UPDATE: More Ethics Notes On The Comey Firing Meltdown

In this matter, at least, President Johnson was right…

1. In 1867, the Radical Republican dominated Congress passed The Tenure of Office Act, an unconstitutional breach of the Separation of Powers that took away the President’s ability to fire his own Cabinet members without the legislature’s approval. President Andrew Johnson, extremely unpopular in the victorious North and more so with his own party (Johnson was a Democrat, added to Lincoln’s ticket as Vice-President to bolster Lincoln’s desperate bid for re-election in 1864), deliberately defied the law by firing War Secretary Edwin Stanton, a Lincoln appointee and an ally of the Radicals. In response, Johnson’ own party led a n effort to impeach him, and he was narrowly saved from conviction by a single vote in the Senate. The Act was soon ruled unconstitutional, as Johnson said it was. As lousy a President as he was, Johnson had every right to fire someone who served at his pleasure, and doing so was not an impeachable offense.

2. The Democrats and journalists who are—absurdly, irresponsibly, embarrassingly, hysterically—calling for President Trump’s impeachment for firing James Comey neither know their history  nor respect democracy. Just check off the names of anyone, including your friends and colleagues, who make this argument, as hopeless, deranged partitions without perspective or integrity. I’m making my own list, with early entries like Maxine Waters and Vox, which beclowned itself by writing that a President’s lawful firing of a subordinate who clearly deserved it raises the  possibility of impeachment. At least the Radical Republicans had an unconstitutional law to back that theory: Vox has nothing but, of course, the Left’s hate campaign against the President of the United States. Then there are Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and Mark Pocan (D-WI)  who also think a firing for cause is grounds for impeachment. Gallego:

“We are certainly moving down that path. There is a lot of runway until we get there, but the president is not helping himself by firing the person investigating him. … We don’t have the numbers to do something right now, but when it comes to a point when we feel there is no other recourse, you’d have — I think — we’d have the full support of the Democratic caucus.”

Pocan said that impeachment might be possible “if there was obstruction of justice by firing [the] FBI director … We’re seeing Democrats and Republicans concerned with timing of this decision … We would first need a majority in Congress or some Republican votes … but we need to keep every tool available to make sure the President follows the law.”

Ethics alarm: who elects idiots like these? I have searched for any situation, anywhere, in which a legal and justifiable firing of an official was prosecuted as “obstruction of justice.”  Nor is an act that is neither a crime, nor a “high crime or misdemeanor,” nor something a President isn’t clearly empowered to do “moving down” the path of impeachment.

3. This is public disinformation, aided and abetted by the news media. The primary ethics issue in the Comey firing is that it is just another stage of an unethical, dastardly effort by Democrats, progressives, the left-leaning news media and their allies to veto a Presidential election that they lost by their collective arrogance and incompetence, and to undermine the United States’ elected leader no matter what harm comes to the nation as a result. The firing itself was legal, ethical, and responsible, indeed overdue. Representing it as otherwise is designed to cause fear and confusion among the public. Responsible citizens are obligated to counter this in any way they can.

4. James Comey reaffirmed my belief that he is an honorable and admirable man whose career was unavoidable harmed by circumstances beyond his control. In his farewell letter to his staff, he wrote in part…

“I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason, or for no reason at all. I’m not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed. I hope you won’t either. It is done, and I will be fine, although I will miss you and the mission deeply.”

Exactly. My dad taught me that leaving a job after being fired was a test of character, and that leaving with grace and honor was always wise and the right course. Obviously Comey agrees. He is also right.

5. Comey also wrote this:

“I have said to you before that, in times of turbulence, the American people should see the FBI as a rock of competence, honesty, and independence.”

It is undeniable that a majority of Americans and both political parties did NOT see the FBI this way under Comey’s leadership. That itself was strong justification for his firing.

6. The comparisons with Watergate being floated by the Trump Hate Squad are also historically  ignorant, hysterical, deliberately misleading and irresponsible. When Nixon fired Archibald Cox,  the Harvard professor who had been appointed as special prosecutor, he had just issued had a subpoena ordering the White House to hand over nine tapes of phone calls and West Wing conversations in connection with the Watergate break-in. Nixon argued that executive privilege should apply, and the tapes should remain private. But the Court of Appeals in Washington upheld Cox’s request. Refusing to comply, Nixon decided fired the special prosecutor. His Attorney General, Elliot Richardson had promised Congress that would never happen.

The BBC accurately describes that scenario as a President defying the courts, putting himself above the law of the land.  That is not remotely the situation with the Comey firing:

Donald Trump’s sacking of his FBI director, while highly unusual and deeply controversial, is constitutionally permissible. No court orders have been flouted. The president, while breaking with the norm of allowing FBI directors to serve out their 10-year terms unimpeded, is not putting himself above the law….Unlike the Saturday Night Massacre, the president is at one with the most high-ranking figures in the justice department rather than at odds with them. The president, the attorney general and the deputy attorney general together they made the case that Comey should go – not purportedly because of his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, but because of the former director’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. 

7. Moreover, there was no question that the investigation Cox was engaged in was indeed an investigation that included the President himself. This is not the case in Comey’s firing. In fact, this is another list to start: check off who says that there is an investigation of President Trump’s collusion with Russia to affect the Presidential election. There is not. The anti-Trump mob has continued to repeat the lie that this is the case. I’ve read it six times this morning, not counting the Gallego quote. Comey and the FBI were not and are not “investigating him.” Here is the often perceptive but Trump-hating Amy Alkon:

“The President — who is being investigated by the FBI — suddenly fires the man in charge of the investigation. Sure, there are agents doing the ground work. But this sends a message that keeping your job means keeping the President off the hot seat.”

No, Amy, this is false. You, like your fellow anti-Trump zombies, think it’s true because you have already determined that the President is so evil and untrustworthy, and that Hillary’s loss is so otherwise inexplicable, that he MUST have colluded with the Russians…treason, essentially. Therefore, you assume that any investigation of the Russian hacks will be an investigation of Trump, and so, so want it to be true that he would engage in such unspeakable conduct.

But you see, bias has made you stupid. This logic could just as easily be used to say that the FBI is investigating you, or me. After all, if the Russian investigation uncovers evidence that suggests that either of us colluded with the Russians, then we would be investigated by the FBI. There is no such evidence, however…at least, not on me. Nor do you have any evidence that Trump was colluding with the Russians any more than I was. Neither do Rep. Gallego, or Maxine Waters, but they say otherwise, either because they are dishonest, or stupid, or trying to make the public distrust the President.

Quite possibly all three.

8. Republican Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain have been the leading Republican voices openly trying to suggest that the firing is sinister. This is sad and disappointing, because it is part of a personal vendetta by both men. Candidate Trump viciously and personally attacked both men, which was wrong and really, really foolish. Now he is paying the price. These two veteran lawmakers should be above trying to harm a President out of personal animus, but they clearly are not.

9. The New York Times reports that Comey  told colleagues that the President was “crazy’ and “outside the realm of normal” when he claimed Obama “wire-tapped his phones.” Quick: name three Presidents who would not fire a subordinate who told other government employees that they were crazy. This is disloyalty, and will generally get anyone fired, anywhere.

If you don’t believe me, try it. I dare you.

10. It has been reported that when Stephen Colbert told his studio audience that Comey had been fired, they applauded and cheered. This required the anti-Trump comic to explain why they shouldn’t have reacted like that. The U-turn made by progressives regarding Comey is so outlandish that even partisans see the hypocrisy.

11. The various leaks and anonymous sources, as inherently dubious as they are, make a strong collective case that the method and manner of the firing was incompetent and impulsive, like so many other decisions and actions by President Trump. All criticism of that is warranted. The President makes his job harder by such unforced errors: it is unfair that he has to cope with an ongoing virtual attempted coup by Democrats and the news media, but a smart, competent leader would realize that this makes it even more critical to be impeccable ethically and operationally.

168 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, Workplace

168 responses to “UPDATE: More Ethics Notes On The Comey Firing Meltdown

  1. Neil Dorr

    Friendly correction: UPDATE: More [E]Thics Notes On The Comey Firing Meltdown

    • Neil Dorr

      Also, usually words like “on” and “the” are not capitalized in title names, but whether you subscribe to that convention is entirely up to you.

  2. Inquiring Mind

    Another friendly correction”
    “Neither does Rep. Gallego, or Maxine Waters, but they say otherwise, either because they are dishonest, or stupid, or trying to make the public distrust the President.

    “Quite possibly all four.”

    1. Dishonest
    2. Stupid
    3. Trying to make the public distrust the President…

    What is number four?

  3. As the media and left spin up on another impeachment windmill, because let’s face it, that’s all they care about, Trump could eat soup with a fork and they’ll insist it’s an impeachable offense and we could see news about it for weeks, meanwhile, actual crap in the world is not being covered or addressed…

    • A.M. Golden

      We could make a game of it, tex. For example, Trump could achieve world peace and his critics would complain about all those defense contractors being out of work.

