Peter Strzok – You’re it

I notice that when people have some trash to get rid of, they tend to dump it somewhere where there is already a lot of trash.  I think Mr. Jeffries got it right:

“There is a criminal investigation into the Trump campaign and possible crimes related to the 2016 presidential election involving collusion with Russian spies to sell out our democracy and hijack the presidency,” said Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York. “My colleagues in the cover-up caucus don’t like that criminal investigation, and therefore, they need to identify a villain. Mr. Strzok, tag, you’re it.”

There about 1,000 summaries of the hearing on the internet, but I still like Mr. Jeffries the best.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Peter Strzok

Most of  Peter Strzok professional career has been spent working for the FBI.  His primary mistake was sending text message to Lisa Page, Special Counsel to the FBI  using a cell phone issued by the FBI.  Their phone messages were discovered, and Peter Strzok was taken off the Mueller investigation.   There were about 7,000 text messages between Page and Strzok and a small fraction of these emails had disparaging comments about Trump.

The Inspector General made a thorough investigation of the Hillary email scandal, and found no bias on the part of Peter Strzok.    Of course Strzok and Page were trying to keep their affair a secret.  The comments were meant to be part of a very  private conversation.    With the release of the text messages, it has become the most public affair ever, and great fodder for Fox News.

Unfortunately,  Strzok’s days at the FBI are probably numbered.  He is likely an excellent FBI investigator, and did nothing wrong in both the email scandal and the Russian probe.    But, the obvious political heat makes him a hot potato.

He is scheduled to testify on Wednesday in a closed session of the House Intelligence Committee, whose chairman Devin Nunes has been in lockstep with Trump.  This committee likely leaked all of Strzok’s text messages before the DOJ decided to release them.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Strzok

 

FBI Honesty and Integrity

I’ve been working my way through the 500 pages of the Inspector General report, and at the same time, listening to FBI Christopher Wray and the Inspector General Michael Horowitz in the congressional hearing.   Occasionally, I listen to Fox News nonsense, to hear Lou Dobbs and Ed Rollins tell me what a horrible state we are in with subversive Democrats pulling the strings, operating in some deep state cabal.

Cabal:   a secret political clique or faction. “a cabal of dissidents” synonyms: clique, faction, coterie, cell, sect, junta, camarilla;

We were doing just fine with James Comey, as Director of the FBI, and Christopher Wray is also very capable. I’ve included Director Wray’s biography.   I think Trump believed he could change the course of the Russian investigation with Comey, and was upset when this wasn’t working.  He won’t have any better success with Wray and can’t afford to fire Wray.

The chief complaint against FBI Director Comey was excessive transparency.  His disclosure to Congress in October 2016  of reopening the email scandal likely  hurt Hillary Clinton’s chances of being elected.   Director Wray spoke about the need for balancing  two essential competing requirements – the need to keep the Congress’s oversight committees informed on FBI work in general, and the need to keep FBI sources and methods confidential during an ongoing investigation.   I call this the simultaneous need for transparency and opaqueness.   At some point, he will be accused of concealment of vital information sought by Congress.  It’s all part of the job.

Finally,  the texting stuff between FBI Special Counsel Lisa Page and FBI agent Peter Strzok.    In hindsight,  the chief crime in all this, was their decision to use FBI issued cell phones to carry on personal conversations.   They did this because they were in a relation and did not want their spouses to know.   In one exchange on Aug. 8, 2016, according to the IG report, Page wrote, “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Strzok’s response: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”    It should be remembered this was supposed to be a personal  private conversation, and joking, exaggeration  or excessive chutzpah are allowed.   The inspector general conducted over 100 interviews,  and ultimately cleared Page and Strzok of any political bias in the decisions they were involved in.

