Tuesday Reads: Comey Strikes Again

Good Morning!!

I woke up around 3AM and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I turned on my computer and opened Twitter. I wasn’t expecting breaking news, but I found it anyway. You’ve probably heard by now that James Comey was caught lying to Congress about Hillary’s emails.

ProPublica: Comey’s Testimony on Huma Abedin Forwarding Emails Was Inaccurate.

FBI director James Comey generated national headlines last week with his dramatic testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, explaining his “incredibly painful” decision to go public about the Hillary Clinton emails found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.

Perhaps Comey’s most surprising revelation was that Huma Abedin — Weiner’s wife and a top Clinton deputy — had made “a regular practice” of forwarding “hundreds and thousands” of Clinton messages to her husband, “some of which contain classified information.” Comey testified that Abedin had done this so that the disgraced former congressman could print them out for her boss….

Much of what Comey said about this was inaccurate. Now the FBI is trying to figure out what to do about it.

FBI officials have privately acknowledged that Comey misstated what Abedin did and what the FBI investigators found. On Monday, the FBI was said to be preparing to correct the record by sending a letter to Congress later this week. But that plan now appears on hold, with the bureau undecided about what to do.

So how much did Comey exaggerate?

According to two sources familiar with the matter — including one in law enforcement — Abedin forwarded only a handful of Clinton emails to her husband for printing — not the “hundreds and thousands” cited by Comey. It does not appear Abedin made “a regular practice” of doing so. Other officials said it was likely that most of the emails got onto the computer as a result of backups of her Blackberry.

It was not clear how many, if any, of the forwarded emails were among the 12 “classified” emails Comey said had been found on Weiner’s laptop. None of the messages carried classified markings at the time they were sent.

WTF?! Has everyone in the federal government gone insane? How can we rely on Comey to properly investigate Trump and Russia after this? And why are we just learning about this?

More insanity, this time emanating from tRump.

Bloomberg: Washington Loves General McMaster, But Trump Doesn’t.

For the Washington establishment, President Donald Trump’s decision to make General H.R. McMaster his national security adviser in February was a masterstroke. Here is a well-respected defense intellectual, praised by both parties, lending a steady hand to a chaotic White House. The grown-ups are back.

But inside the White House, the McMaster pick has not gone over well with the one man who matters most. White House officials tell me Trump himself has clashed with McMaster in front of his staff….

…White House officials…tell me this is not the sentiment the president has expressed recently in private. Trump was livid, according to three White House officials, after reading in the Wall Street Journal that McMaster had called his South Korean counterpart to assure him that the president’s threat to make that country pay for a new missile defense system was not official policy. These officials say Trump screamed at McMaster on a phone call, accusing him of undercutting efforts to get South Korea to pay its fair share.

This was not an isolated incident. Trump has complained in front of McMaster in intelligence briefings about “the general undermining my policy,” according to two White House officials. The president has given McMaster less face time. McMaster’s requests to brief the president before some press interviews have been declined. Over the weekend, McMaster did not accompany Trump to meet with Australia’s prime minister; the outgoing deputy national security adviser, K.T. McFarland, attended instead.

I have no doubt that tRump would like to have Russian spy Mike Flynn back as National Security Adviser.

National Post: White House advisors called Ottawa to urge Trudeau to help talk Trump down from scrapping NAFTA.

White House staff called the Prime Minister’s Office last month to urge Justin Trudeau to persuade President Donald Trump not to tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to multiple Canadian government sources.

The unconventional diplomatic manoeuvre — approaching the head of a foreign government to influence your own boss — proved decisive, as Trump thereafter abandoned his threat to pull out of NAFTA unilaterally, citing the arguments made by Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto as pivotal.

But the incident highlights the difficulties faced by governments all over the world when it comes to dealing with a president as volatile as Trump.

tRump is an embarrassment to the once-great United States of America. Read the whole pathetic story at the link.

Huffington Post: Trump Administration Cites Segregation-Era Ruling To Defend Its Travel Ban.