      • I see an internet meme being born-

        If mother Teresa were still alive, Trump could praise her efforts with the poor and downtrodden: “Trump reveals theocratic flair by endorsing religious leader’s solution for poverty”

        • A.M. Golden

          Seriously, the possibilities are endless.

          Trump finds a way to water the deserts of the world.
          Headline: “Trump Destroys Unique and Beautiful Eco-Systems”.

        • Null

          Probably more like “Trump allies with sadistic religious fanatic to torture the poor”. It would be considered one small step away from Vlad’s solving poverty by burning the sick and poor.

  4. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Excellent post, right on the money. I hope I can expand on my comparison between this and MacArthur on Saturday,

    • Do a good job, and that’s a COTD. Why didn’t I think of MacArthur???

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        I only thought of it this morning. Check at the bottom of the last post on this subject before this one, and you’ll see what I came up with so far. I want to go father and do a bit more of analyzing the question of self-identified heroes and high achievers.

        • Steve-O-in-NJ

          Actually, let me save you the trouble:

          A lot of people have been comparing Trump’s firing of Comey to the Saturday Night Massacre, where Nixon fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who was doing his job perhaps too well and getting too close to the ugly truth.

          No one can argue that Comey was doing his job anything like too well. Stopping and then restarting an investigation with huge consequences, conducting an amateurish interview with the very target of that investigation, and giving misleading testimony before Congress is far from even doing the job competently, leave alone too well. That alone was reason enough to get rid of him.

          However, I believe Comey’s unforgivable sin was indulging in the worst kind of politics: the politics where someone makes it all about himself. Another parallel emerges, which usually gets one sentence in the high school history books: Truman’s summary sacking of General Douglas MacArthur.

          One thing about heroes is that they are not supposed to be self-aware of being heroes. We all cast ourselves as the hero of our own story, however, it is dangerous to self-identify as heroic.

          MacArthur, recipient of the nation’s first, second, and third highest awards for gallantry, some of them multiple times, could perhaps justify identifying as a hero. That was still no excuse to defy the orders of his commander-in-chief and attempt to dominate the headlines and influence public opinion himself. No matter how many stars and metals he wore he was still a public servant, not a master. Once he publicly defied Truman’s vision of the war in Korea, he was justifiably finished.

          Comey had developed a far less distinguished record, although still distinguished. However, he had twice done things that involved standing up to or fighting the highest authority in the land. One was speeding through the night to stop then White House counsel Roberto Gonzalez from getting a signature on what he believed to be a dubiously legal order from an ailing John Ashcroft. The other was appointing Patrick Fitzgerald to become special prosecutor on the much overhyped Valerie Plame affair, which accomplished nothing Beyond wasting a great deal of resources and providing endless distraction for the news cycle. He was hailed as a hero both times, not the least because George W Bush was highly unpopular with the media. I believe that, as MacArthur saw himself as the last great captain, Comey may have come to think of himself as the last honest man in Washington. I believe he may have seen this as another chance to play the last honest man, willing to stand up to a president roundly disliked even hated by the media and raise his own profile.

          As Truman could not afford to have his chief field commander going rogue and trying to influence public opinion against him, Trump cannot afford and could not afford to have Comey continuing to posture as the last honest man and the man more ethical than the president while providing endless distraction to the news cycle, which we all know would lap up anything he uncovered, significant or not. In the process though, he lost the support and trust of both parties as well as the administration. Like the much more distinguished MacArthur, it was unavoidable that he be removed

          • This is great. Can you add some background on MacArthur and the firestorm over his firing for those unfamiliar with that “scandal”?

            • Steve-O-in-NJ

              OK. I guess we’re showing our age at this point. Without sounding too hagiographic, most have at least heard the name, but know very little about the man military history guru Trevor Dupuy called “the last great captain.” Douglas MacArthur, son of Civil War general Arthur MacArthur, was arguably the greatest general the US ever produced. First Captain of his class at West Point, his achievements on the field in WWI as a colonel and brigadier general, including six Silver Stars and two Distinguished Service Crosses, would be impressive enough. In 1937 he retired, and could have done with military life, but he was recalled to active duty and given command of the Philippines and Far East in mid-1941 in anticipation of war with Japan. Much of the rest is history, which I’ll condense here, his dogged defense of the Philippines which earned him the Medal of Honor, his retreat to Australia proclaiming “I shall return,” the island-hopping campaign, the return, and finally the occupation of Japan and raising it from the ashes, despite remaining a bit isolated from the populace. If things had ended there his would have been one of the most heroic stories both on the field and in high command, ever to come out of the US Army’s annals.

              It did not. Still supreme commander in Japan, MacArthur was called upon again to lead the United Nations defense when the slave state of North Korea swept across the 38th parallel to try to take the democratic South. Underestimating the enemy, initially the US-ROK-UN forces were pushed back, till they held very little except the port of Pusan and its environs. A masterstroke, something to turn the tide quickly, was needed. A lesser man would have failed, but MacArthur made it happen it Inchon, one of the greatest amphibious operations every executed. The UN pushed North Korea back, and further back…but when it looked like it was all over the Chinese intervened on a massive scale. MacArthur wanted to go to all out war, hit the bridges over the Yalu River, hit China itself, maybe even use strategic (read: nuclear) forces. He had many secret dealings with other governments as to what his plans were, which he did not share with US president Harry Truman, and was rarely off the front pages of the media.

              Harry Truman envisioned trying to keep the conflict limited, and did not want an all-out war in Asia, believing then and there was the wrong time to take on the Communist world in a fight to the finish. However, he was concerned that removing MacArthur or muzzling him would have unacceptable political consequences due to the general’s popularity.

              Finally, Truman received intercepted messages from MacArthur to other states and to Congress that ran directly counter to his vision for the conflict. Thinking this was enough, he summarily removed MacArthur from all his commands, for not respecting the authority of the president.

              Truman paid a terrible price politically for his brutal treatment of a distinguished public servant and war hero. His ratings with the public fell to a dismal 22%, the lowest of any president ever. Much of Congress expressed their disapproval with his drastic action. They actually held inquiries into both the situation and his actions, and for a time the nation hovered on the brink of a constitutional crisis. Truman could have run again in 1952 but elected not to, and it was left to Eisenhower to finish the Korean conflict and shape US policy in the nuclear age. MacArthur briefly talked of entering politics, then “faded away” like the old soldier in the song. Still, most of the public continued to agree with him, even when other, less flamboyant generals like George Marshall and Omar Bradley backed Truman.

              Arguably MacArthur had some valid points, such as it not being right to fight a war to a draw rather than a victory. However, the president, wrong or disputed as he might be, is still the commander in chief, and it is not for anyone, even the greatest military hero of them all, to challenge him publicly or undermine him privately. To this day this action colors civil-military relations. Carter, Bush the Elder, and Obama have all relieved and ultimately fired generals for impolitic public statements, right or wrong though the generals might have been, and those actions haven’t been without consequences.

              The same logic, I would argue, should apply to law enforcement, perhaps even more so. Although certainly a commander in chief shouldn’t be trying to run things distracted by a flamboyant and successful field commander who says leave fighting to the fighting men, few military officers can ever amass the power or prestige or access MacArthur had. Law enforcement, particularly Federal law enforcement, has almost unlimited power not just to arrest and charge, but to “dig up dirt” on anyone and make it public.

              Even if whoever becomes their target doesn’t go to jail ultimately, there is nowhere to go to retrieve one’s reputation after it has been dragged through the mud. What is more, there is no way to rerun months of trying to govern undistracted by the machinations of a chief investigator or prosecutor determined to justify his office, take some antlers, settle a political score, or prove himself “the last honest man in this town.” Like it or not, that’s where Comey was going. His resume was nowhere near MacArthur’s, but his potential to do damage was much, much greater.

              I’ll close with this thought: the greatest heroes are those who are just doing their jobs and have to deal with big problems: Wellington, Nelson, Washington, Lincoln, Churchill, Eisenhower. Those who become self-aware of being heroes or high achievers frequently lose a step, as they come to believe that they are greater than ordinary people doing greater things, and that those who can’t keep up need to step aside. Constantine was one of the earliest of those, Henry V, Napoleon, Wilson, Obama, Trump (though his achievements were in business, not politics) and ultimately Hillary, the heavily professed “most qualified candidate ever.” Comey was headed in the same direction. Was he looking to burnish himself up as the law enforcing Boy Scout with a gun who honored the law above all things, and didn’t answer to either Hillary’s power politics or Trump’s bullying? I don’t know, but this country and its government were not his to play that game in.