Revealing the personal chatter between these two individuals gets pretty silly at some point.  It was a relationship for god sake- they were sharing intimate secrets and passions.    Peter Strzok by August 2016,  had potentially damning information on Trump’s campaign officials, but it was complicated and highly circumstantial.   If he wanted to, he could have done severe damage to Trump’s campaign.    He and everyone at the FBI kept a tight lid on what they knew at the time.   Strzok chose opaqueness,  as any other decision would compromise his professionalism at the FBI.  Yet, partisan Republican are going after Strzok  big time, because he was part of the Mueller investigation, and the only one they have some dirt on.   He is the Director of Human Resources at the FBI, so there is nothing in his current work they can attack.

Everyone in the FBI is entitled to personal political opinions.  They can love or hate the current or future president.   But, what will not be repeated for a long time, is personal conversations on government issued cell phones.   There is spying on employees at work in private businesses, and cellphones become much more of a liability than an asset.

Director Comey would have been blasted by Republicans for concealment of critical information, had he not gone public with his announcement in July 2016,   Loretta Lynch was also routinely attacked by Fox News and conservatives in Congress in 2016, for what appeared to be a rubber stamp of Comey’s clearing Clinton of wrongdoing.   There wasn’t a winning option in all of this.

Trump has gone off into another orbit on this, saying the IG report exonerates him of firing Comey and that Comey’s conduct was criminal.  Wrong on both accounts.  The firing of Comey was pretty close to obstruction of justice, as Trump was asking for Comey’s loyalty in the investigation of Michael Flynn.   That’s why Comey was fired and not his excessive transparency in July 2016.

What the IG didn’t find is likely why the Democrats are embracing the report.   The IG found no evidence that the political bias of FBI agents had any role in the investigation.   The email investigation was done thoroughly by the FBI.

Bottom line:  All evidence points to an honest and hardworking FBI in 2016, 2017 and we still have one today.

Stay tuned,

Dave

See link below:

Factcheck.org: Trump Misleads on IG Report

Christopher Wray

Director Wray – Wikipedia:

Wray joined the government in 1997 as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. In 2001, he moved to the Justice Department as Associate Deputy Attorney General and Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General.[10]

On June 9, 2003, President George W. Bush nominated Wray to be the 33rd Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department. Wray was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on September 11, 2003.[11][12][13] Wray was Assistant Attorney General from 2003 to 2005, working under Deputy Attorney General James Comey. While heading the Criminal Division, Wray oversaw prominent fraud investigations, including Enron.[10][14] In March 2005, Wray announced that he would resign from his post.[15] His last day at the Justice Department was on May 17, 2005.[citation needed]

In 2005, Wray received the Edmund J. Randolph Award, the Justice Department’s highest award for public service and leadership.

 

 

The Inspector General’s Report on DOJ’s handling of Clinton’s emails

The Inspector General’s report is over 500 pages long, and the average American is likely not going to read any of it.  So,  Republicans and Democrats are going to have a field day, finding their favorite sentences.   If they don’t find what they want, they will invent some things.

I won’t be commenting on the report right away.  I like to wait until the dust settles.

But to give folks an inkling of what’s coming up from the pundits, here are my predictions:

Republicans:  It is a scathing indictment of the FBI rife with political corruption, which did everything they could so Hillary Clinton could get elected.

Democrats:   The report shows the FBI, for the most part, did a thorough and complete investigation.   The disclosure of results should have been done differently.

 A lot of the focus will be on Comey’s  four announcements, which helped and hurt Clinton as follows:   (1) Opening the investigation in mid 2015 (hurt Clinton), (2) Declaring she did nothing criminal in July 2016 (helped and hurt Clinton, because he added her handling of top secret documents was extremely sloppy)   (3) Re-opening the investigation just before the election (hurt Clinton),  (4) Closing the investigation on October 29, 2016 (helped Clinton).

Rob Rosenstein criticized Comey both for actions that hurt Clinton and helped her.    He claimed that Comey had “usurped” the authority of DOJ when he said that no reasonable prosecutor would file criminal charges against Hillary Clinton.   Rumors right now are that the IG report will reach similar conclusions.   I personally think “usurp”  is too strong, and didn’t take into account the massive campaign waged by Trump every day she was the target of an FBI investigation.

Best to wait for the report, and ignore the noise which is “full of sound and fury.”   (thanks WS).

