Update On The Jeff Sessions-Russian Ambassador Fiasco: A Confederacy Of Ethics Dunces

dunces2

Everyone—almost literally everyone— involved in the Jeff Sessions flap has beclowned themselves and revealed that a gerbil running around in a wheel is powering their ethics alarms.

These include such previously noted Ethics Dunces as..

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who couldn’t or wouldn’t answer a simple question clearly….
  • Democrats, who continue to act like spoiled siblings trying anything to make mommie get mad at the one she likes best, embracing conspiracy theories, smearing former colleagues, and generally morphing into walking, talking rectums before America’s eyes, to appeal to their deplorable hard core base made up of people who completed that mutation long ago…
  • Senator Chuck Schumer, displaying a partisan double standard so blindingly, throbbingly obvious than anyone can identify it….
  • Senator Claire McCaskill, engaging in perhaps the best timed hypocrisy and inexplicable amnesia of all time….
  • Deranged Trump-haters, determined to expose their legal ignorance to the world, who proclaimed Sessions guilty of perjury, when he obviously was not…
  • Every reporter, editor and news source who rushed into the trap of declaring that having contact with the Russian ambassador justifies  being “linked’ to Russia, when any dolt should have known that by that formula, anyone in Washington could be “linked” to Russia or be accused of having “Russian ties.”

But wait!

There’s more!

Now we have…

  • The New York Times, which credulously cited McCaskill’s tweeted statement that she nevereverevernever met with the Russian ambassador, nope, never, not her, uh-uh, only to be proven a liar, an amnesiac or an idiot almost immediately by earlier tweets where she announced that she was going to meet with him, used McCaskill’s denial of the meetings in its initial attack on Sessions, and when it was proven false, quietly deleted it without notice or explanation. Quoth Sean Davis on Twitter,

NYT repeated as truth Claire McCaskill’s lie that she never met or spoke to Russia’s ambassador, then stealth deleted it w/o any note.

Now, if I called that “fake news,” the mainstream media bias enablers would say that I am distorting the term, that it is “just a mistake.” But ethical, unbiased news sources issue corrections to mistakes. When they try to cover them up, it creates a rebuttal presumption of partisan bias. The public needs to know that 1) a Democratic Senator and previous Hillary surrogate piled on Sessions using false information; 2) the Times repeated it as truth, and 3) her statement was false.

The Times shows its bias and the decline of the industry’s professionalism when it behaves like this, placing the value of preserving a partisan narrative over informing the public.

  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) decided, apparently, to show solidarity with McCaskill by behaving just as foolishly. Pelosi said  that she also had never met with the current Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. “Not with this Russian ambassador, no,” Pelosi told POLITICO when asked whether she had ever met with the Russian envoy.

Gotcha! A file photo from Pelosi’s 2010 meeting with Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev shows Kislyak sitting at the table across from Pelosi.  A spokesman for  Pelosi  humminahumminaed that she simply meant she never had a solo meeting with Kislyak…you know, just like Jeff Sessions says that he thought the question was about meetings he has with the ambassador as a member of the Trump campaign, rather than as a U.S. Senator.

This is the exact same excuse. Exactly.

  • News media sources that presume anything uttered by the President or his staff must be lies, and thus fact-check them immediately. Democrats, however, are presumptively truthful. Thus it was mostly conservative media sources that fact-checked McCaskill and Pelosi. This is called “a smoking double-standard.”
  • ABC, CBS and NBC , in less than two days, devoted nearly seven times as much coverage to the implications of  Sessions meeting with the Russian Ambassador in his role as a U.S. Senator than they devoted to Attorney General Eric Holder in June 2012, when Holder became the first Cabinet member to be held in contempt of Congress. He was accused of withholding documents from the House investigation into the Obama administration’s Fast and Furious scandal, a matter far more substantive than Sessions’ misleading response regarding his meetings with Kislyak.

Of course, the news media saw its mission as protecting Obama administration officials, while its assignment from the “resistance” is to undermine this administration.