              • Good stuff. Great post.

                jvb

              • Under the ‘heroes in their own mind’ category, I would add Monty, De Gaulle, and (gasp) Patton.

                Patton believed his own press. His courage was unquestioned, but the ego was astounding. It tripped him up more than once.

                Comment of the Day, Steve

                • Steve-O-in-NJ

                  Thanks, and amen, amen and amen, although De Gaulle is greatly honored at the great museum at Les Invalides.

                  • Of course he is… the French think he won the war by himself with one hand tied behind his back.

                    Quick: How many French does it take to defend Paris?

                    No one knows, as it has never been tried…

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      About 20,000, even if 6,000 of them have to get there in taxis, or so said a real hero named Gallieni.

              • John Billingsley

                Excellent brief biography of one of the great men of the 20th century. A few other facts. His father won the Medal of Honor at the age of 18 as a First Lieutenant at the Battle of Missionary Ridge for an incredibly heroic act. They are the only father and son Medal of Honor winners. He graduated first in his class at West Point with no demerits. Maybe part of that was due to the fact that his mother moved to West Point with him and kept an eye on him. His heroism in combat in World War One is unquestioned. He lead attacks from the front often without even carrying a weapon. Yet in WW II he was often referred to by soldiers under him as “Dugout Doug” due to his actions at the siege of Bataan and Corregidor. My father who served in an amphibious army unit island hopping in the Pacific had no love for him.

                I think his two greatest achievements were Inchon and his governing of Japan. When he left Japan, thousands of Japanese lined the route to the airport and many openly wept. Other military leaders would have ultimately beat the Japanese in war. I don’t think there is anyone else who could have had such a profound influence on rebuilding Japan or anyone else who would have had the audacity and genius to conceive and plan the Inchon operation.

                It is sad that such a career was tarnished at the end. Truman probably should have fired him sooner given his repeated public statements which contradicted US foreign policy and his direct overtures to Taiwan encouraging them to enter the war. Perhaps the fact that Truman went to meet him at Wake Island rather than summoning him to the White House gave him the impression he actually had the upper hand and could make policy rather than just enforce it. I don’t think MacArthur was the only one to underrate the haberdasher from Missouri.

                • Steve-O-in-NJ

                  Actually Teddy Roosevelt Sr. and Jr. are the other MOH father and son winners.

                  • John Billingsley

                    I stand corrected. I knew of Teddy Jr, his actions on D-Day are truly the stuff of legend. I had missed that Teddy Sr was awarded a Medal of Honor. Quite a bit posthumously but well deserved.

                  • Sarah B.

                    Recognizing that this is off topic, I still must ask. As you and Mr. Marshall seem to be aficionados of American History, have either of you a recommendation for a good book on Andrew Jackson?

          • Other Bill

            Interesting, longer footage of MacArthur’s famous return. As a kid I remember seeing this and thinking he was the first American on the beach (other than the newsreel crew). Nice to see all the GIs getting a little face time in this extended version.

            Also always wondered about all those officers getting their shoes and socks and khakis soaked without giving it a thought.

  5. dragin_dragon

    Jack asked:
    ” Quick: name three Presidents who would not fire a subordinate who told other government employees that they were crazy. ”

    I’ll take a shot.
    1.
    2.
    3.
    Nope, sorry, no go.

  6. Warren

    The primary ethics issue in the Comey firing is that it is just another stage of an unethical, dastardly effort by Democrats, progressives, the left-leaning news media and their allies to veto a Presidential election that they lost by their collective arrogance and incompetence, and to undermine the United States’ elected leader no matter what harm comes to the nation as a result.

    Nonsense. The primary issue here is the President’s own competence and honesty. I’ve detected a depressing pattern here since Trump was inaugurated. No matter what Trump does, no matter how outlandish or mendacious his behavior, the focus of this blog is on the *reaction* to that behavior, rather than on the behavior itself.

    • Warren:

      -1 for a slanted, unfair comment. Jack HAS taken Trump to task when his Ethics were lacking (and it had been a lot)

      The (over) reaction by the press dwarfs anything Trump does, especially since they hyperventilate for everything he does.

    • 1. No, it’s really not. The first paragraph describes an unprecedented organized attack on Democracy, which is far more dangerous that any flaw of the President’s.

      2. When the President is unethical, I flag it. When his critics use a double standard and falsely frame his conduct, I flag that. This case is the latter.

      3. What part of…

      11. The various leaks and anonymous sources, as inherently dubious as they are, make a strong collective case that the method and manner of the firing was incompetent and impulsive, like so many other decisions and actions by President Trump. All criticism of that is warranted. The President makes his job harder by such unforced errors: it is unfair that he has to cope with an ongoing virtual attempted coup by Democrats and the news media, but a smart, competent leader would realize that this makes it even more critical to be impeccable ethically and operationally.

      …did you not understand?

      • Warren

        Well, I understood the content of the paragraph because I can read. What I fail to understand is its lack of emphasis in your overall argument. Is Trump the chief executive of the most powerful nation on earth, or is he a child whose boorish manner, general incompetence, and flimsy relationship with the truth are excusable? Either way, what really seems to get you exercised is the *reaction* to what Trump does, rather than what Trump does, full-stop. And that strikes me as incredibly perverse. Pick on Ruben Gallego and Mark Pocan all you want (I’ve never heard of them and I’ll take your word that their reaction is hysterical and over-the-top), but your thesis about the primary ethics issue in this case being with progressives and the media just doesn’t make sense. Trump initiated the firing and the reasons he gave for it are bullshit and, given the centrality of the F.B.I. to one of the major Russia investigations, people are right to be outraged. This contrarian position you’re taking suggests a bias not so much in *favor* of Trump, but anti-anti-Trump. It’s made reading your blog a very strange experience of late.

        • Glenn Logan

          Well, I understood the content of the paragraph because I can read. What I fail to understand is its lack of emphasis in your overall argument. Is Trump the chief executive of the most powerful nation on earth, or is he a child whose boorish manner, general incompetence, and flimsy relationship with the truth are excusable?

          Umm… both?

          Pick on Ruben Gallego and Mark Pocan all you want (I’ve never heard of them and I’ll take your word that their reaction is hysterical and over-the-top), but your thesis about the primary ethics issue in this case being with progressives and the media just doesn’t make sense. Trump initiated the firing and the reasons he gave for it are bullshit and, given the centrality of the F.B.I. to one of the major Russia investigations, people are right to be outraged.

          Well, their reaction was impeachment, so I think we can all agree that was over the top. But the media is pushing a narrative that it was somehow illegal for Trump to fire Comey, and it wasn’t. That’s why they merrily feature Pocan and Gallego, because we all know that unless you are Bill Clinton, committing illegal acts while POTUS gets you impeached, impeached, impeached (shout it with me brother!) Impeached!!!

          Jack is correct to point out this is irresponsible and unethical. Much of the supporting statements made by the press supporting this narrative (i.e. almost every one of them but Fox News) are either false, dissimulation, or contextually challenged. That’s not ethical reporting no matter who you are talking about. I think Satan himself might get a fairer shake than Trump.

          As far as the outrage goes, certainly the Democrats have a right to their righteous choler. After all, it has been they who were singing the praises of Comey since back during the last election, and… oh, wait.

        • Chris

          Trump initiated the firing and the reasons he gave for it are bullshit and, given the centrality of the F.B.I. to one of the major Russia investigations, people are right to be outraged. This contrarian position you’re taking suggests a bias not so much in *favor* of Trump, but anti-anti-Trump.

          This.

  7. Chris

    This is not the case in Comey’s firing. In fact, this is another list to start: check off who says that there is an investigation of President Trump’s collusion with Russia to affect the Presidential election. There is not. The anti-Trump mob has continued to repeat the lie that this is the case.

    Between you and Glenn, I have corrected this false claim three times in the past 24 hours. Trump is being investigated by the FBI, and you are the one spreading a lie.

    The fact that the FBI was indeed investigating the Trump campaign was officially revealed by Comey in March (though it was an open secret before then). This is what Comey told the House Intelligence Committee:

    I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts. As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/20/comey-confirms-fbi-probe-russia-meddling-in-us-race-possible-links-with-trump-camp.html

    You owe every single person you’ve smeared by calling this fact a “lie” a giant apology, Jack. And you owe it to yourself to consider how it is possible you let this fact fly under your radar, and to examine what biases led you to believe that every media source that has accurately stated this fact were lying when this has been public knowledge for months.

    • Wrong, wrong, wrong. Nothing you have quoted suggest that there is any investigation of Trump. There would be if a link to Trump were established showing or suggesting he was aware of or directing any illicit activity. There is not one. You are constantly citing “individuals associated with the Trump campaign” as if this is synonymous with the President himself. It isn’t. It obviously isn’t. You are seeing what you want to see, not what is there.

      This is true even before you get to the fact that firing Comey changes nothing regarding the Russia investigation.