Stay tuned,

Dave

Comey’ Book: A Higher Loyalty

It is number 1 on Amazon’s best seller list.  Amazon was accepting pre-orders, and my copy arrived yesterday as promised.   The White House has made James Comey out to be public enemy #1, but he was well liked under both Republican and Democrats alike.   He was confirmed as FBI Director by the Senate 93 to 1.  I’m not bothering listening to Comey’s interviews, nor the White House or Fox’s  hourly attacks on Comey.  I’m too busy reading his book.   I used to subscribe to a stock advisory newsletter, whose motto was jokingly, “Frequently wrong but never in doubt.”  I think this applies to Trump.    Comey was the exception,  “Frequently right, but usually in doubt.”

The strongest asset of a democracy is an informed public. This is Comey’s memoir from the vantage point of  the highest level of  law investigation and enforcement.  It should be read from cover to cover, ignoring  the noise coming from Washington and the media.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

Slime ball Comey

“James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR. Virtually everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did-until he was, in fact, fired. He leaked CLASSIFIED information, for which he should be prosecuted. He lied to Congress under OATH,” Trump wrote in a statement that stretched across two Twitter posts. “He is a weak and untruthful slime ball who was, as time has proven, a terrible Director of the FBI. His handling of the Crooked Hillary Clinton case, and the events surrounding it, will go down as one of the worst ‘botch jobs’ of history. It was my great honor to fire James Comey!”

James Comey is 57 years old, and I’m certain that he thought his appointment as Director of the FBI would be his last governmental job.  His book, A Higher Loyalty,   is scheduled to be published on April 17, 2018, and I’ve already ordered a copy.    Most people like Trump are responding to short excerpts which have been posted to the Internet.  I shall not enter the fray.  No mosh pits for me, thank you.

James Comey has served four  Presidents:  Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump in leadership positions.  His career has been a steady series of promotions.   His career has been mostly in governmental positions, although he did work in private practice.   After graduating from the University of Chicago, with a law degree, he worked as a law clerk for United States District Judge John M. Walker Jr. in Manhattan.   He joined the  Attorneys Office of the US Southern District Court of New York in 1987.   As a side note, the head of the Southern District Court, Attorney Geoffrey Berman is now considered disloyal (among other things) to Trump after approving the search warrant on Cohen.  Berman was appointed by Trump in January 2018.

There are many achievements of Comey’s career.   When he worked in the Southern District, he  helped prosecute the Gambino crime family .In November 2002, he led the prosecution of three men involved in one of the largest identity fraud cases in American history.[32] The fraud had lasted two years and resulted in thousands of people across the country collectively losing well over $3 million. He also led the indictment of Adelphia Communications founder John Rigas for bank fraud, wire fraud, and securities fraud. Rigas was convicted of the charges in 2004 and in 2005, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. Adelphia Corporation was forced to file for bankruptcy after it acknowledged that it took $3.3 billion in false loans. It was “one of the most elaborate and extensive corporate frauds in United States history.”

The links below, provides more details on the accomplishments of James Comey,  generally working  for the District Courts, the Department of Justice and ultimately the Director of the FBI, as appointed by Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2013.  He was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 93 to 1.    Rand Paul was the lone dissenter, concerned about drone surveillance.  I think the CNN summary of “Who is James Comey” is very interesting and worth reading.    I can see why Republicans might like him,   as he was part of the Whitewater investigation, determining if the Clinton’s broke the law in their Arkansas real estate investigation.

I’ve already covered extensively Comey’s investigation of Clinton’s email server.    I concluded  his actions were appropriate for a truly unique situation, given absolute time constraints, being the US elections and the highly contentious statements by Trump at political rallies.   Comey has explained his actions, which have  at times either upset Republicans or Democrats (never both at the same time),  as he twice opened and closed the email investigation.   Being non-partisan leaves you open to partisan attacks from both sides.  As far as a leaker of information, this did occur, but what was leaked was Comey’s notes of a meeting he had with  President Trump.   It was part of his testimony to Congress, and I’ve included a link on this matter.    My comments are generally under FBI as a category and James Comey as a tag.