Is that a fair statement? Based on the media’s  conduct beginning with the evening of November 8, 2016, yes. It is.

  • Pete Alexander, on the NBC Nightly News,  strongly implied that Sessions had committed perjury, saying,

“While the White House is defending Sessions, his testimony under oath remains under scrutiny with critics pointing to this 1999 interview where then Senator Sessions called perjury claims against President Bill Clinton serious allegations.”

I hate to say it, but a broadcast journalist  this biased and ignorant needs to be let go so he can find a job in a bait shop somewhere. You could never prove perjury based on Session’s words and their context. In contrast, the perjury claims against President Bill Clinton were not only serious allegations, they were legally and factually accurate: he denied what he knew to be true, in order to deceive, under oath, in a court of law. This got him disbarred, Pete, you biased hack. What Sessions said wouldn’t get him a reprimand or a wagged finger from any bar in the nation.

  • President Trump joined the Ethics Dunce parade—usually he leads it—by trolling Senator Schumer with this tweet:

schumer-putin

Now, as it happens, Schumer is a hypocrite, but that old photo doesn’t prove it.  Presidents shouldn’t call for investigations  unless they mean it. Here we go: it’s petty, it’s stupid, it’s presidential, it just stirs the pot and makes the crazies crazier.

Fish gotta swim and birds gotta fly, but boy, we’re going to get sick of this.

37 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Literature

37 responses to “Update On The Jeff Sessions-Russian Ambassador Fiasco: A Confederacy Of Ethics Dunces

  1. fattymoon

    Your readers deserve a little background, yes?
    http://www.newyorker.com/news/ryan-lizza/why-hide-talks-with-sergey-kislyak

    I previously left a link to a much longer piece delving into the history of our relations with Russia as it pertains to the current situation which is the subject of Jack’s post. Did anyone bother to read it? Or are the people here open to only a very limited viewpoint?

    • !. Yes.
      2. There is no reason to hide the meetings, except the obvious: the Left is flogging a fake news conspiracy theory in hope that they might find something real, and no one connected with Trump trusts Democrats or the media to be fair or reasonable, nor should they. But not being transparent is a dumb and self-destructive response.

    • Glenn Logan

      From your article:

      There is nothing inherently wrong with the fact that Flynn, Sessions, and other Trump advisers talked to the Russian Ambassador. With the Kislyak affair, in which multiple conversations between Trump officials and the Ambassador have been concealed, so far, we have a coverup without a crime.

      …</p

      And yet there was something about their contacts with Kislyak that caused both Flynn and Sessions to conceal them. McFaul, while cautioning against overreacting, said that the amount of contact was unusual, more than he had in 2008, as an Obama adviser. But the denial of contact was even more unusual. “Why are they being so deceptive about it?” McFaul asked. “That makes no sense to me at all.”

      This is known quite simply as “concern-trolling.” Lizza admits there is no crime to be found, but furrows his brow to worry there must be some nefarious reason why neither Flynn nor Sessions to disclose the contact.

      In Flynn’s case, his lack of candor was the sole reason. Since we apparently know what he was talking about (because the USA tapped into the conversation), and since there is no suggestion anywhere by law enforcement people with knowledge of the conversation that a crime was committed, we have to assume that this was just straight-up stupidity. Occam’s Razor demands that conclusion.

      In Sessions’ case, it was pretty obvious to me he wasn’t trying to hide it, it simply wasn’t responsive to the question he thought he was asked. Should he have added that in? Yes, but I don’t think there is any reason for concern unless you are a partisan who cares only about getting Trump and his people on anything, however gauzy in substance.

      Which brings me to the next question — how is this relevant to the topic at hand? Oh, I realize the Russian ambassador is in common, but what Jack’s article is about is the irresponsible reporting of the matter, the fact that they ignored the Democrats when they dissembled about their own Russian contacts in hopes of securing moral and political authority to criticize Trump. That it took non-media sources to display the bankrupt hypocrisy of McCaskill, Pelosi et. al. is an unimpeachable indictment of their complacency in the dissimulation.