      • Chris

        Jack, this runs completely counter to your previous opinion in this blog post, where you said that Trump was right to blame Hillary Clinton for starting the birther rumors in 2008 because her campaign represents her, and that it was wrong to call Trump’s statement blaming her a “lie.”

        https://ethicsalarms.com/2016/09/17/why-its-unethical-for-journalists-to-fact-check-donald-trump-especially-cnn-journalists/

        If it is wrong to call Trump’s statement there a lie, it is equally wrong to call the claim that Trump is being investigated by the FBI a lie.

        If you’ve changed your position since writing that piece, I think you should explain how and why.

        (And of course, firing Comey while he’s leading an investigation into his campaign–even if he is not directly under investigation himself–still makes this decision look corrupted by bias.)

        • Glenn Logan

          No doubt Trump’s decision looks bad, but the investigation will go on. The deputy director is strongly associated with Terry McAuliffe, so there is no reason to believe that Trump’s firing of Comey will have the effect that might reasonably be inferred from the firing. Actually, some Republicans are quite concerned about the deputy director’s political affiliations, but I think it’s unlikely Trump would try to remove him as well.

          I anticipate the Democrats to try to slow-walk the confirmation of a new director to try to maximize the mileage they can get out of this. So you should be happy. Maybe you’ll get your partisan witch-hunt because Comey got fired. Wouldn’t that be ironic?

          • Chris

            Apparently the White House has said that concluding the Russian investigation was among their goals in firing Comey:

            (CNN)The White House said Thursday that removing FBI Director James Comey from his post may hasten the agency’s investigation into Russian meddling.

            “We want this to come to its conclusion, we want it to come to its conclusion with integrity,” said deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders, referring to the FBI’s probe into Moscow’s interference in last year’s election. “And we think that we’ve actually, by removing Director Comey, taken steps to make that happen.”

            http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/11/politics/comey-fbi-investigation-russia-sarah-huckabee-sanders/

            • Yes, and when I fire a contractor whom I have lost faith in because I think someone else will do the job faster and better, that does not mean that I am “interfering” with the work.

              • Chris

                Your previously said that it was crazy to assume the firing had anything to do with the Russia investigation. Now the White House is saying it had something to do with the Russia investigation.

                Is it possible for you to concede a single point here?

                • No.
                  The assumption remains a product of bias. The inept statement by the spokesperson is just being spun, and you are using it. “Something to do with investigation” wasn’t the issue, which you know. The attacks on Trump allege that he fired Comey only and specifically to interfere with an investigation that involved HIM. That remains a false and biased supposition.

                  • Chris

                    Some biases are rational. The only “bias” required for my theory is believing that Trump is petty, and willing to exact vengeance on people who cross him. This is a bias that we share. I am allowing this rational bias to lead me to a rational conclusion; you refuse to acknowledge that the conclusion is a rational one because of your own anti-anti-Trump bias.

                    • Chris

                      And of course, we already know that Trump’s team lied about at least two of the stated reasons for firing Comey: that he only did it after the recommendations of Rosenstein, and that the FBI was unhappy with Comey.

                      Since those two stated reasons are lies, my conclusions about Trump’s true reasons are even more reasonable.

                    • “Let’s say for a moment that you are right that Trump did not fire Comey because Comey was investigating him. This requires abandoning every single thing we know about who Donald Trump is as a person, but fine. The headline “TRUMP FIRES COMEY AMID RUSSIA INQUIRY” would still be accurate and fair, just as the headline “CLINTON FIRES COMEY AMID EMAIL INVESTIGATION” would be in the alternate universe where Clinton won and fired Comey.”

                      So you consider it accurate and fair reporting to report an event occurring AFTER another event even IF the two CANNOT be correlated. But it’s still an honest headline, implications notwithstanding.

                      HOWEVER, you consider it a lie in this instance:

                      “And of course, we already know that Trump’s team lied about at least two of the stated reasons for firing Comey: that he only did it after the recommendations of Rosenstein”

                      When someone says they fired Comey after Rosenstein’s recommendations.

                      That’s a glaring double standard.

                    • Sue Dunim

                      texagg04 – Trump is now saying that the recommendations were irrelevant, he had decided to fire Comey before they were made.

                      Of course, he has been known to be economical with the truth, so maybe the official White House line is the truth, and Trump’s lying now.

                      Whatever.

                    • I think this subtopic of the larger episode has already been fleshed out earlier today.

                    • Chris

                      So you consider it accurate and fair reporting to report an event occurring AFTER another event even IF the two CANNOT be correlated.

                      No, because in this case, the two obviously are correlated. If one fires an employee who is investigating one’s own campaign, that is obviously relevant and significant to mention, even if it is later found that there is no causation.

                      HOWEVER, you consider it a lie in this instance:

                      “And of course, we already know that Trump’s team lied about at least two of the stated reasons for firing Comey: that he only did it after the recommendations of Rosenstein”

                      When someone says they fired Comey after Rosenstein’s recommendations.

                      That’s a glaring double standard.

                      No, it isn’t. The NYT doesn’t know whether or not Trump fired Comey because of the Russia investigations, but the correlation is still relevant even without causation. The Trump team presumably KNOWS why Trump fired Comey; it’s their job to know. When they say he chose to fire Comey after the recommendations of Rosenstein, they are intentionally making an implication they know to be false.

                      And of course now, we know that Trump made the decision before the memo, and that there was no correlation between the two.

      • Jack wrote, “Nothing you have quoted suggest that there is any investigation of Trump. There would be if a link to Trump were established showing or suggesting he was aware of or directing any illicit activity. There is not one. You are constantly citing “individuals associated with the Trump campaign” as if this is synonymous with the President himself. It isn’t. It obviously isn’t. You are seeing what you want to see, not what is there.”

        I’ve seen this kind of nonsense before. This is the EXACT same kind of political left witch hunt mentality that was and still is present in Wisconsin regarding the John Doe investigation and Governor Walker’s campaign, although the presence of Trump Derangement Syndrome has redirected some of the heat from Walker to Trump. There is only one goal, remove the target from power or render the person in power powerless; truth and justice be damned. In Wisconsin, Walker Derangement Syndrome drove the insanely obsessed left to complete absurdity; the same thing is happening with Trump Derangement Syndrome. This is 100% partisan hate driven ends justifies the means and I guarantee that the momentum of their obsession train will not stop.

    • Uh. I think you’re going a bit far there. This all depends on how you interpret the statement.

      Either this investigation is Russia-interference focused, which an eye to who Russia may have made contacts with (and if that involves Trump people then they are caught in a Russia-oriented net)….

      Or this investigation is Trump-collusion focused.

      You obviously lean towards option 2.

      If Melvin Shlubknuckles shot and killed person A and you happened to be in the same building and personally didn’t like person A, and the investigators stated “we are investigating Melvin Schlubknuckles’ role in the murder of person A and if there are any connections there may be between others with animosity towards person A”

      Are you being investigated directly or contingently?

      • Chris

        Irrelevant to my point, tex. I would still be being investigated. If someone said “It’s a lie that Chris is being investigated,” they would themselves be lying.

        • Nope, not how it works. You are either a suspect and a person of interest, or you are not. If you are not, then no matter what your connections to the event, YOU are not being investigated.

          • Chris

            This was Comey’s statement:

            I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign

            “Individuals associated with the Trump campaign” includes Trump himself.

            • Rusty Rebar

              “Individuals associated with the Trump campaign” *could* includes Trump himself.

              FTFY

            • Yeah, I don’t think you finished parsing. That says investigate any links between those people and Russia.

              On a Russia-oriented investigation, before anything can become Trump-focused and fit with the wording of the statement-

              1) a link would have to be discovered
              2) the link would have to prove investigation worthy

              Until then, Trump is only a *possibility* in this.

              Tell me, if there were the remotest possibility that your name could come up with a link to Russia, but it hasn’t yet, are you under investigation according to this mission statement?

              • Chris

                You’re not making sense. The investigation is happening right now, to find out if there are links. How do you think links are discovered? Through investigation.

                If I were on a campaign and I were told “individuals associated with the campaign” were being investigating, then yes, I would assume I was under investigation.

                And again, Trump was the head of his campaign. It defies belief that the campaign is being investigated and he isn’t, and Comey has never publicly stated that he is not being investigated.

                Trump was responsible for the campaign. He was the campaign. Jack used to believe that; but then, he used to believe a lot of things before Trump was elected.

      • Other Bill

        Chris, I think your argument can be boiled down to “But….RUSSIA!” You know, the country Romney identified as the US’s most important geopolitical foe, to which then President Obama snarked, “The ’80s called and they want their foreign policy back!” That Russia. The one John McCain called “a gas station.”

