Friday Reads: A Steady Stream of Leaks Emanating from the FBI

Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer on the streets of NYC

Good Afternoon!!

I’m filling in for Dakinikat, who is trying to wrap up her grades today. There was so much news yesterday, but today is Friday and there is likely to be more coming out based on what’s happened the past few Fridays.

Already this morning, Trump has threatened former FBI director James Comey on Twitter and claimed the Russia investigation is a story made up by Democrats. In addition, Trump basically incriminated himself in a strange-but-true interview with NBC’s Lester Holt yesterday.

The Washington Post: The Daily 202: Trump’s warning to Comey deepens doubts about his respect for the rule of law.

The biggest news out of Donald Trump’s Thursday interview with NBC was his confession that the Russia investigation was on his mind when he fired FBI director James Comey. Undercutting 48 hours of denials by his aides, the president said: “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 that they should have won.’”

But what may ultimately get Trump into bigger trouble is his story about Comey assuring him he was not under investigation during a one-on-one dinner at the White House. Lester Holt asked the president to elaborate on his claim, made in the letter firing Comey, that he’d been told three times he was not under federal investigation. “He wanted to stay at the FBI, and I said I’ll, you know, consider and see what happens,” Trump said. “But we had a very nice dinner, and at that time he told me, ‘You are not under investigation.’” (Watch a 13-minute video of Holt’s sit-down here.)

It would be a big dang deal if the FBI director was discussing an ongoing investigation with the president — generally prohibited by Justice Department policy — at the same time he was also asking to keep his job.

Naturally, the leaks are coming thick and fast out of the FBI.

The New York Times: In a Private Dinner, Trump Demanded Loyalty. Comey Demurred.

Only seven days after Donald J. Trump was sworn in as president, James B. Comey has told associates, the F.B.I. director was summoned to the White House for a one-on-one dinner with the new commander in chief.

The conversation that night in January, Mr. Comey now believes, was a harbinger of his downfall this week as head of the F.B.I., according to two people who have heard his account of the dinner.

As they ate, the president and Mr. Comey made small talk about the election and the crowd sizes at Mr. Trump’s rallies. The president then turned the conversation to whether Mr. Comey would pledge his loyalty to him.

Mr. Comey declined to make that pledge. Instead, Mr. Comey has recounted to others, he told Mr. Trump that he would always be honest with him, but that he was not “reliable” in the conventional political sense.

Unreal.

By Mr. Comey’s account, his answer to Mr. Trump’s initial question apparently did not satisfy the president, the associates said. Later in the dinner, Mr. Trump again said to Mr. Comey that he needed his loyalty.

Mr. Comey again replied that he would give him “honesty” and did not pledge his loyalty, according to the account of the conversation.

But Mr. Trump pressed him on whether it would be “honest loyalty.”

“You will have that,” Mr. Comey told his associates he responded.

NBC News: My Dinner With Comey: Current and Former FBI Officials Dispute Trump Account of Meeting With FBI Director.

One day after the acting attorney general warned the White House that its national security adviser was subject to blackmail, the president summoned the FBI director to dinner at the White House, sources close to James Comey told NBC News….

It’s not known whether the men talked about national security adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn had been interviewed by the FBI a few days before, on Jan. 24 — grilled about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak….

Trump suggested, in an exclusive interview Thursday with NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, that he had the FBI’s Russia collusion investigation on his mind when he decided to remove Comey.

“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 that they should have won,'” Trump said.

Trump gave Holt an entirely different account of the dinner, saying that Comey requested it to seek job security, and told the president he was not under investigation.

None of that is true, Comey’s associates insist.

A former senior FBI official said Comey would never have told the president he was not under investigation — contradicting what Trump said.

“He tried to stay away from it [the Russian-ties investigation],” said the former official, who worked closely with Comey and keeps in touch with him. “He would say, ‘Look sir, I really can’t get into it, and you don’t want me to.'”

 

CBS News reports on another leak: Source: There is “whole lot of interfering” in Russia investigation.

Although President Trump has now stated and written that fired FBI Director James Comey told him on three separate occasions that he was not the subject of an investigation, sources cast doubt on that claim.

It would be out of character for Comey to have made that statement even once, much less three times, to the president, one law enforcement source told CBS News. Along with his firing, the source noted a high level of “interfering” in the Russia probe.

