Ethics Observations On The Firing of FBI Director James Comey

President Trump on Tuesday fired the director of the FBI, James B. Comey today. Rod Rosenstein, the new deputy AG who replaced Sally Yates, prepared a memo that recommended the firing, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions concurred.

Ethics Observations:

1. Here’s how the New York Times described the firing in its story’s opening sentence:

President Trump on Tuesday fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, abruptly terminating the law enforcement official leading a wide-ranging criminal investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s advisers colluded with the Russian government to steer the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

That’s pretty despicable, and as blatant an example of intentional negative spin as you are likely to see, even from the Times. There were so many justifications for firing Comey that the mind boggles. Attaching the act to the one elicit reason for firing Comey is just yellow journalism, and nothing but. The Times is really a shameless partisan organ now.

2. Should Comey have been fired? Of course. He didn’t have to be fired, but to say that at this point he was not trusted by either political party and was widely viewed as incompetent would be an understatement  The fact that his testimony before Congress last week was not only riddled with errors, but riddled with errors that made headlines, was reason enough to fire him.

From the Washington Post:

Shortly before the announcement, the FBI notified Congress by letter that Comey had misstated key findings involving the Hillary Clinton email investigation during testimony last week, but nothing about that issue seemed to suggest it might imperil Comey’s job….

In defending the probe at last week’s hearing, Comey offered seemingly new details to underscore the seriousness of the situation FBI agents faced last fall when they discovered thousands of Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s emails on the computer of her husband, Anthony Weiner.

“Somehow, her emails were being forwarded to Anthony Weiner, including classified information,” Comey said, adding later, “His then-spouse Huma Abedin appears to have had a regular practice of forwarding emails to him for him I think to print out for her so she could then deliver them to the secretary of state.”… At another point in the testimony, Comey said Abedin “forwarded hundreds and thousands of emails, some of which contain classified information.’’

Neither of those statements is accurate, said people close to the investigation.

3. Comey deserved to be fired for the inexplicable botching of the Clinton investigation, especially as discussed here. Clinton wasn’t under oath when she was interviewed by the Bureau. Clinton chief-of-staff at the State Department Cheryl Mills, who was potentially complicit in everything Clinton did regarding the mishandled e-mails, was a likely witness and even an indictment candidate, yet was allowed to represent Hillary during questioning as her lawyer. No transcript of the interview was made. All incredibly incompetent.

4. Democrats now making comparisons with Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre” really are shameless hypocrites. They have been calling for Comey’s head and blaming him for Clinton’s defeat since October. Now that Trump has done what they wanted to be done, it’s somehow sinister. This, however, is how the whole last six months have gone since the President’s election, and apparently Democrats no longer can tell when they make themselves look untrustworthy and ridiculous.

5. Wrote James Robbins in USA Today:

Comey had been a dead man walking for some time. He was a director without a constituency. He had tried to strike a balance in a sharply divided political environment and wound up alienating both sides. He had to go….The bottom line was that Comey repeatedly made himself the issue. His mandate was to enforce the law fairly and impartially. Instead, he appeared time and again to be gaming the system. A March poll showed that only 17% of Americans had a favorable opinion of Comey.

This is also pretty obvious, shouldn’t surprise anyone, and reason all by itself to fire Comey.

6.  Trump’s letter firing Comey was unprofessionally snarky (or something), with its “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation..,” but that’s President Trump.

7.  Was Comey in part a victim of circumstances beyond his control? Absolutely. One major circumstance was Obama AG Loretta Lynch allowing Bill Clinton to taint the entire Clinton e-mail investigation by meeting with her right before the FBI’s conclusions were going to be announced. Comey was also correct when he said that he literally could not make a “right” decision regarding the newly discovered e-mails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. If he withheld the information until after the election and some bombshell discovery was revealed, he would have been crucified.  Nevertheless, nobody trusted him, especially after he gave inaccurate information to Congress last week. When nobody trusts the head of the FBI, he has to be fired.

8. If there is anything wrong with the firing, it is that it didn’t happen months ago. But I have never heard of an act that everyone agrees should have been done earlier being condemned when it finally happens.

9. Back to the Democrats now spinning this into something sinister: Have they no decency at all? When does this contrived and desperate  anti-Trump slander and libel finally become so ridiculous that it is widely recognized for the embarrassment that it is?

A sampling…

David Axelrod on Twitter: “Putin made a small investment that, tonight, has paid off beyond his wildest dreams. His own “worm” in the heart of our democracy.”

Louise Mensch on Twitter: Of course it isn’t over. I think Nixon tried the same thing.

David Frum on Twitter: “It’s a coup.”

Robbie Mook (Hillary’s campaign manager) on Twitter: “I was as disappointed and frustrated as anyone at how the email investigation was handled. But this terrifies me.”

Tim Kaine on Twitter : “Trump firing Comey shows how frightened the Admin is over Russia investigation”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: “Were these investigations getting too close to home for the president?”

Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin: “Any attempt to stop or undermine this FBI investigation would raise grave constitutional issues.”

This all would be really funny if it didn’t reveal the ethics rot in our politics. Keep it up, everybody. The President firing an official you have been assailing for six months, for allegedly illicitly affecting the 2016 election, is a threat to the democracy. I think you will find that the American public isn’t a stupid as you think it is.

_______________________

 

 

199 Comments

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

199 responses to “Ethics Observations On The Firing of FBI Director James Comey

  1. Ash

    > Was Comey in part a victim of circumstances beyond his control? … Comey was also correct when he said that he literally could not make a “right” decision regarding the newly discovered e-mails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. If he withheld the information until after the election and some bombshell discovery was revealed, he would have been crucified.

    In either a Dear Abby or House of Cards manner, what suggestion do you have for someone who might find themselves in such a position?

    • wyogranny

      The answer is do the ethical thing. Transparency is another word for it. Covering up or failing to act in a timely manner in prosecuting crime and criminals is per se unethical.

  2. Colluding with Russia is not as bad as colluding with the media.

  3. Aleksei

    To make a note, anything that President Trump and the Republicans do is lambasted as a “threat to democracy” by the Democrats and their media comrades. So it’s just noise in the signal. And we also won’t take the media seriously when there is a threat to democracy, because that’s everyday now, and most likely, maybe I’m biased, but the left seems to be more enthusiastic about threatening democracy (think of Howard Dean’s “Hate speech is not protected by the 1st amendment” comment), so we won’t even get that covered.
    Also, the news could have said Trump fired FBI director, while the agency is still investigating HRC, so Trump is actually covering for her, and it’s probably some kind of conspiracy. That could have been a more fun headline with the exact amount of basis behind it, that is none.

  4. Am I mistaken to believe that Comey’s firing is symptomatic of a White House coverup? (Sen. Richard Burr – “I am troubled by the timing and reasoning of Jim Comey’s resignation.”)

    If this is an attempt to deflect one or more investigations, what do you think the White House is hiding?

  5. charlesgreen

    Sorry, my first reaction is, “You’ve got to be kidding.”

    The President violates everything he said about Comey and then summarily dismisses him– the head of the FBI – in mid-investigation of him and Russia – the day after Yates poses a threat to him – and you point to the PRESS as the issue here?

    This is a fundamental issue of checks and balances, abuse of power. How far out of control does the President have to get before the only ethics issue you can see is one of the press?

    I honestly don’t get it. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Trump is just a dump.

    • There are 9 observations.

      1) A misleading headline in The NY Times
      2) the firing was appropriate
      3) the firing was appropriate
      4) democrats make a false analogy
      5) USA Today makes an accurate report
      6) Trump botches the firing
      7) Comey was stuck in a unethical place not of his making, but the firing was appropriate
      8) the firing should have happened sooner
      9) Democrats are hypocrites.

      4 observations that the firing was appropriate one of which says it should’ve happened sooner
      1 observation that Trump couldn’t even fire him without being an idiot
      2 negative observations about Democrats
      1 positive observation about a media outlet
      1 negative observation about a media outlet

      And your take away is Jack focused on the media?

      Phenomenal.

      Do you agree or disagree that Comey’s firing was appropriate?

      If you agree, there’s really not much else to say and your beef with Jack’s observations or I should say single negative observation about the media reveals more about your own biases than what you think they reveal of Jack’s.

      If you don’t agree then say why.

      • charlesgreen

        I’m not sure his firing was appropriate; certainly one could make it good case for it, but others – including the Republican Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, as well as Republican Senator John McCain are “troubled” by not only the timing, but the reasoning behind it. I call that a draw.

        Jack’s FIRST point led off with the press. In journalism, as well as blogging, you typically make your central point first. Jack himself tacitly acknowledged this by leading his own piece with the first sentence of the NYTimes article.

        His first point then continued to call it “…despicable, and as blatant an example of intentional negative spin as you are likely to see, even from the Times.” I don’t think Jack meant to bury the lede. This was the main point I took from his article, just as he took his main piont of the Times article from its opening. So, yes, my takeaway is Jack is focused on the media – it’s his favorite theme, if you look over the blog’s history (which I’m not criticizing, by the way, I think it’s a great and valuable theme).

        As to your claim that my “single negative observation about the media reveals more about your own biases than what you think they reveal of Jack’s,” well, I think I just explained why that’s not the case.

        • Isaac

          Well, this must be awkward for you.

          “Nancy Pelosi Says Comey “May Not Be in the Right Job” (2016)
          CNN’s Top Legal Analyst Paul Callan: “Time for Comey to Resign” (2016)
          Sen. Schumer: “Lost All Confidence” in Comey (2016)
          Keith Olbermann Says That Both Republicans and Democrats Should Agree on Dumping Comey (2016)
          Harry Reid: “Comey Should Resign” (2016)
          Bernie Sanders Suggests Comey Should Resign (Jan 2017)
          Wall Street Journal: “Comey Should Resign” (Jan 2017)
          Maxine Waters: Comey “Has No Credibility” (Jan 2017)

          Firing James Comey was something that every Democrat on the planet wanted Obama to do six months ago.

          In fact it’s becoming clear why President Obama basically never fired anyone, no matter how terrible they were at their jobs. If you don’t actually DO anything, no one can portray your actions in a negative light.

          • charlesgreen

            “Well, this must be awkward for you”

            Not in the least.

            All those suggested Comey resign; none suggested he be fired 100 days into the job. What’s awkward is the lies that Trump and his minions are now revealed to have told. This was clearly a petulant act by the Egotist-in-Chief, followed by ritual lying on the part of his under-powered but overworked “communications” people.

            I’m pretty comfortable with my view: Comey was wrongly fired, then lied about.

            Let’s just see how this plays out today.

            • Chris

              Isaac, I’m pretty sure Charles and I have both already said that if Comey were to be fired, it should have been soon after Trump took office, not now, in the middle of Comey’s investigation into the Trump campaign. Numerous Democrats and Republicans have said the same.

              So the fact that all of your quotes are dated no later than January doesn’t dispute a single thing we’ve said.

      • Chris

        tex:

        1) A misleading headline in The NY Times

        Jack didn’t criticize the headline, he criticized the lede as misleading. But it isn’t. At all. It merely focuses on an aspect of the firing that Jack thinks should not be focused on.

        But this is ridiculous. The fact that the president fired the man leading the investigation into him IS the most relevant factor here, and would be regardless of who the president was. If a President Clinton fired Comey during a continuing investigation into her e-mails, I’ve no doubt the lede in the NYT would read thusly:

        President Clinton on Tuesday fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, abruptly terminating the law enforcement official leading a wide-ranging criminal investigation into whether Clinton violated protocol and left classified information exposed to potential hackers.

        Do you think such a lede would be unfair to President Clinton? If so, why?

        Do you think the NYT would not have written such a lede? If not, why not, given their lengthy and breathless coverage of the email scandal?

        Since the lede is perfectly fair and not in any way “misleading,” I have to concur with charles that Jack is obsessively focused on pointing out flaws with the media, to the point where he is now seeing flaws where none exist.

