Tuesday Reads: It’s Hillary vs. the GOP, the Media, the FBI, and the Russians

Hillary Clinton in Cincinnati yesterday

Hillary Clinton in Cincinnati yesterday

Good Morning!!

What an unbelievable news day we had yesterday! And what an amazing month in politics October was! The last time I can recall daily shocks like this over such a sustained period was during the Watergate scandal.

Yesterday, it appeared that supporters of James Comey in the FBI–or maybe Comey himself were leaking to The New York Times in an effort to rehabilitate the now-compromised FBI director. As former Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller wrote on Twitter:

Yes, it was a waterfall, a flood, a deluge. And of course The New York Times lapped it up, just as they did the lies from the Bush/Cheney administration in the lead-up to the Iraq War.

Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia.

For much of the summer, the F.B.I. pursued a widening investigation into a Russian role in the American presidential campaign. Agents scrutinized advisers close to Donald J. Trump, looked for financial connections with the paydayloansnow.co.uk figures, searched for those involved in hacking the computers of Democrats, and even chased a lead — which they ultimately came to doubt — about a possible secret channel of email communication from the Trump Organization to a Russian bank.

Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government. And even the hacking into Democratic emails, F.B.I. and intelligence officials now believe, was aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump.

Emphasis added. The authors don’t bother to explain why the Russians have only targeted Democratic groups and the Democratic presidential candidate if they don’t aim to help the other. Because that’s obviously what they did. You can go read the rest of that bullshit article if you want, but it sure looks like it was dictated by James Comey for the purpose of covering his ass.

The New York Times can suck up to Comey all they want. Plenty of other–even some Republicans–are worried about Russia supporting Trump, even if the FBI isn’t.

Okay, maybe I can buy that the story about a direct email link between the Trump organization and a Russian bank could be wrong; but I’ll hold off on making a decision on that yet. But what about this story by David Corn: A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump.

…a former senior intelligence officer for a Western country who specialized in Russian counterintelligence tells Mother Jonesthat in recent months he provided the bureau with memos, based on his recent interactions with Russian sources, contending the Russian government has for years tried to co-opt and assist Trump—and that the FBI requested more information from him.

Does this mean the FBI is investigating whether Russian intelligence has attempted to develop a secret relationship with Trump or cultivate him as an asset? Was the former intelligence officer and his material deemed credible or not? An FBI spokeswoman says, “Normally, we don’t talk about whether we are investigating anything.” But a senior US government official not involved in this case but familiar with the former spy tells Mother Jones that he has been a credible source with a proven record of providing reliable, sensitive, and important information to the US government.

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In June, the former Western intelligence officer—who spent almost two decades on Russian intelligence matters and who now works with a US firm that gathers information on Russia for corporate clients—was assigned the task of researching Trump’s dealings in Russia and elsewhere, according to the former spy and his associates in this American firm. This was for an opposition research project and greentouch has a good approval rate that originally financed by a Republican client critical of the celebrity mogul. (Before the former spy was retained, the project’s financing switched to a client allied with Democrats.) “It started off as a fairly general inquiry,” says the former spook, who asks not to be identified. But when he dug into Trump, he notes, he came across troubling information indicating connections between Trump and the Russian government. According to his sources, he says, “there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit.”

This was, the former spy remarks, “an extraordinary situation.” He regularly consults with the Personal Loans With Bad Credit, and near the start of July on his own initiative—without the permission of the US company that hired him—he sent a report he had written for that firm to a contact at the FBI, according to the former intelligence officer and his American associates, who asked not to be identified. (He declines to identify the FBI contact.) The former spy says he concluded that the information he had collected on Trump was “sufficiently serious” to share with the FBI.

Read the rest at Mother Jones.

While Comey is trying to save his job and repair his reputation, Russia is doing whatever it’s doing, and what it’s doing is helping a fascist demagogue and psychopath. Is that really what Comey wants? If so, he needs to step down.

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Michael Cohen at The Boston Globe: FBI director James Comey should resign.

The FBI director did not commit some garden-variety mistake. This is not an “oops” moment. For reasons that have more to do with protecting himself from dishonest Republican attacks, Comey committed an overtly egregious and political act that roiled the nation’s politics 11 days before Election Day — and undermined public trust in the nation’s criminal justice institutions.

And he needs to go.

When word broke Friday afternoon that Comey had notified Congress that he was taking a new look at Hillary Clinton’s apparently never-ending e-mail issue, it seemed like a bombshell moment.

But it is now increasingly clear that Comey was holding a dud. What he did know is that e-mails from Clinton’s assistant, Huma Abedin, had been found on the computer of her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner. The problem is, that’s all he knew. There was no evidence that the e-mails were from Clinton, contained classified material, or had any investigative value….

But the biggest loser here is the credibility of the FBI and the Department of Justice — and the American people’s confidence in both institutions. Indeed, the Clinton campaign has now launched a full-scale attack on Comey — one which follows on the heels of Trump’s months of erroneous and dishonest attacks against him for not prosecuting Clinton. Comey has cast a cloud over this interminable election. His actions run the very real risk of affecting its outcome.

