Trump and Sessions

Most of this has already been said in the press and on news commentary shows.  The Attorney General is nominated by the president, serves at the pleasure of the president and may be fired by president at any time.  The Department of Justice must at the same time conduct investigations independently of the president.   AG Jeff Sessions, whether you like him or hate him, has focused on areas which  are of high concern to President Trump- illegal immigrants in the US and drug trafficking.   He is likely will prosecute anyone who  illegally  discloses  information, when investigations yield compelling evidence.

Sessions has been attacked in tweets by Trump, who said he is very disappointed at the AG.   Commentators believe he is trying to have Sessions resign rather than fire him.

The attorney general  must be loyal to the Constitution and the rule of law.  What Sessions won’t do, is make unwarranted accusations and use the Department for partisan purposes.    He was involved in the election campaign of Donald Trump, so it is likely he had close contact with Paul Manafort and others under investigation.   To his credit, he recused himself from the Russian  investigation, so his activities could be investigated without any suggestion of impropriety.   This strengthens the public perception of the integrity of the investigation.

Trump seems obsessed about leaks and the reporting of these leaks in the media.  He wasn’t at all concerned about this when leaks were coming out on a daily basis on Hillary Clinton.  Eric Holder had an active investigation on Julian Assange, who runs Wikileaks.  If he ever steps in the US, hopefully he will be arrested.   Charges against  Edward Snowden have already been filed under the Obama administration.   Should Snowden or Julian Assange ever step foot in the US,  you can be sure that they will be prosecuted under the  full force of the Justice Department..  It makes no difference if this occurs under a Democratic or Republican administration.

But, what Trump has in mind, is the chatter that goes on between White House insiders and the media.  Also, as his popularity is sinking, he has revived the campaign promise to go after violations of the law of Hillary Clinton for disclosure of classified information.   Similar attacks have been launch against FBI Director Comey.  The Department of Justice has access to all the information gathered by the FBI,  and if they feel there is a compelling case, with a reasonable chance of prevailing in their charges,  I am sure Jeff Sessions will not hesitate for one minute to bring charges against Clinton or Comey.   However,  he will not use his office to make frivolous accusations against them.   He will not turn the Department of Justice into a bully pulpit.

I can only surmise that the only reason the Department of Justice had not pressed charges, is because there is insufficient evidence of violation of the law.    I have provided a link below on some myths about what is considered  confidential information.   One  popular myth is  that confidential information should be easily recognized by its subject matter alone and need not be so designated .

Trump was at the Boy Scout Jamboree, and treated it like some kind of campaign rally.   The first two qualities in the Boy Scout oath are Trustworthy and Loyal.   I believe both Jeff Sessions and  FBI Director Comey  through their decades of government service are exemplary  of these qualities.   They are loyal to the people’s representatives who through the ages, created and expanded the Justice Department and the FBI.  No one made the government exempt in administrating their duties as this would undermine our democratic process.  They were not going to allow the integrity be diminished by the political desires of the president of the United States.

Link:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-classified-information/2015/09/18/a164c1a4-5d72-11e5-b38e-06883aacba64_story.html?utm_term=.e610934bea2e

Link on Jeff Sessions:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Sessions

Stay tuned,

Dave

PS:  Trump’s approval rating is 37% according to the latest Gallup poll.

Republican Posturing on the Mueller Investigation

You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history – led by some very bad and conflicted people! #MAGA,” Trump tweeted last Thursday.

I don’t subscribe to Twitter.   I hope this is the last time I have to refer to anyone’s tweets.

Republican’s are posturing on questions about  Robert Mueller’s investigation.  Is it going to be impartial?  Is Trump going to be vindicated?

I believe the responses from Republicans follow  these approaches:  (1) Duck the question entirely,  (2) Call it a witch hunt or rigged investigation,  as if Democrats had wormed their way into Jeff Session’s Justice Department  or (3) State that the process must continue, it will be thorough and fair, and will vindicate  Trump.

First, how to duck the question. It is easy to  state,   “I’m not going there”, or “It’s far too early.”  Then add how special counsel in the past, such as Ken Starr’s investigation of Bill Clinton, seemed to never end.

A variation on the first approach is to bring in a boat load of accusations made against Hillary Clinton,  and state that if an investigation is needed, it is of all the wrong doing by her.    Of course, Jeff Sessions can investigate Hillary Clinton or anyone he wants to.