What I think irritated Donald Trump the most, was that Comey was a dogged prosecutor and non-partisan in all his activities.  “A Higher Loyalty”  seems a fitting title.   As far as being a liar,  Trump really is the last person to call anyone a liar.   So far,  politifact.com shows he tells the truth about 5% of the time.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Comey, A Higher Loyalty,  2018  Available at Amazon.com 

Not out yet.  I plan not to buy any more books from Amazon.  I will go to my local bookstore, buy a book, and read it while having a cup of coffee.   I might be there all day so I’ll have lunch there too.  It’s already on the best sellers list and not a copy has been sent to the public.

CNN: Who is James Comey: 7 things to know about the fired FBI director

Note:  I hate all the ads that come with these links.

Fact Check:  James Comey 

Trump lashes out at Comey as ‘untruthful slime ball’

Wikipedia: James Comey

A Leaker’s Admission: How the Media Covered, and Factored Into, Comey’s Testimony

FIU Bridge Collapse

I promised in my last blog that it would be the last one.   Expert bridge engineers  from the National Transportation Safety Board and other organizations are investigating the accident.   The engineering firm, MCM-Fiff,  FIU,  FDOT and other organizations have stated that they will fully cooperate.   I have devoted a separate page on my site to the engineering aspects of the accident,  which will  be updated periodically.   At this point,  video footage shows the first collapse occurred about 25-ft from the north pylon.

Stay tuned

Dave

 

Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s Letter

Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe has been fired two days before receiving his pension by AG Jeff Sessions.   His letter summarizes a chain of events in which he corroborates damaging testimony of FBI Director Comey, then  the president launches a vendetta against him, ultimately leading to his firing.  His reference to attacks against his family, are based on the Trump’s tweet (Dec 23, 2017):

“How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?” Trump tweeted on July 25, 2017.

The accusation is considered False by factcheck.org.  A  factcheck link is provided at the bottom of this blog, which shows this to be more Trump’s BS especially made for Fox News.  McCabe was called a “bad actor based on his behavior” by WH Press Secretary Sanders.

McCabe’s letter also confirms what some have claimed in the media –  he did not close down the Clinton investigation early, but  continued to investigate her emails against “people in DOJ who opposed it.”  So ironically, while Trump was claiming a Clinton investigation cover-up,  McCabe was doing just the opposite – a thorough investigation no matter how long it took, which likely helped Trump win the election.

So honesty, persistence and dedication to your job can get you ridiculed by the President and ultimately get you fired.

I believe Sessions was likely threatened by Trump, either to fire McCabe or be fired himself.   McCabe was leaving anyway, but stripping of his pension seems to add insult to injury.

McCabe’s Letter

I have been an FBI Special Agent for over 21 years. I spent half of that time investigating Russian Organized Crime as a street agent and Supervisor in New York City. I have spent the second half of my career focusing on national security issues and protecting this country from terrorism. I served in some of the most challenging, demanding investigative and leadership roles in the FBI. And I was privileged to serve as Deputy Director during a particularly tough time.

For the last year and a half, my family and I have been the targets of an unrelenting assault on our reputation and my service to this country. Articles too numerous to count have leveled every sort of false, defamatory and degrading allegation against us. The President’s tweets have amplified and exacerbated it all. He called for my firing. He called for me to be stripped of my pension after more than 20 years of service. And all along we have said nothing, never wanting to distract from the mission of the FBI by addressing the lies told and repeated about us.
No more.

The investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has to be understood in the context of the attacks on my credibility. The investigation flows from my attempt to explain the FBI’s involvement and my supervision of investigations involving Hillary Clinton. I was being portrayed in the media over and over as a political partisan, accused of closing down investigations under political pressure. The FBI was portrayed as caving under that pressure, and making decisions for political rather than law enforcement purposes. Nothing was further from the truth. In fact, this entire investigation stems from my efforts, fully authorized under FBI rules, to set the record straight on behalf of the Bureau, and to make clear that we were continuing an investigation that people in DOJ opposed.