        • Chris

          No. My argument is that firing the FBI director leading an investigation into one’s campaign makes one look corrupt and biased, especially when one previously praised said FBI director for leading an investigation into one’s opponent. Your response is completely insubstantial.

          • Greg

            Nixon’s firing of Archibald Cox looked corrupt and biased, because Nixon’s purpose was to make the investigation go away. He was thwarted by the appointment of Leon Jaworski, who continued the investigation relentlessly.

            The firing of Comey would not look corrupt or biased to a fair-minded person, since Comey’s successor (as Trump knows) is both a partisan Democrat and much more competent than Comey, and hence certain to continue the investigation with at least equal fervor and greater effectiveness.

        • No, it’s really “But–TRUMP! ARRGH!!

          I just saw fattymoon, an intelligent man, write that Trump is evil. Evil! This is what progressives have convinced themselves of, yet there is no evidence that Donald Trump is evil. The evidence appears to be that he is an impediment to the Left’s objectives: how dare he? he must be destroyed.

          The Left’s conduct in this is closer to evil-doing than anything Trump has ever done or threatened to do.

          • Steve-O-in-NJ

            Evil? Then again, law school classmates pronounced Bush the elder evil, as you might expect 22-23ish kids to do. Evil is Hitler or Stalin. Evil is Attila or Vlad the Impaler. Evil is Lepke Buchalter or Lucky Luciano. Evil is John Wayne Gacy and the Son of Sam. Evil is not Trump, nor any other man ever to sit in the loneliest chair of all. Anyone who says that has no clue what evil actually means. Then again, most folks seem to equate evil now with “doesn’t agree with me,” “won’t give me what I want” or “is doing things I don’t want.” Doesn’t work that way.

          • That may be a topic all by itself… if you have not covered it well enough by now

    • Glenn Logan

      Between you and Glenn, I have corrected this false claim three times in the past 24 hours. Trump is being investigated by the FBI, and you are the one spreading a lie.

      I addressed this in the last thread in a response to you (although I don’t blame you if you didn’t read it, the thread is pretty stiff).

      But let me say it again: People involved with Trump’s campaign are under a counterintelligence investigation by the FBI. There is no known investigation, of any kind, of president Trump himself. So when you say “…Trump is being investigated…” you are stating something that is not true.

      The reason this distinction is important is by saying Trump himself is under investigation (which, by the way, is what ” Trump is being investigated by the FBI…” means) is because it suggests that there is probable cause to investigate him, which there is not, as far as we know and as far as anyone has said.

      So as you see, it is you who persist in spreading disinformation. I’d hesitate to call it a lie, and I’m not even sure you’re aware you’re doing it. More likely it’s just your bias forcing you into a Freudian exposition.

      • Chris

        Asked and answered.

        • Glenn Logan

          But what was the question? I didn’t ask one, so which one did you answer?

          • Chris

            Sorry; I was alluding to the fact that I’ve addressed the distinction between Trump and his campaign (tl;dr: insomuch as there is one, it is still fair to hold him responsible for his campaign, to the point where conflating them is valid).

            • Glenn Logan

              Fair to hold him responsible for his campaign: Yes, no doubt true.

              But it is unfair to implicate him in criminal activity, which is what you do when you say he is “under investigation.”

              Conflating the two is not holding him responsible, it is placing him as the subject of an investigation. As far as we know, he is not.

              So when/if anyone in his campaign is indicted, you may hold Trump responsible. You may not, absent proof, hold him criminally liable.

              • You shouldn’t have to make that distinction because it should be obvious. A bank manager who hires a teller who turns out to be an embezzler will be responsible for the bank’s loss, but not subject to criminal charges, and if tellers are persons of interest in an investigation of a loss, that does not mean the bank is being investigated or that the manager is.

                When Lois Lerner and the IRS was being investigated (actually, it still is) for intentionally using the agency in a partisan fashion, nobody claimed OBAMA was being investigated. If the FBI had investigated Lerner and the IRS, which they should have, would anyone say that Obama was being investigated? He would be accountable for the misconduct (though Obama always ducked such accountability) in his organizatio, but unless there was evidence found that he directed the IRS illegality or knew about it, he would not be guilty of misconduct himself.

                Who over the age of 21 doesn’t know this? It’s an easy, classic, basic distinction. Yet the Get-Trump logic DEMANDS that intelligent, knowledgeable adults ignore it. And that’s what I’ve been reading here for two days.

                • Of course, the absurd comparison is that Democrats and the news media allowed Hillary to claim that the investigation of her e-mail server and the emails wasn’t an investigation of HER. Who else could it be an investigation of? They were her e-mails, and it was her server! But for MONTHS Hillary’s fantasy was repeated and allowed to stand.

              • Chris

                I don’t agree that saying Trump is being investigated implicates him in criminal activity; it doesn’t mean he’s guilty.

                We’ll have to agree to disagree on this. Now that Trump has claimed in public that Comey told him he wasn’t being investigated–a claim Comey has never made in public–we will probably find out soon if Trump was telling the truth, and whether Trump is a specific target in the investigation.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      He owes everyone an apology, Chris? You’ve been posting feverishly on this since yesterday and spewing nothing but Trump hate, and JACK owes everyone an apology?

      Jack, you dinged V-girl for a lot less than this, how much more of this are you going to tolerate?

      • Chris

        Jack called it “signature significance” for me to cite the fact that the Trump team claimed one of their reasons for firing Comey was that he was unfair to Hillary.

        Yes, he owes me an apology.

        • See, Chis, I read the NYT op-ed where you cribbed that false and misleading representation of the Justice memo. The real issue has nothing to do with Clinton. It has to do with procedure, policy, competence, the chain of command and due process. “Being unfair to Hillary” wasn’t the point: not doing the job right was. That’s a key distinction. Trump may not, and probably doesn’t, care whether Hillary was treated fairly (she was, in my view), but the case that Comey mishandled multiple aspects of a high profile investigation isn’t personal, and THAT was the case made in the memo.

          Calling it what you and the Times did is indeed signature significance for bias. (Since you can’t tell that you are biased, I don’t blame you for it.)

          • Chris

            Trump may not, and probably doesn’t, care whether Hillary was treated fairly (she was, in my view), but the case that Comey mishandled multiple aspects of a high profile investigation

            Why can’t you also acknowledge the possibility that Trump didn’t care about THAT either?

            THAT was the case made in the memo.

            As has already been pointed out to you, Trump himself has now said it does not matter what case was made in the memo. Now that Trump himself has said it doesn’t matter what was in the memo, you cannot seriously claim that what was in the memo matters to Trump’s decision to fire Comey.

        • Chris wrote, “Jack called it “signature significance” for me to cite the fact that the Trump team claimed one of their reasons for firing Comey was that he was unfair to Hillary.”

          Please provide a link to said post, I’d like to read the entire context.

        • Chris,
          Maybe you don’t understand what Jack means when he says Signature Significance.

          Signature Significance: “…Ethics Alarms employs the term to describe an extreme ethical or unethical act that similarly reveals the true character of the individual responsible for the conduct, and that can be reliably and fairly used to predict future conduct and trustworthiness.”

          In my opinion; there are lots of things that you’ve stated over the last couple of days related to this Comey firing that fits signature significance including what Jack referenced in his comment to you. What’s more important is that there is a lot of things you’ve written over the last couple of days that lend credence to opinions that you are suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome, you believe that the ends justify the means,a nd you are a political hack.

          If you don’t like that perception of you, then maybe you should be actively doing something to change that perception.

          • Oh I forgot to mention, you are obviously completely consumed with your partisan hate of all things Trump regardless of any token non-hateful things you might write about Trump.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ wrote, “Jack, you dinged V-girl for a lot less than this, how much more of this are you going to tolerate?”

        Why ding him, he’s digging his way to China; plus, since dinging him might inflame his obsession and trigger it to head in a different direction I think we should just let this one play out. 😉

  8. Wayne

    I sincerely hope the American people don’t fall for this crap and bogus conspiracy theories. The progressives as a group are probably hopeless but the left center and center may eventually get tired of this smoke and mirrors show.

  9. Rusty Rebar

    It gets even better because Maxine Waters said that it was not ok for Trump to fire Comey, but it would have been fine for Clinton to do so, had she been elected.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/05/10/maxine_waters_i_dont_support_trump_firing_comey_i_would_support_hillary_clinton_firing_comey.html

  10. Chris

    More.

    1 and 2:

    You’re right. This is not an impeachable offense.

    3. The firing itself was legal, ethical, and responsible, indeed overdue.

    It’s the overdue part that gives credence to our theory that Comey was fired as part of a personal vendetta. Had Trump fired Comey sooner into his presidency, the reasons stated in the Rosenstein memo would have more credibility. As it stands, the timeline clearly shows that Trump praised Comey during his first couple months in office, when the email investigation was still fresh, then soured on Comey after Comey announced his campaign was being investigated, and after he refused to support Trump’s wiretapping conspiracy theory.