      So why are you here? To troll us with irrelevancies? Because that’s what you’re doing in this case. Why don’t you address the actual subject, instead of trying (successfully, in my case) to bring out shiny objects and change the subject?

      • fattymoon

        Glenn, all I attempt to do here is provide background material. The more you know, the better equipped you become. I am not a troll. I do, however, have my mind made up. Closed mind, if you will. Still, I provide a service here (right, Jack?).

        Since you read that piece, now try this one, which is very long but very important if we want to understand the forces in motion. Everyone should read it for a general understanding of current (and perhaps future) events.

        TRUMP, PUTIN, AND THE NEW COLD WAR http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/06/trump-putin-and-the-new-cold-war

        Get back to me after you’ve read it and tell me what you think.

        • Other Bill

          So what’s the remedy, fm? Impeach, convict and imprison Trump and Pence for high crimes and misdemeanors? Make the speaker of the house president? Invalidate the election? Give the election to HRC after disqualifying Trump? Just curious what the end game is.

        • Glenn Logan

          Very well, I accept your assertion that you are not a troll, at least not intentionally. Here’s what I think.

          I read the article, which confirmed my suspicions of almost everything coming from The New Yorker and similar left-leaning news sources — that they accept the idea, as yet still both unproven and highly suspicious, that the Russians were working to get Trump elected.

          This is exactly where bias always leads; once you have evidence of a conclusion you want to reach, you stop looking for other possible explanations.

          There is no real information in this article worth knowing. It tells us Democratic senators are all wound up about possible Russian interference in the election, but we knew that. It mentions every Democrat’s favorite Republican — John McCain — and tries very hard to lead us to believe that all the Democrats’ worst fears about Russia and Trump are not just true, but being hidden, apparently by both the Obama and Trump administration, although for different reasons.

          In other words, this article is a conspiracy theory. It offers nothing new, no penetrating analysis or new revelations. It describes, in very long and unnecessarily complex style meant to appeal to “intellectuals,” Putin and Russia as using a hacking strategy as a prong in geopolitical disinformation campaigns, and using Obama’s own feckless foreign policy to annex Crimea and generate a plebiscite so fast that American leadership’s heads were still spinning in the opposite direction.

          But this is exactly what I would be doing in Russia’s place if I were a despot like Putin. They are opponents, and are trying to weaken our country just as we tried for years under Reagan to weaken them. If you want to shape the world, and Putin clearly does, you use information to shape perception so that when you do use force, it won’t be universally condemned.

          Russia has always interfered in elections, and not just ours — no doubt they are working on the French and Germans, as the article suggests, and others. Let me also point out that the USA has interfered in elections for years, and I get the impression we consider that our exclusive right because we’re, you know, so good and everyone else is so bad.

          But I don’t think the Russians are necessarily trying to get people elected who are favorable to them, contra the suggestion in the article. This is the conclusion to which bias inevitably leads. Rather, Putin is trying to cast doubt on our election, and others, in order to fracture the country and force political strife. It’s so much better if a country’s government disintegrates by itself, don’t you think?

          It didn’t matter who won the election — if it had been Clinton, the narrative from the right would’ve been that the Russians wanted her in office, assurance of a continuation of Obama’s prostrate foreign policy. Either way, the Russians got what they wanted; a divided, rancorous electorate. They wanted to be blamed.

          The article offers strong evidence of this without intending to. Consider:

          By March, 2016, the threat was unmistakable. Cybersecurity experts detected a second group of Russian hackers, known as Fancy Bear, who used “spear-phishing” messages to break into accounts belonging to John Podesta and other Democratic officials. Like Cozy Bear, Fancy Bear had left a trail around the globe, with its technical signature visible in cyberattacks against the German parliament, Ukrainian artillery systems, and the World Anti-Doping Agency. “I’ve never seen a group that doesn’t change its style of work after it has been detected,” Ilya Sachkov, who runs a leading cybersecurity firm in Moscow, said. “What logic led them to not adjust their methods?”