        2) the firing was appropriate
        3) the firing was appropriate

        Jack gives potential reasons for why firing Comey is appropriate, but does not even address whether or not he thinks those are the reasons Trump fired him. Since “we fired him because he was unfair to Hillary Clinton” is an absolutely impossible claim for a sensible to believe, and since the Trump administration made this claim anyway, we can conclude that 1) it’s not the reason, 2) the Trump administration is lying about the reason, and 3) the reason must be something else.

        I do not see why Trump should get credit for doing the right thing for the wrong reason, and lying about what his real reasons were. Since Jack is using the implied reason suggested by the NYT lede as a reason to criticize the NYT–even though it is by far the most logical conclusion–I must concur with charles that this is yet another example of Jack’s anti-media bias.

        4) democrats make a false analogy

        You’re right; Nixon didn’t actually fire the head of the FBI, as the Nixon Presidential Library’s Twitter account was happy to point out.

        5) USA Today makes an accurate report

        Again, they list valid reasons to fire Comey, with no indication that those are the actual reasons for his firing.

        6) Trump botches the firing

        “…but that’s President Trump.” Because apparently the Julie principle applies to presidents but not newspaper writers. One sentence criticizing the president for this is not nearly enough.

        7) Comey was stuck in a unethical place not of his making, but the firing was appropriate
        8) the firing should have happened sooner

        See my response to number 5.

        9) Democrats are hypocrites.

        Uh-huh. As is the guy who spent the entire campaign kissing Comey’s ass only to fire him when he realize Comey might be a threat to his own power. But let’s ignore that and put the focus on the reactions to the abuse of power rather than the abuse of power itself.

        • You got off to a false start, and never recovered.

          As Trump’s snarky not said, Trump isn’t being investigated. The Birther-theory of the Left holds that Trump was in bed with the Russians, and there is no more evidence for this than the claim that Obama was born in Kenya.

          Then, with #9, you end worse, making the pure rationalization that Democrats aren’t hypocrites because Trump may be. Moreover, you mistate the facts: Trump was very critical of Comey for not indicting Clinton, and then despite the undeniable evidence that Comey was distrusted *and thus should be fired), you flat out say, without evidence, that Comey was fired “when he realized Comey might be a threat to his own power.”

          Your response is pure, clinical, Trump hate and confirmation bias, unfair and counterfactual.

          Get well soon.

          • Chris

            Jack: As Trump’s snarky not said, Trump isn’t being investigated.

            You are uninformed:

            Comey revealed in a March appearance before the House Intelligence Committee that the FBI was probing whether anyone associated with Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign was involved in the Russian hacking.

            http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/what-you-need-know-about-trump-comey-russia-probe-n757191

            Then, with #9, you end worse, making the pure rationalization that Democrats aren’t hypocrites because Trump may be.

            I did not say that. Please go back and read what I read.

            Moreover, you mistate the facts: Trump was very critical of Comey for not indicting Clinton,

            And if that were the reason to fire him, Trump would have done so long ago.

            and then despite the undeniable evidence that Comey was distrusted *and thus should be fired), you flat out say, without evidence, that Comey was fired “when he realized Comey might be a threat to his own power.”

            There is a mountain of evidence; you simply refuse to see it. You are ignoring everything you know about Trump’s character and the way he makes decisions because you are biased against his critics. My conclusion is obvious, and is the best theory based on the evidence we have; you have given no alternative explanation for why Trump fired Comey, which is why you keep using the passive voice by saying things like “reasons why Trump should be fired” rather than “reasons why Trump fired him.” I think this because you actually know the legitimate reasons to fire Comey are not why Trump actually fired him.

            • Chris

              Ack. “…passive voice by saying things like “reasons why Comey should have been fired…” not Trump.

        • If your effort was to rebut Jack’s substance I think you kissed the point of my summation, which accurately generalizes each point in terms of “positive or negative” and “object of the point” in order to demonstrate how charles blew his own characterization of Jack’s article way out of proportion. My comment solidly does this to try to get charles to pump his breaks on hyperventilating.

          I think you were aiming at the wrong target here.

          • Chris

            This is gibberish, tex. Try again.

            • It’s really not. But I’ll try again:

              1) charles complained that Jack unfairly focused negatively on the media in his post
              2) I created a list generally summarizing each of Jack’s points.
              3) I quantified just how *little* Jack focused on the media
              4) I mentioned how when Jack did focus on the media, half was positive and half was negative
              5) thus demonstrating that charles’ objection was unfounded and demonstrative of charles’ own biases. Not Jack’s.

              You then respond as though I’m making some claim on the deeper substance of Jack’s post. I redirected you.

              Easier?

              • Chris

                Thanks for clarifying, tex.

                I stand by my original comment: Jack’s post unfairly maligned the NYT for an accurate and fair headline. His praise of USA Today was based on them outlining legitimate reasons for the firing, but the available evidence makes the likelihood that Trump fired Comey for investigating his campaign’s ties to Russia much stronger than the likelihood that Trump fired him for any of the reasons, which he has yet to indicate he gives a shit about. Jack only dedicated one sentence to criticizing Trump’s behavior here, while he dedicated multiple paragraphs to unfairly maligning the NYT, so charles’ assertion that he focused on criticizing the media unfairly is absolutely true.

                • Isaac

                  “…but the available evidence makes the likelihood that Trump fired Comey for investigating his campaign’s ties to Russia much stronger…”

                  For the love of Pete, WHAT evidence? Just the timing of it?

                  Let’s take a safe and comfortable trip back to normal-land where we can all look at this like logical adults. IF any and all investigation into possible Trump ties to Russia ENDS because of this firing, and if Comey’s replacement is a Trump surrogate who refuses to investigate any Trumpspiracies, even with good reason, THEN you will have strong, albeit circumstantial, evidence that Trump fired Comey for shady bad-guy reasons.

                  As it stands now in reality, we know this: James Comey was hired during Obama’s tenure away from his position as Vice-President of the world’s largest defense-contractor corporation. He was universally considered to be incompetent by both parties. The FBI was investigating possible Trump collusion with Russia, just as they investigated Hillary’s various shenanigans previously. The Department of Justice review strongly recommended that Comey be fired. So Trump fired him. Presumably, he will be replaced by someone better. No one has said anything about canceling any ongoing investigations because of this. I love a good conspiracy as much as anyone else, but this is just embarrassing. At least wait until you have a case.

                  • charlesgreen

                    “The Department of Justice review strongly recommended that Comey be fired. So Trump fired him.”

                    This has ALREADY been disproven all over the news this morning. That supposed timeline was complete fabrication. You’re being conned.

                  • Chris

                    The timing and method of the firing are both evidence. As are the statements of anonymous sources in the WH. As is the timeline of Trump’s statements and behavior regarding Comey. As is his history of personal vendettas.

    • I almost began the post with an intro that said that it was a wonderful test of whether anti-Trump hysteria has eaten one’s brain. For there can be nothing unethical or suspicious about fitting a key public official that literally nobody trusts any more.

      In your case, the smoking gun is that you are more concerned with events having nothing to do with Comey than what Comey actually did. In the past week, Hillary blamed Comey for screwing up the election, and the blogosphere and the media again got in a yes he did (538) no he didn’t (The Times) debate, AND he absurdly misstated what happened at the Weiners, under oath, on TV, requiring the FBI to send in an immediate correction. That’ on top of everything else—and you focus on Sally Yates? Think, man! When Nixon fired Cox, it was indisputable that the special prosecutor was doing his job too well..NOBODY, literally nobody, thinks that of Comey. Moreover, whatever conclusion his FBI come to regarding the Russian hacks will be immediately suspect—because the GOP thinks he bent over backwards to help Hillary, and the Democrats think he sunk her. It is suicidal to any investigation to keep its supervisor in place under those conditions.

      The USA Today piece, which I don’t like because of the finals sentence that implies Comey wasn’t a “worthy” director—he was, and I respect him a great deal—was included for one dead on observation: he had become the story, and it wasn’t a good one, no matter how you cut it. Of course Trump was on firm ground to fire him, just like he was on firm ground to fire Yates.

      It pains me no end to see otherwise rational friends and colleagues in the grip of this malady, and seeing you suffer shows how much the constant fear-mongering, ad hominem attacks and biased reporting can temporarily addle even the most competent and fair. That’s why I have to feature the media in any survey of the ethics issues here (if you think about it, you will concede that this was not “all” or even the majority of what the essay involved)…because it mostly shares the crippling distorted view that if Trump does something any other President could do without valid objection, it’s wrong because he did it. (This is essentially the reed thin logic of the judicial rulings that he can’t halt travel from seven terrorist nations, because whole professions are suffering from what you are. Don’t feel badly: you’re in good company.)

      Trump’s only mistake was not firing Comey sooner, though I admired that. As I said, I think he’s a good man and a competent official, but he couldn’t afford more controversy, and unfortunately he got it. To Trump’s credit, he had to know the hypocritical accusations from the press, the Democrats, and the infected would follow, and still did the right thing.

      • charlesgreen

        “there can be nothing unethical or suspicious about firing a key public official that literally nobody trusts any more.”

        Jack, you are persuasive as usual, and you probably make me think more than anyone else I read, but…no.

        First of all, it is very hard to believe anything Trump says anymore. He would have us believe that:
        — he woke up the other day and found a letter in his inbox from the just-two-weeks-ago-confirmed Deputy AG, who apparently made it his first mission on the job (unaffected of course by Trump or Sessions) to go after the head of the FBI.
        — he was so persuaded of the power of the DAG’s analysis that he immediately changed his opinion from one praising Comey’s pre-election act of ethical behavior and backbone to concluding that Comey’s firing couldn’t wait another day;
        — he was persuaded by the fact that Comey had been SO unfair to Hillary, Wiener and Abedin that it became the tipping point;
        — timing had NOTHING to do with this: irrelevant that Yates had just testified, irrelevant that the Russian investigation keeps turning up more examples of hiding behavior, etc.

        Character and competence keeps getting in the way. He fired him in the most gutless manner; more importantly, the White House apparently is so dull that they were surprised there was backlash from the Dems, much less the GOP; and what you call “Trump just being himself” is not a bug, it’s a feature.

        The timing is more than suspicious. The stated grounds were absurd. The circumstantial evidence of a pattern here (firing of Bharara, Yates, now Comey – all of whom had more or less been investigating him) gives one pause. To believe that Sessions, who claimed to have recused himself, was hands-off on this beggars belief.

        So, to “”there can be nothing unethical or suspicious about firing a key public official that literally nobody trusts any more,” I repeat – are you kidding?

        There is LOADS here that is unethical and suspicious, EVEN IF Comey’s star has fallen and nobody trusts him.

        A parallel situation is the 18-day Flynn lag. It would be one thing to have fired Flynn a day or two after having learned that he lied and was compromised – it would have been with cause, and done properly.

        It is quite another thing – albeit with no more, no less the same reason – to have waited 18 days, sitting on it, and acting only when pressured by that well known liberal rag WaPo.

        I see a difference there – and it goes to being unethical and suspicious. Same thing here: this goes way beyond the mere fact of loss of trust.

        Both for Flynn and Comey – context matters.

        • I could make the same logical claims for any number of Obama decision timelines, Charles. Things happen from a long line of dominoes that line up just so. Sometimes THAT domino was not a factor, just fell at the same time.

          You may be right, not disputing Trump’s issues or defending him at all… just pointing out that what you feel and observe has been my side’s LIFE the past decade or so. I am so sorry for that, as I would not wish it on my worst enemy, and you are NOT my enemy at all.

          (You just have some strange takes on the world, is all 🙂 ! /snark)

        • fattymoon

          Charles, just finished reading The Enemy by Lee Child. http://www.leechild.com/books/the-enemy.php
          The plot neatly encapsulates the machinations behind a serious of murders which reach to the very top of the military food chain. We got some serious machinations going on here, but all Jack seems capable of is going after the media, deserved or not.