    Now, this may be a correlation without causation! I’ve acknowledged that possibility numerous times. (Though several anonymous WH sources have said there is a causation here.)You are the one who refuses to concede the possibility that there is causation here. You are the one who is calling everyone who does see a potential causation here crazy, deranged, partisan (even the many Republicans and libertarians, like Ken White?), and stupid. You’ve yet to give a single justification for these insults; is Trump so above personal vendettas that the idea that he fired Comey out of vengeance is so far-fetched?

    8. Pure ad hominem, as well as hypocrisy. You are literally assuming that McCain and Graham are criticizing Trump out of a personal vendetta here, while at the same time arguing that everyone who thinks Trump fired Comey out of a personal vendetta is a deranged lunatic. Reconcile these two positions, please.

    9. . The New York Times reports that Comey told colleagues that the President was “crazy’ and “outside the realm of normal” when he claimed Obama “wire-tapped his phones.” Quick: name three Presidents who would not fire a subordinate who told other government employees that they were crazy. This is disloyalty, and will generally get anyone fired, anywhere.

    KABOOM!

    Trump’s claim here was crazy, but that’s irrelevant; you’ve spent the past day insulting anyone who thinks Trump fired Comey for personal reasons; now you say that Trump *should* have fired Comey for personal reasons, and that’s OK because any other president would have done so too?

    Holy shit, Jack. The hypocrisy here is stunning.

    11. The manner of the firing is more evidence that Trump fired Comey for personal reasons. He fired Comey in the most humiliating manner possible; it is pure stupidity to believe that was an accident.

    • Glenn Logan

      Just so both you (and apparently Jack) know, Graham agreed with Trump’s firing of Comey.

      With respect to McCain, well, he never met another Republican he wasn’t willing to criticize if it gets him in front of a camera. He doesn’t need a vendetta, all he needs is for somebody in the media to write that he’s a statesman for attacking his own party.

      • Other Bill

        And boy, it really is time for the Senator from Anheuser Busch to go. And I’ve been in Arizona longer than he has. He’s acting cranky and senile.

      • Chris

        With respect to McCain, well, he never met another Republican he wasn’t willing to criticize if it gets him in front of a camera. He doesn’t need a vendetta, all he needs is for somebody in the media to write that he’s a statesman for attacking his own party.

        Glenn, if my conclusion that Trump fired Comey for personal reasons is considered a deranged conspiracy theory motivated by bias against the man…

        …Then how is your comment any different?

        We are both making judgments about politicians based on their past behavior and character. When I do it, I get called a lunatic.

        What is the difference? Why is it OK for you to assume the worst of McCain when speculating why he criticized Trump here, but it is crazy for me to assume the worst of Trump when speculating why he fired Comey?

        • Glenn Logan

          We are both making judgments about politicians based on their past behavior and character. When I do it, I get called a lunatic.

          Heh. I suppose we’re both lunatics, depending on who’s reading!

          Yes, that was an ad-hominem about McCain, no doubt. I don’t like him much, but I don’t want to see him removed from office by an extra-electoral process. Furthermore, McCain was one of the Keating Five, then was co-author of an unconstitutional bill to inhibit free speech. It’s nothing personal, really, I’m sure he’s a nice man. But ever since he lost the Republican primary to George Bush, it seems to me the most dangerous place on Earth is between John McCain and a camera.

    • Other Bill

      Chris, I think there’s a fairly consistent theme/tactic in the media of saying the Trump administration is bumbling or incompetent and therefore they should be removed and replaced with the Democratic administration immediately, if not sooner. I think the bumbling thing is grossly over drawn. Every possible or imagined negative is dwelt on and blown up by the media. To wit, the complaint is Trump fired Comey AT THE WRONG TIME. Give me a break. When would have been the wrong time? Even if it wasn’t the exact right time, so what? Is that a high crime or misdemeanor?

      By contrast, Obama and his administration were always portrayed by the media as flawless and brilliant. It’s a game that’s being played to try to unseat the current president. Don’t ignore the man behind the curtain.

      • …when, in fact, the Obama administration was consistently and incredibly incompetent. There’s tag: Obama Administration incompetence ethics train wreck. Imagine if a Trump creation dependent on a website launched with the website malfunctioning…

        • Warren

          Jack, are you seriously saying that the Trump administration is showing more competence than the Obama administration?

          • No, I didn’t say that or think that. However, defense of Obama’s competence is a #22 Rationalization. He was an extremely incompetent POTUS with an extremely incompetent set of subordinates. I’ll tell you how the two compare in about 7 and a half years.

      • Chris

        To wit, the complaint is Trump fired Comey AT THE WRONG TIME.

        The complaint is actually that he fired Comey at the wrong time, for personal reasons, then lied about his reasons to the public, and also fired Comey in a demeaning fashion.

        Trump’s statement today that he would have fired Comey regardless of what the Rosenstein memo said adds further substance to that complaint.

        • How do you figure that? All the memo says is that Comey deserves to be fired, and that firing him is a good idea. The specific reason Trump fired him doesn’t change any of that. The firing is justified: see Memo.

          • Chris

            How do you figure that? All the memo says is that Comey deserves to be fired, and that firing him is a good idea. The specific reason Trump fired him doesn’t change any of that. The firing is justified: see Memo.

            Stop; this has been addressed numerous times. When evaluating the ethics of an action, you evaluate intent as well as the action itself. Again, if I fire an incompetent employee because she won’t sleep with me, I am still acting unethically.

            There’s also the fact that Trump’s surrogates lied to the media by claiming the memo was why Trump fired Comey. You now seem to be saying it does not matter when Trump and his people lie to the public.

        • Other Bill

          That’s a good word, Chris: “complaint.” People are complaining about certain things Trump does or the way he does them. They can complain but the complaints are meaningless. They are of no consequence. As Comey himself said, he could be fired by the President for a good reason or no reason.

          And of course, Sparty will duly add, not for a bad reason. But the bad reason stuff is all just wild-eyed speculation.

          • He can also be fired for a bad reason, like “I’m sick of your face.”

            • Chris

              But the reason has been the entire subject of the debate here. You’ve all been calling me crazy for believing that the reasons in the Rosenstein memo were not the true reasons. Now that that has been confirmed, you are changing the argument to “The reasons don’t matter?” That is not intellectually honest.

              • Other Bill

                Chris, the reason makes for interesting chatter but it is irrelevant. That’s not intellectual dishonesty, it’s simply a fact. And by the way, I think we can all agree there were plenty of good reasons to fire Mr. Comey. But it doesn’t matter. The only reason it would matter is if Comey was about to indict Trump for treason and now the FBI and DOJ are stymied in that attempt.

                • Other Bill,
                  Fine point: the FBI doesn’t indict, they make recommendations to the DOJ.

                  • Other Bill

                    Of course, but they work in concert and are all part of the same department and, ultimately the same executive branch. Which a lot of people (not you) seem to miss. Or ignore.

                    • Other Bill

                      Even though they watch “Law & Order” re-runs. Hah.

                    • But are they really stymied?

                      Let’s say, hypothetically, that Chris and company are right, that Trump fired Comey to keep the investigation off of himself. As Glenn cited, Comey’s successor isn’t necessarily in Trump’s pocket, and if the agents assigned to the investigation are suddenly told to drop it, all any one of them has to do is “Deep Throat” their evidence to the press (who will then break into the “Hallelujah Chorus”).

                • Chris

                  Chris, the reason makes for interesting chatter but it is irrelevant.

                  It’s relevant to me, since I’ve been called delusional, a partisan hack, biased, and stupid for my beliefs over what Trump’s reasons for firing Comey were.

                  • Chris,
                    You think just because you believe it, then it’s factually accurate and absolutely true and you’re looking foolish trying to prove what’s not provable.

                    The truth can sometimes hurt.

                    Grow up, stop your whining, and stop digging your hole deeper.

                    • Chris

                      You think just because you believe it, then it’s factually accurate and absolutely true

                      No, I don’t. Stop mischaracterizing my arguments now.

                    • Chris wrote, “No, I don’t.”

                      Bull Shit!

                      Chris wrote, “Stop mischaracterizing my arguments now.”

                      I haven’t mischaracterized a damn thing.

              • Glenn Logan

                The reasons don’t matter, functionally. They matter more to you, for instance, than to me. But I think everybody in America agrees that Comey needed to be gone since long.

                It’s easy to get caught up in all this reasoning stuff. We want every action to be reasonable, but the reality is that the only reason that is invalid is Trump trying to shut down an active investigation. If that’s what he was trying to do, he failed utterly, and it never had any hope of actually accomplishing that objective, if it ever was one. Which is why I quite reasonably conclude that it was never his objective at all to interfere in the investigation. Trump may be inexperienced and incompetent, but he’s not a complete fool.