As for the White House assertions that “countless” FBI rank-and-file employees wanted Comey out, the source said that was a “load of cr*p” to think that agents wanted to see him ousted. That sentiment is shared by acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe in less colorful language. He told a congressional panel Thursday, “Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does to this day. We are a large organization. We are 36,500 people across this country, across this globe. we have a diversity of opinions about many things, but I can confidently tell you that the majority, the vast majority of employees enjoyed a deep and positive connection to Director Comey.”

This was the case in spite of the divided opinion within the agency over Comey’s July 2016 announcement that he would not recommend Hillary Clinton be charged for mishandling classified information, in the investigation into her use of a private server for her email.

Within the FBI, the Russia investigation is considered to be “a crisis,” the source said, and “there is a whole lot of interfering.” The succession of events surrounding Comey’s firing is not considered to be a coincidence by the agency. In the week before he was terminated, Comey asked Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein for additional resources to pursue the Russia investigation.

I cannot wait until Comey testifies again in public.

At Lawfare, Benjamin Wittes writes that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein must resign.

“He made—he made a recommendation,” Donald Trump said yesterday of his Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein in an interview with NBC News. “He’s highly respected, very good guy, very smart guy. The Democrats like him; the Republicans like him. He made a recommendation, but regardless of the recommendation, I was going to fire Comey.

”There it is, directly from the presidential mouth: Trump happily traded the reputation of Rosenstein, who began the week as a well-respected career prosecutor, for barely 24 hours of laughably transparent talking points in the news cycle. The White House sent out person after person—including the Vice President—to insist that Rosenstein’s memo constituted the basis for the President’s action against the FBI director. The White House described a bottoms-up dissatisfaction with Comey’s leadership, which Rosenstein’s memo encapsulated and to which the President acceded. And then, just as casually as Trump and his people set Rosenstein up as the bad guy for what was obviously a presidential decision into whose service Rosenstein had been enlisted, Trump revealed that Rosenstein was, after all, nothing more than a set piece…. [read the full excerpt from the interview at the link.]

Note that Trump did not merely reveal Rosenstein as a set piece here; he revealed him as a set piece in Trump’s own effort to frustrate the Russia investigation. The story as told by the president to NBC now is that Trump decided to fire Comey in connection with saying to himself that the Russia investigation was a made up story, and that it was in that context that he got Rosenstein to write a pretextual memo….

Trump’s idea of correcting the record was to say publicly exactly the thing about a law enforcement officer that makes his continued service in office impossible: That Trump had used his deputy attorney general as window dressing on a pre-cooked political decision to shut down an investigation involving himself, a decision for which he needed the patina of a high-minded rationale.

Once the President has said this about you—a law enforcement officer who works for him and who promised the Senate in confirmation hearings you would show independence—you have nothing left. These are the costs of working for Trump, and it took Rosenstein only two weeks to pay them.

The only decent course now is to name a special prosecutor and then resign.

I have no doubt that more news will be breaking all day long and into tonight. I’m already exhausted. What stories are you following today?

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20 Comments on “Friday Reads: A Steady Stream of Leaks Emanating from the FBI”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Buzzfeed: Trump Gets Two Scoops Of Ice Cream Because He Is The President!
    But not before you finish your veggies!

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/juliareinstein/donny-two-scoops?utm_term=.thdYbNQ2B#.uwB5Rxg4z

  3. NW Luna says:

  4. quixote says:

    “Trump’s warning to Comey deepens doubts about his respect for the rule of law.”

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahahaha! … Hee heeee heeeeeee. Hoo.

  5. NW Luna says:

    The Last Person You’d Expect to Die in Childbirth

    The U.S. has the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world, and 60 percent are preventable. The death of Lauren Bloomstein, a neonatal nurse, in the hospital where she worked illustrates a profound disparity: The health care system focuses on babies but often ignores their mothers.

    https://www.propublica.org/article/die-in-childbirth-maternal-death-rate-health-care-system

    • Fannie says:

      To know, to know, and then to do something about it. I am glad to hear families, professionals, and countries are dedicated to help women before, during, and after pregnancies. We should have silver stars, for our country but we don’t. Seems like a lot of people have chalked it up, as what will be will be. But that’s not the case. Women are bringing children into the world, and not much voice, not much in the way of funds, and special care is given to their needs.

