charges against him seriously and things escalate? The Russian arsenal includes nuclear weaponry. There may come a day when only President Donald Trump and his emollient tweets stand between Democratic extremism and nuclear holocaust.

    If we take the Democrats seriously the thing is not unthinkable. Yet, of course, no one takes the Democrats seriously.

    How did we find ourselves at this comic pass with the Democratic Party warning us of the Russian menace — the Democratic Party whose members have included Alger Hiss and, more lately, Bill Ayers? Well, turn to the recently released bestseller written by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign. All the pundits are talking about it, and there are things to admire in it. For instance, turn to page 395. There, you will find this revelation: “Hillary declined to take responsibility for her own loss…. Hillary kept pointing her finger at Comey and Russia…. That strategy had been set within twenty-four hours of her concession speech…. For a couple of hours… they [Hillary and her aides] went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.” Now it is the “centerpiece” of the mainstream media and the Democratic Party’s campaign against Donald Trump.

    But let us recall that for months both the mainstream media and the party that is looking more and more like the John Birch Society have been trying to link this hacked information to Donald Trump. What will happen, if there is no corpus delicti? If people, like acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, continue to say they have found no collusion between the president and the Russian government?

    Has Hillary written the score for this opera buffa?”

    It’s only fair to point out, BTW, that the Birchers were entirely correct (as was Joe McCarthy) on their essential point: that the Communists had infiltrated even the highest levels of the US government, and certainly the academic and cultural centers.

    Just because you are obnoxious doesn’t mean you are necessarily wrong.

  38. AesopFan Says:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/slideshows/cartoon-day

    Michael Ramirez on Comey.

  39. AesopFan Says:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2017/05/17/putin-hey-ill-provide-transcript-trumps-meeting-lavrov/

    Troll level: Grandmaster. Vladimir Putin joked with Italian media today about America’s “political schizophrenia,” and scolded foreign minister Sergei Lavrov for not sharing Donald Trump’s secrets with him. But if Congress really wants to know what was said during the Oval Office meeting with Trump, Lavrov, and ambassador Sergei Kislyak, Putin says he’d be happy to provide their notes.

    All you gotta do is ask ….”

  40. The Other Chuck Says:

    AesopFan:

    Numbers 1 & 2 of VDH’s list have definitely played out as the Never Trump contingent predicted, and in spades. As to No. 3, if he’s referring to the alt-right then yes, but they are not a large part of Trump’s following let alone the GOP. As to No. 4, there were only a very few who thought electing Clinton was preferable to Trump. I certainly didn’t, even though I wasn’t forced to vote for Trump because California.

    It’s looking bad, but this could still turn around. Trump has made very sound appointments, used his pen to undue Obama’s EOs, set out an agenda of tax reform, energy independence, and regulation roll back. His heart is in the right place. If only he can get his head straight.

  41. AesopFan Says:

    Mark Steyn, as usual, hits a whole row of nails on their heads:
    https://www.steynonline.com/7815/full-throttle-on-the-hamster-wheel

    “Is it an unusually long memo? If not, why not read all of it? Or, indeed, show the thing to the reporter. The actual quote, as with so much of Trump’s rhetoric, is capable of different interpretations:

    “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. “He is a good guy.”

    But that’s if you believe Comey’s recollection is accurate. In his final pratfall before Congress, Comey said under oath that Hillary’s lady-in-waiting Huma Abedin had forwarded 100,000 emails to her husband Anthony Weiner. That is not true. Or, if you prefer, it’s false. And it’s hardly a peripheral matter, either, but one central to the subject of his testimony that day. Yet he completely bungled it.

    Nevertheless, if this partially read memo is as the Times characterized it (“Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation”), that would be a very serious matter. Comey had several options:

    1) He could have reported Trump’s attempted interference to the Department of Justice (as he was obliged to do);

    2) He could have disclosed it to the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr;

    3) He could have resigned on principle.

    Instead, he did nothing – because, according to “Mr Comey’s associate”, “they [Comey and his ‘associates’] decided that they would try to keep the conversation secret …so the details of the conversation would not affect the investigation.” Presumably “Mr Comey’s associate” is no longer worried it will “affect the investigation”, so three months later he’s leaking it.