Whatever the result on Election Day, Comey’s path forward is clearer.

He can’t un-ring the bill, since any step to clean up the damage could lead Republicans to believe a cover-up is afoot.

Having fundamentally undermined confidence in the justice system — and abused his power as FBI director — the only way he can repair it is by resigning his office.

Hillary writes excuse for boy who missed school to go to her rally in Cincinnati.

Hillary writes excuse for boy who missed school to go to her rally in Cincinnati.

Ian Milhiser at Think Progress: The case for firing James Comey. Americans have rights. Even if they are Hillary Clinton.

Let’s take stock of all that we’ve learned since Comey sent a cryptic letter to several Republican congressional committee chairs on Friday informing them that the FBI had uncovered some emails that may, or may not, have something to do with a previous investigation into Secretary Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

We know that Comey does not know what is in these emails.

We know that many, possibly even all, of these emails may be duplicates of messages the FBI already reviewed.

We know that, at the time when Comey wrote his letter, the FBI had not even obtained a warrant permitting them to read these emails.

Oh, and we know one other thing. We also know that Comey violated longstanding Justice Department protocol when he decided to disclose the very few facts that he actually did disclose in his letter to the Republican chairs. And we know that he wrote the letter over the explicit objections of Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Taken together, these actions constitute a fireable offense.

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President Obama should fire James Comey. He should do so not because of the political consequences of Comey’s actions — although those consequences could be quite severe — but because Comey’s actions show an unacceptable disregard for the safeguards that exist to protect innocents from the awesome power of a federal police force.

I don’t see how President Obama can do that just a week before the election, but clearly Comey must go. For heaven’s sake, we’ve reach the point where Comey–or his supporters in the FBI–are trying to argue that Russia hacking the emails of Democratic organizations and even the Clinton campaign doesn’t indicate they want Donald Trump to win the election. That’s insane.

 

I’ll have more Trump-Russia links in the comment thread. What stories are you following today?

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54 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: It’s Hillary vs. the GOP, the Media, the FBI, and the Russians”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    This article is old, but relevant.

    NBC News: Trump and Putin Tried to Meet in Moscow Three Years Ago: Source

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Must read by Robin Lakoff at Time:

    Hillary Clinton’s Emailgate Is an Attack on Women

  3. littleisis says:

    Thanks for the info BB. I saw that article in the NYT this morning and almost shit a brick

  4. dakinikat says:

    That’s a Russian state bank you know. Very scary stuff.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  6. dakinikat says:

    MI5 head: ‘increasingly aggressive’ Russia a growing threat to UK
    Exclusive: In first newspaper interview given by a serving spy chief, Andrew Parker talks of terror, espionage and balance between secrecy and privacy

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/oct/31/andrew-parker-increasingly-aggressive-russia-a-growing-threat-to-uk-says-mi5-head

  7. Pat Johnson says:

    Years ago when my daughter took part in her annual dance recital I was a nervous wreck knowing that one misstep could offset the rhythym which would in turn make a crack in her confidence.

    With my boys participating in sports I struggled through the games hoping they would turn their
    hours of practice into a game played to the best of their abilities.

    This is how I am spending the last 7 days before the election. Sweating, nail biting, experiencing feelings of anxiety waiting for the outcome. Nerve racking.

    I have turned off the t.v. for the most part. The stupidity coming out of the mouths of these overpaid hacks is insufferable. I have shied away from most of my favorite sites because I am unable to deal with the possibility of a loss.

    I have the newest Michael Connelly and John Grisham books on my Kindle. This is where I will be as I simply cannot take anymore of the vilification aimed at Hillary Clinton. All I have left is one vote that I will cast for her on November 8th.

    This race has left me exhausted and demoralized.

    • janicen says:

      Husband just finished the latest Grisham. He said it’s one of the best. Good to know there’s a new Connelly as well. Some good reading as the weather gets cooler. Enjoy!

  8. ANonOMouse says:

    Listening to MSNBC and CNN this morning is enough to make you pull your hair out. They’ve done everything to try to undermine Hillary by bringing on people questioning the enthusiasm of Hillary voters, especially black voters. They even brought an AA woman from FL who heads up one of the State AA organizations who said that Black voters were not going to turn out for Hillary and that she could not win Obama voters by “osmosis”. She said she’s warned the campaign for months and they’ve ignored her and now it’s too late. She also said that she didn’t think there would be a large enough Latino vote to compensate for the low AA turnout. Then they basically made the same case for why she might lose NC and implied that low AA turnout would ripple through all of the Blue States. I’m not sure what to believe anymore. I look at the polls of LIKELY voters and the polls tell me what I heard this morning isn’t true. Why would anyone take part in a poll, say they’re going to vote, then not vote. I understand that some people will not vote who thought they would, but to hear some of these commentators talk you’d think that it’s a major problem for Hillary.