          And speaking of… today’s White House Daily Press Briefing is set for 1:30 Eastern. I’m off to C-Span for the mansplaining fireworks (although I believe Spicer is a no-show today and is replaced by the deputy press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders).

        • Isaac

          “…he woke up the other day and found a letter in his inbox from the just-two-weeks-ago-confirmed Deputy AG, who apparently made it his first mission on the job (unaffected of course by Trump or Sessions) to go after the head of the FBI.”

          A gross mischaracterization of Rod Rosenstein, who was approved by Congress with a 94-6 vote and who has an excellent reputation for investigating both Republicans and Democrats with equal and nonpartisan vigor. He has served under both Bush and Obama with high praise from both.

          And if you actually read the text of his letter recommending Comey’s firing…you’d have fired Comey too. Immediately. The decision was brought on by Comey lying on television about details of the Hillary investigation.

          Just want you to notice what you are doing in your personal portrayal of Rosenstein in this. You altered reality to fit your conspiracy narrative. I think you’re better than that.

          • charlesgreen

            “And if you actually read the text of his letter recommending Comey’s firing…you’d have fired Comey too. Immediately. The decision was brought on by Comey lying on television about details of the Hillary investigation.

            Really? Watch the news this morning.

          • Chris

            I don’t know if Rosenstein is being denigrated here. Presumably, he did what he was ordered by Trump to do, which was compile valid complaints against Comey. But notice that his letter does NOT recommend firing him. There’s already speculation that he didn’t agree with the choice and that’s why he didn’t include any specific recommendation in this case. And again, no one is saying there weren’t valid reasons to fire Comey, just that Rosenstein’s reasons likely aren’t Trump’s reasons. If he fired people for universally acknowledged incompetence, would Spicer still be around? You actually think he cares that Comey made Clinton appear worse than she was in the congressional hearings?

            And Comey did not “lie” to Congress about the Abedin emails. He was mistaken. And reading up on it…really? People are outraged about this misstatement? I don’t get it. He overstated the amount of classified emails Abedin sent to Weiner because he didn’t understand that the emails were already linked to a backup on Weiner’s phone…an I getting that right? And the relevance of that at this point is…what exactly? He ended up coming to the right conclusion regardless–that what Abedin did was not prosecutable–and that investigation was over. I’m supposed to believe Trump fired him over this? Tell me another one.

  6. Greg

    Comey isn’t “investigating” anything. He is an administrator. There is a team of agents who are doing the investigation. Firing Comey won’t stop the investigation. It will continue under the same team. Maybe most of the people commenting on the firing don’t know that. But Chuck Schumer knows perfectly well, and by pretending otherwise, he shows himself — again — to be a dishonest, partisan hack.

    And it’s worth mentioning — again — that the investigation has produced nothing in a year of searching, and no Democrat has yet been able to come up with a single plausible suggestion about what form the alleged collusion could possibly have taken.

    • charlesgreen

      The investigation is an investigation of the Russians’ influence on the election. Anything that may or may not emerge about collaboration is incidental. I wish you and Trump would stop claiming otherwise. Do you really think we should stop investigating the Russians, because of what might or might not turn up about collaboration?

      “the investigation has produced nothing in a year of searching…” Au contraire, all the top spooks have said it’s produced virtually certain evidence that the Russians were a destabilizing influence through cyber efforts. That’s not nothing. It’s important we keep figuring out how they did it so we can reveal it and prevent it in future.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        I dunno, American lives were lost in Benghazi, and how many times did your ilk say there was nothing to be found, so can we just turn the page on this and clear the way for the heiress apparent?

        • charlesgreen

          I started saying turn the page, nothing here, at approximately the point where fifty times as much time and resources had been spent on Benghazi as have thus far been spent on the Russia investigation.

          • Time and resources spent by whom?

          • Steve-O-in-NJ

            Show me your figures where you arrive at 50 times the time and resources. For that matter, give me a link to something that shows Hillary was advised not to fire Comey if she was elected.

            • charlesgreen

              Re the something that shows Hillary was advised, see below. I’ll get back to you on the admittedly back-of-the-envelope 50x number.

              James Fallows, November 6, 2016, in The Atlantic, wrote:

              Hillary Clinton, if she wins, should not fire Director Comey. If she cares about the norms of governing, as she should and presumably does, she would realize that this would inescapably look like revenge and a purge.

              For similar reasons, Barack Obama, who appointed Comey to this job in the first place, should not fire him. FBI directors are given 10-year terms precisely to insulate them from politics. Obama should observe the letter of that apolitical norm, even if Comey himself has not.

              But as soon as the election is over, Obama should make clear, bully-pulpit style, what Comey has done wrong, and why Comey has tarnished his bureau’s reputation, lost Obama’s trust, and forfeited the public’s deference to his judgment.

              And then, sometime soon, Comey should resign. He shouldn’t be fired, but if he cares about his institution and its values, he should recognize that his continued presence is an unavoidable source of continued harm.

              Plus, he is sure to get a lucrative follow-on job.
              We’ve had enough hearings and investigations. But this was a big and damaging mistake.

              No one should fire Director Comey, because a firing would damage governing norms. But in defense of those norms, Director Comey should resign.

              • Steve-O-in-NJ

                James Fallows is one person, albeit one who has some credentials, but one person nonetheless. His article sounds like six of one and a half-dozen of the other: Comey had to go, no matter who won, and he had tarnished his office. This article also assumed Comey would defer to all of this evidence that his time had come and resign. Given his previous successful butting of heads with GWB, he might well refuse, and what then?

                For that matter, suppose Trump had summoned him back to Washington, called him into the Oval Office, looked him in the eye, and said “Director, I intend to make some changes at Justice. Based on the recommendations of Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, you are one of those changes. I don’t want to get into the reasons why. I’m giving you until close of business today, and that means 5 PM SHARP, to draft a letter of resignation and have it on my desk, giving whatever reason you like for going. If you deliver it at 5:01, or if you decline, I am calling a press conference at 9 AM tomorrow morning to publicly fire you. I’ve made my decision, and I’m not changing it, so now please leave my office without another word, I have other matters to attend to.” Would that change your view of things?

                • I despair of Trump ever understanding why that this is the way it should have been done.

                • Chris

                  For that matter, suppose Trump had summoned him back to Washington, called him into the Oval Office, looked him in the eye, and said “Director, I intend to make some changes at Justice. Based on the recommendations of Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, you are one of those changes. I don’t want to get into the reasons why. I’m giving you until close of business today, and that means 5 PM SHARP, to draft a letter of resignation and have it on my desk, giving whatever reason you like for going. If you deliver it at 5:01, or if you decline, I am calling a press conference at 9 AM tomorrow morning to publicly fire you. I’ve made my decision, and I’m not changing it, so now please leave my office without another word, I have other matters to attend to.” Would that change your view of things?

                  Had he done this back in February, it would change my view. But at that point, Trump was literally blowing kisses and thanking Comey for hurting Hillary.

                  Firing Comey now looks a lot like vengeance for Comey investigating him. (I can’t believe Jack didn’t use the phrase “appearance of impropriety” here.) In fact, that’s the only believable explanation here. That’s not cynicism. It isn’t bias. It’s reality. It’s what Trump does.

                  And of course, Sessions should never have had input on this in the first place, since he’s already recused himself from the very investigation Comey was now leading. It is baffling to me that his recommendation could even be legally considered here.

                • charlesgreen

                  Steve-O,

                  You asked “give me a link to something that shows Hillary was advised not to fire Comey if she was elected.”

                  I did so.

                  Now you say, “James Fallows is one person, albeit one who has some credentials, but one person nonetheless.’

                  Come on, Steve, play fair. How many did you ask for? One. How many did you want, and why didn’t you say so in the first place?

                  While you ponder that, here’s another: NYTimes, November 5, 2016.
                  Criticized by Candidates, Comey Has Tense Days Ahead After Election.

                  The money quote is:

                  “Mrs. Clinton has sidestepped questions about whether, if she is elected, she intends to keep Mr. Comey in his job. Her surrogates and supporters say firing him, while legal, would be politically impossible.

                  “The political cost of firing him is greater than the political cost of keeping him,” said James M. Cole, who recently served as deputy attorney general and who signed a Clinton campaign letter criticizing Mr. Comey.”

                  I suspect Hillary reads the Times, knows Cole, and that “her surrogates and supporters” probably told her much the same as they told the NYTimes reporter. You can’t argue counter-factuals, but I suggest her instincts might have been a bit more cautious than Mr Trump’s.

                  Need more?

                  • Who cares what Hillary was advised to do, and why are you plugging the argument, “Don’t do the right thing because people will criticize you”?

                    • Chris

                      I don’t think that is charles’ argument; if I understand, he is saying firing Comey was neither the right thing to do nor politically expedient.

                      This is my position as well.

                  • Fair enough. I totally believe that Clinton would have kept him on until the heat was off, then come back for him later. She holds a grudge, that one.

      • E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

        China is presumed to have the greaestt impact and highest capability in cyberwarfare: they can shut down entire infrastructure systems if they so choose… Just FYI.

        All this discussion about the Russians is interesting here only insofar as the Democrats were calling for Comey’s head because of what they thought his e-mail investigation did to Hillary… It is hilarious (Hillarious?) that now they retell their story, pretending that somehow it is inappropriate for Trump to fire Comey when they’ve been asking for it all the time.

        This is a media conspiracy. And I only hope they’ll lose.

        In the interest of transparency, I admit that I subscribe to the NYT because it is a bit less egregious in its bias than my local newspaper — the Washington Post — and honestly, because it still has the best book section on the planet.

        I know I should probably dump the NYT, but where do I go for an even semi-ethical daily newspaper? The Cleveland Plain Dealer? Suggestions welcome.

        • E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

          PS on my comments above.

          I suppose it depends in exactly HOW a foreign government tries to influence another country’s election. Right? It’s perfectly all right for Obama to spend an estimated $100 million to influence an election in Israel, and then, post presidency, to openly advocate for a candidate in France?

          I see now. Frankly my earlier post on this (different issue) says the same thing: It is the height of American arrogance to assume that this country can really have an impact on other nations’ elections and attitudes. Whether it was public or a CIA endeavor, Obama was the (sorry) pussy-version of the Ugly American.

        • “where do I go for an even semi-ethical daily newspaper?”

          Shucks, glad you asked.

          If you’d be O.K. with “Published Weekly/Read Daily,” perhaps the Iron County Miner from beautiful Hurley, WI, (near Gitche Gumee) and where Hwy 51 ends and the fun begins!

          http://ironcountyminer.com/

          I was married in the old Court House just up Copper St. from their printing house, and stop in each September to renew our $38 yearly subscription with cash.

          FYI, up that way they measure snow fall in feet; that’s with an F! and over 15 thus far this year.

          Thumbing through that 8 or 12 page over-sized old timey newsprint periodical, (replete with articles, features, notices, and announcements from people that don’t take take themselves too seriously) helps me forget about life for a while.

          Tell ’em Bubba sent you…

        • charlesgreen

          Elizabeth,

          Let me choose you as the one to respond to, though it’s hardly you alone.

          I wish y’all would stop referring to “the Democrats” as some monolithic group with an extremist viewpoint. It may look that way from the rather far right that is generally represented here, but in truth the “Democrats” are no more monolithic than the GOP.

          In particular, when you say “the Democrats were calling for Comey’s head because of what they thought his e-mail investigation did to Hillary… It is hilarious (Hillarious?) that now they retell their story…” I say ‘no way.’

          I’m a pretty die-hard Democrat (I know, surprise surprise…), and I can assure you I wasn’t ‘calling for Comey’s head because of what they thought his email investigation did to Hillary…”

          In fact, to be clear, I wasn’t calling for his resignation for anything: I think he’s a decent competent guy who made a few judgment calls that went against him – I’m sort of ‘the jury is out’ on him.