    A leaker is not a disinterested provider of information, but a character in the drama, with his own motivations. …A leaker is not a “source” – a passive repository of information – but a player in the drama seeking to manipulate the narrative to his own advantage.


    As it happens, I’ve been in the Oval Office and I would observe that, in contrast to meeting, say, the Canadian or Australian prime minister, you’re never really alone with a president. There are always, on the perimeter of your vision, aides hither and yon, slipping in and out of the room, not saying anything, just hovering, always hovering. As if in dread, as with the loopier Ottoman sultans, of what might happen were the President to be left un-hovered. Nevertheless, a meeting between the US President and the Russian Foreign Minister must surely be one of the tightest groups to meet in the Oval Office.

    And yet it’s all over the papers. …
    When you step back and look at the ever more frenzied hamster wheel, what’s really going on? Trump was elected on a pledge to “drain the swamp”, and the swamp is finding, in Chuck Schumer’s memorable formulation, “six ways from Sunday at getting back at you” – in order to ensure that the swamp remains undrained, that nothing changes, that Big Government gets bigger, and twenty trillion in debt rises to thirty, and the armies of the undocumented continue to pour across the border…

    Step a little further back from the hamster wheel, and you vaguely recall that Trump’s voters voted for change, for something other than economic decline and cultural transformation.

    More to the point, it’s not natural change – but the conscious result of political policy, of government intervention with social composition that was never explicitly put before the people and which the Permanent State insists can never be changed. Incidentally, re Trump cozying up to the Russians, it’s interesting to see him being accused of treason by people who believe in open borders, and the erasure of any distinction between citizens and non-citizens, and therefore of any claim of national allegiance, upon which the entire concept of treason depends. Sir John Harington, the 16th century inventor (of a prototype flush toilet, among other delights), observed:

    Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?
    Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.

    That’s to say, if a treasonous conceit gains sufficient widespread currency as to become conventional wisdom, it can’t as a practical matter be treason anymore, can it? The hollowing out of American citizenship – via “sanctuary cities”, drivers’ licenses for illegal aliens, etc – has been so total that to object to it is now unacceptable: “We’re not allowed to talk about this,” as Sullivan says. …
    As for Sullivan’s statement that “this is going to be the first white-majority country to become the first white-minority country in the history of the world”, the chaps back on the hamster wheel in 1965 – like Ted Kennedy – explicitly assured Americans that that was not going to happen, no need to worry about it. Half-a-century on, it may be the first country, but certainly not the last. My old boss, Charles Moore, on Douglas Murray’s new book, The Strange Death of Europe:

    One telling point he makes is how even the most ‘bigoted’ predictions of demographic change have been exceeded by reality. Suppose, says Murray, that Enoch Powell, in his incendiary ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech in 1968, had predicted that, in the 2011 census, in 23 of London’s 33 boroughs, people describing themselves as ‘white British’ would have been in a minority. He would have been pilloried for his alarmism. Yet it is so. At a meeting of Google Zeitgeist (perfect venue) on Monday, Tony Blair said that immigration was a ‘perception problem’. Murray’s point is that it is a plainly numerical one.

    Some stories are so big they never make the papers. You can’t see the tsunami for the leaks.”

  42. AesopFan Says:

    The Other Chuck Says:
    May 17th, 2017 at 10:38 pm
    AesopFan:

    Numbers 1 & 2 of VDH’s list have definitely played out as the Never Trump contingent predicted, and in spades. As to No. 3, if he’s referring to the alt-right then yes, but they are not a large part of Trump’s following let alone the GOP. As to No. 4, there were only a very few who thought electing Clinton was preferable to Trump. I certainly didn’t, even though I wasn’t forced to vote for Trump because California.

    It’s looking bad, but this could still turn around. Trump has made very sound appointments, used his pen to undue Obama’s EOs, set out an agenda of tax reform, energy independence, and regulation roll back. His heart is in the right place. If only he can get his head straight.
    * **
    I think a voter’s perception of whether VDH or the NTs are correct may come down to the relative weighting of issues actually impacted by 1-4. I’m still on the fence for some of them. I would be interested in your reasoning behind your first claim of NT vindication. Agree with you on #3, and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen numbers for #4.
    I really think it is absurd to start summarizing Trump’s presidency and drawing Life Lessons from it, when we are still less than 4 months into it.