In a brief defending its ban on citizens from six Muslim-majority countries, President Donald Trump’s Justice Department approvingly cited a segregation-era Supreme Court decision that allowed Jackson, Mississippi, to close public pools rather than integrate them.

In the early 1960s, courts ordered Jackson to desegregate its public parks, which included five swimming pools. Instead, the city decided to close the pools. Black residents of Jackson sued. But in 1971, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, decided that closing the pools rather than integrating them was just fine.

The dissents, even at the time, were furious. “May a State in order to avoid integration of the races abolish all of its public schools?” Justice William O. Douglas asked in his dissent.

“I had thought official policies forbidding or discouraging joint use of public facilities by Negroes and whites were at war with the Equal Protection Clause” of the Fourteenth Amendment, Justice Byron White wrote in another dissent.

 

How did the tRump lawyers use this case? The ruling argued that courts should not consider the motives for a government decision.

It is difficult or impossible for any court to determine the ‘sole’ or ‘dominant’ motivation behind the choices of a group of legislators,” the majority opinion said. “Furthermore, there is an element of futility in a judicial attempt to invalidate a law because of the bad motives of its supporters.”

The Trump administration emphasizes this in its citation of the case, arguing that looking into “governmental purpose outside the operative terms of governmental action and official pronouncements” is “fraught with practical ‘pitfalls’ and ‘hazards’ that would make courts’ task ‘extremely difficult.’”

The tRump Justice Department is now an embarrassment too.

Other Insane News

I’m still not sure if this is a joke or not, but knowing the New York Times, it could very well be for real.

The suggestion was made in a column by Michael Kinsley, who used to be relatively sane: The Upside to the Presidential Twitter Feed.

Surely, if there is a “party line” among the establishment media in the United States, it is anti-Trump, not pro. That doesn’t make it wrong. In fact, it’s largely right. But the venom, the obsession, the knife-twisting are hard to understand.

It must be partly a matter of bad timing. Mr. Trump came along just as the mainstream media, especially newspapers, were trying to come to terms with the internet. Hoary concepts like “objectivity” and “balance” were giving way. This was a good thing, believe it or not. Reporters no longer had to pretend that after spending weeks or months on a story, they had emerged with no opinion about it. The word “I” could now be used to refer to oneself, rather than “a reporter.” Mr. Trump, already dislikable, became the first test case of the new mind-set.

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, though, and even Donald Trump can’t be wrong all the time.

With that in mind, we’re looking for a few positive words about the president, and we’re asking for your help. This is not about Trump the family man. It’s not another forum for debating the issues. It is a place to point out positive things Mr. Trump has said or done from the viewpoint of The New York Times and its readers. (And don’t tell me Times readers are too diverse to classify. You know who you are.)

I’m pretty sure this is meant to be humorous, but it’s really not funny. I like this NYT column by David Leonhardt a little better: A French Lesson for the American Media.

The hacked emails from Emmanuel Macron’s French campaign appear to be spectacularly mundane, according to people who have read them. They include briefings on issues, personal exchanges and discussions of the weather. No doubt they also include some embarrassing thoughts, but so far they are notably lacking in scandal.

Does this description remind you of anything?

Ah, yes. Last year, Russian agents stole thousands of emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign and published them via WikiLeaks. The dominant feature of the emails was their ordinariness.

They contained no evidence of lawbreaking, major hypocrisy or tawdry scandal. Even the worst revelation — a Democratic official and CNN contributor fed a town hall question to the campaign in advance — qualified as small beer. Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign engaged in much more consequential debate skulduggery. The Clinton emails were instead full of staff members jockeying for position, agonizing over strategy, complaining about their bosses and offering advice to those same bosses….

The overhyped coverage of the hacked emails was the media’s worst mistake in 2016 — one sure to be repeated if not properly understood. Television was the biggest offender, but print media was hardly blameless. The sensationalism exacerbated a second problem with the coverage: the obsession with Clinton’s private email server.

Apparently, there are sane people in the French media.

Late Friday, two days before the election, hackers released the Macron campaign emails. French media laws are stricter than American laws, and government officials argued against publication of the hacked information. But only the campaigns themselves were legally barred from making statements during the final weekend. Publications could have reported on the substance of the emails.