The second way, the full frontal assault (Newt Gingrich approach) and  slam Mueller for hiring biased staff.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich believes special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation is a “rigged game” because most of Mueller’s lawyers have donated to Democrats. On Tuesday, Gingrich criticized Mueller for not having pro-Trump attorneys on his team and addressed reports that three members of Mueller’s team have donated to Democrats. One lawyer even defended the Clinton Foundation. “He apparently couldn’t find a single pro-Trump attorney to hire, and I just think that’s a rigged game, and I think that it’s a mistake to pretend this is going to be some neutral investigation,” Gingrich said on CBS This Morning. “I don’t give the benefit of the doubt to somebody who could only hire Democrats but claims we ought to trust him.”

This claim of bias is obviously weak as observers say that Mueller is staffing up with an all star group of lawyers.     He knows Washington, and this is a super high stakes investigation.

The final approach is championed by Marco Rubio,  who I believe still has presidential aspirations.   Marco stated the following,  just after the Trump Cuban-American love fest for Fidel haters:

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Sunday defended special counsel Robert Mueller’s “stellar” reputation and ability to “conduct a full and fair and thorough investigation” on possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

“I believe he is going to conduct a full and fair and thorough investigation that we should have confidence in,” Rubio told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I’ll continue to believe that based on his reputation and years of service to our country unless there’s any evidence to the contrary,” Rubio said.

Rubio’s comments contradict recent efforts by President Trump’s legal team to attack Mueller’s integrity as special counsel. The team is raising concerns that Mueller’s prior relationship with former FBI Director James Comey is a conflict in his ability to lead the investigation.

Trump’s legal team has left open the possibility Trump will fire Mueller as well.

Rubio also stated that he felt in the end, Trump would be cleared of any wrong doing.

Republicans can decide whether to go with Newt’s attack on Robert Mueller’s staff, or Rubio’s faith in the system.

During all this, the Democrats are probably best to say as little as possible.  They wanted an independent investigation, and they got one.  Beyond this, they should just keep their mouth shut about the ultimate outcome.  They should not respond to Trump’s persistent tweets.   If you are winning, don’t gloat.

It is exactly in line with Rubio, to just let the facts speak for themselves.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Comey is a leaker and a liar, NOT!

Comey was a private citizen when he provided information to a friend on a memo prepared  as a personal record of a discussion he had with President Trump.   This does not mean the memo itself was classified information.  He did not commit any crime.  If he did,  Attorney General Jeff Sessions would have thrown the book at him in an instant. Comey’s  version of events of his discussions in the oval office differs with President Trump’s version.   I believe Comey.  Both Republicans and Democrats have given James Comey high marks as honest and a straight shooter.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Comey’s testimony

The manner in which the Senate Intelligence Committee held its hearing was excellent.  I think the really critical point came, as one senator asked in essence, who should we believe?  Comey appeared at first to duck the question, then came back with an excellent reply, that in court, jurists rely on the totality of evidence before making a judgment.   The really critical meeting, now called the Valentine day meeting,  took place with only Comey and Trump present.   Comey says Trump said he hoped the FBI Director could let the Flynn investigation go.   Trump denies this discussion took place.   I believe Comey, just based on  Trump’s history.   But,  with just the two of them talking,  this is not going to be enough for impeachment or a criminal charge of obstruction of justice.   There was no follow-up by Trump to see the investigation of Flynn was stopped.

Now, my prediction.   The special prosecutor will charge Flynn with lying to FBI investigators, and numerous other offenses.  This will follow with a full presidential pardon for General Flynn.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

Day 3 after Comey’s Firing

Trump’s very short notice on the firing, left many thinking the Sessions/ Rosenstein letters from the Dept of Justice was the pretense, rather than the reason for Comey’s firing.

The leaks from the White House are taken far more seriously than Trump’s notice, because they make sense.  Comey wasn’t political.  He was excessively truthful, experienced  and articulate.  These were not redeeming qualities in the mind of the President.

Why are the two letters from the Department of Justice considerable laughable?   Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein’s letter states two reasons for firing Comey all stemming from his July 5, 2016 press conference.  First was that he usurped his authority by the public announcement clearing Clinton of criminal wrongdoing.   Didn’t stop Trump,  fellow Republicans in Congress, and a half dozen commentators on Fox News from slamming Clinton and calling her a crook for the next 5 months.  In fact, Trump was attacking AG Loretta Lynch for her meeting with Bill Clinton on her plane.  Trump  wanted   to show the American people, that both the FBI and  DOJ could not be trusted for a fair evaluation of the Clinton investigation.