          And to be more clear, I think anyone who believes Comey “lost Hillary the election” is smoking something. And that includes Hillary.

          Hillary’s loss is no different from a football team favored by two touchdowns who lost on a field goal, then blamed the opposing team’s fieldgoal kicker or the ref. They neglect to mention all the things that got them within 3-points when they were favored to begin with: all the fumbles, interceptions, failed blocks and tackles that put them in position to be ruined by a field goal slash FBI director.

          That’s what I believe, and I consider myself a not terribly unusual Democrat. Not every Democrat sounds like Bernie Sanders or Tom Perez, with whom I agree less than I do with Joe Scarborough. Who by the way thinks the Comey firing is a travesty. And who by the way is a Republican. Just sayin’.

          • Chris

            I also never believed Comey should be fired, but I did see a lot of Democrats start calling for his resignation after he started talking about the Huma e-mails. I think this was a bad judgment call, but the Democrats who said he was in the tank for Trump were just as stupid as the Republicans who said he was in the tank for Clinton after he refused to prosecute her.

            Both parties displayed tons of hypocrisy regarding Comey; Republicans praised him during the Clinton investigation until he started coming to conclusions they didn’t like, and Democrats did exactly the same thing. To me, Comey’s pissing off of both parties showed me he *was* the right guy to be leading these investigations; he was going to pursue the evidence, demonstrate transparency and do the right thing regardless of which politicians it helped and which it hurt. While I didn’t always agree with him on what the right decisions were, I never doubted he was principled and nonpartisan.

            • charlesgreen

              I quite agree with Chris.

              More relevant than my agreement is, note, he’s another probably-Democrat who doesn’t fit neatly into the demonizing narrative about Democrats, e.g. the idea that we all wanted to fire Comey, that we’re whiners about perfect-candidate Hillary, etc.

              To borrow Chris’s point, if you’ve got both sides pissed at you, you’re probably on a good track.

              • If both sides don’t TRUST you, however, you’re worthless. Comey was worthless.

                • Chris

                  I trusted him.

                  • charlesgreen

                    Me too. I respect that others didn’t, but I did. Sorry to see him go, a little trepidatious about who the Orange One is going to nominate. Are we in for another politicized nomination?

                    • Are we in for another politicized nomination?

                      Are there any other types of nominations, these days? On my more cynical days, I just classify anything in DC as ‘they are all crooks”

                      Even Gorsuch was politicized, in our current enviroment.

            • Nor did I; nor do I. No FBI director could have tip-toed through this one, even J. Edgar. The fact that he wasn’t entirely responsible for losing the trust of both parties and the public, however, doesn’t change the fact that he did, and an FBI director who loses that trust is a liability.

              Again: Trump is being condemned for doing the right and unavoidable thing, because he is Donald Trump.

              Bigotry, guys. That’s what it is.

              • charlesgreen

                Good to see we all agree about Comey’s position here.

                As to Trump being condemned for “doing the right and unavoidable thing,” I think the point I’d raise is one of context. More broadly:

                Is ‘the right thing’ always independent of time and circumstance?
                Is it not relevant that Trump waited 18 days to fire Flynn?
                Is it not relevant that Trump didn’t fire Flynn until outed by the Post?
                Is it not relevant that supposedly-recused Sessions is in the middle here?

                Not everything that appears to be something can be dismissed as “just optics.” Sometimes it’s not optics, it’s circumstantial evidence; which itself sometimes leads to direct evidence, and sometimes is sufficient in its own right.

                The FACT that Trump is clearly lying about his motives, and the “amazing coincidence” of this happening in such a rush that he failed to coordinate with his own staff, and the relatively recent events including:

                • charlesgreen

                  Sorry, hit send too soon.
                  …including:
                  –Comey having just asked for more money
                  –the Flynn debacle hitting the news again (time for another distraction)
                  –getting shown up by the woman who told him he should’ve fired Flynn
                  –the incessant drip drip of the Russia investigation.

                  It’s all just a wee bit too ‘the lady doth protest too much.’ It’s possible there’s no fire, but then why so much effort at trying to hide the smoke?

                  • No, it’s really not. None of this is anything but confirmation bias.

                    Don’t get me started with Sally Yates, a partisan, unethical lawyer who grandstanded to harm her own client. And the “drip-drip” nonsense is cheap and boring: Watergate was drip-drip: not one “drip” of evidence ties Trump to anything improper or illegal. As the very Democratic Sen Feinstein had to admit.

                    I’ll be sure to post on the first actual drip when and if it appears.

                    • charlesgreen

                      There is a line of argument here (and elsewhere) that goes, “…and there has been not a shred of evidence yet.” From which we are to conclude that the whole thing is a witch hunt.

                      There is of course a lot of relevant truth in that.

                      But there is also truth in noting that every successful investigation started out as a witch-hunt – UNTIL credible evidence DID show up. From which we might conclude that the absence of evidence is also, possibly, evidence of how well the putative guilty parties have obstructed the investigation.

                      To keep that obvious point from devolving into conspiracy theories, I suggest it’s important to look at how cooperative the subjects are.

                      If someone is constantly putting roadblocks in the way of an investigation, behaving as if they have something to hide, then not only is it reasonable to suspect something hidden, but that behavior ITSELF is objectionable. (Isn’t “obstruction of justice” itself a criminal charge, for example?)

                      Let me suggest Trump (and the Trumpsters) has been – at every step – remarkably un-forthcoming. Think taxes. Think press coverage. Think vacuity of positions. At least Hillary showed up at hearings.

                      The fact that evidence of something hasn’t yet emerged proves basically nothing other than that evidence hasn’t yet emerged. It’s hardly proof that there’s nothing there.

                • Is ‘the right thing’ always independent of time and circumstance?

                  There are better and worse ways to do the right thing. But in this case, the timing followed an incompetent performance before Congress. A final straw.

                  Is it not relevant that Trump waited 18 days to fire Flynn?

                  No, it’s not relevant. How is it relevant? That was incompetent, as I have already written here. Still, he had to be fired…just like Comey.

                  Is it not relevant that Trump didn’t fire Flynn until outed by the Post?

                  Post hoc ergo propter hoc. And why is this about Flynn?

                  Is it not relevant that supposedly-recused Sessions is in the middle here?

                  He’s AG, Comey works for him, and the firing was unrelated to the Russia inquiry. He wasn’t recused from supervising his employee.

                  • Chris

                    There are better and worse ways to do the right thing. But in this case, the timing followed an incompetent performance before Congress. A final straw.

                    Do you really believe it was “the final straw” for Trump? I don’t think Trump himself even mentioned Comey’s performance before Congress last week. If he was angry about it, he would have tweeted such.

                    He’s AG, Comey works for him, and the firing was unrelated to the Russia inquiry.

                    You can’t possibly know that, and I find even believing that extremely gullible.

                    • The point is, you don’t know otherwise, and the presumption is that the reasons for a defensible firing are legitimate.

                    • Chris

                      That would be the presumption for a president who routinely acted in good faith. Since Trump does not, that is not my presumption, and keeping that as your presumption in naive and gullible.

              • Chris

                Nor did I; nor do I. No FBI director could have tip-toed through this one, even J. Edgar. The fact that he wasn’t entirely responsible for losing the trust of both parties and the public, however, doesn’t change the fact that he did, and an FBI director who loses that trust is a liability.

                A large number of Americans, including many Republicans, don’t trust Trump. Is a president who is distrusted to the extent he is a liability? Should he resign?

                Again: Trump is being condemned for doing the right and unavoidable thing, because he is Donald Trump.

                No. I haven’t seen anyone but you argue that firing Comey was unavoidable, and I’ve only seen a few more argue that it was right.

                At worst, he is being criticized for doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.

          • E2 (nee Elizabeth I)

            I accept your point. I’m sure there are many Democrats out there who are just as disenchanted with the actions of their party as I am. (I am unfortunately registered as a Republican, but their fund raising and other nonsense has so annoyed me that I’m going to re-register as an Independent; For years I was a good Democrat: Bill Clinton did me in.)

            I also agree with you that all the people making excuses for Hillary (and Hillary herself) must be ‘smoking something.’ I think my millennial son — who is engaged in the dialogue but not party-affiliated or really active in this arena — put it pretty succinctly in the face of my bias-driven liberal sister-in-law (who is one of those with millions of dollars and would never be touched by liberal policies),.. To whit: “The election of Trump was simply a poke-in-the-eye against machine politics — Republican or Democrat.”

          • Charles,

            You stated “I consider myself a not terribly unusual Democrat. Not every Democrat sounds like Bernie Sanders or Tom Perez…

            I respect your honest stance on issues, and agreeing to disagree (without acrimony, violence, or resentment) is what this country was founded upon.

            You are entitled your opinion, and it has the same weight (morally and politically) as mine, in a sane world. Sometimes my side is in power (with all our flaws) and sometimes yours, but as long as we agree that the best interests of the nation are paramount, the people are served.

            However, this is not a sane world. The (general, vocal, reported on) left has progressively (see what I did there? Quality humor in a serious post!) moved to the point where their whim is the only opinion that counts, and others should be shouted down, beaten, or even imprisoned for having a differing opinion.

            This may be a progressive minority, one that is vocal and has the willing ear of the media, but it is pervasive, especially since the election. It is what the American people have heard, an unrelenting drumbeat that defies fairness, common sense, or even coherency. The message from the same sources changes from week to week, and even day to day (as in this case), saying the exact opposite of the position before, and stating our understanding of their position was not true, gas-lighting the public constantly.

            You may be correct, in that there is a great silent majority of Democrats that believe as you do (and I beg your forgiveness if that is not what you intended to say: might be my interpretation), but I have seen little evidence that this is the case. We have not seen dissenting opinions from that group (majority or not,) nor any moderation in the Democratic party stances from them. If anything, the party is ‘progressing’ (yes that is funny) away from a moderate stance on anything at all.

            Silence is consent. Actions speak louder than words. We (on the right) protested (and still raise our voices) when Bush (and Trump) violated our principles, and took our outrage into the polls. Romney may have lost because of conservative (and right-moderate) lack of support. I do not see that same stance from the moderate left. I almost wrote ‘if they exist’ at the end of that sentence, but you are proof that they do exist, just are shouted down to the point they do not comment, at least loudly enough to make an impact.

            It is easy to go along with your side when they are in power. I know: it was hard to criticize the Patriot Act, but ethics demanded it. It was the right thing to do, regardless if it made a difference or not.

            Until those Democrats like yourself start making yourself hears (much less making a difference), Charles, you will have to excuse those on the right who don’t believe you have such views.

            Still love ya like a brother.

            • charlesgreen

              Great post, SW. Reasoned and passionate, and reasonable. Thanks for sharing (no snark intended).

              I do hear you. And the fact is that a boatload of people who feel as you do is something that has been un-appreciated recently by nearly all parts of the Left, myself included. So, point noted.

              At the same time, you should take a 50,000 foot view of where things stand: I’m not sure you’re quite the aggrieved, abused minority that you occasionally suggest. To wit:

              1. The world in general is moving from center-left to center-right. That’s true in our politics (Goldwater and Reagan would be moderates today) and in the UK, arguably in Europe overall.

              2. “Your” team, broadly speaking, won the last presidential election, and another wing of “your” team controls both houses of Congress. Not to mention the Supreme Court.

              All of which is just to say, you may have already won more battles than you think.

              • Charles,

                Thank you for your reply. I appreciate give and take on a level playing field.

                As to the wins our ‘side’ has had: my ‘side’ (conservatives who fondly remember Reagan, even if he compromised too much on some issues 🙂 ) still has far to go due to the Establishment (some call them RINOs) that have been voted in. Trump may be included in that group: the jury is out.