They largely did not. “It was a manipulation attempt — people trying to manipulate our voting process,” Gilles van Kote, deputy chief editor of Le Monde, told me.

French journalists rightly did not focus on what seemed like big news, because the emails surely did. They evaluated what truly was major news. Material released by a hostile foreign government, with the aim of confusing voters and evidently without significant new information, failed to qualify. Van Kote said reporters are continuing to read the emails to see if they warrant future stories.

NBC News has a story on how Bernie Sanders, who is not a Democrat, has thrown the Democratic Party into chaos: Democrats Stumble Into Abortion Rift. I’ll let you read that at the link if you’re interested. Here’s one more Sanders story, because Karma is so satisfying. Jane’s problems are now national news.

The Hill: FBI investigating Jane Sanders for alleged bank fraud: report.

Federal investigators are looking into allegations that Sen. Bernie Sanders‘s (I-Vt.) wife, Jane Sanders, falsified loan documents while she served as the president of Burlington College, according to multiple reports.

The small Vermont liberal arts school closed down in May 2016, after going bankrupt and failing to meet accreditation standards.

The college began to face financial difficulties during Sanders’s tenure from 2004 to 2011, falling $10 million into debt when the school purchased a new campus in 2010.

Sanders has been accused of falsifying the information on the loan documents in order to expand the college grounds.

Full Article reported that some of the donors Sanders appealed to for help with loans are now in contact with the FBI and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), as what was reported in the original site.

Sanders left her leadership role in 2011 for undisclosed reasons.

She claimed the college could count on $2.6 million in donations to pay for the purchased land, according to a 2010 loan application. But she ultimately raised only a fourth of that, making $676,000 in donations over the next four years, putting the college into bankruptcy in May 2016.

What else is happening? Please share your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a terrific Tuesday!

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65 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Comey Strikes Again”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    I feel as though I am living in a nightmare and can’t wake up. Have no idea what is “normal” anymore.

    Instead I have been reading more and more lately. The latest Elizabeth Stout and Dennis Lehane books are proving worthwhile reads. Got halfway through “Shattered” and just could not go any further since it appears to only be a treatise to underscore Hillary’s loss and place the blame solely on her shoulders.

    I am pushing to unhitch myself from the computer as it only serves to add to my already depressed state of mind watching Trump get away with these crimes.

    Comey needs to go. His credibility and self righteousness is deeply troubling. Who can we trust anymore when it appears that almost everyone is lying.

    The days ahead appear to be getting darker.

    • janicen says:

      Yeah, Pat. I’m starting to lose my fire. We can protest, resist, campaign, and vote all we want but as long as the actual voting processed is rigged, and it appears more and more that it is, the fascists are going to continue to steal elections. There is not an ounce of moral fiber or love of country in the Republican party. Trump was committing impeachable offenses the moment he was inaugurated and yet, where are the hearings? Where are the investigations? I can’t believe we allowed our country to be taken over like this.

    • dakinikat says:

      Yeah, How do we get rid of Comey with the insane clown posse in charge of our government?

  2. janicen says:

    When I think of that son-of-a-bitch Comey sitting up there with that troubled look on his face saying “Lordy, it was such a hard decision…” I get sick to my stomach. Fuck you, Comey, you lying, treasonous piece of shit.

    • NW Luna says:

      Let me yell that right along with you! “Fuck you to hell, James Comey!”

    • Enheduanna says:

      I’m right there with you janicen. Comey has ruined his reputation beyond repair. Zero credibility (loved Feinstein’s disgusted looks with him the other day). I have no sympathy at all. The sooner he is gone from his position the better for this country.