                It would be nice to say that Trump rationally decided Comey needed to go, evaluated all the arguments with a gimlet eye, then pulled the trigger. Unfortunately, what we all suspect is that he had the DOJ provide him with a little window dressing for a fait accompli. Trump’s main error was that he waited too long to do what he should’ve done on Day 1.

                • Chris

                  Glenn:

                  Unfortunately, what we all suspect is that he had the DOJ provide him with a little window dressing for a fait accompli.

                  Is that what we all suspect? Because I’m pretty sure I’ve been called every name in the book these last two days for expressing that suspicion. (Not by you, though, Glenn; your responses have all been civil.)

                  • Glenn Logan

                    After what Trump said today, how else could we take it? Seriously, Trump took all the credit (or heat) for firing Comey, and said it was a fait accompli.

                    I’m not sure why he didn’t say that yesterday. Not sure why some of his people, including the VP, seemed to suggest otherwise. As with all things Trump, either our minds are too small, or his is.

                    As to the criticism you’ve received, I’m pretty sure that’s mostly due to your conclusion that Trump fired him for nefarious purposes in order to interfere with the investigation. Just because it was a fait accompli doesn’t mean it was nefarious. Trump didn’t need a reason — the proverbial color of Comey’s tie would’ve been sufficient.

                    • Chris

                      The White House said today that one purpose was to interfere with the investigation:

                      http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/11/politics/comey-fbi-investigation-russia-sarah-huckabee-sanders/

                    • Wow, you are desperate! That’s not what she said.

                    • Glenn Logan

                      Sorry, Chris, we’ve run out of replies. This is neither surprising nor interference. He wants it to end soon, and hopes it will. I do, too. It shouldn’t take months on end to find out if there was involvement by US persons, including the Trump campaign, in facilitating the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee.

                      Spinning this as “interference” is what gets you called names. If firing Comey speeds up the investigation, I think we should all be applauding that, not characterizing it as “interference.” It was proceeding at a glacial pace, probably because they just can’t find anything. The DD-FBI, a guy beholden to Democrats, says it will proceed apace. I believe him.

                      I’m moving on now from this subthread, I can’t keep track when nesting gets this deep.

  11. Other Bill

    And Comey was strangely swept into the DOJ by Lynch’s weird recusal and lateral to Comey. He sure as hell acted like an AUSA on that investigation.

  12. I’ll just drop this down here where no one will see it:

    1) I think Comey needed to go a long time ago and whenever it became possible, it was still time for him to go.

    2) I don’t think Trump was wrong to fire him.

    3) I don’t think that will have any effect on the investigation.

    4) I think the Russian Interference investigation includes Trump’s campaign, which includes Trump himself if the investigation turns that way.

    5) There’s no way to know the full extent of an ongoing investigation. Trump is a component of the Russian Investigation, but unclear if evidence has yet tied him or campaign members to a crime. Technically, that means (in my mind) that he’s “under investigation”.

    6) It creates the appearance of corruption to fire the guy. Though it may not actually be corrupt. Too early to tell, but the fact that this should not have any bearing on the investigation should tell you that it’s not corrupt.

    7) This is why some people wanted him as president: to make the tough choices that politicians won’t make because of the optics and appearances. They wanted a guy who would shoot himself in the foot if it got the job done. Well, hopefully the job gets done even though he’s missing his foot and shooting himself in the head.

    8) This stuff is way over our pay-grades. Can’t we all go back to talking about Tennis Court ethics and Bank Errors in your favor? Also, how unethical are the players of Monopoly to take the money from Community Chest when it says there’s a bank error in your favor?

    • Ah, Ethics is not for the faint of heart….

    • Tim,

      I think this is well written, and concise. I especially like point 7, as it expresses a world of concepts most politicians do not get about the American public.

      Point 8 is what I have been hinting at, here and there. We need to let this go at this point, as passions are WAY too high.

      And Hasbro’s rules state that the player has a RIGHT to the money, and that makes it ethical within the framework of the game. I think the money for winning a beauty contest is far more unethical, given the general appearance of anyone I have played the game with. The fix just HAD to be in for any of us to win the contest! 😉

      • I got done writing #6 to go to #7 and I had a brain freeze. #7 was really the point I was trying to get to and my mind went full blank. I considered publishing after #6 was done, but I just knew #7 was in there somewhere and that it was important…so I waited until it came back.

        re: Concepts, yes, but also throw in media, and fickle voters. There’s an entire essay to be written about media bullying politicians into stagnation, the voters being the lap dog of the media, and then the voters rebelling against the media when there’s too much stagnation in any one direction.

    • Chris

      Fair, persuasive, and balanced comment, Tim. I nominate it for COTD.

  13. Chris

    Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer slammed President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, calling it “inexplicable” and saying the stated rationale behind the decision was “implausible.”

    “Here’s what so odd about it. This is about, according to the deputy attorney general, something that occurred on July the 5th,” Krauthammer said, referring to the July 2016 press conference during which Comey said the FBI would not recommend charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server.

    Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in his letter recommending Comey’s dismissal that the determinant of Comey’s removal was his “handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails.”

    Krauthammer called the reasoning “implausible,” adding that “if that was so offensive to the Trump administration, which you would have done during the transition is you would have spoken to Comey and said, ‘We’re going to let you go.'”

    He continued: “That is when a president could very easily make a decision to have a change that’s not unprecedented … To fire him summarily in the middle of May for something that happened in July is inexplicable.”

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/krauthammer-comeys-firing-inexplicable-implausible-002939932.html

    Obviously, Charles Krauthammer is just another angry lefty who is working with the media to try and bring down Trump. I think I saw him wearing a vagina hat on FOX News once.

    • Read this days ago. Appeal to authority, and not only that, an appeal to authority you would naturally dismiss. He’s wrong, that’s all.

      • Chris

        No, it’s not an appeal to authority; it’s a rebuke of your false characterization that everyone criticizing Trump’s firing of Comey is a screaming ideologue. I am not saying “Krauthammer said this, therefore he’s right and so am I.” I’m saying “Krauthammer said this, so your attempts to smear everyone raising the same objections as myself as angry leftists with Trump Derangement Syndrome is bullshit.” See also the reactions of Ken White, Cathy Young, David French, Jennifer Rubin, and dozens of other conservatives/libertarians.

        • No, in fact I pointed to McCain and his pal Lindsay; nor have I written at all about mere “criticism”—I’ve criticized the manner of the firing, including the timing. And Krauthammer wasn’t arguing that Comey shouldn’t have been fired—he was specifically talking about timing.

          (Timing of doing the right thing is not unethical, and “inexplicable” means “stupid.”)

          • Chris

            —I’ve criticized the manner of the firing, including the timing.

            Please show me where you criticized the timing.

            And Krauthammer wasn’t arguing that Comey shouldn’t have been fired—he was specifically talking about timing.

            Krauthammer’s argument is identical to mine; he said the stated reasons for Trump firing Comey are implausible. You have questioned the sanity of every person on this site who has raised the same point, and now you’re softballing Krauthammer’s argument so you don’t have to admit that. I’m stunned.

    • Glenn Logan

      Krauthammer has always been a Trump opponent from Day 1. Reading things like this from him (this is a day old, btw) is about as surprising as seeing the sun come up in the morning. I think he’s wrong, but he’s entitled to his opinion.

      But hey, it’s fair for to try to raise this type stuff, I guess. I know I do it all the time when lefty-on-lefty political attacks happen.

      • Chris

        I think he’s wrong, but he’s entitled to his opinion.

        Which is fair. What’s not fair is “You are stupid, biased, crazy, and a partisan hack for having this opinion,” which is the treatment I’ve gotten here over the past two days.

    • Glenn Logan

      Wow, how incomplete was that last sentence of mine? Ugh.

  14. Chris

    Well Jack, here’s the money quote, straight from the Horace’s mouth:

    “And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election.’” –Donald Trump

    That would be–what’s the phrase?–definitive proof that Trump fired Comey because of the Russia investigation.

    I’ll take that apology now.

    • Chris

      *horse’s. God. Leave it to me to ruin my own victory. That would have been such a great moment.

    • Victory?

      Really?

      Here’s the full interview. See, context matters, and it paints a little bit different interpretation of the single line of the interview…especially when you take into account Trump’s communication style (something I know you are aware of because you have a new harangue about it roughly once a week).

      http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/05/11/president_trumps_full_interview_with_lester_holt.html

      • Chris

        Please explain how the context of that article shows that Trump did not actually fire Comey because of the Russian investigation, tex.

        • Let’s see, he says he thought about the investigation into Russia while considering the decision. I’m sure he thought about a lot of things while considering the decision. Then he went on to say he wants the investigation done right. Hardly a goal of someone who wants the investigation ended because it gives the investigator power over trump as you assert.