          The answer is obvious to me — they wanted to be detected, and blamed. It was a deliberate strategy. How can you blame the Russians for your candidate losing if, you know, they managed to evade detection? But it’s so much easier for American cybersecurity people to think they are way smarter than everyone else, and that the people doing the phishing attacks had to be dumb to leave tracks. Dumb like a fox.

          Putin probably wanted to weaken Clinton and strengthen Trump, but only because Clinton was thought to be leading by a wide margin. What they really wanted was a constitutional crisis — and they were very nearly successful — but what they got was good enough. But Putin would’ve tried to weaken Trump if he were leading, I suspect.

          None of this, however, is new or particularly frightening, except to those who spend their lives in their blissful cocoon of imagined Utopian ideals. The American republic is always under threat from without and even within. The article does reveal that Obama’s administration wasn’t completely filled with incompetent people, as this paragraph indicates:

          “To me, the question might finally come down to this,” Celeste Wallander, President Obama’s senior adviser on Russia, said. “Will Putin expose the failings of American democracy or will he inadvertently expose the strength of American democracy?”

          This is exactly the right question, and this is exactly what it comes down to. It always does.

          The rest of this piece is overwrought hand-wringing couched in the typical style of New Yorker articles —self-absorbed, heavy on acceptance of facts not in evidence, and speculation. I suppose it’s useful as a summary if one is a left-leaning person who doesn’t pay attention to the news, and doesn’t care about credible analysis.

          As to Trump, he is president. He is my president, although I didn’t and wouldn’t vote for him. I am no more concerned about the Russians with Trump at the helm than I would’ve been with Clinton there. This article does nothing to change my mind about that. It does much more to confirm my perceptions about the New Yorker.

          TL;DR There is nothing new here. Russia, like the USA and other countries, tries to interfere in elections in other countries to further their own geopolitical ambitions, and to weaken their opponents and lessen their influence. There is no evidence electing Trump was an actual objective of Putin or Russia, or that his campaign to interfere in the election, inasmuch as we believe there was, had a significant impact on it, contra the conspiracy theory of this article.

          • Publishable Comment, Glenn, so I’ll publish it as a COTD. If only journalists would be so clear.

          • Other Bill

            Very nice work, Glenn. I salute you for reading the entire New Yorker article. An achievement in itself.

            • Glenn Logan

              Thank you and Jack both for your kind comments.

              Bill, I often try to read articles even from biased sources, because you never know where something important may be found — even if it is a random act of journalism and unintentional.

              The New Yorker, to their credit, attempts to be thorough. It’s easy to criticize their obvious bias, pedantic, plodding writing and obsession with arcane punctuation, but they do a decent job of cobbling together a case, even if it doesn’t support the conclusion they reach.

              What I find most obnoxious about them is the passive-aggressive sneering liberalism that runs throughout their writing, making an otherwise worthy attempt opaque and less valuable. It’s obviously meant to appeal almost exclusively to the pseudo-intellectual, wealthy urban Left and their hangers-on, and deliberately designed to frustrate most of us ordinary consumers of news.

              I can hardly blame you for not wanting to read it. But I often can’t ignore a dare. Juvenile, I guess, but alas… 🙂

              • fattymoon

                Thanks for reading it, Glnn. Your analysis leads me to think you got SOMETHING worthwhile from it. As for me, I’m neither intellectual nor pseudo-intellectual, nor wealthy, nor urban. I distrust both sides of the aisle (this time I mean Congress and not the general public) eaually, but some more equally than others.

                • Glenn Logan

                  No problem. I think we can both agree that neither political side of congress can be trusted. They have an abysmal approval rating for a reason.

                  As to my comment about intellectual and pseudo-intellectual, I meant that was what their target audience is. I find their work generally hard to read for the reasons I explained, but then again, you hardly have to be an intellectual to do so, merely determined to wade through rather monotonous longform. I’m living proof of that. Evidently, you are as well.