    I agree with your final point whole-heartedly.
    * * *

    VDH #1 “But all that said, Trump’s character defects have not so far derailed his conservative agenda, in some part because many of those who hate him—the media, academics, and the progressives—have acted so unhinged that they themselves have lost all credibility and now seem to belong in the pages of the National Enquirer.”
    I think this see-saw is still moving up and down, and I don’t know which side will get thrown off. For everyone who agrees that, yes, Trump is just as nasty as we thought, there is one who says, no, he’s not that bad his opponents are just lying again.
    VDH #2: “Assumption #2 is mostly already refuted.”
    You say the NT’s got this right, but provide nothing to counter-refute Hanson’s lengthy list. It think this is another issue where both sides are still adding fish to both sides of the scales.
    VDH #3: “The third worry of Never Trumpers about the dark strains and elements within the Trump movement has also proved so far groundless. The smears against the Make America Great Again crowd were more media-generated narratives that spun and exaggerated Trump’s campaign rhetoric.”
    VDH #4: “Far from a Clinton victory being a catharsis, it would have green lighted more illegal immigration, expanded the themes of the Eric Holder/Loretta Lynch Justice Department, and lost the Supreme Court for 20 years.

    As far as a catharsis, it has already occurred though perhaps in ways not anticipated. A reported 92 percent of Republicans voted for Donald Trump, even if in some cases on the low-bar assumption that 51 percent of something was better than the alternative.”

    * *

  43. The Other Chuck Says:

    AesopFan:

    I would be interested in your reasoning behind your first claim of NT vindication.

    1. Trump’s character flaws are undermining his agenda as we write. They may in fact get him impeached or forced to resign. In the meantime congress will come to a standstill. They are already talking tax reform 2018, an election year? Not likely. Yes, what the Democrats and MSM are doing is dastardly. That doesn’t mean he lacks responsibility for 5 am tweets, trying to strong arm the FBI director and then firing him in the manner of an uncouth thug, and generally making an ass of himself. Compare and contrast with the dignity that Reagan gave the office.

    2. How can anyone deny that Trump is without a set ideology, when barely 4 months into office he’s backtracked on the border wall and is ready to sign on to the Paris accords? What next, a VAT tax to go with his increase in gasoline and diesel “carbon” taxes?

    I’ve given him credit for appointments, EOs, and his stated agenda. As Jack Welch said today on CNBC, he get’s a D- on managerial skill and competence. I don’t think he’s helping the long term prospects of the Republican Party, and in that respect he’s a disaster.

  44. parker Says:

    Not a djt fan, find him weird, but refuse to foam at the mouth over rumors, leaks, and he said he said or she said. Get a grip people. If it turns out djt has comitted felonies or misdemeanors, ok remove him from office. Until then, stop pretending you know, with 100% assurance, what no casual observor knows. And, if your source is the NYT or the rest of the rest so called deep state, well you ought to know…

    However, I welcome a future President Pence.

  45. The Other Chuck Says:

    Parker, I don’t see him as exactly weird. He’s an extreme example of the type of guys I’ve dealt with in business who know how to use other people to their advantage, are too willing to take shortcuts, think they can bluster their way through, are egocentric, and generally lack scruples. That someone like him managed to get elected president says more about the disarray in our country than about his skills, or lack of same.

  46. DNW Says:

    In the meantime, have the accusers get back with us when they have a coherent formulation of a high crime or misdemeanor; some statutory references, and precedents.

  47. AesopFan Says:

    The Other Chuck Says:
    May 18th, 2017 at 12:43 am
    * **
    Scales are tipping your direction, sad to say.

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/05/trump-agonistes.php
    “Is there anyone who can tell the president he would be well advised publicly to welcome the appointment of Mueller, to pledge his cooperation and to reaffirm that he has nothing to hide? Is there anyone who seriously thinks that the president helps his own cause with his public complaints of unfairness and mistreatment? I may be mistaken, but I doubt that he does.”