    So, in the final analysis all I can say is IN HILLARY I TRUST! I’ve voted, contributed and I’m ready for this thing to be over. GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. MsMass says:

    WTF is going on? The bombshell of Trump’s Russian connection warrents a “nothing here to look at” article on the NYT a day later? How can any sane person in this country not find this connection part of a sinister plot? Hillary AND us vs Trump,Putin, and the msm.

  10. Minkoff Minx says:

    I just got a text from the Hillary campaign…saying latest poll shows trump ahead of her. Wtf?

    Is this for serious!

  11. Fannie says:

    Lawrence O’donnell, says that Target Smart has announced that Hillary Clinton, has 8 points over Trump in Early Voting in Florida……….and they include republicans who crossed over voting for Hillary…………48 Hillary, 40 Trump………….WHOA, ladies, let’s start the dancing.

    Good Lord, I know we hear from Trump, he can’t win Florida, and it’s rigged.

  12. contrask says:

    Lawrence O-Donnell has someone on his show now saying there are 28% of early Rep voters are voting for HRC in Florida

  13. Fannie says:

    Tune in, The last word with Lawrence O’Donnel, and the early votes in Fla…. 28% or republicans crossed over for Hillary. YES>>>>>YES>>>>>>>YES>>>>>

  14. William says:

    I was very excited about the poll, too, but I am afraid that it is not reliable. There is a pollster, Steve Schale, whom we have seen on MSNBC, who apparently is a real expert on Florida voting, helped Obama win the state last time. On his Twitter feed earlier today, he was analyzing the state in depth; trying to find some reasons for optimism, with recent polls showing Trump ahead. He concluded that based on his precision analysis of districts and patterns, Hillary was very narrowly ahead, but that it all depended on the vote turnout, which has been lagging to some extent. After the poll we saw on TV, he responded that it could nto be right, and that he wras essentially sure it was not. He reiterated his earlier analysis. As much as I’d love to believe that Hillary is leading by 8 points in early voting, I think that Schale is right, and that we ha e to do everything we can to get people to vote in Florida for us to win. I am actually concerned that the other poll, however well-intentioned, could potentially depress necessary turnout.

    • Joanelle says:

      I want her to win – I’ve been with you all since the last time around in 2008, but Yogi was right, it ain’t over til it’s over. We will win if we focus on Hillz and not him.

    • bostonboomer says:

      William,

      Why do you assume it’s unreliable? They polled people who already voted. Did they lie in your opinion? Based on what evidence? This doesn’t mean Hillary will win FL by 6 points. I don’t understand your basis for calling You Gov an unreliable polling organization.

      BTW, Steve Schale is a very good political strategist, but he’s not a pollster.

    • janicen says:

      They didn’t say she was winning by 8 points in early voting. She’s winning by more than that in early voting, they said she will ultimately win FL by 8 points. You don’t have to be a professional pollster or statistician to understand that in ’04 John Kerry won 4% of registered Republicans in FL, Obama won 9% of registered Republicans in FL. In early voting, Hillary won 28% of registered Republicans. This is not some random outlier, this is a trend.

  15. NW Luna says:

    Sorry for the size.

    No, on 2nd thought, it’s just fine!

  16. roofingbird says:

    It ain’t over when its over! It will just be starting. She is going to win. They might try to impeach her. They will fight her. We need to keep our voices strong. If we don’t get the House or Senate back we need to make sure we do in the next election we have to get folks into the state elections that will get rid of gerrymandering.

    • joanelle says:

      You’re right ‘bird.’ I don’t know how she does it, she’s been beaten up ight’sght’s ways to Sunday, but keeps on standing. She’s indomitable; with incredible courage, and a vision of a future that stays bright and clear before her. No wonder smart folks are with her!

  17. roofingbird says:

    What’s up with Iceland having to kick the FBI out over a wikileaks investigation? I thought if it went out of the borders it became a CIA, or NSA deal.

  18. bostonboomer says:

    NYT: Obama Criticizes F.B.I. Director: ‘We Don’t Operate on Leaks’

    WASHINGTON — President Obama sharply criticized the decision by his F.B.I. director to alert Congress on Friday about the discovery of new emails related to the Hillary Clinton server case, implying that it violated investigative norms and trafficked in innuendo.

    “We don’t operate on incomplete information,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with NowThis News, broadcast Wednesday. “We don’t operate on leaks. We operate based on concrete decisions that are made.”

    “When this was investigated thoroughly the last time, the conclusion of the F.B.I., the conclusion of the Justice Department, the conclusion of repeated congressional investigations was that she had made some mistakes but that there wasn’t anything there that was prosecutable,” Mr. Obama said.

    The president did not mention the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, by name, but it was clear Mr. Obama was referring to him.

    Declaring that he had “made a very deliberate effort to make sure that I don’t look like I’m meddling in what are supposed to be independent processes for making these assessments,” Mr. Obama nonetheless expressed confidence in Mrs. Clinton and her integrity.

  19. NW Luna says:

    My “nasty woman” copper cuff bracelet came, with the “I’m with her” which I asked to be added on the inside. Love it! And the maker wrote “I’m with her too. Nasty women unite!” on my receipt. 😀