          • Chris

            You raise some good points, Glenn.

            It didn’t matter who won the election — if it had been Clinton, the narrative from the right would’ve been that the Russians wanted her in office, assurance of a continuation of Obama’s prostrate foreign policy.

            I don’t see how such an argument would have been remotely plausible. We know from the DNC hacks and the fake news they circulated that the Russians worked to weaken Clinton. Whether that was to weaken her at-that-point-seemingly-inevitable presidency or to proactively help Trump remains debatable, though our intelligence agencies have concluded it was a mixture of both. I don’t see how anyone could have argued after all this that the Russians intended to help Clinton win.

            But this misses the more pressing point. Trump isn’t being attacked for what the Russians did, he’s being attacked for possibly helping them out, and for willingly playing their puppet. Clinton didn’t spend the entire campaign praising Putin and providing him cover every time he was accused of wrongdoing. Clinton didn’t encourage the Russians to reveal confidential information from the RNC. Clinton didn’t have to fire multiple people, in both her campaign and her presidency, for having contacts with Russia and lying about it. There’s just no equivalency here.

            • Chris

              Pressed submit too early.

              If Trump wanted the Russia story to go away, he could have condemned the Russian hacking of the DNC instead of first denying it, and then saying that if they did hack, they should release all the info they illegally uncovered. When our intelligence agencies concluded Russia definitely did try and interfere in our election, he could have condemned Russia instead of our intelligence agencies. When Bill O’Reilly pointed out that Putin is a killer, he could have said almost anything other than “You think America’s so innocent?”

              Everything Trump has done since the Russia allegations were first made has been the behavior of someone who is in collusion with that country, or perhaps deathly afraid of saying anything against it. The question is why. It could be that Trump will simply compliment anyone who he sees as helping him–so if Putin helped him win, hey, that’s a good thing, and that means he’ll only say good things about Putin. This is damnable, and shows he puts himself over the good of the country, but it isn’t impeachable. The second option is that Trump is simply a world-class troll, and responds to serious allegations with mockery and ridicule. His latest choice to baselessly accuse Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower indicates this.

              Of course, there’s also the third option, which is that Russia does have something on him, or he is colluding with them for some other reason because it serves his interest in some other way.

              All three options are equally likely to me. In fact, they’re not even mutually exclusive from one another.

              I think we owe it to ourselves to find out what the real reason is, though.

              • Glenn Logan

                I don’t see how such an argument would have been remotely plausible.

                Well, then let me explain how this works. If Trump had lost, he would’ve pointed to the attempted hacking on RNC servers (which were evidently better protected than the DNC) as proof of their interference. He was already calling the election in general unfair, and with is propensity for conspiracy theories, we’d no doubt see an argument of the form:

                -The Russians successfully hacked the DNC;

                -The Russians attempted to hack the RNC;

                -The news media is not reporting the true success of the RNC hack;

                -The Russians helped Clinton more than the Democrat-apologist media is willing to report;

                -He would’ve pointed out the dishonesty of the newly-elected president vis a vis the emails revealed in the DNC hack to demonstrate her unfitness for office, and perversely, as evidence of interference that cost him the election. Trump is nothing if not willing to turn the narrative on its head regardless of logical support.

                The right-wing media would then do very much with that what the rest of the media is doing with Trump now — produce conspiracy theories that the partisans would gobble down uncritically. We’d have the same “Russians! Under the bed!” insanity we have now. Clinton would’ve been weakened in much the way Trump has been.

                We can only speculate as to the motivation, even if we still can’t really prove Putin actually had anything to do with it. Our intelligence services seem convinced, but even if so, the problem of attempted influence on the election would still be there. The only difference would be who’s ox was gored.

                But this misses the more pressing point. Trump isn’t being attacked for what the Russians did, he’s being attacked for possibly helping them out, and for willingly playing their puppet.