The OIG investigation has focused on information I chose to share with a reporter through my public affairs officer and a legal counselor. As Deputy Director, I was one of only a few people who had the authority to do that. It was not a secret, it took place over several days, and others, including the Director, were aware of the interaction with the reporter. It was the type of exchange with the media that the Deputy Director oversees several times per week. In fact, it was the same type of work that I continued to do under Director Wray, at his request. The investigation subsequently focused on who I talked to, when I talked to them, and so forth. During these inquiries, I answered questions truthfully and as accurately as I could amidst the chaos that surrounded me. And when I thought my answers were misunderstood, I contacted investigators to correct them.

But looking at that in isolation completely misses the big picture. The big picture is a tale of what can happen when law enforcement is politicized, public servants are attacked, and people who are supposed to cherish and protect our institutions become instruments for damaging those institutions and people.

Here is the reality: I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey. The release of this report was accelerated only after my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee revealed that I would corroborate former Director Comey’s accounts of his discussions with the President. The OIG’s focus on me and this report became a part of an unprecedented effort by the Administration, driven by the President himself, to remove me from my position, destroy my reputation, and possibly strip me of a pension that I worked 21 years to earn. The accelerated release of the report, and the punitive actions taken in response, make sense only when viewed through this lens. Thursday’s comments from the White House are just the latest example of this.

This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally. It is part of this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel’s work.
I have always prided myself on serving my country with distinction and integrity, and I always encouraged those around me to do the same. Just ask them. To have my career end in this way, and to be accused of lacking candor when at worst I was distracted in the midst of chaotic events, is incredibly disappointing and unfair. But it will not erase the important work I was privileged to be a part of, the results of which will in the end be revealed for the country to see.

I have unfailing faith in the men and women of the FBI and I am confident that their efforts to seek justice will not be deterred.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Link:

Trump Wrong About Campaign Donations

Russian meddling in the US Elections

Russia meddled in the United States 2016 elections.  This is no longer speculation.  Indictments from a grand jury have been handed down indictments on 13 Russian nationals.  I assume none will be extradited to the US for trial.   I have no idea if  trials in absentia are possible. Already, there has been a response from one indicted Russian, that these charges are absurd and that 13 Russians could hardly change the results of an election.  The indictments do not conclude the meddling changed election results.

There was an impact; it just can’t be assessed.     It was a small group of professionals who came here to influence our election, likely supported by a larger dedicated group in Russia.  I don’t know how many more Russians were involved within the US, who the Justice Department could not indite because they just don’t have sufficient evidence.  The Russians came here with cash to spend and I suspect most of it went to help Donald Trump.  Moreover, whatever their operatives were spending on the ground here, their Russian counterparts were likely spending much more on planning and directing as dirty a campaign as possible against Hillary Clinton.   Mueller does not need to identify the full extent of the Russian meddling to get indictments, just that significant expenditures were made.  A cool million probably satisfies this threshold.

The question which should be asked, is why Russia thought they could pull this off and sway the election in favor of Donald Trump?   I think you have to look at how few people really determine the outcome of a Presidential election.   Hillary Clinton lost Florida by 112,911 votes.  If she had won Florida, she would have a total of 256 electoral votes.  At that point, winning one or two  “swing states” would have put her over the top (270 electoral votes).   Clinton lost Pennsylvania by 44,262 votes, and  20 electoral votes she needed to secure victory.

How to influence the election in 2016 was obvious to Russians or anyone else following the US elections.  Florida was #1 swing state.  Northern Florida was predominately Republican and the more people who voted in the north, the better Trump’s chances of winning.   Dressing up a  woman in prison suit with a sign “Crooked Hillary” to get the media’s attention was perfect.  If the electorate only knew!

This is Mueller’s show.   No one really knows where his investigation is going, and his team as kept things pretty buttoned up, as they should be.   My take is Russia did a whole lot more, including working with Trump’s team before the election to get dirt on Hillary, through the email hacks.  We shall see.

Stay tuned,

Dave

News Junkies

There are health junkies, sports junkies, car junkies and news junkies.   Last Sunday, I happen to stumble upon a Porsche show, with models going back to the late 1950’s.   It was phenomenal.  These were car junkies.