                My side does not believe in the Alt-Right excess we are witnessing. Using the dastardly, immoral and unethical tactics of a despised opponent against them is not the way to go about change. You poison the results when you poison the methods. The defecting conservatives who have gone over to the AR are tired of losing, of being demonized unfairly, and of negative spin usually placing them on ‘the wrong side of history,’ and so believe that turn about is fair play. This is akin to “we have to destroy the village to save it.”

                We believe that human nature does not change, and the more one refuses to master himself, the more one needs a master.

                • charlesgreen

                  Slickwilly,

                  Damn, nearly all the sentences you wrote there, I could have written myself. Feels like we’re both comfortably inside the extremes, with probably more common ground than the usual dichotomous positions allow us. Could it be we’re at least as much alike as different? 🙂

                  (That said, I’m not sure what you meant by your last sentence; could you elaborate a bit more?)

                  • This was a rather clumsy indirect quotation mashed together with a truism.

                    Human Nature does not change means that emotions, rationality, and motivations are the same as they were under Pharaoh… or under the leaders of Babel. We still have the same issues to get over, and adult thought/behavior does not come naturally.

                    The other is a misquote from I do not remember where (and thus likely am wrong, but I like it): Laws are for those who refuse to govern themselves, so society must place limits on those who refuse to limit themselves.

      • Rich in CT

        “the investigation has produced nothing in a year of searching…” Au contraire, all the top spooks have said it’s produced virtually certain evidence that the Russians were a destabilizing influence through cyber efforts. That’s not nothing. It’s important we keep figuring out how they did it so we can reveal it and prevent it in future.

        Charles, you have changed the subject, and this is non-responsive.

        Greg said (and I concur) that no evidence to date has linked the Trump campaign to the Russians in any sort of collusion.

        That that there is evidence that the Russians attempted to interfere with the election is NOT evidence that the Russian colluded with the Trump campaign. There is, in fact, nothing so far that links the campaign.

        The media, and so many other, are conflating this simple fact. There is an investigation into Russian efforts to interfere with the election. Possible collusion is one thread, among many, that might be investigated. No evidence for this particular scenario has emerged, no matter how many times the media says Trumps is under investigation for possible collusion.

        • charlesgreen

          “There is an investigation into Russian efforts to interfere with the election. Possible collusion is one thread, among many, that might be investigated. No evidence for this particular scenario has emerged, no matter how many times the media says Trumps is under investigation for possible collusion.”

          I completely agree with this. This is what i said too. What part of this do you think I am disagreeing with?

      • Isaac

        Wait, so Trump isn’t being investigated? And no one, Trump included, is actually trying to stop investigations into Russian hackers…so…what is this entire conversation about again?

        • Chris

          Comey revealed in March that “individuals associated with the Trump campaign” are being investigated. It is fair to presume that includes Trump; if it does not, he is still ultimately responsible for his own campaign, so “Trump is being investigated” is true regardless.

    • valkygrrl

      I can offer a form.

      “Hey promise to reduce sanctions and we’ll help you guys win. Waddo you say gospodin Flynn? As a show of good faith here’s your own hacked emails which we would, of course, never show anyone. By the way, we’re dumping some democratic emails tomorrow get your attack statements ready.”

      And by removing Comey Trump is now in position to name his successor. He could refuse to nominate anyone who doesn’t promise to quash any Trump campaign or Russia-related investigations.

      Is there not an automatic conflict of interest for someone who gets to decide if and how to proceed against the person who appointed them?

      • Since the Justice Department itself is pledged to be ready to investigate and prosecute any official, that “conflict” is inherently present for any President. Hence the ongoing problem of Presidents choosing cronies as AG–most notably shown with Eric Holder, who completely weaponized justice as partisan arm, and was never held accountable for flagrant incompetence. He refused to investigate the IRS; he refused to allow a special prosecutor so Justice wasn’t investigating itself. Trump has exactly the same problem in this regard as every other POTUS, but of course, in his case, its proof of malevolence.

        Get well quick.

        • valkygrrl

          Should Trump allow a special prosecutor?

          • For the Russian hacks? That would suggest no faith in the FBI at all. The FBI isn’t conflicted. What we have seen with special prosecutors is that they have no sense of proportion and abuse their power–the last one, investigating the Plame Affair, was especially bad. In theory, I would support a SP in any situation where the vigor of the investigation would be doubted by the public. In practice, it hasn’t worked.

            • Steve-O-in-NJ

              And who appointed Patrick Fitzgerald as Special Counsel? Then-acting AG Comey, who was a close enough personal friend to Fitzgerald that he had asked him to stand as godfather to one of his children. It wouldn’t surprise me if the two of them were of like minds as to how to use wide-ranging authority. Frankly both make me think of Robert Hanssen, the infamous breacher, who used his power just to prove he could game the system, or of a Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan gone bad (for those not familiar with the series Jack Ryan is a CIA officer and later Vice President and President with Boy Scout/Dudley Do-Right tendencies).

            • Matthew B

              Consider Scooter Libby vs. Hillary.

              Is anyone really going to claim Scooter’s violations were more severe than Hillary? I’d say legally and morally, Hillary is more deserving of criminal sanction.

    • Yes, why do people think firing Comey has any effect on the investigation, other than removing someone who would allow ANY result to be challenged as partisan? Ditto the comparison with Cox: Cox WAS the investigator.

      Bias makes you stupid.

  7. I believe Comey continued in the capacity of Director of the FBI 108 days longer than he would have had HRC been elected.

    • charlesgreen

      Actually, Hillary was given very clear advice that if she were to attempt to fire him, she’d face a shitstorm of public opinion, because the optics would be horrible.
      That was very good advice – advice which apparently no one in the Trump White House saw fit to give to him.

      • Fair point, but after that Excellent Adventure on the Sky Harbor International Airport Tarmac last June (c’mon, grandkids & golf??) my best sense told me the Clinton’s had abandoned any earthly concern with optics.

      • Are firings appropriate based on the conduct of the firee or based on the political winds of public opinion?

        A) you have no idea if she would have followed the advice.
        B) you have no idea if he wasn’t advised against it.

        • valkygrrl

          Political implications matter. They’re politicians after all.

          Other things matter too, like calling someone to the oval office, looking them in the eye and asking for a resignation rather than breaking up via CNN.

          • Political implications matter sure. But the question still stands, are the firings *based* on the standing and circumstances of the firee or on the the optics of the firing?

            Your second point is immaterial to whether or not a firing is appropriate but material to judging if the firer is ethical.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        Hilary would have fired him too, under the guise of hiring a new female FBI director to stand alongside Loretta Lynch and Sally Yates, so that there could be an all-female team overseeing justice and guarding wombs everywhere. Of course the real reason would be that she didn’t want him coming to her later and saying “Madam President, some new information on your emails has come to light…”

      • Yikes! The fever is rising! Jeez, Charles, you are actually applauding successful blackmail and cowardice, because doing otherwise would require you to admit that the President did the right thing! This is EXACTLY the way J. Edgar Hoover was allowed to harass and spy on Americans and abuse power and position for decades. And you really want to say that Hillary would have been wise to do the same thing—don’t fire an underling out of fear of a backlash. No President should let that creep into his or her decision-nmaking when it is a question of removing an employee that should be removed.

        I’m worried about you. Where can I send chicken soup?

  8. Steve-O-in-NJ

    I think in more than a few ways Comey is responsible for his own fall. He spent most of his career as a prosecutor, and sometimes prosecutors, especially those in the Southern District of NY, can afford to be somewhat flamboyant and make it all about them, they are as much political figures as law enforcers. However, the Director of the FBI is supposed to be apolitical and not look to raise his own profile. Maybe Comey thought he was playing Boy Scout and doing the right thing by not recommending charges against Hillary, but at the same time dinging her publicly for lying and mishandling classified information, and maybe he thought the same thing at the time he announced reopening of the investigation, then realized what he had done and just as quickly re-closed it. However, he had to also know how poorly the FBI’s interview with Hillary was handled and how bad a position Justice was in due to Loretta Lynch’s ill-advised meeting with Bill Clinton. I think he thought most people would forget the soft-pedaled interview. I didn’t, Jack didn’t and a lot of other folks didn’t. I can’t explain his decision to hold the press conference in light of the Lynch/Clinton meeting, other than what I already said. He could just as easily have told Sally Yates and Loretta Lynch, “ladies, this is your problem.”

    By doing the press conference, he pretty decisively threw himself behind Hillary, like it or not. He triggered a flood of statements from the Democrats praising his independence and integrity, and also a flood of “Huh?” comments from the other side, which were not unjustified, given that he said she had definitely lied and mishandled classified information and he had conducted a super-meticulous investigation, but still didn’t think a prosecutor could get a conviction, so whoops, her bad, but that’s about it.

    Three months later, whoops, MY bad, I found some new stuff, and I’m going to splatter it all over the news less than two weeks before the election (a flip-flop), but a few days later, after an EXPLOSION of anger from the Democrats, including rants that inevitable President Hillary was going to replace him with a woman on day one, whoops, my bad AGAIN, I blew through several times as many emails in a fraction of the time and I found nothing, so just forget it (a flip-flop-flip). Too late, the damage was done, and, instead of him looking independent and like a Boy Scout (as they tried to build him up in 2004 for blocking an attempt by GWB to get a signature on an order from an ailing Ashcroft that Comey, then acting AG, wouldn’t give), everyone asked “just WHOSE side is this guy on?”

    Trump, I think, hit on something when he described Comey as more famous than him, and may well have wondered if Comey was looking to use his fame, combined with his position, to become a kingmaker or power behind the throne. Comey had wide-ranging latitude to keep investigations open as long as he wanted, and if he gave press conferences, and sent letters to Congress that hit the press, and gave damaging testimony to Congress that also hit the press and rang bells that couldn’t be un-rung, all before Trump was sworn into office, what was to keep him from continuing all of that behavior during Trump’s administration and either becoming a bigger player than he already was supposed to be, or parlaying this into direct influence on the highest office in the land? “Well, Mr. President, I might or might not see ties between your campaign and the Russians. I’m leaning that way, and I’m ready to walk up the hill with it, but there’s this opening coming up on the District Court…” and later on “I dunno, Mr. President, some new information on those Russian ties has just come to light, it really wouldn’t look good for you if that hit the press this close to the next election…” The President couldn’t risk that. Oh, Comey can spill his guts now, but now it looks like he is trying to get back at the president who removed him.

    The only reason the Democrats are all for him now is that he was possibly going to give them the next Valerie Plame non-issue to turn into a painful sore that that could just keep picking the scab off of or the party guest who just wouldn’t go home. The idea that this removal, combined with the firing of Sally Yates, who refused a direct order from the president, and the cleaning house of the US Attorneys, just like old Bill did in 1993, is some kind of massacre, is ludicrous. It doesn’t matter, though, the Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) are already marching in lock-step.

  9. “Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself)”

    Ha. Made me think maybe we ought to just save time and start saying things like “last night on the Evening Democrat party report, they mentioned Trump in a negative light”

  10. Chris

    I’m with charles here. I can’t believe what I’m reading.

    President Trump on Tuesday fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, abruptly terminating the law enforcement official leading a wide-ranging criminal investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s advisers colluded with the Russian government to steer the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

    That’s pretty despicable, and as blatant an example of intentional negative spin as you are likely to see, even from the Times. There were so many justifications for firing Comey that the mind boggles. Attaching the act to the one elicit reason for firing Comey is just yellow journalism, and nothing but. The Times is really a shameless partisan organ now.

    No, Jack, the NYT lede here is entirely accurate and fair. The fact that Trump fired the man leading an investigation into his campaign is THE most relevant factor in this story. There is no rational objection to including that information in the lede, and calling it “spin” is itself spin.

    You are right that there were other justifications for firing Comey. But no clear-thinking person could possibly think those justifications are the reason Trump fired him. If you honestly believe that Trump fired him because of his handling of the Clinton investigation–after he blew a kiss to him in January for same–I have a bridge to sell you.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      So Jack’s not clear-thinking? Ho ho, that’s going to go over well. Come on, Chris, you can do and have done better than this. Simply angrily saying “no you’re wrong” isn’t going to persuade anyone.