    • Fannie says:

      You know, I’ve been in the process of packing and getting ready for my move. I had to go change my address at several locations, and had lunch. I came home, let the dog in, and he went into my bathroom and got water from the toilet all over the place. I didn’t realize it till I stepped in the water, and screamed shit. Ran out, pass the living room, and saw the headlines, Comey fired. And I yelled OH Shit……..and I shouted out Comey you are fired, because of Russia, and now who in the fuck is going to fight Russia. I am so sick of all this shit from Trump. What do you say, he’ll rehire Comey, but in another position. The greatest crime of all is Donald Trump and his connections via his campaign, and Putin, and all the skin that he has in the game with those he has appointed in his administration. Time for the sonvabitches to leap that tall building, Trump Tower!

  3. bostonboomer says:

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  4. NW Luna says:

    Very off thread, and it’s from the NYT, but excellent piece on the tax write-off for well-off people.

    “Do you know what the mortgage-interest deduction is?” I asked.

    “I don’t,” she said. “I’m sorry.”

    After I explained what it is, she asked, “Why don’t they spend it on lower-income housing?”

    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/05/09/magazine/how-homeownership-became-the-engine-of-american-inequality.html?partner=socialflow&smid=tw-nytmag&smtyp=cur&referer=

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    The death of the Penn State fraternity student which led to an 18 member indictment is a perfect example of a metaphor for what is happening to this country today.

    Eighteen students stood around for hours allowing another student to die without one of them lifting a finger to call for help. To cover their tracks they let the young man suffer for hours as they continued to party and refused to call 911.

    The collective thinking of these young men is deeply troubling. What kind of upbringing did they have that would have led to turning their backs on someone needing help?

    No different than those 217 members of congress who have voted to suspend healthcare assistance to those in need.

    I see little that separates this behavior from one elected group with those undergraduates as each turns a blind eye to those in need.

    • janicen says:

      My daughter’s school had only honors fraternities where invitation and entry was contingent upon the student’s academic performance, and a couple public service sororities. No fraternities. As far as I’m concerned, other than honors fraternities, all others should be banned. They all haze. The pressure is enormous on pledges to keep hazing rituals secret because revealing the secret means they will be ousted from the fraternity and blacklisted from all others. My friend’s son is in a frat at a highly regarded university and, although the son would not discuss what the hazing practice was, he admitted to my friend that there was one. My friend inadvertently let that slip in front of another frat member and he said his son became very angry with him and now won’t discuss anything about the frat with him. He said it’s the first time something has come between them and caused a wedge in their relationship. Some of these fraternities are nothing more than cults.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        I always believed that the sole purpose was to be able to get wasted and discriminate. Other than that what do they really stand for?

        Kids that age, male or female, leaving home for the first time, show little common sense when alcohol is present. They indulge their “freedom” through casual sex, barfing their brains out, and behaving like out of control toddlers.

        Hazing practices border on cruelty and obscenity while the parents pay the bill for the privilege.

        • jan says:

          Also, forcing someone to drink lots of alcohol in a short space to time? Haven’t these idiots heard about alcohol poisoning. Just about a case of homicide to me.

  6. janicen says:

    Billionaire Robert Mercer is Trump’s main U.S. backer. He’s being sued by one of his former employees. From the article:

    Mercer said the U.S. had started going in the wrong direction “after the passage of the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s,” according to the complaint. Mercer also said that black Americans “were doing fine” in the late 1950s and are the “only racist people remaining in the U.S.,” according to the complaint.

    This is who is influencing the White House.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-05-08/trump-backer-mercer-sued-by-employee-fired-after-speaking-out

    • Enheduanna says:

      I don’t understand what it is about being vulgarly rich that makes you think you should rule the world. I guess if you are an authoritarian and rich, you turn into one of these guys.

  7. NW Luna says:

    Great post, BB. I was up late, not sleepy, unsettled and seething after hearing calm, intelligent, focused, heart-in-the-right-place Hon. Sally Yates eviscerate slimy Republicans. And plainspoken frowning Clapper, serving Bush & Obama admins, gruffly and forthrightly dissing the Trump admin for their badness.

    Caught the first couple of hrs of Twitterverse curses sent about Comey for his bare-faced lying about Hillary’s emails (none of which were marked classified when sent) on Huma’s computer. He’s either clumsily inept or ineptly devious or both.