Rosenstein did not say that Comey broke any rule or law, only a tradition not to comment on cases until there is a review by the Justice Department.  Comey told the Senate Committee that he decided to come public after there were very unique circumstances. His decision was  related to  concern for the public’s perception of the DOJ’s impartiality.

That public perception of FBI/DOJ  cover up  was created and promoted by  Trump, and many Republicans in Congress.   Many in Congress were calling for an independent Special Investigator which would delay the conclusions of the investigation for months.  FBI/DOJ cover up  went in high gear on June 30, 2016  with the chance meeting between Lynch and Bill Clinton, on a Lynch’s private plane.  Trump accused AG Loretta Lynch of lying when she said they just talked about golf, grandchildren and other pleasantries.  He said it was BS and it was really about the email investigation.

Clinton/ Lynch Chance Meeting /  CNN  Comments

 

Now,  the second of Rosenstein’s reasons is really an over the top, piece of absurdity, only a lawyer could make.   He attacks  Comey’s derogatory comments about Hillary Clinton.  Under a normal environment, the FBI must be very careful of what is said.    However, this was hardly a normal environment, as the public was being informed every time they turned on television, that Hillary was either completely innocent or totally guilty of criminal activity.

It was great to have the FBI Director Comey at the end of his investigation to publically state to the public what exactly the FBI had discovered and had not discovered.   To do less, would have been concealment of facts to the public.  Either Clinton or Trump was going to be President, and had Comey delayed what had been finally concluded, even for one day,  would have given the public the impression of a cover up.

Of course, the real benefactor of Attorney’s derogatory  comment, was candidate Trump, who for the next six months would lamblast Clinton for her extremely reckless handling of the emails.  It is laughable that Trump would fire an FBI Directory, who at least in this aspect, helped him immensely become elected.

Comey had two messages for the American public in July 5, 2016.  The first was that Clinton was wrong in setting up an independent server for her email, and second, this activity was not at the level  of wrong doing that would be considered criminal.   The Department of Justice could have overruled Comey’s conclusion.  In fact, the DOJ has the FBI file, and they could always press charges.

So, forget this Sessions/ Rosenstein letter.    Trump never made much of it.    Comey was too straight forward, too honest, too articulate and too accurate.  No marketing skills whatsoever.  That’s what I liked about Comey.

Now,  Trump is searching for that one individual with less integrity, and more loyalty, and will still be approved by the Senate as Director of the FBI.  Good luck!

The firing  was, and still is about the Russian investigation.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

 

 

I Like Comey

Trump’s story doesn’t wash.   This isn’t about anything that happened in 2016.   It is the Russian  investigation and Trump’s involvement.  I’m pretty mad.

To get himself cleared,  Trump is likely going to put a patsy  in charge of the FBI.. Heard yesterday from the White House,  “Hey Kellyanne, you know anything about law enforcement.  I think I’ve got an opening.”

I am hoping the American voters finds this firing as offensive as I do.

You can search my prior blog on James Comey.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Official letters from the White House

 

 

Stupid Trump Claims – Part III

The Clinton crew gave more than $675,000 to the wife of the deputy director of the FBI.”

Factcheck.org concludes:
Trump says the “Clinton crew,” but he isn’t talking about Clinton or anyone in Clinton’s campaign. He is talking about Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime friend and supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton. A political action committee controlled by McAuliffe and the Virginia Democratic Party combined donated more than $675,000 to Dr. Jill McCabe, who unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the Virginia Senate in 2015.
McAuliffe’s PAC, Common Good VA, made other large donations in 2015: $803,500 to state Senate candidate Jeremy McPike, who won his election, and $781,500 to Daniel Gecker, who lost. The big donations were part of an all-out effort by the Democratic governor to help his party gain control of the Senate in the November 2015 elections. That effort failed, and the makeup of the Senate remained unchanged with the Republicans holding a narrow 21 to 19 advantage.
Trump focuses on the donations to McCabe, because she is the wife of Andrew McCabe, who at the time of the donations was either head of the FBI field office in Washington, D.C., or assistant deputy director of the FBI. Andrew McCabe was not involved in the FBI investigation of Clinton’s emails when his wife was running for office. He was promoted to deputy director in February 2016, and at that time he assumed “an oversight role in the investigation into Secretary Clinton’s emails,” according to a statement from an FBI spokesman.
There is no evidence that Clinton had any knowledge of the donations or that they were made to influence the FBI investigation of her handling of classified information. (See “Clinton’s Connection to FBI Official.”)
Trump assembles — or rather disassembles — these half-truths and innuendos to reach his shaky conclusion that “this is bigger than Watergate.” That’s his opinion, but at least one person who was involved in Watergate disagrees.
John Dean, who served as White House counsel to Nixon from 1970 to 1973. wrote an op-ed in the New York Times calling the Watergate comparison “nonsense.”
“Only someone who knows nothing about the law, and the darkest moment of our recent political history, would see a parallel between Nixon’s crimes and Mrs. Clinton’s mistakes,” Dean said, noting that “some four dozen Nixon aides and associates were convicted of or pleaded guilty to criminal misconduct, including me.”