      I really heart you for sharing this. I too remember after my C-section, and complications, and being wheeled into emergency for possible exploratory surgery because of a blockage. I thought as my pain was intense, and I looked into the lights, and my head was spinning, this is it, I might not make it. My body turned around in about three days, but I’ll never forget it. I wrote everything down. I had asked for tubal after the c-section, and learned months later it wasn’t a tubal but a complete removal.

      Back before I had children, I was director for March of Dimes. I selected a woman who gave birth to a daughter, and she suffered from diabetes, and had preeclampsia. The daughter was my Poster Child for MOD. Her mother came to me for help, and I will never forget my love and involvement for the family. I still keep in touch with her. You know, that was over 40 years ago, why are we not advancing, it tears me up. I just kept starring at the photos in this article, thinking of the fathers, and kept thinking that we don’t have to make these kind of mistakes. It’s just bad all the way around. I hope everyone takes the time to read this article, and share it. Things are NOT okay with our sisters, and families.

      Like a couple sky dancers, I am moving on into another chapter of my life. It’s unbelievable, but I am readying myself for our new home. And the neighbors here, well, most of them have been super. One came by just last night, and I love this lady, she’s raised four daughters, and we connected. She told me, Fran you are the glue that held this neighbor together for the last five years…….being friendly to us, made all of us better. Then another fairly new neighbor from down the road came up, and I introduced them. I told her, this lady right here, is a midwife, she has helped women have babies, and get the resources they need, to this day she still holds those little babies, and I hope the two of you become good friends. Another lady came over, and she is a social worker, and I really admire her too. She has a house chock full of kids, hers, his, and there’s. All these women work, and are humming away with their lives, and I need to let them know, that they are going to all be okay. They weave the cloth of life, and yes they are sky dancers too.

      I just wanted to take a few minutes, to thank you Luna, you always help make a difference. We know that Dak has a wonderful Doctor daughter, and that means a lot to us, because she is going to help make this right, and bring the needs of birthing mothers to our attention. And demand better services in the medical field for women.

      • NW Luna says:

        Fannie, thank you, may you always have health and caring neighbors wherever you live.

  6. NW Luna says:

    Malware, described in leaked NSA documents, cripples computers worldwide

    Malicious software that blocks access to computers is spreading swiftly across the world, snarling critical systems in hospitals, telecommunications and corporate offices, apparently with the help of a software vulnerability originally discovered by the National Security Agency.

    The reports of the malware spread began in Britain, where the National Health Service (NHS) reported serious problems throughout Friday. But government officials and cybersecurity experts later described a far more extensive problem growing across the Internet and unbounded by national borders. Europe and Latin America were especially hard hit.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/hospitals-across-england-report-it-failure-amid-suspected-major-cyber-attack/2017/05/12/84e3dc5e-3723-11e7-b373-418f6849a004_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-banner-main_britain-240pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.a5de517afd92#comments

  7. Minkoff Minx says:

    Dammit. I posted a comment earlier today when you published the post and it looks like it never posted.

    I was saying that the loyalty statements from Kelly Ann have new meaning now with all the timelines and news about dinners with tRump and loyalty oaths.

  8. Minkoff Minx says:

    Uh, I guess tRump won?

  9. Boo Radly says:

    Read this morning Comey will testify only in public – smart move. Only 13% of GOPs think tRumps firingof Comey is a bad move. clearly, tRump is truly representive of the GOPs. Shocking that these criminals have taken over our country. So depressing.

  10. Fannie says:

    Trump summoned Comey to dinner at the WH, and he accepted knowing full well what we the people would be thinking. Les we forget when the hammer came down on Hillary Clinton, for Bill Clinton’s accidently meeting up at the tarmac, and inquired about how the family was doing with a new grandson. The media seems to be saying that Trump’s dinner was in poor judgement.. But when it was Bill Clinton, it was “obstruction of justice”.

    This dinner was held one day after Sally Yates disclosed the facts about Flynn to the White House Counsel. I don’t know if we would have known about this “SUMMONED DINNER” if Trump wouldn’t have spilled it out in the video early this week.

    It will be up to us to make sure that the media and that this dinner with Trump is also “an obstruction of justice, and should included in trail of evidence in the investigation of Trump”.

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/05/12/did-donald-trump-s-dinner-with-fbi-boss-james-comey-break-the-law