    Makes one think about how much havoc — both through intention and through clumsiness — most men cause when they get involved in politics. I don’t think they are well equipped for it. Obviously they should leave governing to the likes of Hillary and Sally.

  8. dakinikat says:

  9. dakinikat says:

    WTF?

    • Enheduanna says:

      I’m sure tRump’s private lawyer is AOK, above-board and totally ethical. And a letter should do it. Nothing else required.

      Trump doesn’t have business dealings IN Russia – he just launders billions of dollars for them over here. and has been for decades probably.

      • NW Luna says:

        Riiiiiight, Mr. Trump. Nada. Nothing. Nyet, nyet, nyet.

        Except for all that blabbering you and the rest of your family did that’s already been documented.

  10. Enheduanna says:

    Do NOT read this if you are sipping anything near your keyboard or have a tendency toward apoplectic seizures:

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-team-marks-6-month-election-anniversary-vowing-air-video-clinton-campaigns-concession-call-171259646.html

    I got that via Shakesville.

  11. quixote says:

    This is a bit off-topic, but you have to read this hilarious, “very serious” analysis of those weird centrist voters in France. Done in the style of Dump voter analysis.

  12. bostonboomer says:

    NYT has published an op-ed that calls abortion “killing,” and says it’s “dehumanizing” to call abortion an economic issue.

    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/05/09/opinion/the-problem-with-linking-abortion-and-economics.html?emc=edit_tnt_20170509&nlid=57494874&tntemail0=y&_r=0&referer=

    • quixote says:

      I just wrote a post on this because it makes me so mad (over at my site, http://www.molvray.com/acidtest ).

      This is about who owns women’s bodies.

      If it’s not women, then they’re promoting slavery. That’s the definition, goddamn it. You don’t own your own body.

      And it is NOT about life. If it was, you and I could be hauled off the street to provide tissue-matched kidneys to somebody who’ll die without one.

      It’s about women counting for less than fetuses because they’re not actually supposed to own themselves.

      Or, as Dak said it better: Grrrr.

    • NW Luna says:

      Grrrr. They are confusing a clump of cells with what might possibly, but not definitely, develop out of that clump of cells after much time, effort, money, strain, limits, and possibly damage to the woman’s health, ability to make a living independently, and even her life.

      Think it’s so simple, NYT? Then you can damn well incubate this clump of cells yourself.

      • quixote says:

        What’s since come out is that the author of that trash fire owns a (or a series of?) “crisis pregnancy center(s)”. So she’s def got a dog in that hunt.

        So let’s see, so far the NYT helped start the Iraq War, helped get the Dump installed, hired a climate change denialist to maunder on about bothsiderism, and now they’re promoting women-as-Handmaids.

        If there’s a civilization left, it’ll be interesting to see what new hell they come up with next.

  13. bostonboomer says:

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    • dakinikat says:

      Yeah. Well, Jeff Sessions couldn’t write it. He lied to the Senate too … so, let’s see …

      • dakinikat says:

        and it was noticed …

  14. bostonboomer says:

    Trump just fired James Comey.

  15. dakinikat says:

  16. Boo Radly says:

    Jeffrey Toobin, on CNN is calling this FOUL, not acceptable. His hair is on fire 🔥- I did not think Toobin had it in him. He brought up Nixon’s firing of Archibald Cox in 1973. Reason given by DD FBI – last years July comments – makes no sense……what a nightmare.

  17. bostonboomer says:

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  18. Fannie says:

    This is what Nixon did!

  19. dakinikat says:

  20. Fannie says:

    After listening to Rachel Maddow, who in the hell leaked his firing to the media. She said he was in L.A., and heard it on the news! Who did that? Next question, who is going to do anything about it?

  21. Fannie says:

    Another thing, listen to Hanity on Fox News……….It’s all about Hillary Clinton and Putin!

  22. MsMass says:

    Once again- why didn’t Obama fire Comey last summer? Why didn’t Obama make a big deal about the Russians and Trump before the election? Why didn’t he do all he could to prevent this catastrophe? No, Obama- just smile and wave and remain calm.POS!