      • Chris

        I did more than that, Steve; I explained exactly why the lede is fair and accurate. Jack is generally a clear-thinking person, but like everyone, he has biases. His anti-media bias is causing him to see anti-Trump bias where none exists.

        Do you honestly believe that if Clinton were president and she fired Comey in the middle of an investigation into her, the NYT wouldn’t include the fact of the investigation in the lede? Of course they would. That would be the most relevant part of the story.

        There are plenty of examples of the media being biased against Trump. This isn’t one of them.

        • Chris

          Also, what I said was “But no clear-thinking person could possibly think those justifications are the reason Trump fired him.” I don’t know if this sentence applies to Jack yet, because he completely avoided saying whether or not the valid reasons to fire Comey he mentioned are actually Trump’s reasons for firing him.

          • Steve

            Chris, bottom line, did Comey deserve firing for the stated reasons? Because if he did than it is ethical, there may be other reasons that he may have been fired but even if that is the case Comey is so damaged that no matter the outcome of the Russian investigation there would be no trust in the results if Comey was in charge. Can you not see this?

            • Chris

              One does not get credit for taking an ethical action for unethical reasons. The reasons put forward by Rosenstein do not make sense. If he was over incompetence during the email investigation, he would have been fired long ago. If Trump was mad about him misstating facts about the email case last week–mistated facts that, in fact, made Hillary look worse than she was–he would have said so. Therefore, we can conclude the legitimate reasons put forward in the Rosenstein memo are not the real reasons for his firing. This means the real reasons must be something the Trump administration doesn’t want to know. Given Trump’s clear contempt of anyone who criticizes him, we can also conclude his reason for firing Comey is because he didn’t like that Comey was investigating his campaign (which he is; I still can’t believe Jack didn’t know this).

              I don’t understand why people can’t follow this logical chain. This isn’t conspiracy theorism or bias. This is a logical conclusion based on the available evidence.

        • Steve-O-in-NJ

          No I don’t believe that. The Times abandoned all pretense of journalistic ethics to campaign for Hillary and they’d be sniffing her throne just like they sniffed Obama’s. Thankfully, until at least 2020 the question of her as president is no longer an open issue.

          • Chris

            Please search the NYT archives for “Hillary Clinton e-mails,” Steve. The paper reported on them constantly. While I agree with you that the NYT has a leftwing bias, and would absolutely prefer her as president to Trump, the notion that they would not have written a lede mentioning the investigation into her emails had she fired Comey ignores their coverage of the scandal completely.

        • Do you honestly believe that if Clinton were president and she fired Comey in the middle of an investigation into her, the NYT wouldn’t include the fact of the investigation in the lede?

          Based upon recent experience with the NYT, the answer is yes.

          How can you doubt they would cover for Hillary? That has been their main goal in life the past two years.

          • Chris

            Covering for her is one thing; not mentioning the investigation into her emails, which they covered a lot, is another. Look at how many headlines there were about the email investigation in the weeks leading up to the election; the notion that it wouldn’t have been mentioned in the lede in a story about her firing Comey is preposterous. The notion that it would be unfair and misleading to do so–which is Jack’s position–is too dumb to take seriously.

            • Terrible comparison. Clinton was the target of the investigation. Trump is not the target of the Russian investigation. Simple as that. This is a self-supporting delusion on your part.

              • Chris

                Trump is not the target of the Russian investigation.

                Please stop writing this misleading claim. The FBI is absolutely investigating the Trump campaign for collusion with Russia; they have been for the past year. Trump is ultimately responsible for the actions of his campaign. So yes, Trump is the target of the investigation, and the analogy stands. The headline and the lede are accurate and fair.

            • Chris,

              Your opinion is a valid as mine. We will never know what they would have done. Perhaps had Hillary won they would have righted the ship (no pun intended) and gone back to a more equal slant in reporting.

  11. The more I think about Comey’s actions as the FBI Diirector, or lack thereof, the more I think he should have been fired by Obama; since that didn’t happen properly, Trump should have fired Comey the day he took the Presidential Oath of Office.

    Any way I look at it, it’s a good thing he’s gone.

    In my opinion, this won’t change the investigation about Russia trying to influence the election at all.

    • We know it won’t. See the latest post.

    • Chris

      The more I think about Comey’s actions as the FBI Diirector, or lack thereof, the more I think he should have been fired by Obama; since that didn’t happen properly, Trump should have fired Comey the day he took the Presidential Oath of Office.

      And the fact is that he didn’t; he only fired Comey when it became clear Comey was a threat to his power.

      • The last sentence is bullshit, and you are intentionally ignoring his false testimony before Congress, because it interferes with your BS narrative. Read the memo. Do something to allow you to deal with facts rather than supposition based on nothing.

        • Chris

          The memo is bullshit, and Comey’s testimony about Clinton has absolutely nothing to do with why Trump fired him. This is not “supposition based on nothing,” it’s based on observed facts about Trump’s behavior.

          • This reflects poorly on you, Chris. The memo is well reasoned and fair, the writer is trustworthy and knowledgable, and the translation for the last phrase is “I don’t like him, so I know he did it.” Nice.

            • Chris

              No, it’s “Rosenstein’s reasons in the memo are obviously not Trump’s reasons, because I have eyes.” You may be willing to ignore all context we have for this situation–as you do every time there is a new development in the Russia investigation–but I’m not.

              • Chris,
                You’re writing like an political hack parroting partisan trash talk based on bone-headed assumptions again.

                P.S. Where’s your facts to back up your statement “he only fired Comey when it became clear Comey was a threat to his power”?

              • Seriously? Trump fires the director after an extensive memo from a top attorney explaining why it is a good idea; everyone and his brother wants the guy fired; Comey just botched a high profile hearing, there is every reason to fire him, and you’re just sure it was for some other reason, because Trump BAD.

                Alrighty then!

                • Chris

                  Trump fires the director after an extensive memo from a top attorney explaining why it is a good idea;

                  Naive, Jack.

                  • Fact, Chris. Do people know how organizations work? I go into the CEO’s office, explain a problem. “Good; I agree. I’ll do it. Put all that in a memo.”

                    The date proves nothing. And the President has had good reason to fire Comey since January 20, with memo, without memo.

                    Kristol is a bitter never-Trumper, like Lindsay Graham. Disappointing.

                    (I, in contrast, am a non-bitter never-Trumper.)

                    • Chris

                      Fact, Chris. Do people know how organizations work? I go into the CEO’s office, explain a problem. “Good; I agree. I’ll do it. Put all that in a memo.”

                      If you are now conceding that Trump made the decision to fire Comey and then had Rosenstein write the memo in order to justify the firing, then I agree; that was my point. But then your original statement was misleading:

                      Trump fires the director after an extensive memo from a top attorney explaining why it is a good idea;

                      This would seem to imply that Rosentein’s memo was the reason for the firing, rather than the other way around. In that case your statement was at least as misleading as the NYT’s headline, which you claim implied the Russia investigation was the reason Comey was fired.

                      And, of course, the memo did not actually recommend Comey be fired:

                      https://www.justsecurity.org/40771/strange-perhaps-telling-omission-rosenstein-memo/

                      The date proves nothing. And the President has had good reason to fire Comey since January 20, with memo, without memo.

                      And the fact that he didn’t fire him until now proves that none of the reasons that existed prior to January 20 apply to why Trump fired him.

                      Kristol is a bitter never-Trumper, like Lindsay Graham. Disappointing.

                      Yes, it is disappointing that you would resort to ad hom arguments and ignore the merits of someone else’s arguments.

                      (I, in contrast, am a non-bitter never-Trumper.)

                      Given how much you have been defending Trump here lately, to the point where you are denigrating legitimate, bipartisan criticism as mere bias, I don’t think that label applies to you any longer.

                    • Not what I said. I have no idea what the sequence was, and I don’t really care. But what I said was one reasonable explanation was that the conclusions in the memo were delivered orally first, the decision was made, and the reasoning was put in writing. And if the President called up Justice and said, “I’ve decided to fire Comey, finally. Write up a memo about why its a good idea”, there’s nothing wrong with that.

                    • When I see some legitimate, bipartisan criticism, I salute it. This isn’t even close.

                    • Chris

                      Not what I said. I have no idea what the sequence was, and I don’t really care. But what I said was one reasonable explanation was that the conclusions in the memo were delivered orally first, the decision was made, and the reasoning was put in writing. And if the President called up Justice and said, “I’ve decided to fire Comey, finally. Write up a memo about why its a good idea”, there’s nothing wrong with that.

                      It does matter if the reasons expressed in the memo do not accurately express the president’s true reasons for firing Comey, and if they are in fact post-hoc rationalizations. Trump’s character and behavior towards Comey strongly indicates this is the case. Again, if Trump were truly upset at Comey’s performance in front of congress last week, he would have said so already. We already know he had no problems with his handling of the email investigation during the campaign, other than that he didn’t prosecute her; but he would have fired him before now if that was a reason to fire him. We also know he loved Comey when he was investigating Hillary, and began to turn on him when his campaign was the one under investigation. (Again, how did you not know that his campaign was under investigation?)

                      Now, none of this proves conclusively that Trump fired Comey for investigating him. But it is all strong evidence, and you won’t even consider the possibility.

        • charlesgreen

          Jack, I think you’re quite unfairly dismissive of Chris’s view – in particular, his cynicism about Trump’s stated reasons

          The latest drip drip drip, from the Wall Street Journal:

          “Former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey asked the Justice Department last week for more resources for the agency’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, a U.S. official said. The request came a week before President Donald Trump fired Mr. Comey.”

          You think it’s more likely that Trump fired Comey because he was unfairly critical of Anthony Wiener? Or that Comey was a threat to his power?

          I don’t think that’s a bullshit, I think that’s a pretty obvious conclusion based on how Trump works.

          • I said he was fired because he was looking bad at his job, and untrustworthy, in public. And he was. And everyone agrees he was.

            Asking for more resources into an ongoing investigation is not a drip, unless you pre-assume wrongdoing and cover-up. Which is what Chris is doing.

            Observe Chris’s sad saga, for this is where anti-Trump derangement leads…

            • Chris

              I said he was fired because he was looking bad at his job, and untrustworthy, in public. And he was. And everyone agrees he was.

              No, everyone does not agree on that.

              Asking for more resources into an ongoing investigation is not a drip, unless you pre-assume wrongdoing and cover-up. Which is what Chris is doing.

              You are reversing cause and effect. charles didn’t say asking for more resources was a drip; he said being fired right after doing that is. Believing that doesn’t mean one “pre-assumes wrongdoing and cover-up.” It means one is rationally concluding that is a possibility after the fact.

      • Chris wrote, “…he only fired Comey when it became clear Comey was a threat to his power.”

        You don’t have a shred of evidence to support that crap, do you.

        • He doesn’t, but it’s good to have it in black and white: it is res ipsa loquitur for crippling bias.

        • Chris

          Character is evidence. Past behavior is evidence. I do not understand this impulse to take every single individual action of Trump’s in a contextless vacuum.

          And of course, we’ve already outlined the evidence that if Trump had fired Comey for any of the other reasons stated, he would have done so a long time ago. You all just keep ignoring it.

          • Chris wrote, “Character is evidence. Past behavior is evidence.”

            No it’s not. Neither of those things rise to even the level of being circumstantial evidence. You’re reaching.

            Chris wrote, “I do not understand this impulse to take every single individual action of Trump’s in a contextless vacuum.”

            What the hell are you talking about? Did you partake of a few too many barley pop’s at lunch? Please reference all these actions of Trump that I have taken a “contextless vacuum”.

            Chris wrote, “And of course, we’ve already outlined the evidence that if Trump had fired Comey for any of the other reasons stated, he would have done so a long time ago. You all just keep ignoring it.”

            Now you’re trying to pull an intellectual fast one.