                That’s inaccurate, even misleading. He’s being attacked because the accusation of being a Russian puppet is all that matters to the Democrats, not actual proof. There is no actual evidence Putin preferred Trump over Hillary as president, although he may well have. Even if he did did, there is absolutely no known evidence that Trump helped or knew about the alleged Russian interference. Until that shows up, this is simply the Democrats flogging a conspiracy theory for all it’s worth.

                A more rational suspicion is that Russia meant to weaken whichever one was elected, and hoped to see exactly the kind of discord we see now. Putin had no right to expect, given what they thought they knew about our election (Clinton was too far ahead to be caught) he could successfully get Trump elected. It stands to reason that wasn’t his objective.

                If Trump wanted the Russia story to go away, he could have condemned the Russian hacking of the DNC instead of first denying it, and then saying that if they did hack, they should release all the info they illegally uncovered.

                Trump is an idiot. Plus, he clearly enjoys seeing the Democrats suffer. Given the narcissist that he is, why would he defend them? God knows, he’s never shown the least bit of empathy toward his enemies, even once. He enjoys flogging them at least as much as the reverse.

                And Trump has stated from day one he desired better relations with Russia. That may or may not be a good idea, but he’s never been ambiguous about that. What is a problem is morphing that foreign policy ambition into a conspiracy theory that he helped Russia hack the Democrats.

                The wiretapping thing is too recent for me to offer commentary on. I’ll keep my powder dry on that subject for now, but I’ll point out that as far as I know, Trump has at least as much evidence for his wiretapping as the Democrats or anyone else we know of has that he conspired with Russia.

                Which is to say, none that we know of.

                • This should be attached as an addendum to the COTD.

                • Chris

                  Trump is nothing if not willing to turn the narrative on its head regardless of logical support.

                  Well, we agree on that much.

                  That’s inaccurate, even misleading. He’s being attacked because the accusation of being a Russian puppet is all that matters to the Democrats, not actual proof. There is no actual evidence Putin preferred Trump over Hillary as president, although he may well have.

                  Of course there is. The “fake news” that was created by Russia was all anti-Hillary, and pro-Trump.

                  Even if he did did, there is absolutely no known evidence that Trump helped or knew about the alleged Russian interference.

                  Except that he actively encouraged it, in public. That doesn’t mean that he helped. But if he had helped, I would have expected him to act in precisely the way that he did.

                  Trump is an idiot. Plus, he clearly enjoys seeing the Democrats suffer. Given the narcissist that he is, why would he defend them? God knows, he’s never shown the least bit of empathy toward his enemies, even once. He enjoys flogging them at least as much as the reverse.

                  This is a plausible theory. Without a full investigation, we won’t know if it’s true.

                  The wiretapping thing is too recent for me to offer commentary on. I’ll keep my powder dry on that subject for now, but I’ll point out that as far as I know, Trump has at least as much evidence for his wiretapping as the Democrats or anyone else we know of has that he conspired with Russia.

                  Which is to say, none that we know of.

                  When a respected intelligence officer who we have relied on in the past alleges that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, then the evidence will start approaching equal. (Though I maintain Trump’s behavior, and the behavior of his staff–especially the multiple members who have been caught lying about their contacts with Russia–still count as circumstantial evidence.)

  2. Cynical John

    In the first place, before jumping on Sessions for his answer, one should read the question that was asked. I think the context is important in this analysis.

  3. Glenn Logan

    This is called “a smoking double-standard.”

    My first-pass response to this was, “smoking what?” 🙂

  4. I was sick of “this” so long ago I can’t remember my first gag reflex to it. Jimmy Carter maybe? Maybe Nixon. But, giving up and giving in only makes it worse. Thanks for continuing the fight even while tossing your toenails.

    I’ve been studying the presidents and their time in office. Probably safe to say that people have been sick of this since Adams and Jefferson.

  5. Is it possible Sessions just didn’t think of his meeting with the ambassador when he was asked about something related to the Trump campaign? Unless I’m missing something, that to me seems like the easiest explanation.