What happens next Comey-wise?

Watching too much CNN recently.   But, what pretty much makes sense, is nothing happens.  Comey  can refuse to answer all questions of an ongoing investigation, so bringing him in front of a subcommittee would be pure political theater.  He could refuse to appear, and be served with a subpoena.

Director Comey could make a mad dash to complete the investigation in the next 5 days- but experts are saying this is not realistic.   So,  nothing is likely to be resolved before the election.  Afterwards, if Clinton is elected, it is a super mess, particularly if Trump fails to concede.

The reason emails were sent to Hillary’s aide laptop, was so she could print them off and give them to Hillary.  If a classified email was on Huma Abedin’s laptop, and subsequently used by Anthony Wiener,  all this was unintentional.   Director Comey will not recommend prosecution for Huma Adelin, Anthony Wiener nor Hillary Clinton IF  classified information not previously discovered on the server  is found on the laptop.    The information was not where it was supposed to be. But there certainly was no public disclosure of classified information, only the unintentional mishandling of information, which Huma nor Anthony Wiener likely did not know was classified, and will not be charged with any crimes.

So I think this is really a lot of fuss by the media over very little.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

Crazy, Crazy, Crazy

Comey sent a letter to 8 chairmen of committees in both the Senate and House of Representatives on new information which could possibly affect the email investigation.

Newsweek filled in a lot of the details:

Newsweek story

As the Newsweek story explains,  the movement of emails to various accounts by Clinton’s aide, Huma Abedin,  was done simply to make it easier to print them, as Clinton preferred paper copies.  She had been previously interviewed by the FBI.

It gets really messy, really quick.  Some  of the emails are on a laptop shared by Anthony Weiner, who was being investigated for sending sexual text messages to a 15 year old girl.    Adelin and Weiner have separated.   The FBI confiscated this laptop.

Now,  Newsweek states that Comey’s statement was not partisan, but a horribly mishandled one.   I agree with the first part and disagree with the latter.

Hillary’s mis-characterized the situation as she  stated that Comey had sent this letter to the republicans in the House and Senate.  Comey’s letter addressed the chairmen of 8 committees, all of whom are republicans.   It was also forwarded to 8 ranking members, all of whom are democrat. It was sent to these eight committees because they had sought information from the FBI in the past.

Director Comey had no good options, but he picked the best one from the choices he had.   He had testified to Congress that he would investigate any new evidence that emerged.  Congress of course wanted to be kept informed. The details of the investigation could not be included in Comey’s statement, because Anthony Weiner has not been charged with committing any crime.  It would be extremely premature.   Comey issued the statement because he had to.  He knew the possibility for leaks was real strong, and then any statement would look like he had been hiding something to help Hillary’s election.  If he had included any information in the email, this would have been immediate cause for eight committees to investigate.

I suspect that Comey will not release anything more, until a final concluding letter to Congress.    So,  Hillary’s campaign is likely to be under a cloud of suspicion.

Before Friday’s announcement,  Comey was touted by Republicans  as Hillary’s friend, who  ignored the facts of the case, and  swept the whole thing under the rug.   One day later,  he’s their hero.   Of, course, both are completely false,  and the reputation of the FBI as being apolitical, is intact.  Anyone who can earn such disdain from both Republicans and Democrats must be apolitical, in my opinion.   Comey is not concerned with the election but the integrity of the investigation. Good for him.

Will anything of significance come of this?   I think Newsweek got it right,  if  classified emails were where they never should be, on an aide’s laptop,  and could have been easily shared with her husband at the time,  still there was no intent to disclose confidential information.   So,  without intent, it is all political fodder.

Read the Newsweek article- it’s well done.

Stay tuned,

Dave