            “Evidence”, as you seem to be calling it, that Comey would have been fired for the other reasons in the past is NOTevidence of that “…he only fired Comey when it became clear Comey was a threat to his power”, if you really think it’s evidence to support your claim then you’re showing signs of being a partisan hack on top of being a blithering idiot. Personally I think you flushing all logic down the drain and reaching for anything you can to justify your bull shit claim.

            Chris, You have your days where you do nothing but make yourself look foolish.

      • Isaac

        Chris, I just wanted to point out that there is a well-known and public reason why Trump fired Comey when he did. Rod Rosenstein and his Department of Justice sent Trump a damning report and strong recommendation that Comey be fired.

        The week prior, Comey had publicly made serious misstatements (it’s hard to believe he wasn’t just outright lying), probably out of defensiveness, about details of the Weiner emails.

        Comey has been under the gun for a long time now.

        “He only fired Comey when it became clear Comey was a threat to his power…” I don’t respect this level of tinfoil-hattery when it comes from right-wingers claiming that Bill Clinton assassinated Vince Foster, and there’s no reason for you to stoop to that level either. This is madness.

        • Isaac

          Here is the closing paragraph from Rosenstein’s message, and the whole thing is clearly just a sort of closing statement to a debate that looks to have been going on since the inauguration. There’s nothing partisan about any of this.

          “Although the President has the power to remove an FBI director, the decision should not be taken lightly. I agree with the nearly unanimous opinions of former Department officials. The way the Director handled the conclusion of the email investigation was wrong. As a result, the FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them. Having refused to admit his errors, the Director cannot be expected to implement the necessary corrective actions.”

        • charlesgreen

          ““He only fired Comey when it became clear Comey was a threat to his power…” I don’t respect this level of tinfoil-hattery when it comes from right-wingers claiming that Bill Clinton assassinated Vince Foster, and there’s no reason for you to stoop to that level either. This is madness.”

          This is not madness, this is fact. Read the news this morning.

  12. I guess it’s just a small point now, but I thought last week’s statement that Comey was “mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election” required either Comey or the President to make a change. A public servant can’t express an attitude that executing their responsibilities is regrettable.

  13. Scott GF

    I was looking for the conversation about Sessions agreeing with firing Comey evne though he recused himself in both the Russia and Clinton e-mail investigations.
    He shouldn’t have been involved but was. What’s the ethics on that?

    • Answered that. He didn’t recuse himself in personnel decisions in his own Department. Firing Comey isn’t related to the Russia investigation.

      • Chris

        Firing Comey isn’t related to the Russia investigation.

        Impossible to know. And gullible to believe.

        • Chris in response to “Firing Comey isn’t related to the Russia investigation” you wrote “Impossible to know.”

          Wait just a damn minute Chris!

          That “impossible to know” statement coming from you is about as intellectual dishonest as anyone can possibly get; you have completely failed to apply the same standards of rational evaluation to your opinions as you do to others – you’re a hypocrite! You have made statements that are literally “impossible to know” and yet you are presenting these statements as if they are verifiable fact but yet when asked to provide evidence to support your “impossible to know” statements you type a pile of foolish gibberish.

          Chris,
          It’s “impossible to know” for sure if you’re a hypocritical trolling partisan hack or just a blithering idiot. What’s clear is that we are supposed to be using your character and past behavior as evidence to make unprovable claims that you’re a liar.

          • Chris

            You have made statements that are literally “impossible to know” and yet you are presenting these statements as if they are verifiable fact but yet when asked to provide evidence to support your “impossible to know” statements you type a pile of foolish gibberish.

            Please show me an example of where I have presented speculation as fact, Zoltar.

            • Chris write, “Please show me an example of where I have presented speculation as fact, Zoltar”

              You presented this statement as if it is verifiable fact “he only fired Comey when it became clear Comey was a threat to his power”; don’t deny it! You have been attacking anyone that disagrees with your bull shit unprovable conspiracy theory and trying to support that statement as “fact” ever since. Again, don’t deny it hypocrite.

              Actual verifiable reality proves you’re wrong and you refuse to accept that fact, you are delusional. You’re suffering from Traumatic Political Stress Disorder (TPSD). Again, either bias has made you stupid or you’re a troll.

              • charlesgreen

                “Actual verifiable reality proves you’re wrong and you refuse to accept that fact, you are delusional,”

                Zoltar, you are 180 degrees, 100%, verifiably, wrong.

                Read the headlines today: the narrative is clear and clearer. It is exactly as Chris said, and totally NOT what you have said.

                Trump fired Comey, then suborned perjury on the part of his spokespeople, conned the new DAG into wriiting a report which Trump then lied about ex post facto. Lies about the time line are front and center this morning in the news, being exposed. Lies about motives – by Trump, by Pence – are being exposed this morning.

                If Chris had a confirmation bias, it just beat the hell out of your confirmation bias. Go read the headlines, then prepare to retract everything you said here.

                • Charles,
                  What headlines are you talking about?

                  • Specifically Charles, provide the headlines and the story that proves that Trump, “only fired Comey when it became clear Comey was a threat to his power”

                    • charlesgreen

                      Lets start with this one, from CNN:
                      “Source close to Comey says there were 2 reasons the FBI director was fired”
                      “The official White House version of what happened is that deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, fresh on the job, wrote a memo expressing concern about the way Comey had handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
                      But mounting evidence suggests Comey was actually fired because of the Russian investigation.”

                      Now let’s move to Business Insider: headline,
                      Trump’s deputy attorney general reportedly threatened to resign after being painted as the mastermind behind Comey’s firing

                      Here’s a WaPo headline: Inside Trump’s anger and impatience — and his sudden decision to fire Comey.
                      Here’s the money lines:

                      “But the private accounts of more than 30 officials at the White House, the Justice Department, the FBI and on Capitol Hill, as well as Trump confidants and other senior Republicans, paint a conflicting narrative centered on the president’s brewing personal animus toward Comey. Many of those interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to candidly discuss internal deliberations.

                      “Trump was angry that Comey would not support his baseless claim that President Barack Obama had his campaign offices wiretapped. Trump was frustrated when Comey revealed in Senate testimony the breadth of the counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s effort to sway the 2016 U.S. presidential election. And he fumed that Comey was giving too much attention to the Russia probe and not enough to investigating leaks to journalists.

                      Want more? Look up the transcript of Morning Joe today. Or just stay tuned; the WH narrative is leaking like a sieve. The truth behind Comey’s firing is that Trump thinks he’s a mob boss, and the government exists to do his personal bidding. That’s the only valid explanation; it’s becoming increasingly hard to maintain otherwise; and it’s all totally predictable given the very clear personality defects that Trump has evidenced all his life.

                    • Charles and Chris:

                      Please review who the reporting organizations are, and if they have been part of the Trump Derangement meltdown… you know, the one that the NYT said was worth lying to the public to perpetuate?

                    • I too followed charles’ suggestion and perused several headlines from the various Democrat party public relations outlets and failed to turn up anything that even remotely corroborates their accusations.

                      Of course I thought we’d all learned our lessons by now about relying on headlines… because the meat and potatoes of the articles are also unsubstantiated and pretty much still in line with the fogginess of this entire episode.

                      But what are we gonna do? The Left is convinced that the when the Left wing propaganda machine speaks, it is the truth.

                    • texagg04 wrote, “I too followed charles’ suggestion and perused several headlines from the various Democrat party public relations outlets and failed to turn up anything that even remotely corroborates their accusations.”, “The Left is convinced that the when the Left wing propaganda machine speaks, it is the truth.”

                      This is what I call Progressive Magical Thinking.

                    • charlesgreen

                      Let’s just have a friendly little bet, and let all the news outlets sort it out over the next few days, as to the truth of the following statements.

                      1. The White House said Trump made his decision to fire Comey BASED ON the report from Justice.
                      2. Further, that the report preceded his making the decision.
                      3. Further, that Rosenstein’s report had been freely offered, not suborned.
                      4. Further, that Trump’s decision had nothing to do with Russia.
                      5. Further, that FBI personnel had lost all confidence in Comey
                      6. Trump himself said that Comey had told him three times he was not being investigated.

                      Let’s see how those claims hold up over the next few days. I, as well as all the rabid left wing press at CNBC, Bloomberg, Joe Scarborough et al, think all six of those statements are lies. You apparently believe them.

                      Let’s reconvene about this on, say, Monday.

                    • Charles wrote, “You apparently believe them.”

                      Who is this “you” that you’re speaking of?

                      I’ll say this about you and Chris, it appears that you (meaning both of you specifically) seem to assume that everything said by Trump or anyone in his administration is a lie.

                    • charlesgreen

                      In fairness, I’m sure Trump says a few truthful things every day. The problem is, with such a high lying percentage, it’s really hard to tell them apart.

                    • In fairness, I’m sure the Democratic run media says a few truthful things every day. The problem is, with such a high lying percentage, it’s really hard to tell them apart.

                    • charlesgreen

                      No, TexAgg – that is false equivalence.

                      Let me make a factual assertion, and back it up with data. I invite you to find data to support the counterpoint.

                      Assertion: Donald Trump and his administration is a BIGGER liar than most, and not even by a little bit.

                      Data:
                      Politifact: Comparing Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump on the Truth-o-meter
                      http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/lists/people/comparing-hillary-clinton-donald-trump-truth-o-met/

                      Newsweek: Can Trump Tell the Difference Between Truth and His Lies?
                      http://www.newsweek.com/trump-difference-truth-lies-552292

                      Time: Can President Trump Handle the Truth?
                      http://time.com/4710614/donald-trump-fbi-surveillance-house-intelligence-committee/

                      CBS: Trump and Flynn and Truth-telling Habits
                      http://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-and-flynn-and-truth-telling-habits/

                      Independent (UK): Two Times Trump Didn’t Tell the Truth on His First Day in Office
                      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-inauguration-what-did-he-say-a7539831.html

                      National Catholic Reporter: Trump’s Problem with the Truth
                      https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/trumps-problem-truth

                      And believe me I could go on. There are tons of stories about how Trump and his gang have a seriously bad relationship with the truth – compared to just about anyone.

                      Over to you: can you assemble a similar number of articles that proclaim Trump et al to be MORE TRUTHFUL than the average?

                      And let’s be clear: citing surveys of GOP voters who overwhelmingly believe Trump “tells truth” are not dispositive – because those same surveys indicate that GOP voters are wildly at odds with the general population on this issue.

                      Otherwise I suggest you’re dealing in false equivalences.

                    • I don’t think it’s a debate worth having. The news media’s business is telling the truth, and it is supposed to have objective credibility. It doesn’t. Trump doesn’t know what the truth is, and lacks the skills and precision of expression to be clear even when he wants to be. Most of what are called his “lies” are in fact either things he believes, or false facts that he doesn’t distinguish between the real ones. He speaks in clouds, and honest, objective observers have to regard his statements accordingly. That’s not good. But it’s hardly hidden or denied either.

                    • You shouldn’t put words in my mouth.

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      “The truth behind Comey’s firing is that Trump thinks he’s a mob boss, and the government exists to do his personal bidding.”

                      Wtf? You mean like Obama turned the DOJ into his personal Gestapo?

                    • Charles,
                      With all due respect, none of that proves that Trump “only fired Comey when it became clear Comey was a threat to his power”.

                      So please explain to me how it is that you can say that I’m “180 degrees, 100%, verifiably, wrong” and yet you can’t prove it?

                      Prove that the quote from Chris is fact using evidence, but don’t try to prove it using assumptions, accusations and innuendo. If it’s true, it’s true and I’ll jump right on the bandwagon with both of you; until then it’s nothing but a conspiracy theory.

                    • Charles wrote, “The truth behind Comey’s firing is that Trump thinks he’s a mob boss, and the government exists to do his personal bidding. That’s the only valid explanation…”

                      “That’s the only explanation”; really Charles? Now you’re writing like a partisan hack. Maybe you should take moment to revise that statement.