          • Chris

            Let’s see, he says he thought about the investigation into Russia while considering the decision. I’m sure he thought about a lot of things while considering the decision.

            Jesus. You are setting new records for obstuseness. If he had said he was thinking of eating a ham sandwich when he decided to fire Comey, you might have a point, as there is no logical connection between a ham sandwich and firing Comey. But he said he was thinking of the Russia investigation, which he doesn’t think should exist, and that opinion does have a logical connection with firing Comey.

            I can’t even believe I’m having to explain this; I feel like I’m being gaslighted here.

            Then he went on to say he wants the investigation done right. Hardly a goal of someone who wants the investigation ended because it gives the investigator power over trump as you assert.

            He literally said that right after saying that the investigation shouldn’t exist at all, so why you believe his statement that he wants the investigation to be done right is sincere is inexplicable. You are willingly being conned, and it’s obvious. Honestly, it’s embarassing to watch.

            He also said he just invented the term “prime the pump” a couple days ago, even though he used it last year in another interview. He’s a bullshitter. You should not believe anything he says. This is not bias speaking. This is fair.

            • You see, you have a serious burden to resolve. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. In one interview you’re absolutely set to accept a single one of Trump’s comments when it can be spun to suit your narrative, while disregarding EVERYTHING ELSE he says as pure gibberish.

              What is that called? A Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy? Where you find the data you like from the whole and draw a circle around it?

              Or, you can try to be objective, put what we know about Trump’s communication ‘style’ into the calculations, along with all other discussions on this topic by Trump and actually start trying to figure out what’s going on here. Because frankly I don’t think anyone can, with any definitive confidence claim to know what is going on.

              But that’s the other burden you and your people bear…you jump to conclusions on the slightest pretext and scream “case closed”. You’re people have done it for a long time, on a myriad of topics. Because you are desperate to reach a single conclusion: the removal of Trump from office. Instead of reaching a single goal: clarity. A clarity in which we might be able to see a good reason to remove Trump from office or we might not see a reason at all, but a clarity we’ll never reach the way y’all operate.

              “But he said he was thinking of the Russia investigation, which he doesn’t think should exist.”

              So long as you disregard other comment’s he’s made (even one’s in the same interview)…you know the comments that don’t jive with your bias-laden blinders…

              “You are setting new records for obstuseness.”

              Really? I assume you think he only thought about one thing when making the decision and absolutely nothing else. Should I say you are acting like a bigot or hold my tongue?

              “You should not believe anything he says.”

              Except when it can be loosely spun to reach your pre-conceived hate-based conclusions right…I mean, you “believed” something he said…that was the basis of your claim to “victory” and demand of an apology from Jack…right?

              I mean, what is your standard anymore?

              • Chris

                I assume you think he only thought about one thing when making the decision and absolutely nothing else.

                Why would you assume that?

                Should I say you are acting like a bigot or hold my tongue?

                You should hold your tongue, since calling someone a bigot for hating an individual–and with good reason–is fucking idiotic.

              • Chris

                Note that this entire argument began with Jack calling the New York Times “deceptive” for mentioning the Russia investigation in the headline and lede of their article about Comey’s firing…

                …and then what’s the very first reason Trump gives for firing Comey in his first interview on the subject? The Russia investigation.

                Jack owes the New York Times an apology.

                • Read the full interview, the one I provided you in a link.

                  What were Trump’s 1st 3 reasons?

                  He’s a showboater, he’s a grandstander, the FBI was in turmoil and hasn’t recovered…

                  Never mind any other reasons he’s cited up UNTIL he mentioned something that can be spun copacetically into your pre-conceived conclusion. That’s the 1st reason right there. The one that matches your bias.

                  • Chris

                    You’re right, it wasn’t the first reason. It *was* the only reason his staff and you, Jack and the other conservatives spent a day denying. There’s no “spin” necessary to see that, and a lot of spin necessary to avoid seeing it, which is what you’re engaging in here.

              • Chris

                You see, you have a serious burden to resolve. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. In one interview you’re absolutely set to accept a single one of Trump’s comments when it can be spun to suit your narrative, while disregarding EVERYTHING ELSE he says as pure gibberish.

                What is that called? A Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy? Where you find the data you like from the whole and draw a circle around it?

                It’s called logic, tex. When someone makes a statement that reveals something bad about themselves, and contradicts a more positive narrative that their staff has built up about them, then makes more contradictory statements in an attempt to retreat to the more positive narrative, the logical conclusion is that the former statement is the true one.

                Trump’s surrogates spent a day trying to convince the public he didn’t fire Comey over Russia. Then when asked, Trump immediately said he fired Comey while angry over the Russia investigations. Only after saying that did he then parrot some of the other, seemingly more legitimate reasons for Comey’s firing–but even those, such as his claim the FBI had no faith in Comey, had already been disputed by the new acting head.

                A reasonable person would conclude that the statements that contradict his previously established narrative and make him look petty are true, because most people don’t say untrue things about themselves to make themselves look worse, and we know Trump doesn’t. Most people, when saying untrue things about themselves, do so to make themselves look better, and we know Trump does. Therefore, he was likely telling the truth when he suggested he fired Comey over Russia, and was covering his ass when he gave the other reasons.

                This is all obvious. There are no fallacies in this argument, just observations of human behavior. You are massively overcomplicating this.

      • Chris

        At this point, tex, what evidence would you accept as indicating that Trump fired Comey over the Russia investigation? Apparently Trump flat-out saying that he was angry about the Russia investigation when he made the decision isn’t enough, because he babbled about a few other reasons during the same interview, none of which really make sense. Is there any evidence at this point that would persuade you?

        • I’m thinking if the new director suspends or drops the investigation that would be proof you’re on the right track.

          • Depending on how it is explained that could support the theory, yes.

            But we know, with certainty, giventhe behavior of the Left and its acolytes thus far, that even if the new director dropped the investigation after publishing in excruciating detail that all investigated items and leads and tips indicated that there really was no reason to continue the investigation, then the Left and its acolytes would just start frothing at the mouth and screaming that Trump’s cover-up was successful.

          • Chris

            I’m thinking if the new director suspends or drops the investigation that would be proof you’re on the right track.

            Huh? That would not speak to Trump’s *motive* for firing Comey at all.

            • Wow. Your entire stance is based on suppositions and loose connections and you can’t even see how a new director, presumably after a “welcome to the administration” meeting with Trump, stopping the investigation could be seen to have received “advice” from Trump to stop the investigation…

              Phenomenal.

              • Chris

                Sorry, I read gamereg’s comment wrong.

                Still,, Trump’s direct statements where he said part of his motive was the Russia investigation is more proof than anything else. I’m sorry you won’t accept it, tex.

  15. Andrew Wakeling

    The reporting (NYT and elsewhere) of President Trump asking Comey for assurance of his ‘loyalty’ is highly disturbing. Comey was right to only promise ‘honesty’ but that doesn’t seem to be what the President wanted. Will someone educate the President about ‘checks and balances’ before serious damage gets done?

    • Chris

      Unfortunately, Ethics Alarms won’t, and will instead call everyone who does a partisan hack with Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    • It was an ignorant request, and Comey gave the correct answer. I wouldn’t call it disturbing, because that is the context of Trump’s experience in business. But it is something that cannot be asked of that official, who must be neutral, non-partisan, and objective….which I believe Comey was. THAT wasn’t his problem.

      • Andrew Wakeling

        No, not as I see it. President Trump having his experience in business rather than public service doesn’t explain or excuse this ridiculous and offensive request for ‘loyalty’. A reasonable equivalent in a public company would be the CEO pressurising the auditor to pledge to him personal loyalty. With even minimal standards of corporate governance the CEO would or should be fired, or at least ‘reeducated’.

  16. Chris

    But obviously the idea that Trump fired Comey for personal reasons is crazy, just crazy! Only a bigot could think that.

    • Warren

      Give it up, Chris. Jack will never admit that he’s wrong, not when it comes to Trump. That shooting on Fifth Avenue Trump jokingly promised to commit could occur, prompting lefties to compare him to Stalin, and the E.A. post would focus on the inaptness of the Stalin comparison.

      • Unfair and snotty comment. Yes, firing someone who should be fired is the equivalent of shooting someone—that is the deranged argument I am reading in various versions.

        The ethics story is how the minds of smart people were so weakened by a campaign of hate, hysteria, dishonesty and fearmongering that they have come to this sorry state. It is amazing to me.

    • You make yourself look sillier and sillier (and also diminish your public character) with comments like these. Nobody has suggested that a personal dislike didn’t play a part in this, as it does in almost all firings. This is all caterwauling about whether the right thing was done for the wrong reasons. As for the tweet, dumb and unprofessional like most Trump tweets, here, let me translate:

      “Shut up.”

      And aside from testifying, Comey should.

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