  48. AesopFan Says:

    https://www.steynonline.com/7790/posse-comey-tantrum

    Following a long and witty dissection of Comey via a contra-Fisking of Rosenstein’s report, Steyn concludes with this:
    “I know from my own experience that there are too many procedurally capricious aspects to American justice. It is extraordinary that both major-party candidates should have come under FBI investigation during a presidential campaign. It is even more extraordinary and deeply disturbing that the FBI director felt he could wing it with a breezy l’état, c’est moi approach to policing norms that evidently discomforted him not a whit save for retrospective feelings of “mild nausea”. Way too mild.

    I have disliked James Comey ever since discovering he was the fellow who sent Martha Stewart to jail for supposedly lying to the FBI in a matter in which there was no underlying crime. Comey, whatever one feels about him, is no liar: He’s been entirely upfront about his bizarre trashing of procedural norms. The only mystery is why he chose to do it, other than for some freaky narcissistic need to make himself the most famous FBI director since Hoover.

    Mission accomplished. It’s good to see the back of him. When the lefties stop prancing up and down about constitutional coups, they might agree with that.”

    So: Comey doesn’t send Hilary to jail for almost certainly lying to the FBI in a matter in which there are multiple real crimes.

    Has he discovered the Law of the Conservation of Justice?

  49. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    parker,

    Pence appears to be a good and reasonable person. I think it likely that he’d be a fine placeholder for the next democrat President.

    ‘Reasonable’ people seek compromise rather than confrontation. That would please the GOPe who also seek compromise with the democrats.

    Unfortunately, at this point ‘compromise’ is a euphemism for a slower march to the gallows with a continued tightening of the noose.

  50. DNW Says:

    “Geoffrey Britain Says:
    May 18th, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    parker,

    Pence appears to be a good and reasonable person. I think it likely that he’d be a fine placeholder for the next democrat President. ..”

    Yeah, unfortunately and just since my last comment on his possible resignation or impeachment, I’m coming around to that view myself.

    For the following reason. Whereas I originally thought that Trump would be an almost completely ineffective blowhard, good only for perhaps one or two success before he self-destructed – and that he would therefore function as a 1 year placeholder for another Republican – I have been flabbergasted as I recently reflected on the amount of good he has done almost incidentally.

    Trump has accomplished, en passant, law enforcement things which no ordinary walk-on-eggshells “love me love me” Republican could have done if he had gone crawling on his hands and knees to the DC establishment.

    This guy Trump, if he could engage in at least some self-auditing, and form some appreciation as to the power he has in his hands daily to do good just by being there, could almost literally transform our lives for the better in terms of more liberty, greater border security, more domestic production of resources and manufactured goods etc, etc …

    He should take stock of what he has available in his hands right now … He’s got the world by the ass, if he could just see it.

  51. Big Maq Says:

    “However, I welcome a future President Pence.” – parker

    Might well come to that.

    The dems and msm have been so over the top anti-trump (it now almost echos the “Lock Her Up!” of last summer), that it might be what it takes to pop that balloon of hysteria.

    Maybe then the agenda can be implemented without all that distraction.

    We’ll see what comes of this latest issue, now that Meuller is on board.

  52. AesopFan Says:

    DNW Says:
    May 18th, 2017 at 1:20 pm
    ..
    For the following reason. Whereas I originally thought that Trump would be an almost completely ineffective blowhard, good only for perhaps one or two success before he self-destructed – and that he would therefore function as a 1 year placeholder for another Republican – I have been flabbergasted as I recently reflected on the amount of good he has done almost incidentally.

    Trump has accomplished, en passant, law enforcement things which no ordinary walk-on-eggshells “love me love me” Republican could have done if he had gone crawling on his hands and knees to the DC establishment.

    This guy Trump, if he could engage in at least some self-auditing, and form some appreciation as to the power he has in his hands daily to do good just by being there, could almost literally transform our lives for the better in terms of more liberty, greater border security, more domestic production of resources and manufactured goods etc, etc …
    * * *
    The last bolded point was one I had hopes for about Obama in the beginning, but it became clear very quickly that he was more interested in other things. Even ignoring that he destroyed Health Insurance in the US, aided in the corruption of our bureaucracy, and was complicit in supporting Iran’s terrorist agenda, when I think of the positive effect he COULD have had on race relations in America, I just want to cry.

  53. AesopFan Says:

    DNW: I forgot to add, that if this was a summer movie, we would find that all of Trump’s gaffes, fumbling, and mistakes were just moves to keep the MSM and Dems off-balance and not watching what he was actually accomplishing.