                    • Chris

                      You presented this statement as if it is verifiable fact “he only fired Comey when it became clear Comey was a threat to his power”; don’t deny it!

                      Oh, that? That is a fact.

                      The cause/effect implication of it is not; it’s merely my (increasingly well-supported by the day) opinion, and perhaps I could have made that clearer. But the statement “he only fired Comey when it became clear Comey was a threat to his power,” taken as a simple sequence of events rather than reading a cause/effect relationship into it (and again, to be fair,I wrote it in a way that does strongly imply cause/effect), is entirely accurate.

                      Comey did two things that clearly threaten Trump’s power:

                      1) He announced he was investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia in March.

                      2) He refused to support Trump’s conspiracy theory that Obama wiretapped him.

                      Both of these actions threaten Trump’s power.

                      Before these actions, Trump said glowingly positive things about Comey.

                      Now, again, do I know for a fact that Trump fired Comey because he threatened his power? No, but I do know for a fact that Trump fired Comey after he threatened his power. Because that is a fact.

                      You have been attacking anyone that disagrees with your bull shit unprovable conspiracy theory and trying to support that statement as “fact” ever since. Again, don’t deny it hypocrite.

                      This is not true, and you’re the one engaging in hypocrisy. I’ve attacked no one. I have defended myself against attacks that I am “biased,” “stupid,” “deranged,” a “conspiracy theorist,” and a “hypocrite.” If you can honestly look at the past twenty-four hours of this conversation and see me as the attacker and those who believe Trump here as the ones being attacked, I just do not know what to say to you.

                  • charlesgreen

                    It continues today. Trump and his spokespersons lied when they said Comey was not trusted or respected by the FBI.

                    The new acting director the FBI said in testimony today:

                    “Andrew McCabe, the acting FBI director, told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday that James Comey had not, as the White House said, lost the broad confidence of the bureau’s employees:

                    “I can tell you that I hold Director Comey in the absolute highest regard… It has been the greatest privilege and honor of my professional life to work with him… I can confidently tell you that the vast majority of FBI employees enjoyed a deep and positive connection to [him],” said McCabe.

                    Of course, it’s possible that McCabe is under the pernicious influence of those horrible lefties at CNN, NYTimes, WaPo, Morning Joe, CNBC et al and is really part of the conspiracy against Truthfulness and Trumpiness. But I wouldn’t make book on it.

  14. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Now the Democrats in the Senate are considering shutting the chamber down completely until a special prosecutor is named. If the parties were reversed, this would be called obstructionism and attempting to hold the government hostage. If they are that stupid to refuse to do their sworn duty then I think maybe we need to talk about executive orders to keep the government running, if not about arrests like Scott Walker threatened when state senators fled Wisconsin en masse. When an executive can’t do something within his authority without risking a mass snit from the other party, maybe it’s time to treat that other party like the kid who insists on standing in your way as you are trying to get through and just firmly move them out of the way.

    • charlesgreen

      Steve-O,

      This is exactly the same tactic Republicans used to block Obama nominees.

      That said, I completely agree with you; it’s a reprehensible tactic, no matter who uses it. The voices of moderation, e.g. Susan Collins, need to get a lot more visibility. This isn’t governing, this is childish and petty.

  15. Paul Compton

    Just saw this from Legal Insurrection commenter ‘Rotten’:

    “The interim FBI director {Andrew McCabe} is a Clinton super-loyalist and has to be watched closely and replaced quickly.”

    If this is all true it kind of makes a mockery of the argument that the Comey sacking is to block the rusky links investigation. Surely a Clinton Super-Loyalist would pursue it if there was a bone to find. Yes, I did see ‘interim’.

    The question would be is McCabe a strait shooter as well as a Clinton Super-Loyalist, the implication of the description being no.

  16. fattymoon

    OK, Jack. Get your guns out (again).

    The White House explanations for Comey’s firing are crumbling before our eyes https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/05/11/the-white-house-explanations-for-comeys-firing-are-crumbling-before-our-eyes/?utm_term=.5546842fe5bd

    Me? Not only are the explanations crumbling, but so’s the White House. And not too soon, cause, c’mon now, we all know what Trump is… https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/862162489848602624/qARllDim_400x400.jpg

    • fattymoon

      Ya know, from now on I’m only going to read Breitbart News and Fox News. Fuck the Washington Post. Fuck The New York Times. Fake! Fake! Fake! I wanta join you guys here, well, most of you anyway. I count, what? three maybe who think Trump is one big crazy muthafucking pain in the ass who needs to be removed from office ASAP.
      Let it be written, let it be done.

      Over and out..

      • Is this hyperbole theater or are you seriously mischaracterizing everyone here who opposes the overreaction of the Left as somehow being all in for Trump, when in reality they are merely trying to hold an objectivist line.

        You see, historically it’s the Lefties here who dive all in behind a standard left wing pet project to defend based on what? Knee jerk left wing media reports that aren’t thorough, aren’t complete and are almost always proven wrong.

        Do you remember the multiple fiascos of blacks being shot by police and the usual suspects frothing at the mouth for immediate “justice” based on dishonest media reporting? Only to find out there was much more to each story?

        It’s the same suspects here. And their opposition are hardly going all in to support trump as much as they are desperately trying to say “pump the brakes and approach this from a deliberate, moderate, objective and even keel.”

        • fattymoon

          Here’s what I think… the objectivist line is bullshit. Don’t ask me to back up my statement cause, as you oughts know by now, I boast limited analytical skills.
          I’m non-partisan… I think most all Democrats and most all Republicans are scum. I think most politicians in general are scum. However… NOW WE HAVE A WHOLE CADRE OF SCUM WHO HAPPEN TO BE REPUBLICAN (BUT FROM 2008 UNTIL 2017 IT WAS A WHOLE CADRE OF DEMOCRATICE SCUM… FUCKING GAME REMAINS THE SAME, YES?) IN LEAGUE (MOST OF THEM, ANYWAY) WITH THE BIGGEST SCUMBAG OF ALL AND TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE, HE’S A CRAZY (AS IN INSANE) SCUMBAG DIRTBALL PENIS HEAD MUTHA FUCKING PRICK WHO DOESN’T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK HE’S DOING AND FOR FUCKS SAKE, HARDLY ANYONE HERE CAN ENVISION WHAT’S COMING DOWN THE TRACKS… SERIUSLY?

          • charlesgreen

            Ah ha ha ha ha, Fatty, but what do you REALLY think? 🙂

            • fattymoon

              Can’t post what I really think, Charles, cause Homeland Security already paid me a midnight visit and I don’t want a repeat performance of me offering them coffee at 2 in the morning. Sides, like my brother told them next day when they interviewed him, “Jeff’s alright, he’s just a bit odd.”

              Fun fact – during the interview they asked if I hear voices. I lied. Mr. Whsiper is my friend now ‘scuse me while I go round the bend… sorry Dory P.

            • Once again, Charles and fattymoon, we are more alike than you think. Politicians are scum until proved otherwise.

              I used to think the same about Lawyers, until I joined the discussions here.

          • Chris

            While I don’t support the use of caps lock or the general tone of your comment, fattymoon, you are correct that the “objective” line here is bullshit.

            This display has been a mockery of objectivity–starting with Jack’s critique of the perfectly accurate and fair New York Times headline, the conservatives here are bending over backwards to avoid finding fault with Trump and to find fault with the media. They are forgetting literally every single thing they said about Trump during the campaign in order to portray the idea that Trump fired someone for personal reasons as an unhinged conspiracy theory. This only makes sense if you understand that “appearing unbiased” can itself warp into a form of bias in and of itself.

            • fattymoon

              Chris, would inserting html work instead of all caps? Sometimes I need to vent. I mean big time. Like today. Here. On this site, on this topic.

              I’ve been meaning (for weeks now) to go back and pull a dozen or so of Jack’s pronouncements about Trump and the people who might decide to vote for him as the campaign proceeded. And you know why, Chris? Because Jack’s whole argument here, ever since Trump won, has been he was legally elected and so we are obliged to hide the fact that our leader wears no clothes, that, ethically, we have no option other than to endure the man while hoping he doesn’t royally screw up. Let’s see how well Jack’s comments during the campaign wear in light of today.

              If this bullshit is the best Jack and the people in his camp can do, well, sorry, but I got some bad news. Trump is done. The media will sink him. Good! They’ll probably have some help with a new Deep Throat. Watch. You just watch.

              There. I’m screaming, but no caps.

      • …who think Trump is one big crazy muthafucking pain in the ass who needs to be removed from office ASAP.

        I think more than three agree with the PITA part… the ‘remove from office part’ is where the law says otherwise. 😉

    • 1. Who cares? There was cause to fire him. Therefore his firing was legal, ethical, and justified. The White House clown act is operational, not substantive.
      2. we all know what Trump is

      Yup, that’s Chris’s argument, and the underlying logic of the whole fake hysteria. Bigotry. When you quote Juror 10 in 12 Angry Men (he’s the bigot, who constantly says, “You know what he is”), an alarm should go off. You’re one of the bad guys.

      • fattymoon

        Let me be clear, Jack. If there is such a concept as evil (and there is since earth, and maybe the universe itself, swings to the tune of yin-yang) then Trump embodies that concept.

        You love your little doggie, Jack? Of course you do. I love mine too. You said you’d get back to me on this question. I’m still waiting… We Asked the Government Why Animal Welfare Records Disappeared. They Sent 1,700 Blacked-Out Pages.
        http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/05/usda-animal-welfare-records-foia-black-out-first-release/

        Evil, man, evil. Much as Obama was evil (in a smiley snakey way), Trump is in-your-face nasty evil. Crazy too. So, I’m not going to bother debating subjective vs. objective. I’ll just state the obvious. Trump is ONE BIG MOTHER FUCKING DEVIL IN DISGUISE AND HE MUST BE AND HE WILL BE REMOVED FROM THE POLITICAL SCENE BY HOOK OR BY CROOK.
        (Homeland Security, don’t waste your time looking me up again. I’m just a harmless old man who reads too many Jack reacher novels.)

      • Chris

        1. Who cares? There was cause to fire him. Therefore his firing was legal, ethical, and justified. The White House clown act is operational, not substantive.

        Again, if I fire an incompetent employee for not sleeping with me, I am still acting unethically.

        By the same token, if Trump fires an incompetent FBI head because he won’t lie for him and say he was wiretapped, and won’t drop an investigation into Trump’s campaign, than he is acting unethically.

        This is not a hard argument to follow.

        “You know what he is,” when referring to an individual’s well-documented character, is not “bigotry.” The line in 12 Angry Men is about race. Your analogy is not only weak, it is despicable; you are putting judging someone based on their own past behavior on the same level as judging someone for their race. That is nuts.

  17. Jack, have the comments surpassed the Great Applebees Debate yet?

    • I am running out of popcorn here.

    • Slaughter. I prefer the term slaughter.

      The Great Applebee’s Slaughter, because the unprincipled and unethical conduct defenders dropped like flies late into the night on that one…

      • If the Slaughter is longer than what we have at this point, I will never have time to go read it. This is tiring and tedious at this point.

        But, please, feel free to flagellate the deceased equine with the same arguments over and over 🙂 /snark

        This was not directed at Tex, although it is in a reply to him.

  18. fattymoon

    “Evil and utterly compromised.” Storm Clouds Gathering offers a disturbing interpretation of events leading up to Comey’s firing.

    • fattymoon

      Here’s the link to the transcript/sources of the above video which also includes a short interview with Sen. Grassley from 2011 regarding the aborted investigation into child porn within the Defense Dept.
      http://stormcloudsgathering.com/why-trump-fired-comey/

      • fattymoon

        My thought on the above piece… I disagree with the assertion that Trump is using Russia as a distraction simply because Russia has, imo, an important part to play in the child porn accusations. Purely my speculation.

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