News and sports junkies have something in common.  They know the history of players.  They can do a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking.  Example:  “What an idiot,  the wide end receiver was wide open and he decides to run with the ball.  I could have done 10X better.”

This is the case of FBI agents Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, whose idle conversations on the news of the day and office politics has been blown way out of proportions by the right wing news media.   They were sharing their common interest in politics.   They thought their conversations were private.   They said mean things about both Democrats and Republicans.  This was part of an extra-marital affair.   The affair ended and so did Strzok assignment to Mueller’s team.

Initially, Peter Strzok was the agent in charge of investigating Hillary Clinton’s email.   It meant working nights and weekends, reviewing reams of emails.   I think the text messages to Lisa Page, a lawyer with the FBI, were at times an emotional release to the pressures of work.   The conclusions of the Wall Street Journal are:

Texts critical of Mr. Trump represent a fraction of the roughly 7,000 messages, which stretch across 384 pages and show no evidence of a conspiracy against Mr. Trump. Rather, a broader look shows an unvarnished and complex picture of the lives of an FBI agent and lawyer who found themselves at the center of highly charged probes.

Further the WSJ article states:

They logged long hours and frequently worked on weekends. They seemed dedicated to their jobs but didn’t hesitate to chastise or criticize many others beyond Mr. Trump, including their colleagues and each other. In deeply personal office chatter, they come across as intense, ambitious and unsure of their standing in the bureau.

The short text messages were understandable.  They were real busy.  After the email investigation concluded,  Peter Strzok was assigned to Mueller’s Russian investigation team for two months, before the text messages were discovered.  He was reassigned to work as the  head of Human Resources for the FBI.

Peter Strzod also suggested a change in Comey’s memo on Clinton’s email investigation, indicating that she was “extremely careless”  instead of “grossly negligent” to avoid a misrepresentation that her actions fit the legal definition of the crime of “grosss negligence”  as Secretary of State.    So, this was a change to clarify Comey’s statement.

If there was any inappropriate done  in Peter Strzok  work  either in the email or the Russian investigation, it would be in the text messages to his confidant.  All there is a lot of office chatter after very long hours at the office.

The take away message is,  your right to privacy changes dramatically once you pass through the office doors of your work.   The Fox news commentator’s obsession with FBI conspiracy theories  and misrepresentation is for rating purposes only.   I hope the best for these two FBI agents.   Time to move on.   You can call the entire Patriot’s team  f**king  idiots, and no one will come after you.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Inside the FBI Life of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, as Told in Their Text Messages

 

 

 

 

Evidence of the Secret Society – alive and well on Varney and Company

I don’t normally get this emotional.   But what I just heard on Varney and C0mpany is nonsense.   But it is Trump’s nonsense.   Granted, I don’t listen to Fox News on a regular basis.  It does seem to be going all out for Trump’s twisted narrative about an FBI and Justice Department  without integrity or scruples.

Stuart Varney has reported on financial and stock market news for CNN.  He graduated from the London School of Economics.  He became a US Citizen in 2015.

He said by releasing the Nune’s memo, we will know whether there were a group of anti-Trump conspirators within the FBI and Department of Justice.  This is a sham and it is sad to see Fox News sinking this low.  There is no loyalty test for the FBI or the Attorney General.  Their loyalty is to enforcement of the law.

The reason both the FBI and the Attorney General have advised against release of this memo, is because (a) it makes false statements,  (b) it is put together by a partisan group whose only interest is in protecting Trump and his close associates, who might face criminal charges, and (c) the ongoing Russian investigation makes it impossible for the Democrats,  the FBI and the Department of Justice to respond.

Secrecy in law enforcement and criminal investigation is essential.   Further, whether the FISA warrants might have included some erroneous information, is an issue the President can task the Department of Justice to investigate in private.   To release this memo is to play politics and discredit the FBI, the Attorney General and the Department of Justice.   It play right into the hands of conspiracy radicals.

Stay tuned,

Dave

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