    • Chris

      I mean, apparently Pelosi and McCaskill couldn’t remember him either. My bias means I desperately want to believe Sessions was lying, and that the Trump campaign did collude with Russia to affect the election, but maybe Kislyak is just the least memorable guy in the world.

    • Sure, that’s another plausible explanation, and why the claims or perjury are partisan nonsense. To be found guilty of perjury, the misstatement can not be ambiguous.

      • valkygrrl

        Don’t worry, Jack. Sitting senators have immunity from even unambiguous perjury if they do it in the senate chamber.

        Article 1 section 6

        The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

        • Joe Fowler

          Harry Reid was a big fan of this clause.What sort of person, upon finding that there is a location where they can lie outrageously, slander ignominiously, and never be held to legal account…thinks to themselves “That’s great!, I can’t wait to use that politically”. The 18th/19th century concept of honor kept abuses (mostly) in check, as physical violence was a common response to insult.

          • valkygrrl

            My my, aren’t we touchy. Why, do you think, your reaction to a piece of neutral information, that perjury charges are not on the table, is to find a democrat to attack. Are you insecure about Sessions, or is it that you’re just incapable of typing without finding someone to attack?*

            *Yes Harry Reid is an asshole, so the hell what? He’s not involved at the moment and he ain’t being accused of giving false testimony in a confirmation hearing.

            • Joe Fowler

              My response was about Article 1. Cited Reid as a recent abuser; also observed that the Article enables those who pick their location carefully to behave badly without consequence…
              So who’s touchy?

        • 1. This is an ethics log. Irrelevant.
          2. Why would I be worried?
          3. Session cannot be shown to commit perjury based on his words, and that’s all that matters

  6. Greg

    If I go to a room with 25 other people, where somebody speaks from a podium and then takes a few questions from the audience, I would normally call that “attending a lecture” by the speaker, not “having a meeting” with him. I imagine that’s the way McCaskill thought of it (if she remembered it at all, since it was such a non-event) when she sent her “no meetings with the ambassador” tweet. She forgot that she had previously boasted to her constituents that she was a big shot who was about to go put the ambassador in his place. She was guilty of puffery in her old tweets, not lying in her recent one.

    • Chris

      Good point, and exceptionally fair, considering you have made similar arguments for why Sessions isn’t lying either.

      • Greg

        That’s not at all the argument that I made for Sessions. My argument was:

        Everybody present at the hearing knew that what Sessions’ answer meant was that he had not had any inappropriate communications with the Russians, which is what the question was about. Nobody present was deceived or misled, because nobody present thought that he meant he had never seen or spoken to the ambassador at all, even in passing, as many if not most other senators had. Nothing inappropriate was said at either of his brief encounters with the ambassador. We know this because “US investigators examined the conversations,” as the approved press euphemism has it, and didn’t find anything worth leaking to the press. This “scandal” was concocted by scouring the transcript after the fact, searching for lonely sentences that could be ripped out of context to create fraudulent issues to feed to the running dog press.

    • So if someone calls something a meeting when it isn’t really one to benefit herself., she can call it something else later when it serves a different purpose at a different time? Uh-uh. The principle of estoppel kicks in: she cannot deny it’s a meeting when she already benefited from designating it as such. That’s dishonest in the extreme. A lie? Maybe not. But to unequivocally declare “no meetings” under those conditions is certainly misleading.

      • Greg

        The issue that I was addressing is not whether she’s allowed to call it different things at different times. It’s whether she lied the second time, i.e., remembered that she had gone to a meeting but said she hadn’t. My guess is that it was an unimportant event, that she puffed the first time (which is a kind of lie, of course), falsely suggesting she was going to meet one-on-one with the ambassador, and she didn’t remember it the second time, because it was in fact such an unimportant event that she forgot about it.

  7. Paul Compton

    Yes Greg, it’s ALL a storm in a teacup being blown up to cause division. It’s playground stuff and doesn’t reflect well on anyone that is pointing fingers, stamping feet and crying.

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