    Probably not, though.
    Sigh.

  54. DNW Says:

    AesopFan Says:
    May 18th, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    DNW: I forgot to add, that if this was a summer movie, we would find that all of Trump’s gaffes, fumbling, and mistakes were just moves to keep the MSM and Dems off-balance and not watching what he was actually accomplishing.

    Probably not, though.
    Sigh.”

    What makes this so bad, is that before the election, and until I just recently took stock again, I was perfectly happy with the plan of keeping Hillary away and saving the polity from immediate Sovietization, by dumping Trump into the Oval Office and then dumping him out just as quickly again.

    But what Trump has managed to do, almost incidentally, as he flails around, is make real honest to goodness progress in: restoring border controls, the rule of law at least in the administrative departments, appointing a promising jurist to the SC, and taking at least some positive steps forward on domestic production of energy and manufactured goods. He even seems to have done well with some of our most potentially troublesome adversaries abroad, in getting them to at least cooperate around the margins.

    That he can accomplish so much, so quickly, and with so little political capital, shows that our rocket-like plunge downward into third world-like cultural and legal conditions was not the result of almost irresistible historical trends that could only be partially combated, but was the result of deliberate policy and a worthless and complicit political class.

    In other words, the problems themselves were much less intractable than I thought. Whereas the political class, bad as I thought they were, was even more destructively insane than I had imagined.

    God almighty … if Trump has done nothing else, he has shown how completely the leftist supremacy was just a house of cards maintained by malevolent left-wing hysterics, and fearful “conservatives”.

    No wonder the left wants to kill him. He’s been way more effective than I could have imagined, just through making noises about enforcing the laws and equitable trade arrangements.

    The emergent feudal lords of the so-called “deep state” bureaucracy, have to stop it all before we get our bearings, and intellectually grasp what has actually transpired.

    They are probably afraid that they will wind up like Mussolini …

  55. Richard Saunders Says:

    AesopFan — Your first impression is correct. Trump’s stirring up of the pot has a purpose, and all will be well. You can read about in in the works of your hero’s American counterpart, Joel Chandler Harris. (If they have not been burned by the Thought Police, that is.)

  56. AesopFan Says:

    to DNW and RS:
    Well, we shall see.

    I actually have a full set of Harris’s collected works.
    Maybe the last one in existence?
    The bootleg DVD of SOTS is findable online.

  57. F Says:

    Every once in a while I like to step back and ask whether we as consumers of information from the mass media are missing a little detail that is important. The Comey story is a case in point.

    Everyone who parses the Times’ article on Comey wants to focus on whether Trump’s words, as remembered and memorialized by Comey, represent obstruction of justice. But this assumes the Times’ article is reliable.

    Upon what do we accept it as reliable? Upon the Times’ word that it comes from “an associate of Comey’s.”

    Are we reading that description too uncritically? The assumption is that “associate” must describe someone who has official access to the Comey memo, probably a senior member of the DOJ.

    “Associate” covers a lot of territory. Maybe the point we’re missing is that it does not refer to someone with official access to Comey’s papers or FBI records. The word “associate” could refer to Comey’s wife, or a maid in his household, or a low-level information clerk in the FBI, or who knows what else?

    I say this from personal experience with the NYTimes: sometimes the very little details serve to obfuscate rather than enlighten. And we as consumers are so absorbed with the meat of the revelation that we overlook a small detail that reveals a great deal about reliability or motivation of the “leaker”.

    The WashPost used the description “present and former employees” in early reporting on the intelligence information shared with the Russians in the Oval Office. Should we be paying more attention to that description? We take it for granted that probably refers to an NSC staffer or possibly even the Russians themselves. But the inclusion of the words “and former” is a flag that we should pay attention to.

    I know, these are small details compared to the substance of the article, but the small details tell us something about the background of the story that might be very important, yet we take them for granted.

    Other than that, there are some excellent analyses in this thread. Thanks to everyone who has tried to parse where we are and where we’re headed. Good reading!

  58. Big Maq Says:

    Be it B’rer Rabbit or 3-D Quantum Mechanics Chess, at this point it stretches credibility to believe trump is mastering the media “conversation”, or some such explanation, as some ultimate trap for the dems.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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